It Was A Hard Day.

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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Yesterday we said goodbye to a beloved 13-year member of our family. Our dog, Aravis (appropriately named after a Narnia character), had to be put to sleep. She had suffered for the past year from a few different illnesses but also weakened bone structure. She simply couldn't move anymore. It was a hard day for the Berry family!

I thought I was going to be stronger than I was. I had even ruled out writing anything about it on here. I dismissed it as “just a dog!” No one gets all up in arms about a dog, do they? For crying out loud! I wasn’t going to (and still won’t) post anything about it on Facebook or Twitter (this post being the exception). Yesterday morning began with me cleaning up a massive pool of her urine because she could not control herself. Doing that at 5 am left me wanting a syringe right then and there so I could end it.

I carried that same stoic countenance to the vet’s office. I was focused, I was driven. “This had to be done,” I reasoned in my mind. Ice in my veins, or so I thought! Then I opened the side door of our van and looked at my 13-year companion looking back at me. She had never left our side once. She was the best dog a family could ask for. Never an accident in the house, even as a puppy (the exception being recently), never a vicious reaction to strangers or guests in our home, never anything destroyed or torn up (even as a puppy). She was simply the best of the best.

But yesterday, she wouldn’t budge from her place in our van. I eventually had to pull her out. My wife told me to carry her but in that moment, I couldn’t. I knew we had to go through with this, but I just wanted to sit down next to my pup and cry. I was reminded, even with a dog, how hard eternal goodbyes are.

The veterinarian staff invited us into a room with a comfy sofa, low light, a candle burning, and a pillow for our dog to rest on. It was nice and they were extremely compassionate and kind. We were grateful for that. I knelt down next to my dog, as she sat on the pillow, wrapped my arms around her neck, nestled my face next to hers, and whispered to her, through tears, “I love you, you’ve been the best dog ever, I’m sorry for any time I ever got frustrated with you, I’m going to miss you.” Then I stood up, wiped tears, patted her on the head, and we walked out. The end.

Later on in the day, I reflected on that moment. The strong emotion had gone and I was able to think clearly. I realized that I said exactly what I needed to, and wanted to, say before the end arrived. I know it was a dog, but that was the first time in my life I had been in a situation where the end was there and I was present to say final words. Wow! What an experience. Even with a family dog.

If I could translate that to family life (again, a bit awkward to derive this from losing a family pet), I would say 2 things:

First, you have no idea what powerful connections exist within your family until the end arrives (yes, even with a family pet!). I was reminded yesterday to cherish every moment, every day, and every second that I have with my family. I blow this nearly every week. There is such a deep-seeded connection within families. Never underestimate that. I rolled up to that vet’s office as if it were business as usual. It wasn’t. It was overwhelming. The love in me overtook the stoic resolve I had come to and spilled over like a tidal.

Second, say what you need to say every chance you have to say it. It wasn’t that I said awful things to my dog or that I say awful things to my wife or kids (I’m not perfect, but I really try not to), but yesterday was a reminder to always speak love. All I wanted to do was let my beloved companion know how much I loved her. I want my children and my wife to know that too, everyday!

That precious mutt did more than just keep us company. She occupied a place in our hearts. And, if nothing else, she reminded me to love my family and pour all I’ve got into them. I’m eternally grateful to her for that. It was still a hard day. But one I learned a lot from.

Had an experience similar to ours? What did you learn?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.