Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are starts with the sentence "The night Max wore his wolf suit he made mischief ...."

The night before I brought my son Maxfield home from the hospital (two days after he was born) I brought home a knit cap that Max had worn so that our dog, Luna, could smell it and get an idea of what was going to happen in our house. Max was going to make mischief.

Three years before that, in late October of 2001, Lauren and I decided to get a dog. I was in my early 30s and Lauren, well, she was younger than that. We went to the local SPCA and as fate would have it we picked out a German Shepherd Chow Chow mix that was classified as an unknown runaway. We did not really decide on her, but she decided on us.

She had a weird look. Her teeth were gnarly (not in a Surfer dude "hey that wave is really gnarly" kind of way, but in the way that her teeth pointed in very odd directions for her mouth kind of way) and her overall appearance was somewhat ugly. The people at the SPCA could only tell us she was a recent stray that seemed well trained but had no home. They figured she was a runaway. I had visions of her being a dog of someone who lost their life on 9/11. Maybe the dog had escaped her home and found her way to the Philadelphia area. She was not pretty, but she was beautiful. Ugly beautiful. Beautifully ugly.

Lauren and I decided to call her Luna, which is Spanish or Italian or Greek or something, meaning the moon. She looked something like a wolf, and wolves howl at the moon. The name was fitting.

I never had a dog. Luna was my first.

In Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are there is a picture of all of the monsters looking up at the moon. It is right after Max declares that the wild rumpus should start.

In June of 2006 I brought home from the hospital, a day or so after Wyatt, our second son, was born, a knit cap, for Luna to smell. She licked at the cap with her big purple tongue ( purple a genetic trait of her being a Chow, or of her being a Wild Thing) and she pawed at it with her large over sized feet and front paws with long dark terrible nails.

Luna's coloring was all over the place. Sometimes she looked brown, other times she looked striped. One of the monsters from Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are looked the same way.

In early January of 2009, I brought home a knit cap from the hospital. Our youngest son, Jackson was born and I wanted to make sure that Max and Wyatt and definitely Luna had a chance to smell what was coming home in the next day or so. Max and Wyatt did not sniff at the hat, but Luna, Luna inhaled the scents.

In the book Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, Max decides he is going home. The Wild Things protest and tell him "We'll eat you up-we love you so."

Our dog Luna has been with us in -paraphrased Maurice Sendak's words- "through night and day, in and out of weeks and almost over a (decade). "

Due to circumstances beyond our control , we had to put Luna down this evening. She was (I hope) at peace, Lauren and I holding her and petting her as the vet administered the shots that would take away her pain. Luna is now Where the Wild Things Are, chasing rabbits and eating treats.

I am sad, Luna was my first and only dog. Lauren is even more sad than I am. But we are adults and have had Luna in our lives for the past ten years. We can handle it.

But even worse than our feelings, is the fact that on Friday 10/22/10 Maxfield will have his first day in his entire life ( 6 years and 7 odd months) without his dog. Max knows this and he has cried about this. Wyatt will experience his first day in his 4 years and 4 months of life without his dog. Jackson, who is only 3 month shy of turning two , will have his first day without Luna.

We know she is Where the Wild Things Are. We love her so. Let the wild rumpus start.


Sharkey said...

When I saw all the pics of Luna, I had an idea where this story was headed. So sorry to hear that you've lost her. They're wild things, but they're OUR wild things and they find their way into our hearts.

Maybe she'll meet up with Penny and they'll enjoy the wild rumpus together. Thinking of all of you.

Stacey said...

I also knew where this was headed, but I hoped I was wrong. If Luna could read - which she probably could - she would be very happy with what you wrote about her.

I'm sorry.

Lunch Buckets said...

Well I had no idea where it was headed and just got smacked upside the head. Apparently I'm unintuitive as well as clumsy.

SoozieQ said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. When I saw the first picture I thought "Oh no! Luna is gone" and then I thought " I know the dog's name but what are the boys' names?" Thankfully I remembered those too or I would have to consider myself a freaky "only cares about animals" person. This was a wonderfully written tribute to a gorgeous (wonky teeth & all) "wild thing".

Melinda said...

William and Lauren...I really really know how this feels. As you may know, it was only just over a month ago, our sweet dog died too. She was close to 17 years old. We had to put her to sleep too and it was such an awful thing to do to such a wonderful and loyal pet. I adored her and we still are heart broken and miss her so much. She was my first dog, also.
I love the sweet picture of Luna sleeping with Wyatt/ Max(?)
I haven't been able to write about Sealy yet, except to leave a comment on your blog that we used to blame everything un-explainable or gone wrong on sweet Sealy. She always wore the blame well!
Well, little anyone has said to me has helped me to feel less pain at her loss, so I won't try to smooth over Luna's passing.
Sending you sympathetic condolences at losing a member of your family.

