A little over 14 months after my 11-year marriage ended in divorce, it was time to also say goodbye, once and for all, to my beloved cocker spaniel, Ace, who had been my constant companion for almost 14 years. Like you Mark, I had prayed that God would let him die peacefully in his sleep. My prayer, too, went unanswered. I had attempted several times before to end his pain and could never follow through with it. It was at those times when I had decided to euthanize him that he seemed to have a little more pep in his step or didn’t appear to be in as much pain so I would begin to doubt whether or not I was doing the right thing. Ultimately, on August 18, 2005, God gave me the courage to finally ease his pain and have him euthanized. It was a decision that tormented me up until the moment that his heart stopped beating.

I opted to have him cremated at Paws in Heaven in Canyon Lake, Texas. Not wanting Ace “shipped” from the veterinarian’s office to the crematorium which was located in a different town, I opted to drive him there myself. What a difficult drive that was. The family that operates Paws in Heaven was truly a blessing at what proved to be an enormously painful time. I thought when I arrived they would take Ace from me, cremate him and return his ashes to me. That was anything but what happened. Upon arriving, they did in fact take Ace from me and asked me to have a seat in the waiting room. What happened next was unexpected. I walked through the doors to the outside of the office to find Ace lying on a table, his trusty yellow tennis ball nestled between his paws. They had set up a memorial for my little Ace Baby. I was overwhelmed with grief. Saying goodbye to him is one of the most difficult things I’ve endured at this point in my life. Not only was I saying goodbye to Ace, I was permanently closing a chapter of my life with my ex-husband. He and I had picked Ace out together. My marriage had died. Now so had my dog. Now I had to break the news to my two daughters.

After I picked them up from school, I sat down with them and explained that Ace had died. We cried and comforted each other. Before long, it was time for me to leave for work. As I tried to make my way out the door, I called to my then 9-year old to hustle so I could say goodbye before I left. She was working on something and told me to hold on – that she was almost done. A few minutes later she emerged from her room and presented me with a sheet of paper. On the paper contained a cut-out photo of me and Ace with a little note on it which read: “To our beloved dog Ace: He lay there so still as my mom’s eyes fill, for her to say her last goodbyes and in the background plays a lullaby. The stack of cards has fallen without the Ace. He will see his friends in Heaven as he misses his family on Earth.”

On Christmas Eve 2005, Santa made a special delivery to our house – a blonde cocker spaniel by the name of Miracle. The three of us adore her. Having her in our home has eased the pain of losing Ace.

While I don’t always understand why things happen the way they do, I do know that God has a hand in all of it. If God had answered your prayer to let Sprite die in his sleep, you might not have had a need to reach out to God and talk to Him. Though the decision you made to euthanize Sprite was a profoundly painful one, it has provided you with a forum to share your story – just as it did for me – so thank you. I look forward to reading your book with my girls.

Louise from Texas