05 January 2013

Epilogue to Suka's Blog on this 12th Day of Christmas
and Eve of Ephiphany


As contraries are known by contraries, so is the delight of presence best known by the torments of absence.

~~ Alcibiades, prominent Athenian Statesman, Orator, and General, 450–404 BC

What matters isn’t being applauded when you arrive – for that is common – but being missed when you leave.

~~ Baltasar Gracián y Morales, SJ, Spanish Jesuit and Baroque Prose Writer, 1601 - 1658


Suka waiting at the door for his walk. Such a beauty. And always so patient. Minneapolis, Minnesota, circa Summer 2004.

Suka, soon after I adopted him, hanging out in his new yard. It was an apartment building but we had our own private yard. Such a sweet face. Minneapolis, Minnesota, circa Spring 2004.

Suka happy in his own backyard. He had the best smiles. Minneapolis, Minnesota, circa Summer 2004.

Suka a few days after I adopted him, happily and playfully destroying my couch and floor pillows. At 1.5 years old, he was still such a puppy! Minneapolis, Minnesota, circa April 2004.

Suka having a cool down in Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The dog park was directly across the street and after playing in the dog park for over an hour we would cross the street for Suka to cool himself off in the lake. It was a great ritual that Suka loved. Circa Summer 2004.

Suka joyfully approving of his new 10 acre yard in Kansas. Such a gorgeous Suka!

As Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in “The Knight’s Tale,” from his work The Canterbury Tales, circa 1387 – 1400, “All things must end.” And today, on this 12th Day of Christmas and Eve of Epiphany, it seems aptly appropriate to write the epilogue to Suka’s Just Sayin’.

Suka was my “Christmas Miracle.” A few years ago right after Thanksgiving Suka took off on one of his journeys. For a month I prayed for his safe return. Just a few days before Christmas Suka showed up at the back door extremely thin, very haggard, and a bit dazed. My prayers had been answered. Suka was home and he was safe, and just in time for Christmas. So I feel that as the Christmas Season comes to an end, on this 12th Day of Christmas, so must Suka’s blog conclude.

Before I continue I would like to take a brief educational and historical detour:

For those who do not know, the Twelve Days of Christmas are the days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 6th). Epiphany is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. The Feast of Epiphany unites three events in the life of Christ when His divinity shines through His humanity: the Adoration of the Magi; the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan; and the first miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana in Galilee.

The Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” celebrates the official Christmas season which starts liturgically on Christmas Day and ends twelve days later on the Feast of the Epiphany. While some claim the song is French in origin, other evidence indicates that it originated in 16th Century England, written by English Jesuits. The song was used to educate the faithful in the doctrines of Catholicism, yet not be obvious to the persecutors. The gifts in the song are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. This was done because for 232 years, from 1559 – 1791, it was illegal to be Catholic in England.

And for one more historical tidbit, I just completed reading, “The Travels of Marco Polo [The Venetian].” Originally published in 1300, the book I read was published in 1926 and is based on the William Marsden classical English edition of 1818. Early in his journey, Marco Polo discusses the Three Kings, also know as the Magi:

“In Persia there is a city which is called Saba, from whence were the three Magi who came to adore Christ in Bethlehem; and the three are buried in that city in a fair sepulchre, and they are all three entire with their beards and hair.”

Marco Polo continues, “…After three day’s journey you come to a castle which is called Cala Ataperistan, which means the Castle of Fire-Worshippers...” Marco Polo then proceeds to relate the story of the Fire Worshippers, whose origins are intriguing. The Three Kings were making their way back home carrying the gift they received from the infant Jesus, which was a box with a stone in it. The stone was

“intended for a sign that they should remain as firm as a stone in the faith they had received from him. When, however, they saw the stone they marvelled, and thinking themselves deluded, they threw the stone into a certain pit, and instantly fire burst forth in the pit...When they saw this, the repented bitterly of what they had done, and taking some of the fire with them they carried it home. And having placed it in one of their churches, they keep it continually burning, and adore that fire…and if ever it happen to be extinguished, they go for more to the original pit where they threw the stone, which is never extinguished…”



Master of Sant'Apollinare, The Three Wise Men, detail from "Mary and Child, Surrounded by Angels,” mosaic, circa 526 AD (Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy)

German Gothic Glass Painter Adoration of the Magi, stained glass window, circa 1325 - 1330 (Former Abbey Church, Königsfelden, municipality of Windisch in the canton of Aargau in Switzerland)

Adoration of the Magi, depicted on the smaller southern tympana of Collégiale Saint-Thiébaut (Saint-Theobald Collegiate Church), circa 1332 – 1516 (Thann, Haut-Rhin, France)

And one more surprise Moment of Beauty...

