All Dogs Go To Heaven...Damn Straight They Do.

8.18.2015


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?

Damn straight. 

Dogs ARE heaven. 

52 comments:

  1. This is so so thoughtful. What a beautiful dog and treasured memories. This is my favourite piece of writing of yours, so much love

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It meant a lot, especially on this post.

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  2. Oh wow, part of me wishes I did not read this whilst in work as i am having to hide behind my computer with the tears flowing, so very sorry to hear this, I really am but at least she was happy and surrounded by you all as she went, I hope the boys will be okay (and of course you and Rob) xxx Hugsxxxx

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  3. Oh was a terribly sad, yet beautiful story! I'm so so sorry that you lost your sweet girl, but so glad that she is finally comfortable and not in pain anymore. It is always so hard to say goodbye. I've had my guy since I was 15. He turned 14 this past May and he has literally been my entire life. Long before my husband as around, or babies were ever a glimmer in my mind. It was him. I can't even imagine the day he isn't with me anymore. I'm so glad that she got to go with all of her family around her. What a beautiful way to say goodbye. My heart just breaks for you guys though! Sending love!

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  4. I completely started crying while reading this on the train on the way to work. Growing up I had a black lab named Lily. My first dog. We got her at 6 months, and when she was 6 years old, we had guests over and they accidentally let her out of the yard. She wandered off and we never got her back. We looked for months and never found her. I was heartbroken. We never knew what happened to her, if someone took her or what. Hardest thing. I know nothing I say can make it feel better, because 8~ years later, it still makes me sad to think of my first dog.

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  5. Beautifully written. Dogs are so special. I genuinely love dogs more than I love most humans. Sounds like you gave Savi the best life she could have asked for.

    This especially resonates as we just lost our dog Tali last Sunday. We adopted her from the shelter last summer as an (estimated) 6 month old pup. She had a bad case of mange, and had been passed over many times because she didn't look well. I knew if we didn't adopt her, no one would. When they let her out of her pen to meet us, she placed her paw in my husbands hand, like "give me a chance" and I was a wreck. We took her home, got her mange cleared up and she was a hyper, VERY mischevious pup all summer and fall. Her health started declining in the winter. Constant hot spots that would get infected, high white blood cell counts, lost appetite, dramatic weight loss, etc. We spent thousands at the vet and they couldn't figure out what was wrong. We had temporary solutions where she'd be back to normal for a week or so, then go way downhill. She'd been on the downhill side for most of the summer, so my husband and I decided the week before last that we'd take her to the vet the following week, for one last time. If they didn't have answers, we'd put her down. She was so weak she could barely move or eat, and I didn't want her to live like that.

    We came home last Saturday night and she was laying on the deck, breathing so hard and heavy and raspy, and we knew it would only be a couple hours. I was grateful we weren't going to have to make the decision. We checked on her several times through the night, went and sat out on the deck with her at 4 in the morning and loved on her and told her it was okay. She had passed by the next time we checked on her at 7. She lived a short life, but I'm comforted by believing that had we not chosen her at the shelter that day, her life would have been even shorter. We did the best we could and she knew she was loved.

    So sorry for your loss. Dogs are truly members of the family, and we grieve so deeply for those constant companions.

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  6. This was so sad but yet so wonderful that she got to spend her time here with a family that loved her so much.

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  7. Beautiful way to memorialize Savi! Wow! She had a perfect end. And a wonderfully loved life.

    You made me cry for my 14 year old boy Remo who passed away a year ago. These furbabies sure have a way of stealing our hearts! ❤

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  8. Beautiful way to memorialize Savi! Wow! She had a perfect end. And a wonderfully loved life.

    You made me cry for my 14 year old boy Remo who passed away a year ago. These furbabies sure have a way of stealing our hearts! ❤

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  9. So sorry for your loss. Beautiful post

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  10. I'm sorry for your loss. That is a beautiful story.

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  11. Goodness. I am such a sap and crying my eyes out! Dogs are AMAZING creatures and I swear they just know our every emotion without even us telling them, they feel it. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet precious lab. I dread the day I get the call from my brother about his lab because just like Rob, that little lady is EVERYTHING to my brother. Cheers to dog heaven! ;)

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  12. we have lost 2 family dogs in the last several years, and it never gets easier. I am 100% with you that all dogs go to heaven. they have to. i am convinced they go and run free and play with our human loved ones that have passed. dogs are just as much family as anyone else. ;)

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  13. OMG. Officially crying at my desk. I'm so sorry for your family's loss Raven! A dog is truly a special part of the family, and it sounds like you had an amazing one!!!

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  14. I literally just had to excuse myself from my desk to go cry in the bathroom, animals are simply the best. So sorry for your loss but you gave her such a wonderful life, definitely something to be happy about :)

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  15. So sorry for your loss!!! Dogs make life complete and we would be a lot worse off without them in general. I'm glad you were all able to be there to see her off. What a wonderful thing to be able to have such a loyal companion and friend to your children.

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  16. I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a dog is absolutely the hardest thing ever to deal with, almost harder than people sometimes. The connection with a dog is like nothing else.

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  17. I'm so sorry for your loss! We have 2 elderly pugs and it breaks my heart reading about yours. I know Savi is in Heaven watching over y'all. Sending prayers and hugs to your family!

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  18. OMG-crying at work! So sorry for your loss!

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  19. I sobbed like a baby. What a great life you gave Savi! Hands down the best dog family ever.

