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adventures of Manni the wonderdog

Dark matter

It’s been around three months, give or take a few days or weeks, that this place in the world went dark. I am not counting. There is no point in counting the eternity that Manni will be gone from me so I won’t even start.

It literally went dark here that month. It was the darkest December since the beginning of weather records apparently and it didn’t come as a surprise to me but I’m sure it wasn’t helpful either. I have been scrambling to get my bearings again. So much of myself was defined by Manni, was defined by the extended hospice care. Did you know that you can easily fill a whole day with the administration of medicine, trying to force your mind to make mental images that can last a lifetime, trying to make every day count, trying to create memories, planning field trips for your dog so he would have only good days, preparing for the worst day and yet not breaking outwardly at the pressure of knowing when it’s time? Did you know that this can not only fill a whole day but make a whole day not be enough?

I didn’t know, but I learned.

And then, despite of all your mental preparation, you are left with a big black hole. The kind that consists of dark matter and that just sucks you in, leaves you alone in the dark devoid of everything that defined you before.

After what felt like days, although it may have been weeks, I felt that people were trying to tell me I have to move on. I don’t blame them, I’m sure they were right, but they didn’t exactly tell me how to do that, either. I can handle that. I have a public face that I put on, I can laugh, I smile at the right times. What does really get me, though, is what has only been happening the last few weeks. It’s a thing I was expecting and yet a thing I was scared to death of: the loss of the crispness of the memories, the clarity of the pictures.

It all fades. What once used to be a high-definition laser-printed impression in your mind turns slowly but surely into a watercolor painting with blurry edges. It kills me that while I know Manni had the softest fur in the world I don’t actually recall the literal feel of it, that I just know that I always loved his unique scent but I don’t really remember what he would smell like when I pressed my nose into the soft fur just behind his ears. I have lost people in my life before so I knew this would happen but it still kills me. Every single day it does.

I have been going through all of the different media I have to find all pictures and videos that were ever taken of Manni. They have made me laugh, they have made me cry. They have confirmed what I already knew: my dog had a good life. I gave him a good life. I don’t doubt that, nor do I doubt my decision or the timing of letting him go forever. That is the one thing I am at peace with. If I only knew now that he is in a place filled with light I would be happy to stay in the dark.

Here’s a few of my latest findings from way back when



Manni has moved on and so does life. I suppose that is a good thing and I will update here in a few days. I did need to get this off my chest, however, and nothing has proved as cathartic as writing.


  1. paws120

    Nobody can ever tell you when to move on, I don’t thing “moving on” is even a good term. I think that eventually you just start dealing with a life without your loved one. Whether it be somebody with 2 legs or 4 makes no difference. I have had 2 “best girlfriends” they are both dead. I have had 2 best dog friends, they are dead too. Three out of 4 of them were the biggest pain in the rear end that you could imagine at points, but I loved them fiercely. When I met Rosie she had NO manners. She was 1-2 years old, a bred and dumped pit that animal control had been chasing to catch before she ran head on into a car. They caught her then. She almost died. She hated men, not only was she not housebroken but I don’t think she had ever been IN a house before, and she was the champion in how many of the tiniest pieces a dog could tear a remote control into. She was also smart, loyal, learned better and quicker than any person, found 3 men that she decided she adored, and at the age of 5 learned more tricks than any dog I had ever seen learn. Knowing Rose was like watching a diamond in the rough get turned into the most beautiful gem in the world. I cannot even do this without my eyes filling up. Watching people in here lose their loved ones constantly brings back how I feel without her. Rose was the last of the “big four” that I lost. It has been 5 years and I still miss her now like I missed her then. I can tell you stories that would make you laugh your butt off, and when the stories end my eyes get wet again. I really don’t know that it ever goes away. If I close my eyes when I am by myself I CAN remember kneeling in the grass calling her and having her run and throw herself into me so hard that I fall over. I CAN still feel her slick smooth coat too, it’s just not as sharp as I would like it to be. I have had Rosie “moments” and I have called others Rose by accident.
    You will have Manni moments, if you haven’t already. My heart tells me that they are at peace even though they were taken way too early in life by shitty horrible diseases. I know that I have digressed.. but I so humbly wanted to share just a little with you in the hopes of also sharing that you are not alone. Huckleberry did not take Rosie’s place, nor did my other furbabies. Oscar and Huck are special simply because they were dumped on me in total need, and my heart tells me that one of my fur angels sent them my way because they knew I would not let them down. Now that they are healthy, they have wormed their own place in my heart and I feel love again, thank goodness. But they will never ever replace the ones that I have lost. Sending you a big hug and sharing tears with you right now. I wish I could take even some of your pain away, but I know I can’t.

