Instant Pot Stuffed Cabbage Soup and Saying Goodbye

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I’ve read a lot lately about how folks are getting annoyed with all the stories on food blogs – saying that they just want to get to the recipes. Well, folks, if that’s the reason you’re here, you can click to the recipe right here.

For those of you who aren’t here just for the recipes, this is one of those stories. And it’s long and probably a little sad. And it’s taken me a week to get to the point to be able to write it. So, if you take the time to read it, I’d sure appreciate it. Writing is therapeutic for me and hopefully you’ll get a little something out of it too. If you’ve ever loved a pet, this will make sense to you.  This isn’t going to be easy.  Y’all bear with me…

Last Tuesday was quite possibly the hardest day of my adult life.

In 2004, I was a 23 year old kid with a brand new job, a house, and was just getting my life started. But I was lonely. But that all changed when I walked into a pet store with one of my coworkers. Out front was a lady and a little girl with a box of puppies. Immediately it seemed like the perfect solution for my loneliness. Peering into the box, I found two puppies left. A beautiful tan and white one and another black and brown one that just wasn’t nearly as cute. I instantly thought the tan and white one was perfect, but the lady said that she was already spoken for. Having my heart set on taking a puppy home, I took the black and brown puppy reluctantly. I named her Sadie.

She was just what I needed. She met me at the door every evening with a wagging tail. We did everything together. She became my best friend.

The ugly little puppy grew into a precious dog. She was small, but had a big personality. I loved that dog like I never knew I could love something.

As life happened, she was always there.

She was guarded when Heather and I started dating but eventually warmed up to her. We got married and she and Heather’s dog Bailey hated one another. But they eventually connected and became inseparable.

We brought Jack home from the hospital and she took to him immediately. The first night he was home, she slept under his crib. She was very protective was instantly beside him any time he would cry. We often called Jack her baby. She loved that boy.

Two years ago, during their annual check up at the vet, we expected to get bad news about Bailey. She was a bit older and we felt like her health was starting to decline. That wasn’t the news we got. Sadie was in renal failure. I left that day devastated. I had no idea I’d actually get two more years with my sweet girl.

At the most recent vet visit, the doctor said Sadie’s levels were near perfect. We were able to control most of her problems with diet which was such a blessing.

We thought things were better. And they were better.

But the last few weeks have been tough. She started losing weight fast. She slept a lot of the time. She barely ate. I called the vet. They told me she was probably in the final stages of renal failure. But even knowing that and seeing the gradual decline in no way prepared me for last Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, seeing her constantly tremble, it broke my heart. Each evening I would make her some rice and broth and add a vitamin and iron supplement the vet gave her in the hopes it would help. It didn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I had Heather call the vet and make the appointment. THE APPOINTMENT.  Tuesday afternoon at 3:00. It was a death sentence of my girl.

Tuesday I stayed home. It was a great day for her. She met me by my bedside that morning. She wagged her tail. She hadn’t done that in weeks. We snuggled on the couch. We shared popcorn – her favorite thing. She was happy. She ran outside. She seemed so much better. The feeling of dread faded. There’s was no way the vet was going to tell me I needed to put her down today. This dog wasn’t ready yet.

At 2:45 I grabbed her blanket and loaded her up in the car. She didn’t sit over in the passenger seat like she had been, she climbed over in my lap and stuck her face to the window. We took the long way through town. She wagged her tail more.

At the vet they did blood work. When the vet came back in, I knew it wasn’t good news. He’s been our vet since I was a child; he’s just like an old family friend. He explained that her kidneys were gone. He said that it was just a matter of time. I told him she was doing so well today. He explained that often in this situation, there would be good days and bad days. I knew that was true from the last few weeks. He was right. It was just a matter of time. I couldn’t let my girl suffer.

Watching her take her last breaths was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. I rubbed the spot right between her eyes down the length of her nose… it was our thing. I closed her eyes. I sobbed. The vet hugged me. I took her collar off. I got in the car and just drove.

I’m fortunate to have had very little experience with death in my life, so this was uncharted territory. Not only did she die, but I was the reason. I made a decision to end her life. The immediate guilt was nearly unbearable.

The first few days were pretty tough. Every single thing reminded me of her and brought me to tears. I got in my car to find her distinctly colored two-tone hair on my steering wheel. Each morning, I would find her favorite bed… empty. Bailey is just lost. She’s nearly blind now and just keeps wandering the house looking for her. It’s emotionally crushing.

But the one thing that a week has taught me is that I made the right decision. She’s no longer suffering.  She didn’t deserve that.  The only pther option we had was to start blood transfusions and there’s no reason to put a nearly 14 year old dog through that. It was just prolonging the inevitable.

You see, what I did – making the decision – is part of the deal. When we agree to accept the love of a dog, we agree to make the decision to end their pain when the time comes. Our dogs do an amazing job of taking our heartache and pain away and we have to do the same for them. So many times she consoled and comforted me and my last expression of love was to do the same for her. In the days following her death a dear friend told me that having a pet is both the best and worst thing we can do for our hearts. And while the pain is still immense, I know it will fade and I’ll be left with the memories of the happy times. I won’t remember what this feels like. I will remember her opening presents on Christmas morning with her little paws and teeth and shredding the paper into a thousand pieces. I will remember her licking Jack on the head the first day we brought him home. And I will remember her leading Bailey around the house when she started losing her sight. I will remember her her dancing around in excitement when she’d see me opening a new chew toy for her. I will remember my sweet girl fondly.  I will remember the good times. But right now… right now, it just hurts.

There’s no great transition – no way to connect the story with the recipe.  Except to say that in times of sadness, comfort foods seem to help – even if just a little bit.  My mom’s Stuffed Cabbage is one of my favorite comfort foods, so it only makes sense to share this Instant Pot Soup version of her classic recipe.

Use your Instant Pot pressure cooker to cook up this delicious and easy Stuffed Cabbage Soup recipe!

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I’ll admit to being a little late to the Instant Pot craze, but will say that I’ve used an electric pressure cooker for years.  I just love how easy it makes hard cooking a bunch of eggs and they’re so easy to peel!

That said, when my mom bought one she dropped it off by the test kitchen for me to experiment with one day.  I was really wanting some of my Stuffed Cabbage Soup and thought, “Hey, that should work in the Instant Pot!”  And boy did it ever!?!  It was amazing and had such a rich delicious flavor!

Use your Instant Pot pressure cooker to cook up this delicious and easy Stuffed Cabbage Soup recipe!This recipe was already pretty easy, but to be able to get so much flavor out of the ingredients in such a short time, this is really a game changer.

Use your Instant Pot pressure cooker to cook up this delicious and easy Stuffed Cabbage Soup recipe!The end product really ends up closer to stew than a soup, but “Cabbage Roll Stew” just doesn’t have quite the same ring.  🙂  Regardless, it’s delicious!

Use your Instant Pot pressure cooker to cook up this delicious and easy Stuffed Cabbage Soup recipe!

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Did you get an Instant Pot recently?  Where are you finding your favorite recipes?  I’d love to hear!

Don’t have an Instant Pot?  Check out my stovetop version of this recipe!

Instant Pot Stuffed Cabbage Soup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
Servings: 5 to 6
Author: Stacey Little | Southern Bite
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups vegetable juice like V8
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 small head cabbage cored and chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Turn your Instant Pot (or other electric pressure cooker) to the sauté or brown function and allow it warm slightly. Add the ground beef and cook with the lid off, stirring frequently, until it is no longer pink. Drain anyway any grease. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes with the juice, vegetable juice, beef broth, rice, and cabbage and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put the lid on the pot and set the steam vent to "sealing" or seal. Set the cooker for 15 minutes on high pressure. Once the cook time has finished, carefully use the quick release function to allow the steam to escape. Taste for additional salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


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Use your Instant Pot pressure cooker to cook up this delicious and easy Stuffed Cabbage Soup recipe!

