Love and Loss

I’ve been avoiding writing this post as I knew it was going to be really difficult – and I’ve been proven correct as I’m in tears just looking at this photo. Nearly two weeks ago (I can’t believe it has already been that long) we lost the newest addition to our family, Ethel. You’ll remember I wrote about her not too long ago – with such excitement, hope, and possibility for our family. Ethel proved to be exactly everything we hoped for when we rescued another dog. While timid and shy in the beginning, she opened up to Olive almost immediately and I gained her trust quickly after. I called the three of us the sisterhood. We spent every day together – and I found absolute joy in watching Olive and Ethel together. They were the perfect pair. They played, they cuddled – and above all, provided me with such love and happiness. My heart was so full.

This image of Olive and Ethel together was the very last picture I took of little Eth. It was the day she got out. What’s so strange is that I remember just staring at her throughout the day thinking about how much I loved her and how cute she was. At least I can say that on our last day together – and our two months together – I loved her with my entire being. I hope I gave her the best part of her life she knew.

Italian Greyhounds are accustomed to bolting – and while with my parents Ethel got out – and was missing for three nights and two days. We searched night and day for her – these were easily the hardest moments of my life so far. You see, our dogs are like our children – and the thought of her slim frame being out alone was more than I could bare. The first day she was gone we hired a pet detective to track her scent and help locate her. Her suggestion was to put sheets with my scent down with food and water in an area where we were tracking her scent. The next morning, one of the sheets was covered in little black hair – I was certain she had been there. She knew I was looking for her. So Olive and I set up camp in this greenbelt in a Dallas neighborhood and watched that spot for 21 hours. We didn’t move. We stayed out over night. There was nothing.

It was that next morning that I received the phone call from the kindest man who had the bad news. He had found her on Wednesday morning in the road. Out of the kindness of his heart, he stopped traffic to pick her up and take her home. Her collar had fallen off, so he had no one to call. He buried her in his yard. Friday he finally saw our signs we had posted and was able to call me and identify her. While this ended the way I would never have wanted, I am so grateful to this man that took the time to respect my little Eth and give her a proper burial – so that ultimately we could take her home. My dad did the hardest thing – he went and got her – it was indeed her – and we will be able to have her remains now (she was cremated).

Sometimes I feel so silly over my sadness – thinking “she’s just a dog.” But the thing is – she wasn’t just a dog – she was my little girl. She was perfect for us. But those two short months we had her were the best two months, and I am so grateful to have had those. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Travis and I know this had to have happened for a reason, we trust it’s part of the plan from the Big Man upstairs. And we keep focusing on that. Love is a powerful thing and comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and beings. Love came to us in Ethel, and I’m so thankful for that.

Comments (8)

  1. Emily: October 29, 2012

    I feel like everyone’s always telling us how bad the world is, and I am so in love with this random stranger who found your sweet girl, picked her up and carried her home. It’s proof that there are hearts full of love and compassion and respect, even for people we’ve never met. I, too, hope that her moments with you, Olive and Travis were Ethel’s very favorites.

  2. Merrick: October 29, 2012

    Lauren – I am so sorry to hear about Ethel. I’m so glad you wrote this post because it helps other people know that grieving for pets is so normal and can hit so deeply. My cat, Bowie, has been missing for 2 and a half weeks. I’ve been a wreck. They are our children and are truly loved. Know that you are not alone my friend and that Ethel was so blessed to have a mama like you!

  3. robbie: October 29, 2012

    Oh, Lauren, I’m so very sorry. I’m glad you had a little resolution in the end, but know your sadness. I hope for a happy time for you all soon.

  4. laurenessl: October 29, 2012

    Merrick,

    I totally know your pain and I’m so sorry about you beloved pet. I’ll pray for you and hope for the best! Don’t lose hope. The best advice I got is to make huge, neon signs and post them everywhere. (Like half a posterboard size). That way people can read them easily – that is how the man got my number.

    Sending love,
    Lauren

  5. Ally M.: October 29, 2012

    Lauren, I am so sorry. Reading this broke my heart. You and Travis are in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Heather & Bo: November 8, 2012

    Oh, goodness Lauren. That is truly heartbreaking. We too are sorry for the loss of your love. You three are in our prayers.

  7. lostindrawers: November 8, 2012

    Oh my Lauren, we too are sorry for the loss of your love. You three are in our prayers.

  8. Eric: December 11, 2013

    Hi, Just randomly came across this picture. At first glance, I thought Eth was a boston until I read on. When I discovered your story I really feel for you.

    I have a dog named Gonzoe that I love very much and would be shattered if I lost him. He is the mys little buddie.

    Thanks for your story and I appreciate your energy.

    feel free to friend bostongonzoe is youd like to see pics.

    Peace

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