Wednesday, March 23, 2011


“Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.” (William Shakespeare)

They say a Dog is a Dog is a Dog; I'm not sure I agree. Our Nate was one Dog who left his mark, both figuratively and literally, wherever he went. He left us, and this life, yesterday morning, on his own, final journey.

I walk a ways with him, as he goes...just a short way, only until I know he is on his true path...

And I envision the following:

Nate passes over the Bridge, into the welcoming arms of Katrina and her Dog, Gussy and Heidi's Dog, Roscoe. I see Nate waver, at the entrance to the Bridge, his nose in the Air. He looks back...but the extraordinary essences and Katrina's light, happy voice propel him forward, hesitantly at first...Where is the pain? he thinks in wonderment...and then...he starts a slow lope.

The Bridge is long, rising in the middle. There is a small, burbling River, sparkling and winking, in the warm Sunlight, rushing along beneath it. 

Many hesitate when they reach the top of the rise on the Bridge. Thoughts of the life just completed race through the mind, sadness and loneliness can take hold. And there is no going back, once the rise is reached.

But Katrina, her menagerie behind her, kneels down, her arms wide, her hands out, fingers fluttering, saying...Come on, Natey, it's all okay, Buddy...

Nate hears his nickname, and as his face breaks into his trademark wide grin,  the last of his wariness disappears. He runs...his own speeding-bullet racing run...over the top of the Bridge, bowling Katrina over in his enthusiasm and joy. He greets Gussie, re-membering him from Before...

Roscoe marches over; his strong personality matches Nate's and the two greet each other, dancing around and around, marking their spots. Time much time! accept each other more fully.

Katrina leads the welcoming committee to The Field, where other beloved Pets discover their bodies, their limbs, after a long period of painful constriction. Nate races, circling the Field, his sleek, black body a thing of beauty and grace...

A fanciful vision, you might say. But it comforts me.

I met Nate at the same time I met Graham. He was very young at the time, only a year old. I had two dogs then; Gussy and Lucky. Gussy, a very large Lab/Newfoundland cross, was twelve years old and Lucky only a few months.

Gussy, as old and sick as he was, wasted no time in putting Nate in his place when he visited. It was his right, he felt, to keep these two pups on the straight and narrow.

But Gussy had very little time left on this Earth, as it developed. Lucky transferred his allegiance onto Nate...after the death of Gussy, Nate took on what he considered his role...the protection of Lucky.

Throughout his life, Nate never forgot his role, to the detriment of any other Dog who attempted to make friends with Lucky. Especially little white Dogs.

A neighbour had a friend who owned a small, white Dog. This Dog frightened Lucky constantly, when he was still a Puppy. And small, white Dogs, in Lucky's brain, became a huge threat. 

It is comical that Lucky is so fearful of these very small animals; but Nate, in his protective mode, was not funny. Through the whole duration of his life we were not able to change his mindset.

Both Dogs are big, with Lucky even bigger than Nate. Fortunately, we soon clicked onto Nate's decision to take out all small white Dogs and made sure he was never in the same vicinity. We averted what could have been a disaster.

In my mind Nate's sleek, black coat with white touches at his toes and chest, made him look as if he continually wore a tuxedo. 

And he was a gentleman...he would pause before entering, looking up, meeting my eyes, to be invited indoors. He would give his special look, over his shoulder, to say thank you when he was given food or water.

Oh, but the two of them were terrors when they were young! There was no stopping them! To one who was accustomed to only one very aged Dog, admittedly large, but arthritic-ally slow...I remained in shock at the amount of hair, dirt and dust Lucky and Nate brought into the house.

And, as they grew older, so did my relationship with Graham and Scott. We all grew into our respective roles, just as Lucky and Nate did.

Lucky had his Girl, in my granddaughter Brianna, and Nate had his Boy, in my stepson Scott. They each respected the others right to be in their own Person's presence.

Lucky is neurotic; Brianna did a tremendous job in training him. To this day, if Brianna's name is mentioned, Lucky automatically sits.

Even though Brianna was busy with Lucky when she stayed with us, Nate had a special spot in her heart. He would allow her to cuddle and relax with him, whereas Lucky squirmed, alert all the while.

Brianna has always maintained that Nate gave the very best kisses. He had a way of gently extending his tongue and, in the slightest, softest way possible, would touch the recipient's cheek...

So many lovely memories pass through my mind...Nate sneaking into Scott's room and onto the bed, as soon as the lights were off and Lucky was safely ensconced in his own bed. Nate, deciding it was his right, as a Puppy, to chase the Cows in the next field, bringing the police to our home with a warning. Nate, throwing his muddy,slobbery ball onto someone's dressy, white lap, and then chasing his favourite toy, long and hard, over and over...

