Last week, my brother Keith and his family had to say goodbye to their yellow Lab, Finnegan.
Finny was 11 1/2 years old. She had been ill for awhile. It was time.
But knowing that it’s “time” still doesn’t make it any easier.
I remember meeting Finny when she was just weeks old in late 1996, a little butterball with soft yellow fur and droopy puppy-dog eyes. She was, really, my first “niece” and we bonded very quickly. I loved going over to my brother’s house to visit her and play with her.
When Keith proposed to Nicole, his girlfriend at the time (now his wife of almost 10 years!), Finny was there. Keith videoed the proposal, and you can hear Nicole say, “Finny, now I am going to be your real Mommy!”
When Keith and Nicole had their first child, Taylor, I was honored to be in the delivery room with them, videoing my niece’s birth and taking pictures. I so vividly remember my brother holding his first child, and through tears, saying, “She’s going to love Finny.”
And she did. And so did their second child, Andrew. We all loved Finny.
When I got my first “baby” Ryder, I couldn’t wait to introduce her to her big cousin – and first friend – Finny. Ryder loved Finny. She would climb and jump all over Finny, who, true to form, would patiently let her.
When Steve and I started dating, and I was lucky enough to become a doggy mom to Bismarck, too, I couldn’t wait to introduce him to Finny. I remember bringing Bizzy over to Keith and Nicole’s house and watching Finny, Bismarck and Ryder all play together in the back yard.
As time went on, Finny started getting arthritis and had a hard time walking. Eventually, it got worse and she couldn’t even walk anymore. My brother would lift her up and carry her outside to go to the bathroom. It broke all of our hearts because other than that, Finny was still that happy, smiling, tail-wagging puppy she had always been. She just simply couldn’t move anymore.
Last Thursday Keith and Nicole made the tough decision to let Finny be free from her pain.
And with that, doggy heaven gained another angel.
I know Bismarck was waiting for Finnegan at the Rainbow Bridge, and the two of them – both free from any pain – are playing together just like the first time they met.