My colleagues who know about Pet Grief said “Get a paw print from Stella before she dies.”
Determined to honor her passing exactly right, I vowed “I will get that footprint.”
So in the midst of inconclusive vet visits and internet searches for horrifying dog illnesses, I staggered over to Michaels to survey their Pet Memorial Products. There I found The Pet Memorial Stepping Stone. The picture on the box indicated you could cement-secure a pristine footprint from your dog and then decorate it with mosaic tiles!
Perfect. I got two.
I came home and mixed the cement. Then the task of convincing stubborn Stella to step in it…
Today is the anniversary of our beloved Stella’s passing. I wrote this shortly after she died. I have shared it with people who have lost pets and other loved ones. People seem to find it comforting. Please feel free to pass it along.
Today, my grief has mostly morphed to gratitude – but I offer this as a tribute and a touchstone for anyone who is struggling with the realities of mortality in our immortal existence.
“It’s time,” I tell Hugh.”
He rises from the computer and strides to my office, where she lies on the blue carpet. She greets him, delighted to see him. She doesn’t get up, but is bright-eyed alert. She thumps her tail and gives her biggest grin.
Hugh says, “Are you sure?”
I shake my head and shudder because just now, I almost killed our dog.
At night she weakens.
I know and Hugh agrees. Tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow is the day I will carry my sweet gift of a girl to the car and drive her to the vet for the last time. Hugh asks if I will come to bed and I say, “No, I will spend this last night glued to Stella.”
Today, driving my privileged dogs to their privileged hike in the mountains of beautiful Ojai, I had to pull over to the side of the road. I couldn’t see through my tears. A mother was on the radio. She spoke of her son, a boy killed in the nightclub in Orlando.
In the aftermath of this shooting, I know this: This one feels terrible. This one feels personal. This one feels like something must be done.