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Toryn Tripitt recounts life, death of beloved dog

Senior and Feather staffer Toryn Triplitt recently faced the deaths of both her her grandfather, John Trimmell and childhood pet, Georgia. Triplitt writes about these losses, her pain and her overcoming in a duo of columns. For the other column sharing the loss of Triplitt’s grandpa, read COLUMN: Toryn Triplitt shares loss of grandfather, advice for others grieving.

Annabelle Messer | The Feather Online

Even as a puppy, Georgia loved to pose for pictures, including this one with Toryn Triplitt at 5-years-old.

Death is inevitable. It can not be run from or escaped. But it is significant no matter the timing. Sometimes people can feel as if a pet passing is not significant enough to mourn. But it is, a pet loves you, looks after you and is often considered family.

My family dog, our beautiful Georgia, passed on Jan. 30 at 12 years old. She was a medium labradoodle, and as a puppy, she had the most beautiful fluffy red coat, but as she aged and matured that red faded into an apricot color.

She was a happy dog, and one of the most energetic playful pups you would ever meet. Despite her endless bounds of energy, she knew how to quiet down and curl up next to you at the drop of a hat.

We first got Georgia when I was five years old, and since we loved her so much, we acquired two more dogs to keep her company during her lifetime. Even as a puppy she was the most well-behaved dog, she loved cuddles, pictures, fetch and over time we discovered that she loved to swim. 

After our research on labradoodles, our expectation was that she would live to be 14 years old. And while she fell two years shy of that expectation, our time with her was precious. She was the type of dog that if she was hurting she never made it known. 

We took her to Morro Bay with us multiple times before we got more dogs. When we go to the beach, we tend to ride bikes almost everywhere and spend our days exploring. Georgia was trained on how to run alongside our bikes and not get in the way of the tires but stay right next to us. The paths we rode on during one of these trips were rocky, gravelly and uneven, but we did not know how bad they actually were.

Annabelle Messer | The Feather Online

Georgia was the best Christmas gift my family ever received, as she was born on Christmas Day.

Later that evening, we noticed her licking her paws and we learned that they were torn up and bleeding. But we would have never known because the whole day she was just so happy to be with us and out-and-about; she never let on that she was in any pain. Even near the end she never let on that she was in pain until the last few days where it got so bad she was on constant pain medication.

This dog did not have a mean streak in her even as a puppy. You could lay on her for hours and she would not move until you did. Georgia never bit or growled, except for the occasional game of tug-of-war when she would growl as she dug her heels in. Even as we got our other two dogs she was patient and loving with them as puppies.

Our other labradoodle are kind of mean and bitter, but loved Georgia and would never try to one-up her. Our most recent, a little chihuahua mutt, would bite her ankles, chew on her ears and tail, and Georgia would just lie there and let him. She would let him chase her around, and we truly believe that he kept her feeling young during her last year.

As Georgia was our first dog, our other dogs’ names fell in suit with hers. Our other labradoodle was named Atlanta and the mutt was named Bowdon, after cities in Georgia. They were an odd mix, but they loved each other and were as upset by her passing as we are. They knew something was wrong even before we did. 

We chose to have a vet come to our home to euthanize her where she could be comfortable and at peace. Georgia was always very nervous and uncomfortable in veterinarian offices and with medical procedures, so this decision proved to be the right choice. We brought her bed down to our family room, right by our fireplace where she would often nap if we were all in the room.

Annabelle Messer | The Feather Online

Georgia loved cuddles and in her last days we spent a lot of time just laying with her.

We got to pet her the whole time and talk to her. We knew we made the right choice because of how quickly she passed when she was given the medicine. Sometimes it can take minutes, but with her, it happened almost instantly. 

While we were upset and tear-filled, it was almost a wave of comfort and relief knowing that she wasn’t in pain anymore, because her last few days had been so bad. Our vet that we had chosen was a blessing as well, as he prayed over her and our family in her last moments. 

We miss her still every day, and the pain is still very fresh, but loss can not be escaped, as horrible and unexpected as it is. So, hug your loved ones, your pets and your friends a little tighter today.

For more columns, read COLUMN: Feather photojournalist shares personal growth or COLUMN: Chinese international student talks press for education.

Toryn Triplitt can be reached via email.

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