I know most people think I am crazy but I still tear up when I think about the day we euthanized my first dog as an adult. That dog that is mine and mine alone.

She was a rescue pup that I named Tallulah. A borzoi/lab mix she could run like a greyhound and give you adoring looks just like a lab.

When she was 4 yrs old her anterior cruciate ligament ruptured while she was running. Surgery to repair it was no good. I lived in Maine at the time so I made the drive from Portland to Boston in a blizzard to get her to Angell Memorial Hospital. 3 weeks and $4000 later she was home. Over the next 2 years the same ligament ruptured twice more and the other leg did the same.

Suddenly she was a crippled runner, wearing plastic leg supports on both hind legs, barely able to walk much less race the wind down the beach or up a mountain trail. The braces cut into her paws and thighs and for the first time in her life she actually snapped at me out of pain.

I was a new mother, just bought our first house and still paying the $4000 bill from Angell when one of the ligaments ripped again.

We took her to her local vet who said that he could do surgery to repair the leg but our financial situation helped color our decision to euthanize her as well as her quality of life now that she couldn't run.

As they led her into the back room I ran from the vet hospital in very loud tears.

I still regret that I didn't have the strength or the courage to stay with her at the end of her very short life (she was 5 yrs old). I'm crying now.

I've had many dogs since Tallulah and I've always held them until they were gone. I wish I could tell Talu that I am so sorry that I wasn't there for her in those last moments.

How does one move on from the guilt and pain?

As I said, most people think I'm nuts. And if one more person says "It was only a dog..." I think I will kill them.

Laura and the current pack - Shasta, Spud, Daisy, Dover, Emily and Jasmine
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Dear Laura,

I'm so sorry that your pain and doubt are still so great, but I can tell you that we miss them forever once they've made their spaces in our hearts.  You can rest assured that no one here will think you're crazy.  We all know you're absolutely normal.  There is no such thing as "Just a dog."

Bless you for loving Tallulah so well, and for knowing what was in her heart and what made her the happiest when she was with you.  I hope you will see that she had a better chance with you than she would have had with  most people, and that even though she was only with you for a short time, she knew a lifetime of love.  She still resides in that spot within  your heart, and she always will.  She knows what's in your heart, and she understands that your pain at that moment was overwhelming.  As she sees it, there is nothing to forgive.

You did the best you could with the resources and information you had at the time.  I believe you are right.  Tallulah would have spent the rest of her life dreaming of the old days, when she could run with wild abandon to her heart's content.  She can do that now at the Rainbow Bridge while she awaits your arrival.  Even if that day comes 100 years from now, to her it will seem like it's only been a moment since she was by your side physically.  There is no time and no longing there, only happiness and eternal health.  She is pure love energy, with no aging physical body to hold her back.

I can even hear my Bridge Kitties shouting, "Wheeee!" sometimes, and I'm absolutely sure it's because they're on wild doggy-back rides.  Considering what a good runner Tallulah was while she was here, I can't help but picture zooming past with two handsome kitties on her strong shoulders.

You, your new brood, and your Angel Tallulah are all in my thoughts and prayers.

My heart is battered and bruised, but I will not let it break. It holds such precious cargo, I must protect it now. (Susie Squillions)

"Memories of loved ones are like songs in our soul." Margaret Wakeley




In one of the stars, I shall be living.
In one of them, I shall be laughing.
And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night.
~ The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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