Monday, June 17, 2013

When It's Time to Say Good-bye to a Beloved Pet

Pet owners know how hard it is when it's time for their beloved animal to leave. Sometimes, our pets die on their own, but all too often, we have to make that decision. It's so very difficult.

I grew up with dogs and cats. When my children were young, we started off with guinea pigs and then dogs joined our family. We couldn't have cats because a few family members are quite allergic to them.

Rox waiting at the front window
Our first dog was our beloved golden retriever Rox. We loved that dog with a passion we didn't think possible. He was goofy, silly, but incredibly loving golden. But he left us when he was too young. He had stomach cancer. He came to us when he was 2 years old. He died when he was 7.

Rox was such a special dog that others, some people who swore they would never get a dog, adopted one after spending time with him. His gentleness eased so many fears and his eagerness to please won over so many people. I remember him greeting our milkman every time he came, jumping for joy when he saw him. The day after Rox died, the milkman came to the door and looked past me to see Rox. When I told him that Rox had died, he cried. Rox was that special.

A while later, we adopted our first greyhound, Oscar. Oscar was a real character. While Rox will always be my heart dog, Oscar had a special place all his own. He loved life. He was 2 years old, as was Rox when he joined us, when we got him straight from the racetrack. He was a poor excuse of a racer, which is why he was so young, but he was a major star in being a part of our family.

Goofball Oscar

Greyhounds are the polar opposite of golden retrievers. They are often called the feline dogs. They do need some special care that other breeds don't, but they're not the high strung, high energy dogs that many people think they are. Most greyhounds I've met are more than happy to snuggle on a soft bed or couch.

I used to keep a "diary" of Oscar and his antics. After he died, I published a book, Oscar's Diaries, Life as a Retired Greyhound. Sadly, he also died of cancer, at age 5.

Dee, her first day
We then adopted Dee, a retired broodmom greyhound. She had been kept to breed and had never lived in a home. She was 9 years old! She didn't stay with us for long, only 9 months, but she had a great 9 months. She was a brat, a real brat - but she deserved to be.

Making that decision is tough and our veterinarians know that. There was an article published recently in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, describing a tool that is being developed by researchers at Michigan State University. They are hoping that such a tool will help make this sad decision a little bit easier.

Today's theme of Blogathon 2013 is using a video. I was going to make a video, a how-to about something health-related, but as I was poking through my files, I found this video I made after Oscar died. I think it says so much about the love that we have for our pets and I still miss him - and all my other beloved animals, very much.


Vilma Sceusa said...

That was so sweet! Oscar was loved! Funny, I wrote about my dog today. I am a big time animal lover as well! Enjoyed the post. Vilma Sceusa , fellow blogathoner

Lois said...

Wat a wonderful tribute to a wonderful member of your family. I, too, have had to say good-bye to many pets over the years and I appreciated your blog post so much.

-- Lois, fellow Blogathoner