Boy Adopted From Foster Care Has Incredibly Wise Words for Mom After Putting His Dog To Sleep

Robbie Gay weeps before his dog passes away
Maria Henry Gay/Facebook

Losing a beloved family pet is hard at any age, but it's especially difficult when you're young. Unfortunately, it's a heartache that Maria Henry Gay's family recently had to endure after learning their sweet dog Buffy had advanced kidney failure and would pass away soon. Before rushing to put the pup to sleep, Gay knew she had to break the news to her son Robbie. In a heartfelt Facebook post that's making its way around Facebook, Robbie's wise words about treating animals with love and dignity -- especially in their final moments -- is touching hearts all over the internet.

  • In her post, which was shared February 6, Gay explained that the news of Buffy's diagnosis was sudden.

    "Buffy was scheduled to have her teeth cleaned and removed today, but Dr. Mac had a gut feeling she needed to look at some lab work before putting her under anesthesia," the mother wrote. "She was right; Buffy showed signs of advanced kidney failure so anesthesia was not an option and as a family we decided that the kindest and most loving thing to do would be to let her go before she lost her will to live and stopped eating and drinking."

    The family adopts senior dogs, Gay explained, so this wasn't the first time they'd lost a pet in its old age. Still, that doesn't necessarily make it any easier.

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  • Being there when a pet is put to sleep can be traumatic, which is why many parents may opt to leave their children home during the procedure.

    But Gay said she "wouldn't have dreamed of leaving Robbie out of this decision," and allowing him to be part of the entire process was important so he could say goodbye in his own way.

    So she immediately drove to Robbie's school to sign him out, and broke the news to him gently.

    "On the way there he told me he wanted to be the one to hold her when she went to Heaven," Gay shared. "And of course, I gave him that honor. On the way home I told him how proud I was of him for understanding the importance of caring for old animals and helping to make sure they never ever suffer."

  • But if the mother thought she was the one imparting the wisdom that day, she soon learned she was sorely mistaken.

    Robbie, she later explained in her post, was adopted out of the foster care system, after what Gay describes as years of severe abuse and neglect. As a result, he's experienced far more in his lifetime than most kids his age, and it's in moments like these that it certainly shows.

    Moments later, the boy turned to his mother and said something Gay wasn't expecting but will never forget:

    "I know how it feels not to be loved or cared for and I don't want any animal of mine to ever feel that way. It's only sad for us when they go to heaven. It's a happy day for them. Thank you for being proud of me. Are you ok, Mom?"
  • Robbie's wise words tugged at his mother's heartstrings, and they sounded as though they came from a person more than twice his age.

    "From the mouths of babes ... " Gay wrote, marveling at her son's maturity and empathy.

    "Robbie LOVES adopting senior dogs," she continued. "He is sadly aware the longer a child remains in foster care the less likely they are to be adopted. He told me once 'if all you guys had wanted was a baby, you would have never gotten me.' He relates to our 'old people' (that's what we call our senior dogs) in much the same way."

    (Excuse us while we go bawl our eyes out ...)

  • Perhaps it comes as no surprise to Gay that her son is wise beyond his years.

    After all, she shared, this isn't the first time his musings on life have struck her as profound.

    "He has also reminded me on several occasions that it doesn't matter how long you have something for how much you love it," she wrote. "I asked him what he meant and he said "well you've only known me for two years but you love me like it's been forever."

  • As the post made its way around Facebook this week, many people left their condolences for Gay and her family.

    "They give us so much during their too short lives, you gave her a peaceful and kind goodbye in return," wrote one person. "You came through when she needed you, even though it hurt. Both of you were very brave today. I'm so sorry about your loss."

    Commenters also couldn't help but give virtual applause to Robbie.

    "Wow! This is such a touching picture, and Robbie's words are so wise and loving," wrote one woman.

    "He is a special little man," someone else added. "God bless him, and his awesome heart."

    Others thanked Gay for sharing the touching, but difficult story with the rest of us -- many of whom are suffering through similar losses ourselves or know the pain of a loss all too well.

    "I’m going through the same thing," one person commented. "Thank you for helping me make the decision to let my children be present -- they’re 9 and 10, so I wasn’t sure, but after this touching read I too will let them hold our precious 16-year-old dog as we put her to sleep with dignity. Thank you for sharing and so sorry for your loss."