Why I am not in Mourning

Bop & Daz 010 (Small)Anyone who has been through a lingering illness with a loved one  can probably relate.  You start mourning when you  start experiencing the decline, and know the inevitable outcome,   that’s when it starts.  Yet, you know you have to be strong and live through it.

My old dog died last week. I euthanized him because he was in pain.  He was 15, and had been going downhill. He was a walking skeleton as he had lost what little body mass he had.  People would comment about him on the street:  “Is he sick?” “Why don’t you feed him?”  ‘You are abusing that dog!”  Oh yeah.   And I’d explain that he was 15 years old…and he was fine.

He was fine because  he was still interested in life.  He loved going for a walk and sniffing around and seeing the sites (he was a Saluki…a sighthound) no matter what the weather.  He enjoyed treats.  He  just wanted to be around his people (not a cuddler….a Saluki).

Since about the age of 13, he had been going down hill, losing muscle mass, sleeping more, and being very very picky about his food, but the last  about three months were the worst…for me. He was interested in life, but his body was failing.

Temple Grandin , the famous animal physiologist (for whom the book, “
An Anthropologist on Mars” was named) wrote that  animals feel pain, but it just doesn’t bother them that much (up to a point).  Dazzle clearly had trouble  getting up and down—hips and knees, but I knew my dog.

In fact,  when  people ask how they can tell  IT’S TIME, I have told them:

  1. When the dog constantly ends up walking into a corner & just standing there;
  2. When he stops eating;
  3. When he shows signs of pain.

& that was it.  Dazzle  went for a walk after leaping down the stairs for the umpteenth time, was limping, but came up the stairs and ate dinner. Then, he fell.  He had been falling, and sometimes, he had trouble getting up on a slick floor, but after I got him up, the last time,  he could no longer support his own weight.  I helped him to lay down  on his bed, but when I got him up to go out to urinate, he screamed out in pain, and  I had to hold him up.  There would be no going back.

Yes, heartbreaking that a dog so interested in life could have his body fail him.  But it was not a shock.  We all want our dogs to die at home, in their sleep. We have the capacity  to not let them suffer.  & that is why I am not in mourning.  I miss him terribly. He was the best dog ever, but we had a good life together, and the way to honor that is to get myself together and either get another dog or help animals in distress.

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2 Responses to “Why I am not in Mourning”

  1. Raud Says:

    My heart goes out to you. I lost my dog recently too.

  2. Wendy Says:

    Thank you for sharing, I have been through a very similar thing with my two boys who I lost within six weeks of each other. I thought I would not survive losing both of them but I put that grief towards helping others and bringing awareness to puppy mills and the suffering there. I started a website for that and my sisters and I are now doing direct rescue, having saved about 40 little souls. Sorry for your very sad loss.

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