Nate was bigger than Lucky when they met, but it was not long before Lucky became much taller than Nate. His legs were long...he looked, and still does, like a Deer when he ran.

Nate, when young, looked like a black, shiny torpedo, as he raced around a Field or the Garden. He would use his whole weight, as he body-checked Lucky, who weighed far less than Nate. And so, Lucky knew, early in his life, that he would have to be faster than Nate.

It was truly a thing of beauty to watch these two young and very healthy Dogs do their racing dance, faster and faster, circling the backyard.

As Nate grew older and more arthritic, he would incite Lucky, with very, short mincing steps, into racing...up and down the deck and around the property on the other side...and then he would look at me, with a wide grin, as if to say...see, I can still get him going...

We missed him dreadfully this morning, as Lucky and I went for our usual walk. Nate was our big, black, grounding felt as if his energy kept us safe. 

We stared at each other, Lucky and I, neither having the heart to walk anywhere, when Lucky's ears perked, suddenly. He looked up, and around, stood up, wagging his tail.

We both felt Nate's strong energy. My eyes followed Lucky's and I knew Nate was racing through all the places on our property he had not had the ability to access when he was alive.

I could...almost...see him.

We will find our way, Lucky and Graham and I, just as Nate has found his. There will be a force missing, as we go through the rhythm of our daily lives.

Nate has left us with good memories, strong recollections. I will miss running my hands over his sleek body, I will miss his body leaning against mine, as he begged for Reiki. I will miss his soft, gentle kisses, given in thanks.

I will miss him.

Sleep tight and good night, our  dear sweet Natey...

Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives." (John Galsworthy)


  1. This made me weep and smile and nod in recognition and agreement. Such love is not limited and even sorrow and missing can't dim it. I "saw" all my own departed dogs in your description of your beloved Nate and feel better now for having revisited the love I felt for them all.

  2. "To this day, if Brianna's name is mentioned, Lucky automatically sits."
    -This is hilarious! I imagine Lucky, upon hearing her name, thinking with pride "My queen" as he sits out of deference to just the thought of her. Too sweet.
    -It sounds like Nate really was there with you this morning -- how cool is that!
    You've made a fine, loving tribute to your doggy friend. We can feel your loss. Wouldn't you be pleasantly surprised if he kept on accompanying you on your walks? Perhaps you will be one of those people so blessed as to know that a loved one is still present. I envy you.

  3. Marion, I am deeply sorry. Tears come easily to me at such a time.

  4. oh marion, i am so sorry. sometimes on the blogs i say something has made me cry and i am exaggerating but after reading this tribute of such love, i welcome my tears. you know i know how you feel. when stella walks onto the bridge i'm comforted to know she will be greeted and loved like this, that she will run free in ways she was never able to in all her time with us.

    and i will hope and expect that your nate will be there to greet her, to let her know we are all family

    my heart breaks for you, friend.

    love always

  5. What a beautiful post and what wonderful life memories you have of Nate.

    The thing that always strikes me about all the wonderful dogs I have had is how each of them was such an individual and how much they add to our lives.

    I'm smiling with tears in my eyes.

  6. What a beautiful, loving tribute to your friend. He sure was a handsome fellow, and I can see the love and respect in his deep eyes.
    I'm so sad for your loss, and as I mentioned before, I'm sad for Lucky too. He'll grieve in his own way.
    Please give my sincere condolences to Graham. What a beautiful vision of running to Katrina! When he turned to look back is when my tears began to flow.

    So beautiful Marion. May you find great comfort in all your fond memories of him.

    Much love and light~

    xo Lo♥

  7. I cried and cried and cried - and that was just looking at the first photo of Nate...without even reading a word...after I read your gorgeous post....I was sobbing.. but in a good way. I have experienced the pain of losing a beloved Furry-Family member..... a few times was (for me) as traumatic as losing my Mum and Dad...

    What you have shown in photographs and written in words is least I believe it!

    Nate was (and still is) beautiful - intelligent - and loved! He knew it - and still does. The power of love - be it for a human or animal transcends all.... I will go to my grave believing this.

    Nate had a spectacular life! As do all your pets, children, DH and friends! We ALL feel the warmth of your love...and it is like a warm, Spring day. (Something you and I have yet t experience in 2011.) Nate....thank you for sharing.....(and yes, I am still crying....)

    I will add him to my prayers tonight!

