Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Three Barks from Heaven

No lazy day to play with toys the day after Christmas.  No meandering around in our jammies all day eating leftovers or sitting by the fire relaxing after guests had all gone home.
  
 The day after Christmas was a sad day for us.  Our beloved Toby passed away.  With great big holes in all of our hearts, we grieved.  For those of you who are pet owners, you understand.  It is like losing a family member.  It hurts.  It hurts deeply.  Our pets love us so much.  They love unconditionally.  They listen.  They comfort.  When you have tears, they lick the pain away.  When you are happy, they rejoice with you.  Our pets are faithful.  Toby was the best.  He was all of our best friend.   

Toby had been in a great deal of pain for several weeks.  We thought it was arthritis.  We went to the vet three times to get more medication.  By Christmas, he couldn't walk at all.  He cried at night.  We took him to the vet the day after Christmas hoping that maybe he had a broken leg that was misdiagnosed and could be fixed.  X-rays showed bone cancer.  A cancer that had caused his hip bones to completely deteriorate.  We had the difficult choice to make to put him to sleep and out of the pain he was experiencing.  If you have not had to confront this, it is one of the most difficult choices.  And then there is explaining that to your children...

I don't think I have ever seen my children cry so hard.  It pained me to watch them.  It was difficult to be strong, when my own heart was hurting.  Later that day, when I thought we had no more tears left, my son was cutting fruit for our dinner.  He turned around with the bowl in his hand and with eyes full of tears said, "I know I am crying again, but I thought I heard three barks from heaven."

I believe him.  I don't pretend to know what happens to our pets when they die.  I like to think that they will be in heaven.  After all, God created them, too.  I can't recite it, but somewhere in the Bible it says that the animals will all live in harmony; the lion and the lamb... There are no tears in heaven.  I think it would be sad not to see our pets.  I choose to believe they are there, and that we will see them again.

I told my children that Toby couldn't walk anymore here on earth and that he was suffering.   That day after Christmas, I pictured Jesus balancing on one knee and yelling, "Come here, boy!  Come on Toby!"  I like to think Toby ran into his Maker's arms at the moment he closed his eyes here on earth.  I like to picture him running in the fields of flowers and swimming in the ponds in heaven.  I think this picture gave my children some comfort.

Three barks from heaven...I think I hear them, too.

I have written about Toby before.  We adopted him two years ago from Rob's great uncle who passed away at the age of 93.  Toby didn't have anywhere to go, and we had recently lost our yellow lab of 15 years.  We had known Toby and were thrilled to welcome him, but were a little unsure how he would be with the children; he hadn't been around kids much.  Rob's parents drove and met family from Pennsylvania to bring Toby to us.  He loved our children and played endlessly with them.  After six months, Toby swallowed a McDonald's pink flamingo toy and almost died.  He had surgery and survived the fifty/fifty chance that was given.  We were so blessed by Toby.  He will be sorely missed.

I apologize to so many of you, whom I wanted to visit and wish a Merry Christmas or to respond to questions you had.  I will be back soon.   Enjoy your time and hug your loved ones and your pets.  As one blogger wrote to me, "Love them way more than you think possible!"

Much love to all of you,
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46 comments :

Crystal @ Ordinary Days said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Shari @ turnstylevogue.com said...

I'm so sorry about your loss of Toby. There is nothing better than unconditional love from a dog. Some friends of ours just lost their beagle of 16 years right before Christmas and we have all been grieving for him.

"Until one has loved a dog, part of one's soul remains unawakened." A. France.

Take care.

julie isa said...

I am so very sorry for your families loss. Sending love and prayers to you all.

Barbara said...

Oh Christie and family, I'm so sorry to hear your news! We have been there and know what you are going through - we understand your pain. I do believe that Toby is playing with our Pal - Running. Jumping. Wrestling. And all without pain. Hugs and prayers for your sweet family. Your friend, Barbara, in St. Louis

Sandi @ The Primitive Skate said...

What a touching post! I cried right along with you and your children. So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time!
This is a copy of a poem that my Vet gave me when our dog passed away several years ago....

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...



sandraallen260@centurytel.net

gina said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. I have a 15 1/2 year old long haired dachshund who is slowing down considerably and I know I will soon be faced with what you just endured. Toby is having a blast in heaven. There is a cute childrens book called Dog Heaven that my sister gave me about 16 years ago when my 11 1/2 year old dachshund passed away unexpectedly. Prayers for you all.

Kris said...

I am so sorry!

Fiona said...

I feel your pain Christie - We lost one of our beloved Pets this year too and it is very hard. I too believe that we will see them again. Hugs to you and your family.

