We are grieving. We are remembering. We are thankful.
Yesterday, after an agonizing decision, we said good-bye to our beloved Elvis. Though he was a stinker dog–shedding everywhere, leaving muddy paw prints through the house, barking at every.single.person. he was still our dog and faithful to the end.
Friday, someone opened our back gate and let our dogs out. Our neighbor saw them and called Penny to her, but Elvis took off down the alley. At some point, he got into a fight with another dog and Animal Control was called. When the officer arrived, Elvis was the only dog to be found. Unfortunately, Elvis decided the officer was the enemy and attempted to attack him. The officer wasn’t injured, but Elvis was transported to “dog jail” to cool off. In the mean time, we spoke with our vet who was able to peek in on him and reported that he just wasn’t himself. After recounting to her how many incidents we’ve had with him in the last couple years (five unprovoked bites), she recommended that we consider putting him down. And the knot formed in our stomachs.
Yesterday, Charlie went to the shelter to visit Elvis and talk to the officer who had taken him in. After hearing the story and seeing the obvious distress our poor dog was in, there really was no other choice. He took Elvis for one last walk around the grassy yard of the shelter and said good-bye to him. When he came home, he said our dog was not the same dog. Something serious had happened to him. He couldn’t be trusted. Charlie didn’t want to risk his family’s or any other family’s safety keeping a dog around that had turned so aggressive. And we couldn’t give him to another family in good conscience. We cried. We prayed. It was the responsible thing to do, but it left us with such heavy hearts.
We decided not to tell the girls until after their Valentine party. As we were doing our family bedtime routine last night, we told them. They cried which made us cry, too. We all held each other and grieved together. There is comfort in so many little bodies piled together. They asked all the usual questions: Is Elvis in heaven? Will we see him again? Where is his body? We answered the best we could, but continued to emphasize that he always belonged to the Lord and the Lord is taking care of him now. Emma being the absolute animal lover she is was devastated. She cried herself to sleep. Ruthie cried, too, but more because she felt so badly for Emma. Olivia didn’t completely understand all that we were saying and was tired enough to cry from sheer fatigue. It was by far the hardest parenting moment either of us have faced.
But, this morning, we are rejoicing in the many years we had with our faithful friend. I will miss his familiar outline in the black night as we return home. I will miss his tail wagging in delight whenever he saw my husband’s car pull in the drive. I will miss running with him. I will miss his kind eyes and face that always seemed to smile. Those are the images and memories I will take with me.
Thank You, Lord, for our faithful friend. For providing his companionship and comfort to us all these years. Bring comfort to our hearts now. In Jesus’ name, Amen.