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A Tearful Farewell

We said a tearful goodbye Wednesday morning. Our sweet, 14-year old Kelly has recently gone steadily downhill. It hurt to watch her stumble, her legs splay underneath her, her turn away from food, and sleep most of the day.

Don and I have prayed that God would give us wisdom as to when it was time to say goodbye. Several times we’ve thought we were there, but then she’s rallied. And Kelly has never been a complainer, so we watched her eyes, her walk, her food intake, her energy level. Monday we took her to the vet for blood tests. “I’m really not happy with what I see,” Kelly’s kind and competent doctor told us. It was time.

We took our Kelly-girl home for another day and a half to love on her and to say goodbye. En route home I said, “Don, I’d love it if we could take her to the beach one more time. But I know it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.” Kelly slept on my shoulder for two hours that night, something I don’t think she’s done since Don and I married, when she retreated to the bottom of the bed.

Rain was heavy Tuesday morning, but the sun peeked out about noon. “Let’s go!” Don and I took Kelly and Paige down to the beach, where we strapped Kelly into her doggie stroller. Paigey ran alongside. We walked over a mile in glorious sunshine, a lovely breeze cooling us. Kelly perked up enough to sit up and watch life around her. It was a wonderful time and the sunshine, a gracious gift from the Father to assuage my hurting heart, allowed us to do something special for Kelly on her last day.

This little beauty has brought a lot of joy and laughter to our lives over the almost ten years I’ve had her.

  • She came to me, a good gift from God, when I was alone and lonely. During a time of grief, she gave me a reason to get up every day because she needed me. During cold winter months I often wakened to feel her little body cuddled under the covers against my thigh. She sneaked under without waking me. I never knew how she managed to breathe underneath the blankets, but she did; and I loved waking to her warmth.
  • Kelly’s antics made me laugh. Early in our life together I went straight to my laptop in the morning. Kelly looked at me from across the room. She opened her mouth and chomped her teeth – I hadn’t fed her yet! Message received.
  • She was my buddy and sweet companion, and I took her along whenever I went somewhere dogs were allowed. She sat quietly and unobtrusively at my feet in Bible studies, lunches, and one-on-ones, never disrupting except with her sweet cuteness, happy as long as she was with me. And if I lunched with a girlfriend and left the table to use the restroom, Kelly stayed behind, remaining in one position, her big brown eyes fixed on the door until I returned.
  • She had grit. When Kelly was just a baby, she took on a big dog who broke her jaw. In the last few years, my girl’s tongue hung out to one side of her sweet, crooked mouth. I think her imperfection made her even more beautiful. And when we brought her grandpup, Paigey, to join our family, Kelly definitely let her know who was boss!
  • I acquired Kelly two months after meeting Don. When we began dating, Kelly was always happy to greet him, to sit with us, to go on walks with Don and his gentle German Shepherd, Ginger. I once waved my hand to include Kelly and said to Don, “You know this is a package deal.” He smiled. “Oh, I figured that out a long time ago.”
  • Our precious princess has left us and we miss her. I am so grateful for this good gift God gave me when I needed her more than I knew.

“So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven.” James 1:17a (MSG)

I love you, Kelly girl! Your imprint will always be on my heart.

Have you lost a pet? What did you love about him or her?




  1. Charise says:

    So sorry, Carol. It’s a hard loss even when you know “it’s time.”

    1. carolnl says:

      Charise, I know you’ve been through this and feel the pain. Thank you.

  2. MarJean Peters says:

    I’m so sad with you, dear Carol. How good of you to share your grief with us in this beautiful tribute to her memory. Hugs, to you dear friend.

    1. carolnl says:

      Thank you, Jeannie. Hug your little Havanese lots! With love, Carol

  3. Susan Jones says:

    So sorry, Carol…she was such a gift and I loved your interactions with her. I will miss seeing her. Each dog I have had was unique and left paw prints on my heart! I know that has been true for you and I am glad you took that opportunity.


    1. carolnl says:

      Susan, thank you for your sweet comments. Yes, paw prints on the heart indeed. And you and Jack helped guide me in my choice of Kelly those 10 years ago. Your wise counsel stayed with me. Love you.

  4. Edie Peters says:

    Hi Carol and Don

    I am so glad that I had time to meet Kelly and show her how much we appreciated and enjoyed her. She certainly was the love and laughter of a beautiful family and she was sweet. I know what it’s like to lose a pet and how much joy pets bring to us as humans in our lives, and these pets are definitely a gift from God.
    At least that is what I believe. So, I think of you and the joy that this beautiful animal brought to you in your need of a companion. These creatures have also been created by God for our most utmost pleasure, laughter and joy. God bless you!

    1. carolnl says:

      Thank you Edie. I’m glad you and she met too. And I’m so glad God created these sweet creatures, and for the joy they bring us. Love you!

  5. Columba Smith says:

    Oh Carol, I’m so sorry to hear your news. I know you had been anticipating that for a while, and it is so hard when the time comes. You’ll be in my prayers for comfort. I remember what it felt like to lose my Duchess. She had been such a comfort to me. They really are special, and nothing can take their place when they leave us. Hugs!

    1. carolnl says:

      I appreciate your comments, Columba. Yes, you’ve been through it as well. Thanks for the hugs!!

  6. Dick says:

    I have a book that says our pets go to Heaven. Very interesting book by Cat Cerr

    1. carolnl says:

      Thanks, Dick. I hope he (or she) is right.

  7. Karen O'Connor says:

    Carol, I loved Kelly too, and remember her sweet welcome whenever I came to visit. I share your grief. I’ve lost beloved pets, as well, and can imagine the paw print she’s left in your heart and Don’s too!

    1. carolnl says:

      I always felt that from you, Karen. I still remember the first time you and Charles stopped by the house on your way to the SJ airport to meet Kelly. Thank you for loving her too!

  8. Terra says:

    Carol, what sweet words, heart breaking and yet uplifting. I met her a few times and she was every bit as cute and well mannered as you described, plus her coat was incredibly soft.

    1. carolnl says:

      Thank you Terra. It was so good to see you today. Blessings!

  9. Rochelle and George says:

    We are so sorry, Carol. We never got to meet her but enjoyed your pictures & comments about her. We know how hard this was for you because we had to make the same decision a few years ago for our dog. We send our love!

    1. carolnl says:

      Thank you, Rochelle and George. They really become part of our families don’t they. Love received and given back as well.

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