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.

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Frank
12 years ago

This is the hardest thing to do as a pet owner. It’s the right thing to do, but it doesn’t make it any easier. She’s over the Rainbow Bridge waiting for you and JB. I’ll miss Dog.

Em
Em
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. For what it’s worth, it sounds like you did know when it was time, even though no pet owner wants that time to come. Condolences and hugs to you, JB, and the boys.

Pete
Pete
12 years ago

Sorry.

Melody
12 years ago

I am so sorry for your loss, and sorry you had to make such a hard decision. I know how awful it is to lose such a good friend.

Suzanne
12 years ago

The pictures of the boys with Dog has me in tears. I’m so sorry for your loss.

flutter
12 years ago

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together

SJ
SJ
12 years ago

Losing a family pet is so painful. I’m crying tears of sadness for you and your family tonight. I’m so sorry.

melanie
melanie
12 years ago

I just wanted to say that I am so, so sorry for your loss.

Erin
12 years ago

I’m so sorry Linda. What a difficult decision :-( Those photos do a great job of capturing how loved Dog has been all her life and how much she loved her family.
Your post made me cry- we had to make a similar decision for our dog about 18 months ago and it left us bereft for weeks. All the best to you and your family.

shriek house
12 years ago

I am so sorry, what a hard thing to do and what a terrible loss. Goodbye, Dog.

Genie
12 years ago

She fought for justice! It was because she was a fan … a fan of the law. But then something really bad happened and the law turned its back on the dog.

My heart goes out to you and Dog. She has been a virtual pet for us for many years. Much love to you all.

Sarah Lena
12 years ago

My husband and I have very different opinions on when “the time” is, and how you handle it. There is no easy way. Death is hard and it hurts. Which is why you have to remember how loved Dog was and how blessed everyone was to be part of it all. What happy, happy pictures.

Love you, sis.

Kizz
12 years ago

I’m so sorry to hear this. She was a great dog. Over here we have a tradition, when someone’s pet goes all the pets we know get extra treats for all the special things they do like, “good breathing!” “nice standing” “yes! drool some more” So tonight (and likely tomorrow since I’m on the East Coast and it’s bed time for me) the pets here will be getting all sorts of extra treats and love in honor of Dog. She is missed.

Bopril
12 years ago

So very sorry for your loss. What an amazing dog and what a lovely life she had as part of your family. Hugs to you all.

Abacus
Abacus
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. I fear that I will be in your shoes shortly, as my own dog (who is a twin of yours!) is 12 years old. By strange coincidence, I watched Marley and Me last night, and was in a puddle on the floor at the end, when it showed what you and your husband went through today. I am so, so, so sorry for your loss. :-(

elz
elz
12 years ago

So sorry. Some good friends of ours had to put their dog down last year, it was heartbreaking.

Nicole
Nicole
12 years ago

Your posting made me cry, and miss my pups… our house is so empty now with just a toddler. I hope this isn’t too long – but we lost both of our dogs at the first of the year, one to old age and one to cancer that came back (Buck a Golden and Floyd a yellow lab) My aunt sent this message typed out – it seems to be written for kids, but made me feel better too…

RAINBOW BRIDGE: Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal that has been especially close to someone here, leaves this world, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our special friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals that have been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent, her eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster. YOU have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. Happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your companion, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart. Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.

Julia
Julia
12 years ago

I am so sorry, Julie

Kelley Rye
Kelley Rye
12 years ago

Oh, Linda. I am so, so sorry.

It’s a terrible thing to have to watch an animal you dearly love leave this world. But take comfort knowing you did right by her. She got to pass on peacefully, with people she loved, and you couldn’t have given her a better, more wonderful gift than that.

KC Brown
KC Brown
12 years ago

A vet friend of mine said that it always feels like you have made the decision one day too soon or one day too late. It sounds like you did it just right. I am wishing you the best in recovering from your grief.

marilyn
12 years ago

The pictures you have here with her are so wonderful and happy. What a lot of joy she shared with you all. How many times I read your blog with that old header image of Dog and Cat! They’ll both be remembered and missed for a long time. Big hugs and sympathy to everyone on Team Sharps.

Celine
12 years ago

My heart goes out to your entire family- I know this feeling all too well. Dog was lucky to have you guys, just as you were lucky to have her. She will never be forgotten and what better legacy can there be than that?

Bridget
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. What a sweet girl she was.

ElizabethZ
ElizabethZ
12 years ago

I am very sorry for your loss Linda (and Sharps Family). I have an almost 15 y/o chow/lab mix. Had her since she was 8 weeks old. Her hips are somewhat arthritic, but so far she is healthy otherwise and holding her own. Some days she seems to be “winding down” just a bit, but I give her glucosamine daily and hope I can stave off the inevitable as long as possible.

RIP Dog. What a great life you had.