    Love, always,

    ♥ Robin ♥

  8. A great dog and a good life shared with you. You and he couldn't have asked for more. I know you will have warm memories forever. - Margy

  9. Marion, I am so sorry for your loss. A dog is never just a dog! Always a dear and wonderful friend and family member. My sweet dog Zeus is not long for this world and I can feel the loss of losing him even now, before the fact.My cat Spike is also sick and won't be here much longer. I know how hard it is to say goodbye. Sending you many hugs through the miles and lots of love. You gave a wonderful tribute to Nate. Hugs too to Lucky who I am sure misses him much. I am glad that Nate came by and made a visit to you. xoxo

  10. i am happy and sad at the same time reading this. you write so beautifully of nate and your loved ones. yes, thank you nate for your presence and sending lots of love your way. and lots of hugs to you marion. sending good thoughts and love your way.

  11. After losing my own dear Kadi this week, I was stunned to learn that you are in the same situation at the same time. It's amazing to me that a loss that feels so singular is in fact a common one, something that happens to so many of us on any given day. I am SO sorry for your loss of Nate, but please know that your vivid description of his journey is comforting to me, and I will remember it when I think of Kadi.

  12. I'm crying reading this, it's such a lovely piece about him and his life, and about him going to meet Katrina, who I'm sure he's with right now. Keep your chin up sweetheart and big hugs and love Michelle xxxx

  13. Pauline,

    As I wrote this, I felt the energy of all the pets I've had that have gone before Nate. It felt so still and peaceful..

    Kate of the North,

    You've changed your name...I miss Katie May or May Not, although I like your new name as well.

    During the time Nate was sick, Lucky would go into one of our spare bedrooms. I had no idea why he would do this, since he's never been interested in that room before. It was not until I caught him sniffing Brianna's blanket and pillow that I realized he was searching for Brianna. Her scent is gives him comfort.


    Many of us are facing tough times right now. My tears come easily as well. Take care of yourself and Peggy, Snow...xoxo

  14. kj,

    Thank you, sweetie...I think we are all going to have to dig deep for strength and faith. So many of my doggy friends are reaching senior status and so many show the same signs Nate did.

    Lucky has been very quiet. He's going to the vet on Friday, to have his ears fixed. I hope we get to see the happy dog Lucky was once again. But I fear he's failing as well. xoxo


    I agree..each and every dog I've lived with has contributed so much to my life. Dogs are so faithful, listen so well, and never judge. I am so thankful dogs are in my life, even with all the hair and dirt!!!! xoxo

    Studio Lolo,

    Thank you so much for the e-card, came at just the right time. I know Lucky is grieving, but his depression frightens me. I know time will help...

    All the photos are of Nate and Lucky when they were young. The love they had for each other was outstanding. I've had dogs in pairs before, but none had the connection these two did. xoxo

  15. Robin,

    Crying is releases so much crap that is lodged deep in all those corners of the mind. Years ago, I was told if I released all those held-in tears, my eyes would feel refreshed rather than puffy and sore. It's true.

    Thank you so much for your loving comment, Robin. You don't know how much I appreciate are such an inspiration to all of us! xoxo

    Powell River Books,

    Those memories will help, for sure, in time. There is one thing I know...time does help with grief.

    I'll bet you're enjoying your new boat...what a beauty! xoxo

    Annie Coe,

    It seems many of us now have animals who are entering old age. It is a big part of being a pet owner...the knowledge that there will come a time when they will have to go on without us. But I will move on, as well, in time. And I fully expect to see each and every pet or human who has touched my life in some way, when I do. xoxo

  16. Alison,

    Dear Alison, thank you so much for your thoughts. I know you understand.

    I'm so happy New Zealand is all you expected it to be. So glad you're back and safe...and also comfortable in your own bed!! I can't wait to see the have a gorgeous one up today!!! xoxo

  17. They do capture us.
    I am not sure which way the the empathy flows --to or from our animals?
    I know they care, and we know we care so maybe mutual agreement is that on which we must mutually agree.
    Greeting the spring, I remain hopeful.

  18. Dear Marion, Nate was a richly handsome fellow. There is a special sort of loving bond between us and the Dogs of our hearts. Or Cats, for me. I feel your pain and your joy. You sent him on his way with a lovely reflection. You did him proud, my friend.

  19. So sad to hear of your precious pet passing, Marion. But your imagining of Nate’s transformation and being greeted in some wondrous new place by old friends feels real the way you write about it … and hopeful. Having lost more than one pet, I think I understand the experience. Sometimes I still feel my dog near me and imagine myself holding him close. The love of a pet is somehow healing and free of guile.

    I can clearly see Nate’s tuxedo, by the way. :)

  20. I am so sorry for your loss. Several of my pack members greeted Nate, pain-free and playful. Beautifully written.

  21. Dear Marion~

    I came back to give you another hug, and also to send the link to a dear friend who had to say goodbye to her dog yesterday. I love how you descibed nate as he crossed the bridge. I think it will help my friend.

