Monday night we said goodbye to our precious companion, Ani.
We had gotten her as a puppy right before I found out I was pregnant with Alec. Correctly bred German Shepherds are known for their loyalty and protective nature. She was and she fit our family perfectly.
She was gentle and motherly towards the children, welcoming each new baby as if it was her own. She would run in the backyard with them, and would instinctively "herd" them, too!
She slept upstairs in the boy's room, she was my ears when I was in the back of the house and couldn't hear the door, she kept door-to-door salesmen in their place, she laid at my feet if I stayed up late working on the computer. She cleaned up our food messes on the floor, reminded us to keep the trash can emptied and put away, chased critters out of our garden, and received lots of lovin'.
We had noticed her slowing down over the past couple months, but she was not sick or in pain at all, just slower and sleepier. Monday evening we heard the back door bang and sent Alec to let her outside. He found her collapsed on the floor, unable to move. She lifted her head apologetically when I came, but still did not rise.
We moved her to the kitchen on a comfortable pad and called my parents and Marvin's mom, all of whom were tremendously fond of Ani. She lifted her head once when each of them came in, and then did not move again.
We all sat around her for about another 30 minutes and petted her and soothed her as she passed away. It was the absolute best way to lose a pet. No sickness, no pain, just peacefulness and care from us.
The kids cried buckets while we buried her next to our other dog and cat.
The next day was dreadful. The house seemed so empty and quiet, despite my three children. Ava cried for Ani on and off throughout the day, and the boys carried her collar around. I had to make them put it away after a while because the tinkling sound of it made me think Ani was coming into the room.
Today was awful, too. We came and went and there was no wagging tail to greet us, no one to let out into the backyard, no barking when the mailman came. Just total stillness.
There will never be another dog like her, we will always miss her terribly.