Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It may be raining...

But there's a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you
You better let somebody love you
Before it's too late...

And he did. He gave us a huge green light to love him.

And as it turns out, it was just in time.

Oh friends...

Our dear sweet Rembrandt...purveyor of many nicknames..at once shy and also desperately curious to know everyone...our Little Love Machine who gave and received love in constant stream...the talk of the neighborhood...is gone.

Any of you out there who have had to go through this gut-wrentching process of losing a pet, I'm sure, can resonate with the fact that it's absolutely awful. To watch an unsuspecting sweet face not know what is going on. To say good bye to, perhaps, the most devoted friend you've ever had.

Remmie really was a special animal. His sensitivities were amazing. He had insecurities in getting to know other dogs, and yet, at the first sound of a collar tinkle, his ears would perk up and his tail would wag. He did his best to make friends, even if it scared him a little. He had a way of calming people. No one was afraid of Remmie. Ever. He never growled. He never grabbed. He was polite and devoted to us. Always. Always up for cuddling. Always up for a visit - even if it ment stirring from a deep sleep. And always up for a backrub! Especially if it involved being brushed.

Dave and I both saw in him the first day we met a tenderness and wisdom unmatched by any other. In a shelter full of 20 barking dogs, Rem said nothing. He kept his cool and slowly walked to the bars of his cage to greet us. Ears back. Tail wagging. Classic Rembrandt. Rem could look you in the eye and it was like he direct-connected into your soul. He knew so many things.

The hour after his big surgery in December, Rem was coming out of his drugged state. His limbs weren't quite agreeing with him yet and he was being fed intravenously. Understandably shocked and dazed, his first asserted effort after having a 9 pound tumor removed from his belly had nothing to do with escaping from his caged-in bed, or pulling out all the wires stuck in him. No, his first post-op effeort was to try to wake up his tongue enough to give me a kiss. Above all, Remmie was a giver.

The weeks and first months following his surgery were like a re-birth. All of a sudden, our calm and passive adult animal of 2006 turned into a puppy who ate, ran, and even sprang! He began a new ritual in the mornings which could warm the cockles of even the coldest hearts. He would wake up around 6, and wait for one of us to just roll over and slightly open an eye. As soon as one of us did ("Good morning, Remmie Roo!"), he was up in bed, tail wagging, giving full-face baths to us and looking for a perfect place to curl up for another hour or so. 7:30 would roll around and it would be time for his morning walk.

Although I was the official Morning Walker, both Dave and I loved getting Remmie to "talk" with us about his excitement to go outside. After 3-4 "Wanna go for a walks?!?!"...excited pacing. 6-8...he'd start sneezing (a sure sign he's winding up). And by the time #15 was uttered, he was in a full-on dialogue with us...Cooing. Howling. And his signature bark, which sounded something like "MMMER!"

Considering we hadn't heard so much as an arf for the first two months after adopting him (even prompting us to wonder if his previous owners had his vocal chords removed.) (I'm a little ashamed to admit some of the judgments I concocted in the early weeks about Rem's first family, but we had a hard time understanding why anyone would let this amazing dog out of their sight), this newfound voice of his delighted all three of us. We loved these mornings together.

A few months ago, Dave was away on a business trip and Remmie and I were in the kitchen. I was, undoubtedly, cutting chicken (besides loving, chicken was his OTHER passion). And the song "Desperado" came on the radio. It was a perfect moment waiting to happen. He was still light-ish in weight from his surgery, so I scooped him up in my arms, turned the volume up and we danced as I sang. His chin rested over my shoulder and a paw lazily draped over my forearm. I was there, in the kitchen, swaying with certainly the second love of my life.

As it turns out, this is similar to the pose in which he died. Chin on my arm with a paw resting over my leg. Perfect peace. Lying in his bed in our living room.

I'll never know who his first family was or what happened that left him alone and unidentified on a street in Eindhoven. And the age-old cry over why bad things happen to good people and dogs will never be answered. But I feel so absolutely lucky to have had a chance to love him and be loved by him.

There must be a least a thousand modern-day proverbs about living life more like our pets, and I wouldn't dare to try saying something original on the topic. But in the months and years to come, I have no doubt that watching Remmie love, adjust, fight, give, and give some more - all while staying calm doing it - will have its impact on me. His was the most tender and humble spirit I've ever known.

Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of love and well-wishes, for the visits, the cards, the flowers...Dave and I are so grateful for our network of caring friends and family. I know we're not the only ones who will miss him.

Here's to Remmie...


Gabi & Jolie said...

That dog knew more love in the short time he knew you than most of us know in a lifetime. You gave him everything, and he gave it all back. Cheers to your beautiful spirit, Sweet Remmie. I never had the pleasure of meeting you, but somehow I'll miss you just the same.

elaine and allan kretchman said...

Your wonderful Sweet Remmie will live beyond time. His passion and personality was a reflection of your devotion, caring and selfless love. I think Spinosa was reaching for your ears when he said, "Anything beautiful is as difficult as it is rare."

I wish I could just reach out and hug you until it felt like both our bones were about to break.

I think you owe the world a lovely childrens book, called: "Remmie...the Worlds Greatest Dog".

Laura said...

Lynn and Dave,

Im so sorry to hear that sweet Remmie past away.

He was the sweetest dog I ever met in my entire life. The way he was treathing Tiffani was great as since she hugged Remmie she is not that scared anymore about dogs. He gave her the trust she needed.

I was crying here when i was reading this very sad news and are with you in thoughts.

Rembrandt I am going to miss your visits to the office.

Fiona Brenninkmeyer said...

Lynn and Dave, when i saw you today, it was all a shock and i could not let the news sink in, but this really made me cry: "As it turns out, this is similar to the pose in which he died. Chin on my arm with a paw resting over my leg. Perfect peace. Lying in his bed in our living room.". Lynn, you have a way with words and it helps us so much to understand what you are going through, even if we cant be there....i will miss our friday coffee this week, but will be thinking of you and feel relieved that dear Rem is not suffering anymore, will touch base next week
all our love
Fiona, Damian and little Anya, xxx

arthur said...

sending giant e-hugs to you

Dane said...

Lynn & Dave-

Thinking of you both...I have really enjoyed reading these posts over the past few months. And Remmie added even more color to your experiences for us to read.

Thanks for sharing him.


Sara and Al said...

Lynn and Dave~

We are so sorry to hear of your beautiful Remmie passing away. I cried as I read your post, thinking of our two dogs that we watched die in much the same way. It is such an absolutely heart wrenching experience...
And I second the idea of you writing a book... ANY type of book. I may not post many comments, but each day I look forward to logging on as I have my morning coffee. You have a beautiful way with words... just a reflection of what you, Dave and Remmie are all about... simply love.

Uncle Dan said...

Dear Remmie:

I only got to meet you in person once. It was during my short visit last summer with you, Dave & Lynn at your old pad. You were too cool for school. I enjoyed getting to know you. You couldn't have made your roommates D&L happier when you arrived. You probably did more for them, than they did for you (those Bums!).

Anyway, I hope you're in a happy place now. You made everyone around you happier!


Uncle Dan, Aunt Cady, Cousins Jack, Lily & Woody.