Saying goodbye to our pets is the hardest part of loving them

Saying Goodbye to Our Pets

If you are familiar with Australian Shepherds you know they are smarter than most if not all family members. 


It is with heavy hearts we share our news that Tanner RAN to the Rainbow Bridge this morning. It is impossible to measure our twelve years with Tanner.

Saying goodbye to our pets and the sadness that follows is the hardest part of loving them so much.

As a puppy, Tanner unpacked three bags of Goodwill items and scattered the items across our front yard. We found a toaster the following spring in a shrub; buried under the winter snow. He dragged a garden hose to the middle of the yard from the garage because he could. 


He grabbed the dry cleaning bag on the front porch and pulled every pressed shirt onto the yard so the neighbors could view my husband’s expansive button-down shirts. Our dry cleaner quickly learned to leave our dry cleaning on the front porch light above the doorbell.

One year, Tanner ate every child craft constructed with Froot Loops, marshmallows or elbow pasta. What he ate in childhood artwork was nothing compared to the memories of that night when we arrived home from dinner to discover years of school crafts regurgitated on the carpet stairs.

These were his favorite dog-approved treats.

saying-goodbye-to-a pet-everydayedits

Tanner was the third parent in our family; he helped raise our kids, taught them lessons about loyalty and trust and endurance (he was an Aussie). Below is a photo of Tanner with our kids the day we adopted him. The photo below was taken from our family photographer and friend and neighbor who has known Tanner since he was a puppy. 

saying-goodbye-to-a pet-everydayedits

Saying Goodbye to our Pets

Tanner, you were born to run!
Now go find Owen-he’s likely in a closet. 

** Owen was our Bernese Mountain dog rescue who lived in our closet the first 12 weeks after we adopted him. Tanner helped coax Owen out of the closet, literally. 

Thank you, Tanner! You raised our kids (and our Bernese Mountain dogs). We love you and know you watch over us every day. 

Saying Goodbye Update:

Over the course of a few days after saying our goodbyes to Tanner, my husband and I both caught movement from the corners of our eyes on two separate occasions.

When it happened to me I was a little spooked thinking something was in the backyard. And, then I wondered … could it be Tanner? Was Tanner letting us know he made it to the Rainbow Bridge and decided to get a few extra laps in by stopping back at our house?

I could not shake the feeling but kept the moment to myself. 


A few days later my husband was in the same spot, in front of the kitchen sink that overlooks the backyard.


And he suddenly jumps and says, “Whoa….” and he ran to the back door.

I knew in that instant my husband saw Tanner. Without leading him, I said, “What? Like, what’s wrong?” And, my husband explained that something ran across the back yard.

At that moment, I shared with him the exact same feeling and sighting a few days earlier. 

And, we both knew… knew in our hearts and from the shivers down our spines.. it was Tanner. He let us know he was still here to check on us and watch our kids move forward in their lives. 

We later joked he was keeping tabs on his Berner sister, Chloe. And, making sure the boys (one of them) doesn’t sneak in too late thru the front door).

We love you Tanner; forever and always. 

Tanner, you left paw prints around our hearts …

This post was written in the fall of 2018. Please read the update in the days that followed Tanner’s trek to the Rainbow Bridge.

Reposted fall of 2022.

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  1. I’m so sorry for you loss Laura. They really are family members!!

  2. Janet Cole says:

    Laura, I am so very sorry…I know that heartache and the gaping hole that losing a pet leaves in a family. We are so unworthy of the love of an animal, yet they give it so freely and abundantly. I am thinking of you and sending prayers and hugs from Texas

    1. Stacey, Thank you! We are off to get my son settled at his college house in MN. It helps to be busy! xo laura

  3. Tricia Becker says:

    Can I get a copy of the pic of the kids and Tanner from last year? That wasn’t the Christmas card photo I got…mine was sans Tanner, my favorite nephew.
    Love ya! T

  4. Oh Laura I’m so sorry for your loss of Tanner! It’s really hard to loose a family pet.
    Take care,

  5. So sorry about your pup Laura! Thanks for the mention in your weekend post, I appreciate it ?

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