Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday in Heaven Little Buddies!

A much cherished friend from Alpha, NJ,  Betty Tersigni- Hammerstone created this lovely memorial for my Buddy.

It has been almost four months since the neighbor's huskies had taken our beloved Manilow from us.  I still feel his presence at times.  Just this past Wednesday when bringing groceries in from the car, my first thought was to be sure he wasn't there by the door trying to sneak out.  We didn't allow him to run.  Since he was almost 17 and no longer wanted to go far from the porch we would occasionally allow him to go on the front porch.   He would lie on one of the chairs in the sun.  A few days before his last day on earth I was petting him while he was sitting next to me on the porch.  I was telling him how the sun was good for him, and how I just knew that he would make it to his 17th birthday in September.  He was eating like a horse, no problems with bowel or bladder functions, and still very playful with his catnip mouse.    

Every night he would sit outside the tub while I took a shower patiently waiting for me to give him his night time snack, then he would hop up into the bed and lie down next to me when I would sing him his three favorite songs, Rod McKuen's Every Loner, Barry Manilow's Can't Smile Without You, and the finale was always My Buddy. Those first several weeks I couldn't go to bed at night without feeling as though something was wrong, something was missing, and then I would think of my Buddy and how sad and empty life felt without him. I often thought that I heard him jump down from furniture, or his footsteps on the kitchen floor.

I suppose we never realize how much of a void those furry babies fill until they are no longer there to do so.  I have two loving, caring daughters that have given six wonderful, doting, and loving grandchildren, and I don't mean to convey that there is some empty spot in a daily existence.  They certainly make my life joyful and fulfilling.  It is those last few hours before bedtime, or the first few in the early morning that Manilow gave so much purpose, and loving attention to the humans he owned. 

Many times I would walk into the living room to see Manilow curled up on Roger's chest. He kept him company when I was out gallivanting with the girls. Roger also spent much time with Manilow on the front porch.  Very often I would hear him out there talking to him.  We both have had those dreams where he is still with us, and mourn him as though he was a very close member of the family, because he was.
Roger was here with him the day the huskies got him.  He had just finished cutting the grass, and as he came in the door Manilow wanted to go out.  He let him out, and he jumped right up on the patio chair on the porch.  He said he checked on him often and he was just there asleep on the porch.  He was in the kitchen, just one room away when he heard a commotion on the porch.  By the time  he had gotten to the porch the chair was knocked over, and the two dogs, one male, one female had him, one pulling in one direction and the other pulling him in the opposite direction. He tried to get him from them and the male knocked this six foot three inch man to the ground, and bit his hand and fore arm.  The female ran into the neighbor's yard with Manilow still in her mouth.  By this time the owner who lived two doors down had arrived and managed to get Manilow free.  He was still alive.  

The owner of the huskies took Manilow and Roger on a journey to find a vet who was still open on a late Saturday afternoon, and used his cell phone to inquire.  They had to drive approximately thirty miles away to Shillington before they found one who was open.  Manilow lived throughout the ride.  The vet said he had broken ribs, punctured lung, and three broken legs.  He recommended euthanasia  especially because of his age.

Roger brought him home and buried him immediately in the back yard.  I didn't even get the chance to say good bye. His mom Speckles, and brother Junior are both buried in my daughter Jamiann's flower garden, and I wanted him to be with them.  The next morning Jennifer dug him up, I held him in my arms wrapped in a towel, cried, and sang My Buddy one last time.  We then put him in a small tote and took him to be buried next to his family.  

A few days later Roger's hand and arm had swollen with infection.  I took him to the hospital and they did an x-ray on his arm, and gave him a tetanus shot.  He had to lie there for about an hour with an antibiotic intravenous drip. The neighbor paid for everything.  Throughout the entire ordeal he was very apologetic.   I have heard remarks from many that the dogs should be put down.  I have mixed feelings about that as they are his babies, and he loves them the same way I loved mine.  The dogs may have thought they were playing.  My mixed feelings are that I would fear for my grandchildren if they were out there should they get loose again.  It had been the second time the dogs appeared on our property, but I haven't seen them loose since that day, May 14, 2011 when our baby went to heaven.

Manilow, and his mommy Speckles
Manilow's journey began in Alpha, NJ on September 9, 1994 when his mother our only female tortoiseshell  kitty Speckles gave birth for the first time to four huge kittens.  We kept the gray tabby and our daughter Jamiann the devoted Barry Manilow fan named him Manilow, and we gave the black and white one to a friend whose husband would not allow her to keep him.  So we got him back, and since he looked almost identical to my old boy Franklin who by the way was neutered, I named him Franklin Jr. aka Junior. Once when we were in the audience of the Rosie O'Donnell Show, Jamiann got to speak with Rosie, and she sure got a kick out of the fact that Jamiann named her cat Manilow!

The following March,  Speckles gave birth again to four poly-dactyl extremely huge kittens.  Three were Tabby with beautifully marbleized striped coats.  My sister Irene took an orange and a gray, a friend from work took an orange, and another friend from work took the female which was a long haired tortoiseshell. Then we had Speckles spaded.  We never had a problem finding her beautiful babies a home.  By the time they were ready to leave her they were also litter trained.  

Because we had Manilow and Junior since birth they were very friendly, and lovable always.  Once when I had a baby shower for my friend Debbie, the little son of her friend made this remark about Manilow, "He's almost human!"  Out of the mouth of babes, he was oh so right! 

Well, today was their birthday. Junior passed away in my arms on September 1, 2006, his mother Speckled passed on February 9, 2009, and Manilow May 14, 2011.  

Speckles has all eight of her babies with her now in Heaven.  

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Happy Birthday in Heaven 
to my sweet dear boys, Junior and Manilow!

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