Thursday, April 23, 2015

Goodbye, my love


This afternoon, I did one of the hardest things I've ever done.  I laid on the floor of a vet's office, stroked my baby girl, and watched her fall asleep for the last time.  I said goodbye to my best friend of 14 years, my constant companion and my favorite pet.  The picture above was taken moments before we left for the vet this afternoon.  Look at that beautiful face. 

Brandy has been with me since she was 5 weeks old.  I often called her the dog the school district bought me since I used money I won from winning the district's Beginning Teacher of the Year to buy her.  Cutest puppy ever--just a butterball of fur!  She was a mischievous puppy who loved to destroy paper.  She was a sock thief who took every opportunity to steal people's socks.  She hid them all over the house, tucking them into couch cushions and under my pillow.  When I was pregnant, she was my shadow at all times.  I have so many memories of her lying her head on my pregnant belly while I watched TV.  I used to joke that if she could crawl in the womb with me, she would have. 

She was the most loyal dog I could have ever asked for.   

Brandy has been through everything with me.  I got her at 23, so practically my entire adult life has been spent with her by my side.  She's been there through the birth of all three of my girls, Allie's death, my divorce, my single mommyhood, and my  new marriage to Rob.  She's been with me through all the tears and all the joys.  She laid beside me at my darkest moments when I literally couldn't pick myself up off the floor.  
There were times she was the only one I knew truly loved me. 

She started rapidly declining over the past few months. We had to coax her to eat most days.  Don't get me wrong, she still managed to steal a cheeseburger from me recently, but she had lost most appetite for food.  She was skin and bones, weighing in at only 39 lbs today.  She had lost all control of her functions about a month ago and we've been containing her in the kitchen to help control the messes. I wasn't ready to let go.  On April 9th, the girls and I threw her a 14th birthday dinner, getting her cake balls from the local doggie bakery and a cookie cake for us.  We loved on her lots, as we always have. 

We made the final decision on Tuesday night after she had five potty accidents and fell multiple times. She was falling all the time now and struggling to get up.  She hasn't eaten well in months.  I picked her up and put her on the scale with me.  When I saw that my once 65-70 lbs dog was a mere 39 lbs, I knew.  We had to do this for her.  The state testing was Tuesday and Wednesday for Maggie, so I knew I couldn't tell her until after it was over.  We waited until last night to sit down to have a family meeting.  

Telling the girls was agonizing.  Both sobbed and kept saying they weren't ready for BB to die.  I invited my ex-husband to come over and say goodbye.  She was his dog for 10 years and she loved him very much.  He and his wife came last night and loved on Brandy.  She perked up a little at seeing him and wagged her tail happily.  I offered for him to take the girls out to dinner to help cheer them up and I know that helped them a lot.  

This morning, Katie came in crying that she needed one more day with Brandy and didn't want us to take her to the vet.  We calmly explained that because we love her, we had to.  I hated watching my 5 year old say goodbye to her beloved pet.  She and Brandy always had a connection together.  She used to call Brandy her horse and would ride her.  She hasn't done that in over a year since B was way too fragile. The girls hugged Brandy this morning, gave her a treat from each of them and headed off to school.  Thankfully, they are at their dad's tonight to give them a little distraction.  It helps us too since I've been sick during all this too and my fever hasn't broken once today.  So, I feel miserable both with my heart and my body.  

Rob and I stayed with her until the very end.  I stayed on the floor and he was in the chair behind me stroking my back and giving me love.  He and I both cried along with the vet when we were told she was gone.  I'm so glad I had him next to me through it.  He told me how proud of me he was for staying strong and how much he too will miss her (even though she made him nuts at times!)

I'm going to miss my girl so much.  Life in this house will not be the same without her, that's for sure.  Dinner will certainly be quieter without her barking at us (the barking got worse and worse the more old and senile she got).  I won't have her Darth Vader breathing in every video I take of my kids now.  We might be able to leave a loaf of bread on the counter without her swiping it and eating the whole thing.  Her absence will be felt strongly.  Even our other dog Bandit, who has never lived without Brandy, will have to adjust without her.  Those two were buddies and laid back to back in Brandy's dog bed every day together.  Who will follow my every move now?  I feel as though I've lost my shadow.  After 14 years of having her right behind me, I'll have to adjust to being without her.  

Goodbye, my love.  I'll miss you always. 


35 comments:

Wonder Woman said...

So sorry :(

Christy M. said...

Oh, Jenny! This brought me to tears. My heart is still raw from having to let my dog go over 3 years ago, so reading your words was hard. I remember all of your posts about Brandy the sock theif, and I know she was so very special to you. I'm glad she was surrounded by so much love in her last days, as she was her whole life. I hope your heart finds peace soon.

xoxo & Rest in Peace, Brandy

Tammy said...

So very sorry for your loss, Jenny. RIP Brandy!

Angie said...

I've "known" Brandy since I first started following you and your story 11 years ago. I'm so sad to read of her passing and sit here with tears as I read your journal post. I will miss your sweet girl, too. As "mommy" to a 10 year old retriever/lab, I know my years are numbered. You cherished every moment. I'm so glad you were with her in the end and that A got to come say his proper "goodbye's". Love and hugs to all of you!

deborah pearce said...

heartbroken for all of you...xo

Laura said...

