One Year On

I can’t quite believe we’re one year on,

From the day you were suddenly gone.

Your soft fur gone from under my hand.

As I fought to understand.

Circumstances left me sad and shaken,

When from us you were instantly taken.

It happened so quick you gone in a flash

Heart and mind a nightmare crash.

They say that grief will take a year,

We wish we still had you near.

A robin reminder there each day,

Tells me that you haven’t gone away.

Are clear in my thoughts and in my mind,

Didn’t dare hope again that we could find

A beautiful boy, another one.

We’d take on as our furry son.

Not small a baby, but quite grown

Who should never be alone.

He needs us, we need him too.

Therapy for both me and you.

So as I think of the time now passed,

How thoughts of love will always last.

And how you’re both right by my side,

When all I want to do is hide.

A cuddle when I need it most 

So drink to you my dogs a toast.

You made life different from before,

Here’s to the ones that I adore.

Who change our lives from what we knew,

We’re blessed to have been one of the few.

Taught us things they have to show.

Help us flourish and help us grow.

As that year’s gone by time’s marched on.

Looked up to find that you had gone.

Will look out for dancing butterflies,

Again as I feel my spirits rise.

There for a moment, gone too soon

Lightheaded happiness makes me swoon.

Come visit again and sing your song.

Still can’t believe that you are gone.

Across the fields of grass you run.

Wind in your fur and face to the sun.

Charging ahead right up the track,

Wait for me, not coming back.

Years filled with irreplaceable time,

But glad for a while that you were mine.

Not forgetting you were his too,

So sit and enjoy your beautiful view.

As we try so hard not to be sad,

I’ll hold his hand and cuddle your Dad.

While you are in your favourite place on the hill,

In both our hearts and minds here still.

There looking out far across the sea,

Now my son you’re running free. 

In My Solitude.

 

(In My) Solitude.  A song that I have not heard for some time now it was on an album of  Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits which was given to me by my Great Uncle, when I was about thirteen years old and which I had cherished for many years.This song is one of my favourites from the album, which I would belt out singing in times gone by but I also find it slightly haunting when hearing it again, but have a love for it.  I think I was fortunate enough to make a cassette tape of it, but due to the damp in storage, too many things were ruined and so they were disposed of.

But I have been feeling pretty blue and it set me off thinking…

It also prompted me to write the following poem, my first in over a month.

In my solitude.

Oh Teddy you were so beautiful, it is plain to see.

It brings a lump to my throat to know that you are free.

And as my eyes fill with tears. I remember once again,

That in your face which I held near, you could not hide your pain.

But when we danced, around and round and laughter filled the air,

We sat upon the floor together as your paw stroked in my hair.

We often sat there thinking as your eyes gazed into mine

You were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and were simply divine.

My wonderful boy your expressions were just filled with love,

Remembering the times that you’d also cajole and shove.

I’m flicking through the photos that I will here keep on my phone.

I think of when we lost you and feel somehow alone.

In the flesh you are now gone, but in my mind you remain.

To not dwell in the past, I will try to refrain.

You fur kept as a keepsake, your ashes by the bed.

And as I say goodnight and rest my weary head.

I say goodnight to all of you, my safety there to keep.

And often think of you again, which always makes me weep.

The tears fall here again as I sit in solitude,

Thinking of the times we had and being so subdued.

The love that you gave to me, was second to none.

And as I hope to heal from loss, I’ve only just begun.

But now there is a new boy here to comfort me, he sits here at my feet.

The soppiest one whose staying near you’d ever hope to meet.

A loving boy we’ll cherish with a heart of gold

I hope he’ll stay with us for years till we all grow old.

Never Underestimate It.

9/11/16

Never Underestimate It.

What’s that? I hear you ask….

The effect a dog can have to help you to heal.

I read some time ago about how dogs have helped with PTSD and Depression, I know that having Kato around at my darkest times was probably a lifesaver, even when my partner didn’t know what would help, Kato always seemed to. When my partner was in grief for the loss of his family members and no-one seemed to understand, our boy was there, by his side to get him through each day too. When I was unable to work and ill, he was there for me watching over me, watching over us both, he always knew when we weren’t well and would be especially vigilant until we were better. I will be eternally grateful to him for all that he gave us in his life, the love and support and loyalty. I daren’t hope that we could find that again, so soon after losing him.

I read an article about prisoners caring for shelter dogs, for veterans who feel that they have no-one. The power a dog has to rehabilitate a person is astounding. A transformation can take place in such a short time and the bond that forms is incomparable.

