Pets Mourn too
As I warmed up the car yesterday morning, it was a time to reflect on all things good in our very warm and caring relationship. The night before I had noticed that my Mr. Snitch’s bone cancer had gotten to the point of no return and his foot was starting to die and become more painful. I knew it was time, time for me to let go and say goodbye.
I scooped him up (all 70 pounds of him) and laid him down in the bed next to me and I held him and hugged him and cried and kissed his fur. I know he patiently waited for me to drift off to sleep that night, he always hated laying in the bed and so when morning came he greeted me from his dog bed, his usual spot.
The pain had gotten bad but his thrill for eating could never be decreased so I let him share one more meal with his siblings and then we were off to Bojangles © for their famous chicken biscuits. I have never been one to feed my dog human food, but I always make a special accommodation on their last day.
I was really proud of myself, I held it together while I ordered our breakfast knowing it would be our last meal together, until I got to the window and the young girl asked if my dog would like a treat. With tears streaming down my face I thanked her and knew Mr. Snitch would never look a doggy biscuit in the eye either!
You should have seen the look of shock and wonder on his face as I unwrapped his chicken biscuit and handed it to him, I liken it to a child seeing Disney World for the first time. He grinned from ear to ear and there was a spark in his eyes, one that I hadn’t seen in a while. We shared a bite or two of mine together before I decided to just let him have biscuit number 2 as well, this time there was no hesitation on his part his whole mouth encompassed the remainder of my sandwich and with a tear in my eye I kissed his head.
I took him to a very kind and caring veterinarian who was as compassionate as could be, they discussed the process and even let me share some memories and they encouraged me to stay or go whatever was best for me. I personally, as hard as it is to say goodbye, could never not be there for my animals in their last moments. So I held him and whispered in his ears and told him how much I loved him and how lucky of a mom I had been for 8 wonderful years.
Euthanasia is always hard, it never gets easier. Our pets are our family and provide us with a level of unconditional love that is impossible to be matched. As I grieved for myself on the way home, I didn’t really even take into account the mourning my other animals were about to face.
Nix is almost 11, on February 26 he will reach the milestone of being 11 years old! He too, has spent the last 8 and a half years cherishing the love and relationship that he had with Mr. Snitch. They were not only brothers of a sort, they were best friends sharing everything from food, to affection, to toys and memories and now I had come home without his best friend and he knew it right away.
I don’t know how animals know, I don’t profess to even come close to understanding their abilities to view us and the world, but I know he knew. He pounced past my fiancée, in the bed and sniffed my shirt before throwing himself down in my arms and spooning and mourning with me. He then proceeded to lay on all of Snitch’s beds.
I am writing this, not only because it is cathartic for me to write and share my memories and my stories, but also so that I might help others who are mourning and their mourning pets.
Pets mourn too, even the cat shows a marked sadness that Snitch is gone, and it is my job as their mom to try and lessen it to the best of my abilities and to recognize that they too have needs during this time of trial for all of us.
I took both my other dogs for a walk last night to help get their minds off the fact that someone was missing and to help make them tired. This was important to their psyches to get out and away from the house for a bit. I personally just want to lay in bed at this point and feel sorry for myself, but I owe it to my other critters to help them get accustomed to our new living arrangements.
Still today they are searching the house and the yard for Snitch, hoping to find him and so I have been accompanying them when they go outside to help comfort them.
At 4 a.m. this morning Nix wanted to go out so we all went out together and after he was done searching, he came back in and sat on my lap and curled up so I could hold him.
It is vital for him and for myself that we give ourselves time to mourn, time to be sad, while still trying to stick to the life schedule that my dogs have always known. I try and make sure that feeding time and everything else that we do around here goes off without a hitch, and I will try to devote some extra time to taking them on some walks and some rides to get their minds off of it and so we can all get away for a while together.
It is important to realize that our other pets mourn and go through feelings of sadness, it is our job to be there for each other embrace each other and hopefully let time and love heal some wounds!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.