Yesterday we had to send our dog Phillip to doggy heaven. He’s playing with his brother Terrence (Yup, that was their names) who passed two years ago.
It was tough, I’ve had them both since they were about 6 weeks old, Phillip was about 12 years old. They were my campanions thru relationships, moves and more. They even moved across country with me and Nicole from CA to CO.
Yesterday was hard. Just as hard as the day we took Terrence to the vet, maybe a little more, we knew there wasn’t anyone at home waiting for us, to help us grieve and adapt to life without a dog. It’s funny how you get used to their presence, even when they’re just sleeping behind your office chair or down in the living room looking out the window.
In the end I know it was the right decision, he was old in big dog years, and his health was failing him, even though he didn’t always like that. He had a hard time getting on the couch (his favorite place to sleep) and food stopped being appealing (if you knew Phillip, you’ll know how serious things were), he had gotten anemic and there was probably internal bleeding too from who knows what :( He was on IV fluids and tons of pills just keep him from being nauseous :(
Our vet Dr. Graf is awesome! She was very supportive of our decision, even confirming that we were really sure, since there’s no take backs, she loved both bubbas almost as much as we did. In the end his big heart gave out, just with sedation, before she even administered the pink stuff. So we knew he was holding on for us more than anything else, and was more than ready to let go, and move on.
Dogs are so incredible. When they pass it makes you realize how short our time with them is, even small breeds don’t live that long compared to us. Being a dog owner means coming to terms with death, but it never gets easier. I have no shame admitting I cried like a little girl much of yesterday (and for that matter as I type this now), in front of the vet and the tech, Nicole and strangers in the cars next to us at lights. I’ve said goodbye to many dogs over the years and it’s never gotten easier. I don’t expect it will.
I’m certain we’ll get another dog. I almost wish we had gotten a puppy for Phillip to play with and be with at the end, as much for him to have a companion when we travel (I hated leaving him these past few months even for just a few days) as for us to help grieve and move on and focus our energies on someone else. We’ll probably wait a while since we’ve got travel or conferences every month the rest of 2010. There’s never been a doubt in my mind there’d be dogs after Terrence and Phillip, but it’s tough to say goodbye to a lifelong friend and then steel yourself for doing again in 10-15 years with your next friend. I sometimes wish Tortoises were more cuddly.
Goodbye Phillip, we love you and miss you.