Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Final Farewell

Last week, we had our sweet Sadie put to sleep after finding out that she was terminally ill and her quality of life was poor. Sadie was a beloved member of our family. She was a big, sweet Rottweiler mix who I'd rescued from an abusive home in 2005. She saw me through both the most challenging and the most joyful experiences of my life. She was my protector, my snuggle buddy, my baby, my friend.

Sadie saw me through a painful divorce, then went on to act as a flower girl as I wed my husband, along with my yellow lab Anka who passed away shortly before Delilah was born.

Sadie embraced Delilah as a baby and found a new best friend in her after her "sister" Anka passed away.

She traveled with us on family vacations. She cleaned up after messy new eaters experimenting with gravity by dropping food. She played with our cats. She loved our children as much as they loved her. She provided a perfect introduction to dogs and was truly a valued and loved member of family, so much more than just a pet.

I had hoped and thought that Sadie would grow to be an old dog, a childhood pet that our children would remember fondly. I don't think Delilah will ever forget her.

Sadie was a dog who touched many lives. Several friends came to the house to say Goodbye to her.

Her passing was peaceful and comfortable. Our vet came to our home and put her to sleep right in her bed. Delilah was so brave; I couldn't have been more proud of how she handled it. Given the option to be there or not, she chose to watch quietly, knowing that if she got scared or uncomfortable at any point, we would take her into another room.

When Sadie had passed, Delilah snuggled up to her, patted her head, kissed her nose, and told her that she loved her and would miss her. She shed no tears, but was sensitive to ours, doing her best to comfort us in our grief. She has mentioned Sadie every day since she passed. Sometimes she simply says that she misses her, other times she mentions very matter-of-factly that Sadie has died and isn't coming back. She asks to look at pictures of her, and asks us to re-read the kind messages written in the sympathy card from the staff at the veterinary clinic.

Our home and our family are not the same without her. Her loss is felt deeply, every day. The memory of her echoes in the silence that greets us when we walk in the door. It is felt in the absence of her warm body snuggled up against my cold feet at night.

I think of her when I check to see if the mail has arrived, no way of knowing without her alert. I think of her any time someone knocks at the door and isn't met by her wagging tail and enthusiastic bark. I keep mistakenly thinking that I have forgotten to feed her, or that I must have left her outside too long, or that it's been a while since she had a walk.

We are, undoubtedly, a dog family. When we are ready for another dog to love, that dog will have some big paws to fill.

We love you Sadie. Thank you for your place in our lives and our families. Rest well, and keep watch over us. You will not be forgotten.

1 comment:

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