We truly are a family redefined. We are husband, wife, son, daughter, step children, biological and adopted children and most importantly, Children of God.

A friend pointed out that I needed to update my blog header. After our adoption from Ethiopia, I had updated it stating how the adoption of Sara Joy completed our family. Well... the journey continues. After much prayer, we have decided to follow what we feel is God's calling for us...we went to Ghana with the intention of adopting a four year old girl, Isabella Hope. Little did we know that she would be the catalyst to bringing home not only her, but her half brother and sister. We will now be adding not only Isabella Hope to our family, but also Mary Grace (9) and Gilbert (6) who we will transition to the name Nathaniel Timothy. The shock is wearing off and the JOY and EXCITEMENT are overwhelming. Now truly, our family is complete. The great part of journeying with God, is that it's always an adventure. He knows where we are going, and for us it is all a marvelous surprise. Looking forward to sharing our family adventures as we walk daily through life and as we venture off to Ghana to bring home Mary, Nate and Isabella! It's always an adventure redefining our family!

Monday, August 22, 2011


I have no idea how to even go about writing this.  I never thought I would have to write it... not for a very long time anyway.  Pearl is gone.  It kills me to even write it.

I have no idea what happened.  I have been taking Pearl on walks with me and Sara lately.  It's good for both of us to get out and walk.  I'm trying to get into better shape, and I'm trying to keep her in shape.  Anyway, we have been walking the rail trail behind our neighborhood.  Saturday we walked 5.5 miles and did the same thing on Sunday.

On Saturday I felt awful as I forgot to take some water for Pearl.  Normally I take a bottled water with me and half way through our walk, I'll stop and get a drink and then give the rest to Pearl.  Well, on Saturday I asked Cameron to grab me a water - well usually when I ask for water I have him make me a lemonaide.  He assumed that was what I wanted and he made me a lemonaide and put it in the bottom of the stroller for our walk.  When I went to get a drink, I realized it was lemonaide and then didn't have anything for Pearl.  It was not that hot and she was doing fine, so we just continued on our walk and she got water when she came home.

Sunday we decided to do our walk again.  Tim had to go into work so I went with Pearl and Sara.  This time, I remembered to not only take a water for Pearl, but I decided to just throw her bowl in the bottom of the jogging stroller so when it was time to give her water, I could put it in her bowl... that was easier for both of us.  (Usually I just gave it to her out of the bottle by pouring it in her mouth - she was pretty talented and could drink it that way).  So, we went off on our walk.  It was not exceptionally hot, but it was warm.  It was cooler than it had been on Saturday when we went though.  So, we did 2.6 miles and we stopped and I gave her water.  What she didn't drink I just poured over her.  I figured if she was hot, that would help with cooling her off.  We continued on our walk.  We were not running - after breaking my leg I will never run again in my life - we were just walking a brisk pace.

We got to the end of our walk and got off of the trail and came back into the back of the subdivision.  I can't see Pearl when she is walking next to me, her shoulders always stayed right about at my leg and I can't see there.  She never got ahead of me - she never did.  But... I could hear her tags with every step and she was making the same rhythmic sound with her tags - she was not slowing down or hesitating. 

Suddenly, we were two houses from our house and I felt her body nudge my leg.  I thought it unusual (most people wouldn't think anything of it, but when you are with a dog 24/7, you know what is normal and what is not).  I hesitated long enough to look down at her.  At that instant she collapsed.  It was so sudden.  I was literally 2 houses down from our house and I always carried my phone with me, so I called Cameron to come and help me.  I told him to bring water and to hurry.  He brought me more water and I tried to give it to her - she was just lying in the road.  She wouldn't move.  I picked her up and moved her over to the grass and she just laid there.  I called Tim and he rushed home - but even before I could make the phone call she took her last breath. 

A wonderful man - who actually turned out to be the parent of one of a couple of students at Cameron and Anna's school was driving by.  I don't know why he was here, but I was very thankful he was.  He stopped and pulled his truck in front of Pearl so people wouldn't stare at her going by.  He picked her up and put her in his truck and brought her to the house.  He stayed with us as I waited for Tim to come home.  We were very blessed to have him be the one who drove by to help us.  God sends people to places for reasons they will never understand - but I firmly believe he sent this man, yesterday, to be with us until Tim got home.  He even stopped by in the evening to check on us - because obviously I was distraught at the time.  Cameron was as well.

