It’s Never Easy

1 Apr

I don’t normally write blog posts when I’m an emotional knapsack (anyone know where I stole that line from?) but today it’s a different story. (I also apologize for the lack of creativity and well-formed sentences and any grammar/typos in this post. I just need to get this out.)

One of my family dogs, Bear, is sadly going to be euthanized, a term I hate because it sounds so medical, on Thursday night.

(I don’t have any photos of Bear on my work computer which perhaps will make this less sad and less real. I’m not entirely sure.)

Bear came to us in 1996, a cute, cuddly little fur ball of a puppy, a combinaton of Black Lab/German Shepherd/probably a little Husky in there too. My brother named him Bear because as a puppy that’s exactly what he looked like: a baby bear.

I took on the responsibilities of working with him on learning how to sit, lie-down, potty training and etc. I slept with him in the kitchen on countless nights, waking up at 2 a.m. for bathroom runs, played with him endlessly and even tried to crate train him. (He detested the crate. He preferred people and soft carpets to the crate.)

Bear went from a small 10 pound puppy to a full-sized, protector-of-the-house-and-family dog within a year weighing an astounding 90 pounds.

He’s never liked the vet. He’s never liked strangers coming in our house and he made it quite clear which boys he did and did not like when I brought them home. (For the record, he loves Irish.) He has a loud, strong bark that terrifies the UPS man.

If you know Bear or got to know him, he’d love you as much as he loves our family. Not a night goes by he doesn’t sit by the table hoping for some table scraps or joins the family in the living room in hopes of obtaining an endless supply of head-petting and belly rubs. He always gets them.

Bear is 13 years old which is a long time to live for a big dog but as of late he’s had trouble walking, climbing steps and standing up after sleeping. It’s horrible to see the pain in his eyes which I interpret as the humiliation he feels for not being able to do what he once could.

After seeing a mobile vet service on the road a few weeks ago I called Darling because she had been looking for an option which didn’t involve loading Bear into the car which was sure to be a painful experience for him. The appointment was last night and the results were dire. Not only is he having hip issues, he has a large tumor in his stomach, which explains the recent incontinence he’s been experiencing.

My parents couldn’t and didn’t want to put him to sleep on the spot, so it’s scheduled for tomorrow.

I’m really at a loss for words; how do you say goodbye to a dog? How you do apologize to him for the pain he’s been through? How do you handle it when the other family dog looks for him? How strange will it be to go to my parents house and not be greeted by Bear? How will Jack react? (Bear and Jack love to play tug of war and chase each other around my parent’s house.) 

Although I haven’t been around for many years of his life (due to college and living on my own), Bear is part of the family, part of my family, our holidays, our photos and much more. I have cried into his fur more than once. We have gone for walks, played fetch, endured stressful trips to the vet, baths (which he hates) and so much more.

He will be missed.

I know they have a good spot for him already in Dog Heaven with lots of meaty bones, a soft bed for him and photos of his family that will love him forever.

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24 Responses to “It’s Never Easy”

  1. SoMi's Nilsa April 1, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    Sorry to hear about Bear. As a fellow dog owner, I know how hard it is to face the eventual passing of our pets. My thoughts are with you.

  2. DocE April 1, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    I’m so sorry to hear about your doggie. I know when the time comes for mine it will be incredibly painful. Think of you.

  3. Larissa April 1, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    aww, sweetie! boy do I know this all too well… as you already know my parents had to put our family dog to sleep completely out of the blue, after 13 years of being a loyal friend and wonderful companion. I will keep you & your family in my thoughts. *hugs* <3
    “photos of his family that will love him forever”
    – so very true.

  4. Liz April 1, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    Oh man, that is tough. Hope you get some good quality time with him before tomorrow. If only the pain meds from wisdom teeth surgery helped pains of the heart.

  5. Amber April 1, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    I’m so sorry to hear about that, these things are so tough.

    My childhood dog was put down last winter. It was hard for me because I hadn’t seen her for several months because I was so far away at school and didn’t get to say goodbye. She was very old and she had a good life, but it was still a sad, sad thing.

    The only advice I can offer is to say goodbye to him and give yourself the chance to grieve about it. Those kinds of things are never easy. XO

  6. MissMusing April 1, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    I’m so sorry to hear the bad news :( Sending lots of love and positive thoughts your way.

    (from FRIENDS!)

  7. butterflycharlie April 1, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    Oh no, i’m so sorry. My golden lab Saffy was put down last year as she was so ill. I love her so so much and i miss her every day, even though i wasn’t around that much for the last 2 years of her life. She was such an amazing dog and even now i brag about all the little things she did like she was my child. Its awful and im sorry about Bear. I know what you mean about not being greeted by him; I still listen out for Saffy barking or the thunder of her paws down the stairs when i ring the doorbell at my dads. I guess you have to take solace in the fact that if hes poorly, its best hes not suffering anymore and im sure he knows how much he was loved. x

  8. mandy April 1, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    Oh Nora, I am so sorry! Its not easy and there are no easy answers. Just tell Bear how much you love him and be there with him. Sending major hugs your way.

    A Parting Prayer

    Dear Lord, please open your gates
    and call St. Francis
    to come escort this beloved companion
    across the Rainbow Bridge.

