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Archive for July, 2011

On April 14 of this year I put my old dog down. She was almost fourteen years old, ancient for a Saint Bernard. She wasn’t able to get up to walk around anymore. When I woke up to her crying in the living room, having slipped and fallen down on the one hardwood spot that we hadn’t covered with carpet for her, unable to get back up, I knew it was time to let her go.

Choosing when an animal dies is so hard. There’s always that question in the back of the mind…what if it’s too soon? Who am I to decide this for her? What if she doesn’t want to go? What if this is a mistake? A great friend who also went through choosing to let go of an old, old dog friend, relayed what his vet had told him: An animal’s last day doesn’t have to be her worst day. He also told me that when we make the choice to bring animals into our lives, we also make the commitment to make the hard decisions that go along with creating both a life of quality¬†and a death of quality. I could have probably bought another month with Bridget. But at what cost? What quality of life would my old girl have been living?

We did everything right. A kind and very compassionate end-of-life-care veterinarian (Dr. Roberta Boyden) came to our home so that we wouldn’t have to stress Bridget out by putting her in the car and driving her to a smelly office. Bridget died in my living room, after a long brushing and some delicious treats. A family owned company that does pet cremation came and picked up her body shortly after. As painful as the process was, the sweetness of these folks who came to offer not just services, but condolences as well, made it bearable.

And I say so long to a great friend–one who saw me through my first real break-up, my first real leaving home, my first real cross-country trip to a new life, my first real parenting gig, my first real job, my first real marriage…the list goes on and on. She was a really special girl and I’ll love her and miss her forever.

 

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