Tuesday, June 8, 2010

All Dogs Go To Heaven

This lovely lady is Sissy.  She's our furry baby.  I'd say she's our FIRST baby, but technically, she's our second.  Dakota, her brother, was our first, but he went to doggy heaven long ago.  OK, so maybe she's not a baby anymore.  She turned 14 this past February, which makes her a doggy senior citizen.  Lately she's been showing signs of slowing down and, sadly, has given us reasons to worry that the day might come in a not so distant future where we will have to make some tough decisions.  Worst of all, I have no idea how, someday, we're going to break it to two little ones that their big, fuzzy sister is gone...forever.

Yesterday was the closest this reality has hit home.  You see, years ago Sissy had to have knee replacements (Yeah, don't ask how much that cost.  Let's just say we're very lucky it happened when we didn't have kids!) in her back legs.  Ever since, she's been battling with arthritis of one form or another.  Yesterday, though...it was different.  I had let her out in the backyard for a constitutional.  A few minutes later, I hear a banging sound at the back of the house.  What I found when I rushed out to investigate, was poor Sissy trying to use the back of the house to stand up.  It was as if the whole right side of her body wouldn't work.  At first, I was afraid of the worst...had she had a stroke?  After checking her over, I realized her back leg had given out and she couldn't put any weight on it.  As I struggled to help her in the house, SweetPea wandered over and asked "Mommy, what's wrong with Sissy?"  I told her that Sissy's leg was hurt and she calmly walked to the toy room, then came back with her play doctor's kit and said to Sissy, patting her on the head, "Don't worry, ma'am.  I'll give you a check up and help you feel better."  All I could think was, "What if something is very wrong.  What if it's something we can't fix?"

Luckily, with an evening of rest and a second dose of her arthritis medicine, she seems to be doing better this morning.  That doesn't change the fact that one day, I'm going to have to explain to my four year old that Sissy's not going to get better...and that she'll one day go to the doctor's and not come back.  SweetPea is such a tender heart, I know that she's going to take it hard and I'm going to have help her understand what it means when someone we love dies.  Lil Buddy will have it a little easier.  One day, his furry friend who he likes to sit next to and jabber at and sneak doggy treats to will be gone...and maybe he'll wonder where his friend went, but at two, he'll likely not understand that she's not coming home.  But his sister will and that thought kills me...almost as much as it the thought of losing the only other being that has been with The Man and me for almost as long as we've been together.

I don't have any answers.  I just keep praying that I can hold off the inevitable for as long as possible.  I'm sure a lot of you have been in this situation and I'm hoping that maybe you can give me a little insight about how you have or would handle the same predicament.


  1. i just wish dogs had a human's life span.
    We have a dog just 2 years old that we've had since before my little girl, and one day my husband turned to me and said "Gracie's(our Labradoodle) just not going to be here one day... one day in like 12 years or so. That's really sad." Yea, insert lump in throat and waterfalls down my cheeks.

  2. Ugh...such a hard thing to face. You'll know in your heart when it's time. Trust in your vet's advice. If they say "it's time" then it's time.

    My kids ask about Chelsea but even Kendyl doesn't completely understand. She knows that Chelsea is gone but she also knows that she's in a place called "Rainbow Bridge" with all the other doggies who were once sick. Jake, believe it or not, for weeks after Chelsea passed, said how much he missed Chelsea. He didn't exactly know what had happened but he knew that he missed something he was so used to seeing.

    I was there when Chelsea slipped into eternal peace and let me tell you, though it was so sad and very hard to take, a calming peace came over her as if to say "thank you" for ending the suffering. The two people that loved her the most in this world were right there in front of her face so she could at least see she was with her loved ones.