    Assign her to a place of honor,
    for she has been a faithful servant
    and has always done her best to please me.

    Bless the hands that send her to you,
    for they are doing so in love and compassion,
    freeing her from pain and suffering.

    Grant me the strength not to dwell on my loss.
    Help me remember the details of her life
    with the love she has shown me.
    And grant me the courage to honor her
    by sharing those memories with others.

    Let her remember me as well
    and let her know that I will always love her.
    And when it’s my time to pass over into your paradise,
    please allow her to accompany those
    who will bring me home.

    Thank you, Lord,
    for the gift of her companionship
    and for the time we’ve had together.

    And thank you, Lord,
    for granting me the strength
    to give her to you now.

    Amen.

    © Brandy Duckworth, 1998

  9. Kimberly April 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    I’m so sorry to hear about this. Pets become such an inportant part of our families. It’s never easy losing one and making the decision to put one down is really hard. Just be happy you get the chance to say goodbye and that he didn’t die suddenly with no notice. I’ll be thinking of you.

  10. Gigi April 1, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    Oh, I am so so sorry! I have been through this twice, and my eyes are watering for you! Losing a pet is one of the toughest things you can go through. It is perfectly ok to cry, be sad and to mourn. The only thing that will you help is that Bear will be free from pain, and knowing that your family gave him a wonderful life. I’m thinking of you.

  11. Lily April 1, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    *hugs*

  12. ria April 1, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    post like these bring tears to my eyes. pets, especially dogs are close to my heart. you and your family have given him a wonderful life and i think it’s so much nicer everyone will be with him tomorrow. huge hugs for you, i’m so sorry its so hard to do this, we put our lab to sleep when she was 14 because she could no longer walk. I’ll be thinking about you and your family.

  13. lucklys April 1, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    lots of hugs for you and stroking for bear :( my family dog is 14 going on 15 and still acts like a puppy, though he’s very stiff. i don’t want the day to come when he’s no longer there to greet me when i visit home, especially since we inherited him from my grandma when she died in 2001. he’s really the last living part of her.

    my brother (who died in 2007) bought my parents a collie puppy for their anniversary the year before he died. she ended up having epilepsy due to inbreeding and being weaned from mother’s milk 4 weeks early (i think she was around 4 weeks when he got her). the epilepsy was so bad by the time she turned one that my mom decided she had to be put down. she was having seizures almost twice a day and the doctor bills were getting to be in the thousands of dollars a week.

    you just have to remember the good times you had with them, the good life they lived while they were with your family and that you did the best you could, while you could.

    stay strong <3

  14. nova April 1, 2009 at 6:56 pm #

    I Loved You Best
    Copyright © Jim Willis 2002,
    all rights reserved

    So this is where we part, My Friend,
    and you’ll run on, around the bend,
    gone from sight, but not from mind,
    new pleasures there you’ll surely find.

    I will go on, I’ll find the strength,
    life measures quality, not its length.
    One long embrace before you leave,
    share one last look, before I grieve.

    There are others, that much is true,
    but they be they, and they aren’t you.
    And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought,
    will remember well all you’ve taught.

    Your place I’ll hold, you will be missed,
    the fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.
    And as you journey to your final rest,
    take with you this…I loved you best.

  15. Kelly April 1, 2009 at 6:59 pm #

    Aww that’s so sad. I had a friend who was out of town when they put her childhood pet to sleep, and in some ways it was easier. This may sound weird, but I swear dogs are so smart…they just know. My childhood dog has similar problems, and so I have been making an effort, as of late, to just sort of talk to him about it. You just look into their big eyes and know…you love them too much to see them in so much pain. Plus, all dogs go to heaven.

  16. Jennifer April 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm #

    So sorry for your loss; that is always a tough thing to go through. You are in my thoughts.

  17. ryan April 1, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    I’m so sorry. Pets are like a part of the family. I’m sure Bear knew he was loved

    ryan

  18. Akirah April 1, 2009 at 10:14 pm #

    Oh no! I’m sorry to hear this. I know it’s hard, but you’ll get through this. Bear is lucky to have a friend like you.

  19. SSG April 2, 2009 at 1:55 am #

    Sorry to hear about Bear, he sounds such a great part of the family and that he loved you all just as you loved him. lots of hugs and wishes sending your way.

  20. sleepyjane April 2, 2009 at 3:21 am #

    I am so sorry. We also had to put one of our loved dogs to sleep. She also had cancer and stuggled to walk. Sammy was really old as well.

    It’s so so so hard to day goodbye to a pet.

  21. oh April 2, 2009 at 8:24 am #

    You told me not to read this (cuz I’d cry) but I’ve read it all anyway and the outpouring of understanding and comfort is beautiful…and the prayers (above) that people sent…I’m staying home with the Bear today. I’ll whisper all these wonderful wishes to him.

  22. brookem April 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    aww honey, im so sorry. thinking of you lots, and sending you some hugs.

  23. Christina April 2, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    Pets are always considered part of the family. They are considered as a best friend as well. I’m sorry for what Bear will go through, but I do agree that there is a spot ready for him in Dog Heaven and he will sure be spoiled up there. Take care.

  24. Alesia April 3, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    I’m so sorry, Nora. That’s so hard. Thinking of you….

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