I came to this forum as I felt that maybe typing out my feelings would help me process. I'll start with some background information, and then try to put into words how I'm feeling right now.
This weekend, my family and I decided to plan to put my dog down this Friday. He's had cancer for over a year now, and he's had a couple of surgeries (the tumors have usually been superficial, large lumps that could be removed) but we decided about six or so months ago to stop putting him through the surgeries. He's a silver lab (a mix between a chocolate lab and a weimaraner) and is 12 years old, so we didn't feel that it was fair to put a senior dog through any more surgeries and vet visits.
Within the past few weeks, his mobility and quality of life have declined a bit more rapidly. He has trouble getting up, especially in our rooms that have slippery flooring. He still wants to do things, but his body just doesn't allow him to. We're unable to take him for walks and taking him outside to use the restroom is even a difficult activity. I was worried yesterday that Friday was too soon. However, his favorite food is bananas, and when I tried to give him a piece yesterday after his dinner, he refused it. I'm assuming that's a sign that he's kind of ready to move on (as he's never refused his favorite food before).
I'm 21 years old and we've had Elmo since I was about 9. I've always been very close with him, and he's been an incredible dog for our family. Additionally, I've been a caretaker for my mom with epilepsy my entire life. He's been able to detect seizures and he was there to support me during one of the most difficult days of my life, when I found my mom unconscious and I was alone. He's been one of the most important things to me for most of my life.
It's hard to really process how I'm feeling right now. On one hand, I'm glad that this has been a gradual process and not something that was shocking or sudden. However, it is really hard to imagine my life without him. I've been writing down memories since yesterday in a journal as an attempt to cope with some of my feelings. I've also been allowing myself to cry, making sure I have ample time to find a place alone to get through those feelings of grief. Other times I feel okay about it, that I know he'll be at peace and I need to be there for him in these last moments as he's been there for me my whole life.
I also am a student at college. Classes start this Wednesday, and I'm a little nervous to get through this week but I'm also hoping that having classes and other responsibilities will distract me through the grief and worry about this upcoming Friday. I also feel somewhat guilty that I feel better being here, away from home, rather than constantly near my dog and knowing that he will not be with us much longer. I know that it is okay to feel whatever I'm feeling, and that this process is natural, but it's been very chaotic and I wish that I felt more confident in processing these emotions.
I text with my parents often as well, and check in with them that I'm doing okay. My roommates have also been supportive as well and have offered to take me with them to something this evening so I won't be self-isolating too much today. I can't imagine how this upcoming week will be, and I know Friday will be very difficult, but I also know that this is what he needs and that his quality of life is very low and will not get better.
Any tips on how to prepare for an upcoming pet death would be immensely helpful, as well as self-care tips before and after or healing ways to commemorate the impact he's had on my family.
I've attached a picture of him below.
Thank you again to anyone who has tips that could be helpful for me during this time.