    (((♥))) Lolo

  22. Goatman,

    I remember you lost your dog last year. And yes, they do capture (a great word) hearts and stay in them forever.

    I hope this winter hasn't been too hard on you, Lyle. I hope you are keeping your spirits up...Spring can't be far away. I picture myself out in the garden, planting and weeding, as I go to sleep at night. I'm holding on to that vision, even as it's blowing Snow outside, heh, heh!!

    It's breaking up, all that Ice, little by little! xoxo

    Enchanted Oak,

    Thank you, you take really good care of that hand!It's fantastic news that you're already using it...xoxo

    aka Penelope,

    I believe anyone that has lost a pet feels him close for a period of time after a death. I'm convinced I can sometimes still hear Nate's claws clicking on the wood floor, and I fully expect him to come around a corner, his face wreathed in a grin as he greets us.

    However long he wants to stay, he's welcome!

    "The love of a pet is somehow healing and free of guile."...I completely agree. xoxo

  23. Rottrover,

    Thank you for visiting! There is something so alike in Nate and the photos of your dogs on your blogs. I'm not sure exactly what it is, since I don't think Nate had rottweiler in him. Throughout his life, though, he reminded me of that breed, with whom I've had some experience.

    I think it's the deep brown eyes..

    Studio lolo,

    Lo, thank you!You are such a super friend!! Have a great, inspiring weekend! xo

  24. Marion just read your tribute to Nate and as much as it tugs at my heart his love of life and your wonderful memories override the sadness of his leaving for a better place free of pain.
    Blessings and smiles

  25. It's always very sad to loose a tresured pet, and you do really miss them. But I always look on the loss and think that they have had a wonderful time, been loved and looked after, and had a very happy life. What more can we all ask for.?

  26. Marion I'm just reading this on Sunday nugget and I'm so sorry. But what a wonderful description you give of our dogs waiting for us to be with them again - I so love that thought

    And now Annies spike has gone too - bad week for animals.

    Many hugs sent your way to you and to lucky also.

  27. The depth of that love we feel at their passing is I think Marion, their final gift to us - a thank you for being a part of their lives. x

  28. Marion,
    I came over from Goatman's blog as I liked the comment you left and wanted to see who the person was behind the warm smile ...
    I did not expect to be sitting at my laptop and wiping away tears!

    Nate was truly a beautiful dog!
    I feel for your deep loss!
    May the memory of Nate always be a blessing!
    Animals are such good friends and give us unconditional love.
    Beautiful and heartfelt post!


  29. Hello Marion,

    Your words capture the beauty and the unique personality of Nate. Every dog is so special in their own way.

    I hope that your heart will grow lighter each passing day. I am sure Nate's energy presence is helping you with that.

    Birth and death, the cycle goes on. I tried commenting on your post about the twins but it went to the ethers. So here I wish you all the happiness with your new grand babies and ease for your sorrow about Nate's leaving.

    Deep peace to you!

  30. hello sweet friend, i came back because i'm thinking of you. perhaps you know that already.
    how is lucky? how are you and graham?

    i love bimbimbee's comment so much.

    soon, okay?


  31. Carolyn,

    So nice to see you! I am very saddened, yet also so happy Nate is no longer in pain. He was so sick for such a long time, was time.xo


    Your comment is beautiful...indeed, what more can any of us ask for than a beautiful life? It's really nice to see you! xo


    A couple of my blogger buddies have lost animals at this time. It is sad; mourning is never an easy part of life. Thank you, Mim, for taking the time to're on holiday for a bit, I think.. xo


    What a lovely, hopeful comment! You are such a dear, sweet person...thank you! xo

  32. Margie,

    thank you for visiting!! I visited your blog quickly and plan on going back when I have more time to read your awesome poetry. I'm so glad to have met you and I hope to get to know you better!


    Yes, strange, isn't it, that two closely written posts on my blog deal with birth and then death. The cycle of life..

    Many people had difficult posting on the twin's post...Google was acting up with comments.

    I am so grateful for all the grandkids...they do take the mind off of sadness and grief. And I'm so glad you're blogging again.. xo


    Thank you, love, it is so nice to know you're thinking of us. I've been taking some time off. Other things, along with Nate's death, had my head under the covers for awhile, just until I could deal! (smiles) We'll talk soon, for sure! xoxo

  33. Ahh, Marion, I'm so sorry. Nate had a huge heart. I'm guessing you and Lucky will be having many a long talks about your memories of Nate. God bless.

  34. Nate sounds like he was a fine dog, as good as any one might hope to know. I am sorry to hear you have lost him. I couldn't help but tear up. Bless you.