Losing a Beloved Pet

The sound came from inside my kitchen as I sat on the back deck.

A gut wrenching howl followed by shrieking and whining at a decibel I have never heard from one of my puppies.

The whining wasn’t new, but the depth from which it came startled me reducing me to tears once again.

Wiping my eyes, I walked to console one of my precious puppies. Max was mourning as he laid on one of his brother’s blankets.

A few hours before we had taken one of our beloved dachshunds to the emergency vet to put him down.

The night before Sebastian had decided to jump off the couch to investigate a noise outside, something he has done for 11 years. But as he landed on the floor, something happened. He yelped in pain, and then dragged his back end across the floor.

The past few years he has had intermittent back issues, but always recovered.

This time was different though.

This time he couldn’t move his back legs, wag his tail and his breathing became difficult when laying down.

After the initial injury, he wasn’t in pain, but I could see the sadness and frustration in his eyes being limited to wherever set him down. He no longer had use of his legs and back end.

He watched his two brothers run around the yard as he accepted his confinement to his spot on the grass.

It was heart-breaking, and after several hours we came to the difficult decision to put him down.

He reassured us he understood while licking our hands and keeping his eyes on us as he drifted off to sleep.

His two brothers understood too. They wouldn’t leave his side during the night, and one of them even walked us to the door as we took Sebastian away.

The decision to put him down was tough but having to make the phone call to my daughter overwhelmed me at an entirely different level.

Sebastian was her puppy when she lived at home. It broke my heart to call and tell her he would not be able to recover from this injury.

She had just been home for a visit the week before and watching their reunion brought such joy to this Mama’s heart.

But even then I knew.

Something inside me told me this would be their last visit. That damn intuition of mine is rarely wrong.

She was aware of it too.

She has been listening to her intuition since she was eight years old.

During our conversation, we cried together.

Uncontrollably cried.

My words were limited to “I’m so sorry.” for what seemed like hours.

Once I gained my composure, I told her what happened and how we came to our decision. I told her the vet agreed that based on his age and history, this was in his best interest.

But still, I felt guilty.

I felt like I let her down by not taking better care of her puppy.

I worried that somewhere deep down, she may have made a different choice for him and that I had made a mistake.

My gut told me we did the right thing. But sometimes, in an hour of despair, you don’t believe it.

Sometimes we need others to confirm and uphold our decisions.

We need someone to have our back.

Before our sobfest concluded and we said goodbye, she said the three words my heart needed to be told.

“Mama, it’s okay.”

The sob that shot up from my chest engulfed us once again in our tears, and we wept together 2,600 miles away.

It’s been just over 24 hours since we said goodbye to Sebastian and while I realize the sadness won’t be this raw as times goes by, the tears continue to fall today.

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