I recently experienced one of the most heart-breaking days of my life. We made the unbelievably difficult decision to put our 17-year-old Lady-Dog down. We adopted her 8 years ago, and I know we gave her the best years of her life, but still I am so sad. A few years ago, we learned that she had an old ACL injury that she had learned to deal with. She had a chronic middle ear infection, she had lost most of her hearing, and was going blind. Near the end, she became incontinent, lost her dignity, and lost her appetite. We knew it was time. On her last day on earth, we took her to her favorite groomer, made a stepping stone for our garden with her paw prints, and had these beautiful pictures taken by Vanessa Cheney. (Thanks Vanessa)
I can’t look at her picture or talk about her without crying. The hardest part has been watching my boys deal with her passing in their own ways. My three-year-old was in denial. He didn’t want to talk about it. Then, exactly one week after she was gone, he just started crying and asking me why we couldn’t just keep her. This went on for two days. Now, he will sit at his little piano and play a soft, slow song. When I ask him what he’s playing he says it’s a song for our Lady dog who went to Heaven.
For most pet owners, the connection we have with our pets is as strong, or stronger than our relationships with other people. “Animals tend to provide us with a type of companionship and emotional intimacy that humans can’t quite manage to provide for each other,” says Jeannine Moga, MA, in Healthy Pet magazine. My friend, Darlene Braden gave me a book of comforting letters and thoughts that she received when she lost her dog. I want to share a poem with you, in hopes that it will help you or someone you know when losing a beloved pet. If you want to download the entire e-book, go to www.whatstopsyou.com
I STOOD BESIDE YOUR BED LAST NIGHT
I stood beside your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you where crying, you found it hard to sleep
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well. I’m fine, I’m here.”
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour your tea,
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today. Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels; I wish I could do more.
I was with you at my grave today. You tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you, that I’m not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you; I smiled and said, “It’s me.”
You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It’s possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew.
In the stillness of that evening, I was close to you.
The day is over; I smile and watch you yawning.
And say “goodnight, God bless, “I’ll see you in the morning.”
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out, then come home to be with me.”