Saturday, September 05, 2009

The hardest goodbye

R.I.P. our beautiful boy Shavez...
Thank you for all your kind comments. We have had the most heart breaking week.
Poor Shavez's X-rays weren't good. Apart from the problems with his spine and discs, the results showed that his lungs were riddled with tumours. The vet said that it was surprising that he was still breathing as well as he was, and that it wouldn't be long before he was coughing blood and bleeding from the lungs. Everything was inoperable. The vet also said he would never walk again, so any time that we had left with him - we'd really only be delaying the inevitable.
At 5pm on Thursday, we went to pick him up from the vet. He could no longer walk or move much, so we went out the back to see him in the cage. He was wrapped in a doona because they'd shaved him (to try to find the tick that didn't exist) and had been cold. He was distressed, but SO happy to see us. His eyes lit up when he saw hubby - those two had such a special bond, I never had a hope of winning the same level of affection that Shavez had for my husband - they both adored each other.
So we talked to the vet, talked about the Xrays, and then took Shavez home for one last time. It was a mission getting him into the car, we had to use a stretcher, and the poor boy cried because it obviouly hurt to be moved.
Once we got him home, we settled him on his big foam mattress - right in the lounge room. This was his favourite place to be. He loved being close to us, as coming inside was always a bit of a treat for them, both dogs spent most of their time outside.
He was ravenous, so we gave him lots of treats. He has cleaned us out of Schmackoes, doggie chocs, and liver treats. He was also extremely thirsty, I think we filled his water bowl up 4 or 5 times during the night. Miss Elke came in and spent some time with him too.
Hubby's family came to say their goodbyes. It was so very very sad. We all sat around him on the floor, patting him, cuddling and kissing him - the whole family got to tell him how much they loved him and would miss him. Poor Shavez probably didn't understand what was going on, but I guess all he knew was that all his favourite people had come to say hello.
After the family left, he seemed to be in a lot more pain. I think the anesthetic had started to wear off by then, because he started crying... pretty much non-stop for the rest of the night. We tried everything to ease his pain - heat packs, moving him to different positions, I rubbed arnica all down his spine and gave him massages... the arnica seemed to help for a little bit, and we all were able to doze lightly for 30 minutes or so.
But there was no sleep for anyone. Hubby and I stayed up all night with him, patting him, cuddling him, crying for him, crying for us... we got to tell him many many times over how much he meant to us, and how much we'd miss him. We tried to make his final few hours as comfortable as possible.
To be honest, I felt so horrible for putting him through another night of pain. I felt like we should have made the decision on Thursday. But I do know that he loved being home... and I know that he loved the attention, and everyone coming to see him. It also made our decision to do what was best for him, and have him put to sleep, so much easier. There was no way in the world we would have put him through any more pain. But at least we got to see that for ourselves. And we got to pamper him one last time.
The frustrating thing was that Shavez was STILL a playful pup til the end. We gave him a tennis ball to chomp, and he popped that so easily, and with such gusto! He loved it. Then we gave him a squeaky ball that I'd had in the cupboard - he just LOVES squeaky balls! He squeaked that like crazy, he went nuts for it. We captured that on video - but its distressing to watch too, not only because you can hear me and hubby sobbing in the background, but because it showed that it was still "Shavez" - his beautiful personality was still there. We keep saying - "The mind was willing, but the body just wasn't able".
When the sun finally came up, our decision was made. As soon as the vet was open we were going to say goodbye. One of our good mates came around - he has always loved Shavez, so he asked if he could come to say goodbye too. He stayed with us until it was time to take him to the vets.
Hubbys parents came up to the vets office. Shavez had the four of us gathered around him at the end. He didn't understand what was going on (he was actually excited to be going in the car again) and we were all overcome with grief. I have never stayed with a pet when they have been put to sleep before. I was looking into his eyes, and I saw the light go out once it was over. He was at peace.

I cant believe he's gone. I see him everywhere. The whole yard is him. I cant go to the veggie patch, because I see him follow me in and dig up the soil. I hung washing out today and thought "last Saturday when I hung washing out, he came up and we had a cuddle". I hear him whinging at the screen door because he wants his dinner. Only its not him. He's not here anymore. Its so hard to believe that last week he was here, and seemed fine - and now he's gone.

