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Goodbye Old Friend

Our oldest of our two dogs, Thumper, passed away during the night on Tuesday night.  Freddy gets up each morning to go work out and then returns and walks the dogs.  He came into our room a little after 6 am and told me that Thumper had passed away.  He was 11.5 years old.

I went to him and he was laying on his bed and was gone.

Thumper

He was a great dog.  He was a STINKY dog, but a great one.  He was incredibly loyal to me.  I got him in college as a 6 week old pup.  He has lived in 7 houses with me throughout college until now and has seen me through college, my first job and house, marriage, and kids.  image

He got his name because ANYWHERE you scratched him, he’d thump his back foot like the rabbit on Bambi!  He was always itchy so everywhere on him was a foot-thumping feel good spot!

Before kids and Freddy, if you hugged me, he’d bark at you.  If you sat too close to me on the couch, he would bark at you until you moved over and he would then take his rightful position next to me (in between you and me).  He’d sleep next to me in bed and his bark was ferocious however he’d really only lick you to death!  His bark protected me during college.

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He knew great tricks!  You’d point your fingers at him in the shape of a gun and say “Bang, Bang!” and he’d fall over and play dead!  He was a person, he’d get crabby when he was tired and I’d tell him to “Go up and go to bed!” and he would!  His favorite place was snuggled right next to you or on your lap…all 90 lbs. of him!

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After Freddy and the boys, he would then bark at you (even me) if you were tickling Michael and Michael was squealing.  You’d have to reassure Thumper you were not hurting Michael simply playing!

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He LOVED to lay in the sun and bark for no reason just to let the outside world know he was there.

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He loved his puppy brother, Murphy.  He loved walks and loved sniffing other dogs’ butts even more!

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He will be greatly missed.  He was a great friend to me.  He will always hold a special place in my heart.

His passing made me quickly realize I had never thought of how to talk about death with Michael.  I told Michael that Thumper had died and that he went up to heaven to be with Jesus.  On our way out the door to school, Michael went over to Thumper and was very upset that Thumper didn’t get up to greet him like normal.  Michael went over to him and petted him and told Thumper that he loved him and that he would miss him.  (all on his own).  I joined him and Michael asked me who was going to make Thumper come alive again (with a huge tear in his eye) because he loved Thumper and wanted him to be alive again.  (insert heart absolutely breaking even more).  I just explained to him that we can’t keep everyone forever.  I told him that we can look at pictures of Thumper anytime he wants to and that we can always find Thumper in our hearts.  He cried a bit more and told Thumper a few more times how much he loved him and we said our good byes and headed to school.  Michael asked me if we could move all our stuffed animals that looked like Thumper (we have quite a few) and a small statue (yard statue) that my sister had given me one year to our new house.  I told him without a doubt we’d take them all with us.  He was happy with that answer.  When it came time for the evening walk of the dogs, Michael told Freddy that we needed to say a prayer for Thumper because he wouldn’t be able to go on their walks again.  He hasn’t said anything about him since.

That whole situation could have gone so much worse.  Has anyone else had to deal with teaching their child about death?  I am amazed at how well Michael took it, however not convinced he fully understands it totally yet.  Which I totally expect!

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Since we are renting, we did not bury Thumper but rather took him to our vet to be cremated.  I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving Thumper here when we would be moving to St. Louis in a few months.  We did that while Michael was at school.  The vet told us that it appeared that his stomach had twisted, cutting off his blood supply.  He went peacefully in his sleep.  If you have ever read Marley & Me or seen the movie, same thing.  It happens in large chested dogs if they eat too fast.  Thumper inhaled his food!

Our other dog Murphy is sad.  He keeps going to the trunk of my SUV to see if Thumper is there and spent all day Wednesday looking up and down the street for Thumper.  Murphy was not the normal hyper, energetic dog we know.  He was a bit subdued.  I am not sure if he fully understands.

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So every one hug your pets and your loved ones.  We have been sharing many funny and loving Thumper stories the past 2 days and it has really helped us.

We miss you Thumper and I love you so much!  You were my first baby and you were the best friend a girl could ask for!  I’ll love you forever Thumper Bumper!

And That’s What Che Said… And That’s What Che Said…

9 Responses to Goodbye Old Friend

  1. Renae says:

    Oh how sad. We have 3 little furbabies that are 8 years old. The oldest one Bullet got sick on New Years and ended up having emergency surgery on the 2nd. Apparently he had eaten a dish towel and it was lodged in his stomach and small intestines. He is doing great now and gets his sutures out Saturday. So I am sorry for your loss, because I know how much our pets are loved and how easy they become “one” of the family.

