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Saying Goodbye

Yesterday afternoon, I received a text from the Mr. saying that I needed to get Aubie into the vet.  I texted back asking if it was about her leg, which had a terrible sore from the laying around she’d been doing the last two months.  He asked me to call him.

He told me that she hadn’t eaten much breakfast and that she had fallen when she’d gone outside to potty.  He wanted an overall assessment.  He also wanted the vet to tell us how much pain Aubie was actually feeling.

Sigh.

The vet, despite being very, very busy, fit us in at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, I went home to spend some time with Aubie…

She was, as usual, in her prone position.

She’d been sleeping 90% of the time lately and found it difficult to sit up for long stretches of time.

She did love the extra attention she was getting though.

We put her in the car, hoping that the vet wouldn’t say what we suspected she might say.  Aubie seemed to enjoy the drive…

We kept her in the car while a sick, contagious dog was treated inside.

I snapped more photos…

These last two are my favorite…

Then, it was time to go in.

She nearly fell as she walked to the room, so the Mr. carried her in, where the staff had placed a large, thick towel on the floor for her.

The vet came in, asked various questions, and told us that Aubie was much worse than the last time she’d seen her…about a month ago.

We asked hard questions…

Was Aubie in a lot of pain?

The vet said that although she was on pain meds, they didn’t take all of the pain away.

We expressed concern about her recent unwillingness to eat.

The vet offered to put her on medication to stimulate hunger.

Aubie also needed to be on antibiotics for the sore on her leg.

And then we asked the toughest question of all…

Would Aubie ever get better?

The vet sadly shook her head and said no.

We asked her what she would do if Aubie was her dog, and the vet said she would be merciful and end her suffering.

Oh the tears we shed.

The vet stepped out so we could call the kids.  We were only able to reach Rooster, who told us to do what was best for Aubie.

We didn’t want to make the decision to end Aubie’s life, but we had seen her discomfort increase exponentially in the last couple of weeks.

Aubie had snapped at me a few days ago when I tried to get her into a more comfortable position.  She had only done it because she was in pain, this I’m sure of.  She had the sweetest disposition of any dog I’ve ever come across.

The angst one goes through when making this decision was agonizing.

Was it selfish of us to hold on?

Did we have the right to terminate her life?

In the end, we had to make the decision that was best for Aubie, not for us.

Despite the pain of our hearts being shredded apart, we chose to ease her suffering.

Before the vet returned, we laid hands on Aubie, and I prayed, thanking God for blessing us with this amazing dog.  I prayed that Aubie’s passing would be gentle and that we would be reunited with her one day.

The vet cautioned that the first shot, which would put Aubie into a deep sleep, would be painful as it was administered, and that she would probably cry out.

She was stoic, though, and didn’t make a peep.

The vet told us that she wouldn’t close her eyes as she went to sleep.  The tech said that she’d never, in twenty years, seen a dog do this.

Before Aubie laid her head down, she licked us both…something she hadn’t done in many months.

Then she eased gently into sleep, closing her eyes as she went under.

We stroked her gently, whispering words of love and affirmation.

The vet returned and administered the final shot, then left to allow us time to be with Aubie in her last moments.

I cannot describe the feelings of sadness that fell upon us.

Memories invaded my mind…

  • Visiting the animal shelter in Broward County and having Aubie brought into the visiting room.
  • Watching her lick Rooster’s ear after he slammed it in the door, then returning to the Mr.’s side. (We knew she was the dog for us after she did this.)
  • Walking her to the kids’ elementary school the day she came home (she had to get fixed first).
  • Having her follow me up the stairs the first day we were home by ourselves together (I was a stay-at-home mom).  She was very protective.
  • Chasing after her in the car when she escaped to a neighborhood down the street and watching her look over her shoulder as she refused to get in the car.
  • Watching her be sprayed with a garden hose when she entered, uninvited, one of the neighbor’s yard.
  • Watching Chicky dance with Aubie while singing to Shania.
  • Visiting Aubie when Grand Pooba and Coupon Queen took care of her while we were building our house.
  • Watching the kids chase her across the yard, in full pursuit of the ball that Aubie refused to give up.
  • Listening to stories of Aubie sneaking up the in-law’s stairs and licking chocolate off of a birthday cake.  She was incredibly stubborn and mischievous.
  • Bringing Aubie to our newly built home and letting her loose in our recently fenced in yard.  She thought she was in heaven!
  • Listening to Aubie’s deep gutteral, yet playful growl when she was teaching the other dogs how to properly wrestle.  She knew the fine art of pinning down her opponent!
  • Watching the kids say goodbye before they left from their Easter visit.  Bittersweet.
  • Watching the Mr. pick her up and carry her outside to potty when her legs failed her.

