The first part of this blog may be emotionally tough to read (it’s super tough to write and that’s an understatement), if you don’t want to put yourself through that I would skip a couple paragraphs to the one that starts, “So what’s the point.”
This past week my dog, Trinity, died in my arms, literally. This was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. It wasn’t something that was totally unexpected though. In February she was diagnosed with lymphoma, a very quick spreading cancer that doesn’t offer much of a chance of surviving. She was put on prednisone, which is said to keep them going for 60 days. With that in mind I prayed, prayed that in some way God would step in and just take care of it. The Bible doesn’t really say much about God healing animals, but I figured why not. So 60 days passed and Trinity seemed to be doing ok. You could tell she wasn’t the same, but she was doing better than she had been. With that all our hopes got up, and we kind of seemed to forget about the cancer.
And then I woke up on July 4, 2011. I first noticed something was wrong when Trin struggled to get down the stairs that lead to my room. There was a drastic change in her demeanor. All she did was lay around all day, even when Eric and I fired up the grill and grilled steaks. That night, with all the ballgames and fireworks rained out, we decided to watch a movie. Trin just laid on the couch beside me and didn’t really move except to roll over. I had Tuesday off from work, so I was going to take her to the vet first thing in the morning. After the movie, right after midnight (it’s now officially July 5), I went to take her out one last time for the night. I knew she wasn’t doing well, so I carried her outside. As I went down the stairs on the back porch she went completely limp in my arms. She had coughed up a little stuff, so I went to set her on the ground in case she needed to get more out. She plopped on the ground and had no strength to support herself. When I saw that it hit me that this was real, this was happening. Everything I had hoped wouldn’t come true was. My mind raced in so many different directions. Part of me wanted to just panic, to freak out, to run back inside and scream. Part of me wished I had left her on the couch and maybe this wouldn’t be happening. Part of me wanted to completely break down and fall to the ground with her. I picked her up and brought her back inside, she was still completely limp and struggling to breathe. I rushed to Eric’s room to wake him up and see if we could get her to a Pet ER place. Eric hurried to throw on some clothes, but before he could get back out of his room Trinity took her last breath. I brought her in the kitchen and laid her on the counter. We checked for a pulse or breath, but got none. At that moment I can honestly say the thought went through my head of how to perform CPR on an animal. But I hadn’t lost all my sanity so I didn’t. I checked and recheck for pulse and breath, probably close to ten times. Each time I hoped that this wasn’t real, that somehow she would just jump back up on the counter as if nothing had happened. Finally, I gave up and walked into the living room sat on the couch and cried. Yeah I cried and I am man enough to say it. Trinity was only five years old, she was supposed to have a lot more life left to live. I wasn’t ready to deal with this. Just the day before I had played with her and she was tugging on her rope bone like she always did. We covered up Trin and laid her on her bed, I would figure out what to do with her in the morning.
A week has gone by since this all happened, and I miss Trinity like crazy. I can honestly say I miss waking up in the morning and the first thing I would have to do is let her out to go to the bathroom. I miss coming home and walking upstairs and letting her out of her crate. I miss her laying beside me in my bed at night. I miss her crawling around the side of the couch, like we didn’t notice, so she could watch us eat our food and beg. I miss her knowing that as soon as I reclined back in the couch that she could come over and find all the crumbs I had left on the floor. I miss her bringing her rope bone to me so we could play. I miss watching her go crazy over a towel (or Keith’s leg) haha. I miss watching her get so excited people came home that she would run laps around the living room, bouncing off of couch cushions as she made her laps. I miss watching her go crazy if we said the phrases, “go for a walk”, “who’s there”, or “come in”. I miss being able to walk her around the block without a leash. I miss watching her dig in the couch, and just when we thought she was going insane, she would come up with a toy that had been buried under the cushion for weeks. I miss all the pathetic and crazy sounding whimpers she would make. I could go on for a very long time about all the things I miss about her. I’m sure every dog owner feels this way, but Trinity was truly a very special dog. There are so many commands and things that she learned without me having to try to teach her. I never met a person who didn’t like her. She had a way of making everyone fall in love with her. Then she would show people she loved them by showering them with kisses (and yeah she preferred going for the french). She had quite a personality and let everyone know that 5134 was her house, and you weren’t going to change that. She wasn’t afraid of much, except plastic bags. If she was going to chew on a bone, she needed to make sure she did it on one of your power cords. Most her her life she would get toys and rip the stuffing right out of them, then play with the skins. But when I bought her a toy that was just a skin with no stuffing she wouldn’t touch it. Everyone has a story about something crazy she did.
