Emmit took an extra snooze today in honor of his favorite new holiday. This is the perfect thing for this old dog (especially after the time change). Did you take a nap today??
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.
The last few months have been tough at our house and I’ve had to step away from the blog for a while. Shortly after my last post here, we found out that Tucker had a tumor in his nasal cavity & we ended up having to euthanize him on October 13th. I will share some more details about saying goodbye to him in another blog post (coming soon). The last few months have been tough without him, but I’m choosing to remember him with joy instead of sorrow. Tucker was the light of my life & I was truly blessed to have so many years with him.
I never really thought that Emmit was particularly attached to Tucker & he didn’t particularly mourn Tucker’s death. I am actually glad that Emmit’s doing well, because I don’t think my heart could have taken seeing Emmit sad. I would actually say that Emmit’s thriving as an only dog. His Dad & I are seeing new aspects of personality coming out & he’s better on walks (most likely because his humans are more relaxed).
It’s definitely taking a few months, but we’re finding our new normal. I guess now we’re just life with one old dog (but we’ll keep the blog name the same).
This has been a really tough week.
It all started on Sunday when we left the dogs for an hour to go out for breakfast. We came home to find out that Tucker had urinated on his bed & the floor (which is not normal for him). He had also apparently laid in his bed after urinating on it. I had to wash his bed & give him a bath. Tucker seemed fine the rest of the day on Sunday– he even ran around a little after his bath time.
On Monday morning, Tucker lost his balance & fell over when going out in the morning. He was unsteady on his feet for the next few days. We were a little concerned & kept a close eyed on him, but he kept improving. By Thursday, Tucker seemed back to his normal self.
This morning, he fell down the last few stairs coming from our bedroom down to the living room. It seems that he also urinated upstairs. Now he seems to be stiff in the hind end & slightly out of it. I’m concerned that he had a stroke. We are headed off to the vet today to find out what they say.
No matter how old your dog is, or how long you’ve had them, it is never enough time. I’m not ready to go from ‘life with old dogs’ to life with old dog’. I just know that I need to do what’s best for my best friend. Fingers crossed.
Every Friday, I sit down and fill up the pill holders. That’s the day it really hits me that my dogs are OLD. Emmit is only 11, so I would imagine that he may be around for a while. Having bad hips isn’t death sentence and we are doing what we can to keep him young (both mentally and physically). Tucker, on the other hand, is 17. When I fill up his pill holder, I feel lucky that we made it through another week together. He sleeps a lot, but the bad days (which come in spurts) are few & far-between. Cross your fingers–I hope to fill up all these pill holders again next week.
Some days, I feel like ALL I do is clean up dog hair. Neither Tucker or Emmit actually enjoys being brushed, so I have a small window of time to brush them before I run out of bribery or they they run out of patience with me. It is depressing to think of the number of vacuum cleaners we’ve been through over the years. We’ve managed to kill countless $100 vacuums & we’re now on our second Dyson. I Swiffer, I sweep, but it never goes away. This is glamorous life of a stay-at-home dog mom.
Both of the dogs have decided that life is more fun without all of their organs intact. It was an expensive & traumatic decision for them to make.
In 2012, Tucker had a tumor on his spleen that ruptured. It was incredibly traumatic, sending him into surgery not knowing if he would come back out alive. We were fortunate, not only that he survived the surgery, but also that the tumor ended up to be benign (non-cancerous)!
Last year, our veterinarians found a liver mass on Emmit. After going through the trauma with Tucker, we felt surgery was necessary, so we sent him to a surgeon to have a liver lobe removed. Suprise, his was ALSO benign. Prior to surgery, Emmit had some pretty awful liver values. As of right now, the tumor has not returned & his values look good.
Here’s to a LONG life with missing parts & amazing veterinarians who make it possible!