We had a beloved pound puppy we adopted when our oldest daughter was 10 months old. Since Penny (our adopted mutt) was a rescue and the vets guessed she was 5-10 months old we made her birthday the same as our oldest daughter. Penny was a treasure. She was the most loyal and loving pup you could imagine. She gave us 10 years of unconditional love, loyalty and companionship.
As the years went by sharing a birthday with our oldest made it easy to remember and celebrate our beloved pup. When you have 3 kids, both work full time you know that an easy, loving companion who goes with the flow is all you can ask for in a dog.
Well this past February, 10 days after Penny's 10th birthday we were tragically and unexpectedly faced with the fact that we had to put Penny down. Penny had been a loving, loyal companion to all of us now (3 kiddos later). We all adored her and struggled with the fact that we had to say goodbye.
As a parent our biggest struggle is when to shield our kids from sadness and loss and when to let them experience, grieve and work through the pain. When our fish died we bought a new one without telling the kids to spare them from the loss. With Penny that was not an option. We decided to pull the kids 10, 7 and 2 at the time out of school to say goodbye. My husband had remembered years prior when our other dog passed and our oldest said to us "you didn't let me say good-bye?" with such a conviction that we had no other option at the time.
Saying good-bye was extremely sad and difficult and we all grieved it so differently. Penny was my number 1 girl. She was at my side 24/7. She was loving, loyal and always there. She was in the background of every photo, memory, camping trip, birth, loss, celebration and I can't explain the pain and grief her loss meant to me. However, as a mother of 3 littles I struggled because dealing with the pain and the reality of this tragic loss I still had to be "mom". I had to help the kids deal with the loss and I remember asking my mom... "How am I supposed to act? What I am supposed to do? Because right now I just want to crawl in bed and cry"....and that is what I did. Thankfully for my loving mom and husband who stepped in and helped us get through those painful days. And although the loss is still very raw and real, time does help and life keeps going especially when you have no choice with school and sports and work.
In conclusion, the quote stands true....it is better to have loved and lost to never have loved at all or however that goes. For 10 years we
loved and appreciated our Penny girl and when our hearts heal we will adopt again.