  2. Super Stu!

    I am sending you many hugs. I know they don’t suffice, but i hope that my thoughts and cares bring a little light back in for just a few seconds. You have a whole community that is here whenever you want to just let it out!

    Such beautiful pictures and memories of Manni. Thanks for sharing them.

    Love and many hugs to you Tina and special spirit kisses to Manni!

    Petra, Stewie and his Pride of kittens xxx

  3. dobemom

    Oh my dear friend… how I can relate (you just say it better). The void that is felt by caregivers when no more care is needed to give, is endless. The dimming of memories is heartbreaking. Even more heartbreaking to me is that I can barely remember what life was like when Nitro had 4 legs – the only memories I seem to have are Tripawd memories. So I really only have 3+years of memories out of the 11 1/2 years he was with me….how sad is that?!

    As for “moving on”, what can outwardly look like moving on to others is really only an illusion. I look like I’ve “moved on” because a tiny white terror came to live with us, who occupies my time, and makes me laugh. But I have most certainly NOT moved on from the grief of losing my heart dog. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, nearly every hour of that day. It’s true, I don’t cry as often as I did, but I still cry. I’m at the point where I still re-live the bad days, and the “end”, way more than the good times. And this makes me angry! I want happy memories of him, not the darkness you so eloquently describe. I guess it’s a work in progress, Rome wasn’t built in a day, blah, blah, blah. Like the saying goes “Every once in a while a dog enters your life, and changes everything”. We are forever changed by our warriors. Wishing you peace.

    Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

  4. Mary Giles

    Tina I too can relate to your sadness and to those above. I do still stop and count and wonder how we’ve come this far without our Lucy. I too think about the fading details and search her pictures and videos. We are continuing on with life and rescued another hoping to fill some of the void but you’re right, all the emptiness as the caregiver is still a void. Here’s to all who have loved and lost. ❤️💔🐾😪

  5. Michelle

    You say things so eloquently. It isn’t easy and I always say this is this the toughest part of the journey. I agree, you can’t remember the smells or feels of the fur. Moving on as you say doesn’t really happen per se. You will always have this journey and yes almost 5 years after losing Sassy I haven’t forgotten that last day what is was like and the anguishing grief that I had.

    Having Snickers and Jasmine helped repair that shattered heart but it still has a part missing and probably always will. There will be a light that helps some that your light won’t remain dark forever.

    Thank you for sharing more of your memories with Manni.

    I am sending my love & peace to you.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  6. Purrkins

    I am sorry I see I have missed a couple of your posts 😒
    Life isn’t easy on a lot of us death and darkness are a part of all of our lives!
    I know the same DARKNESS from losing my Dearest Gram recently in DECEMBER the Christmas I wish not to have been! From losing human & furmily members, my heart Dog and kitties before. It’s not pretty, and it HURTS, the memory is what we carry on with us forever, furever! NOONE can take that away!

    I have been in your shoes the hospice care the routine! It’s our LIFE what we KNOW. Making every moment last because we know our time their time is not eternal. The thing to learn and remember is NONE of us are eternal on this earth! The hospice care & that time, knowing our time is cut short is a GIFT! We treasure that time like we would not have before it is a life lesson to carry on. Make everyday count!

    Tina, there is NO GUIDEBOOK for grief, DO NOT let “people” define that for you, Move on? Well easy to say when you’re not in the middle of grieving! We all grieve in our own way and time! That is OK we are all individuals for a reason!

