Saying Goodbye To Abby

Saying Goodbye To Abby

Losing a pet can be so incredibly difficult, even when it isn't technically yours.

On October 28th, I went to visit my grandmother and my uncle while I was in town for the day. When I walked in I was greeted by the usual barking and wagging tail of their dog, Abby. Instead, she lay quietly on the floor, barely lifting her head to greet me. My mom had warned me that she was going downhill fast, but it still didn't prepare me. My grandmother told me I would need to say goodbye because she would likely not be with us anymore when I came for Thanksgiving just a few weeks later. I spent much of my visit sitting on the floor. I gave her ear scratches and belly rubs. She just laid her head on her paws and watched me. She was tired and I could tell.

They told me she had stopped eating for the most part, aside from a couple plain donuts every morning to get her going. She was a smart dog and she knew that my uncle was putting medicine(she didn't realize it would help her) in the treats he was giving her. She was stubborn, always was. I sat with her on the floor and tried multiple times to get her to eat a couple bones. She would munch on a couple, then lie back down. It was hard to watch, but I stayed strong until later that night.

We first got Abby back in 2004. She would be my uncle's third Chesapeake Bay Retriever and she was probably the best one(despite being a little lazy and inactive). I remember going to the Chessie rescue center in Bremen, Maine. Abby was one of the puppies in the breeder's final litter. My uncle had been drawn to a little puppy with a red color, but I was smitten with Abby. She had a green ribbon around her neck. I picked her up and she immediately licked my chin and her ears flopped about. I convinced everyone she was the one.

I watched Abby grow into a big dog right before my eyes. I used to spend every weekend at my grandmother's house when I was younger. I remember her being afraid of my dad snoring on the couch when she was in her kennel at night. I remember going out and sitting next to the kennel. Abby would lay down, stop barking and pant her puppy breath into my face all night.

As I got older, I stopped going to my grandmother's on the weekends. I had more friends and I had more things to do on the weekends. I would still see her on Sundays for a couple hours during lunch, but that was about it. I remember when I first got my license and my own car that she was one of the first "people" I let ride in it. It was a'99 Buick LeSabre and the back windows didn't roll down all the way. Abby would lean her face against the window and reach her tongue out until it went outside.

There was a time back in 2012/2013 that we all thought we would lose Abby. She had contracted a skin disorder. She was digging herself about and her fur was falling out. The vet kept giving her steroids to stop the itching, but nothing helped. In the end, it turned out that she had mange and that the steroids were only making it worse. Abby finally pulled through after eight months.

Abby wasn't like a normal dog. She didn't play fetch. She only half-heartedly sat on command. She was terrified of the water. She only liked being outside long enough to go to the bathroom. Unless it was winter. Abby loved the snow so so much.

When I called my grandmother a few days before Thanksgiving to ask about bringing some laundry she told me that Abby had gone downhill really fast overnight and that she was gone. I was caught off guard, though I knew it was coming. I had thought I had one more chance to say goodbye at Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was weird this year. I was so used to having a dog sitting at my feet waiting for me to "accidentally" drop some food on the floor. Or having her beg me for a piece of celery I knew she would bite into and promptly spit it back out on the floor. My uncle showed me the box he picked out for her ashes and then we didn't talk about it anymore. We were all afraid that we would start crying. I surprised I didn't even still.

Losing a pet, even one that isn't technically yours, is one of the hardest experiences I have ever gone through. I've lost many cats in my younger years, but there is something different about growing up with a pet and watching them go through the end stages of life. I only wish the Buick had still been in commission so I could've given her one last car ride.

Rest in peace, little pup. I will miss you forever.

Cover Image Credit: Jinni Workman

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15 Bible Verses For Those Struggling With Hurricane Harvey

A list of bible verses for anyone having a hard time coping with Hurricane Harvey.

Waking up this morning and seeing the devastating images coming out of my beloved Houston absolutely broke my heart. To see the city I had grown up in and raised to love completely underwater left me feeling more than a little destroyed. Knowing that tens of thousands of people are without power, homes, their belongings, everything they worked their whole lives for... there is just no way to process it. I think what makes it that much more terrifying is that the worst has yet to come. Hearing the Mayor literally telling people to write their name and social security number on their arms in preparation and being told that all we can do is wait it out, hoping that it will all be there when it's over. But I know Texans, especially Houstonians, we will come back stronger than ever. Here is a list of fifteen bible verses every Texan needs to hear right about now:

1. Psalm 57:1-2

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purposes for me.

2. Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

3. Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

4. Proverbs 3:25-36

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being snared.

5. John 16:33

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but have courage -- I have conquered the world.

6. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

7. 1 Peter 5:10

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.

8. Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

9. Revelation 21:4

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away.

10. Revelation 2:10

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution. Be faithful, I will give you life as your victor's crown.

11. Psalm 91:2

I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust."

12. Psalm 93:4

Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea -- the Lord on high is mighty.

13. Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

14. Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.

15. 2 Corinthians 5:1

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

With the worst yet to come, we all need to keep our faith in the Lord and in one another. We need to lean on each other, support and help when we can, and be prepared for the long recovery process that will have to happen. Sending all my love to those in Houston and surrounding areas. God hears your prayers, have faith.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter

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Poetry On Odyssey: Head In The Trees

I escape beneath green canopies to find rest from this world


I think there's a reason why I like trees so much
they're always reaching for the sky
they'll do whatever it takes to find the sun
why God allowed mere humans to witness such beauty, I'll never understand why

trees are strong and solid
their roots anchored securely in the earth
their heights leave me astounded
it's beyond me that anyone could place a number to their worth

I feel God most when I experience nature's gentle breeze
I'll find the most peace beneath a lush green pine
I'll pray with my head in the trees
gazing up into the branches, I'll lose track of time

I escape beneath green canopies to find rest from this world

I'm eager as Spring draws near, eager to watch God's green artwork sprout and unfurl

Check out my poetry blog:

Instagram, Facebook: @rithimuspoeta

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