letting go

once upon a time, there’s a very sweet dog named Romppu.

he’s my husband’s uncle’s dog, but he sometimes came over to our place and let us take care of him for a while when his owners were going out of town.

his favourite past times were sleeping, smacking his tongue quietly (so that he wouldn’t disturb others nor drool to the floor), and looking out the window to see the sceneries.

he was a quiet dog, and he’s always excited whenever we came back from going somewhere outside the house. he even got so excited to see me coming back from doing our laundry downstairs.

he was never interested in any other dog. whenever we went to take him out, if we met some other dog, he was more interested in the owner (especially little kids) than the dog.

he was always hopeful to get a few extra bites. whenever someone opened the fridge door, no matter how deep his sleep was, he would get up and start walking towards the fridge.

he was old.

and as years went by, he became more and more ill, the kind of illness that came with getting old. he became slower, a bit blind, and could no longer do much of anything else but sleep.

three weeks ago, we were told to be prepared to lose him. he had quite a painful tooth infection that needed to be operated, and yet because of his heart problem and old factor, it’s almost sure that when he’s put to sleep for the operation, he wouldn’t be able to wake up anymore. so the option was between the operation or putting him to sleep for good.

that night, as i was lying in my bed, my husband sleeping beside me, i suddenly heard the familiar dog-nails-on-the-floor sound from our kitchen, tip-tip-tip-tip, coming closer to our bedroom. i was surprised to hear it, i didn’t remember having Romppu at our house. my husband also woke up and heard his footsteps. and then Romppu appeared in our bedroom, excitedly running to my side of the bed, and i happily brushed his head and said “moi moi, Romppu!” (which could mean “hello” or “goodbye” in Finnish).

and then he ran again to the other side of the bed, where my husband was, and my husband petted his head as he also said “no moi, Romppu!”.

and then i got up from the bed, and felt like i knew what to do next. i went through the bathroom that connected our bedroom to the area of our apartment’s entrance door, knowing that Romppu would follow me. as i reached our apartment’s entrance door, i opened the door and said to Romppu, “you’re free to go now, Romppu. i’ll miss you, but just go now.”

he looked at me and then at the open door, and ran out a few meters… but then he turned around and looked back at me again. i kept saying, “bye bye, Romppu,” but he started running back towards me.

finally i knelt down and hugged him, and told him, “i love you, Romppu.” i stood up afterwards, and again said goodbye to him.

this time, he walked away and didn’t come back.

it was just a dream, but a very realistic one, that when i woke up, i knew it was my heart saying goodbye to him, and who knows… maybe it was also Romppu saying goodbye to both of us.

Romppu passed away last Thursday.

goodbye, Romppu. i hope you are at peace now, with no more pain.

i miss you already.

138 thoughts on “letting go

  1. Touching, I know just how you feel. It’s been more than a year for me May 5) and I can’t stop thinking about my buddy, Snickers. “Racing In The Rain” by Garth Stein is a great tale of a man and his dog, written from the dog’s point of view.

  2. it is always a difficult decision to put a beloved pet to sleep. It can also be one of the most loving decisions that we can make for them. For each person/beloved pet it is a different time. Some make that decision very early in the disease or old age process, not wanting to see their pet suffer at all. Others cant and they need to know that there is not another day left in them before they can bring themselves to depart from them. Regardless of the when the time is, it is NEVER easy. To have a pet pass away in its sleep is a fantastic last gift from your pet!

    • very true. it’s always sad for us who got to be “left behind”, and i guess we just have to keep reminding ourselves that they’re actually going to a better place with no more suffering. thank you for your sweet comment!

  3. Great, heartfelt post. Ultimately what keeps me from having pets is the fear of losing them. I’m not good at losing people who are close to me, I can’t imagine losing a companion who would be with me through all good times and bad.