Suka, beautifully drawn by JM of Bailey Be Good.

JM is the mom of Bailey, who was a dear friend of Suka's. JM is a very talented artist who is known around the pet blogging community for her incredibly wonderful portraits of our pets, including my Suka. And, I am thrilled to write, I have finally received his portrait and am delighted by how gorgeous and life-like it is. The photo I took does not do JM's work justice, but I think you can get a sense to how fabulously she has captured Suka's smile and beautiful, soulful eyes. Thank you, JM! Every time I look at your portrait of my Suka I feel he is smiling at me. It brings peace to my heart and it is a treasure that I will cherish forever.

Sweet is the memory of distant friends!
Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.

~~ Washington Irving, American Author, Essayist, Biographer, Historian, and Diplomat of the early 19th century,
1783 - 1859

Suka receiving a kiss from his best horse friend, Little Gray, in Kansas. Little Gray would come running from clear across the field when he would see Suka. Very sweet!

Suka super happy to see his best horse friend, Little Gray.

Suka and Silvius playing soon after Silvius showed up and joined the Pack.

Thank you to all who visited, commented, and befriended my Suka, and in extension, me. Your friendship meant the world to us, and pulled me through many difficult times. We always anxiously looked forward to reading your comments and visiting your blogs, seeing what all our animal and human friends were up too. We lost some amazing friends, who will forever remain in my memory and heart, and constantly made new friends. We were always in awe by the kindness, compassion, and love shown by all those we encountered in the pet blogging community and felt privileged to be a part of such an extraordinary community.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

~~ Seneca, Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Dramatist, and in one work Humorist, 4 BC – AD 65

Writing Suka’s blog has been a fantastically amazing and wonderful experience and I am so grateful I embarked on this journey with Suka. Translating his never-ending love, joy of living, and exuberantly happy spirit into words on a blog was a thrilling and creative adventure and has given me a lifetime of memories. But with Suka gone it does not seem right to leave his blog open, so it is in his honor, and with respect to his memory, that I bring his blog to a close.

Thank you for those who have continued to write such kind comments. And I truly appreciated the heartfelt New Years wishes. I am sorry I was unable to visit all of your blogs to wish all of you a successful, healthy, and joyful New Year 2013. So, a belated "Cheers!" I will be checking my comments on a regular basis, so I will always get any messages you leave me, and I will continue to visit your blogs but may not always be able to comment. When I do comment, it will be under a new name, of which I have not decided, but you will know it is me. I definitely want to come back to blogging but I am not sure when or on what topic. I am not ready to adopt a new dog, and probably won’t be ready for quite some time.

Suka is laid to rest, and now his blog is laid to rest as well. Peace.

Beautiful Suka in a field in Kansas on a warm Autumn day.

Suka and Silvius walking in the snow. Goodbye my sweet Suka.

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you.

~~ Dale Evans, American Writer, Movie Star, and Singer-Songwriter, and third wife of singing cowboy Roy Rogers, 1912 – 2001

30 October 2012

In Loving Memory Of My Sweet Silly Suka


There is honor in being a dog.

~~ Aristotle, Ancient Greek Philosopher and Polymath, student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great,
384 BC – 322 BC


No louder shrieks to pitying heaven are cast,
When husbands or lap-dogs breathe their last.

~~ Alexander Pope, English Poet, 1688 - 1744


You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.

