Hearts Torn Asunder

10675804_762358487145857_1212574395730090606_n
Ray and his dad …so much love

It is with the deepest sorrow that I have to report that our beautiful, loving boy crossed the Rainbow Bridge last night somewhere around 11:00 p.m.  His doctor called, and I knew when I saw the number what had happened. Apparently Ray threw a blood clot, and it killed him very quickly.  My only consolation, since I was unable to say goodbye, was that he passed in the arms of a vet tech, baptized by her kisses and tears.  Ray was a very loved dog.

I never, ever felt as if Ray were just our dog.  From the very beginning he showed that he was more than just a pet.  It was as if he felt he had a mission to meet and touch as many people as he could.  When we would be having lunch on the deck he would watch intently for people coming out to take a seat.  He’d stand, his ears would fold back, and his tail would start tentatively wagging side to side.  His yearning expression pulled people in again and again.  I am eternally grateful for all the people who set down their plates to come over and give him a pat and a kind word.  Every time that happened it confirmed his belief that he was special and that people needed to meet and love on him.

When Ray met someone, even once, they became part of his family.  And the longer he had known them, the more excited he would get to see them.  He would spy a former caregiver or good friend, and his whole body would wag, his tongue would hang out, his ears would be flat against his head, and he would be sporting the biggest pittie grin ever seen.  I would leave him in a friend’s care while i went in to get my food, and that is the way he would greet me every time I came back……as if we’d been parted for eons.  It is an amazing feeling to be loved like that.  I never felt as if I was half as good a person as my dog thought I was.

But our quirky little boy could hold a grudge as well.  Two of the gentlest, kindest men I know had gotten on his bad side, years ago….and he never, ever forgave them.  Jake was walking him one evening right after the Vicktory Dogs got to the sanctuary, when he slipped and fell on the ice, scaring Ray.  Until the last day of his life, Ray would bark at Jake.  And amazing caregiver Paul took Ray to the Sanctuary dog park right after he got here.  Since he was new, and considered a flight risk, Paul had him on a long line.  Wanting to let Ray run and explore, Paul ran along behind him.  In Ray’s mind, Paul was chasing him.  The last time Ray saw Paul people had to move in front of Paul to block Ray’s view, because he just wouldn’t stop barking.

Whenever Ray would become frightened, which was usually because of a sound like thunder, or beeping, he would scale to the highest point he could reach. Once, when our smoke detectors went off, he burst through the door, into the garage, and scaled the built in shelving to the ceiling.  It took me 20 minutes to figure out how to get him down.

Ray was a champion killer of stuffies.  He would get his BarkBox toy each month, and have it “destuffed” before I could even leave the room.  He took such pleasure in pulling out every last piece of stuffing.  This morning his sister Turtle destuffed her first toy since she’s been with us.  I think Ray was reaching out to her, across the bridge, to teach her the true purpose of toys.

When we first started working with Ray, he was so reactive to other dogs that he would become agitated just seeing them.  His behavior was based on fear, and as he grew to love and trust us, the reactivity decreased dramatically.  Last week he lay on the deck of the Village Cafe, 6 feet from a goofy greyhound.  When the other dog first came in Ray looked at him, then looked at me.  I said “I see him buddy” and that was all he needed: To know I recognized the threat, and wouldn’t let anything bad happen.

When we traveled, I saw how the bond of trust we had allowed Ray to do things I never thought he could do: ride on public transport, pass through airport security, wait quietly in a loud and busy airport, tackle elevators, people movers and escalators, and sleep curled at my feet though the noisy take-off and landing of a plane.  He trusted I would keep him safe.  That was an awesome responsibility.  And one I think I met….at least until yesterday.

Today I am finding it hard to even breath.  In the past few years I have lost both of my parents, 3 dogs and a macaw.  And each death cut like a knife and brought waves of sorrow.  But nothing like I am feeling now.  No other pain has even come close.  I understand in my soul the Native American tradition of cutting one’s hair when a loved one passes…..that slashing gesture that screams to the world your sense of loss and sorrow.

Do I regret the decision to have Ray’s spleen removed?  Not at all.  His spleen was making him very ill.  I could tell he was tired and in pain.  This was the one shot we had to give him more time.  And I am thankful that he passed quickly, without fear or pain.  I would make the same decision in a heart beat.  What I do regret are the things I had no control over.  The fact that it stormed and thundered all yesterday afternoon….something that terrified him.  And I wasn’t there to hold him close, or wrap his Thundershirt around him.  That he passed away without me at his side.  That I was unable to say goodbye.  That I will have to go to work on Monday is a sad and quiet office.  Those are the only regrets I have.

