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The Butterfly Anniversary

 

 

Butterfly has been gone for a year now. The plan was to wait until after the one year anniversary to look for another dog, but then Ellie appeared a couple of weeks early and we couldn’t say no. I’m still not done mourning for Butterfly, and I’ll never be “over” her. No one will fill the Butterfly shaped void in my heart, but I think Butterfly is thinking of us and hoping for the best, for Cricket, and for all of us.

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My Butterfly

The Butterfly Bush seems to be thriving. Mom believes it’s because she chose a spot with good sunlight, and carefully removed the encroaching Hasta leaves, and makes sure to give it enough water and prune the old blossoms. I think it’s because I make sure to give the Butterfly Bush a fresh raspberry each time I give one to Cricket, from our out-of-control raspberry bushes.

Butterfly's bush

Raspberry-fed Butterfly bush

The anniversary has been on my mind for a while, especially because Cricket turned eleven this year, and I worry about her health. I can’t tell if my anxieties are really about her, or about a fear of reliving Butterfly’s health issues. God forbid I’d ever have to give Cricket daily shots. She’d kill me first.

grumpy cricket

“I still have teeth, Mommy.”

We had a scare with Cricket recently, a few weeks before Ellie came home. I woke up, and wandered into the bathroom to brush my teeth, and found my keys, and put on my shoes, and still there was no sign of Cricket. I checked Mom’s room, in case they were both gone and the morning walk had already been taken care of, but Mom was still sleeping, and there was no sign of Cricket on the bed. I checked all of Cricket’s favorite hiding spots in the apartment, under my bed, under her couch, in the kitchen, by the front door, but I couldn’t find her. I was starting to freak out and went back into Mom’s room to, not so calmly, ask her where Cricket was. And that’s when I finally saw Miss Cricket, disappearing under her grandma’s bed, very slowly. I was reassured that she was still alive, and not reenacting my ever present flashbacks to Butterfly’s last weeks, and the middle of the night crises, and hospitalizations, were still reverberating. But why was Cricket hiding under the bed? Was she ill?

My only diagnostic option was to invite her for a walk, and see if she would come out from under the bed. It took her a few minutes to accept my invitation, and she walked very slowly down the stairs, and outside, and started to go into poopy position right on the brick walkway, which isn’t like her. I inched her over to the grass to do her business, and as she stood back up, I finally saw the problem. Miss Cricket had a poopy butt. She did not appreciate my laughing at her pain, but I was so relieved to find out that she was just trying to prevent the inevitability of a bath, instead of having some kind of mortal illness, that I couldn’t help myself.

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“This is so undignified.”

Cricket made sure to shake her newly clean butt in every direction once her bath was over, and she raced around the apartment in a frenzy, and gave me the evil eye for the next few hours, but really, I didn’t care. She was clean and healthy and sticking around. What else could possibly matter?

 

 

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Don’t tell Cricket, but she is very close to accepting her new sister. Butterfly would be proud.

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

73 responses »

  1. I truly hope that as Cricket ages, you won’t have to provide the same sort of medical care that Butterfly needed.

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  2. When we had a Westie, I frequently had to deal with that same issue. We had a large wash tub in the laundry room and I would tackle it there. My sympathies on that one. We never replace a dog, we just shower our love on new ones. I remember Butterfly and look forward to Ellie tales.

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  3. “I still have teeth, Mommy.” Cricket captions her own photos, right?! She is a riot.

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  4. Something about the heart of a small dog that gets in your own heart.

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  5. Lovely thoughts, especially on the butterfly bush.

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  6. Rachel…. I’m reading these posts and in total disbelief. Before I took a break from WordPress last year, Butterfly was doing a bit better. I am so sorry for your loss. Ellie is a sweetheart judging from the pictures in the previous posts and I hope each day that she continues to adjust to you all. I think Cricket can use the company. Peace and blessings.

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  7. When Kyla was diagnosed with 3-9 months to live because the melanoma spread, we got a replacement when she was alive. Kyla taught Kali well.

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  8. Carrie Reinking

    So honest and so real. My Bella-dog and I can feel your loss.

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  9. To Butterfly…on the anniversary of her passing. She shines on in the love of her family and in all those who have been touched by these stories. Peace to you, Butterfly. Peace.

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  10. I’m so glad that Cricket and Ellie are getting along! Best wishes, and all the luck in the world…

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  11. Cricket is just the same as my Agnes- anti-Bath at any and all cost haha!

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  12. Bit of a scare, but so glad everything was ok. Looking at your photograph, I think Cricket is accepting she has new sister. Time and patience — patience and time, Miss Rachel

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  13. Ollie goes to the groomer for his bath, and never complains. She loves to have him in, and always says he is ‘no trouble’.
    When he is gone, I don’t think I could even imagine getting another dog. There are times I hope that I go first, so as not to have to face his loss.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  14. Cricket is so funny and I’m glad she’s getting to love Ellie.

