Monday, October 17, 2011

Empty

Our house is too quiet, too still.  Our family is too small.  With just the three of us, it's too lonely.

Even though I know how much he loved her, it amazes me and touches me and hurts me to see Brad grieve so hard for Raina.  It hasn't even been 3 days but it feels like 3 seconds and 3 lifetimes all at once.

Where is the clicking of the paws on the hardwood?  Where is my shadow who follows me out to the garage when I do the laundry?  Where is the little black blur who rushes to the kitchen every time I drop a crumb of food?

We miss her is such an understatement.  There is an empty hole in our hearts, our home, our lives where she once was.  She's been with me/us since before Brad and I were married.  She's moved with us 3 times,  she's seen us fight, she's seen our happy times, all of our milestones.  She was waiting to greet Katie the day she came home from the hospital.  She was part of our engagement pictures.  In every family photo, in every Christmas card.  She was a huge part of our every day.

I know a lot of people would think we are ridiculous for mourning the loss of a dog so bitterly.  To be so heartbroken at the loss of an animal.  But can you really call a creature "just" an animal when she's THAT much a part of your family, your life, your history?

We love you so much Raina.  We hope you know what a wonderful, sweet dog you were and how much better you made our lives.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

The day the clatter died

Just a few short hours ago we lost a big piece of our family. In fact, she was a huge piece of our family and yet she was the smallest member.

Tonight, Raina got out of our yard while she was outside going potty. It was dark and we didn't realize she was gone for a few minutes. Once we realized, I handed Katie over to some friends that were visiting and Brad and I grabbed flashlights and treats and went out looking for her.

She loved to bolt. No matter how careful we were or how close an eye we'd keep on her, she'd manage a way. We'd been through this routine before SEVERAL times. Yet, she seemed to always find a way out of the house/yard/garage/etc. I was no less terrified when it happened but she was always found, she always came back.

But not this time.

We have a field on the other side of our back fence that is behind a church that sits on a very busy road. After we had been looking for Raina for a few minutes I saw Brad running toward me across the church parking lot. I was screaming, "Did you find her? Raina? Where is she?"

He wouldn't answer me. I kept screaming, assuming that he couldn't' hear me. I just wanted answers. Why was he running? He didn't say anything he just kept running toward me. When he finally got to me he said she was gone, she'd been hit by a car and was gone. I dropped the lantern and treats and went running toward her, not believing. From that point, it's a blur that I'd rather not recount.
I got Raina in December of 2003. She was my first dog that was all my own. I had pets at home growing up but after I went away to school I always felt like, no matter where I lived, it wasn't a home because I didn't have a dog. Once she came into our lives, she was part of our family and "home" was where Brad and Raina and I were.

I can't explain to you what it felt like saying goodbye. It doesn't seem real. We had just gotten back from dinner. It was late, 9 or 10 o'clock when it happened. We brought her body back home and got her settled so that we could take her to the vet in the morning. By the time we said goodbye to our friends, put Katie to bed, cleaned ourselves up and composed ourselves, it was midnight. I lay in the bed, not able to sleep.

I missed the snoring from Raina's crate. I missed her scratching her bed into a comfortable position. The room was too quiet. I tried to think of something else but nothing came. Just thoughts of Raina. All of them revolved around her. I thought of food and I wondered who would beg for scraps. I thought of Halloween and remembered her costume that she would never were. I thought of work and realized that since Katie is in daycare when I work the weekdays, I would have to come home to an empty house after work. So I'm blogging. I have so many thoughts and memories and what-ifs swirling around my head but I just needed to get some of them out. I looked on the computer and these are some of the last pics we took of Raina. Lazing about the house in her favorite spot, keeping guard and napping (above). And one of Raina's recent (and patient) attempts to befriend Katie.

I think this will do for tonight. I'm paralyzed. Numb. And yet, at the same time, in too much pain for words. I hope it's a bad dream. What will we do tomorrow without Raina? Who will bug us during our meals for scraps of food? Who will wake us up with impatient scratching on her crate in the morning? Who will greet us with crazed excitement at the door when we come home? Mostly the house is just too quiet. Who's little claws will clatter and making click-clack noises on the wood floors while Katie is sleeping and the rest of the house is quiet? Where will the lazy clattering of her claws be as she meanders through the house decided which bed she will lounge in? I'll miss the clattering. The silence is a deafening reminder of what our home and our family has lost.