How Do I Say Goodbye to a Faithful Friend?

Sadie Hawkins has been my loyal friend for nine years. She comforted me when I was sad. She instinctively knew when I was hurting and offered her face or her back or her paw for me to pet. She gladly absorbed my pain; she just had to look at me with her big, brown eyes and the love in them would take away my sadness.

But not today. Today she looks at me and begs me to take away her pain. Her brown eyes are now filled with sadness. Sadie has been sick for 6 months. We don’t know what she has, but she’s lost half her body weight; there is nothing left but fur and bones. We have tried everything we could afford to get her eating and healthy again. She would make steps in the right direction for a while, and then fall back worse than where she started. She threw up her food without it being digested. We gave her pills to keep the food down. It stayed down but then she got diarrhea. We gave her more pills to correct that. Even so, she continued to lose weight. We cooked turkey and potatoes for her to encourage her to eat. It worked for a while as well, but now, Sadie has stopped eating.

Her eyes are telling me she’s in pain. She put her face next to mine and leaned into me. She didn’t try to lick my face. She just wanted to be as close to me as possible, to feel my breath on her face. We’ve always been connected that way. I somehow understood her wants and needs, and she mine. She wants me to fix her, to make her feel better, but I can’t. I tried, but she has something that can’t be fixed. It’s breaking my heart. The only thing I can do is lie down on the floor next to her and pet her boney body and wrap my body around hers, somehow hoping to return the years of comfort she has given me.

I know I have to say goodbye to her. But how can I? Will she understand we did all that we could do? Does she know how much she has meant to me and our family? I hope through that magical connection we’ve shared, Sadie will absorb my words through this letter to her, and know how much I love and appreciate her.

Dear Sadie,

My sweet girl, thank you for being my faithful friend. You were always the first to greet me at the door. You followed me everywhere I went. I’m sorry for all those times I stepped on you or accidentally kicked you because I didn’t know you followed me downstairs or into the bedroom or were waiting for me by the bathroom door. Thank you for snoring on those lonely nights when Dave would work late. Those deep sounds comforted me so I could sleep.

Thank you for coming into our family when Carol Linn needed you most. She hated the Springs until you came into our lives. You gave her a reason to be happy again.

Thank you for protecting our house. No one could get close to the door without you letting the person know you would protect us if he or she were an enemy.

You patiently accepted Ian as a playmate, even when he didn’t play nice. You then lovingly, and sometimes with a firm paw, taught Chico how to behave in our house.

Above all thank you for your unconditional love. You brought joy to our home. We will miss you, sweet girl.

My prayer for you:

May you wake up in a green field with Jazz and Sierra there to welcome you. May you have all your strength and speed again, so you can run, dodge, and play with them. And when you need to rest from all your adventures may there be a fluffy, king-sized bed for you to curl up in. May the feast be a cornucopia of all your favorite foods, filling your belly and bringing you joy. And may you hear my voice and feel my love with you always, so you can rest in peace, my sweet, sweet Sadie girl.

I love you and will miss you!