I just wanted to pop in and talk about dogs real quick.
I guess yesterday was National Dog Day, so it’s sort of appropriate. But the real reason is because today, twice actually I read about two different people putting their dogs down, and now I’m bawling after the last one.
I’ve been there. November 14, 2011 I had to put down my first dog Chloe. Unfortunately by the time I realized it was time to let her go, she was having so much trouble walking, just getting her out the door to go to the bathroom was a struggle, and once we did, she would just lay down in the plants outside the door unable to move. When I say it happened overnight, it happened literally, overnight. So there wasn’t really time for “dog’s best day” last day, as it was more, “wait for mom to get home from work, and then it was time.”
I mean, she had had cancer for a while. In fact, she had it twice. She was kind of known as the miracle dog down at our vet’s office. Back a couple years earlier she had a cancerous tumor the size of a melon in one of her kidneys. By some miracle, our vet was able to successfully remove it (after a phone call telling us it was worth a try because if she didn’t die on the table, she would have died from the cancer soon after), thus giving her another two years. I still maintain that if I am ever in a position to write lump sum donation checks, a hefty sized one is going directly to our veterinarian, who not only removed the tumor, but did so for free because he was so sure she wasn’t going to make it anyway.
But as it so unfortunately often does, the cancer came back, and this time she didn’t have a spare kidney. So I mostly spent the afternoon feeding her literally all of the treats in our house, and hoping she didn’t understand why I was crying. But at the same time I hope she did understand, and understand why.
I won’t go super into detail about how the ride to the vet was obviously the worst one I’ve ever taken. The point I always want to make clear when situations like this come up is the thing I struggled with that afternoon as I waited to take that drive. I sat and mulled over and over whether or not I was going into the exam room with Chloe while the vet put her down. It was so easy to say “I can’t.” It was easy to wait in the car and pretend she was being dropped off for boarding or something. But what wouldn’t be easy was living with the fact that I wasn’t with her for her last moment.
I had read an a message written to Post Secret (does anyone remember that?) way back before all of this happened. It was written by a woman who worked at a vet’s office. It said simply that owners should always go in with their pets, because “they look for you when you’re gone.” And that is why I went in. And no matter how hard it is to watch, I promise you you will feel better knowing that they knew you were there with them.
It’s weird. I don’t think about Chloe as much as I thought I would. Sometimes I don’t even remember what she was like, and when I think back to her, I just see Maddie, the golden retriever I got shortly before Chloe died. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crying now revisiting that whole scenario. I don’t even really know why I’m talking about it now. But I guess those two stories today really brought it back for me.
I don’t know. Ha. If you take anything from this random blurb, love your pups, because their lives are way, way too short, and always go in for those last few minutes. Because as hard as it may be to be in there, I promise it will be 10x harder to picture your little bud looking around wondering where you are. 💖