I wrote this post a week ago, but have really struggled with publishing the post. It’s just been too emotional to look back at. But today I’m finally ready to share our story with you.
The last few months have been an emotional period of time for our family. Booker, one of our four legged friends, had been progressively getting more and more sick. What was originally a few small bumps on his body had turned into large tumors that were inhibiting his breathing.
For months I prayed and prayed that when the time was right he would pass on his own. But as the weeks and months went by his symptoms finally got to the point that we knew he would be suffering soon. I’m a firm believer in putting down a suffering animal, but when you’re unclear whether or not NOW is that moment it can be incredibly agonizing. It turned out that the right time was last week. One week ago today we had an appointment to say goodbye to our best friend of almost 12 years.
How do you say goodbye to a dog? Especially one that is this cool (seriously, how many dogs do you know that eat watermelon like a human?!)
How do you help your 3 year old son say goodbye? These are the questions that kept me awake and crying at night more evenings than I’d like to count. (One evenings crying lead to so much puffiness in my face that my husband said I looked like a Kardashian after injections… no joke, it was bad.)
So after all the difficult, emotional situations we had faced leading up to this point we decided to have one final great day with Booker before our final goodbye. We would make as many memories as we could. He would go to doggy heaven with a full heart (& belly!) Knowing his people adored him! So that’s what we set out to do…
One final bedtime. Booker loved to snuggle, so first we let him snuggle with our son as we put him to bed, then later he enjoyed curling up in bed with us.
In the morning we made a full list of our day’s plans. It started with a bread and Nutella breakfast, because honestly it was just “what the hell” at this point. He loves people food and he only had a few hours left with us so I went ahead and let him have his fill.
After our filling breakfast of incredibly unhealthy food we left the house to enjoy every dog’s favorite activity… a car ride! We took our recycling to the local recycling center and enjoyed one last drive through the country side.
We took both of our dogs to a local park to run and play for awhile. We knew the loss of Booker would be very hard on our other dog Mosley as well, so we wanted to at least give her a wonderful day that would leave her exhausted enough to rest easily later that evening.
Another beloved activity at our house is walking down to a pond in our neighborhood, so that’s exactly what we did.
It was an unexpected blessing to have all these awesome activities to keep us busy all day. It helped keep my mind active and seeing the joy on his face left my heart feeling happy. I knew he would enjoy this day together, but I had no idea just how good it would be for me.
After such a fun filled morning and filling his belly full of cheeseburgers and dog treats it was time for a nap in his favorite place… right in front of the fire.
Of course our day was full of cuddles every step of the way. That included in front of the fire…
Knowing you’re enjoying your last moments together sure does make you slow down and appreciate every detail. I’ve always loved the spots on Booker’s ears (not to mention they are so soft)!
By the time his appointment came around we’d done all of his favorite things and just like that, the sun came out. What had been a cloudy, gray day was suddenly changed into a bright blue and sunny afternoon.
We had our son say his final goodbyes by giving Booker a big hug and kiss. (As we took him over to our neighbors house to hang out while we went to the vet he excitedly told them how “mommy and daddy are going to take Booker to heaven.” Let’s face it, 3 year old just have a refreshing way of looking at even the worst of situations.)
I’ve never had to put a dog down before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. For anyone facing such a difficult decision you should know it’s the most peaceful and quick transition. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about being present, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I held on to him and kissed him right until the last moment and for that I am grateful.
Even a week later, my eyes fill up with tears thinking about our last day together. Booker was a huge part of our lives for many years and his absence has left a gaping wound in our hearts. I didn’t think anything except time would make it hurt any less.
But I was wrong.
In my heart of hearts I think what was to come was fate. I didn’t want another dog yet. I didn’t think I was ready in any way shape or form, but I’m not the only person that needs to be considered, so when my husband said he wanted to go look at our local shelter I begrudgingly went along, just to look.
It turns out my husband knew my heart better than I did. As we lost such an amazing part of our family in Booker, we were able to welcome in someone new. A rescued mastiff mix named Moose. We found him a few days ago and almost instantly my heart started healing. Moose turned out to be the silver lining I wasn’t looking for.
As the saying goes, when a door is closed, a window is opened. Moose turned out to be my window. Exactly what my heart needed.
Wife to Josh, Mom to Easton, Teacher to many & Author of Wife.Mother.Teacher. Tiffany writes about living on a budget, accomplishing more on a working mom's schedule, and life with her husband and son.