animals, care taking, cats, chocolate lab, family, family bonds, favorites, friendship, gratitude, guardian angel, health, life, love, medical, nostalgia

When is it time to let go??

In the last 6 months my dog has become very geriatric. His weight has gone from 110 to the low 80’s. Keep in mind this is a Chocolate Labrador of 14 years. He’s been with me since he was 10 weeks old.
hershey
Not too long after a heartbreak, at the tail end of college, my dad bought Hershey for me. Hershey helped me through a really rough time in life. He was not just any dog either. He was in ‘tune’ with me.

When I got sick…so did Hershey. When I was stressed, Hershey got hot spots and started scratching. When I was sad, he would instinctively know to come lay his head on my lap and nudge my arms around his neck. It was the best therapy a girl could get!

When my roomate’s cat had unexpected kittens, it was Hershey who would lick them and love them. A male 90ish pound dog nurturing new born kittens was the sweetest thing I’d ever seen. He’d nudge their little behinds to help them walk, and put his paws on either side of their path to keep them in a straight line. Hershey was and is an amazing animal.

My second roomate came along, and had some undesirable company over once. I say once because my then 100 pound lap dog leaped at this undesirable’s throat with his teeth gnashing–before this guy could even step two feet in our front door. This person never darkened my door way again.

Hershey was the center of my world for so long, and was my measuring stick on who was good and who was not! I knew my husband was a good man, when Hershey couldn’t get enough attention from him. Hershey had found a new love when my husband started coming around.

After my son was born, I obviously shifted most of my attention to this brand new baby in our lives. I didn’t forget Hershey, but if truth were to be told…I feel I neglected him a little bit. I didn’t do it purposely as I still hold so much love for him in my heart, but when a new mom is so sleep deprived she can’t stand up straight…it’s hard to focus on anything else than what is right in front of you.

A few months ago, my vet told me it wouldn’t be long before Hershey gets too far along to live comfortably. He told me I should consider when I would want to let him go. I’m tearing up right now even thinking about it. He’s been a big part of my life, and I can’t imagine my life with out him. But I’ve seen such a change in him even in the last 2 months, and don’t want to put my own feelings over his well being either.

His ears are still so silky smooth, as how the rest of his fur used to be..but now he’s got hard course fur that’s not really growing back in. Some of his fur is peeling off and not growing back. He’s getting as blind as a bat, and I’ve had to direct him in the dark on how to get out to the back yard. He’s run into a few porch cover posts trying to go pee. Most of all, he either pants non stop or is completely subdued…neither activities are normal behavior.

I want him to be comfortable in his last year(s), and when I see that he’s still able to jog back to the back door after doing his ‘business’, I feel that he’s still OK! I know the humane thing is to let him go if he needs to be put to sleep, but I just don’t think that time is now. I don’t know when it would be time, and pray I don’t have to make that decision!

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17 thoughts on “When is it time to let go??”

  1. Losing a pet – especially one you’ve known and loved so long – is huge. I once made the choice to put my dog to sleep and that day still reverberates in my soul a decade later. I don’t really have any words of advice, but, just sympathy for your situation.

    Thanks, by the way, for visiting my blog.

  2. I’m so sorry….I’m with you in that hopefully you don’t have to make that decision…that’s the hardest.

    I wanted to mention to you as well – the comment you left for Ed this morning sent chills, the same ones I’m having now thinking about it, all throughout my body! Your words are so heart felt, loving and caring…what an incredible blessing you are!

    Ed is house sitting all week and won’t have internet – so I’ll make sure he sees your comment when he returns…

  3. Oh I am sorry. This isn’t easy at all. It is such a hard thing to do.

    We had a red heeler growing up – she was about 14 years old when we had to put her down. It was my parents’ decision but they talked to my sister and I about it as we were 17 (me) and 15 (her). It was so hard knowing it was the right thing to do. She had arthritis really bad and once she laid down, she couldn’t get up unless it was midday and the sun had warmed her up. It was very hard to let go of her.

    I hope you don’t have to make that decision.

  4. I understand completely about what you are going through. As an owner of four dogs, I worry when they are sick and “mother” them constantly.

    I hope that you dog will last a bit longer and keep you company.

  5. I haven’t gone through this with a pet before but Hershey sounds like he’s been an amazing dog for you. I’m sure you’ll know when the time is right and hope that you don’t have to make that decision.

  6. I understand. My doberman was 14. He had cancer on his leg and at 14 I knew he would not do well with 3 legs. I got him a steak on the morning of as a loving good by. Man its been 15 years and I am still getting misty over it.

  7. Blessed1, I am so sorry. I know what you’re going through. We waited too long with our beloved Rusty, who was a 15 yr old golden retriever that we’d had from the time he was 8 weeks old. He was deaf, gray, slow to get up, but every now and then we would see flashes of the puppy and think, he’s ok, we don’t have to make any decisions just yet. But then one day he couldn’t get up off the floor, and he lost control of his bowels, and it was so sad. My husband had to take him to the vet and put him down. One of the hardest things he’s ever had to do.

  8. Hershey will tell you… in his own way.
    By this post he’s been talking to you for some quite time.. Peace to you and Hershey

  9. I know what your going through my 9 year old golden retriever has osteosarcoma and every day I look at him wishing he could tell me If It’s time to let go. I have had Lucky since he was 12 weeks old and we showered him with love. Two years ago I had a baby and as you know life is different now.I feel guilty because I think I haven’t given lucky the time I used to give him.He is alot thinner now and not as active but I still can’t let him go so I know what your feeling I will keep you guys in my thoughts. Enjoy him and give him lots of love I suppose the answer will come to us.

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