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Posts Tagged ‘grieving your dog’s death’

We said goodbye today to our 17-year-old dog.

Norman Riding Shotgun

I grew up in a home with cats … but we never considered having dogs.  It didn’t help when the German Shepherd next door bit my sister … and besides, I was scared to death of dogs.

And they all seemed to hate me.

But when our family moved to Arizona 14 years ago, our daughter Sarah asked if she could have a dog.  After much soul searching, I finally said yes, and Sarah promptly named him Norman … even though it would take a while for Sarah to find him.

After six months in Phoenix, Sarah and I ventured over to the animal shelter in Glendale one hot July day, and Sarah selected a scrawny, crazy-looking dog named Mac.  When we told the shelter personnel that we wanted Mac, two older women announced that they wanted him as well.  Sarah and I went outside the shelter and prayed, and after drawing straws, we won the rights to Mac … immediately christened Norman instead.

He instantly became a part of our family.

Norman with My Family at Easter

Norman was a peculiar dog, to say the least.  When we first brought him home, he scurried all over the house … like he was insane.  It was evident that he had been abused … but we were determined to love him unconditionally.

Since I worked at home, and everyone else went to school and/or work, Norman and I were left together for much of the week.  He used to lie under my desk while I worked, and I’d carry him down the street when we picked up the mail.

On our first Christmas Eve, we all went to church except Norman, who proceeded to locate the chocolate kisses under the tree and devour many of them before we got home … and yes, I know about dogs and chocolate.  (Nothing happened.)

Norman Dressed for Christmas

Norman loved going to church … turned over and folded his hands when we told him to “pray” … enjoyed popcorn more than his own dog food … barked at me whenever I got close to Kim … and ran on three legs.

And because he couldn’t/wouldn’t walk his last few years, we pushed him around in a stroller whenever we took a walk.  (And received lots of stares.)

Women usually thought he was cute, while men would say, “That’s not a dog.  A rat, maybe, or a possum … but not a dog.”

Kim and Her Buddy

But we didn’t mind.  We didn’t have Norman in our lives so he would win contests, but so we could share love.

I won’t miss the nights when he peed in our bed, but I’ll miss holding him on my lap, petting his little head, and watching the little guy sleep.

When we drove through 14 states several weeks ago, Norman acted like a champion.  He survived an 800-mile drive one day and a few nights in hotels.  He even got to see Niagara Falls.

Norman Visiting Niagara Falls

But several nights ago, it was obvious something was seriously wrong with him.

I secretly hoped that we would wake up one day and Norman would be gone.  Then I wouldn’t have to go to the vet and pay for someone to take him away from us.

But when we took him to the vet this morning, Kim felt it was time to let him go … but I wasn’t ready yet.  My emotions were battling with my brain.

We finally had to ask ourselves: “Are we keeping him alive for our sake, or for his?”

If he just wants to go to sleep, who are we to stand in his way?

Having done this kind of thing once before, part of me preferred just to hand Norman over to the vet and leave … but Kim told me she was going to stay through the whole procedure.

Even though she said I could go, I wanted to support her, so I stayed.

After the “medication” was administered, Norman looked lovingly up at Kim … the person he loved and trusted most … and then he was gone.

Two Wild and Crazy Friends

I’m a better person for owning Norman.  I’m much more patient and compassionate … and I’m not afraid of dogs anymore.

But what I feel best about is that we truly loved Norman to the very end of his life.  We couldn’t have loved him any more than we did.

I’ll get back to blogging about church stuff later this week … but for now, I just want to remember a little 8-pound ball of fur who touched my life deeply.

Rest in peace, my sweet Norman.

And I hope the theologians are wrong and that I get to see you again someday.

Normie and Me

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