Whoever said that diamonds are a girls best friend…Never owned a dog
Dogs…those four legged, cold nose, crazy happy to see you, faithful, loyal friends of ours. We love em. They’ve grown up with us, they’ve helped us raise our children, they’ve been our security blanket, our exercise motivator, true blue, there for you companions. We go a little bit crazy for our dogs.
We’ve grown up with dogs as a part of our family. From Kappie and JoJo to Trooper to Bud and Betsi, Jasmine, Jasper and so many more. They’ve been there through break-ups, break-ins, new homes, babies, promotions and loss. From mixed breeds to schnauzers to labrador and golden retrievers, our dogs have come in every shape, size, color and temperament. Between three of us alone at Everlasting Memories, we currently are owners of nine dogs. Yes - NINE. Who know how many dogs are actually part of our family if we add up all the employees dogs.
And, like our children, they are a part of the family. Each of them has their own personality and quirky traits. We have dogs that watch tv, dogs that watch the house for the random plastic bag or bunny that threatens the safety of the the owners, dogs that make sure we have the top of the line tv remote and do us the favor of ‘disposing’ of said remote about once every six weeks (yes this happens). We’ve got dogs that are taste testers of sandwiches, coffee drinkers, cookie snatchers and garbage connoisseurs. They borrow our socks, try out our new $200 shoes, make mistakes and apologize and wake up the next day with the intent of being a ‘good dog’. And yes, we love them to pieces.
Names are a big deal in our family when it comes to well - everything. Not only did we agonize over what to name our children, we invest the same amount of thought and love into naming our dogs. One of us sticks with names that begin with “J” - Jasmine, Jasper, Josie and Jules. We’ve got another member that is big on B’s - Bud, Betsi, Bo and Boston. And then there’s one that strictly goes based off of where they are at in their life and what is significant to the way they live their life - Bauer, Rosie, Trooper and Harley. The names eventually give way to nicknames as happens in life and we’ve got a Jazzy, a Bozzy, Homleyetta and Scooty and Goose. Yeah, our dogs are truly members of our families and we cherish them.
And boy - do we have stories. There was the time that Betsi got into someone’s purse that was left in the car while she was hanging out ready for them to return on a brisk winter day. Said owner of Betsi comes out to find that Betsi was so kind as to help herself to their lipstick. Betsi, being a schnauzer, was a beautiful grey color but with white fur around the mouth. Needless to say, she applied the lipstick with a very heavy hand and walked around with red fur for a good two weeks.
And then there was the time that one of our staff spent the morning making their first homemade blueberry pie for Thanksgiving the next day. All homemade, slaved for hours and left it cooling on the way back of the stove when they left for a couple hour errands. Upon return - yep, there was no pie. Not only was there NO PIE, the dish looked like it had just come out of the dishwasher. All three dogs gave the owner a who struck Charlie look as if to say Pie? What Pie? It was only upon closer inspection of Trooper’s teeth that were stained a lovely shade of purple that it came to light exactly what had happened to the pie. Sigh. Yes. A challenge at times but they make us laugh, those puppies of ours.
And we have lost our precious animals too. And mourned them. We have lost them to illness, to cancer, to old age. They have passed away unexpectedly and we have held them close as they took their last breath. We have cremated some, buried others in the backyard. We carry around their pictures on pendants in our car, on our backpacks, have their pictures on our mantle and miss them every day.
One of the most recent losses was about a year ago in July of 2015. Otis was his name and he was a beautiful silver lab. He was my dog. It took me about a month to convince my husband that I HAD to have a silver puppy. Now mind you, I already had two dogs at the time - a chocolate lab named Harley and a black lab named Gunner. But there was something in me that truly needed another dog. After all that convincing, my husband grudgingly relented telling me that he was naming him Otis. Oooookay….Why Otis? “Because of all the OT I’m going to have to work in order to pay for him.” And thus - on December 18, 2008, Otis arrived at the airport during an ice storm and promptly became a member of the family.
Otis was mine from day one. Remember the story Are You My Mother? That was Otis. We were two halves to a whole and the sun rose and set on his momma. And for me, the sun rose and set on my Otis. He was a goof ball, got into the garbage, would steal any food off the counter that he could and had no manners. If I was sitting in the recliner, he was on my lap. All 95 pounds of him. We would play hide and seek in the house and he would tear around the house, stopping at nothing until he found me. We ran miles together, he loved the water, licked my tears, gave me hugs and every day - loved me to the moon and back.
We returned from a vacation in the summer of 2015 and Otis seemed off. I figured it was because we had been gone for a couple of weeks and he was letting me know his displeasure at being gone. I took him to the vet a couple of days later and, long story short, Otis had undetected Lyme and his kidneys were failing. The chance for him to recover was very limited. I made the decision to euthanize him and my husband went with me. He is buried on the hill in our backyard where I can see him every day.
Weeks had passed and the loss was unbearable. I got a text from my husband and he told me that the song Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker reminded him of Otis and I. “So rock me mama like a wagon wheel, rock me mama any way you feel, hey mama rock me…” In my mind and in my heart, that became our song. It was a few days later that I was driving and had to pull over a block from the house - I was just overwhelmed with walking in my door and not being greeted by my Otis. I asked for some sort of message that I was going to be okay, that he was okay and right then and there guess what came on the radio - Wagon Wheel. 100% true story. It didn’t take away the hurt, the sense of loss but I do believe that I was being told by Otis - Mama, I’m okay.
Flash forward a year - we have two year old rescue mixes. Two little girls, sisters and litter mates. I love them, they are CRAZY but sweet and I love them. But, as I told my husband in July of 2016, they aren’t MINE. I told him I knew it had been a year and I knew it made no sense and I knew that our plate was overflowing. But I needed another silver lab. I had a void that a year later was vast and empty. The girls, Honor and Murphy, they’re wonderful. But they aren’t MY DOGS. And he understood. I got the green light, managed to find the same breeder where I had gotten Otis and they had THREE litters due in the next six weeks. And I got first pick for a silver male…
Caesar Augustus (Gus) was born on August 28, 2016 and he is flying home to Mama on Friday, October 21. I picked him on day one and knew without question, he was mine. He’s got the sweetest smile, looks a little goofy, he’s chubby and he’s perfect. And, Otis, he would approve. He is not a replacement for my Otis - nothing could ever be. But maybe, just maybe, he will be open to all the love that I have to give him, he’ll eat my sandwiches, sit on my lap and adore me as much as I will adore him.
At Everlasting Memories, we understand with all of our hearts how much pets mean. We are you - pet owners whose animals are a part of the family and their loss is heartbreaking. We have pet urns that really capture the love and loyalty that you share with your pet, that honor that special relationship. We have hundreds of different styles of pet cremation jewelry that let owners hold onto something special such as ashes or some fur or part of their blanket in a private yet beautiful way. Our selection of pet photo jewelry is not only a wonderful way to give a close friend that has lost their pets a beautiful remembrance of them but it also allows for an individual owner to remember a pet’s expression, that indescribable part of their pet that made them unique. The pendants are not only helpful to adults but the images provide young adults and older children with a way to visually connect with their animal. We keep our prices affordable because we don’t feel that remembering a precious part of your life should cost an arm and a leg. And, most importantly, we get it. We truly with all our hearts get what it feels like to lose an animal you loved.
They say that dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. And whereas our pets take a part of our hearts with them when they leave, we are WHO WE ARE because of their love and loyalty and companionship. Perfect in their imperfections, our pets are a blessing in our lives.