Saturday, February 21, 2015

And She Loved Her

Many times you've asked, and I've tried. My gosh, have I triedEach time, I'd start and then stop. I have many unfinished notes. All because midway, I'd up and walk. 

This went on for days, weeks, months... more than a year.

Now that we're on the other side, I can write. 

Did you know that dogs not only grieve, but grieve deeply? Well, at least Rainey did. 

Aviana is who Rainey spent all her hours with, 
and who she loved... Dearly.

Rainey was always there -

 through eating.



And even when Aviana was elsewhere, 

Rainey still found a way to be close to her. 

Rainey did her best to help with every bit of Aviana's therapy.

When Aviana would cry, that's when Rainey stepped in the most.

We all couldn't stand the floor work most. Our hearts would come undone as Aviana would spit, cry, and fight, until sadly... submission. My heart would bleed because in the name of recovery, we had to leave her. I would repeat, "In the long run it's for her betterment." 

But Rainey, she didn't understand. She was confused. I'd try to explain, but no matter, she couldn't stand it. She would pace back and forth, stare, and wonder why I wasn't picking Aviana up (which broke my heart further). Rainey did all she knew to pacify Aviana - to help soothe her. She would lick Aviana's face, spit and tears. Finally, she would lie down next to her - trying her best to calm and comfort.

I just found this post.

Rainey would sometimes annoy Aviana too, but that's what siblings do, right?

From the beginning, Rainey sensed something about Aviana. Both Kama and Rainey provided extra protection for Aviana. Sometimes we'd see each of them wedge themselves between certain people and Aviana until they felt the situation was safe for her.

Towards the end, Rainey was solemn, but loving. 

And she wouldn't leave her girl's side.

After... Rainey was grieving. Hard. 

If it's possible for us to love on her more, we tried. 

But in our own grief of losing Aviana, some things fell by the wayside. In December, I found Rainey's Halloween costume on my top closet shelf! 

We felt awful. 

Right away, we put it on and celebrated her cuteness.

We took her on trips, attempting to pull her from the funk. 

Much how grief works though, our efforts would snap her out for a little while, but then she'd soon slide back.

I thought baking for her and her friends was a great idea. 

Much the same, she would eat her cookies and soon be back to moping around. Before Aviana, I had never truly seen a dog grieve. 

There were too many different things to count, but here are a few of the main ones I noticed -

We had a game we would play when she would get a new toy. I won't go into the details, but in the end, she would go crazy!

That all ended after Aviana died. She still hasn't played the game or with any of her toys since.


If you've been here long enough, you may remember the countless pictures I've posted of Rainey on the hot tub. This was her favorite place to be - up and looking at what was going on all around, and especially over the fence and into her boyfriend Oski's yard. 

We never used the hot tub. It became an eyesore because of all the damage to the top from her claws. Because it was her favorite place, her perch, we never got rid of it until the very end though.

After Aviana died, Rainey was visibly missing from her spot. She'd lost her desire. We would see her jump up and peek over during an upswing, but never like before. It broke my heart.


Rainey stopped enjoying the car ride. It seemed once the carseat and especially the stroller were removed from the back - she went wild - pacing back and forth. Crying the entire drive. The ride caused her so much anxiety, we stopped taking her places. She had no idea what to do with all the space, nor did she want to figure it out.


For some reason right after Aviana died, we hardly went into her room. At times, I couldn't find Rainey anywhere. I would search the whole house, only to find her lying in Aviana's room. With tears streaming, I would curl up next to her and together we would stay. I would talk to her. I'd let her know how we miss her too, and together we would carry Aviana with us always. 

In a conversation with Amy, she said something which resonated completely. In some cosmic or spiritual way, and through her grief, she felt Rainey was bringing us all together in Aviana's room. I was so happy Amy shared this with me, because I believed this with my whole heart. Aviana died in that room. Her soul was released from her body. I knew from past experience with Rainey just how strong her sense was with other dogs who'd passed, so I was sure Rainey had the same sense for Aviana's room. I needed Amy's help in connecting the two. For some reason I couldn't. From then on, I would follow Rainey. I trusted her and felt she knew what was best.

Sometimes it was really hard seeing Rainey though. One time I found her sitting in the middle of Aviana's bed. I silently climbed up next to her. I watched as she sat, looking around at all the painted walls - the stars and moon, the butterfly, the low crawling turtle, the saying "Starlight, Starbright."  She then sat somber, her head bowed. I watched her processing, taking it all in. It was as though she had finally realized. As I looked at her, the pain I felt was excruciating, yet at the very same time I was looking at one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Rainey finally laid down, and I hugged her close. That day, we stayed in Aviana's room for a very long time. My thoughts drifted to all Amy had said, and I began to feel better. As hard as it was, I knew together we were healing.

