It took me 1.5 weeks to sit down and write this piece because it still hurts and because there is still (and always will be) a huge huge hole in our hearts.

1.5 weeks ago we had to put down our dog Odie.

We picked him up from the Hoge Veluwe 11 years ago. I still remember how bad we felt to take him away from his Mom and his siblings. The whole ride home we were thinking, maybe we should give him back because he was so tiny and so afraid. How cruel were we? I am happy we didn’t return him because he gave us his unconditional love for an exceptional 11 years. He was our first baby. He was the reason we thought we could take care of a human being.

Odie was the best family dog one could wish for. Gentle and loving, despite his size. He never ever got angry and even in his last hours he stayed strong for us never really showing how much pain he was in. He had plenty of situations where he could get mad, 4 to be honest. He had to give up his place in the hierarchy after every kid. On the contrary, he would always make sure the kids were ok. When we walked him, he always stayed close to the children and even at home with friends visiting he would always find a strategical place between them and the kids. With our busy lives, I regret we didn’t have much time for him. But again, he would always greet us when we came back home. Even after I threw flower on him because he didn’t listen and ran away, or got a big time out after he ate my beautiful steak that were laying on the kitchen counter while I was taking a shower and dreaming of eating the steak, or when I got angry after putting 1+1 together that he ate a €50 bill meant for our cleaning lady – he still would love us with all his soul.

He was a big dog but always chose for the underdogs… I remember his first friend was a miniature pincher at the puppy school. It was a very funny sight to see these two playing together.

And charming as he was, he even was the face of a campaign for a leader in diagnostics and IT solutions for animal health. Yes, he went places.

A year ago, Odie was diagnosed with cancer. We thought it was the end. There was the chemo therapy, but we were prepared to hear from the specialist that because of his age, there was no point. But after talking to the vet, we were so happy to hear that there was a big chance to get him better and give hime one or two more years of a good life. So Odie started with chemo at the same day and to our astonishment saw how he was getting better with every week.

Unfortunately, during our holidays in Spain in August, his health was going downhill. I picked him from my brother’s and saw in his eyes that he was not well. And from there everything happened very fast. 2 days later we were all there for him saying our goodbyes and holding him so he knew he was not alone. He never let us down in his 11 years in which he got to know our 4 kids, moved once to a new house, spent various holidays, and gave us many licks of affection. And just like that he stopped breathing and his big heart stopped beating. He has no more pain.

He’s got no idea how much we miss him: his barking when we came home, his sneaking after the kids for the chance to grab a piece of bread or cookie, his black mattress, his food and water tray, the sounds he made when he was sleeping, his smell, his warmth under the dinner table, his “gentlemen” pose, his hair everywhere, his sparkling in his eyes when we took out his leach and told him “walk”, his fear of the brush, him jumping up and down when he touched snow… Or just the fact that he was always there. All our friends knew us with Odie as a family. We will never be the same. The other day, I was talking with Mr. P about dogs and he ran to the place where Odie used to lay most of the times, and said: Odie!

We got him back this week. His ashes have a special place in our living room, his kingdom. I hope that the kids will never forget him because he is a big part of us.

RIP Odie!!!

1 May 2006 – 31 Aug 2017