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Posts: 49

It was a cold, yet sunny morning. Light snow flurries danced across the backyard. That day, January 24, will forever be with me all the days of my life. It was the day I tearfully asked the doctor to help you find the peace and tranquility you so much deserved after 9 years of faithful companionship. You were my friend when I was lonely; my confidant when no one else could listen. You were always there to greet me at the door with your tail wagging so hard that it would slap against the dryer like a drummer keeping cadence. You couldn’t wait for me to give you the treat I brought for you from work. Nor could you stop kissing me when I bent down to rub your furry back as you enjoyed the treat I faithful brought home for you.

I didn’t really like you all that much when I first met you, but you belonged to the woman I would later marry. In those early days, I worked from home and it was just you and me. Your Mom was at work and the kids were at school. We never really got to know each other very well... until that spring day when there was a blinding flash and a rolling clap of thunder vibrated the house. Suddenly, there you were. You slowly approached me with your large brown eyes looking at me. Your forehead was furrowed and your tail was tucked.

It was that moment when I realized that you were frightened and needed somebody to comfort you. I will never forget how you scurried under my desk when I welcomed you. How magical the moment. This 59 pound mixed terrier was actually frightened.

You became one of the best friends anyone could ever have. A few nights later, another storm rolled through and you were welcomed into our bed. From then on, you slept with us.

Oh, how I love you Pepper. Oh, how I miss you. But I know I would need to let you go one day soon. We will never know why you stopped eating and lost 24 pounds. Or why you would get sick after eating anything, so much so that you stopped eating at all. Eventually, you didn’t even want to drink water since it made you heave so violently as your ailing body purged itself of just about anything along with that nasty bile that had to have made you feel even more ill.

Watching you waste away a little more each day broke my heart. You were so skinny and almost lifeless as you just lay there with the little blankets we placed on you to keep you warm. I’d like to think you were cold, since you trembled so much lately. Seeing you laying there looking at me with those sweet brown eyes tore a hole in my soul.

A month ago, I realized that the day would soon come that I would need to let you go the famed Rainbow Bridge leading to a beautiful place where you could return to being the sweet, active dog you were just a few months ago. No more would your body waste away.

This morning when I let you out the back door and you walked down the ramp I built so you could maintain some of your independence, I smiled as you ran -- or tried to run -- after those two squirrels. You knew you couldn’t catch them, but you tried. You even slowly wagged your sweet tail as you came back up the ramp.

A few minutes later, you wanted out again after taking a few drinks of water. You almost made it, but I couldn’t get the door open fast enough and you seemed so ashamed when you vomited on the rug at the door.

You came back in and couldn’t make it any farther than a few feet from the door. I covered you up with your blankets as you trembled. It was time. I needed to call the doctor for another visit. Just a set of x-rays to see if there was a mass in your stomach. Anything that told me once and for all what was killing my Little Friend.

The doctor would see us as his first patient. In the hour before our appointment, you remained in that same spot, trembling despite the blanket with which I covered you. I needed to move the couch so I could roll your frail body over to your back. You allowed me to cradle you in my arms as a little baby, lifting you and carrying you to the car. You and I slid into the passenger seat. Your Mom drove and you hardly moved all the way to the doctor’s office.

I can still hear others sigh when they saw you in my arms as I carried you in. After only a moment, they told us which room into which we could take you. After placing you on the table, I thought it was odd that you continued to tremble, yet panted heavily. That’s when I began to sob like a baby as I faced the reality that this could be the last day I would ever see you in this lifetime... maybe ever, since watching you waste away has shaken the foundation of my faith.

The doctor was compassionate; he could see clearly the churning emotion of the pain I felt. He even shared the emotion that I could not control. He agreed that x-rays might give me the answer we needed to make the decision so much easier... but they didn’t. There was nothing that was obvious, although he noted that x-rays often can’t pick up details of serious illness. Even the recent blood tests that seemed normal, also may have been misleading since kidney failure would not really present itself until 75 percent of the function was lost.

The decision facing me was the most difficult of my life. Nothing ever before nor likely ever after will be so difficult for me. Just thinking back on this morning, I ache with sorrow and am overcome with overwhelming grief. The doctor in all his compassion was clear in telling me that you would never get better. That you would only continue to worsen and waste away. At best, the prospect was that you could last only another week or two. And it would likely not be a good experience for you.

But look, I told him, you are alert and holding your head high. You looked as though you were laughing as you panted, even though your frail body trembled. Bravado, he said. Because of the many scents in the offices, even a lame dog often will minimize a limp so that other dogs do not see it as a weaker animal. It did make sense.

Were you in pain? I can’t ever really know since all I have read seems to indicate that terminally ill dogs can be in horrible pain and even agony without clearly identifiable signs of how they feel. I want to believe this was the case for you Pepper. I want to believe that you were hurting and wanted relief, but just trying to be a good, strong dog in the battle you fought so bravely.

The doctor gave us all the time needed to consider the terrible decision at hand. In the end, we felt it was time.

We sobbed uncontrollably as the final preparations were made. I couldn’t stop apologizing to you as I whispered in your ear, sobbing with every breath. I reconsidered a dozen times wanting to stop the process and take you back home where I could try even harder to get you better, even though I knew deep down that your fate was sealed. I wanted to give you peace... or was I just wanting to end MY suffering more than yours? So many thoughts ripped my mind and seared my soul as I cradled you in my arms and my wife stroked your fur.

As the doctor administered the fatal dose of the medication, I felt my loving friend immediately begin to relax. In seconds, you fell lifeless. What have I done? Why was I being so cruel to my beautiful little gift from God? Why didn’t I take you home and see if the miracle I asked for the night before was really possible. Then again, there was no miracle over the weeks, months before despite my pleas.

So many questions. So many doubts. My Little Friend, you are gone. Did I do the right thing? Is that what you really would want me to do? Should I have let you live a little longer? What I did will torment me forever. I couldn’t make you live for my own selfishness so that I could just watch you die a slow death. You wasted away from 59 pounds to just 35! You would not eat... could not eat. You couldn’t even keep water down. Yet I didn’t want you to die. Instead, I concurred with ending your life.

I didn’t want to make you suffer. I wanted to ease your pain, but not this way. I am so sad and see you everywhere. I hear your jingling collar. I hear your tail keeping cadence on the dryer when I enter the door. No words of wisdom seem to ease my pain. Talk of the Rainbow Bridge does not seem to help me. You are gone, but I will cherish you all my life. You are a little dog that changed the world, my world. I will never be the same thanks to the love you so freely gave me with absolutely nothing expected in return.

Thank you, Pepper. Please forgive me if I made the wrong decision. I love you and am so sorry that you are gone.

Posts: 168
This sounds like similar symptoms my Leibchen had with not holding down food or water and wasting away. She was diagnosed with renal failure and even with 2 different vet clinics and 2 hospitalizations she just couldn't be saved, after a valiant 2wk battle for her life. I still have no real answers either...and never will. That's what makes it so frustrating, confusing and I'm angry and sad...with NO ONE to blame. We are supposed to make them better; they rely on us for everything. How can we "fix it" if we don't even know what's wrong or why? We feel like we let them down...if only they could TELL us what they need and we didn't have to guess and risk being wrong. See, you are not the only one going through this. You are not alone. I get it and so do so many others.
 I am so sorry for your loss of your Pepper. Yes, this was one of, if not THE hardest decision you will ever make. Did you do the right thing? Should you have let him go on his own? Did you even get another opinion? Will he understand? Will he forgive you? Should we have waited a little longer? There are soooooo many questions and doubts when you are faced with the illness, death and loss of a loved pet-baby. This is so hard as it is...and then we beat ourselves up wondering. I let mine go ,on her own, in my lap at home and I feel the same guilt, doubts, pain, sorrow and uncertainty that you do for making "the choice". A loss is a loss, no matter how it was lost. You are grieving and rightly so. I wish I could say something you haven't already heard to make this easier. But, even if I could and did you would STILL feel horrible right now. That's o.k. You have lost a family member and it will take time. There is no time limit on grief and everyone handles and deals with it differently. No one is right or wrong. Give yourself time to grieve. It will get better, but it never really goes away. I can't say you did the "right" thing for making the choice. I do know that he isn't suffering anymore and is happy, well again and still loves you. Does he understand and forgive you? As far as Pepper is concerned there is NOTHING to forgive because he is whole again, so he just understands he is happy again and doesn't ask how or why. He doesn't blame you for anything. He was set free. So, as far as whether this was the "right" choice, well it was for him. But was it for YOU? You must find a way to forgive yourself...because he already has. Peace
Not goodbye.....just until
Marmy always comes back for you
Leibchen     March 12,1994 - November 15,2006

Posts: 49
Thank you for your words of encouragement. To know I am not alone in my overwhelming emotions is somewhat comforting, although I cannot stop the flood of tears. These emotions are not me. I usually am a tough guy about such matters. Former nightclub bouncer, Special Forces training, licensed for Conceal Carry of a Firearm. I honestly would have less -- or no emotion -- about hurting another person if faced with self-defense issues than I am having about giving the green light to have Pepper put to sleep.

