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Coping with a dog being put to sleep

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by awithers3, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. awithers3

    awithers3 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I learnt very recently that my beloved dog (Chocolate Lab - got her in 2008 at 3 y/o) is suffering from a multitude of tumors on her lungs and is likely to be put to sleep very shortly due to her weakness, fatigue and likely inevitable suffering should she be left to live slightly longer. It appears to very much be the ethically and most loving thing to do and I support the decision fully. She has been sluggish for a few weeks and collapsed on a short walk yesterday.

    She is the first dog I've ever had the pleasure of owning and obviously I've always known this day would come, but it really doesn't make the process any easier.

    To further complicate matters, I am currently working on the other side of the world at an International School, and have been since August 2017, making that the last time I saw her (lives with my parents). She was growing older but healthy as anything, but I said a loving goodbye knowing this was a distinct possibility, but also truly expecting to see her again.

    Despite the rational part of my brain repeatedly stating that this is right in every respect, she has had a long and happy life with us, and that it isn't my fault I'm here and not there, whenever I get a free minute from not teaching or marking or planning or anything else involving work I can feel an overwhelming sadness I've not really felt in my life as of yet - no close family or friends have passed away so far in my lifetime, and besides goldfish (!) , I've never had a pet before her. We got her from a family who were emigrating, but who hadn't really trained her for domestic life. I raised her, trained her, was her primary walker/pack leader for years and spent more time with her than anyone else. I just want to be back in the UK scratching her ears in the way only I can do when she shuts her eyes, but I cannot, and it really gets to me. I had to go for a short walk around the school playground during a free lesson today because I had something in my eye.

    I suppose my main questions/points are:

    - Experienced pet owners (especially dog owners) - How is the best way to deal with this kind of loss? (I've done the usual browse around but everything blurs into one...)

    - Teachers - How can I ensure that I keep it all together at work? Throw myself into it to keep my brain busy or take time to sit alone at home afterwards and process it properly (shed a few tears)?

    - How can I rationally and practically tell myself that I'm not at some kind of fault for being all the way on the other side of the world and not by her side when she closes her eyes?

    Many thanks for taking the time to read.
     
    bevdex likes this.
  2. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    Have you seen the movie 'Kes?'
     
    awithers3 likes this.
  3. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

  4. barmyarmy

    barmyarmy New commenter

    I had my 14 year old black lab put to sleep almost two years ago. We had him privately cremated, his ashes were put in a hand held stone and a large marble paperweight kind of thing. It really helped me to have the 'hand held' stone and I had it with me all the time for the first few months.
    The pain does lesson but it takes time - I missed him terribly.
    I coped quite well at work - just one very wobbly day when it had just happened.
    20 months on and I have a black lab boisterous puppy - i will never forget my other lab but it does help to hear the patter of paws again!
     
  5. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    Commiserlike awithers. We had our black lab put down at the age of only four (very aggressive bone cancer). It wiped me out for days. It DOES get better, take the time to grieve and remember that your dog had a lovely life with you.
     
  6. SammyBear2016

    SammyBear2016 Occasional commenter

    I'm so sorry to hear about your beloved dog. The process of euthanising a pet is never easy for all involved and the first time it happens to you will always be the hardest. Unfortunately i have been through this several times and am close to facing it again soon. Many people fear the process because it is unknown but it is peaceful and as difficult as it is i am glad that we are able to do this to ensure that our pets don't suffer.

    To try and answer your questions:

    - Experienced pet owners (especially dog owners) - How is the best way to deal with this kind of loss? (I've done the usual browse around but everything blurs into one...)

    Give yourself time. There is not a written rule on how to grieve for your loss. Sometimes letting it all out helps and for others keeping busy is important. People who don't own pets or don't like animals often don't understand. If you need to talk to someone then do, even if it is posting on here.

    - Teachers - How can I ensure that I keep it all together at work? Throw myself into it to keep my brain busy or take time to sit alone at home afterwards and process it properly (shed a few tears)?

    As i said before give yourself time. If you feel that you won't be able to hold it together in class then speak to your manager, they are not going to want you standing up in front of a class of students and suddenly bursting into tears. Also when the time comes look at the topics you are teaching - is it something that may elicit an emotional response or questions from students and if it does could you swap with another teacher.

    - How can I rationally and practically tell myself that I'm not at some kind of fault for being all the way on the other side of the world and not by her side when she closes her eyes?

    When the time comes i assume that your parents will be with her so she won't be alone and it is not practical for you to jump on a plane and come home (even though that might be what you want to do). I know of owners that even though they take their pet to the vets to be euthanized they simply cannot be bear to be in the room with them when it happens. Please don't beat yourself up over this.

    Something that you could consider if you really wanted to be there for her is could you have a Skype call on a tablet or mobile so although you won't be able to touch her she will be able to see you and hear your voice. I know to many this may sound like a bit of a crazy idea but it would allow you to be with her just not in the traditional sense.

    There are also more options now when we loose a pet. You can bury them in your garden although this is not common, they can be cremated and their ashes scattered at the crematorium or they can be individually cremated and you can have their ashes back in a casket. The last option can be quite expensive but is becoming increasingly popular with owners. If you do have their ashes back there is a company called Ashes into Glass who take a very small amount of their ashes and make a beautiful piece of jewellery for you. You will never forget your beautiful girl but time will help you heal.
     
    awithers3 likes this.

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