This is a repost from 3 years ago, a year after my childhood dog passed away. I’ve added the video i mentioned in the post – there wasn’t a YouTube back then! Miss you Duff!
It was a year ago today that I had to make one of the toughest decisions in my life. My 13 year old Border Collie, Duff, was diagnosed with lymph sarcoma, a form of cancer that attacks the lymph nodes. Well, unfortunately it was too late for surgery and chemo more than likely wouldn’t have helped. I didn’t know how much time I had, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough. I spent the week waiting on him hand and foot, something I usually did anyway, only this time knowing that there was a special reason. He had everything he wanted, as I spoiled him with cheeseburgers, Dentabones, whatever I knew he liked. I even poured gravy on his food. We went for endless car rides as the week was beautiful, and he enjoyed it very much. I made sure he spent every night with me, as I tried to comfort him. His condition took a turn for the worse over the weekend, and on Sunday morning he wouldn’t eat. I sat on the floor and pleaded with him to eat. I called my friend Evan who knew of an at-home vet, who I ended up calling (my vet couldn’t be reached). I explained the situation to him, and he agreed that it would be best to put Duff down. We managed to sneak a Valium down his throat, and then we all took turns saying goodbye.
When the vet arrived, I didn’t know what to expect (I hadn’t even met him before). I was thinking this guy was just going to grab my dog, jam a needle in him, hand me a bill, and take off. We had moved outside (it was a gorgeous day), and he must of spent a half hour just talking to us – I don’t really recall what exactly, I just know he did an excellent job of calming all of us down. After explaining the process to me, he left it up to me when to let the pain end. The Valium was having its affect, so I decided to go through with it. I don’t recall what the first shot (or pill) was, but I was told it sometimes made the animals throw up. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Duff threw up. He started to wander around, and he finally began to collapse. I moved him to the front yard and let him lay.
The Vet then explained to me that the lethal injection was a barbiturate, and that there really wouldn’t be any pain. Unfortunately, because of Duff’s condition, it was hard to find a vain. I sat with Duff’s head in my lap as the injection went in. Less than a minute later, the pain had ended. A small amount of blood was dripping from his paw, and the Vet actually took the time to carefully bandage him. He then checked for a pulse, which was nowhere to be found. “It’s okay now,” the vet said softly. I stayed on the ground with him for several minutes. It’s really hard to say goodbye to someone who has been by your side for 13 years. The vet told me to get some scissors and clip some hair, something he had done when his dog died. I chose to clip the dreadlock behind his ear and a few stray hairs. The vet carefully lifted Duff up and placed him in his truck. I thanked him for being so nice. I chose to have him cremated, and got a beautiful box made for him.
You can never replace a pet, and I never try. Duff was such a huge part of my life growing up. In a family of all girls, he was the only other male companion. I can still remember picking him out at the SPCA, or when we picked him up and had to wait for him to get another bath because he decided to roll around in some poop. I can remember him chasing me around the house, the first time he jumped up on my bed, how much he loved being a parental figure to our other pets. How he loved going for car rides, or how I would make him dance forever before giving him a treat. I even made a short movie about him in college (If I had the web space I’d host it on here), or how he used to LOVE footballs, or the time he knocked out my 2nd story window screen and jumped on the roof. I can also remember the times I yelled and scolded him, or the times he comforted me in sadness. I have many memories, the good far outweighing the sad.
Yes, it was the toughest day of my life. Today was the day I lost my best friend. I love you and miss you, Duff. I hope you are enjoying an endless Dentabone in the sky.