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  1. I am so sorry for your loss. Your article was a beautiful sentiment to your Sadie and for those of us who have been through the pain of losing a beloved pet.

  2. Bless your heart. I am so sorry for your precious loss. My heart goes out to you from one fur lover to another.

  3. Gail Hebert says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I have lost several pets in my life, it also tore my heart. Your dog was so cute. Just remember how much she loved you and think about the good times.

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. You gave your sweet girl the ultimate kindness. She will be waiting to see you in heaven, and play with you again.

  5. My heart goes out to you. Losing them is so hard. We made that decision last summer, one month shy of her 12th birthday, after getting bad news from the vet on a Thursday. We kept her over the weekend and even had a birthday party, complete with a pupcake. Then on Monday we said goodbye. Just know that as hard as it is, having loved them and been loved by them makes it totally worth it.

  6. You made me cry. Sorry for your loss!

  7. G. Johnson says:

    Oh, Stacey, I wish I could just give you a big hug right now. I’ve dealt with many many deaths in my 62 yrs but, like you, feeling that I was the cause of my sweet basset hound, Joey’s, death has literally been the hardest thing I’ve ever known. I thought I was the only one who grapples with this and I am so sorry you did, too. Your precious girl obviously had the best and happiest life any dog has ever had so won’t Heaven be fun when we’re all reunited! I am praying for your family!

  8. There are no words to express my profound sympathy for you and your family. Stacey, you write so eloquently and express yourself so well. Grieving is hard but necessary. With time comes acceptance and you will know you did the best for Sadie. Wherever dog heaven is, know she is happy and well. I will remember you in my talks with God.

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss. Our fur-babies are an important part of our lives just like our human babies are. Only another pet lover can feel what you are feeling, and I’m shedding tears for you now as you grieve the lost of your precious Sadie.

  10. Sharri Humphryes says:

    I too am so sorry for your loss. I had to do the same thing with my 14yr old toy poodle Teddy on October 14,2014. You did the most unselfish, compassionate act of kindness for your dear Sadie. You’re so correct with writing is therapeutic. What a tribute you shared of your love for your dear friend. <3

  11. Stacey,

    I am so sorry. I can identify with you in losing your dog. I lost my thirteen year old mixed Lab almost nine years ago. Instead of putting her down we walked up to her and found her gone. There had been no suggestion that she was ill. She was hard of hearing and had poor eyesight but she ate well and was the same old Molly that we loved. We got her at three months old and she was part of our family. My husband still can’t get another dog after all these years. He was so attached to her too. He said he didn’t want to go through losing another dog. We have lost other dogs and cats over the years but Molly was so special to us at this stage in our lives. All the children are grown up and she was a lot of company to us. God sends these special pets into our lives. I hope that you will be able to be comforted by the many memories you have had with your sweet friend.

  12. Stacey, my heart goes out to you and your family. I went through the same situation with a beloved cat that we were lucky to have for 22 years. That day was so hard for me. My wonderful sister came and drove me to the vet so that I could hold CT in my lap. My sister is gone now, too. I know that the pain is very hard now, but it will lessen over time. You shared a wonderful memorial to your precious Sadie. Thank you for sharing your heart. Life is more than just recipes.

  13. Billie Patrick says:

    I am so sorry to read about your Sadie, it’s easy to see how you would love her gosh those big brown eyes just say I love you. You were both so blessed to have each other. Thank you for sharing her. God bless oh also thank you for your recipes much enjoy.

  14. What a blessing your Sadie was to you, I know what it’s like to have to put a loved animal down. I am sorry for your loss, but happy you had her love,

  15. Your story touched my heart and made me cry. I’ve had many pets. I have no children so they are my kids. I’ve had to make that “appointment” a couple of times. It was the most difficult decision because I ended their life but I didn’t want them suffering either. You did the right thing, it’s just hard to let them go. Always remember the happiness and love she brought to you. Think of that last good day she had with you as a gift from her, thanking you for being so good to her. You were blessed to have so many years with her.

  16. I’m sitting here literally sobbing. I can’t think of how to express my complete empathy for your pain – and I’m usually never at a loss for words. I’ve always loved animals, always had pets, but 2 years ago I adopted a little black kitten at a very low point in my life – a time I didn’t know how, or if, I was even going to survive – and that little baby has saved me and given me so much love and so much meaning. I can honestly say I love her just as much as my 3 grown human kids, and the only thing I love more than any of them is Jesus. Seriously. She was the runt of the litter and just pretty much thrown away to the humane society because she was so small and “runty” (written on her intake form) and I guess due to her being the runt she often gets little colds and has one upper respiratory infection after the next, but we take her to the vet and baby her to death, and I can hear her right now lying in the little pouch thingy on her kitty condo and God bless her heart she snores! Reading your story hurt me so bad, just thinking about losing her, and I honestly pray I’m blessed enough to have her around until we’re both old and I have to make the hard decision you did. I would much rather have to make that hard decision than to lose her early for any reason. Anyway. I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am and send you love and hugs and comfort from Odenville. Sadie was a pretty little girl and I know for sure she had the best life a doggie could ever hope for living with you and then with you and your family as it manifested. Take comfort, please, in knowing you made her so so so happy and you absolutely did the right thing.

  17. Stacey, my heart breaks for you. I understand totally – the guilt, the pain, the love. I lost my first furbaby almost a year ago and I still randomly tear up. There’s a song I used to play in the car when I drove with Willie on my lap and I STILL can’t play that song without crying and picturing him on my lap. You did the best thing for Sadie. She knows it and she knows how hard it was for you. But that’s the great thing about our dogs. They love us and trust us unconditionally, knowing we will do what’s best for them out of love. Even if it’s a diet; even it it’s taking away something they’re chewing on that’s dangerous; or making the hardest decision of our lives. I didn’t get a huge decision to end my baby’s life. He woke up one day having trouble breathing & the vet said he had heart failure & was dying. They gave him medicine in the morning & said his breathing would get better…it didn’t. I beat myself up for not taking him in at lunchtime but I believed them that the medicine would help. I didn’t want to end it if they believed it would improve. But by the time I was done with work, I realized it wasn’t helping (my mom was babysitting him). I drove him to the vet and he passed away on the way there in my car. I ran in sobbing with him and they revived him but said we needed to approve the injection. Thankfully my husband rushed there & we could be with him in his last moments. My baby knew he needed to wait for me to come home from work before he gave in. He was so sensitive and knew what I needed. It was super hard because my best friend & sister passed away 4 months earlier. I had been in a deep depression and just 5 days before Willie passed away, I made a vow to myself to get out of my funk & live again…that my sister would want that. It may sound crazy, but I feel like Willie sensed that in me – he knew that I would finally be ok and that it was ok for him to finally let go. I’m thankful that before that day, he never showed signs of distress or pain. He was healthy in his checkup just a few months previous. He knew I needed him during those months…he was especially close to my sister that died, so I like to picture them together in heaven sitting together snuggled up. Now neither is alone anymore.

    I just thought I’d share so you know you’re not alone. Words won’t help. They still don’t help me. But all of us that have lost or loved a furry friend understand what you’re feeling. Don’t beat yourself up. You gave her an amazing life. Amazing friendship. Amazing love. She will forever love you and doesn’t want you to be sad or feel badly. Huge hugs, to you!!!

    • I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story with me. I do believe they just “know” things like that. Willie knew you were better and knew that he had done his job. 🙂

      It’s weird too, because there’s a song that came on last Tuesday that I had never heard before. It was so sad and such a reminder. I haven’t been able to listen to it since.

  18. Stacey, I knew better than to keep reading, I have been there with having to decide when it was time to let my Fuzzy baby go to sleep. Whiskers my baby was 20 years old and had the same thing wrong with her. She has been gone for a few years now and i only think of all the good times we had with her. You see i had her before my now husband also, but she took to him right away. He is a big animal lover. You will get to the point that you will smile when you think of your fuzzy baby.
    I haven’t got into the Instant Pot thing yet but that recipe looks so good. I will save the recipe because i will have to get one of those Pots soon. Here’s hoping you will heal soon.