Karina said...

so sorry about Luna, with tears in my eyes i read this post, thank you for sharing her with your readers. i still remember how i laughed out loud at the post about Luna & the skunk vs. Bill! one of your funniest posts ever thanks to Luna.

Lauren said...

She was simply the best. I already miss her so much. There will always be a space on my heart with her name on it.

Eve Morasco said...

Bill, this was a lovely tribute to Luna. Even though I'm writing this through tears, you captured her spirit with humor. We're so sorry.

Susie said...

So sorry. She was a glorious, magnificent being. Bill, I didn't realize she was your first. My heart is breaking for you all. Hugging the whole fam in my heart. I hope she's meeting up with the VBD, as well as with Penny. They'll be gossiping about us, in between wild rumpusing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to you and this beautiful tribute to Luna, I now have tears rolling down my face and a lovely vision of doggie heaven.

Give lots of hugs to each other today.

Anonymous said...

Goodnight Moon.

Cheryl Ann said...

I'm a long-time reader, but never comment. So sorry to hear the news about Luna - she looks like a true wild thing.

I've had dogs my whole life, but due to moving and not being able to relocate them, I've never experienced the death of a pet, just the sadness of giving them to another family to love and keep. In my mind, all my prior pups are together, alive and well, having a wild rumpus!

Meegs said...

Like previous commentors, I knew where this was going... but it still made me cry at the end. I'm terrified of the day that this happens to us with Daisy and Gwen... Gwen loves Daisy so much already, I can't imagine how she will feel.

I'm so so sorry for the loss of Luna... she was beautiful and I'm sure she's at peace now. I'm thinking of you and your boys.

Do you know the Rainbow Bridge? I share it with everyone who loses a pet, and maybe you can share it with your boys:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.

There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... (Author Unknown)

eclectic said...

Oh, Anonymous nailed it perfectly:

Goodnight, Moon.

Hugs to everyone!

teri said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Luna, Bill.

I hope she is running and playing, as well. Pain free and happy.

Barb said...

What a beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry.

Papa K said...

Nothing to do with your post, sorry... but how does a Giants/Rangers World Series sound?

for a different kind of girl said...

My heart started breaking halfway through this post because I got the sense of how it would conclude. I'm so very sorry you all are having to go through this. I read it just before turning off the light and going to sleep last night, and I just had to do that, not comment then, because my eyes were too tear-filled. I think so many of us share a story similar to this, so I help that gives you all some comfort.

Jack Steiner said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. A good dog is part of a family.

the other amy m said...

Sigh. My heart is heavy for you all. So sad...

Michelle said...

So sorry for your loss. If you are looking for a good book to read to the boys Dog Heaven is what we used when we said goodbye to our Chelsea a year ago.

Dan said...

Will Rogers once said "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."

Can't think of a better sentiment, and I'm sorry for your loss.

House of Pugs (and more) said...

My heart breaks for you and your family. My husband and I do not have children, but we have 4 dogs, 2 pugs, and Old English Bulldog and a Bassett Hound (new Puppy). In addition we had 2 cats, both of which we had to put down this summer. Just last night I was saying to my hubby...I keep expecting Ti (the cat most recently put down)to be on the stairs looking at us..he said, "I think he is"...I hope you can feel Luna is there now and again.

Anonymous said...

i don't ever post but enjoy your blog for the funny stories. This one broke my heart and reminded me of my "dear Maddie". The boys will remember their first dog forever. One day you will all know it is time for another dog but don't let anybody rush you.

Thanks for allowing me access to your life, the funny parts and the ones that make me cry.

MrsDoF said...

My condolences for your loss. A pet is definitely a beloved family member.

It has been a difficult weekend for so many of us
DOF writes about our cat

SciFi Dad said...

I'm sorry I didn't get here sooner, and even more sorry for your family's loss.

Jen said...

Bill and Lauren,

I am a long time reader and have always enjoyed your stories about Luna. I also had tears by the end of this post. It is so hard to lose a pet. (I've lost at least 3 dogs so far.) And it never gets easier. But one thing that helps, though everyone is different, is to get out there and find another doggy that needs a home. My father always insisted on this, even when I didn't want another dog after my first dog died when I was nine. It certainly helped, because you are so busy training and dealing with the new dog (and dogs do such funny things) that they heal the pain and bring some smiles. Thinking of you all during this sad time.

Leenie said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. What a beautiful way to say goodbye to her.

Next time, give a disclaimer. I'm sitting in the office like a blubbering baby.

Amy M. said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your pet. My 1st & only dog is 9 (we rescued him too) and I dread the day we have to discuss putting him down. Luna was a beautiful animal. I'm glad I got to know her a little bit through your posts. Hope she'll welcome Zeus when it's his time (not for a long time, I hope).

Karen said...
This month's Online Storytime is Maurice Sendak reading Where The Wild Things Are

Kathy said...

Beautiful and terribly sad. I am sorry for your family's huge loss.

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