Saying Goodbye Is The Hardest Thing To Do

I wasn’t sure if I would do this, but to help with my pain, I wanted to write. For those of you who went through this, you may/may not want to read this because it affects you. That’s your choice. This post is for me. On August 15th, 2019, exactly 5 days before my birthday, my family and I put down our dog, Happy. We had gotten him as a puppy at 8 weeks. He would have been 14 in November. From many medical issues, to cold winters, we did anything and everything to keep Happy healthy and whole. For a while, though, we noticed he was slowly deteriorating. He could barely get up, other than to walk outside to use the bathroom, eat, or drink water. The night before we put him down, I went outside to play with him. The poor thing couldn’t even get up to sit by me. I had to physically go to him, and play with him. He never got up from where he was sitting. I just wanted to write about how I’m feeling, try to help bring myself healing and closure. Before I do, I want to thank all my followers/friends on my social media platforms for your support. You don't know what it means for me during this hard time. Some of you made my emotions go on a roller coaster, but I still appreciate each one.

So about two or three weeks back, my parents and I were talking about Happy. My momhad spoken to my dog’s doctor, and he told her after all she said about his health, it sounded like he had no chance of life, so it was time. We tried to hold off until the end of the month, because to do this was so close to my birthday. Happy began to go so fast, it’s almost indescribable. He looked sick. His fur was falling off, his skin was bad, and he had arthritis. The medicine was no longer helping with that, and he would just sleep during the day. There was no going around it. I cried my eyes out the first time we talked about it. I didn’t want to say goodbye. Eventually, I calmed down and realized they were right. Like I said, we tried to hold off longer, but it came time that we knew it had to be done sooner. If we didn’t, he probably would have died a more painful death, so my mother made the appointment. She cried making it, and waited until my dad got home from work to tell me, since I was more emotional about this. A few nights before, I began to cry again, thinking of putting down Happy. She made the appointment Monday; he was being put down on Thursday. The next few days, I would play with him, feed him extra food, or just talk to him. My dad and I gave him a nice bath, just so he would feel somewhat better. The night before he had to be put down, I thought it would be best to say my goodbyes, as I would be too emotional to say it the day of. As I started, I immediately broke down in tears. I told him how much he meant to us, how much I never meant the “mean” things I said to him, how much I would miss him, and how much I loved him. He seemed very relaxed. I think he knew then that his time was ending. It’s that whole “dogs can read your emotions.”

Image may contain: one or more people and dogFinally, the day came. We woke up, and decided to make him a really nice last meal. My grandmother cooked this thing called roti, and my mom cooked a ribeye steak. He scarfed it down! We had a vet come to the house to put him down. Some of you may think that’s weird to have him put down in your house. For my family and I, doing it at a vet’s office, where the hustle and bustle of everything else is going on, we wouldn’t have been able to grieve and enjoy our last moments with him. Honestly, I don’t regret that decision. The vet came, and she was so understanding. The company is called Lap of Love, I highly recommend them. She took her time with us, spoke with us, and helped us relax. Like I said, I think Happy knew it was time. When we brought him in the house and he saw the whole family, he looked unafraid, ready for what was to come. The vet first gave him the sedative/pain reliever injection, which would help him relax and sleep. That took about 15 minutes to kick in. For the first time in a long time, he snored and looked relaxed. He didn’t look in pain anymore. Once he was completely knocked out, the vet gave him the second injection, which would stop his heart. That only took a minute. When I heard his snoring stop, I knew he was gone. The vet checked, then told us “He’s at peace.” I broke down. I’ve never cried like I did there, but I couldn’t stop. I was shaking, I was holding him to my face and body, I was a mess. My heart ached. Our whole family cried. Even the vet who put Happy down cried with us. She called my mom the next day, saying she was thinking of us. She was so nice. But anyways, I took a moment with his body, because I wasn’t ready to bury him. Writing this is making the waterworks come back. Once I collected myself, we buried him. Happy was buried in our backyard under a beautiful oak tree. That was his home, his favorite place to be, so it felt right. I told you guys that I was glad we put him down at the house. That's because he got to be in the house, surrounded by the people who love him and he loves, only hear our voices and feel us petting him, and then go in peace. That’s something I’m incredibly grateful for.

