Losing a Furry Member of the Family

Our fur baby, Jack, went to the rainbow bridge last month. He was 13 years old and his loss was pretty devastating for our whole family. For the first 4 years of our marriage, it was just us and Jack. We got him 3 months after we got married and he was there through all the “firsts” in our life. He went everywhere with us and everyone knew Jack because he had a big bark and a big personality. We swore he could read minds, was super bossy when he wanted to play fetch and loved to cuddle (all 115 pounds of him).

When our boys were born, he went from our fur baby to the boys’ buddy and protector. He didn’t mind them crawling all over him and always made sure to sit by them under the dinner table so he could get whatever they dropped (or just threw to him). As he got older, he stopped playing fetch as much and would groan at times when the boys would cuddle with him a bit too hard.

Jack battled with severe allergies his whole life and in the past year, his health had really started to decline. He had a hard time standing up, couldn’t hear anymore and pretty much just slept all time (except for eating—he had always loved to eat). It was getting difficult for him to go outside and he had started having accidents in the house as well. He was just living and not thriving like he had the past 13 years and it was hard to see him not like himself anymore.

We had to make the heart-wrenching decision to put him to sleep. What was even harder than actually making that decision, was telling our 2 sons (ages 9 and 5). They were absolutely heart-broken, but understood that it was the right thing to do because we loved Jack so much. So, the day before we were going to take him to the vet one last time, we took him to his favorite place to swim and he came alive again! Feeling weightless in the water put a smile on his face (yes, dogs smile) and he even played with a tennis ball. The next day, he could barely walk from playing so hard. We gave him all of his favorite foods and spent the day loving on him. Just my husband and I took him to the vet, but the boys said their final goodbyes before he left. We spent his final minutes hugging him very tightly and telling him what a good boy he was and how much we loved him (and I know he could tell what we were saying although he couldn’t hear anymore).

Pets are family. Our boys, my husband and I, and even our other dog, Zoe, miss him so much. We’ve had some tears and a lot of laughter sharing so many fun stories about Jack. It’s too bad dogs don’t get to live longer lives, but in the short time they are with us–they bring so much love their family’s life. Our lives go on, but we will carry that love in our heart for that special dog the rest of our lives.

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