Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the days of september

I have always liked September for all the things that Mother Nature begins and ends this month. Goodbye, hot muggy weather and blood sucking mosquitoes. See ya, hazy skies and sweaty walks. Hello, cool nights, cheery crickets, and pleasant strolls. Even when I was a kid and September meant school had just begun, I still welcomed September because it arrived with the promise of new television shows and falling leaves.

September's beginnings and endings were always pretty swell in my book, at least up til recently, it would seem. September marks the birth and death of the beloved boys we had before Baxter, and quite honestly, I am not sure how I feel about that.

Kep and Padua were just puppies when we brought them home long ago. Our life was full of new beginnings back then, having just graduated college, just moved, just started a new job, just married. As puppies, Kep and Padua helped my husband and I brave our new world, one pee spot at a time.

With the boys' life spanning over sixteen years, early memories of our boys now come back to me in random pieces. Meeting the boys as little shavers, Kep boldly running with the big dogs, while sweet Padua kept crawling back under the whelping box to continue his nap. The boys galumping out of their crate, both with gigantic balls of fuzz around their necks where their puppy collars should have been, the result of a hard day's work gnawing on each other. They were pals who kept each other company and learned about life just as Baxter does today, one day at a time.

Unlike Baxter, squirrels, not rabbits, were their mortal enemies. The mere mention of a squirrel would rile them up and we would let them dash out the back door in vigorous pursuit. Only rain would stop the boys from venturing out to combat their enemy. Padua learned this lesson the hard way, having dashed out and become thoroughly drenched before realizing that the day's squirrel sighting was a ruse. Kep, who had screeched to a halt upon seeing the rain, was there at the doorway to greet Padua as he skulked back inside in search of drier ground.

We loved and learned much from having these brothers in our lives. That doxies don't mind bobbing for carrots, blowing bubbles all the way til their target was secured from its watery depths. That ripe cherry tomatoes and jasmine flowers are tasty treats to be sought out even when blind. That these memories and more were the memories we cherished, all because they were born one day in September.

As Kep and Padua entered their care-intensive geriatric years, we agreed we would not put down the boys solely as a matter of convenience for us. We thought our criteria firm for knowing when it was time to say goodbye. When they no longer ate. When perhaps one day we would awaken, but they did not.

Such was our mindset when I made the appointment for our mobile vet's house call. A routine follow up visit, I thought, so the doc could tell us that our old men were doing fine, despite Kep's recent tendency to curl onto himself, as though he wanted to nibble at a particular spot on his back, and Padua's intermittent interest in food, which we thought was the result of nausea from his antibiotics.

But same as the day I started my drive home from work and ended it spending three days in the hospital, some days have a way of unfolding in ways I might never imagine. After examining both old men, our vet mustered the courage to tell us what we were too blinded by affection to see. That day in September, sixteen years and a few days after Kep and Padua were born, we made the decision we wished we never had to make. I couldn't even be in the house when it happened.

Two years have passed, yet I am still haunted by that day in September. Haunted by the empty days thereafter where we found ourselves free of routine and unsure what to do with our new found freedom. Our boys were gone, and though they collectively weighed no more than twenty eight pounds, the hole they left in our lives felt more as though it was made by a meteor. Such are the empty days of September, when memories of their passing make the turning color of leaves all the more meaningful.

With September coming quickly to a close, I realize now that September is still the month of changes that I love. No story is complete without an ending. No life is lived without experiencing its ebbs and tides. I miss the boys, yet I am still thankful for the all memories that September brings. I will always remember the days of September.


Joey and Maggie said...

Pure Poetry.

Anonymous said...

My dear friend, I wish I could tell you that the loss becomes easier over time. Thinking of you and thank you for sharing your thoughts. Liz

Bludog said...

It's so hard to lose them, but always, always through that terrible pain, you still know you would never not have had them. We always make sure to tell ourselves two things:

1) We did the right thing.

2) It was worth it. (In other words, if this pain is the price I have to pay for those years, then I will willingly pay it.)

We lost Sadie, the "Bludog" in the picture almost exactly two years ago. I still miss her every day. But, we have Max (GSD), Molly (Dox) and now our newest girl Honey (GSD), and I just try to remember to enjoy every day with them while we can.

Those two sure were cute. I can't even imagine what it would be like to lose both at once. But, I'll guarantee ...

1) You did the right thing.
2) It was worth it.

kalyxcorn said...

Thanks for all the kind words! I couldn't agree more we did the right thing, especially when I look at their last pictures. But it's still a whack in the head, which I'll still take over not having had them at all. It'll be interesting to see what we do when Baxter's time comes, as far as taking on another dog after he's gone. But hopefully that is not something we have to figger out anytime soon.

monkey girl said...

