The Road to Goodbye

Every week or so, I receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be a writer who would like to be hired as a “guest blogger” to add “content” to my blog. I’m sorry, the content in my blog comes out of my head, so how could anyone else do that? The first blog post a dozen years ago was called Respect Must Be Paid. It was just after we lost our son-in-law, Jon Jance (He took our daughter’s name when they married.) after a nine year battle with malignant melanoma.

The only time I’ve had a guest blogger was after we lost our long haired miniature dachshund, Bella, the Book Tour Dog. I was too broken up to tell the world about what had happened, so my daughter, Jeanne T., stepped in to pinch hit. I didn’t hire her to do it. She did it because that’s what daughters do.

The past several months, while Bill and I have been dealing with his health issues, Jeanne T.’s family has been having a struggle, too. When the bad news came, and maybe because she really is her mother’s daughter, and because it was too hard to say aloud, she turned to the written word to tell the story.

Many of you who have read Proof of Life, may have wondered how Lucy/Rambo managed to worm her way into J.P. Beaumont’s life. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll know. And so here, for the second time, please welcome my favorite and only guest blogger, Jeanne T. Jance, as she walks the Road to Goodbye:

How did Stormy Girl get here? For years Colt and I have made donations to animal shelters when we go on vacation in honor of our much loved golden retrievers, Kensie and Angel. We skip the souvenirs. Instead, we find a shelter and a wish list. Then we shop, donate, and tell the people at the shelter that we do this in memory of these dogs who went to be with Jon.

When we rescued Snowflake, she was a puppy mill Mommy who had never lived a good life. She came to us broken. Our love changed her and fixed her. I was raised with sets of dogs–dogs in pairs, Nikki and Tess; Aggie and Daph. We did not know who Snowflake’s partner would be, but knew she was out there.

Every year we go to the Tulip Festival and do a donation to N.O.A.H. As we were heading up five years ago, Colt asked if we were going to do a donation to the shelter. I said, “We’re not on vacation.” He replied, “You are not at work, and I am not at school. It seems like a vacation to me.” What idiot Mom would turn DOWN a chance to donate to the animals waiting for forever families? So we shopped and went to the Tulip Festival.

It snowed on the way up. It hailed. The fields were not crowded, so it was good for pictures if you could feel your frozen fingers well enough to take pictures. That was one fast trip through the tulips!

After that, we went to N.O.A.H to do our donation and try to warm up. We donated, and Colt asked to see the animals. They asked, “Are you looking to adopt?” My answer was a firm no, but after our donation, they let us in anyway.

We walked along the criminal animal glass windows and everything was fine until we got to the orange one. A little puppy sat up, and Colt leaned in so they were nose to nose on the glass. Then she reached up and put a paw on his face through the glass. I watched him fall in love for the first time and knew that, one way or another, we had our new family member.

We had to go back the next day for a dog date so Snowflake could meet the new puppy. It hailed and snowed again on they way up, and so that puppy . became our Storm. We had our new set—Snowflake, our golden, and Storm, our part chaos but mostly Irish wolfhound)

We have loved them. Snowflake and Storm are a mismatched pair of dogs,. Through the years, these ere are some of the things we have cherished most. Colt hides, and Storm finds him. All I have to say is “Where is Colt?” and she will take off in a long legged run to find her boy. Snowflake and Storm love ice cream. Snowflake will inhale hers fast enough for a dog brain freeze. Storm will sit while one of her humans holds the cone and she eats it like a human. The only difference is her tail wags the whole time she eats it. This is the best part about ice cream at our house.

The dogs love Christmas and seeing what comes in the stockings. Storm’s stocking holder says “Believe,” because we always believed Santa would see her as we see her. She loves to go under Colt’s legs and lean up and kiss him at the same time. The first time she did this when he came back from a trip his legs were so short she lifted him off the ground. He is taller now so his feet can touch the ground, but it is their special boy and dog dance. She loves stuffed toys. She will show them to you and dance away just as you try to make a grab for them. I never worry about Colt’s safety if she is with him. She would do anything for him. She picked him, and he picked her.

