Another Heartbeat in the Room
Panda was a rescue dog. She was Panda because of the black and white markings. Sometimes I called her Panda-monium.
We had her five years.
Suddenly, she had no idea why she was sick, just that she was sick.
I have this gift of precognition that pops up late in the evening. This time, I felt as if I had just cried only I had not. There was a residual sadness, a tide slowly ebbing, tear ducts full. But I did not connect the dots.
A few days before she started the eternal sleep, we had her in one of the overnight dog ERs. The doc there told us her kidneys had shut down and it didn’t look good.
That did not make it easier. Except the decision had been made for us.
When she left, Patti got a few of her chest hairs and some face hairs and petted her farewell.
She was Patti’s companion dog. The girls liked her as well. It seems we have always had female dogs. This was a fourth. I also have two daughters and a female cat. The estrogen levels outpoint me easily within the household. So she had fit right in.
Panda would always let us know when it was going to storm. She’d begin panting even before the TV weatherguys could predict the coming thunder. She’d head for the tub immediately. She had calm-down pills, of which she could tolerate half a pill without becoming a zombie. But, in calming her down, you often calmed your ownself. Dogs do that to you without a plan.
She shed a lot. We’ll be finding the black hairs in carpeting forever. Little reminders of a friend who has been with us, in our home, and now gone away,
She was a scaredy dog. Great loud deep bark, but terrified of everything and everyone.
She and Patti could sit for hours. Panda would wedge in, somehow, to the big chair next to her buddy and just stay warm and satisfied.
When Patti was out on errands, Panda could look out the window for her without a break for many hours. If I said “Who’s Here” she knew that to mean Patti was pulling in and she’d begin to whine until she could touch her.
They are often the best part of us, or bring out the best part.
I had one final visit. Believe it or not. But it happened. A couple of weeks after she had left us, I was almost napping while trying to follow a football game on TV. Suddenly, I swear I heard a loud familiar bark and a framed copy of a memorable front page I had created tossed itself off the wall. It had been hanging there for years. It has not fallen since.
The teen queen who runs our home had immediately posted that she knew Panda was running towards the gates of heaven where God would take care of her and bring her around when we get there.
The idea of our own mortality comes up easily and I thought what a deep consideration of heaven for the teen queen.
Sometimes, I think, the idea of pets and their short interludes with us is just to remind us of the frailty of the human condition and how we act and will be remembered.