Goodbye Beloved Old Friend

By July 13, 2010My Life

We let our beautiful dog Madeline go to heaven last Monday.  I started this post then but I have been too emotional to finish it.  It was so unexpected. I did not get to say goodbye. She was almost 10 and we thought she had years left. We were wrong. You just never know. This is my goodbye to my first baby girl. 

Animal Hospital Card with Madeline's Paw Print

Just a week before she was still running around and running away.  She was still playful and barking and rolling around in the grass.  She loved to run at lightning speed out the door so unsuspecting visitors felt like they had to stay and try to find her.  Always looking for attention, my Maddie.  Then it got really, really hot and Maddie stopped running.  She had her physical and they said she was fine, just tired from the heat and a little older – but healthy as far as they could see.  She slowed down significantly in the days before July 4th and then, on Independence Day, she stopped moving.  She did not bark once at the fireworks she always hated with a passion.  She just laid on the kitchen floor and did not even try to get to her place on the couch or laying by my bed.  We brought water to her mouth and she barely drank.  We knew something was wrong, and we thought she had been bitten by a snake or had an infection.

The morning of July 5th Ross carried Maddie to the car because she could not walk.  I gave her a big kiss before I got on the road to watch my sister graduate from Marine Combat Training at Camp LeJeune.  Only 2 hours into the drive Ross called me with the shocking news that Maddie had cancer.  Cancer that filled her gall bladder and had spread to her lungs.  Cancer that caused something in her body to rupture and create massive internal bleeding.  Cancer that stopped her from walking, stopped her from barking and in the end, stopped me from saying goodbye.

The vet said that when the internal bleeding started the pain started and that while we could have opted for a $5000 surgery to try and stop the bleeding we would not be able to treat the cancer, as widespread as it was.  She recommended that we put Madeline to sleep.  I asked if they could wait until I returned the next day to say goodbye to my baby but she said that Maddie was in such pain that the delay would be inhumane.  Because the last thing in the world I wanted was for Madeline to be in pain, I agreed that Ross and Miles would say goodbye for me and for Sophia.

Ross took a last picture of Madeline on her stretcher after they said goodbye.  He said he cried when he kissed her. 

Our First Girl, Madeline

I could not help myself. I cried so much in the car that I had to pull over.  I told Sophia that Maddie had to go to heaven and we talked about it, and we cried together.  I am glad I had her with me.  It was hard, but she is a strong little girl and we hugged each other and talked about how happy Madeline would be in dog heaven.

Still, I was devastated.  This may sound silly, but I wanted to tell her how much I loved her and spend some time with her without the kids to tell her that even though I hadn’t paid as much attention to her since I had Sophia and Miles and Violet, that she was my first baby and that I loved her deeply.  I wanted to say thank you to her for being absolutely wonderful with all of the babies.  She never bit or scratched.  She never got angry with them.  She loved their hugs and kisses, even when they were rough.  She cuddled with all of us.  I wanted to say that I was sorry I got angry with her when she pooped all over the floor in the weeks before her death.  Had I known she was sick, things would have been so different.  I know that she knew I loved her.  I know that she had a wonderful and happy life with us.  I just wanted a little quiet time with her to say my goodbyes.

I did not know until she was gone what a huge part of my life she was and I will hold all of my memories close and remind myself that we never know how long we have with any animal or any friend or family member.  I hope that I will let her memory teach me to treat every day I have with my loved ones as a gift, because that is exactly what every day is.

So Goodbye Old Friend, and thank you for 10 wonderful years as your mommy.  We were so lucky to have you in our lives.

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Join the discussion 34 Comments

  • Oh you poor thing this made me cry! What a lucky puppy to be loved so much. Hang in there.
    .-= Saint Tigerlily´s last blog ..Theres A Hole In My Bucket List =-.

  • amber says:

    Okay, I admit, I can’t finish reading this post…because I got to the pic and I’m trying not to burst into tears (at work). But I wanted to tell you that I’m so very sorry. Until you’ve had a special dog (like she was), you can’t imagine how much letting them go hurts.

    Sending you hugs!
    .-= amber´s last blog ..The Craigslist Ad I’ll Never Write =-.

  • Melissa says:

    Okay, so now I’m bawling too. I’m SO SO sorry that you lost that sweet girl too soon. And that you didn’t get to say good-bye. We’ve had our lab for 7 years and he’s our “first” too. I just can’t imagine how tough it is for you and the family. ((HUGS))
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..A Week in the Life- Monday =-.

