Reader beware. This will NOT be a happy post. So, you may want to save this for another time if you’re in the middle of having fun this weekend.
I had to make the heart wrenching decision to put my sweet Missy (Boston/Frenchie mix) to sleep today. And since I have been working through my grief and pain of losing Dale through this blog, I figured why not continue the therapy here? Anyone that knows me for more than a day will understand that my pets have always been like children to me. Yes, I am that crazy, over-the-top animal lover that many of you may not quite understand. And you won’t understand the depth of my grief. But you fellow animal lovers will completely get this.
Missy came to us about 5 years ago after the painful, tragic loss of our Boston Terrier, Holly. We really didn’t intend on getting another dog so quickly, but six days after losing Holly, we had our little Missy girl to help us grieve. We were never sure what her first six years looked like, but clearly she came from an abusive background. Despite five years of nothing but love and kindness, she was still afraid of the leash, still tensed up anytime I picked her up, and still bore some scars on her precious little body.
But regardless of that past, she had the sweetest personality of ANY dog I have ever had. And that’s saying something, because I’ve had some great dogs throughout my life. She didn’t seem to be afraid of people or other animals, always greeting whoever came to the door. She would wait patiently in the background while Daisy hogged all the attention. Then it’s like she’d say, “Hey, maybe you could just give me a little pet, if it’s not too much trouble!”
It’s always amazing to me how animals can continue to trust us humans even when we’ve caused them pain. We can learn a LOT from that. I’m so grateful that we had her for as long as we did. I always told people that Missy would be the perfect dog for anyone who didn’t like dogs, because she was just that precious.
She entered a household that was run by Crazy Daisy and they were a perfect match. Missy needed a leader and Daisy needed another minion for her kingdom. They were complete opposites and yet, perfectly paired. God’s hand was clearly guiding the process of getting Missy into this home. I’m grateful that Dale and I, along with our family and friends, could be the ones to show her what her life was supposed to be.
About a month ago, she started having some heart issues and was put on medication for that. I was also to keep an eye on her breathing rate and get her back to the vet if it was over 40 breaths per minute. She had been running around 20, so no worries here.
Last Thursday, her breathing took a turn for the worse and she clocked in at 60 breaths per minute. At her vet appointment the next day, her X-rays showed a lot of fluid in and around her lungs. A shot of Lasix and some water pills were our last hope to give her some relief, as she was clearly in distress with such rapid breathing. I left for the holiday weekend with instructions to take her to the emergency vet if her breathing didn’t return to 40/min by 9 that night. They did not, but I wasn’t ready to let her go.
I wanted to give the medication a day or so to see if it would help before making that final decision. By last night, it was clearly not working for her and I knew what lie ahead for us.
In the 30+ years that Dale and I were married, he was the one who always did the hard work of taking our pets to the vet when their time had come. I would stay home, lost in my tears and grief. Dale would always, sometimes a BIT grudgingly, agree to get another dog, so that’s one of the ways that we would begin our healing process.
Now that Dale is gone, the decision fell to me – and even more importantly, the JOB fell to me. I did have dear friends who offered to go with me and to them I say, “Thank you for being willing to grieve this with me!” But I know what a basket case I would become, and I just needed to do that in the privacy of my own little world.
So, I made Daisy give Missy a last wet kiss, and off we went to the emergency vet clinic. I won’t take you through all those tearful details, but will tell you that it’s a very peaceful process, if you’ve never been through it. Peaceful, but final.
The pain of losing a beloved pet, especially for us crazy animal lovers, is one of the worst things you go through. So, to have to deal with this while I’m still deep in the grieving process of losing Dale just doubled the pain. Of course, I missed him not being here to do that hard work, but I also missed not having him here to grieve with.
But, as sad as this time is, and as much of a downer as this blog post is, I did have a very sweet thought that brings me some comfort. I picture Missy waking up in heaven and running into Dale’s open arms! What a precious homecoming that would be! Can’t you just see it?
I know, I know – the Bible does NOT tell us that our pets will be there. But, it DOES say that all creation will one day be restored. And we know the Garden of Eden was full of animals, so I fully expect to see animals there. I love what Randy Alcorn says in his book Heaven – “Wouldn’t it be just like God to have our pets in heaven?” Yes, yes, it would! So THAT’S what I’m going with. I may be wrong, but I’m going to hang onto that picture and that hope as I continue to grieve both of these losses.
And if I haven’t made you cry yet, here’s my last chance. My last words to Missy before she was gone were, “I love you, my sweet girl. Now go run to Daddy.” That’s the picture I want to remember.