Walking Around in Circles

I woke up Wednesday morning at 3 am and began the countdown. Seven hours left, then six, then three, then one… Each hour I committed to be present for Rumpy. No nose stuck in a laptop or phone. No busy work.

He spent his last morning lying on the bed in front of the air conditioner to help him breathe easier.

I talked to him. I reminded him of the day we met. How after it became apparent that no one would claim him, Rumpy convinced me to let him move from the yard to inside the house. We talked about those who have gone before, and how he was so good with Lucky, DeDe and Sage. I thanked him for taking care of June Buggie and Bubba. I asked him why he chose to stay with me. I wondered what he’d say to me if he and I spoke the same language.

At the vet clinic I kept myself composed to make sure the transition went smoothly for him. As I walked out afterward, the reality hit me that from here on out, everything will be different.

My entire life has revolved around caring for the furry ones. My vehicle had to accommodate us all in an emergency. My home had to allow a dog considered by some to be a dangerous breed. Each morning began with a trip outside, no matter the weather. Making sure Rumpy didn’t get into the cats’ food before they’d eaten their fill. Cleaning and refilling his water bowl, then checking regularly to see if a cat has used it as a foot bath.

Yella took his turn with Rumpy’s harness and leash.

I came home and just kept walking around in circles. Rumpy had so many things in this house. Toys. Leashes. Brushes. Food. Cookies. I pulled all the food out of the cabinet because I didn’t want to see it every time I went to feed the cats, but I can’t bring myself to throw it away. So for now it’s all sitting on the counter, where instead of seeing it whenever I open the cabinet, I see it when I walk in the kitchen.

After I fed the cats this morning there was cat food left over. Rumpy would have snuck in to eat it. I ate breakfast and no one begged for a bite. I never ate without Rumpy nearby. I kept thinking I needed to go outside. I’d only been outside once, and that was to take out the trash; Rumpy and I went outside several times a day.

I am not sure how to proceed in this new normal. Rumpy was such a presence in this house and now it feels empty. In some ways it’s business as usual. Cats must be fed. Meds must be distributed. Litter boxes  must be scooped. Laundry must be done. These things cannot wait, but in other ways it’s so not normal. Rumpy is not here. He was here yesterday but he is not here today, and he won’t be here anymore.

I have decided to not do anything major for 30 days. No throwing anything away. No cleaning of carpets. I don’t even want to wash the clothes I was wearing yesterday. I will have to vacuum the car at some point, but not today.

I took a blanket with me to the vet and Rumpy lay on it as he left. I brought it back home and put it in the floor along with his harness, collar and leash. The cats have sniffed at it. They now seem less upset now than they have been. They knew he was dying. They have comforted me and each other, but they also feel lost.

While I was spending those final moments with Rumpy, I felt DeDe here. I could see her smiling and wagging her nubby tail. It comforted me to know that her memory is still strong in my heart, and let me know that even though I sometimes find myself doubled over crying my eyes out, Rumpy’s memory will not die, and it won’t always be so painful.

87 thoughts on “Walking Around in Circles

  1. I so wish I had the words that could help……..this was such a beautiful post. All of us who have loved and lost a beloved, cherished furry family member can understand. I still have things saved of Bobo’s and he passed in 2007. Grief has no time limit. We all must do what is right for each of us. Just please know that Rumpy was deeply loved by soooo sooo many, we share in your grief. Sending (((hugs)))) and loving thoughts and prayers.

  2. My heart cries with you . . . Thank you for sharing Rumpy with us – it has been a privilege . . . Tears will help the healing, though his passing will be hard to bear right now. xxxxx

  3. Oh Jen, my heart is breaking for you because I’ve been there too. It’s awful!!!! I think you are wise not to do anything with his stuff for a week or whenever you feel like dealing with it. i always left things out for a week or two. It just didn’t seem right to toss the stuff in the garbage, so I finally bundled it up and took it to a shelter. Sending you more big HUGS!

  4. We had to euthanize my Frankie last month. He had kidney failure and it was time, but I’m still heartbroken. I haven’t put sheets back on the bed (we were changing sheets daily bcs of his loss of bladder control) and I still wear the PJ’s I had on the last time I held him to give him fluids. They’re flannel and it was 86 degrees here today. Sending lots of hugs from someone who’s in a similar place.

