Loss of Two; Gain of Two

silhouette of girl and dog

Back in mid August and about a month later, in September, we lost our two 13-year-old black mini schnauzers (Hutch and Rena–brother and sister), and it was a heart wrenching time for us.

Hutch and Rena October 20 2010

(Hutch & Rena, October 20, 2010)

But things work out (I believe God works in ways that are best for us) sometimes in ways that are for the best. We were moving in October to Colorado, and we think in the long run, another long, couple of days, road trip would have been very hard on both Hutch and Rena.

Rena had been struggling with dementia onset for several months before we had to put her down, and she couldn’t see much of anything or hear much of anything, either. She slept most of the day, only to get up to eat or go potty, for which we had to pick her up each time she woke, and set her outside in the backyard, then bring her back in when she was done.

Months before, the vet told us Hutch had the start of heart disease. We were given meds for him to take to flush out his heart’s valves. Seemed to work okay for around six months. Then, after his sister’s death, he seemed to be okay, handled it well. We think it’s because he was with her for several months up to the time she had to be put down. He had time to deal with her separating from us in a way, through her losing touch of her surroundings and sleeping a lot. I think he and our cat, Tipper, had said their goodbyes before we took her to the vet.

But then Hutch had a coughing/hacking attack on a Saturday, September 14. I told my son we’d take him into the vet on Monday if he got any worse. He got worse during the time I was at church the next morning. My son had stayed home. Turned out Hutch had something akin to a heart attack, and we rushed him to the emergency vet, and at that point, we had to put him down. It was devastating.

rainbow bridge 4

The one comfort in our loss was that both Hutch and Rena are buried in my mother-in-law’s large backyard with sloping hills, a frog pond, and woods bordering the property. It gave us much relief and assuaged some of our sorrow seeing they both could be there together, and my in-laws even put crosses at the head of their graves with Hutch and Rena’s names and date of death on them.

So, with the loss of our two dogs, we still had (and still have) our cat, Tipper (actually, she’s my oldest son’s, Nicholas’ cat). The move went relatively well with just the one animal.

But we knew we wanted to get a couple of kittens after our dogs passed. We’d planned that a few years ago. So, in November, we adopted two kittens five months apart, age-wise, and had to go through the difficult introductions with each one with Tipper. Now, the kittens are buddies.

Koukla and Aki December 5 2019

And the warming up between them and Tipper, especially the 8-month kitten, continues. We’re hoping Tipper will eventually be okay with them.

A few days after we adopted the kittens, I went out and bought Feliway, which is a plug in liquid that heats up and smells of a mother cat’s pheromones, that’s supposed to calm cats in new situations with other cats/animals or for anxiety and such. Unfortunately, the smell bothered my sinuses, but we managed to plug one into the hallway and more recently, in my son’s bedroom where Tipper usually sleeps.  I will probably go out and get some more in the next couple of days to put one downstairs (try again).

Anyway, after a heavy and sorrowful loss, our cat and kittens are filling our hearts with joy.




PS: I cried through selecting pics of the dogs and the rainbow bridge. You never know what will trigger your heart to tear open and for you to shudder tears over the loss of your beloved pets.




Remembering The Known and Unknown

all saints orthodox icon

When I logged onto Facebook a week or so ago, a memory from seven years ago shown at the top of my newsfeed. One having to do with my favorite Old Testament book–The Wisdom of Sirach.

The Wisdom of Sirach is part of the Orthodox Christian Old Testament Bible. It is as true and valid as the other Old Testament books other Christians of other traditions have. So, perhaps knowing that The Wisdom of Sirach is canonical for us Orthodox Christians, you may be able to better understand why we commemorate and remember the Saints of our Church.

It has been done since the early years of Abraham and Moses, etc. The tradition has carried on to this day in our Orthodox Churches.

Incidentally, I’m leading a women’s Bible and Orthodox book study during this Nativity Fast, in which we will begin to read and study this treasured book together.

The verses on remembering the saints before us from The Wisdom of Sirach are here:

44 Let us now praise honored men and our fathers.

2 The Lord established His great glory and majesty from the beginning through them.

3 There were those ruled in their kingdoms and were men renowned for their power, giving counsel through their understanding and proclaiming prophecies.

4 There were leaders of the people by their counsels and understanding of learning for the people. Wise in their words of instruction.

5 There were composers of music, and they set forth verse in writing.

6 Wealthy men with great resources, living in peace in their dwelling-places.

7 All these were honored in their generations and in their days were a source of boasting.

8 There were those who left behind a name that men might declare their praises.

9 There were also those whom no one remembers, who perished as if they never existed; and they died as if they had not been born. And so have their children after them.

10 Nevertheless, these were men of mercy, whose righteousness lives with God.

11 The good they did remains with their seed, and their inheritance with their children’s children.

12 Their seed stands with the covenants, and their children as well for their sake.

13 Their seed shall remain forever, and their glory will not be blotted out.

14 Their bodies were buried in peace, and their name lives to all generations.

15 Peoples will tell of their wisdom, and the assembly will proclaim their praise.