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.
When you have two really old dogs (and it’s 90 degrees outside), long walks are out of the question. It is my responsibility to find other ways to entertain these guys. We spend lots of time outside in early morning and late evening smelling things, and hanging on our deck watching the wildlife (we live along a river).
When we are stuck inside because of the heat, it’s a good time to practice our obedience. We use dog food or treats (sometimes they have hidden pills) to perfect manners & even learn new tricks. I sometimes pull out food-dispensing toys to keep old brains active & working out a puzzle to find dinner. By the evening time, these old pups are always worn out!
We may no longer be going for jogs around the park, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t having any fun!
My dogs may see me as “Mom”, but I actually have an extensive dog-related resume going back over fifteen years. I have worked at one of the largest animal shelters in the country; been an APDT-certified dog-trainer; managed/worked at Veterinary clinics; and even worked in research to help get a pain reliever for dogs to clinical trials. I have fostered over 50 dogs, and I hope to be able to foster again someday. Basically, I know enough to be dangerous.
Over a year ago, I made the difficult decision to leave my job. My husband works crazy hours & our lives were falling apart. We realized that life is short & sometimes time is more valuable than income. Now I have the time to enjoy these small moments with my boys (both human and canine).
In addition to hanging out with my little family, I love to travel. It is important for me to explore my city, my country, and even the world. I’m always ready for an adventure!
All spelling and grammar mistakes are my own.
Emmit is an 11-year old Newfoundland Chow mix. He was surrendered to the animal shelter where I was working as a five pound, five-week old puppy because he was “too big.” I took him home as a foster puppy & he never left. We expected he’d be a giant Newfoundland, but he’s only 65 lbs.
Emmit has been our healthy dog until the last year or so. He’s showing his age with tons of lumps and bumps (all but one have been benign). He also has terrible hips & we now have a list of daily meds to keep him happy and comfortable.
We just started an Instagram account for Emmit: https://instagram.com/old_dog_emmit/
Tucker is a 17-year old Springer Spaniel mix. I adopted him when he was a 3 &1/2 year old, wild man. I was working at an animal shelter & Tucker had been there for over three months. Unfortunately, the shelter was out of room & Tucker was scheduled to be euthanized. I took him home & it was the best decision I’ve ever made!
Now, Tucker is an old man with a number of health problems. He takes pills to keep a kidney issue under control, he has a TERRIBLE food allergy, and he has cognitive dysfunction (doggy dementia). As long as his good days keep outweighing the bad, we will keep going.
In my ongoing effort to document these days, Tucker is on Instagram. If you are interested, check him out: https://instagram.com/old_dog_tucker/
SADLY, WE SAID GOODBYE TO TUCKER IN OCTOBER 2015. WE MISS HIM TERRIBLY.
Welcome! I’ve decided to start a blog to document the ‘golden years’ of my two dogs. They are both senior dogs and I realize they won’t be around forever. I am attempting to capture the wonderful, little moments that make them both amazing. I know that with two senior dogs there will certainly be lots of challenges along the way. I also hope to make some new friends on our journey. Care to join me?