Silent Screams (and other odd sounds)

This is what I'm thinking RIGHT NOW. It may not be what I'm thinking tomorrow.

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Bad Things Only Happen to……


Bad things only happen in “bad” neighborhoods.  People who rob, kill and rape are only from poverty stricken areas.  Only inner city areas have brutal crimes.  If a child goes to a good school and participates in sports, they will never harm or be harmed.  The nice boy, girl or child next door could never harm anyone.  The time for delusional thoughts is over.  The war of all people, of all neighborhoods, of all schools has trespassed  into my back yard while I was dreaming of white picket fences.

Friday evening may find most of a community watching the high school football team as young athletes run down the field toward the goal posts and victory only to party hardy on Saturday night at the expense of a young girl who had been drugged, awakening the next morning with her brutal rape filling the airwaves of a social media.  Young lives, innocent and not innocent, will never be the same again.

A young boy enters a high school cafeteria donning a gun where students are resting from their morning studies and catching up with the usual high school social pleasantries.   Suddenly, a spray of bullets rip through the chatter; the distinctive sulfur smell filling the air as the students scurry for cover only to see their classmates fall to their death in front of their eyes.  Not one of those students will be the same again.

A young man engages in a relationship with a young woman.  The dating scene between the two of them starts off pleasant at first but eventually fizzles out.  The young woman begins to obsess about the young man; her mind perhaps changing slowly from affection to pure jealously ends up leaving him in a pool of his own blood.

Two pre-teen boys sneak up on a mother and her infant son demanding money while waving guns.  When the money was not forthcoming because the mother had none to give; the young boys threaten to kill the infant if no money is given over and they follow through on their threat, leaving a mother to mourn her dead child.

These stories are a few of the “news-worthy” items that sounded from my television just this morning.  None of these events occurred in “bad neighborhoods.”  None of these events occurred in poverty stricken neighborhoods.  None of these events happened in bad schools or inner city areas.  They all took place in your back yard.  They all took place by the child who lives next door. 




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A Heart Still Broken

It has been 3 months and 8 days since my baby girl Faith left me for another world and it has been 1 month and 8 days since my Red King Rory left me to be at her side.

On good days I see them playing together in an open field.  Faith is running with her hair flying around her and the Red King is at her heels protecting her from all sorts of harm.  After a little while, they stop under a big oak tree and Rory stretches out his long body while Faith curls up near his nose, her body almost as big as his head.  They momentarily look at each other and then close their eyes.  My eyes strain not to close just so I can envision them longer, but soon the vision fades and the realization that they have both entered a grander plane floods me.  I should be happy for them but I have to shamefully admit that my heart remains broken.  It seems I can not fully adjust.

Faith’s death was painful but understood.  She had been ill for quite some time and when her final end came, it was not unexpected.  I was able to mourn her loss but still understand that she was made whole after her death.  Rory’s death was untimely, unexpected and much more painful.  He was playing in the yard, collapsed and was gone within seconds.  I didn’t have a chance to hold him like I held Faith during her last few minutes of life with me.  I was not able to sing to him the song I sang to Faith as I rocked her in my arms when she took her last breath.  I was only able to hold Rory close to me after he died and kiss his nose as I so often kissed it when he slept; but this time I knew he would never wake.  I cried out to God, but he wanted Rory for himself or he knew what Rory’s destiny would be if he had not died that day.

After reading all I could about how to “get over” the death of a pet, I took some advice and two weeks after the death of Rory, I bought a puppy.  Wyatt, is the new addition to my house.  He is the same breed as Rory but I have to sadly admit that I do not feel for him what I felt for Rory.  Right now, when I look at Wyatt, I see a beautiful Doberman Pinscher puppy that is so eager to please and be playful; but there are times when I look at him, all I feel a deep feeling of  loss for the companionship that Rory gave to me. If the truth be told, today, I would trade this little eager puppy for one more day with my Red King.

I did what was suggested and bought a puppy; not to replace Rory but to help heal myself from the pain.  I should have waited.  I pray that someday I will be able to give Wyatt the love he so richly deserves.