Yes, I got two opinions about Pepper. Both doctors said about the same thing. She would likely not get any better. Both supported what I eventually did. Yet, I feel what I did was the cruelest decision of my life. I guess I could have had her cut, probed, tested, retested, but she was 14 years old and so frail that I could not bear the thought of putting her through it all. I even began researching everything I could find to try to second guess the doctors. Progressive renal failure (or some kind of stomach/intestinal cancer) was my own conclusion based on her symptoms and age. I will never know, however, as I dropped her off for cremation. I currently plan to sprinkle her ashes along our back fence where she loved to sniff and run. I have ordered a small glass keepsake in which some of her ashes will be placed. That and her pictures will be cherished. (Late last week, we had a light snow. When I let Pepper out, she left the most beautiful path of paw prints I have ever seen. A picture of them is so awesome as they depict the prints she left in my heart as they trail off into the darkness.)

I want to believe in the Rainbow Bridge, but cannot even bear the thought of such a wonderful place right now. I miss Pepper so terribly. I share the loss of your beautiful friend too. So coincidentally, two weeks ago I received a call from my Mother. She was crying as she told me she found her baby -- a black miniature Poodle -- dead on her couch. The 10-year-old dog had congestive heart failure and died suddenly after about a year of her condition. So quick and sudden. I think that would have been a blessing for Pepper... and me.

The doctor yesterday, in giving me his wisdom, noted that I could take Pepper home and let her die naturally. But he cautioned me that after two weeks as Pepper worsened even more, I -- like so many others -- would likely return saying they wish they did not allow their pet to suffer another two weeks only to have them put to sleep anyway.

It is a no win situation no matter which way we go. I am so embarrassed about my outward flow of emotion of late, but last night my wife did say something that made me think... that is she was with me and she concurred with it all sharing a bit of my grief. If she would have hesitated, I would have not gone through with it.

I must try to remember how sick she was over the past months instead of how perky she suddenly seemed at the doctor's office. I agree with the Bravado concept... Even I will toughen up Monday when I am with my co-workers... or I hope I can. It's human nature, too, to act tougher than life so others do not sense weakness.

Once again, thank yo so much for your reply as I reach out for the comfort I can never find in what has been my darkest hour. I felt compelled to write my original letter (complete with typing and syntax errors) to Pepper as I wrestle with this hole in my soul and the tear across my hear. If anything, I thought it might help somebody else facing this situation BEFORE they enter the darkness.

As I cried throughout the night in between periods of sleep, I realized that each of my tears was a drop of love. And like love, I will never run out of tears. I just need to get myself under control before work Monday. I was supposed to work Saturday, but took the day off. The deadlines are looming and lots to be done. Perhaps that will be my diversion. We'll see how it goes today, as I plan to work to hopefully get my mind off the torment I feel.

Thanks so much.

Posts: 168
Well, with everything that has already been said between us, I only have two things I feel still need to be relayed to you. First, I am very sorry that I didn't realize Pepper was a "her". I had referred to "him" in my post and for that I hope you will forgive me. She was no doubt extremely special in your eyes...and in your heart.
Second, I don't ever want to hear you apologize ever again for feeling the deep love and deep sorrow you are experiencing now. You are human, after all, whether you admit it ,or think you must somehow show bravado and "control" your emotions. The fact that you think you need to at least shows that you DO have some...and you are suffering, just like the rest of us that don't seem to have your "self-control". I know this hurts you and I know you are entitled to feel pain, sorrow and cry... just like everyone else does that bonds with and loses their dearly loved pet-baby. Yes, you are human...and that's o.k. No more apologies, please. Pepper wants you to acknowledge that love for her...not apologize for it. Honor her...and yourself. Peace
Not goodbye.....just until
Marmy always comes back for you
Leibchen     March 12,1994 - November 15,2006


Posts: 55

It's been a week since I had to put my copper down after 16 wonderful yrs....It is not easy and the grief is so hard.  I found this poem, which I think was coppers way of saying that what I did was ok.....You to did the right thing for your dog - I have the same questions and quilt, but deep down it was right.  Pls find solce in this...

Friend to a Friend
You're giving me a special gift,- So sorrowfully endowed, - And through these last few cherished days,- Your courage makes me proud.-But really, love is knowing-When your best friend is in pain,- And understanding earthly acts - Will only be in vain.- So looking deep into your eyes,- Beyond, into your soul,- I see in you the ...  magic, that will - Once more make me whole. - The strength that you possess, - Is why I look to you today,- To do this thing that must be done,- For it's the only way. - That strength is why I've followed you,- And chose you as my friend,- And why I've loved you all these years...- My partner 'til the end. - Please, understand just what this gift,- You're giving, means to me,- It gives me back the strength I've lost,- And all my dignity.- You take a stand on my behalf,- For that is what friends do.- And know that what you do is right, - For I believe it too.- So one last time, I breathe your scent,- And through your hand I feel,-The courage that's within you,- To now grant me this appeal.- Cut the leash that holds me here,- Dear friend, and let me run,- Once more a strong and steady dog,- My pain and struggle done.- And don't despair my passing,- For I won't be far away,- Forever here, within your heart,- And memory I'll stay.- I'll be there watching over you, - Your ever faithful friend,- And in your memories I'll run, - ...a young dog once again

In Memory of Copper 1993 - 2009


Posts: 49
Such a beautiful poem Lisaluvscooper! It brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate your response and those of each of the others!! Together, all of you have helped me begin to emerge from the darkness. I will never really know if I did right by not allowing another few days for the miracle I requested, but what is done is done. I will miss Pepper all my life. But I know we cannot live forever. As this poem said, I needed to cut the leash and let her go. I didn't want to, but I knew I needed to.

I hope to return to this forum later this week and offer an entry of my thoughts, emotions and roller coaster ride so that others may be able to learn from what I just went through, preferably BEFORE they must make such a difficult decision. This was the second most difficult weekend in my life, second only to hearing the news of my daughter's lifelong disability within a few hours of her birth... yes, for some reason THIS was on that same scale, as silly as some may view it).

LisaluvsCooper, my thoughts are with you (as with each of you my new friends who are still missing their Little Friend). Please accept my condolences in this difficult time. I am at work and must run for now...

I wish each of us to find the peace we need after giving up our loved ones.

Thanks to all for helping me find my way over the past few days. I'm not home yet, but feel I have begun the journey.. at least I am walking now. This weekend I could not even stand up. It all now seems like a very bad dream. Yes, it still hurts when I expect to see Pepper, and suddenly know that she is not here, except in my heart.

Posts: 49
Leileismom... thanks to you too... well said, And well received. My thoughts are with you.

Posts: 37
My heart goes out to you but on the other hand, I feel you pain.  I had to put my beloved toy poodle, Belle, to sleep yesterday.
Since 9/07, she had a speenectomy, heart problems and then in 3/08 developed pancreatitis, gastroenderitis, and diabetes.   I have been going weely (sometimes more frequently) for blood glucose tests to try to regulate her insulin.  Constant poblems arose but we worked through them or so I thought.   Sunday night she started vomiting, took her Monday to the vet who asked what she got into.  He thought she may have chewed some rawhide which she did at my sisters house.   Tried treating her for abdominal distress to no avail.   On Tuesday, I went to my volunteer position at a cancer center and came home hoping she would improve - not to be.   Took her back to the vet and made the inevitable decision.    Broke my heart.   Rght now I feel I betrayed her trust but making that decision but hope to eventually come to grips with it knowing deep down it was the right decision.
I know it is going to be a long long road to recovery for me.   I, like you, am a strong person who did not expose my feelings or emotions much but to her, always,    She was and will always remain my best friend.    I have good friends who came over last night to grieve with me and good family who came to the vet before the deed to be with me and wish her well on her journey.  BUT, she was special in a different way.   Hopefully, she has fogiven me for my betrayal of her trust in me.   My vet just called and started me all over again.  

I feel your pain as you is just as recent as mine.  


Posts: 2,284

I'm so sorry for your loss of Pepper. She is beautiful and her spirit is always with you. It sounds like you made the right decision for her. Waiting would have meant more suffering for her and you didn't want her to suffer any longer. It's a very hard thing to go through. When I lost my Mandy 7-3-08, she passed in the car on the way to the vet. I didn't have to make that decision, but then I felt the guilt of letting her go as far as to pass on her own. Guilt for not putting her to sleep before that final day came. ANd afterward, I just wanted the world to end. I wandered around like a zombie, doing nothing but crying. For weeks and even months I was contantly crying for my Mandy. I wanted her back. One day, a few months later, I realized that I had talked about her and smiled. Then the smiles came more often when talking about her, and the tears came less often. I still cry for my Mandy, but most of the time I smile for her. I smile because she was here, because she loved me, because she was beautiful and silly and funny. It will take time but you'll get there too. You'll remember Pepper with a smile, though in your heart there will always be a sad place that misses Pepper.


