I’ve left this in my draft box for quite some time now. It still doesn’t seem real and is hard for me to share with you all, here is my story about a dog named Tater Bean whom I loved with all my heart..today he would have been ten years old.
I woke up this morning to Piper whimpering in her pillow. She wanted to say good morning to Tater, but couldn’t; he went on his journey to Heaven a week ago. Loosing our dog, a huge part of our family, has been hard on all of us.
Explaining death to a three year old hasn’t been an easy thing to do.
Our story began on a Wednesday afternoon almost 10 years ago when I picked Tater up from the airport with my dad. I was so excited to meet my new little puppy coming all the way from Texas. He was so small he fit in the palm of my hand and sat on my shoulder like a parrot on the way to his new home. I had no idea how he would change my life.
I fell in love with that little dog the moment I saw him and our love grew stronger each day that passed until he was a part of me. He taught me what it was to have someone 100% dependent on me and helped me learn about being financially responsible. I’ll never forget how careful I had to be about where I stepped, he was so little and he loved to sleep underneath blankets to stay warm, he was frequently cuddled deep underneath something warm and fuzzy. His little one pound body was dependent on my actions teaching me a thing or two about responsibility.
Years went by he grew with me happily always by my side. I got engaged to the love of my life (who happened get Tater for me along with my Dad as a birthday gift) and Tater quickly became “our dog.”
We treated Tater like our son in some insistence’s. He wore sweaters, had birthday parties, and got gifts on all the holidays. He was even in our wedding, it wouldn’t have felt right without him being a part of that special day in our lives.
Tater helped teach us both how to be parents. He was our practice before we were ready to have human children. Having a dog was a good way for us to ease into parenthood.
When I became pregnant with Piper, Tater was attached to me much more then normal. Once she was born he didn’t leave her side. She became his baby instantaneously. Kenzie came into our lives 2 and a half years later and she was his too. Tater took care of our girls to the best of his ability, checking on them when they cried in the night or woke from naps. He’d come get me when they were ready to be pulled from their cribs. He slept in the teepee in Piper’s room when he sensed she was scared of the dark bringing her comfort, knowing she wasn’t alone. They were as important to him as he was to them. There was so much good in that little 5 pound dog; a true family dog, a best friend, a brother, our boy.
Tater was always there following my every step and now he’s gone and my heart is broken. I hear him often barking or his dog tags jingling in the other room. I even think I see him every now and then, but he isn’t there instead a shadow or a shoe sits in his place. It doesn’t take long to become family. Ten years together is a blessing I am so lucky I had the pleasure. We are so lucky he was part of our story.
Heaven is a place that comforts us when we think of someone passing on to a new existence. It is a place that helps so much when explaining death to a child. Whether it is real or not is opinion or belief, all I know is it a way to put the mind at ease, mine and hers. We told Piper about Heaven, Tater is there with my mom, Grandma Leanne, walking on a cloud, chasing squirrels and eating lots of people food, basking in the sun. He doesn’t hurt and he is keeping Grandma company when they look down to check in on us. I’m not sure she fully understands; actually I’m sure she doesn’t because I don’t. I am thankful for the idea of Heaven whether it is just an idea or a real place.Piper requested to paint a stepping-stone for Tater so he will always remember we are his family. The sweetest thing ever… bringing me straight to tears. I told her it was an amazing idea and we can put it outside when it is finished, in the sunny spot he always sat in, but she said “No. We can mail it to him in Heaven. We’ll just give it to the mail man and she’ll get it to him right away.” How do you explain Heaven is a place too far for mail and not tangible? I’m at a loss.
If I look for the good in Tater’s passing besides the obvious he didn’t suffer long, it happened quickly, although a traumatic occurrence for her and me, Piper’s first experience with death being that of a pet is better then the alternative. Tater helped to teach me so much about living and Piper about life ending. I wish he could have been with us much longer. Unfortunately death is an imperative part of life. We are so lucky to have had all the special memories only Tater could have given us. He is not replaceable. Our home feels empty without his presence. In time that feeling will fade and we will be whole again, Tater will be in our fondest memories making us smile each time one comes to light.Tater, you will always be a part of us, thank you for all the love, cuddles, and life lessons you gave our sweet family. We will love you forever.