"We who choose to surround ourselves
with lives even more temporary than our own,
live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."
Within a two-week period in early to mid-July, I lost two of my pets— elderly dog Emma and middle-aged cat Eddie-Puss. Both were "off-road adoptions."
Emma joined us in September 1999, when she was seven or eight months old and we'd recently moved here. She was a stray who'd been taken in by the Mexican migrant workers who lived in a trailer across the road. They'd named her Salavino and weren't able to take her on the three-day bus trip back to Mexico. Their employer/landlord told me that the pup was too nice to take to the pound, and did I want her? I went across the road, looked into her eyes, and brought her home.
She got along with Abby the border collie and Jack the mixed retriever, who were up in years by the time Emma joined them, but Emma Lee Dogginson was her own dog—a free spirit who was disobedient in two languages. She did what she pleased, and that was that.
After Abby and Jack passed on, Emma got along with Hubert and Harley. However, she maintained he own residence (show in the background below). As she got older, she had arthritic problems.
We figured Emma was a mixed sheltie, but there could have been border collie in the mix. She was basically a shaggy dog.
A really shaggy dog.
Emma's hair was so unmanageable that I started taking her to get clipped in the spring. Her first clip revealed that she had no waistline.
When Maggie joined the kennel crowd as a puppy, she and Emma got along. But when Maggie reached full size, she and Emma had managerial issues over who was kennel boss.
So Emma moved from kennel to garage about four years ago. Although her limp was getting increasingly noticeable, she still enjoyed a roll in the snow.
Eventually a stray cat—George—moved in with Emma. George kept Emma company in her twilight years.
Even in her last days, the geriatric Emma enjoyed sitting in the yard and watching the world around her. George often kept her company.
Eddie-puss joined the household about twelve years ago when he was a kitten. I was calling Camilla (shown below with Eddie-puss) when I heard a meowing in the bushes.
Then a small scrawny black kitten came toward me. I took him in and fed him. He ate and ate. Eventually he grew into a big cat.
Eddie-puss was raised by Potter, who's now our elderly porch cat. Eddie-puss and Dylan became friends.
When Dylan decided to become an outdoor cat, so did Eddie-puss (in foreground of both the following pictures).
Ed liked pushing newspapers around and making a nest.
He sat on my desk a lot; he was my cat and had no use for other humans. His purr was so loud that you could hear it in the next room.
He was a cat for all seasons.
He was the one who taught Tanner what he needed to know to be a household cat.
In the last ten months, Eddie-puss started to lose weight. The vet said he was hyper-thyroid. We tried special food, then medication. It didn't help. Although he ate and ate, Ed faded away to a shadow of himself. In the picture below, he was just starting his weight loss.
The day before he died, he sat on the front porch for a while and then walked around the house. He kept to his routine until the last. He died in his bed during the night.
Part of the fragile circle has been broken. But the memories remain.