God's Rainbow of Promises: Matthew 5:4 "God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
The following is a true story, and the poem that follows was written as a result. I hope it brings some comfort to anyone who has had to say goodbye to God's wonderful gift, one of His Rainbow Gifts, of a loving pet.
The day started out like any other, but what was to come would shock and deeply sadden my sister and the rest of her family, including myself, for a very long time.
Having always been 'pet people', my two sisters and I grew up with an array of stray dogs who were lovingly taken in and as adults, we all have pets of our own- mostly dogs.
Bruno was a great dog. A splendid mix of Golden Lab and Boxer, he'd come all the way to Massachusetts from Florida and was adopted by my sister when a friend couldn't keep him. Still just a pup, he was a wonderful, joyful, loving dog who very quickly became part of the family.
My sister's children were quite young when he came to live with them and they loved the idea of a new friend to play with; a buddy. And, my sister, being the athlete she is, loved taking him on long runs and relaxing walks through the park.
Soon, my sister's fiance became a member of 'Bruno's family' too. He's one of the most 'animal hearted' people I've ever known- there's nothing he won't do to make a dog feel comfortable, loved and become a true member of the family. To him, there's no such thing as 'spoiling' a dog too much. It's just a matter of love.
The years went by, the kids grew and Bruno got older. Still full of spunk and a playful spirit, he was loved more than ever and didn't look close to his eleven years.
One day, my sister's mother in law, a wonderful woman, came to visit as she normally did. She loved Bruno, too. What was a seemingly normal moment quickly turned horrific. After losing her balance, she fell on top of Bruno. In a moment that's too quick to describe, the event turned into an emergency. Bruno, startled by the fall, reacted as he'd never done before. My sister looked in horror at the bitten face of her elderly mother in law. Without hesitation, 911 was called as my sister tried to control the bleeding. In what seemed seconds, an ambulance, the police and the Animal Control arrived.
After her mother in law was rushed to the hospital, my sister was asked to wait until Animal Control could talk to her.
Why had Bruno suddenly turned? What caused this terrible thing to transpire which changed the lives of all who loved Bruno in a split second?
And then the inevitable came. Animal Control wanted the dog quarantined. Only because it was her dog and the incident happened within her family did they allow her to keep Bruno at home. However, she needed to get him to the vet's to determine if, or what the problem was.
Her first concern, of course, was for her mother in law, who I'm happy to say recovered from the ordeal, but not without many stitches and much concern on behalf of the family.
It was time to investigate.
Bruno had been startled before in his life and never reacted violently. He'd played with children who were, perhaps, a bit rough and never even snapped. He'd been tolerant of other animals and strangers. When my niece and nephew were small they rough-housed with him and Bruno loved it. Why the change?
My sister and her husband made the appointment to have Bruno examined by their vet. Not knowing what to expect, they loaded their beloved Bruno into the car he loved to ride in and went on their way, full of fear and trepidation.
Upon examining Bruno the Veterinarian determined that he exhibited every symptom of a brain tumor. The subtle changes in his personality that were, at first, attributed to old age, were all beginning to make sense. Very sad sense.
With his condition, there was the chance that Bruno would do it again. My sister and her husband were filled to brim with pain and confusion. What of the children that often came to visit? Would Bruno turn on them, too?
It was a risk they couldn't take and one the vet advised them not to take. For, as healthy as Bruno appeared on the outside, something very wrong was happening on the inside.
I cried for my sister, her family, myself and for Bruno. I could feel the anguish they were living and wished I could make it 'all go away'. They stayed with Bruno as he took his last breath.
Their sweet, beloved friend was no more and it left a vacancy within their hearts that nothing could fill.
It was for her and for anyone else who's had to live the nightmare of putting a loved pet down that I wrote the following poem. Over time, the pain lessens and although always missed, we are left with the wonderful photographs and memories of our 'best friends'.
Pets become a part of our hearts-
we adopt them as family right from the start.
We cast all our love on their kind, gentle souls,
but, like you and I- they too, grow old.
When we grow tired and weary, God gave us a choice-
we have doctor's and care, but our pets have no voice.
We may understand why we're changing this way,
but a creature's language is shown in his actions each day.
What they do with their bodies, how they act towards a friend-
is their way of saying their time's at an end.
And, as wonderful a gift as our "Free Will" can be,
It pains us to choose our loved pet's destiny.
When we see them in pain, our hearts say one thing-
when we see them lash out, we deny what truth rings.
For we don't want to lose the precious one that we've loved-
but like humans on earth they'll live on up above.
Oh. I know how you weep at making this choice-
as you speak for your pet as he has no voice
You are kind, you are loving, and I know you have tried-
to ration and reason with the truth that's inside.
No one said life was easy, of this we can say-
and I know you're heart's breaking on this tragic day.
But, trust in your heart what your instincts have said-
That God is guiding you amongst all your dread.
I weep for you now as I know your heart aches-
but my love is with you as your decision you make.
God gave you the gift of some wonderful years-
with a pet who was healthy and healed many tears.