Preparing My Heart for Goodbye

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Abby(left) & Leroy(right)

I’ve always been a dog person. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a husband, a bunch of dogs and maybe some kids. Dogs were always the priority. Well, now, at almost thirty years of age and a new mother of one, I have rightfully changed my priorities. I just have to say that I’m shocked as to how much they’ve changed.

Before Luca came, I was so in love with our pups. We have two boxers, Abby and Leroy. Don’t get me wrong, I still care for them very much but I just can’t give them the attention that I once could. While boxers are very sweet dogs, they are also very energetic. Once I was caring for a newborn, their puppy-like energy wasn’t quite as endearing as it had been before. Honestly, it is downright pulling-out-my-hair frustrating sometimes. There have been many occasions when I have seriously entertained thoughts of adopting them out.

ImageWell, last night, we discovered that Abby will not be with us much longer. She has an inoperable tumor in her nasal passage and it’s beginning to cause her stress and pain. The myriad of intense emotions that I’m experiencing are overwhelming. Sadness, anger, helplessness, fear, pain, dare I mention… relief?, and guilt… mostly a lot of guilt. The guilt isn’t her fault… it’s just that every time I see the dogs, I am reminded of another area where I feel like I’m not measuring-up. We’ve only had Abby for about a year and it pains me to admit that I could have been a better Mama to her. During my pregnancy and especially after Luca’s birth, I just didn’t have the energy that she needed me to have. Now, reflecting on how parenthood has changed me, I wonder if we even should have adopted her.

Yet, among all the painful feelings, there is a feeling of… I don’t know how to describe it… hope maybe? I have hope that we have given her the best last year of her life. I hope that she felt loved. I hope that God would be proud of how we cared for this delightful little creation. I also hope that He will care for her when we can’t because she is no longer with us. Abby came to us with issues stemming from maltreatment and neglect. I choose to believe that she will be going to a place where she will no longer feel the remnants of her former life.

Abby’s current situation has forced me to reflect on how I am with our dogs. I may not be able to give them as much exercise or play time but I still give them love. My attitude towards has changed from annoyed to Imageaccepting. It may not be ideal, but we have two dogs that have been put in our care. I can’t change that. All I can do is give them what I can, and when there’s nothing to give, at least I can display a loving attitude towards them. They have been loving and faithful to us despite all the changes that we have gone through and truly, they have brought much joy to our home.

Maybe I don’t need to feel guilty, I’ve loved them the best that I can and maybe that’s good enough. For Abby’s sake, I really hope so.

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7 thoughts on “Preparing My Heart for Goodbye

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. Our dogs have certainly not been a priority to me since Ella’s birth either. I can totally relate.

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  2. Ah, Jaclyn. Again so soon, I’m very sorry to hear. The night we put my dog down was the worst I’ve had, and I held it all until I took a shower after coming back at 2-3am where I ended up dropping to my knees, crying, and the one thing that audibly came out was “I”m sorry.” I wasn’t necessarily sorry for anything in particular right then and there, but it’s a very natural reaction. Of course, there were things that I later thought of that I could’ve been guilty over. She’d wake me up at butt-crack AM, by leaning against my bedroom door and biting and making all kinds of noise; I’d have to toss a water bottle at the door in frustration to try and shut her up. But I was also the one who took her for walks all the time. I used to take her for short trips to Wendy’s and give her a couple of fries on the way home. Dogs are “simple” in that way.. they know how to enjoy life. Sure, she’d get yelled at when she did something bad, but they can sense what’s going on, too. When Heath Ledger died, and I was sitting in my room talking to friends about it online, she came in and laid down next to my chair, something she never really did, just to comfort me. Dog’s are wonderful that way.. they just like ya, and it doesn’t take much to earn that. In fact, for most dogs, it doesn’t take anything… so whatever love you show them only adds to that 🙂 I’m sure you made her life wonderful.

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    • I’m so sorry to read about your loss. The loss of a child is the toughest thing that can haeppn to someone and I am glad God is with you. My brother drowned in our family swimming pool when I was young and I saw firsthand the profound effect it had on the whole family. Me it brought closer to God. Thank you for sharing and you are in my prayers.

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  3. Oh Jaclyn, I completely feel for you, and am in the same boat. I loved our somewhat high maintenance cat Gemma before Alex was born. She was a rescue and fun and full of personality. After Alex though, I became resentful of the attention she wanted from me. I am working on it now, as I realize its not her fault. But I’m right there with ya.

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  4. I heard an interesting comment today about the difference between us and animals. It is that we have the opportunity to learn from our heartaches and disappointments and pets do not need to. We always wish we had done more, less, better, etc. but the Lord knows our heart and our righteous desires. He knows that you are doing your best on all fronts and that is enough for Him. You have chosen to love and be a blessing to these animals and I think you are doing an excellent job! Love you.

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  5. So sorry about your sweet pooch!
    When it comes to putting animals down (mind you I grew up with critters galore, horses, cows, goats, etc.) I go with the saying “Better a week too early, than a day too late.”
    Abby is lucky to have spent her last year with you!

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