There are days in this life that we wish we could get a do over. It is not yet five on a Monday morning and I am wishing it were Sunday so I could restart that day and try again. And yet I'm not sure what I could have done differently other than not opening my front door.
A simple act really. Just opening the door to let my cat out so that he can get some fresh air and stretch after napping on the couch beside me most of the afternoon. But this one act would set a course for the day that I'm not sure reveals the best of me. Perhaps only revealing my cowardice.
A stray dog that looked to have some pit bull in him was at my front door earlier in the day. I had only noticed him when my son's friend came over to play. I told the dog to go home. He didn't and stuck around. I posted on facebook asking for anyone who might know the owner. He stood on my porch shaking and howling before disappearing. I didn't see him. I thought he had run off in search of home, although I venture a guess that he had no home or not one that wanted him back as he looked hungry and was not wearing a collar.
My cats are indoor/outdoor cats. They like to come in and rest but they also like to go out and play and feel the fresh air and roam around the yard. This had never been a problem before. The number of times I have opened my door to let cats in or out are too numerous to count. It would be like trying to number the stars.
Close to ten years ago my mother lost her battle to cancer on a July evening during a lightening storm. The following April on Easter my cat Lucy was found having been hit by a car. We had had Lucy for four years. We got her as a kitten and she was our cat Gabby's best friend after she decided to let her stay. Gabby was not happy about the addition to our family at first. Lucy was a great mouser and when I was pregnant with my son both she and Gabby followed me everywhere guarding me even if I went to the restroom. When she died we were devastated and it only compounded our grief over losing my mom.
My husband not one to want us to be hurt took us to a coworker's home a couple months later and let us pick out a kitten from her litter. We sat among the kittens and Linus was ours from the moment I first held him. Linus we were told was a girl. Which is when our adventures with Linus began. We named "her" Lilly and took "her" home. When I took "her" to the vet you can imagine their surprise that we had named this cat Lilly. As it turned out Lilly had testicles and was a boy. Linus had long hair and we never looked for ourselves. I then had to come up with another L name on the spot and Linus' identity crises ended.
Linus has been with us since 2005. He quickly became my buddy. He liked to be where I was. Often sleeping at the foot of my bed or sleeping on my favorite white couch beside me. Sometimes he would lay on my kitchen counter in front of the window and when we told him to get down he would look at us like he had no idea what our problem was. One evening I even found him investigating the washer and dryer. He was so funny and full of life which he helped to breathe into us after suffering a few tough losses.
I opened my front door. I stood there at the door to make sure he didn't want to come back inside. Then I noticed he was looking at something and his hair started sticking straight up. I turned to see the stray coming out of the igloo we keep on our porch for the cats. I told him to come back inside but he wouldn't, his eyes fixed on the dog. I told the dog to go. The the cat jumped and bounced out off the side of the house and took off to the neighbor's house with the dog chasing him. I tried to find a number for help but I couldn't see straight. I grabbed my shoes and ran to get a baseball bat and took off to find my cat at the neighbor's house being circled by the dog. I rang the doorbell and asked for help. The came out to help and the dog attacked. I hit the dog on the back with the bat but he wouldn't let go. Eventually we got them separated and I got my carrier and we got Linus in it and carried home. The neighbors got the dog tied up and called for someone to come take the dog away.
We kept him in the carrier until my husband got home and we took him to the vet. Linus was in shock and cold. We warmed him up and gave him pain meds and well...they tried everything they could but only Jesus could save him. So He took him home.
Our four legged friends become a part of our families. Often times they are like one of the kids or one of our closest confidants. That is what Linus was for us. I imagine what it is like for him in Heaven. Running around with Lucy even though they never met and driving my mother crazy. The sadness we feel over the loss of him is like a hole is inside us and it won't close or perhaps like being punched so hard and the ache just won't go away.
If only I hadn't opened the door. If only I had called to have someone take the dog earlier in the day. I kept thinking maybe someone would claim him. I kept thinking if I call and have him taken away they may kill him. I didn't want to end him I only wanted him to go away and I thought eventually he would, that he had. And for this moment and for this week I am going to wish I had called and wish I could have shot that dog the moment I opened the door. I'm going to wish I had ended the dog and my cat were still here to lay on the couch beside me and follow me upstairs and lay in my closet. This week in my grieving I am not going to feel sympathy for the dog who killed my cat, my friend, my four legged kid, my confidant. And yet even as I type that I know that even if I did have a gun, I'm not sure I could have just shot the dog when I opened the door and what does that say about me?
"All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.… Those passages from Matthew are what I cling to. I will continue to go to my Father and seek his comfort and peace. Please pray for us.