We had to say goodbye to our wonderful dog Sabre this week. He was our friend, companion, protector, and he loved the kids immensely. They've both known him their whole lives, and my husband and I have had him since before we were married. For all of us, it is the closest experience with grief that we've had in a long time.
Sabre was more than just a dog. He went everywhere with us. Every homeschool park day, every camping trip, every beach day, every evening we played games or read books in the living room, he was there. He is in the background of most of our family photos, right there by our sides. He went to work with my husband and charmed everyone he met. His kind face and loving soul were evident to all, and his faithful shepherd nature gave him a sense of duty to watch over us all. I think it was hard for him to let go of life, just because he felt so strongly that he was here to protect us.
As with so many of life's most joyous and saddest occasions, I'm grateful to have had the sheer amount of time to spend together. I'm grateful for all of the time we had with Sabre, a dog who didn't like to be alone (as a puppy, if we left him he would dig out from the yard and go spend the day with any neighbor who was around) and thankfully was always surrounded by family and friends. And I'm grateful now to have the time to spend with my kids as we all grieve his loss. Homeschooling has given us this gift of time, which I know I've talked about here before, but it can't be emphasized enough: life is short. The hours we have together are all that we have, when all is said and done. If the kids had been gone all day, I probably also would've been gone all day. Sabre's life would've been very different, that of a dog waiting by himself. Instead, he was part of an exciting maelstrom of kids, activities, and fun places to go. Mountains, snow, beaches, parks, we shared it all with him.
We're lucky to have had him, such a beautiful and sweet soul, in our lives. We're lucky to have had all the time and the wonderful experiences to share with him. Now we're just trying to adjust to the emptiness that's left behind. The beach sure won't feel the same without him.