  19. Cynthia Frerichs says:

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious Sadie. I am sitting at my desk with tears falling because I truly understand the heartache you are feeling. From your tribute to Sadie, I know how much she was loved and she knew it! Find comfort in those thoughts and the wonderful memories you have of her.

  20. I am so sorry for your loss. Our furry friends brings so much life and love to our homes and it crushes are our hearts when we have to let them go. I am weeping as I write this knowing the pain you are feeling and that I felt when I had to make the same choice for my beloved furry friends.

  21. Susan Miller says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved Sadie. We went through our dog’s renal failure over twenty years ago, and I still remember our pain, even knowing it was for the best. It will be hard for months. Find peace in your memories.

  22. Stacey – I’ve just found your blog and purchased your book. I’ve made several of your recipes. I’m about to share your Instant Pot recipes with my oldest son. You remind me of my sons who also love to cook for their family. My heart goes out to you, your wife and to Jack. Until you love a pet you will never understand how much it hurts when they pass, especially if you have to do what you were forced to do. Know that you and your family made a little girl’s life all the better by bringing her into yours. You know what her life brought to yours. I’m praying for your heart to heal. I’ve been through this myself and as my boxer girl is over thirteen now, I realize that our time is short so I treasure every day God blesses me with to spend with her.

  23. When I read the title of this post, I thought you were announcing your retirement from food blogging. I wasn’t quite ready for the tear-jerker story. I totally feel for you. My old dog died 4 years ago now. The pain was immense and lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. BUT, I can now look at his pictures and videos and relate stories about how he was the best dog ever with a smile.

    I know it is small comfort now, but you will be left with only happy memories. Somtimes, maybe a tinge of regret… I still have that once in a while, but it doesn’t weigh heavy. Having her in your life was totally worth it for you and totally worth it for you. {{HUGS}} {{{Bailey}}}

  24. Jennifer Bouchard says:

    Oh, Stacey, I feel your pain so intimately, having been through a nearly identical situation with my beloved Jack Russell Terrier, Bear. The pain becomes more liveable with time, and you will be able to remember just the good times and joy that a pet brings. Sending you so much love.

  25. Tona Haggermaker says:

    I am so sorry….Our fur babies turn in to great loves of our lives. God bless you!

  26. The loss of a loved one is never easy. I pray your sorrow will fade with every memory you
    experience. Cherish the time you were loved and you loved in return.

  27. It is truly one of the saddest truths of our lives that our pets will live a shorter life than we do. The love that they communicate to us is unconditional and complete. My heart is breaking for you. I’m very grateful you told your story, because it reminded me to give my pets an extra hug this evening. Sadie knew you loved her and in the end you did the kindest act possible. You and Sadie are in my prayers tonight. You will be reunited with her at the rainbow bridge.

  28. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my husband and 6 months later our dog died. He had a huge tumor but I still think he died of a broken heart. He missed my husband so much. He would go in the bedroom, open the dresser drawer and pull out my husband’s sock and bring it to me. It was so sad. I was mad at him for deserting me too.

    It will get better but you will always have your memories.

  29. I don’t have and instant pot. Could you use a slow cooker?

  30. I get this email at work. One of my co-workers asked why I was crying and I told them a friend’s dog had to go to sleep. It started more than a few stories of small friends through the years. We all want to
    go home and hold our little friends now.

  31. Thru tears, I read your post. And went back 5 months ago to a similar situation with my Bailey, a little yorkie I have had for 13 years. The day after the hurricane, with no power, and fear in my heart, I took him to our vet, only to hear it was time. Twenty four hours later I was back with my other yorkie Chelsea, also in renal failure. The stress of the hurricane, and their age was too much. Chelsea was in the hospital 3 days, on fluids, and they managed to bring her back to normal levels – a miracle. I think God knew I couldn’t take losing them both at the same time. But it is only a matter of time. I have another reason to remember 9/11 now. Even after all these months it is still just as painful. So glad you were there at the end – not for you, but for her. That is the deal we make. Praying for you. God bless.

  32. Connie Aaron says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss, I have been there several times and I really do feel your pain. We always wonder if we made the right decision, but how can we do anything but help them to pass over the Rainbow Bridge and end all of the suffering. We still have all the wonderful memories of our furbabies.

  33. Sandra Norris says:

    Just had to make the same decision for our precious little cat “Rascal.” It never is easy but it is the right thing to do for them. So sorry for your loss.

  34. So very sorry for your loss. I’ve been through that scene myself and the pain is devastating. It helped to keep reminding myself that dogs aren’t thinking of the things they will miss like we do. They only know the here and now. When we hold them while they go to sleep they only feel our love. Sadie was loved so much and will always have a place in your heart. Give that same love to another pup when you are ready.

  35. Susan B Berry says:

    I’m so sorry!!!

  36. Linda Copeland says:

    Stacey, as I read your story the tears flowed. I regressed back through the years and walked that horrible road with you again. There were 2 dogs and 1 cat in my life that I loved so much it made my heart want to stop beating when their’s did. Each one had to be euthanized and I, like you, thought I had played the Grim Reaper and ended their life prematurely. The overwhelming sense of possibly making a wrong decision (in each case) haunted me for weeks. Each one had been euthanized to stop their suffering, but deep grief wouldn’t let it sink in until I could firmly remember it was their suffering I wanted to end – not end their life for no reason. I’m 68 yrs.-old now and realize our pets are ‘little thieves in fur coats’ that steal our hearts without us even noticing. We love them deeply and they give us unconditional love back. I thank God for bringing each one into my life and having the opportunity to love them for many years. You are in my prayers for the Lord to ease your grief and only let the healthy, happy years you had with Sadie remain. God bless you. Hugs & blessing, Linda Copeland

  37. So sorry Stacey on the loss of your sweet Sadie.What wonderful memories you have to cherish. Praying for you and your family as you walk through the grieving process.

  38. I am so very very sorry for your loss of Sadie! I know the feeling of guilt also at putting down an animal that you have loved with all your heart for years and has loved you as well. Will keep you in my prayers and I found your story very touching and do hope all the memories you shared with Sadie are carried in your heart forever. I do love your recipes and glad I got a chance to read your story.

  39. Linda Southworth says:

    Our sweet fur babies are such a joy for us and our families. Don’t you feel sorry for those that have never had that love for a pet? It is so incredibly difficult! I wish they would just live forever! I have a 14 yr old mix that is my sweetie. I keep having to adjust her food, add a daily med which all I do gladly. I know I will be making that decision for her whether it is this year or she makes it to next year. We have to take care of this ever so special member of our family and not let them suffer. We each know that time when it comes.
    You have your love and memories. You will eventually find another story with a fur baby unfold and the love will grow as it did with your sweet Sadie. Grieve for your four-footed friend. Love your family. How lucky to have had her for so long!

  40. Gah. I am so, so, sorry for your loss. Know, I feel your pain and heartache. Ugh and the guilt. Please know you are not alone.
    I had to put my cat down almost 4 years ago due to renal failure and it hurt my heart. I had her since she was 6 weeks old!

    Now my 12 year old cat is displaying the same symptoms and I am brought back to those memories.

    I am trying to remember the good times because during the bad times, the good always comes out.

