Petfinder Featured Pet

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just this side of Heaven...

It was just me and one employee in those early years at the clinic.  I was the after hours care person for all the boarding and hospitalized animals.  The benefit to me being the hired hand was that I got to know the animals so much better when I was the one cleaning their cages, letting them outside, and giving them fresh food and water.  Now that the clinic is busier, I sometimes miss those days.  And on the days when my employees step up front from the kennel area after caring for the animals, wiping the sweat from their brow, I don't miss it quite as much...
In those early days, along came a sweet little white and tan fluffy dog named Addie.  Her family had just moved to the area, and brought her to me while they went away.  She was prone to seizures so often we would set her up in a large wire kennel in my office, away from the noise of the kennel area.  We often called it the "suite" as it was warmer, quieter, and she had a lot of room in that large kennel.  We shared many conversations while I sat at my desk and she would cock her head side to side as I spoke. 

One weekend I was at the clinic taking care of the animals. I had one dog in the yard, and only one left to let outside.  It was Miss Addie.  As I stood a the front desk I looked outside.  The sky was getting quite ominous so I set aside what I was doing to bring the other dog inside, and to let Addie go outside.  I guess the downside of being in the "suite" was that I let her outside last. 

I brought Addie to the door, and let her out into our large fenced in yard to go pottie, exercise, and sniff out all the other events that may have occured in the yard since her last visit out.  We have squirrels, and birds visiting.  The neighbors' dogs visit and try to mark their territory on the fence.  We have even had a visit from a mink that took up shop beneath my shed, but he only stayed for a few days.  We named him Abraham.

I made my way back to the front desk to complete my task, when I heard IT.  IT was the roof being pelted by HUGE raindrops!  I thought of poor little Addie in the back yard and ran to the back door!  I opened it and stuck my head out, "ADDIE?!  ADDIE?!"  but she didn't come to the door!  "ADDIE?!  ADDIE?!"  Still no Addie.  I stepped out and looked around the corner of the building to view the main yard.  Why was she not coming in?  The raindrops were huge and almost painful!  I was practically swimming as I tried to breathe the air!  I could not see Addie anywhere in the yard!  She couldn't have gotten out of the fencing, could she?  There is no conceivable way a dog of her size could get through or under the fence or gate?!  Continuing with my calls, "ADDIE?!  ADDIE?!  COME ON BABY!", which had to be screamed to be heard above the noise the rain was making, I made my way through the yard being careful to avoid the doggie landmines left by the previous yard patrollers. 

I walked all through the yard until I noticed that tucked back behind the shed, trying to find shelter beneath the soffit of the main building was little white Addie.  No longer white due to the mud on her feet and belly, and certainly not fluffy as her coat was soaked with rain!

I ran in there and grabbed her into my arms, my feet now covered in mud.  I ran across the yard, back to the door, careful not to slip in what was rapidly becoming a muddy river in the yard, and also mindful of those landmines again.  I know you are wanting me to say I slipped and landed in a landmine, but I am just too graceful for that.  (those of you who know me are really laughing right now...)

I get her inside, and walk up to the front office with her still in my arms so I could grab a nice dry towel to dry off both of us.  As I close the door behind me to the front office, I turn to see Addie's Dad, standing there waiting to pick up his dog.  His formerly white dog.  His formerly fluffy dog.  We both started laughing, but Addie did not see anything amusing about the situation. 

This memorable event took place in 2003,when my clinic was new and Addie was much younger. 

Today, I saw Addie again...but it was for the last time.  In the last few months her body began to fail.  Her stature was small.  Her bones were frail.  Her muscles were weak.  Her eyes were no longer playful.  Medications and fluids kept her quality of life going for a while, but as always happens, the time came for the family to make the decision to give Addie the gift of crossing the Rainbow Bridge.

The rainbow bridge legend states:

"Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.

There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... "
Author unknown...

I am so proud to have been a part of Addie's life.  I admit, I don't get to know all my patients now the way I did when we started caring for Addie.  I am grateful for that chance, but I am pained by her loss.  I hope soon the memories of Addie can bring smiles to her family's face instead of tears, but having traveled this road myself, I know it may take a while.

I do worry however, that when it is my time to go, that the number of animalsI have loved is so great in number that there will be a four footed stampede running to me!  I won't be fearful of the mass, and I know my arms will be strong enough to embrace them all!  I can only hope that bridge is strong enough for all of us to cross together!

My deepest sympathies go out to Addie's family.  You know who you are...

(Just an FYI... those of you who are Followers on this blog, thank you! If you want to receive the blog into your email inbox each time it is published, all you need to do is go to, and enter your name into the subscribe box on the upper right side of the page. Wait for the blog to send you a confirmation email, then reply and you will receive the blog when it is published. Much easier than you going to look for it! Please, continue to follow and please subscribe!)


ameow2002 said...

I loved it, but i too send my condolences to Addie's family. I know how hard it is to lose the little ones that we are blessed with for far too short a time....

Jamey said...

What a nice memorial. My condolences to Addie's family.

Caitlin said...

Wonderful story, Lisa. I, too, remember little Addie in her younger years during my early days at the clinic. She was just one of those special ones you'll always remember. When she came to ISU I knew just who she was, though I hadn't seen her in years. Glad I gave her extra snuggles and kisses that day. My biggest sympathies to her family - it was always so clear how much they loved her.

Kristin Redenius said...

Lisa you are a blessed writer! You have brought tears to my eyes! I hope I can come and help you guys on Mondays and Wednesdays! I love what you do and love reading your posts. There is a special place for our beloved lost pets. When I am gone I hope to love them all again in my arms! May you always be blessed with your sense of humor, your gift of giving and your gift of friendship. You are a treasure! Love ya!

Kristin Redenius said...

Oh and by the way DON'T let anyone ever tell you that "You can't do it" You are capable of doing everything and being good at it!

Sheryl said...

Just found your blog....would like to be on your regular list. I hope Addie gets to have toast!
Emmie and Sheryl