Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Phoebe



As I write this post, Phoebe is laying on the floor next to me, our sweet old girl of 15 years. This is our last day with her before we have to put her to sleep. I'm not sure how I'm able to write about this now, with her still here. But I think it would be even harder to deal with after she is gone.

We adopted Phoebe from our county shelter when she was 4 months old. It was a Saturday in August, and we had just been to the hospital to visit our friends' newborn baby girl. As we left the hospital, I said to my husband, "Let's adopt a puppy." And so we did. 

Phoebe was one of the few puppies at the shelter that day. At the time, the county shelter wasn't a very nice facility; it has since been rebuilt into a wonderful shelter that is able to take in many more dogs and cats and their adoption rates are way up (unfortunately, the influx of unwanted, stray and abused/neglected animals far outnumbers the shelter's capacity). A Lab mix, Phoebe was almost solid black with only bits of white on her chest, chin and back paws. We asked the shelter attendant if we could take her into the visitation room and were immediately struck by her high level of energy and intelligence. 

The shelter had called her Rascal, and for good reason. As a puppy, she got into her fair share of trouble. How many dog beds she destroyed! When she was young, my husband used to take her to work with him. She loved to lay on the loading dock in the sun, waiting for the delivery trucks and the drivers who brought her treats. She ran around the fenced-in lot and received plenty of attention from my husband's coworkers. It was a dog's dream. 

Phoebe had so much energy, she would sometimes explode into fits of wild playfulness that more than once drew blood and even left a small scar on the palm of my hand. I used to call her the devil dog. But as she grew and matured, the craziness disappeared. Her energy level stayed the same though, and she always maintained her playful nature. Even in her senior years, she would run to get one of her toys and bring it to us for a game of fetch or tug of war.

Phoebe loved swimming in lakes and the ocean, chasing squirrels and going for long walks, even into her 15th year of life. She loved food, people and other dogs (probably in that order). When she was around 2 years old, she welcomed her "sister" Winnie into our home. Phoebe liked having another dog in her pack. When Winnie died in January of 2012, Phoebe let us know she wanted a new canine companion. We adopted Henry and, shortly after, Ella. Phoebe welcomed both with an open heart.

I can't imagine life without Phoebe, but I know we will be saying goodbye very soon. I will always cherish the memories and find comfort in knowing we saved her life all those years ago. We gave her a comfortable home, plenty of adventures and tons of love. And in return she loved us unconditionally and made us laugh. What more could we ask for.











24 comments:

  1. My thoughts are with you and Phoebe. Hugs and kisses to you both.

    S
    xo

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  2. "What more could we ask for." Not a thing. You have been blessed beyond measure and so has Phoebe! There is nothing in the world like the love of a dog. We've had to say good-bye to two of our dogs: Lily at 15 and Jasper much too early at 4 from a devastating illness. It's always heart-wrenching, but so worth the years of love and companionship. Sending love as you say good-bye for now to your precious pup.

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    1. Thank you, Ellen. I so appreciate your kind words. It must have been awful to lose a dog at age 4. Our dogs have all lived to ripe old ages. Still, it's terribly sad to say goodbye.
      Claudia

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  3. Oh Claudia, I'm just so sorry. **hugs** Linda

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    1. Thank you, Linda. Today is a very sad day. So many things feel different. Thank goodness we have Henry and Ella to care for and who make us smile.
      Claudia

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  4. Phoebe is so lucky to have such a special family! She looks so sweet. We have two dogs , a beagle thats 12 and a rescued catahoula mix that looks like Phoebe. that is 8. I wish I could have them forever. They know they are loved and that is all that they want. They teach us what is important!!!

