Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It Is Time. Again.

The weight of time is bearing down on my shoulders and I find myself sitting here staring at the phone, urging it to ring.

I've made the calls, I'm waiting for them to call me back.

It is time.

Again.

Almost three years ago exactly, we lost our Maddie. She was our beagle, she was our first baby, she was the puppy we brought home to fill the void left when we lost our first child. She was, for a long time, what our world revolved around. She had aged, she was hurt, and then it was time.

That morning, as I sat in the garage with her, waiting until the clock ran to the time her appointment was, I wrote. I watched as he transformed from the younger, hyper dog to the one with a sudden sense of responsibility, of duty. It was as though Jake knew what was happening before we did. He knew that Maddie would soon be gone, and he knew that we would soon be his family to look over.

He did just that.

In that moment, he ceased being the "other" dog, the second one, the companion to the first. He became our rock, our home, our center.

3 years ago.
He looks so young in this picture.
Dogs really are the best version of us all, I think. They enthusiastically display all the virtues we aim to live, and they do it unyieldingly and without question. They love unconditionally. They crave our attention. They are always happy to see us. They are always our friends. They are our constant companions.

They are, simply put, who we should be.

They become a part of the story of who we are.

Jake came home with me one day when I went to the pet store to get dog food. He was about 8 months old at the time, and had been abused and relinquished. He gave me the eyes then that he still gives me now and I was hooked.

I'm not allowed to go to the pet store for a reason.

He has lived these almost 12 years now as a part of our family, and he always fit in, as though he was just supposed to be our dog and we were intended to be his people. He has allergies. He has anxiety. He has dog ADHD.

He is one of us.

He became even more so when the responsibility to be our protectors shifted to him alone. He would sit on the landing of the stairs whenever some of us were upstairs and some were on the main floor. If the kids are outside, he paces a set pathway between them and I, always watching. He barks incessantly at whoever comes to the door.

We are his people and he is our dog.

After Maddie died, he calmed down almost completely. He was still a fanatic with the ball, but he transformed into the dog who would sit with me for hours on the porch while I read. He watches the kids. He always watches the kids. He doesn't much have use for leashes. He's not going anywhere.


This is his home and he has no intention of leaving.

And yet, here we are, the clock running so slowly this morning. Waiting to let him go. I stare at the phone again, urging it to ring, letting it be time to make the arrangements.

The kids, sensing what we already know, want to come with us this time. They want to say goodbye to the dog who has been a part of their entire lives. I honor that, I honor their bravery. I honor their understanding of life and death and all it encumbers. They've seen so much loss in their young lives, my children, but they handle it with such grace and peace.

My husband will be on his way home shortly and I'll pick the kids up one by one, and then we will all take our Jake on his last, longest walk together.


We love you Jake.

We always will.

Wherever you're going, I hope they have a lot of tennis balls. They're going to need them once you get there.

9 comments:

  1. love you so much. this is the most difficult thing ever.

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  2. I can't hit like on this one....nothing about this do I like... except the words do ring true. It is coming close to the time for our boys...One more than the other. I hope we have the bravery and courage you convey in this post. Fourteen years is a long time for a dog. For us....not so much.

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  3. Oh the feels. Our Buddy will be two in June , I'm hoping to have as much time as possible with him. They really do become such big parts of our lives and we're better because of them. <3

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  4. This task is always, always, always, so hard. It breaks our hearts and we cry in grief over the loss of these furry little family members who bring us joy, laughter, love and the occasional prize from outside. We watch our kids, as they lose their first best friends, only to feel helpless when we can't console them. Sending you and your crew so much love and sending peace for Jake.

    Munch

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  5. Oh this brought tears to my eyes remembering my dear Marty and the last day I spent with him knowing he would soon be gone. Thinking about you and your family.

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  6. Thinking of you. Saying goodbye to a pet is our burden as gentle companions.

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  7. Not As Sweet AsI LookMay 6, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    My heart is breaking for all of you. Hugs and love.

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  8. I knew where this post was going, and yet I opened it anyway. It just never gets any easier, does it? Pain shared is pain divided. I feel your pain and pray that sharing it has lessened it some for you.

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  9. These darn dogs. They sneak into our hearts and make us fall in love with them. Then they take a piece of our hearts with them when they go. I wish they could live longer.

    Your kids are amazing people. They know what love is all about.

    I hope Jake gets plenty of tennis balls thrown his way.

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