Saying Goodbye

I’m sitting in my bed watching the labored breath of my sweet baby Gracie Mae, and my heart aches. We adopted Gracie from a shelter on a very hot, muggy, July day ten and a half years ago. She has been so much a part of our lives over those years. The boys were only 5, 7 & 9 years old. They were so excited to finally have a dog! And they learned so much from her! We spent the first several years trying to keep her from running away – not always successfully. We have lots of memories of chasing her through the neighborhood when she slipped out the door. If it hadn’t been for her need to stop and poop after a long run, we never would have caught her.

On a vacation to Wisconsin, {why we took a new dog on a camping trip is beyond me!} she decided to go exploring. We were on a walk in the woods and one of the boys had a hold of the leash. She lurched and his little hands couldn’t keep hold. I think he even fell down trying. And she was off! Ears flapping in the wind, like she didn’t have a care in the world. Hubby and I went into full panic mode, searching the woods for this errant dog. All the possible horrible outcomes ran through my head. I envisioned putting up lost dog posters and lamented what to do when we don’t find her before vacation is over and its time to head home. Gut wrenching. We searched the woods a long time and decided we should go back to our campsite and regroup. At this point I was truly questioning the need for a dog when I had three little boys to keep track of! As we walked through the campground a little boy came up on his bike and said, “don’t you have a dog? I think we found her!” The sweet little girl must have realized having people was a pretty good gig and came home on her own. I aged a lot on that vacation. And she hasn’t been on a vacation since.

She has made many trips to the grandparents! My parents aren’t really pet people, but I knew they had fallen for Gracie when Hubby and I came home from an evening out with friends to find Gracie sound asleep on their bed with them:). She has that effect on people. She is a mild-mannered, lovable, but not needy girl. And she is truly a family member.

Which makes today one of the hardest days of my life. These are the times I don’t really want to be the parent. I would rather defer to someone else to make the hard choices.

Because Gracie was a stray, we don’t really know how old she is, but the doctors guess she is about 14 years old. That’s about 80 to you and me. She is not a spring chicken as my dad would say. She has lost weight and has been having some spells lately, really scary ones where she falls of the couch and can’t move at all. Most of it could be attributed to the aging process, and maybe strokes. But when it happened Thursday when just the boys were home, it was pretty frightening. Hubby took her to the vet and we found out she is a very sick girl.

Gracie has a large tumor, about 4+ inches in diameter, in her abdomen. We aren’t quite sure whether it is attached to her spleen or liver. Either way it’s operable…but she is still a very old girl. And odds are when they remove it they will find it is malignant. I think putting her through the trauma of surgery with little hope for a positive outcome would be cruel and a little selfish.

But it is so very hard to make the decision to let her go.

I think I’ve come to terms with it, knowing it’s the right decision and then she perks up and goes sniffing for crumbs in the kitchen and I question myself. We’ve talked a lot with the boys and they understand. But no one wants to say it’s time. So I called the vet and scheduled a time to let my little girl go.

And I can’t quit crying.

My mind knows it’s the right thing to do, but my heart hurts so much.




Filed under Family

3 responses to “Saying Goodbye

  1. Dawn Johnson

    Awh hugs to you Judy! -Dawn

  2. Paula Clark

    My heart aches with you, Judy. Thank you for sharing your story. Peace to you and peace to Gracie.

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