I have experienced difficult moments in my life, like so many of us have. Unfortunately, nobody leaves this earth unscathed. But, July 9th, 2018 was a day that crushed my heart.
That was the day that I needed to put down my Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Henri. No poetic words of wisdom or insight here. Just rant…my blog my rant!
I always hated the word “companion” dog. No, he wasn’t my companion. We didn’t hang out and go to movies, or go out for drinks. He was a beautiful animal entrusted to me, to take care of him and I enjoyed all 13.5 years of it. Yes, I did try to take him with me to as many places as possible. He loved to go for car rides and he loved people.
If I could somehow have a magic wish that would allow him to live with me my entire life, I would have done it without a moment’s hesitation.
Henri, a furry, bark-free (yes, hard to believe…but I think he barked maybe 20 times his whole life), shed-free, gentle spirit. Who also was so wonderful around children, was a complete gift to me.
Watching people with animals and how they TREAT them screams loudly, of not only how they see themselves, but how they view the world. As a pet owner and a dog lover, I’m very aware that not every animal is a lap dog or highly social. But treating animals inhumanely by housing them outside in extreme temperatures is beyond my understanding. Keeping them in cages for more than10 hours? How about you sit in a cage for that long and see how you like it (I believe we call it prison).
Please, just find an area of your house that can be secured to put your animals in until you get home. And for those that choose to write me and say dogs like their cages. Yes, some do. So why not put the cage in that secured area too. So, that the animal could crawl in when it feels like being there and then come out to stretch their legs. I also have a very difficult time with pinch collars on dogs. I always had this desire, that the owner should have to wear it for a week before they can place it on the dog. Perhaps they would have second thoughts.
There is a certain type of person that disrespects animals. By disrespect, I’m referring to the those that feel that dogs or any animal for that matter. Need to be concurred, controlled, and disciplined for a being an animal. If you choose to have a “family pet,” why can’t you treat them like a family member? TEACH them correctly, just like you teach a child. I have no sympathy or understanding for those that mistreat animals.
Henri was under my care. I choose to make sure that he was safe, clean, feed, and in good health to the best of my abilities. Where their times I could have played with him more, yes. But, I know that he was happy, and enjoyed just being around me and other people.
I found a sense of enjoyment knowing that I needed to be home by a certain time so that he could go out, or needed to be feed. I will never understand a dog owner that leaves their pet home alone 15 plus hours a day alone, or worse yet, not come home at all one night, leaving them unattended. Why do they choose to have an animal? That animal is not a stuffed “element” that makes your room look cute and cozy. This is a being, it lives and breaths for love and attention too. Just like us “human” beings do.
I know that it was the right choice to let him go. But it’s how it occurred that will haunt me forever. December of 2017, was the last time he really played and was typical Henri. He was slowing down, almost daily. Suffered some health issues, the vet explained to me, that his time is coming to an end. Parts of you understand and believe what he is saying, while other parts (my heart) did not.
So, within these last 6 months, I would manage to care for him with complete love. Never dreading the different food, or giving him freshly laundered towels daily-to protect the floor. We took very slow walks, that’s if we even went on one, to begin with. The few that we did go on, he didn’t need a leash. That was his favorite thing to be free, untethered. He liked to take his time to smell the flowers, while I tried to rush him.
His sight was going and it was getting harder and harder for him to get up, arthritis was really setting in. I researched some natural things but eventually asked the vet for meds for days I thought it was too much for him. The last month’s routine, was food, bathroom time, and lay on the bedroom floor. Never whimpering, never crying…just being!
It was Sunday night July 8th, and we were both restless, something in me knew. I knew that his quality of life was going if not gone. But he was eating and drinking water? This first-time dog owner was scared and sad. There was even a moment where he walked up to the edge of my bed and looked at me. I stated, “Is it time to go now?”
So, yes my reality and intuition were screaming at me.
The next day I called the vet, to see if we could change our Thursday appointment to Monday. She said, “No!” That Thursday appointment was for shots, but I didn’t want to wait. By now I’m really frustrated. So, I grabbed my wallet and told Henri, “We’re going bye-bye!” Henri didn’t want to get up, and I needed to leave now. So, coupled with frustration that was already occurring, the difficult energy was just intensifying.
Henri had a harness…and I would grab the back of it help him up, by pulling up on the harness. Well, I pulled and he wanted to stay. I did get him going, with a little force (not what I wanted). I got him to the stairs and we took one stair at a time. When we got to the bottom, he waited at the threshold, as I opened the rear passenger door of the car. I remembered, turning back to look at him. I got a direct look into Henri’s eyes. He looked scared.
We arrived at the vet, and I explained to the receptionist that I wasn’t leaving until I saw the Doctor. Well, that didn’t really go over very well. But that’s okay, an hour later we were in the with the Doctor.
Then a complete reality shift happened. In fact, my heart is pounding while I write this. Henri is now in the examination room in the back. About 10 minutes later the Doctor, comes in. Sits down and starts talking very quietly, “Henri is in really rough shape.”
I said, “It’s time isn’t it?”
“Yes, you can bring him home for one night in order to have your good-bye’s.”
“We had that last night.” I started to cry even harder now, with no care or thought of how it looked.
It was horrible and it just spiraled down from there.
While typing this, I remember the complete and utter shock that came over me. I just wanted a do-over. Yes, that’s it a complete do-over. I came here for help and now this is the end?
I go over so many details in my head, over and over again. Second guessing myself, I’m plagued with guilt, loss, and emptiness. Filled with fear of him not knowing what was happening to him. Hoping and praying that he forgives me and that he knows how much I loved him. Now looking back, I would have wished the ending to be more like the beginning, hugs and rejoicing his life. Not filled with tears and scared looks.
When Henri was a puppy I got a night light, mostly because I had to get up in the middle of the night to care for him. In the final months, I bought another one, because he needed to go out in the middle of the night.
Henri came into my life the weekend after the 4th of July and he left my life the weekend after the 4th of July. We have come full circle now. Henri is gone, but that night light will remain on.