Saying good bye is so hard. I’m watching the final scene of the movie, Marley and Me, where John, played by Owen Wilson is saying good bye to his beloved best friend Marley, a very old and very beautiful golden lab. I’ve seen the movie before and know that the ending is horribly sad, but I continue to watch it anyway, breaking my rule of NO SAD MOVIES! Watching the final scene in the movie reminds me of a scene in my own life where I had to say good bye to my beloved friend Isla (pronounced like Island).
Isla was Madison's dog. Madison asked me every day since the day she could talk if she could get a dog, and 3650 days later, I said yes. So off to the dog pound we went to find the dog of Madison's dreams, which she thought was a black lab. We went to a dog shelter in Aldergrove and saw seven black labs, but none of them fit the bill. I said to the lady at the shelter, "Look, we aren’t going home without a dog!" She sent us to another shelter in the area and there we fell in love with Isla, a German Shepherd Husky cross with one blue eye and one brown eye. Isla was already seven years old, but a puppy at heart. She fit right in with the family and was so grateful to be wanted.
Even though Isla developed terrible arthritis, she would chase a ball for hours. She was obedient and loyal and she was beautiful on the inside and outside…like most dogs. She grew old gracefully and toward the end, we dreaded the inevitable. I prayed that we wouldn't have to put her down; that she would go peacefully at home…the way we all want to go. I was, however, not going to dig my heels in. If she was suffering, I would do what had to be done. I always said as long as she eats and wags her tail, she isn't going anywhere.
A few days after Isla stopped eating and wagging her tail, I suggested to Mike we take her in and have her put down. He insisted we give her the weekend to improve and if there were no improvements, we would take her. On Tuesday morning, Mike woke me up and said that Isla had taken a turn for the worse and he would come home from work at lunch and we would do what we dreaded doing. I got up and hurried out to the back yard where Isla was trying to get comfortable. I watched her take her last few steps and collapse on the dewy grass. I went and got a blanket and my Bible. I covered her with the blanket and sat down beside her. I opened my Bible to Psalm 1 and read out loud. The verses brought me comfort and the sound of my voice brought her comfort. The sun was shining and the birds were singing and my back yard became a little like heaven as Isla found her way to a better place. Just before she took her last breath, I read Psalm 46:10&11, which says: Be still and know that I am God…the Lord Almighty is with us; He is our fortress.
My friend Hilary who works at a Veterinary hospital came with a co-worker and picked Isla up and as they drove off, I blew Isla one last kiss.
Today, our friend Celeste and her pretty five year old came by say hi and give a gift and a beautiful card. On the front of the card, it says: To everything there is a season. Ecclesiastes 3:1&2 says: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die… On that cool October morning two years ago, Isla's season of living came to an end.
Isla lived life to the fullest and seemed thankful for everyday…a valuable lesson we can all learn from man's best friend/a girl's best friend.
Isla...a girl's best friend!