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Never underestimate the love of a dog.


Mia as a puppy

11 ½  years was not long enough…

Mia was our first family pet; we got her when our girls were very young, and they don’t remember life without her.  Her story of departure is incredibly sad but also, so inspiring that I had to share it.

In October 2019 Mia had surgery to remove a couple of lumps.  It wasn’t easy for her 11 year old body, and she was pretty groggy for a couple of days.  But in true Mia fashion, she bounced back and luckily both masses were benign.  (One was simply a mass of fat and debris, the other a hair follicle that was growing inwards and ruptured.)

In January 2020, we noticed the tennis ball she loved so much was no longer catchable; the vet determined that the anesthesia had been hard on her and caused cysts in her eyes, but reassured us that many dogs go on to live happy lives without their sight.  

In April 2020, amidst the Covid-19 health crisis and home isolation, Mia started to become disoriented when outside.  On top of that, her back legs were giving her trouble so we increased her arthritis medication.  We began to bring her out on a leash and guide her back in.  (She was the dog who normally would run out, do her business and come back to the door.  If you weren’t there to let her in, she’d bark to remind you.)

Two weeks later we were awakened by Mia coughing up blood, followed by diarrhea.  We brought her back to the vet and found out she was anemic.  The cause was unknown, and a bland diet with antacids were prescribed.  We could have scheduled an expensive ultrasound, but in discussing with the vet quality of life for this “old gal,” we realized that regardless of the cause, her body wasn’t strong enough to handle treatment.  

Our oldest daughter grew closer to Mia in recent years.  She would take her for car rides to buy her toys, treats and adorable outfits.  Our daughter’s entire camera roll is filled with Mia…  She begged us to give her more time to recover.

But less than a week later, Mia was clearly not feeling well, and her back legs gave out completely. 

Thursday April 16th we made the hardest decision ever to put her down.  Thankfully we had been home with her for over 5 weeks and had spent quality time with her.  Our vet was wonderful.  We met outside the hospital (all masked), and said goodbye to our baby.  Leaving her body there was heart-wrenching, but we knew she was at peace now.


Mia Doodle

The next day we were all still devastated, and crying.  About 5pm I got this message from a psychic-medium friend of mine: 

“Lisa I want to share with you something that happened last night.  As I was soaking in the tub your sweet dog came in and plopped onto the floor.”

(This is so accurate because her back legs were so weak she has been plopping herself down lately.)

“Your dog feels reluctant to cross over because they are worried about your grief and especially your daughter’s grief.  They are so faithful to you and are torn to cross over.  Is your daughter in an especially heavy state right now?  They need you to set them free.  They want you to know they are set free from illness and what will make them happier is for you to know in your soul that they are ok.  It’s like they want to walk over the rainbow bridge but feel obligated to stay by you because of your sadness.  ‘Take my collar, hold it, know that they are always with you’.  They need you,  your daughter and family to tell them to go.  They are too worried to leave.”

(She then apologized for the “ambush” but felt that she could feel the dog’s devotion and not knowing what to do.)

“I think they are grateful I told you.  I can feel them walking around me in circles with their wavy light colored fur.  They are just waiting for your command to cross. Gosh, they must have been an obedient dog. They are so sweet and so dedicated to you.”

We gathered as a family and I read the message to them.  In tears we each took a turn to tell her that we love her so much and want her to cross the bridge.  That we will be ok.  

This meant so much to us.  We had spent the entire day crying and missing her.  

Later that night about 7:15 my husband called us over the the back window to see a group of deer in the woods.  This is not uncommon, but there was one particular doe who was closer to the house and just staring at us.  Her eyes were so beautiful, like Mia’s.  She stared at us, tilting her head to get a better view.  Once my oldest daughter came to the window, the deer began to stomp her feet!  We knew that was Mia’s spirit in that deer.  After about 15 minutes the deer turned and ran off into the woods. 

Then, we realized it had been exactly 24 hours since Mia had passed.

To take our minds off of things we were watching TV.  On the show someone said, “What’s with all the big fluffy dogs?”  The other person responded, “Those aren’t dogs, they’re buffalo.” As the camera panned away, it showed a beautiful doe just staring into the camera…  Further confirmation that was Mia in the woods…

As heartbreaking as this has been we are so thankful for all the love and support.  Mia was one in a million and will be in our hearts forever. 

Many of us have lost pets and will again.  As much as it hurts, we are focusing on all of our wonderful memories with her.

By Lisa Toomey


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