In Memory of My Romeo

by Maria Theresa Maggi on August 12, 2019

 

“Romeo Sleeping,” chalk pastel by Maria Theresa Maggi

My Dear Readers,

For those of you who don’t already know, coming up on  3weeks ago my Romeo crossed the rainbow bridge. I thought I would weave the story of his passing into a narrative with other events, but I find I’m just not ready to do that. So instead, I’d like to offer a photo gallery of favorite moments with him to honor the amazing being he was in Silken Windhound form and the incredible life he gave me for the past ten years. Without him at my side I would not have learned to walk the distances I learned to go without my walking stick. He gave me the support I needed to go places in public and to make the moves that ultimately brought me to the beach. He had a wonderful retirement here. And he taught Cotton well. I am grateful for every moment I had with him. Today as Cotton and I were enjoying the sun down at the cabana where the three of us often sat on the grass, I smiled to myself to think that if I used the folk measurement that one human year equals 7 in the life of a dog, then Romeo lived to be 101. He gave me a dog century of unconditional love. He gave me the experience of myself as someone worthy of that unconditional love, and that in itself is the experience of a lifetime. I hope you enjoy these moments from our life together captured in photos. And I thank you for following our adventures  over the years.

Here’s Romeo being a very cute senior earlier this year.

Romeo enjoying himself in the sun amidst a huge pile of leaves on Asbury Street.

 

One of my favorite photos of us, in the rose garden in Portland. That trip we also climbed the stairs at the Japanese garden together, took a taxi, and attended the Vida Vegan conference.

Romeo and me on Christmas Eve in Ghormley Park about 7 years ago, posing in front of a tree I donated in honor of my parents.

Here’s a couple of us on our excursion to the Pacific Coast on my birthday 2016, the first time I’d seen the Pacific Ocean in 22 years and Romeo’s first smell of sand and sea.

Another one of my favorites. My sister took this of us unawares, looking out over the Clackamas River, awaiting the moment when Mike and Kelly would literally “take the plunge” in their wedding clothes.

Here we are in the green dappled light under my pear tree on Asbury Street.

Great grandfather Romeo contemplating tiny great grand daughter puppy Solveig.

A stranger on Lincoln Beach saw the two of us standing together sketching and snapped a photo of it. She then approached me and asked if I would like her to send it to me.

Romeo proudly posing in his new service vest. With that vest he accompanied me to City Council Meetings and was at the podium when I gave public comments. He received a commendation from the mayor written into the minutes for his good citizenship. He stood at the podium at BookPeople of Moscow with me as I read my poetry in public for the first time in 17 years. He wore that vest to my first art show at the Moscow Food Co-op. He was wearing that vest when we helped our neighbor Ashley across the busy street in our neighborhood and he was at the hospital another time when she hadn’t been so lucky and we visited her in the emergency room. He was photographed for a book called The Dogs of The Moscow Farmer’s Market. He accompanied me to a viewing of Back To The Future with live soundtrack played by the Porland Symphony. He was at my side when I judged the Portland Youth Poet Laureate competition, and much more. Now Cotton wears that storied vest with willingness and understanding, thanks to Romeo’s example.

Romeo taking a snooze at my feet while I discuss building community at a City Repair workshop in Portland.

Romeo and me on a playdate in Portland with our friend Melissa and her three Silken girls, Cartier, Shelby and Mocha. Romeo and Carter had a little crush on each other.

Romeo meets his grandson Jarreau nose to nose.

In addition to passing on his service dog wisdom, Romeo appointed himself to the job of licking off Cotton’s head after they’d had a bath or we’d been out in the rain.

Romeo and my neighbor’s cat Boo enjoying the sun in my empty parking space at the condo in Portland.

Romeo hanging out with me while I helped paint the Nikki Brown Clown Free Library mural.

At the request of my dog trainer friend Leah, Romeo and Cotton form a “reception line” at her puppy class graduation so the graduates can practice approaching other dogs calmly. Little Sailor’s getting some advice from Romeo the elder here.

Romeo holds my hand our first Christmas together.

I know Dr. McDougall loves to say “it’s the food.” And it is. But I would also add “it’s the love.” The food gave me the foundation to be clear and well enough to trust letting Romeo into my life, and to be open to the love and support he gave me. And that, in turn, changed my life. Thank you, Romeo, as I always used to tell him, for loving me so much and keeping such good care of me. I’ll meet you on the other side someday when it’s my turn to cross that rainbow bridge. I love you always.