I keep thinking "he's just a dog - get over it!". But he wasn't just a dog, he really was a HUGE part of our family. He was like the dignified old man, the heartbeat of the family. He has left an enormous hole in our hearts, and our lives.

I hope you are resting well, my beautiful Shavez. I will miss you always. I will see you again one day..... always in our hearts.


Anonymous said...

Hilary, this is a beautiful post and you've got me with streaming tears down my face.

Thinking of you and I'm so glad you and Scott (+ family) could spend such precious time with Shavez.

Just such a beautiful post, filled with so much love. I'm glad you could share it with us.


Frankie said...

well I had a good cry reading this too :(

So similar to when we had to put our cat of 20 years down. We knew we had to but could not do it on the spot so the vet gave her something to make her comfortable and we took her home for the night and me and the kids laid on the bed with her for the last time.

I totally understand. He wasn't just a pet and you don't have to get over it.


Sandra said...

I've had to do this a couple of times in the past and it never gets any easier...I'm sitting here sobbing for YOU and your family, because you are left to miss him...he is somewhere else now, he feels no pain and he is a young dog again. You will meet him again one day, and he will know exactly who you are.

Raechelle said...

I am so sorry for you loss-dogs really are our children. At least he had a lovely farewell! :-)

Shar said...

Thinking of you and your family, so sorry there wasn't another outcome, but what a precious time he had with you for the last time.

Take care of you and the baby at this time, try and remember all the other time apart from the end, that will keep the happy hormones running through your body for bubs.

Love to you all
Shar x

RaeC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RaeC said...

This post is such a beautiful memorialisation of your gorgeous boy. I was bawling my eyes out by the end of it because I know what you were going through seeing a loved one suffering and having say goodbye to them. Don't ever think "He's just a dog" because they are not. They are a part of our families and it's just as hard saying goodbye to our pets as it is to the humans in our lives. My thoughts are with you today honey, and your hubby given that today is father's day and he will be missing his little furry son. Big hugs and lots of love to you babe xxx

Anonymous said...

Dear Hilary
This is such a sad but inevitable part of owning a pet. They are truly such a big part of our lives and we usually outlive them. Which means that eventually we have to face saying goodbye to them.
Be kind to yourselves and allow yourselves to grieve. Shavez was never "just a dog" so you don't have to "get over it". In fact, you probably won't but in time, you will eventually be able to deal with it.
Take care, let yourself cry when you want to (it helps the healing process) and support each other.

Jadey said...


Seriously - I'm balling my eyes out! I know what it was like when we just got Coco and then she was so sick she didn't move all night, not even to drink and I fed her water with spoon. I feel for you so much because Pets are like humans. They know when you are sad, know that you are their parents and they give unconditional love. I know your hearts are broken but at least, he is out of pain and peaceful in heaven. Thinking of you today honey...
Jadey xxx

Magda said...

OMG I'm just crying my eyes out for you and your beautiful Shavez.

Magda XX

SeLiNa said...

Aww Hils, sooo sorry to hear. xx Hope each day gets a tiny bit better for you and he's pain free in doggy heaven now.

Chelle said...

Hilary this post has brought tears to my eyes!!! You poor things your hearts are breaking, I feel for you!!! Keep writing how you feel it
always helps me to getit off my chest. Take Care Hilary!

Chelle xxoo

jodie said...

Oh Hils, I bawled reading your beautiful post. Still have tears rolling down my face. He was lucky to have such wonderful owners that loved him so much! Please know I am thinking of you

Kelly and Kane said...

My heart goes out to you Hilary. I too have had to go and get a tissue. Take care,

linda said...

Oh Hilary- I think you must have cleared the tear ducts of most bloggers on here. It's so hard when a pet has to be put down but I can never understand when people say they would never get another pet cos it's too hard when they go. Would anyone really not want to feel the love you feel when a loyal and loving pet is put to rest.The saddest thing would be if no one cried. Thinking of you. Shavez was lucky to have such a loving home xx

Sue aka Clarkie said...

My god when I stubbled on your blog from Kristy's I didn't think I would find should a touching post about your poor Shavez, more so as it was like looking into the eyes of my own Humphrey, same breed of dog, and when I think of all of the times I think of how bad he has been but still the thought of him going, which of course will eventually happen is just to much. Looking at your photo's I'm sure is a just a coincedent as he went to the beach for the first time yesterday...........