Our Eloise

May 13, 2009 by Ellen Stimson in Death of a Beloved Friend Pet, Eloise

Eloise had a sweet peaceful death with all of us holding her and telling her how much we loved her. We sat our on the porch and the vet sat with us for a little while. Everyone cried and petted and hugged her one last time.

The whole day was lovely actually. She and I sat out in the yard for a couple of hours yesterday morning and watched a robin couple fly back and forth from the meadow to their next in our front yard feeding their little babies. A hummingbird came by and so did a Baltimore Oriel couple. The lambs were baaing and the sun was shining in her honor. We talked about the robins and I sang a few songs and tried not to sob and worry her. She had scrambled eggs for breakfast and fettuccine carbonara for lunch with ice cream for dessert. Her jaw had been compromised and hard dog food was no longer an option for her.

The decision seems clearer in retrospect. Her life had been reduced to a couple of trips outside that took forever to accomplish and an occasional room change during the day. She was ready even if we weren’t.

She elegantly gave the vet her paw for the shot and I held her in my arms as she died. Our vet had brought an assistant and the two of them wrapped her in a lovely old quilt. We kissed her one more time and they carried her solemnly like the best most gentle pallbearers to the back seat of their car. We will have her ashes in a few days.

Eloise was a big part of this family. She sat vigil with every one of us at one time or another though some flu or illness. She was calm and steady no matter what. If one of the kids yelled or wrestled too hard with another she would correct them with one bark and a gentle restraining Berner bump. She insisted on good manners. Her quiet elegance was a model for this loud rambunctious unruly group of ours. She was like having a sweet maiden auntie from another era around to remind us all to behave.

And she celebrated with us. Every holiday was more joyous because of her. She loved the festivity of the holidays, and Christmas, with all those cheese rinds and big fat bones, was her favorite. A walk in the snow after unwrapping a bunch of presents was her idea of heaven. Then she would settle down for a long chew and maybe a nap before the next round of partying began.

She had the biggest vocabulary of any dog I have ever known. She was brainy and beautiful, and everyone who met her was always smitten. She exuded a soulful gentle love that calmed and gentled colicky babies and grumpy adults alike.

We all loved her deeply and will miss her enormously but we are ever grateful to have had the time.

Eloise Rushing Stimson
December 10 1998-May 12 2009


  • Dreams and Designs

    What a great tribute. It brings tears to my eyes!

  • katiedid

    These are the hard parts with our dear friends who have such shorter lives than we do.
    You all loved each other well.
    It is a new day E. Rejoice and be glad in it in her memory

  • Library Lady

    I’m so glad the day turned out to be as beautiful as Eloise’s life. There are so few pure souls in the world and you all were privileged to have had hers in your family.

  • Kate

    Her soul will always inform yours. It did and it will continue.

  • laurwilk

    She was as lucky to have you as you were to have her. I’m glad she had a good last day!

  • painted maypole

    oh. pets are family. i know.

    (there’s a lovely book called Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant that you might enjoy)

  • Jamie

    Was thinking about you yesterday. So glad she went peacefully.

  • starrlife

    I love that book Dog Heaven, oh I wish I could send it to you Ellen! Some people say our pets have gone over the “Rainbow Bridge” looking over our lives and playing with lots of friends. I’m sure that if there is such a place Eloise is having a blast with no pain. It’s a loving decision we make for our pets but so hard….Beautiful post.

  • beesknees

    You were on my mind yesterday.
    I am glad you guys had another in a slew of lovely days that marked your time together.
    May your hearts feel lighter with the knowledge that you have done another kindness for one you loved so much

  • Abigail Mae Hudson

    Each day will get a little easier. Your decision already seems clearer in retrospect. It will get clearer still.
    There will be more puppies someday in her honor.They won’t be Eloise, no one will, but they will bring you their own special brand of love and joy.

    Reading these posts has made me realize how much I miss sharing my life with a good dog. I am going to ask at church if anyone knows of a good older dog who needs a home.
    That is Eloise’s gift to me

  • Molls

    I’m so sorry. I lost my Newfie last year and I still cry about him all the time. There is just something about these very human big dogs, only with dog lengthed lives.
    It sucks. That’s all there is to it. It sucks and then eventually it sucks a little less

  • Anonymous

    You did the right and brave thing.
    It should be legal for humans too.
    Sending you lots and lots of warm vibes and love from Italy

  • Mighty Morphin' Mama

    Sweet Eloise, what a loving good-bye. I held you all in my heart all that day.

  • Hannah

    eloise was a great person

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