What do you do when tragedy strikes?


Maybe I should start with a little backstory. My 10 year old sister Hannah has wanted a puppy since…well forever, I mean what little kid doesn’t right? I know when I was a kid I always wanted a dog!

Hannah is constantly learning about animals and has been known to explain stuff to her teachers & classmates about anything dealing with animals in school. She currently wants to be a vet when she grows up.

When she sent us her Christmas list this year I told Jeff, I have no idea what we should get her. As it got closer to Christmas I decided to send my mom a text as a joke saying “I don’t want to duplicate presents for Hannah so I thought I’d let you know we got her a puppy” and instead of a response of “OMG NO!” I got a response of “oh yeah, what kind?” She completely caught Jeff & I off guard!

So since my mom was ok with it, we decided that was what our gift would be. We were gonna get her a puppy! (Or at least pay the adoption fee and walk her through the entire process of adoption after she opened the box with a leash & water bowl in it.)

We started the search with her at the beginning of January and last week we found the perfect puppy on her birthday at West Suburban Humane Society. The following day I went back and we paid the adoption fee & got the ball rolling to adopt Cheerios.


He was scheduled for his neuter surgery on January 10th and the plan was to pick up Hannah early from school, take her to pick Cheerios up from the vet after his surgery, stop and get him a couple toys from Petco and then introduce him to his new home at my parents house.

The problem came around 10:30am the morning we were supposed to pick him up. Jeff & I were asleep and I guess my phone had been ringing off & on for about an hour, and I never heard it once. Jeff finally woke me up and I realized I had 7 missed calls and 2 texts from my mom and that’s when I listened to my mom’s voicemail. The vet had called her an hour earlier saying Cheerios didn’t make it thru the neuter surgery and he was gone.

Now we’re talking about a perfectly healthy 4 month old puppy here and the first puppy to be a part of our family. After only 3 visits with Cheerios the whole family had totally clicked with him. He was perfect! Exactly the right temperament we were looking for and now he was gone.

So I immediately talked to my friend Chrissy who’s almost done with vet school, who I’d been talking with as soon as Jeff & I decided to start the process. She was able to calm me down and further explain the situation. It was good that I talked to her because when I later talked to the doctor who did the surgery I was able to think about the fact that that could have been Chrissy. It was good to internalize the situation and see it from the perspective of the doctor, even though I wanted to blame him so bad, I knew he did everything he could and it was really no one’s fault. Jeff found a statistic on Wikipedia that said 0.5% of all dogs have an adverse reaction to some form of anestesia and of course Cheerios happen to fall in that small small percentile.

Jeff & I decided we would go back to the shelter and visit with Cheerios brothers & sisters again and see if any of them were still available. When we walked in Kristy, the Adoption Manager who we initially worked with on the adoption was there. She knew the current situation and when she heard the news from the vet she immediately put Kix on hold for us, Cheerios’ brother.

After playing a bit with him and his sister Wheaties, we decided he would be just as good a pup for the family. So after leaving the shelter I went and picked up Hannah from school, earlier than planned. After she told me “today has been the worst day at school” I then had to tell her that her puppy had died. What timing?! :( I also told her we had set up for her to meet Cheerios’ brother Kix at 7pm when the shelter opened for visitors again.

After spending the day with my mom & sister getting a larger crate, since Kix was a bigger pup than Cheerios and having lunch together I went home for a while and we decided to meet my parents & Hannah at the shelter later. The entire family went to visit with Kix at the shelter and just as Jeff & I thought, Hannah fell in love with him.

After a couple hours of playing with him we processed the adoption paperwork, took him for his first trip to Petco to get some toys and then took him back to introduce him to my parents house and his new home. It was a long and stressful day and after processing the loss of Cheerios, everyone ended the night on a high note playing with Kix.

Kix and Hannah CeaserKix and Hannah CeaserKix and Jeff Sarris

What do you do when tragedy strikes? Have you lost a pet before? What helped you cope?

Cheerios is the second pet Jeff & I lost this year but we keep going and make the most of what experiences we had because life goes on.

For more pics of Kix check out his first photo shoot with me. He sure loved playing and posing for the camera! :)