  • Laura says:

    Brittany, this post has me sobbing at my laptop. I’m so sorry for your loss. Maddie definitely knew how much you loved her, and she had a great life, enriched even more by you giving her kids to play with and love. When our cat, Colby, died suddenly at 5 years old, I can remember the shock from feeling like you were owed so many more years before they went. I was told cats live to be 20, I was supposed to have 15 more years with him! My heart hurts for your family now – hugs coming your way!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Ducks and Ice Cream =-.

  • Candice says:

    Oh Brittany, I’m so sorry. The pain of losing a pet is unlike any other sorrow – your post has me sobbing. I’ve had two dogs put to sleep before I could say goodbye to them (one because I didn’t know it would happen, one because I refused to believe it would happen that day).

    The part about Molly being your girl before you had any kids is particularly moving. I hadn’t thought of that perspective before, but it’s so true.

    I’m so sorry for your loss.
    .-= Candice´s last blog ..Bottle Shock =-.

  • Zandi says:

    oh thats utterly devastating! I am so so sorry and hope I can give you a big ol hug soon. Your words ( as always) were beautiful and I know she understood all you had to say with out a word being spoken.

    Big love to all of you.

  • Christiana says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry! That’s terrible.
    I didn’t get to say good-bye to my first dog, either – he had sort of become my mom’s dog and then I got married and moved out and had another dog by that time, but when she called me to tell me that he had passed, I cried like a baby. It’s rough. There are a lot of memories wrapped up in our pets and we love them a lot. I know you’ll always cherish your memories with her.
    .-= Christiana´s last blog ..10 on Tueday =-.

  • ::weeping:: for you over this loss. i am so sorry, my friend. i’m so sorry that you weren’t able to say goodbye and i am so sorry that your precious pup endured all that she did with her cancer.

    our lab is 4 and i’m going to scoop all 85 lbs of him into my lap right now and give him lots of love and kisses for you.

    i am so sorry for your loss.

    • Brittany says:

      Thanks Babe. Crazy how much I miss her when I cursed having to chase after her all the time! Yes give your big ol’ lab a kiss for me too! Maddie was part Dobie part lab.

  • Lynn says:

    Oh Brittany, This is so heartbreaking. Having to put a beloved pet down is always hard, but when it’s cancer and you don’t get to say goodbye, it’s devastating. Thanks for sharing this. I think it allows all of us who’ve been through it to remember our first babies too. *sob*
    .-= Lynn´s last blog ..She said what- – Confessions of a Mom-Gossip =-.

  • Dangit, I’m tearing up over here and I’m not even a dog person. Your love for your pet comes through with such resonance. I’m sorry for your loss. ((you))
    .-= TheKitchenWitch´s last blog ..Grilled Pears Wrapped in Proscuitto =-.

  • Bryna says:

    I’m so sorry! Animals really play such a huge part of our lives… It’s just not fair!
    .-= Bryna´s last blog ..Week 33 =-.

  • Amy says:

    Oh Brittany, I am so sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences to your family. This was a beautiful tribute to your beloved Maddie. Hugs.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Acceptance =-.

  • Natacha says:

    sob, sob, sniff, sniff…. I had to stop reading several times before I got through this post… I am a big dog lover (any animal actually) and I felt your pain… so sorry you had to make this decision, it is a tough one…
    .-= Natacha´s last blog ..Friday Fun in the Sun =-.

  • IASoupMama says:

    Oh, my goodness… I am so very sorry… My puppy girls were my first babies, too. They are chocolate Labs and are 9 & 10 years old. I have been thinking a lot about their ages and the time my Milo and Violet will have with their fur sisters… Many, many, many hugs to you and your family.
    .-= IASoupMama´s last blog ..Wearing the Pointy Hat of Shame =-.

  • Niki says:

    I’m so sorry about your furry baby. I know how bad it hurts. (((HUGS)))
    .-= Niki´s last blog ..Dont Quit- Itll Get Better- Youre Not Alone =-.

  • I only have fur babies. Both cats and dogs and have had many in my life and when they go it is such an unexpected feeling of loss.

    My heart is with you! And Madeline will always be with you! I really feel that they never truly leave us.

    Not that long ago I swear I found a sweater with my cat’s fur on it from quite a few years back.

    BIG HUGS!!!
    .-= A Vapid Blonde´s last blog ..This Is What Happens When You Find A Grilled Sausage In The Silverware Drawer =-.