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…



In a Heartbeat – Man’s Best Friend

When my oldest daughter finished her residency and was able to devote time to a pet, we started to search for the “perfect” pet for her.  Since she was going to live alone, she decided a dog that would afford some protection would be a good idea.  Since I had owned a Doberman Pinscher previously, I suggested that perhaps that type of dog would be a good one to consider.  I knew Doberman’s to be protective as well as loving.  They are often called “velcro” dogs because they tend to stick to the owner like glue.  My daughter said she’d consider one but wanted to see a few first.

We went to a reputable breeder who breeds Doberman’s not for profit but for the love of the breed.  On the premises were 6 adult Dobermans:  2 black, 2 red, 1 blue, and 1 fawn.  All of the dogs ran freely on her property so it wasn’t surprising that they all met us as we pulled in to the driveway.  They barked briefly to alert the owner of the property to our presence but then stood and looked at us warily.  It wasn’t until the owner came out of the house that we made the first move to get out of the car upon the owner’s assurance that the beasts before us would cause us no harm.

The breeder took us into the house where a massive black Doberman met us at the door, sniffed and then turned away.  In a large box in the corner of the room was a red Dobergirl guarding her Doberpuppies.  The breeder quickly let the Doberpuppies loose in the  house but kept the Dobermom in the corner.  As the breeder explained to my daughter exactly what Dobermans are like as a pet, one of the puppies came and sat near my feet.  He had the biggest paws I had ever seen on a Doberman and his legs were lanky and clumsy.  As the other Doberpuppies tried to gather at my feet to see what this visitor was all about, the Doberpuppy with the big paws kept every other puppy at bay.  He would not let any other puppy near me.  The breeder joked about him not letting me go home without him and I just laughed knowing that I didn’t need a big goofy Doberman to chase my two small Yorkies into a frenzy.

Since my daughter didn’t want a puppy for a few months, we looked at the Dobergirl who was due in about 5 months.  She had been breeded to the massive Doberman who met us at the door – so had the goofy, big pawed- red dog that wouldn’t let any other Doberpuppy near me.  We left that day with a lot of information.  My daughter left with the breeders phone number and the due date of the Dobergirl about to give birth.  I left with the goofy red dog who would later look like this:

My husband was not a happy camper when I brought Rory home.  He complained that he cost too much, he was too big for the Yorkies, and he would eat us out of house and home.  He was right, I was wrong.  Rory stayed and moved into our hearts.

As with most Dobermans, Rory quickly became the classic “velcro” dog.  He followed whoever was being the most active at the time.  He especially watched closely his blue ball, which became his constant appendage.  He never went anywhere without it.  He even slept with it.  A trait so endearing, that we couldn’t help but make sure he had two or three blue balls all the time, just in case one met with an untimely demise.

Soon, Rory took over my husband’s heart and the two developed a routine.  The routine was:  What Rory wants, Rory gets.  Rory waited patiently for my husband to get home from work, but the minute he walked into the house Rory would grab his blue ball and demand that my husband play with him.  Of course, my husband would call him a big red ass or say some other un-flattering name but Rory was persistent.  If he didn’t get the attention he wanted right then, he would thump my husband in the leg with his blue ball.  The exchange was a ritual and fun to watch.  Rory demanded attention.  He felt he had to the be center of our world because, after all, we were the center of his.

In a heartbeat, the attachment occurs:  the love between a dog and his master.  If the truth be told, I am unsure in a human/canine relationship who exactly the master is.  I’m pretty sure it is not the human.  Rory was the master of us all.  He played us like a finely tuned violin.  Rory pouted if he didn’t get his way, whined if you didn’t pay attention to him, caused mischief with the Yorkies at times and was the best friend a person could have.  He was more than canine, he was more than human, he was …Rory – The Red King.  Rory was a part of the family and lived in our every heartbeat.

After a long day, Rory felt it was his right to stretch out on the sofa and relax after a long tedious day of playing and protecting the homestead.  Of course, his blue ball was always close at hand.  At 120 lbs, Rory still thought he was a lap dog.  If able, he would cuddle up as close as possible as if to warm his body with ours.  An annoying, but endearing quality all at the same time.

