Saying Goodbye

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by Amy Flanigan on August 15, 2013 · 45 comments

What is it to have a dog?

To be loved. Unconditionally.
To be greeted. With excitement. Always.
To be looked upon with trust and loyalty.
To have companionship.

We always had a dog growing up. And I remember each time we had to say goodbye.

But yesterday was the first time I had to say goodbye to one of my very own. Not my parents’ dog. My dog. 

I got Ebi and Ginger, affectionately referred to as “the girls”, 14 years ago. I knew Ebi was mine before she was even born – I staked my claim on the runt. And that was her. After being told that Beagles do better in pairs, it didn’t take much convincing to get two. And there was Ginger.

Both so tiny.

the girls

What a character Ebi turned out to be – snored so loudly, eating anything she could, humping anything she could. Paul and I often joked that she was either an angry old man or a chain-smoking hooker in her past life.

But she was also such a love. Gentle, sweet, quiet.

She was everything I ever wanted in a dog.

And up until 5 days ago, I couldn’t imagine life without her. But then her balance was off, her breathing was labored, and she lost her appetite (unthinkable for a Beagle.) Blood work and x-rays showed a massive tumor on her lung. Malignant and inoperable.

And just like that, I had to make the hardest decision I have ever been faced with.

And now she’s gone.

Ginger, my other love, has always been jealous of Ebi. But now, without her…she’s lost. She looks for her. Looks at me, with curiosity and depressed eyes.

And it’s surreal. No more separating food bowls, no more fighting for my lap, no more placing the mail underneath my arm because both hands were occupied by a leash.

the girls

Ebi and Ginger. Ginger and Ebi. Littermates. They’ve never known anything other than each other. And now there is only one.

It comes with such an unforgiving sadness and an ache that feels like it will never go away.

My dear sweet, Ebi. 14 precious years. And not enough for me. I miss you so much. You grabbed a piece of my heart from day one and never let go. I hope you’re somewhere playing hockey with beetle bugs and eating as much popcorn as your heart desires.

Your purple collar sits on my desk.

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Edna May 7, 2014 at 10:23 am

I’m so sorry about your doggies. I lost my first cat (like you the others had been my parents’) a year ago and I still miss her every day. It gets better, but it is always with you. I have 2 9- month old kittens now and they’re hysterical and I love them, but they’re not my Coco. But it’s good to know you can love again! I’ll think of you and your beautiful sweet dogs often.

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Amy @Very Culinary May 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Thank you, Edna. <3

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Anita at Hungry Couple December 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I love my dog so much. This just made me cry. Hugs to you.

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Jenni December 13, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Hardest decision ever to have to make. I know this was a few months ago, but we miss our pets forever, even if the pain eases. I’m so sorry for your loss, Amy.

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Aggie September 13, 2013 at 3:29 am

:’(

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Amy @ Elephant Eats August 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Just read this and I’m so sorry :( Reading it brought tears to my eyes. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through, or what Ginger must feel. It must be terrible not to be able to explain it to her. My first pet (that I got myself as an adult) is my cat, L.C., and I periodically think about how one day she won’t be here anymore and I get so so sad. How wonderful that you were able to have 14 years with your little pup. You must have so many memories to remember her by :)

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Amy @Very Culinary August 18, 2013 at 11:07 am

Thanks everyone for your kind and loving words of support. I appreciate it. Having a tough time… I know the sadness will subside over time, but right now it feels like it will last forever. I miss her terribly. Such an enormous loss :(

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Carla August 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Amy, my heart breaks for you. My kitty Murray had a tumor in his jaw that literally pushed his jaw and eye. I can’t even begin to tell you the details and how he quickly went downhill in 6 months. Putting him down is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I bet Ebi and Murray are playing on Rainbow Bridge right now. He can eat popcorn while Murray eats bacon.

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Laura August 16, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Such a difficult lost. I had this situation a couple of years ago. It’s so hard to see them go. But Im sure your family make her more than happy, the best of the lifes she could have. Time ends before we want, but love will be there forever.

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Julie August 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I’m sitting here with tears pouring down my face. We have two beagles, and about three years ago, lost our sweet beagle, Heidi. I had to convince my husband that we really did want a beagle, and that old girl changed his life. He will tell you that when we lost her, he didn’t realize that he could cry that hard. We still miss her, but our two rescue beagle babies have helped mend our heart. Poor Ginger. Poor you. It’s without a doubt the hardest thing that one has to go through, but also one of the most unselfish things to do. She is at the Rainbow Bridge, and will be waiting for you someday, and running and chasing beetle bugs and eating as much popcorn as she wants (and having to share it with our Heidi). I’m thinking about your family.

