Au revoir mon chien

I got my dog as a puppy 14 years ago because my kids wanted a puppy. They were little kids back then. The puppy was a lab mix – the other part was either sheep dog or bearded collie. She was fluffly and cute and not so bright but very loyal. We named her Sienna because when she was a puppy she was dark brown like that crayon – burnt sienna.

For the last year her back end has been failing her to one degree or another. She’s had good days and not so good days and lately she’s had days where she gets stuck on the floor and can’t get up. She fell down the stairs a couple times. She looked a little sad.

I agonized over what to do about it and then I quit worrying about it and decided that I would just know when it was time. Yesterday I decided it was time and today I took her in. She was having a good day and that made it worse, as though anything can make terminating your dog’s life after she has been your faithful friend for 14 years – a font of unconditional love, any worse than it is. I could accidentally step on her, force her to submit to grooming, leave her home for hours, not take her for a walk for days and still – she loved me. I hope she knows I was loving her back by letting her go when she could still walk a little bit – before she had to suffer the terror of just not being able to get up.

I’m not the only one around here who will miss her.

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26 Responses to Au revoir mon chien

  1. IHateToast says:

    oh i am very very sorry. i know he gave you so much joy and and you provided him the best home ever.

  2. Donna says:

    I’m so sorry for your sadness. I remember having my 12-year-old cat put down when he was getting worse and worse and finally couldn’t jump on the bed anymore and just looked so sad. It is a very sad time. My thoughts are with you and yours.

  3. susan says:

    that dog looks so well loved, i know you will miss her and i’m sure she knows you loved her back.

  4. Triseverance says:

    I have been where you were and my heart goes out to you. Sienna is at peace now.

    A Dog’s Prayer

    Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

    Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

    Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

    When it is cold and wet, please take me inside… for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements… and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth… though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land… for you are my god… and I am your devoted worshiper.

    Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.

    And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest…and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.

    –Beth Norman Harris

  5. Don says:

    It’s obvious that your dog was loved very much, otherwise you would not have agonized over the decision to take them in.
    Big hug to you.

  6. stronger says:

    Great big hugs to you today Pamela.

  7. oh dear, I’m so sorry to hear that. I know you are a good caretaker because you did this for her good and not your own. You looked after her needs, which is the best thing you could do.

  8. Laurie says:

    Awww. I’m not even a dog person and I got a little teary. I hope this hasn’t been too hard on you. Take care.

  9. comm's says:

    I had to….its still not easy for me…do that to my beloved Buck. It still breaks my heart a few years and new dog later.

    He was still in his prime….I am sorry for your loss. It is so hard to deal with the loss of unconditional love.

  10. comm's says:

    I had to….its still not easy for me…do that to my beloved Buck. It still breaks my heart a few years and new dog later.

    He was still in his prime….I am sorry for your loss. It is so hard to deal with the loss of unconditional love.

  11. fe-lady says:

    Oh Pamela, I am so sorry to hear about your doggie…
    I still mourn for mine, a yellow lab who had to be put down because of her hips.
    And Brant won’t get a “new” cat because he believes no one will ever replace our Autumn that we had.

    You did the right thing if she was in pain.

    A big, strong hug from both of us.

  12. Mother Chaos says:

    I’m so sorry. Knowing when to let go is the hardest part of love, isn’t it?

  13. Donald says:

    Very sorry, Pamela. This is heartbreaking stuff.

  14. Ghengy says:

    I’m so very sorry. I know it doesn’t make it any easier, but you did the right thing.

  15. jeanne says:

    so sorry! That is too sad. I dreamt about my old cat last night (looong gone). I dreamt that I forgot to feed her (which I sometimes did) and she still loved me.

  16. Anne says:

    Unless you’ve been in your position — and I have — it’s hard to truly get just how wretching a decision it is and how difficult those hours leading up to and immediately after can be. You have my sympathies and condolences.

  17. david says:

    Deep breaths. I am sorry for you.

    I am close to the same place with one of mine. It’s wrenching.

  18. Wendy says:

    My heartfelt sympathy.

    It is a gut-wrenching decision to make, even when you know it is the right thing.

  19. I’m so sorry about Sienna. When we bring home that adorable wriggling puppy we forget being responsible for our pet’s exit is implicit in the contract. It’s so hard. It probably seems like scant comfort now, but you did the right thing. Bises.

  20. I’m sorry about your adorable Sienna. I am such an animal lover and this is the part that makes me rethink getting more pets…it’s a catch 22 that all good things must come to an end.

    Your post brought tears to my eyes, partly for the sadness of it, but mostly because I can tell from what you wrote that your doggy was so loved. She lived a good life.

  21. hilary says:

    I never know what to say to posts like this, because they break my heart. I know how much it sucks. I’m sorry it was time.

  22. momo says:

    oh, pamela, i am so very very sorry! i never knew how hard it was to lose a pet until i lost fay. they’re a member of our family. my heart goes out to you. big hugs, girlfriend.

  23. Debi says:

    Oh my gosh, I have tears in my eyes. We had to let our dog go 2 years ago. She came up and nuzzled me just before “the shot” I think it was still the loving thing to do for a sick, old dog-part of our family really. Now we still have her litter mate-13 yrs old, who just keeps on ticking and is healthy. I know it is just a matter of time…I think it is one of the worst pains I have ever felt letting the first one go. I am so sorry!!

  24. Don says:

    My dog died yesterday, so now I know the sadness that you must of felt.

  25. TriSherpa Di says:

    Pamela, I am so very sorry to hear your loyal friend is gone. I lost my Jakers (23 years old) a year and a half ago and I still miss her. My heart goes out to you with big big hugs. My girls are 13 and 12…I am already feeling anxious about their “time”. Ultimately, it’s up to us to help them out. You did right by her Pamela.

  26. IronJenny says:

    I’m so sorry Pamela!!!
    I too have been there and it is just so hard no matter how you look at it. I hope he has met my beloved Star already and they are romping playfully. He was also very lucky to have had you… hugs,

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