Not just a dog

Suzanna Molino Singleton’s dog, Razer, was a longtime companion.

I have a black double dog leash hanging on a hook in the laundry room, but I don’t need it anymore since I now have only one dog, Lupini. Our older pooch, Razer, a sweet gentle soft teddy bear, died two Sundays ago at age 12 (from that stupid “C” word – cancer).

Razer was not just a dog – he was our dog. And he was a great dog. He was a member of our family, a rescue we’ve owned for 11 years. I know most families will say the same about their dog’s greatness after it dies. Each dog is different, yet in general, dogs are great! They are funny and sweet and entertaining. The love they show us is unconditional – like God’s. They even share the same three letters – it cannot be a coincidence the word dog is ‘God’ spelled backwards.

Years ago as a young adult, I remember being in the car with my sister, Paula, who had to give away her cat, Licorice. I don’t remember the reason. Returning from the dreaded dropoff, she cried as she drove. I remember thinking, “It’s just a cat.” But to her it wasn’t just a cat – it was her cat, Licorice. I didn’t understand pet ownership then and how seriously attached we become since I had never had a pet before…unless you count two turtles in 1966 named Tootsie and Footsie. One day they “disappeared” from the tiny turtle pen we kids had fabricated in the back yard. Daddy informed us they “ran away.” (Remind me to ask him what he did with those turtles when we meet again in heaven.)

Suzanna Molno Singleton has a special love for her dog, Razer. (Courtesy photo)

Those who have not loved a dog may not understand the grief. They may say, “It’s just a dog.” Yet if you have loved a dog (or a cat, horse, rabbit or other pet), you understand the misery I’m feeling. You get the longing of missing my dog. It’s painful. It’s hard. I am grieving. You understand how fresh tears start when I see Razer’s collar or the double dog leash hanging on the hooks in the laundry room.

Razer is everywhere around the house, yet nowhere to be seen.

As I prepare my puppy Lupini’s dog bowl for breakfast, it hits me: Razer is gone. As I walk him through the neighborhood, it hits me again: Razer is gone. As I pull into our driveway and Razer no longer runs up to my car, it hits again. Grief does that. It’s a bunch of little sucker punches over and over directly in the gut. In the heart. I remember the same feeling waking up every morning after my Daddy died.

Razer was a constant in the house: always here, every day, every week, every year for 11 years. And now he’s not. His ashes came back from the vet a few days ago, and that’s just weird – my entire beautiful black and golden dog now in a wooden box with a gold plate that reads RAZER.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust … I am reminded.

As I believe 100% I will see my Papà Louie again when I reach heaven, I hope Razer will greet me, too. And he won’t be riddled with cancer. And he will have all four legs again (poor baby had one removed over the summer). God created these very special animals especially for us, to emulate him. He knew exactly what he was doing when he made dogs.

These beautiful animals are not just dogs. No. They are extraordinary pet blessings gifted to us by God.

Dear God,

Thank you for the gift of Razer. Please take care of him up there.

Amen.

(See my earlier post on Razer here: Fourteen ways my dog is like God.)

Suzanna Molino Singleton

Suzanna Molino Singleton

Suzanna Molino Singleton is a native Baltimorean and parishioner of St. Leo Church in Little Italy. A former staff correspondent for the Catholic Review, she launched her "Snippets of Faith" blog for the Catholic Review in June 2018. Suzanna is the creator of a weekly e-column, SNIPPETS Inspiration (since 2006), and the author of seven books, including Baltimore’s Little Italy: Heritage and History of The Neighborhood. Email Suzanna at 29angels@comcast.net.