Over the Rainbow Bridge

Last Monday, we had to say goodbye to a family member. My sweet 13 year old toy poodle, Sasafrass, went over the rainbow bridge on December 1.

Over the summer when we first moved back to central Mississippi, we were really excited that our dogs would get to go back to our old veterinarian. We love this place, and this vet is the one who saved Sassy after she almost died being attacked by a dog a few years ago. We took them for their yearly checkup in June, and everything looked great aside from Sassy just being old and needing her teeth cleaned.

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In July, Sassy got really sick and we ended up having to board her at the vet for a few days so they could watch her. She made a full recovery, but the vet happened to notice a lump on her upper right gum. She was concerned because it was not there in June when she came for her checkup. We agreed to let her take it out surgically, and we would get her teeth cleaned while she was under, a win/win. Sassy did great, and the vet sent the growth off to be biopsied.

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Keep in mind I was 8 month pregnant, we were in the middle of selling our house and buying a new one. We were trying to pack up and move, and everything was just really crazy. It didn’t even phase me when we never heard from the vet about the biopsy. They are very busy there, and I assumed no news was good news. I had Emma Kate, and in October I took the dogs to get haircuts and meant to ask about the biopsy but totally forgot.

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We went on with life with a newborn, until mid November when one day Sassy started acting weird. She was shaking and panting and following me around the house which she never does, so I sent a video to Bobby telling him I was worried. She eventually calmed down, and that night, Bobby gave me the news. He told me that Sassy’s growth was malignant, and that she only had a short while left. The vet was actually surprised she had made it this long. I was in shock, and didn’t believe it. She was fine otherwise aside from walking a little slower, so I just didn’t understand.

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Apparently, the biopsy came back soon after the tumor was removed, and the vet, knowing I was 8 months pregnant, had the foresight to call Bobby instead of me. They decided it was a good idea to not tell me just yet, and let me have the baby and only tell me when necessary. Bobby felt like it was getting close to time when I called him in a panic, and he was right. We got some pain pills form the vet and when she was on them, she acted fine, perfect, and happy…but I knew she couldn’t live on them forever.

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The vet said the next thing to happen would be breathing difficulties, and I did not want that to happen, or Sassy to suffer one day while I wasn’t home. She was getting worse, so we asked the vet for enough pills to get us through Thanksgiving so we could have one more holiday with her, and take her to my parents house one more time. We had a great weekend, and on Monday morning, Bobby took Sassy to the vet. It was a very difficult day for me. I just wanted to crawl in the bed and cry but I had to take care of the baby, which I guess was good because it somewhat distracted me.

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cheering on runners during a local triathlon in our neighborhood

Sassy truly was a member of the family. I had her longer than I have known Bobby. I got her in September of my junior year of high school, just before the September 11th attacks. We have been through a lot, and she has lived in a lot of places (my parents, my apartment in college, and four other houses with us since). I have a hard time remembering a time when I didn’t have her.

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She loved going for walks, rolling on her back, playing under a blanket, “talking” to us, and showing us her toys (or a sock, or a scrap of paper, it didn’t matter.) She was so submissive, always wanting to please people, and was very obedient.

I am still not used to her being gone, and say things like “the girls” referring to Bella and Sassy, then I remember it’s just Bella, and it’s hard. This is a hard time of year for a loss, but I know she is not in pain anymore. She lived a good, long life where she never had to stay outside and be too hot or cold, never had to go hungry, and always had someone to pet her.

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When you get a puppy, you don’t think about years down the road when you will have to say goodbye. I felt so guilty because I knew she didn’t understand. She didn’t understand why she was in pain, or what was happening when I watched Bobby drive away with her for the last time. I miss her so much, but am trying to hold on to all the good times and the fond memories of our first baby girl.

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Sasafrass “Sassy” August 4, 2001 – December 1, 2014.

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We love and miss you. Love, mom and dad.

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Taken our last night together.

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Comments

  1. Awww Heather I’m so very sorry for your loss!

  2. Bridie Rist says:

    So sorry to hear about Sassy…such a difficult time for a family. Thinking about you guys.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss, heather. You are right, sassy lived a good life and was loved by many people. Pets come into our lives for such a short amount of time but they bring so much love! I’ll keep praying for you guys. Sweet Sassy…imagine what fun she’s having at the Rainbow Bridge! She’s probably showing them the tricks she knows how to do and growling when she’s picked up wrong! 🙂 lol ((hugs, friend!))

  4. So sorry for your loss! I had to put down my first dog I ever had last year, my beloved pug named Herbert, the worst day ever, it does get better though!

  5. I’m so very sorry for your loss! I don’t know what I’ll do when it’s time to say goodbye to my Jasmine. My dog is my child, and I’m sure you felt the same way about Sassy. I’m glad you were able to enjoy Thanksgiving and take some last photos with her.

  6. So sorry to hear about the loss of Sassy. Pets are truly members of our family, and its always hard to loose a member, but she’s in a better place now where she won’t be in pain. I’ll be thinking about you guys, especially with Christmas right around the corner.

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss. Pets do truly become part of the family, and their loss is so difficult. I lost my 17 year old cat this summer, and still miss him daily.

