Saying goodbye to a pet. It’s possibly the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Our boy has struggled with arthritis for the last 11 years but the last 3 or 4 have been really awful as he has developed an intolerance to the medicine keeping him mobile. He’s tried every option going and is now on a heavy dose of painkillers while he’s off the anti-inflammatory tablets to give his stomach a chance to recover. We know his time is coming to an end, but it’s so hard to know when. He is still interested in life, he’s eating and the vet isn’t advising it yet but his body is failing him. We know it’s on the cards, there is no miracle cure and he’s a good age for a labrador so it won’t be too much longer. This is my ode to him, as I know it will be too painful to write when he is no longer with us.
As I sit writing, there is a lump in my throat that’s hard to swallow down. I know some people think that it’s crazy to be so upset, it’s just a pet, just a dog they say. And I get that, I really do, but you’re not just an anything. You have been my best friend for the last twelve years. That is a really really long time. You have been the only constant in our lives for so long now, that I just can’t imagine life without you. I vividly remember when we met you. A litter to choose from, all so sweet, there is nothing more appealing then a puppy is there? How to choose, in the end, you chose us, plonking your fat little bottom down on my husband’s foot, that was it, love at fur-st sight.
Getting you home was a trauma, knowing you weren’t allowed to go down until you had your jabs but worrying that you needed a wee on the long journey, we ended up dangling you in the air in a lay by. Needless to say you didn’t go!
You were a firm favourite with all our friends. We’d take you to the pub, snuggled in behind me on the bench seat, we were never apart really! Except when you went through your ‘teenage’ stage, you were a total horror, you chewed so many of my high heels, but only one from each pair. I used to drive you round to my Mum and Dads’ ‘for a break’, what a premonition of the future as a Mum that was! 😀
Your absolute best thing ever was long walks on the beach involving a lot of swimming. You were a nightmare in summer though, the packed beach providing far too many opportunities for you to be really naughty, head into cool boxes, people forced to hold their fish and chips in the air as you thundered by all soggy and sandy. You also had a terrible habit of popping children’s balls as you ran by, I carried spare change with me for that very reason! Luckily it was quite a short phase!
Every stage of our lives has had you in it, resting your heavy head on my bump when I was pregnant, sat by my feet when I was in labour, soaking up my tears on more then one occasion when I battled post natal depression, then proving yourself the best family dog ever.
Protective, gentle, never complaining when your walk was cut short, or didn’t happen, you didn’t make a fuss, I’ll never forget their little toddler hands entwined in your fur as you gently led them round while they used you as a real life furry walker.
The children adore you, they were devastated at Christmas when we all had to say goodbye to you, I left them wailing on the doorstep as I rushed you in, convinced that it was the end for you. An ear infection affecting your brain apparently, a course of antibiotics and you came home, and got better. Until you got something else. And now we’re here. Watching you, desperate to catch the ‘right point’. We don’t want to give up on you but equally we don’t want you to suffer. You are going to leave such a hole in our lives. I’m not even sure what life looks like without you in it. I may sound dramatic but you have been there to great me for almost every morning of my life for the last twelve and a half years. You’ve nudged my elbow and made me spill my tea more times then I can ever count, snored like a pig over tv programs, stolen so much food and don’t get me started on the rolling!! But I wouldn’t have you any other way.
Mostly, although I know you’ll never read this, I just want to thank you, for being so faithful, so gentle, so uncomplaining. You’ve given us total devotion and I’m very glad that you chose us that day, we couldn’t have asked for a better dog to be our family companion for so many years.
I don’t know how long you have with us, but please know that we will make it the most loved time ever and when the final moment does come, we will make the right decision and help you to go gently. We will be with you until the very end, as faithful to you as you have been to us.
You’re a very good boy.
If you are saying goodbye to a pet too, I’m so very sorry, and if this post has been upsetting for you, just know that I understand. They are never ‘just a pet’. I just needed to get this down so it’s known how brilliant he is.
Update: very sadly, we lost our beloved boy on the 27th January 2017. We are feeling his loss greatly.