Today I’m introducing you to my friend Amy from Amy Krist Interiors. Amy is married to a fellow German but living in California. She’s actually is in Germany right now with her adorable family and I’m super jealous. I’m glad she sent me this post before she left though.
So here she goes:
First I have to say a huge thank you to Julia for inviting me to share my story on her admired blog today! It really is such an honor to be a part of this series. Danke! Our story is not uncommon, but is emotional and unique to us. For those of us who have brought a pet into our homes, loved them, nurtured them and welcomed them whole-heartedly into our families there always comes the heart breaking moment of saying good bye. When I met my husband over 11 years ago [crap, we’re getting old!] he was living with another woman! She had gorgeous shiny black fur, a sweet temperament and striking eyes-one brown, one blue. She was beautiful! Of course I’m talking about Misty. 🙂
You see, Misty is the reason I am a wife and Mom today. She is the reason I met my husband. Fell deeply in love. Married. Become a Mom [my all-time dream and goal in life]. It sounds corny, but I owe so much gratitude to that sweet face you see above. Let me explain. About 11 1/2 years ago I was in a very toxic relationship and working in a dead end job for an old friend out of her house. Little did I know that friend was also friends with my husband. I remember that day when Frank walked through the front door of her house, carrying a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to share with his friend, and my heart nearly burst through my chest. I always thought love-at-first-sight was for others more deserving, but gratefully it happened to me that day. Frank traveled every week for work and had no one reliable to take care of Misty. He presented me with the opportunity to become his room mate and dog sitter, but I was comfortable in that unhealthy relationship and didn’t take him up on his offer. Weeks passed and I reached the point of no return with my boyfriend. I now understand these song lyrics, “…sometimes love just ain’t enough.” You can love another human being simply for the fact that they are flesh and blood, full of emotions, feelings, etc. But sometimes it just isn’t enough. I took a leap of faith and listened to my heart. I moved in and the rest, they say is history.
After getting married in ’07 we welcomed our beautiful daughter into the world. I think Misty aged quite rapidly once kid #1 arrived.
Misty and I both grew some gray hair once kids entered our lives.
Especially when our little rambunctious man entered the picture in ’09. 🙂 Once you have children, your priorities shift. Misty was no longer our “child” but still an extremely important part of our family. The kids’ needs come first and suddenly your pet has to adapt to this life change. It’s sad in a way, but just the way it is. Misty not only adapted to the huge change of having energetic kiddos around, but treated them like they were her own babies. She was nurturing. Sweet. Gentle. Respectful.
Shortly after our move from Utah to San Diego almost 2 years ago Misty’s health started deteriorating. One minute she was sniffing around our back yard, the next she was stumbling, dizzy, unable to stand. Thinking the worst, I rushed her to the animal hospital. She was diagnosed with “Old Dog” Vestibular Disease. I was relieved Misty did not have a stroke, or brain tumor. The Veterinarian said this is very common in older dogs and that she should make a full recovery within two weeks. Sure enough, Misty recovered, but not 100%. She was able to walk and play again, but it really took a lot out of her and she was left with very weak hind legs. Months passed and she had another episode. I brought Misty to the Vet again and that’s when reality set in. You take these wonderful beings for granted until a well-knowing Vet sits you down, holds your hand and tells you Misty is starting to suffer. I guess I thought she would live forever. I couldn’t even imagine my life, my kids’ lives, or my husband’s life without her. It hit us like a punch to the gut and we did some serious soul-searching. Our conclusion: we loved this dog way too much to watch her suffer. And she was. How do you prepare your kids for something like this? This was new territory for us and quite overwhelming. Explaining death to a 6 year old and 4 year old is very unfair. Thankfully our Vet gave us a 6 page hand-out that was full of helpful tips and advice. The two tips my husband and I quickly adapted were: #1. Be honest. Do not tell your children your pet will be going to sleep. This is confusing to a child as they will expect him/her to wake up again. #2. Be open. We talked openly about Misty’s deteriorating health and answered any questions the kids had.
Misty’s beautiful life with us ended two weeks before Christmas, 2013. She was 14 years old. We cried. We hugged. We remembered her sweet gentle nature. The first week was absolute hell. The worst part was coming home. You expect to be greeted, jumped on and slobbered on. The silence was deafening. My husband and I wanted to wait one year before we even considered adopting another dog. Well, three months later I drove to the Helen Woodward Animal Shelter in Rancho Santa Fe to just look at a few dogs Frank and I spotted online for adoption. One of those dogs was “Hitch.”
A beautiful hound mix who was one of the calmest dogs at the shelter that day. Something clicked in my head and heart that day and before I knew it, I was signing the paperwork and writing a check to adopt him. Part of me felt guilty though for bringing another dog home so soon after losing Misty. Was it too soon? Were we disrespecting the memory of Misty? We decided collectively as a family that if we can help an animal in need we will.
We have had Jake [we renamed him about 4 times] now for about 2 months. While we are still adjusting to one another and trying not to compare him to Misty, we have grown to love him already. He is the mellowest dog I’ve ever met. Goofy. Howls whenever my kids ask him to “speak!” Wags his tail so hard whenever he sees my kids and snores louder than my husband. He is a gentle soul and I think Misty would have approved of him. Saying good bye to Misty was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. But, it gets easier. Opening our home to another dog is definitely helping all of us, especially the kids and the moment my son said, “Mama, I just love this doggie,” is the moment I let go of any guilt.