On Dogs and Goodbyes

Good afternoon America!  This edition will be a little different than my usual spewing of random brain droppings and feeble attempts at humor.  This week we had to finally say goodbye to our big eared dog that has been with our family for the past 13 years.  It was peaceful and we got to spend a little more time with her before we said goodbye and quietly walked out of the vet’s exam room.

Now any of you that know me personally know that I am not an animal person.  I used to be.  I had that once in a lifetime dog.  He was an amazing animal…well maybe less of an animal and more of a human soul in a dog’s body.  He was our companion, our friend, and truly the most amazing creature I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet. He did not care for the small and noisy little creature we brought back from the hospital, but he was never mean to The Boy.  He gave him the cold shoulder and would storm off if The Boy toddled a little too close to him but was never mean to him.  Then one summer day we brought home a small friend with giant ears for him.  She fit in the palm of my hand, and was supposed to be a Chihuahua.  That little tiny abandoned dog turned into being a massive Malinois.  Well, needless to say, Paco was not impressed with Chica (no matter what breed she was) but she adored him.

We came home from dinner one night and found that he could not stand up any more.  What was wrong with him?!  He was fine when we left!  Well an emergency trip to the vet would give us the answer we dreaded.  Cancer.

We were blessed with an amazing veterinarian who told us like it was.  She said that surgery was possible but the prognosis was still very grim for ol’ Paco.  In the end we decided it was time to say goodbye.  She gave him a lot of fluids and he perked up, if only briefly, and bought us a little more precious time.  We played fetch, he had his favorite meal (that always gave him ferocious gas), and we got a final few minutes to enjoy with him.  As the fluids wore off, and he started losing his strength again, we led him over to a tree in front of the clinic, he put his head in our lap, and he was given a shot that helped him slip quietly away.

I cried that day.  I cried hard.  I lost a part of my soul that day and have never regained that place in my heart for another pet.

I wasn’t the only one with a broken heart.  Chica had lost her idol.  She cried all the time, refused to eat, and would rarely even lift her head.  She lost so much weight that we thought we were going to lose her too.  Watching anyone, even a dog, die of a broken heart is a hard thing to witness.  We decided to try finding her a friend.  Well, Rebel isn’t the smartest of creatures but she was exactly what Chica needed.

So let’s fast forward to a few weeks ago.  Arthritis had taken a heavy toll on Chica as she aged.  She was deaf, and was going blind.  Our once muscle bound dog had started to wither away.  She began showing significant signs of mental decline.  We made the decision to say goodbye to her while she still had her dignity and still had some of the dog she had been left in her.

We took Rebel to the kennel and Chica had us to herself for the last few hours.  She tried her best to play, but mostly we just spent quiet time with her.  The police officer that had rescued her came over, some of our friends, and her family sat with her while the clock raced to 5:00…her appointment time.

We took her up to the vet’s office and led her inside.  The Muffin and I said our last goodbyes and shuffled out to the lobby.  A few minutes later he came out and told us that she was gone.  We were given an impression of her paw print and then we went back home.

I didn’t cry, but I was sad.  I was sad because we had lost the most kindhearted, yet most ferocious looking, animal ever.  She loved everyone and was so kind and patient with the kids.  She put up with them riding her, pulling on her tail, and doing what kids do to dogs.  She never snipped at them she would simply walk off when she had enough of them.

I was sad because I knew what she meant to my family, and they were hurting.  The kids had lost their four legged friend that had been with them their entire lives.  She was their constant, and she was my last connection to Paco.

A few days have passed and we are healing.  None of us have had the heart yet to take her dishes and pillow out.  Maybe her pillow will stay.  Rebel seems to enjoy spending her time laying on it but it’s hard walking by their room and not seeing her curled up on it snoring away.

Spend a few minutes extra with your pet today.  Show them just how much you love them and let them show you how much they love you back.  It’s amazing how a few minutes can heal your heart and give you a little peace in your soul.





One thought on “On Dogs and Goodbyes

  1. Pets give us unconditional love and everlasting love in our hearts. Well written journal Travis. Chica was an exceptional family pet through it all and finally decided that your place was her best home. Happy memories are best remembered and bring smiles when shared with family and friends. Our pets are never truely gone, they have become too deeply imbedded in our memories for that, always missed.


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