    I went to counseling after losing my heart dog, and the advice to me then was to get another dog! I was so fumed he just dismissed me like I could just replace my dog! NO, that was not what he meant he wanted me to have the routine back of taking care of another dog. Not replace. Just deter the mind of so much emptiness, fill the void. Anyway, I never went back haha! I never did get another dog, Tina. Purrkins and his brother were not planned but meant to be. (YEARS later) I only allowed them in my heart thinking long-lived cats. Great in theory.

    You will not have a choice when it is your time to bring another furmily member into your heart and home. Don’t push it; it will happen when meant to be. Cry and grieve and know it will not last furever, time doesn’t erase the grief or Manni, but the gutwrenching sadness WILL become less DARK. KNOW Manni lives on and you will meet again one day! That helps me! You will move on when you are ready and dismiss what “people think and say” take the caring words, know they care and are trying to help! Noone can take that hurt away. Time allows it to become bearable!

    Sending lots of love & Hugs to you and our ANGEL Manni!
    Holly & Purrkins❤️

  7. midnighter94

    Yes, we had over 4 years of caring for Murphy, and then another 9 months of daily care for Cassie …those months helped to disguise the grief over Murphy, so then it was like a double-hit all at once. The antics of the boys are wonderful and make us smile, but I miss Cassie & Murphy. I try to talk about them when I can just to keep their memories alive.
    <3 Donna

  8. megstamum

    Death of a Dog
    The next morning I felt that our house
    had been lifted away from its foundation
    during the night, and was now adrift,
    though so heavy it drew a foot or more
    of whatever was buoying it up, not water
    but something cold and thin and clear,
    silence riffling its surface as the house
    began to turn on a strengthening current,
    leaving, taking my wife and me with it,
    and though it had never occurred
    to me until that moment, for fifteen years
    our dog had held down what we had
    by pressing his belly to the floors,
    his front paws, too, and with him gone
    the house had begun to float out onto
    emptiness, no solid ground in sight.

    Sending love and strength,

    Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

  9. teri

    lots of love,
    Teri, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

  10. benny55

    Been holding off writing thinking something woukd “flow”. What actually has happened is I can only say “ditto” to almost every caring and loving word everyone wrote.

    I’ve said it before, you are able to give “words”to the heart. And I hope you realize that, by sharing the feelings of your heart…the true and raw feelings…you have allowed others to be open with their feelings abput their losses and their loves. Manni is still making such a difference in our lives in so many ways.

    Can anyone prove the Bridge exists? Can anyone prove we go back to the light when our energy leaves our Earth clothes? Can anyone disprove any of these three scenarios?

    I’ve lived long enough to know my belief systems evolve with each life lesson, with each life altering experience. What I believed yesterday, may not be what I believe today, or tomorrow. Sometimes it just comes down to believing what resonates in your heart in a way that enhances the essence of who you are. So for me, and this is just me, I believe we came from a source of love and light that is from another dimension beyond our human understanding. And I believe we return to that love and light. So for me, I see…and believe… that Manni is surrounded by light and that darnkness does not exist in his world…. his Spirit world or his Earth world.

    Okay….maybe I did just get “in the flow”….good or bad, dunno. Just the flow!

    Lots of love AND light
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

    PS….lovely poem Clare

    PPSS. Looooove what Holly said about you “not having a coice when a furbaby comes into your life!” Ohhhh yeah……..just sayin’……

  11. benny55

    Me. again! Couldn’t get the cideos to play. Will come back.
    Wa ted to add that, as Jackie said, you WILL have Manni moments furever. “Something” will trigger a Manni mome t when you least expect it. When grief is so raw and new, we get ourselves in a state of fear trying to remember every little thing. It’s hard to remember anything when anxious and afraid of “forgetting”. The reality is, the memories that we need to remw the most are permanently installed and will show up when we least expect it.

