I shared this on Social Media on July 7, 2022:
Today was a deeply sad day for the kids and me.
Over 14 years ago, Timmy Gaige and I met Benjamin Joseph Saunders-Gaige at a Homeward Trails adoption event, and not long after he came to live with us. Tim made him an email address and a Facebook account, and let him up on the bed when I was traveling for work. We took him camping, and basically any place we could get away with. We knew we drove some people crazy with our obsession with him…. But then he always won them over!
Almost 11 years ago we started bringing home strange new beings who took all of our time and attention. Yet he watched over them. And always (from the beginning through today) his Dr. Julianne Fisher was there for us and for him.
Nearly 17 years, a million squirrels chased, walks, hikes, runs, pats, kisses, belly rubs, tears in your fur, 2 surgeries, countless roadtrips. You were my constant companion. You loved my babies like your own.
I know how much you missed Tim. How much you lit up when you heard his voice on video after he was gone.
I know he is waiting for you on the other side of that rainbow bridge. I will miss you so much, BJ, as do your human siblings, but I know how happy you are to be together again with the tall one. I will dream of your reunion.
I can’t wait to see you again, it’s only a matter of time. I will take my time… I have more living and loving to do, but I will see you both again when my time is up!
I have no doubts or regrets regarding how we handled the end of BJ’s life. It was his time, and I am so glad that he was able to go peacefully, with a mouth full of chocolate – kisses and reese’s – surrounded by the ladies who have loved him most. Here are some photos of the end that I didn’t share on social media:
I remained calm and steady here up until I held his paw and said to him “Say hi to Daddy for us.” And then the tears flowed.
It’s not the first time I held someone I loved until they stopped breathing. Different, yes. But there is something universal and other-worldly about those last breaths. Something about being with someone you love at that moment when they cross to the other side. Something beautiful and gut-wrenching and breath-taking and indescribable.
Even though I knew then and know now that it was for the best, that he went in the best possible way, and I am so grateful for that – it doesn’t lessen just how much I miss that companion. When I am the first one home, I open the door expecting to see him. I still expect to see him next to me when I wake up. I thought the loss of our dog would be dwarfed by the incredible weight of the loss of Tim. I was wrong.
What an incredible testament to the boundlessness of the human heart’s capacity to love.
Afterall, grief is the price we pay for love. (I believe Queen Elizabeth II is creditted with this one.)
The price is high, but I will keep on paying it. There is no other way.