By Teri Wilson, June 2020, Updated February 2022

Photo by Fran Mother of Dogs - Pixabay

What do I do now?

These are the words that kept spinning through my mind at 2:37 in the morning when the emergency vet called me last Friday, and it became clear that my beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bliss, wasn’t going to make it. So much of that painful conversation is a blur, but I’m pretty sure I said them out loud, probably a few times.

The kind veterinarian on the other end of the line spoke calmly and compassionately about the reality of the situation. She called my dog Miss Bliss, which I loved. She tried to make me feel better about the fact that since we are in the middle of a pandemic, I’d been unable to enter the hospital when I dropped Bliss off in respiratory distress earlier that evening. Instead, I’d had to sit in the car and watch them carry her inside. Then she told me if I wanted to see Bliss one last time, I needed to come right then, but I probably wouldn’t make it in time.

What do I do now?


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Weirdly, I know two other people who’ve had to euthanize their dogs in the middle of this pandemic, both of whom had car accidents on their way to the veterinary office. It seemed so sad, such a cruel thing to happen during a time that’s already been ripe with unspeakable sorrow. Knowing my dog was lying there gasping for air, unable to breathe due to a rupture in her heart seemed even more cruel. So I said goodbye and stayed on the phone while the doctor let her go in peace. When it was over, I didn’t want to hang up.

What do I do now?

I’ve asked myself that same question almost every day in the six days since Bliss’s passing. I almost want someone to give me a list of basic instructions to follow because it’s hard to concentrate on anything right now. Get dressed, brush your teeth, try not to fall apart. But really, the question is more general, because I’ve loved Bliss so much that I can’t imagine not having her anymore.

I brought Bliss home the day after our son left for college. She was my empty nest dog, and I was so happy to have a small, cuddly life to dote on—something that needed me, even though it most assuredly ran both ways. She was loud and spoiled from day one. But she was the sweetest soul I’ve ever known. She was, truly…bliss.

What do I do now? 

I cry.
I write. 
I remember.

And I thank God that for a time, I held bliss in my hands. And now I hold Bliss in my heart, yesterday, today and always.

Teri Wilson is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, whimsical contemporary romance. Three of Teri's books have been adapted into Hallmark Channel Original Movies by Crown Media. She is also a recipient of the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction.