In Honor or Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day!

{Originally Posted 8/28/18}

In honor of Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day…

RandT1

When I saw that today is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance day, I teared up thinking about our precious Tigger and amazing Ranger.

Most would associate the name Tigger with a cat right? But our sweet little Maltese was given his name by our kids because of the way he bounced around. It made them think of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. And as the years passed, it was amazing how one of the first things people would notice about him was his bounce and bark combo. “When he barks his whole body comes off the ground!”, they would say in amazement. And he barked a lot in between napping and lounging in a million of his favorite spots around the house.

TigOnBed

And between all of that he was busy playing sock bandit. He would find socks and then walk around with them whining as if to say..I have your sock..don’t you want to come get it back from me?

TigSock

It was odd that he barked so much, according to our vet at the time, because he was deaf. Deafness in white dogs is not all that uncommon as it turns out. It is caused by a recessive gene in white dogs and he was very white, fluffy, adorable, & full of life until that last year when not only could he not hear, but his vision, & then his memory started failing him. He didn’t know who we were and you could tell he was scared all the time.

When he was sitting in the hall one day, I walked by & reached down to pet him. He bit me and scurried away crying like he didn’t know where to go to run away. That was a taxing moment for me emotionally to see him be so scared & not knowing where he was in his own home, and not be able to comfort him. So we decided the humane thing to do was to let him pass over the rainbow bridge.

Fortunately, we were able for him to have some time with the kids before leaving. They were so much bigger to him then in 2016 than when he joined us in 2002. But as you can see from the picture, he was old and sad and the time had come.

KidsAndTig

Our vet came to our home and we let him go. What an awful time but I always think of him reuniting with his siblings and birth parents when he crossed the bridge. I picture them all bouncing around and barking together while they talk about their humans.

Then there was our amazing Ranger, our lion hunter, the Rhodesian Ridgeback. He was an impressive figure and boy oh boy did people take notice of him. He was gorgeous from head to toe, stood tall and handsome! When we first got him, RR’s were not as common as they are now & most people we would run into at the park or walking him in our neighborhood didn’t know what breed he was. The ridge of hair on his back that laid the opposite direction is a feature that definitely catches your eye when you see a lion hunter dog. This breed was developed to hunt lions in Africa, hence the nick name lion hunter.

RangerRidge

My husband and I chose the breed because they are milder in temperament than other protection type breeds and I wanted a dog I would feel safe with walking & doing things on my own when my husband and boys were not available. Mission accomplished!

He was an amazing and loving pet, always wanting to cuddle which was quite an experience since he weighed in well over 130 lbs at any time. He was a great family companion for all of us and very sociable with others as well, even strangers. But at times, he would let us know if he didn’t feel comfortable with a stranger. If someone approached too quickly that he sensed something peculiar about, he would do his job and advise them not to approach any further. He fit the bill perfectly for what we were looking for at the time.

HandsomeBigDog

Then in his 4th year, he developed an autoimmune disease referred to as SLO (Symmetric Lupoid Onychodystrophy). At that time, few vets were even aware of it and we wound up finally landing on it after hours, days, & weeks of searching on the internet for an answer. When a dog has SLO, their body thinks their nails are a foreign substance and tries to kill off their nails. It’s a very painful and horrible disease. We went through 4 vets, one of which was going to amputate toes (yikes!).

While trying to figure out what was going on with Ranger when he got sick, my husband would have nightmares about Ranger’s feet & legs falling off. I cried a lot seeing him in pain & wondering if we would find an answer or wondering if we should maybe let him go then. But finally we got it all worked out and we found Dr. Miller who is our favorite vet of all time! He’s a straight shooter and he was familiar with the disease. But he worked within our financial abilities to help us manage it effectively rather than making us feel guilty that we couldn’t invest thousands of dollars for a newer medicine on the market or other expensive treatments.

RangerMeds

Dr. Miller supported us and Ranger through the disease and Ranger lived to almost 10 years. We would often talk about how we were so fortunate to have been blessed with Ranger all those years and didn’t lose him when he was 4.  Then the time came that we did lose him too.

Losing Tigger was hard, but losing Ranger was even more difficult in some ways. Unlike Tigger, he still had his cognitive function and was so loving and affectionate. Additionally, I had just left my corporate job and looked forward to being home for Ranger during his last stage of life and spoiling him. However, he became ill the very weekend after I had formally left employment. It was devastating to me.

He had a stomach issue that presented as too challenging to attempt to treat. We knew he was not in good enough health to tolerate surgeries at that point and we didn’t want to allow him to continue to live in pain while we tried to figure something out knowing that the likely outcome wouldn’t be manageable for him at his age with his existing health issues. So Dr. Miller helped us let him go here at home. It always hurts that he had to leave before I was able to spoil him by being home every day. It always makes me think of how it’s said, ‘life often doesn’t turn out like you plan’.

I am happy that he & Zuzu had some time together before he left us though. He would lounge around while she tried to mimic him amid her virtually insatiable puppy energy. Look at those eyes saying…”okay, I can’t lay here very long, get the pic already would ya”… haha.

RangerAndZuzu

These days I picture Ranger getting back together with his 10 siblings.. yes, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for having large litters. I picture them running and running and running some more, while Ranger feels no pain and experiences no degradation in his feet from his disease anymore. I wonder too if Ranger & Tigger run into one another up there and hi-paw each other and reminisce about being with us while they were here.

What do they say about us, about our kids? It’s a nice vision and we miss them dearly. Whatever they are up to, I trust they know that when we made the decision for them to cross over the bridge, they were grateful for their years with us, that we chose to allow their suffering to end, and that they now miss us too but are ever so happy in heaven. And that they are comforted by the fact that Zuzu Sugars carries on in their places for them.

ZuzuRedChair

She kind of bridges the gap between the two fur babies that I’m honoring today with this post.  She plays somewhat like a smaller dog but thinks she’s the protector around here too. She takes up in so many ways where Tigger & Ranger left off so to speak, it’s just amazing. 🙂

I’ll end this post with a few words to her predecessors…To Tigger, Zuzu sure does like to mimic your rope bone throwing and blanket shaking antics and she has about a million places around the house she like to lounge like you & from time to time, she even plays sock bandit to include the whining. She definitely keeps us entertained for you. And to Ranger, it’s obvious to us that you had a conversation with Zuzu before you left along the lines of…”Be sure to whine excessively to get your very early walk in the mornings and help keep the humans healthy & fit. And, be sure you let people know you’re here and that you’re the new protector of the universe!” So don’t worry about us too much, Tigger & Ranger. Just enjoy your life up there and hopefully we’ll see you again some day!

R.I.P Tigger & Ranger… we love you & miss you but we know you’re having fun up there!

To everyone else that has gone through this…may you be comforted today by all of your memories and by the thought that your fur babies are telling entertaining and sweet stories about you to their families in heaven. May your Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day bring you such sweet memories too!

Dozen white roses
Dozen white roses

To Love a Pet Is Beautiful & may you have a day full of whatever makes your life beautiful!

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