Thursday, October 28, 2010

Olivia...




Unfortunately we had no choice but to let go of Olivia today, just five short days after she first became ill. We still don't know the cause (it might have been bacterial, fungal, or a toxin), but the effect was quite simply devastating -- her liver completely shut down, and no manner of drug nor treatment was going to bring it back. I'm still in a state of shock at this twist my life has taken in less than a week. But I suppose you never expect tragedies, nor can you ever prepare yourself for one.

Saying goodbye to her this morning was one of the harder things I have ever had to endure, but I know that in the end Dave and I made the right decision by ending her suffering rather than needlessly pursuing life-extending (but not life-enhancing) treatments. The process was made somewhat easier by a wonderfully supportive and incredibly gifted veterinarian and staff. I know they did all they could for her...and I was amazed to see them all in tears as well at the end. But then again, Olivia was (and I don't think I'm overstating things here) just about the cutest dog out there, with the personality to match. I wish I could have brought her home with me at the end of this ordeal, but I know that just wasn't meant to be.

Olivia taught me so many things in the 3 short years I had her. She taught me how to take care of someone else, someone totally dependent on me. She taught me greater patience, especially in her puppy phase. She taught me to take joy in the simple things: food, sun...feathers. Beyond these lessons, she gave me so much joy and comfort. My hope is at the end she knew this, and that she knew how much she was loved -- not just by Dave and I, but by so many other family and friends.


I have often been accused of loving her overly much, but to quote my father "if you don't love 'em, what's the point?" And I have to agree. Despite the pain Dave and I are going through now, it's worth every second I got to spend with her. I had hoped to enjoy Olivia for years to come, but I know that I was lucky to have her, if only for a short while.

St. Francis of Assisi believed that all animals, and not just humans, have souls. Because all living things are an expression of God, to St. Francis, they were considered sacred and to be cared for. And I would like to think that's true. For we are all God's creatures, and His heart and His heavenly home have room for the lot of us. If that's the case, then I know for certain that Olivia is there now, playing with my childhood dog Gretel and in good hands until I can be with her again.

I used to joke that Olivia was the puppy of my dreams, the puppy of my heart. And she will be in my dreams and in my heart forever. I know that in time Dave and I will get another dachshund -- I'm just a dog (specifically, dachshund) lover. But no dog will ever replace her: she was, after all, my Olivsita, my Chub-buns, my baby.

51 comments:

Christy said...

Oh Averill, what a moving tribute to your wonderful Olivia. My heart aches for your pain, but I know you'll see her and Gretel again one day. Sending you the warmest hugs and deepest condolences, from one dog lover to another. Love, Christy

Robin said...

I am so sorry, Averill. I love the picture of her peeking out from behind your husband's head; it's obvious how much she is loved and that she will be so missed.

Rene said...

Oh Averill. I'm so sorry and my heart gos out to you and your husband. Olivia was loved in her short time and I know that she will be missed. It is never easy to say good-bye.

-Rene

Jane @ The Borrowed Abode said...

Oh my gosh. I am so sorry, and I know how painful that is.

Cristin said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is heart breaking. Take time for yourself and take care.

xo,
cristin

Anonymous said...

I read in RSS and rarely click through to anything (not just your blog, but literally anything) to leave a comment, but my heart breaks for you and I wanted you to know that you and Dave are being thought of and prayed for right now. My dogs are as much my family to me as any human, and a loss like yours is excrutiating to even contemplate. I am so glad you can cherish the joy that you brought into each other's lives, even if it was far more brief than you hoped. Be strong, and I have to believe that Olivia passed knowing how much she was adored.

Karena said...

Averill I am so sorry.. I know how special Olivia was, You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Oh, Sweetie, when I saw your post title, I just knew. I can't tell you much I feel for you. When I lost a pet lovebird years ago, I thought my heart would never heal. Olivia will always be a part of you.

poindextr said...