Posts: 398

    I am saddened by your loss. It's never a good time for a furbaby to die. We are always left with second guessing ourselves. My Gizmo which I have posted on the message board gallery died of Congestive Heart Failure after being only 6yrs old. I am still devasted asking questions if I only knew sooner. I miss him every day. The vet told me after that dogs will mask disease until they become obvious. I have found little comfort in knowing that now. Just keep in mind that all of us share your grief and will help you get through it, but yet we are are still suffering as well.


Posts: 49
It is said that time heals all pain. After 17 days, time has not done its job. I have grown to accept the situation, but have difficult moments, as each of us in the forum experiences. I have found some peace in carrying with me the glass Touchstone into which some of Pepper's ashes have been hand blown. When I picked up the keepsake with the ashes of my Little Friend, my wife and I decided to place her ashes into a manufactured rock that can be kept outside, where Pepper loved to roam. It meant not bringing her home for another week as the engraving is completed, but we felt it would be a better tribute to Pepper than in just tossing her ashes along the fence where she chased squirrels. As we age and move from this home, Pepper will come with us.

I still see her everywhere. I hear her. I feel her loving licks and can feel her neck as I hug her. Each time I walk into the bedroom, I cannot help but walk to the bedside and reach down to gently touch the place she always laid. There is a small tear in the bedspread where she apparently got her collar caught a few months ago. I can't help but touch it and smile. And, yes, I still feel a tear drop onto her spot as I remember the great dog that was such a friend.

I want to say thanks to each person who has replied to my posts... and to each who has read the journal of my thoughts. I will visit here daily. While I will not reply to each and every post, I will quietly share in the sorrow each has experienced. And I will remember how it feels to say good-bye to a beautiful friend in her final moments. For those researching this forum before making the decision, my thoughts and prayers will be with you. No matter what you decide to do in the end, you will likely question yourself as to whether or not it was the right move. There is no clear choice in my opinion. Just lingering doubt about the path chosen.

For me, the experience of holding my beloved Pepper as she was helped to her eternal peace was the second most difficult day of my life. (It was surpassed only by the day of my daughter's birth when I was told of her serious, lifelong handicapping condition. That was 27 years ago.)

I will forever know the pain and torment that remain after making a difficult decision to end the suffering of my beautiful, loving dog. I still am not convinced I did the right thing... but making her suffer would not have been right either. Just when WOULD be the right time? And after 17 days, she likely would be in much pain, if not already gone while enduring without food or water for so long. And with thunderstorms predicted for tomorrow, I could not even imagine how scared she would have been, all while being so very sick in her final days if still here. She was so terrified of thunder.

If we get the thunderstorms as predicted, I can take comfort in knowing she is no longer afraid. I will feel her brush against my legs as she seeks shelter under my desk... and will smile as my heart breaks.

May peace be with each of us and with the outcomes of the decisions we must make.


"Do not hold back the flood of tears for a friend too soon gone. Each tear is a drop of love."

Posts: 42
I've read through all the posts that followed your first one.  Before I go on, I want to tell you how sorrowful my heart is for you and your loss.  Your words mimic my own; I share in your grief. I am just so sorry for your loss and for the deep pain it has caused you. 

That said, I would like to share a couple of things.  First, there is never a "right time" as you put it, to make the decision to put a pet to sleep.  It never feels right.  It hurts and sears and burns into our souls. But that is from OUR perspective.  It may help if you looked at it from Pepper's perspective.

From what you said, Pepper was desperately sick, was throwing up a lot, couldn't run and play as before, could hardly drink water, and had lost an enormous amount of weight.  It sounds like life for Pepper became much what it was beginning to be for my cat, Caleb, whom we put to sleep on 2/25/09.... life became "very small".  You see, Caleb was showing the ugly signs from the complications of diabetes.  This had been a robust cat, 18 pounds, full of life and mischief and games and joy. He had fought the diabetes for 6 years and did very well through most of it. But in the last year we noticed the weight loss, the feet becoming crippled, the lack of being able to get onto the window ledges and play, plus much more that just doesn't need to be gone over.  I began to look at him, at the lack of a life that he was living, although his little personality didn't show the lack... he was still full of life in his attitude and temperament.  But life began to "get small" for him, very small.  Life as he knew and enjoyed it was not "there" for him anymore; cats are prone to hide illness, as some dogs do, so just how sick was he and for how long?  Hard to tell.  All I know is Caleb no longer had quality of life, could no longer enjoy life as he had.  He was not deathly ill, as it sounds Pepper was.... he was still able to eat and drink, as Pepper was not.  But his room became his "life" for hours and hours each day- it's where he felt safe and didn't have to contend with his brother-cats who had noticed weakness in him and had begun to bug him more; it's where he had to be shut up when we were gone because his blood sugar would often go weird and he'd throw up all over the house; it's where he was shut up at night to sleep, so he wouldn't wake up those in the household who worked by his walking all over them for food or water or attention or just because he could. His life became very small.  And then I noticed that neuropathy (which happens to the feet of animals just like it does to the feet of many diabetic humans) had set into all 4 feet, and not just the back ones as I had thought for months. His feet would continue to have nerve damage and cripple up worse than they already were.  He would never get better but would get continually worse over a period of time.  That's when I knew it was time to make the hardest decision I've ever made. 

Dean, I know your heart is shattered.  Mine is too.  Caleb was my delight for almost 13 years (he's on the tribute page- his name was Caleb Spud Smith-Hunter if you'd like to know more about him).  I loved him much more than I can ever express in words.  But with God as my witness, I swore to him years ago, when he was first diagnosed, that I would never ever allow him to suffer, that I loved him enough to do what was right by him when it was time, and that since I had been the one to bring him home I, as his "mom", would be the one to make the decision and be there to hold him as he left me. I held him in my arms as he died; I held him all the way to the crematorium.  I fulfilled my promise to him. 

So, I feel safe in saying to you that you did make the right decision. No, it's never easy.  And for us humans, no, it's never the right time.... but think of Pepper and her needs.  You loved her, gave her joy and met all her needs.  She lacked nothing. But my friend, her little body was sick, very, very sick; her life had become very small.  And you lovingly made the hardest decision any of us that love our pets can make: you stopped the suffering, which you could see just by the symptoms she exhibited. The doctors told you that she'd never truly get well.  She may have been able to live a while longer, but Dean, her life could have never been as "big" as it once was... it had become very small, like my Caleb's. You unselfishly gave her relief from the sickness and shame of throwing up, you loved her enough to stop the pain in her insides, you gave her rest from feeling miserable.  You did the right thing for her. And from everything you wrote, it was the right time... for her....maybe not for you...but for her. For us humans who love so fiercely, it is NEVER the right time for us to have to let go... it hurts so damn much we can hardly live through it ourselves. But Dean, for her, for Pepper, I believe in my heart of hearts that it was time.  She told you as much by her actions.

So, now we humans have to mourn and cry and thrash and sob. We've loved to the depths of our souls.  We've received so much from our loved ones for so little investment on our parts. They've been our very heartbeats, as they gave us joy and laughter and unconditional love. We've gone the gauntlet of the full circle of life with our beloved Pepper and Caleb. It's not easy for us now. Perhaps one day it won't hurt so much. But please, please know that you did the right thing by her. I know I did the right thing by Caleb. Allow yourself to mourn and love and laugh and cry.  Be gentle to yourself and give yourself time. Rest and be at peace. You did the right thing.

 Caleb Christmas 2008

Posts: 49
Thanks so much Randee for the beautiful words of comfort. Please accept my sincerest condolences in the loss of Caleb. And thank you for sharing your thoughts, as they have given me comfort from the torment I feel today in the same severity of the night I made the most difficult decision of my life.

It is clear from your post that you -- as I -- loved our Little Friend with the full breadth and depth of our very soul. I truly believe that the measure of love is equal to the measure of grief in the loss. I keep trying to equate Pepper's age of 14 to the standard of human age in trying to understand her last days. If that is so, she was 98.

I just wish she could have told me she was ready, but I guess that could never have been. The "what ifs" will haunt me forever. I still see her sitting in the warm breeze of the unseasonable winter day in mid January with her nose into the wind, sniffing the air. She was so beautiful. She was such a friend and such a beautiful creature... just as was Caleb. I miss her so and still touch the urn in which her ashes are keep. (I even took her outside with me last weekend as I worked in the yard... yes, sound silly doesn't it?) I touch the place she laid on the bed each time I enter the bedroom.

