Everything is Rosie...
February 26, 1998 - March 27, 2010
Today, I said farewell to my puppy girl, Rosebud.
If anyone ever disses cell phones, I will share with them how grateful I am for the technology that allowed me to call my Wasband in Burbank, California so that I could be put on speakerphone so he could go outside to the yard where Rosie lay dying and let me speak with her.
David and I adopted Rosie from the wonderful animal shelter in Pasadena, California a few weeks after our Golden Retriever, Molly Brown passed away. We knew that we were ready for parenthood again because life had been so full and rich with Molly; and she would have wanted it that way.
We chose the Pasadena shelter because it was state of the art and as humane as an adoption agency could be. And because they proudly advertised their shelter cat, Maggie for her unique skills at being able to tell humans if a dog they were interested in adopting would be feline acceptable. Since we had Nick, the Mysticat at home, we wanted thought it an excellent idea to run our canine candidate by Maggie for a feline stamp of approval.
You see, we thought we were going to give an older dog a new home. That is until we saw Rosebud and her litter mates. There was something special about the brown and white spotted puppy we learned was a Queensland Healer cattle dog mix. We could tell she probably had a little bit of retriever in her and we already had a penchant for both Goldens and Labs.
We returned several time to visit this puppy and watch her before she was even old enough and eligible for us to play with her in the supervised playground area. This gave David and I plenty of time to think about her, come up with possible names and of course, pray for guidance.
When we went to meet her and play she was clearly relieved to be away from the other puppies. She was friendly but also showed signs of independence. We made the decision to adopt her and began the paperwork. It was frustrating that the shelter rules required she be spayed before leaving. I am all in favor of spaying and neutering but did not feel that she should be altered quite so early but rules are rules and we were committed. We kept making visitations so that she would know us and be ready for us when she had completed surgery and recovery.
Except for our first dog together, Molly Brown whose name we chose in advance, all our animals always communicated to us what their names were to be. Before one of our last visits, either in my meditation or my dreams, the idea for the name Rosebud came up. Not Rosie, but the name was clearly Rosebud. I was almost reluctant to even share it with David because it sounded a bit odd; and of course, we knew that everyone would think of the sled in "Citizen Kane." When we were playing with her, we tried out the other names we had chosen for her like, Annie. She seemed completely indifferent to the names we tried until we called her Rosebud. It was as if she lit up and immediately came over to us when we called her. Being curious and playful ourselves, we tried out Rosie but her energy and response was not the same as when we called her Rosebud.
Rosebud it was. Even though she allowed us to use Rosie as her pet (pun intended) nickname.
Now is not the time nor place to give you a full biography of life with Rosebud. Suffice to say, she was a gentle, loving and very smart dog. Yes, a bit neurotic and overly sensitive at times.But it was that precise tenderness that also made her a great therapy dog. Rosie would join me in my office at the North Hollywood Church of Religious Science and she would always know exactly which person to sit beside and when. And if that client was in particular distress, Rosebud would lean against them and rest her head on their chest and healing would take place.
When David and I split up several years ago, I originally kept Rosebud and Nick with me in San Diego. David returned to Los Angeles with Zeke, the black lab-greyhound dog we had adopted as a companion for Rosebud. However, Zeke was even more sensitive and began to miss her and became ill. After much prayer and contemplation with Rosebud, she and I decided that she needed to go and be Wendy to the Lost Boys in Neverland; and that is where Rosie lived out the rest of her years.
Zeke preceded Rosie late last year. Rosebud hung around to make sure David was all right but not only did she miss her best friend, David felt she knew it was time for him to go solo and devote himself full-time to his career.
This past Thursday, I could not shake a heaviness that was emotionally pervasive. I could not reckon what was making me feel so dense and so vulnerable. It wasn't till I got home that evening that I got the message from David that Rosebud had been out in the yard and was unable to get up and he was pretty sure she was dying. I then understood my heaviness.
And then I also flashed on the fact that earlier in the day, while ruminating on the idea of adopting a dog (not only for my express desire and pleasure to do so, but for playful companionship to Beau, our teen cat) I thought about Rosie and how she would be such a sweet presence in our family. I even played out one of those unrealistic scenario threads in my brain about calling David to see if maybe, just maybe Rosie wanted a change of scenery to northern California. I had been tuning in to Rosebud and wasn't consciously aware of it as I had dismissed then forgotten the idea altogether.
Preparing myself as best I could, I phone David. It was shortly after 9:00 p.m. We talked and he shared with me that she had developed a growth that began to worsen and then she took ill and basically, chose to stop eating, become immobile and decline. We both agreed that given her age and current status that putting her through tests and/or surgery was not a positive option. It seemed clear that she had made her decision and it was our to now honor it no matter how difficult it was for us.
I asked David if he would put me on speakerphone so I could talk to her for maybe the last time. He told me that as he went downstairs to her when he got there she sat up for the first time all day. I knew she knew we had been talking and she knew "I was there with her.' I talked to her, thanked her for taking care of David and Zeke for me and David said that at that point, she licked his hand. There is no doubt in my mind that she was fully conscious of what I was saying to her. She always had been so smart, so sensitive.
Today, Don and I were on our way to Roseville for my appointment at the Apple Store. I called David and he said he had found a local vet and he would get help to get Rosie there. Using his cell speakerphone once again, I was able to say goodbye to Rosie and sing her song that David and I began singing to her as a young pup. "Everything Is Rosie" from the Broadway musical, "Bye, Bye Birdie." David sent me a text that 1:00 was the appointed hour and I asked to call him so I could be involved. Don had parked our car under a beautiful shade tree and we waited for David's call. It tuned out that Rosie went so ready to leave her body that she went quickly and I did not get to be on the phone with her when she passed. Yet, sitting under a shade tree in the mall parking lot at Roseville I was with Rosebud in Spirit for certain.
Even our waitress at lunch was named Shelly-Rose.
Inspired, we stopped at a pet adoption site and met a two-year old Aussie Shepherd-Bassett Hound mix that needs a new home. She is a well-trained, gentle and loving dog that may have just the right energy for our family. We didn't take her home today because we wanted to talk our cats, our landlady and Spirit about it first. However, I know if we do adopt her, in honor of Rosebud,we plan to add the name Rose to whatever we choose to call her because ...
"Now my life is rosy, when I'm with my Rosie,
With a girl like Rosie,
How could I be blue?
Hand in hand we'll mosey
Me and little Rosie,
We will be so cozy
By a fire built for two.
Oh! I once heard a poem that goes:
"A rose is a rose is a rose"
Well I don't agree,
Take it from me,
There's one rose sweeter than any that grows!
That's my Rosie,
I'm so glad she chose me;
Life is one sweet beautiful song to me."
Music & Lyrics by Charles Strouse & Lee Adams