Dear heart

Warm summer sun, shine kindly here;
Warm western wind, blow softly here;
Green sod above, lie light, lie light–
Good-night, dear heart, good-night, good-night.

–Robert Richardson (adapted by Mark Twain)

In the words of my vet, after I apologized for making him go over the necropsy results for the second time in as many hours, “It’s hard to lose a dog that’s been with you for so many years.” Yes it is, but would it be any easier if it were two years instead of twelve?

My old man dog Buddy died today. Just like that. He was a little off this morning and wouldn’t settle or eat his treats. He was sleeping alone in the living room when we woke up this morning and was hard to rouse. Nothing unusual, really. We were both concerned enough that my husband stopped home at lunch time to check on him and found him dead. Dead in front of the door so that it couldn’t be opened and my husband had to climb in through the kitchen window to get in the house.

My husband brought him to the vet for a necropsy so that we might understand what happened to him. The vet found that he had hemangiosarcoma; an aggressive cancer of the blood vessels and a tumor on his heart. The tumor had ruptured and caused his heart to stop. The vet said that he felt no pain, just tired and weak, and likely collapsed and just went peacefully to sleep.

I had fretted over him getting older and worried that we might have to put him to sleep one day when he couldn’t walk any longer. I dreaded that, but never expected anything like this. I have to think that a kindness was done for us – a disease we didn’t know about, couldn’t worry over and couldn’t even have done anything about had we known. No guilt, no what-ifs. I’m just so thankful I took the time this morning before leaving to hold his head in my hand and tell him that he was a good boy and that I loved him. A lot of mornings I didn’t take the time for that, but this morning I did.

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
–Crowfoot, Chief of the Blackfeet Nation

57 thoughts on “Dear heart”

  1. Oh, I’m so sorry you lost your friend! It was a blessing he went without pain, though, and in a way that didn’t subject you to an agonizing decision. Such a loss is sad enough without having to be compounded by extra suffering and second-guessing.

    And yes, I rub my furry buddies’ ears each morning before I go to work and tell them I love them. The universe has its own rhythms and times for things, and we can take nothing for granted, even though there really is no other way to get through the day.

    Peace to you, and happy romping at the bridge to your dear friend.

  2. I’m so sorry. I lost my 17 year old cat in March – she died at home as well and there is SOME relief to not having had to make a decision of sorts.
    They do sort of become the visible soul of a home, dont they?

  3. I have been following your blog for a while and have never commented until this post. I am so sorry to hear about your dog. Makes me want to cuddle mine before leaving the house today … it’s so hard to lose a friend.

  4. ((((((Laura)))))) I am so sorry about Buddy, but so glad that you did get to tell him how much you loved him before you left. I know the memories of his long life with you will sustain you with warm feelings forever.

  5. It is heartbreaking to lose a dear pet and you have my deepest sympathy. Glad that his end was so peaceful and not in a vet’s office. We dread death, but I think older animals accept it instinctively. That doesn’t help the void they leave in our hearts though.

  6. Oh Laura–what to say. It is hard to type through the tears in my eyes. Buddy’s name suited him perfectly–as you have written about him he has been the perfect buddy.
    You are right–you have been given a gift: no hard decision to make, his having no pain. But the leaving is so hard.
    I will be thinking about you especially over the next several months as you remember him, miss him, and slowly adjust.
    With love from another dog lover.

  7. Oh, Laura, I’m so sorry. I’m at a loss to add any better words than those written above, just that I’m so sorry. Hugs to you.

  8. Dear Laura,

    I’m at the office holding back tears… My goodness, what an easy passing, thankfully. Actually, the ease of his passing was Buddy’s last gift to you. And you have been a gift to him for all of his years.

    Hugs from me.

  9. I heartily agree–it was a gift to have him go peacefully and in his own time.

    That Crowfoot quotation is so wonderful.

    My thoughts are with you, pal.

