Saying Goodbye to a Pet: A Reminder of God’s Love

“When the vet calls to confirm my appointment for Tuesday don’t cancel this time.” Larry’s words pierced my heart. He had made two appointments to put our 14 1/2 year old lab down, but each time she had rallied so I’d canceled the appointments.

Larry’s back is more important than giving her a little more time, I told myself. But I grieved. Corrie was deaf and lame, but still alert in the evenings. She never so much as whimpered when she fell, though her falls had to hurt her arthritic body. Our vet had said most dogs would be grumpy at her stage in life. Corrie never was.

I spent Sunday afternoon alone with Corrie.

She ate the food I placed between her front paws. She loves her biscuits, so I gave her extra. I selected the thinnest rawhide chew, but by evening she was so weak she couldn’t hold her head up. I held it for her. Her life was ebbing out before my eyes. Tears ran down my cheeks every time she looked at me with her lab eyes.

As painful as it was to see her like this, it was her last gift to me. It was her way of saying, “Larry’s right. It is time.” I needed that assurance.

For the last year Larry and Brant have had to carry Corrie outside. She couldn’t negotiate steps. But she still had her spirit. She would lean her head into your hand when you petted her. She perked up for her treats, and she always roused when Brant came home.

Why would we hang on to a pet who could do nothing for us—she had numerous accidents. Christmas Eve Larry had to bathe her between dinner and dessert. We washed her bed several times a week. She was heavy to lift.

We hung on because we loved her.

Jesus said “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God” (Luke 12:6). He knows each bird as we know Corrie.

Jesus was making the point that if God remembers sparrows, how much more does He treasure you. The world may not remember us when we are gone, but God will, because He loves us (Psalm 103:14-16).

Our family will never forget Corrie. Her antics as a puppy, misbehavior as a healthy adult, and her affection throughout her life have memorialized her in our hearts. Certain Bible verses are linked to her. The word disobedience in Romans 5:19 literally means “to hear along side.” Corrie turned her head aside when she wasn’t intending to obey. Obedience means “to hear under.” She tilted her head up to me when she planned to submit.

Do you have an imperfect pet you’ll never forget? When you think about your pet, remember how much more God loves you.

Blessings,

Women’s Bible Study: Have you bought the lie that life should be easy and pain-free? Learn how to face and defeat the bandits that steal our rest—such as unrealistic expectations, mean people, negative thinking, guilt, worry, and pressure to please or perform. Ginny Wilson will be facilitating the Bible study Debbie wrote on Rest. It begins next Tuesday, June 19th  from 7-9 PM. Call or email if you are interested in joining her (919 469-2477). You will want to pickup your study to get started.

If you would like to receive these weekly articles by email, fill in the subscribe section.

Comments

  1. Kelly Lee says

    Thank you so much for writing this amazing post. Losing a pet is so difficult, especially when you are facing the decision to put them down. I lost my sweet Kassy Sue in December from heart disease. She was almost 13. She was found in a landfill at about 2 and we spend 11 wonderful years together. She was difficult at first but became my little 10 pound princess.

    The experience you describe was very similar to my last few days with Kassy Sue. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Corrie is in God’s hands now.

    • says

      Sue and Kelly, Thank you for sharing your stories of loss and remembrance. When the vet gave Corrie the shot to sedate her, our son prayed, “We are turning her over to you, Jesus.” Knowing the Lord is such a comfort in any loss.

  2. Sue McGee Wind says

    I was just talking to someone yesterday about how we are not remembered after we are gone. Your words reassured me of God’s care. I sang “His Eye is On the Sparrow” at Daddy’s funeral. What a good writer you are. You made me cry.
    ILY
    Sue

  3. Kay Holland says

    Debbie,

    I remember the day you shared your new puppy with me!
    Corrie was so wonderful! Thank you for sharing such a tender moment through your gift of words! Since God has blessed us with these special animals on earth, how much more will we be blessed when He restores all things! May your hearts be comforted!

    “O Lord, you preserve both man and beast, how priceless is your
    unfailing love! [Psalm 36:6]

    With love and prayers, Kay

  4. Rese Hood says

    We have released three sweet four-pawed family members in the same way over the past 20 years due to illness and not old age. Whatever the reason, choosing to let them go was the most loving thing we could do and it was a bittersweet blessing to ease them into final rest.

    I’ve often laughed that reversing the spelling of dog gives us God. The unconditional love and kindness and just their mere presence is a comfort and a glimpse of the Lord’s. No wonder people who have them live longer and better!

    Praying for you all.

  5. Pat Haley says

    Words that convey emotions of the heart are evidence of your gift from God.Thank you for opening my heart today to weep with you. Corrie’s picture is beautiful. Love, Pat

  6. Tara Furman says

    I’m in tears as I read this Debbie. We put down our black lab, Gus a few years ago. Your story resurrected all those old feelings. Putting down a loved pet is harder than most people imagine. We now have a 2 year old lab puppy – yes a puppy. Sometimes I refer to him as the “terrorist.”. I needed this perspective. Thanks so much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *