10 July 2020

Remembering Sugar Rae


This post is written for family, but it's about a situation that all families and pet-lovers eventually have to face.  "Sugar" was a yellow lab who joined the Eau Claire (Wisconsin) branch of my family fourteen years ago.  I'll let the family describe her in their own words, and I invite readers to share in the Comments setion their own memories and stories about the deaths of favorite pets.


"To those that knew her, she was the sweetest, most loyal, and unconditional dog.

She loved to "subtly" nudge u, so u would pet her; she loved playing catch, up until the end, when she could barely walk, much less run...

she loved sleeping on your foot, so you couldn't get up and leave her; she loved chasing the deer when we lived on the golf course; she loved getting her belly rubbed...

she loved eating the peanut butter out of an empty jar; she loved playing in the snow; she loved "smelling the roses" on her walks around the block...

she loved drinking out of the hose; and loved taking long naps, in what we will forever call "the Sugar Shack."


In hindsight we were fortunate to spend the last 107 days of Sugar's life with her, literally almost every minute of every day because we were in locked-down stay-at-home/teach-from-home mode.  She got more walks than usual, petted more than ever, and was loved and cherished more than ever.

Her struggle to breathe was painful to hear and see, and that alone reassured us that her time had come.   At the vets we wiped away tears, and Sugar bravely managed to stand for a final family portrait.


It's hard to see a pet suffer, and it's harder to do what we had to do, but we are reassured that she went peacefully.  R.I.P. "C 'n H Pure Cane Sugar Rae Van Alvarez."  U stole our hearts, and we love u.  May we all learn more from our dogs."

25 comments:

  1. I am so very sad for your loss. Been there, done that. Know how heart-breaking it is.
    Warm hugs for you and your whole family ~

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  2. If only an obituary in remembrance of myself will be so kind; I will have lived a dog's life. My dog Gorda was my best friend for 17 yrs; and 17 years have past since having to put her down. I still recall the times we had to walk around the block without her; her wails of loneliness echoing through the neighborhood. Ten minutes, yet somehow an eternity for her. Despite our betrayal; she felt no shame accepting us upon our return. Long live our sweet pets and they represent family's finest traits; loyalty, togetherness, hilarity, joy, sweetness, and light.

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  3. It's almost too painful to comment on your tribute to Sugar. There is nothing in this world like a good dog.

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  4. What a lovely tribute to a beloved family member. It's been 23 years since we said goodbye to our own cherished dog Skilos when he reached the end of his decline at 18 years and 9 months, but I still remember that vet visit like it was yesterday. Then 7 years later we had to make another vet visit to say goodbye to our cat Holly, who made it to 18 years. They gave us joy, companionship, moments of exasperation, unconditional love and clear examples of being their authentic selves.

    To this day, I can still remember the feel of their soft, fluffy coats and how warm and huggable they were.

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  5. Tears in my eyes as I write this. It's fucking brutal to bring your dog to the vet to be put down, but it's your duty to do it when the time comes.
    You take your trusting friend, and carry home a limp corpse in a blanket.

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  6. It is clear.
    What a precious, precious loved one she was. My heart bleeds for you.

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  7. Thoughts and prayers to you. Just this morning at 10am we had to put down our Black Lab of 13 years. It was very difficult to do but we all knew it was the right thing to do. Our family was petting him until his very last breath. Cheers to the Vet that let all 4 of us in the room even though they had a policy of only two in the rooms at a time.

    Tough day.......

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  8. As a pastor, I know that our theology does not admit of an animal having a soul. But which of us have not found as much companionship and solace and joy with a pet, as we have with others that we love? If they don't have a soul, they should have, for I can't think of anyone who better deserves to have one.

    The way I see it, is that if we believe there is a heaven (and I do), then it wouldn't quite be heaven if someone dear and precious is missing. Further, if they have horses in heaven, and if the wolf will lay down with the lamb, and the calf with the young lion, that speaks of something dear.

    If a lamb was good enough to serve as a sacrifice until Calvary, then there must be something dear--even spiritual--about animals.

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  9. My condolences. It's always hard when a pet passes away. Sugar Rae sounds like she was an amazing dog.

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  10. Deepest condolences.
    Pets are difficult to say good bye to.

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  11. For anyone who has loved, and been loved in return, by a furry family member. For anyone who has spent years getting to know them as they have gotten to know you. For anyone who has held them at the end, feeling their life slip away and the void filled with pain and tears. I feel for you. I love you. I hope that you cry, because you love them and have lost them, and that you remember them always. And I love them, too. With that much love there is a lot of pain.

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  12. What a lovely tribute to an obviously unforgettable friend. You have my sincere condolences.

