Anyone who has ever loved a pet knows that they are a major part of our families. Unfortunately, dogs and cats just don’t live as long as we do, so it is inevitable that we will have to say goodbye to these amazing family members even though it can be one of the toughest decisions we will ever have to make. One family documented how they said goodbye to their dog, Duke, who had cancer that came back after surgery, which involved a leg amputation and chemotherapy. After deciding he was in too much pain, they made that hard decision to say goodbye. However, they made sure to send him off in style by giving him the best day of his life and took pictures every step of the way. Here is their story, in their own words:
I Died Today. By, Duke Roberts
And I ate a lot of hamburgers. We had a party.
And I laughed.
And I thought about how much I’m going to miss it here.
We told jokes.
We were serious.
My friends from next door came to see me. They’re twins. When someone offered them one of my hamburgers, one said, “No thank you. I don’t want to take any from Dukey.”
Kristen came to see me.
She’s a hoot. She’s my groomer. And my buddy.
We were waiting for the vet to come.
Then someone said, “How about a play in the water at the splash park down the street?” So off we went.
“You know I’m going to miss you, right?”
“And you too, right?”
“Did you hear me? This is all I want!”
We got wet today.
We smiled today.
We felt grateful today.
We broke the rules today.
I listened to the kids play off in the distance. And thought about my two babies at home. I loved protecting them.
I felt no pain. Even though the tumor grew so big.
I relaxed today.
I felt the love today.
I said goodbye to my beautiful friend Kira. She “saw” me standing over everybody before the doctor said it was time. I was excited & jumping & happy.
Well, I didn’t say goodbye. I said ’til we meet again.
God, I was lucky. Our time was short. But you both gave me a second chance & we lived it up together. You love when I look at you. I’ll never stop.
Watching this family say goodbye to their beloved friend brought tears to my eyes even though I didn’t know Duke personally. Even though it was emotional, I’m glad they documented the day Duke died and shared it with all of us. I was a veterinary technician for over 10 years and I have seen more than my fair share of endings like this. Deciding to let a family member go can be one of the most difficult decisions a pet owner will ever face. My advice as a vet tech in making this decision is to consider their quality of life. If your dog is in so much pain that he or she cannot do what they used to love, then it may be time. If your dog can no longer go for walks or play fetch or they no longer want to eat, these can all be signs that they are ready even if you might not be. As a veterinary technician I was often asked how I could stand assisting in euthanasia, but I didn’t see is as cruel, even though it was often sad. I saw euthanasia as an ending to pain. The process is so peaceful and can be the greatest act of love you can give to a beloved pet.