A Sad Thanksgiving

I was supposed to have made cannoli for our November Daring Baker’s challenge, but haven’t quite gotten around to it.  Instead, I’ve spent the past several days readying our house for Thanksgiving, making last minute recipe choices, and going over the prep with my husband who has to be the best person to have around when it comes to cooking on big occasions.  He chopped and sliced all Wednesday evening while I made pies — one of which turned out wonderfully, and the other, not so much. It was a recipe I’ve enjoyed before, with pastry that always comes out perfectly flaky.  Unfortunately, this time it didn’t and I haven’t quite figured out why.  Was it the pastry flour I used instead of all-purpose even though the recipe suggests that either is fine?  Perhaps it was the European butter with its higher fat content.  Can there be too much fat in pie pastry?  Actually, I’d say it was most likely my fault making a whole batch in my not-quite-big-enough Cuisinart instead of the half batch I normally make.  Suffice it to say that at some point, the cold shortening chunks don’t quite make for a flaky crust; they cause it to drip from the edge of the pie dish when one attempts to blind-bake it, pooling in the pan, burning, and then smoking.

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We tried a new brine recipe this year and decided it was the best of many over the past few years, but we didn’t arrive at this conclusion without a few moments of semi-panicked indecision after the turkey appeared to be done long before it was supposed to have been and sporting an alarmingly deep caramel color.  Was it the probe that never seems to be positioned correctly?  Or maybe the convection oven is just too efficient when we least want it to be.  No,  it was the brine which contained 48 oz. of both maple syrup and honey along with the required salt.  I’m certain it can never truly be Thanksgiving without some kitchen mishap, and when it’s all said and done, the day is a good one no matter what.

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This year, our sweet doggo Jones missed the last step on her way downstairs first thing in the morning.  Her paw must have gotten tangled in the no-skid treads we’ve been placing on the stairs each night and collecting each morning for the past six months.  She went down pretty hard, and I did what I always do when she falls:  console her with gentle words and then hoist her large body to a standing position, making sure she’s sturdy before encouraging her to scoot out the door for her morning constitutional.  She seemed fine, eager for her Milkbone after coming in and settling in a sunny spot on the rug to enjoy it.

As the day progressed, busy as it always is with preparation for the holiday, Jones lay around like she often does,  right beneath our feet.  We’re used to it, so don’t mind stepping over her, but at some point, she just couldn’t get up any longer though.  The slippery floor kept her front legs from getting traction, and without them, her hind legs were more useless than they normally are.  It took two of us using slings to try and get her up and walking, but many efforts throughout the day made it clear that she wasn’t well.  Our holiday was what one should be, full of savory aromas, flavorful bites, good company, and laughter.  But this year, it was also tinged with melancholy.

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My husband, youngest son and I took Jones to the vet the next morning to listen to him tell us what we already knew — that he didn’t have any magic that might work.  The three of us stayed with her right until the end, stroking the soft head that never quite fit the size of her body, and crowding close to her face to let her know we were right where she always wanted us to be.

I’m thankful for the fourteen years she gave us even though she was never quite the average dog.  She couldn’t catch a frisbee or a ball if you threw one, but she was a fierce soccer goaley.  She didn’t like to be outside like other dogs, but mention “bone,” “go for a ride,” or “treat,” and you’d instantly have her attention.  She indulged our habit of changing her name every other week depending on what mood one of us was in, and learned each one, responding to it with a friendly thump of her tail whenever we said our hellos each day.

Bless her heart.  Bless her sweet, sweet heart.

I’ll make the cannoli later.  Today, I’m indulging myself with memories.

Miss Jones

41 thoughts on “A Sad Thanksgiving

  1. I am so sorry about your pup. It is so sad when they go. I’ve lost 2 in the last 5 yrs and it’s just tears me up when I hear of someone elses loss.

    Otherwise, my friend, I am glad that your meal was wondeful. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  2. I’m with Judy. It doesn’t matter that I never met Jones, I’m still very sad she is gone. Remember as much or as long as you want, I know I’d be doing the same.

  3. I’m so sorry about Jones. Its always hard to lose a pet, and (as others have said), each time I hear of the loss of a pet I am sad that they’re gone.

  4. Thats so sad, the loss of your dog made me cry, I hope she’s hunting the green fields of dog heaven at this moment! My dogs at home brings me so much joy of live, its hard to embreach the fact that one day they will pass on just like any other creature that walks this world. <3 *Cries*

  5. My sympathies to you and yours..what sweet words..and thank you for sharing everything regardless of your sorrow..Everything looked perfectly beautiful:)

  6. Such a beautiful and expressive dog. You can see her kind, gentle demeanor in this photograph. I’m truly sorry for your loss.

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss. You shared 14 wonderful years with a sweet and noble friend. That’s life well lived. My prayers are with you and your family.

  8. i am so sorry for your loss, what a wonderful tribute to a beautiful girl. it was truly a day of thanksgiving for you, you are thankful for 14 wonderful years…

    wishing you peace thru the pain, i know just how you feel, we lost our dog on fathers day. it does get easier in time…

  9. So sorry to read about your fur baby Kelly. She’ll be waiting for you at the rainbow bridge. Hold the memories close cause she’s still in your heart.

  10. “The Power of the Dog”
    By Rudyard Kipling

    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.