But life goes on. Yes, now that you noted it, her life was pretty small. All she did was lay in the floor after only being able to walk a few feet. She did nothing else. She did not eat... she tried to drink water... All she likely felt was hunger and thirst... and whatever she felt from the potential pain of her condition, whatever it was.

I just wish vet/animal pros could weigh in and give their thoughts on what likely was wrong so I could feel reassured it was her end game.

Like you, I promised PepperDog I would be with her until the end and that I would not let her suffer. As painful as it was, I fulfilled that promise.

I wish I could believe that there really is a place called Rainbow Bridge and that she is waiting for me... but the sad reality is that I am not really sure. Her death has caused me to take pause and think about lots of things. I am the kind of person whose mind never stops... the facts of her loss causes it to race more.

Once again, I thank you for the time and soul you placed into your post. It gives me comfort. I hope it does the same for those reading the thread. When I see the number of hits on the thread, I cannot help but smile that well more than 300 people have taken the time to read about my Little Friend. I hope that the torment described in the thread helps others as they cope with the unexplainable loss of what can only be described as their best friend.

I am not one of overwhelming human emotion, but the loss of Pepper has rocked my soul. It was a wave of emotion I did not expect, nor was it something for which I was prepared. If anything, I hope others who read the post before making such a decision can be better prepared.

My condolences in your lost of Caleb. Later today when I have a few minutes at work, I want to pay my respects to your Little Friend as I visit your Tribute.

Warmest regards,



Posts: 42
Thank you Dean for your kind words about going to Caleb's tribute area.  That means a lot to me.

I'm so blessed that my words gave you even a tiny measure of comfort. I know your loss has rocked you, but I know you'll pull through somehow.  And, no, I don't see taking Pepper's ashes outside as strange.... I used to think all the hub-bub over pet's ashes was kind of creepy.  But I've changed my mind with Caleb; he didn't wear a collar, had no special toys, nothing but syringes, diabetic cat food, and a little insulin in a glass bottle.  What a crappy way to remember such an amazing cat.  So, my husband urged me to get one of the pendants that a few ashes can be put into, so I could wear it as a necklace any time I want to.  And strangely enough, it has brough me great comfort.  I had the great fortune of reading a website where a woman is a grief counseler for Hospice (imagine the pain she faces in the lives of those she touches!) just prior to having Caleb put to sleep.  This woman shared that we who lose a loved one, human or animal, need to allow the grief we feel, to do that which makes us feel better, like you and the urn and I with my necklace, to have a "memorial" area in the house for special memorabilia, or to even have a memorial service with people who also loved the pet.  She basically encouraged that we humans need to just do whatever gets us through the grieving process, which will vary from person to person, and to be gentle with yourself and your heart.  Death is a process every person faces at one time or another and no two people will mourn the same way.  You do what you need to do.  Who cares what anyone might think.

I just wish there were something I could say that would help you to let go of the self-doubt you have about your decision.  That was the most selfless and loving act you could have done for Pepper.  She was so sick, Dean.  You did right by her and you have absolutely nothing to second guess.  You only prolong the needed closure by doubting yourself.  Yes, it hurts like fire in your guts, but let go of your decision and forgive if need be and allow it to rest.  Your posts show me that you are a deep lover, a gentle soul; you would have NEVER done wrong by Pepper, you would have NEVER allowed any undue pain or suffering or unhappiness.  It just doesn't seem to be a part of the person who has posted of such love as you have.  So, my friend, I hope you can come to terms and accept peace in your soul over your decision.  She told you that she was ready in her own words.... she obviously loved life, but much of what you've shared about her last days tells me that she was ready. 

I'm so glad she had a chance to just look in the sky, breath deep of the air and look one more time over the yard that she loved and had spent so much time in.  That was good for her.  And you may never, ever get an acceptable answer from the Doctors; how can they possibly know how long a pet can live comfortably. And sometimes they just don't know what the problem is without spending thousands of dollar on tests.... case in point: we have an 8 year old cat named Cedric, whom we got from the shelter and had been abused somewhere down the line.  He has a problem with what comes out of is not solid and it's obvious that going in his box is uncomfortable.  We've put him on incredibly expensive food that helps and that he likes.  We've medicated for any kind of parisite, and we've had him looked over by the vet 3 times.  Without massively expensive tests, there's no way to know if he has colitis, something wrong with his innerds from abuse, or what.  So, as long as he isn't in pain and he's happy and playing and eating and drinking, we'll just trust that our compassionate and wise vet has done what he can and we'll do the best we can by Cedric. Sometimes they just don't know.

Dean.  I'd also like to say that your compassion for Pepper shines.  You've done the right thing, done out of absolute love. Allow yourself to grieve, but please be gentle with yourself through it.  Time truly does heal all wounds. 

I thought I'd share with you that I decided what I wanted to do with Caleb's ashes.  Burying wasn't an option.  I'm not an urn-keeper kind of gal.  And all the other options didn't seem to fit.  But I'm from Wyoming originally where the wind blows and I LOVE the wind.  I realized what would be the best thing for his ashes and that was to "throw them to the wind".  It was windy here in Salem, Oregon yesterday as it was working up to a storm.  When I felt the fairly strong wind in my face, I knew in my heart what to do.  I bawled the whole time, because I love him so and miss him as tho' there's a hot poker in my soul.  But I set my kitty free, or at least his ashes (I don't believe in the bridge thing myself. I'm a rancher's daughter and see animals differently than those who've not lived that life). So, with that, I've gained a tiny glimmer of closure.  It's going to take a while for me.  But one day ahead of me, I'll be able to look back with tender smiles and deep joy when I think of my spud.  For now I have tears.  And it's ok.

Take care Dean.
God bless you.

Posts: 49
Once again, your words provide reassurance and comfort. As I fell asleep last night, I thought of PepperDog as I usually do and -- for some reason -- thought about you and Caleb on that windy day. I just wanted to note how beautiful it was that you released the ashes of your Little Friend into the winds. Caleb is truly free. Your love of Caleb is so clear. I had planned on spreading PepperDog around the back yard, where she snooped and wandered. She loved sniffing all the scents left by critters. I didn't even order an urn when taking her for cremation. But after thinking how sad it would be to leave her here at this house in coming years as I downsize to a smaller place for retirement, I felt I'd rather take her with me when we move. (I left a dog I had in a "previous" life at the home in which I lived. I think of him and wish I had him with me too.) That's when I ordered the urn for my Little Friend.

Whether we carry the urn with us throughout the years or remember the release of the ashes of our Little Friends, the fact remains that they will live in our hearts until we perish. Maybe then, we will be with them again.

Best wishes to you Randee... and to all who have read this thread. Each time I see a visitor was here, I have to smile since maybe yet another person had the joy of knowing Pepper, the Super Dog that changed my world. I miss her still.

Posts: 49

It has been nine months to this day that you died my Dear Little Friend.  I miss you as much now as I did the day I returned from the vet without you.  We have a new beautiful dog that Mommy wanted, but that lil doggie will never replace you nor ever fill the void that will always be in my heart.  As strange as it sounds, I see this little puppy and have flashes in my mind of her being a very old dog.  I can hardly bear the thought of another dog leaving and breaking my heart all over again.

I dreamed of you the other night and even got to hug you and feel you in my arms.  What a great dream.... what a great visit.

Like the parent of a child who says they will remember a special moment with a child, those memories slip away in time and people forget the simple times and the biggest moments.  As painful as it is to recall all these beautiful moments and memories, I wanted to write them down and never forget.  They are in no particular order, but I jotted them down as they came to me.  I am certain I will have others I will recall, but these are what I have penned since you have been gone to this day.

I will cherish these memories, Pepper.  I will never forget you.  I will never get over your long illness and how you changed from my special dog to the old dog your morphed into in those final months.  I will never forget how you changed my heart.  I loved you... I still do.

My earliest memories of you were when your Mommy lived in her condo.  I remember how excited you got when I came to visit.  I could tell you liked me, even though I wasn't so sure about you.  You would run around the house, barking, and even making a puddle when I walked in.  Your tail would go fast and I never recalled seeing a dog wag as only you could wag.

I remember how you'd bolt out the door the second you could make a break for it.  You should have been born a Greyhound, because you loved to run.  But I'd catch you eventually.  I didn't like swatting you, but you had to stop running like that or you'd get hit by a car.  How I wish I would have to chase you now.

I remember how I fell in love with you after your Mommy and I moved into the house together. 

