July 2, 2008
I just went through one of the hardest experiences ever! Putting down my dog of 16 years. While the experience is still fresh in my thoughts I want to get it out to help others who will go through this.

First of all, people always say “You’ll know when it’s the right time” and you do, to a point. For me the right time was when my little girl could no longer walk on her own. I could see in her eyes that she had enough. I still had thoughts in the back of my mind like “I can get wheels for her back legs…” “I can use something on her backside to hold her up…” And, if she was a younger dog I probably would have done something like that but she had gone blind & deaf 2 years prior & it took us a while to adjust to that & then a few months ago her back legs starting going. She went on for some time, with loving care from me.

This is a very individual decision and no one can tell you what to do. You need to figure it out on your own. But, you do need support from family & friends. That is what ultimately got me through this difficult time. I also recommend, you go to the vet with one or two family members or close friends – it helps to have someone else there as a buffer. I went in to the vet’s office deciding ahead of time that I was going to have my little girl cremated because I wanted to keep a bit of her close to me & also spread some of her ashes on the special places we had been to together. With guidance from my sister, I ended up not cremating her because it was the right thing to do. I thought it would be strange to have my dog’s body and I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it but it gave me one last time to hold her & say goodbye. I am fortunate because I have a wonderful, caring family…my sisters came with me to the vet & helped me through the experience and my brother gave Chia a proper burial. Chia is buried on my parents land next to other passed pets. She has a wooden cross with her name on it & I'm going to plant some wildflowers over her grave.

July 8, 2008
The days of grieving ahead… Give yourself time to grieve. Talk about your feelings and cry when you feel you need to. You may hear a particular song on the radio that makes you sad or you may walk past where the dog bed used to be & feel a pang. This is all normal & it will take time. One thing that we decided to do is have a celebration in honor of my dog & make it an annual event. Dogs are a very important part of the family & should be remembered & cherished.

It’s been @ 2 weeks now since Chia left this world…
We celebrated “Chia Fest 2008” last night (7/12/08). We set up a memory wall with all sorts of photos of Chia in many stages of her life. We also set up a “Chia Tree” with many Chia photos hanging from it. I had people write down their Chia Memories in a journal & later in the evening we all sat around a fire & did “Chia Blessings”… People wrote down good wishes to Chia & then offered them to the fire. I was so happy with the turnout. We ate, drank & shared memories of Chia. The next morning I woke up a bit sad that Chia is not here with me in body but I also know it was time to release her of her pain. It’s a process that will take time & the memories live on forever.

July 16, 2008
This experience has been especially hard since Chia was my one & only dog and I do not have any children. And, right now my boyfriend is away during the week for work & is only home on weekends so I have plenty of time to miss Chia.

People at work have been asking me when will I be getting another dog & I say I need time. I don’t think it would be right to just run out and get another dog and my boyfriend says “Oh no, don’t get another dog because we won’t be able to do anything.” Believe me, when it’s time, a dog will find me, they always do, and regardless of what the boyfriend says, I will someday have another dog & love it!

I hope reading some of this was helpful for anyone going thru just losing a dog or dealing with a sick dog. I know it helped me by writing down my thoughts.
May Chia Rest In Peace – 10/11/92 – 6/30/08

