Saturday, September 29, 2012

Losing My Beloved Dog - How Do You Say Goodbye to Your Best Friend?

It was a month ago that we had made the decision to put our beloved Maggie, an Australian shepherd mix to "sleep". This was one of the hardest decisions that we had to make. After 16 years, how do you say goodbye to your best friend? The one that has been there through all the ups and downs in life. All the good, the bad, (and the ugly). The one who went everywhere with you, who loved to listen to you sing (She was tone-deaf) and the one who would just sit and listen when you needed to talk. She was my protector and my nurse when I was sick. She was truly my best friend.
But she was getting old, and arthritis has settled in, and she had lost weight, and started to lose control of her bladder.
In my head I knew what I had to do and so did my husband, but our hearts...WOW, that was another story. It's not that cut and dry. We did not want to let go... We did not want to lose our beloved dog, but knew it was time. Her quality of life was not good and we had to think of her and not be selfish. (Even though I wanted to). I worried about how our other dog (Ellie, a Border Collie/Queensland healer) would react? Ellie is only 4 and had grown up with Maggie. She had never been on her own without her big sister. Maggie has always been in her life.
This was tough, and I had talked to friends about when they were faced with having to put their dog down... They were not with their dog when it was euthanized, and the only choice they had, was to cremate the dog. They were not given a choice. Then the ashes were given back to them in a Ziploc bag. It was not a good experience for them and the cost of all this was quite expensive.
This was not the experience I wanted. Not only for me, but for Maggie. I wanted to be there. I wanted, to be able to hold her so she wouldn't be scared. I couldn't hand her off to strangers, I needed to be there. I also wanted to bury her in the yard. This is where she needed to be. She loved her yard.
So I called a few places and found a place that would let us be there if that is what we wanted. When talking to them on the phone, they also asked if I wanted a back yard burial. I did and yes! I found a place that was going to let me be with her and then take here home. They let me know what the cost was (which was not expensive, especially since I don't think that they should charge much for a service like this). They said that payment would be done as we came in so that in our grief we did not have to worry about this as we left the clinic and also being in the front among other people.
Now I was OK. For me, it was easier to be able to let go.
On the day we were going to put her down. We went to the clinic and we were brought into a room, we did not have to stay out in the waiting room. Payment was taken care of. They let us know everything that was going to happen, as it is done in 2 stages with 2 shots.
They let us have as much time as we wanted with Maggie. She was relaxed and peaceful. She was in our arms. She felt no pain; she was not anxious or agitated. And when we were ready to say our last goodbye, they did they gave her the 2nd shot. And she was gone. They allowed us to have time alone with her again... we were not rushed or hurried and when we were able to let go, they came to get her. They took her to another room then wrapped her up in a blanket. We took her home, and then buried her in the yard she loved.
My heart broke that day... It was so hard. And of course I cried my eyes out, as I am doing now as I write this. I miss her. But for me...being able to do this the way I wanted made something that was hard, a little easier. My Heart ached a little less.
As a dog owner this is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. Make sure that you talk to your vet. That when the time comes, you do it the way you want, and to not let anyone tell you otherwise. Do your research and do what is best for you and your best friend.

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