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Posts: 333
Our Ellie has been declining and becoming more and more frail these past few years.  But, she is such a tough girl and doesn't want to quit.  She tried and tried to be well and I have her respect for that, giving her a chance to squeeze the last bit of joy out of life she could.  For some months, she could barely walk, having difficulty getting up and down the stairs to go to the bathroom.  We've been taking her for what I call "granny walks" -- short easy walks, visiting friends and neighbors.  She got full of herself this past snowfall and for the last time galloped (as best as she could) around the yard to express her joy in the freshly fallen snow.  I had taken her two times in the past month to the vet about her pain and inability to walk much, asking what should I do?  She had fallen down the steps and had peed all over the place.  We had to lock her up in the family room in the middle floor to keep her off the stairs and she just went downhill after that, depressed, peeing all over the place, agitated.  I had decided to make that terrible appointment for her Saturday morning, but I would have felt so guilty because I knew Ellie was still fighting.  Well, today, she could barely stand up on her legs and when I came home from my work (I walk dogs) I spent some special time with her, petting her and talking to her.  She was laying down on her dog bed right beside me where she liked to be.  She started convulsing, seizing  and foaming at the mouth, lost control of her bladder, and I was just terrified.  Our roommate, John, who adored Ellie and helped us care for her, helped me to get her in the vehicle and rush to the hospital.  The decision to be made was clear.  Ellie's favorite vet techs were there for her, reassuring her and us.  Ellie licked and licked us. 

One thing I never mentioned is that I lost my 22 year old son in 2014.  Ellie was his dog, chosen as a puppy.  Ellie was a living link to my son.  I think he finally has his Ellie with him now and this comforts me as he loved animals so much.  Even though I know I did the right thing, keeping Ellie from a more traumatic death, it feels so empty here without my best friend.  Thanks for listening.

Posts: 580
Dearest Ellie's mom,
I know how painful it is to have a senior dog and to be there for them during their final months and days. My sweet Termy had seizures 
for most of his adult life and had to be crated during the day and at night. My biggest fear was that he would fall off the bed and be hurt. It tore my heart out that he needed to be crated but it was for his own safety. So putting Ellie in a room to protect her was done out of love and for her safety. You did this out of love just as I did. Termy fought a good fight too just as Ellie but in the end his tired old body was letting him down but his heart and mind wanted to go on. I couldn't bear to see him suffer anymore so I did as you, I made that awful decision to set him free of his tired old body. He wore diapers for the last few months and I also took him for slow old man walks. His last weekend he found the energy to play with his favorite slipper (which I recorded) just as Ellie found her burst of energy to dash through the snow, that she so enjoyed. Our babies have a way of knowing that the end is near and to enjoy the moment. We were lucky to have been loved by them and to have loved them with all our heart.

Your son can love and protect Ellie now. You'll have the memories to hold onto until you are reunited with your son and Ellie again.

In our hearts we know we let them go, because it was the humane thing to do but it doesn't lessen the pain and emptiness left behind in their absence.
Be kind to yourself and remember the journey you shared with Ellie
Love and doggie hugs
Termy's mom

Posts: 333
Dear Termy's Mom,

Your response was so kind and reassuring.  You understand that their lives and spirits are beautiful even when they are at death's door.  Ellie has been declining for a few years now and I'm surprised she lasted this long.  Maybe I shouldn't be surprised because she was so strong and stubborn, a real bad@$$ when the situation called for it, but never, ever mean.  She's been in so much pain, yet when we took her a week ago to the vet, she fought us tooth and nail, I believe because she knew what we were thinking of doing.  She had never feared going to the vet before as she is the rock star of the veterinary office among the techs. 

I am grateful that her death was not as traumatic as some I have read about here.  My heart aches for those who suffer from terrible guilt over mistakes or accidents.  But I still ache for her presence.  She lived 12 years, which is pretty long for a large dog with a heart arrhythmia. 

God bless, and again, thank you for your comforting reply.

Posts: 1
Please know that you served your dog well by putting her out of her pain. I know it’s still hard no matter what. Let it give you peace knowing she and your son are together again. My miniature dachshund was almost 13 when he jumped off the bed and got severely paralyzed. We had hope to get him the surgery but after running tests the neurosurgeon said it wouldn’t be a good outcome and that if it was his dog he would put him down and that’s what we did. I’ll never forget coming home without him. That is a gut wrenching painful feeling knowing they are gone forever from this life. I grieved fior two months, crying every day. The first two weeks were the worst. I literally thought I couldn’t make it. But with prayer and talking to my pastor many times, my grief eased up and I got another dog to fill that void. Although I would do anything to have my Slater back. He was our soul mate dog. I know I will see him again in heaven. It’s in the Bible that heaven will be filled with animals. 😊