    • i think in a way we all are afraid of losing them, because it’s a known fact that dogs, especially, don’t get to live that long. and yet most of us decide to put that fear aside in exchange for a little love, no matter how short the time is. i’m glad that i’ve had Romppu in my life, even if it was only for a short time. 🙂

  4. ah you’ve driven me to tears! I have a hard time saying goodbye because I always wish for more time. Being happy with someone you’ve known for a long time is such a treasure in that way. My own Frankie is around all the time and I am sad that the path of our lives will one day part. Thankfully, he is only about 2 or 3 years old, and I am taking care that his life should be long, adventurous, and fulfilled. Thanks so much for a great post. Happy Travels!

  5. OMGness I didn’t want to know that, it reminded me somewhat of losing my own little doggie who surprisingly reminded me of Romppu.. It has been 3 long years this month and I’m surprised I’m still feeling the emptiness, just not as often and they are more memories.
    Sorry for your loss and the void that follows, and thanks for a memorable story.

  6. Hi looks like a darker version of my Tetley – a Cairn terrier who, like Romppu – is more interested in people than other dogs. He’s 11 now and still in good health so most of the time I pretend he’s younger. Dread the day…
    Lovely dream and post.

    • thank you for your comment, the part where you said you pretend that he’s younger made me smile. 🙂 i said it before up there somewhere in response to someone else’s comment, but i’ll say it again to you: make the most of the time with your Tetley! don’t dread the day when it’s not here yet. 😉 wishing you lots of happy days with him!

  7. I’m so sorry about the loss of your precious Romppu. I lost my sweet Betsy about three weeks ago and I miss her so much. She, too, was my very mild-mannered, special friend.

  8. That was very beautiful – I am currently sitting at my desk crying into my lunch. I find it much harder to say goodbye to animal friends than people friends.

    • i understand what you mean. maybe it’s because with animals we can’t really tell what they’re thinking, whereas with people we can either hear their talks or see their mimics & guess what they mean. i was very sad when i first heard that we had to prepare ourselves for his time.. i kept thinking, did Romppu himself know that his time was about to come? but then after seeing the dream, it made me believe that he did know it, and that’s why he came to say goodbye.

  9. this is a very beautiful post and i am sorry for your loss. I know the feeling. When I was about 10 I had a hampster named Pebbles. One day I picked her up and she was bleeding. upon inspection, she was not hurt I was sure she was having her period! (even though I had had her for about 2 years). I called my mom frantically and explained to her what happened. That weekend we took her to the vet where I found out she had cancer. The vet was a family friend of ours and was amazing. he had me sit down and look under the microscope and see the cancer cells. He took his glasses off, set them on the table and explained to me that “he could operate on her but he wasnt sure that her little body would make it through” I had to make the decision to put her, my hampster, down so that she could be without pain and be much happier.

    losing a pet never gets easier, but it does put a smile on my face to think about the beautiful times. i hope you and your family are able to do that 🙂

    • thank you, and what a sad story you had with your hamster.. sorry to hear about it, too. with a little bit of time, i’m sure i & my family will also be able to remember the beautiful times we spent with Romppu with our smiles again 🙂

  10. Sorry for the loss. It is the saddest thing to have to let your pet go. I think the dream will help you through the sadness. Knowing how sad it is I had tears running down my cheeks when I read this.

    • sorry to make you cry 😦 the dream did (and does, still) give me comfort, that even though i am still sad, i believe that Romppu wouldn’t have wanted me to keep grieving for him all the time 🙂 thank you so much for dropping by.

  11. Este post me hizo recordar a Terry, mi primer perro negro. Yo tenía diez años de edad. Cuando él murió mis padres no me lo dijeron para que no sufriera. Durante muchos días anduve en bicicleta por el barrio silbando y llamando a Terry. Con el paso del tiempo llegó el consuelo y otro cachorro ocupó el lugar vacío.
    This post reminded me of Terry, my first black dog. I was ten years old. When he died my parents did not tell me not to suffer. For many days I bike around the neighborhood whistling and calling Terry. With the passage of time came the consolation and another puppy took the place empty.

  12. Pingback: don’t ‘like’ this post… | Step Into The Silver Rain

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