Dear Puppy Brie,
You were a most special 7 year old puppy; you and Carver were “puppies” together; you were our children’s first love and first pet despite living twenty minutes away with your parents, their grandparents, Phil and Joyce. Just this past Saturday, you chased a bunch of laughing six year old girls around at Greta’s birthday party. And then today, just two days later, I had to tell them you died.
Your parents are so sad as nothing could have prepared them for their otherwise perfectly healthy dog to only be sick one day before crossing over the Rainbow Bridge. Your good nature allowed our children to crawl all over you as babies and pull your hair as toddlers and feed you pizza crusts because Grandpa always said it was okay. You even slept in bed with them on the hottest of nights, as if sleeping in a dog bed was unacceptable. They loved you that much. You had beautiful views of the mountains and lots of sunshine to sleep in on the floor when napping– or Grandma’s lap in her easy recliner. She even let you sit on her lap in the passenger seat of the car knowing how lonely you always were in the back seat. They loved you that much.
When Grandma called me today and made sure we weren’t in the car on speaker phone because she didn’t want your children to hear the news about your surgery, I believed they would find the problem, fix it, and sew you back up to send back to home to heal. You were too young and too healthy and still far too fast a runner to have cancer and die in one day.
Then when Grandpa called back to tell me that the cancer was too much for your fuzzy, golden body, I understood I’d have to share that news with your children; this would be their first really sad news about death in our family. But we had been visiting friends so I decided to wait until we were home. The closer we came to the house, the more my eyes filled up with tears wondering what I would actually say when I pulled them both onto my lap. We talked of regular things in the car and they did not imagine– could not have imagined– what news I would have to share when we arrived home in one of the worst summer storms yet. The rain was pounding down in the driveway and thunder boomed in our ears and lightening lit up the afternoon sky. You had just been playing with us two days before. Now you were dead, and I had to tell them.
Your older brother, Geoff, was traveling to Baltimore for work and wanted to turn around to be with your parents and with your children when they heard the news of your passing because he knew how hard it would be. He loved you too, so much for many reasons, but mostly because of the way you played with Carver and Greta and kept Grandpa and Grandma very active in the neighborhood with walks and friends. Everyone who met you thought you just to be the sweetest girl, and you were, and now I have to tell your children.
“Guys, come here, for a minute; I have some sad news to tell you, and Mommy is going to cry.” Mommy was in fact already crying.
I pulled them close, your little children and favorite cuddlers and explained, “Puppy Brie was sick this morning. Grandma and Grandpa took her to the veterinarians who tried to help her but the cancer had grown too fast and far for them to fix. She died this afternoon, and we will miss her very much.”
“But wait, she wasn’t sick, so how did she die?” Carver clarified.
And then the realization hit our little boy that having died meant you were actually dead, and we would not be seeing you again to hug and squeeze and cuddle. Even now as he is asleep in the bed next to me (traumatic news–needed to be done), he looks sad sleeping. He has this picture which his other grandparents brought over in a frame the moment they heard the news of your passing.
“You mean I’ll never get to snuggle her again?” and then the heaving sobs came from our brown haired boy and they kept coming and he kept squeezing my neck. And then later as the sobs subsided into hiccups and deep breaths, “You mean she is in heaven and isn’t in any pain?”
“Well, yes,” I reassured, “that is what it means.” But even as a grown up who remembers the day too well we lost our own childhood puppy, Heidi, I know that does not make missing you any easier.
Greta was quietly taking in all the crying as if not quite understanding what this would for her maybe just a little too young to recognize the loss the same way. She wondered if your ashes would be on the mantle next to Edelweiss’, Grandma and Grandpa’s other Golden Retriever. She wondered if they would get another puppy, and she thinks they should because they love puppies.
“Mom, I will make them a picture of Puppy Brie, and I’ll give them my lovey Biscuit because she is a Golden Retriever also. Is it okay that I’m not crying?”
Of course it was okay she was not crying, but that does not diminish one bit how much you were loved by that little blond girl her entire life. She will remember you forever and judge all other puppies by the softness of your hair and by how much they like pizza crust of course.
Puppy Brie, we will miss you and do our best to remember each of the seven years we shared together. We promise to look after your parents and make sure those little children always have good dog friends in their lives. Even though our hearts are heavy with hurt, being loved by you was pretty fantastic.
Love, all of us here on Earth wishing you lots of fun in Heaven