The trauma of the summer will heal in time. We needed the distraction of our trip, we both needed to take time out and think about what we wanted in our future. It was there up on the hill that we decided although we have each other and that is enough. The icing on the cake would be to share our hearts and space with a new furry person, one who needed a new start, for whatever reason. I said that we would know when we found the right one for us, but that we did not need to rush. He kept getting me to look, almost daily. Had he decided that it was time, was he right?

We looked, we made a few phonecalls, sent messages, almost going through the motions, but I didn’t know how we felt. He could not even meet a dog without tears forming, he missed him so much. His buddy, his friend, he felt lost. We missed everything about not having Kato around and it was eating us up. We talked about whether it would be too soon and how he may have felt about us sharing our love. We concluded that he would want us to be happy. Meanwhile no-one even responded to our messages or calls. We thought maybe it wasn’t meant to be after all, maybe we hadn’t found our one yet.

It was a Saturday night, we had our favourite lovely meal and a bottle of wine, he asked me to look, there had been no internet signal all evening, at about 1am, I tried to shut the computer down but there was suddenly a signal. I again looked at the dogs which were up for adoption and rehoming. We had been speaking to a rescue lady the day before, but there were some issues with the owners and he wasn’t sure. I found three dogs which I thought might suit us and called him to look at the pictures. Two of them were Black and White, which I gravitated towards, but this was not just a decision for me. My partner told me that he would prefer someone who did not remind him of our Kato. He wouldn’t want to make comparisons and the new one would have big paws to fill. They were all between 2 and 5 years old. We wanted someone who we would have a chance of a good few years with.

Then there was Rocky.
He was so different from Kato, a blonde bear. Sable & Cream with a smile full of puppy nonsense. He looked as though he had a sweet nature. Such things are important. We barely got any sleep and as I gave him the list of the three numbers. He rang only one. He spoke to the man who was giving him up. We asked if we could visit on the way back South, we asked all about him, all the things that we could think of that we might need to know. We made an arrangement to visit a week later and the man promised that we would be the first to see him.

As the week passed we kept thinking about him. I had saved the photographs to look at them. We anticipated our visit.
Exhausted we travelled back from Scotland had very little sleep and then called to confirm our visit. When we arrived some hours later, my partner wanted to meet him first. He said he wouldn’t get a look in once he had seen me. The man let Rocky in whilst he was upstairs. He came down minutes later to find me sitting on the floor with this beautiful dog sitting next to me, having his ears stroked. Rocky came over to say Hello to him and came back to me for more fuss.

We stayed for hours, he barely left my side, we took him for a walk in the park, off the lead, after all we were with his owner. We were thrilled that he was so good and did not react to other dogs other than to go and say hello and run off again. I was holding the lead so I called him back, he returned to me every time and I praised him. He walked by my side so nicely. We had all decided by the time we left that he would be coming to live with us. As we departed Rocky tried to get into our car to come with us, there and then we knew. Resistance was futile but I had to send him back to his owner, telling him that I would be back next week to see him again. We trusted our instincts when we met him, came home discussing him all the way, I think we’d found our new son.

I was on tenterhooks all week long, hoping that nothing would go wrong. We spoke midweek and all was set, we would have a meal with his family and then we would be bringing him home. When we arrived he was in the garden on a chain, it was pouring with rain and he was soaked. I asked why but did not get an answer and asked for a towel. When the rain died down a bit we all took him for a walk. Otherwise the evening was lovely.

He said his Goodbyes, we will stay in touch and Father and Son can come and visit him when they would like to. It was an eventful drive home, 80 miles with him talking and whining all the way, he wanted to be in the front and climb onto my lap. I could not fit in the back to comfort him, there wasn’t room for me in his bed and I didn’t want to invade his space. We showed him around his new home and garden he was thrilled, I gave him a new soft blanket, he took it into the lounge, we laid it out on the floor and I sat on it with him. He just wanted to be cuddled. We gave him lots to drink and when it was time for bed, we decided that he could sleep in the lounge. Access all areas except the bedroom. We slept with the door open so we could hear him. He layed down to sleep and did not cross the threshold until he needed to go out. But kept coming to the doorway to check on us, he was amazing.

In the morning, when we woke up, he came into the room to see us and climbed up to put his paws on my shoulder, giving me kisses and a hug. The best good morning a new mummy could hope for.

