My brain understands but my heart is sad

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by IliamnasQuest, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    My Mom invited the girls and I over to the house tonight for a good-bye party for her dog, Dax. He's being euthanized on Friday.

    Dax has been like one of my dogs - he's Trick's half-brother and has stayed with me on many occasions (including for a couple of months when my Dad was sick). He's a big, silly, kind, smart German shepherd who turned 12 last June. Poor Dax has been through a lot in his life, though. He was diagnosed many years ago with a plethora of ailments, including pancreatic insufficiency, early stage kidney failure, severe allergies to a large variety of things, and cauda equina. It's this last one that has finally developed to a point where Mom feels it's time to let him go. He can barely walk and puts himself at risk everytime he tries to go down the stairs (the only way outside) or even walking around the corners - he smacks himself on everything and often falls down. His hind feet get tangled up and he trips and then struggles to get back to his feet. It's heartbreaking to watch him - he was once such an active, strong boy.

    What amazes me about Dax is that his attitude has been phenomenal throughout all of his illnesses. I don't think the cauda equina has created much pain .. but his allergies have tormented him. Every winter he gets increasingly itchy to the point where he just wants to scratch or nibble all the time. If not watched, he chews huge holes in his sides. Various medications have been tried with none being tremendously effective - and how do you avoid things like dust? You just can't. So for years he's gone through the winters in a constant state of itchiness which you would think would have made him grumpy and upset. But instead he's always had this happy-go-lucky, loving, silly attitude .. an attitude that I wish I could imitate. Despite all his problems, he never got grumpy with any of us or with my girls.

    Mom doesn't want to let him get to the point where he's sad. She did that with a dog previously .. just couldn't make the decision to let him go and then realized that she'd waited too long. The logical side of us knows that dogs don't understand the concept of death or time or any of that - if Dax dies tomorrow or dies in a month, it won't make a difference to him as far as length of life. But it could when it comes to quality of life, and Mom doesn't want his quality of life to diminish any more. So she made an appointment for him and then invited the girls over for one last party. When I arrived she'd put out a tray of dog treats and we played a few little games. Dax chewed on Khana (his favorite toy - and Khana has always put up with it extraordinarily well in spite of getting slimed). He sniffed all the butts and joined into the chorus of barking when I asked them to bark for their treats. He was happy even though he fell down frequently. He got to go outside one last time with all the girls and pee wherever they peed.

    And then I hugged him goodbye and I took the girls home. Mom was going to give him his food and a bit extra pain meds tonight so he can sleep well, and tomorrow he goes on that last journey. I miss him already. I miss his goofy laughing face, his happiness, his silly behaviors. It just seems so unfair that he had to have all these problems and yet he was so lucky to have someone like Mom who accepted all the problems and gave him all the expensive treatments that allowed him to live to the age of 12 1/2. Most people would not have done that - many could not have afforded it.

    So I'm just really sad tonight. My head understands, logically, that our furkids are not designed to outlive us .. and it understands, logically, that Dax should be allowed to go before he gets any worse and gets upset and sad. But my heart is just torn and I can't hold back tears. Dax will be sorely missed.

    Rest in peace, sweet old Dax. I'm lucky to have known you.

    Melanie and the gang in Alaska

    A photo from December 22, when Dax spent the weekend with me while Mom was in Anchorage:

    [​IMG]

    Kylee, Khana, Trick, Tazer, Dora and Dax
     
  2. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    Melanie.. I'm so sorry... Rest in peace, Dax.
     
  3. SharkBait

    SharkBait Hi, I'm Melissa!

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    It's always so hard to let go, i'm sure you will be going over every detail in your mind again and again, it's what everyone would do in your situation. But i agree, it's best to let him go now, while he was happy. Then you will remember him and cherish him, with all the great memeories. If you were to wait until he deteriorates, your memories might not be so happy.

    Hang in there, you're doing what's best for him AND your family, I'm sure he knows that too. :)
     
  4. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Melanie, my heart goes to you, take care.
     
  5. Amstaffer

    Amstaffer New Member

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    I am very sorry for your loss
     
  6. Buddy'sParents

    Buddy'sParents *Finding My Inner Fila*

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    I'm so sorry Melanie. RIP Dax.
     
  7. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    I am so sorry for you and your Mom's loss.
     
  8. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    I'm so sorry ........does you Mom have another dog ??? That would help a little . Pass with peace Dax.
     
  9. jess2416

    jess2416 Who woulda thought

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    I'm so Sorry...

    RIP DAX
     
  10. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    we Just get to know them for such a little while...i hope one day there will be a gauntlet of wagging tails for you and for me. I can't believe that we only meet each other in passing. RIP Dax.
     
  11. *Amy*

    *Amy* New Member

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    I'm sorry for your loss. :( It's so hard to say goodbye to our best friends.

    RIP, Dax. You were an amazing boy and will be missed.
     
  12. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Oh, gods, Melanie . . . . that's one of the hardest . . . . it just hurts.
     
  13. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    Thanks, Everyone. It's been a sad day.

    Mom stopped by a bit ago and said it all went well. He just quietly went to sleep without any fear or pain. I had offered to go with her but she'd declined and I know that I prefer to go alone when I have to go through something like this. I don't think it helps the dogs to be surrounded by a bunch of grieving people (and in fact when I was a vet tech, I saw so many animals get really scared when the people around them were crying and wailing and upset before euthanisia).

    I don't know what happens after they die. But I choose to believe that his spirit has connected up with his spirit body and that he's out there running like the wind, chasing a stick, playing with Dawson and Lady and his favorite cat, Smokey Joe. I choose to believe that when I die I'll see him again and know that he's happy and is glad to see me again. Believing these things helps me feel better.

    It's been a rough few months. My sister had her GSD put down in November. My old gal, Kylee, has had some rough episodes and I know that I'll be faced with this decision in the near future (she's 16). And my Trick, who is Dax's sister, is only a year younger than he is. She's pretty healthy but still - she's 11 1/2 years old and most GSD's don't live far into their teens. Seems like you start thinking about all of this when you're already in pain.

    And of course it's cold and snowy and we're down to about 5.5 hours of daylight, so it's the most depressing time of the year. I can't wait for the daylight to start picking up more. Alaska in the middle of winter is a tough place to be if you're already unhappy about something.

    Mom went home to have a scotch and soda. I don't tend to drink, but I'll indulge in some chocolate. And tomorrow things will be a little better, and the next day a little better than the day before.

    Melanie and the gang
     
  14. Barb04

    Barb04 Love my pets Staff Member

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    I'm so sorry. My heart goes out to your mom; it's a hard decision she is making but one that comes from the love in her heart.
     

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