When my office was in the home back in the early days, I remember the rumbling of thunder in the distance, and there you were by my desk looking at me.  That was the moment I fell in love with you.  It was the one time I realized that you needed me to comfort you.  And I invited you to go under my desk, which is where you'd be anytime I worked as a storm approached.  Oh how I miss my little companion who I always said was protecting me and comforting me, since I knew you -- at 55 pounds -- seemed ashamed to be so afraid.  I need you now when I hear thunder in the distance.

You weren't allowed on our bed, but somehow in the middle of the night, you'd gently hop on the foot of the bed and lay softly so I wouldn't notice.  Then came the storms and I knew you were afraid of the thunder.  You were invited to lay with us, and you seemed to be content there with us, your head on our pillows.  There you slept each night.

I remember hearing the thump of your tail each time I looked at you.  You would be laying on your side and just watching me.  When I looked your direction, thump, thump, thump.  Often, I couldn't help but lay in the floor by your side and hug you.  You'd roll over on your back, so I could rub your sweet belly.

I remember coming home from work and hearing your pitter patter of feet running as fast as you could to greet me.  Your tail whacking the dryer with a sharp pinging sound.  It had to hurt, but you were so excited that I was home.  Often, you'd be waiting by the back door knowing it was time.

I remember the mornings when you wanted outside, feeling your gentle lick on my face. 

I remember the jingle of you collar.

I remember our routine in the morning.  Go outisde, come in and get a Beggin' Strip... back to bed you'd go while I had coffee, read the news and checked eMail...  In about an hour, I'd come to the bedroom to get my towel for a shower, bringing you a half of Beggin Strip... saving the other half for after my shower... oh how your tail would wag.  Then, after getting dressed and leaving, your third whole Beggin' Strip to hold you over until I got home from work.  (I think Mommy probably gave you more during the day!)  You'd walk over to the cabinet and stick your nose to the door, wag that tail and even bark when you just had to have one... or when you wanted a Milkbone (we called them "cookies.")... You ALWAYS wanted a cookie.

And the night routine, which was Mommy's turn for the daily treat cycle:  she'd give you a big ol' Milkbone (the ones for the Big Dogs), and you'd run into the bedroom with it in your mouth as a bookie would hold his cigar.  You'd go to the same spot on the carpet, lay down and drop your Milkbone, just waiting for Mommy to come into the room with your all-time favorite snack, a evening Beggin' Strip.  You'd gobble it up, then start crunching the Milkbone as your last snack of the night.  Then up you'd come between us for your kiss and a short rub-down as we drifted off to the land of endless Beggin' Strips and Milkbones.  (Somehow, I think there were some hamburgers and hotdogs there too!)

When we moved, you were so confused.  Our bedroom was no longer upstairs, yet you'd grab your Milkbone and run up the steps, only to realize our room was now on the lower level.  Within a few seconds, down you came racing to get to the new bedroom. 

I remember your only "trick," which was to turn in a circle for a treat.  You were so proud to know that trick.  And I was proud to let you show guests. 

I remember how you'd lay on one side, begin stretching and roll over to face the other way.  Often you'd let out a big sigh.  It was that heavy sigh that you'd give when we'd stop rubbing your belly and you knew we were done and, no matter how may times you nosed our hand, we were really, really done.

You never played with toys, yet you always seemed very content to lay around and watch us.  Oh, then there were the squirrels out back.  How you'd love to give chase as they ran across the top of the fense out back.  You'd sit outside with us just looking left and right watching for them.  We'd leave the back door open so you could watch them from inside the storm door.  We always knew when a squirrel was near.  The day I took you to the vet for you last visit, you tried to chase a squirrel, even though you were so very sick and weak.  It took alot out of you, yet you gave him a run for his money.

Each time outside, when you were ready to come in, there would be a single "ARF."  If we did not respond within about 15 seconds, there would be two, more forceful "ARF ARFs"  I still hear those little barks from time to time.

I remember the wild kisses I'd get when away for several days.  I knew you missed me.  And I so much enjoyed your uncontrolled welcome.

I remember your first visit the the Hounddog Hilton, and how you came home with a hoarse voice.  You could hardly bark after barking non-stop while we were gone.  The friends you must have made there.  I guess you wouldn't stop talking all night to them while we were gone.

I remember giving you baths.  How, in our new house, we had a large shower stall that was just for you.  I'd join you and we'd sit in the floor inside the shower and you'd stand as I took the personal shower hose and wet you down and lathered you up.  Oh, the sweet kisses you would give me.  None as sweet as the very last shower we took.  I knew it was the last time I'd be able to bath you.  I think you knew, too.  I was so very sad knowing.

I remember you always wanting to lay your head on the pillow when you jumped into bed with us.  You always needed a pillow for that sweet head of yours.

Just saying "Who is it?" brought you to a defensive stance, your ears upright, and immediately causing you to run to the door barking a ferocious bark.  Our beautiful watchdog.

I will never forget how you fell asleep in my arms, then journeyed to the Land of Beggin' Strips and Milkbones.  Oh how I wish I could visit with you.  I imagine a beautiful place with meadows filled with bright yellow flowers and large shade trees.  A cool babbling brook runs through the meadow.  I hear the distant yaps of dogs and see you with your friends.  You stop and look my way and run to me.  As you run, you keep looking back to your friends.  I know that's where you need to be.  I know how my heart breaks, but I tell you to go to them.  And you pause for a moment.  Our eyes connect and for a brief second we are back at home again.  Life seems so cruel.

Run pepper.  Be with your friends.  Know that I love you and always will love you. 

The void in my heart can never be filled.  It will never be filled.  I will never be the same person I was when you were here.  I can only hope one day to meet you at the famed Rainbow Bridge, where they say you'll be waiting for me so we can cross over together.  I will see you there my trusted Little Friend.


Posts: 168
I know your heart still aches for your lost Pepper Dog. I thought that perhaps this may, in some small way, help you with understanding your bond ....and hopefully allow you to love again.....

 This is why we do it. This is why most of us will do it again. We may not all do it the same way, some never do it again, and some may never do it at all. But, for those of us that do....this is dedicated to each of you. Peace


The little golden boy stopped.
Behind him, puppies were playing, chasing each other and
wrestling in the warm sunshine.
It looked like so much fun .But, in front of him, through
the clear stillness of the pond water, he could see his mommy.
She was crying.
He pawed at the water, trying to get to her. When that didn't work,
he jumped into the shallow water. That just got him wet and Mommy's image danced away in the ripples.
"Mommy!...come back" he cried. "Something's wrong!"
The little golden boy turned around.
A lady was standing at the edge of the pond. Her gentle eyes
were filled with love and kindness.
The little golden boy sighed, padded out of the water and up to her. There's been a mistake," he said. "I'm not supposed to be here." He looked back at the water.
It was becoming still again and his mommy's image was coming back. "I'm just a baby. Mommy said it has to be a mistake. She said I wasn't supposed to come here yet," he howled.
The kind lady sighed and sat down in the grass.
With some gentle coaxing, the little golden boy climbed into her lap. It wasn't Mommy's lap, but, it was almost as good.
When she started to pet him and scratch behind his ear, the way he liked, he started to whine softly. He hadn't wanted to, but he couldn't help it. He missed his mommy's touch.
"I'm afraid, there is no mistake. You are supposed to be
here and your mommy knows it...deep down in her heart," the lady said. "She knew this would always does".
The little golden boy sighed and laid his head on the lady's leg.
"But she's so sad. It hurts me to see her cry. And daddy too.
But they knew right from the beginning this would happen,...why,
because I was so sick?" he whimpered.

That surprised the little golden boy.
No one had said anything like that and he had listened when
they thought he was sleeping.
All he had heard them talk about was how cute he was or
how smart he was or how big he was getting.
"No, not because you were sick," the lady said.
"But, you see, they chose Tears."
"No, they didn't," the little golden boy argued. "Who would choose to cry?"
The lady gently brushed the top of his head with a kiss.
It made him feel safe and loved and warm - but he still worried about his mommy.

"Let me tell you a story," the lady said.
The little golden boy looked up and saw other animals gathering around. Cats, kittens, hamsters, birds, a lizard, several dogs, puppies and some animals he didn't even recognize, all came to be nearer, so they could hear too. They all lay down near the kind lady and looked up at her, waiting. She smiled at them and began:

A long, long, time ago, the Loving Ones went to the Angel in Charge.
They were lonesome and asked the Angel to help them.
The Angel took them to a wall of windows. They peered out the first window at all sorts of things; dolls, toys, clothes and many other things to hold or use.
"Here are things you can love," the Angel said.
"They will keep you from being lonesome."
"Oh, thank you," the Loving Ones said. "These are just what we need."
"You have chosen Pleasure," the Angel told them.

But, after a time, the Loving Ones came back to the Angel in Charge.
"Things are okay to love," they said. "But, they don't care that we love them."
The Angel in Charge led them over to the second window.
It looked out at all sorts of wild animals.
"Here are animals to love," he said. "They will know you love them."
So, the Loving Ones nodded, hurrying out to care for the wild
animals. "You have chosen Satisfaction," the Angel said.

