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July 30, 2013

Making the Hard Decisions

I’ve written a blog in the past on dealing with the death of our most beloved friends and companions. It’s never a pleasant subject and it’s something we as pet lovers have come to expect, knowing that the dreadful day will eventually come.

But for us at Poooh Busters, we experience it through our clients on a regular basis. We feel their sadness when a customer emails or calls to tell us that they no longer need our service because their dog has gone over the rainbow bridge. Or sometimes when they have two dogs, they let us know that they only need service for one now. We can hear it in their voice and sense it in their emails, the simple act of notifying us is breaking their hearts.

If you have ever struggled with the loss of your best friend, you know how hard it can be to cope with the grief. There are many websites out there that offer advice and can even help you find services where you can get counseling if needed.

One of the worst parts of coping with pet loss is the guilt we feel. Ultimately as a pet guardian we must make the final decision of when it is the right time to say goodbye. In many cases we must physically take our beloved friend to the very place where they will breathe their last breath. We feel like…well let’s just say it, like an executioner. But in the end, we know what we must do in order to end the pain and suffering of a disease or just plain old age.

So how does one approach making that final decision? How do you look at someone who has loved you unconditionally throughout their entire life, take them to the vet and place an order for their demise?
There is one family in particular that Poooh Busters has come to know and love. We’ve had the great fortune of not only their patronage but more importantly, their friendship. They are truly an incredible family! Let me share with you how they as a family unit coped with this moment in their lives.

Jennifer, Chris, Alyssa and Gage are a family that I believe all families should be modeled after. Being personal friends on Facebook with Jennifer allows me to peer into their lives which they share openly. It’s incredible to me how much these people selflessly give themselves to our community. I could write pages and pages of all the things they’ve accomplished in the few short years I’ve known them. But for now, I want to talk about their dogs, Diesel and Stimpey.

Jennifer and Diesel being there
for Stimpey during his recovery.
In March of this year Stimpey had emergency spinal surgery due to bruised discs and bleeding in his spinal cord area. I watched over the weeks as Jenn posted pictures, videos and stories of his struggle to recover. They were with him every step of the way hoping and praying for him to get healthy again. I can’t imagine the time and money they spent to nurse Stimpey back to health after surgery. I’m happy to report that Stimpey is almost 100% again and is back to his old self.

And now after finally getting through all of that, yesterday I found out they were devastated by the fact that Diesel’s age has finally caught up with him. They saw the inevitable signs in Diesel’s struggle to walk, get up or even make it outside to go pee. They knew he was getting old and his time has come. But instead of grieving and feeling guilty they embraced the opportunity to prepare. They feel blessed to have been given the time to actually help plan Diesel’s last journey. They want his final journey to be one of celebration and remembrance.

Diesel resting his weary bones.
What a refreshing way to look at this situation! If you must make a decision like this, make it with love and openness. Take this time cherish all the little things you love about your best friend. Know that you are helping them to a better place where they may again play and meet others who have passed before them.
Jennifer wrote an email to Erin explaining what they were going through and how they as a family were coping with it. And believe me when I say they are going through it together. The kids are young and they have been given the option to be there when the time comes. Of course, they choose to be there as Diesel closes his eyes. Both Alyssa and Gage want to be there to hold his hand and never be out of his sight; they wouldn’t have it any other way. This is not the typical situation where the parents tell the kids their dog went to a farm.

As I write these words, Jennifer is posting pictures and writing beautiful things about Diesel. They are doing everything they can to cherish every last moment they have before . This is how we should all cope.

I wrote on Jennifer’s wall to express my sorrow and this is what she wrote back: “…every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog that comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”

What more can be said?

In honour of Diesel and his extraordinary family, I am going to create a “Rainbow” page on the new Poooh Busters website when it is launched in October 2013. Featuring Diesel it will start a new tradition of sharing pictures and stories of all the dogs Poooh Busters has come to know and that have since passed into doggie heaven. 

Update: Stay tuned! Jennifer and family have offered to share their last seven days with Diesel before he goes on his final journey. Watch as this incredible family shares this most personal moment in their lives. 

1 comment:

  1. This is such a hard part of our lives with our dogs but a necessary one. When my dogs have gone to the Bridge, I make sure that the last face they see is mine and that the last thing they hear is me telling them how much I love them. I don't know if it helps them but I choose to believe so. Their devotion to me merits this and so much more.