Monday, November 9, 2015

Losing a Dog is Beyond Difficult - Dedication to Our Dog

A Dedication to our Family Dog

I never believed I would create a dedication page for a dog; I love them, of course; it's just that we've owned cats most of our lives. Only cats. 

However, our life changed in 2009 when we adopted a nine-year-old dog from an elderly family member. She was our first family dog.

The biggest reason we never committed to owning a dog in the past was the realization that a dog was very much like raising a child: As dog owners already know, they require a great deal of attention, and of course, there's a lot of work involved. 

Having raised many kids, we knew only too well what the demands were, and until we could fully commit, we would never just casually jump into dog ownership.

Unfortunately, the inspiration for this article comes from people close to me who recently lost their dog, but mostly from our own hearts ... 

Our precious dog was called to doggie heaven earlier this year (2015). She was elderly, and it was her time, but that didn't make one speck of difference; the pain of losing her was fierce.

We were all present with her as she underwent the procedure to end her suffering. There were seven of us with her: my husband and I, our four sons, and our second son's girlfriend. 
My second son insisted that we all be there for her, he said "she deserved that, she gave us unconditional love for five years" ... he said, "we owe her our presence during her hour of need". I'm not kidding you, that's how he put it. Although I was moved by what he said, I told him it was up to each person whether they could deal with seeing her lose her life, and in the end, everyone decided they could handle it, and everyone wanted to be there, for her.
I called the boys and my husband from the Pet Hospital to let them know it was time, and they showed up with an ice cream from Dairy Queen for her as a final treat. Still breaks me up to think of that.

For those who've been through this, you know only too well how brutal it is. I have never seen so many grown men cry at one time. We went through two boxes of tissue. We stayed in that room with
Our Family Dog
Here She is, On One of Our Many Christmas Eve's
her for two hours before we could all agree to let her go. We all held her and told her how much we loved her. The boys took it so hard. In typical mom style, I kept it together for them, but later, I wept in my own quiet and private moment at home.

Our 'girl dog' (my nickname for her sometimes) made everyone smile. As soon as the boys walked through the front door, they called her, and she'd come running and barking, and that tail would always be wagging. She was loving and gentle. She was the boss. She had all the power. And everyone loved that. That little Shih-Tzu taught us what it means to love a dog.

When she passed, I couldn't sit at home and work for at least three days. She was my sidekick and very attached to me. Wherever I was in the house, you could count on finding her nearby. She slept in her doggie bed while I worked. She was a sweet girl; I miss her. 

Not one of us could be in the house the day she left us. We all headed to the arena to watch two of the boys play hockey. Sitting in that house without her on that first day may qualify as one of our most empty feelings.

This Christmas will be our first in five years without our girl-dog romping through the holiday wrappings. But we know she'll be running around spreading doggie love in heaven this Christmas.

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  1. How brave you are for writing this tribute to your sweet canine friend! It must have taken a lot out of you. I couldn't help but remember the day I lost my best buddy in the world. It hurt so very much even though I knew it was his time. I don't think I have ever cried so hard.

  2. I lost my 2 little girl dogs in 2012 and 2013 and still cry when I think about them. Loved them so much! Like you I can't imagine going through that again so not planning to get another one, though I do miss having a little doggie friend around to cuddle with. They do have our hearts.

  3. I didn't have a dog, but lost a very special cat who was an integral part of our family, so I can definitely relate to your 'girl dog' feelings. This is a beautiful tribute to her and shows the love your whole family had for her.

  4. First, I want to say that I think it is awesome that you gave a mature dog a home! Most people want puppies. We love our dogs and they really are like children in more ways than just the care required. Like you, our pups are my constant companions and yes, we have suffered through the death of several fur family members. It is never easy, but they enrich our lives greatly during the years they spend with us. It isn't always possible to be with our dogs in their last hours and I agree with you, not everyone can do that, but I certainly appreciate and admire your son's sensitivity and devotion.

  5. We've been through this several times, with dogs and cats, and it never gets easier. I'm so glad that you had a dog to love and have plenty of sweet memories of her to last your lifetime. What a lucky girl she was!

  6. You have brought tears to my eyes, as I know this feeling well. We had our dog Gizmo for 18 years and then one day we had to stop the suffering. That was some time ago and have not brought ourselves to have another, I still have his collar hanging in the garage. Thanks for such a beautiful tribute.


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Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

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