I have been incredibly blessed to be able to share my life with this boy.  And although I am in pain today, I know that, in time, my memories of Ray will make me smile.  Ray brought me out of my shell, and brought countless people into my life.  People who share my grief, and who have been reaching out to Kevin and me, with words of sorrow and love.  And that is Ray’s final gift to us.

I need to call out the people who were there for Ray before I even met him, his caregivers, his friends, his champions.  Thank you for loving our boy.  Thank you for trusting me to love him too.  He was a gift and a lesson for all of us.

RIP my darling boy.  Wait for me at the bridge.  I know I will see you, ears back, tailing swinging madly, grinning that incredible smile, so happy to see me once again.  You are my heart.

Advertisements

107 thoughts on “Hearts Torn Asunder

  1. I know it’s hurting as if someone stuck a hot knife right in your chest and is twisting!! But I do know that all you have to do is close your eyes and relax and keep looking with your eyes closed there he is!! Ray is in the living room waiting for you to sit down on the couch take a little whiff, yip that’s Ray, come on boy get up on the couch by me, theirs that big beautiful grin, but you gotta slow your butt down buddy, there ya go give him a great big hug!!!! Feel him lick your cheek?? He knows how much you love him, now you can tell Ray how you feel and he will hear every single word you say!!!!! I close my eyes and talk to my babies too. And I feel them near me!!😊😊♥♥♥

    Like

  2. I am very sorry for your loss. Ray was a beautiful furry kid. You have a hard road ahead, but just like many of us have done in the past, hang on to the amazing memories and teaching from such an amazing dog.

    Like

  3. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. I have four rescues of my own and my youngest, age 10, has been fighting lymphoma for 16 months. I know I have just a few more months with her as she begins her third round of chemo and every day I find myself crying as I try to understand how I will go on without her. She’s my child and is with me always, even going to work with me. Please know there are people out there who truly understand how your heart is breaking. And are so grateful that there are people in the world like you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ❤ At the rising sun and at its going down; We remember them.
    At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter; We remember them.
    At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring; We remember them.
    At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer; We remember them.
    At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them.
    At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.
    As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as We remember them.

    When we are weary and in need of strength; We remember them.
    When we are lost and sick at heart; We remember them.
    When we have joy we crave to share; We remember them.
    For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as, We remember them.

    Adapted from "We Remember Them"
    by Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry for your loss. You gave this dog a wonderful life and he gave his love back to you. St.Francis and all the dogs will greet you at the rainbow bridge. I hope when you are ready that you will give another rescue dog a great life like you gave this dog. I recalled that many dogs I have lost to illness and remember their quirks and the great times they gave me. Thanks for giving this dog the live it deserved. Bark On. Rescue a senior dog. They are the best

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I woke up this morning (before reading this) thinking about all the dogs my husband and I have lost in the last 15 years. Don’t know why I was particularly missing each and every one today, but I was melancholy thinking of all of them. We live on many acres and have always had a lot of dogs. All have died after living spectacularly long lives (12-17 years), except for one we lost two years ago to a blood clot at the age of 8. For each one of our babies that have died, we’ve erected a small granite headstone to immortalize what they’ve meant to us. They were all part our hearts and the pain is incredible when we lose one. It’s like a fresh knife wound. I feel your pain and though I fiercely loved all my dogs there were 2-3 that burrowed into my heart just a little deeper and it was especially hard on me when they crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I know Ray was that special dog for you and I am thinking of you and feeling your sorrow. When it is our time to go and we look across that bridge and see our hearts waiting on the other side, I’ll know I have been blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so sorry for your loss. You gave a great home to a great dog. I am glad you had your time with him, and I am glad he got his time with you. He is your heart, you are his world. Sending you lots of love and peaceful wishes. ❤