The Loving Ones worked at taming some of the wild animals.
Many learned to serve the Loving Ones in their daily tasks. Some were just enjoyed and watched, like the birds that came into their yards to be fed. But, after a time, they all came back to the Angel in Charge.
"They know we love them," they told the Angel. "But they don't love us back. We would like to be loved in return."
So the Angel took them to the third window and showed
them lots of people walking around or hurrying to places.
"Here are people for you to love," the Angel told them.
So, the Loving Ones hurried off to find other people to love.
"You have chosen Commitment," the Angel said.

But, after a time, many of Loving Ones came back to the
Angel in Charge. "People are okay to love," they said. "But sometimes they stopped loving us or left us. They broke our hearts."
The Angel just shook his head. "I cannot help you," he said.
"You will have to be satisfied with the choices I gave you."

As the Loving Ones turned to leave one saw the last window
far off to the side and slowly walked up to look out of it.
Through it she could see puppies, kittens and dogs, cats and lizards, hamsters and well, some she didn't recognize.
The other Loving Ones hurried over to see. "What about these?" they asked.
But the Angel just tried to shoo them away.
"Those are Personal Empathy Trainers," he said.
"But, there's a problem with their system operations."
"Would they know that we love them?" someone asked.
"Yes," the Angel said.
"Would they love us back?" another asked.
"Yes," the Angel said.
"Will they ever stop loving us?" someone else asked.
"No," the Angel admitted. "They will love you forever."
"Then THESE are what we want," the Loving Ones said.
But the Angel seemed upset.
"You don't understand," he told them. "You will have to
feed these animals."
"That's all right," the Loving Ones said.
"You will have to clean up after them and take care of them forever. You will have to love them unconditionally, as you would want them to love you."
"We don't mind," they protested.
The Loving Ones did not listen. They went down to where
the Pets were and picked them up. They could see the love in their own hearts reflected in the animals' eyes.
"They were not programmed right," the Angel said. "We can't offer a warranty. We don't know how durable they are. Some of their systems malfunction very quickly while others last a long time."
But the Loving Ones did not seem to care or want to listen.
They were holding the warm little bodies and finding
their hearts so filled with love that they thought they would burst.
"We will take our chances," they said.
"You do not understand." The Angel tried one more time.
"They are so dependent on you tand even the most well-made of them is not designed to out-live you. You are destined to suffer their loss."
The Loving Ones looked at the sweetness in their arms, and nodded to one another.
"That is how it should be. It is a fair trade for the
love they will offer. We'll worry about the rest later," as they each walked away with a new little pet in their arms.
The Angel just watched them all go, shaking his head.
"You have chosen Tears," he whispered.

"So it is," the kind lady told the little golden boy.
" Each mommy and daddy knows when they take a new pet into their heart... that one day it will leave them and they will cry."
The little golden boy sat up. "So why do they take us then!?!" he asked. "Why would they do it...if they know?"
"Because even a moment of your love is worth years of pain later," she quietly replied.
"Oh....." the animals all agreed in unison, including the little golden boy and quietly nodded to each other.
The little golden boy got off the lady's lap and went back to the edge of the pond.
His mommy was still there... and still crying.
"Will she ever stop crying?" he asked the kind lady.
She nodded. "You see, the Angel felt sorry for the
Loving Ones, knowing how much they would suffer. He couldn't take their tears away, but he did make them special."
She dipped her hand into the pond and let the water
trickle off her fingers.
"He made them healing tears, formed by the special water here.
Each tear holds a bit of all the happy times of barking, purring
petting, playing...and shared love. All flowing together with the promise to love once again.
As your mommy cries, she is healing. It may take a long
while, but the tears will help her feel better. In time she will be less sad and she will begin to smile when she thinks of you.
Then,she may open her heart again, to another little baby."
"But then she will cry again one day," the little golden
boy said, sadly.
The lady just smiled at him as she got to her feet.
"No. She will love again. That is all she will think about. She will worry about the rest so many already have before her."
She bent down and gave the little golden boy a pat
on his head and smiled up at the others who had been
listening. They all lowered their heads and nodded silently back.
"Look," she said. "The butterflies have come. Shall we all
go over to play?"
The other animals all ran ahead, but the little golden
boy wasn't ready to leave the sight of his mommy.
"Will I ever get to be with her again?" he asked solemnly.
The kind lady nodded. "You'll be in the eyes of every puppy she looks at. You'll be in the bark of every dog she pets. Late at night, when she's fast asleep, the spirit of your memory will snuggle up close to her and you both will feel at peace.
One day soon you can even send her a rainbow, to let her know
you're safe and waiting here...for when it's time for her to come."
"I would like that," as the little golden boy took
one last, long look at his mommy.
He saw her smile slightly through her tears and he knew
she had just recalled a happy memory of him.
"I love you, Mommy," he whispered. "It's okay if you
cry, I understand now."
He glanced over at the other pets,all running, playing
and laughing, chasing the butterflies.
"Uh,...Mommy? I gotta go play now,...okay? But I'll be
around.,I promise. Remember me and I'll always be with you.
Hey!...You guys wait for me!!!....."
Then he turned and raced happily after the others.

Author Unknown

Edited slightly from the original version by myself...I hope no one minds. Any "species" may be substituted by the reader to acknowledge your own lost, loved, pet-baby.
Not goodbye.....just until
Marmy always comes back for you
Leibchen      March 12,1994 - November 15,2006

Posts: 49

It was one year ago today that I had to make the most difficult decision of my life. Helping you find peace was a choice I still to this day question... and always will. Were you ready? Did you know? Is that what you would have wanted me to do? Were you suffering as badly as I thought you were? Could you have recovered from your illness that gripped you, giving me just another few months with each other? Was I being selfish in my hesitation? Or hasty for my own convenience?

Those answers I will never know. PepperDog I still miss you so much and think of you every single day. I see you lying in the middle of the bed. I hear the sound of your beautiful tail beating against the dryer when I come home. You will be with me always. Always. No one can really understand why, a year later, I grieve despite the presence of a new little doggie that is trying so hard to fill the void in my heart and the scar on my soul from your loss.

A year later, I visit this place where I revealed the deepest thoughts of my mind and shared the pain in my heart hoping to better prepare others of the torment they will surely feel when faced with that horrible decision to end a best friend's suffering.

You are gone. I miss you so. One year ago.

And this new doggie. She is so beautiful in many ways. Never will she replace you. She never could. But she reminds me so much of all the things you did. Maybe any dog would, but BaileyBug barks once to go out, just as did you. And once to come in. Twice more forcefully if we tarry. She greets me at the back door when I come home from work so excited that she, like you, sometimes can't control her leaky valve. She loves your back yard, sniffing along the fence, nose to the breeze.... and a tail that won't stop waging. And she has picked up your tradition of going after those squirrels!!

Yes, life goes on. And with life, we lose friends... we make others. Until one day when it is our candle that burns out. It is hoped that when that day comes that others will miss us as much as we missed those who have gone before us. And that the belief of so many faiths is true that we one day meet again in joyous celebration. Only then will we really know what lies beyond the churning darkness.

My heart goes out to each of you who has lost your best friend and who grieves so. The pain is the worst that can be experienced. The unfairness of life. The fact that it is so finite. That it one day ends and the hands of time relentlessly turn forward. It makes me realize that our time here is so very short and that we must make the best of every day. To love more. To give more. To rejoice more. To remember. To cherish. Every moment. Every soul.

May we each find the peace and tranquilly we seek as we visit this place. As we share the sadness with so many others. I cherish the comfort each of you have given on these pages and share in your sorrows. Thanks also to each of you who read, but did not post, not knowing the words to say. Really, no words can truly comfort. But the shared spirit, written and unwritten is what matters. And thanks to each of you for that.

Time heals... or so they say. But a year later, the grief has not subsided and never will. THAT is what love is. Real love. Enduring love.

It is unfair... but we all experience unspeakable loss that cannot ever be defined. So, I guess that makes it fair. And so, tomorrow begins a new year without you Pepper. I'll go on. You enjoy the beautiful place I can only imagine you to be in. And when my day comes, and I find myself walking along a path in a beautiful field and hear the rolling waters, I'll know there is a bridge ahead. And you'll be waiting there for me so we both can cross into eternity together.

I love you My Dear Little Friend. Until then.