Averill, I am so very sorry to hear this news. My sincere condolences for your loss. I believe that when it is time, Olivia will wait for you at the rainbow bridge. This just brings tears to my eyes for you, for Dave and for all of us who have shared part of the journey of our lives with an animal companion.

Kimberly said...

I'm a follower of your mom's blog. I'm so sorry for your beloved Olivia. In Ephesians 1 Paul writes that it was God's plan to gather up all things in heaven and on earth in Christ. Surely "all things" must include our beloved pets who are members of our family. We'll be praying for you.

Julie said...

Oh. I am so very sorry for your loss. My two pups are literally my whole life and my greatest joys. I already dread the day when I have to say goodbye. I'll say a prayer for Olivia and for you to have peace.

emily said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Your post was so sweet. You and your husband are in my thoughts.

Daniela said...

I am in tears as I write this...I am so sorry to hear this sad news. We have lost two dogs in this house, both quite unexpectedly. I know the pain you are feeling and I am so sorry that you have to experience this. We don't want to bother you with calls tonight, but will call this weekend! You both are in our thoughts.
Dani and Micah

Sarah Chenault said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the loss to your family. I know how hard it is to lose a pet, and her life was just too short. Your family will be in my thoughts.

Kristina at The Purple Pea said...

I don't even know what to say, Averill. I am truly sorry for your loss and can't even begin to imagine how you and Dave must feel.

There is no love like a dog's love for their people. They love you no matter what. It's a beautiful thing to be a part of.

Kathysue said...

Averill I am so, so sorry. It is so hard to lose such a precious part of your life. I know she had to love you just as much as you loved her,just by the way you talk about her. So sorry,Kathysue

L.Duncan@Home23DuncanBoys said...

Wow Averill I am so sorry to hear that. I can only imagine how hard it is for you to deal with this while you're pregnant... I believe that all creatures have souls too. I mean they have the same things in their bodies that we have in ours so why would they NOT have a soul?

Take it easy girl and I hope things get easier for you.

Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear this new, Averill. Janell

dooverdecade said...

Averill, I am so sorry. You can never love a pet too much. Pets are so important, and Olivia was lucky to have you and your husband to care for her.

Sarah said...

Oh no! Crying over here, Averill. I'm so sorry. It is amazing how we love our pets...they are truly family. What a sweet girl she was, love those pics. You and Dave will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Quotidian Grace said...

A beautiful, moving tribute to a simply wonderful little dog.

Love, Dad

Laura@JourneyChic said...

Oh, Averill, I am sooo very sorry for your loss, and and I'm trying not to cry! I know what it's like to lose a beloved pet - putting my cat down, who I'd had for most of my life - was a horrible experience. Now that I have Whiskey, I dread the day we'll need to make that decision. You did the right thing, and I'm so glad that you had a good vet. You did everything you could, and now she's in doggie heaven chewing on a bone and chasing butterflies. I like to think my cat is up there eating a never-ending bowl of tuna and sleeping in sunny spots.

Fran said...

Averill, I"m sorry to hear the news. I've been reading your updates and I was hoping and praying for a good outcome. She will be with you in spirit. Take time to heal....

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

I'm so sad for you, Averill, I know you both must be heartbroken.

Kara said...

Oh Averill. I am so very sorry to hear about Olivia. I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. Just know I'll be thinking about you. Kara

pk @ Room Remix said...

I'm so sorry, Averill. I know she was a big part of your life, so this must be very hard for you. The images you chose of her are so cute, especially the one with her and Dave. Take care...

Erica @ Decorica said...

Averill, So sorry for your loss, Olivia was adorable. Glad you enjoyed your time with her.

Mary Catherine said...

Averill, I am so sorry for your loss!

other-option said...

So so sorry for your loss. What a beautifully written post.

joe and stacy said...

I'm so sorry, Averill. Olivia is such a sweetie. I believe too that you'll see her again. I'm scared to think what I'll be like when my Choxie gets medical problems some day. A good friend lost his golden retriever in the exact same way as little Olivia - acute liver failure, only 3 or 4 years old, out of the blue. Y'all will be in our prayers. :) stacy

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss! I lost my darling Taylor this year. He was 10 and we shared so many memories. You really feel like you are losing a family member. I hope you are able to cherish all of the memories you have of your sweet Olivia. She will never be forgotten I am sure! Amanda

ESE said...

