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As I type these words, I am flanked by two canine friends, Lucy and Torro.

Here’s Lucy:


and here’s Torro (and Shawn):

torro and shawn

Aren’t they adorable?

Their human family has been away this week on vacation, so Shawn and I have been house-sitting.

We were also left to take care of several tanks of fish and frogs, and two cats, Rosie and Dog:


Winter has had a strong grip on the Northeast and there’s been a tremendous amount of new snow in the brief time that our friends have been away.   In fact, when the temperatures reached the 40s on Thursday, Torro was having a grand old time and did not want to come in at all (as evidenced by this Instagram)!

It hasn’t all been lighthearted this week, though.

On Tuesday, Shawn had an apres ski gig, so I spent the day at the house snuggling with the dogs on the couch, watching yet another snowstorm from the window, and catching up on House of Cards.  As soon as I’d finished the last episode, I got up to bring a dish to the kitchen and Rosie walked by, bright-eyed with her tail up.

“Hi Rosie!” I called.

Just a few minutes later, I heard a strange thump in the front room.  “UPS maybe?” I thought, knowing that they were expecting a delivery that day – but it didn’t sound like a booted foot on the front steps.  Torro started to bark a little.  I got up to investigate.

Rosie – beautiful, two year old, black, impossibly soft Rosie – had collapsed.  She was lying on her side, breathing laboriously.

I immediately ran to grab a towel, then put on my coat and boots, scooped her up in my arms and rushed her to the vet.  By the time I got her there, it was too late.  She was gone.

“What happened to her?” I asked the vet through tears.  She speculated that, since she didn’t find anything in her airway or feel anything unusual in her belly, it was either her heart or her brain.  Some sort of unknown defect.

Poor Rosie.

I stepped out of the vet’s office into the snowy afternoon and gave in fully to the sobs that persisted for the rest of the day.  I had to calm down – I had to drive home!  But before I even left the parking lot of the vet’s office, I had to call our friends to deliver the sad news.

After that difficult call, I sat in the car, gaining my composure enough to drive the couple of short yet slippery miles back to the house.

Walking back into the house, the whole world seemed to match the gray and dreary mess that was gathering outside.

Until I saw the dogs, that is.

Torro, in his usual over-exuberant state, came galloping over to greet me at the door with a toy in his mouth, jumping up the back of my legs, whimpering with joy.  I didn’t snatch him up in my arms as I usually do when I see him like this.  I was still crying, still so shocked at the last forty surreal minutes, that I just didn’t have it in me to respond to his enthusiasm.

Lucy greeted me, too – and maybe I’m assuming too much here – but she was subdued.  She’s an older, wiser gal.  She had witnessed the entire frantic scene when I found Rosie on the floor.   She had to know something was amiss.

For the rest of that afternoon and evening, I struggled to pull myself out of my grief.  Lucy and I both curled up in balls on the couch.  (Dog has seemed lonely, too – I’ve been giving him lots of extra love and treats.)

But not Torro.

He periodically would try to engage me – even more than usual, now that I am reflecting on it – by bringing a favorite toy onto the couch, by licking my arms or my toes, by jumping onto the chair across the room and chasing his own tail.  Certainly he must’ve been bored with my inertia.

Finally, I began to thaw to Torro’s youthful warmth and began tossing the ball around.  My spirits immediately lifted.  Shawn got back to the house later that evening to share in both the grief of losing Rosie, and the joy of being greeted at the door by two lovable and awesome dogs.

Life comes and goes.  Good things happen and terrible things happen.  And as I reach the end of this week’s entry, Torro and Lucy are still on either side of me, snoring slightly.  How wonderful is that?

All that’s left to do now is to enjoy the moments all of us critters find ourselves in – and to take time to remember Rosie.