  8. oh so so so many hugs your way.

    xoxoxo

  9. Oh I am so sorry for your loss. We had to put down our 15 year old dog in May and I am still grieving the loss. Its such a hard decision even when its inevitable, and coming home from the vet without my sweet girl, I was a mess. Hugs….very sad time and so hard to say goodbye to a beloved family member.

  10. Oh Heather! I’m sooo sorry! I know how much Sassy meant to you! Pets truly are best friends and members of the family. Hugs! And what a comfort knowing you will see her again one day!

  11. I’m so sorry Heather. I’ve been there, and it just sucks, no other way to say it. No matter how many times you tell yourself you’re doing the right thing, that they won’t be in pain, saying good-bye to furbabies is so very hard.

  12. Heather, I am so, so sorry! I started tearing up just reading this because I think every pet owner can relate to how you are feeling. It’s never easy to say goodbye to our pets because they truly are our most faithful friends through so much of our life. I’m glad Sassy was able to spend the holidays with you and surrounded by so much love – a dog’s dream!

  13. I’m so so sorry girl. My heart goes out to you!

  14. Oh Heather, when I saw the title of your post I was so hoping you weren’t referring to one of your dog’s. I am So sorry for your loss and know how you feel. We recently loss our Labrador of 16 years!

  15. Huge hugs! You guys gave Sassy such an amazing life. She was one lucky pup!

  16. Heather, I am so sorry. Losing a pet is never easy. They are truly family members, and it is heartbreaking to not have them around any longer. Prayers to you and your family during this time.

  17. Heather, I am so sorry for your loss. Our pets are truly members of our families and it is never easy to say goodbye.

  18. I have yet to read a blog post about the loss of a pet & not cry by the end of it… I’m so sorry.

  19. oh, heather, i am so, so very sorry for your loss. just the other day my friend, a dog trainer, lost a long time client of hers. she said, “there’s one heck of a playgroup going on in heaven right now.” when i miss my dog, who passed away about 2 years ago, the most, i think about that — how all of us who know the pain of losing our canine family members, all of them are getting to play together where they aren’t in any pain anymore. i think my little monster would have liked your little sassy quite a lot – and they never do leave us totally.

    the e.e. cummings poem “i carry your heart” helped me a lot when i lost my dog. i went with him when the vet put him to his final sleep and i whispered the poem to him as he drifted off. it comforts me a lot. i hope you find some comfort in all the comments here and knowing that sassy isn’t hurting anymore. <3

  20. So sorry for your loss. Our pets really are family, and I dread the day I have to say goodbye to my husband’s and my first pet together. RIP, Sassy, and may you remember all of the good times you had with her. <3

  21. Oh, I am so very sorry for your loss:(

  22. I’m so sorry for your loss, Heather. I know it had to be an extremely difficult decision to let her go, but you did what was best for her. Pets are amazing creatures, and it’s always tough to lose one.

  23. I’ve been reading your blog for a while but never commented until now – I just wanted to say that I’m so sorry for your loss. Having to let our pets (who really are our family/furry babies) go, is one of the most difficult things in the world. You gave her a wonderful life and I’m sure she was very happy. Sending warm thoughts your way.

  24. Joy Hargraves says:

    Sweetie, I am so sorry. I had to let my boy go this past May due to cancer, too. It is never easy. Both of your dogs have great parents, and you will never stop being Sassy’s mommy. She will be waiting for you! I’ll let Bailey know to look out for her. We had our Bailey cremated. I brought a little bit of him back home to Hawaii with me this trip, and he has been set free forever at his 2 favorite beaches where we lived. It’s the little things you do now that will help your heart heal. There will always be a Sassy-sized hole in your heart. But know she had the life she had because of YOU. Love you, girl.

  25. Peggy Robbins says:

    Heather I’m sorry to hear about Sassy. I know you’ll loved her dearly. She also knew she was loved by you.

  26. Love and hugs to you and your husband. I’m in tears here reading this. I have 2 maltipoos who I love more than anything and I like to believe they’ll be around forever.Your pup lived a great life having such great dog parents 🙂

  27. Heather, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I’ve been with my Halo dog for 10 years now and I don’t know what I would do without her. Sending warm thoughts to you and your family.

  28. That last night is always so hard!! I’m so sorry for the loss of your baby girl <3

  29. Oh Heather I am so very sorry 🙁 That is the hardest thing when we have to tell our fur babies goodbye. Prayers and thoughts to you and Bobby both. I know our dogs especially my 14 year old are like our babies too. It never gets any easier when we have to make that decision, or in our case 2 years ago when one of our fur babies died in the middle of the night at home. Soon you will be able to smile and think of all the wonderful memories of Sassy. Coincidentally, my first dog was named Sassy too 🙂 Your Sassy was a very special and very loved pup! I know she’s up at Rainbow Bridge right now not hurting and playing just waiting till it’s time to see you again. (((((hugs)))) <3

  30. Oh Heather, I am so sorry for your loss, I can’t even imagine how difficult this must have been while dealing with a new baby and right around the holidays!

    Love and good thoughts from Madison (my mini dachshund!) and I!

  31. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so difficult to lose a family member, and having it happen around the holidays makes it even harder. Hang in there and take care of Bella because she’s grieving too.

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. Over the Rainbow Bridge

    Last Monday, we had to say goodbye to a family member. My sweet 13 year old toy poodle, Sasafrass, went