    BTW – I love your blog.

  2. Lacee says:

    Oh hun I’m so so sorry :( This totally made me cry because this morning I got a call from my niece that her little chihuahua was attacked by pit bulls this morning and died on the way to the vet. I’ve been so sad about it all morning…I called her my little great niece puppy :) Our fur babies really are our babies and apart of the family. I’m gonna give my kitty extra cuddles today. Will be thinking of you! xoxo

  3. Rachel says:

    I bet he was the most amazing buddy ever. I wish I could have met him. I’m sorry this happened and so suddenly. I love that you are taking him with you to your new house. Michael is just old enough that he will probably always have memories of him, which is nice that you guys can all share the memory of Thumper. It seriously sucks though. No other word for it. Thinking of you guys.

  4. Maureen says:

    How difficult this post must have been to write. No pet is ever as close to you as one that was with you when you lived alone. I lost my Sarah cat just a month ago and couldn’t write about it. Although I have two other cats, she was the one that never left my side and I miss her terribly. I’m thankful for the eleven years she was my friend, just as you value the years with your faithful companion. Hugs. ~ Maureen

  5. Merrsidotes says:

    Oh how this breaks my heart! Miss you Thumper!

  6. imklvr says:

    Oh how sad….but sweet. You handled that very well. My heart goes out to you, I’ve shed many a tear over pets. I have a cat now, who hardly leaves my side (I swear she thinks she’s a dog) and I don’t know what I’m gonna do when she passes. She’s young though…maybe I’ll go first! God bless you, kiddo.

  7. Sarah says:

    I’m a newer follower and just loved this post! It was very well written. We just experienced the same thing with my mom’s beagle. It’s amazing how much a pet can mean to you! We also had her cremated and the ashes are in a special jar (dark colored) with her name.

  8. Maureen says:

    Dear Che,

    I’m so sorry at your loss. I understand the emptiness and sorry you are now experiencing. Time will lessen it but it may never completely fade away. I had to put a cat down once. His name was Matthew and I loved him to pieces. It was because of him that my husband and I are now married. Jim and I knew each other in high school. We never dated; we just hung out together. You know – a couple of classes together and lunch but that was it. After high school, when Jim came back from basic training, we went out and then dated through corresponding. When he returned to the U.S.A., we dated for a couple of weeks before he went to Nellis AFB in Vegas. Long story short, we had a fight and he hurt me badly (emotionally)and we broke up. A few years later, I moved out on my own and got two kittens – Matthew and Amanda. The Gulf War broke out and I tried to contact Jim and eventually ran into his sister. She gave him my number and a couple of months later he called. Later that summer Jim came home for a visit and we sat and talked about what had happened in the past. We were at my place and while I was debating on what to say and how to feel, Matthew crawled up on Jim and went to sleep. The only other person, besides me, that Matthew took to was my mother and he would only sit next to her. Everyone else he would only look at and would not let them pet him. Because of Matthew’s reaction to Jim I decided to trust him again. A year later Jim proposed and the next year we married. Now I’m not saying that it has been a marriage made in Heaven, but I have a daughter that I love to pieces and Jim and I have both matured a lot. He is still my best friend even with all the trouble we have had. And it is all due to a cat that knew the soul of a man.
    Matthew’s urethra blocked one day and by the time I was able to get him to the vet it was too late. Matthew and Amanda were living at my sister’s home due to me moving and pets were not allowed. His bladder was the size of an orange and his kidneys were failing. I was informed that there was less than twenty percent chance Matthew would live. When the vet told me that he would be in pain the rest of his life and would have trouble just being alive, I decided that I couldn’t make Matthew suffer just because I loved him; that it would be better for him not to have to go through all the pain. It was the first time this kind of decision was mine and mine only. I took a lot of criticism from people that said if there was any chance I should have taken it but I know that I made the correct one for my cat. Matthew will always be in my heart and I have had other pets – currently I have four cats and a dog (Sparks, Abbie, Carmel, Zoey and Riley is the dog) and I love them all but none of them is Matthew. You will be OK even though it feels right now that a big chunk of your heart is gone. Once again, I am sorry for your loss.

    Sincerely,

    Maureen

  9. Kathleen says:

    Gosh, I am so sad after reading your post. Dogs have such a way of becoming a real part of our family. Our Golden died 5 years ago in May and I can say I never saw my then 20 year old son so inconsolable. It was awful. It seems like you did a great job explaining and helping your son to understand Thumper’s passing and I love that you gave him such a sweet tribute. Blessings to you, Kathleen

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