Losing a pet to sleep is one of the hardest things a person can do in their lives. I’ve decided to detail my experience losing a dog for the first time…
A little over a week ago I had to live the experience first hand. While relaxing with my beloved dog Oreo, watching John Wick of all movies, she had a seizure. (Sidebar: John Wick is about a man out for revenge after his dog is killed.) I laid with her and spoke to her as she shook. It was the longest two minutes of my life. When it ended my dog was breathing but none of her limbs were moving.
I let my family know to meet me at the 24-hour vet and I drove her to the emergency room. When I brought her in the receptionist immediately called for a nurse who took my dog. As I was signing paperwork my heart sunk as the doctors in the back called out that Oreo was in critical condition. As I waited for word on my dog my family arrived. Soon after we were called into a waiting room where the vet first words were, “Everything that could be wrong, is going wrong at the same time”. I knew at that moment that I would have to say by to my best friend. I had to confer with my sister and aunt before telling the vet that we didn’t want our dog to suffer through countless surgeries and a blood transfusion that she might not survive.
With the decision made I had the unfortunate task of letting my younger brothers whom I rarely talk to know the fate of our dog. The reactions were the same as the rest of my family at the vet’s office. Sadness and disappointment. Following the call, the doctor brought our dog into the room so we could say goodbye. We waiting with Oreo forever it seemed. It broke my heart to see a dog, that once would jump 4 ft into the air when I walked in from school, unable to move as she lay wrapped in a red blanket on an examination table.
The hardest part was seeing the tears run down Oreo’s eyes as she lay there. I could see in her eyes that she wanted to get up, but her body wouldn’t let her. After saying our goodbyes the vet came in and explained the procedure. One shot to put her to sleep. One shot to stop the heart. As the first shot went into the IV I just told her to that we loved her, that I was sorry I couldn’t help her. With the next shot, the doctor used a stethoscope and confirmed that she was gone.
Fifteen years, from a dog we were told to take to the pound, to the staple of our family. A dog that helped get me through every challenge from my first year of highschool to that day. All of the triumphs and falls. The births and deaths, everything gone with a few presses of the thumb.
In the end even in death Oreo did what many pets do. They bring family members together to love a common thing. I called and talked to a brother I hadn't talked to in a long time. Fifteen years for a dog is a long time. I’m grateful for every moment.
“Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog, it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big.” – Erica Jong