  12. Misty

    I feel you. I lost Jager Dec 26 2017 He would have been 9 this month
    He was my baby and I miss him so😥

  13. Nina Hettema

    Hi Tina,
    You wrote me a brief and lovely note when I posted a story about my sweet boy Connor and his passing (see Tripawd Tuesday Love Letter to Connor). I was somehow drawn to find you this evening and when I did, I saw that you had lost your darling Manni – was it just last month? I feel compelled to write and tell you, I don’t know you or your dog, but I read your letters and feel that I truly know, I understand that your world has gone black – as mine did. It’s 14 months now since Con died in my arms. I spent the first six or seven months almost paralyzed with grief. I have no children; he was my child, and like many women who lose their babies, I pretty much lost my mind. Fortunately I have a couple of sweet kitties – Connor’s brothers – they kept me Earthbound when I felt like I wanted to simply die so that I might join him. The pain was that great. And although I got a lot of support and sympathy, it seemed to me that no one really got it – the darkness that falls on you when this much love goes out of your life. I heard all the cliches – “his love goes on”, “he’s here with you in spirit” – all of which was very sweet, and I guess it might have helped, but sometimes it just didn’t, because I WANTED MY DOG BACK, DAMMIT!!! It wasn’t fair, he was so young, and such a good boy, I took such good care of him, and I thought we had years and years left to love one another so much. I too loved the way his ears smelled – sort of a buttery fragrance; in my mind I can imagine it. I see every freckle on his dear paws. His eyes, his eyes. His sweet and goofy smile. And I actually wrote myself letters from him – automatic writing, give it a try, even if it’s crapulous nonesense it helped. “Hi Mom, I love you!!”. Madness, sheer madness. And somehow I kept going and life went on, and after a while, I could get through a day without spending hours curled up in a fetal ball on his rug, sobbing my heart out. I could see a dog toy, or hear a bark or go into a pet shop without losing it completely. I stopped obsessing daily over relics (his little toy chipmunk, his lock of fur, his photos). I actually went on our favorite walk, and spent a quiet hour at our swimming hole, just thinking about the amazing things he taught me, most of them about love. I could stop by the vet and walk to the field where we said goodbye, and sometimes I could do this and not fall completely apart. I began to feel the images fading, and I didn’t like it – I was willing to go on hurting rather than have him fade from me. But I am a grief counsellor, I know how it works, and this is part of it. He comes to me in my dreams, so vividly. Not often enough. In one dream, he kissed me over and over, licking my lips with his tongue while I laughed and cried with joy. I woke up with chapped lips. Hmmm. In my post I wrote about the angel dog that was with him when he came to see me, and I do believe that there is such a thing as the Rainbow Bridge. Whatever you want Heaven to be, it will be, that is what I mysel believe. Including Manni waiting to be with you forever. I believe this. I have to believe that a spirit such as my boy had, cannot be lost. Don’t know how it works, but we will get back with each other some day. That I know. Please believe that time really will help heal you, and thoughthe void won’t fill perfectly, there will be respite from the pain, it will dull, and things really will get better. You will smile again,and one day find the light and beauty of the world, and it won’t be a betrayal of your love, but rather a confirmation. Take great good care of yourself, and try to recognize and remember, through your pain, that you have been blessed – yes, this pain is proof that you have been blessed, we have been blessed as many never are, in being granted such an amazing gift as this perfect, indescribably magical love.

  14. Nina Hettema

    Hi Tina,
    Me again. I wish I had turned more to this website last year, when I was in so much pain and grief, such darkness. Wanted to tell you that others are thinking of you and sending love and prayers. If I could I would carry some of your burden for you; I cannot do that, I can only tell you that it will get better. I have found that the only thing to do is to give way and submit to the tempest when it hits you, don’t give a damn about what “people” think. It’s 15 months for me and I still break into sobs, out of nowhere, often at inopportune times. If people want to think I’m crazy, well, let them, I’ve lost the love of my life and I don’t think grieving after 15 months is at all excessive. Try to take comfort in remembering what an amazing life you gave him; was there ever a bond such as the two of you had? So much love and joy together. “Grief is the price we pay for love” – I said that once in a grief group (I do grief counseling, but admit I really knew nothing about it until I lost my boy). The deeper the love, the greater the grief. I wouldn’t go back and change a thing, and perhaps you feel the same. No regrets, just immense gratitude that that particular furry little being somehow entered our lives and changed us forever, and blessed us so.
    Take care of yourself, Tina, and feel the love that surrounds you.

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