I haven't taken in another dog since, Gus. Oddly enough, having to surrender him back to Danes in Distress was harder for me than all the times I have sat next to my fur babies as they were put to sleep. I think its because I feel that I failed him. After that, I needed a break, which is what I am taking now.
Since 2006, I have said goodbye to seven Danes, two cats (in the same night) and my heart dog, Caleb. I have sat with multiple friends and family while they said goodbye. I am unable to keep track of the number of kittens we lost as volunteers when my sister, Rachel and I, were part of the kitten feeding program at Toronto Humane Society. Those abandoned little ones are simply too young and vulnerable to be without their mothers, no matter how many we managed to save.
I read this article about putting down your pet, written by a veterinary technician, and thought, "yes, that's how you get through it". Each and every one of these things I have done, time and time again. For those who have pets, this is an invaluable read. 5 Things I Wish You Knew Before Euthanizing Your Dog
1. It's OK to cry.
2. Be there, if you can.
" ... when you are crying over the pet that you have loved for years, I assure you, I have nothing but respect for you. I respect how much you care. I respect your ability to make such difficult decisions. I respect your bravery. And please know that no matter how demonstrative you may be with your emotions, you are still keeping it together more than I would be in your shoes."
" The vet can be a very scary place for animals — they don’t understand what all these noises and smells are, or why these strangers are poking and prodding them. Do you want them to experience that fear alone? And have it be their very last memory? Your pet doesn’t know what we are doing or why — they only know that you are there, that you said it’s ok, that you love them. I remember being a child, and how scary going to the doctor was, but how much more confident I felt with my mom there reassuring me. I imagine that is exactly how pets feel. If you can find the strength to be there, please do so. Please let your love, your touch, your presence be the last thing your pet experiences."
3. Keep their collar on.
" To many pets, taking their collar off can have negative associations. I want your pet to be as comfortable as possible, and that means not making any major changes immediately prior to euthanizing. Pets are much smarter than we give them credit for, and they pick up on the smallest of cues. The unknown is scary to your pet, so even if they don’t know what the cues mean, the idea that something is new and strange and out of the ordinary is enough to cause them some sense of anxiety. So, keep the collar on until your pet has passed. Let them go in the state that they always were."
" Bring treats. Tell stories. Laugh and cry at the same time. Surround yourselves with all his/her favourite toys and beds and blankets. It’s ok to cry, and it’s also ok to celebrate! I love when people tell me they took their dog to the beach or napped in the sun with their cat right before coming in to the hospital. This is going to be one of the hardest days of your life, but it doesn’t have to be for your pet. I promise that the more you celebrate your pet’s life, no matter how long or short, the easier it will be to continue to live your own once this is all said and done."
"Ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable with the process. Know what you’re walking into, so that your focus can be entirely on your pet.
Take care of business ahead of time when possible. Sign any required paperwork. Pay the bill. Decide on after care. Even go so far as to prepare you next meal ahead of time, arrange a ride, rent a movie, invite friends over — whatever you think might help you cope when you return home from the hospital without your pet.
The less you have to deal with during and after euthanasia, the better. I want you to be able to focus entirely on your pet during the euthanasia, and then entirely on yourself afterwards."