Friday, October 7, 2011
She was meant to be a healing dog...we found her at a dog rescue just a few weeks after our sweet Evan passed away. Hope needed something to help her heal and so we decided to add Honey, our shih tzu, to the family. She had not be in her foster home long..the rescue dog fair was the first one she was brought to...we could tell she was smart, sweet and well trained and we wondered how she found her way to the city pound..abandoned. Because she was a rescue dog, it was required that she needed to be spayed before she was adopted. We agreed to bring her in the next day to get the procedure done.
When I went to pick her up from the vets that day, they asked me to wait until after the clinic has closed because the vet wanted to talk to me. Oh great, don't tell me I just adopted a dog with special needs, I thought! And when I went back to his office, as empathetically as if this was my child, he told me that our new dog had cancer. He had removed large mammary gland tumors and that the cancer looked like it had spread to lymph nodes. He told us there he didn't feel that we could treat the condition and that we should just take her home and love her until the tumors grew back. She may have a couple of years left, he said.
So, the healing dog who we adopted needed healing of her own. The rescue agency said we didn't have to keep her...but what message would that send to the kids...if anyone was going to adopt an abandoned dog with cancer, it might as well have been us. We had adopted a dying dog to help our kids to heal from the death of their little brother...what were you thinking, Lord? It didn't make a bit of sense...at the time.
That was over 5 years ago..until today when Honey had to be put down because she was in so much pain. Honey was smarter than any dog we have known..she could do more tricks than I ever could and she brought us all so much joy. We think she about 12 years old..and she lived with cancer well beyond the doctor's predictions. She was a faithful friend...patient and loyal to our unique family.
And so each child is reacting in their own way. One seems completely unaffected...a coping mechanism that he employs often. One has gone into a rage...screaming about everything but what really is bothering him. One is crying uncontrollably, as usual, when even the slightest sadness comes her way. And these aren't the kids that I worry about the most...one whose anxiety disorder is flairing up lately and Elijah, who will come home to one less furry family member whom he loved..
So, our dog died today. It is something God will use to teach our children how to deal with death and grieving. It is hard. It is a gift. Honey was a gift to our family...even in her own struggles, she has helped us to heal the hearts of our children who could relate to her...she was sick and abandoned..and she deserved a family of her own...no matter what.
Honey was a healing dog...in ways we never expected.
at 5:43 PM