In Memory

It was a really tough weekend.

Maisie

Our dearest Maisie died today.

Maisie wasn’t technically my dog, she was my friend, Jules’ dog; but I regarded her as mine too.

When Jules got her 12 years ago my old golden retriever, Henry, was still alive and they were the best of friends for a few years.

Maisie was the cutest little pup – you should have seen her bouncing through the garden. It was as if she had springs on her feet. Always jolly. Always loving. Seeing her always made my heart soar.

A few weeks ago Maisie developed a lump on her side. It was diagnosed as a tumour, but the vet thought it could be removed quite easily.

Sadly, the surgery revealed that Maisie’s poor body was riddled with cancer. The vet said he could administer medication to help with the pain but recommended that Jules put her much loved dog down.

As any animal lover knows, it is incredibly difficult to end your pet’s life. We know it’s the right thing, the responsible thing to do, but it is so hard.

For almost a week Jules avoided making a decision but when Maisie stopped eating and had trouble walking she knew it was time.

Maisie was scheduled to go to the vet this morning. Jules was understandably in a state about it. She had read a thing on Postsecret about a veterinary nurse saying that if your pet is put down you shouldn’t leave them in the room with just the vet because they will look for you when you’ve gone. And she wasn’t sure she could watch as Maisie died. So I said I’d stay with her until the end. After all, she was my baby too.

We never made it to the vet. Maisie died this morning. At home. Sleeping on her favourite blanket at the foot of Jules’ bed. We think, we hope, she died in her sleep, dreaming of days spent running in the garden with Henry.

Goodbye, my dear friend. I will never forget you.

Lots of love.

Ruff ruff XXXXXX

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38 thoughts on “In Memory

  1. my father is a stubborn proud Yorkshire-man, and i have never seen him cry like he did when he took his beloved roscoe to the vets to have him put down – like a baby he cried as he said goodbye and the wee little fella offered his paw one last time…

    i think we are all connected, human animal earth

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  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. You are such a good friend to offer to stay with Maisie for Jules. One of my old hounds has developed some lumps and I’m afraid the answer is the same.

    Thank you for being a good friend to Jules and Maisie. I’m going to go hug my dogs now.

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  3. Sorry Selma but like you’ve said at least she died at home and you and your friend didn’t have to go through the whole putting her down thing which I find worse fro everyone.

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  4. I used to breed dogs and oh so many people who would ring me up looking for a pup were in some very serious mourning over a much loved pooch who had died, I had to be a sort of canine grief councillor. I would tell them that it was OK to grieve fro their lost mate just as much as it is OK to grieve for a human.
    My dog is now getting old and I know that he won’t last forever, quite frankly I know that when he goes I am going to be devastated and taht only time will heal the pain.
    Without being too self serving I used to tell callers that getting a new pup (after a decent time) is a good way to finally get over it.

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  5. I know just how you’re feeling … when dear old Barney was put to sleep, several of the people we met on our walks … even those I only knew by sight … came to offer their condolences.

    And, when the vet said do you want me to get Bob (another vet in the practice, and an old friend) to do it … poor Bob was as broken up as I was, and he’d been a vet for 25 years.

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  6. PAUL:
    The image of Roscoe offering his paw for the last time. I can’t bear it….
    We are definitely all connected. I have no doubts at all.

    KAREN:
    I hope the prognosis isn’t the same for your baby. It’s so hard when our dear ones get older. We love them so much and hate to see them get ill. Go and give your dear dogs a hug for me!

    VIC:
    Thanks, hon. I need a hug today !

    SUE:
    Thanks so much. I’m glad in the end that it happened at home. It was a blessing.

    HILLY:
    I know how hard it has been for you. The sorrow just sweeps over you. XXX

    HEATHER:
    Thanks for those lovely hugs!

    LAURI:
    I’ve had to put a couple of pets down over the years and it is so hard. Right up to the end you try and convince yourself that maybe your pet is going to recover and you imagine signs of improvement, but in your heart you know what you have to do and that it is the right thing. I am glad Jules was spared that.

    GROOVY:
    She was such a cutie. She actually smiled. Such a sweet nature. I will miss her so much.

    IAIN:
    I agree with you. Getting a new pet definitely helps you get over the loss. And I think it’s important to grieve. Our pets are as much a part of our lives and family as the people are. I hope your dear dog stays around for many more happy years.