~~ Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson, Scottish Novelist, Poet, Essayist, and Travel Writer, 1850 - 1894


It is with very heavy, crying heart that I write of the passing of Suka. He passed away sometime very early Monday morning, 29 October 2012. I woke at approximately 4:20 a.m. to hear the sounds of Silvius barking and I went outside to shush him so he would not wake the neighbors. Silvius often woke me up with his late night/very early morning barking so I did not think anything of it. When I got up later that morning and went out to check on Suka he had already passed. I now wonder if Silvius was barking to alert me and I am angry at myself for not paying more attention.

Suka loved to cross his paws. Here is just a sampling of his 'crossed paws' photos from over the years:

Silvius spent all day Monday, Monday night, and until late this afternoon staying near Suka's body. I took Porgy to see Suka many times on Monday, and a few times today. I explained to Porgy that Suka is now in Heaven but still with us in spirit. I know Porgy understands, he went through this with our previous dog, but Porgy still keeps walking to the back glass door where I find him pacing back and forth scouring the deck and back yard looking for his Suka.

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

~~ Excerpt from the poem, The Power of the Dog, by Rudyard Kipling

My California pool boy!

Alpha Male Suka in his glory.

Eight months after losing my previous dog I started to entertain the idea of another adoption, and one day while browsing Petfinder.com I came across the lovely face of sweet Suka. For two months I debated if I should adopt him and on the third month, I did. One of the best decisions I ever made in my life. He had been at the humane society for over four months with only one couple having shown interest in him. Upon learning the couple did not pass the adoption screening I became convinced that Suka was meant to be with me. I was extraordinary blessed to have such a beautiful, loving, delightful, charming soul enter my life and grace me with over eight years of happiness and joy.

A few of Suka's favorite things:

Suka hanging out in his yard.

Suka loved to run and at the dog park people were amazed at how fast he ran. One day we met an Ethiopian and his dog at the dog park and he told me that in Ethiopian language "suka" meant "very fast."

Suka loved to take walks, but would have loved them more if he were leash free.

Mud and Suka seemed to always find each other. On warm days it was a great way for Suka to cool off his paws.

Every once in a while Suka would dig a hole, or "paw rest" as he preferred, to rest his weary paws after a busy day.

We had a beautiful midnight burial ceremony for Suka on Monday/Tuesday under the stunning brightness of the full moon, aptly named the Hunter's Moon as Suka was a hunter at heart - a hunter of adventure, friendship, and fun. We had candles on either end of the grave and had incense burning. I placed Suka's two favorite stuffed animals into the grave with him, along with a beautiful green feather from Porgy and two personal items. Poems, prayers, and personal words were read. Silvius was there, but it was much too cold for Porgy. I left Suka uncovered in his grave all night so that he could have the light of the Hunter's Moon to guide him on his journey. I brought Porgy out this morning to say one last good-bye to Suka, and then covered Suka with his favorite napping blanket. This afternoon we completed Suka's burial.

Beautiful Suka ready for his close-up.


Murray, taken at the Buffalo Humane Society in Buffalo, Minnesota, circa December 2003
The very first photo I ever saw of Suka.

Suka, taken in Suka’s front yard in Kansas, circa October 24, 2012
One of the very last photos taken of Suka.

Back to memorial for Suka...

Thank you all for your friendship. Suka and I always felt so blessed to know each and every one of you. We admired all the unique, lovely, fun, beautiful, caring, kind, and creative personalities that made up the pet blogging community. And we especially were always so proud when the community came together whenever one was in need or suffering. And now it is my turn to suffer, and you have answered the call with your love and support which has touched me deeply. Thank you for the extremely touching and tender words of comfort and sympathy. Every comment has touched my heart and means the world to me.

Suka's Heaven:

I would like to give a "woof-out," as Suka would say, to those friend's of Suka who have written special tributes to him on their blogs. Their memorials to Suka are beautiful and poignant, and Suka would be both humbled and honored by such wonderful gestures from his dear friends: Alfie, Chicco, the FiveSibes, Raelyn and Rose, the White Dog Army, Finn and Khyra. Also, Terra De Duendes {The Land of Elves}, the FiveSibes, and Bailey Be Good have all added a beautiful photo of Suka to their sidebar, with a lovely little sentiment, in memory of Suka. Thank you all for your outpouring of love toward Suka. It is truly overwhelming. For those not familiar with the amazing dogs just mentioned, please visit their blogs and follow them. [If I have missed someone, I am truly sorry. Please let me know and I will add you and a link to your blog. Thank you.]

