SophieDogsMama
Hi everyone,

We put out sweet little boxerdog, Sophie, to sleep this past Saturday.  November 8th.  Ugh.  Surprised at how much it hurts to have actually written that.

Some coworkers wanted to go to the Humane Society after lunch to play with the dogs.  I had just gotten a new house with my fiance, and had always wanted a dog.  He didn't want the responsibility, and I completely understood.

We went into the dog section, and almost immediately I saw a small boxer cowering and doing her best to become invisible.  A big guy was looking at her, and tapping on the cage to get her attention.  He said to his friend "go put a deposit on this dog".  I couldn't let that happen.  I knew my fiance wouldn't be happy with me, but that dog needed someone that understood that she wasn't a social dog, she needed more patience.

The Human Society volunteer that brought her into a room to visit with us told us she was a breeding female from a puppy mill that had been seized a week before.  The little dog came over to me and licked my face.  That sealed the deal, this dog was coming home to live with me.

She didn't know how to walk up stairs.  She was afraid of absolutely everything.  She had no idea how to play.  She didn't understand going potty outside, and she didn't understand that for about a year.  She would cower at my (now) husband's approach, despite him being incredibly patient and loving.  He was frustrated but somehow it made me love her even more.

Eventually she started behaving like a silly boxerdog.  Goofy grin, antelope strides outside in the yard, and after about three years she even started wagging her tail at us.  It was amazing!  She was so much work, she took so much time, but my god, how I loved that little dog.

My husband started working at home, and she became his little office-buddy.  At the same time every day he would hear little paw-pads coming back toward the office and she would sneak in and lay down behind his chair.

During the cold winters she loved to sleep on the couch with me.  I would lie on my side, and she would be curled up behind my bent knees, snoring and snuffling in that adorable little boxer way.  And of course, the days since she passed have been bittery cold and snowy.  Horrible.

She eventually developed some weakness in her back legs, that eventually led to her becoming completely paralyzed in her back legs.  She couldn't do anything for himself, so we would carry her outside for potty.  It took some learning but we figured out which whines were for food, for water, for changing her position, for when she was too hot, etc. 

At the end she was the main focus of our house...which has made this change even more horrible.

I noticed her belly looked distended, so two weeks ago I took her into the vet.  In the xrays they saw three baseball-sized masses in her abdomen - one which tilted her stomach upwards, and another gigantic mass on her spleen.  The vet said that splenic tumors are very prone to rupture, especially with the size of the one she had.

This is what made our decision for us to put her to sleep.  I would have carried that little dog outside to go putty until the end of time - I would have hand-fed her until eternity - but the possibility that she would have the potential for such a traumatic end made our decision for us.

She was 14 years old, and we never thought we would get even THAT much time with her.  But that isn't much comfort. I miss her.  Sometimes it's not as raw, but I don't think I've ever been in this much pain in my life.  And I'm not a spring chicken.

I feel guilt.  I feel lonely.  The house feels empty, I don't know what to do with my time when I get home now.  I have a husband, a son, and a German Shepherd who is the sweetest dog.  I feel awful that they don't seem to be "enough for me to be happy".  I feel awful that my little dog's body, even though I KNOW rationally that she's not in it, is in the cold ground covered in snow.

My husband said last night that he knows it's not rational, but he feels like he betrayed her by putting her down.  And to be honest, there's a part of me that feels that too.  She trusted us.  She depended on us to take care of her.  There's a part of me that (selfishly) thinks we could have gotten another week with her...and wishes I would have taken the gamble.

I know that there's life at the end of this tunnel but it doesn't feel like it's happening any time soon.  I've been alive long enough to know that pain eases, but this is maybe the worst I've ever felt.  People don't seem to understand, "it's not like you lost a child" "it's just a dog" etc.

I'm just so sad, and it's so far out of my control.  I love you, little dogdog.  My little dogaroo.
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Dalidog
I wept as I read the story of Sophie.  She truly was a very lucky dog to have found her forever home with you.  Nothing is worse than the loss of that unconditional love.  People who say "just a dog" have never felt that.  It has been 6 weeks for me and I still can't do much without breaking down.  Guilt is part of it, the longing, emptiness, the what if's.  You are not alone...take care of yourself.  Life will never be the same, but that unconditional love is worth it.  You will see Sophie again one day.  She is at the bridge now....with my Dali

