• Tina Minden

Saying Goodbye to Your Fur Love

Updated: May 3, 2019

As I am writing this I am looking down at our new 10lb rescue puppy, curled in a ball taking his morning nap. He has brought so much joy to my life the past 3 weeks. He was definitely an angel sent by God to us, during a time that was dark and filled with much sadness.

1 month ago was one of the worst days of my life. I had to say goodbye to my companion of 14 years Sonny. He was there through some of the worst times of my life, always happy, giving me unconditional love, always at my side. Wherever I was , I could turn around and there he was staring at me wagging his tail. I have never felt so much love in my life.

He had been struggling for the past 6 months, with his osteoarthritis, that ended up being a neurological hip issue. He was diagnosed with this initially at 7 years old, after acupuncture and laser treatments and supplements, he was able to live a happy comfortable remaining 7 years. He would have a flare up or two a couple times a year, but other than that was fine.

About 6 months ago, he started having this issue in his hips as well, the vet diagnosed it as neurological , he could not stand for long, he was falling over, and curling his back feet as he couldn’t feel them. I thought we would have to say goodbye then. Thank goodness for his wonderful vet, Dr Kathleen Phillips, http://www.ossvh.com. She started him on a treatment plan that would buy him more time with us and keep him pain free and comfortable. Add weekly in home acupuncture and he was much better. I was so hopeful! I didn’t think about what was to come, but lived each day with him to the fullest; Spending as much time with him as I could. Even going to the extent of quitting my new job, ( many other reasons added ) and re launching my dog walking pet sitting business, to allow me more time with my boy. I tried my best to not think about the inevitable, and at times when I did and the tears would roll down my face there was my boy to lick them away and make me feel better and snap me out of it.

The week before I had to make the dreaded decision, I noticed for the first time his acupuncture didn’t work, it brought him no relief, In fact he was worse. This was also after re starting a steroid dose, which had many terrible side effects on him, and increasing his pain and neurology meds. I saw he was going downhill fast, and this time he may not snap back. He was having number 2 accidents in the house often, because when he had to go he just went due to having no more muscle control. I still remained hopeful though, all the while spending good time with my boy, giving him all the marrow bones and treats he wanted and we were even able to take a couple short walks.

The morning before I had to put him down, I took him out for his usual morning potty, and after going round and round in circles, completely off balance, he fell on himself while trying to potty. He looked back at me as I ran over to help him up, and I just knew, it was time. It was enough, he was not going to get better. We had to put a harness on him and help him up the entire day so that he would not fall and hurt himself and it turn into an emergency situation.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted home euthanasia. You see my boy hated to be in the car, he would tremble and pant and was miserable. I just couldn’t see driving him to his vet to be put down. I couldn’t have his last moment be filled with that stress.

So I mustered up all my courage and began to make the phone calls. First to his vet to see if there was anyway she could come over and do the procedure. I was willing to pay her anything , she had such a history with Sonny, and he trusted and loved her. They were unable to do this at home but referred me to a vet group that only does this, day after day, 6 days a week. It’s like a hospice group for animals https://peacefulpassage.net I called them and went over what was going on, and made the dreaded appointment. The woman on the phone was patient, caring, and sensitive , while I gave her the information needed in between hysterical crying. I made the appointment for the next afternoon. I spent that Thursday March 21st knowing this was my last day with my boy. I tried to stay positive and not think about it, I didn’t want to upset him. I gave him a favorite bone to gnaw on, but he was barely interested in it. He was not able to get up without my assistance, further confirming I was making the right decision for my boy.

