All Dogs Go to Heaven - Lola's Story

Written by: Karla Issa

Whether you are five years old or fifty-five years old, having your furry companion pass away is one of life's toughest moments. We all have people we love that we are scared to lose and ones whose losses we still tear up over, but a pet holds a different place in your heart. No one prepared me for what I was faced with this summer. When my pug Lola was suddenly diagnosed with the worst cancer possible and was given only a few weeks left to live, I wanted to crawl into a hole and stay there forever.

When I was alone and crying I thought to myself “like everything in life there is a lesson in this”. It seems unfortunate, to say the least, that someone you love would have to endure any amount of pain to teach you something, but it is happening around us every day. In the midst of managing college, organizations, LSAT prep, a job, and a business I was moving too fast to ever just be still. There were things I was looking forward to at the end of the summer so I wanted time to fly by, but at the same time I wanted time to stand still so I could spend every second I had left with Lola. I had to stop and just be. Be with every feeling and everything that was happening whether I liked it or not. It clicked so clearly in my mind and twelve hours later Lola went to heaven.

Teaching the tough lessons

Recently, I was hanging out with my favorite seven-year-old girls and I had to break the news to them about Lola. With a look of sadness and a little hug one of them asked if we buried her in the backyard I replied that we did. Then her little voice, full of wisdom says, “that’s what we are going to do with Nyla when God needs her back, he gets lonely sometimes you know.” The ups and downs of dealing with cancer are something that taught me so much, but also something I hope to never have to deal with again. In the midst of it all a parent should know how to teach a child the lessons that come from something so difficult. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Children are fond of routine and continuity. A lost pet can throw off everything they are used to so try to keep everything else as normal as possible.
  • Talk to them. The best thing you can do at this time is explain to them what has happened and make it age appropriate.
  • Work through this as a family. A pet very much becomes part of your family so maintaining your bond through a difficult time is key.
  • Share memories of your pet with each other. Look through pictures that remind you of your pet’s happy life.

In Barnes and Noble the other day “Dog Heaven” was staring at me and I picked it up and began to read. The author explained heaven being a place where dogs run free and eat all the biscuits they want, and often come back to play in their favorite spot in the yard my eyes became filled with tears, but at the same time my heart was filled with so much love for Lola, and my mind full of great memories and all the things that little dog taught me. 

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 2:19 PM