This week we said goodbye to an important part of our family. Our beautiful dog Bonnie.
She came into our family over eleven years ago. We saw an ad in the local paper for pure bred Golden Retrievers. We weren’t ready for a dog because we’d just moved into our new house and didn’t even have fences up in our backyard yet, but we just went to have a look. Of course who just goes to look at puppies and comes home empty handed? Not us! We fell in love and brought home a puppy that day. We named her Bonnie.
She was a beautiful dog, very clever and she loved to be around people. She always had to be close by, within touching distance, a paw on you leg, a head on your foot, always touching.
We’d noticed before we went away on our holiday last week that she was a bit off her food and losing some weight. When we returned she’d lost even more. Her back legs seemed a little unsteady. She’s just getting old we thought. We decided it might be a good idea to take her to the vet for a check up anyway. But on Tuesday morning when I woke up she had gone completely down hill overnight. She could barely stand. I took her to the vet and was told there was a large cancerous mass in her spleen. Nothing could be done. My husband was away for work. I asked if they could possibly make her comfortable enough to last the night so he could say goodbye. They couldn’t, it would be too cruel. So the decision was made.
I held her head in my lap, whispered “I’m so, so sorry. I love you” and then I said goodbye. I felt sad and I also felt really guilty. Guilty that we hadn’t realised sooner how sick she was, guilty that I hadn’t made my son give her a big cuddle before we left the house that day, guilty that we hadn’t played with her more and guilty that I couldn’t bring myself to stay for that final moment. I hope she didn’t feel alone. I hope she knew how much we loved her.
That afternoon when I picked our son up from Kinder I told him that Bonnie had died. Like most kids, losing our beloved family pet would be his first experience with death. He asked what had happened to her and I explained she was just very old and very sick. He didn’t say anything. This morning he asked when she was coming home. I explained she wasn’t because she had died. He asked where she had died, “was it inside or outside?” “Inside” I said “I gave her a big cuddle.” I don’t think he really understands, I’m sure there will be more questions to come when he realises she’s not coming home. We’ll deal with each question open and honestly as they come.
Rest in peace Bonnie.