The next morning, he was able to get up on his own, and we went out and he went potty. I had a small spark of hope and doubt about what I was doing. Was it too soon? Will he make another come back? Should I cancel the appointment and wait? I prayed to God for a sign, he had to help me. Well I got my sign, after breakfast, Sonny was not able to stand for long at all, but instead would fall to the floor completely laying down. I had to help him up to his bed. Then a few hours later, while I was working, I heard him crying and I ran over to him, he was trying to get up , I helped him up and he pooped all over his bed and floor. My poor baby was not able to go potty on his own- God gave me the sign. He cried due to pain, he looked at me as if to say “ Im Sorry I pooped on the floor mommy, I really tried to get up”. That was it for me, the look in hie eyes and the incident just confirmed , I made the right decision. His quality of life was poor and I was not going to keep him like that just for my own selfish reasons .

This was the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my life. How was I going to say goodbye to the love of my life, the boy who had been by my side for 14 years. How was I going to move forward in life without him? How would I possibly function?

The euthanasia vet arrived and did a consult with us, they are very honest and if they feel it’s too soon, they tell you it’s too soon. After telling her, and after her seeing him, she agreed with my decision. I just kept remembering what my niece , who is a vet tech had told me months prior. “that is the last act of kindness and love we can do for our pets when its time” . that rang in my ears, and that got me through this.

She explained the procedure in detail to me, they would sedate him first, that could take a few minutes and that was the best time to say our goodbyes. She said because he was larger ,it may take a little longer. My boyfriend and I laid with Sonny on his bed while this took effect. I feel lucky because it did take longer, and he was alert a little longer, which gave me a few more minutes with my boy. We were both hysterically crying. I had my face near Sonny and the last thing he did before going under sedation was look at me with those big brown angel eyes and lick my whole face. He was forever the caregiver , taking care of his mommy even at the end. Love was pouring out of me with the tears. He peacefully fell asleep, with his little head in his paws with my arms around him. When the injection for euthanasia was given, that is how he passed. He just looked like he was having the most peaceful sleep he has had in months.

We spent a few more minutes lying with him, before my boyfriend helped the vet gently place him in the car to take him away to be cremated.

I was in shock, in the most indescribable pain ever, my heart and soul was gone. The calls poured in from friends, family and my daughter. Everyone was so supportive and so concerned about me. They knew the bond I had with my boy was like no other.

It was the worse pain I have ever experience. I have been through a couple of divorces, bad relationships and even the death of my mother. Nothing compared to this. It has taken me 12 days just to sit down and write this blog. But I needed to write this, for others to read and hear my experience. Maybe I could help someone going through the same thing. Maybe my words would bring comfort to someone else having to make the same decision and are not sure.

I didn’t believe it when they said, you will know when its time, your dog will tell you. Well they were right, God gave me the strength to know, and my boy told me when he was done. My advice to anyone having to go through this- trust your gut. Watch and listen to your dog, if you have a bond like I did, they will tell you. It will be the most difficult thing you will have to do, but it will be the last act of love and kindness you can give to your cherished pet.

You will survive, it will feel like you wont, but you will. You will cry until there are no more tears. I am still crying writing this. You may lose your appetite, and not be able to function daily. You will feel like you are in a fog of depression. Your heart will hurt, but you will survive. I put together a photo book of me and my boy, and I put together a video which helped with the healing. Having a little memorial may help with closure as well. I opted to have my boy privately cremated, I am picking him up today. His paw print will be on the lid of the box. That brings me comfort. Every day gets a little bit easier, and there are a little less tears.

3 weeks ago I decided to rescue a puppy, and this boy has actually rescued me. I highly recommend the same. He has brought me more love and joy in the past 3 days, and laughter. he’s my new little angel sent to help me get through this. I am blessed to have a dog walking, pet sitting business, and be a pet nanny; this allows me the time required to invest in this new puppy. He’s not my Sonny, but I already love him so. My focused has turned to him instead of my grief. For the first time in 12 days I have an appetite, I have smiled and I feel love again.

This is what my Sonny would want for me. I find comfort knowing Sonny is with his grandma in heaven, running around, pain free, waiting till he sees his mamma again someday. I hope you all enjoy this memorial video I put together of my boy.

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