Sunday, December 7, 2008

Digging to China, Death, & Goodbye to Thunder

This morning Cyrus went out to give our dogs some treats and our female dog, Thunder, was dead. Just laying there dead. Thunder was Cyrus' baby of sorts. He got her as a wee little puppy and raised her, eventually we all moved in together and long before Cyrus and I thought about marriage and family Thunder had her own: 12 puppies! TWELVE. In our tiny Carmel house. It was really messy and stinky and lots of hard work to take care of those twelve puppies and .... a load of fun.

We were gone all day yesterday so she and her son, Cruise, spent the day "digging to China" as I call it. Their yard was covered in fresh holes. I pet her yesterday morning and she was just fine. Her usual, happy, spunky self. I'm not sure what could have changed in so little time. I think I may just decide that she dug herself to death, because that way she will have died doing something she loved. Her nose was still powdered with freshly dug dirt.

Those who know a bit of our recent family story know that we have been (albeit not aggressively, nor actively for that matter) trying to re-home them. They are fantastic guard dogs and companion dogs and have a ton of energy... and like to nip and snap and growl at our toddler and kill our chickens. Just unacceptable and scary. Safety outweighed all other things, even our love for them. It was a hard decision to make and Cyrus had found a new home with his best friend, Mark, for Thunder. But we waited until Cruise was gone first because it just wouldn't seem right to have Cruise here and not Thunder. We had been lagging on finding Cruise a new home. They just stayed in their big dog yard away from our son. That was just how it was for the time being.

We buried her this morning, laying sacred sage and toyon berries on her body before the first shovel of dirt covered her. And cried.

The whole process made me think about a child's view of death. We have talked about death so casually around Colven that it is just as much a part of life as life itself is. It just is. Bugs die, pets die, people die. I wonder what his concept of life is, what his concept of death is. I wish he had the words to communicate to me, but at 2.5 it is simple. Life. Death. I guess really, they are that simple. They just are. Natural. While Cyrus and I hugged and cried Colven just went off to find something else to do. Something exciting. I asked him if he understood that Thunder is dead. "Yes, she is up" he said, and opened his arms to the sky and down to the earth. I said yes, she is everywhere again, not held to her body. He said "ya."

Makes me think about how some people shelter their children from death. Imaging they "aren't ready" to learn about death. Who isn't? The child? Colven isn't afraid of it. It is normal, it is natural. It is really quite pure. As pure as birth! Makes me think about how our society can be very fearful of death, and how we tend to revere it. It is complex, it is unknown. Causes me to consider our cultural view of such things
. Interesting to think about.


Sherri said...

Oh my goodness Erin - big huge hugs - all the way around!

amanda said...

HUGS Erin soo sorry u lost ur dog

big hug to cryus

Shauna said...


I'm so sorry Erin!

L and J said...

What a wonderful post about such a sad happening. I'm sorry about Thunder and I am inspired to see how you use EVERYTHING in life as a lesson for your little boy. You're such a great momma!

Cousin- I am so sorry for your loss. Dogs are a member of the family and it hurts when we lose them... (((HUGS)))

Molly said...

Sorry that Thunder had to disapear with no explanation like that.
I'm glad that you were able to take time and reflect on her today.
Big hugs to the fam today.