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Laurie August 16, 2013 at 9:02 am

Amy, I can not believe how this mirrors my own experiences. I got my 2 dachshunds, Reedy & Lady, 15 years ago, they weren’t siblings but they were born the same day and we brought them home together in a box. Raised together, happy & mostly healthy until a few weeks ago, on a Sunday, Reedy wouldn’t eat. And we know something was terribly wrong because our girl was the best eater ever. 5 days later we had to say goodbye. I know exactly what you’re going through, it’s still fresh in my mind even though it was now 6 weeks ago. Hang in there.

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Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper August 15, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I’m so, so sorry to hear about your loss. Dogs are the best companions. I’m sure she felt your love each and every day of those 14 years.

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Dani H August 15, 2013 at 7:22 pm

I am so sorry for your loss, Amy! It sounds like a cliche, but at least you had her companionship for 14 years ~ 14 years of unconditional love that will always remain with you. I hope Ginger and the rest of your family are doing okay. *BIG HUGS*

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Joanne August 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Love you chica. And thinking of you!

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Julie August 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I couldn’t get through your post the first time and now I sit with tears knowing what you’re going through and feeling sadness with you. Ebi was such a sweet, loveable girl. I hope all of the happy memories bring you comfort now and in the days to come. Only time eases the sadness and only by a little bit. Hugs to you, friend-

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Rachel August 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I can’t add to much what was beautifully stated in the comments. I am crying, aching, right there with you. I too am grateful to have met Ebi, such a sweet sweet pup. Lots and lots of love to you and your family! xoxoxoxox Rach

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Stephanie August 15, 2013 at 11:09 am

Oh Amy. Such a beautiful post. May Ebi run free, and may your sweet memories of her never fade. Lots of love to you and the family, including Ginger girl.

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Stephanie-Oh August 15, 2013 at 10:03 am

I am so sorry for your loss. My husband and I are going through a similar loss. Our mixed breed collie was 14 years old and we had to euthanize him. It was such a hard decision to make. He had bone cancer. Ozzie had the sweetest nature: never in 14 years did he ever snap or growl at anyone. He adored children and they adored him. He was my walking companion for many years and I miss him so much. I know how much you must miss your Ebi!

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Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out August 15, 2013 at 9:54 am

I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face. I grew up with beagles, I know what it is to lose those funny little stinkers who burrow their noses right into your heart. And I’m so sad not just for you, but for little Ginger missing her buddy. My heart aches for you today. So much love to you. <3

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Tina A August 15, 2013 at 9:11 am

Such a lovely tribute! She was so lucky to have you, as you were to have her. (((Hugs)))

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Kristi P. August 15, 2013 at 8:50 am

I too am a Beagle person (you really need to be in order to *appreciate* them!!:) – and sadly have been where you are now more than a few times. I believe they taught me how much the love of a good dog can bring to your life! And now I am passing that down to my daughters ;)

How blessed Ebi was to have such a loving home and family for her entire life! What more could one ask for? :)

Best thoughts and prayers for you and your family!

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marybeth August 15, 2013 at 8:39 am

I’ve lost pets as well, and it’s always hard. They worm their way into our hearts and take up such a large residence that we think they’ll always be there. But that also means the memories will stay for a long time to try and comfort us after they’re gone.

*HUG*

I’m so sorry. I hope for strength for your family.

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K August 15, 2013 at 8:05 am

We love you guys so much. I’m so sorry for the loss of sweet Ebi. And I’m grateful we got to know her. If you need anything. Always call.

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Cathy August 15, 2013 at 7:54 am

This is a wonderful tribute. For all of us who know that specific pain, we are there with you. Sending love.

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Nancy August 15, 2013 at 7:39 am

Heartbreaking. Pure and simple. I am so very, very sorry and sad for you. It’s overwhelming to lose our furry babies. Please know you’re in my prayers.

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Sally August 15, 2013 at 7:39 am

That is such a terrible decision to make, I swear it makes the loss even harder to bear. My condolences.

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Kari/SourdoughNative August 15, 2013 at 7:39 am

My heart aches for your loss. I have been there, and if anyone has ever been a pet lover, they have probably as well. Nothing can replace that ache in our hearts, but know the joy she filled your life with will last forever.

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cassie August 15, 2013 at 7:34 am

I’m so, so sad for you, Amy! Thoughts and prayers for you and your family! xoxo

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Bev @ Bev Cooks August 15, 2013 at 7:34 am

OHHHHHH I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. I’m so so so so sorry. xoxoxo.

