Saddest Farewell

"My heart is melting..." is what Baby Girl keeps telling me, and I know it has nothing to do with the heat. My own heart has hurt so tremendously since Wednesday morning that sometimes I wish it would melt away, too.

*** We said goodbye to our summer dog Toby this week, and our worlds will never be the same. Out of respect for his parents, I will not recount the events of Wednesday morning. But Toby did come into harm's way, and we all witnessed it, and we would all cross the longest desert if we could undo it all and restore this most precious pup to our midst.

*** Toby first visited our home at Christmas when my student and her husband brought him for a dinner. We instantly loved his playful spirit and Little Man loved his portable cage (and refused to believe his head was too big to climb into it).

Toby came to stay with us for the summer in May while my student and her husband traveled and completed their internships elsewhere.

The vivacious puppy brought more activity and responsibility to our days, and the ultimate snuggler himself brought warmth to our nights. He was a huge blessing to the children and such a wonderful companion to us all.

A nurse who came to give us check-ups for our life insurance policy couldn't stop laughing at Toby. She came back to verify some information and confessed that she had had a bad day the other day and was half-of-a-mind to come visit Toby because she knew he would cheer her up.

We were a different family because of Toby and I knew that when he went back to his parents, we would long for a Toby of our own.

*** One night I was so distressed that I lay paralyzed in my bed and Toby knew. He knew to just let me lean against him and know that I was loved.

*** My daughter talks about Toby constantly and the ache in her voice tells me she will not soon forget him. My son looks for Toby in the backseat of the car, which is where John put him to take him to the hospital.

*** The love that Toby's parents have for him and the pain they are now experiencing is unimaginable. But if I have learned one thing this summer, it is that relationships built on love are supremely powerful. Even and especially the love of and from a pet. This love is worth fighting for and it is worth more than the hollow esteem from men, more than riches, more than any real estate holding--these are things of earth; love relationships are echoes from heaven.

*** If you have ever loved or lost a pet and if you have room in your heart, I would ask for your prayers and kind thoughts for Toby's family.


We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;
we are perplexed, but not in despair,
we are persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed- always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9