Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Loss

Last night was a sad one for us. We chose to euthanize our dog, Hops, to prevent her from suffering any longer. She was 14. Whenever you invest time,energy and love into another creature, the loss of it is always sad whether it's a dog, cat or gerbil. But when your kids have invested that same love, the experience takes on a different dimension.

Yesterday, when I knew that it was time, I spoke to the vet about how to prepare La Nina and the Magster for the impending death. She recommended letting the girls say goodbye, and maybe draw a picture or something that could go with Hops. Before the girls went to bed, we told them that it was Hops' last night.

La Nina, at 5, took the news hard. Her eyes welled up with tears and she protested injustice of the inevitable. She bravely went into the yard, bid her farewells and cried on our shoulders about the unfairness of the situation. I held her tight and did my best to comfort her. The Magster, at 3.5, also bravely went into the back yard. She told Hops she loved her, said goodbye then she became the designated wailer. No one cried louder or longer than Maggie, once she realize that her sister and I were crying. But there were no tears. She sat next to me and made a lot of noise, but she didn't really grasp the finality of the situation.

As the vet suggested, I offered La Nina the opportunity to draw a picture for Hops to take on her way with her. The idea was that the picture would be cremated with Hops and therefore, a piece of us would go with her. I thought the idea a nice sentiment. However, my daughter had an issue with the concept.

"But Mom, Hops doesn't have hands, so how will she hold the picture on her way to heaven?" she wanted to know.

Ok...good question, so much for the psychologists! "Well," I answered, struggling for the right words. "The doctor who will help her will hold the picture and keep it safe."

"Is the doctor going to heaven?"

"No, just Hops."

"Then, no picture, Mom. Hops can't hold it."

Ok, then. No pictures for us! We tucked the girls in and they fell asleep. The vet came to the house late and very compassionately helped our dog on her way.

When the kids awoke this morning they were full of questions and sadness, but really, nothing unexpected. From time to time today, La Nina asked questions, but nothing overwhelming. The Magster was very focused on the other dogs and cats she knew that had died, but really didn't seem phased by the whole episode.

As for me, Hops was my dog. I picked her out. I trained her. She kept me company for many years. Together we hiked a lot of miles. She was a good, sweet companion. She's been sick for sometime and as difficult as last night was, I take comfort in the fact that she had a good life and in the end, the best death I could give her. We'll miss her terribly.


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