We have owned dogs for more than 46 years, and for 36 years we’ve had more than one at a time. Every dog owner knows the deep grief and mourning that takes place after a beloved pet passes away, a loss that often takes place when a tough decision is made for compassionate euthanasia. We now have considerably more understanding of the grief involved for the owners and the surviving dogs than we did 36 years ago when we lost our first baby. As we have evolved as dog owners, we have come to passionately believe that allowing the surviving “pack” members to be present for a dog’s passing helps them to accept the loss of their loved one. I would like to share the journey that has led us to this belief.
Thirty-six years ago when we put our first Yorkie, Mischief, to sleep, the vet whisked him away in his quilt and would not let us be present for the passing. The vet then returned his lifeless body to us. It was then that we knew we could never let another loved dog pass away alone.
Wes and Peanut grew up together and were very close. Seeing their relationship, we knew that Wes, who was exceptionally intelligent and intuitive, needed to be present when Peanut passed away. It was touching to watch him say goodbye to his beloved companion. Though Wes mourned the loss of Peanut, he knew she was gone and did not anxiously look for her.
Returning home, the others were sad and subdued, but they knew he was gone. It was fascinating to watch them work out a new order of who would perform Wesley’s responsibilities.
Now, six years later, Sasha, Bosco, and Brandi have an extremely close bond. Sasha is ten and Bosco and Brandi are both nine. Just like we have since Tippy passed, we will provide each of them with compassionate care throughout the ends of their lives. We are not looking forward to losing any of them, but we will ensure that their passings are as easy as possible and be mindful of the grief the remaining dogs will experience. I know that, without a doubt, the others will be present.