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The Long Road Home

Jeff Linamen

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Roxie as a puppy. 2003.

Roxie as a puppy. 2003.

When I saw her– I knew it was time.

I told her it was okay.

She looked at me and took her last breath

and she was gone.

I covered her with a blanket, up to her chin and I laid on the floor with her, waiting for Michael to come home to say his goodbyes. Cash sat beside me. Then laid down resting his head on Roxie’s paws. It was breaking my heart. His sister is gone and I’m not sure if he understands that. They’ve spent nearly every moment of their lives at each others sides, other than vet visits. What must he be thinking now?

Collins, our cat was back and forth, through the house meowing. Though I didn’t see him pay any particular attention to Roxie, it was clear he knew something was different.

The morning started out like any other. I woke up early, made coffee and was working on another blog post. Michael got up at the usual time, let the dogs out, gave Roxie her pills and fed them breakfast. Michael told me later, that when he got up and was getting dressed, he told Roxie how exceptionally pretty she looked this morning- sitting up, posed on the bed.

When Michael left for work, I opened and closed the gate for him. Soon, after I went inside, the babies wanted to go out again.

Our normal routine.

As I was putting on my shoes and coat, dogs underfoot, I noticed Roxie’s legs kind of buckle (and immediately thought she was having a stroke), I grabbed her– but she steadied herself and she seemed to quickly recover– dancing around again, wanting to go out… not to potty… but to eat snow.

We came in, I gave them a treat and they settled down for their first nap of the day. Because I was up and down between the first floor and the basement, they settled on the landing, between floors– so they would be close and not miss anything. Everything seemed pretty normal– until I went to see if they wanted to go out again and Cash came but Roxie didn’t get up.

In October, Roxie was diagnosed with diabetes insipidus causing non-stop drinking and urination. Luckily, I was able to be home with her, drive her to Aurora to be properly diagnosed and begin the process of finding the right dose of medication to counteract her chemical imbalance. Those actions gave us three more months of life… three more months of love… and three more months of utter joy.

We don’t have pets… they are our children. We love and care for them like human children. I’ve found as I get older, the deeper and more intense that love is. I think if you’ve ever raised and lost a furry child, then decided to have another– you love them even more. You truly appreciate each moment with them more. Those precious moments are little heavenly gifts.

Even when you think you’re prepared– when the time comes, the grief is still devastating.

On our way home from the Vet, Michael said he just wanted to eat something and take a nap. Both of our heads hurt– we were probably dehydrated from all the tears. So we got burgers and an extra fry for Cash.

I don’t think either one of us really slept. Drifted in and out maybe. It’s hard to escape the emptiness. I couldn’t get comfortable because I didn’t have Roxie pressed up against me. There was a hole in the bed. A hole only dwarfed by the one in my heart.


I’m not sure how I’m going to sleep tonight. Nap time and bed time were always your two favorite times of day.

Tonight there will be no endless face-licking… no digging in the blankets… no big, fuzzy, teddy bear butt in my face. No big sigh letting us know you’re finally ready to fall asleep.

Tonight there will just be silence… and big empty spot in the bed that I’ll try to fill with memories of all the warmth and love and companionship you’ve given us for almost eleven years.

You’ll always be our princess.

Goodnight Sweet Baby Girl.


Roxie. Spring 2013.


  1. Susan Bieschke says:

    So true, Jeff. I am now crying for you, Cash and Michael. That is a GREAT picture her looking up at the camera. It shows a lot of personality.Snickers is on the bed with me snuggled up in a ball where my feet with be. I completely understand how lost you must feel. When I put Bailey to rest, I had to take my cats upstairs so I had a furry one with me. I waited only 4 days to find Snickers with the help of Bill Glynn. We are thinking about you and keeping you in our prayers. – Susan, Snickers and Samson, “the Bieschkes”


  2. tara says:

    Jeff this is a beautiful tribute to a wonderful,Sweet Baby Girl! Love to you and your family.


  3. ada says:

    I am so sorry I read your beautiful sentiments and can’t stop tearing.
    I love you all and pray for you always!
    Sending lots of love your way!


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