Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In Memoriam: Rolly the Smiler 1991-2008

Rolly the Smiler 1991-2008

The house is now empty, there is no more plodding patter of paws nor clatter of toenails to be heard ... just the creaking and settling of our old house as the winter winds blow outside. A mere week ago we had our two geriatric dog friends still with us, but now they are both gone, hopefully having reunited again and enjoying their relationship as it once was, frolicking in the peaceful fields surrounding the Rainbow Bridge....

Rolly had to be put to sleep yesterday, after a long period of serious decline that began earlier this year ... we knew the inevitable was coming, and as his arthritis worsened and his dementia descended into the end-stage, it was just a matter of time. We should have done this sooner, but neither of us had the heart to do it just yet ... then Pepa's death signaled that we had waited far too long and Fernymoss set the date for Sunday. Even though Rolly didn't know me anymore and barely knew Fernymoss toward the end, he seemed to rally a bit after Pepa went and seemed to realize his faithful mate was gone. He also seemed to know that his time was nigh, and when it came time to leave yesterday to go to the Vet's, he actually acted as if he were ready and wanted to go. The end was peaceful and immediate. Now he has left the shell of what he had become due to age and illness and will no longer feel pain nor frightened confusion....Fernymoss got Rolly 17 years ago when he was a very young puppy and he spent his entire life with his devoted human, and when he was six Pepa and I came into the picture and the happy family was completed, only to be parted most recently. He was a dog of great beauty, gracious temperament, loving, funny (he really did smile a lot!), maybe not the brightest penny in the pocket, but always ready to play, accompany us anywhere and keep an eye on us ... literally! (Fernymoss used to jokingly refer to him as "laser eyes" because he always had to have us in sight or he wasn't content.) If you look closely at this second photo, you'll see that his tail was in full wag mode ... And Rolly didn't just wag his tail, he did a full body wag when he was excited or happy, leaning into you attempting the most affectionate hugs he could give.

Though he was born a hunting dog (a Brittany-Collie-Whatever mix farm dog), he was never formally trained as such, but still had very strong instincts in that direction that emerged at suprising moments throughout his life. He loathed squirrels with a fierce passion, and Fernymoss often recounts the time when, as a young dog he caught one, killed it and proceeded to toss it into the air multiple times, barking at it when it fell again, until he was sure it was properly dispatched. Then there was the time not that long ago (probably about the time this photo was taken in Summer 2003) when we were all out in the back yard and he literally plucked a sparrow out of the air in mid-flight, unfortunately frightening the poor thing to death. We'd have preferred that kill to involve a squirrel or rabbit, but something deep inside him told him that was the thing to do....

We have already been missing our gentle loving furry friend for quite some time since the dementia took hold, but now he's at peace at last. Pepa's ashes came home yesterday and Rolly's will likely do the same sometime later this week. They will be with us inside throughout the winter and in Spring they will both go to their final resting places among the peonies in the corner of the yard bordering the sidewalk, one of their favorite places. I think Rolly would appreciate this ... though he always misunderstood peonies as pee on me's and just couldn't resist them, no matter where they were....

Now, as we approach the high holidays, we will honor them with a place under the tree with their bowls filled with some of their favorite treats, so at least their spirits can come back to join us on Christmas and know that they were both dearly loved and are missed

21 comments:

Janet said...

Rolly the Smiler. What a wonderful name.

Such a good boy, too.

Roses and Lilacs said...

What a sad time you are going thru.
Marnie

olivia said...

Hi IVG and Fernymoss ... we're thinking of you during these difficult times. What a joy Rolly and Pepa were and what wonderful times you've had. I believe they'll be watching over you both and so happy that you didn't forget their treats ... {{{{hugs}}}}

FARfetched said...

Smiling dogs are usually the happy ones. They also happen to be hell on critters that don't belong in the yard. ;-)

I'd never heard of a dog throwing its prey around like that… cats, yes. He was unique!

It's awful that both of you guys lose your kids in the same week.

boran2 said...

What a difficult 2 weeks for both of you. And what a nice remembrance of Rolly. It sounds like you had some great times.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Thanks Janet,
We thought that nickname fit so well, though Pepa sure smiled a lot too. They were a very happy couple.

Yes, he was a very good boy, though Fernymoss tells me he was ornery when he was a pup, but so was lil Ms. Pepa!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
That it is ... it's going to take a while for the sadness and pain to recede, but it will eventually. Then we'll have all the best memories crowding them out. :-)

You understand how that goes, I'm sure.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Thanks Olivia,
We both appreciate it very much. I'll make sure to take a photo of their holiday bowls when we have them under the tree. (Have to wash them first...just haven't had the time or the heart to do it yet.)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi FAR,
He was a happy dude all his life until the dementia set in. Pepa used to toss her toys up in the air when she was much younger...then she discovered how much fun fetching a ball was!

Yep, it was a very tough week....

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi B2,
It has been very difficult and all the work stress lately has only made it worse (and that's not going away anytime soon).

