Since I was a small child, I’ve felt my soul has been intertwined with animals. It is a part of my daily existence. It is how I nourish my life. It is how I re-energize. During times of heightened pain and increased flares, it is how I cope; it is how I breathe.
In my life, God has graciously sent me angels in the form of furry, four-legged friends. To say that I would not be here today without them would be a gross understatement. My life has known many dark days in the past. God knows what He is doing.
God, in His infinite wisdom, never keeps us where we are. We must move forward. Always learning, always growing. Painful doors must be shut in order for new ones to be opened. This door started to shut for me – for us – just under three weeks ago.
Nobody had to tell me what was coming. God had already put this on my heart. I could feel it. I’d already spoke to my husband about the changes I’d felt coming before we ever got the news.
Saying goodbye to a friend, even a pet friend, is never easy.
Saying Goodbye to a Friend
This house is so quiet now.
There is an emptiness here that can never be replaced.
The sound of your nails clicking on the tile,
your soft breathing and your whimpers and yelps as you chase squirrels fast asleep in your bed.
I move through the rooms, fine one minute.
Then I look for you and you are not there to greet me.
That knowing look that says everything is okay,
I have kisses for you now, Mom.
I will never feel those again.
Never feel your chin resting on my arm as I read.
I will never see the silliness in which you lived life.
But I will learn from it. I will go on.
You were my shadow dog. My precious gift from God.
You are not the puppy we picked out,
but somehow God intervened. He knew that you were the perfect match for our family.
And oh how you were.
You stole hearts from the minute you arrived.
The perfect little girl with the perfect little manners.
You would change everyone’s mind about Doberman Pinschers.
My constant companion.
My first weeks were so hard with you after losing my precious Sebastian to cancer the month before.
I didn’t think I could accept another dog.
But somehow you seemed to know I needed time.
You stuck close, but didn’t push. You just loved.
How I fell – so head over heals in love with you, my little Maddie girl.
You matched my every step.
And when I got sick, you were there beside me.
You helped me walk, you helped me up hills, you helped me balance.
You even helped me during times of great despair.
You were still helping me right up until the end.
There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.
Your only desire was to be with us. To be with me.
Bathroom breaks weren’t even private anymore, but that was just fine with me.
I didn’t mind the company.
As your muzzle began to whiten, I kept telling you to stop growing older.
You were so fit and still took long walks with Dad, so we thought we had more time.
We cherished each and every moment.
But that day we saw the blood pouring from your mouth, we knew this was something different.
You had always been so healthy.
We thought you’d cut your paw in the pool swimming with Mommy,
then we found an abscess near your back tooth.
We rushed you to the vet for surgery to remove your molar and take a biopsy.
It was so hard to leave you there.
Before the biopsy ever came back, I knew in my heart we were dealing with some sort of cancer. The spot had doubled in size; my little girl was still bleeding from her mouth as the wound tried to heal itself.
Within two weeks this small abscess had grown from about half an inch square to over a couple of inches wide and more than a few inches deep. Then the tests came back, it was such a blow to us. OsteoSarcoma. What I had started to prepare my heart for – to say goodbye to my baby girl over a longer period of time – was now crushed. The mean survival time was 5 weeks. We were already on week two.
Goodbye, Maddie Girl
You are everywhere in this place.
I can’t not see you or smell you.
I can’t think of a time when you were not
there by my side, filling my heart with the joy
only you can bring.
You have made our life a brighter place.
Been there through the majority of our years together as husband and wife.
You’ve known our joys and our struggles. You share our secrets.
We have come through the pain and healing, and together we have endured – as a family.
Mercy and grace always finds a way when you let God lead.
There comes the day when mercy needs to act.
The heart breaks and your world is crumbling,
but your friend is suffering.
Your faithful friend is giving it all she’s got, but she’s losing the battle.
“I need a sign, Lord,” is all I kept praying. “I can’t do this unless I know in my heart it is time.
You are the One who gives and takes life. Not me.”
I sat each day with her, soaking in her love. Watching her every move.
Is it a good day or a bad day? Is she having fun today?
And I asked her, “Is it time to go be with God today?” And then I’d wait.
Each day I asked, she would get up and walk to the other side of the room,
then turn around, sit and look at me.
“Okay, that’s a no,” I’d say. Then she’d come back and sit down.
The last day she didn’t move, she just sat looking at me and handed me her paw.
I knew it was time.
You were so brave. You hoped in the back of the car just like you always do.
The impact you made wherever you went was never more clear that day.
People saw your name on the schedule at the vet and thought you were coming for boarding,
they were so sad to find out why you were here, you had a stream of people coming in to say goodbye.
You were at peace. Mom and Dad were right there by your side, and you weren’t scared.
You were Mommy’s brave little girl.
Your sleep came fast and peacefully as you lay on your blanket.
And as I was finally able to get a better look at the mass that had been growing in your mouth,
a final peace came over me.
It had grown out of control and had made its way across to the other side of your mouth
and down your esophagus.
I really don’t know where you got your heart and courage, Maddie Girl.
The pain this must have caused. You hardly let us know.
She is at the Rainbow Bridge now.
I know that one day I will see her again.
I have faith in that.
Knowing you are doing the right thing
and living with the loss are two mutually exclusive things.
Our hearts are broken. We still feel her everywhere. We will for a long time.
But she touched our lives in ways we will never be able to explain to anyone.
Personal ways that have helped us grow as individuals; as a couple.
We are so blessed to have been given her as a temporary gift.
Dogs are not people. I know this. God has a special purpose for them
just them same.
We have souls so that Jesus can live within us
through the Holy Spirit.
We need this. We are self-centered, selfish people.
Animals are different. God created them different.
I don’t know for sure, but somehow I think God just is with animals.
He speaks directly to them, like He used to with us.
They know things and see things we do not.
I can’t quote this specifically in scripture, but I He speaks of animals
and His care of them throughout the bible.
I have been a watcher of animals my entire life.
He does love them, and He does have a purpose for them in our life.
Of this I am 100% sure.
Angels come in all shapes and sizes.
Some have two legs, some have four.
Some have furry coats and soft, wet noses.
God uses everything at His disposal to reach us;
To teach us unconditional love, forgiveness, mercy and grace.
What does the bible say about animals?
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Have you ever had to say goodbye to a pet friend?
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Keep the Faith,