Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Farewell Blackie, you lived a good life and passed on your own terms.

Posted Friday, July 23, 2010, at 2:00 PM
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  • You made me cry, Steve. What a touching image.

    I'm glad Blackie had such a peaceful ending after a full life.

    -- Posted by MotherMayhem on Fri, Jul 23, 2010, at 3:22 PM
  • Did not mean to do that, but just coming back on to answer brings on misty eyes. It is a fact of life but we REALLY consider our pets friends so it hurts a bit each time. It is worse when they die young for some reason.

    We are developing quite a pet cemetery but I purposely placed it under trees and in an area that no one but a dedicated pet owner would want to dig. (Rocks, roots, poison ivy and HARD ground) Maybe that was why I was so emotional? :-)

    Thanks for your response MotherM.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jul 23, 2010, at 3:47 PM
  • Steve,

    Two years ago we lost our little poodle Hannah.

    Wish we could say it was as easy as your cat passing on his own. You see, we had to make the decision to put her down and that was VERY HARD.

    The first night with out Hannah was very tough on us. My wife and I couldn't sleep because it was SO QUITE in our home. Who would have thought that an 8 lb dog could make so much noise... with out making any noise at all.

    Even though we swore we would not "replace" Hannah, we rescued another little dog from the shelter in Shelbyville who is awesome in her own little way!!!

    I strongly suggest visiting the shelter for ANY pet needs. Whether trying to fill the void left by another pets passing or just looking for a companion.

    There will NEVER be another Hannah but our little Suzie is definately a keeper!!!

    Thoughts and prayers to your family.

    -- Posted by Joel T on Fri, Jul 23, 2010, at 3:50 PM
  • Thanks for your well wishes Joel,

    Losing Blackie brings our current family down to 4 dogs and 13 cats (5 kittens). With the exception of Blackie, who was born into our home from another stray arrival, all of the animal family members are "walk-ins".

    I am sure that there are a number of us who feel like magnets for these critters,(do they spread the word?) but we always seem to make room for more. I have a feeling our Lord put them in our path or lead them to our door.

    Making the decision to put your pet to sleep is a terribly hard thing to do, but all that considered, we still cherish the companionship of our four-legged family members.

    If at all possible, we recommend as you do Joel, adopt from the shelter. Even when you go through a loss, as today, it is still well worth it.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jul 23, 2010, at 5:18 PM
  • God Bless You . . . I know the emotions you feel when you lose a pet.

    -- Posted by bbbluebird on Fri, Jul 23, 2010, at 6:16 PM
  • Thanks maposie & bbbluebird. That is a good thing to think about as you have your pets around you. Love'em while you can.

    Some of ours can test our patience (PITA) but she sure came through like a champ this morning. She tested me again tonight and got away with it. Instead she got loving, which probably has her scratching her head, but I have tomorrow to get back to our normal tug of war.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jul 23, 2010, at 8:21 PM
  • It took 2 years to recover from losing Wickett. She died in my arms and it was so hard losing my constant shadow. My wife laughed at me when I would remark that I could hear her late at night patroling the house, until finally one night she heard our little hairy child shaking her food bowl. Wickett now resides in an Urn on my desk where I can speak to her every morning. After we got another puppy 2 years later, her visits finally subsided. Guess she has passed on her resposibilities. So believe me Steve, I understand your grief.

    -- Posted by cherokee2 on Sat, Jul 24, 2010, at 5:30 AM
  • I believe you Cherokee2. You would think we would refuse to go through that pain again and again but the love that comes from them is hard to explain. We keep saying, "no more", but....

    Even cats who have a reputation of being aloof have distinct personalities that endear them to us. Kit Kat has been sleeping with me less and less but last night either he, or he thought I needed some extra loving, so he was with me most of the night.

    I too have a shadow Cherokee2. And I do not know why. Sophie came as a stray about 2 years ago and at first I thought she was attached to my mother-in-law but it became apparent that I was HER responsibility. It sounds as if Wickett chose you. Not a burden, just a special bond.

    Debbi and Wanda usually feeds her and she has now taken to sleeping against Debbi most nights, but if I leave, she follows. She seems to be almost deaf, so she is constantly watching. I think she might be losing her sight too. but when she realizes that she has lost contact with me she will check out the whole house trying to find me. Why? I do not know.