Dali, as much a daughter as any human...  pure love
Until we meet again

http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/DALI003/Resident.htm

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SophieDogsMama
Thanks - she was a lot of work, but wow was she loved.  The house just feels so empty, you know?  Even though she couldn't walk on her own, she just filled the house.  Hopefully she and Dali are playing together, and Dali is teaching her not to chase cats but to love them :)
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patent123
Your story reminds me a lot of the journey I shared with my dog.  I had that epic adoption story & saving an awesome dog from the wrong adopter, a great life, and at the end a dog with back legs that refused to work.  I will say this though I work at a shelter and we get puppy mill dogs/abused dogs often... not everyone is cut out for the time and attention they require to get them comfortable and happy again.  Your patients and love gave her an AMAZING LIFE.  I to felt like I betrayed my girl when I put her to sleep and that image just rips at me whenever I think about it.  Really though we did what was best.  If we had let our babies suffer or continue to live in that state they were in it would have been cruel.  I think its just hard to have to be the one that makes the decision to end a life...its more acceptable for lives to end of old age fast asleep in bed.  Just remember you meeting her was very clearly meant to be and you 3 were meant to be a family.  I think that's the most amazing thing how everything lines up and you get this once in a life time adventure with someone (human or animal).  I have no doubt that Sophie knows she was loved.  She found her home that made her feel happy and safe.
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SophieDogsMama
Thanks for your story - those are some serious similarities between our stories.  Thanks for your words about ending their suffering vs. the guilt of putting them down - that's the thing that's really getting to me today I guess.  But you're absolutely right, my husband and I talked a lot about how we wanted her to die in her sleep so we wouldn't have to make that awful decision.  Also I have to remind myself that to keep her around longer would have been just for us, not for her.  It's hard no matter what, but that did make me feel better to be reminded of that.  We don't get them forever, regardless - we're lucky for the time we do get.  I read somewhere that no matter if you have a dog for 5 weeks, 5 months or 15 years you're never ready to let them go.  I miss my little dogaroo so much.  Thanks so much for your words...it's so, so hard.
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SophieDogsMama
I've noticed a lot of people posting to their dogs - and I thought it might help...

Good morning, dogaroo.  I woke up this morning and my first thought was, of course, that I needed to get dressed and carry you outside to go potty...and realization smacked me in the face.  You weren't on the bed.  You weren't on the dog bed beside the bed.  You're gone.

I cried for a bit, and took a shower.  I let your brother-pup outside and the thought "I need to shovel a spot in that snow so Soph can go potty"...and again, smacked by reality.  You're gone.

Your brother-pup licked my face, he knows something's wrong.  He's depressed too, you know.  I remember when we first brought him home, you would run downstairs and sleep on the couch in the basement because he was to little to go down the long stairs.  That made me laugh, he annoyed you so much.  At the end, right before your last moments, he covered your little boxer-face in kisses.  I hope you know how much he loved you.

I found a picture of you with the little stuffed monkey-toy you would curl around like it was a puppy.  My GOD I miss that little face waiting for me on the couch.

I love you dogaroo.  My little dogdog.  I hope you're warm and you can run and jump again.  I miss you.

20131209_215718.jpg 

- Angela


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PeanutsMom
I am sorry to learn of your loss.  I too struggle with the guilt of having to make "that decision".  At the end my baby girl Peanut was no longer able to stand, wasn't eating or drinking.  She had liver cancer.  I thought long and hard about what to do and it came down to quality of life.  I wanted to be selfish and keep her going, but when she saw me and there was no tail wag I knew I had to let her go.  I firmly believe letting our fur babies go is the kindest and most loving thing we can do for them.  As much as we might want it, to keep them going when they are struggling or in pain is just plain cruel.  I would have given anything to keep her with me, but that would have been for me not for her.  Taking Sophie into your heart and home was a wonderful thing to do and I am certain she appreciated it.  I believe every pet deserves a forever home and you gave that to her.  You showed her love and patience and through that she was able to enjoy the life she had with you.  I believe Sophie is at Rainbow Bridge with my Peanut and all of the other fur babies waiting for us to join them, and then to never be parted again.  Take care and I hope you can find some comfort in knowing you are not alone in your pain and grief.  *Hugs*
Denise 

My sweet Peanut, you are the sunshine of my life and I will love you forever
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SophieDogsMama
Oh Peanut's Mom  - I'm so sorry.  Thank you so much for your post, I completely feel your grief.  I love thinking of all of our doggies able to walk and run again, able to snooze and be comfy, able to eat and drink and be happy and young.

You're completely right and I'm able to see now that the only reason I wanted to cancel the euthanasia appointment was because I couldn't let her go.  It was because of my pain, not hers.

I'm so sorry you lost your Peanut.  We were lucky to have the time with our dogs that we had, I'm feeling more at peace with that this morning than I have since she passed.

*Hugs* to you too.  Thanks so much for your message :)
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PeanutsMom
So glad my post was helpful to you.  All of us at this site are going through the same pain and loss.  It has been a comfort to me to read responses.  Just knowing there are others who understand helps.  Your Sophie was a beauty, such soulful eyes.  It's easy to see how you fell under her spell.  I agree that we are lucky to have had our fur babies for as long as we did, even if we feel that time was not enough.  The sad truth is fur babies don't live as long as we do but they do make a life long impression on us and live in our hearts forever.  Take care.  *Hugs*
Denise 

My sweet Peanut, you are the sunshine of my life and I will love you forever
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LBrown
It does help to know there are others that understand the pain and loss of losing a much loved companion.  They give us so much and ask so little in return. 
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SophieDogsMama
Even if they DO ask for a lot, we're happy to give it.  I miss her.  I would happily carry her a hundred miles just to see her face again.  Sad today, definitely, but more at ease.  I don't find myself trying to mentally wiggle out of this being reality...trying to find SOME way that I can have her back.

I hope everyone's doing ok today.  This is so incredibly painful, and there's no way through it without being in pain.  *hugs to you all*
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