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Old 06-03-2013, 09:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Meet me at the bridge Claire!

It has been a week since my sweet Claire passed away and I miss her like crazy. I've been through the anger, guilt, & sadness. I'd like to share Claire's story to help with my grieving. Maybe someone can relate, maybe it will help someone.

I got Claire from a pet store 14 1/2 years ago. I had just moved out of my parents house & wanted a dog of my own. I was young, 21 years I think. Didn't know much about puppy mills at the time, I just saw an adorable beagle with a white spot in the middle of her tan coloured head and had to have her. I never knew if she was from a puppy mill or not. Claire was difficult to train. I was working full time night shifts & even though I took her for long walks after getting home from work in the morning, Claire barely let me sleep. My parents would take her for a week at a time to give me a break. They pretty much house trained her for me. My mom asked me if I wanted to give her away if she was too much for me. I said no way. I got myself into this, I'm sticking to it & I did.

Years went by. Claire & I shared many camping trips, hikes, cottage days, the dog park. She was with me when I met my husband, went back to school, bought a house, went through 2 pregnancies & 2 kids. My husband never had any interest in having a dog, so she was completely dependent on me. I walked her every day (well, almost), did the vet appointments, baths, nail trims, picked up poop, everything. Claire was literally my best friend. I don't have a lot of friends, I'm an introvert, the less people I'm around the more comfortable I am. I think Claire was the same. As she got older she played less. Just preferred her walks, sleep & eating. And after having 2 kids my priorities changed. But I managed to fit in her daily walks, & I always worried about her when I had to leave her alone during the day.

In the last few months of her life, I prepared myself for the day I had to take her to the vet to put her to sleep. Thinking about it made me cry but I knew eventually it was coming. Claire got sicker, there were messes to clean, & vet bills. Although I was stressed at times, I never thought of her as a burden. It was a privilege to take care of my friend. The day she died she was so sick. The vet had given me some hope that it was pass & she'd start to feel better. Of course it happened on a Saturday & the vet closed at noon. Later in the day when I realized she wasn't going to get better I had planned to take her to the emergency vet the next morning to be put to sleep. I thought she would make it until the morning. I was wrong. Claire passed away in the night after I decided to lie down on the couch for a while, & then dozed off. She never whimpered or cried. Just drifted off into eternal sleep. I'm angry at myself for not staying with her. I now figured that if I had brought her to the vet in the night, she probably would have died in the van on the way there & that's the last thing I wanted. Claire hated car rides. In fact, she hated the vet too. So maybe she did pass away peacefully, her way. Maybe she wanted to be alone, like animals in the wild do when they are dying. The only thing I can do now is take comfort in the fact that I gave her a good life, did the best I could for her. I admire her strength & courage to live each day sick without complaint and showing no sign of pain.

Going for walks now is not the same. I miss hearing Claire's nails scrape on the pavement beside me as she trotted along. I miss the comments I'd get from other people saying what a gorgeous dog I had. I miss how she'd run ahead of me on our off leash walks but always stop, look back & make sure i was still following along. As much as I'd love to get another dog, it will not happen for a few years. Maybe when my boys are older & can take some of the responsibility.

Claire, thank you for giving me 14 wonderful years of companionship. I love you, I miss you! When my time comes, I'll meet you at the bridge & we'll walk this earth together for eternity.


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Old 06-03-2013, 09:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I understand it absolutely.
She died at home and I think it wasn't a coincidence .
I read all your posts and I was happy you choose not to put her to sleep.
She went when and where she wanted. She even waited until you fell asleep.
You were an exceptional friend, owner , caregiver, dog mommy.
My first beagle died 12 years ago and I still feel the pain, but it gets better.
You are a very good person. Take care of yourself.
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Claire's mom...I can't imagine what you are feeling. You truly lost a piece of your heart..a pure boundless piece of joy and happiness. I am dreading this day myself...while my beagle is far from this point thankfully and hopefully, my beloved mutt, Elvis, is awfully close (at least I hope not). I have had him since he was old enough to be released from the pound...he has been with me through multiple deployments and a divorce, and even though he is just a mutt doggy, nothing or no one knows me better...I can only hope to be as strong as you have been with your loss of Claire.

From everything, you sound like you were an excellent doggie parent, and I can only hope my dogs think the same about me.

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Old 06-03-2013, 10:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing your story. You and Claire were lucky to have each other.
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing your story. Tears were flooding my eyes as I read it. Just like your story, she has run ahead of you but dont be too sad because she will turn back to watch you, like she always has.

I hope these pictures brings you some comfort.

*hugs*
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Meet me at the bridge Claire!-581742_10151361585755922_1484141851_n.jpg   Meet me at the bridge Claire!-298841_10151036041948230_146207699_n.jpg  
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My heart goes out to you. Losing our little companions is definitely not easy. Hold on to and cherish those memories. Very sorry for your loss.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry for your loss!

Your sweet girl chose when to let go, and you can be sure that your love comforted her throughout her illness. She was surrounded by the sights and smells that she loved - home - and most likely held on until you slept. It was gentle way to continue her journey, and you should not feel guilty. Cherish the love that you shared - for love never dies.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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So Sorry for your loss.
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:01 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You were so lucky to have each other and that is why its so hard now. She got to leave in the place she felt comfortable as opposed to a vet's office. Reading your story made the tears flow but thank you for sharing and you having nothing to feel guilty about.
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