John Corson's Blog

for November 14, 2021


One hour after I posted yesterday's blog, at about 6:50 pm, Janice called upstairs to tell me that she was going to take Reggie to "potty" out in the front yard. He did his job with a little difficulty, but when we brought him back in we noticed that his breathing was quick and shallow. We at first thought we overworked or pushed him too hard to do his business. After all, he has been weak the last two days.

Little did we know that he was going into heart failure. We put him at first on his foamed cushion on the den floor, but he kept breathing shallow. I picked him up and put him next to my lap on the couch and lifted his head up onto my leg thinking that would slow his breathing down. It didn't work.

Panic set in. I already knew this was probably the clarion call for Reggie to come to the Rainbow Bridge. I seemed to had already known it before these final signs set in. Hence, yesterday's blog where I simply entitled it: "I Love You, Reggie." I took Reggie out on to the deck and let him lean up against my chest while I rocked him and talked to him. And then, I blurted out into a prayer: "Oh, God, please take him. He is sick and it is very cruel to let this go on.

I knew that was not God's will. Like with Princess, I had to give him to God. He wanted me to end Reggie's suffering. Sometimes God takes, sometimes He waits for us to give to Him. It seems God is always waiting for me to make the moves; for me to do "the dirty work." I wanted to chastise God. I asked Him why I had to give Reggie to Him.

No answer, except the one already firmly planted in my head. Because I was guilty of putting Reggie in place of God as my closest friend. I had to turn him over, because God won't force me to exchange Reggie for Him. It was the same with Princess.

Back in March of 1998, God took Lady, my other Sheltie. I didn't have to call in the vet to put her down as she was in constant respiratory distress due to lymphatic blasphoma, where the sack around her lungs would fill with fluid and she would have to be "tapped" first every three months, then two, then one, then twice a week, once a week until one night she went into distress just a day following her last "tapping". God took her around midnight, while Janice had already secretly worked out an arrangement to have our vet to euthanize her the next day. But God spared me of that ordeal and Janice was out of the woods as she wasn't going to tell me of the arrangement until the vet arrived at the house.

God also took my 19 year old cat, Sugar, three months later. She was deaf and had frequent accidents on the dining room carpet, but being and indoor cat who liked to go outside when the weather wasn't cold, she stayed out one day and got into the front flower bed next to the house and God took her too.

I have loved my pets and with exception of a three dogs (a mom and her two children) I kept them mostly as indoor pets. When you do that, that means it is easy to make that incorporation into the family. Then your pets become your children.

What made it different with Princess and then Reggie was their close dedication to me. Lady and the dogs I had before her, including a long-nosed Pekinese named Ginger, were loyal and loved me. But I kind of kept them at arms length relationally as I was starting a "human" family of my own. Ginger died before Bobby was born at the age of just 19 months, struck by a car in back of our house one Sunday afternoon while she was out to do her business. I didn't have her long enough to have those deep feelings, but they were there because when I buried that afternoon, I cried my eyes out and had to go in, change my clothes and get over to church for Bible Study. Needless to say, I was a wreck by the folks present kind of understood. They were farmers or were children of farmers so they looked at animals as farm hands, workers and chattel.

Princess and Reggie came into my life after my kids were grown and in the Navy. I adopted Princess just a week after my youngest son's wife and son left from a four week visit up here while Brad was on TDY stationed in Virginia Beach. Cynthia and Chandler had this great opportunity to see Brad when most of the others on his ship didn't have that opportunity. They were living near Corpus Christie, Texas and with Brad up here near home, it was a great opportunity for me, to have my first grandchild stay in my house for a month and for me to spoil him. After they left and flew back to Texas, I went into a tail spin. My kids are gone and my grandson is too.

The door opened for me to adopt Princess whose mother was an American Champion Breed and her uncle was twice Canadian-American Champion and came in second place in the best of breed competition at Westminster Kennel Dog Show in 2000. Princess had an slight undershot of the jaw which precluded her from competing, but she was shown in the puppy competition in Lexington, KY and came in first place out of forty-two. Her breeder decided to sell her to a home and one of Janice's friends knew of her and also knew of my love for Shelties. So she put us together and Janice and I went to Ashland, Virginia to pick her up on the second Saturday in December, 2002. She immediately became "the daughter I never had." Gradually, I suspect, she was getting more attention and love from me than God was. It was not intentional or deliberate. It just happened. You know, like when you talk to your pets more than you talk to God. That is what happened here.

This is why, I suspect, that God kept her alive after both Janice and I begged him to take her. She was suffering from cancer and we thought she was no where near the end as she was resilient and show no signs of stopping, other than the fact that she was half blind and going deaf. I took her to get her grooming on Friday morning, September 16, 2016 and she was on top of the world. Or so I thought. Then, the groomer called for me to come and pick her up. But she warned me that Princess was falling and wouldn't stand on her four feet. One the way home, her bowels unleashed and she lost control of them and messed up the passenger seat. I got her home and thought to myself. The cancer has gone into full gear, and without notice or warning.

From 2:00 that afternoon until almost 7, I watched, and later Janice watched as she was slipping ever so fast. By 8:00 we were into tears and then around 9:00 we started asking God to take her. We had heard about this service where are licensed veterinarian would come to your house and perform the euthanasia. We hesitated at first, but I made the call around 10:30, still asking God to take her. He never did and when the vet arrived it was 11:25. She explained what was about to happen and waited until we were ready. At 11:40, she administered the telezol to calm her down and relax her so she wouldn't feel anything, then came the drug to stop her heart. She was pronounced at 11:43. I had to go through all of that because God wanted me to. I had to give her to Him.