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Lora August 15, 2013 at 7:09 am

SO SORRY for your loss! I too have always had a dog and have lost many, most to “having to make that decision”. It is gut wrenching!!!! Look up “The Rainbow Bridge”. It is what helped me. WARNING! IT WILL MAKE YOU CRY, BUT IT HELPS!

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Jude August 15, 2013 at 7:02 am

Oh, Hummingbird. My heart is breaking. Fourteen years with someone as comical and loving and stubborn as Ebs is not enough. She and Ging are the dynamic duo. This just isn’t right. And yet I consider myself lucky to have met Ebi when you first brought her home. And fortunate to have watched her grown up to be your close companion for so long. I miss Ebi and I will never forget her. Love you. J

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Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary August 15, 2013 at 7:01 am

I knew I shouldn’t read this post at my desk at work, cause now I’m crying again! I have to admit, I cried most of the night thinking about you and Paul and the kiddos. I was thinking about Ginger too. It just brought it all back.

You know that I know this pain all too well. It’s like losing a child, it really is. The pain was unbearable for me. I thought it would never end and that I would be left feeling broken hearted forever. It does get better Amy. It never quite goes away, but it becomes something else….in time, sweet memories, cherished moments, you will laugh again when you think about her I promise, it takes time, but it will happen. You give yourself all the time you need. I still haven’t gone through the basket of Moose’s stuff. I just can’t. I know I will eventually, but even 8 months later, I just can’t bare it. His stinky bunny still sits on the bureau in my bedroom. I know some people might think I’m crazy, but it’s what I need.

So if you can’t post…that’s ok, and if you need some time…take it. She will always be a part of you. So true. I so wish I could give you a big “I understand” hug.

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Katie August 15, 2013 at 7:01 am

Oh my heart breaks for you. I was never a dog owner up until 5 years ago and no I can’t imagine my life without our pup. As I type this I weep for you. Nothing will ever replace your pup nor will any words make it better. Sending lots of love and hugs your way!

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Cher August 15, 2013 at 6:54 am

*Sniff* So sad. So sorry you had to go through this. Wish I could take away the pain. :( Love you, friend!

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Juls August 15, 2013 at 6:41 am

Tears in my eyes for you your family and Ginger. I hope that Ebi is chasing her favorite prey in animal heaven. My cat Harley is 13 and I know that one day I will be faced with the same heartache. My husbands swears I will cry more for my cat than I will for him and his children. I tell him only because I’ve had Harley longer.

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Katie Cohagen August 15, 2013 at 6:39 am

My heart breaks for you. My sister’s 7-year old pitt mix went through the same thing. One day she was fine and the next, she had to make the decision to put her down due to a tumor surrounding one of her lungs. This happened one week before Christmas last year and it was hard on all of us. Just know that she is in a better place, chasing squirrels and getting into fun puppy mischief!

Sending good juju your way!

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P~ August 15, 2013 at 6:28 am

Amy,

My heart breaks for you and your family. I know the precious gift of litter mate puppies. I know the wrenching loss of saying goodbye. I like to think we’ll be reunited…but I also know, every time I pull up to the house and think I hear a bark that isn’t there…we never have been separated. Because they live in your heart forever. *hugs*

P~

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Happy Valley Chow August 15, 2013 at 6:08 am

I am so sorry for your loss. That was just so beautifully written and reminds me a lot of our dog growing up. We had her forever and then all of a sudden she had a tumor, had a successful surgery, but didn’t survive the recovery. I definitely feel for you, sending thoughts your way!

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Beverly August 15, 2013 at 6:05 am

I have had to do it numerous times and it doesn’t get any easier, but I KNOW that they are up there at the Rainbow Bridge, healthy and happy and free of pain. It takes awahile, so be good to YOURSELF and grieve.

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Kim August 15, 2013 at 6:04 am

Words do not come, but my thoughts, and my whole, sad heart is with you and your family. And Ginger. Poor little thing.

So sorry for your loss. These photos are so wonderful. I know you treasure them. Peace and strength to you all.

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Melissa August 15, 2013 at 5:57 am

A sweet tribute and remembrance, Amy. Crying for you. Love you.

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Jett Whitfield August 15, 2013 at 5:52 am

Awwww – sending big hugs! So sorry to hear about your pet.

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Mike August 15, 2013 at 5:52 am

So sorry to hear this.

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Nutmeg Nanny August 15, 2013 at 5:45 am

Tears filled my eyes when I read this. Your sweet puppy had such a good life. Losing a pet is so hard and I’m so sorry. Fur babies touch our hearts like nothing else. *Hugs*

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JessicaJ August 15, 2013 at 5:38 am

I’m sooo sad to read this, I’m sorry for your loss. That puppy picture of them sleeping together is priceless. I wish our fur babies could stay with us forever :/

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