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Dear Sarah,
I have not many words to say how I feel when reading your post...We put our little cocker spaniel to sleep 3 weeks ago...very hard but he's the second one we have to go through and eveerybody in the family is coping in it's own way... people who don't have dogs may not understand but we, who have the privilege of having them as part of our families (The Pack!) we know...
It's really good that you can write about it...it's good that you are here, in a place where we care and understand what's going on in your life...keep writing...it's helps the healing...I can't write about mine cause I'm not good, but reading about others and writing to them has helped me a lot...
Take care :)
Hi Vicky,
I appreciate your thoughts on my "When to Let Go…" discussion.
I have met many good, animal-loving people on this website who know what I'm going through & it really helps to write down my thoughts & get feedback from others.
Sorry to hear about your cocker spaniel.
Take Care.
Good Morning Sarah : )
Hope you are having a good day ! I went to the gym this morning and then took Oliver to doggie day care. Around noon I will pick him up and will have lunch at home. I have lunch from noon until 2:00 then I head back home.....and I'm with little Ollie at 4: 30 (good plan ). I think today will be a start of a good next few days. I need to start thinking positive. Which sometimes is kind of hard. Keep busy......And likewise if you need to talk about Chia I am here for you as well.
Until next time : )
Hi Elsa,
It sounds like you had a good day planned out today. Hopefully it went as well as expected. I just got home from work & am making dinner for me & my sister (she usually stops by after work a couple times a week - she's really been helping me get through losing Chia too - She's actually the person who saved Chia 16 years ago & gave her to me to love & to cherish - I'll tell you that story another time)
Have a good night.
What a special gift Chia was..Many thoughts are with you..I feel so bad for you. Chia was very lucky to have you in her life...She was so loved and that is what all animals deserve..Many thoughts are with you.
You know its not much different than a person who is sick and in pain and wheather or not to pull the plug and let that person go..Its one of life's hardest decesions. Keeping a person or a loved animal because we can't cope with thier loss. Life is very difficult in this area. and one of the hardest decisions we all have to make some day.
Good Morning Sarah, I think writing is helping us through this time. Wednesday turned out fine....until I went to get my haircut.....and my hairdresser started consoling me about Rio....she kept saying he is in a better place with God.....and then I got all teary eyed....But, she understood and we changed the subject.....So that episode turned out positive. I suppose I will always get teary eyed when I think of Rio. Today is another positive day....same plan as yesterday and it should play out positively. I would love to hear your story one day soon about your sister saving Chia. Have a beautful day.....and smile when you think of Chia .....I will when I think of Rio. Oliver says hello ; )
Sarah -

Thank you for writing this. It's been very helpful to me to read this as James and I go through Maui's last days.

I just got the chills as I read "Molly's last days"..I can not imangine..I love my Rusty who is 15 deaf and loosing sight in his only eye..it breaks my heart but he is thriving..Many thougts are with you and James and little Maui.
And, I thank you & James for making this website possible… What a wonderful place for dog lover's to communicate & also to have the privilege of "meeting" sweet Maui!
Dogs are such an important & huge part of our lives & it really helps to read other peoples stories & share our own stories as we work through very difficult times.
My heart goes out to you…The weeks ahead will be the roughest but know that it does get more bearable as time goes on.
There are so many emotions to go through as we grieve - Most importantly, take time for yourself.

Take Care.
Thank you for taking the time to write this. I know it must be difficult when you are grieving. We have the most wonderful 14 year old German Shepherd, Dixie, who has lost her hearing and sight. In the last few weeks, it has been more and more difficult for her to walk and now she cannot even get up. I, too, have thought of wheels or something to help her. I know it is time to say goodbye, but I have loved her so much for so long. She has comforted me in the loss of both my parents and another beloved dog, Joy. I always said that when Dixie goes that I will go. My husband loves her, too, but he cannot express emotion or give comfort.
Maui's death has really hit me hard because I know what next week holds for my precious Dixie.

Thank you for caring.
Susan, cherish your precious Dixie for as long as you can & keep her comfy. And also be thankful for the time that you & Dixie have had together…comforting each other thru difficult & joyous times too!
Unfortunately, most men cannot express emotion but hopefully you have somebody else (a close friend or sister) that can be there for you. I know that I am so thankful for my sisters, family & friends. And instead of walking my precious Chia I now walk with my sister…it does help to fill the void but there will always be a chunk of my heart missing.
Susan, for now just spend as much time as you can with Dixie & when her quality of life diminishes you'll do what every loving dog owner is faced with.
My thoughts are with you but do know that the pain becomes more bearable as time goes on. And you have to let the grieving run it's course…take time for yourself & keep busy.

Take Care.


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