The sorrow that we feel when we lose a pet can seem never-ending. But we often find comfort in the memories they leave with us for the rest of our lives.
Rosalie Steiner recently shared the memories she has of her four passed Schnauzers with iHeartDogs, and the quilt she made in their honor.
“All of my boys were rescues. Scruffy and Rascal were brothers and the only two from a litter of seven that remained at the Seneca County Humane Society,” Steiner explained. “Scooby was a Schnauzer/Black Lab mix. He had a brother Shaggy who was adopted by someone else, leaving Scooby all alone at the humane society until we rescued him. Although Peanut was not in a shelter, I consider him a rescue as well because he was in serious need of attention and if we had not taken him in, he would have been taken to the pound the next day.”
She welcomed all four dogs into her family, along with her husband Randy, and kids Emily and Nick. Scruffy, Rascal, Scooby and Peanut lived happily, as loved as any dog could be loved! Rosalie’s home is the kind of home where dogs are members of the family, and pets belong on the furniture! She and her husband even bought a king-sized bed to accommodate all their boys!
“They all had their specific spots. Big Scooby would sleep on top of the covers beside my husband, on the outside edge of the bed. Rascal would burrow under the covers between my husband and I and go all the way to the bottom. Next in line would be Scruffy in between us, under the covers smack dab in the middle of the bed, right above Rascal. Then last but not least would be Peanut. He would be under the covers just above Scruffy but at the top of the bed with his head sticking out, just like mom and dad! This was the sleeping arrangements for many years until they began to age and some of them weren’t able to jump on the bed any longer.”
The pups were treated to regular grooming sessions, and would come home with a small scarf after each visit. Over the years, Rosalie collected these scarves – which would eventually become the quilt she has now.
“I can’t say exactly when the idea of a scarf quilt hit me, but because I just have a tendency to save things, I began saving the boys scarves each time they went to the groomer. At first my thought was to make them each a big fluffy pillow for their crates by piecing the scarves together.
“Well, if you knew me, you’d know that I can think up things to do way faster than I can actually ever do them in reality so the idea fell by the wayside. The scarves kept stacking up.
“Then I thought maybe I had enough for a lap quilt or maybe even a twin quilt. Well time passed and I didn’t proceed and they continued to amass.
“Finally, in May 2014 I decided to lay them out to see just what I had, and to my surprise I had more than I thought. Since I saw how many scarves I had I brainstormed about making it into a king size quilt for our bed, and the boys could enjoy it too since, after all, they were the reason I had the materials to make it. At that point I was eight scarves short of having exactly what I needed so I had to wait for a couple more grooming appointments for each boy.
“In December 2014 I finally had what I needed for scarves and laid it out again. I decided that with some borders around the edge, it would work for our king size bed. I believe it was at that point that Peanut became seriously ill then was put down.”
After several happy years together, age was beginning to catch up with Rosalie’s pups.
“We could see the boys aging and slowing down and knew we’d be faced with some decisions not so far down the road. Peanut had suffered from an unknown skin disease for several years and had frequent visits to the vet. As hard as it was, I had to do the right thing for my beloved Peanut and let him go.
“My daughter said that she noticed Scruffy, Rascal and Scooby decline after Peanut was gone. She was right. I don’t know if there is a connection, but I had to wonder if Peanut had kept them young for as long as he was here. I do know that they definitely missed him once he was gone.
“Scruffy was the next to go. We could see him failing. He had what would be the equivalent to a human’s Alzheimer’s Disease. Even before Scruffy was put down, we could see a steady decline in Scooby and Rascal. We tried to hold on to them as long as we could but knew that they were suffering and couldn’t let them continue.”
Out of love for their boys, Rosalie and her family made the difficult choices they knew were best for their boys. Their family suffered several losses in a short amount of time, and within two years, all four had crossed the rainbow bridge. The pain halted the work on her quilt while she mourned her pups, but only temporarily.
“The quilt top remained folded neatly in my sewing room and I didn’t touch it for several months. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but looking back now, I believe it was something in my subconscious that would not allow me to work on the quilt because I was grieving. It made me sad to look at it and remember. Finally, one day I just decided it was time so I got it out and went to work. I finally got it completely finished and it was ready to go to my sister to be quilted.
“She has quilted other quilts for me and it’s because of her that I am able to actually finish my quilts. She used a dog bone and swirly design for the quilting. As always, she did a fantastic job and I am so lucky to have such a wonderful sister that helps me get things done. I finished the quilt on July 11, 2018.”
Peanut, Scruffy, Scooby and Rascal never got to snuggle up in the finished quilt, but the memory of happy moments and lots of love are sewn into every stitch. The quilt is king-sized, and is composed of 72 triangular scarves that were lovingly saved by Rosalie. The family’s newest addition, Molly, never got to meet her big brothers, but shares and enjoys the quilt their love inspired.
“As the boys aged, I was asked many times by family and friends if I thought I’d get another dog when the boys were all gone. I would answer that I wasn’t sure, but I just couldn’t imagine a house without a dog.
“Once they were gone, the house seemed so terribly quiet and, of course, I was very sad. I had decided that I would not go looking for another dog, but if one came along at the right place and the right time and it seemed meant to be then I’d definitely consider it.”
Five days after the loss of her remaining pups, the local Humane Society posted a photo of a sweet Shih-tzu/Yorkie pup named Molly to their Facebook page. The post was forwarded from her daughter, and after speaking with her husband, Rosalie went to the shelter to apply to adopt the puppy.
“When I got to the humane society, it wasn’t open yet and there was a line of people standing outside on a frigid day waiting for them to open. Once inside, everybody was passing Molly around and filling out applications and the phone was ringing off the hook with people inquiring about her. I knew I’d have a slim chance of getting her but decided to go ahead with the application anyway. They explained that they didn’t go by who was there first but rather who they thought would give her the best home. I left there hopeful but not all that confident that I would ever see Molly again.
“Much to my surprise and delight, I got a phone call that afternoon saying that I had been chosen to be Molly’s mom. I cried. I just couldn’t believe that I had been chosen out of all the people. I hopped in the car immediately and went to get my little girl. I cried when they gave her to me. I still couldn’t believe it! She has been with us now for almost four months and she is the light of our life. I do get the feeling from her that she feels she is as lucky to have us as we are to have her.”
Rosalie and her family continues to share their love and their quilt with their dog. And Molly has a little collection of scarves herself now that Rosalie plans to make another little project someday!
“Ever since the day the last stitch was put in the binding, it has been on our bed. I love how it brightens our room and is actually big enough for the bed and that we don’t play tug-of-war with the quilt anymore! I’m only sad that none of the boys got to enjoy it. It was in the last couple stages of the quilt’s completion when the last three had passed.
“But… Molly is enjoying it, I think enough for all of them!”
Featured Photo: Rosalie Steiner
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