FRIEND JULIE: I think it’s about time to take Cooper to be put to sleep…He’s almost 15. He’s lost bladder/bowel control and other health things. Wish you were with me. This is harder than I thought.
ME: Oh, Julie, I’m so, so sorry. This will be a tough one, but you do it out of love for Cooper. Can your hubby be with you? Can you take him in to the vet? Aren’t these furry babies just the saddest to let go? They love us so much…am crying for you and for your loss. But we both know Cooper will go over The Rainbow Bridge into Doggie Heaven and he’ll be waiting for you and your husband there.
JULIE: Okay, now I’m crying. You understand.
We have a crate. He’s used to it. I fed him this morning and let him go to the bathroom. He’d wet inside his crate. Never done that. Just let him out and gave him some water. He’s confused about getting up the steps, like he can’t remember how. B.J. he was shaking, not wanting to go back in the crate. He’s never done that.
Called husband. He’d also talked to a vet/customer, who agreed it’s time. He said he’ll take him tomorrow morning. But I’m thinking…I don’t know if I should do it today. I could probably handle it—I think. The weird thing is he knows, B.J. Something’s different in his eyes.
I could get the dog trainer girl I know to ride with me. She could take him in…still deciding. There’s no other friend I wanted to tell, but you.
ME: I’m so sorry about Coop. But we do know when it’s time. I have had a feeling about Rex for a while now. I will hate to see him go. I love him so much. He’s been my friend in my office here at home for 11 years. And he loves me unconditionally. We’ve been through so much together. Okay…big, big buckets of tears now for both Coop and Rex and me and you.
Let me know what you decide to do. Maybe your husband wants to be the one to take him? Whatever you decide–today, tomorrow, whenever, I’m here for you.
(Julie said this photo was when Cooper was a pup. Her son is 19 now!)
JULIE: I’ve been thinking it with Coop off and on for a few weeks? Months? Like, get ready, it’s coming. I’ll think about it right before I go to sleep at night.
You said something so powerful. You said, or I gleaned, that I do this because I love him.
Tried to call my husband to see if he wants to say goodbye to him first. Our son is working with him today. I need to make sure they don’t want to see him again. He’s retrieved so many ducks for them.
Just talked to Mom. She said Cooper knows he’s sick, knows he’s not clean and is kind of embarrassed. I’d not thought of that.
ME: Profound what your mom said: that he’s embarrassed. That is so much what our dogs would be thinking. They don’t show pain…that’s the lab in them. They hide it well. But we see it in their eyes. It’s so sad to think they’d be in pain and hurting and wanting to go where God will make them better. We must give them that gift. I truly believe God cares for all of the creatures on earth, and particularly those who love us back wholeheartedly.
See what your husband wants to do. Underneath that tough exterior, he must also be feeling the pain. Your son too. Sometimes, when it is too hard, they don’t want to be there…they don’t want to say goodbye. Sometimes they just want to remember their beloved pet as they were. That’s okay too.
JULIE: Charlie Bear sent him a love package at the right time, didn’t he. I know your insides have to be raw, and still you’re helping me.
ME: Oh, Julie. Yes, I’m reeling from all the losses .. Diamond in February, Red in October, my mom in December .. but they are all whole and happy and with God now.
I treasure that Coop enjoyed his stocking full of goodies from Charlie Bear. God’s timing is perfect. And your gift to Cooper will be just what he needs when he needs it. My heart is with you.
JULIE: Talked to Rick. He said he doesn’t need to see him again, but if I don’t want to do it, he’ll do it tomorrow.
Am going to do it. Will probably call trainer to ride with me. She has a heart like yours.
ME: You’ll be giving your husband a blessed gift. It’s Cooper’s time to run and jump over The Rainbow Bridge and you are taking him there with love and comfort. I know there is a heaviness in your soul, but consider that Coop knows how much you love him and he’s thankful. Wish I was there…we’d cry together.
JULIE: Just got home. Did it by myself. I wasn’t sure what to do, but when I got in the car I started crying…didn’t want to have to be quiet and cry with someone else sitting there. I guess I’m a private crier. I felt your prayers.
When I opened up the back of the PT Cruiser to get him in, he always puts his front paws up, and I lift his rear (lately anyway). He couldn’t get his paws up so I put him in the car. One thing I prayed…don’t put your head on the back seat and look over at me. He didn’t. The sweet girl at the vet’s office walked out with me. He wouldn’t move. I had to pick him up out of the car, but he went with her. I held it together until I said, “He’ll go with you. He knows all the commands.”
I think God had been preparing me for this. Even wondered on the way if I was rushing things, but I don’t think so now.
ME: I’m glad Cooper is out of his pain. If you’ve had other pets, he’s with them now, and he’s playing in the meadows and fields and tracking ducks and bringing them in. What a sweet gift you’ve given your husband and son, to remember Coop as he was. What a lovely gift you’ve given yourself: one of knowing how strong you are and capable. I’m glad you were able to help Coop by lifting him in and out. And I’m glad he didn’t look over the back seat at you with those puppy eyes all dog owners know and love.
You did a great thing today. God is with you. My thoughts are with you. My love is with you.
JULIE: I’m shutting down my computer. Going to the Y to work some of this “stuff” out.
ME: Hope you find some solace at the Y. Hugs to my strong and loving friend.