Marco’s Goodbye and Bella’s Hello

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I expected I would soon bid farewell to Marco. He was 14 and had surgery in October. By February, another ailment diminished his ability to walk.

MarcoDuo
Marco in 2012

We suspect cancer, but never confirmed. He deteriorated quickly so we simply made the best of his remaining time.

His spine became contorted and his hind legs couldn’t support his body beyond hobbling from bed to his bowls to the backyard and back to bed.

Eventually, he stopped returning from the backyard. Instead, he laid down in spots he never laid before. He looked sad and tired and finally looked his age.

WithDignity

His body was failing; medication was useless. One night he stopped walking entirely.

On February 17, 2016, we put Marco down, effectively ending the Denver and Marco era that began in 1999.

Marco’s Last Day.

The day I woke up knowing Marco would be gone before I slept again was one of the saddest days of my life.

We didn’t have a set time that day – we had an ‘arrive by’ time.

We reminisced and thanked Marco for all he gave us over the years. We cycled through laughter and degrees of breakdowns as the day wore on.

Every memory ended with the harsh reality that he was leaving us within hours.

The biggest hurdle was taking Marco to the car understanding it was his last exit from my house.

In the car, Marco had an energy I hadn’t seen in a while. He smiled and wagged his tail once again. The excitement in his eyes was comforting. It’s as if he knew and told us it’s okay.

We carried him into the vet clinic. Our tears spoke for us. There wasn’t a dry eye in the waiting area as the staff escorted us to a private room.

We cradled him as he was prepped for injections. By the time we were ready, Marco was sleeping. The vet explained what would occur. As the final breakdown ensued, a single nod gave the green light.

We sat with him until his final breath.

An unavoidable void.

I was sad leaving the vet clinic, but relieved. I felt lighter. The worst was over and it was time to grieve.

I broke down everyday for two weeks. My house felt empty. I felt empty. Everything reminded me of unconditional love lost. I swear I heard Marco bark from other rooms. I caught glimpses of him in my peripheral vision, but saw nothing when I looked directly.

Denver and Marco added so much to my life and the lives around me.

What dogs provide us is worth every painful responsibility required when owning them.

Through their lives and losses, it became apparent how much of a ‘dog person’ I am. Letting our loyal companions go will never be easy, but I will do it again.

Sooner than expected.

I wasn’t looking for a puppy when a friend sent me the link that led to Bella.

BellaBed
She has this look mastered.

If you would have told me a girl would change my life this year, move in, and I’d pick up her crap, I would have told you that happened two years ago – and his name’s Eric.

Bella was born on January 30, 2016. I’ve accidentally called her Marco and Denver, but her nicknames are piling up.

BellaSunset
Adapting to her new home well.

She makes me smile. She’s a positive spirit and loves everyone. Her eyes say everything. She makes me happy and makes me think. I feel like a kid when she’s around. Best of all, she doesn’t care about my alleged snoring.

I pick up her poop and she tries to get in the bathroom when I poop. That’s a first.

Puppy energy is exactly what this house needed. It’s exactly what I needed.

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24 thoughts on “Marco’s Goodbye and Bella’s Hello”

  1. My tears will not stop flowing . I understood EVERY word written down to my core . My best friend and furbaby (also Bella) was put into Gods hands last summer . I have NEVER felt such heartache in my life.
    I thank you for sharing this as its not fully understood by many in the world. I have also recently brought a new love home … My handsome dude Lincoln. No pup is ever replaced we just had so much more love to give and their genuine love and loyalty is unmatched

    1. Hi Pamela,

      Thank you for reading. It’s not a happy topic, but this was my second time and despite thinking it would be easier, the second time was equally, if not more, difficult. I owed to to Marco and so many of my friends have lost their loyal companions the past year. I wondered how I would fare after Marco, but I realized – like you said – I had more love to give. They are as much a part of the family as you allow them. I will forever hold the memories dear and make as many as I can. I am glad you could relate. Their unconditional love is something special that only us pet owners understand. Give Lincoln a scratch behind his ear for me.

      Travis

  2. I get it. I’ve gotten “it” multiple times throughout the years. Such is what comes from loving kitties and doggies along life’s way. I consider myself quite blessed for it. But there is no denying that the pain of losing them, letting them go, is like nothing else. Each time I say to myself “never again”. But my heart knows it’s just a matter of time. As I’m aging I’m not at all sure I can adopt a puppy ever again. So, I will opt to adopt an older dog, one that is often over looked and under estimated … much like myself. One whose life span won’t live beyond mine (as if I knew). A life without a dogs love … well, it would be a life with a big piece of heart missing. Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll pay the price the best prize around.

    1. Completely agree, a life without them is a life with a big piece of heart missing even though a piece of my heart left with both Denver and Marco. Adoption is wonderful, so many pups need it. I briefly investigated adoption as so many of my friends have rescue pups. I filled out the paperwork and paid the fees and waited. But then my friend sent that link and within 2 days – BAM BAM BAM – deposit down and 4.5 weeks later she came home. Fate, I think. 🙂

  3. Loved every word and feel exactly the same. “What dogs provide us is worth every painful responsibility required when owning them.” Beautiful and succinct.

  4. I sit hear with tears flowing, it’s been 6 weeks and it still hurts. I miss my “Happy” so much. She was the love of our life for 12.5 years. I can relate to your words but I am not ready for another yet. My heart is broken and not sure I could give my heart so soon. Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear this.