All of these memories flashed through my mind every so quickly but with deep feelings nonetheless.

I’m sobbing as I type this.

The vet returned and listened for a heartbeat, confirming that Aubie was gone.

I didn’t want to leave.

I loved on Aubie a few minutes longer, deep cries of loss escaping unbidden from the deepest places in my heart.

Despite having had a long day, the vet and her staff epitomized tenderness and empathy, allowing me the time I needed to say goodbye.

And we returned home…

Without our girl…

Where her bed lies empty…

I know that loss is a part of life, but if I may be blunt, it really sucks.

I will grieve.  I will cry…a lot.

But I will, in the end, choose to be grateful for the blessing of having Aubie in our family for all of these years.

If I could leave a message to Aubie, it would be this…

Aubie,

Thank you for choosing us, for that is what you did that day in the animal shelter.

Thank you for being loyal.  Whenever you escaped, you always returned to us.

Thank you for loving us, even when we added brothers and sisters to the mix.

Thank you for forgiving me when I lavished attention on the newly added pups.

Thank you for teaching me what it means to love an animal without abandon.

Taking care of you in your last weeks was an honor.  I know you didn’t want to let go of life, but you did it with grace. 

You are irreplaceable.  Your memory will live on in the stories we will tell and the feelings of tenderness that will remain in my heart.

I love you, Princess Pretty Feet.

Love,

Mama

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9 Responses

  1. I am deeply sorry to hear about Aubie. 😦 I can relate how you feel. I lost my border collie almost 2 years ago this month. She was having the same issues your dog was having with atheritis and later having no desire to eat anymore, then I knew it was time. She passed away on the way to the vet, which was sweet because I couldn’t have possibly been in the vet office. I planned to have my dad help me out on that. It’s like she knew I hated needles. Anyway again I’m so so sorry! I’d love to give you a big hug right now. I’ll be thinking of you! From Nikki

  2. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Aubie. I am in tears; my heart understands your pain. Our pets are very much a part of our family. We lost my husband’s special buddy Lyca (a kitty) on April 21. You and your family are in my prayers as you grieve the loss of your beloved Aubie. {{{hugs}}}

  3. Bless your sweet heart, my friend. Your tribute to precious Aubie has left me in tears because I understand all too well the emotions you’re going through. When you welcome a dog into your family, you truly have no idea the impact they’ll have on your life. They become your constant friend and companion and the love you share with them is deeply rooted. When they’re gone, they leave a hole in your heart for a long, long time. I still get choked up every time I think of the day we had to put down our Shih Tzu of 14 years. Just hope you will find comfort in the fact that you made the right decision for Aubie…she’s at peace now. Keeping you all very close in my thought and prayers during this difficult time. Sending big hugs your way.

  4. I so understand the pain of saying goodbye to a beloved dog…sending you a hug today.

  5. I didnt even want to read this because I knew how it would end up… me sitting her sobbing with you & for you & for your sweet Aubie. Choosing to ease their pain is the hardest decision. But I think you know that sweet kiss from her was her way of thanking you for what you chose to do… letting her go peacefully. I’m just so sorry…its the thing that sucks the most about having such precious animals to love on. Sending you hugs!!!

  6. I often read your blog, but rarely comment. Today I felt the need to express my sympathy and send ((hugs)) your way. I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet pet.

  7. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. They are like our kids and the love runs deep, but sometimes we just have to know it is time to let go. Hang on to your memories and feel blessed that she was in your life! My heart is breaking for you and the tears are flowing, it is hard to do, but it was the right thing. She is no longer in pain! Prayers going up!
    until next time…nel

  8. I am so very sorry for your loss of Aubie. I can honestly say I understand your pain because we have had to do the same before. But looking at her pictures all over your blog and reading your sweet words about here, there is no doubt you gave her a wonderful life and that she added so much to your life.

    Praying for your peace and sending ((hugs)) your way.

  9. I am so very sorry for your loss Friend. I recently had to face this with my friend Wolfe as I think I have mentioned before. He was with us almost 17 years. This is the greatest gift you have from Aubie and one you gave to her. I know for many many years it wont feel that way. This final decision is sacred and not in any way taking away from the love you gave. It shows that beyond all things your desire for her health happiness and peace was at the front of your heart. It is the right and responsible thing to do for our furkids. You truly are a loving beautiful Fur Mommy. Peace and Prayers at this time for you and yours.

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