Maria (moonwatcher)

 

 

PS: Cotton holding my foot on the beach, carrying on the tradition of Romeo’s tenderness.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa Allen August 12, 2019 at 3:55 pm

What a beautiful and moving tribute to Romeo. You both learned and loved so much together. I’m so happy that Romeo taught Cotton the ropes. Our love for our dogs and theirs for us will never fade. Thank you!

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2 Leah August 12, 2019 at 5:29 pm

Very touching Maria he is such a good and wise soul. A very deserving tribute to a Stellar service dog and life and beyond companion.

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3 Maria Theresa Maggi August 13, 2019 at 8:38 am

Dear Leah, thank you so much. I know you know. xoxo

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4 Lori Coletti August 12, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Tears rolling down my face. Your writing really comes from the heart. Beautiful pictures Maria. Thanks for sharing. 💗

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5 Maria Theresa Maggi August 13, 2019 at 8:39 am

Aw, Lori, bless your heart. Thank you. xo

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6 Carol Fisher August 12, 2019 at 9:58 pm

Such beautiful words and pictures. I especially like the one of you two in the beach grass with the brilliant sky as backdrop.
You two had something very special! While you will always miss him and he can’t be replaced, it seems Cotton has stepped right up to his new responsibility. Romeo left you in good paws.

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7 Maria Theresa Maggi August 13, 2019 at 8:39 am

Thank you so much, Carol. And yes, Romeo left me in good paws! I love that phrase. <3

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8 jacquie August 13, 2019 at 8:57 am

Thank you for sharing your Romeo with us. Your words hold such tenderness and admiration for him it. It is very fitting tribute to a wonderful and kind spirit. I too know the central role our 4-legged companions can play in dealing with chronic illness, accepting ourselves, learning to trust after being taught otherwise and oh so many other hard things. Their gift of unconditional love is truely a blesssing and is just as important as food for some of us in terms of nourishing the soul. Though i know you wish he was still here physically, i know that he will live forever in your heart where he is truely at home.

My deepest sympathies for your loss.

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9 Maria Theresa Maggi August 13, 2019 at 10:36 pm

Thank you for your kind and understanding words, Jacquie. While I wouldn’t wish him to be here in the state of suffering he would be in, I still do miss him deeply. And yes he does live forever in my heart, and yes he truly is at home there. I love the way you put that.

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10 Lisa August 13, 2019 at 3:20 pm

Such a lovely tribute! Thank you for sharing your memories and pictures. When I was reading your post I saw that you were in Portland, OR and I was so excited since I’m here as well and thought it would be great to meet you. I also have MS and have been leading a veg / vegan life. 8 months vegan. I’m glad you’re loving life in Moscow. But I wish you lived here so we could have a coffee or tea. I’ll definitely keep reading your blog. Best. L.

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11 Maria Theresa Maggi August 13, 2019 at 10:40 pm

Thank you Lisa. I’m so glad you’ve found a vegan path–I’ve been on it for 11 yaars and it’s helped me immensely to live better with MS than I ever thought I could. I wish the same for you. I did live in Moscow and I did even live in Portland for a brief year, but now I live on the central Oregon Coast. I hope you’ll read through some older posts and find support and encouragement on your own healing path.

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12 Judeen August 13, 2019 at 3:40 pm

I’m so sorry about Romeo, a true and devoted friend.

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13 Maria Theresa Maggi August 13, 2019 at 10:40 pm

Thank you, Judeen.

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14 Donna M. McFarland August 14, 2019 at 1:48 am

Ohhhhh dear Maria!! How these photo’s of you and your beautiful, unforgettable Romeo do touch me this morning! We’re barely two weeks out of losing our beloved Max. My heart feels your pain sister…in every writing, I anxiously await your every blog shared…sister, this one…all I can say is BIGGGG Warm hugs being sent to you!!! Know that- you are loved,cared for and kept close at heart, more than you’ll ever know. I’m greatly relieved that you have Cotton beside you to carry on now. Be well Maria…Always, Donna

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15 Barbara Whitney August 14, 2019 at 7:31 am

I often think our dogs are not only life companions but eternal companions. Your soul is larger because of Romeo, and his too. And mine too, for reading your beautiful tribute to him. What a sweet booboo head. I would imagine your grief is as deep as your love for him; I wish you comfort and ease in this sad time. And I thank you for the gift you shared with us with your words and pictures of Romeo.u

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16 Eric DAmico August 14, 2019 at 3:55 pm

Beautiful tribute! The bond between humans and dogs is so special and strong. Very sorry for your loss, but I am sure Cotton will fill your heart with love and companionship.

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17 Maria Theresa Maggi August 14, 2019 at 4:26 pm

Thank you, Eric! And yes, he is!

