Goodbye for Now

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In a few short hours I will be saying my final goodbye to a dog who changed me at an intrinsically deep level.  A dog who became part of who I am.  His death didn’t feel like a loss, it felt like an amputation.  It was the first time in my life that I really didn’t think I could handle the pain and survive.

A lot of people say their dog was the “best dog in the world”.  Let’s get something straight….Ray was NOT the best dog in the world, (although he was definitely the best dog for me).  This little terror spent his first week home testing the boundaries and seeing what he could destroy.  In a very short amount of time he ate a door, the carpet, a mattress topper, the blinds and a chair.  One of the reasons he always came to work with me is because he would amuse himself, inappropriately, if left alone.  It wasn’t so much separation anxiety as it was boredom.  He always seemed to have the attitude of “hey, let’s see what happens when I do this”.

So many people have posted memories and photos of our boy.  The first few days I couldn’t even get on Facebook…..it just hurt too badly.  And today is another really tough day.  I just want to get through it, and honor the little brown dog who believed, with all his heart that he was, in the words written on his collar “kind of a big deal”.  Ray firmly believed that every person he saw wanted to meet him and love on him.  That is what living at Best Friends did for him…..helped him recover from the past and take joy in the company of humans.

There were so many people that Ray loved with all his heart.  Mostly the people he came to know and love from when he first came to DogTown:  Patti, Kathy, Tom, McKenzie, Michelle, Erin, Mileen, Eileen, Justyne….so many folks who became part of his world.  These people are grieving today too.  And I thank them for their care and love which helped pave the way for Ray to come home.

There is a story we tell here at the sanctuary when animals are laid to rest.  Angel’s Rest is covered in windchimes….and no matter how still the day is, during an animal’s placement at least one of the chimes will always ring.  The caretakers there say it is because the placement has freed an animal’s soul to cross the rainbow bridge.  Once they get there, where they once again feel young and strong, and where so many of their friends are waiting for them, they spin and jump and run…creating a wind that blows down to earth to ring the chimes.

I will be listening with my whole heart this afternoon…waiting to hear the chimes that tell me my boy is okay.

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24 thoughts on “Goodbye for Now

  1. I heard this last night and it seems so appropriate: “You just keep living until one day, you’re alive again.”* It brought me to tears as I thought about the time after I lost my heart dog — Arthur. For months, years actually, I was only putting one foot in front of the other — living — but far from alive. It comes…. but it will never be the same.

    (Call the Midwife)

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  2. He was 1 of a kind ..like Hector & Wallace and I am so glad you are going to let me honor him in a homemade 2016 calendar for you. Truly the honor is all mine.

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  3. Jacque,

    You were there with us when we laid our sweet girl Eran to rest (you knew her as Dehlila). On that very breezy day, the chimes all stopped for a moment, then picked up again. I like to think that was my brave girl taking flight for the first time.

    I didn’t know Ray, but I know that in your care he was loved beyond reason.

    Maybe today Eran will be watching from her perch in the trees there.

    Sean

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  4. I hope the sound of wind chimes helped you this afternoon. When a little brown dog with a wonderful goofy smile and a big heart can reach out and touch so many lives, he really is “kind of a big deal.”

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  5. Its going to take some time. I still cry over my Mastiff I lost last month. She to was a handful in her first few years with me. She lived in a world of intense fear due to NO HUMAN CONTACT from 1 month old till she was 1 1/2 yrs. But after having her 6 months she never left my side and she died at 9 1/2 yrs old a NORMAL DOG. My whole business is a direct relationship to Sheba. You are in my thoughts and prayers and one day yo will walk with RayRay again!

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  6. Such an awesome post about this awesome little brown dog. You and the rest of the Vicktory family opened our eyes to this awesome breed. I hope our rescue, Gus, will be even a small fraction of the ambassador that Ray was. Thank you for sharing Ray with us. Candi….and Gus

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  7. Jackie, my heart breaks for you. Although I have not yet felt the kind of pain you are feeling I’m afraid I will be before long. My soul dog is 14 years old and I know it will be the most painful day in my life when I loose her. Many people do not understand how this can feel like your heart has been torn apart. But I understand and only hope that the pain lessens as time passes.

    Barbara Patala

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings about your life with “kind of a big deal” Ray. He is one of those Vicktory Dogs whose lives changed mine, and I am so grateful. Thanks so much for being as wonderful a mom as you are.

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  9. I cry reading this. We lost our general to brain cancer I am still crushed by that so I know how hard this is for you and I hope every wind chime in the world rings out, I’m glad he is back with his family playing and running. I’m sure Hector and Wallace and all the other’s met him at the bridge so he wouldn’t be alone. I want to thank you for all you do to help this breed in order for them to find love and a furever family that to me is priceless

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  10. One of my very favorite parts of visiting the sanctuary is going to Angels Rest to visit my special dogs that have left this world. I have never experienced anything like it. I love to sit on the bench by the pine tree and just listen to the windchimes . it is the most peaceful heart calming experience. Ray Ray will now join my list to visit and thank for being such a special boy. The mention of his collar brought me to tears. I gave him one of those collars last year because he really is kinda a big deal. Wishing you peace and healing at this difficult time.

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  11. You are in my thoughts and I know that the chimes will be boisterous as they welcome your little terror. I can picture him barreling across the rainbow bridge because he is a big deal!

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  12. You will always hear the chimes!! He will be with you forever and I know that you will always remember him. I am so glad that he found love and was happy!! May God Bless You!!

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