Laughter Through Tears
8 Hours of Cooking in 2 Minutes or Less


I don't know what to say.

Yesterday a friendly waiter asked Jason and I how our "day was goin' so far" and instead of answering "fine" like a normal human person, I think I just sort of stared at him with my mouth hanging open, like I didn't understand the question.

Luckily my brain DID manage to send the abort signal before I said something like "yeah fine except my dog literally just died like two hours ago, so now I'm going to need all the nachos in this restaurant."

(I really did consume a ridiculous amount of nachos, though.)

Ceiba is gone. She died in my arms, on our couch. She spent the entire morning on our laps, being stroked and rubbed and babied. Max was next to her as the sedative took effect, Jason was was petting her the entire time. She didn't react at all to the second shot, but simply drifted away from us. It was the best death we could have possibly provided for her, but it was still a death, and I am gutted. 

Ceiba was the tiniest member of the household, but now that she's gone, the house doesn't just feel empty, it's hollow.


The boys are okay-ish. Ike came home from school and looked all over the house for her, even though he knew she wasn't there anymore. But once he confirmed it, he burst into hysterical tears. I held him for a good long time while he got it all out, then made him hot chocolate with marshmallows. That helped. He says he misses her a lot, and I assure him that we all do. 

Ezra cycles through waves of different emotions -- happy one minute then on the verge of tears the next. He spoke to his school's guidance counselor and said that helped a lot. We're giving him room to feel what he feels when he needs to feel it. 

Noah literally went through all five stages of grief the night we broke the news to him, in under an hour, right in front of our eyes. He covered his ears and refused to listen, then screamed at us in rage, HOW DARE WE EVEN THINK OF DOING THAT TO HER, he bargained with us for more time, he broke down and sobbed. And then suddenly was like, okay, I understand, can we get a new dog?

(My only complaint with Noah's process is that he insists on saying we "killed" Ceiba and won't use any of the nicer phrases. "Noah, we put her to sleep." "Right. And then after she was asleep you killed her." Very literal thinker, that one.)


Last Saturday night, Jason and I went out for dinner, just the two of us. By that point he'd already convinced me to change my stance on NO MORE DOGS. (Basically he texted me and said "I think we should get another dog." And I said, "OK.") And we both found it weirdly therapeutic to look at the shelter and rescue listings, not really in search of an actual dog, but just to take comfort knowing that at some point, we were going to help an animal find a home. 

Earlier in the day, while with the boys at their music lessons, he texted me a local rescue group's list of available dogs. The entire list was an explosion of adorable, and we engaged in some rapid back-and-forth about THIS DOG and OMG THAT ONE and suddenly, at the same time, texted each other a specific dog's name, all caps, exclamation points. 

"He's amazing." I added. 

That night, at dinner, Jason couldn't stop bringing the same profile up.

On Sunday, he pulled up the online application. 

"NO," I said. 

"NOT YET," I said.



I submitted the application my own damn self, on Monday. 

We took the boys out for pizza last night and my phone rang. It was his foster mom. She apologized for calling that particular day and expressed her sorrow for our loss. (I'd been honest on the application that yes, we did currently have a dog but no longer would after Wednesday.) But something told her that maybe, just maybe, her calling would help.

Because she thought we sounded like perfect fit. She thinks we are going to love him and he will love us. He loves kids (but needs kids who understand that small dogs are not toys, which ours obviously do) and cats and playing outside in the yard and will be on your lap "before your butt even hits the couch." He's not a puppy, he's a goofy little mutt, bigger than Ceiba but not by that much, he was rescued from a neglectful home but has flourished in foster care. Only one other family had applied for him, the very day his listing hit the website, but for a variety of reasons she had to turn them down. After that, it's been several months of silence.

"I'm honestly shocked," she said. "I mean, look at him!"

"I KNOW RIGHT?" I practically squealed. 


We're leaving tonight for PA. The boys are spending a few days with their grandparents and Jason and I are going to New York. The boys' regular babysitter who lives around the corner will be coming over to care for Max, who (fingers crossed) is doing relatively well, health-wise. And so far he doesn't seem to have taken much notice of Ceiba's absence. 

I think the trip will be a very good thing for all of us -- get everybody's mind off things, change of scenery away from all the dog hair I still need to vacuum and accident spots I need to deep clean and all the other evidence that there was a dog here before, and now there isn't.

But fingers crossed, after we get back, there will be one again. 




I can't imagine a better family to adopt another dog. Whoever you do choose will be truly lucky to have you all.


