Loving our Pets

30 Jul

I want to address a difficult topic that all of us as pet owners will be forced to face at one point or another.  The worst part of being a pet parent is the almost certainty you will one day lose them, as their life span is not that of ours as humans.  This topic has been on my mind. My dog celebrated her 14th birthday on June 22.  I am saddened by the now seemingly daily slow down happening before my eyes.  This is not the first time I’ve watched this process, but admittedly am still having difficulty preparing my heart for this discernible decline.

When preparing for loss, I tend to find myself reminiscing and playing back events.  I keep rewinding the VHS tape in my mind and remembering my first years with her.  14 years ago.  A lifetime ago…  I remember so clearly the first day she came into my life, the day we became family.  I can see her sweet, jet black puppy face looking up at me, and how she used to fall asleep in my arms on the couch.   She and I had so much fun at the park and just going for a ride with the windows down.  I can still picture her always laying at my feet, so proud to be part of the raging parties I used to throw on my back deck.  I can remember all of this like it’s yesterday.

Time has changed so many of these things.  The days of crazy deck parties have been replaced with my two young boys birthday parties and the freedom of driving with the windows down is a bit jaded with kid sunshades in the windows.  We still frequent the park, but mainly to ensure one of the boys doesn’t fall off the playground. Although at 20 I could have cared less about her stinking up my piece of junk futon, the 34 year old me doesn’t allow her on the couch.  But, as tears come to my eyes as I write, I’m reminded of the things that have never changed.  How her now salt n’ pepper face is still so sweet looking up at me, and how she still always wants to be right at my feet despite the screaming toddlers running around.  Hers and my family of two has now become much bigger, as did my love for her and her patience for change.

Those of you that know me, or shop with me know I generally have an answer and an opinion on most things. I wish I had my typical laundry list of answers on how to cope with this eminent struggle, but I don’t.  Some of us will be faced with very difficult decisions at the end.  South Bark can help you with the resources you need to assist in your decisions. Please lean on us if you need referrals for vets (traditional or holistic), euthanasia options, diet, pain management or just to listen.  We understand your struggle, and are hear to help.  I know in my heart that anyone reading this no matter how difficult, will make the right decisions for their family.  I also know that no matter how hard it is to watch the decline of an aging pet, any amount of pain we feel is worth the love, support and growth you go through together.

-Chris
Manager, South Bark Dog Wash

2 Responses to “Loving our Pets”

  1. julesblk July 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    We had to let go of our two dogs within the past two years. They were brothers… Cairn terriers and just great companions. The youngest. Tucker, got liver cancer before turning 12… the oldest, Mac got sinus cancer before turning 13. So they lived fairly long lives… and grew up with our son who is the youngest “brother” at only 9 at the time of the start of their decline. It was hardest on him… but so hard for all of us. Thank God we had a vet that was very compassionate and kind. My recommendation is to involve your children… so that death is not something that is scary or foreign. I was raised with parents that just took our pets away… and poof they were home one day and gone the other. Even though it’s super hard for them to go through… it’s harder for them not to. My son was gone visiting when we had to put Tucker to sleep and he really was so sad when he came home to find him gone… forever. With Mac… we made sure our son was there for the decision making… he knew when it was time… and with the vet’s help he was there for when Mac left this world. With children, I find, honesty and sharing your feelings are the best way for them to cope and accept death a bit more realistically. I am so sorry your pup\’s time has come. I still cry… and I’m tearing up now just thinking of my Terrier boys. Their death did put me onto a new path though… I started to foster for dog rescues. It’s been so rewarding to help dogs find new homes… especially when so many are killed every day in the shelters. Only 7 weeks ago we started fostering a new 11 month old Wheaten terrier mix… and have decided to keep her… she’s the best companion for my 11 year old son right now… he just LOVES her and so do we. Her name is Stella. It’s a new start for all of us. But ever so often when I look at her… I think of how old my son will be and how hard again it will be to face having to let go… and to help her die with dignity and grace.

    • southbarkdogwash October 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

      Thank you for fostering dogs. I find it to be a very rewarding experience. Before I opened my store, I rescued and foster German Shepherds for several years. I learned a lot about myself, the breed, as well as the huge about of love people in rescue give to animals. We have lots of adoptions events at South Bark. It’s so wonderful to keep that pets life going, instead of perhaps having the dog loose its’ life in a shelter. I have lost many pets, and appreciate your comments.

      -Lisa
      Co-Owner
      South Bark Dog Wash

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