Our family suffered a terrible loss as we said goodbye to our beloved dogs; Charlie and Daisy. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn them and attempt to adjust to their absence in our lives and in our home. We are comforted in the knowledge that they are no longer suffering and that they passed alongside the friend they lived with for the past 11 years.
We have known for a while that this day was coming. The dogs were advanced in age (Daisy was 15 and Charlie 11), and they were not handling stress well, and both suffered from physical ailments. After a long night up with both dogs, I noticed two large doves on my back fence. We have lots of pigeons around us, but I had never seen these doves before. They were perched next to each other and seemed to be in a conversation. I know they were sent as heavenly escorts for the sweet souls they would take home. (I have not seen them since.) I am also obliged to the young man who comforted a grieving, hysterical stranger in the parking lot on that fateful day. I am touched by your kindness and bravery and will never forget the hug. God sent you to me, and although I didn't ask your name, I'm sure it was Angel.
I am so thankful for our time with these gentle creatures. They brought countless hours of joy and love to our family. They have been through good times and bad times, and they were faithful and loyal through them all. I am especially thankful for the last 2-1/2 years of their companionship with Jameson. They taught him unconditional love, and he learned a respect for animals that will stay with him for the rest of his life.
We are adjusting to this new normal. The dogs and their stuff are gone, but the physical absence has left a hollow hole that cannot be filled. It is the silence that is deafening. The dogs were a part of the background music in our home that made the ordinary days so comforting. Their nail clicks on the tile, the ears flapping during a head-shake (when waking) and even the snoring are sorely missed. Although I am not sure I will ever see the end of the hair Charlie left behind, I no longer lament their presence. They are now magical fibers of joy that make me pause every time I find one.
The only problem with dogs is that they just don't live long enough. Love your dogs (and cats and any other creature that brings you joy) while you can. They are so much more than pets or companions. They are family members and come to teach us compassion, obedience, loyalty and above all, unconditional love.
There is a prayer (from The Book of Common Prayer) that is recited at funerals; "Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace." As I contemplate the loss of these two dogs, I keep thinking of that perpetual light. The prayer refers to the perpetual light of the presence of God. But those two dogs were reflections of that same light, that same love of God, while they were alive and a part of our family. For that gift, I am eternally grateful.