You're a good person with a wonderful heart, and a wonderful family. This is why I've been following you for so long! My condolences on your loss, and my hugs on opening your home to a new fur baby!


I'm so sorry for your loss. But I'm also filled with admiration and hope and just "faith in humanity" that even in your sorrow, you are looking to help another creature out. Excited to hear all about this new fur baby! Enjoy your vacation! ~ L

Amy A

I've gone from tears to smiles in five minutes--my heart breaks for all of you, but is also gladdened to hear of the impending arrival. Y'all rock.


I'm sorry and congrats all at the same time. Enjoy your vacation!


<3 <3 <3


I'm in tears. I literally just got off the phone with our vet, telling me my kitty has a malignant tumor in her jaw. I hope your family finds healing fast...


I'm so sorry for your loss. Reading your posts, your love for Ceiba was obvious. I hope that the trip and the new dog bring you and the boys comfort.


I'm so sorry for your loss and wish you the best with your new potential family member. We very unexpectedly had to put our beloved 12 year old chocolate lab to sleep last year and I was, as you said, gutted. The hollowness in our house was unbearable, and so against my better judgement, we adopted a dog the very day after she died. Emotionally, no, not ready. But could not physically handle the pain of no dog. That little rascal was the best medicine for our broken hearts. I've never once thought of him as replacement. There is no comparison, and I still miss my old dog with all my heart. But I sure am glad to still have a furry buddy to cuddle with and love on. Best thing is how awesome he is with my kids. Good luck and enjoy your trip!


I'm so sorry for your loss. I think it's a testament to Ceiba, and to how loved she was, that your world needs another dog, even with all the pain you're feeling right now. I can't wait to see pictures of your new little family member.


I was sending healing vibes all day yesterday, thinking about what you guys were having to do. I've been there before, a few years ago, with a situation that sounds very, very similar. Hugs.


I'm so very sorry for your loss; we had to do the same thing with our cat and my husband and I were pretty much NO MOAR PETS. We stuck to that for about a month when a friend asked us to adopt a cat that had had a rough go of it, knowing full we we'd just lost our Bonnie. We looked at each other, took a deep breath, and Jinx has been a part of our family for 4 years now. It's kinda funny how they find us, like the universe pulling you together. That (to me at least) means that Bonnie knew Jinx needed us and gave us her blessing. It sounds like Ceiba's doing pretty much the same thing for you.


I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how tough that decision is to make, but I also know that it is the most loving thing one can do.


You explained it perfect in that your home feels hollow. When we unexpectedly lost Lilly, just 2 short years after losing Selah, my heart was just gutted. I told the hubs we had to wait at least the weekend to check sites. He lasted 2 days and when I walked in and saw Jolene on the compueter screen, she had my heart. I spent 4 hours on her application and then drove 3 hours to meet/adopt her. I fucking cherish every minute I get to cuddle with her. I'm going to go hug her and Jaxx (our newest boy) right now.


I'm ugly crying, but also happy for all the future joy coming to you. Have a great vacation!


I'm so sorry, stories about people losing their animals get me every time. Can I recommend "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney" by Judith Viorst. If you don't know it, it's areally beautiful little book about kids and animals and loss and I bet you would all find some comfort in it's pages.


I don't know what to say except: You are good people. The best kind.


I too was trying to send you sympathetic vibes yesterday. I'm so sorry for you loss. Your new dog sounds perfect for you; he is a very lucky dog to have found you.

Sue W.

Having been through this twice with cats, I can honestly say I know every emotion you are feeling. I hope you can leave some of your sadness behind and enjoy your vacation. The new dog has no idea what he is getting for a fur-ever family! That is one lucky dog, for sure.


Talking about nachos reminded me. The day we put down our girl, I sent my husband out for chips and chocolate. Like the stuff I like for pms but in grief sized quantities. Then I had chocolate and chips and Netflix and crying all night.

When are you going to tell us what kind of dog you are adopting? I can't wait to see pictures.

I've been thinking about your family all week. This is the worst part of pet ownership.


Ahh, girrrrl. It is so damn hard. So. damn. hard.

If I knew you IRL I would totally be getting friends together to have your house vacuumed and/or the carpets cleaned before you came home. Maybe that's a present you can give yourself? Because you deserve to make things easy on you.

Fingers are crossed for the new pup.

Beth Ann

So sorry for the loss of your Ceiba and happy for the new pup having a good loving home. Enjoy your vacation.


