Pretty Girl!

Last night I lost my pretty girl.

One moment she’s clearing her throat. The next, she is gone.

She was not a young dog. A cataract was slowly growing in one eye. I suspected her hearing might be waning (though she could hear a bag of chips opened in the kitchen from the second floor!)

She woke me each morning with her “dog breath” and tail wagging. She slept in our bedroom, often annoyed when we turned on the lights after she had retired for the evening. She faithfully greeted me when I came home, giving me a look that the “guys” had forgotten to let her out!

I knew she would not live forever. I thought I would have time to mentally prepare.

That did not happen.

A couple of minutes of increasingly labored breathing followed by a trip to the doggie ER would reveal cancer. Her lungs were full of it. By the time the vet could figure it out, she was leaving us.

I bawled like a baby.

A very ugly cry I’m sure. My husband held me tight through his own tears. The people in the waiting room probably thought we were crazy.

Or not.

Anyone at a Vet ER in the wee hours of the morning probably “gets it.”  In our waiting, another pretty girl came in. A black Chow. Within minutes her owner was told she wouldn’t survive the necessary surgery. She was fifteen. They had to put her down.

The tough guy owner cried. I cried. Again. I suspected we’d be next.

For about an hour it looked like she was “recovering.” It gave me and my husband time to hold her. Hug her. Love her. One last time. She had our undivided attention, just as she liked.

The labored breathing began again. And then I knew.

Really knew.

I read somewhere that the most important lessons in life you can learn from a dog. She taught me much.

The value of a nap. Unconditional love.  God’s love for me even in the “smaller things” in life.

You see, we lost her once. She got spooked and took off running.

She was gone for nine days.

We put up fliers. Put ads in the papers.  Offered a reward. Searched shelters.

My prayer was that she’d been picked up by some nice family and not hit by a car.

We got phone calls of sightings. We just missed her several times. Even customers from my pharmacy searched for her.

One night it stormed terribly. My girl was out there. I lay in bed sobbing.

Just weeks prior, we received news that my oldest son had a clean bill of health. We had gone back and forth to the Aflac Cancer Center after receiving a very rare diagnosis. So grateful, I figured I shouldn’t mourn my dog because God spared my child.

Grace came via a local mail carrier. She saw our dog and knew she didn’t live at that house. The mailman called the number on our flier. My husband rushed over.

I waited. No phone call. I resigned myself that she was gone. The garage door went up and my hubby came in holding the most beautiful, matted, tick infested bundle I had ever seen.

God gave me my dog back.  last happy Noel picture This picture was taken just last week.  She never liked having her photo taken. I guess she decided to humor me one last time.

Two wags of a tail and her smile made all her bad deeds go away.

She stole the cat’s food. Ripped napkins on the floor. Dumped her food out so she could pick out the prime pieces she wanted!

Noel, was my Christmas gift in 2004. I’ve been blessed with many gifts in my life. Many “expensive” gifts.

But she by far, was one of the best.

That day we rode to Ball Ground, Georgia and she let my young boys love all over her, I knew she was The One.

My pretty girl. Sabrina Noel. We love you. You Blessed Us!

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 NKJV

By Lilka Finley Raphael

Author, Editor, Gardner, Photographer, Pharmacist


  1. I am sorry for your loss. I have lost some great and wonderful “fuzzy people” who have blessed my life while they were around. I have a long haired dachshund female right now and she won’t let me get out of her sight most days. I could tell that yours meant the world to you. God gives us these fuzzy angels to help us through the life that we have to live, at least that is what I believe. Thank you for sharing and I will be praying for your family as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have learned many, many lessons from the dogs God put in our lives. I am so sorry for your loss…I know that pain all too well…

    May His comfort and peace find you and hold you tight…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw the dog photo and it made me click. I love dogs and lost my own to cancer. She had a brain tumor at nine. I am sorry for your loss and wish you well. I know how hard and difficult the time, even weeks later. It is good you have your faith to make you strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, Lilka, I’m crying my eyes out at the loss of your dear Sabrina. Such beautiful words of love you wrote. My heart of sympathy to you, Lilka. Blessings my friend, to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much Kim. That makes me feel less “crazy.” It is really like mourning a family member and I keep finding all the little reminders of her that never caught my eye before. I still can’t bring myself to get rid of the dog food. Thanks for sharing that with me. I really believe some angels have four feet! Thanks for the love! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, a little angel. I believe that too, Lilka. My Yorkie’s picture is in a special holiday frame that I bring out every year to kiss on her nose. She’ll forever be in my heart. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Difficult to push the “like” button. Your post brings back sad memories of losing “my ol’ man”, ‘Paris’. I also “bawled like a baby”.
    “Unconditional Love”.. something I have yet to find in Humans.
    (actually.. I cried more for my dog than I did for my “ex” when she left.. but I’ll never tell that)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very sorry to hear about your loss, Lilka. It is so heart-wrenching when you lose a dog ):
    May peace fill you as you remember all the blessed times you had with your precious friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so sorry for your loss of your precious girl. You wrote about it so movingly that you helped and blessed me too. God bless you and comfort you and hold you tight !


  8. I am so sorry for your loss. I understand what it means to lose a beloved pet–a member of the family. I know Abba understands your grief and I pray He wraps His arms around you and gives you comfort.
    She was a beautiful dog and I’m glad you had each other for a while on this earth. love and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So sad, I really feel for you, lost our darling Mischka, a few year back, a German Shepherd. It is tough. We took comfort in that we gave her our best, she had a good life, she gave us everything she had. We felt sad but also blessed to have had her in our lives. Still missing her, but with fond memories, and so we hope it will be for you. We will be really thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh. Lilka I am so sorry. It is so hard to lose a beloved pet. They are family. Just like children. I have lost a few pets in my life time, and know I will again. It does not get any easier. I feel for you and your family. I am a firm believer that all animals go to Heaven. I am looking forward to not only seeing family and friends that will be there, but my beloved four legged family as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Condolences on your loss! This is a beautiful eulogy for a family member so dear to your heart. Our dog has been gone for a few years, and this still brought a tear to my eye. Peace & Blessings to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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