    • Brittany says:

      Thank You! I am finding hair everywhere and expect I will be for awhile. It used to bother me so much to find the hair everywhere but today baby Violet had a piece ob her head and it made me cry. Yes, she will always be with us as will yours.

  • I’m so sorry. It’s such an unbearably hard thing to do, isn’t it? Such loving and forgiving creatures. Be proud that you gave her a wonderful life! It helps me to think that soon (when you’re ready) it will be time to save another animal and provide them with love and care.

    • Brittany says:

      Thanks! We are going tot ake some time to get back to normal after Madeline and then it will take awhile for us to open our home again because baby Violet is still only 6 months old and I don’t think it would be fair for a new doggie or safe for her to bring a new pet into the house yet. When she is walking and up off the floor I think we will start looking. And yes, when we look, we will save another gorgoeus mutt!

  • Katie says:

    I am so very sorry. We lost our 13 year old cat 6 weeks ago to cancer. We adopted another cat on July 3rd, and on July 9th found out that he, too, has cancer. I am so glad your sweet Madeline is no longer suffering, but I do truly know how much it hurts and how many tears you cry. Our cats were our first babies too. My daughter (also Violet) isn’t quite 2 and still asks for our old cat, and has fallen head over heels in love with the new kitty. It’s so hard.
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Our Tulo =-.

  • This made me cry. It’s so hard to lose someone you love.
    .-= Catch the Kids´s last blog ..New Age Dress-ups =-.

  • Jolene says:

    OMG I am in tears…this was so well-written but really hits home for me as one of my beloved kitties was sick recently and I thought the worst – that I would be faced with this, and so my heart aches for you and your family. Our pets are our children, and they DO leave a major lasting impression. Glad she is no longer suffering…Hugs.

  • Kim says:

    This has me in tears! I never thought I would be sad over losing a pet after my daughter passed away but then we got our baby bulldog a year ago and he is filled with so much personality and love that he is truly one of our family. He had a heatstroke a few weeks ago and was near death with a temp of 107. We were terrified he wouldn’t make it. I sat on the floor with my kids sobbing while my husband rushed him to the vet. I know it sounds silly but I believe our pets have souls too and we will see them again. I am crying tears with you…this happened so suddenly and it must hurt to not have been able to say goodbye. Hugs…
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Dear Emma- =-.

    • Brittany says:

      I think of you and your family and my heart breaks. I can only imagine the pain of losing sweet Emma and the courage it takes to write about your journey and to share your strength with all of us. I am sure that the fear of losing your bulldog brought back so much fear and hurt and made it so obvious how much a party of your family he is. I am so glad he is alright! xoxo Brittany

  • Heather says:

    Oh wow, that had me crying…hard. It is an amazing love pets give us, unconditional and they complain so little.
    I can’t even imagine what it was like to find out that devastating news on a drive. I don’t know how you made it the rest of the way there. My heart goes out to you and your family.
    What a wonderful ode to your beloved dog Maddie.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..It’s a Car Boat! =-.

  • Kat says:

    OMG – I could BARELY BREATH reading this post. I have 4 little ones — like your 3 — and a baby “girl” (my dog was my 1st baby… and my 1st girl). I TOTALLY get you. There are no words. EVERY SINGLE WORD you typed I would have typed to my dog as well.

    She loves you… she knows you love her. I promise you she only has amazing thoughts of you.

    God bless your heart. I feel horrible for your family!

    My mom died 3 months ago today… and even knowing how serious that grieving is — I can still totally relate to how I would feel when my dog dies.

    Admittedly, I pay like 0 attention to her… but we have a bond that is unreal.

    Hugs, and soo sorry again.

    • Brittany says:

      Kat Oh my goodness my thoughts are with you. My aunt is dying now and the pain is unbelieveable. I can only imagine the pain of losing my mother! I hope your family is happy and healthy and you keep your fur baby for a long time!

  • Emily says:

    Oh! I am soo sorry! 🙁 This made me cry, also…and makes me just want to run home and hug and love on all my doggies!!!

  • Barb says:

    I’m crying. I understand your love for Maddie 100%. We had to put our 13 year old girl, Mandy, to sleep in November and it was devastating. She was also my first baby and was forever loving to both my chlidren. I am sorry for your loss. 🙁

  • ella says:

    What a beautiful dog. I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost both my dogs – my first babies too – much too young and I still miss them every day. Big hugs xx

  • […] was out of town when my dog Madeline died.  Ross took Miles with him tot he vet and Miles said goodbye and cried when they left Madeline […]

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