White Dog said, "It is like K's mom wrote, momma, some days it is the best we can do to breathe and put one foot in front of the other." After Thursday's trip to the duck park I felt the White Dog Army and I were triumphantly marching forward, joyful that Quinn and Nuka were together and ready for us to begin redefining life after two lingering illnesses and much pain.
I was not prepared for the emotions unleashed when we went to pick up Nuka's paw print. The Pet Service Provider at the mortuary, Larry, sent us away with his hope that he would not see us again for a long long time. (I pray God that it is NOT in another two months, I thought). The sedate little bag the casting came in weighed nothing when Steve handed it to me. That started the tears flowing as I thought, "My girl did not weigh much more than this at the end."
It was grey and rainy; the sky a troubled patchwork of sadness and threat. The White Ones, already ill at ease over the weather, wanted nothing to do with the paw print and Michael shared that he felt it was "gruesome."
The lovely lavender bush, given as a tribute to Another White Dog, was crying out to be planted. In the drizzle Steve took the drooping life and carried it out to the front yard and gave it a permanent home amid our landscape rocks where we can see it from the window and smell it each time we go to the van. Ultimately I am certain it will be a beautiful reminder of my girl, but today it reminded me of the smell of the soothing oil Steve had applied to her muzzle and ears just as she crossed the Bridge. Again, tears flowed.
No one wanted to sleep at bedtime, instead milling around and demanding one more hug or kiss before settling down...and then another. And then the water bowl was emptied and needed refilling. And the need to say goodnight again brought a new press of White Dogs against us. There were yipes and grunts in the night as dreams rattled my furbabies; more than once I sat and held and comforted one or another who awoke confused. It was all right I told them, I wasn't sleeping well either.
Some days we run joyfully and others we shuffle along because we must, I guess. As I tried to explain to Nuka at one point, it is totally possible for joy and pain to live paw-in-paw...as long as there is love.