Fast forward a few years, kids, cats, moves and now-dead chickens later, and our family had to say goodbye to our sweet girl.
Peaches was a herder—she felt the need to contain people in a certain space. She wasn’t particularly fond of strangers; she was fiercely protective of her family. She was the alpha puppy: the first one to eat, drink and be merry.
Peaches fell ill a few weeks ago. It started with small accidents in the house and progressed to full-fledged GI tract issues. Our vet was never able to tell us what she had, and it didn’t take long for Peaches to pass onto the doggy fields in heaven.
The kids were amazing through it all. They were sweet to Peaches, talking to her and petting her when they could. They tolerated the unfortunate smell that accompanied her final days. And when we found Peaches’ body laid out by our garage door, they said good-bye with watery smiles.
I know that death is a part of life, and that pets dying is a part of the overall childhood experience. Our kids had experienced the death of some chickens early on, but this was different. Peaches had been part of our lives since before the kids were born. She had been there as long as they’ve been alive.
We went through our weekend as we usually do, despite our sadness. I asked my daughter about how she was feeling.
“OK,” she said. “I’m going to keep my sadness inside.”
“You don’t have to, you know,” I said. “You can cry.”
“She’s happy in puppy heaven. I can’t be too sad for that.”
Peaches, I hope you’re happy in puppy heaven. H. is counting on it.
Reace Alvarenga-Smith is a Mom of two in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.