Right before Christmas this year Storm had a problem with her front paw, and I took her to the vet. My biggest worry was that she might lose her front leg and how would that work for our giant puppy?

The vet came back and told me there was a chance it could actually be Melanoma. I almost fainted. My husband, Jon, died of melanoma. I knew if I fainted and they tried to help me, Storm would have a big problem with that. It was not the news we wanted to ever, and especially not right before Christmas.

Then they said it looks like she is OK, but they were still going to test the results, and we needed to see the oncologist. We did last Tuesday. A new set of X-rays showed melanoma tumors that were not there a month ago, including some in her tail. I was instantly transported back to my own personal hell with Jon, but this time it’s with Storm our beloved 5 year old puppy.

The vet told me that Storm may only have 2 or 3 months left with us. I had to go home and break the news to Colt. We are devastated and heart broken. We have no way to tell Snowflake that she is about to lose her pal.

We plan to love Storm and spoil her with the time she has left. She had her last helping of holiday milk, aka egg nog, just last weekend. She has brought us so much joy over the years. I hope she knows how loved she is and understands that there will never be another Stormy Girl in our hearts. We met her while honoring the two other dogs we loved and lost, and we will have to add Stormy Girl to that list of those that we still love and miss but know we will see again some day. Our hearts break because of the love we have for her, and we want her to know how much we have cherished our time with her.

So please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. To some people dogs are just dogs.

We are not those people, and our hearts are breaking as we know the road to goodbye has just started.


Jeanne T., Colt, Snowflake, and Stormy Girl

49 thoughts on “The Road to Goodbye

  1. How devastating to hear this news plus have to hear it after what you saw John go through PLUS be during the Christmas holidays. My best wishes to you for extra treasured time with Storm.

  2. I knpw the pain that you are feeling in losing your pet. they become family members and we feel the same pain and sorrow as when we lose a human family member. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I have lost 4 fur family members and a, currently facing losing my human baby sister to cancer.

  3. With us it is our cats . Always raised in pairs sadly they tossed the rainbow bridge within week of each other .i believe I my heart that the two news we got later were sent to us from
    The two we lost . Our hearts hurt so deeply soI again your are not just dogs they are family members. I pray most of all that yourdoesnt suffer and your heal quickly . Sending love

  4. Our hearts are breaking with you. We know how hard it is to loose a furry family member. So much so we keep a lot of fur in our vehicle in their honor(just haven’t vacuumed it out yet). Hugs from friends of furry friends.

  5. I am so sorry for your family. We had a similar experience this summer. My husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2016. He had surgery and treatments and is okay now. Back in 2012, we adopted two corgis, brother and sister. In June of last year, our boy,Jet started having issues with urinating. Off to the vet we went. After many tests he was diagnosed with bladder cancer just like his dad. We lost our boy in August at the age of 8. We are heartbroken and I hope that you get to smother your baby with love.

  6. So sorry for Stormy Girl and your family. My son met his soul dog mate, Kola, at a shelter. Josh was sitting on the floor of the visitation room. Kola walked in, walked over to Josh and lay his head on Josh’s chest. They have been besties for 3 years now. Kola has a real dog bestie, Mara..

  7. You are and will remain in our hearts and prayers. Lost our golden boy Barkley in 2007. Only “child” my husband and I ever had together. Still don’t have the heart to replace him but know there is healing in doing so some day. Would give you a huge hug if possible – so this is a hug over the many miles. KL

    • Kat L, if you both have the health and economy to care for a new family member.
      Then I think that giving a pet, dog, cat or something else, a good and a safe home. That would be sort of honoring Barkley.

      Early last year, I tested, less than 2 weeks, sadly. If I could be a fosterhome to my dads dogs younger sister. Sadly I was way too allergic to her. But she did get another good foster home.
      With my dads dog, no problems with my allergi.
      I still miss Blondie. Her and her older sisters parents are a female border collie and a male big german shepherd. Blondie as tall as their dad, while my dads dog as small as their mom.

      Late 2017, I had my dads dog for 3-4weeks. My dad’s back was busted after a fall, so he could not take any walks. And my dads wife had had a hip replacement, so she could not go on dog walks either. During that time, I had zero allergy problems with my dads dog. And yes, she slept on the bed next to my bed.

