Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Of Grief & Hollandaise

Pete. 199? - 2010
On Sunday my beautiful dog, Pete, died.  On Monday I made Hollandaise sauce. I did this with swollen eyes, shaking hands, throbbing head, nauseous stomach, and empty heart.  I clarified butter, I whisked egg yolks,  I squeezed a lemon, I seasoned my sauce with salt and cayenne pepper. It came out well enough; I suppose it was good.

I didn't do it because I'm going to be tested on it tomorrow in my culinary final. I didn't do it because I was hungry. I suppose I did it because of the amount of precision and concentration required. While in the past I have always cooked to be fully in the moment, this time I cooked to be out of it. I cooked to escape into the cooking, and out of the grief. Just for a minute.

I have never been a fan of using my food blog as a sort of free psychiatric forum. I don't tend to share my problems with many people. I do not, as a rule, wear my heart on my sleeve, and I don't express myself in Hallmark card platitudes. As far as my deepest emotions go, I'm a pretty private person.

But Pete was my best friend. Any of you have ever loved a pet with your whole being know exactly what I mean. My relationship with him went deeper than silly words can express. He was a huge and constant presence in my life.  Poppa Trix and I are better people for having known him. He showed us what it means to be truly good and open and unselfconscious and funny and sweet and noble and artless. He gave us all of himself, fearlessly and completely. I am honored that I had the opportunity to know him for just over 10 years, a time that now seems maliciously brief.

So, I am not here to give you a recipe. If you Google "Hollandaise" you will get over 4 million results. You don't need me for that.

Instead, I am here to share Pete with you.  He was, in my unbiased opinion, the very best dog who ever lived.
My constant companion, Pete liked to help me finish my work
Always the gentleman, Pete made room on his bed for the Count
Suffering the indignities of Halloween. Here, Pete is disguised as a duck.

Following me across a stream. He was fastidious about his paws, and hated to get them wet.


As a kitten, my cat Mr. Darcy thought Pete was his momma
Pete liked to make friends in the park, but he was always most focused on his people and his cats
My Santa dog. Christmas is canceled this year.
Pete loved snow.
Pete really elevated the art of lounging in bed

Noble and good

Not in the mood to sit and pose for a glamour shot

A man about town taking a walk in the park. I always loved his gait.

This photo captures exactly how I feel about Pete. He was my perfect boy. I will always miss him.





35 comments:

  1. I'm so so very sorry to hear about Pete. On Feb 16, 2004, I lost my Sallie and I still miss her. Our Annie is the best dog I've ever been owned by but there was something about Sallie's total love for me that won't happen again now that I'm "sharing" a dog with my husband. What a handsome fellow Pete was. And, how lucky he was to have a human who loved him so much.

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  2. Oh, I am so, so sorry -- I'm shedding tears for you and Pete :( He obviously had an amazing life with you, and so much love <3

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  3. Oh I am so, so sorry for your loss. Actually have tear coming up to my eyes for you looking at all the beautiful picture of a beautiful best friend.

    I think he will truly appreciate this wonderful hommage.

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  4. Darling Trix...tears are rolling down my cheeks as I read this...your beautiful Pete looks like a truly amazing dog. I am so sorry for your loss.

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  5. Ya made me cry! Sweetie, thank you for sharing Pete with me. I know how very hard it is to lose a best friend. I hope the hurt goes away a little more each day until you just have wonderful memories. Hugs and love to you.

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  6. I'm so sorry for your loss of Pete. He looks like a beautiful boy, sweet and loving and kind. I hope he's keeping my little boy company somewhere too. The pain never really goes away, you just get better at coping with it. Hang in there.

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  7. Wow beautiful baby....so sorry he was suffering, and it is amazing how lucky we are when we can love and be loved backed so completely by our pets. You were truly blessed having this beautiful friend for so long. He had great parents in both of you and made his life while here a loving experience. May he be at peace now, and hope in time his memory will only bring you a smile instead of the pain you both share at this time...take care have also been there and know your pain.....

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  8. I lost my big guy, Mycroft, a few years ago and that old line from WIzard of Oz, "I know I have a heart because it's breaking" ran through my head many times. I wished my heart would wither and blow away. But it didn't.

    Now that I have a new big girl (rescued and a little broken)... well I feel Myc is wagging his tail somewhere with doggy approbation. He can never be replaced, but can be honored everyday and so live on.

    Hang in there, Trix, my thoughts are with you. Pete was one gorgeous guy... beautiful photos.

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  9. Since we moved in next door, Pete brightened so many of our days, even just seeing him in passing or hearing his happy bark. He was always so friendly with our girls, even though they must have seemed like hooligans to him sometimes! We will miss him dearly and always remember him.

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  10. Trix, my heart is breaking for you. I can't even begin to imagine how you must be feeling right now but I am glad you posted this. Did it help? I hope so. We are here to listen to you and send you (virtual) hugs when things get tough. Please know that.

    XOXO I know Pete is looking down proud of his lovely momma.

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  11. Trix I am sorry for your loss. I'm not sure if I know what to say to make you feel better, but we're here to listen. Pete knew how much you loved him by the way you cared for him.

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  12. omg, i am sobbing. i had no idea you had a white shepherd. your Pete reminds me so much of my marbled shepherd, and the way you speak of him is the way i love my dog. i am so, so sorry for your loss. i wish i could give you a hug but the interwebs are in the way. i wish i could do something to help, but i comprehend there is nothing i can do to help fill the void. you'll all be in my prayers.