    Much love,
    Amy Ramos

  41. Oh Stacy-I felt like I was reliving my recent loss of my forever friend. He , too , was 14 years old and I had him since he was a baby. I live alone so he was often my only comfort and shield for my loneliness. He had a very bad weekend in September and it was hard to watch and he seemed exhausted from struggling. I called and made the appt. At first I asked my son to take him as I thought I just couldn’t. As the time came closer I knew I had to be the one. He had always been there for me and he deserved me to be there for him. It was a very easy process for which I was grateful, but I too felt like I had betrayed his trust as he had been so happy to get to ride in the car not knowing his fate. It still causes me guilt. My head knows it was the right thing to do but my heart still feels heavy and I still miss him every day. The oddest thing happened though at the end and maybe i am just silly but my son met me at the vet’s office and took my blanket wrapped baby to bury him. I did not want to see that so I went home alone. My son said when he got in his car and laid my baby on the seat and hit his ignition switch the radio came on with Vince Gill’s song-Go Rest High on That Mountain. He called me and was shaken as we both felt it was a sign that the rainbow bridge had been crossed and he was at peace and no more suffering. It gets better with time but he will always be in my heart and memory.

    • So sorry to hear you’ve had to face this heartache recently. I absolutely feel like God sends us little messages just like with the song. I’ve actually had a few of those little moments and they have helped to bring me peace. Thanks for your kind words.

  42. So sorry for your loss. Our family had to put our beloved English Bulldog to sleep last year. We had him for a decade. If you know anything about Bulldog’s…they snore…and our dog slept in our bedroom. I couldn’t sleep in the bedroom for a week because I couldn’t hear his snore.
    I cried my eyes out when I read your story. I know how hard it is.
    Hoping your heart will heal soon.

  43. Jean Stokes says:

    Stacy—I can’t add anything new to this as it’s already been said. I,too have had several furbabies to leave me and two of the last three had to be put to sleep and the last one passed right here at home. We had all three at the same time so it took a big toil on us. All three had almost identical tumors that killed them. I do sympathize with your pain and one day you’ll remember the good times and smile about it. Sadie loved you totally and knew you had her best interests at heart. Best wishes….

  44. So sorry to hear of your loss. The future may hold some wonderful things for people and animals. I just finished a webinar series on the use of stem cells to successfully address many health issues. When I mentioned watching the series to my Chiropractor she mentioned that she uses stem cell therapy on her horses. She competes in dressage and has been a Grand Champion winner on more than one occasion. In the future a pet may well have more years for companionship because many conditions will be improved from the use of stem cell therapy.

  45. That was a hard story to read, especially since I am a late-to-the-party dog Mom and can now empathize, but I know it was even harder to live through. It takes a strong and good person to make that hard decision. You are not alone. Sadie will always be a part of you.

  46. I’m so sorry for your loss. Our little girl is 8 now and I know how much a part of our family our fur babies become. It’s never easy lettin go. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

  47. I am also that person…. I am deeply affected by the loss of a pet. I have sworn never, ever to have another one.. and then, you see a little furry friend and you think “okay, maybe one day” I have had to be kind and decide to say goodbye to two of my best friends… and I am still pained by it. When YOU are the one making the decision, it’s selfish to think “but today is a good day” when you know that the next day won’t be for them. I have spent the last years alone w/o a furry friend and I regret it constantly. their love is special and unconditional. I am sending you all of my love and kindness and am grateful for you that you had this unconditional love. You provided a good home, and a good life to a furry friend that w/o you, may have had a very different life. Find peace in that and allow yourself to grieve for your dear friend. Sending you a big warm cuddle…

  48. So sorry for your loss. We lost our beloved dog almost 20 years ago and although it has become easier to accept, losing her still hurts.

  49. I also lost my beloved OLIVER in January, just 2 weeks before his 17th birthday,I feel your pain and send you my condolences.

  50. Eileen Grimaldi says:

    Sorry for your loss. Caring for God’s creatures means you are very connected to your creator. Blessings to you.

  51. Stacey, I feel your pain brother wish there was an easy way of dealing with all this hurt and pain, unfortunately, some of us have been down that long winding road and trust me it never gets easier saying goodbye to a loved one? They became family the moment you brought them home and plug them into your life. You gave her a wonderful home so you both cherished all sorts of love. So many cherished special moments only you and she will remember. What makes it hard is those unconditional love moments they provided all those years like greeting you at the door, the road trips you took together or when she crawled up in your lap when you were not feeling well to be by your side. There will be trigger moments in your life when you least expect them? You will see or hear something or someone will say something that will (trigger) and evoke an emotional moment you shared together so when that happens, treasure them dearly and be aware they will touch your heart in so many ways you could never imagine and probably will make you laugh and cry? Realize you gave her an awesome home and she loves you dearly she wishes she could take away the pain in your heart as well. Big Southern Hug Brother to you and your family they say time heals but I disagree as you shared so many special moments together so it’s going to take a long long time with all those wonderful memories so in a way that’s not so bad.

  52. Ruth Phillips says:

    Stacey, I am a 40 year volunteer for an animal rescue group, and have also lived long enough to have lost more beloved 4-leggeds than I care to count. It helped to deal with my grief just to know there are lots and lots of people who really do understand how truly devastating it is to lose a 4-legged member of the family. There are NO words, that I know of anyway, that will take away that icy cold feeling of loss you feel, but this quote surely says it all…..That given a chance, we would do it all again……
     “There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who chose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings or walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.

  53. Thank you so much for your beautiful piece! It really is unbearable when you have to muster the strength to make the right choice when the pain of your fur baby steals their quality of life. It has been 5 and 7 years since I have lost 2 of my best friends, Gracie and Buddy. It is still painful to think about them, but the pain softens and the good memories are abundant. I have Rosie and Abby now who I love dearly….they will every once in a while give me a look like Buddy or Gracie, it is almost as if momentarily they have returned to let me know they are ok….then the look is gone….and I smile!

  54. There are no words to help the pain that you are feeling at this moment in time. you are a lucky man to have experienced such a live with your furry child. My vet told me that there is a lovely village on the other side of the rainbow bridge of death and that is where our beloved pet/children wait for us to cross over. Then you leave this earth at sometime in the future, she will meet you with dancing feet to join you in your next adventure. On this earth, you will carry her in your heart.

  55. Jane Barnett says:

    I am crying now, wiping my eyes after reading your story. Having a dog or cat put to sleep is one of the most heartbreaking and difficult things to do. Animal pets are angels with fur and come into our lives when we need them the most to teach us unconditional love. Thinking of you and saying a prayer. Hugs, Jane

  56. Stacey: You did a great job in the writing and with Sadie. I was a Registered Veterinary Technician for 10 years, and had to make that decision three times. Robbie, my Cocker was the first, and he had a very good last day, and I worried that I was doing it too soon. My boss, Dr. Jody, said that they often had a good last day because they seemed to know that we had made that decision, that it was time, and that they were at peace with it, and happy. She always said that we knew our animals best, and that we knew when it was the right time.

    I have thought more than once about an Instant Pot, but have held off, and then I took a different road. My mother hated pressure cookers with a passion and would not use one since the venison exploded. Her sister used one for decades. I know that they are a lot safer nowadays, but that’s been one of my main sticking points. I decided to get a 2-qt. air fryer instead, and I absolutely have not regretted it at all. The food is great, there’s no flying grease zapping me, or on my glasses and clean-up is minimal. I have a black thumb when it comes to deep frying, but I can “fry” like a champion in my air fryer. It’s faster, doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and doesn’t smell, so the house does not have that fried food odor two days later. It’s just hard finding decent cookbooks written in American English for them.

    • It’s so comforting hearing that about pets having a good day. I’ve struggled with that part and it’s a welcome thought.

      On the air fryer, I’m so happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed yours. I’ve been considering getting one for month, but something always kept me from doing it. You may have just convinced me!

  57. Mary Connell says:

    I am sitting here crying knowing exactly how you feel. There is nothing like the pain and yet I don’t regret having my dogs. They give so much love and comfort. All of my dogs are on Rainbow Bridge and I know that I will see them again.

  58. I’m so sorry, Stacey. I can see that you loved Sadie dearly. May your many happy memories with her sustain you.

  59. I am so very, very sorry. My husband, two sons, and I have truly known the pain and heartache of your loss and experience with your precious dog. They are part of our hearts and our hearts still ache when we talk about our dogs and cat. God bless you and your family. You have such a big heart and big hearts hurt BIG when they are broken.

