Monday, December 20, 2010

Lighting a candle for our girl

Hello everyone. Bernie's human Ilonka here.

I can't believe it's been a year since we lost our wonderful girl Marmalade. She left us so suddenly and the void in our lives seemed impossible to fill. We still miss her and regularly bump into people we haven't seen in a while who ask about the "hounds". She was such a huge presence in our lives, our families, and the neighborhood. My parents were visiting us last year when Marmie died, and I don't think I'd seen either of them cry the way they did that day in very long time. People who are not dog people don't understand. To them, it's "just a dog." We dog people know that these creatures are our family--we worry about them and take care of them as we would a parent or child. Yet the bond is different--they're entirely dependent on us for their well-being, love us unconditionally, and are there with the same tail wag, bay, and silly grin no matter what kind of day we've had.

Marmalade was rescued from a horrible situation down south and we will always be grateful to Liz at Sterile Feral in Rome, Georgia, who pulled her out of one of the worst shelters in the country with a raging eye infection. We will also never forget the staff and vets at the Washington Animal Rescue League who took such wonderful care of her during her time in the shelter (special thanks to Dr. Caruso, who saved Marmie's eyesight).

We had gone to the shelter to meet Marmalade on a whim, and after a handful of drool and an hour in the interaction room (where she mostly ignored us and sniffed up a storm), we were filling out the adoption papers. We guess Marmalade was about eight years old when we brought her home. We have no idea about her life before she came to us, but she had a great retirement. She had a huge yard to romp in, critters to chase, hikes in the parks, and as much kibble as she wanted (supplemented by freshly baked bread, cherry cake, or steak--whatever she could get off the counter). She had a beautiful, melodic bay and was lovingly called the "neighborhood rooster" by our neighbors. She survived bloat surgery and fought back from a difficult bout of IBD, and through it all she was the same loving, sweet hound.

Her "marmalounger" is still in our living room and sometimes when I come downstairs, I still see her curled up and snoring. Bernie hound often curls up on the spot on the floor where Marmie slept, and both Paul and I are convinced that Marmalade has come back to us in feline form. She's not black and tan, but Emma Peel (E-kitty) is like Marmie in so many ways--she even moves like her. She definitely has comparable vocal cords and is constantly hungry. She also has the same sweet personality and is as smart and independent as Marmalade was. I guess everything happens for a reason.

To anyone out there considering adopting an older dog, you will NOT regret it. Although we only had three short years with our girl, she enriched our lives in ways we never thought possible.


The Thundering Herd said...

What a beautiful post! We are so sure that members of The Herd Past are still with us watching and taking care of us, so I have no doubt Marmalade is doing the same for you.

Letters To Gavin said...

Wall-E's Gramma here. I remember reading your post when you lost her and crying. I was so touched. It will be three years since we lost our collie and sweet old saint within months of each other this year. Wall-E possesses the same sweet disposition of my collie, Sarge. Looks nothing at all like him, except the eyes. My vet always commented on Sarge's face, she said he had a kind face. Wall-E does, too. I still miss my big dogs and see reminders everywhere, but am comforted to know that they lived good lives and were much loved. As a "dog person" I know exactly how you feel.

Edie and Gus said...

I still think of Marmalade every day. I miss the stories of her daily antics the most. It warms my heart that she was adopted by your family and had the best golden years any pet could ever hope for.

All our best to Bernie, E-Kitty and to you for the New Year!

Edie & Gus

Marmalade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bernie said...

Thanks so much, everyone! I miss my sister a lot but E-kitty is pretty good company. She helped the humans a lot with her silly antics. I draw the line at one cat, though!