  8. Oh, I am so sad for all of you. Our fur family is just as loved as other family members. I’m she knows how loved she is. You know she loves all of you. Hopefully the next few months will be pain free as you all struggle with what’s to come.

  9. Wow. That’s rough. I know.

    My mom died from melanoma. Now Briar has it. It started in his mouth; he had surgery to remove it and to test it. It has a high mitotic index, which means it spreads fast. The treatment options were mostly painful and expensive and wouldn’t have stopped it anyway. So he lives til he dies.

    How do you know the secret that is going to kill him, and you can’t tell him. You just keep loving them and wondering how much longer you have together.

    Prayers for you and your family!

  10. My heart breaks for all of you. The loss of our 4-legged family members leaves an unfillable hole in our hearts. God bless you for making her last days happy and love filled.

  11. My heart goes out to you and especially to Colt. May you be comforted by the knowledge that you have made Storm’s life special, and that you will carry the love you’ve shared in your heart for the rest of your lives.

  12. Such a beautiful story about Storm joining your family. I know being with you all brought her endless happiness. Her last days with you will be filled with love, peace and comfort. How we suffer when they leave us; take comfort in all you were able to give one another. Strength and courage…..she will always be a part of you.

  13. I can’t imagine the heart break you are experiencing. I have had my Ellie for just a year now. Prayers for you and yours. You keep all your memories in your heart.

  14. So sorry. Just lost Cody a lab mix. He was almost 12 and the vet thought a brain tumor. He tried so hard and was on seizure medication. Summer, a Rat Terrier is seven and she became his puppy when I brought her home. She is doing pretty good I think. She is very social and has human friends and dog friends. Always remember that you made her life very good.

  15. My heart goes out to you and your family, including both Stormy Girl, and snowflake. I just lost my 12 year old Great Pyrenees mix Hera, to a combo of a broken leg, and rampant cancer last week. Losing family members hurts. At least I understand what’s going on, and why Hera is no longer with us. How do I explain that to his poodle buddy? They’ve been partners in joy and crime for many years, and poor Pepi is so lost…cancer in both animals and humans, sucks! Again, my sympathies to all of you.

  16. I have tears in my eyes as I type this, as I feel your pain of knowing the time is short with a treasured fur child (because they are our children…just with fur and four legs). I lost my cat Shoshoni Princess (aka Shoni) a year ago last Christmas. Knowing her time was short made me cuddle her more, just so I would have those sweet memories. Enjoy your precious time with Stormy and treasure all of the memories you have made with her.

  17. That darned old circle of life. I was crying during your blog and my 4 dogs ( Golden, Doxie, and 2 chihuahuas) are all still staring at me and “nosing me with concern”. Enjoy every moment with your baby. And cry when you need to.

  18. We-myself and my two feline fur babies, Pete & Max send our heartfelt ‘sorry’ to you, Colt, Snowflake and Stormy! It’s not fair! Thank God that you all have each other in good times that will help get you through the sad. ???

  19. We-myself and my two feline fur babies, Pete & Max send our heartfelt ‘sorry’ to you, Colt, Snowflake and Stormy! It’s not fair! Thank God that you all have each other in good times that will help get you through the sad. ???

  20. Understanding your pain…my mother was suffering from throat cancer, and her dog, PC Piddle Puppy (very apropos name by the way), also had throat cancer. Both had doctors named Miller. To say it was a very stressful time at our house would be an understatement, so you could understand my state of mind when the phone rang one afternoon and the caller said he was Dr. Miller. I blurted out, “Are you calling about my mother or the dog?”
    Both Mom and PC died within a month of each other.

  21. So sorry for the impending loss of Stormy. The loving bond you all have will endure and she will always be there for you in some way. Praying that her passing will be in some way peaceful for her and you and Colt.

  22. The path to the Rainbow Bridge is so soaked with tears, memories and sad smiles. I wish you and your son peace from knowing you loved with your whole hearts. Blessings on you, jan

  23. I just lost my 10 kitty, Marlie, to liver cancer. She was such a little girl she always seemed like a kitten to me. Animals hide cancer so well I did not know there was a problem until it was too late. I was able to hold Marlie in my arms as she was put to sleep. She is buried in my yard with my other loves.

