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When My Puppy Said Goodbye to My Old Dog

Note: This is a different kind of essay for this blog. More personal and sad. You’ve been warned. Thank you for reading. -Lindsay

When my puppy said goodbye to my old dog

When my dog Ace died, it was in our living room on a Friday. Meaning, the vet offices were closed. So I had the burden and blessing of keeping his body with us until the next morning. Most people do not get to experience the death of a dog in this way anymore.

From the comfort of our living room floor, I curled my body around his like I’d do if he were alive. Pressed my lips to his soft, smooth forehead. Kissed that low spot between his eyes. Told him I loved him, what a good boy he was. Inhaled his dog scent maybe a dozen times.

When I went back to the bedroom, I left him out on his blanket. He appeared to be sleeping there like any given night. Peaceful and safe.

Next morning was most painful, knowing my dog was still there but not. I hoped he’d somehow be alive again, like he is in my dreams, that we’d been wrong about his death.

But no.

That morning was silent. No wagging black tail. No senior dog to be let outside and fed.

I still had my young pup, of course. Remy and I went through our normal routine, so normal that he seemed indifferent to the loss of his brother.

Until, about a half-hour later, when the pup stood over his friend, stunned.

Remy had been there for Ace’s death. He’d been present during the heart attack. He’d walked by the body many times seemingly unfazed.

I did not shield my young dog from my old dog’s death because I always thought animals understood dying and accepted it.

So it broke my heart and gave closure that morning to see my young dog, standing there, suddenly confused by his brother’s stiffness. Like he’d thought Ace had just been sleeping this entire time. (Not unusual for our old guy!)

My young dog stood there beside his friend and mentor, tail wagging frantically in question.

He sniffed Ace’s face real close, then jumped back, shocked by this change.

Maybe he wondered why Ace didn’t give a little growl, like he’d always done when Remy pressed close.

My young dog stared, backing away from stillness and scent.

He knew then.

Our old friend was gone.

 

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Chayton

Sunday 24th of February 2019

My Labrador is my soul-dog - there are many dogs in your life - but I am closer to him than any other living being in my life - he is about 10 - he has Mega-Esophagus his entire life and has been blind from PRA for over 2 years. I understand this isn't forever - but the reason I am commenting is about the smell - every night I go to bed and Shian even blind curls up next to me - and I go to sleep having my nose buried in the back of his neck - smelling his unique smell - clean smell but like toast burning on a campfire - it instantly calms me and puts me to sleep - it is so tough to see him blind so young - and struggling to eat anything - I have another dog and a puppy too - but Shian is my soul-child - and I can't imagine going to sleep if him and his smell isn't there - Ace is alive in the mind and heart of so many - you gave him an incredible even famous life - all your readers are proud of your courage and for being so open to share this...

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 25th of February 2019

Thank you, Chayton.

Siobhan

Tuesday 18th of September 2018

I am sorry for your loss. I will miss reading about Ace.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 21st of September 2018

Thank you.

Karen Cauduro

Wednesday 12th of September 2018

Our dog passed away a month ago. A dearly loved boy, who was there for my son when he was suicidal and there for my husband, when he recovered from multiple surgeries after a near fatal accident. He meant so much to us. He was a best mate to many. He fur friends knew he was not well, he smelt funky, he wasn't the same crazy fur friend. We called the vet, when we knew it was time. He'd chosen his burial spot, on our farm, about a month before and the vet had offered to euthanize him there. He passed peacefully in my arms, before the vet arrived, and with all his loved ones around him. It will be a treasured memory forever. Your beautiful story has me in tears, yet again.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 12th of September 2018

So sorry to hear your dog died. Thank you for telling us about him. He sounds like he was such a special dog.

Shilpa Darvatkar

Wednesday 12th of September 2018

Very sorry to hear about ACE. My heartiest condolence to you and your family about the loss. I have mix lab named Cocoa, who is just 5.5 months. Cocoa is our first pet and we are completely new pet parents. I just cant imagine my daily routine without him. I love to read your articles. Thank you for sharing.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 12th of September 2018

Thank you!

Diane Reinhold

Tuesday 11th of September 2018

What a beautiful, touching essay. With a lump in my throat I send my heartfelt condolences for the passing of your big boy Ace. He was a blessed boy to be a part of your family.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 11th of September 2018

Thank you, Diane!