Merriott column: We will meet again at the Rainbow Bridge
It was the day after Christmas, and a day Carly and I had been dreading for over two years was here — still way too soon.
You know its inevitable, right when you give your heart to a dog. They just don’t live long enough to give all the unconditional love they carry for you, their human family.
Our 13-year-old one-eyed golden, Miley Noel, who could barely walk more than 10 steps from the pain of the arthritis, had ceased eating on Christmas day. The night before, when Shiloh got home for Christmas, they had laid on the floor and loved on each other for what would be the last time. Miley knew it was time and now she was ready. How many times have we witnessed that over the years?
Miley had shepherded Shiloh from teenager through Roaring Fork High School, Louisiana Tech and now to her chosen vocation. The natural vet was coming at 1 o’clock. Miley Noel had blessed our lives with her sweet spirit since Christmas day in 2006 when she was a Christmas present to Shiloh.
Named Miley (Cyrus) and Noel (Christmas) she had lived the longest of any of our dogs. She rode with me to work every day, proudly sitting shotgun until her legs wouldn’t allow and then she rode on the floor in the back. She absolutely loved for me to talk to her, cocking her head from side to side as if fully comprehending everything I said.
She loved for you to say “cat” as it was an all-hands-on-deck reaction not to give chase, but she found them strange and particularly intriguing creatures. We took her on her last wagon ride around the pond before noon, looking at the ducks one last time, then Carly and I took turns lying beside her in the den listening to her labored breathing and rubbing her incredibly furry head.
I write this to all who have experienced the loss of a dog who has looked into your eyes saying nothing but, “I love you so much.”
I don’t know about you, but each dog I have lost has taken a little bit bigger piece of my heart. I attribute this to the fact I have grown as a person, able to give more, knowing that the pain one day will almost be unbearable. This also has brought new vistas of compassion for other animals as well. I simply cannot stand to see or hear of any creature suffer.
The ecological disaster in Australia is breaking my heart knowing that all those critters are literally burning to death in unbearable pain, basically because of mankind’s greed and ignorance.
As Miley’s health failed, we adjusted our lives around hers just like most of you would. We moved our bedroom downstairs 3 years ago so she would not have to negotiate the stairs. We got her a wagon from Lowes and pulled her on “wagon walks” for 2 years. It was her favorite thing… well that and her monthly visits to the natural vet where she was queen for a day and got massage and acupuncture.
She was absolutely the happiest of our goldens and was so glad to see people, but it did not stop there. She would sit at the door or window for hours watching birds and squirrels. When she awoke in the morning, she would first announce she was awake by thumping her tail on the floor until someone acknowledged her. Then she would roll off her bed with all four legs sticking straight up and literally wiggle across the floor to get her belly rubbed.
She was an inspiration to me when my fused back or bum shoulder hurt, I would think to myself “if Miley can do this without complaining so should I.”
When the natural vet came though, there was no turning back. Her favorite treat in the world, a hedgehog whimzee, lay beside her barely cracked. We talked to her until there was no heartbeat and Cindy said “she’s gone.” Sobbing, I said, “oh my sweet Miley where are you girl?” And the still small voice said I am already at the Rainbow Bridge with Daisy Mae, I have met Cheyenne and we will be here waiting.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. — 1 Corinthians 2:9
Be kind to someone or something today.
Frosty Merriott is a CPA in Carbondale and former Carbondale Town Council member. He is a registered independent and considers himself a fiscal conservative but an original tree hugger from Louisiana. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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