Dealing With The Loss Of A Pet

April 16, 2013 by  

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.

sadie

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.

pet

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.

pet

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.

sadie and gizzy

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

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!”

sadie

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.

sadie and john

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.

sadie

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.

sadie

 

 

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Comments

23 Responses to “Dealing With The Loss Of A Pet”
  1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Sandy. It looks like Sadie was truly a wonderful dog.

  2. Claudia A. says:

    Oh Sandy I am so sorry for your loss. I recently lost my boy, March 14th. I was devastated and have cried everyday since. My other dog Sable and I have been truly lost.

  3. I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of Sadie. We lost our cat (Lily) & dog (Border Terrier Monty) in 2007. Our vet was brilliant & like you we were with them at the end. We had them both cremated & now have their small wooden box with the ashes in, ready for when we feel we can deal with them.

    We have another Border Terrier now, a rescue dog called Alfie & whilst he us adorable, loveable & a true friend we always remember Mon & Lil.

    It does get better….eventually.

  4. JR says:

    Oh Sandy, my heart is breaking for you. I too lost my darling mixed Terrier, Crystal, on March 13, so I know what you are going through. We were so very close from the day my son picked her up from the shelter. I cry every day for her but I know she is in a better place. God bless your Sadie and all of God’s creatures. You are in my prayers.

  5. I am sorry for your loss. We have loved and lost many pets over the years. My dad taught us that pets are part of the family – if you aren’t going to treat them that way, then don’t get one. After my sweet Schmoo (cat) died, I remember him telling me, “If you aren’t crushed by the loss of a pet, then you didn’t deserve them.” Oddly, I found that comforting.

  6. Kathy says:

    Sandy, I am so sorry for your loss. We to lost our dear sweet Katie on April 7, 2013. She was 16 and had a very large tumor. I to remember that day so vividly. She was my constant companion, everywhere I was she was as well. Broke my heart to put her to sleep, but watching her suffer broke it more. I lost my very best friend! I remember holding her in my arms and just loving her until she was gone. She as well as your dear sweet Sadie have a glorious place in heaven now. Again I am so sorry for the loss of your dear sweet friend and companion!

  7. Sandy says:

    Thanks Kathy. Sorry for the loss of your Katie also. I’m glad you were also able to be with her at the end.

  8. Sandy says:

    I do too Dianna. I like that.

  9. Sandy says:

    Thanks JR. It’s amazing how strong that bond can be from so early with some pets. Sorry for the loss of your Crystal.

  10. I am so sorry Sandy! She sounds like a dear friend! I am sorry for your loss.

  11. Sandy says:

    Thanks Julie. My husband wants us to get another dog, and I’m sure we will. But, I’ll have to tell myself I can’t expect her to be my Sadie.

  12. Sandy says:

    I’m so sorry Claudia. I know Sadie would be much more like your Sable, in mourning the loss… if Gizzy had passed away first. Like I mentioned, I actually think Gizzy is enjoying the extra attention. Sad.. but true.

  13. Sandy says:

    She was Sandra, thank you.

  14. Sandy says:

    Thanks Heather. :)

  15. Dad of DIvas says:

    I am so sorry for your loss! My family just lost our cat Scooter of 14 years a few months ago…it was so hard and so sudden… we were not prepared at all, nor was our family.

  16. Monica says:

    Hugs, Sandy! I’m so sorry she’s gone. Thanks for sharing her sweet story with us though… what a great dog!

  17. Ann says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss. What a great dog she was! That in itself is a real gift!
    I went through a similar thing last week, except it was my goat. I got her as a baby with her umbilical cord still on. I had her for 6 years. We milked each year so I really got to know her. If you left the kitchen door open and she was out, she would just walk on into the house!
    She was birthing a very large kid. I called the vet since I knew we were in trouble. She ended up rupturing internally and we had to put her down. My vet was great even though I was crying like a baby too. I’m glad she isn’t in any more pain.
    They just have a way of getting into your heart.

  18. Sandy says:

    Thank you Ann. Yes.. our loves for our pets can come in many different forms. Sorry for the loss of your goat too.

  19. donna wigley says:

    Sorry for the loss of your precious Sadie. I cried through the whole story. My baby dog, Buddy, will be 13 in June and I don’t know what I’m gonna do when something happens to him. Your story helped me to know that even though its hard for us, we have to let them go so they won’t suffer anymore. God bless you and your family.

  20. Sandy says:

    Thanks Donna. I knew Sadie had the tumor and things were going to get worse, I would do the same thing that last week…. I would just look at her and couldn’t imagine her not being there. I’m doing better… but my poor hubby – he’ll look over and see me crying. All the little things, that I know she’d react to, and I automatically think of her… and realize she isn’t there, it does me in every time. I know that will fade over time, and I have to just focus on being able to be with her at the end and not having her suffer anymore, and that helps me to come out of it.

  21. Ester says:

    Just came across your blog and read about your sweet Sadie. Made me cry. Last Friday, I lost my dog, Owen. I always thought I would be with him when it was time to go, but sadly I wasn’t. I think he wanted it that way. Just like Sadie, my Owen was the sweetest, gentlest lab you would have known and also very smart. He was my most loyal friend and I miss him everyday. It sounds like you were very blessed to have her in your life! God Bless!

  22. Sandy says:

    Oh Ester, I’m so sorry for your Owen too! I know…. it’s so hard, isn’t it? I still expect to come down to her in the morning, and see her smile. I have also realized I have to deprogram myself. Because Sadie was scared of things like storms, certain tones etc, etc… I will hear those things and automatically want to comfort her. Then I make myself think… oh good – she isn’t scared anymore. Each day gets easier. I actually went to look at a couple puppies. I didn’t get either of them, I’m just not ready yet. I bet you’re right about Owen not wanting you there. He might have known you well enough to know what was best. Happy thoughts for you!

  23. Alecia says:

    I cried reading your post because I know that the time will come with my sweet Roxy girl. She is 10 now and has horrible anxiety and her arthritis is getting bad. She was my first dog as an adult and has been the best girl ever. She took up her job as protector when I was pregnant with each of my children and to this day, even though they are 7 and 5, she still gets between them and whoever is at the door. She greets me each day when I come home with a present of a toy or bone and is the only one of our dogs that do that. We have another dog who is 6 and we just got a puppy 6 months ago to be there for our 6 year old dog when Roxy is gone. I remember how hard it was to put my cat down when I was pregnant with my first child and he was my first pet as an adult but with Roxy it will be so much harder – dogs are just more “people” oriented than cats and she has been with us through so much. Thank you for posting your thoughts about your sweet baby. I know this post is older, but I hope you have wonderful memories to help you through the times you miss her.

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