    I hope those who do not have a companion read our stories and make a decision to adopt a pet. Dogs and cats are the first that come to mind, but I would bet there are many out there who have developed that special bond with other living creatures, Feel free to share with us. I think it emphasizes our humanity.

    We rescued a bluejay we named Brandon and he would fly to our shoulder or our daughter's head to rest until finding something interesting to explore. He eventually returned to the wild, but we have pictures to remember. (not sure if he was a he or she, but we chose a male name)

    Of course, we could be wrong. When we found Sammy as a kitten on the road, we originally called him Samantha. Good thing we had chosen a name that was adaptable. AS you might guess, we are not too concerned with their sex until it comes time to visit the vet.

    Thank you all for your well wishes. It does good to write about Blackie and our family of pets, just as you shared your memories and experiences with your family friends. Sometimes I wonder, who adopts who.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jul 24, 2010, at 8:26 AM
  • stevemills, Your Bluejay story reminded me that several years ago our neighbor had a flower box outside her kitchen window. Starlings nested there and one runt either fell or was pushed out of the nest. Our neighbor adopted the little bird and raised it on canned dog food. The little Starling then became familiar with everyone in the neighborhood. When my wife was working in the flower bed the bird would come and lite on her shoulder. One day my wife was digging in the flower bed and found a worm. She picked it up and gave it to her new found friend, and from that day forward until it went back into the wild it would come and lite on my wife's shoulder every time she came outside to wait for its daily worm. Animals are smarter than we give them credit for.

    -- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Jul 24, 2010, at 9:51 AM
  • Smarter indeed. Intuitive, empathetic, emotionally sensitive and as you said, smarter than we can understand. I also believe they communicate among themselves better than we give them credit.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jul 24, 2010, at 10:40 AM
  • When I arrived at the Tony Rice Center in June 2000, there was a big black lab named Jack that soon became my constant companion. I trusted him with my thoughts and emotions and he never once betrayed that trust. Upon completing treatment, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a job there. Jack was the only animal ever allowed in the building. He greeted every new arrival at the center with what genuinely appeared to be a smile. His was often fondly referred to as "smiling Jack". He was a friend to everyone. He would often sit beside my desk and keep me company. When I started teaching class, he would sometimes come in and listen. (That, or he enjoyed the cool tile floor in the classroom.) We had to make the decision to put Jack down four years ago and I felt like I'd lost my best friend. He was by far the best counselor I've ever met, for he listened to anything that anyone ever told him and he never passed judgement on anyone. His greatest reward was the love and attention his human companions provided. I'll miss that dog for the rest of my life. I just know there's a big black dog with a snaggletoothed smile and a wagging tail sitting at God's feet. I can only hope that I'll be worthy enough to see him again someday.

    Great blog Steve, I'm experiencing some good memories right now.

    -- Posted by Tim Lokey on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 12:56 PM
  • And a great description of the loved passed between you, Smiling Jack and all the others.


    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 11:08 PM
  • It's orignal Owner (Midnight)

