I came across this poem the other day and it brought back so many memories. My family was privileged to have Natasha in our lives for 9 wonderful years. Like my adorable little Happy, she slept on a pillow in the corner of my room and followed me wherever I went. She was a wonderful friend and faithful companion. More than once my special pup had found a way to alert my parents to the fact that I was in need of medical care. One time she spent over an hour going from the front window over to my Father, then over to me to smell my breath, before heading back to the window. When my Father figured out that she was trying to tell us that something was seriously wrong and called 911, I had to be rushed to the nearest hospital because my blood pressure and pulse were both over 200. Or the time she cried mum with such pathos that I knew my Mother needed to go to the ER, and ended up spending a week in the hospital because she had water building in her lungs
There is so much more that I would love to say about my special dog. How she loved to sneak bones out of the box when we were gone. Not so she could eat them, but so she could hide them in the sofa, chairs, or even our made beds so we could find them and play a game of chase with her when we returned. How like Happy, she found joy in startling my mother. Of the time she gave us a fright when she found my plate of chocolate chip cookies and ate every last one when no one was looking, the way she hated riding past run down homes, and the proud smile on her face when we finally moved into our dream home.
How much I could say of the tender heart of a big dog who wanted nothing more than to be an oversized lap dog. The love in her heart was an amazing testimony to the love for us that God had put in the animals hearts at creation. I will never forget how the first year we had her, when she saw us giving my sister birthday presents she walked over to her bone box and asked for a bone. She then walked over to my sister and placed it on her lap. She must have known that bone by its smell because years later she would not eat that bone. She would eat any other bone we handed her, but whenever that bone was given to her she would look at it and walk away.
Even now, six years after her death I miss her so much. My heart aches as I think of her last day and how overnight she went from a bouncing dog so full of enthusiasm into a frail creature who had to be carried from place to place. For three tear filled days we had kept a 24 hour vigil around her side. Gently stroking her head as we pleaded with her to drink a sip of Gatorade water from our hands.
Still when the unwanted call from my Father, as he asked the question we never wanted to hear, had nearly sent me to the floor. The idea of having to put my sweet Natasha to sleep still brings tears to my eyes. But with her organs failing the vet felt it was best.
I can only imagine the hardship it was for my Father as he held our dear little dog in his arms as the vet inserted that cold needle. Hugging her close even the vet had felt our pain, and claiming that he had somehow spilled some of the pain meds, had given her a second dose so that her send off would be as quiet and painless as he possibly could make it.
For months we cried every day. Because in our hearts we had lost far more than a pet, we had lost a beloved family member. One who had been willing to risk her life to save us, and who from the moment she entered our lives had given us her whole heart.
On the day Natasha died, the laughter disappeared from our grieving home. And only with the unexpected arrival of Happy Go Lucky did laughter make a slow return. My little Happy can never replace Natasha, but then who would expect him to. He has made his own proper corner in his life, and now we can no longer imagine what life would be without him.
But as glad as we are for his animated bark, his pleasure in life, his zest for adventure, the memories of that faithful friend intrude. And we pause to reminisce over the good times we had, and to express our wish that Happy and Natasha could have meet and become fast friends.
I hope that you find something worthwhile in this simple remembrance written to honor a faithful four legged friend and family member. Its words may be simple and rough as they were written through a veil of tears. But it is my hope that the love behind these humble words will shine through.
ODE TO A FAITHFUL NATASHA DOG
By Katherine B. Parilli
You are gone and now my heart is so very sad.
How I loved my precious little precocious God sent puppy.
It is hard to believe that such a little bundle could become such an important part of my life.
It is hard to understand how four little paws, a waggling tail, and two brown eyes could manage to so thoroughly entangle my heart and home,
Yet you stole mine.
And now like a thunder bolt from the blue you are gone and only are ocean of unkempt tears remain.
Gone is the sun-
The sound of the birds has lost its sweet soft lilting charm-
And the gentle tickling breeze always seems to be singing your name.
Every turn is a painful reminder of happier days.
