Starting to Face My Dog's Death
by Ann Glenn
(Anaheim, CA, USA)
Dizzy playing baby
My dog Dizzy, a Chow/Lab mix, is now 18 or 19 years old. He's had a good super long life for a dog his size.
He has been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate which may very well be cancer. He has also developed a urinary infection recently. I don't have the money to do all the tests that are necessary to find out if he does have cancer so he is now being treated with antibiotics and something to reduce the swelling of his prostate.
Quite some time ago, a few years after he became my dog (he was 8 when he became mine), I realized he was already 12 years old. I was shocked because he has always been so lively, plus I had told the vet he was 8. The next time I saw the vet I made sure they had the proper age. Then I started coming to the realization that bigger dogs usually die around this age. I was devastated.
I was hoping my dog would die suddenly of a heart attack at home, kind of like how I would prefer to go...quickly. But now he is most likely dying of cancer, and I know all the stages that a person goes through when they die of cancer. I don't know if there is a connection here or not, but the man who used to live here in the same house as my dog has lived, he too died of cancer of the prostate. I took care of him and was with him to the end. I also know that a dog most likely wouldn't go through all that this man went through, mainly because of how much it would cost. So my dog's life will have to end at what would only be the beginning for a human with the same problem.
I put myself in my dog's paws, and I feel if I were suffering to the point of not being able to do anything anymore but sit there and be constantly miserable, I think I would want to be put out of my misery if it could be done. I also think we as people should have this right too, if we are dying of some horrible disease. We sometimes only keep our pets alive because we don't want to suffer, when in reality our pet is suffering way more than we can imagine. The hardest part is where to draw that line. Then thoughts go through my head like "I wouldn't want someone to end my life unless I wanted it to end". I wouldn't like that. I think these thoughts plus many others all added together make "the decision" one of the hardest decisions we will ever have to make in our lives.
I guess I am here trying to lessen my grief and prepare myself for the worst. Even if he doesn't die of cancer, I know his time is near, nearer than I would like it to be. He came to our house when he was 2, so he has been with me for a third of my life. I wonder if I am going to get another dog again or not? I think this can be an easier way to get over the shock of it all.
As I read the stories here, my heart goes out to each and everyone of you who have already dealt or are dealing with your loss. Every story has made me cry because I can relate totally to how you feel. What an empty feeling to no longer have your dog there, who loves you no matter what, to not greet you at the door when you come home. How I dread that day!
Here is a poem I wrote called "Furry Angels":
A dog is an angel dressed in disguise
They are sent as a gift from God above
Because when we look into their eyes
All we see is unconditional love
They become our best friend
They never let you down
And if you're in a bad mood
They will act like a funny clown
They alleviate your stress
Even help heal the sick
Get you to exercise
And kiss you with a lick
Every day they have a surprise
As they learn something new
Some even act like humans
I know you know it's true
They know more about you
Than any of your closest friends
Unconditionally they love you
Never judge you by what you can spend
Don't you find it interesting
That DOG spelled backwards is GOD?
Maybe it's a message
More than coincidental or odd
A 4-legged angel may be wearing a furry disguise
Unconditional love is seen when you look in your angel's eyes