    1. I’m sorry Heidi. I wore the jeans I wore to the vet clinic when I ran to the grocery yesterday. I just wanted to do that. I went for cat food for Bubba and bought lots of stuff I don’t need but forgot Bubba’s food.

  5. I wish for you a heart healed, so that you can remember all the moments with Rumpy without pain. And for me, I needed my other dogs to help me through the loss, so if it helps you, I hope you find another dog to comfort you and make you smile again.

  6. The 30-day waiting period is a very good idea. At this point nothing you do is wrong. Be gentle with yourself, dry those tears that carry away the sadness. Get out of your house for a bit during times you would be interacting with him, so you can remember more clearly. A loss is like a physical wound, and takes as much time and care to heal through honest grieving. We all love you.

  7. My heart is breaking for you. Even though we know the inevitable day must come when we must give our furpals our greatest gift of being pain free, it remains the most hideous and difficult of times. My thoughts are with you. Love & hugs xx

  8. Thank you for sharing such a poignant time. Thank you for sharing Rumpy with us.

    Know that we hear and feel your pain – most (all?) of us have gone through this exquisitely painful situation at least once. There’s such an emptiness. We keep thinking (at some level) that they’re still with us. We look and they are not there. We do things like you do – moving things around so as to avoid them and then realizing we’ve moved them to a very open space.

    t is so hard to move past this sort of loss. It takes time – sometimes a lot of it – and it takes being tender with yourself. He loved you. He chose you. He wanted to spend his life with you. He trusted you in life and to see him out of this life.

    Keeping you in my thoughts. Keep us posted on how YOU are.

  9. Years ago, I had a Malamute named Nikki. She came down with mammary cancer and when I knew that there was no hope, I went with her for her last visit to the vet. I stayed with her til the end with her head in my lap. I was glad that I stayed. Even though my heart broke as yours is now, I can still feel here presence as I do with all the others that I have lost. We will meet them again! You can take comfort in that. God bless you!

    1. I take comfort in knowing that Rumpy no longer struggles to breathe. No matter how much this hurts, I know I could not continue to allow him to suffer in that way.

  10. There are no good words to say. But this I do know, memories will carry you through. Lost my old man kitty at 17 from lymphoma. A cruel disease. But he’s always with me, just as his pal Minnie is here too. They never leave you.
    I am so sorry. He was a hood doggo.

  11. I don’t have any words of wisdom, and I know they wouldn’t make much difference anyway. This post made me cry, so just know my tears and heart are with you.

  12. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Rumpy. What a lucky fellow he was to have crossed paths with you and made you his mom. RIP Rumpy. Run free dear pup. He will never forgotten. xxx

  13. I can’t tell you how sorry I am…it’s just not fair. They come into our lives…sometimes unexpectedly…and yet they somehow become so molded into our every day life that without them, we do not feel whole. We have them for such a short time…it is never enough. But for the lucky ones, we have years and years of memories. Paws on our heart that will never leave and are always there when the time is right to reminisce…to close our eyes and almost feel them again. Rumpy will be missed…but more than anything, he was loved. And you cannot erase love…no matter the time that passes by..

  14. *Hugs* I understand completely. After Cinnamon crossed the Bridge, it took a while to get used to her not being there, especially for my mother since she had been her constant companion. She still has Cinnamon’s things (bed, toys) sitting on the floor, 3 years later. And now Shadow is gone as well, so it’s very lonely without any furry companions at all. But we know they’re not completely gone, as long as we remember them. And they visit once in a while in our dreams. I think their spirits visit, too. I remember I woke up one night a couple of months ago after thinking I felt my bed shake like Shadow or Cinnamon had jumped up there.

  15. Rumpy will never die, Jen! I look at photos of the German shepherd we had so many years ago and of my miniature schnauzer who died last October and I realize how much we all did for each other. For both dogs I put certain personal items in paper bags to keep forever, like their collars and leashes. I even washed off the last chew bone Wolfgang had and stuffed it into a Ziploc bag.

    As with any relative, recalling the best moments of their lives will help you get through the new pain. I’m glad you were able to rescue Rumpy. More animals should be so fortunate.

