Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Farewell


I don't even know where to start, so I guess I'll start by saying this is a story of unconditional love.

My emotional wound is so fresh and raw. My eyes and head hurt from all the tears that have been shed today. Jim and I had to put, Tai, our faithful 14-15 year old Lab-mix down this afternoon. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

Tai died with her head lying on my lap in the vet's office. She drifted easily into a peaceful goodbye as I sat crying using tissue after tissue. The staff was kind, but nothing could change the fact that she was leaving the family she had loved so much.

How does someone replace a "one of a kind" animal? Tai came to our house of her own accord a little over 13 years ago. She was a stray and decided our home was where she wanted to live. I even drove her a couple of miles away thinking she would find her real home, but she found her way back to us that evening! There she was sitting with a smile on her face as if we should be glad she was back. From that night on, she was home and never left our side again. She loved us with every inch of her 47 pounds and would have defended our home with her very life...no doubt about it.

So today Tai's story ended...she will always have a place of great honor in our hearts. A dog we didn't choose, had obeyed our every command and loved us with a selfless love beyond compare. "No greater love is this..."

Goodbye, faithful and loyal friend.

(I wrote a story about Tai last summer. "Tai Goes Home" can be found in the June 2008 issue of Story Circle Journal)

25 comments:

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

My heart and tears go out to you! Every time I've had to put down one of my pets, a piece of me dies too. You are in my thoughts and prayers as I yank out another tissue to wipe away the tears.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Oh, Barbara, I'm so sad for you. I lost my 16 y.o. Boston in August. But I'm grateful for the years of love you had with your sweet dog.

Terri Tiffany said...

We had a Lab years ago and had to experience the same loss of love and companionship you did today. I am soooo very sorry for you as I know you will grieve this dear pet for a long long time.
I could cry now too for you.

Willa Fae said...

I'm so sorry and sad to hear about your Lab. I know you will miss her for a long time to come. Isn't is amazing how they can choose us sometimes instead of us choosing them? God bless!

Sassy Granny ... said...

I'm so sorry. My own black lab, Sable, has been gone from us many years now. I miss her still.

Kathleen

Astaryth said...

I am so sorry for your loss! It is sooo hard to lose one of the furbabies. They are so much a part of our families and hearts.

Joanne said...

What a very sad day for you and Jim. I hope you can take some comfort that you were with her till the end. She was never alone at this difficult time.

Linda said...

I am so sorry, Barbara. Our pets are so much a part of our family and it hurts so much to lose them. I've lost dogs in the past, and I know that one grieves for them. I just can't imagine losing my yorkies...

Hugs to you...

Ms. Marcia said...

I, too, sympathize with you having to make that awful decision. I had to do that quite a few years ago for my old Pug ... he was just the happiest, smartest dog ever and I cried for 3 months afterwards. When I got my Maine Coon cat in 2003, I cried then, too, because I knew I was replacing Pug at that time and he had been gone for 4 or 5 years by then. They just never leave your heart and I keep a picture of Pug on my fridge along with my kids, grandkids and other friends and relatives! Take solace in the fact that God watches over his 4-legged friends, too! Hugs!!

Linda said...

I'm very sorry any person or animal has to die--it's a sad part of life. Tai, however, lived happily ever after once she found your home. Of course, the other part of the story is that she came to your house pregnant--and I still have one of her 13 year old "pups", Elsa. I told Elsa about it last night--you never know what they can sense. And, you did the absolutely right thing to let her fall asleep in your arms. If we could all pass to the next world that way, it would be a real blessing.

Kathryn Magendie said...

*sob* - now I'm crying - I'm so so sorry

I lost my good old girl Kayla in the summer - she was my friend ...

So sorry....

heather said...

I'm so sorry.

Melissa Marsh said...

Oh Barbara...I know exactly what you're going through and I am so very sorry. I had to put my beloved Charlie down last year - it was very unexpected. The grief was so acute - I still look at his picture today and cry. He was such a wonderful dog.

May your memories bring you great comfort.

Tracy said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. We had to put down our 15 yr old dog, Ashley, in August, and in November we found our 11 yr old cat Prissy had passed while we slept. The pain can be so intense. I pray the memories and the love will comfort you in this very difficult time. I'd like to share a poem that brought me comfort. I hope it does you too. Hugs!

The Rainbow Bridge ~

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

GardenAuthor said...

Barbara ~ So sorry to learn of your loss. Tai chose wisely, when she selected you as her forever family. You were right where she needed you to be, as she slipped away to greener pastures. And her spirit and memory will be right where you need them to be, as you grieve her loss... Deb

Vikki G said...

I am so very sorry! I know the great hurt you are suffering now as I had to put our beloved Shadow to sleep last March. My heart is breaking for you and I cannot tell you enough how much I will remember you in prayer. Our precious pets are a part of our families ...a blessing from the Lord. There is a website that was a true blessing to our family it is www.critters.com it is a site where you can create a memorial for your pet. It was a real help in the healing process for our family. You are in my thoughts~
Blessings,
Vikki

JOY said...

So sorry for you. I hope your Tai meets my Zeus and Penny at the Rainbow Bridge! I lost them both last year.

Tai's love is permanent. Tai is part of you and will always be!
Take time to honor his gift.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I'm so sorry that you lost someone so precious to you! Tai is no longer hurting but romping around at Rainbow Bridge. Take care.

Janna Qualman said...

Oh, Barbara, my heart is sad for you. What a wonderful pet she was for you. And the picture of her with wings is just darling.

Pat's Place said...

So sorry for your loss. How sad! Our dear Border Collie is the same age and is visibly slowing down. I guess our time will come one of these days...

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Oh Barbara, I still am grieving for our precious Sophie we lost just before Christmas.I am crying with you. I know the pain and the hurt. Tai and Sophie met I am sure at the Rainbow Bridge. I am so sorry, I am rambling because it is so hard.

exotic1 said...

I had to do this very same thing just a year ago and I know how painful and sorrow it is. I hope your heart heals quickly replaced sorrow of wonderful memories.

deserthorses5 said...

Oh, I'm just a puddle of tears! We put our second German Shepherd down 6 years ago because his hip dysplaysia was so bad. I cried for weeks. But, now we have Rommel and our little free black lab, Ripley. She has her own blog..come visit when you are ready. She's QUITE a handful!!! http://ripleyandme.blogspot.com/

KKJD1 said...

Barbara, My tears are streaming along with yours. I can tell you I know where you are my dear friend as i lost my precious LuLu girl 2 dys after Christmas and it is still fresh on my heart as well. It is truly hard to accept when they have come to mean so much to you and any little thing can be a reminder. My heart goes out to you and Will be in my heart and prayers the coming weeks! Blessings, Karen

MichaƩle said...

God bless you. You did the right thing.

I lost both of my beloved dogs within just a few days of each other. It just plain ol' hurts. God loves those who cares for his creatures and you took such great care of Tai. Love to you, Barbara.