I have been kicking myself for even taking Pearl on the walk.  Somehow I feel it was my fault - maybe she got overheated.  I looked up on the internet what happens when dogs overheat though, and usually they get disoriented / delirious and throw up.  Pearl did none of those things.  She walked without a stutter step until she collapsed in the road.  I wasn't running her, we were only walking....  I can only imagine that there was an underlying issue that we did not know about - it happened very quickly and at least that I am thankful for.  I just don't understand it, because she was so young.  She was not really acting any differently lately either.  It's all I can think of that there was something wrong and we just didn't know it.

Pearl spent nearly every minute with me for the past 2 1/2 years.  She was a sweet dog with a bit of a stubborn streak - kinda like me....she guided for me, even when she was not in harness - just on lead.  She would lead as if she were in harness.  She spent every day at work with me - cocking her head up against the book shelf snoring away while I worked, knowing I would make her move to quit snoring.  She provided much needed relief and friendship to people at work - a select few interacted with her regularly, and they were her favorites.  She sat quietly at meetings and acquired a taste for popcorn from long meetings where people "accidentally" dropped popcorn on the floor.  She snatched it up immediately if it was close enough to her.  She was stunningly beautiful and an amazingly smart dog!  When she was at home, and not working, she was the best pet a kid could ask for.  The kids loved her, even Sara.  Sara would go and sit on her mat with her - Sara did that just about from the time she came home with us.  Cameron took her out to the bathroom - because sometimes she would not go for anyone but Cameron.  Anna snuggled with her during movies - her in her bean bag chair and Pearl on her blanket on the floor.  She never barked, she never left the yard (well, occasionally she would go visit the neighbor's garage - there must've been something very interesting in there) and never, ever did she give any indication that she would bite someone - even when I stepped on her once, or when Cameron pinched her tail in the door - she was a very gentle dog - but she was also a dog in complete control when I needed her to be.

I have no idea why this had to happen - as much as I feel guilt, as I was the one walking with her - I know that can't be the reason that this happened.  There has to be something more.  I may never know what that is.

I can't even think about what I'm going to do without her.  Tim's picking up her things from work today - I don't want to have to look at them going back into work tomorrow.  Eventually, I will have to get another dog - but it's obviously too soon to think about that now.  Given my choice right now, I'd never get another one.  I know that's a response out of grief.  At this point, I'd feel sorry for any dog I got - as none would compare to Pearl.

She was a much loved dog.  At least I can say that.  She saw the world with our family.  She went everywhere we did.  She will be very much missed.  She taught me what a dog could do for a person - how she could make my life easier, how she could keep me safe... and she always did.

I'm sick over losing her.  She will be greatly missed.

In Christ,


Corinne said...

Charity , I am so sorry for the loss of Pearl. I remember when you first got her.Prayers of comfort for you and the famiy.

Paula said...

Charity, I lost a very beloved dog, Betsy, in just the same way. Our doctor said she probably had a heart attack or a stroke, but we will never know for sure. I blamed myself for a long, long time as Betsy wasn't old or sick in any way that we knew, and I let her go out to the backyard when it was really hot outside. She was only outside for maybe ten minutes when she collapsed. It still grieves me to this day. And I lost another dog, Bruno, earlier this year to a liver tumor. Our dogs are part of our families, really, and Pearl was even more special to you. I am sad that you have lost her, but don't blame yourself. Sometimes these things just happen and there really isn't any way you could predict or prevent it. I hope you are able to treasure your memories of Pearl... she sounds like she was a really great dog.

jan said...

i am so so so sorry. when our rhodesian ridgeback died (samson), i had never felt that amount of grief. i sobbed and sobbed. i remember thinking that i just wanted to fast forward three months so that i maybe wouldn't feel the pain. i ended up going on a business trip with my husband -- i didn't want to leave our house but i knew i had to leave our house (strange thinking...) and it helped tremendously. my heart is hurting for you. xoxo

Veronica said...

Charity, I am crying over Pearl right now. I know how terrible this must be. And she was so young..I remember when you got Pearl, it doesn't seem very long ago at all. Please don't blame yourself. I pray that you will be able to move past the grief, and then have only happy memories of Pearl. Hugs to you!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am so deeply and completely sorry for your loss. Pearl looks like she is sweet and kind. We have a furry child named Abby - I cannot even fathom losing her. Again, I'm so sorry.