The drives that we took when your happy face smiled back beckoning and pleading for us to travel around the world-
The food isle where I diligently hunted for your favorite bones-
Morning and evening time when you desperately longed to go for a long walk-
And the bed that you loved so dear and were so proud of because it made you just like the rest of the humans in the home.
How I miss our,
Precious game times when you would proudly display your high intelligence.
The way you would throw yourself into my lap with such abandonment with such a loving wag once you learned that a hug meant I love you.
The way that you would rush around with eyes glowing a bright deep rich blue green at the sight of that game bone as you jumped and ran-
Lost in the thrill of the game-
Lost in the thrill of being with the ones you love even more than the thrill of winning that large delicious bone.
How I miss asking you which hand had more treats,
Which hand had fewer treats-
Show me a bandit that has his left eye covered-
Which box is green-
To touch the remote with your nose-
And true or false do I love you if so touch my right hand if false touch left hand?
Sadly those days are forever behind me.
They are never more to be.
No matter how I long for them,
They can never again be on this sad forlorn earth.
As wonderful and life giving as they were,
They have come to their bittersweet painful heart cutting end.
The cruel crippling devil,
The happily prancing monster,
The heartless monster of souls
Has cut down my sweet pup in her prime.
Time in its cruel vindictiveness,
And the seeds of sin
Have worked its heart wrenching sorrow in my poor helpless defenseless home.
Why the Lord allowed it I cannot say.
Why He let her go to her grave instead of granting a few more years of peaceful joyful Natasha bouncing happiness,
Why He did not grant me the sweet privilege of letting her stand by my side for a few more wondrous faithful years I cannot say.
He knows how much I loved her.
He knows just how much that this family needed her.
But He also knows what the devil longed to do to her as well.
He also knows the changing outlook of earth’s ever dwindling evaporating time.
He loved my dear little pup that I know without a doubt,
That much I believe without a moment’s hesitation.
I trust without one lingering doubt that He would not have harmed one hair on her slowly graying little harmless ever loving motherly head.
He would protect her from each and every harm because He loves His creatures great and small,
Because He loves those with great big giving hearts like my little Natasha,
Who was willing to give her all for her family.
No one had said a word,
Yet she knew,
She pulled towards one lot and one lot only,
Like a straight arrow she aimed perfectly for the sight that would eventually become her home.
Even though others were being built home,
Some sights even had food,
She only pulled towards one-
Always pulled towards one-
And to this day I still firmly believe that angels led her to our home the first day we met,
And that angels told her that we were moving.
So I know and believe that God loved her.
Yet that does not make the pain any duller.
That does not make me miss her any less.
She was my best friend,
My constant companion,
Almost like a substitute daughter to me,
And now she is gone.
I have had so little of life,
Sickness has kept me pent up and locked away,
But with Natasha I was alive and a vibrant part of life.
With her on my lap snuggled up against my heart longing for my hug I knew a little bit of what it felt to be grown up,
To be the woman I had always wanted to be.
To be a mother with a mother’s gentle beating longing feeing heart.
That soft tender feeling of another heart beating against your own,
And that wondrous excitement of life longing to seek comfort and security in your arms.
And now forever that is no more.
I am alone again.
Back to where I was.
Only left with quiet reminders of what once was.
Forever missing my beautiful, loving, gracious, intelligent, and God sent Natasha.
Remembering with tearstained gratitude each precious fleeting few days all too quickly flew with lightening speed past my grieving heart,
Thanking God for the chance to know the miracle of joy, hope, and love that shone for just a moment upon my doorstep,
And shed its heaven sent cheerful light upon my path.
That great gift from Creator to show me just how much He cares,
To remind me of His undying love,
And to point me ever upward to the promise of a better tomorrow.
Though my tears may flow for a time,
I am ever grateful for the experience,
I am ever grateful for the memory.
And I would not change away one moment with my sweet little loving big hearted Natasha for all the money in the world.
And I thank God for giving me my family,
And for having given me my precious little tail wagging pup.
And for all the wondrous happy days that He granted us to be together.