I'm Spiritual, Dammit

The grief of losing a pet...

It's always hard to put an animal to sleep- even if they are in extreme pain.  Today, it was time to say good-bye to our 15 year old Golden Retriever Brandi.  While she lived a great life, it's as if we lost a member of the family.

I've always been a pet person.  My Dad grew up on a farm and had everything from ducks to horses.  He inherited this love of animals from his father, who was so attached to his Labrador Retriever, he actually took out an obituary in the paper when that dog died. 

"To our beloved Clancy...."

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My Father's favorite dog was Ernie.  Ernie swam laps in the swimming pool and he attacked trees.  He slept ON my Father, not just on his bed.  When Ernie was diagnosed with lymphoma my stepmom Vicki lovingly drove him to Madison Wisconsin to receive chemo treatments for months.  That dog died just a few months after we adopted Brandi from the shelter.  Now Brandi is gone too.

When I was twelve years old, I rescued a cat from Lambs Farm up in Gurnee.  This wasn't just any cat.  Schubert was like a dog.  He came when he was called and he talked to me.  He also looked like a person.  When I graduated from college and my new roommate first met Schubie, she looked at him and said,

"He looks like a lawyer.  Or Woody Allen..."

Schubie lasted until I was 28 years old.  I held him in my arms as they put him down.  I cried for three days thinking about his eyes looking into mine as he panted one last time. 

I've been witness to people I love taking their last breath and it's life changing.  But there is something about the helplessness of a pet getting put to sleep that is particularly tough.  Maybe it's the innocence of their stare.  The fact that they can't tell you what hurts.  The last thump or swish of their tale.

After Schubert died, my husband and I were about to drift off to sleep, and we felt what we believed to be a cat walking on the bed at our feet.  I turned to Clay and said,

"Do you feel that??!!" 

His eyes widened, and he said, "Yes..."

"Well- look down there!" I said.

"No way!" 

I slowly peeked over the covers and saw what looked like an indentation in the bed where Schubert always slept.  I wouldn't have believed it had Clay not been there to witness it with me.

My "I see dead people" friend Therese Rowley tells me that sometimes she see's animals on the other side.

"I had a woman come in to see me who had a black and white dog sitting right over her shoulder.  Sometimes, animals stay by your side and support you even if they're dead.  It's because they have a contract to fulfill- to support you no matter what."

I like the thought that Brandi will now be by Vicki and Teddi's side if they need her.  And maybe they'll feel her sleeping at the foot of the bed too.

One can only hope.

And thank you in advance, Universe for the signs that Brandi is happy and healthy on the other side...



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elly said:


hope she's happy in doggy heaven...so heartbreaking :(

Liz said:

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I'm so sorry for your loss. I know she's happy and watching over you and your family. I'm sure she will be an amazing doggy guardian angel.

elena said:

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"it's as if we lost a member of the family"
oh, sweetie, you did lose a member of the family...and the one who almost never gave you any argument about anything. i'm so sorry for your loss. it sounds like you have lots of good memories to keep the smile on your face when you think of her.

workingonit said:

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My sympathies for the loss of sweet Brandi. I, too, thank the Universe in advance for you to receive signs that Brandi is happy and healthy on the other side. The loss of a fur friend is so very hard, but time does help. We got our lab/golden mix at 6 weeks old and two years ago she had to be put to sleep at age 15 1/2. She was so wonderful and although we have another dog we still miss her. Hopefully it helps to know others understand your loss. Side note: a medium told me my current dog is a "recycled pet" and told me that my childhood dog (she referred to him by name) had "come back" to me as my new dog now and that's why he is so especially attached to me! Woo woo:)

Sarasansh said:

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Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your "family member" Brandi. We recently lost an old friend "Bella" my sister's cat! We loved him and will miss him.

gradyogrady said:

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Two years ago I had to put down my beloved lab/golden retriever mix of 15 years. It was the saddest day(s) for me in recent memory. Everyone who knew Sadie knew I lost my best pal, only my kids held a loftier spot in my heart.

This fall I became an empty nester as my youngest headed off to college. About a week before he took off, my sister contacted me about a two year old lab she saw in an animal shelter. At first I put her off, I had decided that when it was time I was going to get a different breed. But she persisted and wore me down so I agreed to take a look. Well, I have a new lab, Grady, he's nearly as well behaved as Sadie was, and I see nothing but good things ahead. I understand the devastation of your loss, but as a pet lover yourself, keep in mind that one day you'll find another to invite into your heart.

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