  16. Dear
    Jen I am so very sorry for your loss. Rumpy was a most wonderful pup I’ll miss him as though he was mine
    I’ll miss that wonderful face, that I looked forward to seeing every morning
    I wish I could be there with you and hug you in person
    All my love

  17. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet boy, Jen. Saying I’m sorry seems lame and inadequate and there are no words which can comfort you or ease your heartache. He will live on in your heart and mind always. You can be sure that he loved you and was lucky to have found you. No one could have loved or cared for him more than you did. Am thinking of you and wishing for peace and comfort in the days ahead.

  18. We’re so sorry, Jen. And so sad. Rumpy was one of a ind, and we will never forget him. Please just know that you are in our thoughts. ❤

  19. So sorry. It is so very hard. I still miss my Maggie. She is on my bed post with. I kiss her every morning and night. ❤️

  20. What a sad sad story… still you were there for him right to the end. Couldn’t make him a more beautiful present then actually being there. He had a great life with you and as for me… I will sadly miss those Rumpy posts. Rest in peace Rumpy

  21. It’s difficult typing through my tears Jen, I have no words that can heal your pain right now. Rumpy is at peace and is pain free, that’s all the comfort I can offer. Please know that you are in our thoughts, we loved Rumpy too. Take care.
    Alan (Denzil’s daaad).

  22. I have no adequate words, but you express your pain very eloquently. Rumpy was larger than life and a huge presence. Not doing anything for a period of time is always wise while one is grieving. You are much in my thoughts ❤️

  23. perhaps you can donate his food to a rescue somewhere Jen? they won’t mind if its been opened. so sad that rumpys gone. hope the cats are ok x

  24. While it’s the hardest thing you did for arumpy, it was also the most loving thing for you to have done. You really planned ahead. When I decided it was time for Jamima I had about 5 hours to throw it all together. It took most of that time to arrange someone to help take us. I managed to book a spot at the vet, got home and had 30 minutes to spend with her, to have that conversation with her about everything she meant to me. It wasn’t enough. Tears. Just tears. 😫

    1. I’m sorry. I wish it had been different for you. I wish it had been different for me. I wish, but what’s done is done and my task now is to accept that.

      1. We prepare in stages. Then we put it off convincing ourselves its not so bad but then we do what we have to because we love them & dont want them to suffer. Its that hideous saying: It is what it is. Hope to hear from you when you are ready. Cheers,H

  25. Heartbreaking and touching, all in one. My thoughts are with you as you adjust to life without your sweet Rumpy. I am sad, too. He was one of my most favourite doggie friends online. Life won’t be the same. Take your time to grieve for your boy. He meant so much to you. Everything else can wait. Hugs to you and the cats.

  26. Dear Jen, I’ so sorry……I still can’t believe that Rumpy is not there………I did’t meet him in real though……therefor you must feel so hard to have your life without him because he and you were so close…….I still keep almost all of the things Kevin had because I don’t want to throw them away…..thank you very much for sharing his last moment story with us here.Jen, you’re in my thoughts.

  27. My heart hurts for you Jenn. Rumpy is and was a huge part of your life. Thank you for rescuing him and giving him the best life he deserved.

    Be kind to yourself, grieve and most of all love yourself.

    Much love,


  28. I am so sorry for your loss. Rumpy will be missed. He was the reason I started reading your blog. Such a beautiful dog. Please share the memories as memories were meant to be shared. My thoughts are with you as I have been down this road many times in my life and I still miss each and everyone of them to this day.

  29. thought of rumpy many times today…you captured the very specific grief process that has been experienced by me often…and I revisited those deep feelings right with you. rumpy meant a great deal to all of us who read your blog. thanks for the wondrous words!

  30. Rumpy’s face always put a smile on mine. As a Christian –not one of those politically conservative type that hate the poor, treat animals with disdain, and worship an albino Christ– I believe our loving God wants us to be happy when we come home to Him. Our happiness includes having our pets there to greet us. Pure joy. Take the time you need to mourn the absence of his physical earthly presence. My prayer is that you find comfort in knowing you were God’s gift to each other and together you’ve helped to change a little part of the world for the good of all animals everywhere. Find comfort in that the next time you see him there will be no restraints, limitations, fragility of earthly bodies…nor perhaps language restraints! Continue, as I know you will, to be a blessing. ♡

  31. Thank you for sharing Rumpy with us all Jen,Its hard to let go when the loss is so raw and new,we all loved Rumpy and We all love you!much love and many hugs are sent to you,xx Rachel and Speedy

  32. I just saw this. I am so sorry that Rumpy has gone to the Bridge. I know how empty the house feels. Funny that when Cubby left it was so very quiet even though the 3 cats are still here. (((hugs)))

    The Florida Furkids and Mom Sharon

  33. For so long they carry us selflessly through life – consoling, commiserating, causing comedy, protecting from all things seen and unseen, partnering – but when they leave us, we carry them with us for life. And they wouldn’t have it any other way – and I can’t imagine it either.
    May peace and comfort find you

  34. I’m here to pay my respects with wet eyes to Rumpy. *bows head* I hope Jen will hear my comforting purrz and know that she gave you the best life a woofie could have.

