A Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Beginning to 2014

It’s almost February and I have not made a resolution, set a goal or stepped into a gym. I have hit snooze on my alarm almost every morning and shaken my fist at all world-changers arising before dawn.

I’m ready for 2015. Is it too early to say that?

This New Year, this new beginning, is off to a horrible, no good, very bad start. On day six I had to put my dog down. It was horrific. I knew that I would be sad. I did not know that I would be wrecked. I like to think of myself as a rational pet owner, fully aware that she was indeed, “just a dog.” But apparently I do not know myself.

Reality shows that I am not a rational pet owner. I am a crazy dog person. I put my dog down and then cried for two days straight (and a little bit almost every day since).  The Dog Whisperer says that dogs do not think human thoughts and we should not ascribe a voice to them. I’m sure this is rational. But I am also sure that my dog did have thoughts, very human-like thoughts. I could almost hear her speak.

Most days when I arrived home she had her snout against the bottom pane of the French door and was very clearly thinking, “Oh good, you are home. Finally.” And then she sauntered to greet me at the back door to say, “I am so glad you are home. You’re my favorite.”

This morning I finally arose somewhat early to run. Typically I would walk into the Scout-dog’s room and she would abound with glee seeing that I was wearing the running visor, running shoes and running shorts. Almost shouting, she’d proclaim, “Yes! A run. You’re up. Let’s go!” And we would go. As we turned down the hill for the Rose Bowl Loop she would raise her head and drop her tongue with great elation. She knew exactly where we were. She was ready for the 3 miles and every quarter mile she would look over her left shoulder to say, “Hurry. Faster. Faster. We can go faster.”

But this morning there was no Scout-dog. No tail wagging. No four-legged fortitude to keep me going. But God gave me friends. Other two-legged companions to keep me on pace. It’s a new year. A new beginning. It started with a bit of a limp and a great amount of sadness. I want to be careful to not run too quickly to some worked-up-giddiness. I want to grieve – even when it’s “just a dog”.

I’ve found tears to be such a gift. A friend told me that Lady Bird Johnson once said, “People must be given the opportunity to hurt out loud.” It’s such a human thing to cry. I think this is why Jesus wept. He had no desire to be stoic or strong. He was the most human human to invade the planet. He had to weep. He had to hurt out loud. And in doing so he gave us all permission to do the same.

Happy New Year (20 days late).


~I am honored to do some writing this year with some amazing bloggers and friends. If you’d like to read more about new beginnings, start with http://www.growingplaces.us/in-the-beginning/ and roll through the circle from there!


23 thoughts on “A Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Beginning to 2014

  1. I’m sorry you had to run alone today…I’m sure Scout was in doggie heaven cheering you on!!! And we promise to all be your Scouts this year, always glad to see you, every day!

  2. All of us irrational, crazy, dog (and cat) lovers mourn and cry with you. This is why I have never been able to relate to Cesar, I prefer my love to be irrational (much like God’s love for us).

  3. Cheryl, I sat here and cried for you and the loss of your friend. Thank you for giving me permission to hurt out loud. Sometimes I think people don’t want to hear me hurt out loud but it sure helps me feel better. I pray you will feel better soon, too.
    Love, Kathy

  4. Cheryl, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is my absolute favorite book and running is one of my favorite activities. You are correct, they do have voices… Wish I lived closer so we could run together…
    Miss you my friend!

  5. So touching and praying God will bring you so much joy in this new year!! Scout had a wonderful momma and great friend! I love dogs so much and had to put my sweet pup down last summer…. Very tough… Praying in time you will feel better!!!

  6. Cheryl I’m so sorry about your doggy! Thanks for sharing this great read, grieve and know that you’re ahead of us all being ready for 2015 🙂 Oh and thanks for the gem quote, I always learn something from you! [“A friend told me that Lady Bird Johnson once said, “People must be given the opportunity to hurt out loud.”] e-hugs!!

  7. “People must have the opportunity to hurt out loud.”
    Yes, so glad to read that, as I did it a bit myself yesterday. It feels like a step towards healing.
    Feeling compassions to all those hurting out loud or even silently this morning.

  8. aw dear Cheryl – my heart hurts for you. I can relate in a way – not from the loss of a pet, but from a very close loss. In reading your beautiful words I am (perhaps slow) aware that your loss was of more than a pet. She was your friend, companion, child. Your tangible, unconditional love, tv buddy, jogging partner, greeting you with joy and letting you know how much you are needed, wanted, loved and yes, her favorite. What a beautiful relationship. Grieving, I think, shows that you loved… no tears is not a sign of strength, but of an untouched heart. I love what you said of how Jesus wept. It does give us permission to do the same. God gave us tears and then showed us that its ok to cry, to hurt, to grieve. Grieving makes people uncomfortable, it makes us who are grieving uncomfortable, but please don’t let that take this part of your healing away from you. Your world has changed. Your heart is tender. You have had a great loss in your life. Take one day at a time, friend. My prayer is that we all let you be you in your grieving and in this journey or yours that we are led in how to best be there for you. Much love to you, dear one. ❤

  9. Hi, Cheryl I totally know what you are going through. Two years ago I had to put my doggie down too, it was really hard. I didn’t think I was going to cry so much, but I did. What surprised me the most at the end of it all was that he wasn’t just a pet, he was family. I still miss him a lot but thank God for giving me such a great buddy. Thanks for sharing your heart with us, I’m glad I’m not the only person that cries for their doggie.

  10. Cheryl, my parents also had to put their senior fox terrier, Buddy, to sleep in November of 2012. He was about 18. They had him about 6-1/2 years. My mom’s still not over losing him.

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