  10. Oh Laura, Like Mary, I’m at work unsuccessfully holding back the tears. What a sweet face Buddy had. Your time together with Buddy was as gift. You gave him 12 wonderful years, and I know he gave you 12 wonderful years back. I know he felt your love yesterday morning. I’m so very sorry for you and your husband…it’s so hard to lose a cherished pet. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. Dear, sweet Buddy.
    Isabelle and Lorelei are standing next to me as I write this. They wanted to know why I was crying.
    From them: “Buddy was a cute dog. What a good boy.”
    Two years or twelve…it doesn’t make a bit of difference. Love is love.
    I will be thinking of you.

  12. I too have been reading your blog for awhile and never commented. So saddened to read this post. ~sending healing vibes your way~
    Fellow dog lover,

  13. Laura,

    I’m so sorry to hear about Buddy. Losing a beloved pet is so hard (and it never gets easier). I’m glad he was able to go peacefully and at home. That’s a real blessing. Take care.

    Carolyn H.

  14. Laura. I’m so sorry. Take care of yourself. And, know that Buddy had a great life with you and died a happy, beloved dog. Thinking of you. -llm.

  15. But in come canine Paradise Your wraith, I know, rebukes the moon, And quarters every plain and hill, Seeking its master. . . . As for me This prayer at least the gods fulfill That when I pass the flood and see Old Charon by Stygian coast Take toll of all the shades who land, Your little, faithful barking ghost May leap to lick my phantom hand.
    ~St. John Welles Lucas

  16. What a beautiful dog. It is so hard to lose a faithful friend and member of the family. Wonderful you had so many years together and that he died peacefully at home.
    We will be remembering Buddy at the Pet Prayer & Praise blog Prayer Vigil. A friend left your blog address in a comment.
    I lost my little poodle, Bear, after 17+ years in April. It is going to take a long, long time to heal from the loss, but I would do it again in a heartbeat, she added so much to my life.

  17. We came by way of Diva Kitty.
    We are sad to rad this, but also know that he is much happier now… and waiting for you.

    Our hearts are heavy with your loss and pain. It is good to lean on friends.


  18. We are so sorry to hear about your loss. It is very hard to lose a beloved pet. Buddy sounded like a wonderful dog. We will keep you in our prayers.
    Chandra, Samantha & Tigger

  19. I saw this at the cat blogosphere. You are in our thoughts during this time. It is hard to lose such a good friend, take your time to heal. What a wonderful face. He took that love you gave him everyday over the rainbow bridge with him. Take Care.

  20. we saw about this at the cat blogsphere too. We are so sorry for your loss. No, it’s not any easier if it’s 2 years or 20. Rest well Buddy, we will see you at the Rainbow Bridge.

  21. I know I’m getting close to the day when I experience the same feelings – I have a 22 year old cat, Jess.
    Thanks for sharing and reminding everyone of the need to “tell him that he was a good boy and that I loved him.” A lesson for us in all our relationships.

  22. I’m so sorry that you lost Buddy today, Laura, but I’m glad you told him you loved him. As Zen Birdfeeder said, its a good lesson for all of us.

    Please know I’m thinking of you and crying with you.

    Loving hugs,

  23. I’m sorry to hear about your dog.-It’s always a hard thing.-I’m glad he didn’t go through a lot of suffering and had a family who cared for him.

  24. we’re sorry for your loss. we had 2 pups die last year at age 16 & 19 6 months apart. we had them cremated and have their ashes. we still have 2 pups age 6 and the cats.

  25. We saw this on the cat blogosphere and just had to say we are sorry your friend left you. It is hardest on those left behind and you’re right; Two years or twenty two years a broken heart feels the same no matter the length of time.

  26. Oh Laura – I am so sorry. I so understand your gratitude that you didn’t have to make a decision about ending his life. We had to do that twice within 1 month. “Difficult” doesn’t begin to describe those moments.

    That was tough for your husband. Poor guy.

    Sending you a hug and wishes that happy memories will replace the pain of loss.

