Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time to Say Good-bye to a Swell Dog

It's always a sad thing to have to send a loved pet to the "other side," but sometimes it's the kindest thing to do if they are suffering.

Jager, our beagle/lab mix, was almost 16 years old and had had a good life here on our farm for the last four years. He was a rescue dog and had lived a varied life. But his happiest times were here, chasing rabbits, sniffing all the animal trails, playing with the other dogs, and just sunning himself wherever and whenever he wanted to.

So when he developed a malignant tumor on his face, we were all terribly disappointed that he wouldn't be here very much longer. Treatment for his condition, provisionally diagnosed as a fibrosarcoma, would be over-the-top expensive, with no assurances of a good outcome. In fact, the prognosis included the very real possibility that he might not survive surgery.

Chemo and radiation are extremely expensive, too, with the same lack of promises.

So we let him enjoy his last summer here with us, doing as he pleased. We may have petted him a little more, or talked to him more often (though he was deaf already), and provided more of his favorite foods and treats.

Then the day came. It was not a choice anymore. It had become a necessity. He needed to be helped out of this life, to be freed from the pain and disabilities that seemed to be piling up faster now. See, he was having strokes now, too, and some days he was unable to walk normally. He would recover from these strokes and resume the ability to run again, but he was never as energetic and strong as he had been.

Now it was time.... and we were lucky to find the perfect veterinarian to do it. She and her assistant and I lovingly circled around him as he lay on the treatment table and hugged and petted him till he thought he had already gone to heaven!

Then the vet gently and painlessly inserted the final needle, and Jager fell asleep very quickly, but with love all around him. And I think he knew it.

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1 comment:

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