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  15. The joy they bring us is tempered by the sorrow of their passing. When my ginger kitty Louie died unexpectedly of lymphoma, I swore I’d never have another pet, partly because Louie was so special.

    When I picked up his ashes two weeks after he died, a veterinary technician brought out this curious little mammalian “thing” I couldn’t recognize as a specific breed, set it down on the desk, and it walked over to me.

    It was so ugly it was cute, and I soon realized it was a kitten!

    The technician, knowing I’d just lost Louie, asked me if I’d be interested in having this kitten when it was ready to leave his mother. I didn’t think I was ready for a new pet at that point but, well, Andy (as I would eventually name him) won my heat when he walked over to me. I said yes!

    I don’t think there is ever a time we forget our deceased companions, and I still miss Louie even though I’ve had Andy and his brother Dougy, now, for seven years.

    When is it time to get another dog or cat? Our hearts tell us. Listen to your heart. You aren’t forgetting the deceased pet, because you never do, but you are giving another puppy or kitty or shelter dog or cat, for that matter – consider it! – a chance to share the joy, love, and companionship you gave the deceased pet. I suspect they look down from Doggy or Kitty Heaven and give their approval!

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  16. Hugs to you all there. Rachel you do stuff I do with the freaking out when the dogs aren’t acting like themselves. It’s the Momma in us caring for our kids. Glad Cricket was ok – poopy butt is so embarrassing lool. I’m sure Butterfly would be very happy to know your household is moving forward in time with love and sweet Ellie.

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  17. So hard to believe it’s a year. Glad to know Cricket is accepting a new sister, and that it was just the poo-bunny and nothing serious. Bless you all. ❤

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  18. One year already – I know you are happy that Ellie has come to rescue you all from yourselves and the void that can never be fully filled. But it’s a ray of hope.

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  19. Glad she was ok. So hard when our pets start to age.

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  20. The one year anniversary of our beloved ones is always (IMHO anyway) the hardest. Subsequent ones are difficult, sure, but not the same as the first. I’m sure you’ll always have a butterfly shaped piece of your heart missing…it’s just what they take away with them, so there are room for all the beautiful memories. My condolences. My congratulations on Ellie though. She’s gorgeous! 🙂

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  21. Poopy butt clean-up…oh yes, we can relate to that situation. We always keep a bottle of water and some paper towels in the car for those occasions when away from home that the dreaded PB strikes.

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  22. I think we do learn to live with the loss after a while. But then, the connection returns to the sweetness we felt when our friends were still alive. I can easily identify with what you feel, though, and had to go through the mourning a number of times. Still, it’s good that Cricket will have the reinforcement of a new canine friend.

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  23. A year goes by so fast it seems. It’s been several years now since I lost my Mini and Mosby but I still miss them. I like to think that those that have left us would be happy to see the earthly place they left filled by another who needed love. I am sure Ellie is glad you had an open heart, even while mourning.

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  24. Glad your not still morning. No one will fill that void. Time just eases the pain and never completely leaves.

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  25. How did I miss the arrival of Ellie? Probably in the chaos caused by the arrival of the Tiny Terror we call Maverick. They do help us heal, but the hole is still there – a Max sized hole in my heart that will never fully heal. He wasn’t a fan of baths either. 🙂 Maverick has had several because the rolling in poop thing is one of his favorites. Anyway, I’m happy to see you found a dog, and look forward to following the adventures

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  26. I hope Ellie and Cricket get along great!

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  27. This all resonates so clearly with me, especially the waiting (about) a year, getting another dog similar yet totally different, from my Lexi, and knowing there would always be a Lexi-shaped hole in my heart. I feel certain the girls will become good friends. ❤

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  28. I think since we never really stop grieving the loss of a loved one we don’t always know when we will be “ready” to adopt a new pet, but that is why we aren’t in control of those things. The Ellie situation happened and it worked out, given the chance you might not have ever been “ready”, but you rose to the occasion of helping out when needed. Butterfly will always be missed but you know she would be so proud of you!

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  29. Some times the like button just doesn’t seem to be enough. Nice to see Cricket and Ellie are starting to get along.

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  30. Thinking of you…I had to say goodbye to my cat of 18 years a month ago, and I still mourn the loss of all of my lovies who passed years ago. But the 1 year anniversary is hard.

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  31. Hello Rachel, I love your post! I have had very similar experiences with my dogs, Dogs are the best!

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  32. We’ll never forget our departed pets but can always make room in our hearts for new ones!

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  33. Here’s to the new friendship!

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  34. POOJA SAKPAL ❤

    Follow my blog

    Reply
  35. Congratulations to Ellie and love to Cricket.xxoo Marian & Kasia

    Reply

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