The Loss of a Dog

Dear Readers. I know there is a lot of loss in the world right now. This post is not to deflect from that, but this is a story I needed to share today, one year after my dog’s passing. So I appreciate your understanding while knowing I support and believe #BlackLivesMatter and give my condolences to anyone who has lost a loved one to the coronavirus.

I have not wanted to write anything personal in a very, very, long time. To do so means to face the anger and sadness I have had to endure in recent months. Who wants to face that! However, I have realized that I have to face it and share my stories. I need to share the stories so that no one else has to endure something similar and to combat the physical toll such stress has caused to my health and my family.

This past year has experiences that many when hearing what our family has endured, say should be in a book. While I could say it all started when we bought a house, it entered Chapter Two precisely one year ago today. One year ago today, I woke up in a hotel room with my beloved dog dead on the floor. It is when I went from sad to despair, and mad to furious. It’s the moment when I changed and would never be the same person again.

I hate thinking about that morning – and that day. So bear with me as I share June 6, 2019 – I know it will not be my finest writing or editing, but it is a story from my heart.

Our family was in a hotel room because we were supposed to have moved into our new home weeks before. However, the builder we hired caused epic failures. More on that later. However, we had sold our old home and had to stay in an extended stay hotel since we could not yet move into the new house. The one we had been planning and building for the previous four years.

My dog, gosh how I loved her, always slept next to me in our king size bed at home. I can still feel like she is curled against my back when I am sleeping. However, in a hotel room with two full-size beds, there was no room for her. I was sleeping next to my daughter while my husband and son were in the other bed. So, there was no room for my dog, who slept next to me for 12 years, to sleep next to me in that hotel bed.

Sometime in the middle of the night, alone, she walked to the tiny tiled floor bathroom in the hotel room and died. When I woke up to use the bathroom, I saw her lying there. At first, I was confused about why she was sleeping on a cold floor. However, when I went to pick her up, she was cold, and I knew – I started to scream.

I quickly needed to pull it together because, being in a hotel room, with two young children, I couldn’t let them see me emotionally collapse. I also did not want them to see their pet dead on the floor, either. So, I quickly scooped up her body and ran to the little kitchenette where I placed her on the ped bed. My husband kept the kids in the other room, but I could hear them crying. I still do not know why no one knocked on our door that morning, as we all were hysterical.

I threw on some clothes, and just stood there, not knowing what to do, where to go. My life was in upheaval because of the builder. I was in another town, in a little room, only with a suitcase, and I had no idea where to turn. I couldn’t call a neighbor for help. There was nowhere in the hotel room to cry. I was lost in that moment as I stood there holding the body of my deceased pet.

Quickly, I grabbed my purse, threw on shoes, gather up my dog in the pet bed so no one would know in the elevator that I was holding a dead dog – and went to my car. I called my husband so we could figure out how to get the kids to school, who was going to watch our daughter who started summer break. Then, I called the Vet and left a message. I found a far corner of the parking lot – drove there – and broke down.

After crying awhile, I remember sending out an email to the builder, site manager, and architect that day. I was grieving, and I was pissed! The builder had never even reached out to us during our hotel stay – not once, also though his actions put us there – and now my dog died?

I was not able to hold her in her final moments! When she passed, she passed away – not next to me, and not in my arms – but on a cold, hotel floor. I lost precious moments with her that I will never get back. She was my furbaby, and she was gone.

I drove around for two hours, waiting for things to open. I called my parents to see if someone could watch my daughter. However, my Mom did not want to drive up to the hotel and wanted me to drive down to her. My Dad was going to play golf.

I had just lost my dog, I was living in a hotel room, and I needed to make arrangements for the body that was next to me in the car. I didn’t want to drive 30 minutes in rush hour with a dead dog and my 6-year-old in the car. Yet, it wasn’t their problem. So my husband took the day off from work. He had taken so many days off to deal with builder problems. It was amazing he did  – so I could focus on our dog and not have to worry about the kids, pickups, drop-offs, backpacks, or having to have our six-year-old endure the day with me.

The Vet called me told me I could come in before they opened. I walked in with my dog still wrapped in her bed while they helped me find where I could cremate her. There was a pet cremation place about 90 miles away that could cremate her that day. Rather than leave her at the Vet in a cold freezer, until I could cremate her more locally, I chose to drive. She had already been on a cold floor and not in my arms when she passed. I was not about to leave her alone in the pet morgue.

The Vet staff was so excellent that day. They are always wonderful, but I will never forget how they were there for me. My husband was doing fine with the kids, and so I got in the car and drove.

As I drove, I sang to my dog. I believed she was still with me and could hear me. (That day was so heart wrenching I cannot stop the tears as I type.) As I arrived at the crematorium, I was crying so much I got a nose bleed. If I was vain, I would say it was not my most beautiful moment. Yet, they were kind  – as they had gotten the story from the Vet (house not done, hotel room, kids, dog dead on floor, etc. etc.)

I got to spend time with her in the bereavement room. Then, with her favorite plush lovey, so she wouldn’t be lonely on her journey, and on the pet bed she loved so she would always have a soft place to sleep, I placed her myself into the crematory. I wanted to be the last to touch her. Then, I said goodbye one last time. I can still picture that day so clearly in my head. Sometimes I wish I didn’t.

I drove back to the hotel with the little box, with her ashes inside, on my lap. I had a necklace around my neck with a few of her ashes inside. So that she would be next to my heart. As I drove back to that awful hotel room in tears, I knew that my sadness and anger had never been that high.

I am writing this one year later to remember her and that day. Though I do not want to remember either. The tears are flowing. Today will be a hard day.

So, that is the story of how I had to say goodbye to my furbaby. I wish I had written more about her life than her death, but I have amazing memories of her. She was a sassy little thing, and so sweet. I will always remember her the day I knew she would be mine. I was sitting crossed-legged on the floor, with all these little puppies running around. She came over and tried to climb into my lap. The little 14 ounces of her was scrambling and sliding and finally cleared my leg to plop into my lap, and it was then she plopped into my heart. She was small, but she had spunk, and a whole lotta love to give. I’m so glad she gave it to me that May 31st so many years ago.

Goodbye, my precious pooch. I miss you every day. Know that I am wearing the necklace with you, and you stay next to me every day in my home office, keeping me company. I hope you are playing with your fur sister though I wish you were here – as much as I desperately wish I was there for you when you passed away. I will find justice for you to have our time taken away, for you to have to die on a floor, and so much more. However, today is about love – and I wanted the world to know how much you were loved.

Thanks for staying and reading my blog post!

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About Charlene DeLoach

As a Boston Mom Blogger in Massachusetts, Charlene DeLoach doesn't care about the megapixels on a smartphone. She only cares about whether it will survive being in the hands of her kids.

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