Saturday, December 15, 2012


"The world, as we live in it, is like a shop window in which some mischievous person has got in overnight and shifted all the price labels round,
so that the cheap things have the high-price labels on them
and the really precious things are priced low."

Archbishop Temple to students of Oxford University

One week ago today I last posted that our dear 15-year-old dachshund Penelope was undergoing four days of IV fluids as we had just learned that the reason for her illness was advanced kidney failure. We hoped the fluids would let her stay with us through Christmas at least, and until then I would be focusing on her. We were able to bring her home Monday night and she was so happy to be home with us and to be in her own bed, my bed, that night. Coaxing her to eat was a struggle but we managed by fixing every imaginable recipe for her condition. R.H. and I had three really precious days and nights with her where she was happy and alert. Then on Thursday evening she had what the vet said was probably a stroke and seemed totally blind, unable to walk without falling over, and would not eat. I held her all night long to sooth her into sleeping and most of yesterday until we took her to her doctor for the last time. 

We had 15 wonderful years with Penelope and our hurt is tremendous but somehow magnified by knowing that she left this earth on the same day that these precious innocent children were senselessly murdered in cold blood. While we cannot imagine a Christmas without Penelope, we cannot even begin to comprehend what those families face forever. As we buried Penelope this morning with the corgis, in the stout, tight wood coffin that R.H. and Gurn built for her, I felt so hurt but humbled that she shared Friday's date with these precious, precious ones. 

We've had many sweet texts and calls from our children all day but one from Zack blessed me so much. He said that last night he pictured Penelope there in heaven playing with all those little children. [I don't want to hear anyone's viewpoint on our Penelope not being in heaven with those children, please.] 

Below are a few more pictures of Penelope at Cape San Blas with Katie. Katie, a Katrina refugee, was not in love with the ocean and was content to stay in the dry sand. Penelope was head over heels in love with the beach and ocean. We had to watch to be sure she didn't float out into the Gulf. She chased balls, she chased the badminton birdie, and she fetched sticks. Cleaning the sand from her was almost impossible for the plump wriggling little long-haired red girl. She just wanted to go back again. 

Here is her final picture on Thursday afternoon, shortly before she suffered the stroke, in one of their many nests spread throughout the house, with Katie. 

After today I am going to try to spend this last week before Christmas letting the beauty of the season comfort me. I will listen to my quieter Christmas music, enjoy the Christmas tree that Penelope got to see, even try to bake the cookies that our children love, and wait for next weekend when a new granddaughter comes to visit Mimi and Pawpaw for the first time. I will blog and visit the beauty of Christmas at my blog friends houses. I will remember Penelope the rest of my life. And I will not forget schoolchildren everywhere.

I will try to put the right value on the right things and find comfort from them.


  1. I am so sorry to read of Penelope's death. She is so pretty. I will be thinking of you. As you know...I lost one of mine last only 8. I know just how bad you are feeling. I so hope the beauty of the holiday brings you some comfort. I'm so glad you got to have her home for those last few days. I'm sure you cherish those days. Love and hugs to you.

  2. Oh- I am so so so sorry Dewena. I know that pets get to be our "children" in a way. God bless you- it is going to be a sad Christmas without her, I know. But, you are right...she passed over the Rainbow Bridge to a better place. My 5 year old granddaughter told me that when you are in Heaven your can go to the Dog Place(or the Cat Place) and visit all the pets...cuz they keep them separate from the angels. I don't know where she comes up with this stuff but I think she is onto something there.

    God bless you- xo Diana

  3. I am so sorry to read of Penelope's death. Fifteen years is a long time and from your post it is obvious she was loved the whole fifteen years. Dogs have a way of spending every minute of their lives loving us back. I am so sorry, Dewena.

  4. Dewena,
    I am so sorry that you lost Penelope-it's always so difficult to imagine life without them. I've lost over the years and it just doesn't get easier. I hope your new grandbaby will heal a bit of the pain your all going through. I choose to imagine that she is playing in heaven with all those precious babies. Their tragedy doesn't and shouldn't make you feel guilty about your pain of loss.

  5. Crying as I read this... I know she is waiting for you, as she did all her life. She'll always be there, in your heart, just out of the corner of your eye. I'm so sorry.

  6. My first thought was that she was playing with those little angels. ANd yes, I do believe they go to Heaven.....they have to.
    So srry for your loss......I know just how hard that is......yes those little children have left big holes in their parents hearts as well.
    I am sure holding that new grandbaby will be just wonderful.

  7. What a beautiful image of Penelope playing with those kids! I am SURE she is doing just that! I am so sorry you are without her on this earth anymore, but she will be waiting on the other side of that Rainbow Bridge for all of you in your family!!!!

  8. I am so sorry for your loss of sweet Penelope. Animals become family and are just so precious to our hearts and lives.

    When our dog Molly died, my children asked me if she'd be in heaven. I told them I believed she would. I also told them that the Bible tells us that there are no tears in Heaven, and that Heaven is a happy place, and if they wouldn't be happy in Heaven without Molly, then I believed she'd be there.

    A very simplistic answer, it's true, but it's one that they understood and accepted.

    For another thing, God made animals and the Bible says the lion will lie down with the lamb, and if those animals will be there, why not our beloved pets?

  9. I am so sad for you...Penelope looked like such a gentle dog..have comfort in knowing he with our lord! I will pray for you.((hugs))

  10. My dog is 15 as well. I can relate to your pain. All of us us who treasure our dogs as family members can. You'll be in my prayers.

  11. I lost my Boots my fourteen year old kitty in March. I am still so sad. when I hung his ornament on the tree I sat there sobbing. All your beautiful memories will be with you forever. The pain of losing our pets who are just phamily to us is so hard. Blessings to you and yours. Much love Anne


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