In Deep Mourning

>> Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I know I haven't written for awhile. This is probably the longest I've ever gone without writing. I wasn't sure when I'd write again, but ironically, it's the events of this past Sunday that drew me to write.

Sometime during the late hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning, I lost my beloved German Shepherd, Mitzi.

(This was one of the last photos we took of her the weekend before she died)

Saturday afternoon she seemed to have an unusual burst of energy - almost back to her pre-arthritis in the hips days. She was extremely cuddly too -- hovering around Nani and Nudgie almost all day long. But around dinner time, something didn't seem right. She looked a little bloated and was panting pretty heavily. She wasn't in any pain -- especially when we would touch her abdomen to see if she was hurting. She just kept moving between the living room and going outside to the deck. I hovered over her like a mother does with a sick child - but she seemed content. When I went up to bed, I gave her a love-tap with my foot and patted her on the head. Little did I know.......

When Marc came up to bed, we talked about her for a few minutes. Looking back, our conversation was so prophetic. I asked him if he thought it was "time" for her and grew upset because I just wasn't ready to let her go. I guess that just wasn't my choice.

Marc got up the next morning to let our other Shepherd, Zoja, out. I rolled over and just lay there, but I think deep down I knew Mitzi was gone before he even came upstairs to say "Honey, I have some bad news....."

I remember jumping out of bed and running downstairs and seeing my beloved Mitzi laying on the floor -- just looking as if she were sleeping. The only difference was that she was so cold. I lost it. I honestly don't even remember the last time I cried so hard. I just lay down next to her and cried and upset that she died all alone and that I didn't get to say goodbye to her. Marc assured me that this was the best way for her to go -- at home, in her sleep, on her own terms.

We got dressed and then woke up Nani so that she could say goodbye to Mitzi before we took her to the vet. We just simply explained that Mitzi was such a good dog that God wanted her to be with Him now, and that Mitzi was going to have a new home in Heaven. She took it pretty well.

Marc took Mitzi out to the car and we took her to the emergency vet -- the same one who did her surgery back in February when she was attacked by the stray. I was so grateful that the nurse was so sympathetic and understanding. We were put into a private room and the nurse came in with a blanket to cover her. I just sat on the floor next to her....petting her head, playing with her droopy ear, and just crying....crying....

I decided that I did want her remains back and the vet was going to provide us with a little urn with her paw print on it. I'm going to take half of her ashes and go to Build A Bear where I can have her put into a stuffed animal that I can hold and hug whenever I feel that I need her close to me.

When we got home, Marc and I still continued with our plans for a one-night getaway to Rocky Mountain National Park. My mom was in town and was going to stay with the girls. We decided to still go because it wouldn't do us any good to sit at home -- Marc felt that I needed to get away.

But the drive up for me was hard.

I kept thinking of my beloved Mitzi. I had her for 15 years. She was with me more than Marc was during our marriage. She was with me through his deployments and trips and schools. She was my first baby before I had babies. She was there when both my girls were born and took care of them as if they were her own pups. She was my confidante -- now taking all my secrets, confessions, worries with her. I kept thinking -- what would I do without her?

And then the guilt set in --

We'd get so frustrated with her sometimes when she'd have accidents in the house. We'd get frustrated when she'd start to wander off and we'd have to chase her down the street. We'd get frustrated because she'd bark for no good reason. We'd get frustrated because she was always underfoot. I began to wonder if she left us because she felt she wasn't loved or needed any more. And that was a stab to my heart -- thinking that she may have died feeling that way.

It's only been 4 days.....and I can't stop crying. I know the pain and the hurt will ease with time. And deep down, I know that she's at peace -- she's now healthy and whole - no more painful hips, no more droopy ear, no more runny and cloudy eyes, no more hard of hearing.

She was 15 when she died and she lived longer than any of us ever could have expected.  Rest in peace my beloved Mitzi. You will always be in my heart and mind. I love you.


Anonymous August 4, 2010 at 6:08 PM  

Jennifer - I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to Mitzi, she was blessed to have someone who cared so deeply for her. Your post moved me to tears and I never even met her... I'll be praying for you and your family.