The best part and the worst part about these little guys is that they take up residence in a small part of your heart - and you never get it back. My girl Winnie is about 10-11 and is increasingly becoming a bit spacey and is probably losing her hearing and eye sight a bit. I dread the day that I may have to face the inevitable.

Thank you for sharing the boys with us - and of course Baxter. :)


Lorenza said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful post!
Kep and Padua sure were and ARE a special part of your life.
Kisses and hugs

Alicia said...

Kep, Padua and now Baxter have been Blessings in your lives! I know your joys and pains...you will never loose either of those experiences. Your "old men" always had each other, start to finish, and they had a loving home. How great is that?!


Oh, how do I send pictures to you? I am so inept at this computer stuff. I think if you saw the Lands' End coat, you'd be able to make one really well.

kalyxcorn said...

hi alicia! you can email them as an attachment to kalyxcoenucopia@gmail.com, or post them to something like picasa or flikr and then just send a link. I'm not exactly super smart on all this either but I stumble on!! :)

Don said...

What a beautiful tribute. my equivalent time to your September is the last half of November, when so many of the dachshunds in my life (Nibsy, Patrick, Sophie, Sally, Sam Cookie and Sara Lynn) have passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. I always dread those two weeks, for the remembered gloom they bring.

Don said...

One further thought: there is an appropriate sentence in the movie, "Oh God," when the boy is just beginning to believe that George Burns is God, and he asks Him, "did you ever make a mistake?" And without missing a beat, God answers, "yeah, two -- I created the New York Yankees and I didn't let dogs live long enough!" Truer words were never spoken in any movie.

Tulip Frolics said...

What good people you and your husband must be. It must have been very difficult to write about this.

kalyxcorn said...

hi don. totally agree. no matter how right it is, it still is something...

hi Tulip. yeah it wasn't easy. but in many ways it was good to do it. i love your writing, by the way.

Twix said...

Kaly, I have been putting off reading Baxter's posts because I knew this was going to be a hard one for me. Before I had Twix, I had Max. He was a black and tan doxie that I had for about 14 years. He passed away when he was 17. It was a decision I had to make just like you did and it still breaks my heart. I miss him so much. I lost Max 10 years ago, it will be 11 years in the spring. I struggle with that time coming for Twix as she gets older. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing (and for making me cry for the past 20 mins). I love reading your writing and seeing how you see life with Baxter and now Kep and Padua.
PS: That next to last photo in the b&w collage is perfect!

kalyxcorn said...

i know the feeling. let's all gnaw on a rawhide bone and sleep in the sun...

AmyM said...

I have to tell you, the stories you've written about Kep and Padua touch my heart. They always make me cry. Every once in a while I go back to the previous one and read it. Something about them really tugs at my heart. It is very bittersweet. Maybe it's knowing the end always comes, or maybe it's that I currently have two siblings, Ruby and Cooper. I don't know.

The pictures of your boys together are so lovely. I just wanted you to know I love your writing and how dearly you honor their memory. Thank you for sharing them with us, even at such a painful time full of loving memories.

Agnes B Bullock said...

What a beautiful story of love. Thank you for sharing it.

Bow Wow Sisterhood said...

May I say I wish you lived in Phoenix? It's hard to find people who really "get it" about doxies, or for that matter, dogs in general. You sure do! You have written so beautifully about Kep and Padua.

Our lovely boy, Rusty, left us in November just about 5 years ago. He was 13 and I'm guessing he heard the food was good up in Heaven, so he made this somewhat early departure.

About the time we lost Rusty, we started finding pennies here and there. Feeling sad? Found a penny. Missing Rusty? Found a penny. Wondering how to solve a problem? Found a penny. It seemed like pennies, and Rusty, were everywhere, whenever they were needed. About 2 years later, browsing through the newspaper classifieds on the day it was meant to happen, we found another penny...this time in the form of a 12-week-old standard smooth red little girl...of course, who we named "Penny". These doxies, they're all connected. I'm convinced that Penny is an angel who's time it is to do her stint on Earth, and she was selected for us by Rusty, our master angel. He must think she's doing things right because he sent along little Rosie to be her buddy. They are the menschs of dogdom.

kalyxcorn said...

ha! yeah all pistons were firing with this post. that sure doesn't always happen. it took some time to write it. I actually think I started it at the beginning of september, come to think of it.

thank goodness for the internet, where we can all at least find each other, no matter where we live!

I love the Rusty and Penny's story. I too like to think that Kep and Padua had a paw in helping us find Baxter.

Hannalei said...

I can only hope that when the days come for each of my furloves that I can so eloquently put my memories, thoughts and feelings into words. I loved this entry even though I knew it would be bittersweet from the get go. Pure beauty. Rest in beautiful peace precious furlings. I am off to light a candle for them.