    That is the best soup that I have ever made. We had it this weekend. Everyone loved it. I am thinking about getting an instant pot soon. I will try this for sure.

  60. Kent Vanhook says:

    I am so sorry. We’ve had many dogs and my favorite is always the one i have at any current moment. I won’t say I know how you feel, because your feelings is special and unique between you and yours.
    I hope you won’t stop with the story blogs. Reading them takes me into your world and I feel like I’m visiting and you’re sharing in the same room.
    You’ve been in my thoughts since I found your chicken, sausage jambalaya! Your recipe is the only one I fix; it’s the best.
    Take care my friend!

  61. I am so sorry Stacey. The loss of a beloved pet is wrenching. They are a part of our family and bring us such comfort and joy. We went through the same situation with our cat Princess last year. After a visit to the vet we were told she had renal failure. We cared for her until it was time to let her go. Taking her to the vet that day was one hardest things I have ever had to do. We adopted her when she was 1 and she was part of our family for 15 years. It will be a year in April and we still miss having her with us. You & your family will be in my prayers, God bless.

  62. I am so sorry for your loss. My sympathies are with you. I know how it feels to make that decision. Not a good feeling, but the best for the one you love. Time will heal all.

  63. Claudine in Fort Worth, TX says:

    Stacey, I am so very sorry for your loss. Anyone who has pets knows just what you are going through. They become a part of our lives because they give us unconditional love and ask nothing of us in return. They’ll forever have a special place in our hearts and we do miss them so.
    I didn’t have to make the decision to have my beloved baby put down, he died in my arms while I held him and loved him until he closed his sweet eyes. He had been so sick and I was to take him the next day to the vet, but I didn’t have to do that, and although some might not agree with me, I feel the Good Lord spared me having to go through what you had to do. I’m thankful for that and so sorry that you had to go through it.
    My sister-in-law sent me a poem about “The Rainbow Bridge” ( and it made the transition easier for me, but not a day goes by that I don’t see little things that remind me of him and he’s been gone ten years now.
    Please know that you are not alone in your grief. I’m sure all of your followers will remember you and your beloved Sadie in their prayers.
    Just remember we love you, your family and your blog.

    • And I love each and every one of y’all! Thanks so much, Claudine! As terrible as it sounds, I had been praying for that to happen to Sadie so that I wouldn’t have to make the decision. Regardless, I know it was my job to ease her pain.

  64. Mindy Jumonville says:

    So sorry to hear about your girl Sadie. I had to put my baby girl to sleep February 10; 2016 due to brain cancer. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I still miss her daily, but I know she is no longer in pain and she is in a better place. Unfortunately, as someone who has had to get used to death from a young age, it does get easier in time. Sending prayers to you and your entire family(Bailey).

  65. Terri Hughes says:

    Stacy, I am soooo sorry to hear about little Sadie. Our pets become family for sure. I am sitting here crying, this breaks my heart, I have a little Schnauzer, he is 13 years old. He is such a good dog. I know that this day is coming and it breaks my heart to think about it. But, as much as we love our pets, we have to do what is best for them. We don’t want to see them suffer. Just remember all the good times you had with Sadie and all the joy she brought to your life. Who wouldn’t love that sweet little face, so cute. “RIP SADIE”.

  66. My heart hurts for you. Sending prayers to you.

  67. I am so very sorry to hear of your loss:( It is never easy to lose a beloved member of one’s family. Will keep you & your family in my thoughts & prayrs.

  68. I’m so sorry and I know exactly how you feel. I have lost 4; 2 with help of vet, 2 I found dead. You already have another pet so this may not apply to you but I found the best thing was to get another pet immediately. You’ll be so busy with the new pet that you won’t have time to think so much about the one you have lost. I hope things work out well for you and your family!

    • Thanks so much, Joy! We actually got Jack a puppy for his birthday back in September and that sweet dog has been such a joy to me in the last week. It’s like she knows that I need the extra love and cuddles.

  69. So sorry for your loss! I have had to put 3 dogs down and always swore I would never get another one because my heart broke each time! I felt guilty just like you but I also knew it was better than suffering in the end. Now I have 3 more dogs and one is getting to be that age where he is not doing well anymore and it breaks my heart. Your story broke my heart and it never gets easy but they do bring so much joy into our lonely lives. My prayers are with you! She was a very cute dog!!

  70. Thank you for sharing the sweet story of Sadie. I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face as I know I will have to make this decision sooner than I’d like for my sweet little Sadie (yes, my almost 11-yr-old sweetheart is also named Sadie). She suffers from a heart condition that will take her sooner than I will be ready to let her go. God bless you as you walk this difficult road. I’m not looking forward to that journey.

  71. Lori Erickson says:

    Taken that walk many times…and each time I have added a furball to my life I sit and ask myself “will I be able to make that final decision???” When I could answer that with a resounding yes I added to my family….so very sorry for your loss…truly sorry….the rainbow bridge awaits!!

  72. Stacey, it’s not easy saying goodbye to an old friend, especially considering the circumstances. I’ve been in your shoes and our fur babies are our family! Tears streamed down my cheeks as I read your post. My heart breaks for you but you had to make a difficult decision; it was the right one for her. May the peace that passes all understanding surround you in the days to come. Prayers and warm hugs my friend.

  73. So very sorry for your loss. 💙

  74. I am so sorry for the loss of your puppy! A loss that is hard to overcome!! Prayers for you!!

  75. I am so sorry for your loss! Saying good bye to your furry baby is so hard. They really show what it means to have unconditional love. My heart was breaking while I read your story and even more as I write this. Know that you gave your little baby the best life she ever could have……she will forever be in your heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you….sending a big hug!!

  76. Glenda Summers says:

    Stacey, I really cannot add anything to the comments that others have already made, but I do believe that your decision was the wisest one for your dear Sadie. Praying God’s peace and comfort for all of you, especially dear Bailey, who just can’t understand where her friend has gone. You deserve all the comfort food you can get, and this soup/stew really sounds like the perfect cure for a broken heart. Hang in there! You are loved!

  77. Mary Jane Page says:

    Stacey, I’m so so sorry for your terrible loss of beloved Sadie. Our precious pets are family to us, and we love them so much, but you were very brave and I know it was so hard to to put her down. It takes compassion, strength, courage and love for Sadie that made it a little easier for you to make your decision. Just remember all the love and joy she gave to you throughout the years and you will always have the best memories of her that will you make you smile and bring laughter and joy to your 💓 heart.

  78. Please tell me you are not leaving for good!!! I <3 your recipes.

    As for the loss of your pet, I SOOOOOOOOOO understand where you are coming from. 2 weeks ago, hubby rushed our baby girl to the local Pet Hospital. She was diagnosed with a bladder infection, given a shot with 2 weeks worth of antibiotics, and she is FINALLY feeling like herself again.

    Sending you and your family mine (and hubby's) deepest condolences as this time.

    <3 <3 <3 <3

  79. Larry Roger Braden says:

    Stacey, sending you heart-felt condolences and hugs across the miles. I live in Thailand. Keep well.

  80. Stacey, I like everyone else is so sorry for your loss. My Sadie is still with me, but she is a great dane and is now 10 years old and I know I may be facing this decision one day. You did the right thing for your Sadie. She knows that. I know that decision is one of the hardest ones anyone who loves animals can make. In November of last year, I had to let my son go as he was suffering. There was no more hope and it was the hardest thing I had to do in my life. I feel guilty, sad, angry and downright lonely without him. There is a hole in my heart. Of his 50 years, I took care of him 38 years. When we have to make these hard decisions, it seems that there is someone looking out for us as well. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy and they say time will help. You never forget your pets, but you can move on. Take care.