Charity August 4, 2010 at 6:12 PM  

Jennifer, I am so sorry. She sounds like a wonderful dog and an even better companion.

~City Love... now, forever, always~ August 4, 2010 at 6:34 PM  

15 years is a very long life for a shepherd, I'm sure it was just her time to go, and I have no doubts, even without really knowing you, that she knew full well how loved she was.


You and your family are in my thoughts :o)

Acting Balanced Mom August 4, 2010 at 6:39 PM  

Hugs! I'm so sorry for your family's loss

Mommy Gator August 4, 2010 at 6:50 PM  

I am so sorry for you loss! As an owner of a german shepherd I know how amazing they are of a breed. Your dog sounded amazing and I am so sorry for you and your family! You are all in our prayers!

Gen August 4, 2010 at 6:56 PM  

I've missed you! I'm so sorry for this loss. Animals almost seem to become part of us...big healing hugs to you from way down south!

Karen Mortensen August 4, 2010 at 7:07 PM  

So sorry for your loss. What a sweet, sweet dog she was. That is really nice that you will have her ashes with you.

Jenny August 4, 2010 at 7:25 PM  

Jennifer - I didn't make it through without shedding a few tears for you! I am so sorry that you are going through such pain. My parents dog, that they got when I was in high school, is near the end of her life, and I dread it! Our pets are so precious and such a blessing. It will get easier, but for now, I will send my thoughts your way. Praying that God eases your pain and reminds you of how blessed you were to have her for 15 years.

Julia August 4, 2010 at 7:45 PM  

Oh, no... I am SO sorry for your loss ((((HUGS))))

Raising a Happy Child August 4, 2010 at 7:55 PM  

I am so sorry - Mitzi sounds like such a great friend. It's hard to lose a beloved pet. (((Hugs)))

Josh Healy August 4, 2010 at 9:45 PM  

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Dina August 5, 2010 at 7:15 AM  

oh jen i am so sorry, and I can't imagine your loss. Zed is getting up in years too, and I know someday his day will come. If there is anything I can do to console you guys or Zola for her companion loss please let me know.

Helene August 5, 2010 at 10:09 AM  

Oh Jen, I'm so sorry. I actually have tears in my eyes reading this because it brought back sad memories of when we lost our first bunny, Maggie. I cried for days and thought I'd never get over her loss.

Your family was so blessed to have Mitzi and she was blessed to have you. I hope the good memories you have her will soon outweight the sadness and grief you're feeling now.

I'm attaching a link to a poem called Rainbow Bridge which brought me much comfort when Maggie died.

Anonymous August 6, 2010 at 8:14 AM  

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I understand your pain. When we lost our dog... it felt as if we lost a child. The grieving will hurt for a while and then will be replaced with fond memories.

I'm your newest follower.

Mrs. Tasha August 6, 2010 at 10:13 AM  

Visiting from Friendly Friday Follow. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know what it's like to lose a 4 legged member of the family. It's hard! Hoping things start looking up for you. Hope you come follow back at

Also, I'm working on Helping the children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. View my blog to learn more! :) Thanks

Marianne August 6, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

I'm so sorry for your loss. We just put our German Shepherd down 2 weeks ago, and I was the one to do it. I know how difficult and traumatic it can be. You're in my thoughts.

Lucy's Human

Leslie @ goodbye, house! HELLO, HOME! August 6, 2010 at 2:30 PM  

My German Shepherd, Hilda, died when I was a girl...I cried forever, too.
And I just cried again just now when you told of your love for Mitzi.
She and Hilda are rollicking happily together, now!!
Hugs to you,
PS. I am meeting you from New Friend Friday. Sorry to meet you when you are sad. It will get better.

Le Chateau des fleurs August 6, 2010 at 11:27 PM  

I am so sorry for your loss :( I would cry for weeks if my dog died.
She was loved and happy. You really gave her a good life. I think she died the best way also. SO sorry.

SunnyNH August 7, 2010 at 8:18 AM  

It sounds like Mitzi was more than a pet - she was family. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous August 8, 2010 at 3:49 AM  
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