    TRAVELRAT:
    I am sorry about Barney. Running into people you used to see on walks must have been so difficult. I don’t know how vets do it. It must be the hardest part of the job.

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  7. Tears began as soon as I saw the picture and read the first line. Dogs are my Archilles’ heel. As sad as it is to lose a member of the family, at least she passed in the comfort of her home. What a wonderful tribute Selma.

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  8. My kids had a goat for a pet once… well actually it was an ornery old thing that I had as a mower for a very large back yard… but it loved the kids, the kids loved it and hated me… oh, and the kids loved me.

    We also had a German Sheppard puppy that kept charging up to the goat barking its head off and stopping just short of where the goat’s tether would allow the goat to reach. Well the puppy kept this up for about a half hour and then all of sudden, at the end of yet another charge from the puppy, the goat lowered its head, lunged forward and butted the dog clear across the yard. The puppy was okay, it licked its wounds and ran off sulking never to bother the goat again.

    What the goat had done was take a tiny step back every time the dog ran back to the starting point of its next charge until eventually there was enough slack in the tether to reach the dog as it ran up to annoy the goat yet again… for the last time as it turned out.

    From that day on, and because of the goat’s propensity to try and butt me, I always checked for slack in its tether as I approached.

    It never did butt the kids though.

    Um… there’s no real message in this story for you Sel, I just thought it might help to take your mind off ‘other things’ for a moment.

    {{{Bear hug}}}

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  9. Selma I am sending you a big hug! As I started reading this my eyes started tearing up and I have a big lump in my throat! I know what it is to love our pets with our whole heart! I love my friend’s dog – Frisbee just as much as I love my little Mica. I definitely believe that we are connected to our pets and sometimes I think better than we are to humans! I look at Mica and hope that she never leaves me because I know it is going to be devastating when that will happen! She has been there for me through some of the toughest times of my life! I don’t know how I would have made it through some of those days without her.

    I am giving you a huge hug cuz I can only imagine how hard these couple of days have been.

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  10. Oh Selma,
    My heart cries for you. I’m a dog person who believes our pets are as precious as people to us. I’m so sorry to read this.

    Hugs,
    Gel

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  11. I’m so sorry to hear this news Selma. Dogs are such special companions…in an indescribable way. That look in their eyes…they know what you feel, and I’m positive Maisie knew how much you and your family loved her.

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  12. Oh gosh that is so sad. But you have to comfort yourselves with what a wonderful life he had and how much happiness he brought to you all.

    I sobbed a month or so back when the Golden Retriever on our road died. He was part of the community – whenever we went out he was there and my boys grew up seeing him. I couldn’t believe it when he was there no more.

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  13. Oh…this was so tough to read. Is there ever an easy way to say goodbye to our furry friends? So heart wrenching and painful.I think it’s even worse when it becomes our decision to make. With our Mitz, I was so glad she went on her own, peacefully in her sleep. But that hasn’t always been the case. 😦

    My thoughts are with you and your friend Jules. Maisie was/is a beautiful dog. I wish her a safe journey to the other side. I know there is one, for the animals too, I have no doubt. She is painfree and basking in the sun..

    Many hugs, G

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  14. Selma, on this very sad occasion, I would like to share with you, your friend Jules, and your readers the beautiful words of George Graham Vest:

    “Gentlemen of the jury, the best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter whom he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us — those whom we trust with our happiness and good name — may become traitors in their faith. The money that a man has he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world — the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous — is his dog.

    “Gentlemen of the jury, a man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow, and the snow drives fiercely, if only he can be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

    “If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace, and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.”

    “Eulogy to the Dog” by George Graham Vest, 1870
    http://www.almostheaven-golden-retriever-rescue.org/old-drum.html

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  15. JOANNA:
    Thanks, hon. It’s always hard to say goodbye.

    ROSHAN:
    Shawny was a gorgeous dog. I have no doubt she is still around looking out for you. They never really leave us!

    CRICKET:
    It is hard to lose them, isn’t it? I think part of it is that they give their love so unconditionally that we almost feel we don’t deserve it. And we feel blessed.

    BEAR:
    Your story of the goat has cheered me up so much. You are a master of distraction. Don’t mess with the goat 😆

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  16. TBALL:
    Thanks so much for the hug. I know how much you love Mica and Frisbee and I also know they’ll both be around for many, many more happy years!

