When we were dreaming up names for our business, it was decided in less than a second. Because as long as we’ve been together, really, we’ve been a Pack. You can read about how that came about here, but for friends who’ve been with us a while, you know all about our beloved rescue Pack of five. These dogs have defined so much in our relationship, our family, our life. Four little ladies and one goofy boxer. But it’s funny. When you make the decision to add to your family, you aren’t thinking about the toll that the final years will take on your heart. And thank goodness for that, because no one would ever adopt if that were the case.
We had an ominous feeling as our dogs started growing older. They were all around the same age, and we worried we would have a very difficult time saying goodbye to one fur baby after another. Our worst fears came to light this week. This has been difficult to process, and especially difficult to find the right words for. On Friday, our family had to say goodbye to our sweet sisters resucued from a FEMA trailer in Hurricane Katrina, Matilda and Stella. We had these two gals since before we were married, and for fifteen years they brought immense joy to our family. In fact, we have them to thank for Jon and I buying our first house back in 2006 (and the catalyst for every house after). We even went as far as installing pet grass on our roof so we could make city living with five dogs work 😆.
We found out just before Christmas that Stella had a brain tumor, though her symptoms had been present for over a year. They had really taken a toll on her these past few months. She spent every day spinning in circles, and we have been coaxing her with anything and everything to get her to eat. Jon spent many nights attempting to sleep on the couch while she spun around him so she didn’t wake the rest of the house.
Then, a week ago yesterday, Mattie was laying by the fire, being her sweet self, and she suddenly lurched forward and vomited. We were right next to her, thankfully, and helped her up. Her eyes were darting back and forth, and she could not stop vomiting. After multiple emergency visits throughout the week, they determined that she had a very severe case of Vestibular Disease. Typically, dogs improve and even go back to normal life after a couple of days, but this was not the case for Matt. She completely lost her ability to stand, eat, drink, and function. They believe an underlying condition was not allowing her to recover. It was gut-wrenching to watch, and after six days of, as our vet put it, being on a constant merry-go-round, we made the painful decision to give them both the gift of peace. We are sick about it, and the void in our home is deafening.
We feel unbelievably grateful to have been the parents of five loving, snuggly, mischievous, adorable rescue pups. The original Pack of 5 is sorely missed, and our hearts have broken several times over. We are deeply thankful to have the final remaining member, Chancellor (Boob) to love on in his golden years. There is definitely comfort in knowing that Matilda and Stella have joined our first baby Jolea, along with that darling Ladea girl; but my goodness, losing your pups is such a stabbing loss. Goodbye certainly doesn't get any easier. If you have experienced this pain, please know we are with you, we are thinking of you, and we would do anything to make it better. The reality is, no one can. Nothing works. Just allowing the feelings, whatever they may be, and loving on your people. I will say this - of all of the loss I have experienced, typically words don't help. But my mom sent this note, and it left me with a feeling of peace. Please feel free to share if you find it helpful, or use if you have to console a friend. Thank you for all of your thoughtful messages, your likes and comments despite me spamming you with far too many pack pics throughout the years, and for your love for our family. We appreciate it more than you know 💙.