  81. Our pets become members of our family and when the time comes for them just like for us, sometimes we have to make decisions. Your faithful Sadie is not suffering any longer, but its the ones she has left behind that suffer. That’s when Sadie’s family has to hold on to each other and share the memories you had with Sadie that will help you heal. You were good to your Sadie, provided love, warm home and food and she in turned enjoyed being a member of the family where she so fondly fitted in and gave her love right back and protected her family. Memories of good times with Sadie are worth more than money or gold. She will always be close by in your heart
    as the days become more tolerable. I am 74 years old and this is what I experienced when I had to put my toy poodle, Susie Lynn down 25 years ago but still remember her to this day.

  82. I am so very sorry about the loss of your companion Sadie. I know from experience the pain and heart ache are immeasurable. Even though you knew it was the right decision and you spared her further pain and declining health you will grieve, but being able to share this is cathartic. May time bring you peace and healing

  83. My heart hurts for you right now. I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose these sweet babies. Thank you for sharing a beautiful tribute to your Sadie.

  84. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your post brought me to tears this morning. Losing a beloved pet is so hard, and making a difficult decision, even when you know it’s the best, makes it even harder.

  85. Stacey, I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet Sadie. Right now the pain is raw, but in time, fond and fun memories of her will begin to ease your pain.

  86. This was a real tear jerker for me. I have enjoyed your writing for a long time now but you have never made me cry. I, like so many others in the comment section, lost my pet/best friend/sleeping buddy/and everything else that involves living daily life, about 3 years ago. I will never forget her (Chichi) or any of the other wonderful animals I have had over my lifetime. Well said Stacy, with compassion, love and tenderness. Thank you and just know that the passing of time does help and you are right, you will eventually remember more of the good times with Sadie, and, you will feel just how much she loved you.

  87. Catherine Keller says:

    A year ago today was the last time I could talk to and touch my big boy, Blue. He was 15 and had been getting weak. I’d had to catch a flight to Minneapolis; my daughter and son (both in their 30s) took him for his final visit. My heart still hurts. I miss him so much.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet dog. I find myself crying for your Sadie and my Blue. It’s so hard to say goodbye to a love and friendship that was so pure.

  88. yes, we had the same thing happen with our cat we had since she was a kitten, she was 16, not easy thing to do, such pain, google the poem “Rainbow Bridge”, very sweet in the loss of a pet.

  89. Genny Cochran says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I have had to make “The Decision” several times. It is certainly not an easy decision to make. Our pets bring so much joy to our lives.

  90. Sitting here with tears running down my face because your story was such a loving tribute to Sadie and to all the pets in our lives; it also brings back the times I’ve had to make the same decision. It’s never easy even when one knows it’s the right decision. And yes, the pain will recede because time helps but also because the joy Sadie brought into your life will always outweigh THAT moment. Thinking of you…

  91. I am so sorry for your loss. It is so hard to let them go, but it is the trust that they give us that makes it sometimes necessary. Hugs.

  92. Beautifully written—it is the hardest thing we do as their companions. Peace to you for the journey.


  94. One of the hardest things ever! My furbaby is 10 and I dread every vet visit thinking they are going to find something really wrong…besides her arthiritis and being a little pudgy like her mama (HA)! You will see her again…at the Rainbow Bridge if you haven’t read that poem you should…I haven’t got the insta pot yet but I’m thinking of giving it a try! Bless you as you walk through this grieving time of your life.

  95. Vanessa Grimmett says:

    So very sorry for the loss of your Sadie

  96. Oh, Stacey, I’m so sorry! Sadie is such a little precious looking doll! Oh my goodness, what a sweet face on that baby! I love reading your stories and I’m not in it just for the recipes. You are a good, authentic person and it’s a pleasure for me to read your writing. Your wife and son are pretty lucky! I have had to put a couple of cats to sleep in the past so I know exactly how you feel. And right now I have an 18-year-old cat with kidney failure. I’m keeping him as comfortable as I can with the vet’s help but I am not going to let him suffer. She told me what to look for and when it’s time to bring him in. And when that time comes I am going to be feeling exactly what you are now. God bless you and your family, Stacey!

    Aileen Searles

  97. Maureen Banner says:

    Stacy, my heart weeps with you. As an 80-year-old animal lover, I’ve experienced this grief more times than I would hope for. These creatures become a true member of our families and they are missed as much as our four-legged persons. She will always be in your heart and memories. Although it was devastating for you, she was given a loving pain-free way to go.

    God Bless you,

  98. Just precious! You are so right, it is our job to take their pain away, though it’s likely the hardest thing we can do as adults!

    Thank you for sharing your sweet stories, and adorable pics of your girl. She was a lucky doggie to have you. The love you shared is apparent in your post here.

    We received an IP for Christmas, and we’re having fun playing with it! I’m going to try this recipe soon, maybe tonight! 🙂

    • And I sure was lucky to have her! Thanks so much, Bobbie!

      Hope you’ll enjoy this recipe, too!

      • Hi again, Stacey. Wanted to let you know that we tried this last night and LOVED it! Little did we know that we really needed that comfort food, as our son called moments after we ate to tell us he was in a car accident! Luckily he’s fine, but the initial reaction was panic!

  99. I have a pure-bred mutt named Buckie, short for Buckeye-the state tree of Ohio. She’s three now and on each birthday, I dread her getting older because I know I will have to make ‘that’ decision some day. I’ve lost pets before but somehow she is different. I don’t think I will handle the loss of her very well at all and I know I will be miserable for months, if not years, afterwards. Last night, I started wondering how all the pets in Canada came to be. There’s a Rainbow Bridge there! Is that where they all end up? Canada? Really? It made me smile to think that somewhere in Canada someone will be able to love my Buckie as much as I do. (Spoiler: the Rainbow Bridge actually connects Niagara Falls, New York, to Niagara Falls, Canada, so I guess that makes the US responsible for the pets coming south on the Rainbow Bridge!) No matter where they come from, or where they go, pets will always tug at our heartstrings by enriching our lives, giving us love and helping us traverse the varied roads of our existence. Bless you, Stacie, for honoring the life of your precious Sadie.

    • It’s a dread that I think I’ll always have with each pet now, but in the end, I know it’s worth it in return for all the love they share with us. Thanks so much!

  100. Carole Kersey says:

    Our pets are part of our hearts and we do know when it is time.

  101. Sherry Webster says:

    I am so sorry about your sweet little dog. I just cried reading your story. We have gone through the same thing. It is never easy is it. Your story was a wonderful tribute to your sweet little dog, though. Prayers for comfort.

  102. Stacey, may good memories assuage your pain and bring you peace. You made the right, but tough, decision for your pet. You wrote a beautiful tribute and I hope it will be healing.
    God bless and keep you, Judy M

  103. I’m crying. 🙁 We have / had 2 older dogs – my first kids, really! We unexpectedly lost the healthier of the two about a year ago and I feel like we are living on borrowed time with the other. It’s been a hard year for me and my kids. Heartbreaking. Thank you for posting this. Comfort food does help a little.

  104. Audrey Harder says:

    Hello Stacey,
    My heart goes out to you for your profound loss. I felt an instant connection to you while reading your story. You see, I too just lost my precious baby boy Seppi. He was 18 yrs old and while he was 10 when I rescued him it feels like he was always mine. It’s only been a week for me and I still don’t like coming home to an empty house. No one looking out the glass door for me when I drive up, holding my slipper in his mouth and no wagging tail to great me. It’s funny, but I haven’t been able to wash the little kitchen mats because there are a couple of his dirty little paw prints still there. And I can’t wash the glass because his little nose prints are there and I don’t want to get rid of them. It’s not the first time I’ve been through this and probably won’t be the last. But it doesn’t get any easier. And another reason I felt connected with you, my granddaughter’s name is Sadie!
    I’m going to try your recipe, I love my Instant Pot. There are some good recipes at Bless you, Stacey.

    • Audrey, I know exactly how you feel. All those little reminders are suddenly so precious. I still have her blanket and toy on the ottoman of my chair. Just can’t bring myself to put them away. Prayers for you, my friend!