    GEL:
    They are as precious as people. I have always regarded my pets as members of the family, so it is a wrench when they leave us. Thanks for the kind wishes!

    PUNATIK:
    Dogs really are amazing animals. And I do believe they have a sense of humour. I have had some very funny dogs in the past who just cracked me up all day long!

    RELUCS:
    Your story reminded me of a beautiful black lab that lived in our street when we were kids. He was the loveliest dog. I remember when he died feeling absolutely devastated and when I went back to the street as an adult I still got a little catch in my throat when I saw his house.

    TOBEME:
    You got it in one. Oh, you are so good at summing things up. Thank you. Thankyou!!!

    GERALDINE:
    I do believe there is an afterlife for pets. I suspect it’s the same place that humans go – after all, how can we be parted for eternity? We’ll all see one another again. I have no doubt!

    DAVID:
    That made me cry. When my grandfather died his border collie made his way to the cemetery about a mile away every single day and sat with him. Even thinking about it chokes me up. Your quotes are always so appropriate and helpful. Thank you XX

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  17. Once I had a pet cat and when he passed away I can’t control my sorrow. It seems to me that he is the only true friend that I can have. Always there in my moments of happiness and despair, his loyalty is unconditional, his silence has allowed me to share him my problems.

    After such tragedy, I never had any pet again.

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  18. Oh dear….nothing makes me cry harder and longer than a sad story about a dog. They are such beautiful, loyal and trusting creatures and they love their humans unconditionally.

    I am very glad you were spared having to take Maisie to be put down and that she passed where she felt the most love.

    When I had to have my little Lucy put down I held her while they put the injection in her leg. Even that was traumatic for her because she jumped and the needle came out and made her bleed. It tore me up that even her final moments were horrible. She was only two years old and just writing this has brought it all back.

    There is nothing I can say that will make you feel better Sel except I understand. Big hugs always.

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  19. IRON FIST:
    It is a tough thing to cope with but I’m glad dear Maisie is at peace now.

    WALTER:
    I felt that way after my cat died. I know exactly how you feel. My friends tell me I should get another cat but no one could replace my Olive. She was one in a million!

    GYPSY:
    How distressing for you to see Lucy experience that with the needle. I am in tears thinking about it. Oh, how awful for you. I am so sorry, hon XXX

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  20. So sorry to hear about the death of Maisie but I’m glad she died peacefully in her sleep. I wish the same for my old Jack Russell. She’s 15 and has doggy dementia. I love her dearly but I know that one day I will probably have to take her to the vets for that final visit. I’d love to think that she would go gently while asleep, dreaming of scampering along the beach. Sorry – off to have a sniffle now…hugs to you and your friend (())

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  21. PUDDOCK:
    I didn’t know dogs could get dementia until I read your post about it a while back. That must be heartbreaking for you. I feel so sad thinking about it. XXXX

    FAIQA:
    It’s never too late for a hug. Never. XX

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  22. My heart goes out to you. I had to have two of my dogs euthanized about one year apart. It is important for everyone to know that before the final shot is given, you must instruct your veterinarian to give your animal a powerful sedative. Both of mine went peacefully in this way.

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  23. TEXASBLU:
    It is such a wrench to say goodbye to them. Just heartbreaking. I am grateful for your lovely hug!

    TIMOTEO:
    I didn’t know that. I will certainly make note of it. I am very sorry to hear you lost both of your dogs so close together. XXX

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  24. My heart goes to you and Jules. My big pup, Duke, passed away in April at 10 years of age. It was a sad decline for about a year. i wrote about Duke here, to share with you http://truthandrocketscience.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/truth-and-sleeping-dogs/

    We buried some of his ashes in his favorite park, Prospect Park, and sometimes I go up to the spot and visit with him like an old friend. After my wife left Duke helped me take of my son, who was 3 or 4 at the time. We’d go on long walks in the park together, the three of us. In the early mornings in the park, they don’t enforce the leash laws, and all the dogs gather. It’s quite the sight.

    Maybe Duke and Maisie are running along in a great park in the sky.

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  25. Hi JOHN,
    I am so touched to hear you buried some of Duke’s ashes in his favourite park. His spirit will always be there now. I am so sorry you had to say goodbye to him. I hope he and Maisie have met up and are having a grand old time together. XX

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