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The Saddest Samhain

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on November 1, 2012 | Comments (12)

As you know from an earlier post, the occult community recently lost a great contributor and author, David Godwin. And now, over the past few days, including Samhain, the “Frankenstorm” Sandy has decimated parts of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard with a calamity that will reverberate for years to come due to loss of life, loss of property, loss of community, and more. If you can contribute to those in need, I urge you to do so. Unfortunately, there are individuals who would take advantage of those who are willing to give, so please check out any group to which you plan to donate before giving a donation. Although some people do not like the Red Cross, they are currently providing strategic services. You can make donations to them through iTunes, on their website (www.redcross.org) or you can even text REDCROSS to 90999. This will add a one-time addition to your phone bill of $10.00, a donation that will go to the Red Cross. At this time the Red Cross does not need donations of food, blankets, or clothes, they need money and blood. Please contact the Red Cross to find a local blood bank where you can make a donation.

I’ll have some more to say about Sandy and magick tomorrow.

Amid all of this I must sadly add the loss of yet another dear friend, Charles Xavier Allender Kraig. Compared to the great losses others have been through recently and are still experiencing, the death of Charlie may seem minor to most people, but it means a lot to me.

Charlie was a rescued dog who was the companion to my wife, Holly, for years before I met her. His unconditional love helped her through trying times and helped give her the courage to change into the powerful, talented, intelligent woman she is. He came into my life eight years ago. When my wife, then my girlfriend, and I bought a house, he, of course, came along. Since I work from a home office he was literally a constant companion.

Charlie was a hound dog. He didn’t know a bunch of tricks. He couldn’t warn you that Timmy was trapped in a well. By the time I knew him he had plenty of attitude. He’d run after a toy that you threw, but only once. If you’re going to throw it away again, why should he bring it back?

Actually, I initially thought he was kind of dumb. One of the first things I did when we moved into the new house was to install a “doggie door” so he could go in an out to our small backyard at will. It took him a week to figure out how to use it, no matter how many times we cajoled him with treats and toys or even pushed him through. Later, I came to think that he simply hated change. He would eagerly await my wife’s return from work, standing at attention and looking at the front door on “Holly Watch” if she were even a few minutes later than usual.

Charlie loved to be on a leash and go for walks. When it was time for a walk he’d bark and run around the house until I took him out. His running was more hip-hopping for joy. Sometimes he’d run so hard and fast that when he reached the end of the leash his body would spin around. Then he’d take off again. Sometimes, he’d pull the leash right out of my hands. But he didn’t run away. He’d turn around and look at me, as if saying, “Will you please take the leash? I want to walk more!”

When he wasn’t walking with his tail curled high, his nose would be to the ground, picking up scents. He’d come up to trees or posts and sniff them longer, picking up his “pee mail,” usually leaving a return message. He’d often find a nice, grassy spot and just roll around on his back, flipping from side to side. Ah, the simple pleasures! In fact, sometimes he’d be so overwhelmed with joy, he’d do what Holly called a “happy dance.” Instead of his hip-hopping run, he’d bend his knees deeply and run as fast as he could. He’d tear around in circles and figure eights just because he could.

Charlie loved people. He’d fearlessly come up to new people and greet people he knew with such pure joy that you’d think he hadn’t seen them in years. If someone wasn’t feeling well he’d stay with them, curling up next to them. He would demand to be petted, and if you stopped before he thought it was time to stop, he’d stick his cold, wet nose under your hand: “Pet me some more!”

He started slowing down. He was, after all, becoming a senior citizen. And then he started to have “episodes.” He’d just wander around, walking, walking. He didn’t recognize us. His legs would collapse under him. After several trips to the vet the cause was revealed: cancer. The tumors were called “insulinomas.” They produced excess insulin putting him into states of extreme low blood sugar; the reverse of diabetes. We could either put him to sleep, feed him every two hours, or try surgery. We opted for the surgery, but had to feed him every two hours, including during the night, until the surgery could be performed.

The surgery was very expensive and we’re still paying off credit cards on that. It took a couple of weeks to heal, but our “puppy” was back. He was hip-hopping and pulling at the leash. But they could not remove all of the tumors and said they would grow back. Soon.

Over the next few months, Charlie slowed down. Our walks became shorter. Eventually, he didn’t have the strength to go on walks at all. Oh, he wanted to go on walks, so I’d hook him to his leash, let him wander outside the front door, and bring him back. He was as loving and caring and intuitive as ever.

On Tuesday, he was fine when I gave him his normal small lunch. A few hours later I heard him panting. I came downstairs to see if he was okay. He had defecated in the kitchen, urinated on the carpet and was in desperate straits, his legs splayed out from his body. I quickly got him some food and hand fed him. He didn’t have the strength to lift his head from the floor. The feeding eventually brought up his blood sugar enough so that he could move about a bit. Shakingly, he began his wandering until he collapsed. I called Holly and asked her to come home from work.

She held her dear friend close as we discussed what to do. We made an appointment for the vet the next day, Samhain. I drove. Holly sat next to him. He kept nudging her with his nose. Holly thought it was affection. Suddenly, he started a repeated barking/howling. He knew he shouldn’t defecate in the car, but he had no control. I think he must have felt humiliated.