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    1. Yes, dogs teach us a lot about life, don't they. Thank you for your nice comment.
      Claudia

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  5. Dear Claudia,
    Just finished bathing Panda and Mocha - still an ordeal even though they are 15 and 14! Sitting down to catch up on a few blog posts before our trip to Maine. My heart broke when I saw your blog title. I'm so, so sorry. I will miss reading about Phoebe.
    Take care,
    Loi

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    1. Oh Loi, thank you so much. I appreciate all your heartfelt comments, but especially the ones about the dogs. We dog lovers have a lot in common, don't we. I hope Panda and Mocha are doing well. They are lucky to have you!
      Claudia

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  6. Oh Claudia,I am crying as I read Phoebe's story. What joy our dogs bring to our lives! I know what you are feeling right now. And what you will be feeling this week, an aching emptiness as you miss holding her beautiful face in your hands.

    We hiked to Sunset Rock here in Highlands the other evening after dinner and a couple came in and sat next to us with two Goldens, one almost identical to Andy. We sat there facing the sunset in a surreal bewildered state. Still hard to believe he is gone. We are not going to get another dog for awhile so we can explore the South freely but I am missing home life with a sweet animal by my side.


    Phoebe had a wonderful full life with you. She was part of a loving pack, well done, dog mama! Best wishes this week to you and your husband. Winnie and Henry are going to make it a lot easier, thank goodness for that.

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    1. Cindy, thank you for your sweet words. I know you feel my pain, having just went through this with your sweet Andy. It's an awful feeling and we're going to be so sad for a while to come. I'm grateful we have Henry and Ella to keep us going. So far they are acting normal, though Ella has done something she's never done before. Phoebe had a habit of always laying on the bath mat whenever I was in the bathroom, or she would lay just outside the closed door. On the other hand, Ella has always been afraid of entering the bathroom (maybe she was kept in one in her previous home, or used to get baths in the tub?), but today she came in as I was getting ready for church. Then she laid down just outside the door. She has NEVER done that. I'm sure she's aware of Phoebe's absence and is trying to fill the void. Aren't dogs amazing?
      Claudia

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  7. I read your lovely story of Phoebe with tears running down my cheeks. There are no words right now that seem adequate. Just to say that Phoebe has been greatly loved and cherished, and she certainly knows it.....

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    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your caring thoughts. Yes, she was loved dearly and was happy -- tail wagging -- until the very end.
      Claudia

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  8. Oh Claudia, I am so so sorry to read this. Seeing the end of a dog's life is one of the hardest things we go through. For us, the end of our wonderful Westie's life was so awful and heart wrenching that we cannot bear to ever get another dog. No, my husband says he can't ever go through that again. They are truly part of us. And only other dog owners really know the pain and anguish. I am thinking of you and sending all good thoughts your way. Phoebe is on her way to a wonderful place, I am sure.

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    1. Thank you, Libby. I couldn't agree more -- this is one of the hardest things I've gone through. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I appreciate it deeply.
      Claudia

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  9. Oh she's a darling girl. I'm so very sorry. Xo Terri

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    1. Thank you, Terri. She was quite a girl. We miss her a lot.
      Claudia

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  10. I'm so sorry for your loss, Claudia. Your pictures tell the story of Phoebe's personality. She seemed like a wonderful dog. You were lucky to have each other.

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    1. Thank you, Camille. Phoebe had quite a personality! She was our little "Tomboy" who loved life.

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  11. Dear Claudia,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Phoebe will always be one of the greatest dogs that ever graced God's earth. She was so full of love and had such a good nature. As sensible as she was, she still wanted to get up to mischief! I know if she could she would thank you for a wonderful life. She couldn't have hoped for nicer humans.

    Take care of yourselves and know that we are thinking of you.
    Sheila, Bob and Ben

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  12. Claudia – I'm so sorry to read about your loss. Pets are family and I know how difficult it is to have to say goodbye to one. Thinking of you and your sweet Phoebe. x

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    1. Thank you Rachel. I know you went through the same thing last year with your sweet Bodhi. I'm sure you still miss him. It's so hard to say goodbye to our loyal and loving pets, but it's better to have had them in our lives than to not have had them at all.
      Claudia

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  13. Claudia, My heart goes out to you and your husband. I know how difficult this time is. I am so, so sorry. Know that you are in my thoughts. Lots of hugs and kisses to Henry and Ella, they will help heal your broken hearts.
    With deepest sympathy in the loss of your sweet girl,
    xxojoan

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