Welcome to Luke Calantjis's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Luke Calantjis
Back in May of 2010, I got my son Chris a job walking a dog to earn some pocket money. He was going to college at the time. One day, after only a week of walking the dog, he brings this scary wolf like dog to my door. Did I say scary? This dog looked like a real wolf, but was actually a Siberian Husky. Chris told me the people who owned the dog recently found him and they didn't have a lot of time for him and wanted Chris to take him in. This was the very last thing I wanted in my life, but I thought the dog might teach Chris some valuable life lessons. At that time, I was willing to give it a trial period. The first three months was a nightmare. When we left the dog alone he would urinate on the floor in the house, tore my venetian blinds down, completely ripped the screen in my kitchen window from the backyard, and every night one of us had to clean up the mess. We got a crate and left him there when we went out. I will never forget coming home to the dog stepping all over his feces in the cage. When I opened the door he ran all over the house tracing the feces everywhere. It took about 2 hours to clean up.

I put an ad on Craigs list to get rid of the dog, but everyone I interviewed mysteriously was not good enough and I realized I was bonding with the dog. One day I tried again to get rid of him and when I went to the back seat to get him out of the car, he wouldn't move. I looked into his eyes and I could see the desperation. He wanted to stay with us. I was willing to give it a try. My son and I both went on-line to investigate how we could house train him and as I was searching the internet regarding Siberian Huskies, I read that Luke could be suffering from abandonment stress issues. He had all the signs. Further research found that he had a microchip and I was able to trace his origins through the microchip company. Born March 30, 2006 in a Florida pound, he actually had a Florida tag on his collar, indicating he was from FL. I wondered how he wound up in NY. He was bounced around from one home to another and a woman found him. But he either escaped or was let go from that home. Then someone drove him to NY and probably sold him.

When we got him he had a star shaved into his coat on his back and another shaving around his shoulder indicating someone tried to give him some hideous symbol on his coat. I knew he was bounced around from home to home. He was found by the previous family roaming the neighborhood with his collar on, so possibly he ran away. At that point I realized this poor dog had some major abandonment issues and was abused. He was actually house trained, but got nervous when we left. After Chris and I spent a lot of time trying to train him, three months later we were able to leave the dog alone when we went to work and school, without him destroying the house, or being in the crate. Chris named him Luke... no not after the Biblical author, after Luke Skywalker.

I truly believe everything happens in life for a reason and everyone brought into our lives are brought there to help us learn lessons or heal. When Luke came into our lives I asked God, "Why did you put this dog in our lives?" The answer surfaced as I was writing this talk. The three of us were put together so we could heal our abandoned brokenness together", with God guiding us with His Divine Love in action. Luke has taught Chris how to be more giving. Luke has helped Chris heal some very hurt, dark spaces in my sons heart as I have seen some profound changes in him. Luke has helped me heal some of my own abandonment issues. As the bumper sticker says, "who rescued who"?

My theory is a dog fills our inner child needs. When one doesn't get their fundamental needs met as a child, there is a void. That void is usually filled with drugs, alcohol, food, etc. Luke filled the void within me and my son and healed our brokenness.
Fast forward to the present. My son Chris moved out 3 years ago and it was just Luke and I. We became best friends. He was such a joy, anyone that ever met him would smile and tell me how beautiful he was. If I sneezed, he would run in the room to see if I was okay. He would lay on my bedroom floor and after I fell asleep go into his bed in the living room. After a date with a man-he would sniff me up and down with this look that said, "where the hell have you been"? One time he sprawled himself on the floor by my front door, trying to block my exit. He was so smart. He was my boy and I loved him so much. I would take him to Petco almost every Sunday and when he walked in he would let out a big howling sound, that only a husky can do, which indicated he was happy to be there.

Unfortunately he got sick a couple of weeks before Christmas of 2017, he stopped eating had trouble walking and breathing. I spent 2 weeks with him 24/7 caring for him at home hoping the antibiotics would heal him. Chris cane twice a day to help us. I don't know what I would have done without him. Luke either had pneumonia or lung cancer. It was a Friday night, Jan 6 2018 when his breathing got heavier and heavier. I had called the doctor early that morning but she didn't call back until 730pm. I told her I saw droplets of blood, she said the cancer was taking over, but I was in deep denial, I didn't really hear her. By 1 am I felt exhausted so I laid down. At 4 am I heard something in the living room and when I got out Lukes nose was up against the purifier trying to get oxygen. I still didn't understand what was happening and shortly there after he died. The ultimate love in action was that Luke waited for me to wake up to die. I am so grateful he waited for me and I was with him when he took his flight to heaven. Where else would an incredibly good innocent dog go? It is no coincidence that dog spelled backwards is GOD> These creatures were created by God as we are told in Genesis and I believe they come on this earth to do God's work of unconditional love.

Genesis 1:24 24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so.

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A POEM TO HONOR LUKE
UNCONDITIONAL LUKE

You came into my life, in the blink of an eye
Your unconditional love was so warm
You left my life in the blink of an eye
The day that started my storm

I never realized the impact you had
And how much it would make me sad
Like the day I came home in a tizzy
Not having you to share in my misery

And I miss your sheer joy and love
I wonder why God took you above
Our life took a turn for the worse
It just felt like a nasty curse

The hole within is deep
It's hard for me to sleep
But I have to hold onto the notion
That you just went to another dimension

And returned to the God hence you came
And there certainly is no one to blame
You are still a part of me
Because our love holds the key

I will always be with you
That bound is forever true
You really never left me
It makes me feel so free

You will always be a part of my heart
And we can never be apart
Because you see, love doesn't die
Love will always bond you and I

Rachel Devine (all rights reserved)


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