All Dogs Go to Heaven: Goodbye Sweet Beau.
I asked God to give me a sign that I would know without a doubt that it was time. The element of time meaning that it was time for Beau to go to heaven. Part of me prayed that he would pass on his own so that no one had to make the decision. But as we know, life doesn't happen the easy way or the way we want it.
After the second day of Beau refusing to eat his favorite foods like sardines or Hormel (hormone, antibiotic and nitrate free) meat, I sensed it was close. The next sign was that he wasn't connecting to my touch or he just didn't want to be touched at all. If you've had a dog, especially a boxer, they live to touch you 24/7. The next night he barely slept from struggling to breathe, as he couldn't lie down. The following night he didn’t sleep at all and sat straight up struggling for a breath.
It was this same day; I received the look from Beau that I will never forget. He looked at me with the same eyes for the past twelve plus years that typically exuded joy, love and happiness but today the message was different. His eyes were full of pain and he gave me a look and a message that couldn't have been clearer than if he had spoken the words out loud. He said, "Mom, this is too hard. I can't do it anymore."
I asked God for a sign and as always, he delivered as promised. I, like most women, am not the strong one in our relationship. I don't believe my husband was ready to give up our fight for Beau's life but he trusted me on this one. He knew I was the one with him everyday almost continually especially for the past three years.
I remember journaling many times and thanking God for the opportunity to work at home for the past three years and be able to spend time with Beau. The kids were gone so I poured my time, attention and love into that four-legged child. We had “his” and I had “mine” but Beau was “our child”.
I next contacted our vet to inquire about the process. I didn't make it through the question tearless and she struggled as well to share without tears. She told me the first injection was a muscle relaxer to put the entire body at ease. The second injection was an overdose to shut the body down. My husband also wanted to know what happened to the bodies of the dogs. She shared a place called Pet Angel that would sprinkle his remains in a beautiful park with other dogs. Beau was very social so we knew he would like that.
I called the vet that morning to tell them it was time. I shared the perceived message Beau conveyed to me saying it was time (hoping she wouldn't think I was crazy). She said that was very normal which made me feel at ease for two reasons:
1) that I wasn't crazy for thinking he relayed this nonverbal message to me &
2) a confirmation that we were doing the right thing for him.
It was the longest day of my life as we were to bring him in at 4:30 p.m. He was bleeding so badly from the nasal tumors that he had to remain in the garage. Beau never stayed in the garage so that was extremely difficult. The last couple hours, we just sat on the garage floor with him. He did not sit or lie down, as he couldn't get comfortable and could barely breathe. The drive to the vet was close as we only lived a couple miles but that day I wished it had been hundreds more.
They took us to a room with a blanket on the floor. I sat down and Beau sat on top of me which he had not done for the past couple weeks. Beau's sitting on people was his way of conveying love and affection and he expected you to be okay with all eighty pounds of him. We had time alone before they gave him the first injection. After the first injection he collapsed in my lap once the medicine took over his body. He started snoring almost immediately and I was so relieved. Beau had not slept for days and seeing the exhaustion in his eyes was too much to bear. He looked so comfortable and peaceful, finally. We sat and watched him for several minutes knowing we'd never see our boy again. We left before they gave him the second and final injection. We wanted to remember him in the state of "sleeping in heavenly peace."
The amount of pain and grief that we’ve experienced from his loss has been far greater than we expected. We knew it would be hard but didn't realize it would be this hard. We kept thinking how silly we were to experience this depth of emotional pain and loss. I didn't sleep through the night for days after. It was too difficult to eat, as each meal was a memory of us sharing our food whether it is a green smoothie or an apple.
Since I have such a good relationship with the man upstairs, I pushed it and asked for a second sign or answer to my question. I wanted to know that dogs do go to heaven. I needed to know, to finally be at peace. Reading the views of various theologians, most agree that dogs do go to heaven and most importantly, C.S. Lewis did! How could anyone argue with his interpretation?
Again, He is faithful and answers the tough questions. On 12/14/12, twenty children were taken to heaven. It put things in perspective, these people had lost their children not their pets. My heart, along with millions of others, ached for these parents and their loss.
However, in the midst of this mourning for these children is when I received the second message and answer to my question... The answer was received loud and clear, Beau was called ahead to greet all those children. Beau loved women and children beyond measure and protected them with his life.
I can see all of them running through the fields, rolling in the grass and playing all day long. Although my heart still hurts, I do have a sense of peace now. Beau has been called home for a much bigger job than hanging out drinking green smoothies with me.
If you have a dog that has gone to heaven, please share his/her name so I know whom Beau will be hanging out with. Plus, I can pray for you as well to help your heart heal. God bless.
- To read part 1 of the Beau Series: A Mom and Her Dog, click here
- To read part 2 of the Beau Series: Sleeping with Darth Vader, click here.
- To read part 3 of the Beau Series: Beau’s Holistic (Anticancer) Lifestyle, click here.
- To read part 4 of the Beau Series: All Dogs Go to Heaven: Goodbye Sweet Beau, click here.
- To read part 5 of the Beau Series: 42,038 Memories: Ode to our Beau - Part III of Beau’s journey, click here.