The vet knew Charlie and had helped us a lot over the past few years. Holly signed the papers and a tech came in and gave Charlie a sedative. In a few minutes, Charlie was deeply relaxed. The vet returned and gave Charlie an injection. In under two minutes, our Charlie was gone.

Today is the day after Samhain. Holly’s at work. I’m alone in our house. Even when Charlie wasn’t next to me, I could sense his energy filling the house with love, warmth, and feelings of home. Now, the house feels hollow and empty. Without Holly, here, and without Charlie, it’s just a house that is filled with furniture and “stuff,” but empty. It’s amazing how one small dog could fill the entire house with life. There’s a big hollow cave inside of me, too. A place Charlie once filled. And it just feels empty.

Holly had rescued Charlie, so we don’t know his exact birthdate. However, we’re placing it in February. His remains are being cremated and we’re getting an urn for them that looks a bit like Charlie curled up and sleeping. We’re going to celebrate his life on his given birthday. Charlie was about 14 1/2 years old when he died. But Holly and I are not going to focus on the day of his death.

This Samhain, they day he passed, was also Holly and my first wedding anniversary.

It is my deepest hope that Charlie finds peace, rest, and healing in the arms of the Goddess. I hope that when he no longer suffers from arthritis and cancer that he can hip-hop again through the long grass as he so loved to do. Perhaps he’ll re-discover the joy he had of playing in Midwestern snow drifts and he’ll have all the toys with squeakers in them (the only type he liked) that he could want. And then, when he is restored and refreshed, I hope he returns to a person or family that really needs him and to which he can bring so much joy, happiness and love.

Charlie Insisting on Affection from Holly

 

To people reading this, I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors.

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By Patrick
on November 1st, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

Sorry to hear about your loss. I know that a pet is a member of the family, and the pain of their loss is very real. My condolences.

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#2 
Written By Deborah Blake
on November 1st, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

What a lovely, heart-felt tribute. Sending you and Holly big hugs and loving thoughts. Our fur-children are truly gifts, and it sounds like Charlie was one in a million.

Kisses from Deborah and the cats

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#3 
Written By Holly Kraig
on November 1st, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

Don, you are an amazing husband! Thank you for writing this loving and lovely tribute. I will cherish it!

Love
Holly

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#4 
Written By Morgan Eckstein
on November 1st, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

I feel your pain. We lost our oldest cat earlier this year, a cat that I had owned for twenty years. *hug*

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#5 
Written By Peter
on November 1st, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

Don and Holly –

Nothing can be said to make this better and the testimony about Charlie’s character and world view is touching and sincere. Hearing about Charlie’s low glucose experiences is heart breaking. I’m an Type 1 diabetic and low glucose is unpleasant at best and terrifying at worst. Blessing to you both and take great comfort in the knowledge that Charlie was with the people he loved the most when he left you. I wish you both the best in this very trying time. And congratulations on your first year of marriage. With the sour there is the sweet of each other.

Be well.

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#6 
Written By Christina
on November 2nd, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

Dear Don and Holly: I too am so so sorry for your loss. As a beloved family member, his passing is not minor at all…I think most of us here love our furry friends every bit as much as our human ones and when we lose them, it is no less painful. I concur with the others here – what a moving, beautiful tribute to him that you have written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I know his loving spirit is with you both sending you guidance and love.

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#7 
Written By Diane
on November 2nd, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

How very sad to hear Charlie has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge….I had tears in my eyes as I read your loving tribute to your dear, furry friend….your words came from your heart with such an expression of love. I send warm hugs to you and Holly that you will find comfort in your love for one another on your 1st Wedding Anniversary.

With much love,

Diane.

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#8 
Written By Jessica
on November 3rd, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

Such a sweet eulogy/memory. <3 you Charlie!

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#9 
Written By Blackbird "BB"
on November 4th, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

We Lost our Sal this February, Sal was rescue from Md Beagle Rescue; we had him almost 6 years, he would have been about 16 when he past; my wife and I mention him in passing every day.
.
Your Loss is not trivial, and no one should think so, brightest blessings, and comfort of the Goddess. BB.

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#10 
Written By Irene
on November 4th, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

What a beautiful tribute. Anyone who has ‘furbabies’ can feel the warmth and love. I, too have lost precious friends and the void is tremendous. My heart goes out to both of you. Much love…

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#11 
Written By Meghan
on November 5th, 2012 @ 8:40 am

I’m so sorry for your loss. Even when a friend has had a long and happy life, saying goodbye is always so hard. I hope you find comfort in each other and in your memories of what sounds like a truly special dog.

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#12 
Written By Mary s.
on November 7th, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

Holly & Don – So sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved Charlie. As someone who had to have a precious dog companion put to sleep several years ago, I know how hard it is to make such a decision. I pray that the memory of Charlie’s happy-go-lucky spirit and antics will be a source of comfort for you, and that another loving animal companion will once again find its way to your hearts. Blessings.

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