It’s Never Easy to Say Good-Bye


It’s been over a month and we just emptied out her food bowl. The water basically evaporated and her food just sat there untouched. I am not sure if it was a written rule in our house, but no one emptied our dog’s, Samantha aka Sammie aka Sam’s food bowl since she passed away on August 8th. When Sam passed away that is where she laid down and took her last breath, next to her bowl, and taking that away just seems so final. We’re not quite ready for that but we know it has to happen for us to move forward. Taking that away also takes away the memory of the kids’ first chore. After her morning walk, the kids would take turns feeding Sam. Every morning I have to stop myself from asking my children if they fed Sam or if she had been walked. Every morning I am reminded that she is not here anymore. 
I used to joke that the term “Family Dog” was a misnomer and should be “Dad’s Dog”, due to dad being the one that feeds the dog, walks them in the rain, snow, and usually ends up cleaning the mess that happens inside the house. That all changes once your pet passes away. At that moment, the heaviness of what your pet meant to you hits you. It not only hits you, but it hits your entire family. Our Sam would have been 12 on August 14 and we knew she was getting old, but we did not expect it to happen so fast. 
Her bucket by the front door with her leash and outdoor belongings (poop bags, tennis balls, etc) was finally put away in a box, along with her endless bags of treats, shampoo, and brushes. Her bed that lay at the end of our bed that has laid empty was finally washed and put away, along with her favorite red blanket and her favorite dinosaur stuffies.
Coming home now, there is such an emptiness. We don’t have our excited Sam greeting us at the door anymore. The kids have their moments. Our boy will just make a comment that he misses seeing her at the door and our girl will just breakdown in tears. My wife misses stumbling over her in the morning when she gets out of bed and misses having her wait outside the bathroom while she gets ready for work.

What am I going to miss? I’m going to miss how she would sit next to me and let me brush her hair. I’m going to miss having her be the first one to greet me at the door when I would get home, although she didn’t do much of that in her last few weeks because her hearing wasn’t that good anymore. I’m going to miss our walks and taking her out one more time before we all go to bed. It’s just strange looking at the clock and knowing I am not taking her out anymore. 

What sucks about her passing was we did not expect this to happen. On Sunday we gave her a calming pill and gave her a bath in hopes of trimming her hair. I was able to snip a few patches here and there, but she started being her grumpy self and would not let me do anymore cutting without trying to bite my hand. The next morning we noticed she did not touch her food at all. She would still walk around the house, but she started urinating more and at times not making it outside the house. 

Throughout the week, it was more of the same. She did not touch her food and would just lay down on the new bed we bought for her. At first, she would not lay on the bed but after we put her blanket on it, she started laying down on the bed and just resting there through most of the day. We started calling our vet to get her an appointment, but the earliest they had was in mid-September. We did not know if it was just her age creeping up on her or if something was serious, but by the end of the week, we would have to carry her up and down the stairs for her to use the bathroom. We finally were able to secure an early appointment on Friday, August 14th, her birthday.  

On Saturday, August 8th, she was crying around 4 in the morning. I heard her and took her out to use the bathroom. This happened a few more times and around 7am I took her out to the backyard and just sat on one of the chairs and watched her walk around and then lay down in the sun. I just watched her and saw how she looked comfortable in the sun. It was as if she was enjoying this moment and I was there to experience it. After a good half hour or so, I carried her inside and when I put her down, she could not stand on her hind legs. I carried her closer to her water bowl and wet my fingers and put them to her mouth. She just smelled my fingers and did nothing else. 
My daughter sat next to Sam, while I ran to the store to get a few items and that’s when my wife texted me to come home right away. My wife texted me that Sam’s not breathing and my daughter is crying. I raced home as fast as I could and when I walked into the kitchen I saw my wife and daughter sitting next to our Sammie who was laying there lifeless by her bowl. Just seeing her there I lost it and started crying. I remember putting my head against her body and just wishing I could hear something. I hugged my daughter and we both cried and sat on the floor next to her body. 

Losing a pet hurts. I mean it really f’ing hurts! We had Sam as a puppy and she was there for all of our ups and downs. She was the first one to greet our children when we bought them home from the hospital. She was attached to my daughter and would always lay near her when she was asleep. She even did this as my daughter got older as seen in one of the pictures above. My daughter probably had a stronger bond than my wife and I had had with Sam. 
That Saturday afternoon we took Sam to Hinsdale Pet Cemetary so they can hold her body for a cremation service on Wednesday. The memorial service was beautiful and it helped us in someway get closure on her passing, but just seeing her lay peacefully one last time was very hard to do. Tears, lots of tears were shed in our private room, and seeing her placed in the oven for cremation was also something hard to watch. We let our daughter choose the urn for Sam’s ashes and as soon as we got home, my daughter laid down with it and ended up falling asleep holding it. 
On the day of her birthday, we bought a small cake and sang to her urn. We would have loved to have her there with us that day, but she was there in spirit. Not a day goes by that something happens in the house that reminds us of Sam. A squeak from a door, the wind blowing a certain way, or seeing her bowl just sit there untouched. 
What did suck about losing our Sam was my job did a “Dog Days of Summer” week where each day employees were asked to share pictures of their pets. August 26th was International Dog Day and our feeds were bombarded with people posting pictures of their dog. It seemed like the world was rubbing it in our faces that our dog was gone and it just made the loss that more hurtful. It will take some time for us to fully get over this pain and we will take it day by day, but for now, we will start by putting her bowl away. 
Thank you for everything, Sam! We love you! 

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