I’m writing this post with tears streaming down my cheeks and the biggest knot in my stomach… because sweet Caroline is gone.
She crossed the rainbow bridge on Monday, and devastated is an understatement. She hasn’t been doing well for a couple of years – she’d have a rough week and always seem to pull through – but knowing that it was coming didn’t make it any easier. In some ways, it’s made it even harder and more heartbreaking.
We got Caroline from a Cavalier Kings Charles rescue when Liv was a toddler. We drove to Phoenix, where they had multiple cavaliers running around from the puppy mill in Arkansas that had been shut down, and Caroline was the one Liv had to have. She was the smallest, most timid one, hiding in the corner, shaking.
“Are you sure you want this one?”
“Yes, I want this one.”
We drove her home and gave her lots of snuggles and food. For the first year or so, she remained timid, yet extremely sweet (even while receiving some occasional harassment from Bella). When we adopted Caroline, she was used to doing everything in a crate outside: it’s where she ate, did her business, and also birthed multiple rounds of puppies, as she was a young mama dog for the puppy mill.
When we brought her home, she had never walked on grass.
While she was still recovering from everything she endured, we quickly learned about Caro and her two favorite things: sleep and belly rubs. The girl could snore, too. She had the loudest, most satisfying snores, and it made my heart happy that she was able to fully relax after the horrible first couple of years of her life.
She rode in the wagon with Liv on our daily walks,
and year by year, she came out of her shell, transforming from a scared little thing into a real dog who’d beg for food and wag her tail.
She is the sweetest, most gentle dog I’d ever known.
Even when one of our babies would accidentally grab a handful of her fur, I never once had to think about her biting them. She never bit or growled at anyone. She always had the cutest little smile on her face, and wagged her tail at everyone.
She lived the good life after all she’d endured, spending most of her days in retirement mode, snoozing on the couch and waking up to eat. Every now and again I could convince her to join us for a walk. She walked behind us with the expandable leash slack almost all the way out. She was content to follow at her own pace.
She was also there for us through so many life moments. She’s been an integral part of our family, who has known our babies since they were babies, and has been with us through so many moves, deployments, and major life changes.
Over time, her little heart started to give up on her and while meds helped, her body started to fill with fluid again. When her breathing became more labored, we called the vet again, who saw her on Friday, and said that if it was her dog, she would let her go. We enjoyed one last weekend with Caroline, feeding her all of her favorite foods and giving her lots of pets. On Sunday, we knew we were making the right decision because she slept all day and didn’t want to eat anything; not even chicken or a lick of peanut butter.
While it was heartbreaking, it was an honor to hold her and snuggle her in the same way I said goodbye to Bella: in her favorite spot, here at home, with the comfort of a kind vet who was able to take away her pain.
I held her close one last time, cried into her fur, and thanked her for all of the joy and comfort she’s brought our family.
I know that Bella is up there waiting for her with a comfy bed, and probably a gentle tackle for old times’ sake.
Thank you, friends, for loving our fur babies along with us for all of this time. I know so many of you remember when we first brought Caro home, and have loved her from a distance for these years. I appreciate all of your beautiful and heartfelt comments and messages; they mean more to me more than you know.
Gina, I am SO SO sorry that you had to say goodbye to Caroline. After following you for so long, I feel like I know her and she’s just the sweetest doggy. I know how hard it is to say goodbye… we say that Maizey retired to Florida and still talk to her 🙂
I like to think that Maizey was waiting for Caroline with a gin & tonic and they’re walking on the beach talking about their crazy blogger moms.
thank you, friend. she was such a sweet and good girl. i still think about your maizey all the time! she was a person, just like bella 😉 i love to think that the three of them are up there enjoying a cocktail and talking about their crazy blogger moms. love you!!
I am a reader from way back in the Valdosta days. I know you gave Caro (and sweet Bella) the very best life they could have had. It’s hard but you can take comfort in that. Sending you and the family lots of love. xoxo
thank you so much, sharon, and thank you for reading for so long!