    Buy a pup and your money will buy
    Love unflinching that cannot lie —
    Perfect passion and worship fed
    By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
    Nevertheless it is hardly fair
    To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

    When the fourteen years which Nature permits
    Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
    And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
    To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
    Then you will find — it’s your own affair —
    But . . . you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

    When the body that lived at your single will,
    With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
    When the spirit hat answered your every mood
    Is gone — wherever it goes — for good,
    You will discover how much you care,
    And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

    We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
    When it comes to burying Christian clay.
    Our loves are not given, but only lent,
    At compound interest of cent per cent.
    Though it is not always the case, I believe,
    That the longer we’ve kept’em, the more do we grieve;

    For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
    A short-time loan is as bad as a long —
    So why in — Heaven (before we are there)
    Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

  11. I thought I wasn’t going to cry, but I did. It’s so heart breaking to have to put down a family member like Jones. We have been there, so my heart is with you. When we had to put our Cairn Terrier (Lulu) down, I cried for at least a week. And I still miss her tremendously…

    On another note, your table looked absolutely gorgeous & the pie looked totally delectable!

  12. Oh sweetheart, I am so very very sorry. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Our pups are not just faithful companions, but members of the family. I am sending you hugs, and Kaweah sends you wags. xxoo

  13. Sorry to hear about your dear pet. When I got to the bottom of the page and saw the picture, I choked up. You see yours looks like they could be my dog’s twin. And mine is starting to have some issues. I’m moving to another state in a few wks and told my bf…I don’t think our dog is going to be with us very long once we get there. She’s a nervous sort and this is a huge change. Add to that some physical problems…..and …..well you know.

    So look and remember the sweet memories of a wonderful pet and family member. Im glad you stayed to the end. So many say don’t do that. I did with my last pet and I’m very glad still, that I did it. I think it helps give closure. Hugs and know that she knew to the end she was very much loved.

  14. Our family extends our most ‘heartfelt sympathy’ on the passing of your dear dear baby….she was so very fortunate to have such a loving family, and you were rewarded by having her in your lives…..god bless you all…Valerie up in Manitoba xo

  15. I’m so very sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet furkid. Most of us animal lovers have had to go through the heartbreaking experience of deciding when the time is right to let them go, and then staying with them through the end. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My thoughts are with you and your family as you adjust to life without your friend.

  16. I am so sorry that you had to go through this, and on a Holiday. Your dog was very loved and I am sure she had a great life and she knew it.

  17. I am so sorry to hear about your beautiful girl. It’s good that you and your family had 14 years together.

    We had to say goodbye to our 12 yo Shetland Sheepdog a few years back to osteoarthritis. It had moved into her hips and she only had intermitent use of her back legs.

    I think all dogs go to heaven, where they get to spend their days chasing squirrels and lying in the grass in God’s big back yard. I hope one day, I’m fortunate and get to play ball with her again in that yard.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  18. Such sad news. So happy she was right where she wanted to be on Thanksgiving surrounded by those who loved her. So many years to be thankful for. Love the above poem.

  19. 🙁 First Black Kitty and now Jones. This has been a sad year for you my friend. But in the bright side, the food looks delicious 🙂

  20. OMG, Kelly..I am so so sorry *HUGS* Losing a pet you loved for so many years, a family member, is so devastating. I’ve been there one too many times, from my first dog, to guinea pigs, my first cat and now possibly another kitty. I wish I could say something to make you feel better, but I know your memories and photos of her will always keep you warm as she watches down on all of you from doggy heaven.

  21. OH Kelly….I am so very sorry. Been there so many times now and it never gets any easier.

    Be so ever thankful that you shared your life with a wonderful dog. Many people will never experience that.

    Take care.

  22. awww………im sorry to hear the sad story. But she leaves behind good memories for you. That’s something to cherish forever.

  23. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I know what you feel like. Truly. On November 30 at 2 am, my Siberian of 14 years left me. I was with her almost the whole time and in the last passing moments. My heart goes out to you as I miss my Frost.

  24. I was admiring your beautiful table ( and food – nevermind the dough) and then came to the end with a heartfelt thud. I am so, so, sorry for the loss of Jones. Those cheerful little faces are so missed, forever, when they leave us. Hugs to you and the family, dear Kelly.

  25. Don’t know that you’ll get this at such a late date, but I just wanted to tell you that my heart goes out to you. You see, my dog, Alpine, a Siberian Husky of 14 years and one month died the next day, Nov. 30 at 2 a.m. I was fortunate enough to be with her when she left. I’d found your website before she died but never had the strength to write till now.
    I wanted to thank the reader who sent in the Rudyark Kipling poem, it meant a lot. And I wanted to wish you peace and the happiness of wonderful memories with your love, Jones.
    Angela 1/24/10

    1. Angela, I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. I completely understand not being able to talk about it. It’s only now that I’m not as teary as I was just thinking about the loss of mine. What has helped is gathering a collection of all the photos we have and creating a screen saver of them. So each time I pass my Mac, I see Jones at one point or another in her life. In one shot in particular, her eyes are so close to the camera looking right at the lens. As I look at her, I swear I have a sense of her peace and it washes over me. It’s overwhelming, but I know that she’s better off, and no longer in pain. I thank you for taking the time to write and wish you the best.

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