Remembering Seth…

This past Saturday, February 19, we had to put our Seth to rest.

As you know, he was diagnosed with bone cancer in November. He put up a good fight for 3 months, but he had just gotten too weak and tired. He wasn’t himself. He was letting us know that it was time.

To say that his absence has left us heartbroken would be a huge understatement. But we know he is no longer in pain, and there is comfort in that.

Sethy was 10 or 11 years old. I am not sure of his exact age, as my ex-husband and I took him in as a foster dog from Defenders of Animals when he was 7 years old and in need of a home. We officially adopted him shortly after.

I know that we gave Sethy a wonderful life for the 3 1/2 years we had him.

This is the first image I ever saw of Seth:

I still remember opening my email, seeing that sweet face, and just feeling the need to do something to help him.

Within a short amount of time, Seth was part of our household, first, as I said, as a foster dog… we had just lost our dog Bismarck and were still heartbroken over that… plus, we weren’t sure how Ryder would react to another dog.

But Sethy’s gentle, sweet, loving personality won our hearts over quickly and he was soon a permanent member of our family.

He would get on my lap, all 110 lbs. of him, and just fall asleep so soundly and comfortably. He was so gentle and loving with my nieces and nephews. And after an adjustment period of a couple of weeks, Ryder just loved her brother Seth.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I got divorced, I felt like I let a lot of people down, and in many ways I felt like a failure as a dog mom. I didn’t want to break up the family that our dogs knew. It wasn’t their fault. And that was one of the toughest parts of the divorce – not knowing how the dogs would respond to the new situation.

Thankfully, Ryder and Seth seemed to adjust without much difficulty, though it was hard to adjust myself to sharing custody and not having them with me 100% of the time.

When I met Brian, I was so happy to learn that he understood the connection I had with my dogs; and he brought his dog Tansy into my life and into my heart.

From the start, Ryder was rather ambivalent about Tansy, which wasn’t a surprise; Ryder rarely gets all that excited about other dogs, and Tansy’s puppy playfulness was a little too much for her. But Sethy humored Tansy, and the two of them often played together. It was very cute.

But as Sethy got sicker, he had less and less energy to play with Tansy. And it was pretty remarkable to watch, over the last few weeks especially, that Ryder started stepping into Sethy’s role. Ryder started allowing Tansy to be her playmate, almost as if to let Sethy know that she would take care of Tansy. He didn’t have to worry.

While we didn’t actually say goodbye to Seth until February 19, the truth is, in a way I’ve been grieving his loss since he was diagnosed 3 months ago.

I knew that outside of an absolute miracle, there was really nothing we could do to make him better. I cried a lot when we first found out he was sick… and then I worried. I worried as I saw him getting weaker. I worried as we added medication to his system. I worried when I’d see him limping. I worried when he’d pace or try to find a comfortable position to sleep. I worried when we had to get him in the car, or out of the car, or up a flight of stairs. I worried when he’d just kind of stare sleepily. I worried when he drank so much water. I worried when he wasn’t with me. I just worried.

When I gave Seth and Ryder to my ex-husband over a week ago for his time with them, I felt that we were close to the end with Sethy. Then, last Thursday, when I saw my ex-husband’s phone number on my caller ID, I knew.

It was time for all of us to say goodbye and free Seth of his pain.

On Friday night at 9:30 p.m. we met at the spot we usually meet to exchange the dogs. Brian and Tansy were with me. On the way there, lightning lit up the sky… I think they were having a party up there, awaiting Sethy’s arrival.

It was an emotional exchange, and then Brian and I took Seth, Ryder and Tansy to my parents’ house to spend the night.

The next morning, we brought the dogs to the park near my parents’ house. It was so windy, and Sethy just enjoyed standing, then lying, in the big open field, the wind blowing around him.

The sun peaked through the clouds from time to time, and there was even a little snow squall just as we left the park.

I had already called our vet to arrange for someone to come to Brian’s house to put Sethy to rest. So, after the park we headed back to Brian’s to spend our final hours with Seth.

He enjoyed a nice big soup bone outside in the sun and a delicious meal of a burger and fries that Brian made for him.

I was pretty strong all day… I knew we were making the right decision and there was a relief in knowing that Seth would not be in pain anymore… but when the vet called to say she’d be there in 15 minutes with her assistant, I just fell apart.

My parents were there, as well as Brian’s mom. Brian and I hugged Sethy as the vet gave him a sedative, and Sethy went to sleep so peacefully, his head right in my lap, as we hugged and kissed him.

Then the vet, with kindness and empathy, gently put him to rest.

We had a little memorial for Seth, just us, next to a photo of him taken last summer by a wonderful photographer, Julie Furtado.

I love the photo because it’s exactly how I want to remember Sethy – playful and vibrant, with his big happy tongue sticking out.

Then Brian, my parents and I went out for dinner. We toasted to Sethy and the beautiful love he brought into our lives.

While we ate, we were treated to a glorious sunset.

It gave us peace to know that Seth was receiving such a warm, wonderful welcome.

We have had our moments of strength and our moments of absolute grief.

Brian said he had a tough time on Sunday morning, making two bowls of dog food for breakfast instead of three. And I have just had my moments… thinking of certain things at certain times that make me cry.

I so appreciate everyone who has reached out to offer sympathy. I know from experience that healing isn’t something that can be hurried.

I know it will get easier with time… but I will never, ever forget my big special mama’s boy… my sweet, loving, gentle Seth.

This morning, Defenders of Animals’ director Dennis put this lovely tribute in his Monday Morning Memo:

Thank you, Dennis, for everything.

