When It's Time to Say Goodbye

"Young or old, tough guy or softie, it really doesn’t matter, does it? A dog crawls up on your lap and into your heart and then before you can possibly be ready, she breaks your heart." 

-Tom Conroy

Ouch.

Then came September. Sigh. Sadie was really slowing down. We knew the time was coming sooner than we wanted. After seeing both my father-in-law and mother have difficult endings, we all agreed there would be no suffering for Sadie, if possible. 

More like ouch x10. It had been the day our family had dreaded ever since we picked up the sweetest yellow lab puppy in May of 2007.  

It was Mother's Day when we said-"Let's just look in the paper to see if there are any puppies available." Hey, what do you know-there was a litter just 8 miles away! 

We got out of the car, and there she was-our girl, Sadie. We took one look at her and we all fell in love. Next thing you knew, just an hour after we decided to look in the paper, Sadie was in our minivan and was the newest member of our family. Family. 

For the next 13 years, Sadie helped raise our 2 kids (ages 7 and 10 at the time). She was there for all of us when we needed her the most. Like most dogs, there was one thing we all got from her 24/7; unconditional love. And she deserved that same devotion from us. Easy-peasy. She was so lovable.

Nothing beat a "Sadie pillow"...it was always soft, warm, and lifted up and down with each breath lulling you to sleep. She never minded, of course. What else...Fetch? Hunt? Walk? Frisbee catching? Sleeping? You bet. As with most dogs, Sadie was pretty much up for anything, as long as it was with us.

My wish was to have Sadie stay with us until both our kids were out of the house. She did just that plus an extra year and we were all so grateful.

As with many labs, Sadie's hips were a little more sore and she developed diabetes the last couple years of her life. By this time, her days were spent sleeping and having spectacular dreams where she was running like the wind and having a ball. She, of course, took over our couch and would lay on her back with all four legs up just having the best visions in her head.

We knew her time with us was getting shorter. And we hated that.

As we all know, 2020 basically stunk. It had been especially difficult for our family. I lost my father-in-law to cancer in January. Then five months later, my mother passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. 

The picture below (created by a very talented digital artist www.boxersandbeer.com) this paragraph shows the two of us about an hour before she left us . We went for a ride in the Ranger like we would do with her. She loved feeling the air on her face as I held her tight. We watched the creek flow, listened to the birds, and I gave her the treats she loved the most. I tried to savor every second. It was beautiful. Serene. But my heart was starting to ache. Like a lot. And tears started flowing. Like a lot. But why wouldn't that happen? When you love something/someone so much, it's that much harder to let go and it meant the relationship was extra special.

We got back to the house and Sadie was not able to stand and then she started having a seizure. We knew it was time.

Just like 2007, we were all together with her in another minivan (our son had to FaceTime, however)-but this time it was a trip to the vet's office, not our home- where we wanted her to remain with us.

Our wonderful small-town vet was set to come to our house earlier that day but Sadie seemed to perk up and we decided to wait. Well, that only lasted a couple hours and we knew there was no time to lose.

As we pulled into that familiar parking lot, we continued to pet her and tell her what an amazing dog she was to us. We all thanked her and gave her as many kisses as we could---wet tear-filled kisses.

We opened up the back of the van and the vet met us there.

It was fast. Peaceful. But extremely heartbreaking for us humans. (As I am writing this, my throat has a ginormous lump in it and tears are welling up again.)

Anyone who has been so fortunate to be loved by a dog knows the hardest part is the goodbye. 

But those 13 years were simply glorious and absolutely priceless. Now I cherish those 13 years of pictures and memories. Instead of tears, they bring me such happiness thinking about the wonderful bond our family shared.

Rest in peace, Sadie girl. 

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