People told me I would know when it was time, but we never really did for sure. I can tell you that a few months ago we noticed that Dog was … the best words I can use are winding down, which makes me think of clichéd metaphors involving dying clocks, but that’s exactly what it was like. She was slowing down. She started coughing and making messes in the laundry room where she sleeps at night. The vet told us her heart was failing, which was creating excess fluids she was too weak to fully expel from her lungs. They gave us antibiotics and not much hope. She was a very old dog, after all.

In the last couple weeks something changed in her. She stopped wagging her tail, she stopped circling the kitchen looking for dropped treats, she stopped expending any energy at all. She barely moved all day long. I wouldn’t go so far as to say there was a sense of despair about her, but there was a sort of silent, sad, enduring resignation. She would eat, but with no interest whatsoever. She had lost so much weight she had this awful gaunt appearance around her back, like her flesh was barely covering her spine.

Last night JB walked her to the park that’s about a block away, and she nearly couldn’t make it back. I watched her, later in the evening, as she lay on the carpet nearby; you could see the effort of her chest rising and falling. I put my hand on her and I could feel her watery, labored breathing. Her overworked heart.

She slowly put one paw up to touch my hand, a broken version of the robust and silly Dog handshake she used to do, and I guess I did know, or maybe I didn’t for sure, maybe I’m just trying to convince myself. We can’t know what she really felt like, we can’t know what she would have wanted. But I believe she had passed some sort of point of no return, that her days would have become increasingly painful. Exhaustion, suffocation, drowning.

The vet helped ease her out of this life today. JB and I were there to comfort her and pet her as she went. It was the worst thing I’ve ever done. Oh, Dog.

141126076_b2d795d505

163919767_b033597d56

406393352_dc4acb5373

500380878_44db408fcb

1325815011_3b5f8ac0b8

1994911960_d4fa78a02b

4784644451_c06e847233

4784645063_d972f860f9

4785278668_f43befb999

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
346 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
maggie
maggie
12 years ago

I’m crying over here for you guys. She was a beautiful dog and I’m so sorry.

jonniker
12 years ago

Awww, Ashley. She was five when you got her, if I recall, right? Oh, she was such an old dog for her breed, but God, it’s NEVER long enough, is it? Even when they drive us so batty we think we’re just WAITING for this day, we really aren’t, because we love their stupid furry faces.

I’m so sorry, Linda. Much love to you and your family.

Mandy
Mandy
12 years ago

It was time. You did right by her, all the years you had her and today as well. I’ve been reading you so long I feel I knew her. I’ve definitely shed a tear for her tonight.

Kirsten
Kirsten
12 years ago

That is so sad

FrostedLemonCarrot
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. Just because it’s the right decision doesn’t make it any easier, I know from experience. It’s the worst decision to have to make, but it’s also a relief that we can make it so that at least we know they’re not suffering.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

Linda, this post made my heart break for you all and anyone else who will eventually have to go through this…cherish the memories that im sure are plentiful.

Omu
Omu
12 years ago

I’m so sorry to hear about Dog’s passing. She was a beautiful, patient, kind soul.

C @ Kid Things
12 years ago

That is so sad and I’m so, so sorry.

H
H
12 years ago

We’ve been through this recently, and I am just now able to see the situation clearly and know that we did the right thing at the right time. I’m sure this will happen for you eventually, too. My deepest sympathy to you and your entire family. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

Starr Anderson
Starr Anderson
12 years ago

God, I’m so sorry to hear that; I’m sitting here weeping. Dog sounds like the epitome of the best dog a person could ever love.

Legally Fabulous
12 years ago

There is nothing more heartbreaking… but you’re right.. All dogs do go to heaven. you did the right thing.

Jennifer
Jennifer
12 years ago

Man, I definitely teared up from this. I am so, so sorry for your loss. It really sounds like you did the right thing. She had a great life.

Stephanie
Stephanie
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. I loved hearing all about her and seeing all of the great pics. Thinking of you..

Kathryn
Kathryn
12 years ago

Add me to the list of people tearing up as I read this. So sad for you and your family. There’s just no easy way to make that decision, but you did the right thing for her. It’s the final expression of love a pet owner can offer.

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

sending love to you and your family.

heather
heather
12 years ago

I’m so, so sorry, Linda. Dog had a pretty great life and it shows in the those pictures. Bye, sweet Dog.

Sarah
Sarah
12 years ago

You did the loving thing for Dog. I’m so sorry for your loss.

ccr in MA
12 years ago

I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s just such an awful thing, losing a loved member of the family that way.

Coleen
12 years ago

I am so, so sorry for your loss.

Kate
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. It’s just awful to lose a pet.

parkingathome
12 years ago

I’m so very glad that the boys could have her in their lives, and so very glad she got to be a part of our lives through your words these many years. Sorry doesn’t cut it.

But you gotta know that JB’s uncle is giving some serious Oooooh dangits to her now that she’s pain free. She’ll be waiting patiently with her tail wagging.

She’ll be supremely missed by all of us, I hope you can find comfort soon. We love you all

Lawyerish
12 years ago

Oh, Linda. I’m so sorry. Sweet Dog. Sending love to your whole family.

