Saying Goodbye

They say keeping a dog is one of the most rewarding things someone can do. They give you companionship, wonderful memories and unconditional love. I am sure that most dog owners would also agree that their dogs, in most ways, benefit their lives too. However, through all of the good times you have with your dog, there are also times when things aren’t so great. When they don’t quite get the whole toilet training thing, when they rip up that receipt for that expensive item you needed to return, when they chew up your bank card and finally, saying goodbye to them after so many years of being together.
I wanted to write about emy recent experience of losing my first dog  to try and help anyone else who may have to go through the same experience. It was a new experience for me as I had never had to say goodbye to a dog before.
I could write paragraphs on how I had the best times with Toto and all the memories we shared, but I wanted to talk about the whole experience of saying goodbye. For those of you that haven’t had to say goodbye yet, I would say, don’t worry about it until it gets to that stage. Enjoy all of the good times ahead, I am sure there are plenty of them! For anyone who does have an older dog, or one that may be ill, you’re not alone in possibly having to make a really tough decision and saying goodbye. As far as we knew, Toto didn’t have anything wrong with him - he was just an old dog and things were starting to give up on him. In the few weeks  up to him leaving us, he started to deteriorate quite rapidly. The picture of him used for this blog was one posted on Instagram a couple of times and only taken 6 months ago. You probably wouldn’t have thought he was as old as he was in the photo!

Things like this can often creep up on you quickly and you don't always have time to prepare yourself. The hardest thing for me was thinking ‘am I making the right decision’. I kept thinking ‘is he going to get better’ ‘he may get better and live another 2 years’ ‘what if he isn’t really that bad’. The best thing that helped me make the decision to say goodbye was talking to other people who had been through similar experiences. With most things, if you talk about it with someone, things seem easier. Hearing people say ‘I just knew that it was the right thing to do’ didn’t seem to help at the time though, but looking back now, it does help you think when it is the right time. You can’t let your thoughts cloud your judgment. You have to be brave in making the decision and I remember thinking ‘I want to remember Toto for how he was and how he is now’. He was deteriorating and couldn’t really do much through the day other than sleep. I knew that things were only going to get worse and I didn’t then want to remember his last days when he may have been in a terrible way. It wouldn’t have been nice for my family and I, but most of all, for him – I wanted him to have some dignity. Toto had gone to the vet a couple of weeks earlier and they had said his old age was certainly catching up with him and they didn't think he would get any better. He hadn't been eating right and they said this can usually be a sign...
Toto's First Day at Work
One thing that really made the decision hard on the day was that when all of my family had come home to see him, he got up and was able to wag his tail and even slowly chased a ball. Those earlier thoughts went round and round in my head, but in the end, I knew I had made the right decision and stood by it. When it was time to take Toto to the vets, he very quickly went downhill again. In a way, it was really nice that we were able to have half an hour of him being half his usual self and we could remember him on his last day as a good one. I’m not going to lie, saying goodbye to him in the vets was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I sat in front of him and held his head whilst he stared back at me. I knew he was going to a better place and comforted him. It’s funny, after it has happened, you then sit with your family and talk about all the funny times you all shared with him. We spoke about where best to scatter his ashes and we all ate together that evening, a last supper, some might say...

I guess what I am trying to say is that you may think that there will never be a right time to say goodbye. I think naturally you know when it is a good time and I would always say don’t let things drag on too much. To those who say they would never get a pet because saying goodbye is too hard, you have to do it! You will have many, many years of happiness. Yes, saying goodbye is extremely hard, but I would much prefer to have so many happy memories than none at all. To any of you that are going through this now, speak to others. At the end of the day, it is your decision, but keep your dogs feelings in mind and not your own. Sometimes it is for the best.

Thank you for reading this. I hope in a way that this can help someone feel better about a decision they may have to make or already have made. 

Final Goodbye On Our Last Day Together

1 comment:

  1. Oli,

    This post is really heartfelt. It breaks my heart that you had to go through this but you are very right that ultimately it comes down to doing the right thing for your dog or any animal.

    I think anyone reading this will take some comfort from it if they are or have gone through this.

    I think it's lovely that you have taken your time to share this.