It’s time now. Our hearts are breaking, but we know it’s time.
Tomorrow morning (Thursday) we will say our final goodbyes to our Saxon-love. Many of our kids, and all of our grandkids, have no memory of life without his sturdy, loving presence at their side. He patiently eased his way into the horribly broken hearts of each of our children as they came home to us from places of so much trauma (almost always terrified of this big furry lion of a dog). One by one, they fell deeply in love with him, and he silently and joyfully pledged to each new child a lifetime of unwavering devotion and protection. He became so protective that we’ve heard multiple people tell us, after jumping out of their skin, that they have never, ever before heard such a powerful and threatening bark come out of a golden retriever. We knew he would never let anyone hurt our kids and would do everything in his power to keep them safe.
But with our babies . . . oh, this sweet boy was as gentle as a lamb and kept them close in his care. His children used him for a pillow while watching TV or listening to our evening reading, as a soft place to let their tears fall when sad, and as a patient when they pretended to be doctors. Our grandchildren, whom he equally accepted as his own, used him as an aid in learning to stand or walk, climbed all over him like a jungle gym, hugged him regularly with all their hearts. Nothing made him happier. Except maybe his trips to Hocking Hills with Scott and me when we were able to take our occasional getaways there. He was always so peaceful and filled with joy during those times with us. Maybe he, like we, occasionally needed a little rest from the tremendous demands on his time and devotion here with so many to watch over — in spite of the fact that he dearly loved his role in life.
During Scott’s and my last trip to Hocking Hills in 2019, it rained heavily at the end. I woke up very early that morning, and Saxon and I slipped out for one last walk in the rainy woods together. I felt pretty certain that it would be his last time there, and I drank in every second of that early morning walk with him. I’ll never forget it. And as it turns out, I was right. Our loving boy is tired. He has given his heart so fully to all of us during his twelve years here. It’s time now to let him rest.
Oh, sweet Saxon, we can never thank you for all that you have been to us. You could be such a stinker, especially when it came to trying to steal food, even to the point of robbing ripe tomatoes from our garden. You never ate the green ones, but waited until they were perfectly ripe, almost always on the day we had planned to pick them ourselves, in fact. But when we went to get them, they were gone. We blamed the wild rabbits until we discovered it was you. I will miss the sound of your paws moving through the house and beside my bed during the night. I will miss seeing you sprawled on the floor, surrounded by your children when we are reading or watching a movie as a family at night. You have become part of the very air itself here, and as I type this post and let the tears fall, I don’t want to face the emptiness ahead. I’m so sorry that you were plagued with so much illness throughout your lifetime, due to your severe allergies. We did our best with all those years of injections and medications to keep you comfortable, but I know there were times when you were miserable. Yet, even then, you just walked through each day, doing your job as our dog, loving everyone as fully as ever. You always seemed to be so happy in spite of the pain. We love you with all our hearts, and we always will.
Today we will all focus on giving Saxon one last happy day with us, showering him with love, and with all the yummy treats he always wanted, but could never have because of his allergies. Right now, in this moment, I don’t want to think about tomorrow when I will sit with him on the floor of our veterinarian’s office, holding him until he stops breathing. I always hate that moment, but it’s an honor, too, to hold him as he drifts away, smelling our hands and knowing how much we love him up to that last moment. Oh, my heart.
So this post in in memory of our Saxon and all of the dogs who have loved the Rosenow family through the years before passing on to a place of rest. And to all dogs who do this every single day for their own families.
God outdid himself when he created dogs, and we lose a little piece of our hearts every time we say our final goodbyes to one of them.
Rest deeply, our precious Saxon boy. You have certainly earned it.