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Loving a pet means letting it go

March 26, 2013 - Linda Lobeck
When you take an animal into your home, you know that someday your heart will be broken when they are gone. I recently had that happen after nearly 10 years with my little dog Gracie. No matter whether you’re prepared or not prepared for this to happen, it’s devastating and leaves such a big hole in your life.

As many people know, I love dogs of all kinds, but poodles in particular. Growing up we had a poodle, Woodstock, who died when I started working here at The Daily News. That was hard since I was away from home and living on my own. But thinking back on it, I know it was harder on my Mom who raised him from a pup and was all alone after my Dad died.

It was through my Mom that I learned to treat a dog like a child — a member of our family. Not that there is anything wrong with how other people approach having a pet, but I was influenced by my family and carried that on into my married life. My husband grew up in the country and their dogs were more outside animals and didn’t live really in the house.

After we got married, my wedding gift was a drive to Iron River to pick up a little poodle puppy, Brandy. My husband knew how much I wanted a dog and had been looking in the paper for a puppy for me. He even talked to our wonderful landlords -- dog and cat lovers themselves — about letting us have this new addition to our family.

For the next 16 years we had Brandy and then our two sons, who grew up with a loving and protective dog. I believe that kids should have a pet when growing up, because it teaches them about responsibility and caring for someone other than themselves. And because of this, they have also developed a love for dogs.

I was sure that after Brandy left us I wasn’t going to get another dog — it just hurt too much. But after a little more than a year passed, my younger son who was 11 at the time, begged for another dog. He wore me down saying he had never had a puppy, which was true since Brandy was five when he was born.

So once again, my husband finds another poodle puppy for sale — a girl this time — and we head down to Delta County to see her on Memorial Day. She was already named Gracie and we decided to keep the name and brought her home.

She definitely stole my heart and once again I was a Mom to a new addition to our family. Without her around now, there is a huge hole in my life. It’s not like I didn’t know that this could happen, but I wasn’t expecting her diagnosis when we brought her in to the animal hospital to be so close to the end of her life.

One of the hardest things is coming come from work and not having her there to greet me and keep me company when my husband is working at night. Another difficult time is when my granddaughter visits and calls looking for her because she loved her too. It was wonderful to see the interaction between the two — Madelyn talking to Gracie, petting her so softly and giving her a kiss when she left.

It’s also hard to be responsible and do the adult thing when something like this happens. But if you take a pet into your life, you have to be strong enough to not let them suffer and make the tough decision when it needs to be made. Logically, you know that going in when you get that puppy, but when the time comes, it isn’t any easier. Loving a pet means letting it go when it’s time.


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