After much thought, we had decided to turn Aviana's room into a meditation room. The three of us, (and Amy too on Pie Night) would lie in there together. This may sound strange, but for some reason I always felt peace in lying just below where Aviana died, maybe because she was finally free. Often times I would fall asleep.

Rainey loved this space just as much as we did.


There are many other things, but that's definitely enough.

In the next post, I'd love to share with you how Rainey has healed since moving to Lake Tahoe.  It's been nice to see. 


  1. I had no idea dogs grieved to that extent. I have never been around a grieving dog. They are so in tune to us though that it doesn't surprise me. It made me so sad to picture Rainey lost without Avi there. It had to be hard for Rainey all of a sudden being the only one on the floor. And she gave up her hot tub routine - wow, sounds very much like depression in adults, no longer finding pleasure in the things you used to. I'm glad to hear that Tahoe has helped her re-orient.

    Reading about ya'll coming together in Avi's room sounded hard yet needed. Ya'll have been through so much, please continue to be gentle with yourselves. Love to you all! (love is a healer) God is love. Love is God. I'm getting off on a tangent...

  2. I know. Isn't that sad. There were so many things Channe. She gave up other routines too. We had a thing. A making the bed every morning thing. She wouldn't let me. If I tried to pull the sheets to one corner, she would attack it, so I'd go to another and she would then attack that, and so on. It took me 10X longer to make our bed, or I'd have to sneek in when she wasn't looking a little while later. She would catch me sometimes.

    After Avi died, she would lie on the floor, not caring if I was making the bed. To this day, she doesn't care if I make the bed. So sad.

    Being amongst those who can talk about their grief is also much different than the ones who can't. I guess I learned from Avi, but still with Rainey it was much harder to see her than say other family members. She ripped my heart out - all.the.time.

    Thank you for all your love. I'll never be able to tell you how much I appreciate you...

  3. I'm Sorry I've been absent for a while, but, I guess I too have been grieving Avi :( I have a story to tell you and it's about my own dogs grief that sent him to the rainbow bridge much earlier than when we ever thought he would leave us.
    One day after the loss of our sweet Beau, due to old age, I went out for my sons (Matt) sake and brought home our golden retriever Chelsea, about 3 years later, I brought home her best friend Luke ,also a golden retriever. In October of 06 after 13 years we found our Chelsea laying in the yard(passed away) with Luke standing guard, Luke was so distraught, in his 10 years he had never been without Chelsea for even 1 minute.
    We buried Chels in our yard with many tears and brought Luke in to spend as much time around us as to ease his and our pain,(They Loved being outside) so they spent most daylight hours in a 1/2 acre fenced in area made just for them, even an airconditioned dog house for the hot summer heat.
    Well one night about 3 weeks after Chels had died, I heard a loud thud in the kitchen, Luke had fallen to the floor and had this awfull odor to him, (he was perfectly healthy) It was midnight and didn't know what to do beside bring him into our bedroom and lay on the floor beside him all night until,very early in the morning rush him to the vet. The vet took one look at him and said ALL of his organs were shutting down and he had a few minutes left with us. He took Luke back and helped him cross without further pain.
    Our poor Luke had passed that quickly from grief. So within a couple of weeks we had lost over 200 pounds of pure love. I miss my Chels and Luke so much,even though we have 3 dogs.Our 3 dogs are little dogs and I keep thinking I'm ready for another big dog but something keeps holding me back?
    Just reading about Rainy brought me to tears, of course I never told you about the tears I had with your Kama, she reminded me so much of my 2 biggies.
    These kids,furry and human sure do a number on us ,don't they?
    I wonder what kind of antics Avi, Kama, Luke and Chels and all our loved ones got into today :)
    Still with you on your journey and happy for you and Dave to be in such a beautiful place with Rainy.
    Cindy in nc

  4. Hi Cindy ~

    This is so crazy. I could swear I commented back to you on this post, but now that I look - no. I know I came in shortly after reading and read this back to my mom and Gary.

    Please, never apologize for being absent. I completely understand. I too, do the same. Actually, come to think of it I understand the want to apologize. I feel it too. I feel bad for being away, but feel many things swirling around and don't know where to begin or end, or end since Aviana died. But! No need to ever apologize to me ; ) You are the sweetest though, but you know how I feel about you.

    Thank you for sharing your bittersweet story with me. What loves Luke and Chels were. True love, then and forever. And yes, the heartbreak these kids leave, but thankfully they happened. As heartbreaking as it sure can be, thank God they were here to love : )

    Yes, just think of the antics!

    Love to you Cindy...always!


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