I’ve read stories of how hard it is to put down a pet, especially a dog. I’ve seen Marley and Me, and I bawled my eyes out from that. Nothing could have prepared me for the pain I would have felt. Never have I experienced pain like this. I’ve lost people in my life, but losing Happy was the worst. When he stopped snoring, I felt part of my heart and soul die. There is no way to fully try and get past what happened. What’s hard for me is when I look out into our lanai, I wouldn’t see him. My dad and I were talking about it, and that’s what we both agreed on. First thing in the morning, I would go and let him out to use the bathroom. Then I would fill up his water bowl with icy water, then give him a little food. Now, I won’t do that again. It literally feels like there’s an empty place in my heart where Happy was. As hard as it was to see him take his final breath, I wouldn’t have missed it because I was with him, right until the very end. I cried over him, and when we buried him, I said my final goodbye to him. He was wrapped in my Gator blanket (so it was like a part of me would be with him forever), placed some of our stuffed animals around him, and then we put him into God’s earth. Another tricky thing for me is knowing if I’ll see him again in heaven. I know the story of the rainbow bridge. But no one knows for sure if dogs go to heaven because they don’t have souls like humans. There are some verses (you can Google them) where it has been said that animals and humans all start from the same place, and go to the same place. But this is a very unsure topic. All I do know is that I miss him since he’s been gone.

Every memory was a gift. I don’t remember when we got him, because I was so young, but he has been our baby from Day 1. To help deal with the pain of losing him, I wanted to share memories that made me smile. Some of my favorite memories/things about him include the following:
  • My brother riding him like a horse when they were both little
  • Little things, like feeding him or walking him, looking outside and seeing his bright eyes
  • How he looked like he would run like a horse, almost galloping
  • How he'd dig holes and I would get blamed for it, or how he used to roll around in the grass for minutes on end
  • His curly fur and cute face, and how he would put his face in my lap
These are just a few of the incredible memories Happy blessed us with. There’s so many more, but to list them all would take a lifetime. Happy wasn’t just our dog, he was like our child. You never expect the day to come where you HAVE to put your dog down, because you want them to live forever. The house feels so empty without him. The day we put him down, after we went out and came home, I kept looking out in our lanai, hoping to see him sleeping (as usual). Nothing. He’s in the ground. That’s the hardest aspect of this all. Not ever seeing him again. Not be able to hug him, high five him, or call out “Happito,” “Happaweeno,” or “Happoweenie,” our nicknames for him. He’s gone to the big yard in the sky. The littlest things are what I miss. What I wouldn't give to have to refill his water bowl, knock on the window to bring him inside, all of it. Just for one more day to do that. I would give anything for that. This quote by Clarissa Wild rings true for how I feel about Happy: “People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.”

As I said, I have cried many tears over him. Even when my mom, sister, and I visited my dad at work (because we didn't want to be home), all of my dad's employees were checking on us, asking us how we were. They knew from my dad that this was hard on us. I try to remember is that Happy's no longer suffering, and that brings me some satisfaction. Unfortunately, it’s not enough, as his lifeless body can plague my mind. Like I said, when he stopped snoring, I knew Happy had taken his last breath. That was not easy to see. I grew up with this dog. We saw each other's highs and lows. Happy was always there. Start to finish. I wanted to dedicate this blog post to him. I hit the point where my mind has blocked out what happened, that I sometimes remember what his dead body looked like. I'm not sure if this is good or not, but I remember he isn't here anymore when I look in our backyard. Even my other dog was affected. Whenever I would have to give her water, take her for a walk, or feed her, I would do the same for Happy at the same time. She must have noticed that I don't go outside to feed him anymore, or to check on him. I think the realization of Happy not being there and our emotions linking with hers, she was depressed too. She isn't as much right now. She has been my comfort through all of this. Thankfully, I am healing. The pain isn't as evident. It's now accepting that he is gone, and learning how to deal with it. I'm taking that one day at a time. There's nothing more to do. Once I get the strength, I would like to visit his grave and talk to him. Just to "check on him." I know he can’t physically hear this, but I trust God is telling him what I’m saying.

Happy, you were one of the greatest joys I could ever have. I know for my parents, it didn’t seem like we loved you enough, but for me, I think you knew how much we loved you. I thought writing about this may help, but it only did a little. The truth is not seeing you everyday is painful. I keep looking out to hope that if I knock on the window, you'll come running back. I see your half filled water bowl, and I've gotten ready to refill it, then I am given that painful reminder that you aren't here anymore. I’m going to miss your adorable face and the simple things about you. You were the best friend a girl could have. Happy, you were such a good boy. Even though you’re gone, I know I have gained a guardian angel. You were never just a dog to me, but like family. I teared up many times writing this, but I want you to know I will never forget you, buddy. I feel like when you died, part of me died. I’ve never experienced heartbreak until now. The house feels empty without you, and that’s because you left your paw-prints on our hearts. Don't worry about us. We'll be okay. Now, go rest in peace, old friend. I love you.

First off, please DO NOT bother subscribing to my YouTube channel. I never use it, with exceptions like this. Using the Scoompa app, I made this video for Happy with some pictures/videos my family and I found of him. Hope you guys watch it and appreciate how the video turned out. Happy was truly a God-given gift, and I'll always treasure each day I had with him. I love you, Happy. Go rest, old friend.

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