It will always be this painful to say goodbye to your dog

March 28, 2013

My parents are putting one of our dogs to sleep right now. It’s our oldest, a 14 year old miniature dachshund named Lily. My mom got Lily in the Summer between my Junior and Senior year of high school. At the time, we had two other dogs – a West Highland white terrier named Tucker and a golden retriever named Rusty. Rusty was a surprise present for me when I was in 7th grade. That was the first time we had two dogs at the same time, and my mom wanted to get a dog that was for herself and that was Lily. A few years later, my parents got my sister a dog – a tiny tiny tiny poodle named Pixie – which she wasn’t ready to take care of that became another family dog.

When I was 23, Tucker, who was 14 years old and had been living with diabetes and cataracts for years, died. He died in my arms on the way to the veterinary hospital. When I was in second grade, we had to put our 13 year old Westie, Nicki, asleep and it was soul crushing. We got a new dog named Murphy who was an old English sheep dog who after a few years of owning him, we turned him over to a farm because he really wasn’t meant for a suburban life. Then we got Tucker.

Only a few months after Tucker’s death, Rusty collapsed suddenly. A sad trait of golden retrievers is they are very prone to cancer and very prone to developing cancer on their spleen and for that to rupture. The latter happened. One day Rusty was fine and the next she was having emergency surgery. For a week, my parents spent all the money in the world trying to fix Rusty from something she really could never recover from. At the end of that week, we had to put her to sleep at 10 years old.

It was around that time that Lily developed Cushing’s disease, which is also frightfully common amongst dachshunds and many smaller dogs in general. It felt like my family was cursed. But it’s part of being a dog owner. They will come into your life and you will love that dog and they will die much earlier than you will most likely. Amazingly, Lily has lived with Cushing’s disease and the various ailments that are attached to that for 7 years.

Not that it makes it easier to be there because it completely doesn’t – this will be the first dog of the last three that I wasn’t there when they passed.

My mom will be inconsolable for the foreseeable future.

I have a lot to say about Lily and the wonderful experience it has been to know her these years, but it’s not the easiest to type through tears or labored breaths or silent moments of reflection juxtaposed by more tears and heavy sighs.

I will say that my girlfriend, Danielle, has done a great job taking pictures of my dogs including and especially Lily. You can find the ones she’s posted on her instagram feed – instagram.com/_dharv … One of my favorites is from earlier this month when we were dogsitting the dogs while my parents were away for the week.

Lily will forever be in our hearts like Nicki, Murphy, Tucker, Rusty, and Pixie.

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12 Responses to “It will always be this painful to say goodbye to your dog”

  1. ATinyBun said

    ❤ Precious tine. What a sweet angel. She will be with the other sweet angels and will hopefully be introduced to some of my dogs (Taps, Silky, Val) and also Toby who is another sweet angel and they will all be best friends.

  2. PWG said

    I’ll just leave this here, as long as we’re all already crying.

  3. PWG said

    I lost
    my boy here last year, and of course it’s terrible. I never met a dog more willing to be the consigliere to someone else’s boss.

    Frank had what every big dog wants: outdoor life on a farm, with fresh air and running around and a big dog pack family. And he hated it. He hated thunder and loved people, and ran away from dog heaven three times until the shelter finally stopped giving him back.

    We took him in to the Australian Shepherd and Border Collie Rescue program, and we were only supposed to foster him until he found his real home. We loved and trained and fostered and let go seven other dogs, but we “failed” with this one and kept him until he died of cancer 8 years later.

    Our girl in that picture is now 15, and very much showing her age. It will break my heart when she goes. I’m very sorry that Lily is gone.

  4. tiffanized said

    All the hugs. It seems a shame that we asshole humans seem to live for such a long time, then we are given these awesome little beings whose sole purpose seems to be to love us and please us and keep our feet warm by sitting on them and they only get to be here a short while. Not cool, universe, not cool.

    I’m going to buy some rotisserie chicken for my dogs tonight and maybe even let them get on the couch.

  5. Kim said

    I’m so sorry for your loss and sending prayers for your Mom. I certainly know how hard it is. Hoping I won’t have to go thru it for a long time again, my two dear ladies are 8 and 7 years old now. I have always shared my life with dogs and can’t imagine not having at least two at a time. Take care,

  6. I loved Lily. My little Instagram muse… Sad, sad day.

  7. Karla said

    2 yrs ago I lost one of my Lhasa puppies “Jacinto” to a digestive problem. He died in my arms after several days under treatment without recovery. It´s the first time I´ve been present when any of the dogs in my family passed away and it´s probably the worst moment I have experienced in my life.

    You and your family are in my prayers today because of your loss.

    It´s amazing how those furry 4 legged creatures can be the source of so much inspiration and unconditional love, we humans have so much to learn from them.

    Lily has gone to a great place from which no other dogs have ever returned, so they must be having a blast!

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  9. NixHaw said

    I wrote you a lovely comment about my Dad’s dogs and I got all teary and then the internet swallowed it up and regurgitated it into some black hole in another dimension, never to be seen again.

    Just know the I am thinking of you and your family and all our doggies.

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