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  13. I'm very sorry, Trix... I love the photo with the computer... so sweet.

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  14. I am so so so sorry. :( Your post made me think of all of the fuzzy friends I've lost over the years. My heart goes out to you.

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  15. OH Trixie sweetie, Oh Pete. . . I am crying right now--for you both. For the loss of Pete. I want to give you a big hug and bake you some bread. I feel quite helpless but hope you know my thoughts are with you--and send you hugs. I see the enormous place Pete had in your life--that last photo of you with him tugs at the very core of me. When our canine friends leave us, my grief seems to linger forever. I do the same thing--dive into the tasks that seem to take the precision of a scientist to accomplish. Please know, I am thinking of you today.
    oxoxox Kelly
    (Vegan Thyme)

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  16. there are many sharing your grief and our hearts go out to the two of you - I was fortunate to come from a family who loved pets (more like siblings aren't they) and with the passing of each made for a better understanding and bonding with the next...
    I am a silly believer that one day I will again cuddle with my beloved black cocker Mister, run and frolic with my faithful wire-haired Snuffy, play fetch with my companion sheppard Rex and probably get biting by Grandmother's chihuahua. I dread the day when my best friend Max has to go...
    As I enjoyed looking at your photos, I am reminding of the saying, animals take on the personality and looks of their owner. I think it is the other way around, you are so Pete and are so lucky to have known him...

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  17. Such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful animal with a beautiful heart. To be loved so unconditionally as these wonderful creatures do is a blessing beyond measure. To love and be loved is the ultimate gift, one that you will carry with you the rest of your life. Carrie

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  18. I'm so sorry about Pete. He was such a beautiful dog, thank you for sharing the pictures with us, it's a great tribute. I hope you will be ok.

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  19. So sorry about your loss. I have been through it several times and still miss all my dogs. I try to remember they were on loan, not permanent but it doesn't make it any easier. Pete was gorgeous.

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  20. Trix I am really sorry! I feel honoured that you have shared Pete with us. I can see from your post and the pictures how special he was and what a deep bond you did indeed have. I can so relate to the hollandaise sauce as therapy. As much as it wont feel like Xmas this year, he will always be with you and he certainly had one very happy life! Take care, my friend xx

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  21. Trix, so sorry to hear of your lost. What a lovely post...very touching! It's a mix of utter sadness and joy which reflects the beauty of a relationship between a human and a pet. Christmas this year may be sad without him but yet Christmas every year will remind you what an awesome, faithful friend you had! Pete looks amazing in all the photos.

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  22. Hey Trix, I'm so sorry about Pete. He looks like a very sweet dog and surely a beautiful one. My Dad was just lamenting the other day about all of the wonderful dogs that, as he termed it, 'have died on him'. My Dad's 70, loves dogs, and has had quite a few. It is sad they they don't live longer-too sad. Sorry Trix. I'm sure Pete's somewhere very good now...

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  23. I am so sorry that you have lost a beloved friend and companion. What beautiful photos and memories you have shared. Such a great spirit will go on.

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  24. Oh Trix I am so very sorry, my heart is hurting for you both after losing Pete. He looks like he was a truly gorgeous individual xxx

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  25. I am a cat person; but seeing those pictures and reading your post, I felt deeply touched and empathize with what you must be going through; Pete looks exactly like your describe him, a noble creature, a superior soul.
    I am so sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you Trix.

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  26. Oh my gosh. This brought tears to my eyes. I have the same love for my dog and cannot imagine not having her greet me at the door when I come home.

    You're in my thoughts, love.

    ..And the hollandaise does look lovely.

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  27. Beautiful photos of a beautiful dog. I can't find any words of consolation except to tell you that Pete obviously had a lucky, lovely life with you.

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  28. I am so sorry for your loss. Pete sounds like he was such a beautiful dog who would make everyone a better person for being around him. I'm going to go give my puppy a big hug now, as I can't bear the thought of loosing him. Thank you for sharing your feelings and Pete's story with us.

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  29. My father, after one of my dogs died, counted up and realized he'd had 17 dogs from his childhood to his 70s. He told me, "If you have dogs, you're going to cry. But you should never have a dog you wouldn't cry over."

    Condolences over the loss of your beloved companion.

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  30. Everyone, your comments are so thoughtful. Thank you.
    @Anonymous - Your father sounds like a very wise man. Thank you for sharing that.

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  31. I met you today for the first time...and I'm crying...because seeing Pete I thought at Ciro....he's not here since 4 years ago and pain is always deep....anyway Mou is still here nearby to me...next week we go on Holiday to visit my parents...yesterday he was tolietted... he's going to come with us...half car is for his room...and now he's sleeping on the sofa.. hugs, love Flavia

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  32. This made me cry. In a good way. My one and only dog passed away almost 10 years ago, so I know what it's like to feel that sadness. I am sorry for the loss of your amazingly cute pup. It is hard, but you don't need us to tell you that. Just like people who pass away, we are lucky to have special pets in our lives. And you have all of these cute memories of Pete. That's the best part.

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  33. Thank you Chrystal - it is a very deep sadness indeed but you are right that the special memories will always last. xoxo

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  34. oh my lord i love your pete- i lost a pete dog in dec. 2009..a stray we found in texas and named 'texas pete'.........your pics are beautiful as is your tribute :)

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