There will be learning, there will be things which test us no doubt, like the tantrum when we put his Halti on, but he settles down. He is after all an Alaskan Malamute and it is in their nature to test, but so far he is proving to be a wonderful addition to the family and our home, full of character and love.

Our healing has begun and so has his. We have been in limbo for a while as we grieved. He is still in our thoughts daily, but I no longer sob nightly at the thought of him, that stopped only days ago. We still speak to him and tell him about his new brother, we are sure that he would have loved him too. I am telling him about the daily nonsense, he would have kept him in check a big brother to watch him.

The little one whom we adopted just three days ago, who is full of love and affection and has already changed his life for the better since his arrival.
He has no desire to sleep in his basket we brought back with him. He would not even climb into it so it has been put away. He was pleased to get a new harness which didn’t make him itch and wears it with a smile. The soft bed was washed three times, but he will not lay on it, not even disguised under his new blanket. He has plenty to say, where he was quiet when we visited him. He is finding his voice. He wakes us up to say Hello and give us kisses but were told he wasn’t very kissy. He kisses me after I feed him to thank me and comes to tell us that he has eaten his meal, for praise. He follows us everywhere, it is early days maybe this is normal to have a new shadow. There is no rush to eat his food, he is not so hungry, no-one will remove it, the cat won’t eat it if he leaves it. It is still there for him. He eats when he is hungry, leaves it and returns to it later, tail wagging that it is still there. He is not hunting for treats all the time, the obsession with food is gone.
We didn’t change his name, just how it was spelled.
Ecstatic that he was given his first toy by his new Dad on the first morning when he awoke he proudly presents it to us many times throughout the day and is happy to share it with us whenever we ask. He will fetch it back and wait for it to be thrown. He will wait when asked to and has wonderful manners. He wants to play, night and day and is chasing his tail for the first time today, dancing around the room as I write this with plenty to say.

We are smiling again, big smiles which are right across our faces, there is laughter and merriment in our house, three days in a row for the first time in months. The light is back on we are all happy, so very happy to be parents again. There are no second thoughts, no doubt or did we do the right thing? We realised that this was meant to be when we sat shattered from the journey, to see my brand new sleeping furry son head on my lap with a beautiful smile, for him to be squarely between the two of us, comforted by the feet of his new Mum and Dad.

The Daily Post – Second Thoughts

 

 

Hello To The New Boy

Hello to the New Boy
Who has come to us to stay,
When we’ve got more used to him,
He’ll come to join the fray.
He is just a youngster, with character so large.
With kindness and good manners,
Through a doorway he won’t barge.
Will greet you with Hello paws,
Not uninvited climb.
And when asked whose is that Dog,
I’ll be proud to say, He’s mine.
Cuddles and sweet nature, will brighten every day
There’s lots of love to share and so much time to play.
Will bring to you a toy, so you’ll not be lonely or become sad
We’ve just adopted him, our soppy little lad.
He’s been sent to join us, to stay here till the end,
Hello to the New Boy, our little furry friend.
So as I welcome him and I am pleased to say,
Come on in my darling, Happy Gotcha Day!

Now It’s Time

dsc08816

Was it time for a furry person?

Were we sure? Well nothing’s certain.

But whilst we aim and try to strive

and remember we’re alive.

That time is there to heal,

Whatever we may feel.

And the day will come,

When we will meet our son.

So, it’s time to find another,

not a sister, but a brother.

To the one he’s never met,

but they’d get along, we’d bet.

A new chapter has begun,

we’re off to meet our son

He is a growing Lad,

who’s already had a Dad.

But not really had a Mum,

I’ll be the only one.

We travelled off to meet

and he sat by me to greet.

I knew it from the start,

he’d grabbed hold of my heart.

There is room in there.

As his eyes held my stare.

And as he went to say Hello,

to his new Dad, he would know.

Oh yes, he saw it straight away

On that Happy, fateful day.

Came away without a doubt,

Of what will be, will come about.

Our new boy who will come to live,

and who has so much love to give.

One to join our family,

return us again, to “Us Three”.

A small one with so much to learn,

to teach him how and not be stern.

I will treat and when he’s good,

with loving care and just reward.

