My dog died last week. Not my 13-year-old dog that has walked up to death’s door three times already this year. Not the dog that my young adult children said good-bye to at Thanksgiving, believing he might go before they were home for Christmas. No, Nala.  My 2-year-old healthy, vivacious, endearing dog, barely out of her puppy phase. The dog that we got because we wanted to have a dog when my older dog died. 

And every time my old, pained, anxious, half-blind and utterly deaf older dog barks nonsensically so loudly that the piano strings vibrate, I cringe with the bitter irony of it. How are we left with the dog we’ve been grieving for a year at least, watching him decline? How is it that Nala is gone? 

Life is so damn bass-ackwards. Nala was playing tug with me Wednesday morning, ran with Dan on Thursday, walked an hour with me on Friday, and was dead on Saturday. How can it be? All my careful pet-planning feels like nonsense now. 

And losing my dear dog during the intensity of launching Restore My Soul into the world AND the end of my husband’s Sabbatical just feels pretty awful too. I have all these competing energies in me. The book launch in this phase requires that I do a lot of asking people to do stuff which requires all kinds of internal fortitude and courage. Grieving my dog squashes my heart and makes me feel fragile and tender. It’s like a hole got punched in my gas tank and all my initiative and will is pouring out on the road below. 

And yet, as bass-ackwards as it all feels, a mentor offered me this quote:

I am hurt, but I am not slain;

I’ll lay me down and bleed a-while,

And then I’ll rise and fight again”

~Sir Andre Barton

It’s a broken, bass-ackwards world. We hurt together, hold each other steady in our bleeding, rumble with God when it feels so unfair, and we pick up, and carry on.

20 Responses

  1. I am so, so sorry. When you give so much to Nala, and put so much heart into it, there’s a little bit of your heart beating inside of her. When it’s suddenly gone, taken from you, your hopes and dreams that were alive inside of her are dashed. The shock and grief is tremendous. I am so sorry.

  2. Janice,
    I am so glad that you were able to write about Nala.
    My prayer is that your honest grappling over the horrible suddenness of losing such a beloved [and vivacious!] member of your family, will help you through the grieving process.
    I trust it will be a help to others as they go through their own loss.

    Thank you!


  3. I’m so sorry Janice. What a shocking and sad loss for you and your family. May God continue to comfort you and give you strength as you carry on.
    Caroline Wilkinson

  4. Nala was such a vessel of joy and enthusiasm. We will miss her tremendously. The brutal unexpectedness of her death is so heavy. I’m so sorry…for her death and the timing of it. I pray you feel able to “bleed awhile” and see what new mercies are on this road of grieving and healing. Love you!

  5. I’m so sorry, Janice…death is hard in humans… and pets.. when it’s expected but so much harder when it’s sudden. So appreciate your gut wrenching honesty in sharing your grief. I pray that you’ll be comforted…….

  6. Janice….we’ve been through a few doggie losses ourselves. You’re never prepared. In this bass-ackwards world that we live in, I’m comforted that we have a loving God to turn it over to until we can rise again.

  7. Janice,
    I am so sorry to hear about Nola. What an awful thing for you and your family to have to cope with! There’s never a good time for something like this, so commenting that it happened at a bad time is pointless. Nonetheless I hope that you are able to grieve despite holidays, book launch, sabbatical ending, and whatever else life throws at you.

    Love you!

  8. Janice, I’m so sorry about Nala. Thank you for your honest sharing. It was soooo good to see you the other night and to spend some time chatting. I look forward to reading your book and having more chats in the future. Praying for you!

  9. I love a good use of the vernacular, so you had me at bass-ackward!

    I have buried dogs and I have buried people. Both hurt. And so do failed plans.

    I take solace in bumper stickers. “Married life begins when the kids move out and the dog dies”. A future hope perhaps?

  10. Heartfelt condolences, loss is so hard when prepared and even harder when unexpected. Sending warm support in your grief.


  11. And yet – of course we can see God’s role in the timing, as well as Satan’s role in the attack. He who made you and Nala, and loves all people and animals – spiders, really, God? – will carry you and your family through the shock and grief. He will also use this, at this time, to bless others with strength and comfort. They are not alone, even if they don’t express their pain to others.
    Hugs to you.

  12. Janice, it’s so sad – I can’t even imagine how disorienting this is. I also got a pup when my other dog was aging. I know exactly the plan you had in mind. I guess God needed Nala back and she came for a short time to bring that joy to you and your family.

  13. I admire you so much, Janice, for being able to express your sadness and disappointment so beautifully. Take solace in the joy Nala gave you all and the joy your family shared with your sweet puppy.

  14. Sorry for your loss. We are not the ones in control. What we make of this gives us strength in the rough spots of life.

  15. It sounds like Nala lived a very good life and is making the angels happy now, what a sweet companion she was. Praying for your older fur baby, that her passing will be peaceful and that it will come at the right time and that you will have moments of closeness and delight with her before she goes.

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