Losing a Pet

I noticed a lot of Bittoggers post when they lose a pet or have to put a pet down, mostly dogs. Posting about it is a good thing and the support from the guys is fantastic. There are lots of websites that help pet owners cope with their loss.

Here is just one. https://www.pet-loss.net/

I had to put down my 13-1/2 year old Chocolate Lab, Coco a while back so I wanted to share a few more thoughts on coping.

I found as the time neared (statistically), it helped to start photographing or filming everyday life with your pet. I took 250 photos and videos in the last few years of her life. Videos are great. Videos with the sound of their barking and/or panting are even better.

I find the issues were really divided into two. What is going to happen the day I put her down and how am I going to deal with it later?

As the dog's master it is your obligation to make the event as painless and stress free as possible. It helps if your pet has been to the vet before, and experienced lots of treats during the visits. My dog liked the vet. She knew she would be getting treats and have a chance to smell other dogs.

The day came when she could no longer walk. She had arthritis in her front right leg and one day her good left leg started to hurt so bad she was hobbling on her right leg. Effectively she could not walk. She went off her food for two days. She was still very coherent and I had to pick her up to take her outside to do her business. I had an appointment scheduled with the vet and I was hoping he could giver her some pain killers and give her a chance to recover. For the two weeks previous she was up and down. However, when she went off her food I phoned in and asked for an emergency visit, which they were good enough to accommodate us with.

So on the day, I still held hope there was more time. I put her blanket in the car and picked her up and placed her in the back seat. She was peaceful and nodded off during the 30 minute drive to the vet. When we got there she realized where she was and walked under her own power to the front lawn of the vet's office and had a pee then walked into the office. Because of Covid, I could not be with her during her examination and instead waited myself in the patient lounge. The vet came back and said she had a tumor in her left leg. I phoned my wife and she came down, happening to work only 5 minutes from the office.

We had previously agreed that if she had cancer we would put her down. Now here is the procedure they used which I highly recommend. In the examining room they gave her an injection of pain killer and a mild sedative. A staff member brought a blanket and placed it on the floor. They walked Coco into the room under her own power and had her lay down on the blanket. My wife was there with me. Coco was coherent and was happy to see my wife. We gave Coco a biscuit which she devoured. Then Coco got tired and slowly fell asleep. The staff member came by and we nodded our acceptance. They took Coco, who was fast asleep, to the examining room and administered the final injection. My wife chose to stay with her until she passed.

Its hard for me to type this, but I wanted to convey how well things went by using the pain killer and light sedative and being with her while she was feeling no pain and was still communicative. For the religious types you can imagine she went to dog heaven and for those who believe the lights go out, you can imagine she fell asleep and did not wake up.

I met with my son and one of my daughters and we gathered up all of Coco's photos and videos by searching for " dog" on my Ipad. This brought up the 250 photos and videos which we then moved to an electronic album. We have now moved on to the grieving stage and realize that dogs don't live forever and she represented unconditional love for which we are eternally grateful. Thanks for reading this. I hope it will help someone.

God bless