A fine boy he will come to be

Just you wait and you will see…

 

rocky3

 

The Nunight Song

For those of you who do not know, Nunight is slang for Goodnight.  In our house growing up we always used to say it, before heading off to bed and I carried on the tradition. Up until recently I used to play a particular piece of music for Kato and I to go to sleep to, it was Binaural music, intended to relax and sent both of us off into a calm and deep sleep in minutes although sometimes, we would play it twice.  I nicknamed it “The Nunight Song” he always knew when it was coming and would be snoring within minutes… I highly recommend it for peace and meditation if you have trouble getting into the right frame of mind and shutting all the other noise and thought out. I found mine via Mindvalley.com  Meanwhile, as we try to adjust almost two months later to the fact that he is no longer here, our days and our bedtime routine hasn’t got any easier and we miss him so much.

Nunight Sweet Pea, Our Darling Boy We love you xdscn4903

The Nunight Song…

As I play the Nunight song
And Daddy says he won’t be long.
Whilst I clamber on my bed
And say Goodnight to Little Ted.
I hope that I will feel you near,
As I wipe away another tear.
As time goes by and weeks have passed,
I wonder will the feeling last.
The one where every night to sleep
I lay my head and gently weep.
And feel the sadness of it all,
That you aren’t here to answer my call.
The raw emotion in my heart
As such huge loss, we are apart.
Until the day we meet once more
The Furry Son that I adore.
To see your fur, Black and White
Translucent shining, your eyes so bright.
To once again feel your kiss
And hold you close would be such bliss.

A Child Substitute

DSC_0334I never thought that when it happened, he would fill so many of the gaps in my life…

These were gaps that I didn’t even know I had, but somehow my partner did. He knew that I wanted so badly to be a mother to something and that I had so much love to give. I would make a good mother he said. After the loss of a child in my younger years, a hysterectomy and many further childless years, we had always said that one day we would get a dog. In my mind, the time wasn’t right at all, there was way too much going on and I was working around 50 hours a week in a stressful job.

So a little over five years ago, we were told that our friends Alaskan Malamutes were expecting puppies and that when they arrived, I would have to go and choose one. He felt that the time was right and when I saw them, I knew that it was.
I visited the puppies whenever I could and although they were all lovely, I thought that I couldn’t make up my mind, so I just kept visiting. One in particular would not leave my side, he was not interested in eating with the others when I was there and when I talked to them all, he listened, paying extra attention. He snuggled in tighter and gave wonderful puppy kisses and when I felt that I really should make a decision despite thinking that I would go for a grey and white, I chose him.

I asked the question you see, “Are you going to be my Kato and am I going to be your Mummy?” He placed a small paw upon my knee, instant ownership and gazed into my eyes. I actually caught the moment on camera too and it remains one of my all time favourites in a sea of photographs spanning his short life, all of which I cherish. But I knew that from that moment, there was no other. I had found my baby and he had found me. He was the best gift that I could ever have had.

The thing about having a living, breathing member of your family as a child substitute…

Is that one day, they are suddenly not there and your little comfortable part of life as you know it is suddenly ripped wide open. Laid bare for people to dissect, they say harmful things at their will and whilst you deal with that on top of your grief, you are just expected to get over it.

If you are part of a family then it is not just your own feelings which are left raw and damaged, with your own life with a huge gaping hole, but also that of your loved ones.
The thing about being parents is that there are two lots of grief to understand and deal with. You must try to understand what goes through another broken mind whilst you both try to fix it and figure out how to heal, being careful not to break each other with a misplaced word or emotion is so tough and we often get it wrong.

You cannot wrap yourself up in your own grief, since you are shutting the other one out, so grief is handled in an entirely different way to how you would normally. This is alien to you and you find it hard to deal with.
New, raw emotions appear and you hope that you are both able to peek out of the wreckage together and rebuild after the tornado has hit.

I think that I am getting better, but I still have not stopped talking to him, looking around before I move the chair, so that I don’t catch him, he was almost always at my side. His remains have come home, it makes it a little bit easier since it feels like he is here with us, although I do not yet often feel his spirit although there have been signs of him.

I have dreams which he is sometimes in, some good, some bad but he is somehow different in them slightly. In the last one I was saying that I want to see my son, who I haven’t seen in ages. I am in a hospital awaiting an operation and I am explaining this to the nurse. I hear him run up the stairs and drop his ball outside the door and I open the door, but he is coming in another door, greeting everyone there first as I say, where is my Kato and he is suddenly there. With my Hero’s welcome, my face and hands buried in his wonderful translucent fur again, being smothered in kisses.
Oh how I wish for that welcome again, but I am so very grateful for those five short years that I was his Mummy, I am sure that they made me a better person than before.