One of the hardest moments we as pet owners must face is that fateful time when our beloved pets have come to the end of their loyal and faithful lives. Their lives are spent pleasing us, entertaining us, loving us, all without condition or expectation. Their love is pure, true, no strings attached.
How do you prepare yourself for that difficult day when the decision must be made to ease their suffering, to allow them to pass on with dignity and self-respect? When is the right time, how will we know?
My Dearest Marlee
This blog was inspired by the recent passing of my dearest canine friend and companion of 14 years…Marlee.
She was a beautiful black lab. Her loyalty knew no limits, her love knew no boundaries. She lived her life the way every dog should, with unconditional love. We could learn a lot from the love and loyalty of our faithful canine companions.
She never whimpered or complained even in her waning years. She lived to play fetch, chasing a stick, a ball anything that could be thrown with relentless pursuit. She would jump in the car or truck not caring where or how far we went as long as she was there. Happy to share any food or treat you were having, maybe even placing her muzzle on your knee if she thought you didn’t quite notice her.
Her morning routine was to walk the outskirts of the property to make sure everything smelt right to her, sometimes rolling in anything that had a particularly gruesome odor. She always came back, she was always there, she greeted you every time you came through the door with the same enthusiasm. Gone for 5 minutes or 5 days made no difference to her, she might bark at you a little bit if you were gone too long as if to say “what took you so long?”.
One look into her eyes revealed a depth of love and loyalty we as humans should seek to replicate. Even when she was suffering from Geriatric Vesitublar Syndrome one night in her latter days she still tried to get up and greet us. She lived her life for us and nothing else. A truer friend you will not find.
On her last fateful morning she obediently laid down on the perfectly positioned blanket at the veterinary’s office. Peacefully her eyelids closed, her breathing slowly faded away, never a whimper, never a complaint, just a quiet and peaceful transition into the afterlife. God Bless you Marlee, I will forever miss you until we meet again.
“What we have once enjoyed, We can never lose;
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller
Thinking of Them First
Commonly we find ourselves wanting to extend the lives of our pets because we are not ready to let them go. They quickly and profoundly impact our lives, why would we want to lose that? Unfortunately the length of their lives is much shorter than ours which means as lifelong pet lovers we are faced with the prospect of losing many pets over our lifetime.
It never gets any easier, no matter how many times we must face the impending death of our beloved pet. We selfishly hold on to the hope that they are doing okay, they have just slowed down a little. While the desire to keep them around is overwhelming, they will let us know when things are not going well. Somehow without words they will signal it is time.
Sad as it may be, putting their best interest first and thinking about them in the context of not suffering helps ease the decision. Focusing on what they may be going through for pain and suffering is more than enough to re-establish our priorities.
All Dogs Go To Heaven
While there is substantial religious debate about the presence of animals in the afterlife, my personal opinion and belief is that animals are in fact present in God’s kingdom. There are several bible verses that touch on the subject and lead me to believe that one day, given the fact that I accept Jesus into my life, open my heart and soul to his love and forgiveness, I will be reunited with my pets that have gone before me.
Much like our loved ones that pass away, knowing and believing that my beloved Marlee has gone to a better place gives me comfort to get through each day. One day I will see her again, she will be at her very best, running and jumping, playing and loving as she was born to do.
Live your life with the same love, loyalty and faithfulness that our canine companions do. If you believe as I do, rest assured that one day we will all be reunited with our lost pets. They have gone before us to live in God’s kingdom helping to prepare his eternal kingdom for the day we too come home.