Jilanna
12 years ago

Oh, Dog. I’m so sorry.

Big hugs for all of you.

ace
ace
12 years ago

So sorry for your loss. I hope you find comfort in knowing you will see her again at the Rainbow Bridge.

PinkieBling
PinkieBling
12 years ago

Tears! You’ve captured it so well, and the commenters ahead of me have all said what I’m thinking and feeling in response. It’s terribly difficult to make that decision, but it certainly sounds like you did the right thing. She has always sounded like a sweet, happy, and loved family dog, and I’m sorry she’s gone. Dogs bring us so much joy, but oh, the pain is so acute when we lose them. My condolences to you and your family. You’re in my thoughts.

Kate
12 years ago

Oh Linda, I’m so sorry. What a hard choice to make. But it definitely sounds like the right one for Dog. To watch her steadily decline and be miserable and in pain would have been torture for you all. She was a lucky girl to have been part of your loving family for so long.

melanie
melanie
12 years ago

it is such a hard thing to do….. so sorry Linda

Jill
12 years ago

Linda, I’m so so sorry. There are no words to describe the hole they leave in our hearts. Time will heal the pain, though, and you have created memories that can never be taken away. Sending you healing thoughts.

Angie
Angie
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. Our dog has likely reached the same point, but we haven’t yet.

Donna
Donna
12 years ago

I’ve got a big yellow lab named Goldie that looks just like her, and her only trick is to shake….if you ever want to come pet her, she’ll love you forever.
Just like we all loved Ashley. Hugs to everyone. I’m so sorry, but at the same time, it was the right thing to do.
Doesn’t make you feel any better though does it? I don’t know why we do this to ourselves, I’ve got 4 now, just shoot me. I’m rambling, sorry.

Cindy
Cindy
12 years ago

I’m so sorry for your loss.

Justine
Justine
12 years ago

You poor things… what a sad day for you all. But for Dog it’s a beautiful release – try to remember that. You loved her and gave her a good life, and she will be forever in your heart. Take care xxx

Erin
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. This made ME cry and I don’t even know your dog, so I can’t imagine how you must feel.

Jody
12 years ago

I’m so sorry, how heartbreaking. What a beautiful face Dog had.

Peggy
Peggy
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. We had to make a similar decision with our Golden almost 2 years ago. It’s a loss that only pet owners can truly understand.

My heart goes out to you and JB. Your Dog certainly was loved and she loved all of you. You gave her a wonderful life.

Sandy
Sandy
12 years ago

Sobbing. So heartbreaking. She was wonderful.So very very sorry for your loss.

ememby
12 years ago

Beyond sorry for your loss, cannot imagine having to do this and yet, someday, our little dog will go the same way. What a perfect dog.

Leslie
Leslie
12 years ago

Oh Linda, I am so sorry. We had to say goodbye to our beloved 14 year old Yellow Lab last summer and just like you and JB we held her and pet her in the vet’s office as she passed away. Almost a year later I still think about her every day. They become such members of the family. My heart goes out to you.

sal
sal
12 years ago

Jeez, that’s heartbreaking. Hugs to you and your family.

Robin
Robin
12 years ago

Listen to the song titled “Shannon”…. Henry Goss I believe sings it. I’m sorry for your loss.

D
D
12 years ago

How silly it is to cry over a stranger’s dog, yet here I am snotting all over the place. I said goodbye to my family dog six years ago and I STILL cry about it on occasion. Now that I have two for whom I’m the primary caretaker (one a beautiful yellow rescue lab), it’s even more heartbreaking to think of the day we’ll have to say goodbye. It’s so hard to be the one responsible for making that decision, particularly because dogs don’t understand why they must experience pain, and can’t communicate what they’d want us to do. As they say, dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.

I’m so, so sorry.

Chris
Chris
12 years ago

It is never easy to make that sucktastic decision, even if it is right. So sorry for you and your family.

gillian
gillian
12 years ago

sweet Dog. thinking about you guys.

Taryn
Taryn
12 years ago

:( I’m sorry

Gwen
12 years ago

Oh, Linda, I’m so sorry. I’ve been reading your blog for so long and I know how important she was to you. It’s such a cruel twist of nature that dogs have such shorter lives than us.

Shawna
Shawna
12 years ago

So, so sorry to read about Dog. I know you made the right choice but boy, it was a hard one.

kali
12 years ago

I am so sorry for your loss, and so very happy you shared the unconditional love of a dog. It is too wonderful a gift — experience it again. When you are ready, celebrate the love anew with a charmer from a rescue league or the pound.

Christine B
12 years ago

Oh, Linda, I’m so very sorry for you and your family. How heartbreaking a choice to have to make, even knowing it was releasing her form her suffering. Warm thoughts and big hugs to you and your family. Godspeed, dear Dog.

Michelle
12 years ago

crying. so sorry for your loss. :( what a difficult decision.

Courtney
Courtney
12 years ago

What a sweet dog. Sorry you had to do such a hard thing, even if it was for Dog’s sake.