Loss. It never gets easier. It’s not one of those things that the more we do it the better we get. Loss is the same every time. It breaks our hearts, plain and simple, even when there is a moment to prepare. But can we truly prepare? I don’t think so, because preparation implies somehow the experience will be easier, but it isn’t. The heart still shatters, the tears still fall, grief’s journey awaits.
We had to make the hardest decision fur parents make; to put our beloved dog to sleep. Isn’t it interesting we refer to euthanasia as ‘sleep’? When the medication was injected through the catheter in his foreleg he simply closed his eyes and breathed his last as my daughter and I held him and softly wept into his soft fur, whispering ‘I love you’s’ til the end. Sleep sweet precious Sammy, until we meet again at the Rainbow Bridge.
Someone said, “the hardest part about losing a pet you love is not when you say good-bye…it’s the way your whole world changes without them and the emptiness that’s left in your heart”. Each of our dogs fills our whole heart, and yet losing one creates an emptiness that no other dog can fill. There is not another dog in the world that will ever take Sammy’s place.
Sammy was our rescue. We aren’t quite sure how old he was when we got him 7 years ago, the Humane Society estimated around 5 years, but he could have been older. A couple had surrendered him because they didn’t want him to soil their new carpet. We all have our priorities, I guess. When we saw him for the first time he was skittish, scared, but still wagged his tail and smiled the way dogs do. Twenty-five dollars later and some paperwork he belonged to us. It didn’t take long for us to see that someone had abused this gentle, sweet animal. I will never understand abuse in any form if I live to be a million years old, but the abuse of animals and children is unconscionable.
As we experience loss so do our other animals. Tasia, in particular, feels the acute loss. We took her with us to pick up Sammy’s body for cremation. Since leaving with him the day he crossed the Rainbow Bridge, her big brown eyes look sad as she walks through each room and around the yard searching for her adopted big brother. She will move past her grief, as will the rest of us, but for now, she will mourn.
“Cardinals appear when angels are near”. A cardinal appeared in a bramble bush the day we found Harley, dead at the hands of a groomer’s negligence, and a cardinal flew past the car window on the day we waited for test results on Sammy. COVID-19 changed veterinary appointments, too. My daughter and her fiance were with us and I commented on the cardinal’s presence voicing my fear it was the bearer of news I didn’t want to hear. In the forty-eight hours since the hour Sammy left us, cardinals have been present. One appeared yesterday in the grass pile where my husband put fresh grass clippings, a place Sammy liked to roll around after my husband mowed. Today, a male and female cardinal were singing near the tree in the area Sammy loved to sit on warm, summer afternoons. A visitation to let us know all is well. He and Harley found one another in the valley of the Rainbow Bridge…..