A whole new world

Published 11:55pm Thursday, November 7, 2013

Over the years there have been dozens of times when I received a letter with a check for my kids in honor of a lost pet.
I acknowledge each one and treat them with the deepest reverence sending sincere prayers and condolences for the pet and its grieving family. I realize it is one of the most difficult times and a daunting question is on each tongue.

Dulce and Rojo

“Is there something else I could have done?”  I am honored that they turn to me and proud of the owners who think of other kids at such a time.
In the first week of August I said goodbye to my precious Rojo (forever a lady) who gave me 24 glorious years.

At that time, I began keeping a close eye on her sister Dolce, born of the same parents one year later. Rojo was Dolce’s surrogate mother and I feared the loss would be too much for (her sweetness) Dolce.
Dolce began taking over Rojo’s time with Poppa, especially curling up with me in early evening for attention. Every once in a while I’d take a soft damp rag and clean the corner of her eyes so they wouldn’t cake up. I don’t think she ever learned how to do that; it was Rojo’s job. Dolce would emit a mournful meow, looking for her sister, and though I did the best I could to fill the gap, it was heartbreaking.
Approximately two months after Rojo’s passing, Dolce began refusing food and treats and stopped cleaning herself. I found her in the corner of our coat closet and took her in my arms.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?”
“I love you Poppa, but I miss Rojo so much.”
I held her closer and tearfully said, “She’s somewhere waiting for you, sweetheart.”  “Oh Dad, can I please go be with her?”  Now the tears fell uncontrollably, “I think you’re already on your way.”
Two and a half months after Rojo passed, Dolce joined her sister. Though our household will never feel the same without the girls, it was very much expected.
In the midst of all this and so many other things, Bruno, my big beautiful brindle boxer, began to fail. At first his stiffness and loss of appetite was thought to stem from arthritis.  As he grew weaker and stopped eating altogether, it was thought to be pancreatitis. I frantically had him at the vet for answers every day. Bruno was losing weight and growing weaker, but I kept my hopes up because he remained my loving companion. On Friday, one week after we lost Dolce, my 75-pound boy was down to 61 pounds. We decided that if he didn’t start improving by Monday we would hospitalize him for a few days with I.V.’s to pick up his strength.
On Monday morning, when Bruno saw me grab his leash, he hopped off the couch with his tail wagging, anxious to go for a ride with Dad. He was so frail and weak I held him in my arms and prayed for strength for both Bruno and myself. Bruno rewarded my hug with a face lick and I who thought I was all cried out began to sob uncontrollably.
At the vet we learned that Bruno had lost nine more pounds over three days and his right eye was clouding over and beginning to bulge. He was immediately put on I.V.’s and further tests were taken.
I had errands to run, but I stopped by twice during the day to check on his progress. At 4 p.m. Elaine and I received a call to come down to the clinic.
All the faces that greeted us were gloomy and I knew the news wasn’t good. Bruno looked even frailer than when I brought him in the morning, but his tail began wagging as he saw us and heard my voice. His eye was bulging worse than ever and Donna explained that it was lymphoma. The cancer had spread through his body like wildfire and all his vital organs were off the chart. I had the staff remove his I.V. and held my boy in my arms as I prepared him for his final walk. I was trying to keep my spirits up for Bruno, for there was no way in the world I would allow him to live another moment in this condition.
Outside the dam burst and I began to sob. Bruno wobbled over to me to try to console me and I held him close to me trying to absorb all his sickness and take it upon myself.  I prayed hard and yes, I asked the same question.
“Is there anything else I could have done?” My whole world was changing and though my faith remains strong, what I needed now was strength.
Over the past few weeks I have received many cards and letters of sympathy from those who knew Bruno and my girls. As I enter this whole new world without them, I am certain the Lord is with me and a vast part of this community supports my cause.
I only wish there was an Uncle Lennie for Uncle Lennie.
Thanks for listening.

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