    I feel for you...if I could give you any piece of advice, I would just tell you to enjoy the time she has left and make her last days with you as enjoyable as you can. She knows she's loved:)

  3. Awww I'm so sorry. It's never easy especially with little one's.

    We lost 2 dogs the same year (2yrs ago). One got hit by a car & one we had to put down. I've never cried so hard in my entire life. As hard as it was on my 4 kids - they were a little older than yours so it wasn't AS hard as having little ones's.

    I'll be praying for your doggie & I'll also be praying for God to give you the words to prepare your babies for this time coming.

  4. AW!! So sorry!! I'll project all my healthy, happy dog thoughts your way, Alyssa!!

  5. awww, thats such a hard situation! I hope that everything works out for the best <3

  6. oh no... it's always so hard to lose a pet (i don't like to think about my cat or dog dying!!)... it will definitely be sad for you all... but slowly the pain will go away! (slowly being the key word there)

  7. I'm sorry, Alyssa. We had to put our dog Charlie down late last year and the only way my girls understood is that Charlie is now with Sonja. Sonja is the duck that dies in Peter and the Wolf. Our neighbors dog recently died so now they say that he is with Charlie and Sonja. If your kids have a sense of heaven as a real place, I think it helps them understand and it's easier for them to handle it, rather than just *poof* gone. Sending you good thoughts.

  8. You might be surprised. In the last 2 years, we've put down two of our kitties (ages 18 & 19 - and I'd had them since they were just days old)...and one more is on the last of her 9 lives. Ladybug was too little to know anything, of course, but Buddy Boy...well HE really pulled ME through it. He asked why I was crying. When I told him, he very gently explained to me exactly why my heart hurt so bad. He explained that when our "friends" make us smile or laugh, that little pieces of them go into our hearts to live forever. Sometimes, when a LOT of pieces go in at the same time -- like when someone moves away, or gets hurt badly, or lost (like his stuffed puppy was) it can really hurt. But it's OK, because even though they're gone, all those pieces will always be there...to help you be happy again later.

    It was much more eloquent coming from the mouth of my then 3 1/2 year old, but it was so clear to him that I just had to take his word for it. Sweet Pea's a smart cookie. You may find she's got just the right words for you.

  9. Thanks everyone :) OK, so your comments have me in tears, but that's not a bad thing.

    Holly, we've had to try to explain heaven. Since my dad is gone, we've tried to explain that "Grandpa Lou" is in heaven and that it's far away where we can't visit. I think she understands...

  10. When I had to put my cat Shamrock down, he had been with us for 16 years. My son was raised with him and his litter mate, Quinn. At the time, my son was with his father on the other side of the country. It was hard to make that phone call and explain to him that Shamrock's time had come and that we needed to take him to the vet's in the morning. My son cried--saying he was losing his brother. We let him say his goodbyes to Shamrock. My son was 10 years older than your Sweet Pea. It's not easy--but it's the fact of life. A year later, we had to put Quinn to sleep as well...and Merlin will go next one of these days.

  11. We had to put a dear member of our family, Tuna Boy the cat, down just before Christmas. It was heart breaking, especially telling the kids. I will tell you, however, that the kids handled it better than I expected. And as we lost my FIL six weeks later, a great prepatory lesson for them. They understood death and heaven in a much more visceral way. I wish you well. It is never an easy choice, but I know in our case, it was definitely the last, most loving gift we could give him.

  12. When we lost our Lab "Sadie", we had some warning - she was slowly getting sicker before it was "time" - and so we made it a very open and talked-about thing with the kids - we even invited friends to come by and say goodbyes with us and we celebrated her life before she actually left - we also had the kids there with us when we put her to sleep - very sad and hard but I think it helped them to really get what was happening. Losing a family member pet is super hard but I know you guys will do fine with it and you'll have a lot of nice memories when she is gone. We all made a nice stone to honor the place where we buried her ashes in the backyard - we incorporated her collar and symbols of her favorite stuff - just tried to make it as clear and open for the kids as possible. We all still miss her but have so many great shared memories. My best wishes to your family and hopes that you still have lots of good time left with Sissy.


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