Gravey and Rice

Thursday, May 25, 2006


A woman and her daughter (about 13) brought their dog in last night. (I work in a vet referral practice) They brought in their sweet, lovely German Shepherd thinking he was being seen about a possible total hip replacement. It turns out that it's not Busters hip after all, it's his brain. Apparently his brain is no longer communicating with his rear. Meaning he is slowly losing all function in his lower end. Nothing can be done to stop or reverse the damage and while it can be slowed with medication, sometime soon Buster will need to be put to sleep.

As I sat at my desk, trying not to listen, the young girl came out into the lobby and sat down in a chair. When I looked over I could see she had been crying. I felt so bad for her.

A few minutes later, the office door opened and everyone came out. Buster was lead into the waiting room and he lay down in front of the desk. The girl sat on the floor with him and just stroked his head. I went over and sat with them, stroking Busters head while he licked my hands (" He's always been licky", she told me.) I asked how long she had had the dog. 11+ years, she said, longer than could remember. He had always been there.

I told her about the cat my mother got when I was only a few months old. Pepper, her name was. Pepper had always been around, and I loved her. "Were you sad when she...?" she trailed off and it took me a second to understand what she meant. "Yes, very." "Were you there when it happened?" she asked. "No." "Do you wish you had been?" "Yes, very much." I wanted to say more, but just didnt have the words for the this young girl who was going to lose her dog soon. My boss called me then, so I just stood up and gave her a smile.

I really hope, if given the option- she decides to be there at the end. How sad for our pets, friends to have to die alone. Without the people they loved so much around them. How sad for us, to know they died alone, when we are already feeling such grief.

And I hope she gets through this ok.


  • Erin - what a moving experience. I had a dog for 12+ years and putting her to sleep was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I was raised, though, to understand that when an animal is in pain or their quality of life is dimiished, it's not fair to keep them alive simply for our own benefit. I imagine you will experience this situation frequently in your line of work and am glad your are so sensitive to it. I'm glas you were able to talk with the young may have helped her make a tough decision.

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 7:43 PM  

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