Posts: 398

       I usually do not go into the Pet Loss Memorial and Gallery that much anymore since my last posting of my Gizmo. I remember you sending me a reply a while back which helped ease my pain. Now, it's my time to help you if I can.
       I read your Memorial and saw your picture of Pepper. I can see why you became friends. What is not to like about Pepper. We have some similarities between your Pepper and My Gizmo. First he was not supposed to be my dog either. He was a Christmas present for my wife one year because she fell in love with him at a local pet store. I had our Golden Retriever named Nikita who has been with us since 1999. Even though I felt Nikita was more my wife's dog I thought with the addition of Gizmo she would start coming to me more. But that did not happen. Instead, that little guy slowly became my best friend. First by protection and play and then for just about everything. I never had to really call him to come see me. He would always be anxious to come to me. He also had a jingle to his collar and would jump up to me to let me know that it was time to go out. Every camping trip that we could Gizmo would come with us as nikita was just happy to be home. We even drove to Florida from PA with him. Best friends are so very hard to lose.
       One day I came home late and noticed he was having trouble breathing. We rushed him to the closest hospital never thinking that we never see him again. We would always say what would we do if Nikita passes away. Gizmo was in love with her. We never thought it would be the other way around.
       The Vet said that he had CHF and like your Vet said Dogs will mask their Illness. That is why I never saw it coming until it was too late. It does not help help the guilt much, though. We even adopted another dog of the same breed by the name of Dino who helped alot, but not entirely. ( Sorry if you heard some of this before). It was not until the recent death of a friend ( Human ) that I realized something else. I just saw him the week before and he looked great. That's when I realized things just happen and are out of our control.

      You did everything you could for Pepper. This includes easing their pain. It is heartwrenching but unfortunately they usually pass to the bridge before you. It's more tragic when they do not live as long as intended. I did have a dream of holding Gizmo in one arm and Dino in the other. I hope that becomes a reality when it my time. You did everything that you could, Dean.
This includes showing love and compassion in a thunderstorm. Pepper will be waiting for you with tail wagging when God calls you home. You and Pepper are  always in my nightly prayers at my Gizmo's grave.  God Bless


Posts: 49
Thanks Jeff for your reply.  Yes, our stories do sound a lot alike.  Hopefully I don't sound like a whiner, but I felt I needed to revisit this place where I found comfort in the loss to pay my respects to our lost ones.  I am at a loss for why Pepper's death was such an impact on my emotions.  The sadness is just not really me.  But it was a time that should be remembered.  Thanks again.  Peace to you.

Posts: 607
Oh my gosh, Dean, your words have brought me to tears.  When I read your first post, I didn't realize that it was over a year ago.  I only recently came onto this site 8 weeks ago when I lost my baby girl, very unexpectedly too with no clear answers from the vet.  While I knew the day would come where I may have to make the choice to end her suffering I never fully prepared myself for the anguish and heartache I would feel.  I do not have any children, nor a husband or boyfriend to share my love with.  So with the passing of my girl, it was incredibly difficult and like someone said, like a hot poker going through your heart.  She was with me nearly 17 years and just one morning was paralyzed and in a great deal of pain.  She was admitted to hospital for a couple of days, did x rays and blood work but nothing was revealed as to what the cause was.  I could not stand to see her suffering that day when I went in to visit her.  An hour earlier, despite what the vet (not mine as mine was on holiday) I think was trying to tell me earlier, that she was likely not going to win this battle due to her age, I went in trying to be hopeful as I always had before.  The moment I saw her I just knew.  This had taken such a toll on her body and she needed to be released from her pain.  Yes, I could have done more testing, I could have let nature take it's course, but why, it would only prolong her suffering and for what - another few weeks or days of her life, only to go through it possibly again?  She had lived a long and extraordinary life.  I was content in knowing that I had given her ALL of my love and provided her with a happy home.  But still, to be faced with the decision of taking your best friend's life, nothing can prepare you for that.  

Your recollection of all the wonderful moments and irresistable character of your Pepper is so heartwarming, the love clearly unbreakable and strong.  I cried with each and every post you wrote and the love and outpouring you received in return so touching and incredible.  You so clearly expressed your love and adoration for Pepper and how she changed your life and you as a person, for the better.  Isn't it wonderful that the love we receive from our pets can transform us in such amazing ways.  I truly believe that after being on this site that people who have pets and have lost them have the biggest hearts of all.  The compassion felt here has been like no other I have received elsewhere at any time in my life.  I am grateful for finding people on here that understand my grief, do not think I am silly or crazy for being so heartbroken, still....when really it has only been eight weeks, well nine on Saturday.  I too have wonderful memories of my Chelsea girl, sniffing EVERY crack and crevice in the house until she found a crumb, for hours, my little Hoover Vacuum, her long, fluffy ears collecting whatever her tongue missed.  I miss her Smile, her sighs as she would sleep, her soft "talking" and twitching as she dreamt, and would always fight to get the same right hand lower portion of the bed to sleep on.  I miss seeing her chase the flocks of Geese on the golf course and then rolling in all the crud they left behind.  She was always so proud of herself to scoot them off the course late at night as the sun set, and have a little trophy of sorts smeared all over her buff coloured body.  Oh how she loved that.  I miss her tiny little stub of a tail wagging when I came home, peering her sweet little face through the baby gate that kept her safely in the laundry room.  I miss her adorable trot when we would go for walks, her hind quarters looking identical to that of a white tailed dear.  I miss seeing her jump high through the fields of tall grass looking for her ball-y.  I miss cuddling and squeezing her and smelling her puppy scent - all of which I did a lot of this past year as I knew our time together was limited.  I so wish now I had a small piece of her fur to remember her by.

I thank you Dean for being so eloquent and honest in each and every post you have taken the time to write.  I hope that your newest addition gives you plenty of inspiration, hope and happiness today and always.

Take care,

Posts: 49

Thanks for your incredibly kind words. Please let me express my heartfelt condolences in the loss of your Dear Little Chelsea. Your love is also very clear in your post. She must have been such a joy, such a gift. The situation you described is so sad. To lose her so quickly. To see her in such pain. It is so easy for me... for anyone... to say you made the "right" decision. But you never really know. Would our Furbaby want it the way we decided? I guess we never really know. Having to make such a decision is the worst ever. In 57 years, I have never been faced with such a tormenting decision.

Yes, I have found incredible comfort in visiting this site. It was the first place I turned as an outlet for the overwhelming grief that consumed me last January 24. It was a place that an aide in the vet's office told me about after I made the decision that haunts me still. She could clearly see that Pepper was magic in my life. Just thinking of Pepper brings the emotions back. Just as you are obviously so torn by the loss of Chelsea. We will never "get over" our loss, as so many others so coldly expect. We can only cope as we journey forward in time. Even with this new puppy, I am not able to forget one detail of Pepper. As odd as it sounds, each time I hold BaileyBug, I see her as an old dog one day and already am torn by what I know will come all too soon in the future as time flies past us with increasing speeds. It makes me miss Pepper all the more and then snap back to the present, only to cherish Bailey and take mental snapshots that I try to hold in my memory forever.

As you noted so well, there are people here that -- somehow -- understand and share our anguish. People here who do not judge us for what so many feel is a weakness of character. Or an inability to get on with our lives. It really is a place of comfort. While Pepper's ashes are tucked away in her rock-style urn, it is here that we lay our soul and pour out our hearts. It is here that we feel safe and truly understood. I wish I had a million dollars to donate to this place that has given me... all of us... a bit of comfort by allowing us to meet, to touch, to cry, to heal.

Your feelings have also been so well stated... and your pure love for Chelsea shines so brightly. And the picture you posted of her. How incredibly beautiful she is. Note that I said IS... present tense. Her little body may be off to await you at The Bridge, but her spirit will live so long as you remember her, just as PepperDog will go on so long as I remember.

Thank you for sharing your loss here and for telling Chelsea's sweet, sweet story. I wish you peace Nicole... and share with you in your grief in this very sad time of incredible loss. Please do not feel that you are alone. I felt that loneliness in the days after Pepper's departure, but THIS PLACE helps so very much. While there may be no one in your household there to comfort you, there is a family of people here who share in your sadness and -- in their own ways --touch you as nobody else can. The silent prayers that are spoken in their hearts, the tears that are wiped from our eyes, the embrace of each other's soul. That is real comfort. THAT is what defines those who come here to comfort each other.

You and Chelsea will remain in my heart. Thank you again for your kind words.

Posts: 49
It was two years ago today that I held you in my arms as the doctor administered the drugs to end your pain My Little Friend.  I miss you so much and think of you every day.  Never a day goes by that I don't feel my arms around your sweet neck and feel your kisses.  I love you.  I will love you forever.  The hole in my heart can never be filled.  

Posts: 22
It's been two years since your post, and there is a slim chance you will read this response.  It's been 5 years for me and I am no closer to the answers.  Know that you loved your dog, and that you tried to protect it from pain and suffering.  I am tormented by my decision, but I know that I will gladly accept the pain and torment over the suffering of my friend.  So, I live with it because they would do the same for us.