To end, I would like to share a poem by Rudyard Kipling that I read at Suka's ceremony:

A Dog for Jesus
(Where dogs go when they die)

I wish someone had given Jesus a dog.
As loyal and loving as mine.
To sleep by His manger and gaze in His eyes
And adore Him for being divine.

As our Lord grew to manhood His faithful dog,
Would have followed Him all through the day.
While He preached to the crowds
and made the sick well
And knelt in the garden to pray.
It is sad to remember that Christ went away.
To face death alone and apart.
With no tender dog following close behind,
To comfort its Master's Heart.
And when Jesus rose on that Easter morn,
How happy He would have been,
As His dog kissed His hand
and barked it's delight,
For The One who died for all men.

Well, the Lord has a dog now,
I just sent Him mine,
The old pal so dear to me.
And I smile through my tears
on this first day alone,
Knowing they're in eternity.
Day after day, the whole day through,
Wherever my road inclined,
Four feet said, "Wait,
I'm coming with you!"
And trotted along behind.

~~ Rudyard Kipling

I will miss hearing my sweet Suka's voice. He loved to howl with the coyotes. Music to my ears. And my heart.

Your leash is forever gone and you are forever free.

Yes, Suka, you may go. I will miss you terribly but I will see you again.

Goodbye my sweetie silly Suka. I love you forever.

Birth Date - Unknown
Adopted - April 2004
Passed Away - October 29, 2012

28 October 2012

A Failing Heart Creates A Broken Heart


The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.

~~ Blaise Pascal, French Mathematician, Physicist, Inventor, Writer, and Christian Philosopher, 1623 - 1662


It is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

~~ Epictetus, Greek Sage and Stoic Philosopher, born a slave, AD 55 – AD 135

What the...? Who are you? And why is this photo askew?

So the Kung Fu Bunnies sent a witch to take my color. Very interesting. It must have been because of that bunny leg.

Suka remembering last month...Hello! What have we here? *drool...yum.


Did it work? I am afraid to open my eyes.

Oh my dawg. It worked! Look at all the lovely colors! Ha! I defeated you witch! Now please go and take your creatures with you.

Now, about those Kung Fu Bunnies...


Paolo Morando Cavazzola, Saint Roch, circa 1518 (National Gallery, London, England) [Note: St. Roch is the Patron Saint of Dogs, the Plague, Pestilence, and more.]

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Saint John of God {Aiding the Lame with the Archangel Raphael}, circa 1672 (Museo Municipal de l’Almodi, Xátiva, Spain) [St. John of God is the Patron Saint of Heart Patients, the Sick, and more; Archangel Raphael is the Patron Saint of Bodily Ills, Sick People, and more.]

Back to me...

If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.

~~ Winnie The Pooh

I am sure you are wondering about the title of this post. Well, here is the poop scoop.

I saw the Vet on Friday. I have heart disease. He said it is incurable and that it will only get worse. We don't know how much time I have left. The Vet said anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.

It makes me very sad. So sad that I did not even care that I got rained on, hence my disheveled look.

I won't let my sadness take over. It is almost Winter which means I can look forward to snow. Lots of snow (paws crossed!). Nothing makes me happier than romping in snow.

Truth be told, I don't have much energy anymore, and I cough and hack a lot. I am still eating, but hardly anything. I have lost a lot of weight.

My failing heart has broken K's heart. I woofed to her not to worry. We both believe in miracles, they happen all the time. Perhaps a miracle will happen to me.

Having this disease feels like I am in a prison, and I don't like that. I miss my walks and my runs and playing and just having fun. Porgy is very angry. He already suffered through the death of one dog and he is not ready to let me go so easily. I think stupid Mr. Heart Disease better watch out for Porgy.

We estimate that I am only about 10 years old, so we feel that is much too young for me to have a death sentence. I have a lot of life left to live and I am not ready to leave. But, if God needs another Angel Dog by His side, I will gladly fulfill my duty. I just hope He is not ready for me yet. I still have my Bucket List to get through. And those Kung Fu Bunnies to deal with. I'm just sayin'...