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  13. Worst feeling in the world. I'm so sorry.

    The hardest part for me after my cat, Shadow, passed four years ago, was other people were understanding and sympathetic for about a week, but then they moved on. Internally, I hadn't and still hurt for much, much longer. The world had continued and mine had stopped.

    Time heals, but it's slow. I'm sorry you have to experience this.

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    Replies
    1. The most heart-rending quote from Loretta Switt's character Hot Lips on MASH:

      “It never fails to astonish me. You’re alive. You’re dead. No drums. No flashing lights. No fanfare. You’re just dead.”

      We feel like the world should stop. Everything should freeze. Everyone should know. But it doesn't and they don't. The world just goes on--and it feels like a travesty.

      I was burying my goodest boy years ago and it stormed. Thunder and lightning as I dug and dug, and cried and cried. I felt like the world was crying with me. I knew it wasn't, but it 'felt' like the world knew what had happened. That it had lost one of the goodest boys ever. The sky went dark, the rain fell, and the thunder echoed my wailing.

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  14. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/310466968056329801/?nic_v1=1afe9F10LWgxUAPrGfRWu%2FSH0WUu%2BO%2BmTwI%2FUAJOjB2Vcpf6n2A5OstSkK2Yr3Z3Ms

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  15. GNU, sweet Sugar. And when you get to the other side of the rainbow bridge, tell my sweet pupper Oreo that I said hello and I miss her, ok? I'd ask you to say hi to my cat Tuxedo too, but he never liked dogs very much and I don't want you to get your nose booped.

    Sorry to hear about your loss, man. Been there myself, and it's never easy.

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  16. My best friend came home with me on May 6th, 1972. I remember the exact date for two reasons. First, May 6 is my Father's birthday, though he passed away 6 years before Riva came home. The second reason is where Riva's name came from. From the minute I met her, it was obvious that this dog loved to run. She was all legs as a puppy, like a colt. Watching Riva Ridge win the Kentucky Derby on that first Saturday in May, with my dog by my side, She became Riva.

    Riva grew to be a ringer for "Old Yeller," and like the dog in that movie, she got into plenty of mischief, usually with me by her side. And she never lost her love of running. Riva was extremely well-behaved when we went out of the yard, always staying by my side, but watching for that signal the she was allowed to run.

    She was doing what she loved when she died. On a Sunday evening in early January of 1985, we were running around in the newly fallen snow in a deserted parking lot, me throwing snowballs, Riva running after them. Her final moments are like a video in my head. She stopped running, turned around, and took a few faltering steps toward me before slowly lying down in the snow. In the few seconds it took me to get to her, she was gone (likely due to a massive heart attack, according to the doctor). Just writing this brings a flood of tears. I carried her home and buried her the next day, at the edge of the woods behind my home. In retrospect, her death was bittersweet. I never had to make that painful decision that I've made with other dogs since then, but I also never had the opportunity to look into her eyes on last time to tell her I loved her. I'm sure she never doubted that.

    As an aside, the horse she was named after died 3 months later, also from a heart attack.

    I am so sorry for your family's loss.



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  17. James Herriot, the veterinarian who wrote "All Creatures Great and Small," said that his advice to those who had lost a pet was to, as quickly as possible, get a new one.

    I'm sure that can feel like a bit of a betrayal to the memory of the old pet, but look at it rather as partaking yet again of the divine gift to man that animals can be.

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  18. That's you, Mr. TyWkiWdbi? I wouldn't have figured it, but it's exactly right that you and your family would have a wonderful dog named Sugar. I've been enjoying this blog for years, so as long as I'm here...thanks for all the hard work. I really enjoy coming here, and now I know what you look like!

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    Replies
    1. Not quite. Sugar was a member of my cousin's family, and they are the ones in the photos.

      AFAIK, the only photo of me in the blog was the one I posted for New Year's greetings last year -

      https://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/2018/12/new-years-greetings-from-tywkiwdbi.html

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  19. I am so sorry for your loss! It's terrible to lose a beloved animal member of the family - thank you for sharing her beautiful spirit.

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  20. I am convinced that the first thing that happens when you get to Heaven is that all of the pets you ever had come running out to greet you. Assuming I get there, I can't imagine anything better than seeing all those furry faces again...

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  21. We are so very lucky to have animal friends. Friends who love unconditionally are rare, if they exist in the 2 legged variety, yet these 4 legged companions, want nothing more then to make us happy and be with us. It is truly our honor to be the best friend we can be to them. Thank you for taking such good care of Sugar.

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  22. I haven't cried in years, I just did. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's 95 degrees and full humidity here in FLA but Miles is getting his walk to the park. Thank you.

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