Posts: 44
I was reading through these posts and couldn't help crying. It's been almost 3 weeks since my son and I had to make the excruciating decision to end our Prowler's sweet life. I feel like you, I will never get over it....a hole in my heart will always be there, and I'll always feel bad about the decision we made in some way or other...should I have let him bleed to death at home as they said he would...would he have bled to death? It is agonizing. Did I do the right thing? God bless is certainly evident how much you loved your sweet doggie. I too notice the missing presence of my dog at night by my bed...his dog bed is still there, I can't bear to move it.

Take care


Posts: 49
Hello stillgreiving and catey.  I am so sorry I haven't seen your posts to have posted a reply.  (My notifications must be toggled off.)  First of all, I am so sorry for the loss you both have experienced.  The decision to end your Lil Friend's suffering is a tough one, especially since you are not sure what their desire would be.  I wanted to post the thread, first of all to honor the love I have for PepperDog, and secondly to let folks know of the torment in the aftermath of having to make such a difficult decision.  

I'd like to think we all made the right decision.  I am not so sure I want to be forced to live an unfulfilling, painful life.  Either way, I do think of Pepper every day and miss her terribly, even in the face of having this new little doggie in the house.  Love is such a funny thing.  It is boundless.  It is endless.  It is ever-expanding.  While I love my new doggie, I still have this endless love for Pepper.

Stillgreiving:  I think I agree with you.  Ending Pepper's suffering -- as hard as it was -- was my last act of love for her.  I promised her I would not let her suffer and may have let her suffer longer than I should have.  I still wonder what she would have preferred.

Catey:  It sounds like you made the right choice as well.  I am not sure what was wrong, but it sounded like internal bleeding  Serious internal bleeding.  Either way, my heart goes out to you.

Once again, please forgive me for not seeing your posts.  

Posts: 4
I have just lost my dog , my baby, my soul mate megan, your letter is mine, all the words you wrote I have lived. I hope my Megan forgives me and knows I did it for her, I hope she never leaves me, god bless x

Posts: 49
Today marks the third anniversary of the most difficult decision I have ever had to make.  It was three years ago today that I held you in my arms and felt the life go out of your sweet furry body.  I miss you Pepper... more than anybody can ever imagine.  I still think of you daily and hope I did the right thing by ending your suffering.  I guess by now it wouldn't have mattered, for you would surely have been gone.  It is likely you wouldn't have lasted but only a few more days, but I'll never know if you would have preferred that your life be cut short or if you would have preferred to continue your fight.

I cannot say anything more than I have said in the past during those difficult times in which my torment consumed me.  Just know My Little Friend that I miss you so much and that no other doggy will ever take your place.  There is a hole in my heart that will never heal.  Time is so sad.  But time will never make me forget you.  So long as I have my mind, I will always see you lying on the bed, running those squirrels, and see your big brown eyes.  I hear you running to me when I come home from work, your tail hitting the dryer as you cry with happiness.  I see you walking around the corner into my home office where you'd come to check on me from time to time.  I hear the thunder and know how frightened you'd get, feeling you go under my feet to get under the desk.  

I miss you and always will.  I love you Pepper... and always will.  While you are gone, you are always with me.

Posts: 32
I broke down in tears when I read your memorial. It was so similar to my experience with Buster. The pain of it all swelled back up, the symptoms, watching my beautiful dog waste away to nothing, the horrible decision, wanting to stop the process, the apologies, the fear and doubts, the uncontrollable sobbing. I was right there, in that same place. You described it so well, almost to the tee of my experience with Buster.

I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope you find peace someday soon. Thank you for sharing Peppers story with us.


Posts: 49
Thanks for your kind note.  I am so sorry that you experienced the same sadness.  You and I know the torment that will haunt us forever.  While our sweet Friends are not longer with us, they shall never really be gone.  So long as we remember, they will endure.  After three years, I still think of Pepper daily.  The hole in our hearts will never heal.  

Posts: 49
Just a short note to remember you.  Today, it has been four years since I made the most difficult decision of my life.  I miss you still and think about you daily.  As I reflect on the events and my feelings journaled here over the years, I realize there is nothing more I can say.  It doesn't matter now if I made the right decision or not, but know that I miss you, the dog that changed my world forever.  The hole in my heart is still there, filled only by the sweet memories of my one and only PepperDog.  Yes, your picture is still on my desk at work and in my home office...  the poster I created when you headed for the Rainbow Bridge to wait for me...  the one of your sweet footprints in the snow the night before the difficult decision to end your suffering.  I miss you my Little Friend and will remember you as long as I live.

Yes, life goes on.  We endure.  So long as we continue to live, we can remember.  Those thoughts help the memory of those who have passed endure as well.  For as long as we remember, you remain with us.

Posts: 4,776
Four years since your world was changed. There can never be another as special as your Pepper. Making a decision to let them go and end whatever pain they may be in is done out of love. We love them so much, and then we have to endure the pain of losing them, but we would do it again, just to have their love again. These fur babies give us so much love, how can we not miss them when they are gone. 

Posts: 49
Oh sweet Pepper, it has been five years since I made the decision to end your suffering.  I remember you as if it were just yesterday and miss you still.  I will never forget you My Little Friend.  Daily I think about you and see you.  While you are gone from this world, you shall never leave my memories until we cross the Rainbow Bridge together.  I see you in your spot on the bed, hear your sweet tail slap against the dryer when I come home from work, and feel your presence when the thunder rolls and you would run to me for comfort. You shall forever remain My Little Friend, as no other will ever have that title.  Yes, love lasts forever.

Life has not really been the same since five years ago, but yet life goes on.  Thanks to each of you who offered comfort during my difficult times following the loss of My Little Friend. Your words and shared sadness shall also be remembered always.  


Posts: 2,440
Pepper, I wanted to wish you the happiest of days today at Rainbow Bridge on your 5 year Bridgeday.  I know that with your special and caring soul you have met a lot of new friends - and I have heard there are never any scary storms!  Know that you were the best friend anyone could hope to have.  Know that you are loved forever and missed until you are reunited.

To Pepper's Special Friend (deano2222) I have learned myself that time does go on and while some of the deepest pain lessens, time does not stop us missing our special babies.  It is clear just how much love you two shared.  That is so special and you are so blessed and fortunate to have felt that bond.  I have no doubt that your Pepper is always around, and has helped your BaileyBug settle in and found "her" place in your life.  I believe that your Pepper helped you find BaileyBug - the perfect fit.  Never replaced; that part of your heart is and will forever below to Pepper!

Take care on this special day of rememberence

Posts: 49
My Sweet Pepper,
Another year has passed, six years since you journeyed to the Rainbow Bridge.  I miss you still and think about you daily.  You are such a Friend and shall always be.  I hope you have forgiven me for cutting your sweet life short when I needed to end your suffering.  It is the most difficult decision ever made.  I still wonder if it was the right choice at the right time.  You were so sick.  You are remembered.  You are still loved.  And you are missed.

Posts: 49
Seven years today dear Pepper. I miss you still and hold you close. Not a day goes by that I don't remember you and smile. I will always love you and you will forever be my Little Friend. I miss you still and always will.

Posts: 49
Eight years today, My Little Friend, and I remember you as if it was just yesterday.  I still miss you and your gentle licks in the middle of the night when you needed out.  No matter how many years go by, I will never forget you.  Love never dies.

Posts: 446
Happy 8 year bridge day Pepper.......Your Dad is so right. The love NEVER dies.

Posts: 49
Pepper, Dear Lil Friend, I did not forget you.  Yesterday was your ninth year anniversary of crossing the Rainbow Bridge without me. I miss you still and remember you every day.  The grief never stops.  Love you forever!

Posts: 49
How can it be that 10 years have now passed since you quietly drifted away in my arms?  At the time, it was the most difficult decision in my life.  Still is among the hardest, right up there with having to make the decision to place my own loving Mother in Hospice two years ago tomorrow.  PepperDog, I still think of you every day and wish you were here. We now have three doggies.  First there was BaileyBug who came to live with us in hopes of lessening our grief. Then Mom's doggie TinkerBell joined us when Mom died.  Then in this past summer, BentlyBoy joined us when we found him wandering the neighborhood repeatedly... and obviously neglected.  You would love them all, but they will never replace you.  A million doggies could not replace you.  I love you... and Love lasts forever.  Don't worry, you will forever be my Lil Friend!  BaileyBug is my Lil Buddy. TinkerBell is my Lil Pal.  And BentleyBoy, well, he's my Bob-a-Louie.  I know you were summoned to the Rainbow Bridge to meet me about this time last year when I was gravely ill with Sepsis, but I guess it wasn't my time.  I'll be there one day and look forward to our souls reuniting in joyous celebration.  But for now, we can embrace in my dreams and I can hold you in my heart.
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