Thanks for the compliment about the post. It was hard to write because I kept starting to cry, even though I thought I was more emotionally prepared for this one.

But you're right, we all had some fantastic times together as our own little pack of mutts! :-)

Shady Gardener said...

Oh, my. Christmas 2008 takes on a whole new dimension as you say goodbye to near and dear companions such as these. May you find peaceful blessings for your hearts over these next few weeks.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Oh, I'm so sorry you lost both your dogs one after the other. This is too sad!
Pepa was like my mutt Coco, the ball dog. Rolly sounds like my Borzoi Tasha, who looked so cute tossing a dead baby bunny in the air & catching it. After each one passed on, I collected & copied all the photos of each one and made a scrapbook. I found that very helpful for dealing with my grief. I still have Coco's collar on my mantel around her picture frame. It'll be 12 years in January since she died & I still miss her. Tasha hasn't been gone quite that long, but I think of her every time it snows. Sniff, sniff...

Gail said...

Dear IVG,

I am so sorry I can't believe you have had another loss. Your two wonderful companions and friends in such a short period of time. I am sending you and Fernymoss loving thoughts and hugs. You two need to be really loving and gentle with yourselves and each other for the next little while. Gail

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady,
Yes, these events have put a real damper on our already dampened "enthusiasm" for the holidays this year. Thanks for the well wishes and kind regards, we have appreciated very much all the wonderful support we've been getting from our friends in the blogosphere. It has helped, but the losses are too current and the void they left will take some time to get over. I'm sure you understand. Maybe the next time you come through this way in better weather, we'll have a new pup to greet you. :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi MMD,
Now you know why I haven't been by much of late (besides being overworked). Thanks so much for the kind sentiments, because they mean a lot to me.

I still smile about you having had a Coco too ... don't know if I ever told you but the dog I had right before Pepa was a Coco too! She was another exceptional dog, from her bizarre parentage (Cardigan Corgi-Dalmatian!) to the sweetest temperament, to her striking and wise intelligence. She still is with me in my office after 13 years ... I keep her ashes and collar in a Coco Dowley Spotted Dog cookie jar (never could find an urn I liked!). I also keep her bowl and photos nearby in sort of a little shrine, as if I could ever forget her!

Pepa and Rolly will go in the garden as I said, and perhaps now would be the time for Coco to join them too. I've kept her ashes all these years because at the time she passed I lived in an apartment and I wanted to wait until I was somewhere more permanent before doing anything with them. With any luck, this will be the permanent home for all of us. :-)

Make sure to remember Coco and Tasha at Christmas in whatever fashion you find appropriate. Perhaps now you should lobby your husband for that new pup you wanted to get, lol. We're going to observe a decent period of time before we consider a new dog, even though we've been offered a very nice American Foxhound, but it's just way too soon right now.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
Thank you so much, my very kind hearted friend ... it still seems all a bit unreal a week later and we both keep expecting one of them to peek around a corner or come into the room. Fernymoss especially misses seeing her waiting and watching for him at the window at the bottom of the stairs. But it's the happy face, wagging tail and puppy kisses we miss the most...

We both are doing our best to be supporting of each other,and I don't know what I'd do right now if we didn't still have each other. Just two sad and weepy dads missing the kids who went away....

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

MMD,
Just on a whim, I looked to see if I could find my cookie jar on ebay and I did! If you'd like to see it, use this link. :-)

http://cgi.ebay.com/COCO-DOWLEY-DOG-COOKIE-JAR_W0QQitemZ180313715141QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item180313715141&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2|65%3A15|39%3A1|240%3A1318

Puget4 said...

Hi IVG and Fernymoss. Oh, dear. What a sad, sad time. I have another friend who lost her two toto dogs within a couple weeks of each other. It's bad enough to lose them one at a time as we did. The house seems way too quiet and empty even when the wee ones were older and quieter than when puppies.

Pepa and Rolly were certainly very special friends and I'm so very sorry you had to lose them. It seems that Rolly just couldn't make it without Pepa around anymore.

My prayers are with you both.

Love, P4

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi P4, and thanks for stopping by...
Sad it is, indeed. We knew it was past time for Rolly to go, but Pepa's sudden illness really was the unexpected blow that devastated us.

Yes it is so quiet around here now, and every creak, groan or rattle of the house seems so loud. We will have another pup sometime in 2009 once we're fully past this transitional period. Except for Obama's election, 2008 has been a very dreary and negative year for us. We just want it behind us now, but not much longer to go. :-)

Thanks again, and I hope you eventually get another furry bundle of love for your house too.

IVG

Annie in Austin said...

How sad to have to say goodbye to both your furry friends, one after the other. Thank heavens both you and Fernymoss have wonderful memories and are so philosophical about this loss.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Annie,
Thanks so much for thinking of us and expressing such kind sentiments. At least we were more or less emotionally prepared for Rolly's departure, because his real personality had "long since left the building" in reality. Still hurts though, and last night and today were especially sad and quiet....