So what’s the point of writing all of this. Did I do it just to get some tears, or people feeling sorry for me? Nah, I don’t need that. I did it because there is another side to the story. Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” July 5, 2011 will go down as one of the toughest days of my life. There was nothing easy about holding my dog as she took her last breath. There is nothing easy about adjusting to life without her. But there is peace. I’ve always known that God is my comforter, but this has never been more real to me. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Isaiah 66:13 says, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” There is so much truth in these verses. That night I laid on my bed and cried out to God. I cried out because I was weak and in pain. I needed someone there for me, yet I knew there was nothing anyone could say that would really help. As I laid there, God began to open my eyes to the bigger picture. As He did this, I began to see His hands at work in all of it.
Now I am in no way saying that God gives out cancer and all that jazz, because I don’t believe that at all. But as I look at all the events and when they went down, I can see how the timing was perfect. Rain on the 4th of July ruins everyone’s plans. Yet if the baseball game I was at was only rain delayed and not cancelled, I would have not been there for Trinity’s last moments. I didn’t ask for Tuesday off of work, and was kind of annoyed I was given it off. I already had Monday off because it was the 4th, and I need hours to make money. Then everything happened, and there is no way I could have gone into work on Tuesday and been OK. I was going to take Trinity to the vet, it probably wouldn’t have been cheap, and I really don’t have the money to be able to afford that. Next week I am going on vacation. There is no way I could have gone if Trinity was not doing well and living her last days, so I probably would have had to cancel that. God has a crazy way of putting all the pieces of a puzzle together. A supernatural peace came over me last Tuesday. A godly peace came over me. It doesn’t make me miss Trinity any less, but I am able to accept it. I am able to praise God for the five amazing years I had with her. I am able to thank Him for all the awesome memories I have. I’m sure I’ll have my moments where I break down, but I know when that happens God will be right there to comfort me. There is a song that I love to turn to when I am in a tough time. It is “Even Now” by Foolish Things. I think you it is worthy of a listening so before reading more I think you should hit play and listen below. Let it sink in for a minute, then read the rest of the blog.
The words of that song are so powerful and true. “He hasn’t left you out to dry, even now. You haven’t left His watching eye, even now. So children sing it when you don’t see how. My Father’s worthy of my hope, even now.” I can listen to this song on repeat for very long amounts of time. The things of this world will come and go, but God will always be there for us. He is worthy of our hope. No matter what happens, no matter how terrible it is, no matter how impossible it is to see the light in the dark, He is worthy of our hope. If we have any hope of coming out of our times of trouble we have to put it in Him. We have to cry out to him in our times of trouble. We have to trust that he will be there for us. Like I said earlier, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Ps 46:1). God is an ever-present help. He is always there for us. God is always there to comfort us. God is always there to pick us back up. We just have to put our hope in him. Like the song says, “When you’re broken and don’t know how to mend, even now.” Just go for it!! I can’t begin to describe how awesome the peace of God is.
I will always love and miss Trinity, but I will also always have a peace about the situation. She was such an awesome dog, but my God is also such an awesome God. Any void that had been left by her death has been filled with His peace. So whatever it is you are going through, put your hope in Him, even now.
April 19, 2006 – July 5, 2011
until next time…