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Losing a friend

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

After 13 years, Bentley, our dog, got sick. She had a mass in her abdomen and before we could find out exactly what the mass was, she took a turn for the worse. Thanks to an amazing vet, Reinmarie Williman, from Veterinary Care of Mt. Pleasant, who is probably the most caring doctor I have ever met, we decided, as a family, and with her guidance, that the best thing for this member of our family was to put her out of her misery. But taking her to the vet’s office was going to just stress her out and that is what we all wanted to avoid. So, before her workday started, the doctor came to us. Bentley was able to stay on her bed, in our arms, as she was allowed the grace to no longer be in pain. Her life ended as she had lived it; surrounded by so much love, the same love she had always given us. Just before the end, Reinmarie bent down and gave her a kiss.

I miss her sitting next to my desk as I work. No longer there to talk to or hug when I want some company. It’s lonely. When I look outside, I see a stone marking where she now is. The place was one of her favorite spots, it was where she surveyed her property and watched over us.

I won’t tell you about her crooked smile, or her white eyelashes, or how her ears perked up when we asked if she wanted the exact thing she did want, or how much she loved her squeak toys and watched every stitch I made when I’d repair one of the toys she’d gotten too aggressive with, or how extraordinarily loving she was, because if you’ve had an animal you already know.

It was going to be a miserable day unless I found something that would keep me focused and distracted. There was a French recipe for Pain d’Épices (spiced bread) that I’ve been wanting to make and this seemed like the perfect time.

Pain d’Epieces is a cake/bread that is widely available and eaten in France and one of my favorites. It’s versatile and served as a snack for le goûter (afternoon snack) or thinly sliced served with foie gras or as a wonderful contrast when combined with cheese like blue cheese, goat, camembert, or brie.

I’m not a natural baker, so I really have to focus on the recipe and all the steps necessary to get the result—perfect distraction.

My brother and sister-in-law came by for lunch and stayed all afternoon. I was going to cancel so I could indulge my sorrow, but instead, I decided that it would be great to see them. They would understand if I got teary in front of them. Spending the day with them was a blessing. They allowed me to be sad, while listening to me reminisce about a loyal friend that I loved.

The result of my baking challenge wasn’t great. I liked the flavor, but the texture was dense and gummy. It’s going to take more research and a few more tries to get it right. My motivation is the thought that I won’t have to wait until I’m in France to eat a slice of pain d’épices.

As soon as I find the right combination of spice and technique, I’ll post the recipe for you to try.


This post was created prior to our site upgrade. Comments at the time of our upgrade included:

Zoe Greenberg January 07, 2022

Dear Adeline My heart aches for you. Losing a treasured pet is incredibly painful. We also had a dog named Bentley! And he was with us for 13 years from when my son was four (and was his wished for presents) to when he graduated high school. It is a real grief like losing a loved one. We are so attached to our current dog that we dread the day we lose him. I know that Theo and Tony understand perfectly having lost a pet themselves. The best advice I can give is, when you can handle it, get another dog to love and who will love you back without reservation. Warmly, Zoe

Reply: January 10, 2022

Zoe; Thank you, for your kind thoughts. Losing a beloved pet is so painful, it is hard to believe but when you think about it they are part of your life every day for 13 years that’s a lot of time to love and be loved unconditionally. You had a Bentley too!!! How fun. Thinking of you. —Adeline

Carmella Dellaporte January 07, 2022

I’m so sorry for your loss! I lost both of my 4-legged babies in July (a day apart) and know how much you are going to miss sweet Bentley. BTW, I love the book!

Reply: January 10, 2022

Carmella; I can’t believe that you lost both your dogs a day apart. How did you handle it? I can’t imagine what you went through. I’m so sorry. xoxo —Adeline

Olivia Santiago January 07, 2022

Bentley was a very good girl. And it’s comforting to know that she was given and could feel the same love and care from the Vet as the family would. —Olivia

Reply: January 10, 2022

Olivia; You are so right, having a caring person/vet made all the difference. When she bent down to kiss Bentley, I was so touched, I lost it and felt so grateful we were all in her hands. xo —Adeline

Tulis McCall January 07, 2022

Our critters come here to love us, and if they are lucky they find someone like you and Mark who will love them back. In return for their love, if we are lucky, we get to walk with them as they leave the planet. It is a heartbreaking honor. Perhaps someday we will extend this privilege to each other. Bentley was your special treasure. I remember her winding herself around the stool legs as if she were stuck, and you saying, “Oh she just does that. Don’t worry.” Take good care of each other and your kitty. xo —Tulis

Reply: January 10, 2022

Tulis; thanks for pointing out what an honor it is to be there for our pets both throughout their lives, but also at the end when we get to show them how much we love them and make sure they feel safe. xo —Adeline

Jenny January 11, 2022

Sending a lot of love <3 Reply: Thanks, Jenny! —Adeline


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