Life's Hardest Lesson... Losing A Pet

If you haven't been lucky enough to love and enjoy a pet, then you may not actually know where I am coming from.  Yes, they're a pain to get looked after if you go away on vacation (assuming they cannot travel too) or picking up dog/cat/bird food at the speciality pet shop isn't exactly on your way home, but we do these things for the fur-balls we adore.  Scratches on couches, scratches on cupboards and doors... our pets really immerse themselves into our lives quickly, honestly and completely.

As your pet ages, you know within your heart that one day soon you'll be dealing with 'the end.'  The thought of it alone makes you choke up... please die in your sleep happy when you are ready is what you hope for.  Our dog started limping.  Then she stopped walking on one hind leg.  Okay, so... it is summer.  She's stepped on something and it is now infected.  Dumb dog.  But no, it is bone cancer. Copper was almost twelve.  A good long life lived by any Alaskan Malamute standards.

For the kids, Copper was the first thing they've lost that they lived with everyday of their lives.  She was here before them, so they are feeling that gap.  For DaddyO and I, we were sad to have to make this choice for our dog.  She's a tough dog... and for her to be in pain, meant she was really in pain.  It was hardest saying our goodbyes to her before she went off to our lovely vet, and having her return lifeless and ready for burial. Wow.  Hardest day of my life.

But the four of us buried her.  The kids had questions and what do you do, you answer them. Beebo cried a little, Xman brushed off tears and kept shovelling... but we all had our moments when we let the tears run free.  I found the shovelling extremely cathartic, as it helped release the sadness and loss into something productive.

It was a hard day to be strong for your children's sake.  You never realize how entrenched that pet is into your family is until it is gone.  Crying is okay, crying is normal, crying is expected.  It is one of life's shittiest lessons ever;  learning how to let something go.

A girl and her dog.

DaddyO wrote this eulogy and read it at our private funeral for Copper:

"Copper was a good dog.  We got Copper in 2004 from the Goodfellow's near Innisfail, Ab. Sam and I had just moved to Alberta and were excited to be able to have our first dog.  I took Copper for bike rides for exercise and Sam took her for walks around town or to the dog park.
After a few years, Sam became pregnant with Beebo and Copper often sniffed her belly. When Beebo was born, Sam and Beebo spent days at home in the company of Copper, getting to know her first child.  Soon we moved to Airdrie, Ab where Copper had a big backyard to play in.  We laid sod soon after arrival, which after a few years of Copper peeing on it, had turned yellow in various spots all over the yard. ~sigh~  Xman was soon born, and Copper had another family member to love and be loved by. 
Next we moved to the acreage, where Copper had tonnes of room to run around and have fun. At first we could leave Copper outside in the front yard where she would stay within the closed fencing and gate, but soon she became adventurous and would run away to find some horse slop to roll around in.  We had to install the zipline she was currently on, to not only keep her safe, but to satisfy her need to run.   
While living on the acreage, Copper met two porcupines-- one of which she ate (and incurred a $700 vet bill).  She also spent time at Gone Wild Kennels, lead by Dave Lovell and a fabulous crew of dogs always awaiting good play. 
We will remember Copper for her coat and her good natured smile.  For her howl, and her chatter.  Copper has moved on to a better place where she is not in any pain.  Farewell friend."

We love you Copper!

Have you ever lost a pet?


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