I'm so sorry for your loss! I was crying for you reading this post. I just lost my cat of 20 years this past year and it was devastating. But it will get easier! Warm thoughts your way!

Christine Trebendis said...

I am so sorry. There are no words. What a beautiful tribute.

Nichole@40daysof said...

So sorry for you. Can barely see the screen through tears.

momda said...

Dearest Averill, Your lovely writing about Olivia touched my heart again. I have cried and cried. For you, for her, for all who knew and loved her. She will be missed.

The Blonde Mule said...

Averill,

I've been reading your blog for a good while now, but have never commented. Now seems like the time. I'm so sorry about Olivia. I share your love of dogs & daschunds, although I now have a rescued mutt. I'll be sending good thoughts your way.

--Kim

P.S. I love this... said...

So sorry to hear about your Olivia. My thoughts are with you and your husband.

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Oh Averill, I am so sorry for your loss. She is up above running and playing gleefully and smiling down upon you, I just know it. Hang in there....I know how hard this must be!

jvw home said...

I"m so very sorry to hear about your sweet Olivia. We've had to put a couple of ours to sleep over the past yrs and it's such a painful process. Pets are family and it's so hard to let go.....may only sweet memories of your beloved Olivia remain & my prayers are with you...

Victoria - Ozarks Crescent Mural said...

I am so sorry for your loss. What a sweet ode you've given Olivia.

I know what you mean about loving Dachsunds. I'm a lover of Saint Bernards.

Stephanie said...

I am holding back tears reading the words you wrote about Olivia. Like you I just lost my beloved pet, my best friend. Goodbye's are so hard!

I am so sorry for your loss.

Pete & Sarah said...

Averill, I'm so sorry to hear about Olivia! I can't imagine that happening to my dog... he's brightened my life for seven happy years, and without him I would be a mess! I know how much you loved that dog.. I still remember the ridiculous bed under the christmas tree! lol :)

Sarah Klassen said...

*blink blink* oh dear me... Averill, I am so sorry to hear about Olivia. Both you and Dave must be so upset right now, but I firmly believe that you did the right thing, and given the circumstance, I would have also. There is nothing easy about letting a little loved one go, her memories and stories will be kept alive... God certainly does love all creatures :)

a large hug sent your way*
Sarah

Paloma {La Dolce Vita} said...

Oh Averill, my heart is breaking for you. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how special our pets are and I can only imagine what you are going through after such a devastating loss. Know in your heart that you did everything you could for Olivia and that you gave her the best life she could have asked for. XOXO

The Zhush said...

I am so very sorry for your loss...I wish there were more sufficient word. Thinking of you.
xx
Sue

Tiffany said...

I have tears as I am reading this! I am "overly in love" with my cat and he has completely changed my life, so I feel your pain. I am so sorry for your loss.

sarah@realestatestyle said...

Averill, I am so sorry for you. I lost my girl, Lane, a year ago Oct. 13th. It is terrible to lose a friend like that. I understand that they are like children. It gets easier with time. I will be thinking about you!

stacy said...

so so sorry!!

jonalynn said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Beautiful tribute to your Olivia. It brought tears to my eyes.

LindsB said...

I am so so so sorry for your loss- it is never easy losing a pet! This is a beautiful tribute to her and I'm sitting here at with with tears. xxoo Lindsay

*Chic Provence* said...

Dear Averill

I just saw this post after reading about your new doggie, and just had to say I know just how difficult this has been for you. We lost Ollie in August to an inexplicable one-day illness, he was only 7.... and we finally a month ago got a new little doggie, Nicky... who is a handful and a half, but has made letting Ollie go easier...

I love what your father said, and will remember that always!

much love in your exciting new future!

Kit

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