Just married, we decide to rescue a golden retriever. Dexter was ours to care for, he was ours to Love, he was ours to teach. He was always there by our side and taught us more then we knew. He relied on us for his basic needs. This was new to us both, as adults we had only taken care of ourselves. We’d plan around him and never left him alone for more the a few hours. Our time off was spent planning adventures together. He brought us so much joy and snuggle time.
After 3 years and 7 months he was suddenly taken over by old age. Being a rescue, we didn’t have his complete history or how he was cared for. We had to help him by stopping his suffering. When he was gone, it was hard to feel my heart as if it was gone too. I felt lost and alone, even though my husband was going through his own loss. We had each other, but it was still so hard to push through the days without Dexter. The house was too quiet. We wore his dog tags just to hear that familiar noise, in hopes to feel a little bit better. Of course, we had immense support from family and friends, but there was no way to completely explain how I was feeling. Empty, lost, sad, lonely. We could barely function sleeping as much as possible with stuffed animals and blankets that had his smell. Our daily walking routine was gone, neighbors were asking about him, and we would do our best to smile and say we had to put him down because his suffering was too much to bear. It was hard to explain to people why we shut down. Most would think “its just a dog," which hurt more than ever.
Dexter changed our lives forever. We knew we would always rescue dogs who needed homes, even though we know that heartbreak is part of the experience. Thinking of him today brings only happiness, and I cherish our time together. We were so lucky! They can never be replaced, but we can continue to build new loving relationships with other dogs in need.