    1. Thank you for reading Colleen. I’m sorry about your loss of Happy. So many of us go through this and it feels so lonely. Hearing my friends’ stories helped me understand I’m not alone – none of us are – and at some level I found that comforting. It’s such a special relationship for each of us. I know exactly how you feel. Happy will make you smile for the rest of your life, I promise. She’s always in your heart.

      Travis

  5. I lost my boy, Brady 4 days before my 50th birthday. 3 days from diagnosis to saying goodbye. I wasn’t ready but that look in his eyes, when he couldn’t do his usual jump, said it all. He was tired, he was hurting, HE was ready. I still cry, although not everyday anymore. I have a beautiful girl, Fushka, when she was 10 so they were pals for about 6 years. She too, has that dreaded Cancer, but you’d never know. She drags me around still. I don’t know if, when she’s ready, I could take the heartache of owning another beautiful soul. Both came to me when I least expected. I’m not saying no, I’m saying if another furbaby finds me and it’s right, I would say yes.
    Thank you for sharing your story. It hurts to read as I feel your pain but at the same time, it heals a little too.

    1. Linda, thank you for sharing. Sometimes it helps just knowing we aren’t in this feeling alone. Because it does feel so lonely. They are really special souls in our lives!

      Travis

  6. Oh, I remember this oh so well. It was one month and 2 days since we said goodbye to our dog. I don’t cry anymore when someone asks about her. We were so lucky for the 3 years we had her though.

    1. Kim, I’m sorry for your loss. It is a pain only time can mend. Thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate it.

    1. Jamie, that reminds me of a friend who used to say about Marco – “He’s not a dog…he’s a WEIM!” But I think he meant it in a Children of the Corn sort of way.

  7. I had to put mine down just before my birthday last year. He was no longer enjoying life, his back legs couldn’t support him very long, and he would look at me with very sad eyes. He had that burst of energy the day we were to take him in, and I almost cancelled. But I knew better. I think he was letting us know it would be ok. I still cry to this day, but I owed it to him.

  8. I am going through this right now. I had to say goodbye to my sweet Boomer May 21st. Everything you’ve written I’ve personally experienced. I too think I see him, hear him. Every room is filled with his smell and memory. We have another love bug Buddy who is 12. I worry for him being with out his big brother. To be perfectly honest, I’ve cried harder for my Boomer than I did for my mother. Boomer wasn’t just a dog. He was my child. When I rescued him, he rescued me right back. My heart is broken. Through my job I was put in touch with a woman who rescues and she has puppies she is trying to adopt out. Yesterday my husband went and met them and picked one that was available. A mixed breed of course. He sent me a picture and I said “Bella! That’s what we are naming her.” Now, though, I am not so sure. Is it the right thing to do for my Buddy? Is it the right thing for me? Are any of us ready? Our Boomer was irreplaceable and I miss him more than I ever thought I would. Thank you, Sir, for sharing your story because I think it’s how all of us “crazy” dog people go through. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone. 🙂

    1. Hi Kelly, thank you for reading and I’m sorry to hear about Boomer! It’s tough with a surviving pup. Marco was affected by Denver’s departure in a way I didn’t expect – Denver was 2.5 when Marco was a puppy so Denver was with him every day for 10 years. I knew I wasn’t going to get another dog until Marco passed. It was his turn to be ‘top dog’ and I wanted him to have what Denver had for 2.5 years. When they both were gone is when I was able to clearly think about my future with having dogs. Your pain is still fresh. You are asking yourself good questions. If you don’t already know your answers, you will find them. It definitely helps to hear other peoples’ stories. We aren’t alone.

      Travis

      1. Thank you Travis for your response. Maybe I should do what you did and let Buddy be “top dog.” Other than being alone while my husband and I are at work, he is sitting on the couch by us now which is something he didn’t do before. He was always worried about Boomer getting angry so he would get paranoid when we’d try to show him a lot of attention. He’s a bit goofy! Lol! I babied him as a puppy because he’s the only puppy I’ve ever had. I’ve worried a great deal about bringing a new “baby” in to the house. I’m afraid it will hurt Buddy more than help him. My husband thinks it will be a pal to keep him company while we’re gone and someone to rejuvenate Buddy. I am concerned Buddy will see it as competition and his replacement. I just don’t know. 🙁

        1. Ha – I’m in no position to tell you what to do – I’m only sharing my personal experience and thoughts! I don’t think Buddy will view a puppy as competition. Buddy is the alpha now. However, imagine being 90 and having a toddler around the rest of your life!

  9. Thank you for your sweet and touching story. I lost my Henry 2 years ago. I have had dogs my whole life and loved them all so much, but he was the first that was all mine. I have mourned so many dogs throughout my life, but when he passed, I really thought I was losing it. I decided to wait until spring to get a puppy because it just worked better for me, but that was the longest five months of my life. I still mourn Henry, I still cry for him, but now, my goofy Oliver is here to snuggle me, distract me, and make me laugh. He reminds me of what a gift it is to have these amazing beings in our life. As long as I am able to, I will also do it again and again. All my love to you and Bella!

    1. Hi Steffanie,

      Thank you for the kind note and for reading. This story in particular has opened my eyes to how much we owners have in common, yet don’t discuss. I never know what to say when friends of mine lose a loyal companion, I just know how they feel. Turns out, relating is very healing. Positive vibes, understanding – and honesty from complete strangers – is a nice change from a lot of the negativity polluting the internet. Give Oliver and ear scratch for me.

      Travis

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