  24. I am so sorry, my heart breaks for all of you. The love of a family pet goes without saying as the most unconditional love and committed relationship we have. The fact of what took Stormy tells me Jon was there to great him quickly and likely held his paw in the end. Give Snowflake an extra hug. They struggle to understand the loss more than us humans do.
    No words can truly heal you, but you are in my thoughts and in my heart.

  25. I am so sorry to hear this. I was blessed to have Liam, an Irish Wolfhound in my life for 10 years. I say blessed because IWs have short life spans which is so not fair because they are such wonderful and special dogs.
    I laughed out loud reading about Stormy and the ice cream cones, for that was exactly how Liam would eat ice cream.
    Liam also succumbed to cancer.
    My heart goes out to you and all of your family.

  26. I’m so sorry, Jeanne and Judith, this is such an awful thing to face. Our love to your Stormy Girl, and our prayers for her comfort–and yours, too. Some people have photos of human family members on their fridge doors. Ours has pictures of the family dogs we’ve loved and lost (and a cat or two, also). Whenever a family member visits, he or she makes a beeline for the
    door of remembrance, and smiles. We don’t want to add any new pix, please, for a long, long time. Snowflake, take good care of your people and you’ll all be okay.

  27. Oh my heart is broken for you too. I have always loved dogs(I am about your Mom’s age) but have never had the privilege of having one. I’m glad you will be able to give her the best few months of her life – if only she could realize how many of your Mom’s readers love her too! I send extra hugs and kisses to you all and also to poor Snowflake who will know the loss too, but will not know why or how to express her loneliness.

  28. Oh Jeanne T., Colt, Snowflake and Stormy Girl my heart goes out to you. Our furbabies are such treasured family members. Will lift you up in my thoughts and prayers.

  29. I… had to take a pause, before I could finish reading the blog post.

    Pats and hugs to both Storm and Snowflake.
    And virtual hugs to you all.

    Dogs, cats, etc… they are our family members.

  30. There are no words for your sorrow, it’s bad enough when you lose a pet, but to know ahead of time especially at Christmas holidays. A beloved pet leaves you heartbroken . Our hearts go out to you. Our pets are members of our family we love each and everyone of them we feel your pain.. Jan..

  31. I know just how you feel. I feel your pain. My thoughts and prayers are with you . And you will see your dogs again. I have many canine “children”waiting in heaven for my arrival… and a few feline kids too. Jan

  32. So sorry to hear this. Pets are members of the family and losing them is so very hard. Holding you all (which includes the dogs), and especially Colt, in my prayers.

  33. So sorry to hear about your beloved dog. My husband and I rescued a cat a few years ago and she is the love of our lives. I can’t imagine life without her. Love our animals life family.

  34. My heart is with all of you. I lost my beloved Trouble 6 months ago after a downhill neurological problem. I know you’ll treasure your remaining time, and your memories.

  35. Sending giant hugs to all of you, but especially to Colt. Losing our pets is one of the toughest parts of life. But you know it ‘s coming very soon so you can give extra hugs and kisses and playtime and sweet words that Stormy recognizes. I’m crying with you.

  36. The worse part of having dogs is they leave us entirely to soon. We have had 3 Goldens over the years, and when they went, it nearly killed us. I am tearing up now thinking about it.
    I don’t have a dog now because I am living in a senior care in Renton,WA. I had to get rid of my 2 dogs when I came up her from AZ.
    I could have a dog here but on rainy mornings, I would have to take the dog for a walk. I don’t think so. So I have a bob tail black cat who I dearly love. But she isn’t a Golden.

  37. Oh Jeanne T, I can barely see to write this for all the tears I’m shedding for you and Colt. I know how hard that is–they are family. It never gets any easier even though we don’t want them to suffer either. You and Colt will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers. I’m sending a big virtual hug your way and, next time I see you at a book signing, I will give you a real hug.

  38. So sorry about Stirm. What a blessing she has been to you and you to her. What a precious and great soul.

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