Today we said goodbye to a family friend, the beloved dog of one of my closest friends.
We don’t have a pet.Â We had some fishies for awhile, but we found it impossible to keep the tank clean. That, and Mr. Hubs doesn’t like to read directions or signage, and he inadvertently got a suckerfish that was actually for a tank double the size of ours.Â The beast grew to the size of one of Mr. Hubs’ shoes and did nothing but suck the paint off all the tank decorations and crap long streams of skinny poo all over the tank, all the time.Â Plus it scared the bejesus out of me, the thought that one day I’d lift the tank to sprinkle fish flakes in there, and I’d see the suckerfish, with its head sticking out of the water.Â I imagined that I’d look close to see that the thing was finally growing land-lungs.
(Here, I pause to shudder as I recollect the horrible suckerfish.)
So I told Mr. Hubs to take care of things humanely, and when I came home one day, the problem was taken care of, and I don’t know anything more than that.
Our girls are true animal lovers, and we’ve told them that one day we’ll live somewhere where we can have a proper dog or cat.
In the meantime, they fell in love with my friend’s dog, a sweet, handsome yellow Labrador, a real prince.Â He was always a perfect gentleman with my girls, a perfect dog for little girls to pet and to stuff with dog treats and to pester in that way that only little kids can pester a dog.Â My family told me that I used to pester Walter, my grandparents’ yellow lab, just the same way, and he never flinched or complained.
After my heartbroken friend told me the news this afternoon, I thought about how we’d break the news to Dinah and Djuna.Â I called my sister and asked her for the name of two children’s books about death, figuring I’d pick them up at the bookstore on the way home.Â She read them to her son when we had a death in the family back in 2006, and I keep meaning to ask her for the titles …Â But she was at work and didn’t know the titles off-hand and said she’d get them to me tomorrow.
So, we had to wing it.Â I hope we did OK.
We told Dinah and Djuna just what my friend wanted us to tell them, that Sam just got so old that his body gave out.Â They were very sad about it, and it broke my heart to have to tell them and to see them cry.Â After a little while, they asked for Daddy to print out pictures of Sam for them to color so they could make my friend a card.Â They colored dog pictures for the better part of the evening.
Today, on the day we lost Sam, we discovered that the pumpkin seeds are growing.Â These aren’t just any pumpkin seeds.Â These are seeds my girls planted a week ago, during our pumpkin carving afternoon, with my friend’s help.Â The seeds are planted in an impossible spot beneath a fence, but my daughters were so excited about the whole project that they called it their “secret pumpkin patch.”
Giant, gooey pumpkin innards, and lots of seeds!
Planting the secret pumpkin patch under a fence.
One of those impossible seeds has sprouted into a mighty seedling.Â We think it is in honor of sweet, sweet Sam that the secret pumpkin patch has sprung to life.
Seems fitting, somehow.