    Thank you for everything you do everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on touch of home and commented:
    A testament to the forgiving nature of dogs and an outstanding symbol of pit bulls…Ray. Keep his light shining as dogs teach humans to forgive and be kind to animals. What we put out is what we get back. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am so sorry for your loss (and other losses). You have been blessed to have Ray in your life and touch so many other lives being an ambassador of pit bulls and forgiving nature of dogs! Keep his light shining in your heart and the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your life with him with us. Beautiful…just beautiful…good doggie..happy doggie…thankful for you in his life doggie.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. In so very sorry for your loss, the pain we feel when we lose our babies is al most unbearable at times. I’m so very glad that he had a great life after all he was put through. I’m posting that you can eventually find peace in his passing, and I believe that they Will be waiting for us at The Bridge, and what a beautiful day it will be! Run with the angels, Ray !!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am so very sorry that Ray crossed Rainbow Bridge. Ray knew you loved him, I am sure of that. You gave him the best life he could have. With tears running down my face and sadness in my heart – I know Ray is in a better place, but my heart keeps crying “No”.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am in tears as I read the passing of Ray. I can relate to your pain. Losing a our furbabies is never easy. I pray God will bring you Peace and Comfort. I am glad he passed quickly without pain. You gave Ray a wonderful life and Your Tribute to him was so Sweet. I am so sorry for your loss. He was loved by many and will be missed Dearly!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jacque, I’ve thought all weekend how best to convey my condolences. I’ve wept for you and truly feel your loss. Ray was a wonderful dog who endured so much to come out the other side as an ambassador. Truly if not for him and the others, I would not be where I am today; the mom of two rescued pit bull types, a volunteer, blogger, animal friend and advocate.
    On Saturday I filled my minivan with crates and transported 5 dogs from a underserved shetler to the shelter here upon whose board I serve. The irony was that the name of the little pit bull I transported was Mya and I felt the connection, and knew the transport was in honor of Ray.
    Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Oh Ray, you are the first person who seems to have felt the same way about your dog as I did with my Evi…the day she died amid oceans of tears I wrote a song for her….when we were recording my album, it took a year to be able to sing the song without breaking down every time…we are blessed to have felt this intense love…to this day at 56, there is still no greater pain of loss I have ever experienced…Iots of love and strength to you xxx
    if you would like to hear the song my email is below …hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Dear Jacque, I’ve followed Ray and the other vicktory dogs since all this began and I’ve cheered at their successes and wept at their troubles and when they died. I want to express my heartfelt sympathy for the loss of this wonderful being who graced your life.

    Some background – You were so good to me 4 years ago when I was trying to get my cockatoo Sydney into sanctuary. When I was successful in getting him accepted at TGF here in Colorado, you did your best to help me with providing overnight lodging for him when I drove him from San Diego to Denver. Ultimately my timing was off and he ended up staying with me in a cabin at BFS. My story has a happy ending because I bought a house and moved to CO to be near him and he has ended up bonding with a best friend umbie and the two of them are great education ambassadors for TGF and live at Julie Murad’s house on the grounds of the aviary in Elizabeth. I see Sydney quite frequently and he is not so obsessed with me now that he has his best bird friend Chicken and many other “boos” to pay attention to him. This pleases me immensely. The day I surrendered him the pain was worse than when my parents died or marriage fell apart. It was an amputation. He had been with me for 20 years, through illness and treatment and all the experiences that make up a life. My wake up call was my illness and my fear was I would not be able to expect my family to go to the lengths I would in ensuring a great future for him. TGF has been a wonderful solution and his life is richer than I ever imagined it could be! Whew, sorry to be long winded, but you were so kind to me at an incredibly difficult time and I just had to reach out to tell you how sorry I am that your boy is gone. The pain of grief is so awful and even though you know you won’t feel that way forever, it is utterly sickening and knocks the wind out of you. It never gets any easier no matter how many times you experience it. I’ve lost an old dog to heart failure and two cats to cancer in the last three years and each one was another blow. It just hurts so terribly….you guys will be in my thoughts add you travel this journey of grief and remembrance. Just know that someone you were very kind to once is going your memories are long and rich. Love/Valerie Miller

    Like

      1. hi victory mom and kevin, i just want say ive read about ray and other dogs from vicktory like hector wallace lucas georgia gracie and others, i just want say what i think you two did and continue to do for turtle, your birds your story of your first heart dog ENT, and ray is such a inspiration, i am so sorry for your loss of your beautiful boy ray, i cry everyday from loss of my cats that i have rescued, i just want say what you and your husband have done for animals, the training, and the love you have done for many others such as oscar, layla, and your birds in the sanctuary is awesome! im so sorry for the sudden loss of ray from his surgery, and what he and all the victory dogs endured physically and mentally is terrible. ray and all animals are beautiful and should all be treated like kings and queens. may i ask is ray at bestfriends as his final resting place among the windchimes? just want express my sorrow to your loss of ray ray and i know you will see all your animals one day just like ent and hope i get the opportunity to meet him and all the other wonderful animals and ray ray with his other victory friends and maybe he has met my johnny, clarence, and bogart… i just saw you adopted another dog so quickly bubba g, like you said you never can replace ray just like cant replace any animal since they are each unique, but you giving bubba a chance just like you gave turtle, ray ray and now new one… again i am sorry there will always be a hole in heart for each animal and they are with us until we meet at rainbow bridge, and its nice know even though i wish i can go get my kitties and other animals i have helped bring them back, but wouldnt want them be sick, but i helps knowing they are all running around, strong, and by our side until we see them when its our time… again im crying for you and your loss and what you done for ray ray is awesome and all the other animals you and your husband have helped.. hope to get updates sincerely, dr. mary elizabeth thorsby DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN PAGE TO KEEP IN TOUCH AND SUCH??

