Losing a dog can be a traumatic experience and as someone who has gone through this many times, believe me, it gets no easier. I know it can be painful and best described as a raw feeling in the very pit of your stomach. But I think it is even worse when the faithful friend you say goodbye to is a working dog; the bond, trust and relationship you have shared over the years working together makes it even more distressing.
I have always been a devotee of knowing when the time comes it is better to be a day too early than a day too late, not getting him, or her, to the vet in a timely manner just so you can spend more time with your faithful companion is not acceptable; the measure must be the quality of life your dog is having, and a respectful and dignified end is part of that process.
Just a few weeks ago once again our home was in turmoil as we lost one of the Springers, he was our ‘Big Lad’ know as Somme. He was just short of his twelfth birthday and the last of a litter we bred with our old English Springer Spaniel, Lottie. As we have seen before he slowly deteriorated in health and you could almost see it in his eyes, him telling you it was his time; I was there when he was born and with my wife reassured and comforted him at the end.
That evening when we arrived back home and consoled the rest of the dogs, who for several days plodded around the house looking for Somme, my wife pointed out the following she had found a few weeks before:
If it should be that I grow weak and pain should keep me from my sleep. Then you must do what must be done, for this battle cannot be won.
You will be sad, I understand. Don’t let your grief then stay on your hand. For this day more than all the rest, your love for me will stand the test.
We’ve had so many happy years, what is to come can hold no fears. You’d not want me to suffer so, the time has come, please let me go.
Take me where my needs they’ll tend, and please stay with me until the end. Hold me firm and speak to me, until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will see, the kindness that you did for me. Although my tail it’s last has waved, from pain and suffering I’ve now been saved.
Please do not grieve it must be you who had this painful thing to do. We’ve been so close, we two, these years. Don’t let your heart hold back its tears.
I will be honest and say I do not know who wrote this, but I would like to thank them for a short and moving piece of poetry, that is so true.