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Saying goodbye to your pet

Updated on December 19, 2013

This is not a cheerful post to write in the few days before Christmas, but it is a reality, and as I sit writing this and crying, I look down at my dog and know it's time.

They say that having more information about something makes it less scary, and for me my first line of defence is always to read more, get more information and be as informed as I can be, so this book was a huge help these past few weeks. Although the circumstances around Buster's end of life is not a difficult one, he has cancer and it just a few months shy of 20 years old, the timing is tough. When to say when, when is enough pain, what does his pain even look like to us and a million other questions have floated in our minds over the past weeks since we've had his diagnosis confirmed.

I think of all things, death is the most difficult to talk about, sort of like in Harry Potter when they talk about 'he who shall not be named'. It's a bit odd really, being that it is a natural part of life, but because of the pain and suffering it causes to all, it is a dark topic. I think this needs to change in our society, because end of life issues are so important to our mental, spiritual and physical comfort. Maybe the death of our pets is a good place to open the discussion, and that's why I am writing about it here, now.

Goodbye Busterdog, the decades you have been with us have been such a blessing.

Saying Goodbye to Lulu
Saying Goodbye to Lulu

I'm happy our daughter is 34 years old, but I know it will still be very hard on her. Books like this are very helpful when explaining death to younger children.

 
Saying Goodbye To Sophie
Saying Goodbye To Sophie

Here's one for Kindle.

 

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Younger daysHappy summer daysA few Christmas's ago, Buster's giftHard to believe this was 15 yrs agoThis week, sleeping in
Younger days
Younger days
Happy summer days
Happy summer days
A few Christmas's ago, Buster's gift
A few Christmas's ago, Buster's gift
Hard to believe this was 15 yrs ago
Hard to believe this was 15 yrs ago
This week, sleeping in
This week, sleeping in

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    • JennAshton profile image
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      Jenn Ashton 3 years ago from Canada

      @Pam Irie: Thanks so much - sure is tough, I still look for him every day;-)

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 3 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I'm so sorry. Buster was undoubtedly so very loved and knew that! You'll see him again someday; I truly believe that.

    • JennAshton profile image
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      Jenn Ashton 3 years ago from Canada

      @jptanabe: Thank you for writing, yes we did it on Dec 20 and I am just now able to start looking at the good times - the farther away it gets the easier it is becoming;-) So sorry for your loss as well!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 3 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Yes, it is so painful to lose our beloved companions of many years. I lost 2 cats in the last 2 years - had to decide to euthanize them both when they got too sick. It still hurts, but I know they had the best lives with our family, and brought us so much joy. I remember the good times.

    • JennAshton profile image
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      Jenn Ashton 3 years ago from Canada

      @Ruthi: Thanks for writing, it's getting a bit easier every day;-)

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      Ruthi 3 years ago

      I agree we should talk about our thoughts and feelings of death, our own as well as those we love, which for me would certainly put my dog right at the top. I believe love lingers in memories but must be allowed to pass on when quality and comfort are either non-existent or purely manufactured by medicines that affect the living soul. I know you shall miss your Busterdog and the companionship shared.

    • JennAshton profile image
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      Jenn Ashton 3 years ago from Canada

      @gottaloveit2: Thank you so much, you know, for me it doesn't feel like a home without a pooch in it;-)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      What a beautiful testimony to a very blessed, much loved dog. 20 years is indeed a legacy. Your love and care show. I know you're hurting but take that hole in your heart and fill it with another rescue who needs you more now.

    • JennAshton profile image
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      Jenn Ashton 3 years ago from Canada

      @sousababy: Aw Miss Boo! ;-) Yes exactly -- we'll miss him so much, but it's time, no question.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 3 years ago

      It's so hard. I miss my cat "Miss Boo" so much - pets are part of the family and the loss of that unconditional love is difficult to put into words. Sometimes death is a gift.

    • JennAshton profile image
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      Jenn Ashton 3 years ago from Canada

      @lesliesinclair: Thank you for writing! Yes me too, in fact for one of my school projects last year I made this website Afterwearegone.com to help get the word out that we need to plan and start talking far in advance of our own endings! We need to be ale to plan, and talk and grieve - not just behind closed doors;-)

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      A sad time, for sure. The end of life discussion is surely one we need to have more often. I don't think we can really imagine what it's like for our animals, we can just try to, but for our family members it's so much more real because we may have experienced what they do and we have such a good idea of what they think and really feel like. Our animals lived out in the country and met natural ends, however much it hurt us to have happened. Well, there were some cars involved, and some wild predators, and it was still very painful. When I tried to talk to my faith community after my mom's death I was pretty much met with a stone wall. No one seemed to want to discuss the preparations we might want to make so our families would be clear about our wishes. I gave up on that at that time, but I'm a big proponent of talking out the tough things.

    • JennAshton profile image
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      Jenn Ashton 3 years ago from Canada

      @aka-rms: So sad;-(

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 3 years ago from USA

      I know that awful feeling. :(