  35. Jen my words sound empty but they are filled with meaning well-.., I feel your loss clearly. When each of my Sibes left my world shifted to something unfamiliar. Now twenty plus years later I miss them still

  36. It is so, so, hard to say goodbye to a life companion. Godspeed, Rumpy. Comforting purrs from Cheshire, Nutmeg, the Cheeses. Virtual hugs from the human.


  37. When Emerald, my high maintenance diabetic cat, passed I could not throw her insulin vial away. Pretty much everything else she liked the other cats in the house also liked so I didn’t need to remove specific cat things, but her insulin vial.. Well, it sat in the fridge for three years until we purchased a new fridge. Then it went in the box with her cremains.

    It is hard. Be kind to yourself. take as long as you need to get through this.

    My heart goes out to you for your loss.

  38. Yes, when you lose one, the house is so empty even when there are others present. Each time I lose a furry, I count out the bowls for each meal and for a while forget there is now one extra. Loss is hard and painful, as you know. I’m so sorry for the loss of Rumpy. .

  39. I can so totally relate to this. I’ve been where you are, and you have my deepest compassion as you go through grieving the loss of your beloved dog friend. We never forget them, but eventually we may be able to learn how to live without them. ❤

  40. I’m so very sorry, Jen. I’ve enjoyed knowing Rumpy through your writing and often could feel him as if he was right next to me. He will be greatly missed and my heart is with you. To this day, I have certain outfits I will never wear again, clothes that I had on the day I had to say goodbye to a pet. Part of it is some weird superstition I have and part of it just seems disrespectful to the pet. So, there the clothes hang in my closet, for no other reason than the reminder I lost someone dear to my heart… xoxo

  41. I’m so sorry to hear your Rumpy dog crossed the bridge–we got to know him some when we were first blogging. He had a wonderful life with you, full of love and adventure. We know how hard it is to say goodbye to beloved family members, which is of course what he was, what they all are. We hope those kitties are stepping up to purr their very best on you, and we, along with everyone else, send you hugs and our best purrs and purrayers. XOXO Spitty the Kitty and his Human Mary

  42. Each loss is a grievous one that leves us empty and lost. It gets different, you don’t get upset all the time, it just sneaks up on you when you read sad stuff, or you lose a close fur friend.

    Rumpy, we will miss you * hugs *

  43. Jen, Rumpy was spectacularly wonderful. His presence will be missed by all of us as you, through your words brought him into our lives.
    I know the Rumpy sized hole in your heart will ache, the tears will flow but I also know that
    I love you and will share your pain.
    I send you strength and all my love.
    Barb (Nellie’s Mommy )

  44. We’re so very sorry for the loss of dear Rumpy. Gosh…we’ve known him for so many years. He was one of the very first blogging doggies we ever met. And one with a heart of gold. Sending you love and comfort.

  45. Squash’s collar and tags (gone 6 years now) hang in the laundry room. Nikki’s tag (gone 11) is on my key chain. There are still some Squash toys on the bottom of the current toy box. Rumpy, as is DeDe, will always be there. There is no time in which you have to do anything. He was a great dog and you were both blessed.

  46. I cried with you when Rumpy said he fought the fight, was tired, and it was time. I cried – am crying – reading your beautiful post. I’ve had cats and although their presence is strong, I felt it stronger with BJ. BJ followed me wherever I went. I felt bad if I had to go into another room for a minute because he got up and followed me and then followed me back.

    Again, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  47. Dear Jen, I am sorry to say I only read this today. I wish I could run across the airwaves and hug you. Your story, and Rumpy’s is something that will always stay with me. So many of us out here know and understand the pain of farewelling a beloved companion. But sadly our understanding can not help you in your grief. I hope that in some small way, knowing how far Rumpy’s reach was will help.

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