    I used to be my dad's sidekick. I'd go with him to pick up chickens, goats, dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs anything that he thought needed a better home got it with my dad. One day he got a call from a man in Ft Campbell, the man said that he'd been pruning his bushes and caught his neighbor beating on a black horse. My dad dutifully promised to handle it and the next morning woke me up and asked if I wanted to tag along. Of course! I love horses. They are by far my favorite animal. There just wonderful. Dogs would take second and cats third. But anyway, we hooked up the horse trailer and by we, I meant he hooked it up and I sat in the air conditoned cab and played with the radio. Then we lit out for Ft Campbell Blvd. Seventeen miles down that blvd we happen upon the farm my dad's friend had described and I was shocked. This farm looked so nice. It was beautiful. Three huge white barns, picket fences lining the rolling endless seeeming green pastures and fat, shiney, horses dotted the place. A sign read Rolling Brook Walking Horses. How could such a wonderful establishment be accused of beating an animal. Wow, don't ever judge a book by it's cover. We pull up and a man runs out and greeted us happily. "Hi, I'm interested in one of your mares" My dad said. He spit out exactly what the "friend" had told him to say to get us to the mare. "Alright, good deal, which one?" "Pusher's Black Magic Midnight?" My dad replied. The man's smile vanished in litterally the blink of an eye. He frowned and began toying with his hat. "Umm. Yeah, she's right back here." He said nervously. He eyed the trailer and pointed in the direction to take it. We pulled around a winding gravel road and parked in front of an old ramshackeled barn. Nothing like what we had just viewed. My dad gave me a look and I stayed put. With the air conditoner going I wasn't permitted to roll down the window so I didn't hear everything between the man and my dad, but fifteen minutes later my dad walked a HUGE and I do mean HUGE jet black mare out of this old barn. She was skinny and had several sores on her body that I could see even from my vantage point in the truck. But she appeared trusting and loving. Almost thankfull to be rescued. Later that week my dad told me "It's time you ride her. She's broke. I've been on her." He retreated into the barn and returned with a bridle and saddle. This mare was 16 plus hands high! I was NOT riding her! I could die. And so I refused. "Fine." My dad said. Months passed and while I would walk her, groom her, feed her, clean her stall and do anything else for her, I would not ride her. One day, my dad's friend came over with his 14 year old daughter. She was my age! I smiled and was polite, but they were from Nashville, I didn't know if she would or could apprecieate my lifestyle. But she loved horses. We decided to ride and she picked Bailey, a small squat spotted walking horse. My pet! I rode Bailey. When I tried to argue my dad seized his chance to make me ride Midnight! I still think I was set up by them (Thank God) "You ride Midnight. Show her around." I was shaking like a hairless dog in winter in New York. But I got on. And to my amazement and happiness I lived. Midnight became my pet, we sold Bailey to a farm for handicap childeren, kept Midnight and moved up here, to Shelbyville. Midnight lived in Wartrace with us for the first 3 yrs of my life in Wartrace we lived on Union Ridge Rd and Midnight stayed in a field just across the country road from me. She delievered tons of timeless and amazing memories to me. She was my shoulder to cry on after a horrible day at school or a bad break up with a boyfriend, she was my go to for top secret information that I just could NOT tell a human being. She was my rock. Til, my parents and I went shopping in Tullahoma, we came back and Midnight was laying in the field. We thought nothing til we came out several hours later and she was laying in the same spot. My mom called the vet pronto. The bad news was delievered. Midnight had colic. Which kills horses in a matter of days. Colic is a blockage of the intestines in babies it just makes gas and painful tummies. In horses it's fatal nine times out of ten. My Midnight, my best friend, my world, was part of that nine times. I'll never forget her and I think of her every single day but she is truely in a better place. I still think of holding her massive gourgeous black head in my lap bawling sitting under that old tree. I petted her told her I loved her and kissed her goodbye for the final time. Then I took out my scissors and cut off her forelock (her 'bangs') I still have it hanging up in my room. It's surrvied the move from Wartrace to Shelbyville from my parents house to my husband's and my new house and the birth of my son. I love that lock of mane and I still cherish it. I guess I always will. I just wish I had it's original owner back.

    -- Posted by freakyfriday on Tue, Aug 10, 2010, at 1:33 PM
  • Beautiful story FF. I have always admired horses but from afar. At an earlier date I would have like to have had a few on our acreage, but ....

    I am sure that spending those last few moments with her was extreme heartache, but it sounds as if there was nowhere else you would have wanted to be. I do not think the ability to care is limited to humans. I am convinced that our animal friends are well aware of our emotions and feelings, so Midnight knew how much you cared.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Aug 10, 2010, at 3:50 PM
  • A few entries ago I mentioned Brandon our bluejay friend. We thought we had another baby to care for this week. Sammy brought a baby into the greenhouse and instead of playing with it, he just sat there looking at it. I guess he was confused with a baby saying "feed me", when he had just the opposite in mind. We took him in, but the fall must have been too much. He died in my hands the next day.

    Speaking of pet emotions though, I get a "warm fuzzy" (remember that term from the 70's?) every time I look at how much our strays seem to care for each other. Big Boy and Sally just love to rub heads, then walk side by side as their tails cross each other's back.

    I'll try to get a picture of these "lovers".

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Aug 10, 2010, at 4:02 PM
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