Losing Your Beloved Pet
Losing a pet is extremely difficult. The loss of something you love so deeply leaves an emptiness in your home and in your heart. I am experiencing this loss for the first time with my sweet boy, Reesey. He passed away on June 25th and it hurts real bad- I didn't know just how much it would hurt. I have been absent from my blog for a few weeks as I dealt with this pain.
We had less than a two week period that we knew that Reese's illness might lead us to making the heartbreaking decision. I didn't want to jump the gun and plan life without him, but I also didn't want to have any regrets.I was so so scared that I would wish I had've done something for him, or with him. I was doing everything that I could to create memories and do things that couldn't be done once he was gone.
Take ALL the Photos
I called up my amazing photographer friend Josh (check out his instragram - located in Halifax, Nova Scotia) and asked if he would take some photos for us. You can never have to many photos even if Reese had more time with us. I already have hundreds of photos of Reesey on my phone, everything he did I captured, but I didn't have any photos of me and my boy - or myself, David and Reese.
We went to a beautiful spot in Prospect during sunset and Josh captured magnificent photos. Reese is very fearful and the entire time he was anxious over every noise and movement; being sick did not help this either. Josh managed to capture the beautiful moments in between and gave us stunning shots that we will treasure forever.
I still needed more photos. I needed our whole family shot. This, however, needed to be done differently. We gathered in the backyard and had my sister take some simple photos on a phone and they're perfect. They're the last family photo we will ever have with Reese and I love it.
I took videos of him doing the unique things that make him so special. His funny noises, or the way he plays with his toys. I wanted to never forget what he sounded like or the way he did things. I wanted to be able to replay videos and smile (or for now cry) at the silly things that he did, or the way he loved so much.
There was one person that I knew Reese absolutely had to say goodbye to, who we haven't been able to see since Christmas, my Dad. We drove two hours up to see him and it was so special. Reese got to see, for the last time, one of his most favourite people. Someone who has made such an impact on his life. It was not an easy visit, goodbyes hurt, so much.
Because of the times we are in, Reese didn't get to say goodbye to everyone who knew him and loved him. But he got many special goodbyes, the ones who meant the most, and were able to come visit.
It is so special to have a print of their sweet paws to hold onto. I wanted to buy a clay paw print kit of the sorts but unfortunately we didn't have time. Everything was happening quick and by the time I had the idea I was worried an online order wouldn't come quick enough.
I found an easy DIY option that I am in love with. All you need is flour, salt and water (and an oven I guess).
1. Mix 1/2 cup of warm water, 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of salt. Warm water really made a difference (I found out on my fourth round, le sigh).
2. Knead the dough until it's no longer super crumbly and then roll it out.
3. I used a cup to cut out about a 1-inch thick piece of dough and then flattened it just a bit more to really fit Reesey's paw.
4. Line a baking tray with wax paper and place the dough on it.
5. Gently press your dogs paw into the dough. My Reese was so patient but really was not a fan of this activity. I spaced out the round of dough.
6. I used a toothpick to poke a hole at the top of the paw print and made a good enough sized gap to hang string through.
7. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees farenheit for 2.5 hours. The instructions I read stated 2-3 hours - what a gap! So I checked it so so many times and 2.5 hours seemed to be good.
Obviously depends on the size of your dogs paw but I got about 4-5 good sized paw prints each time. I made SO many. I have no clue yet how they will keep. I wanted to give some paws away but I needed lots for myself. I want to paint them, hang them on my Christmas tree, keep one on my wall, by my bed. Everywhere. I miss him so dang much.
Reese loves drive thru's (though he didn't always, people are scary) so when we go through Tim's this kid thinks he's for sure getting a treato. Which again, he didn't always. He would give the puppy dog eyes and, whether I ordered for him or not, a nice lady on the other side usually always fell for it and Reese got his treat.
I never thought it would work at Starbucks though, I truthfully didn't know Puppicino's were a thing until Reese worked his magic there too! A young gentleman fell for Reese's Siren ways and asked me if I'd like to get him a Puppicino, to which I said "uuuuuuuuuuh ok". The little cup of whipped cream and vanilla became his favourite thing - saved for special occasions only.
It went without saying that Reese would be treated to a special Puppicino on his last weekend with us. We made the most out of this trip, stopping in an empty parking lot at the side of a building to capture the moment with our boy to take some selfies. This is actually also the last time I saw my tripod; I do believe I had left without it. My birthday hath passed but if you feel so inclined to buy me a gift.... kidding... kind of.
Training my dogs is not just a passion, it's a habit, done without thinking. Every moment is a training opportunity and Reese knew that the most. However, in our last few days together I let things slip. Consistency is key with training, and it broke my heart to think, if I let him do it this once... does it really matter anymore.
So I let him get away with things (little things). If he wanted to sit right next to me while I ate on the couch, so be it. But still, bro, don't stare at me. I just can't stand that. I let him zoomy up the stairs and fly across the living room, he sassed us more than ever, and he got to sleep in the bed. From Saturday night to Wednesday night, he was under the sheets. Taking up so. much. room.
There is no guideline that anyone can give you for preparing for this. You will figure out how you need to grieve and what you need to cope. But let yourself grieve. It is not silly, they are not just pets, they are family. Your family. The pain and sadness you feel is real, don't feel like you need to get over it. Surround yourself with people who understand.
For me the grieving started the moment the appointment was made. I would hold Reese and miss him already. I did everything that I could to not be sad because he could feel that and I just wanted so badly for his last days to full of joy and happiness. No fear or sadness whatsoever.
The days and now weeks that follow Reese leaving us are lonely. I miss my boy and I am sad so often. My life continues to keep me busy and distracted, especially Riley and Rey. I'll glance at where he used to sleep or find myself wanting to squeeze my little guy, and it breaks my heart. I just want another cuddle. I want to tell him how good of a boy he was.
We have this photo printed out in our room and it's the last thing that I see before turning off the light, or rather telling Google to turn off the light. I have memories everywhere of my little Reesey. I didn't want the time that he spent in this home to disappear. I got Reese the same day that I moved into this house. It is so empty without him. I didn't know coming home to a house without Reese until that night. His bed was painfully empty that first night.
Our vet gave us a beautiful card expressing their condolences for the loss of our beautiful Reesey. Inside the card were ink paw prints for us to hold onto as well as an ink print of his sweet little nose. It is so so special. I boop that little ink nose print and miss him more.
There is peace knowing that Reese isn't sick anymore, he also isn't scared or trying to take care of me. His 'job' that he thought he had is done and he can run freely and play and be a happy boy. I will see him again and I so look forward to that day.
For now I miss him, and that's okay.