I’d never officially been introduced to her.

She was one of the dogs in the neighborhood, and one we’d seen playing around outside by her home. She was a little cutie and I could tell she was much like any small rat-ish terrier… nine pounds of fury wrapped in a little tiny body! HUGE, ferocious bark, and I was never sure what, if anything, backed that up! But, one thing for sure. She was a cutie.

I got the email first thing yesterday. Her mommy and daddy sent a message to the neighborhood with an alert that she’d gone missing. I had a few minutes to spare that morning, so I grabbed my running shoes and off I went on a search. I popped by her house, just to check in and get more detail to hone in my search. We chatted for a few minutes and off I went.

To no avail. As I needed to head to an appointment, I got ready for the day and took off, only to be stopped by a phone call from Tiny’s mommy. Someone had found Tiny’s little body in a park near our neighborhood. It wasn’t good.

I immediately turned around and went back as she wanted someone to go with her. Of course, my task-like-self kicked in and I jumped into a role I’d served hundreds and thousands of times. I identified Tiny’s body, and then got her ready to take home. On the way back to their house I said “I know you’re not asking me what to do right now, however, I’m going to offer you some suggestions. Let me get Tiny cleaned up and situated in her little bed. It’s important the kids see her and say their good-byes. Keep her home, set up flowers, set up candles, do what you need to do. I’ll come get her when you’ve had your time to say good-bye and share in this together as a family.”

They kept Tiny last night. We took a care package over in the evening… some pet loss reading, my book, Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s book, food, and flowers. You know, the things everyone needs when they have a loss.

Tiny was beautiful. They had her laying peacefully, with flowers and a candle. Her Mommy said they would all take turns being with her, talking to her and crying over her. They had their dinner by her, and spent their evening sharing stories. Repeatedly she said to me “thank you for telling us to do this. THIS is exactly what we needed to do. Thank. You.”

It. Was. Exactly. As. It. Should. Be.

This morning was Tiny’s final morning at home. I went over to take her into my care and help with the final arrangements. Between our visit last night and mine this morning, her stuffed bear was now with her. Sounds like THIS had been THE toy. Cracked me up, as the stuffed bear was as big as she was! I loved it.

There was one more final crowning touch. I had taken some air-dry clay with me for the children, giving them the choice of making their own clay handprints or thumb prints to go with Tiny. A bit of them that would be with her. They chose to put their thumb prints in the clay, making a heart with their precious thumbs.

It. Was. Perfect.

RIP, Tiny. My heart has been with your family’s the past few days and will continue to be with them. I can tell by their stories, their tears, and your sweet little face, you were so loved.

Rest. In. Peace.

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