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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  1. 2.21.11

    So sorry to hear about this. I have had Stella for 3 years and 2 months and honestly can’t remember my life before her, I can’t imagine how hard this is.

  2. 2.21.11
    Jane said:

    Thank you so much… it really is amazing how it’s hard to remember life before our dogs come into our lives.

  3. 2.21.11
    Cheryl Phillips said:

    Rest in peace, Sethy. I hope you have time to meet my dogs Juno, Charlie and Tasha who all crossed the Rainbow Bridge many years ago….they are having a lovely time amusing my parents who make sure they are well taken care of.

    They are all looking down and sending hugs to you in this difficult time, Jane.

  4. 2.22.11

    Beautiful tribute, Jane. Oh, how loved Sethy was! His sweet, sweet face and your words about him and what you have been through have brought me to tears. But what I see most in what you’ve written is love…love Sethy had for you and love that you had for him. And the love that you are surrounded with by Brian, Tansy, Ryder and your family. I am so glad you have all of them to get you through this. You know I am always here for you too…always! *love* and *hugs*

  5. 2.22.11
    admin said:

    Oh, Janie… my heart is so BIG for our Sethy… and my heart hurts so much. I am filling the emptiness with all the stories and memories and thoughts of our Big Beluga… how he loved the wind, the back deck on the hottest of summer days, his puppy sisters, his nephews and how he sat next to their little carriers and watched over them… how he poked his nose into the trash like we couldn’t see him, and how he loved to escape and run, run, run! I can’t help but smile and laugh… right through my tears. He is LOVE. He will always be LOVE. Giant, giant, giant LOVE. I love you, Honey. Thank God for you and for Brian and for your puppies… xoxox Love, Mom

  6. 2.22.11
    Dee Velleco said:

    Beautiful……you covered it all. He was so loved by you, Brian, your Mom, Dad and your entire family from the little one’s to your Grandma Rita. He was lucky to have you and you were all lucky to have him.
    I never knew how truly sad it was to lose a beloved pet until Brandi died and you and your Mom were so wonderful and helped me and my daughter deal with some of the pain.
    It is good to talk and write about it.
    I wish I could take away the pain for you but sadly I can’t. I wish you lot’s of wonderful memories.
    Luv you, Dee xo

  7. 2.22.11
    Poppy said:

    You were the best mom to Seth.

    It’s so hard to make the right decision to finally put our furry babes out of their suffering, but even if you never feel quite right about it, you did the best thing for him.


  8. 2.22.11
    Kim said:

    Jane: I know that writing such a beautiful and moving tribute to Sethy could not have been easy for you. Tears are certainly flowing on this end after reading every single,emotional,loving word. And a park, a wonderful last meal, certainly brings back my own losses as well. You are right, healing cannot be hurried and you will still have your moments. But thankfully you have a circle of love surrounding you, helping you every step of the way. And I hope that all of my glorious dogs & cats that have also crossed the rainbow bridge are circling your courageous boy Seth this moment with wagging tails of love. Big *HUGS* and kisses sweet Jane ~

  9. 2.22.11
    Nicole said:

    Janie –
    Sethy was a very special dog and was lucky to have SO MANY in his life who adored him. I know the Finny met him and showed him the ropes up in heaven!

  10. 2.22.11

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve had to say goodbye to 3 dogs in the past several years, and it’s been really hard each time. As time goes bad, the good memories will take the place of the tears, but you’ll never lose what you had with him. I’m glad for you that you have Ryder and Tansy still. Even though one dog can never replace another, those furry hugs and wet kisses can help take the edge off the pain.

    My thoughts are with you.

  11. 2.22.11
    Amanda Merced said:

    This was such a beautiful note and tribute to Seth. I am truly sorry for your loss and while no other can take his place, I hope you find comfort with Ryder and Tansy and their love for you and yours.

    All my best,

  12. 2.22.11
    Karen said:

    Aww Sethy. I’m SO GLAD I had a few chances to meet/play/be sat on by him. He was truly blessed to have found you to be his true home! Hugs to you for your loss.

  13. 2.22.11
    admin said:

    Janie, Sethy will always be in our hearts. YOu gave him such joy and happiness… there couldn’t have been anyone else that would have loved him as much as you did!
    I’m here if you need anything!

  14. 2.22.11

    Jane, I’m so sorry to hear of Seth’s passing. These dogs! They steal our hearts, bring us such joy, and take a part of us with them when they go. Wishing you strength and peace – and lots of loving smiles as you remember the beautiful times you had with your sweet boy.

  15. 2.23.11
    Carol Ready said:

    Jane, I am so, so sorry to hear about Seth. I hope the many fond memories and joy that he brought to you and your family will carry you through this particularly sad time. All the best, Carol

  16. 2.26.11
    Julie said:

    I’m so sorry Jane! (and in tears over here…you had me at that sweet picture of Ryder and Seth) – What a beautiful tribute. I’m honored to have met him (all of you 🙂 I’m glad you have all of these memories and know that you gave him the best dog life there is! He was most definitely loved right until the end!

  17. 2.26.11

    Oh Jane! I’m so sorry to hear about Seth and can tell how well loved he was from your words! I just read this post after spending most of the day in our yard playing with our 3 year old yellow Lab who we adopted 6 weeks ago. As a new dog owner, I dread the day that our dog is no longer a part of our family because even though he’s still pretty new to us, he’s a huge part of our family. I can only imagine how hard this must be. Stay strong and sending you good thoughts as you remember him fondly.

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