Saying Goodbye to a Friend…

This is not the first post of the year that I’d hoped to write – chock full of goodwill and plans for an awesome 2011. I’m trying to be graceful, but just know that I am a blubbering mess. Sunday afternoon we lost the hound of our hearts, Turbo.

Turbo had a hard time getting out of bed on Sunday, and we barely made it out to the street for him to take care of business. When he was done, all he wanted was to go down to the beach. He could barely walk and there was no way to handle the steps down to the sand, so we stood at the Lake and watched the sunrise instead. In the back of my head, a thought whispered that he was saying goodbye as he leaned against me. I couldn’t listen.

He spent the rest of the morning in bed, though that’s a normal day for Turbo. He was drinking water when brought to him, but wasn’t taking any food. We tried not to worry, hoping he was just having a bad day with his arthritis. In the early afternoon, we got him up and walking was even more difficult for him, and he got very sick in the elevator. Once again, Turbo simply wanted to be by the Lake, and he managed to walk over to the grassy area near the Lake in front of our building and lie down in the sun. I sat there with him for about a half hour, his head in my lap and he seemed peaceful and content, enjoying the sunshine on his face and the grass pressed against his tummy. Mark found us, and I ran back upstairs to grab wallets and phones before going to the emergency vet.

I’ll treasure the time the three of us spent together sitting by the Lake as our true farewell to the noble hound we love. Mark had to carry him to the car and then into the vet. The news the vets delivered was vague and grim and after giving us the astonishingly high estimate of care costs to keep him overnight, we closed the door to think about what we wanted to do. Two minutes later the doctor ran in to tell us that Turbo was leaving us. We ran back to be with him as he passed, but I think he left us back at the Lake when he walked over and laid on the grass to gaze one more time at the Lake he loved. We are so grateful that he passed quickly, without suffering and removing the weight of a difficult decision from our hearts.

Turbo could have had no better final week with us. We traveled to Michigan to visit our families for the holidays. Turbo LOVED long car rides and the freedom of doing laps in my parents’ fenced yard. Returning home to Chicago, we were home with him all week, there to give him skritches whenever he wanted, and to take him outside to frolic in the fresh snow, followed by a couple days of spring-like weather tailor-made for long walks by the Lake. Many of our friends stopped by the condo in the last week and Turbo welcomed them all. Saturday morning he tried to chase squirrels on our morning walk. Our hound had just turned 11 on the Solstice, and lived every moment well. We will dearly miss our Zen Master greyhound. Our home is not the same without him. We love you, Turbo, and thanks for being our awesome companion for seven years.

27 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to a Friend…

  1. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Your words made me cry, because I know how much a part of a family a dog becomes, and I dread the day the time comes to say goodbye to my own. How wonderful that you were able to spend such a lovely last week with your beloved Turbo. My thoughts are with you.

  2. A beautiful post; I’m tearing up here at work. I’m glad you had a great last week with him and had a chance to say goodbye near the beach on his terms. You (and Mark) were lucky to have Turbo and vice versa.

  3. Though I’ve never met Turbo, I can see how easy it is to fall for a face like that. He was surrounded by love and I know he will always be remembered for the unconditional love he returned. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  4. Thanks for all the love, dear friends. Turbo was such a part of our lives, he’s so missed in our home…but there is an empty bed waiting for a new canine spirit to join us when we feel ready…

  5. I know I already told you how sorry I was, but I have to again now. Now I’m the one sitting at work crying, Jenn! I think all of us who read your experience automatically think of our pets; I know I do, and I hope, when the time comes, I have as much strength and grace as you have, despite how hard I know it must be. Again, my thoughts are with you both, and do let me know if there’s anything I can do – honest.

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  7. I am so sorry. I am glad the weather on Sunday was not so frigidly windy as Saturday was. Turbo must have really enjoyed the time by the lake as so many of us do!!!!!


  8. After I read your post, teary eyed, I realized the loss of a beloved family member is beyond words.
    But please know that Turbo is in a wonderful place and you will see him again someday!

  9. Hi Jenn,

    I was very sorry to hear of your loss. We have our good dog, Chloe, and I know how much we would miss her. Take care.

    Emily’s Mom, Sara

  10. I wasn’t able to read the whole thing, I didn’t want to be a blubbering mess myself. I’m so sorry, I can’t imagine losing my Max he’s a member of our family and I know Turbo was an important member of your family. My thoughts are with you and your husband as you get through this difficult time.

    • Thanks, Lisa. Two days later, we’re feeling a little better, and honestly, pretty blessed that Turbo’s last week was a great one, and that we were home with him the entire time. The loss is hard, but he was healthy and happy right until he left us on Sunday.

  11. Jenn, so sorry to hear of your loss. What a beautiful memorial you gave him here. When your heart heals, I know the next hound in your home will be one lucky dog, just like Turbo. Thanks for sharing his life with us.

    • Thanks so much, Kara. We were so lucky to have Turbo in our lives…he was an intuitive, sensitive guy, and we feel like he truly let us down easy on Sunday, as hard as it is. We’ve been surrounded by so much love and support from friends near and far, which has been amazing.

  12. I’ve read this twice now and choked up both times. Beautiful tribute to a beloved family member. At least his last week was spent doing what he loved best – being with his family, riding in the car and getting some time by the lake. Hang in there, Jenn.

    • Thanks, Crysta. 2 days later, we’re still feeling the heartache, but more and more feeling the blessing of the time we shared, especially this last week. Mark and I were just talking about how when his mom was dying from cancer, and would become agitated because she could no longer talk, Turbo would just stand next to her, and she would pet him and be soothed. He was an amazing dog, and truly, he let us down easy by letting us go before we had to make the hardest decision.

  13. My heart goes out to you. What a tough thing to go through. My thoughts are with you. It sounds like Turbo not only had a great life but also wonderful humans as owners.

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