My son's family had to say good-bye to their 14-year old Labordor/Pointer dog Friday. Tabby was a silly name for this wonderful retriever, but fit her well in her role as my grandson's buddy. Chris already had Tabby when he met his future wife, Kelly, and Tabby was there when they brought home their newborn son 10 years later. Tabby was CJ's support when he made his first steps, and was his pillow for CJ to curl up to when he read or watched TV.
But age is cruel, and Tabby never fully recovered from hip surgery last years. The latest indignity was the inability to manage her bladder, and she would wake up in a wet pool. This forced them to have her stay in the garage, and as the cold weather approaches, this dog who has been used to sleeping on the floor next to CJ's , would be in the cold. So the decison was reached to have the vet put her down.
Kelly called and asked me to take CJ for a couple of hours while they took Tab to the vet and brought her home. They had tried to prepare him by telling him that Tabby was old and sick and would die soon. He protested, and said he didn't want her in Heaven....that he wanted her by him to give hugs. He worried about her dying when being sick, as he had been told he was sick with his cold. And when told she was dying because she was old, he was worried about Grampa and Gramma dying because they were old. How do you explain death to an almost-4 year old?
I took CJ to a friend's home. Kandy just had her second book about her greyhound, Minnesnowtoes, published, so we took her book to be autographed and for CJ to meet Minnesnowtoes. He had a fun time playing with her granchildren's toys, then went to meet his mother, who took him out to eat before taking him home, and telling him Tabby had passed away.
Chris had built a beautiful box with Tabbys name, dates of life, and silver cross in which to bury her. I was not with them when CJ saw the still form of Tabby or said his last good-bye, but I can imagine the sad day at their home, and the big hole in their lives without her.
They left the next day for their cabin in Siren as a distraction for him. Tabby is free of her limp and pain, but her memory will last for a long time in her little buddy. He has been told that he will be with her again when he is old and goes to Heaven. It is a comforting thought to think about reuniting again with those who have gone on before. Tabby....run free and happy, and maybe you will see Dad who would love to take you hunting, and Johleen and Mandy and Moochie and Lolly will be there to run with you, too. Watch for me...may we have golden paths to walk and many more loved ones to meet again once again. Sleep well, friend.