Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rest in peace, my beloved Pluto dog

It is with indescribable sadness that I am writing about my beloved dog Pluto who was my favorite animal companion for almost sixteen years.  After I shared my turkey sandwich with him in the back of the van, the vet joined us there and put Pluto to sleep to send him over the rainbow bridge.

I've known Pluto longer than my husband Steve or my kids.  This dog was my first baby (and anyone who rolls their eyes and says, "Phew, it's just a DOG" can go to hell after I punch them in the face.)

Pluto and I came together via divine intervention - literally.  I've never heard anything like it, and I want to share the story with you.

Before I found Pluto, I had a black lab named Deva, who was everything to me.  At that time, I lived in the Ozarks in Oklahoma after landing there during a solo motorcycle trip across the country to study organic agriculture intentional communities for my college degree.  I was establishing an organic farm for a wealthy man who was paranoid about Y2K.  I wanted to learn and work, and he wanted to pay me so he could be self-sufficient, so I moved into a trailer and worked my ass off.  It was quite isolated there, so I got a tiny little puppy dog, and we bonded like crazy.

Fast forward two years when I moved back to the Pacific Northwest, where I finished up my college degree, and where Deva got hit by a car and died screaming in my arms.  This gave me terrible Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I grieved hard for a long time, and when it didn't get any better I wondered if I should get another dog to fill the void inside my heart.

I agonized about this for weeks, not feeling ready to get another dog, but at the same time wanting another dog in my life.  One day I went to the animal shelter "just to look".  The lady in charge showed me a litter of border collie/labrador puppies, and when I sat down with them, all seven of them jumped on me and chewed on me - except the eighth puppy, a black beauty with a white spot on his chest.  This one sat calmly down next to me, chewing on a stick.  I liked him.  But I didn't want to open myself up to another heart break... 

The lady in charge said if I wanted to adopt one of the puppies, they would be ready on Thursday, after being immunized and spayed and neutered.  I waved her off and went home, where I proceeded to agonize about whether I was ready for a new dog or not.

I sat down and mediated/prayed.  With lots and lots of intensity, I asked for divine guidance.  "God/great spirit/universe, I need a sign!  Should I get this puppy or not?  I really, really need a clear sign here, do you understand?  I want it so clear that it can't be argued with!  In fact, I want it in writing, hear?"

I went about my business, and later in the day opened up an astrological calendar, where the phases of the moon and location of the planets were analyzed week by week.  Every astrological sign had their own weekly forecast.  I opened up my Gemini horoscope for the coming week.  Here is what it said:

"Pick up a new friend at the animal shelter on Thursday."  Yes.  I swear, this is exactly what it said.  And you know what I did, don't you?  Yep, I picked up the phone, called the lady at the animal shelter and told her I wanted to pick up that puppy on Thursday.

And I did.  It's the best decision I ever made.  Pluto and I became inseparable.  He rode on my motorcycle with me (in fact, we were quite famous in Bellingham).  He turned out to be the best dog everyone ever met, and everyone always commented on how sweet and special he was.

He was.  I love that dog, and I will miss him something fierce.

Steve and I just went through my whole digital picture library from since when our kids were born.  I wish I had digital pictures of me and Pluto on my motorcycle, but I don't, and I don't know how to scan photos.  Here are the ones from his youth that touched me.  It shows him in the middle of action: at the river, so patient with the kids, ready to play, always, always.

I don't know how to do life without Pluto.  I'm on my second beer tonight, after not drinking at all for many months.  Will I turn into an alcoholic?  Will my heart heal?  Will there be another divine puppy intervention sometime?  


  1. Dear Corina, I feel your loss. Have gone through that twice as a boy and as a young man, both times leaving a yearlong friend. They were my dogs....
    I'll spare you the clichés and hope you will find some comfort besides the pain when looking at pictures like these or remembering him as he was.

  2. So sad to hear this. I've been there and I, too, know the pain of losing your companion. Hope you find comfort.

  3. Oh Corina, my heart goes out to you. I am giving you a big virtual hug.
    May I gently encourage you to feel your grief, don't hold back? You don't want that emotional energy trapped inside you (said with experience).

    And I see your passion for living and your beautiful self-awareness not allowing you to travel too far down that road of alcohol abuse.

    Peace and comfort to you...

    1. Thank you, Michelle. My hint about alcoholism was a faint attempt at a joke. No worries there.

  4. Knowing exactly how you feel, here. What a fabulous bunch of memories you will carry with you always. Our four legged friends and family are very important to us, makes life special!!

  5. Awwwwwww! My heart goes out to you, too. So tough, so tough. I wish I was there to give you a big hug. Pluto was a great dog.

  6. A part of you and your family is gone, yet he has left a lasting imprint on all of you forever. He has given you so many memories and stories to share. He gave you unconditional love for many years. What a treasure! May you find comfort in all that he gave you. Love and hugs to you, Cheryl Werda

  7. Corina, I read your story twice and cried both times. I too will be sending my sweet BEAU off soon, this next year I believe. I don't know if I can do it. But I know I must. He is a beautiful, smart, adoring shepherd mix with advancing hip dysplagia. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Blessings to you and your lovely family.

    1. Dear Kathy,
      In Germany, I grew up with German shepherds because my grandpa trained them as police dogs. They were some of the best dogs in the world, and deeply loved by us kids. The darn hips, though. Sending you and Beau lots of love, and may the time you have left with him be extra special.

  8. I am crying with you and share your pain in the loss of our dear animal friends.

    Love, Debbie

  9. Darling Corina, I share in your grief, what a special friend Pluto was to many.
    "You are beauty
    We are beauty
    We are divine
    Unchanged by time"
    May your memories of Pluto stay bright, what an amazing being!

  10. So sorry to hear Corina I'll be praying for you. I know how this feels dogs are just as much family as any human is. Also going to be praying for your dad.

  11. Hi
    just came across your blog via IG. What a moving and beautiful story. Pluto wad a beautiful looking dog, and sounded like the best friend ever. We lost our border/lab a few years ago, and still miss her like crazy. We decided to get a border pup two years ago, and he too has become my best friend. Friendships with animals are truly like no other.
    Kindest regards from the snowy french alps.


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