Fee X

Layn @ reignalayn.blogspot.com said...

I am teary eyed reading this. At least you know that you gave Toby the best home ever and that he was well loved. It's so hard to make that decision. You did the right thing- as hard as it was. I'm so, so sorry!

Sue said...

I understand completely. We have been through it before, and right now my black lab, Riley sits at my feet:) Thanks for sharing your son's comment..."Three barks from heaven" is such a precious sentiment. Take care.

It's me said...

Oh no !!! this hurts deep so deep...i feel your pain darling...tears rolling over my cheek.....i am so so deeply sorry for you !!....hope you will give it a place ...love you with whole my heart !!.....love xxx...

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Oh, Christie, I am so sorry for your loss. Yes, our pets are family members and it hurts so bad when they leave us.

I hope you and your family find happier times soon.

Amanda said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, we went through the same thing a few years ago, heart breaking for us, but a blessed relief for Max who was no longer in pain.

Thinking of you all x

Kirby Dunton Carespodi said...

So sorry for you rloss.

Jody@northernliving said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Take care of each other.
Jody

Sue said...

I am sorry for your loss, our pets are very precious to us and they leave a big hole in our hearts when they are gone. It always doubles a mom's pain to watch her children go through something like this ~

Kim @ Touch of Nostalgia said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you and your family. I dread the day we will face with our dog Fritz what you've faced with Toby.

While you morn Toby's loss, Rob's great uncle was eagerly waiting his arrival. He had a long time friend waiting for him in heaven.

Take care,

Kim

Leslie said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

Val said...

Truly sorry!! My heart breaks for you and your family!

Lori said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your Toby. We just had to make the same decision 2 weeks ago for our dog Jake. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I know how much your heart aches. Just remember that you did what was best for him and he's no longer in pain. He is up in heaven running around and happy!

Lori

Monique said...

Hi, I'm so sorry to hear about Toby !! He is in heaven now and not in pain anymore, but I know it hurts a lot. I'll be thinking of you and yours.

Ramblings of a Southern Girl ~ Rhonda G said...

So sorry for your loss! Our pets invade our hearts in a special way! And are never forgotten once gone! --We lost our 2 dogs last February within two weeks of each other. I'm not ready to get that attached again, so we are pet'less for the time being!

My heart goes out to you and your family!

pbrenner said...

I am so sorry for your loss of such a beloved member of your family. I believe God made dogs out of pure love - so we can see a glimmer of His great love for us. I believe your son did hear three barks from heaven, as Toby's way of letting you know he is ok and just waiting to be reunited. Sending prayers from Texas - for healing and understanding.

Patty

Holly said...

Praying for you in this sad time.

Kelly said...

What a sad post! I'm so sorry for your loss! I've had to put down animals in the past due to terminal illness and suffering and it is not easy. I usually can't even look at them after they're gone. It is just too painful. I try to remember the good times, so I don't focus on the end so much. This is not an easy time of year (when everyone else is celebrating) either to go through something like this. Wishing you the best and time to greive. Maybe you can search for another pet in the new year. I know it's not a replacement, but it does help heal the soul to have another living animal in the home to fill the void that Toby left behind.

Kim said...

We have been right where you are and hurt isn't quite the right word... more like wounded, but worse. My heart still isn't the same after losing our two yellow labs, never will be. And I do think that we will see them in heaven. It would be completely within God's character to have our pets there, waiting to welcome us Home, just as they did here. I'll send up a prayer for you and yours today...

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Toby. I know the pain of losing a pet...it is very real and painful....take time to grieve...and I think Toby is in Heaven...playing with my Pepper!

Heidianna said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. Toby will stay in your hearts forever! Have a peaceful rest of 2011 and a wonderful 2012!

Julie gottaknit123@yahoo.com said...

So very sorry for your loss. Its so hard to loose a
special devoted from like your Toby was. My Christmas was sad this year too as I just lost my Dad on November 27, but I sent him off with some milk bones in his pocket, so hopefully he's met your Toby and shared with him. He was all about the "treats" for his beloved friends. :) May sound silly to some but that's the kind of special guy he was. Knew he would meet up with some of his "old friends" and would want to share with them. :) Hugs and love to you and your family. xoxoxox

Anonymous said...

I am sitting here teary eyed. So sorry to hear of your loss. We were faced with that same difficult decision and it is so painful. Your pets really are part of the family. I believe your son heard those 3 barks. Our beloved Collie brought my husband a stick following her death. I believe she was letting him know she was better.

Love,
Betsy

Rachel said...

I am so sorry. We have a 14 year old yellow Lab that we have had since she was 14 months old, and a 10 year old Shih Tzu that we inherited from my MIL. We love them dearly and I can't even imagine life without them.

