fam·i·ly [famuh-lee, fam-lee] –noun

1. parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.
2. the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family.
3. the spouse and children of one person: We’re taking the family on vacation next week.
4. any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins: to marry into a socially prominent family.

Family can also be construed as a group who have very close bonds and perhaps live under the same roof.  We might regard some of our blogging sistas as family.  Close friends, servants, even pets can be family.

This week I lost one of my family.

She came to us in the autumn of 2005.  She was no bigger than my hand, bony and shivering.  The runt of the litter, I have to admit that I had no idea what to do with such a tiny bundle of fur.

With lots of love and nurturing she grew stronger. Her little body filled out and her personality emerged.  She was in love with kitty, following her around everywhere and giving her lots of kisses.  She and Jasmine became firm friends despite their size difference.  She crept into our hearts and that is where she has remained.  She loved to be cuddled and was very affectionate.  She warmed the hearts of everyone who knew her, children and adults alike.

Being as small as she was, she could be exceptionally nervous. At least once each year she suffered a serious bout of gastro enteritus, which landed her up in hospital.  She always got better fairly quickly and life went on.

Which is why, when she got a rash on her tummy last Saturday, we didn’t worry too much.  Then her heart started to beat really hard and her face started to swell slightly.  Despite these symptoms she was her usual spritely self, chasing Jasmine around the garden and full of beans.  We took her for a check up just in case, and she was admitted for some basic treatment.  That was the last time we saw her well. 

In the days that followed, her body and face swelled to twice the size, she had to have a feeding tube, drip and a catheter to help her function.  We went and sat with her so she could sleep peacefully (knowing we were there was comforting to her) and massaged her swollen body to try and reduce the swelling.  When we said goodnight to her on Tuesday I was sure I would wake up to good news that she was on the mend and almost ready to come home.  The Hoff and I went to work as usual with a view to visiting her at lunchtime when they were finished with the blood tests.  (We figured that the more we visited her, the quicker she would heal) I got a call at about 9:30am to say that her blood pressure had dropped and she was getting cold.  We rushed back home.

Upon arriving, we were told to wait.  After about a ten minute wait, we were ushered into a room where we were told the bad news.  Our little Amber was gone.  After attempts to save her, her little body gave up and she closed her beautiful brown eyes for the last time.  Our baby had died without reasonable explanation.  When got to see her, she was lying peacefully with a blankie over her.  It looked like she was sleeping.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, leaving her there.  It just felt wrong.

Rest in peace little one – I look forward to seeing you again one day, to hold you and rub your tummy and kiss the top of your head.  You went too soon, we weren’t ready and our hearts are heavy and aching.  Our home is empty without you in it.

Amber 2005-2008

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow;
I am the softly falling snow.

I am the gentle showers of rain;
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush;
I am in the graceful rush.

Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.

I am the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.



32 thoughts on “Amber

  1. meghoff says:

    So sorry about your pup. I never understand people who minimize the loss of a pet. I’ll be thinking of Amber

  2. reproductivejeans says:

    Mands, Im so, so sorry…it is so hard to loose a pet–you are in my thoughts

  3. fromheretomaternity says:

    Mands I’m so sorry. When I had to give my cat away I was depressed for weeks. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to loose your pet. Sending you lots of ((hugs)).

  4. Jackie says:

    Mands, I’m so sorry to see that you and the Hoff lost your pup. I’m thinking of you both.

  5. Elize says:

    Sitting here with tears in my eyes. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so sad to lose a beloved pet baby. ((((HUGS))))

  6. Bea says:

    I’m so sorry. How odd and unexpected. I wish it had been different, and that she’d recovered. I’m just so sorry.


  7. Rhonda says:

    I am one of those crazy dog people and I am so sorry about your loss.

  8. charne says:

    I wish i knew what to say… I am so sorry for your loss

  9. Jen says:

    I am so sorry. I will be thinking of all of you.

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss!

  11. Searching says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet puppy. She was indeed a member of your family and it hurts so much when they die. You are in my prayers.

  12. Jen says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Amber’s story made me cry. My own pooch died just a few weeks ago, so I can empathize. I know it hurts. Pets really are members of the family and I was a basket case for a while. I’m wishing you better days coming soon.

  13. Caro says:

    So sorry for your loss.

  14. Katie says:

    Oh, I am so, so sorry. I have three furbabies myself, and I have been lucky to this point that whatever ails them usually clears up. But I know the day is coming with our smaller dog and I don’t even want to think about it.

    My heart breaks for you in the loss of Amber.

  15. Debbie says:

    Oh Mands!! I’m so sorry. Oh what an awful thing, my heart breaks for you and the Hoff.


  16. tryingin2007 says:

    I’m so, so sorry for your loss. we lost our beloved pug this november and I am still terribly sad (
    as you know, dogs play a major role in our families. please take time to grieve for your puppy and take care of yourself. your little amber knew she was loved.

    (big hug)

  17. PUPPERMOM says:

    Through all your other losses, though I felt pain for you, I never commented. I am sitting here with tears streaming down your face, looknig at the beautiful picture of your puppy, and my heart is breaking for you.

    I am so so sorry for your loss. My two beagle mixes, Bonnie and Clyde are more important to me than many people. Certainly, my husband says that he is 5th on the list of importance in my life, following my twins and my puppers. Dogs are family, and the best part of family, since they ask so little and give so much.

  18. Chris says:

    So sorry about the loss of your precious pup. It always hurts just so darn much to lose a pet. I’ll be thinking of you.

  19. MW says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I understand how much a person can love a dog, and how much it hurts when you lose them.

  20. Michell says:

    I’m so sorry. This is so very sad. Hugs to you.

  21. Susan says:

    I’m very sorry for the loss of your Amber. She was a special puppy. I’ve come your way via Mel-Lost and Found. Please accept my condolences. God bless Amber.

  22. samcy says:

    Mands, my heart is breaking for you! I cannot imagine how hard it must be to have to say goodbye to such an intergral part of your family.

    Amber is in my thoughts! As are you and the Hoff… BIG HUGS!!!

  23. B says:

    I am so sorry Mands, this story broke my heart. I am thinking of you and hope you are ok x

  24. Shinejil says:

    It’s so very hard to lose a beloved friend. Be really good to yourself, and remember the love you two shared. Amber was lucky to be so adored and cared for, and I’m sure felt that good fortune every day.

  25. dagny says:

    (((gentle hug)))

    I am so sorry for your loss. thanks for sharing her story.

  26. southcitysadie says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I agree with Puppermom; dogs are the best parts of a family.

  27. Mandy says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss girl…Amber was a beautiful little girl…hang in there and I’m thinking of you!!!

  28. mamasoon says:

    I am really sorry for your loss. furbabies are very special creatures that touch hearts in ways that people who don’t have them could never understand.

    As a side note, thanks for your comment on my blog. I hope we can cheer each other on in an upcoming cycle.

    Again, my condolences…

  29. Kenna says:

    I am very sorry…I don’t have anything wise to say…I hope you are getting through okay…

  30. Babyblues says:

    On no. Not Amber. I’m sorry to hear the sad news. I wish I could send you Pugsley to keep you company. Hugs.

  31. Leah says:

    I came over to see how you are doing. In scrolling through the comments, I noticed that my comment about Amber wasn’t here. I’m not sure how it got lost (because I’m an idiot and screwed something up, I’m sure), so let me just say again how sorry I am that you lost Amber.

    I was also wondering how you are. Just wanted to check on you.

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