Yesterday, while running and playing outside; something he loved to do, Rory left us in a heartbeat.  He was running and playing and then all of a sudden he looked up, collapsed and his spirit soared into the universe.  He left my world to enter another dimension.

Red Dog had a good life.  Red Dog had a happy life. Red Dog had a short 4 1/2 year life.  Red Dog will be remembered by me always.  I miss him more than words can say.

I love you Red Dog, Red King, Red Drooley…….  I love you Rory.

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Living Without Faith


This is Xander.

Xander is 10 years old. Xander has been Faith’s “brother” since we brought him home.  He and Faith were born a year apart.

Initially, Faith didn’t really care too much for Xander.  He was an intrusion into the household and to her lifestyle.  She was used to being the only “child” and now she had to share attention with this other canine.  Xander’s manly charms eventually won her over and they became best buddies.

Even though Xander was the man of the house, Faith was the boss.  Xander may have had the louder bark, but Faith was the dog that always set things in motion.  Xander wouldn’t think to bark unless Faith allowed him to do so.  It was Faith that did the commanding in the household; not only did she command Xander but the rest of us as well.  If Faith did not get her way she would refuse to “speak” or look at any of us.  Faith was the only animal I had ever encountered that could not be bribed by food.  No amount of her favorite food could coax her into becoming your friend again once she was ticked off.  If she were particularly mad, she would walk close enough to you to make you think you might be able to touch her only to dart away quickly leaving you looking rather foolish for even trying to pet her.

As Faith grew weaker over the years, Xander took up his pseudo role as boss dog.  The role seemed to be reversing and any stranger entering the house might have thought Xander was the dominant dog but if that same stranger stayed just a little while in our home they soon learned that Faith was still in command.  The smallest dog in the household was the largest life force.  Faith was the queen and all bowed down before her; even our Doberman when he finally became a part of the family.

The only time Xander didn’t listen to Faith was grooming day.  Faith didn’t really care for the groomers but Xander loved to get bathed, brushed and smelling good.  Xander thought he was so handsome on grooming day often strutting back and forth in front of the mirror to look at himself.  Faith, on the other hand, would rub her body against anything she could to get that nasty grooming smell of of her but before she could do that she had to escape Xander.    The groomer use to say she could put both dogs in one cage before grooming but she had to separate them afterwards because Xander would not leave Faith alone.  Once home from the groomers the torment was one.  Xander would chase Faith around the house just to ….  well, you know…and Faith wanted no part of that.  She’d eventually have to hide under a dresser where he was just a little too big to follow her.  The scene in my mind still makes me smile.

The bond between siblings is strong; even if those siblings are canine.  Xander now sits at one door or another waiting vigilantly for Faith to return.  He sits by the either door most of the day and night.  He sits, he doesn’t lay, and he cries.  He cries softly but he still cries.  Sometimes, I catch my father and Xander crying together.  Xander doesn’t know that his and my father’s beloved Faith is buried just beneath my father’s window, very close to the place she used slept under my father’s desk.

She is so close.  Her presence fills each and every room.  I can almost reach out and pet her….almost.



Faith is Dead

It was the year 2000; the dawning of a new century, when my mother died in May.  It wasn’t a good time for any of us as we watched our matriarch take her last breath and our patriarch fall into a deep depression at our mother’s death.  It seemed that only gloom and doom was on the horizon.  In the year following my mother’s death, my family and I moved in with my father and the push was on to bring a puppy into the family.

My father didn’t want any part of a dog so resistance was high; but the push and tug of my youngest daughter at her grandfather’s heart string brought a new puppy to home.  Faith was born in 2001 to a 2 1/2 pound father and a 5 pound mother; both blue-blooded Yorkshire Terriers.  It didn’t really matter to us that Faith was born of royalty.  She was our puppy and we loved her at first site.

As Faith began to grow, my father’s depression lessened.  Faith had picked my father to be her “owner.”  She was his constant companion often times punishing him if he was gone too long or didn’t say hello to her first.  She had a cocky attitude and he loved it.  In my humble opinion, Faith was the sole reason my father came out of his depression and started to enjoy life.  My father cherished Faith.  She was his girl.  In fact, he called her “big girl” more than he called her Faith even though she was so tiny.