The same thing happened last night. I had to give Reggie to Him. We didn't call for the Angel Paws Vet to come to the house. We were sure if there was something they vets at the hospital could give him to slow down his rapids breathing, but when we arrived, the technician looked over Reggie for all of five seconds and said, I have to get him into the room stat. She knew by looking at his gums that he barely had any oxygen and he needed to be on that. After doing that and doing a quick listen to his heart and examining his other organ, the diagnosis was clear...respiratory heart failure.

Now here we sit with the decision no longer imminent but real and present. Do we take him home to die, or should we end his pain here and now. We chose the latter. The vet let us see him and talk with him and spend as much time as we needed while they kept him on oxygen and after giving him a shot of Lasix. We talked to him alone in that room for a few minutes, his eyes wide opened and he was listening because he responded to us several times. I then took out my cell phone and played a piano piece, a tune that I came across one night while I was sitting at Princess grave and Reggie was sitting in my lap. I don't know for sure, but I thought he liked the music. In fact, I played all ten tunes from that album off my phone while sitting there that night. I told Reggie then that those songs could become "our music." Princess and I had some piano music from that same artist that we would listen to by a fire when it was a cold night. Those songs from an album called Wishes became Princess and my music. The album that has now become Reggie's and my music is called Piano Impressions and they both feature pianist Owen Richards.

So I played the one song off of Piano Impressions called "Transition" and I cried and cried and cried. All the while Reggie lay there listening. I know he was listening as his eyes remained wide open and he moved his front paws in my hand as if to say: "It is going to be alright." I sensed that he was telling me "Thank you for everything."

Reggie passed away at 10:12 pm Saturday night. And now my heart is broken, the tears are swelling up in my eyes as I type. I gave Reggie to God. And now,... Reggie, is no longer by my side. But he is in my heart.

When the vet and technicians were through, they gave us more time to spend with his lifeless body, to get ourselves together. Then we called them in and asked that we be allowed to take him home. No problem there. We asked that he be allowed to wear the shirt we had on him. It was a red one with the words: "Cats, working my last nerve". Then, they wrapped him up and put him in a two-layered cardboard casket and gave him to us to take back home.

We laid him on his pallet. The two cats, not knowing what this arrangement was all about, were a little curious. They came upstairs with us when we went to bed. Janice and I didn't immediately do that as we spent about thirty minutes out on the deck crying our eyes out, thinking about all the funny antics Reggie would do. I drank two Lynchburg Lemonades and after Janice went inside to get ready for bed, I went out to the garden and talked to Princess. I said that now she has Reggie beside her to play with her near that Rainbow Bridge. And now God has my best friend with Him too.

I cried so hard last night that my sinuses hurt all night long. I did get some sleep. Between the crying and the alcohol, my brain relaxed and I feel asleep. Whiskers, the cat by my side. She knew something was amiss and that I was tremendously affected.

Then, while Reggie lay "in state" on his pallet this morning, I went to church where only 24 people assembled inside the building. Many were outside and it was a good thing as there was an oil spillage around the furnace, where the burners were replaced earlier in the week from being unusable and, hence, causing us to have no heat last week. I was immediately accosted with about four things wrong with what was about to transpire with only a few people present and only one person to help out during the service.

I am going to save that grumbling and complaining for a later time. Right now, with the music that I call Reggie's and mine playing over Spotify while I type these words, I can't spend time focusing on what did or did not happen at church. Because the worst of all was awaiting me after we got home today.

I had to go out to the garden next to where Princess is buried and prepare Reggie's grave. I had to bust out some roots from trees that we had taken down many years before. Shoveling dirt and picking at clay until I was down about 28 inches. I leveled it out as best as I could, placed a 2 X 12 board at the bottom and then, went inside to get Reggie from his pallet. I opened his cardboard casket, pulled back the lining that separated the box from the plastic bag which held Reggie's remains, opened the bag and put his favorite toy in his arms. Janice tied the bag back, placed the lining over the bag, closed the casket and wrapped the casket with the towel he used to lay on while sleeping with on the floor or on his foam cushion.

We laid him to rest on the board, said our goodbyes, told him over and over again that we loved him and always will, then covered him with the dirt I had shoveled from the hole.

What more can I say? My heart is broken like a clay pitcher. I haven't really thought about how that the church service was a wash. I got through the sermon, which was about our need to give thanks to God for all things. I dealt with the Scripture more than adequately, but I ended up showing one way we could be thankful  to the God Who gives us what we need and is our provider and care giver. I used Reggie as an example. I talked about the interesting fact that Bishon's have but one and only one human. They are not family dogs in the sense that they regard everyone in the home as equal and deserving of their attention. They choose one. I was Reggie's. And just as Reggie chose me, God chooses humans. In a nutshell I asked, will we be like Reggie and chose Him as our one and only Savior? I was preaching to myself, as for the longest time I chose a dog over God. That is why I had to give both Princess and now Reggie over to Him.

Only God can fill my void. Yesterday's blog, as if it foreshadowed the events soon to follow and leading up to this moment, was entitled "I Love You, Reggie." Today, I entitle this one "Goodbye Reggie, I Will Miss You So So Much."

Oh, how my heart aches.

Blog for November 13 Blog for November 15


Blogs are about the blogger. It's as if he or she merely toots their own horns about the things they do, say and love.

My life is boring. I read, I watch Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. I listen to Andrew Wilkow. I engage in some conversation with those who are willing to listen (they being masochistic and enjoy killing themselves with my banter).

I plan on just laying out the things that bother me and the things I love. Nothing in-between. I hope you find whatever I put here amusing.