  105. Donna Brock says:

    Besides growing up always wanting to save animals, for over 25 years I was involved in, or either the head of, and animal rescue group. I’ve had so many sad, and soooo many more, happy experiences. Shortly after I officially started a tri-county group where I lived in GA after my late husband’s death, I got a call from a lady in Gainsville FL that had somehow heard of me, and ashed if there was anyway I could help her with a dog that they had found tied to a tree, and almost dead. I drove to FL, met here, and picked up the dog, a beautiful pure white German Shepherd, which I’ve always had a thing for. That was the first dog my late husband and I had bought at the beginning of our 40 years together. When I got back to our vet’s office, the whole staff rallied around him. They named him Kelso. Eventually it seems like everyone in our little town had heard of Kelso! People I would see in the grocery store would ask me about him, and contribute money to his care! He was very heartworm positive, and that was just the beginning! When he was strong enough to leave the vet’s office he came home with me, and went back and forth to the vet’s office with me everyday to continue his treatments while I did paperwork. I remember so clearly, a Thursday, that Russ, the vet asked me if I would make a dog food run to Sam’s in Albany. Kelso stayed at the vet’s office for his next round of bloodwork. When I returned a couple of hours later no one wanted to look me in the eyes! Kelso was in Kidney failure!! He had been so ill when I got him, that in a lot of cases instead of spending our meager funds on him, he would have been euthanized. But, there was just something about him, that all of us decided to give it a try! It was a heartbreaking decision to let him go. We had scheduled a car wash at the vet’s office for that Saturday, that was for funds for Kelso. As I tried to let people know the car wash was being canceled, they let me know they would be there in Kelso’s honor! They wanted to help raise funds in his honor to help the other dogs that we rescued! It was one of the most successful fund raisers we’d ever had! And no one could tell the water being squirted on people from the tears in their eyes! Kelso, without even being there, helped us to help so many others. This included another beautiful white GSD that I drove to Birmingham AL to pick up, that was found with the most terrible embedded collar I’ve ever seen, tied in the front yard of someone who moved and left him. He also was heartworm positive along with being very emaciated. He fostered with me during his treatment, and became my shadow. The staff at the vet’s office teased me, that even though he was a part of the rescue dogs, I would never would give him up for adoption. I was sitting in the vet’s office doing paperwork and making some reference calls for adopters, when Tammy walked into the office. Buddy, as we’d began calling the dog, because the whole time Russ, the vet was working on cutting the embedded collar out, kept saying, “It’s OK little Buddy. We’re here to help you!” walked out from behind the counter and went up to Tammy to check her out. She immediately stooped down and hugged him. She then looked at me and asked me if he was one of the dogs up for adoption. My heart fell, and with a lump in my throat, I said “yes.” The entire staff looked at me like they couldn’t believe it! Buddy had been with me almost four months as he was recovering, and was my sidekick! She said they were having some friends over the next Sunday as a small house warming for their new home, and asked me if I could bring Buddy out to her then. At least I had a few more days with him! I found out that they were quite well off and lived on a road named after their family, and owned several businesses in the area. Buddy was going to love his new home out in the country! To make a long story shorter, they renamed him Casper, and he became the king of Grimsley road! Tammy told me he’d never feel another collar on his neck! We estimated that when I took him into rescue he was close to 2 years old. Tammy had him for 17 years before his death! I later remarried and moved from the area, but remained dear friends with Tammy. When my current husband and I flew to FL for the birth of a grandchild, Tammy brought Casper down to see us. When we came to GA for a grandson’s graduation, she insisted we stay in their lake house, and of course brought Capser for visits. The last visit they brought him on, her husband had to pick him up and put him in the truck. He’d gotten quite feeble, and I figured he wouldn’t live much longer. He lasted another year and a half. One of my DIL’s that had gotten acquainted with Tammy and Casper said that when Casper passed she read more condolences on the internet than she’d ever seen for a human! He touched many hearts and brought the importance of rescue to the eyes of many people.
    Since marrying again a little over 12 years ago, and moving to my husband’s home in TX, I’ve gotten acquainted with a rescue group. I don’t actually foster for them, but when they get a senior dog that no one wants, when we can, we take them and let them live their out their life with dignity here on our place on the river. We have four rescue dogs of our own, a German Shepherd, a long haired Chihuahua, and two Pappillons. They always welcome these elderly dogs! And if they’re able our sweet Cinnamon boy teaches them all about swimming in the river, which was his therapy when we got him with a broken pelvis about 6 years ago.
    We have many moments of heartbreak! But, we have also have lots of happiness and laughter! I’ve had to learn that although your heart breaks when you loose one, that your heart has been filled with more love by that animal than you can imagine at the time. And it makes your heart bigger to receive more love and happiness.
    Honor your pet that has passed by sharing the love from him with others! 🙂

  106. Im so sorry. I went through that a couple of years ago – our relatively young dog had renal failure and we also had to put him down. I cried when I read this..for you..for me..for everyone that loves a pet. Praying for you.

  107. I am so sorry for your loss of your dog baby. It brought tears to my eyes reading your story. I also had to put my best dog friend down, and it was heartbreaking. I could barely stand to look at his toys or beds for the longest time. I took pictures of his things and made a memory book of him. I can look at it and remember the joy he gave me and take comfort in knowing he is waiting for me where he has no pain.

  108. My heart is breaking for you, Stacey! Please don’t let the loss of your beloved Sadie keep you from getting another dog. I have had one cat I had to make the hard decision for and another who took that decision out of my hands. I know I will be a wreck when something happens to my elderly dachshund and my getting older cat. They are family members so this hurts–bad.

    Keep telling your stories—and for the grumblers, post the link up front. Geesh, some people would NOT be happy if they were hung with new rope, would they? My late husband used to say that. Another loss that hurt just as bad as my furry family.

  109. Susan Powers says:

    So sorry for your loos. Remember God was with you that day when you walked into the pet store and he was with you that day that you had to let her go. Our animals give us a million little gifts during their time with us and the greatest gift we can give them is to let them go. I have my 15 year old cat snuggled up to me right now. He has renal failure as well. He has been doing well for over a year now, but I dread the day that changes.

  110. I came looking for a recipe and did not expect to be be commenting on your story. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s never ever easy saying goodbye. But I know like you know what a wonderful life they had because of you, me and them. We gave love and love was given. I’d do it all over again knowing that someday it would end. I’m doing it now. I can tell you are a very compassionate and caring person. It will be get better over time. Thinking goes thoughts for you. Peace.

  111. So Sorry for your loss, just know you and your Family gave her a Wonderful life, and she loved you all!

  112. Hello! First of all, so sorry for your loss. Second of all, I love reading your posts! The recipes are just an added bonus.

  113. So sorry to hear about your little furry buddy. We had to put ours down last year, too. 🙁 It’s the HARDEST thing I’ve ever had to do and I still miss the little dude—always will.

  114. This was one of our first Multi-function cooker tries. OMG is it good! Used CalRose rice for a “glue” factor. It made 3 dinners, one breakfast (I put a soft basted egg on top.) for 2 and an extra lunch. We’ll try half Rotel for tomatoes next time. Used tomato juice.

  115. So sorry for your loss. what a cutie! Having been in that position far too many times over the years, I cried right along with you. It’s a tough decision to make, even when you know it’s the right one! Her spirit will be with you, just free of the ailing body. Your older dog may even ‘see’ her. Hugs. BTW … that soup is my favorite.

  116. I’m so sorry for your loss. I understand completely what a difficult decision that was as we were in the same position with our sweet 14 year old Golden Retriever mix 3 years ago. It was one of the most emotional experiences of my life but we knew that his health problems were getting worse and we couldn’t bear to have him suffer. We loved that boy and miss him every day but we have so many wonderful, funny memories of him. I hope you find comfort in your memories of Sadie and the long, happy life she had with you and your family.

    I haven’t made the InstantPot leap yet but I’m considering it! I enjoy your website very much.

