Saying Goodbye to the Family Dog

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Saying Goodbye to the Family Dog | Denver Metro Moms Blog

Good-bye is a word we are all accustomed to. Sometimes we meet again and sometimes the good-bye is forever. We may be privy to this information prior to the separation, yet good-byes are seldom easy. Especially when that forever good-bye is to the family dog. 

If this post reads somewhat like a dear-diary entry, than so be it, because honestly, that’s what this mama needs at the moment.

My family and I recently had to say our forever good-bye to our geriatric french bulldog, Roxy. I write this as I sit in my living room, still bewildered by this. I’m waiting to hear her heavy breathing and grunts… the occasional passage of gas…

I keep looking down at my feet as I walk around my house, to ensure she isn’t underneath them as she so often was. It’s absurdly fresh. I miss her. We miss her. She was our beloved fur-baby and moving on without her seems an incredible task. 

I’m in my 30’s, and I would venture to believe that I have a solid foundational knowledge of the cycle of life: birth – death – rebirth. But no-matter your age or level of emotional adjustment, I am of the opinion that you are never prepared for death. I was not prepared for Roxy’s death. I was not prepared for her fast-tracked deterioration. I was not prepared. I can’t imagine time or space allowing for any preperation, and yet it doesn’t change the fact that our little four-legged lady is gone. 

So. Here I sit reveling in my layered confusion and bewilderment, trying to figure out how to move forward in a house that has been without a dog before, but never in our current family dynamic of husband + wife + toddler. My daughter has never lived without a dog, until now. My brain hurts thinking about this. 

While I can also recognize that all of the above will shift and change in the future, it’s the now that is raw and sad. I’ve lost pets before, but this feels different, because for our family it was different. Our little lady was part of our family, probably like most of your pets are within your respective families.  She was a part of our human pack. She was a dog, but she was a huge member of our family. Frankly, our day revolved around her. Her needs, where she was, what she was doing, etc.. She did everything with us. Everything. We took her skiing with us to hang out at A-basin, to New York, to Vermont, to New Mexico. This little lady lived a full life.   

Our daughter developmentally grasped Roxy’s place within our family unit. So much so that her now constant questioning throughout the day of asking for “RoRo” pangs our heart strings heavily. [Sarcastic Therapeutic Side-note: If there is ever a clearer concept of exposure therapy, include an inquisitive toddler in the mix to ensure that your responses and explanations become more repetitive and less emotionally charged as the day wears on]. 

Each day is getting easier or, more accurately, less tearful.

And while it’s becoming more tolerable, I won’t attribute that to anything but the fact that I have to keep on keeping on with parenting. And now as a parent, my lenses are open and I will ensure that my daughter never forgets this beautiful four-legged wonder, and also to use this event as a way to talk to her in a developmentally appropriate manner about feelings, death, and grief. However, for the time being, I will sit here in my living room, and keep Roxy’s memory alive in my mind and heart. Sleep well, sweet girl. 

Have you ever lost a family pet? How did your family cope with the loss? Please share your thoughts and feelings below!

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Anna is a New York transplant and has lived in the Denver area since 2008. Originally coming out to Colorado for her Master’s Degree, she and her now, husband, moved here with a love for skiing and the mountains, and decided leaving was not an option. Anna is a first time mama to an almost 1 year old fierce little girl. Anna is a stay at home mom that moonlights as a couples and individual therapist for a local private practice. When not working part-time, Anna enjoys visiting and drinking lots of coffee from all of the local Denver roasters with her witty husband, getting in lots of snuggles and walks in with her geriatric french bulldog, and drinking a fine glass of wine. On any given day, Anna is just trying to re-learn the walks of life through the eyes of her little, and adjust to this new world of mama-hood.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Wonderful post – losing a pet is the absolute hardest. I remember my two dogs from childhood being put to sleep, as well as my husband and I’s sweet little mut 3 years ago. Our German Shepherd is 12 now, and I know this day is coming. And it makes me SO SAD to think that my toddler will likely not remember her. They have such a special bond. So for now, I will take lots of pics and try to not think of that 🙂

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