Saturday, October 6, 2012

All dogs go to heaven....or so I believe!

R.I.P  Buddha   Sept 2008- Sept 2012

This past Monday we all lost a piece of our hearts. Our home lost a piece of its love. My husband lost his best friend. Hensley lost his wrestling buddy. I lost the one thing that always made me feel safe. Our beloved Buddha passed away after a month long battle with sickness. He had developed kennel cough from a short stay at the pound which eventually led to pneumonia. He had a bacterial infection that he just couldn't shake and lost almost 20 pounds. It was heartbreaking to see him this way for the past month despite tons of trips to the vet and lots of fluids and medications. He just couldn't recover from it.

He no longer spent his days running wild in the front yard barking and chasing everything that moved. He no longer wrestled with Hensley or chased Sophie under the bed. We tried everything. EVERYTHING. The vet recommendations,  friends suggestions, even Google search ideas. NOTHING WORKED. His breathing only got more strained. His body got thinner and more weak. His eyes started to lose their shine. He was giving up but....he just couldn't. We know he didn't want to leave us, he didn't want to not be here to protect us and love us. He just couldn't let us down. We finally made the decision that we could no longer let him suffer. He had not eat in 14 days. He had not moved off our couch for 19 hours. We were ready to put him out of his misery....but not without getting one more opinion. A friend of mine told me that she knew he was like our child and if it were our child we would get a second opinion. So with an appointment at our vet for 4:15 on Monday afternoon I quickly called another vet to make a 3:00 appointment just to see ...... just to see if there was even an ounce of hope.

God's finger touched him, and he slept.

As I carried him in from the car (he was took weak to walk at this point) I just knew I wouldn't be walking out of that office with him. After the consult she assured me he would probably never be the dog he once was and it would be long long long (and very expensive) road to even try. I had spent the last few nights before this sitting with him on the couch just crying. Praying and crying. Talking to him. Loving him. Telling him we would be ok and it was ok to let go if he was tired. And crying.

It was just Hensley and I at the vet since Andy is still working out of town and he and I both knew this would probably be the outcome so he had said his goodbyes that morning before he left at 4 am. As we sat in the room on the cold hard floor I cradled him in my lap feeling this heartbeat against my leg and hearing his labored breathing every few seconds. He was warm, and he listened intently as I told him how much he had changed our lives by just being in it. I told him that I would keep Hensley safe and wrestle with him now. And that all our hearts would heal slowly over time. Hensley and I talked about Buddha leaving for a few days before this appointment and when we sat there all together and the tears poured down my face he put his arm around me and said "Momma it will be ok. Buddha is going to live in heaven and Jesus will keep him safe." I was a little shocked that he had remembered what we talked about and knew this was the time I needed to hear it. They gave us a lot of time with him and as the nurse entered she carried a small purple blanket that was the softest thing I have ever felt. She layed it in my lap and layed Buddha back down. They slowly shaved his two front legs for the injection and explained to me that once the injection entered his vein it would only be a few seconds before he was gone.

I thought at this point I cried all my tears. I have cried for days at home and again when the vet told me the same news I broke down in front of her, and again when we were left alone with him waiting for the procedure. I was sure I had got it all out and got myself together. I held him tight and Hensley observed from nearby. I told him I loved him once more and as the needle was inserted it effected him instantly.That thought I had about having got all my tears out left me and the tears came streaming when his little body went limp. It was so surreal in that moment. So dreamlike. I have never experienced anything like it. My cries came from deep within my gut and it felt uncontrollable. The doctor and nurse left us alone with him and I held him so tightly it felt like I would never be able to let go. I couldn't say anything but "I'm so sorry". Over and over again.

 After what felt like hours the nurse returned and asked us if we needed more time. I told her I had to leave because if not I would sit there forever. She couldn't stop expressing how sorry she was and how she hated we were going through this. Her hugs and sweet words that day were so comforting to me. She wrapped Buddha up in his soft purple blanket and as we left the room I saw her tearing up too. We walked out of that office without our boy. Without our best friend. Without a piece of our heart. I felt so awful crying in front of Hensley but I just couldn't stop the tears. The hurt was so strong and so deep I just couldn't stop. That evening was so hard with lots of phone calls and texts from friends and family who were thinking of us and knew the pain we were dealing with. Coming home to see his leash on the front porch. His medicines lined up on the counter. My husbands favorite blanket that he had given Buddha to sleep on and keep warm on our couch the past weeks was empty. Our home was silent and felt empty and like it was missing something. It felt cold. Hensley and I held Sophie extra tight that evening and I spent hours on the phone with my husband. I have never in the 5 years we have been together seen or heard him cry (although I'm sure he has). But that night he couldn't stop. The tears just kept coming. He kept saying he missed his Buddha.

I have prayed every single day and night about Buddha and how I hoped his soul was in heaven. I hoped he was free from his sickness and pain. I pray he knew how much he love him and how much we tried to make him better.

I started looking into what the Bible says about animals and heaven and I found a lot of comforting information. I guess none of us know for sure if there are animals in heaven but I have think there is. I have to think that dogs like Buddha who love unconditionally and are so amazing have to be there waiting for us.

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you...In God’s hand is the life of every creature, and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7 and10)

Ecclesiastes 3:19: "After all, the same fate awaits human beings and animals alike. One dies just like the other. They are the same kind of creature. A human being is no better off than an animal, because life has no meaning for either."

Eccl 3:20: "They are both going to the same place---the dust. They both came from it; they will both go back to it."

***UPDATE*** It's been about 6 days now and the hurt is still fresh and raw. We have received several cards in the mail expressing sympathy for our loss and it has been both encouraging and sad at the same time. The hurt and pain comes in waves, as well as the waves of feeling peaceful in the decision. Thank you to all our family and friends who have grieved with us and been there for us. It's going to be a long journey but we will never forget our boy! 

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. "


"Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim."

“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow when                                                 compared with the pain of never risking love.”

"A good dog never dies. He always stays. He walks besides you on crisp autumn days when frost is on the fields and winter's drawing near. His head is within our hand in his old way."

"Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, Filling an emptiness we don't even know we have.

There is just something about a boy and his dog.

Just a few of the THOUSANDS of memories
 we were blessed to have with Buddha!~

Oh how we pray that Buddha is here and waiting for that day!

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