Sometimes we must say good-bye

One year and one month ago I wrote a post about how my dog, Schnapps, was diagnosed with bone cancer. When we took him into the vet in April 2007, he had a huge lump on his shoulder. The vet removed it and determined it was cancer giving him a few months to live. I titled the post “My dog is dying” but never published it because somehow I knew that he was a fighter, a survivor, and he would prove the vet wrong. Schnapps has been with me since I was 20 (15 years!). He outlasted a few boyfriends, a few friendships, and many changes in my life. In the time I’ve had him, I’ve secured and sustained a career, gotten married, moved about 4 times, and had a child enter my life. He used to sleep in my bed with me until Nathan came along. In his later years, he suffered from separation anxiety, which although annoying, was quite endearing. He had to follow me everywhere and when I left he would often pee on the floor to let me know how much he missed me.

Three weeks ago, Schnapps stopped eating. He lost 5 pounds in that time and in his last week, he stopped drinking water. On Sunday night, he could no longer stand up. Nathan carried him upstairs and said it was time to put him down, so I called the vet on Monday. They said I could bring him in Monday night at 4:00 and I burst into tears. The receptionist suggested Tuesday night so I could have more time with him. Tuesday at 5:40 we took him in. Emaciated, weak, and dehydrated, we were confident it was a good time for him to go.

We stayed with him until the end. It was quite peaceful and I’m glad we were able to hold his paw and give him hugs while he went. I miss my little buddy.

Ava has been so matter-of-fact about it. Yesterday she said, “We just don’t have any dogs now because Schnapps died and Zeke is with Papa Gordon. Someday I will die too and so will Zeke.” I cannot bear the thought of my family members dying, but Ava does help simplify the whole life-death cycle.

I’m so relieved that my loyal companion is not in pain, but, jeez, that was a hard thing to do. Rest peacefully, buddy.


6 Responses to Sometimes we must say good-bye

  1. Myrna says:

    Dear Nathan, Diana & Ava,
    So sorry about Snapps, I know how difficult it is. It is so amazing how it is a matter seconds before we get attached to our pets and it is so very hard to put them down. However, we are fortunate that we are ablt to do this for them. I had to put down two of my cats and in both cases it was so difficult to determine if it was the right time and I do believe I waited too long because I couldn’t bear it. However, I knew the moment it was done that it was the right thing to do. They are our ever faithful companions and cannot be replaced however, we, as humans, are able to save them from suffering. That helped me through it. Both cats, Bosco and Jasper were sick, Bosco more so and therefore easier to know the right time. Jasper on the other hand, was not sick but oh so very annoying and developed a most unpleasant scent. However, he would eat and use the litterbox without fail. He was senile and would meow horribly to the point where it totally stressed me out but I still held on until he quit eating. I knew the time was right. It was a relief, although sad. I just know that our pets are in a better place now. Who knows maybe Bosco and Jasper are chasing Schnapps around or maybe Schnapps is chasing Bosco and Jasper. Either way, I do sympathize with what you are going through but remember you did the right thing and Schnapps is no longer in pain or suffering.
    Love you,

  2. Beverly says:

    I am not sure how much more I can take of death and dying. So sorry to lose your pet. My ears are ringing from all the tragedy in the world!!

    Love to you guys,

  3. Lisa & Clara says:

    What a beautiful post and tribute to dear Schnapps. We don’t know what happens when we die, but I’d like to think that your presence was not so much to witness an End, but as midwives for the transition to his next incarnation. Then again, a friend tells me our last cycle on earth is as a dog, so perhaps you held his paw as his spirit was finally liberated? And I do believe what I’ve told Clara: if you feel good in your heart when you think about him, then he is hearing you and he lives on in your love for him. Now, I will need you to repeat these words when i have to make The Call for dear ‘ole Bandit …

  4. 3cmum says:

    So sorry – its so hard to loose a pet at any time but after 15 years, truly difficult. But it so wonderful you could be with him and Ava has taken it so well.

  5. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Bougainvillaea.

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