Dealing With The Loss Of A Pet
Losing A Pet Is Never Easy
I lost my beloved pet, Sadie a week ago today. She was almost 11 years old, but still had the spunk and personality of much younger dog. She was my soul
mate dog. I connected strongly with Sadie when she was just a pup. She was a rescue that a vet in Westerville took in. The liter all had parvo virus and 1 of the 7 died. My neighbor Carol and her son came home telling us about this pup they had just adopted, Lexie. I was newly single at the time and had been thinking about getting a larger dog rather than a security system.
I drove over to see the liter, without kids. I figured I’d be strong and knowing this was pretty much a spur of the moment decision, thought I’d be able to say no to the pups. Sadie was the runt of the litter, the only fully black pup. The others looked like shepherds. We found out she has German Shepherd, black lab and husky in her.
Needless to say, I picked her. I’m so glad I did and almost wished I had picked out two pups. She was the sweetest dog I’ve ever known. Her sister Lexie also has that same sweet personality. I had a ShihZue at the time and never really considered have three dogs. Lyla, my ShihZue died about 3 months after we brought Sadie home. Although, I was a little sad, I had actually formed more of a bond in that short time with Sadie than I ever had in the 8 years I had Lyla.
Sadie was a really smart dog. She “got” me. She knew when I was upset, sad etc. She would use her nose to move your hand so you’d pet her. She loved playing with the hose or the sprinkler and would try to “catch” the water. The snow was her other favorite. The kids would throw snowballs for her to catch. She walked out with me to get the mail everyday. She loved going to the farm, going on walks and oh my gosh, if you said the word “biscuit”, you’d better be ready to give her one.
We have another dog now, Gizmo (Gizzy) that Sadie loves. We’ve had Gizzy for about 7 years now. I kind of worried about how Gizzy would do without Sadie, but actually, I think she’s doing great. She is enjoying the extra attention she is getting from all of us. I don’t think it would be the same if Gizzy had gone first. Sadie would have really missed her.
As good of a dog as Sadie was, she had fears. Loud noises like fireworks and storms were really scary for her. To the extreme that popping bubble wrap, or even popping chewing gum scared her. She hated fire, smoke and certain beeps. Until she was about two years old I used a shock collar with an underground fence because we only had a front yard for the dogs at my old house. So the tone that it made and any other tone near that (and believe me.. a lot of things make that tone… digital watches, stop watches, tv commercials etc etc etc… ) would send her running to the basement. You couldn’t convince her she wasn’t going to get shocked from a collar she hadn’t worn in years. One of my cameras, she always hated because I didn’t think to turn off the tone when I first got it. Even though she only heard it make the tone once, that was enough. Every time I got that camera out, she ran the other way. She wasn’t happy in this picture because she was scared of the camera, but it was right before she had to have surgery to remove her anal gland last year, and I wanted a picture of us together. In the last several months though, she was ok with me taking pictures. I was so glad because I did get several before she died.
Sadie developed a thyroid tumor about 2 1/2 years ago now. We never knew for sure if it was cancer or not. One vet said he didn’t think it was because she would have been sick and would have died before now. Another vet told us it would have been, but was just a localized cancer that was slow growing. We never had it biopsied. There was no reason. I was not going to put Sadie through the surgery needed to remove the tumor, even if it was cancer. I researched it and it would not have given her that much more time to live, and the quality of that life might not have been that good. You would not have known she was sick, other than the fact that she became mute, and in the last several months panted all the time. The tumor was pushing on her trachea & esophagus and slowly causing her to suffocate. The vet had told us she would start having panic attacks (lack of oxygen) and when she did, it would be time to bring her in.
She had the first one (and only one) of those attacks on Monday. It was terrible. She was coming up on my lap rather I wanted her to or not. It lasted from around noon until 3pm. Her panting was much worse, drooling and had condensation on top of her nose. Looked like sweat. She was scared to death. Even that evening when she was doing better, she still couldn’t sleep. She was really restless. I knew I could not watch her go through that again.
This picture was not of her panic attack, it was just her wanting my attention. “Mom… put the computer away and pet me!”
My kids loved her as much as I did. She was always so happy when my older boys came home to visit. John and Sadie were close too.
One of my big fears was that I was not going to be home when it came time to put her down. I had several trips coming up and I knew that I wanted to be with her. Dave and I had just been in TN for the weekend. My other son Tim was home to take care of Sadie, but I was still worried about her why I was gone. We got home on Sunday. Her panic attack was Monday and I took her Tuesday morning to say goodbye.
As hard as it was, I was not going to let my girl suffer. She was excited to go in the car. I let her sit in the front passenger seat and she loved that. Usually she’s in the back of the SUV. She was excited to see the people at the vet. The vet reassured me it was time. She said that respiratory distress was horrible to see dogs go through. That as hard as she was working to breath that morning (which wasn’t as bad as it had been the day before) that it wrong to let her go through anymore suffering. That helped me to be sure I was making the right decision.
She said she was going to give her a sedative first because she was so alert. I could not have been happier with the vet’s office. They brought in a nice soft blanket and laid it on the ground in the room. They didn’t make her get up on that “scary” table. I was able to sit down right beside her. They talked to her so sweetly and gave her a quick injection to help relax her. She didn’t mind that part at all. The vet told me it would just take a couple minutes for her to relax. That she would calm down, and go into a “Hey Mom, I feel good” phase. She was right. Within about 30-45 seconds she sat down. Another minute she laid down. I was talking to her and petting her the whole time. Within another minute after this picture she laid her head down. Her panting had stopped, although she was still breathing. The vet came back in with her assistant and asked if I was ready and did I want to stay with her. I figured they were going to take her into the other room at this point. Nope, they came right in and sat down on the floor with us. She had a syringe with the med in it and asked again if I was ok. I was… and wasn’t. But I told her to go ahead. Sadie didn’t mind that she took her front leg and was putting a needle in it. I was again talking to her, petting her and of course.. crying like a baby. It didn’t take but a minute. The vet and assistant left and told me to take my time with her. I spent a few more minutes with her, just trying to take in as much of her as I could, knowing I would never again be able to pet her soft silky fur, see her face when I came down the stairs in the morning, have her nudge my hand to pet her or greet me when I came in the door.
They asked me when I came in if I wanted to take her with me or have her cremated. I had already decided to have her cremated. I hadn’t thought about wanting to keep her ashes though. They asked me if I wanted them, they’d have them put in a tin with her name on it. I decided I didn’t want that. I knew that we’d have to figure out where to bury her, and I didn’t want to go through the emotion of it. They also asked if I wanted a paw-print sent to me. I said yes, I’d like that.
I just got that yesterday in the mail. They put her paw-print on a card and had a little tuff of her fur in a bow along with a sympathy card from the vet’s office. How sweet was that?
I’ve lost my girl. The house is so strange without her. We all miss her. My husband is bound and determined we’re going to get another dog though. Right now, I’m not ready. But I’m sure I’ll soften in a few months.
Goodbye my sweet Sadie. You were the best dog I could have ever asked for.