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Charley Lankford

Charley Lankford

2006 - 2023

It is with a heavy heart that I write this special piece for all pet owners. You will find through our words that our pets are cherished members of our family and they bring immense joy and love into our lives. Losing a pet can be incredibly difficult as they become like family members themselves, and the bond you share with them is undoubtedly strong.

When this day comes, please know that it is okay to grieve and take your time to process your loss. Know that they will always hold a special place in your heart, and the memories you shared with them will continue to bring you the comfort and warmth that is needed to heal.

At Lankford Funeral Home we have a division that allows you to bring in your beloved pet for private cremation through our LastingMemories4Pets team. Our team has been asked so many times, how do you do what you do daily not only for people but for our pets as well? Our answer is simple, how do we not!

Charley’s Story

Charley was a rescue pug that was left starving in the cold when a family saw and saved him. They named him Scrappy as he had to be to survive what he went through. His family realized later that he had to be alone too much and wanted him to go to a good family, so we were called by a friend to foster him but of course that never happened! He became my dog and he fit right in with the other pugs. Of course, I had to change his name.

But on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, we found ourselves in the same position as the hundreds of pet owners and people we serve annually.

For the last several weeks, Charley was trying to teach us how to prepare for his end of life, but we didn’t want to listen to his unspoken voice.

That Wednesday we had to make that ultimate decision to euthanize our last, beloved Chinese Pug, Charley. He has been going through the stages of renal failure and not being able to use his hind legs as well as he could and on this day, he gave up. For the last 17 years we had our routine of letting Charley out, fixing his morning meal and going back to bed for snuggle time. But this day felt different to me. Over the past several weeks our vet, Dr. Pam Schrager with Florida Wild Animal Hospital heard me say, how do we know when it is time to say goodbye to Charley? Dr. Pam said, Charley will let you know. But it is our nature to hang onto them as long as we can. That afternoon we were leaving the house for a bit and as always, we left him on his bed, kissed and hugged him and told him we would be back soon. A few hours later we returned to find him lying on the floor totally unable to move. My heart sank as I ran to pick him up and then I realized it was his time to leave us. As I picked him up and held him in my arms our moment together was one I will not forget. He looked up at me and just fell lifeless and quietly across my arm. I looked at the time and realized it was past the time for Florida Wild to be open but called and to my surprise they answered the phone. I asked to speak to Dr. Pam, and they found she was still there. I guess I was getting all the right signs as to what our next steps would be. Dr. Pam heard it was me on the phone and in her quiet voice said, I was just leaving but I will wait for you to bring Charley in. As we entered the clinic Charley was not his usual shaking self. He was calm, and he laid on the table not moving as all the technicians and his favorite baby setter Jade came in to tell him goodbye. I believe Charley knew the pain would soon be over. I sat in front of him holding his face in my hands and he came as close as he could as if to say, please love me as I have loved you and now it is time to let me go. I felt at peace but tried not to cry in front of him and upset him. But I knew the pain that would follow for us would be raw and leave a hole in our hearts for now. Arriving back home, we felt the emptiness and just sat and cried. I picked up his pillow and smelled his sweet scent on it as he had just had a bath that morning.

In a matter of hours our lives changed.

His food and water bowl are now empty, his favorite toys still in his corner. Each morning we think we hear his faint cry as that is how he told us he needed to go out. I still think I hear his nails clicking down the hall to wake us up or just to check on us only to look and find him gone.

So, for now, his bed and favorite toys will remain in the spare room until I feel I no longer need to smell his scent, and this is okay. This is how I will get through my grieving moments. A pet loss and the grief that follows is different for everyone. You must find what will satisfy your moment and again, know that whatever it takes is okay.

In closing, Goodbye Our Dearest Charley, thank you for 17 years of amazing love, moments of laughter and the silly pug times you gave us as we have now given you the ultimate gift of peace.

Goodbye Sweet Boy!

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