Dogville Mourns

Today we had to euthanize our special needs puppy.

There are no proper words to convey the anguish, the pain, and the sense of heartbreak that Barb and I had to endure today. Saying goodbye to that very small  innocent being, tore right through whatever defenses Barb and I have developed to withstand the all too often losses one faces at our stage of life. Very few of the several hundred posts I have written over the past three years have necessitated drying my leaking eyes repeatedly, so I could see the computer keys.

Monday seemed promising. The final two puppies were picked up by their excited new owners, and Mr. Black appeared to tolerate his new solo status without any trauma.

He always seemed to be focused inward in his own special world, rather than outward looking like all his siblings. I assumed wrongly that it was his deafness that was the cause of this behavior.

Tuesday brought evidence of seizure activity in which he would froth at the mouth, and wander in circles, with intermittent crying that you could not relieve with cuddling his small body. Wednesday, Barb brought him for extensive lab work to see if Dr. Feldman could pinpoint the cause. While Barb waited for the results, and I was away on call, the seizures increased in frequency and duration. Poor Barb had to sit with him overnight, unable to do anything to help this sudden downturn. Thursday morning I rushed home and we waited for the call from our vet and friend. It was not good. The lab work indicated something called hepatic encephalopathy where toxins in the body were not being processed by the liver, and thus were building to dangerous levels. Other lab work indicated dysfunction of his kidneys and bone marrow systems. His little body was failing his gentle spirit, and there was to be no hope for a miracle surgical cure, or magic potion giving him a sustainable existence. We thought upon Dr. Feldman’s news and his professional advice for a kind ending without further suffering. An ending that nature would deny him if we staid our present course.

So we spent the next two hours, bonding in the ways that we could, knowing that he would soon be in a better place without pain or suffering. Happily he did not have a seizure during this time, and we watched as he played as he deserved in the grass and flowers, carefree for the moment and happy.

He even got to enjoy his last dip in the water bowls, straddling them with a paw in each, and relishing the cool wetness against his fur.

Theresa our friend, neighbor, and dog midwife came over for her last puppy hugs and shared our grief. Then it was time for that very difficult ride and ending moments at Animal General.

We had never found the right name for him, and so he will be known to us all here simply as “Black”. His colored collar will be retired forever, and his ashes will be taken to our Vermont home in a few weeks so his spirit can join our other departed Goldens, who await us when we meet at that unknown destination sometimes called in dog circles as the “Rainbow Bridge”.

Most times there are no answers as to why our Creator makes what seems such cruel decisions about its most defenseless subjects. So we will just continue to struggle and trudge forward on our life path, a little more scarred and saddened about what we had to endure these last eight weeks. Someday on the other side there may be answers. For now we will be bolstered by the memories of our special puppy with the Cocker ear and the silent world he shared with us for the past two months.


3 Comments on “Dogville Mourns”

  1. Ian Says:

    I will miss him. 🙁

  2. Mare Says:

    Dear Dr. Bourque and Barb,

    As I read this story, I too am having difficulty typing this through my tears. I know there are no words to console you at this most difficult time. Only know that Black was born into the VERY best Golden family, and that he experienced a lot of love in his short time here on earth, assuredly more than some dogs see in their entire lives.
    I am a firm believer in the Rainbow Bridge, and someday, when our Lord sees fit, you will rejoin him in a happy, beautiful place where he will be healthy and enjoy his time with you both.
    It was very kind of you to share these last pictures with us, and I thank you both for that as well.

    Mare

  3. Fran Says:

    Dear Barb and Mike,
    I am very sorry and sadden about Mr. Black. He was so precious and so special. My heart hurts for you both especially; you did your utmost best for him but it was God’s will. He was a gift from God for you to have and love for unfortunately a very short time. He was special to us, too, because he was Charlie’s brother and I just can’t stop looking at all the pictures of them snuggling together. I will always remember Black with the adorable little face and his cocker spaniel ear. Thinking of you and prayers,
    Fran

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