Wednesday, July 21, 2010

10 year death anniversary of my first dog, Splat ...

Yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of when I lost my very first dog, a black cocker spaniel named Splat!! I got her when she was six weeks old - the runt of the litter, in September of 1988. It's because of this tiny little helpless creature who came into my life, that she was the push I needed to stop drinking, and the reason I am now sober and where I am ... October 1, 1988 is the day I made a commitment to Splat and to myself that I would get sober and turn my life around.

Interestingly, Splat (whom I named after a racquetball shot as I playing a lot of racquetball at the time) appeared in my dreams a couple summers ago .. in fact, it was a nightmare, but it was her way to tell me I was getting ready to begin a journey of some major healing ... and she was right. For a writing class i'm taking at The Loft I chose to write about the healing and transformation I have gone through in dealing with past sexual abuse. My piece opens with the dream I had where Splat appears in July, 2008. The piece ends with a dream I recently had (July, 2010) where my dog Ahnung appears and she takes my flying!! It was my dog Splat, who's been dead for 10 years, who opened up a door I've sealed shut for decades - the secret of abuse - and it's now my dog Ahnung who is helping me move through it .... I think God knows that the angels I need come in the form of furry four-legged beings :)

Losing Splat so suddenly on July 20, 2000 (only months after I had just moved to Minnesota) was a huge shock and loss, and one I wasn't prepared for ... I wrote and I wrote and I cried to move through the grief. A few weeks after she had died I wrote the following .... I still think of you sweet princess and I still miss you.

In memory of Splat, my little princess
July 31, 1988 - July 20, 2000

It seems like yesterday when you found your way into my lap,
the runt of a litter, 6 weeks and less than a pound,
I knew right then you were my angel.

You were there, everyday, with me through happy moments,
and my darkest moments.
You lifted me up with your gentle presence,
as you gently licked my tears away.

You gave me twelve short, precious years.
You taught me to live, to love, to forgive and to see beauty again.
Every day I had you, sweet princess,
I thanked God for YOU.

I would do anything in the world,
to hold you in my arms again,
to feel your soft fur and to hear that high pitched bark,
to hear the scurrying of your paws to get to that first carrot,
to watch that little stub of a tail wag so hard when I came home,
to watch you sleep on the passenger's seat when we ran errands,
or keep me company on our many trips from Kalamazoo to St. Louis,
to catch you on top of grandma's dining room table with your nose in her mocha cake,
to watch you run and explore icy Lake Michigan,
and to watch you swim towards me in the Gulf of Mexico,
and see the thrill on your face as you stick you head in sand.
To see you sleep so soundly on your LL Bean bed,
and to curl up next to you and wake you gently,
or to watch you lay like a "frog dog"
or to lay on your back sprawled and so free.

If only I had known you'd be taken so suddenly from me,
but sweet princess, at least I know in my heart
that every day you were with me I showered you with all my love
and never went a day without telling you were my little princess.

Now, all I have of you are the sweetest memories of the years we shared.
Every night I carry your picture to bed with me and "tuck you" in bed
with the shirt I wore the painful night of July 20, 2000
when we came home to find your lifeless body under the tree in our backyard.
I don't know what happened that night - 
sometimes I want to know, sometimes I don't.
All I know is that I pray that God and St. Francis sent their little angels down from heaven,
and that you saw bright colors and bowls of cappuccino chocolate chunk ice cream,
waiting for you at the gates of heaven.

Some day, sweet princess, we will meet again ...
and when it's my time to cross the bridge I'll be waiting for you
to lead me to all the beauty and happiness
(and the best bowl of cappuccino chocolate chunk ice cream!)
that we can share ... and spend eternity together.

Thank you for all you have taught me
and continue to teach me.
Thank you for loving me so unconditionally,
for your constant companionship and gentleness,
for your reminders to see beauty around me,
and for showing me that happiness comes not in what you have,
but in what you give those in need, and in loving and forgiving,
and being compassionate towards all living beings.

I miss you sweet princess...
my heart still aches for you.
Until I find more strength,
continue to stay by my side,
and help me pick up the fragments of my broken heart.

You will be in my heart and soul, forever.

I love you sweet princess.

Your "mom" on earth ...

August 6, 2000


  1. What a beautiful tribute to Splat and the relationship you two shared. Thank you for sharing.

  2. This brought a tear to my eye. What a special friend you had (and have!). It still amazes me that our four-legged friends can touch our lives in such profound ways without ever having said a word.

    Thank you for sharing this.