Losing Phoebe our pet memorial tribute to her

Phoebe was our best friend! Truly a momma’s girl but super with all family. Don’t get me wrong, from the outside looking in Phoebe was a huge dog and tolerated little outside of family. She was an American Akita and loved family tremendously which was notable from the lovey tail wags that swayed softly back and forth and reminded me of a beautiful song. She greeted mailmen and delivery drivers with scorn, but family with whines and beautiful tail wags.

Phoebe was brought home as a pup with wondering eyes 10 years ago, wondering if she was going to a good home. She was indeed going where she would be loved and cared for immensely. We enrolled her in obedience and socialization training right away and she was very responsive and done wonderfully with the training.

Phoebe was always a protector of anything in her 3-acre territory. If you were outside of her 3 acre boundary there  were no issues but an unknown vehicle in the driveway would bring chaos. She was so respectful; she would not enter the kitchen and you could trust your dinner on and end table to never be disturbed by her. She was definitely her momma’s girl as she would always sleep indoors next to her and if the weather was right, she would sleep outdoors just next to her momma’s window.

There are no words for the love she showed family. You would just have to see her interaction yourself. Beautiful tail swaying and whining when family visited.

She aged and now looking back she seemed more reclusive, but still loving when family visited.

My 4-year-old granddaughter Maggie, however, got off my bed in the quick fashion that children do and startled Phoebe. Maggie was bit. What a shock! My Daughter and I were out at a hardware store and got the news. We rushed home thinking it was a simple puncture but when arriving we saw Maggie’s lip was very bad. We took her to the ER right away and they directed her to go to the children’s hospital 120 miles away. Maggie underwent reconstructive surgery on her lip that night and without sedation due to the inability to work on her lip with a tube in her mouth. Maggie made it fine after hours of screaming and being held down for the procedure.

Unfortunately, between self-conscience having 4 grandchildren and the health department, we had to euthanize Phoebe.  This was the hardest thing I have done! Nothing can prepare this moment. Phoebe was towards the end of her life, overweight, hip issues and becoming grumpy but nothing can prepare you for this situation.

In transparency, I own a pet memorial company. I have always known the grief of losing a pet! My wife and daughter and daughter-in-law work with me side by side daily to deliver hundreds of memorials each month, but nothing could have prepared me for this. I make memorials daily and each one different, telling what each pet meant to each family. Yet, I still was not prepared.

Phoebe came back from euthanasia and cremation, and it was time for me to make her a memorial. But can a pet memorial maker make a memorial for his own pet? It’s tough! But this I found to be therapeutic. The making of the memorial, nor the memorial itself  lessened my grief, but knowing Phoebe was ending up with a memorial that commemorated her life, companionship and love really helped.

Memorials are something we can look back on and smile remembering the good times. A memorial does not heal you or your grief. It never will, it will simply be a marker of memory. But I believe each pet should have a memorial to honor their companionship and love.

Thank you for letting me share the story of my best friend of 10 years!Pet loss memorial on slate

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