How Do You Decide that Today is the Day to Put
Your Best Friend
A Tribute to a Friend
“THE RAINBOW BRIDGE”
The recent death of a friend’s 13 1/2-year-old German Shepherd, again reminded me of January the 5th, 1998 (the worst day of my life to date). I was forced to make the hardest decision I have ever been faced with, that was to put my best friend (Nickie) to sleep. This was something I had put off for months.
Going through the process to make this decision for an old or sick dog is a long and painful experience.
Mine went something like this:
• Boy he's not looking too good today.
• The steroids really made him act like he did 3 or 4 months ago; this is great!
• He is not able to hold his bladder (because of the steroids). This is hard for him. He knows he shouldn't be having accidents in the house. It embarrasses him. He is so proud.
• The heck with the Steroids. They are fixing one problem but causing him too many other problems. It's not worth it (for him).
• Now he can't walk up stairs again.
• God he's getting worse again. I know I am going to have to make the decision. I can't even think about it!
• I don't mind picking him up and carrying him down the steps to the front yard so he can relieve himself. I have to steady him. His old legs are a little wobbly.
• "How do I know what day is going to be THE DAY"? Look at the way he looks at me. Do I wake up one morning and decide, "today is the day I am going to be a cold hearted S.O.B. and call the vet?" No. I don't mind carrying him outside. It's not so hard and I really don't mind cleaning up after him in the house, it's not like he meant to do it.
• God, he fell down the steps again. That really hurt him. He still has the heart but the body is gone.
• Am I keeping him alive for myself or for him?
• Shit, he can't even get up this morning. He was forced to lie in a pool of urine all night because he couldn't move. Today is the day. Thank God my vet will come to the house.
• The vet is here and I don't have the guts to watch this. I give him one last hug. I have to leave the house crying like a baby. Thank God for my ex-wife. She held him until the end.
• Every now and then when things slow down I find myself thinking of our times together. It almost always brings a lump to my throat and quite often a tear to my eye.
• We sure had some good times.
• It's been 11 months and 6 days. As I wrote this I started to cry again. I can't help it. Who cares? Not me!! I still miss him andthink about him every day when I look at his pictures in my bedroom.
The answer to the question of “When is the right day?” Should always be when you ask “Am I keeping him alive for me and not for him?”
The following poem (The Rainbow Bridge) is one that was sent to me after Nickie died. I asked a local artist friend here in town to do the artwork. I took this poem along with several very nice photos of Nickie and had them matted and framed. They hang on my bedroom wall. I am thinking about asking her if we can make prints to offer people who lave lost their pet. If you are interested in purchasing a print, please go to http://alldog360.blogspot.com/