Emmett’s ashes came back today. I was doing well this week, but this kind of brought me back to all the sadness and feelings of loss I haven’t finished working my way through yet.
Did you know I almost didn’t adopt Emmett? That would have been the worst mistake I never knew I made.
In 2002, I had just lost my dog Nuke, the sweet and slightly touched redbone coonhound who had spent his life at the vet hospital getting x-rayed by vet students. My home was his retirement, where he spent 3 happy years making up for lost time.
I found myself in much the same place I am now, terribly missing the love and companionship of a canine. I had debated between a pug and a Golden (talk about 2 different scenarios!) and ended up on a retriever rescue website, where I saw Seamus. Seamus was about a year old, a stray found nosing about in garbage cans in Riverside. I sent in my application, and found myself happily at the top of the list for Seamus (I knew my degree would be good for something).
We passed the inspection, and my husband and I made the drive up to Temecula to visit Seamus. He was in a run with several other rescue dogs, jumping around, looking for treats.
I looked at him, slightly disappointed. “He’s awfully red,” I said. “Is he a full Golden?”
The rescue guy sighed patiently and explained that there was a distinct line of Goldens that tended to the russet coloring. Unconvinced, I looked in Seamus’ mouth while he was giving me kisses. Black spots on his tongue. “Are you sure he’s not part chow?”
The rescue guy looked at me like I was slightly daft. “He’s not part chow.” He paused. “Look, if you’re not sure, you don’t have to take him….17 families expressed interest in him.”
I looked at Seamus. He looked at me. I looked at my husband. He shrugged.
10 minutes later, we were heading down the freeway, Seamus in the backseat. We had already decided to change his name, reassured by the rescue guy telling us the dogs themselves had never actually been referred to by name.
“How about Oscar?” I said. That was shot down. We went through a few more, each worse than the one before.
I looked at Seamus. He looked at me.
“How about Emmett?” I said. “Like Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas.” Which is, by the by, one of my favorite Christmas specials in the whole world. That one felt right.
My husband agreed, and that was that. People always assume I named him for Emmit Smith, which is patently false and a quick way to really cause me offense. I like my references to be more obscure and eclectic than pro athletes’ names.
True to his namesake, Emmett proved himself a loyal and sweet companion who would do anything for his Ma. We chose well.
Permit me a moment of overly sentimental sappiness here- John Denver wrote one of the songs for the Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas, which Emmet and his mother sing after talking about the death of his father. It’s sweet and melancholic and strangely moving for a Jim Henson special; who’d have expected to hear Muppets singing about death? I’ve always found it touching, but now its significance is even more personal. Yes, I was just moved to tears by two puppets singing a John Denver song. I can’t help it.
I didn’t think about it 7 years ago when choosing Emmett’s name, but I’m now guaranteed a tearfest every Christmas from here on out.
Emmett couldn’t have been any other name. It just fit him perfectly. I’m not familiar with the Jugband Christmas so I’m going to have to do some watching…with plenty of Kleenexes.
*hugs* thinking of you daily my friend.
My chinchilla, Boomer, died last year and I had him cremated as well. When I went to pick up his ashes the first time, they had put him in a bird-shaped urn. Then the next time I went, they had spelled my name wrong on the certificate. Kinda added insult to injury.
::hugs:: to you!
Oh Jess – I’m sorry. We got the urn (it took a lot of time to find one that wasn’t depressing/ugly) last week which brought on a lot of sobbing. Hugs to you.
And that is one of the best Muppet specials EVAH.
One of my top three favorite Christmas specials (Muppet Christmas Carol is also on that list). And that song makes me cry anyway, so I understand your tears this year. Many hugs to you.
I’ve not heard of Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas, but will certainly look for it this Christmas season. We’ll think of Emmett….
I never thought of Emmet as named after the football player – you would never do such a thing 🙂 I do love that he is named after the Muppets special, and can’t imagine him as a Seamus.
((hugs)) when they come back it is hard, so incredibly hard.
OK, now I’m all teary. I’ve always loved that special. The day that Candi’s ashes came back I was a wreck. Now she sits on my dresser, next to a picture of her which has her collar draped over it. It’s tough because we were practically inseparable for 16 years, and I still expect to see her when I visit my Dad.
Daisy (my whippet) and I send you lots of hugs from PA. Hang in there.
I love Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas! One of my favorites growing up. I lost my first Chihuahua Cocoa Mia (my very first dog who was all mine, not the family pet!) the day before Thanksgiving several years ago. My whole family was in Florida visiting me at Disney World, and Cocoa was safe with my boyfriend at the time’s mother, our dutiful (first time) petsitter. She called frantic saying that Cocoa wasn’t doing well, and she took her to the ER clinic, where she was diagnosed to be in congestive heart failure, very unstable, with a very grim prognosis. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was give the OK over the phone from a thousand miles away to put my pet to sleep. I didn’t even get to say goodbye properly.
Well, the next day, we had planned on going to Animal Kingdom to see the sights, so we did. One of the first things we did was see the live Tarzan show. My mom and I lost it with “You’ll Be In My Heart.” Jess, I can feel your pain with getting all teary eyed over a song from a random show created for kids. I still get misty when I watch that part in the movie, and Cocoa has been gone since 2002. Heck, I’m getting a little teary just thinking about it now.
Hugs from Chicago…
Ive never owned a dog, but seeing pictures of Emmett and your words has made me ball crying, he truly seemed like the greatest doggie ever, a friend indeed. I hope to one day soon have a dog like Emmett, best of times with Brody!