Kris
12 years ago

Oh, Linda. I’m so sorry. I’ve been through it 3 times now with my beloved girls, and will be letting #4 go sooner than I’d like. I wish I could say it gets easier . . . but it doesn’t. You should take a tiny bit of comfort in knowing when it was time to let her go, and allowing her to leave you with dignity while surrounded by those who loved her the most.

And I love you for staying with her as she passed. You don’t know me from Adam, but really, I love you & JB for being strong enough to stay by her side.

When we had our great pyrenees put down last summer, the vet took my face in her hands, looked straight into my soul, and said that we were doing the right thing and that it was time. I wish I were there to do the same for you.

Manda
12 years ago

:(
So sorry for your loss.

Amy G
Amy G
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. I know it hurts so much. You did the best for her.

I like that vid of JB singing to Ashley from the shower – so funny! (I don’t remember when that was…) I hope you all remember all the happy times!

Marolyn
Marolyn
12 years ago

Im so sorry ~ Goodbye sweet girl.

meredith
meredith
12 years ago

Go peacefully Dog. With dignity and endless love. My heart is with you Linda.

Amy
Amy
12 years ago

Oh Linda…I am so sorry about Dog. I always enjoyed seeing Dog in your pictures and she seemed so sweet and patient with the kids. Sending hugs your way and thinking of you all.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

I am sorry for your loss. Rest in peace, Dog.

Deanna Sanford
Deanna Sanford
12 years ago

Oh My Goodness….. Hugs to you and your family. Our fuzzy family members love us unconditionally. Always so excited to see us come home, or come back from taking the trash out. Sweet Dog is now pain free and chasing ball, after ball after ball.

Lauren
Lauren
12 years ago

Other than you being there to send her off with love, and her last moments of saying goodbye to you, I hate everything about this. I am so very sorry you had to let her go and that you’ve got to go through this. Sending much love your way.

Tracy
12 years ago

When I saw this title in my reader, I said “No, oh fuck no.” But yes. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I absolutely loved your dog. She was a beautiful soul and she knew you guys loved her.

Oregoncoastgirl
Oregoncoastgirl
12 years ago

Oh. Oh.

Love.

Alexa
Alexa
12 years ago

Dog! Oh I am so sorry. Loved her sweet face- what a happy life she lived with a great family.

sooboo
12 years ago

Such a difficult decision but know that however hard it was, having you there made it easier and that’s a really beautiful tribute for all she gave to you and your family. Those pictures are so wonderful. Sniff.

JB
JB
12 years ago

From what you said, I really feel that she knew that it was her time. Maybe she waited until you got back from JB’s uncle’s funeral to begin her wind-down.

You made a brave and kind decision and I’m sure that your pats and gentle words helped her.

I’m so sorry.

Dawn
12 years ago

I am so, so sorry that you had to make this choice and say goodbye to Dog like this. Hugs to you and your family – she’ll most certainly be missed.

Junni
Junni
12 years ago

So, so sorry.

Amy
Amy
12 years ago

So sorry…you did the best thing for her, but it’s never easy. I just had to make the same decision for my sweet boy, Cody. And Zoey (who looks a lot like Dog) is 14 years old and starting to slow down a bit, too. It’s the hardest part of pet ownership, but you did the right thing.

Karen
Karen
12 years ago

Oh, I am so, so sorry for your loss. Dog, you were very loved. It shows in your smile.

Hugs to you and your family, Linda.

Angella
12 years ago

Big, big, hugs, friend. Big ones.

Trisaratops
12 years ago

I’m so sorry for your pain. I think you did the right thing. It is so unfair that pets go before us, and that they can’t talk to you about their pain. But, she communicated with you. Love your photos of her – especially with Riley in the dog bed!

honeybecke
honeybecke
12 years ago

It’s so hard.
Big hugs to you and your family.

GingerB
12 years ago

I am glad you posted this – it gives me hope that I might know when the time is right for our dear old girl, 14 years old any day now. We are dealing with the odd nighttime behavior, lack of appetite, and weight loss. And those jutting hips? So hard to look at. You say it was the hardest thing you’ve ever done but you’d feel worse if you chickened out and let her hang on too long, you know? Best, Ginger

Kimberly
12 years ago

I’m so sorry.

Nine
Nine
12 years ago

I’m so, so sorry. I’ve been reading you forever (diagnosed chronic lurkerdom) and I remember one of the first entries of yours that I read was the Cat vs. Dog intelligence test cage match that ended with Dog’s head stuck in a saltines box. Comedy gold.

RIP Ashley. Who’s a good dog? You are!

KarinP
KarinP
12 years ago

I’m so sorry. Its awful when your furry loved ones go. I love your pics of her, especially the close up.

Brenna
Brenna
12 years ago

I am very sad for you, and also very proud of you (if that’s not too weird to say).