Beautiful tribute to such a wonderful dog. Love you and will always love Brandy. Xoxo

MR=mustread said...

Reading this with tears running down my face. I'm so sorry for your loss. I had to put my sweet girl to sleep about 2 months ago. She was my family for 17 years. It was hard to do, but I know it was what was best for her since she was suffering. Your family will being my prayers.

LO said...

I loved hearing about Brandy, and one of my favorite photos of y'all is when you were pregnant with Katie and Brandy's head was on your stomach. She had the biggest heart, and was so lucky to have you as her family.

One crazed mommy said...

Oh Jenny, I'm so sorry - this just brought me to tears. I know how special Brandy was to you, and having been there a few years ago, that is not an easy decision to make, even if it is the right reasons. We had to put our golden, Brandon, down at 12 1/2, for many of the same reasons you mentioned above. Thinking of you and the girls, and sending you hugs. There just is nothing as sweet as a Golden!

Sherry said...

This broke my heart. Our animals are all aging, too. I live in constrant dread now. Not only for me, but more for Bailyn and Kim. Bailyn has been with with our cat Barbie since the age of 3, and they're incredibly attached to each other. Kim bonded tightly with our yellow lab while trying to deal with the grief of our son's stillbirth in 2003. To say that losing these animals will be earth shattering is an understatement.

I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.

Mommy-Moo said...

I'm crying alongside of you, at least virtually along side of you. Pets are such loving and loyal companions. Hugs to you all.

Bonny said...

I am so sorry. I have never had a Golden that lived past 10. Tomorrow we take possession of a baby GoldenDoodle. Kinda have to get "back on the horse." Love to your family from New Mexico.

Jo said...

Jenny,

I am so sorry. I was thinking about her this week for some reason, maybe because Mother's Day is coming. My parents got my sister's dog, a Weimaraner, as she suffered a bad accident and could no longer care for her. We had to make that same decision in 2012 and it was agony.

You did the right thing-I read that when they can't enjoy things anymore, when the list lessens, that it's time. I will be thinking of you and your family.

With love,

Johannah (Not sure you remember me, but I called you when you were at HFC and pregnant with Maggie to talk about a grant proposal for your organization. I too have a Maggie born in October 2007.)

Amy Brant said...

Jenny, I'm so sorry to hear about Brandy. I always loved your posts about her. I know how much you all will miss her. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

timi68 said...

oh no!! so sorry to hear this Jenny! I know she was like your fourth daughter and this must be so hard on all of you! I can't imagine what you're going through. Keeping you all in my prayers

Tiffany said...

I'm so sorry for your loss! She was obviously loved very much by all of you and it showed especially with your last act of love with letting her go with dignity and in peace.

Stacy said...

This makes me so sad for you! I'm so sorry for all of your loss. I loved all of your Brandy stories throughout the years. Sending hugs to you all!

MomofTwo said...

Oh Jenny!
I am so sorry. I had tears as I read it.
We too had to do this exact same thing a few years back.
You are right. It is one of the hardest things you'll ever do.
Your family will always love and remember Ms. Brandy.
Hugs dear one.

Karen said...

Jenny, with a Broken heart I send you my Love! What a wonderful tribute to a Beautiful Brandy.

Sending Hugs, Karen

Valerie said...

I'm so sorry! Heartbroken for ya'll!!

anywhere but here said...

Many hugs to you and yours.

Mimi said...

My heart is with you......this is one of the hardest things we have ever done.....hugs

Dawn said...

I know your pain. Last month, my beloved baby fell over dead while my 4 year old was playing with her. Those two and a bond like no other. It was traumatizing for my daughter. We just got a new dog a couple weeks ago because I couldn't bare the sadness of our other dog and my daughter any longer. So sorry for your loss.

Jennifer Hohner said...

My heart hurts for all of you. We went through this last June. Had to put our 4 year old Golden down due to Lymphoma. They are such a huge part of the family....sending hugs and prayers your way.

kimberlee Cyr said...

i am in tears as i write these words:( Been following your story since your Allie days..and know the decison to say good-bye to a family pet is almost as hard as letting a family member go..if there is a heaven and to me there is..i know the first person to meet Brandy will be Allie..RIP Brandy...

Mary Anne Whiteley said...

So sorry for your loss. I know you loved Brandy so much!

LaJodster said...

Jenny,
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I know how you feel, I lost my fur baby Chevy 2 yrs ago and I miss him every day. Hugs to you my friend.

Jody in NJ

Jenny said...

My dog growing up was Chevy!

Suzanne Scheve said...

Jenny I am so very sorry to hear about Brandy. Thinking of you and sending hugs. Suzanne (your former ACIS TX rep down here in Houston)

snekcip said...

Oh how this breaks my heart. Hadn't been here on your blog in a while. Brandy's sweet face will be forever remembered.

SWAW Samantha said...

I haven't visited your blog in years, but I thought about you tonight. I'm so very sorry about Brandy. I know she was a very important part of your life. Hugs to you and your family. I'm sure it's easier by now, but there will always be a spot in your heart that aches for her.

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