When it is time to let go!
One of the hardest things, we as dog owners, ever have to do is deciding when it is time to let your beloved dog, companion, love of your life, go!
The decision is heart breaking, breathtaking and incomprehensible to even think about it! But it is okay!
We as dog owners have a few responsibilities in our dogs life!
First, you have to give him a wonderful life, full of good food, care, and shelter.
Second, you have to make sure that he never has to endure overwhelming pain and suffering to the best of your ability. A lot is written about how to take good care of our dogs – Now lets talk about the end.
We as people are afraid of our dogs death, afraid of the loss, afraid of the things to come and what we have to do and most of all the decision we to have to make when the time is there!
We don’t want our dogs to suffer, we don’t want our dog to live one minute more, if that minute involves suffering but we also don’t want to let them go one minute too soon.
I think you must understand, I get it, it’ll be OK. You’re going to do the right thing. You’re going to do the right thing by you, and the right thing by your dog. At the end, you may be confronted with a situation where you really don’t have a choice. An example would be a dog getting hit by a car, young or older dog makes no difference, so badly damaged that there is really nothing to do. No matter how much money is available, it cannot be fixed. The dog has to be put to sleep. It's horrible. It's sad. But there is nothing else to be done. The right thing is obvious; it was a tragedy, and the situation was hopeless. In such circumstances, we cry, we rage, we are sad, we are devastated. But we know it's the right thing to do.
The situation isn’t always that clear cut though. For example, the cost of care may be too much, or the anticipated outcome may not be good. For example, a dog with Hemangio sarcoma , incurable but maybe we can give a little more time. But, sadly, due to economic circumstances, treatment could be unaffordable. The very difficult decision is made to let go. It is hard, but is the right thing for certain people. A wonderful life has been given, now we don't want any suffering. The people suffering by taking on a bill that they can’t afford. Even if the economic situation is right, in this case, there will be and end to treatment, then there is no further treatment available, no way back to good health! Again, it is a situation where the right decision is clear – difficult, for sure – but clear. They did the right thing by their dog, and by themselves, too. No situation is wrong, just do right by you and your dog!
I think that the third situation is the hardest. It’s the situation where a dog has a chronic problem, or a problem brought on by old age. Maybe he has a disease that isn’t responding to treatment; maybe he’s on a downhill slide just because some of his parts are wearing out. Maybe he has bad knees, or maybe his hips are giving out.
Maybe like in Benny's case, a tumor that cannot stop bleeding but otherwise doesn't cause pain but because of old age and old age related problems inoperable!
He’ll have good days, and he’ll have bad days, but the bad days get more frequent, and they get worse. You have to help him up sometimes – and are glad to do so. He’ll have a hard time getting up, or getting around, but he’ll be trying to do his best, because that’s what dogs do. They do their best. And we love them for that. And you’ll worry that one day you’ll come and find him down, in a corner, and unable to get up, or not able to eat. And you’ll worry that you’ll let him go too long, because, really, as much as you don’t want the end to come, you don’t want to let him go too soon. And it’ll be OK. It’ll be OK because your love for your dog will overcome your fear of loss. You will know. You will know when it’s time. It's okay to have an old feeble dog, who is slower, takes time to eat, sometimes doesn't eat because he wants you food, and that'll be okay! It will be okay because he is still happy, he is surrounded by love, comfortable and in no pain! Being old is okay!
Then comes the moment this will be a thing of the past too, his body will fail!
It will be a moment of clarity, of great sadness, but ultimately, one of peace. And even though it will be a sad moment, and a terrible moment, it will be a moment that you will understand, because as much as you wish it could be otherwise, life does come to an end, and you know that. This will make the right time come to us always! I'm not going to lie, it is hard, it is the hardest thing because all of the love and care that you’ve given. And the joy from all of the adventures and love you’ve shared – joy and love and caring that took in some cases a while to build up like with rescue's – will come rushing out all at once. And you’ll feel like someone ripped your heart out. You probably won't sleep very well and have trouble looking at a dog that looked exactly like yours. But then, you remember the good times and how lucky you were to have this dog, what he thought you! Then you look at pictures and you’ll start to realize you want to share the joys and fun and adventures and love with another lucky dog. And, hopefully, you will. For both of you. It’ll be OK. You’ll do the right thing. I promise.