The Rock of the Family

>> Saturday, July 24, 2010

This has been a trying year for our pack, and more specifically, Reagan. She is the rock of this family, much more than Alan or I, and sometimes it is easy to forget that more than any of us, this year has been the toughest on her. In just five months, Reagan has:

-had to adjust to a new puppy in the house (Quincy)
-moved to a new place
-lost her best friend in the entire world (Wembley)
-welcome two new pack members (Walter and Aurora)
-somehow adjust to Wembley not being here

Reagan deserves a lot more credit than she gets. People are hard on Reagan if they don't know her. She's often called dumb, too hyper, and crazy. She is hyper and she is crazy, but she has a heart of gold and an unrivaled maternal instinct for the rest of the pack, including us. Reagan is pure love.

The day after Wembley died, we took Reagan and Quincy to Petsmart. We were trying to get out of the house and its emptiness. At Petsmart, a senior golden was walking in a different aisle. Reagan saw this, and started wagging her tail. She had a look of hope on her face, and we both knew she thought this dog was Wembley from afar. While losing Wembley has been horrible for us, seeing Reagan mourn has been just as painful, and that moment tops everything. Sometimes Reagan checks for Wembley at the car doors or peeks hopefully around corners. She isn't the same carefree girl she used to be. She's never quite as happy as she was with Wembley, and she needs more affection from us than she ever has before.

I just hope we can give Reagan everything she needs, because she is our pack leader. Reagan is the core, the heart, and above all, selfless.


Happy Third, Aurora!

>> Thursday, July 15, 2010

Today is Aurora's third birthday. She has only been with us since the end of April, but it feels like we've had her for years. She fits in here perfectly. Having a deaf cat has also been quite the learning experience for us. We thought she might have some confidence issues because of it, but she is doing just fine.

For her birthday, we bought her a crinkle sack and some treats. Even though she can't hear the crinkles, she does like hiding in the sack and playing with it, so it was a good choice.

Tonight we took her outside on the leash. She was running and playing, leaping, chasing bugs and birds and butterflies. It's nice to see that she is comfortable being outside and especially on the leash. We don't usually bring the cats out, but sometimes we allow them to enjoy that luxury.

We weren't expecting to get another cat this spring. It was not a plan at all, but we both know it was meant to be, and we hope she has many more birthdays.



>> Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Today is a particularly bad Wembley day. I have a lot of these, but the approaching six month anniversary of her passing isn't helping, nor is the fact that her collar still smells like her.

Wembley had many collars, as all of our animals get their collars changed for seasons and holidays. While Reagan can't wait to be "naked", Wembley loved wearing her collars and always looked a little prouder when we put a new one on. The ultimate collar though, is the Wembley collar, that being a bright pink collar with her name spelled out in rhinestones.

All of her collars are tucked away now in a pink hat box with hearts all over it. I remember when I bought the box just to store all of her stuff. I put her dog shirts, her cheerleading outfit, her favorite toys, all of her collars, and all of the cards we received while she was sick and when she passed away. There's a ceramic heart with her paw print on it too. The cashier, trying to make conversation, remarked,

"Someone is getting a big Valentine's Day present."

Now, I know he was only trying to be friendly, but it was only a week or so after Wembley's death, and it took every piece of strength I had to not cry at the checkout. Instead, I smiled, and cried in the privacy of my own car.

The rhinestone collar finally went into the box this afternoon. It was slung over a picture of Wembley as a puppy, but I discovered that this collar still holds Wembley's scent very strongly. For those fleeting seconds it seemed like she was still here and this nightmare never happened. If I can smell Wembley on this collar, no doubt Reagan can, and that's the reason I put it in the box. It is easier for us to understand where Wembley went. We know the gory, clinical details, but Reagan doesn't. She doesn't understand cancer or chemo. She doesn't understand why Wembley isn't here. People might think that is easier, but Reagan is an intuitive pup and she still looks with hope that maybe Wembley came home from work with Alan today, or maybe Wembley is just hiding in the corner, or maybe Wembley is in one of her usual napping spots. Reagan is not the same dog. She's happier now, but there is something different about her, and that's just one more reason to put the collar in the box.

If only removing the sadness were so easy.


Aurora's Big Adventure

>> Friday, July 9, 2010

Sometimes animals are very similar to children in their actions. Today was one of those days for Aurora and Quincy. Apparently, Quincy can't learn "down" or "beg", but she knows how to open patio doors, which is exactly what she did. She opened the glass door and the screen door, and I found this out when I spotted her sitting in the grass. Quincy loves sitting in the yard and she usually sits out there for quite awhile, but with my supervision of course.

I closed the door and brought Quincy inside, not thinking that one of the cats might have escaped. About an hour passed, and the dogs started barking ferociously at the window. They always do this. They bark at the bus when it drops of the neighbor's son who has down syndrome- he comes home from work every day at five via the bus. They bark at UPS, they bark at people mowing the lawn, they bark at other dogs that stray into the yard. Today, their barks were a little different. They were more urgent, and they kept looking back at me. Even Walter was up and barking, and usually he just looks at Quincy and Reagan as if to say "Oh, PLEASE, I am so much better at behaving than you."

Somehow, I just knew something was going on. When I turned around, I saw Aurora, a deaf and front declawed cat, (who at the time was missing her collar and tag because it fell off somewhere in the house) across the street in the neighbor's driveway. She was starting to walk across the road, and I saw a car whir by, WAY too close to her. I bolted out the door and ran, barefoot into the road, scooped her up and held her tight. My heart was pounding and my legs were shaking at what could have happened to her, not to mention the fact that she had been outside for at least an hour. When I picked her up, she was purring and purring, and all afternoon she has been strutting around the house as though she completed a daring feat. It's situations like this one that make me upset that she is front declawed (a decision made by her previous owners).

I can't even express how relieved I am that the worst did not happen, that she didn't wander very far, and that she is now safe and sound. Lucky for her, cats have nine lives! :)



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