Goodbye Puku… And thank you for 12 years of companionship

This morning is one of the coldest on record here in Auckland New Zealand.

Frost on the grass in the garden at the old folks home (my parents and Grumpy's mum all live together there, we call it the old folks home for obvious reasons)
Frost on the grass in the garden at the old folks home (my parents and Grumpy’s mum all live together there, we call it the old folks home for obvious reasons)
Turning in to say goodbye.  Very cold, crisp, clear morning.
Turning in to say goodbye. Very cold, crisp, clear morning.

I bundled up my 8 year old daughter after calling my parents to check up and see if it was time to say goodbye to our family dog. She took a turn a couple of days ago and has given up.  I am reminded how glad I am that we are able to offer her respite from her pain and a peaceful and dignified death.  I’ll leave that train of thought there today, but there’s a lot more to say on the matter.

PukuBlog1
Puku has been done for a couple of days, and this morning she is finally being put to rest. It is hard to say goodbye. But I am so glad we are able to give our beloved pets a peaceful and dignified farewell when they are ready. They let us know when that time is, even if it is still hard to accept and let them go. I wish all those we loved had the same options.

Everyone is dealing with this very differently.

Daniel knew that the end would be coming soon for his beloved childhood pet. He’s done his grieving over the past few months and had a good healthy cry session last night and is carrying on really well and looking out for the other kids.

Steph is beside herself. Her teachers and classmates rallied around her and offered comfort and cuddles and so many of them had stories about losing their beloved pets.

Adam is being looked out for by his siblings. As is often the case he’s feeling anger and frustration and it will come out as it always does. He’s got such a big heart.

Phteven. Well. Last night as we all snuggled into bed and sobbed a little and talked about grief and how letting go of people and pets we Love is one of the most natural and important things we can do, Grumpy piped in with a movie voice over echo impersonation: “Where is your GOD NOW! Mwhhahahahhahahaaa…” And the tension was broken and I couldn’t stifle a laugh despite my depressed state.

The talk about believing in God, or afterlife, or reincarnation was had with our three elder children. Only one of them identifies as a Christian despite our (well, probably my) efforts to encourage them to find their own spiritual path. Judge us if you want. Ethics, kindness, Love, honesty, generosity and resilience are the pillars of our family, and although we work to nurture a spiritual belief structure, we don’t tell them how or what to believe.  I married an atheist, so really I can’t complain about the lack of spirituality in our home more than a decade in I suppose.

Many tears, many cuddles and many words have been shared over losing our family pet. She was a gift to my husband before we were married. He loved her and took her to work at Serato where she sat on his lap or in a box on his desk until she grew too big and we knew we had to let her live with my parents in Dargaville. She’s almost always been my dad’s dog really. And despite his gruff, matter-of-fact approach to life and death and his farmer mentality on animals, he is going to miss his companion most of all.

This is me getting ready for my first wedding to Phteven.  Puku and my beloved dog Franklin were honoured guests.
This is me getting ready for my first wedding to Phteven. Puku and my beloved dog Franklin were honoured guests.
In the bottom right hand corner Puku and my beloved Franklin run on the beach on the day of our first wedding.  January 24th 2004.  Still grieve for Franklin and he's been gone for 8 years now.
In the bottom right hand corner Puku and my beloved Franklin run on the beach on the day of our first wedding. January 24th 2004. Still grieve for Franklin and he’s been gone for 8 years now.

My mother has been excellent. I complain about her so much, and we butte heads a lot, but she has a deep and beautiful soul and one of the purest hearts I have ever been let into.

Granny hugs.  Steph has needed a lot of hugs as she loses the pet she has known for her entire life.
Granny hugs. Steph has needed a lot of hugs as she loses the pet she has known for her entire life.

The children have been asked by me, and now their teachers to write a story, poem, journal entry or to draw a picture about how they feel. When I suggested to Stephanie to write down how she is feeling as it is cathartic and will help her grieving, my suggestion was met with a flood of tears and the exclamation: “But I could never describe it! I Love her so much!”

Strangely, this has all served to help snap me out of a deep dark funk and sadness.  My trademark crazy has set in recently, and self doubt, deprecation and loathing has been given a reprieve and eclipsed by the grief being felt by me and the children as we let go of a loyal and steadfast family pet.

I am so proud of all my little people and the Love and the loss that they are embracing and how they are doing it.

Dogs Love us more than we deserve. So unconditionally and their needs are so simple.

My heart goes out to all of you who have been reminded of the hurt of losing a beloved family member as you read this. It is a pain that we are guaranteed from the moment we give our hearts to these creatures. And I am so thankful for the lessons that Puku has taught us all.

Take care of yourselves, and give the people and pets you Love an extra squeeze today if you get the chance.

Thanks for reading.

Dee


2 thoughts on “Goodbye Puku… And thank you for 12 years of companionship

  1. My heart still grieves, and always will. This made me remember, and though sad, made me smile as I did so. My heart goes out to all Dee, treasure the memories of your beloved Puku x

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