Posts: 333
Dear Knelly
Thank you for your kind and encouraging reply.  You described how I feel.  I know intellectually I did the "right thing", I just miss her terribly.  Ellie has been a part of my life for 12 years now, always a sweet, gentle presence, always warm and affectionate.  She never gave me any trouble, at least she never meant to.  She always sought my company and was in the background of every scene of my life at home.  She mourned when we traveled deeply and I feel bad about that.  I know she mourned her boy, but she had grown attached enough to me to be comforted.  She was steady, strong, silent and full of quiet courage, drama free. I miss her deeply.  I asked God for a sign that all was well, prayed for peace and a special thing happened to me today.  When I got in my car to drive to one of my jobs (a pet sit), as usual, I chucked my purse, glasses, etc. onto the passenger seat of the the car.  I stopped to get gas, pulling my wallet out of my purse.  Quickly got out of the car and pumped gas, quickly got back inside the car to get out of the extreme cold.  There laying on top of my purse and wallet was a perfect sprig of evergreen, the bottom seemingly cut with a drop of sap.  It smelled fresh and sweet.  How did it get there?  I had just been rummaging through my purse a minute before, and now it lay there on top of it.  A sweet gift from heaven, maybe?  I do hope an angel put it there to comfort me.  It was a gift fit for an angel.

Posts: 1,191
Hi Lynda,
I am so very sorry about your precious Ellie. Something you wrote really struck a chord with me. You wrote about how Ellie was a link to your son because he picked her out as a puppy, that after he died she was a living link to your son and that you think he finally has his Ellie with him now and this comforts you as he loved animals so much. I have to say that all of that brought tears to my eyes because it reminds me of my mom and her heart dog Lucky. My mom loved animals so much, especially dogs. We always had dogs growing up, and we got Lucky as a pup when I was very young, probably either in pre-school or right before then.

Anyhow, I grew up with Lucky - she was a very sweet black lab/beagle mix and had just the absolute best disposition. Because of Lucky I never knew dogs could have aggression issues, that was how sweet she was. Lucky and my mom went through so much - my childhood, my parent's marital difficulties, etc. Through it all she was there, a rock in my mom's life. Then she got sick with cancer. They had her tumors removed but they came back, and my mom had to make that painful decision to have Lucky PTS. I still have the very last picture taken of Lucky, with me holding Lucky's leash in our back yard just before my dad took her to the vet to be PTS. So sad, so very sad...

Lucky's passing rocked my mom's universe. She never had another dog after that, only cats. Years later my brother got my mom one of those Wegman photo books that are so beautiful. My mom couldn't even open up the book because it was such a painful reminder of what she lost. That was several years later and her pain was still so deep. She missed that dog for the rest of her life, I am sure of it.

When you wrote about how your son finally has his Ellie with him now, it made me think that when my mom passed away, she must have been met at heaven's gate by Lucky and probably all of the other dogs, cats and other animals she'd known in her life. It must have been a glorious reunion! But the best part was that she was finally reunited with her beloved Lucky, and that she would be so very happy again to have Lucky by her side, never to leave this time. I am sure the same holds true for your son and Ellie - a glorious, wonderful reunion of two souls that cherished each other, never to be separated again. It gives us a bit of something to hold on to as we move forward in our own lives without them, doesn't it? :-)

Hugs to you,
- Kelly
Angel Blackie's mom
Angel Squeeker's mom


Posts: 333
Dear Kelly,
Thank you for your kind and encouraging reply.  Losing Ellie brings back the pain and terror of losing my son.  I keep going over and over in my mind of the day we went to pick out Ellie. He was an innocent young adolescent with a baby face.  That day was so happy.  He and I enjoyed each other's company so much and I lost a best friend in him.  Ellie was another best friend, a great comfort to me in the trauma of losing a child.  Ellie was a teddy bear of a dog, always up for a snuggle and much happier when she was touching you in some way.  It was sad when she could no longer jump on the bed. 

I have had signs that my son is safe and at peace and this brings me great comfort.  I trust that God cares for our precious creatures and has Ellie safe in His arms.  This is a great comfort.  Truly we were fortunate that Ellie lived as long as she did.  She was a large dog, a boxer mix with a heart condition and had had numerous cancers cut out of her.  It is a wonder she lived to be almost 12 years old.  She could barely walk and was on three pain medications, yet, I felt she wanted to live.  She was like an elderly human who refuses to admit they have become frail and incapable of normal activities.  Ellie insisted on keeping on until she collapsed.

I wish I could feel her muzzle against me, begging for love, or hear her turning around three times and flop down on her bed, always close to me.  I even miss her constant bathroom visits. 

Yes, Ellie soothed me in my loss and I have to be brave now.  But Ellie set an example for me of courage and bravery. 

Posts: 1
Dear friend,
I can only imagine how you must feel, but I hope that you will feel warmth knowing that Ellie, and your son, are always beside you. Keep those around you close to you, wrap yourself in hugs. Ellie knows that you loved her and all was done for her benefit. Bless you.

Posts: 333
Thank you, esm. It's been such a busy year for me, I hope she knows how much I love her.  I wish I could have been home more for her in her old age.  She loved to be close to me.
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