Sailor Girl


Bullmarket Roch the Boat
My Sailor Girl – Anchored in the harbor of rest.
25 Feb 1999 – 06 April 2012


All of My Beautiful Dogs Are Dying
– Vicki Hearne

. . . Without the beautiful dogs
No one dares to attend to desire;

The sky retreats, will intend nothing,
It is a ceiling to rebuke the gaze,
Mock the poetry of knowledge.

My death is my last acquiescence;
Theirs is the sky’s renunciation,
Proof that the world is a scattered shame

Littering the heavens. The new dogs
Start to arise, but the sky must go
Deeply dark before the stars appear.

An Ending for Ella

In spite of all of our best wishes, Ella’s story did not have the happy ending we all were hoping for. Ella’s veterinarians rushed her into surgery late yesterday, once our fundraiser looked as if it was going to raise enough to fund her surgery.

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In Memory of Dark Lola – Pinetree’s Absolut Lolita

Barb and I first met when she bought a little stripey brindle bitch from me named “Rosey”, aka Bullmarket A&A Stripe Ts. Rosey was Tessa’s half sister, and, just like her sister, was a complete and utter charmer with people (although not always with other dogs).

Rosey had a few litters, one of which was sired by Ch. Pinetree’s Baileys Kahlua and Cream. This litter produced a lovely little dark brindle bitch, call named Lola, registered name Pinetree’s Absolut Lolita. Lola lived with Barb, and I nicknamed her “Dark” Lola, to differentiate her from our ‘other’ Lola (who is perhaps better known as The Dread Pirate Lola, official mascot of Talk Like a Pirate Day).

Things can get confusing when you have a few dogs, and some of them share the same name, but I always felt slightly guilty about Lola’s nickname, because there was nothing at all dark about her, other than her coat. She had a sweet, sunny nature and loved everyone equally, whether people or dogs. Lola had a litter of her own, producing  Absolut Amron Vol De Nuit, better known as Connie Lovece’s GiGi.

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Cinco De Mayo


What is the expiry date on grief? When do we suddenly decide our hearts are no longer broken?

Is it the day you wake up, and realize you no longer expect to see your dog on the end of the bed? Or is it the day when you realize that you have not heard her bark, not once, not even thought you’d heard it.

Perhaps it is the day when you start to remember her as she was, when she was young.

Have I said it before, how fast she was? No one told me that French Bulldogs could move so quickly. Before her, I’d been used to a more sedentary kind of dog, a slower moving one. When we were at the park, when she was young, there was nothing sedentary about my girl. Her best friend, a whippet, could beat her for endurance, but for the short stretch, the ‘chase me around the tree’ stretch, she could keep up and then some. And, if she couldn’t keep up? Well, she was still a bulldog – she’d smash into him with her head, knock him flying, then turn to me and laugh. She was so funny, my little girl.

Is grief gone when you can think about her eyes, her liquid, beautiful, soulful brown eyes, and not find your own filling with tears? No matter where I went, those eyes kept track of me. She maybe didn’t have to get up and follow me, not when she was young, but she liked to keep track. “People are wayward”, you could see her thinking. “It’s best if I know where mommy is, in case she gets lost or wanders off. Better safe than sorry”.

I don’t know what the expiry date is on grief. The experts say, at least so I’ve read, that six months is enough for a dog. I guess the experts never had a dog like mine.

Today, tomorrow and always, I will grieve for her, and I will remember. I will remember my shame that her death was not a good death. That is what breaks my heart, and leaves me unable to celebrate the best parts of my sweet girl’s life. I can’t blame anyone for that but myself. I knew she was afraid of the vet, and I could have done more to find someone who would come to us, instead of taking her to them. She should have never felt fear, but she did, and I let her. She reacted, badly, to the sedative that they gave her before that final needle, and I could do nothing to help her. I let her down, and I know that I could have done more to make her final minutes a release from pain, instead of a terror.

The joy and the wonder of our dogs, the thing that lets me continue to breathe, even on today, is their unending capacity for forgiveness. I know that, even while I can’t forgive myself for how my girl died, she herself would have forgiven me. I don’t know if that makes it better, or worse.

I miss you, Tessa. I miss you every single day. There is no expiry date on grief.

Mae has gone to the bridge

Ch Absolut Bullmarket Ezmerelda - Mae

Mae Mae

Ch Absolut Bullmarket Ezmerelda
July 25, 2001 – February 8, 2011

We knew Mae didn’t have a lot of time left. Her degenerative myelopathy had been accelerating in the last month or so, and her mobility was almost non existent. Just after Christmas, I wondered if we were actually there, but when I sat down next to Mae, she wrestled with me, nibbling on my finger tips and rolling over for a belly rub. You just don’t put down a dog who still has a wrestling match left in her.

This afternoon, I heard a God awful sound coming from the living room. Mae was having a seizure, and was obviously terrified. Even after it ended, she was shaky and frightened. I took her in to the vet immediately, and she seized twice in the car on the way there, once more on the table at the vet’s office.

There really wasn’t another choice to make, when death is so clearly a release from pain and fear.

I would like to believe that there is a bridge, and that Mae and all of my other dogs are there. Mae, like Tessa, will once more be running free and fast, only stopping to flop down on the ground for a nap and a head scratch.

I would like to believe that one day, we’ll get to see them all again, all of our old dogs, all the puppies we ever lose, all the rescues we’ve lost, all the animals who’ve touched our lives. If there is a heaven, and my animals aren’t waiting for me in it, then it’s not a place I could ever want to spend eternity in.