Friday, June 4, 2010

Our First Family Goodbye


Well, yesterday was a pretty horrible day to be completely honest. It was the date to take our buddy to the golden retriever rescue. We decided probably about a month ago (shortly after Tenley was born) that it was time to turn Tanner over to a rescue that could help him. Since around Christmas, he had become more and more motivated by food and sometimes aggressive around it, in particularly with Hannah Gray. Then we had a couple instances where it was unprovoked. Kids and dogs go together like peanut butter and jelly and Tanner and Hannah Gray were more like white on rice. She loved him and he loved her. She was just fine with getting bumped by him when he was excited and he was okay with the constant kisses to his nose.

Ethan came home early yesterday (around 3:30, this becomes important later) and I had Tanner’s stuff all packed up, but not without dehydrating myself from tears. We loaded him and the kids up and they were both so excited to be apparently taking a trip somewhere fun. Well, we finally arrived at 6:30 thanks to traffic (we were supposed to be there around 5:30) and Hannah Gray could see the resort like run as we rounded the corner. She saw a couple dogs out running and burst into a joyous, elated “YAAAYYYY!!!”. It was like we were taking her to Disney. I lost it, absolutely burst into a heaping sob, an ugly cry you might call it. “She has NO idea what’s happening and she thinks we’re going someplace fun that has dogs! She has no idea that we’re taking hers from her!”.

We were greeted by the staff and went over all his history and why we were unfortunately there. Hannah Gray was mesmerized by the other dogs there and we asked how they qualify people who want to adopt. We were pleased with their answers and we wrangled Hannah Gray back to give Tanner kisses and try to get a picture. I have video of her with Tanner in the car b/c I LOVE the way she talked to him and we have only bits and pieces of it on film. The way she would call him to her,  “OM, OM” as she bent over patting her knees with a smile that reached up from her toes. “IT, IT” when she wanted to give him a treat with her little pointer finger out. Her little wave with that incredibly awkward and adorable wrist action as she looked over her shoulder to wave goodbye on our way out in the mornings. And that was always accompanied by “bye bud”.

So we handed the leash to the staff lady, we all had one last tearful hug with him and we turned to walk to the car. That’s when it happened. Hannah Gray went ballistic. I had to just hold the back of her head into my shoulder as she reached and lunged over my shoulder back to Tanner, screaming “NO NO NO”. The ugly tears came back and I know Ethan was crying again too. This was the part I had dreaded for so long. But amazingly enough, as I buckled her in her car seat, her chest stopped heaving and the tears slowed, then stopped and with swollen flooded eyes, she looked up at me, but her fingers to her mouth and earnestly said, “eat? eat?”. Okay, we’re good now.

We hit the road and tried to find something to eat in this podunk town. We managed to find a Chik-Fil-A (when isn’t that good for the soul?) and stop there for dinner a little after 7. We got back on the highway headed for home with an arrival time of 9:30. Then the traffic, oh we hit traffic. Dang road construction. Our ETA grew from 9:30, to 10, to 10:30 and finally 11:15. It was truly the trip that would never end. Ethan and I enjoyed reminiscing about when we first brought him home with us- how he had not been a car before and how much he loved his car rides now. How he used to be scared of the water, no he loved to swim. How much he loved a good hike and what a puff ball he was when we first got him. His quirky howling in the middle of the night sometimes, how he used to be scared of the TV, the way he slept under our babies beds. What a good boy. He went through a lot of change with us- 2 moves in Cincinnati, welcomed two kids and had a move to Annapolis and New Jersey.

Before we left, I vacuumed the hair off his bed the best I could. I had to fight him with the vacuum to keep him off so I could sweep it. He just wanted to lay on his bed right in the middle of the floor. Kind of like he planted himself in our lives- right in the middle. I have been annoyed with the absolutely incredible amount of hair as it’s become Sahara hot here the last couple weeks and I look at it a bit differently now. It’s kind of like a kid’s dirty shirt at the end of the day. It’s a sign of happiness, love and a lot of fun. It may not be the cleanest thing and require some work, but is there anything that’s really worth it that doesn’t cause a little bit of work? With that hair came lots of snuggling, love, wet kisses, great memories an extremely happy 2 year old and very clean floors.

I have lost pets before, but this is different. It’s different when you feel like you’re abandoning them, that’s it’s not an issue of seeing their health decline. It’s constant second guessing yourself and wondering, “would it really happen again? He adores the kids, he would never hurt them”, but can I really say that with the absolute, upmost confidence? I just hopes he always felt loved and gets picked by a family that loves him as much as we did.

Here’s a look back at the time with our buddy

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This was our moving day, I think he was thinking we were leaving without him.

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I loved his sleeping face

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family picture

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Some people used stuff animals to show their kid’s growth progress. Nope, we just used Tanner

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He always looked out for her. Snuggling next to the crib and rocker

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He was such a great hiker

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Enjoying the blizzard in Cincinnati

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Looking regal at the dog park

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pretty boy

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At the dog beach in Annapolis.



our last family car ride together

2 comments:

Abby said...

OH my goodness. You have got me crying!!! I'm so sorry for your loss. I know what a part of our family our dog is. I will lose it if we have issues with him once we bring babies into the house!

Heather Manifold said...

Way to get me a little teary, Joni!!! Oh my...so sad!!! I love that Hannah Gray loves her Tanner-Boy. And I loved the video. She's so sweet. It's been a whirlwind season of life for you guys...hope you're hanging in there :)