Kristen said...

So sorry to hear about Toby. I have tears in my eyes. It's hard to lose a dog, they are so much a part of our lives and the kind of love they give is incredible.

Melissa said...

Christie-it is so hard...so sad...but you were blessed to love him so much....

Nothing hurts like the loss of something that makes up your little nucleus family-you had those few wonderful years together-& the loss of that is so big because the love surrounding that time was so great...

Take care of one another...

Melissa (Miss Sew & So)
X

Claus said...

Of course they are in Heaven. Of course we will meet them again!! I know all too well what you are going through, and hope with all my heart that you will find comfort and peace in your heart. It is awful no to have them around; they are family! But it's even worse to have them around, but in pain and suffering. It will hurt a while, I'm afraid to say, but you will come around eventually. Try to think about the great times, the important moments they were there for you and with you. Those memories are the best gifts.
warm hugs from Guatemala

Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads said...

My heart is hurting from your loss. What a difficult decision you faced, but Toby is in a better place now. I hope that brings you some solace.

Andrea said...

That is so sad! Osteosarcoma is a horrible disease, and you certainly made the right choice in ending his suffering. I've seen it with many patients (I'm a vet) and it hits fast and hard. One of the worst cancers. I hope you can remember the good times with him.

Heaven's Walk said...

Oh, Christie...I am so sorry to hear this. I am crying right along with you and your kids. When your son said that he heard three barks from heaven, I thought, "Kids have a special connection with heaven that we adults can't even touch." I know all too well how heart wrenching it is to lose a furbaby. I truly believe that we WILL see our babies again when we get to heaven. There is no doubt in my mind. Besides the beautifully written "Rainbow Bridge", there is a book by Randy Alcorn called "Heaven" that answers a lot of questions that we all have in our hearts. After losing my sweet Toby (cat)in September and still being totally distraught over it, I was given a book for Christmas titled "I Will See You in Heaven" by Friar Jack Wintz. It has been very comforting to me. Sending you all a big hug and will be praying that your hearts and minds will be comforted. ♥

xoxo laurie

Julie said...

So Sorry for your loss of Toby. Our Pets are so much apart of the family and our lives. We to have went through this pain I believe I will see my babies again when the time comes. It's been a year and half since we said our last goodbyes. I hope your family can remember the great memories and love you shared with Toby and it eases your pain. prayers to all of you.

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

My heart breaks for you and your family Christie. I know how hard it is to loose a pet. Martina

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry....we love our pets dearly and unconditionally...

Blessings,
Betty @ Country Charm

Leslie said...

Oh, I'm so sorry about your family's loss! Our Toby (a Westie) passed away last February, and it was so difficult to go through. Praying for y'all. Thanks for sharing the photos and memories with us. :)
Blessings,
Leslie

Sharon-The OKI StampQueen said...

Christie---thoughts and prayers for you and yours! I have walked this path--and my husband *thought* a good Christmas present would be making a donation to a pet org. in memory of my angel, Onyx, (shitzu cocker mix)who I had to have put down some years ago. All I could do all Christmas as choke back tears. I feel your pain and loss-and yes, we will see them in heaven (he also gave me a book to that effect as another gift...poor timing). Praying the pain will pass, but not the memories. It's been a # of years since and I've adopted not one but 5 cats-yep, it's taken that many kitties to fill the gap left by one dog! One I swear has my angel's spirit-he brings me one of his toy mice when he knows I am upset! He's black just like she was---so they do live on...no one can take the place of the lost one-but there are more out there to love...when the time is right, may you find your new fur friend. Blessings, Sharon

Randi~Dukes and Duchesses said...

I'm so sorry ... losing a pet is devastating. I love that your son heard three barks from heaven ... that's beautiful.

Erin said...

So sorry for your loss. I know how hard the decision is to make. I've made it. Will be thinking of you and your family.

Jules said...

I am so truly sorry for your loss. My sister and I had to make that same awful decision a year and a half ago, when our beloved Sheltie mix, Lady Anne, was having trouble breathing. Her wind pipe was bent and there was nothing they could do to save her. We cried hard. My sister still cries sometimes. We raised from the time she was 5 wks old and she was the BEST dog we had ever had! Still miss my girl, but am thankful she is no longer suffering. I like to think pets go to Heaven too. I know they don't have a soul, but God did indeed make them. And often, I think of how God has given us a taste of Heaven here on Earth in all that He has created. If it is but just a taste, then surely there are pets/animals in Heaven.

Love Being A Nonny said...

Three barks from heaven made me cry.

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