Goodbye, Pandora. I’m going to miss you, girl.
Each time I walk past your bed, I expect to see your head perk up in excitement to see me. I keep walking by your bowl and thinking, “Why didn’t Pandora finish her breakfast.” Then I hear keys jingle and I wait for you to come running around the corner to jump into my arms.
But you aren’t there. You’re gone. And it hurts so bad.
You probably didn’t know this, but you were my first dog. Before you, I thought dogs were an inconvenience, something that made messes, ate up your money, and pooped in your yard. I never wanted to own a dog and I thought I never would.
And then I met you. Right away I was impressed that you were so good with the kids. Junior and Addy were scared to death of dogs but they warmed up to you right away. You were so calm and kind to them and after half an hour, you’d won them over. When they told me, “Daddy, we love this doggy!” I knew we had to bring you home. So we rescued you, and we took you home from the shelter.
But even though we took you home, I was a bit skeptical about being a dog person. I thought it would take some time before I really cared for you. I was wrong. The moment we walked in the front door, you ran right up to me with a wagging tail and a sparkle in your eyes, flipped onto your back, help both paws up, and gave me that, “Belly Rub Time!!!!” look.
That look did me in. I had to give you a belly rub. As I rubbed, your tail started wagging faster and faster and that sparkle in your eyes grew until your whole face was beaming. By the time you hopped up and walked away, you’d won me over – I both owned a dog and I loved that dog.
And the next week was perfect. You’d snuggle up to me when we I wrote blog posts. You’d race over to me in the morning when I woke up and flip over onto your back right away for a belly rub. You would beam and smile like I never knew a dog could.
We’d go on runs and walks together. You’d chase chipmunks around our yard for hours before I finally had to drag you away from the woodpile because it was time for dinner.
I went to bed every night so happy that I had the best dog in the world.
Then I woke up this morning and saw that you hadn’t finished your breakfast. Which was weird for you: you usually wolf it down it no time at all.
Then you started making weird gasping sounds like something was stuck in your throat. I thought you ate a crayon or something, so I took you to our local vet to see if they could get it unstuck for you.
After taking an x-ray, our vet discovered that your stomach had flipped over, pinching off the blood supply to your stomach. The vet told us you needed surgery and she referred us to an animal hospital up north.
By the time I got you to the hospital, you were in pretty bad shape. You could barely hobble in the front door. We talked with the doctor and the prognosis was bad: they could do surgery, but there was a very real possibility you wouldn’t survive even with the surgery.
When they broke the news, I lost it. I cried like a baby. Even though I’d only met you a week ago, I loved you so much. You were a part of my family. And now I was going to lose you.
I wanted so bad to save you. I wanted to tell them to do whatever they needed, no matter the cost, to make sure you got better. And, if I was independently wealthy, I would have. But, I have a wife and two kids and a mortgage and a million other financial responsibilities. I just couldn’t tell the doctor to spare no expense to save your life. I wish I could have, but I couldn’t. Especially because there was no guarantee you would make it through even if the vet did everything she possibly could.
So, after talking it over with Sam, we decided we had to put you down. It was the hardest decision I’ve made in my entire life. Even though I think it was the right choice, it was still so hard. I cried and cried and cried like I didn’t know I could.
After we told the nurses our decision, they brought you back into the room and laid you down on a blanket so we could spend the last few minutes of your life with you. I will always look back on those precious few minutes as some of the most sacred in my entire life. You lay there and Sam and I petted you and talked to you. We told you how happy you’d made us and how much we loved you. At that point, you were so tired and exhausted that you could barely muster a tail wag.
After saying goodbye, we told the vet we were ready and she came in. As you slipped away to the other side, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and comfort come over me. Even though you’d had a hard life, you were happy at the end because you were loved.
And don’t worry, girl. We’ll see you again. When I cross over to the other side, I know you’ll be first in line waiting to see me, with a wagging tail and bright eyes, greeting me the same way you did every day when I got home from work.
Until that day comes though, know that I miss you. I love you girl and I’m so glad you came to live with us. It was only for a week, but you changed me forever. And even though it’s so painful to see you go, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. You were worth it.
Goodbye, Pandora. I love you and I can’t wait to see you again,
P.S. Don’t give the chipmunks up there too hard of a time. Remember, it’s supposed to be heaven for them too.