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.

Thank you, Ani, for worming your way into my heart. I will never forget you.

7 readers took time to leave a thought:

11arrows January 5, 2011 at 6:34 PM  

I am so sorry! Give your kids a hug from us (that means 13!) I mean that! WE had "Annika" as one of our girl name choices. Kind of ironic huh?!

I will be in touch!

4 Little Men and Girly Twins January 5, 2011 at 6:55 PM  

OH NO! How come we didn't talk about this on the phone, was it just yesterday?

SO SO SO SORRY! Hugs to everyone!


McSarah January 5, 2011 at 8:17 PM  

Beautifully written. It's true how they cannot be replaced. They are loved and cherished and appreciated for all of those beautiful individual characteristics they bestow upon their families : ).... That's how we feel about Fiona. I totally get "irreplaceable".

Kara January 7, 2011 at 2:53 PM  

This post brought tears to my eyes. I randomly came upon your blog when I was looking for one with a similar title. Either way, I'm so glad I did. We lost our "irreplaceable" dog a couple of years ago and there is still a huge void in our family. We miss him every day. Some people may not understand that....you know the ones who think "it was just a dog", but it is so true. I am a little bit jealous that you were able to spend Annika's last moments with her as a family and that she died peacefully. We actually had to put our dog to sleep because he wasn't able to do his business outside anymore. We tried for as long as we could to help him by carrying him outside and holding him up but it became clear by the look in his eyes that he felt like he was letting us down and that he was ready to go. Even though it was a peaceful death for him, it was so incredibly hard for us. I know we had to do it but I still find myself wondering if there was something else we could have done. All I know is that he had a wonderful and full 10 years with us and he brought us so much joy. Sorry for the long comment....reading your post just brought back so many memories. One last thing....have you heard of the book "Dog Heaven" by Cynthia Rylant. It's a cute book that my kids really enjoyed reading after we lost our dog. You and your kids may like it too. Take care and thanks for sharing your beautiful words.

dadto5 January 8, 2011 at 9:06 AM  

Facebook sugested we be friends. Not sure how it picks people. We lived in Delaware till July. I found the link to your blog, ANYWAY....I am so sorry for your lose. Prayers to your family.


Autumn January 9, 2011 at 7:37 PM  

Shelly, I completely understand this loss. Our cat Sammy was hit by a car in May and died a few hours later after much trauma at the emergency vet clinic. I am so glad your children were able to be there and say goodbye. That is one of the hardest things for our kids is that it happened at night while they slept and they never said goodbye. They are so special and become one of the family. We cried for so long and so hard that we started to wonder what was wrong with us (hubby and me.) I am so sorry for this loss. Deeply sorry.

Laurie and Alan January 20, 2011 at 9:43 PM  

Hi Shelly,

I came to your blog through my daughters, Aleah (4 giggling monkeys). I'm forcing back tears right now, oh how we can relate with you and your family. Our prayres are with you right now. But remember...you will one day see Ani again, in Heaven. A good book to read and that is all scripturally based is "Will I see Fido in Heaven." By Mary Buddemeyer-Porter. It's helped me tremendously, we just lost our Sheltie Ceddie Boy 6 months ago from congestive heart failure and I'm am grieving his untimely death very hard. he was my sweet, sweet boy and I/we miss him so much but I know after reading many Christian books on the subject of animals and them going to Heaven.
Anyway, you are all in my thoughta and prayers...God Bless.

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