Nov 2, 2007

Saying goodbye


With the release of the Dogs Life Nov/Dec 2007 edition — an Older Dogs Special — we have been receiving emails and letters from readers about saying goodbye to their canine companion.
This has brought a flood of childhood memories of my previous German Shepherds, Blackie and Rex. Blackie died tragically at a mature age — he was hit by a speeding car — but I had time to say goodbye to my old mate Rex, who suffered from cancer.

Being a responsible pet owner isn’t just about caring for your dog when he’s alive. It’s also about making the tough decisions — especially one that end his life. After much deliberation and communication with our vet, my family finally decided to put Rex down to set him free from the suffering.

It has been 25 years since Blackie died and a little over two years since Rex left our side. My parents still keep Blackie’s photos around the house — his death certificate sits at the back of his own doggy photo album. Rex’s collar hangs in my younger brother’s room. They are gone in the physical sense, but not in spirit. I think they always look after us when we remember them.

3 comments:

jade said...

i am very worried about my 8 month old cattle x husky, she went into the emergency hospital yesterday moring after being bitten by a brown snake and she is hanging in there (they keep saying) she was on a ventilator for most of the night but is now breathing on her own. they keep telling me she is stable and at first i was optimistic but it is taking so long. has anyone else been in this situation. how long did it take for your dog.

Caroline - Editor said...

Hi Jade, I'm sorry to hear about your dog. Snake bites can certainly be fatal! But if she's stable, then that's a good sign. The situation was different with Rex. He was not in hospital, but spent most of his days sleeping. It was only when getting up for the toilet became unbearable and life was just too painful for him is when my family decided it was time to go.
I just interviewed a lovely lady who does distance healing and it is amazing how strong our bond is with our pets. I don't know if you have an interest in natural therapies, Reiki, etc. But next time you visit, try putting your hands on your dog and send her thoughts of love, strength and happiness. Let her know you are there waiting for her. This may be what she needs to return home...
We are all praying for a speedy recovery.

Nat said...

Saying goodbye to your canine companion is so hard.I recently had to make the difficult decision with my Blue Heeler,Digger.Digger was my constant faithful and loyal canine companion for the past 16 years of my life.He outlasted my first marriage even.He also played a part in selecting my new partner (now husband).If Digger didn't like him then there was no hope.Digger lived a great life for a dog.Everyone used to say that he lived a better life than some people.He loved his food-was particularly partial to my home cooked dog food,loved fresh fruit and vegetables (used to eat raw capsicum and pumpkin,grilled zucchini and asparagus,watermelon, apples,bananas,etc,etc.He had an in built alarm clock that went off each day at 430 pm when he had his first bark for his evening meal.He then gave me reminder barks every 15 mins after that.A funny dog.He loved his football and going for long walks.He loved swimming at the beach.He was known for his huge personality.He wasn't just another dog,he was part human.I'm sure he thought of himself as being a strange little man dressed in a dog costume.With old age he was going deaf and blind (sometimes his deafness was selected hearing,very male).Anyway,I had to make the decision in mid Sep.Digger had severe arthritis in his hips and had a tumour in his anus.He had already had tumours and a toe removed from his front left paw,near his eye and under his chin.He recovered well from his ops but one day in Sep he seemed to go down hill very fast.He had trouble walking and standing at the beginning of the week and by Wed he was no longer able to eat and if he did manage to stand and walk could no longer go to the toilet.I did everything I could to make his life comfortable and extend it humanely over the past few years.He took medication and natural medications and had alternative therapies like physio,massage and acupuncture.But it was no longer enough.As much as I had to make the final decision it was Digger who told me it was time by the look in his eyes.My husband rang our terrific vet who said that it was time,and on the Fri afternoon we put down our beloved Digger T-Bone.I elected to have him cremated and plan to spread some ashes near his favourite places-the beach,the park,a walking trail and at home.I also plan to create a memorial with a water feature containing water lilies as he loved the water so much.Ive already had a plaque made to place near the water feature.I also plan to write a book about him.Even if it is only read by my family and friends it will keep his memory alive.Before I had Digger if anyone would have said that your heart is held hostage by the love of a dog-held hostage by his loyalty,faithfulness,love and friendship I would have said your were talking rubbish.But Digger took hostage of my heart and still has it today.He left behind my husband and I plus his best mate a Sheltie-Heeler Cross called Lucy.She misses him but is slowly aclimatising herself to life on her own.We would like to get another Heeler but would like to do that when we have our first child.My husband who was taken by Digger too has even picked out a name for him.Digger T-Bone RIP we miss you mate.