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18 Laura August 14, 2019 at 9:32 pm

I am so so very sorry for your loss. It won’t be easy, just know we are all thinking of you.

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19 Veronica August 15, 2019 at 9:30 am

I’m so very sorry to hear about Romeo. I’ve so enjoyed reading about him and seeing pictures, and it is so evident the love and trust you two shared. Our fur babies are so much more than just pets. They are our friends, companions, helpers, confidantes…
My own cat, Gandalf, passed over the bridge about 3 weeks ago, too. It’s been really hard, not seeing him every day. So many things remind me of him, and I keep thinking I hear him in the hallway, or feel him jumping on the bed.
Our furry friends leave such a huge hole when they’re gone, but they never truly leave us. The warmth and unconditional love stays in our hearts and souls forever. Until we meet them again someday at the bridge.
I’m glad you and Cotton have each other to help you through this, I’m sure he’s mourning also. Sending you so much warmth, love, and peace. Be kind to yourself, mourn his loss, celebrate his life. I’ll be doing the same.
xoxo

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20 Maria Theresa Maggi August 18, 2019 at 10:49 am

Thank you for these kind words and understanding, Veronica. I so appreciate them and you. I’m really sorry you lost Gandolph, too. Sending you love and understanding as you mourn and grieve, too. xoxo

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21 Ellie Radich August 16, 2019 at 1:03 pm

Don’t have a website?? Enjoyed your photo journey of you n Romeo!!! You two were certainly Heavenly ordained to be together👏👏👏👍🙏🙏🙏💞 l am vegan vegetarian also trying to manage cystitis ,gerd n Menerries Disease!! My daughter Loriihas Ms 28 yrs now but no desire to change diet😔😔😔😔 I am very happy for the transformation u have achieved!!! My love n Blessings go with n Roneo is still part of u inur Spirit⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

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22 Maria Theresa Maggi August 18, 2019 at 10:51 am

Thank so much Ellie! Wish you the best on your path to better health! Love you! Tell Lori hi for me. 🙂 xoxo

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23 Vicki August 17, 2019 at 11:14 am

Beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul.

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24 Maria Theresa Maggi August 18, 2019 at 10:51 am

Thank you, Dear Heart. xoxo

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25 Gena August 25, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Maria,

I don’t doubt that, whenever you do choose to write about Romeo’s passage as it relates to other events, it will be beautiful. But sometimes images are as powerful as words, and that’s so very true in this post. It brought tears to the corners of my eyes; I’m so very glad that I had a chance to encounter Romeo, however quickly, at VVC these many years ago.

I’m also so touched by your closing sentiment. Applying it to my own life, I think about how much it resonates with regards to my internship year. While it’s true that I saw many instances of food and nutrition therapy doing incredible things, I also saw how much of healing resides in patients support systems and openness to receiving help and yes—love.

I continue to honor Romeo’s life. Sending hugs.

xo

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26 Maria Theresa Maggi September 4, 2019 at 2:09 pm

Thank you for this beautiful comment, Gena. I, too, am glad you got to encounter Romeo so many years ago at the conference. It makes me very happy that my ending sentiments touched you in the context of working with patients during your DI. You are so dear to me. Thank you always, and much love to you.

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27 Karen September 7, 2019 at 5:14 pm

Dear Maria, What a beautiful tribute to Romeo and the wonderful times and relationship you had together. For a few years, I was enamored of the idea of getting a silken windhound after my own dog crossed the rainbow bridge. I held off because of travel plans and lack of nearby breeders or rescue dogs. Just love seeing your Romeo and his grandchildren. What a lasting legacy Romeo developed. He helped you and so many others. May you develop an equally strong bond with your next furry companion. Hugs to you1

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28 Maria Theresa Maggi September 8, 2019 at 9:22 am

Dear Karen, thank you so much for these heartfelt words–they mean a lot! I DO hope there still might be a Silken Windhound in your future. 🙂 Living with them is life changing in the best kind of way. 🙂

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29 Silvia September 17, 2019 at 4:22 am

Dear Maria, I didn’t say this on Facebook when you posted about the loss of Romeo…

What I wanted to say: I told and I still tell my dear Oki (she died october 2016) that she is to come for me when I die.
You said something similar on Facebook and it touched me deeply.

Greetings from Silvia in Germany

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30 Maria Theresa Maggi September 17, 2019 at 10:14 am

Silvia, I’m so glad to know this, and so sorry for the loss of your dear Oki. At the suggestion of a good friend of mine who is a talented clairvoyant I read a book of channeled material about the afterlife. There was a good page about our pets and how they are loved and cared for while they wait for us to arrive. Cried the whole time I read it. I really believe that. much love to you

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