It is never easy to say goodbye to your family pet. And being part of the staff at a vet clinic, you would think it would be easier for us because we deal with it every day, but it’s not.
I recently had to say goodbye to our 11-year-old Norfolk Terrier Meg. She had been diagnosed with heart failure about one year ago, but that is not what took her. In May 2017 we found some lumps and had them removed, only to find out she had cancer and that the bumps would return but it was unknown how long it would take. They did return about four months later, and then we knew she was on borrowed time.
This little terrier was like a Hoover vacuum; she loved to eat. When her appetite started to decrease, and her activity level was down, I started talking to my family about how soon we needed to make that dreadful decision to euthanize her. My son who is 21 and has been with her since she was born was not having any of these conversations with me. It was hard trying to explain to him that at some point we needed to think about Meg and how she was feeling and that we couldn’t let her suffer because we wanted to keep her around longer.
That day did come, and I must say it was one of the hardest things to do. I could see how much my son was hurting and that he was having a hard time letting go. I have been through this before but for him, it was even harder as she was his dog, they had been friends for 11 years and had never been separated. He had a special bond with her. As I sit here and write this I have tears in my eyes still seeing the agony my son was going through and not being able to do anything but to give him support. I did finally manage to convince him it was time and we all drove to the clinic.
We gave her a sedation and prepped her for the process. Here is where it got even harder for my son, making the last decision to end his best friend’s life. He laid there for a long time hugging and talking to her not wanting to let her go. I finally had to help him and let him know it was ok to say goodbye that she was suffering and we were doing her a favour. She would not be in any discomfort anymore and that she would be joining her mother, Taquilla and her golden sister Gidget. I couldn’t stop crying as I saw the pain he was going through and being helpless to take it away.
He understands now that this was the right decision, but at the time his emotions were too much.
It’s hard to say goodbye. Our pets give us unconditional love and sometimes the only way we have to give back is by taking away the pain and making that hard decision to euthanize.
It is especially hard for children who have grown up with their pets and have a hard time dealing with the process.
At any time if you need help or just someone to talk to just give us a call and we can help you through it.
Written by Anne Huard, Hospital Manager