        Like

  17. I’m so sorry for your loss. Be comforted by the fact that you will be reunited with Ray someday. Honor Ray’s memory on this mortal coil by rescuing another dog in need and taking that dog into your heart and home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vicktorymom I grieve for Ray and share your great sorrow at not being there for him in his last hours. I lost my little pit bull Madalyn two weeks ago. I was lucky to be there when the vet put her to sleep.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. So terribly sorry for your loss 😞 I was crying my eyes out reading about your beautiful boy. .so sorry for the other losses you have also had ..i hope you can find some comfort in reading these responses…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Rest in peace sweet guy. May the next part of your journey be filled with love and light. Thanks for showing us all that it’s not where you come from that’s important, but where you are in the present.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I am so deeply sorry for your loss, this is such a heartfelt post and I thank you for sharing with all of us that loved Ray. My heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time, there are no words to make it easier but just know that there are so many people that share your pain with you so all I can do is send love and hugs your way. Run free Ray, you were loved by so many and a true advocate for the wonderful breed.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. My deepest sympathies to you over this most painful loss. I know well how it feels to lose a heart dog, you named it well. My Sunny was such a one. He always knew how I felt, tried by his gently company to make sure I knew it was okay. He was the one who kept things in order, the routine and his brothers, making sure the day rolled along as it was supposed to. I was blessed to rescue him from a shelter. He locked eyes on me the moment I walked in the door and never took them off me while I looked at all the young dogs, he was the only one I really saw. He died in my arms at 14 and is waiting across the Rainbow Bridge. He was a Pit/Rott mix, black with gold brindle where the Rotts usally are tan, with eyes so dark you could drown in them. He was the most intelligent, loving boy. I do understand and send you love and healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. thank you so much for sharing this: you described grief beautifully & breath-takingly. I too, have had losses like you described. They still cut like a knife. Ray was very lucky- their lives are always too brief. I pray that there is indeed a rainbow bridge & that all of our beloved companions will be there waiting. Thank you for saving such a worthy dog & loving him so well. I have a Pit Bull rescue in Las Vegas- I have never met a Viktory dog- I wish I’d met Ray.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I, too, am so sorry for your loss. We have four rescue pitbulls and though we never met Ray, we have a large photo of Ray, hung on our wall in a poster we have with several of the other Vicktory dogs. We will look at that poster and think about Ray, and know how lucky he was to have the love you gave both gave him .

    Liked by 1 person

  24. My deepest sympathy for the loss of Ray. The Victory dogs were so amazing especially after all they had experienced. I’m glad you and he touched one another’s lives for as long as you were able.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. What a wonderful tribite. So sorry for your loss, keep his memories alive & close to your heart. Just know he finally knew what it was to be loved, and that love & forever home came from you. So rewarding. BLESSED IS THE PERSON WHO HAS EARNED THE LOVE OF AN OLDER DOG ! I also lost my pit, who was my heart 8months ago due to a tumor on his spline that rupthered, so suddenly. And then in March I lost my little Brussels Griffon due to cancer. Believe me I feel your pain !!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I cried reading this… Every baby is precious and so is Ray… Sure he would be happily smiling and playing with his fur friends across the rainbow bridge. Rest In Peace Ray and we love U baby!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I am so sorry for your loss but also so very glad he had you to love him! You will be together again one day! May he R.I.P. Until then!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I never had the privilege of knowing this beautiful boy, but in my heart I loved Ray and thru your words was able to enjoy, hug and love this sweetheart. Ray will forever be in my heart and I wish you love and healing and thank you for all you did for him he was and will always be a treasure ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  29. The most beautiful words I have ever read. Thank you.He knew the best love in the world and it was yours. His spirit will be with you always. Hugs…

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Magic words to make it better evade me. I’m so sorry for your loss. Know many many people so loved this boy even though we never physically met him. Blessings and prayers for peace… xxx

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s