I'm so sorry for your loss. We lost our treasured little fur brother 6 years ago to similar bladder issues. Reading your stories about how she would escape for adventures reminded me so much of our dog. It's very hard to lose a little member of the family who has been such a huge part of it for so long.
The pain does ease, even for your children, and I think another dog will help everyone. Best wishes.


I'm so very sorry about Ceiba.


I am amazed when I read posts like yours and it gives me hope- I have a dog (my first) and as he gets older, I worry about how much I love him and if I'll be able to even think about getting another dog when he leaves the world. I wonder if I'd have the strength to open my heart that wide again, for another creature, knowing that there will be, eventually, another time of such grief and loss. I wonder if the love and joy and headaches and laughter in between is really worth that pain. Your family makes me think it IS worth it (and of course it is) to crack open your heart again and let more love in, even at the risk of hurt. What a beautiful and enduring lesson for your wonderful boys. You are a terrific mom and human.

So much sadness for your loss. We'll miss the stories about you Ceiba!


I thought about you often on Wednesday. I'm so sorry for your loss. But I'm also so excited about the new dog who is going to score an AMAZING life with you guys. I think it's so wonderful that there will be a new dog when you get back from your trip. I mean.... an AMAZING LIFE. That's what you guys offer to a neglected animal. What an incredible gift!

Susan R

My heart is aching for you all, both in grief and in hope.


Sending big love, Amy. So sorry to read. But I'm excited to "meet" your new family member.


I wish I could hug you, all of you, in a particular order and hug length that I won't go into in detail here because awkward. And telling. And totally fucking biased toward #BabyIke.

I do hope it works out. We've been considering getting a dog, but because of reasons we haven't (mostly because my husband is allergic and unsure whether a daily cocktail of allthedrugs is worth it).


I teared up reading this. Thank you so much for sharing your emotions throughout all of this. We almost lost one of our cats in January to liver failure. After two months on a feeding tube he is recovering well, and your posts have helped me along. Our pets are so, so loved and I feel like I have been on this journey with you. I am so sorry for your loss, but I hope the new dog works out for your family!! They'll get a chance to have an amazing home and family! All my love from Louisiana.


So sad about Ceiba. I loved your posts about her, she was so cute. Our dog is 15 and I know we will be doing this sooner rather than later, so this really hits home.


I feel your pain and sadness .... still miss our pups everyday. Change of scenery does a soul good. Happy Easter!

Amy Also

I wish I had thought to recommend the phrase, "we helped her die," instead of, "we put her to sleep." It helped my very literal kids when we made that same awful but loving choice for our dog.


Ugh. I have recently gone through this "helping to die" situation with my dog. It's so hard. The house feels so empty and you will look for Ceiba for awhile. :( I'm so sorry.
More sharing: after we helped our dog to die, I unexpectedly (I never thought I'd do this!) started looking at the shelter site for another dog. I was obsessed. My husband was not ready and we fought about it. About 2 months later, a puppy walked up to us while we were dining outside at a restaurant. She had a home. But after talking to the pet owner, he revealed that he could not really keep her (wife was upset). So after 1 week, she joined our family! She never was a "replacement." She was a new member of our family. And I am still actively grieving our other dog (through vacations and ever day...). Hope that you all have peace & love in your hearts always. I know Ceiba would want that for you all. xo


Geezus. The last few posts just got me. I've been through this too many times and I just fucking wept reading your experience. This is what life with animals just *is.* They all die. We are lucky to have had them. We are lucky to make room for another each time they pass. Fuckity fuck fuck.

You are lovely and human and truthful. Thank you.


I am so sorry for your loss. As the mom of a teeny Chihuahua (and a 2yo human child who adores her) myself, I am dreading the day we reach such a point. We have been there a few times but pre-human child. It's hard enough as an adult.
I also have to admit to stalking your blog waiting for news of the new doggie.


I'm tearing up with both sorrow and happiness. Way to go, Universe.

Wishing your family a good transition to a new family member.


It's so hard. So hard. The day after I read this post, we had the same situation. My doggie was 11 1/2 and we knew that she was not doing well, but it was still sudden. We knew it was the right thing to do, but still so hard. I'm crying right now, writing this. :( My house was already pretty much a Boston Terrier shrine, so the fact that we don't have one anymore seems wrong. But, we also have a 7-month-old baby, so no way are we prepared to get a new dog now. I know we will someday, when things are easier. I'm so glad that you guys have found (hopefully!) a new dog and can fill that empty space. :)

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