Tag Archives: aging pets

On The Loss Of A Dog: Saying Goodbye to Tucker

Dogs can’t live forever & we have to say goodbye to them at some point.  Having worked for a number of years in Veterinary clinics, I have seen lots of pet parents say goodbye to their beloved animals.  Because of this, I have given a lot of thought over the years to what would be the ‘best goodbye’ for each my dogs.  What would provide them comfort at the end of their lives & what would give myself (and my husband) quality last moments with each of them.

It’s hard when your pet is dying to know exactly when to say goodbye.  Some articles on the subject will tell you to make a list of the things that bring your dog joy & evaluate how many of those things they can still do.  By the end, Tucker had no real joy left.  Additionally, he had horrible nasal discharge (caused by the tumor in his nose) & was vomiting up his food.

For Tucker’s best goodbye, my husband & I tried to give him all of his favorite things.  This included smelling stuff outside, eating EVERYTHING that he couldn’t have on his diet, and him on my lap for his final moments.  It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done & it completely broke my heart.  I felt it was important to be there for Tucker as he left this world. Before even having a dog, I read the Dog’s Ten Commandments, and the tenth one reads “Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch it” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for ME if you are there. Remember that I love you.” When I adopted Tucker, I promised myself that I would be with him until the end no matter how hard.

The first month after losing Tucker was really hard.  There wasn’t a day without tears & Emmit struggled to find his footing as an only dog.  There are still days, where the grief hits like a ton of bricks—I suddenly remember the feeling of Tucker’s fur beneath my fingers & his weight in my lap.  I give myself a little time to wallow in the grief, but then I move on.  He brought so much laughter & fun into my life & that it what I will choose to focus on.  Tucker was an AMAZING dog & I vow to remember him with joy.

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Old Dog, New Trick

11-year old Emmit loves to learn.  He eagerly learns the name of each toy that come in our house & he will find that toy in the toy box any time you are willing to play.  Once I became a ‘stay-at-home dog mom’, I was determined to teach him a few new things.  Unfortunately, my plans were quickly derailed because he had some health problems.

About a month ago, I was hiding his pills in a treat & I realized that I was wasting a good opportunity.  Here I was giving him a treat three times a day for doing nothing.  He didn’t seem to notice that the treats have pills inside, so why not use do some training?  I will mention that he LOVES these treats.  I do sometimes mix things up & give the treats without the pills.

Why waste a training opportunity?
Why waste a training opportunity?

We’ve decided to teach Emmit a command that we call “Go to mat”.  It’s having him go stay on his dog bed until he is released.  Not only does he run to his mat, every time we give the command, but it’s been amazing to have him out from underfoot when we’ve had deliveries.

I won’t go into the step-by-step details on how we’re teaching him, but it was no different than teaching a younger dog.  Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks never met Emmit!