In January, we lost our dog of almost 14 years.
I think it’s something a lot of people are currently/ will have to deal with soon.
It’s like when we were all in our 20s we got these dogs and now…it’s their time.
They’ve seen us through our weddings and pregnancies.
They’ve been there when our babies took their first steps.
Their muzzles have slowly gotten grayer.
It’s one of the hardest things to have to do.
Facebook memories will suck.
So will TimeHop.
You will worry about your other dog (if you have one)
You will look for new puppies
You will swear you’ll never have another dog
You will cry more than you did for a relative. That’s normal.
When the time comes:
Spoil them. We had picked a day when it would happen so we knew in advance, but sometimes that’s not possible. We gave him eggs and bacon for breakfast, peanut butter, doggie ice cream, a new duck and tennis ball. You know your dog best. Give them the things you always said they couldn’t have. Take them on a car ride if they are still able. Let them up on the couch. On the bed. Cuddle with them. Let them eat a cheeseburger.
Be there. When the time comes, don’t leave your dog alone in a vet’s office. They have been there for you their entire lives, be there for them when they need you. Tell them it’s ok. Tell them you love them. Tell them to wait for you on the Rainbow Bridge.
Cremation services. There are companies who will lovingly come and take your pet from your home and cremate them for you. The two men who came to pick up ours were gentle with us. I will forever be grateful for how they treated not only us, but him as well. They’ve been through it so they knew how hard it was to say goodbye. We chose a beautiful rock to have his ashes placed in with an engraving. They will take a paw print and fur for you to keep as well.
Telling the kids. We told our children that our dog was old and was going to die. We chose not to keep it from them or hide it from them. We feel death is a natural part of life, especially growing up on our little farm out here. It was awful. We all cried together. But they understood. They helped us spoil him over the next few days. They were not present for the actual euthanasia. Now, each of them keeps a picture of them and Kobi in their rooms. We read books (I highly recommend Jasper’s Day) about death, specifically the death of a dog.
Ways to remember:
I created a memory box with his collar, leash, toys, fur, pictures and more. Anytime I needed to, I looked through the box. The kids have also gone through it when they have needed to. They have also drawn pictures for him and added them to the box.
It took me a while to actually be able to do it, but I did eventually make a scrapbook for him as well.
Jewelry. A friend of mine bought me a bracelet from ilovedogs.com, it has a heart and paw print as well as 22 white beads, symbolizing the 22 shelter dogs it helps to feed. I also ordered this necklace from Amazon for myself and a friend, when she lost her dog.
Tattoo. I’ve researched paw print tattoos, but haven’t actually pulled the trigger on getting one. But they are a lovely way to remember your pet forever.
Rock garden and/or garden stone. I ordered this one from Amazon for our garden.
Whatever you do, remember everyone grieves differently and let yourself, your spouse and your children to go through the process in their own way.