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.