One of the hardest decisions to make when you own a pet is when to send them over the rainbow bridge. I just recently had to make that decision, it was gut wrenching. I cried for days before, going over all the reasons why I had to say goodbye to my 13 yr old dog Usher. He was a special boy, a German Shepherd/Border Collie, I adopted him from the SPCA when he was 10 months old. I saw him on their website and he grabbed my heart right away and once I saw him in person and he leaned against me, there was no way I was leaving him behind. The only reason he was brought into the shelter by two different families was for two simple reasons, house training and chewing. Being a trainer I resolved these normal puppy behaviours in no time! He also graduated dog training class in 2006.
Every day I would look at him and say what would have happened to you, or what kind of life would you have had? I think we added a lot of joy to each other’s life. When I found out he loved to swim, I was so excited! He also loved to play soccer, he was the goalie and believe me it was hard getting the ball past him! He would even pick up the soccer ball and literally throw the ball back to you. After he ate his meals from his kongs, he would rub his face on the couch like it was his napkin.
He was a very confident boy except when a lawn mower started up, he would shake like crazy! Our poor neighbour felt so bad every time he had to cut the grass but we would just take Usher for a walk around the block. Now that I am thinking of it, he probably did that knowing we would take him for a walk!!
When my boyfriend came into our lives, he really wasn’t a dog person but that quickly changed because Usher and Carlos became best friends, they would spoon each other on the bed! Whenever Carlos would lie down on the couch; Usher would position himself exactly where Carlos’s hand could reach his tummy to receive tummy rubs while Carlos watched TV.
When it came to the time to make a decision, we both cried for days. We could not fathom having his sweet face around anymore. Carlos said “how can I see him not moving anymore, when we finally put him to sleep? I don’t want to remember him that way”. “I said I know, it’s so hard but we owe him to be with him so his last vision is of our faces when he closes his eyes.”
I believe we prolong their time with us when we know we shouldn’t because of the excruciating pain we know we are going to experience during, and the many days of grieving after. It even hurts when you talk about them years later!
Even though we will experience this pain, the time to let them go is when they are suffering and their quality of life is no longer there. The last couple of days I have seen Usher looking at me as if to say “I am very tired and I am not having fun anymore, it’s time to go”.
We will miss you our sweet boy, you will take a piece of our hearts with you but someday we will see you again.
RIP Usher May 9, 2005-September 27 2018