Sunday, July 12, 2015

From Firstborn Puppy To Dog Loss Grief

Momma Tidbit crawled upon the pillow above my head. One wee wakening yelp of warning and her first little one was born — birthed in my hair while I napped!

Ruthi and Scratch, Tidbit's Firstborn Puppy
Ruthi and Scratch, Tidbit's Firstborn Pup
I slowly scooted myself down to the foot of the water-bed and watched and waited. Momma licked her baby clean, fed her, then rolled her down the bed to me, and went back to the pillows to do it all over again.

I felt honored by being entrusted with the care of each pup while mom dog birthed the next arrival. Five puppies were born within an hour and a half. Oh, what a blessing to witness their birth and to watch Tidbit in the starring role of Mother Dog.

Puppy Paw Prints

Surely you jest!

Puppy Scratch, first Paw Prints in Snow
Puppy Scratch, First Paw Prints in Snow
Scratch’s first paw prints in the snow came very slowly. Being one month old, she had barely become used to treading on green stuff and now she had to deal with walking on wet and white fluff.

Scratch wanted nothing to do with walking around, nor with sniffing for a tinkle spot on the cold white ground. For a long time she just lay there in the snow, naught but a shivery fur-baby, and all the while whimpering her disapproval.

Mother Daughter Dog Chat

I can't get away with anything!

Tidbit and Scratch Mother Daughter Dog Chat
Tidbit and Scratch Mother Daughter Dog Chat
We’re just moving into a new place, so please excuse the mess. Anyway, Momma Tidbit immediately had a nice long chat with me about what space is mine and where I can and cannot go. I think she meant that “go” part literally, too, as this was a second-floor apartment and we had to be walked every time we had to “go” — no dog door here. And me being a puppy, well, I had to be walked up and down those stairs a lot, keeping my Mommas busy day and night.

Me and Momma Ruthi

We're ever so cute, don't you think?

Puppy Scratch and Ruthi
Puppy Scratch and Ruthi
Yes, we’re posing for animal crackers, ha-ha, but dog treats will do!

Seriously, this silly girl made me laugh every day — hence, my Silly Sunshine Scratch girl. What a pleasure it was to watch her grow up. Everything about her world seemed to excite her, taunting her into exploration. Having Scratch around was like having a toddler around — from terrible two’s into fabulous fours! I adored her every moment of growing from puppy to dog.

Puppy Finding Her Own Way

In my Momma's shadow.

Pup Scratch with Mom dog Tidbit walking nearby.
Pup Scratch with Mom dog Tidbit walking nearby.
Scratch is getting older now and loves to run and play in the sunshine. This was an empty field next door to the apartment complex we lived in for a year (before moving to the country). Every day Tidbit and I would get plenty of exercise.

Notice how Momma Tidbit still stays close by, feeling I’m not quite ready for being on my own, and she’s probably right. I’ve plenty of growing and learning yet to do as I seek my place in my wonder-filled world.

Another Mother

Lucky me, I have three!

Young dog Scratch and Aunt Helen
Young Dog Scratch with Helen
Helen came from Ohio to New Mexico to visit me! She stayed for about a week and this photo taken as she was leaving. When she said goodbye to me, I jumped into her car and they had to drag me out. I really wanted to go home with Helen. Momma Ruthi even seriously said to Helen, “Go ahead, take her. She loves you and I know she’d be happy with you. And you could use a friend now, too.”

This picture, this day, would haunt Helen later. Who could know what the future would hold for me and my Mommas? Helen feels she could have spared me the animal abuse that I would one day suffer at the hand (car) of Momma Ruthi’s EX. Ruthi assured Helen that things turned out the way the need would be — Tidbit and Scratch had each other and together they did survive! And Aunt Helen (and Uncle Bill) would be the ones to rescue the dogs, bringing them home to Ruthi who awaited their arrival at Helen’s house, where we all lived happily ever after; well, until we got a home of our own.

(For those who don't already know it, our tale of abuse to be told at another time.)

Puppy Scratch All Grown Up

I grew into a beauty of a dog!

My dog Scratch grew up from a little fur-baby puppy into one of the most beautiful dogs I have ever had the pleasure to have walk by my side. She was beauty on the outside and had the most beautiful of spirits on the inside. She was my Scratchy Sunshine Girl!

Not a day went by without Scratch spreading a bit o' love and laughter my way. Just thinking of her still adds a bit o' sunshine to my every day.

Scratch, all grown up from a pup into a beauty of a dog.
Scratch, all grown up from a pup into a beauty of a dog.
Scratch loved the camera and was always happy to pose with her eyes staring right at the photographer. My photographic skills fail to capture the full beauty of this dog but I'm sure you get the picture.

Grieving the Loss of Scratchy Sunshine Dog

One of the most difficult days of our lives...

My Dog Scratch in a bit o' Sunshine
My Dog Scratch in a bit o' Sunshine
Back in July of 2010, my canine companion, Scratch, fell deathly ill. I posted a brief comment of my distress in an online writing forum of such and within moments received an email and a telephone call from Brenda offering assistance. You see, Brenda knew I was then unemployed and could probably not afford vet care for my girl. No questions asked, Brenda’s immediate words were basically, “Get Scratch to the vet. I’ll pay for it. I have money put back for the publication of my next book, but it can wait. You can pay me back in payments.”

I will never forget the kindness I heard in Brenda’s words. Yes, I cried. And yes, I cried the following day when I had to say goodbye to my Scratchy Sunshine.

As we headed to the vet, a thunderous storm hung overhead and a downpour of rain represented the tears I would cry on this day...

Scratch — Ruthi’s Sunshine Girl

©Ruth Cox

Sky announced itself with a thunderous roar,

My swamped eyes letting loose in a lordless downpour.

Nothing I could say, not a thing I could pray,

Could undo the deed I’d have to do on this day.

The earth beneath my feet slow moved with disdain;

Found no consolation, no allay to the rain.

Lifeblood o’ my spirit pumped low and doused deep,

As I begged her pain staid, to submerge unto sleep.

When my precious baby girl locked eyes with mine

I felt my forever lose a bit o’ sunshine.

In a moment o’ time years flashed in my mind

And I wondered just how life could be so unkind.

Then the showers that be, they reminded me,

In the love that now passed into eternity:

The power o’ the storm is wrapped in a shroud,

Unleashed in a sunray peekin’ out o’ the clouds.


Untimely Demise Sympathy Card

Poetic Creation 12th of July, 2015

I am missing you today, my Scratchy Sunshine. It is a doubly reminiscing date of love and loss for me since you died on the date of my Mom’s birthday. But as I reminisce the memories of the both of you today, I created this haiku greeting card of the essence of my love in tribute to the both of you.

If still alive, Mom would have turned 80 today and you have been gone 5 years now. But of course, your dog sister NewBe and your Momma dog Tidbit have also passed on to be with you now and I am thankful you are not alone with your loved ones there with you now.

The hands of time, they do fly by…


Disclosure: Ruth Cox is a Zazzle Associate and may earn income based on purchases made through links in this article.

Have you lost a pet pal?

For me, it is just like losing a member of my family.