I gave Savi to Rob for his 37th birthday. He turned 50 a few months ago. That's a long time to have someone with you, every single day - and not only someone - but your very best friend.
Savi was amazing. The sweetest, kindest, most loving loyal dog in the world. And Rob is the ultimate dog lover - the kind of man that has his dog by his side and most likely, at night, right next to him on our white feather down comforter.
She was ours, and I distinctly remember the span of time before I had kids where I seriously thought she was my child. She got partially ran over when she was about seven months old, and the vet said with conviction that she would more than likely lose her tail. I asked what would have to be done to save it and the vet told me she would need constant 24 hour around-the-clock care for three months...not one minute unattended. So I took her to work with me every single day. Every errand I ran, she was next to me in the front seat of my car. I didn't do any overnights or dinners out and I taped one too many socks on her tail to count. (When she got ran over, her tail had split completely up the middle...she had to be watched constantly to make sure she didn't lick at/and or bite the wound area. The socks were my makeshift barrier so she wouldn't rip out the stitches.)
Three months later, she left the doggie doctor with stitches out and one excitedly wagging tail.
Savi loved to swim more than anything. Well, right after chasing a ball. Throwing a ball into the water for her to fetch? Might as well hand her heaven on a platter right then and there. She loved the lake and she loved the beach. But more than anything, she just loved being wherever her family was.
I gave Savi to Rob and one year later, got married and moved into our house. Savi has been my entire life in this house. She has been my entire relationship with my husband and she has been here every single day of my kids lives.
I've never woken up in this house before without her here.
She was thirteen years old. Standard for a lab's life expectancy, but it went so fast. About a year ago, we noticed she was slowing down. She couldn't run after the ball like she used to and her energy level was dwindling. But still, still...her tail wagged every time we drove into the driveway. She would get up and come over to us when we had settled in for the night. Up until the very last second of her life, when she could barely muster a breath...she wagged her tail when we were touching and hugging her.
I've got to tell you what...dogs are one of the most amazing creatures on this earth.
When we noticed she was going downhill, we stepped up our game in making sure she was comfortable and happy. Last Monday morning, I got up and went into the living room to let her outside just like I did first thing every single morning. She didn't get up right away which was unlike her and I had to help her up and coax her outside. When she didn't eat her breakfast, I knew something was wrong and got her into the vet that day.
I knew when Rob and I were sitting in the waiting room with Savi, there was a good chance the doctor would tell us it was her time. I hoped and prayed she wouldn't say so, and when she told us she didn't think it was quite time yet I understood her unspoken words that we could take her home, but it would probably be a matter of weeks, if not days.
She was already on pain meds for arthritis, so I was comfortable in knowing she wasn't in pain. But the day after we took her home from the vet, I knew we only had a short time left. So we did everything to make her last days good...we moved her into our room, right by Rob's side of the bed. She stopped eating her regular dog food, so she got whatever she wanted - bacon, pizza, steak. She went from tap water to bottled water and she got more love than ever before (which, her love before was pretty plentiful to begin with).
I talked to my boys about what was going to happen. I told them they had a very limited number of days left with their dog, and we all spent a lot of time with her...laying with her, petting her, scratching her belly...taking some photos and spending as much time as we could with her.
Friday afternoon I noticed she was really not doing well. I talked to Rob about taking her in but he wanted to wait until Monday...I think he wasn't ready and he wanted a couple more days. At first I was a little upset...I mean, it isn't up to us when our dogs go...we need to gage their feelings and if they are suffering, and as animal owners we need to do everything possible to make sure they are comfortable and not in pain. I agreed, and then come Saturday, Savi seemed happy as ever. She still wasn't eating much but she was drinking water, and she was happy and seemed at ease. She could get up and walk outside, and even walked around a bit more, which she hadn't really been able to do a few days prior.
Saturday night she slept by our bed, and I barely slept because I was kept awake by her constant, strained breathing. That morning, she was able to walk outside and she even ate a few bites of bacon. The kids and I had gone to my mom's house to pick up a few things, and when I was there, Rob called and told me he had taken Savi outside, and she had had a seizure (in her entire life, she had never once had a seizure before). He thought for a second that that was it, and she was gone, and I could tell he had been crying. He told us to come home as soon as possible and we would take her to the vet.
The kids and I got home and we all got down by Savi. She was sitting up, she was wagging her tail, and I honestly thought for a minute that she was back to normal. And then two minutes later, she had one last seizure and died right there in our backyard.
But this is the story Rob told:
The kids and I had left Sunday to pick up a few things from my moms. Rob and Savi were in the living room. Rob was watching golf, Savi was laying down resting. Suddenly, Savi got up on her own and walked across the room. She sat down and this is what Rob said...
She sat down and looked right at me. I looked away for a second and then looked back, and she was still staring at me. It was a different kind of look in her eyes, and I knew right then she was trying to tell me something. The look in her eyes wasn't one of pain, but of relief. I knew she was telling me she was done, but I saw happiness in her eyes, not sadness.
Rob took her outside and laid her down in one of her favorite spots in our yard. He sat with her for a few minutes and that is when she had her seizure. He said he thought it was over, that was it, but then she came back to and sat up straight. He continued to lay with her and said to me later...
She kept looking towards the road. I was surprised at how normal she seemed, after the seizure she just had, and noticed how she would look around but mainly kept her eyes on the road.
It was only after the boys and I had came home that he said...
It suddenly made sense. Savi was waiting for you guys. She was waiting for her family to be together before she left. She was watching the road waiting for you and the boys to get here so she could finally go on her own terms.
It wasn't two minutes after all of us had gathered around Savi had she left and gone to heaven. I think she knew we had planned to take her to the vet the next day and she wanted to go on her own terms. In her favorite spot with her family.
It was sad. It was hard and we all cried. Rob and I talked to the boys about the circle of life and how God only gives us pets for a certain amount of time...because He loves them so much and He wants them back. We talked about how awesome it was that God gave us these amazing pets for the short amount of time that He did...and how we should be thankful to be in their presence for when we are.
And also, how our amazing dog Savi is now running around in heaven and is reunited with his best friend ever Indy.
Happy-sad, is what I call it.
Happy-sad, yet right now definitely feels more sad than happy.
But for us, we believe in heaven. And we believe in dog heaven, where all dogs go and get reunited with their long lost friends. Long lost sisters, brothers, owners, etc.
All dogs go to heaven?
Dogs ARE heaven.