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  20. I don't think I've ever commented on your blog before, but I couldn't not comment here.

    What a beautiful, beautiful tribute. What Rob said .. good lord, the tears. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. I have no other words to say, you articulated so well.

    Praying for you and your family.

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  21. We have a 15 lab mix too that seems to be getting closer and closer to heaven. With two small boys we often talk about what we will tell them as well. Thanks for posting this, just what I needed to hear to prepare myself for what is right around the corner I believe. Dogs are so important, here's to remembering lots of happy times! Cheers to Savi!

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  22. Oh my. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is ABSOLUTELY like losing a family member...they're more loyal than most family to begin with. I'd love to tell you that it gets easier with time...but no one wants to hear that bull shizz when they're hurting like this. I understand the wait that Savi did, our Bear did it too. It was horrible and lovely all at once. I'll be praying for you guys. :c

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  23. I am so so sorry to hear about Savi. She sounds like she was a wonderful dog! It's so incredibly hard to lose a pet. We lost our sweet girl a year ago and it still hurts bad, but I know she is no longer suffering. She had a really aggressive cancer and deteriorated really fast. Hugs to you and your family. :(

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  24. I guess I shouldn't have read this at my desk at work because I now have tears streaming down my face. Such a beautifully written post and I agree completely that dogs ARE heaven.

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  25. Tears streaming down my face from the moment I started this post. I am so sorry for your loss and also so happy that you were all together for her last moments here on earth. What a beautiful post to your wonderful dog. SO many hugs and much love to you all!

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  26. So sorry! She lived a full life! Indy and Savi are running circles around each other right now!

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  27. I didn't want to read this post because I knew I'd cry like a baby..but, I did,,,,and I did. So sorry for your loss.

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  28. Typing this with blurred vision...I am so sorry for your loss!! What a wonderfully touching story!!! Our little one just turned 13 in July and I fear we will soon be facing the same difficult emotions. Praying for your sweet family, Raven!!

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  29. You've got my pregnant self crying like a baby over here. This is a terribly sad story but beautiful at the same time. It reminds me of when my dog Cody passed away. He was around 15, and I came home from college for the weekend. My mom had let him outside while she stayed in the car to listen to something. I pulled up and he was in the drive way not moving. He had gone out to use the bathroom and didn't make it back inside, and he was already gone by the time I pulled up to the house. Now my husband and I have a dog that he gave me for my birthday about 5 months after we started dating. She'll be 7 in January and I dread her final days. I'm a mess now just reading about your Savi; I can't imagine what state I'll be in when it's her time.

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  30. Oh my heavens so much love in one post she sounds like she did make peace on her own terms and she wanted to say bye to her momma and little guys one last time. So sorry to hear but I do too totally agree Dogs are Heaven! (Now to pull myself together and finish working) xo hugs

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  31. Dogs ARE the best, and it is truly heartbreaking to have to say goodbye. But Savi was obviously loved well and she loved her family. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how hard this time is. It's the absolute worst part about having pets, but I'd never give up my time with my dogs!

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  32. You know I've read your blog from time to time and most of the time I don't agree with you (which is totally fine, we don't know each other and I don't expect to agree with everyone. It makes life fun to have differences, right). I haven't commented before but every now and again I find one of your posts entertaining.

    But after reading this I had to comment. I am so very sorry for your loss. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. And although it sounds like you gave her an amazing life (and she gave you 13 amazing years!) I know feeling that loss is still so hard. I've been around dogs all my life and have had to say goodbye to some good friends.... and it just isn't easy.

    Anyway. This comment probably came off so weird. Just wanted you to know that from one dog lover to another I'm thinking of you and your family.

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  33. Candace M.August 19, 2015

    This is the first time I've visited your blog and tears are streaming down my cheeks. My heart truly aches for you and your family. Dogs are such amazing animals and the best of friends. This post is such a beautiful way of honoring Savi. Thank you for allowing us a glimpse of who she was and what she meant to your family.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. We miss her tons but know she is in a happier place.

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  34. Dogs are part of the family the day you bring them home! Such a hard thing to go through. Thanks for reminding me to give ours some extra leave because they do leave us too soon<3

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  35. I just started sobbing. I have an 11 year old lab who is starting to slow down. She is our whole world. Our baby. Our best friend and the third child in my family. My dog-sister is the best. She tore her ACL and needs surgery soon. I hope that when it comes time for her to go she can be surrounded by us. The people who love her the most. Her family. Her people. This is so beautifully written Raven and I am so sorry for your loss.

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  36. Aww, I started crying reading this. I'm so sorry for your loss. :( Pets are such a huge part of a family.

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  37. Raven,

    I am so sorry for your loss. I have been a reader for the past five years and LOVE reading your posts. You are such an honest, strong and beautiful role model. I enjoy reading your blog and love your family post mixed with sass, style, and republican views of what a marriage and family truly means. Thank you for being ballsy enough to share your true thoughts and not holding back. You have made me laugh out loud with your creative writing more than you know! Much Love, Portland

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    1. Thank you SO MUCH for your comment! It really meant the world to me. I'm glad you enjoy my blog and btw, I LOVE Portland ;)

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  38. I think I have a twig or a tree in my eye. :'-( I am so sorry for your loss! I'm glad you were all able to be with her in her last moments, I'm sure she was too.

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  39. Such a beautiful dog!! I have a black lab now and they truly are the greatest partners. So hard to see them go but I think hes better off not suffering. Thinking of you guys!!

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