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Shadows that Linger in Special Places

The house feels empty - there is a whisper slinking about the corners...it follows me when I move from room to room. Behind me I imagine the click-click of a dog's nails on the hardwood floors. They start very loud and fade, to nothing.

I have been silent and away from this blog - on purpose. Life threw me a curve ball and I did not catch it well.

Tragedy sometimes erupts into our lives like a volcano gone wild. We stumble in disbelief and find ourselves trying to steady uncertain feet on slippery floors. We clutch at solid walls - but they feel like rubbery balloons, there is a frightening give to them...setting us off balance, as if walking a tightrope in a room full of mist.

I will not go on (and on) -- to what end? Some of you already know what has happened at the DiVita household. Some will learn today. For the details, for the so small and confusing details, you should visit the petblog on Sunday. Scratchings and Sniffings is the home of Carmie's story.

Short and to the point: on Wednesday night, after several hours of worry and calls back and forth to the vet (who could not see her), we took Carmel, the family dog of almost 15 years, to our animal emergency clinic. Did we know she would not return with us? Perhaps. Did we hope, beyond hope, that the vet at the emergency clinic could "fix her"? Indeed.Carmelpawprint_2 

Please bear with me as I move through this veil of grief and mourning, with its sharp accusations, and its hard questions (should we have rushed her immediately to the emergency clinic? should we have seen the signs and symptoms days ago? were they there, days ago? why didn't we insist last week at our vet visit that the vet TELL us why she was acting peculiarly? why did we accept it as a symptom of her aging? it clearly was not).

As I sit here hour after hour, I glance to my left and her bed sits there, fresh and clean, as it was the day I washed it for her - the day before she went to a better place. I hear her drinking water down the hall but she never returns to do her three turns in her bed, before lying down. I turn to share a piece of my sandwich with her...and her presence lingers, but it's ghostly.

What cruel fate dictates that our dear four-legged family members are less important than our two-legged ones? Fie, I say, fie on that!

Carmel's absence is deeply felt and the mourning is just as painful, with shadows that linger in special places.


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It has taken me a while to be able to read through this post to the end and even longer to respond. While I didn't know Carmel for as long as Tom and Yvonne did, I had known her for the past year since I started working with them.

Carm would meet me at the top of the stairs most mornings (usually because I came bearing some sort of food, I am sure) but I like to think it was more because of the warm pats I offered.

She was my "dog away from home" as I have an ultra-spoiled Poodle (the ever-wonderful Henrietta) at home so Carm was my substitute daytime dog. I am sure that someday soon I will be bringing The Hen to the office as Yvonne has extended the invitation to do so, but for now, it hasn't quite seemed the appropriate time, perhaps soon, though.

It will be a completely different atmosphere from Carm's gentle plodding around to The Hen's hyperactive hopping.

Pat Morello

I am so sorry for your loss and the pain you are going through. It hurts so bad to lose a member of the family when many don't understand. You're in my prayers,


Donna DeClemente

I got a chance to read your posts on Carmie today, both here and at Scratching and Sniffings and I cried. It brought back memories of when I had to put Kitty to sleep. She too got sick very quickly and would not eat or drink. We brought her into the emergency animal hospital and they put an IV in her to give her fluids and make her a little more comfortable, but there was nothing they could do. Kitty was 17 years old.

Kitty was Siamese and a very smart cat. We didn’t have any papers on her, but she was Siamese all the way. We got her from a family when we lived in Phoenix before Kevin and I were even married. She was just under a year old and was in heat and the family had a young baby and couldn’t deal with it. The first night we had her she cried and dragged herself across the floor. It was pathetic. I had never seen a cat in heat before. Kevin threw her in the shower and turned the water on and I thought he was so mean. She spent the rest of the night cleaning her fur and we were able to get some sleep. We took her to get spaded the next day.

She then came to California with us when we moved out there. I had gone first since I started a new job and had to find an apartment. Kevin met me out there and drove with the rest of our stuff in a U-Haul and Kitty who sat under the brake pedal a good amount of the ride.

The day we left LA to drive cross country with both cars in our move back to Rochester I had given Kitty sleeping pills the vet gave us so she would be quiet at least on day one of the drive. Well somehow she slipped out of the apartment when we were loading up the cars and when it came time to leave we couldn’t find her. We walked up and down the neighborhood calling her name and Kevin was almost ready to leave without her. I just couldn’t do it. We decided to take a break and went to grab some lunch and then looked some more.

Finally we heard a cry in someone’s garage and I went to their front door and asked the women to open her garage since I thought my cat was in there. The women started yelling at me because “that cat” is always in my garage. I told her we were leaving town and “that cat” would never be a problem to her again and to please just open the damn garage so I could get her and leave town. She did and we were finally off.

Kitty followed us to our first apartment off of Park Ave. in Rochester where we were married. We bought our first house and we put a cat door on the outside door that was attachéd to an enclosed front porch. During the warm weather I would leave the front window open wide enough for her to come and go and she pleased. She loved it. We had our two daughters in that house and then moved around the block in ’95 to the big house where we are now.

Kitty adjusted and loved the big side yard we have. She would always walk around the perimeter of the yard, under the plants and shrubs protecting us and thinking we couldn’t see her. We added a dog to the house, Ginger, and she put up with him. But she was always the boss.

I still cry when I think of her. She was a very special pet. I’ve had a few different animals in my life, but Kitty was very special and I may never have another one quite like her. She was with us for the big moments and times of our life and will always be remembered and loved.

I am so sorry for your loss of Carmie. She also was one of those very special pets and a true sweetheart. I'm glad I had the chance to know her.

Yvonne DiVita

Toby, thank you for your kind thoughts. We embrace them and hold them close, in Carmie's memory.

Q - You knew Carmie 'when' - and have the joy of remembering her so. I am glad for that. Thank you.

Mary, a LOT of love did happen, as you note. It does not go away - it just smooths out and settles into private places of the heart. Thank you for your kind words.


A lot of love can happen in 15 years. I am so sorry to hear of your loss.


There are no words, but you know I am very sad.............


Yvonne - so very sorry to hear about carmel. i won't post platitudes but just say that my thoughts are with you and your family.

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