SAHM says Goodbye to Co-worker & BFF

As I type this my heart is breaking. Yesterday I said goodbye to my co-worker and best friend. He has been there for me through thick and thin.

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He entered my life when I was a young newlywed, barely 23 years old. I was young, naive, thought I knew it all especially when it came to kids (because I didn’t have any, haha!), I was both excited and terrified as I navigated this new path. That first year of marriage was tough! Trying to determine the ebbs and flows of our relationship and how to effectively communicate was tricky. There were arguments and in those moments afterward, when I felt defeated, like a failure, and all alone he was there. He was there to cheer me up and chew my shoes! Haha! He had so many accidents those first few months, getting him house broken was exhausting. It’s a good thing he was irresistibly cute! You couldn’t help but forgive him…and he forgave us too.  That first Christmas we had purchased a bag of ROLOs that he managed to pull down from the table and devour.  For his wellbeing we had to induce vomiting. I tell you, if looks could kill. He was not happy with us for making him vomit up the bag of ROLOs. But by that last round of colorful foil all over the backyard he had forgiven us. He never held a grudge. He never gave the cold shoulder. He never ignored as a form of punishment. He was such a sweetie!

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When we brought home our first child from the hospital everything changed. My husband and I decided that having me stay at home was the best option for our growing family. The dog was the one who was here with me and the babies/toddlers/preschoolers during the day. His role changed. He went from dog to co-worker (or at least as close to a co-worker as a SAHM gets, haha!). He helped me during the day and evenings when my husband wasn’t home. He would bark when a stranger would come anywhere near our house those first few years…which was awesome because we live on a corner lot and we have lost of walkers in our neighborhood. Haha! He was our protector. Thankfully as he grew he only barked when strangers came to the door. One bark from him and they stepped 3 feet back. And those nights when my husband would be out late or out of town for work I slept well knowing he was on the job. And when the babies were little and I had to get up every hour or two he would always be by my side.  Keeping me company while I fed and changed the baby only to do it all over again in a couple hours….and on the rare nights/early mornings when I would be crying with the baby due to pure exhaustion he would literally lay right on my feet, as if to say, I am here for you, we will get through this together.

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He was always so good with the children, even towards the end, not once did he snap at the kids. He looked out for them and protected them.  When outside playing I knew I could run inside to grab snacks and leave the children outside with him.  And when it was naptime and I would walk around tidying the house he was right by my side. He was so good, as a reward we got him a cat. Haha! Those two where hilarious together, running through the house, irritating each other, then cuddling up together when they rested.  They continued that ritual for 9 years and then the cat passed away.

Let me tell you, having him here as we watched the cat slowly diminish and eventually die was a huge comfort. He was so good with her when she was ill; he just lay next to her and kept her company. Little did we know that soon after we said goodbye to her he would be on the decline.

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He was diagnosed with diabetes in the spring. It was in the months to come that allowed me to return the comfort, the protection, the care that he so freely gave for 11 years!  The insulin shots and food allowance was a learning process for both of us, it was tricky in the beginning but we got it down.  And when he would have his accidents in the house and would put his tail between his legs like a bad dog I was able to comfort him and let him know it wasn’t his fault. It was my turn to give forgiveness freely. It was my turn to comfort him in his time of need.  And when he finally lost his vision as a result of the diabetes it was my turn to guide him down the stairs and protect him from obstacles in the yard.  Those last couple weeks were terribly inconvenient, messy, and hard to witness but to truly love means there will be a suffering…whether it be your time, your material goods, or your heart.

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Eleven years ago our adorable yellow Labrador puppy sat on my lap on the way to his new home. (I am almost certain that was the only time he was a lap dog. Haha!) I just gazed at him and started to tear up. My husband asked what was wrong. I said, “I love him so much already and I know he is only on loan, one day he will no longer be with us”. I am pretty certain my husband thought he married a lunatic and he replied, “He will be with us for a long time”. To which I responded,” it won’t be long enough”. And yesterday as I sat on the kitchen floor with his head on my lap petting him and saying my goodbyes I thought back to that day and I swear all I did was blink.

Losing a Pet

10 years ago my husband came home with a big surprise. A cat! After we lost a kitten to leukemia 3 months prior we decided that any future cat would be from a rescue home.  So we welcomed Sable to the family. Since she was from a rescue facility we really didn’t know too much about her. We didn’t know her exact age but they guessed around 3 years old. She was an outdoor cat when she was rescued. She was spayed by the rescue house; they said she had a couple litters. Life was about to change drastically for our little Sable. She went from fending for herself outdoors to becoming an indoor cat and sharing the home with another treasured pet, our dog.

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Over the course of 10 years she would help us welcome each of our 3 children into the family home. She learned where to pee and where to not pee (pee in the hubby’s shoes, not mine, lol!), she learned that the dog would always and forever be sniffing her butt, she learned that little ones were not always so gentle when it comes to tails and ears, and that the littlest loves her so much it is wise to run if an older child or adult isn’t around.  She is clearly much wiser after her time and experiences with our family. Oh how the children are going to miss her.

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Since her main companion is a dog she has adopted some dog –like behaviors. She is very social and love sitting on laps, being pet, and receiving attention. She makes a mad dash to the kitchen when she hears the rustling of her treat bag and sits just like the dog in order to receive her treat. Her and the dog have such a similar relationship to the children it is amusing. In fact on evenings when the children are in bed and the house is quiet they usually start playing around….the cat always wins. And then seconds later you will find them curled up together and the cat licking the dogs face. Oh how the dog is going to miss her.

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She is my little shadow. She likes racing me up and down the stairs during the day…she always wins. Haha! She snuggles up with me whenever I sit down. She sleeps just above my head on my pillow at night. She is so affectionate. She also drives me nuts at times with the messes and hairballs but they are all worth it! Before her I was never a cat person…I am not even sure if I would define myself as one now…I am a Sable person. Haha! Oh how I am going to miss her.

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Over Christmas break we noticed a lump on her belly. We took her to the Veterinarian. They diagnosed her with breast cancer. Her prognosis was 3 weeks. It has been 3 weeks since that visit.  The mass continues to grow and now she starts bleeding at times. This is so hard. I understand that every living creature has a different lifetime and hers is coming to an end but when children are involved it amplifies the pain. As a mom all I want to do is ease their heartache and pain, I want to make it all better but they have to learn that mourning is a part of life. I have to allow them to feel, hurt, cry, and go through the process. To teach them that life will have pains and heartache and the appropriate way to process all those emotions.

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I am just so grateful for the time we had, she’s been such a blessing to our family and has helped each family member grow in some form or another (Oh the things you learn from having a pet…patience, love, gentleness, compassion, responsibility, etc.). We will treasure the memories always.