When Faith was three years old, she was out on our deck sunning herself as she liked to do.  She jumped up suddenly into my father’s arms and started to rub her head against his chest.  My father, sensing something was wrong called for me immediately.  It wasn’t but a few minutes later that Faith was in complete anaphylatic shock.  I scooped her up in my arms and raced to the vet’s office making it there in less than 9 minutes.  The vet cleared the office and took care of her; essentially bringing her back to life.  Faith had escaped death.


Faith was a spitfire.  She didn’t like visitors and didn’t want anyone near my father.  Her little 5 pound body would attack anyone who entered his domain.  Slowly, the spitfire began to fizzle out and she started to lose weight.  She dropped down to 3 pounds but was still my father’s constant companion.  I took her to specialist after specialist and started her on all sorts of treatments but eventually I made the decision to stop those treatments that were painful to her and let her live a happy life.

She dropped to 2 1/2 pounds and then stabilized.  When I say stabilized I mean that she didn’t lose any more weight but she never gained any either.  If you picked her up to cuddle her every bone in her body could be felt.  She still followed my father everywhere.  Her head would always be craned upward to look at him so adoringly.  I often commented that the look she gave my father was one of complete love and devotion; a look only a hero is worthy to receive.

Faith ultimately took up residence under my father’s desk in his room.  She would bark at him when it was time to eat and she would bark at him when it was time to go to bed. My father would put Faith to bed and then wait until she was asleep to sneak back out of his room.  My father was completely devoted to his sweet companion.  In my father’s eyes, nothing was too good for Faith.  He fed her from his plate before he ate to make sure she got enough; dog food was way beneath her and my father catered to her every whim.

Recently, my family has been talking about taking a trip to see my father’s family in Puerto Rico.  I told my father I would not go without him.  He told me he would not leave Faith at a kennel because she is too fragile and he would just rather stay at home with her.  I agreed with him that Faith couldn’t go to a kennel because the vet had quit giving her her immunizations because of her weakened condition so kennels wouldn’t accept her so I told him that I could probably find someone to watch her.  He didn’t like the idea but when I told him my friend (who knows exactly how he feels about Faith) would watch her he said he’d entertain the idea.

Today, while my father was home alone with the dogs, Faith made, what my father said, was an odd sound and then quit moving.  He called my daughter and told her that he thought Faith was dead.  My daughter called me and I rushed home to see what was happening.  Faith had not died, but she was in the processes of doing so.  As I did after the bee sting, I scooped her up and rushed to the vet’s office; but this time my vet was closed and I had to hurry to another office.  They whisked Faith out of my arms only to return a few minutes later telling me she had “passed out.”  I saw how she was breathing.  I saw that she couldn’t lift her head or stand on her own feet.  She did not “pass out” she was actively dying.

They left Faith with me and I held her close.  My father left the exam room.  He couldn’t stay.  Faith and I were alone.   I sang to her.  I told her I loved her.  I thanked her for sharing her life with us and I thanked her for loving my father and bringing him out of his deep depression.  The vet, whom I had not seen before, came into the room and told me it was time for me to stop crying and do what was right.  He told me that it was time.  He said Faith was suffering and it wasn’t about me it was about the dog.

I wanted to punch him in the throat but he was right.  As much as I didn’t like his attitude, the situation was about Faith.  I understood that more than he did.  I told him I would not let her suffer.  I had promised Faith long ago that I would not let her suffer and I wasn’t about to go back on my promise to her now.  Her breathing was so labored and she couldn’t even hold her head up to look at me; I had to hold her head in my direction.

“Are you going to stay with her when we do this or are you going to leave?” the vet questioned.

“I’m not leaving her alone.”

He attempted several times to get the needle into her vein without success until he finally just delivered the deadly drug to her under her skin and told me it would take a little longer than the IV route.

I held her.  I sang to her.  I told her I loved her over and over again until she was gone.  My Faith is dead; but her memory will last a lifetime.  I love you Faith.