Recently my family had to put down our dog. Our dear sweet girl was 16 years old, and my husband and I had raised her since she was 6 weeks old. At the time we were just two young teenagers fresh out of high school. We were dating, not anticipating that we would one day marry, create a life and family together, and have to say goodbye to the sweet dog that started our little journey in to adulthood and parenthood.
If you are a pet owner, or as my family calls it, a pet parent, you know how close you can become to your animals. Our dog was a purebred Black Labrador. During our time with her we moved out of our parent’s houses, graduated college, bought a house, got married, and had children together. But she was our first baby together. She went on vacations with us, she slept in our room, we took care to train her, play with her, and help her throughout her life. We even bred her and helped her birth 10 puppies (one of which we have raised next to her for the last decade). During this time she was also there for me while I carried my babies. She was even the one with me as I miscarried my nearly 12 week baby. When I woke up in the morning terrified and realizing what was happening as the rest of my family slept, she stayed with me and comforted me.
Our sweet girl was incredible with our children. She let them climb on her, sleep on her, dress her up, use her as their patient when they played doctor. She laid under them as they played on their swing set, always ready in case they needed her. It was incredibly hard to make the decision that she was unable to fight her disease any longer. It was hard to realize we would continue on without her. We decided early on in our marriage that when the time came to discuss death we wouldn’t shy away from the subject with our kids. So when we knew it was time to make the trip to the Vet we took the kids aside and explained that the doggy was sick, that she wasn’t getting better, and she needed our help. Our oldest was in school, but our youngest son when with us to the vet. At only two years old we knew it probably wouldn’t make the biggest impact on him, but since he spent the most time with the dog during the day we thought it was important he understand why the dog wasn’t there anymore. During the visit, we petted our girl, loved on her, and cried a lot. Our son did too. When she was finally asleep and resting our son petted her head and raised his arms and told us “Doggy gone.” We weren’t sure that he understood, but in the week since we have noticed our other dog searching for her friend, and our son pets her and tells her “doggy gone.”
Sharing this with you was one of the ways I have come to terms with the fact that someone who was such a large part of my life is gone. She won’t come back. I am a grown woman, who has lost many loved ones over the years but still find myself weepy and depressed, unable to fully reconcile my emotions. My children are young, have never experienced death, and I am watching them try to deal with the loss of their best friend.
Sometimes life is hard. We read our blogs, enjoy the comedy within them, pin things on Pinterest to make our lives more fun and exciting, and live our lives not worrying about the other things. Occasionally those other things catch up with us, and this month my family has dealt with a lot of the hard and very little of the fun.
I don’t share this to depress you, but instead to remind you how short and wonderful our lives are. Hug your kids, kiss your partner, eat the pizza, and dance no matter who is watching. At the end of it all who cares what everyone else is doing, after all, they are probably looking at their phones and not at you. Enjoy your life with the people and animals you love. After all, tomorrow comes very quickly.