Farewell Abbey

As parents we provide our children with pets for many different reasons, it teaches them to care for another living creature, develops a sense of responsibility and provides companionship. In our family we’ve had a few attempts at pets – the Christmas present hermit crabs which on unveiling promptly bit the child, leaving her completely disinterested in them – which was lucky because they escaped on Boxing Day never to be seen again. Then there were the goldfish – we went through more of them than I care to remember. But the pets that stuck around were the dogs.

Abbey and Chandler were a product of a divorce. When my husband’s work colleague split up neither he nor is ex-wife could have the dogs in their rentals, so suckers that we were, we agreed to take them both so they could stay together. They were three years old when the arrived, about the same age as Princess Child.

The children really don’t have a memory of life without the dogs. As far as they can recall Chandler has always been good naturedly bumbling around while Abbey pranced through the house in her usual diva style. Throughout the years the dogs and children have grown up together. There were hours of playtime in the backyard – although Abbey was smart enough to wait for the girls to be distracted to make a quick escape, she had an uncanny ability to completely hide herself in any environment.

Abbey had standards – she refused to walk on wet grass and looked at you in horror every time you took her outside to go to the toilet when the ground was damp. Dominant in her relationship with Chandler, Abbey was quick to let him know when he had displeased her – nipping his neck and sitting on him to get him to move out of the comfy positions in the sun because that was HER spot.

Abbey loved car rides. There were quite a few long journeys on the Brisbane/Port Macquarie run over the years and Abbey was always keen to get on the move. One trip that particularly sticks in the memory involved Abbey throwing up in the back seat, and one of the car wheels almost coming loose. Mr Shambles did a great job that day of noticing the noise of bolts loosening on tyres over the sounds of a dog spewing and children screaming.

Loyal and friendly to those she loved Abbey never failed to get up to say hello when Nana Shambles or Aunt Dorothy arrived to visit. However, she detested crowds and would do an evil stare if party guests stayed longer than she deemed necessary.

As parents you get your children pets to teach them about caring for another living creature, and when they pass away it is a lesson in grieving that surprises you all with it’s level of sadness. To Hippie Child who was the first home on the day we lost Abbey, I’m proud of how you handled the situation and, that even in the middle of your distress, you were thinking of your sister when you stopped her at the front door so she wouldn’t see. To Princess Child I’m proud of the concern and care you’ve shown for Chandler, who is lost without his sister.


23 thoughts on “Farewell Abbey

  1. Losing a pet is a difficult thing and one of the reasons I’m always reluctant in getting another one. My last pet was Mr Darcy – the aloof cat. He was a great cat, long, white and handsome. In winter he would sit on my lap or on the desk basking in the sun while I was working on my computer. When I separated from my first wife he stayed with her. I missed him. I recently heard that he went a little crazy and began wondering off for several days at a time. The last time he didn’t come back.

    Last weekend I watched my eldest son play with my sister’s cats and my mother’s dogs and saw the fun he had with them. Maybe owning a pet is something we all have to do, as the years of joy more then outweigh the sadness at the end.

    • Love the sound of Mr Darcy. I think the girls have had a lot of fun with the dogs over the years and I know they have learnt about responsibility – even it has taken a lot of hounding to remind them to feed and bath them!

  2. Oh. No. I’m so, so sorry. It is so heartbreaking to lose a pet, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think our animals teach us to love in ways that we never imagine, and I think you’re absolutely right…they teach our children important, poignant and necessary lessons. Your tribute to sweet Abbey is so beautiful and moving. I can feel your love for her and the heartbreak your family is feeling now. I’m holding all of you in the light. xo

  3. I am so sorry. Maisy Fuzz Butt is so dear to us; she’s elderly and I try not to think about the fact that the day when she leaves us is coming sooner than I’d like. They are part of the family and are sorely missed. I’m so impressed that your daughter was able to think so quickly to help her sister. Your girls sound like amazing people! I’m sorry for your loss. I’ll be thinking of you all…

  4. Oh mate sorry to hear about Abbey. They really are just a little person in a doggy suit that follow you around, listen when no-one else wants too. Keep the secrets you don’t want let out of the bag. Hugs all round Jeanie. xoxo 🙂

  5. It is always a sad day to lose a beloved pet, especially one that has been a family member for years. I offer you sincere condolences for your loss of Abby. However, in this world, where so many animals never have to the opportunity to know love, or experience respect, find solace in the fact that you gave both to this little dog. She had a happy life, I am sure. You should take comfort in your heart knowing you gave this pup a loving home. I wish all animals were so blessed.

  6. I’m sorry about Abbey. I had a dog that looked just like her back in 1969. I named her Sawdust because that’s what she looked like when I found her at the pound, lying in a corner, looking just like a pile of sawdust. I loved that little girl. So sorry.

  7. So sorry you had to lose Abbey. That’s the toughest part of having pets. For the first time in 35 years we don’t have a cat or a dog. It’s feels strange to not have any four legged creatures milling about, but we’ve decided that our parrot is more than enough for now.
    Lovely post.

  8. That’s a beautiful post. Pets were very much a fixture of our lives as children and their deaths were important lessons. Even though it’s tough, it’s so much better to have them as part of our lives than not.

  9. I’m sorry for the loss of Abbey.

    Pets are part of the family and it’s hard when they pass away. I cried when my childhood pets (cats we got when i was about 9 and 11) passed away and I was an adult, even married with a child when the second one died.

    I hope that you can all remember the good times with Abbey and that the grief isn’t too overwhelming for you all.

  10. so sorry, janine! we know how awful it is, and yet a part of life.

    another topic – next time you go to sydney, just carry your camera and snap some shots. for those of us who have never been there, it will be interesting! they don’t have to be “art shots” – just – what does it look like?

    peace to you and your family. n

  11. Your tribute to an obviously well loved family member was beautiful. I’ve tried to instill in my kids that having pets means taking responsibility for their well being. I have four cats and two of them are almost as old as my marriage. I know that sooner rather than later we will have to face difficult decisions as a family. I have already buried 2 goldfish and been through the tears. It isn’t easy. Cheers to you for finding such a lovely way to turn grief to tribute.

  12. I’m so sorry. Pets are family. It is so hard to let them go. You gave Abbey such a lovely good-bye on your post…what a nice tribute to a sweet dog, and also lovely comments to your daughters. I hope time, your fond memories and your wonderful photos will help ease the loss of Abbey.
    Our beloved Schnauzer died 8 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. I miss those snuggles and the patter of little paws on the floor.

  13. am late stopping by, and just learned about Abbey. so sorry to hear about your loss 😦
    it is always tough to say good-bye to those four-footed family members. what a loving tribute.

  14. Life was difficult in my adolescence. My mum got me a dog, Kootenay, and everything changed. He brought me, honesty, loyalty, happiness, loves and even wisdom.

    He died after I had moved away for college. I bawled when my mum called and told me that he had been struck by a car.

    I miss him terribly.

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