  27. Diva Kitty sent us. (((hugs))) We’re so sorry for your loss. We lost our shepherd last year to a heart tumor that we didn’t even know she had. You and your family are in our thoughts and purrayers. Rest in peace, Sweet Buddy.

  28. Oh Laura, I’m so sorry to hear about Buddy. I hope you find comfort in the fact that you provided Buddy the best home a dog could ask for. (I hope when it’s her time, my old Daisy has such a peaceful passing.)

  29. Losing a family member is very difficult. It was a gift that Buddy gave you. You gifted him with love; he loved you back.
    Take some rest. It is hard to lose a trusted friend.
    Know you are being thought of as you grieve.

  30. HUGS! my pup of 9 years died on father’s day of liver failure… oh it’s so hard to lose a good pup. hang in there, grieve and rejoice in the joys he gave and the reality that he is free from the pain of this life now. i still miss ollie and cry some… but God is faithful…
    carri ann
    aka archi’s mum

  31. My heart breaks for you today. There are no words that can ease that pain, only time. I’m certain Buddy had a wonderful life with you, and he’ll be with you always in your hearts and minds.

  32. Laura – my heartfelt thoughts – we lost our dog Kodiak in April also from hemangiosarcoma. And you’re right, it doesn’t matter if they have been in your life for just a few years (we had Kody for 5 years) or if they have been with you for several years – it’s still hard to lose such loving pets.

  33. Laura I came in from Marys’ site.
    I truly feel your pain today as my bloved cat died yesterday..Freddi a 14 yr. old gentle man whom I adopted from my mother after having to place her in longterm care home.
    I also found Freddi in a bad way..siezure.. but after taking him to emergency vet he died shortly after.
    He is my 4th pet who has died and the pain get deeper and harder to overcome with each loss.
    I wish you peace and I will hold you in my prayers.
    I suppose we have to realize that God gives these animals to us on loan and he eventulaly calls them back home.
    Peace be to your dear Buddy!
    Always in your heart. hugs NG

  34. Laura,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Peace to you and your husband.

    Wayne, PA

  35. Laura, I just read about your loss on the Cat Blogosphere web site. I am so sorry. Losing a pet is the same as losing a human family member.In a way Buddy’s peaceful manner of passing was a final gift to you.You and your husband are in my thoughts.
    Tracy & Muffin

  36. I am so sorry to see that your good old gentleman dog is gone.
    At least he died at home.
    It’s strange that big dogs have a short life, and little dogs live longer.
    It wouldn’t have changed anything if you had known.
    I personally believe our fur friends have their own souls.

  37. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Today I will appreciate my Lolli even more than usual. I send you my thoughts and prayers.

  38. I dropped by to give you a hug, Laura. The picture of Buddy is so sweet. I know how you loved him as I look at that dear face.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t think about our two dogs – gone now two years. The pain is diminished. There’s still a hole in our lives. I like to think that giving love like that makes us stretch – makes us more fully alive and better people for the experience.

    It’s not easy, though – and that’s why I’m sending you that hug. Take care, dear.

  39. I’m so sorry to hear about your Buddy. I just lost my beloved Adonis after only 7 years and my heart has been ripped to shreds.

    Have you heard about the Rainbow Bridge? I have it around here if you’d like a copy.

  40. My condolences to you and your husband, Laura. Buddy looked like such a very sweet boy, someone easy to love. It’s good and tender that his passing was easy. I hope your memories of him will always be as sweet as his spirit.

  41. So sorry Laura…I hadn’t visited in a while and came from your comment on Pure Florida. A dog is the beating heart of a home and without one it is just a hollow empty shell. I am so glad you have a puppy so your house can be whole again, although of course, you will always miss your beloved Buddy.

  42. Dear Laura, I am so sorry about Buddy. It’s so sad to lose a adorable companion! My eyes are full of tears. Many hugs to you!

    PS: I read about Buddy on Mary’s View.

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