The Dogs in Our Lives: Part II Cee-Cee
Losing and Gaining
It isn't really possible for a family or an individual to lose a dog to whom they had become endeared. Dogs are a lifetime gift to any human who experiences their love, loyalty, and commitment.
The difficult thing about dog "ownership" is that we outlive them, one by one. We adopt them, purchase them, "own" them, walk them, care for them, play with them -- for a shorter period of time than seems fair. Their lives end, while ours continue.
Our kids' lives continue as we grow old. But our canine companions pass on -- physically. Their spirits, however, live on, around us, within us, through us.
And we never really "own" them, do we?
Dogs are special that way. Their memories just stick with us no matter whatever else we do. Although even memories are difficult to bear and share in the beginning of their physical loss, as we remember them and yearn for them to once again curl up next to us, time does provide a healing and soothing sense of satisfaction that they once were there, romping along with us, curling up at nighttime, and stretching out a "Good morning" to us every day.
When I first lost Ebony, my great black Newfoundland, the emotional agony was unthinkable.
Then I read a book entitled The Dogs of Our Lives, lovingly compiled by Louise Goodyear Murray. With its enduring tales of dogs loved and lost, the book taught me to reconcile my loss and reach out again for that next adoptee.
Cee-Cee came to me as a four-year-old. A Border Terrier/Basenji mix, she had been a day away from euthanasia in the local pound when an organization called Animal House Rescue took her case and placed her in a foster home. (See the above notation published in our local newspaper, The Napoleon Northwest-Signal.) I e-mailed the foster parents, a caring husband-wife team who now have retired from fostering many animals, to learn about Cee-Cee and soon after formulated her adoption.
The picture above is the one I submitted to enter Cee-Cee in the Defiance Crescent-News' Pet Parade Contest 2012. The event is an annual vote-for-your-favorite-entry contest which the Crescent sponsors, with part of the proceeds going to area animal shelters to help homeless and potential adoptees to find a forever home.
There were some 40 dogs, cats, and a pygmy goat entered in the contest. All participants were entered through their "owners"' payment of an $18 entry fee. Voting consisted of a 50-cents-per-vote for one's favorite animal. So everyone contributed to the total funding raised. In the required 12-words or less description for one's entry, I said this: "Cee-Cee loves sniffing every scentful wind, visiting all humans, and lap naps".
The first three top vote-getters in the Pet Parade Contest 2012 were awarded prizes for pet supplies. Cee-Cee and I donated part of our winnings back to the Henry County pound, which initially handled her rescue. A portion of the contest's total proceeds went to help fund area shelters: Fort Defiance Humane Society, Friends of Felines' Rescue Center, and Labor of Love Dog Rescue.
The Pet Parade Contest 2012 was just the beginning of Cee-Cee's celebrity this year. In September, my friends and I went to the Henry County Fairgrounds to support a "Bark For A Park" fundraiser. The local communtiy is raising funds to purchase fencing for a dog park on land donated by the city at one of our public parks.
The day's fundraiser included events for attending dogs, such as Best Dressed, Best Shedder, Best Trick, Best Kisser, etc., which had been announced on flyers available throughout our community. I wasn't certain I wanted to have Cee-Cee along, as she had shown some minor heat stress through the hot summer we experienced.
However, when we arrived at the fairgrounds with my friends' Border Collie mix, we discovered there also would be a contest for Best CurlyTailed. "Who has a curlier tail than Cee-Cee?!" I claimed. We returned to my apartment to get Cee-Cee and bought plenty of water at the fairgrounds. (She enjoyed herself with no heat-related problems!)
Upon our re-entrance to the fairgrounds, my question was quickly answered -- a Pug, with the standard double-curled tail had appeared and was entered in the Best CurlyTailed affair. Undeterred, I entered my little champ anyway.
Monitored by an adult supervisor, the three teenaged girls judging the Best CurlyTailed looked over the entrants and soon pointed to the Pug and to Cee-Cee. A little debate ensued, then Cee-Cee was named the winner by the extra length of curl extending from her hairier, looser curly tail. She was declared a double curl and one half!
Our day was doubly successful when my friends' dog, Natasha, was awarded the Best Shedder.
Contest winners were given a grab bag filled with dog toys, I.D. tags in the shape of a bone, a copy of Dog Fancy magazine, various pet coupons, and doggy informational flyers.
The day was sponsored by the organization Benny's Retreat & Paws For a Cause named after Benny, a Beagle who survived cancer.
So once again this summer, Cee-Cee and I were privileged to contribute to a worthy cause for dogs and animals without homes, to shelters, and to improvements for the lives of animals. And we helped raise money for a dog park that will be just a few blocks away from us upon its completion. The park will enhance summer pleasure for the two of us, as well as many others in the community!
Shortly after I lost Ebony, I, a non-smoker, had the first of several attacks that late in 2009 was diagnosed as advanced COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). That news was a jolt less than a year after my retirement. More importantly, in the beginning, it seemed to dash whatever hopes I had of ever obtaining another pet.
But after being put on maintenance meds to boost my breathing ability, I rebounded well enough to search for my next forever best friend, and Cee-Cee was there. I found her picture in the paper as a potential adoptee only because that picture appeared on the one day of the week that I buy that newspaper. And she had been placed with Animal House Rescue just one day shy of euthansia. So, it has been, indeed, in my mind, a match of destiny.
Cee-Cee is the little motivating light of my life. I'm able to walk with her and enjoy some time outside, where we take great pleasure in peaceful "sits" by the Maumee River, which runs behind our apartment buidling. Lots of people in my building enjoy her, too, and I'm assured that I have again struck gold in the way of a canine companion with whom I am privileged to share my life, to care for, and who also takes care of me.
- Even Mars and Venus Had A Dog Companion
What companion is more loyal than the dog? They come in all sizes, shapes, and breeds, yet they are common in one art -- loving the human. Creative craftsmen encourage the honoring of the dog's loyal soul.