Today, we give away our beloved Sunny to her adoptive family. It is a searing pain….
Last fall, we learned of our daughter, Eden’s, numerous food allergies. We were concerned that she might be allergic to our golden doodle, Sunny, as well. Eden and Sunny love each other. Eden chases after Sunny, calling her “Bah-Bah” (which we think imitates her bark). But when Eden continued to break out in hives at seemingly random times, we had blood tests done to confirm she has a high allergy to dogs. Her allergist explained that keeping Eden in this environment with Sunny would increase her likelihood of asthma.
We were devastated.
She’s been an integral member of our family, and the memories flood our souls. Sunny always had a special affinity for my father and comforted us through his death a year and a half ago. The day I was in labor with Eden, Sunny remained by my side, sensing what was happening. She’s traveled with us to South Dakota, Minnesota, Chicago, and Iowa City. There are, of course, the memories of excursions to the veterinary ER too for mishaps with a medicine jar and a canister of dark cocoa powder…
Sunny’s always been there for the holy moments of daily life, and taught us how to appreciate them through her simple joy, abiding love, and unwavering faithfulness. I think of the book, Marley and Me that says, “It’s just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn’t it?” Or maybe it’s the most amazing thing to be loved by a dog. God’s come to us in tangible ways through Sunny.
Scores of family and friends have prayed with and over us as we’ve handled the news and wondered how to proceed. And then, through acts we can only attribute to the grace of God, a beautiful family and set of circumstances came into our laps.
And we realized we had to say yes to goodbye. And yes to grief. And yes to trust. And yes to the seasonal nature of life that asks us to believe there is yet joy to receive in each one.
Even when it hurts like hell.
We shared a blessing service when we first adopted Sunny nearly four years ago, and we had a time of blessing last night as we prepared for today. I lift up this prayer of saying thank you and goodbye.
We love you, Sunny, precious creature of God…
Be with us in our goodbyes.
When we are asked to open our hands and
release what we hold –
what we’ve held tightly –
place your peace between the fingers.
Put your comfort in the cracks and crevices of our hearts.
Let your Spirit take the groans too deep for words
and fashion them into prayers of
Use our falling tears as nourishment for
this ground of grief,
and bring our souls, our lives, our trust
to new blossom.
In Jesus, Whose love never fails,