  117. Cindy Stevens says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your furbaby! She loved you and you love d her. I hope some day to rejoin all my furbabies that have crossed the rainbow bridge. Blessings to you

  118. Stacy, with so much love, so much pain follows. This is how life works…pain during childbirth…love abundant…then pain in parting. The guilt shall pass, the good memories shall return. Peace to you and to all those mourning the loss of their furbabies.

  119. Freda Newton says:

    I may be wrong, but I believe that God will have our special fur friends/family in Heaven to keep on sharing happiness if we ask Him to do so.

    This recipe sounds wonderful! Can I use a regular pressure cooker if I don’t have an electric Instant Pot?

  120. Hi New to forum,

    One of the reasons that I became a member was because the one thing that heals my soul is good ol southern comfort food. I have southern roots (mom) I was born in NOLA even though I grew up in New England (dad) We ate like southerners. It’s the food my mom knew how to prepare. She was the best. Also your story was real to me I thought I was going to lose my buddy last week when he collapsed. Colby has lost most of the bone mass in his knees. He was in alot of pain. I thought I was making “that” decision last week. The meds helped and good ol fashioned sweet pots , Rice and bit of meat. He still with us, I
    treasure him every day. One day at a time— Can I make the soup in a regular dutch oven?

  121. Elise T. Zajac says:

    Stacey . It hurts like heck. But you made the right choice to suffer the pain for her. My beloved died on my birthday a few years back.. But, she is a happy dog once she crosses the rainbow bridge. My baby is waiting to play with as my parents will look after her.

    • What a sweet thought, Elise! And even though that pain has been immense, I would gladly suffer than pain many times over for that sweet girl. Thanks so much!

  122. Penny Smith says:

    So sorry for your loss. Sadie was lucky to have you, and you her ❤

  123. I’m so sorry for your loss of Sadie! It brought me to tears reading this!
    It’s going on 9 years since I put my Libby down. She had cancer on her leg. I still miss her!
    So I really feel your pain! Their not just dogs…their family.

  124. Amber McCool says:

    We just had to make that awful decision for our beautiful boy. It has been three weeks and our tears are always just below the surface. I take comfort in feeling that he did not understand what was happening, but he definitely knew that his mamma was there holding him, stroking him and telling him how much we loved him. He only knew love until the end. If I was given the choice of more years at the expense of his health and joy, I would still make the same decision. What wondrous creatures God has blessed us with.

    • So true, Amber. I hate to hear that you’ve faced this recently too. Your perspective is post on. He only knew love right until the end. Sending thoughts your way!

  125. My heart goes out to you and your family. We’ve loved and lost many furry friends in the 48 years of our marriage. Our pets become additional members of the family. they make you laugh or cry and in the end you grieve for them. The good memories keep you going. You and your family are in my prayers. God bless you all.

  126. This was yummy! I cooked on HP for 15 minutes but would bring that down probably to 13 minutes next time. Definitely and easy recipe for lunch during the week. Thanks.

  127. Thank you so much for sharing your story about sweet Sadie. Hugs.

  128. My heart was breaking as you shared your story about your Sadie. Our sweet girl Riley died on the same day as your Sadie. She was 14 also. Two weeks later, I still find a tear in my eye when I realize she’s not at the door or that I don’t need to hurry and get home to Riley…but it is getting better. Thank you for sharing your tender feelings, they certainly echoed mine! I am planning on trying your Stuffed Cabbage Soup next week. We are having wonderful spring temps in SC this week!

  129. Dear Stacey,
    I am reading your post again this morning on “Letting GO” For some reason I have not been able to delete it. I have read it so many times and I still cry every time i read it as i know first hand what it’s like loosing a “Pet” a family member who has been so much fun, loyal and own’s a piece of your heart. I have lost so many of them over my 78 years and it’s never gets easier. I have a special place for each of them and remember all the wonderful times together and wish i still had them. It will get easier but you will never forget. I am so sorry for you and everyone who has to go through this. I finally had to not get another little one as it’s become much harder on me over the years and now I have gone through several operations, including heart surgery and now Cancer so I no longer have the time or energy to walk and take care of another one in my life and my last companion and friend was a West Highland Terrier who developed bone cancer..
    I am wishing you all the best and hope that hole in your heart will heal soon.
    Thank you for all your time and all the great recipes along with your story and sharing your life.

    • Darr, your comment brought tears to my eyes this morning. You are such a sweet and loving person to have given so many pets a warm lap to sit in. Each one is just another jewel added to your crown. I can’t thank you enough for your kind words.

  130. I’m trying to make your Instant Pot Stuffed Cabbage soup, but it my IPDuo keeps giving me the “burn” error. I followed your recipe and instructions (error), then added more V8 & beef broth (error), have stirred everything to make sure nothing’s stuck at the bottom (error, error), but keeps doing it. What am I doing wrong? At this point it would’ve been faster to cook it on my stove. :/

    • What size instant pot do you have? Typically, the burn error is given when there is not enough liquid, but that sure shouldn’t be the problem here. No one else has reported having that problem.

  131. Catherine A Smith says:

    I am so sorry for your loss of your beloved Sadie. I know it is heart breaking because at the end of last year I lost 4 senior cats to illnesses. I still have 4 senior cats and my senior dog Sammy left, which is 14 years old on March 19/18 My cats are turning 16 years old in March too. You can never really prepare yourself because they are so much a part of the family and their passing just tears at your heart. I will be praying for you and your family. God Bless you!! I will be making your recipes soon.

    • Thanks so much, Catherine! I sure appreciate your kind words. I hope you have many more years with your pets. 🙂

      • Catherine A Smith says:

        Thank you for your kind words. If you still have other pets you need to give them apple cider vinegar in their water which helps get rid of toxins that are in their dry food every day. Male cats & dogs can get urinary infections easy so apple cider vinegar really helps with that. I also nettle tea also is good for getting rid of the toxins your pets kidneys. I also give my pets dandelion root tea which also prevents cancer and so much more. Pollock Fish Oil really helps dogs and cats keeps them healthy and kelp powder is really good especially their teeth, the enzymes in the kelp powder gets rid of the plaque and tartar on their teeth and gives them fresh breath Check out Dr. Andrew Jones on YouTube he is a Veterinarian who believes in treating pets naturally, he has a book out called Veterinary Secrets.

  132. Sending prayers to you and your family, Stacey. Reading your post made me all teary.

    I’ve just bought my own Instant Pot (finally!) so I might give this recipe a try anytime soon. It looks really yummy. Hope mine would turn out perfect.

  133. My condolences are with you and your family. I look forward to making this dish. I was wondering what kind of rice you use for the recipe. I know there a different cook times with rice.

  134. Well, I did come here for the cabbage soup but your writing gripped me and when I saw that sweet puppy face I needed to read along. I am ever so sorry for the loss of your girl. I have lost a few pets now and it is just a hurt that cant really be explained until you have experienced it. We have two 1yr old morkie sister puppies right now and I will be squeezing them extra tight tonight! Thank you for sharing this story and I look forward to following along, now that I have found you!

  135. I want to tell you how sorry I am for your loss, but to also thank you for sharing. I too just had to have a beloved pet put to sleep. It is one of the hardest things in your life and your pets just love you for being you. I hope each day get easier for you. I can not wait to try the soup.

  136. Cynthia Bliss says:

    The best day of your life is when you bring them home and the worst is when you have to put them down.

  137. Ginger Hanson says:

    Stacey ~ I cried as I read your heart break. May 23rd was THE day for the first love of my life, my 17 y.o cat Begherra. He too had been thru it all with me. He was with me thru my darkest days of depression and the highest time of my life, meeting and marrying my husband. He was also there when DH passed and helped me thru those terrible days too. Loosing a furbaby is hard. Real hard. Thank you for sharing your story of love.

    • Thanks so much. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve experienced this pain all too recently. They are such lights in our lives. You are in my prayers, friend.

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