It is always difficult to say goodbye to a beloved pet, and explaining how you feel to non-dog-crazy people is like adding insult to injury; not everyone understands how much our dogs mean to us.
Through the magic of the internet I have met a wonderful, dog-loving woman named Judy. She is a friend of my sister’s who lives in Singapore with her husband Russel who is a photographer (hence the amazing pics) and a pack of beloved Golden Retrievers.
Sadly, Sidney her first boy, his health had begun to deteriorate in recent months. Knowing that her friend Cynthia’s sister was a crazy dog person, who might understand her situation, she reached out and we began chatting online.
Judy wrote me the most beautiful emails about her beloved Sidney and her fight to keep him healthy and vital. Unlike the US where vets are abundant and understanding of the desire to keep dogs alive and well at almost any cost, Singapore was somewhat behind. And yet Sidney was born in 1994! Certainly Judy was quite a dog mom to have a Golden live strong for 15 plus years.
But last week, it was time to let Sidney go. I asked Judy to write something about Sidney because if we honor our family and friends with obituaries, we should do the same for our four-legged family member who we love so dearly.
Here is what she wrote:
There is such a strange void and silence in my house after Sidney died. I can’t explain it. Even though I still have 3 dogs, I think his aura was really big.
My husband, Russel, brought Sidney home about 15 and half years ago. We were dating, not married yet. I named him Sidney (after Sidney Poitier) and he was the finest blonde I’d ever met! Like people, some dogs have a presence that cannot be explained and Sidney had that X factor. Everyone always remembers Sidney. It’s not that he did special tricks or anything uniquely special, but people have always gravitated to him. Even when we finally settled and with 4 adorable goldens, Sidney was always the one that stood out.
Sidney also remembers people really well. He adored Russel’s father (who passed away on 28 Aug, exactly 2 months before Sids) who took care of him when he was a sick puppy. Russel’s father, Dr Wong, would take time out of his rest to nurse and medicate this special doggy every hour on the hour and feed him soft white bread to encourage Sidney to eat. Up to today, Sidney’s favorite food is a loaf of baguette! Whenever Sidney saw Dr Wong, he would just go nuts! He would want to snuggle up close and put his lap on Dr Wong, like he was forever grateful to Dr Wong for saving his life and caring.
During Russel’s photo shoots, Sidney would walk over to the studio and sit down and posed. It was really funny because Russel always had to shoo him out of the studio. Sidney liked posing with people! He really did enjoy taking pictures! But more than anything, he loved being around people and people loved him. He was a sensitive soul, my boy, and he had a lot of friends. So many were in tears when I announced that he died, so many.
I knew he was going to die when I woke up on the morning of the 28th. He was so tired and he was having a hard time breathing. I carried him downstairs (they ALL sleep with me in my bedroom, no matter who is sick) and saw that he probably had hours or another day at most. I finally made the decision to call the vet to the house (I would not have wanted him to die at the vet’s, I had to respect Sidney’s wishes. I know how much he hated the vet’s office) because I just couldn’t bear to see him suffer anymore. What really hurts is that his eyes were so alive and well, but the rest of him was not. That makes me feel so guilty! The logical side of my brain understands that it was the best thing for him, but my heart was just in pieces.
Please God take care of my Sidney and forgive me. I’m trying to make myself remember all the wonderful years and be grateful for every minute of them, to have had the opportunity to love such a wonderful companion and get loved back. But it’s still hard. it’s going to take a while…. a long while.
Meanwhile, I’m just trying to give attention to the other 3 doggies. But there is a huge void in my home and in my heart.
What a beautiful letter Judy wrote and I’m glad we were able to connect and share about Sydney.
If you need to share about your dog, I’m always here at firstname.lastname@example.org or there are some amazing Pet Loss support resources online, including the ASPCA’s website and Petloss.com which has a lengthy list of grief hotlines.Email This Post