My long time blog readers have heard many stories about my sweet beagle, Lois Lane. She has received her own fan mail and I’ve had readers ask about her during book signings. You’ll see in this story, that she passed away on her 15th birthday after a very happy and spoiled life — which is how all good dogs should live.
My dad always wanted to make sure I could change a flat tire, but like magic, both times I had a flat, the cutest men showed up to help and I didn’t have to lift a finger. What daddy should have taught me instead, is something no one ever talks about, but every woman needs to know, and that’s how to bury her dog.
It’s something uncomfortable and almost forbidden to mention, but when it happens and there’s no one else around, a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say I’m tougher than I look.
Lois Lane was the most beautiful beagle in the world. She died on her 15th birthday and the two-year anniversary of Daddy’s death. It’s getting to where I dread the last week of August. I cried hot tears knowing the job fell on me, not just because my husband Bob had an important meeting at work and needed to stay at the office, but also because it’s one of those unwritten rules of marriage where our roles have evolved and been defined over time.
Bob takes care of everything except for the beginning and end of life. He’s changed diapers in the middle of the night, handled the taxes, insurance and snakes in the yard, but the bookends of birth and death cause him to get a bit queasy, so those events are left to me.
I decided to let Lois Lane rest beneath the fig tree in our yard because last spring, I saw her lounging there. As I crept under the low branches to give her ears a scratch, I realized the dog was brilliant because even at high noon, it was 5 or 10 degrees cooler in the shade of the thick leathery leaves.
Lois raised her eyebrows and winked to let me know the spot had great internet connection, so she and I spent summer afternoons working in the cool shade because we were frustrated and sick of being “safe-at-home” inside our quarantined house. Bob learned if he couldn’t find me, to look beneath the fig tree where Lois and I were napping, reading, writing or managing our social media accounts.
Pets represent a snapshot of time — a furry scrapbook of sorts, and Lois Lane told the canine story of my boys’ childhoods. She trotted along with them on peanut butter picnics and dinosaur hunts. She bravely rode with them in the car when they learned to drive, and finally, Lois Lane looked out the window and howled as they drove away to college.
As I said goodbye to Lois, I felt like I was burying the story of my boys, whether I wanted to or not.
Frantically working between the feeder bands of a hurricane, I felt someone reach around me and take the shovel. My husband knew how heavy my heart was and fought his aversion to the details of death so he could take over and finish the job for me. He knew my heart was breaking but his love exceeded his reservations. Along with our sons and dogs, we’ve always made a good team. And now, a floppy-eared howling part of our team is gone, and we’ll forever be changed.
This story first appeared on AL.com. You can see it online and share it with a dog lover you know HERE or read it in the Sunday edition of the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.
What a wonderful tribute to your dear Lois Lane. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Our fur babies bring us so much joy but take a huge chunk of our hearts when they leave us.
All the Best,
Oh, the joyful moments are so fun to think about! Thanks Holly!
Just now seeing this and I am so sorry for your loss. The unconditional love of a dog, especially a sweet beagle like Lois Lane, is so very special and loosing them hurts. Thanks for sharing her with us all these years.
Thanks Leigh. She loved it when I wrote about her 🙂
My heart breaks along with yours, loosing a sweet pet is so difficult…I loved your story and memories about the fig tree…I hope things are getting better…August is not my favorite month either, let’s just remove it from the calendar next year, shall we?
Yes, I think a fabulous vacation to distract us from August may work. My heart’s with you this August and beyond!
I am so very sorry for your loss. There is nothing harder than saying farewell
to our beloved pets. Time will heal your sorrow.
Thanks so much Alice. Life is rich with balance whether we like it or not.
I’m so sorry to learn that Miss Lois Lane has passed. The hardest thing of all is saying goodbye. Wishing you comfort in remembering your gentle friend.
Thank you for your note Frances. She was indeed gentle.
[…] came through and cheered me in a big way last week when I told you about losing my sweet beagle, Lois Lane. There were even more terrible things going on I didn’t mention, so my normal happy self was […]
I am so sorry, Leslie Anne. Pets are family members and our hearts feel the loss when they are gone. I always enjoyed your stories about Lois Lane. Love and hugs!
Thanks Pam. Lois was such a big personality, especially when she was young, she was the perfect subject for great stories.
Oh, Leslianne, I am a puddle! ?
Lois Lane was so adorable. I always say that if we hadn’t become a Boxer family more than 50 years ago I would love to be a Beagle mom.
I, along with Roxanne, always take comfort in Billy Graham’s words regarding dogs in Heaven. What a joy it would be to be welcomed there by
Gus, Sig, Beau, Max, Maverick and Molly (who is still with us). I could write a book about our dogs. I sooo
feel your pain. Blessings in your
Thanks Sue. How I totally understand wanting to have our pups with us in eternity.But the heavenly version would be no-shedding -no “accidents” on my nice rugs, and no barking at the TV. – Oh, okay, he barking at the TV was cute. She only barked at the politicians I don’t like. Thanks for reading, and I’m glad you have a big heart for pups.
Oh Leslie Anne, I am so sorry. It is so hard to lose a four legged, furry family member. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you Julia. It’s interesting and amazing at how attached we become to our pets. – Love to you!
I am so sorry for your loss of your precious Lois Lane. I always enjoyed your stories that included her. Good for your husband, that would be a terrible task for you with your broken heart. What a sweet place to let her RIP. I know what it feels like. We lost our springer spaniel Bentley, when he was almost fourteen years. My kind vet came to the house and took him away for me. Now, his ashes are in the garage where he was always at our side when we worked outside. I miss him to this day………..
Oh, I’m so sorry about Bentley. You understand completely the ordeal of a pet death. Someone told me, “it’s like losing a child.” but I thought, “NOPE” I’ve had friends who have lost a child and I’m sorry, although I’m brokenhearted, I’d go through this every day for the rest of my life before I’d think it was the same as losing a child. However . . . you do understand the pain of a pet’s loss. Missing them when you come home, missing them at feeding time . . . it will never be the same. Thanks for the note Emily.
Oh Leslie Anne, I am so very very sorry. Billy Graham said “God will prepare for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.” I’m counting on that.
That Billy Graham must have been a dog person. God too. Thanks Roxanne.
I am sorry & saddened by your news. What a beautiful tribute to your precious Lois Lane. May you find comfort in your memories.
Thanks so much Sheila. She was a huge source of fun for our family.
It hurts so very much and nothing really helps much. And that goes for dear dogs we lose far too early or those who live out a good long life span. I know because I’ve experienced both. You just miss them so very much. And it lasts a long long time. And we wouldn’t avoid the terrible pain by not having chosen to have them, would we? I guess I tell myself that it is the price that is due them.
Lois Lane was beautiful! That sweet face! That darling tail!
Thinking of you all.
Thanks Dewena. It’s funny you’d mention her tail. It was what kept her from being a show dog. The breeder sold her to us thinking there was something wrong, but when she saw Lois Lane again a year later said it had grown to be the “perfect beagle tail” with the “flag” the judges look for! Lois never let me forget she could have been a star. I appreciate your note so much!
Oh no. I am sad to hear Lois Lane passed. She was a beautiful dog and it is so hard to lose them. They are truly family and yes, part of our story. They are intertwined with it all. Bless your heart. I hope Doug is taking it well.
Thanks Sandy. Doug is being very strange. It’s as if he knows what is going on, but refuses to think about it. He’s keeping to himself and kind of pouting. It feels good to have my heart blessed – thanks!