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Being Gentle

What does one do when a beloved pet dies?

Be gentle.

A little over six years ago, my husband and I adopted a rescued golden retriever from GRRAND, the rescue group here in Kentucky.  Sophie was somewhere between six and eight years old, and had been rescued from a puppy mill where she had spent her entire life crated and birthing pups.  She came to GRRAND with softball-size mats of feces in her golden coat, they told us.  We brought her home on Easter weekend and it truly felt like a springtime revival.  We were showered with love from this wise, good-hearted dog…it was like she knew she had been rescued and she was ever so grateful.

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Over six years, five moves, the birth of our son, and the launch of my business, Sophie was my constant companion.  She spent quiet nights with me as I nursed Harper for hours,  afternoons in my truck where I worked when the realtors showed our house to sell, mornings at my feet as I pecked at the computer or coached clients by phone.  She was the gentlest and most loving of souls.

We were with Sophie during her last breaths this Monday.  And since then, I’ve found myself needing gentleness.  It has come in a number of ways:  letting the tears come during quiet afternoons now by myself at work,  going for a spontaneous family bowling outing the night that she died,  loving my body and spirit with fresh food, tea and yoga class, as well as surrounding ourselves with laughter and play.

I really don’t want to sound like a Hallmark card.  Really.  I just can’t help but gush over how darn dear she was.  She brought our family constant love.

The good news is that Harper, our four year old, took it in stride.  It’s funny how the preschooler mind works.  The first thing he said after we shared the news was, “Does this mean we can get another pet?  I want a fish.” Well there you go!  Another version of gentle, I guess!

  •    Reply

    Hi Tish-

    Just thought I would sent some caring thoughts about the loss of Sophie. Just the few short visits with Sophie showed us what a great dog she was. It is understandable how impacted you were at her passing. I was very sorry to hear about her.
    I put Scarlet (my kitty since 1993) down last Feburary and was a complete mess for days. The relief was that the girls knew how sick she was and that made it easier for their grieving process to cycle.
    I will never forget the funny things that cat did the 16 years we had her. We had been through a lot-that cat and me. She was a real blessing for our family, as I am sure Sophie was for yours.

  •    Reply

    Oh, Tisha, I’m so sorry to hear of Sophie’s passing! My heart goes out to you, Joe, and Harper as I am feeling, once again, the pain when Crockett died. We learn to love our pets as ourselves, family, and friends. It makes their death as important in our lives as those of others who are dear to us. You gave Sophie a wonderful life that I’m sure made up for those years she suffered. She was so blessed to have found you as you were to have found her. Take joy in having had so much love from and for her. I will be thinking of you all as you experience this hurt in you life. Love all of you, Aunt Becky

  •    Reply

    this is beautiful advice – so often we forget to be gentle. Thanks for sharing

  •    Reply

    Hi lovely ladies,

    Thank you for your kind words about Sophie. Each day gets a little easier doesn’t it? We haven’t bought the fish yet but perhaps soon we’ll be able to ease into a new pet for Harper!

    Love to you all!

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