I am so sorry, Gina. Thank you for sharing Caro on your blog, what a beautiful soul, I feel like I have known her over the years. Dogs are family and my heart is with you all. Sending love.
thank you so much, jennifer
I am so sorry! Losing a fur baby is so hard. I have been following the blog for years and remember when you got Caroline. I’ve always loved following along and seeing pictures/hearing adventures of her and Bella. It must be comforting to know they are together again.
thank you so much for being here for so long, emily. and yes, it brings me comfort that they are together again
I’m so sorry you had to say goodbye to Caroline. Our doggies are very special family members! Never to be forgotten and so loved! xoxo
they definitely are family! thank you, tracy
I’m so sorry, Gina. <3 Dog shaped holes in the heart hurt the worst. Love to you and the family. Caroline was such a good dog.
thank you, wendy. yes, she was such a good, sweet girl <3
Pet loss is unlike any other loss. I’m so sorry.
I’m so sorry for your loss Gina 🙁 She was so lucky to have you guys as her family!
I also remember when you adopted Caro. Animals fill something inside us that no human being is able to fulfill. When I had to let mine go last year, someone told me that the love from a dog is the closest thing on earth to the love God has for us. Unconditional, pure and unwavering.
it’s so true – pure unconditional love. we’re so lucky to live in a world with dogs <3
thank you, gwen! we were lucky to have her
I’m sorry to hear about Caro. Hugs to all of you.
thank you so much, lori
Oh gosh I am SO sorry for your loss. It is so hard losing a beloved pet. Sending you and the family so much love ❤️
thank you, alex
Aww, Gina!! Long time reader and this just broke my heart. How are the girls? How is Maisy? Sending you love.
thank you for reading for so long, katie! maisey still doesn’t know what really happened (even though she was there). she does seem a bit down this week.
I’m so sorry!!! I’m in tears reading your post. What a beautiful tribute. I remember when you guys brought her home. They are truly a part of our family & give us so much unconditional love and happiness. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
they really are family. thank you, julie
So sorry for your loss, it is so difficult to lose them. They give us so much❤️ I’ve loved following along your journey and thank you for sharing her story- she was very lucky to have you, too
thank you, amy. i’m thankful we had as long as we did with her
I’m totally crying. It’s so hard, saying bye to a pet—i am so sorry. You gave her a good life. RIP Caroline <3
thank you, crystal
I’m so sorry to hear about Caro! She was a lucky girl to have found her best life with you. Especially thinking of Liv and her heart break too since they’ve grown up together!:( Hugs to you both!!
liv took it especially hard. thank you – we appreciate it
Oh gosh…. I’m so sorry. Prayers to you all. I remember you bringing her home. You all gave that baby girl new life.
thank you, reenie. she was truly a special little soul
Gina, I am hurting so much for all of your right now. I know how heartbreaking this is. I have followed you forever and my heart is reaching out to you and sending you love and light in your heart. I know there are no words to take away this pain. You gave her an AMAZING life and she for sure is there with Bella now, pain free and watching over all of you for eternity.
thank you so much for following and being here so long, donna, and for the lovely comment. it means so much to me.
Gina I wept reading this- we had to let our 13 year old girl go in March and the pain is still so raw. Sending lots of love and comfort to you and your family
ahhh i’m so sorry you’ve been there. thank you and sending you continued healing.
I’m so very sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine losing 2 family members like your precious fur babies. Prayers for you all!
thank you, jenn
So very sorry, girl. It is some of the worst pain losing a precious animal.. at least reflect on the happy life you all have given her compared to if you never would have given her a happy, loving home. She’s very thankful. Xo
thank you – that means so much, mary
Saying goodbye is the worst thing ever. But there is a beauty in it too. Knowing that they are no longer sick and in pain. When we said goodbye to our beautiful boy Scruffy I envisioned him turning into a puppy again, no longer sick, running around and having fun. That gave me so much comfort.
Sending you love & light during this very sad time.
i agree. there is definitely beauty in seeing someone you love so much finally free of pain. i’m sorry you know the sadness.
Tears are rolling down my face because I know the pain. I’m so very sorry!
I’m crying with you reading this – my sweet Mini had the same issues just a few months ago, her heart and then her lungs filling with fluid. We also rescued her over 10 years ago and she had a good life, experiencing so much with us, the birth of my children etc. – I feel like knowing Caro, as I’m reading your blog already so (so!) long! I send you a hug and see both our dogs playing together behind the rainbow in my head!!! Love from Austria, Ulli