Monday, October 25, 2010

Saying goodbye

This is one of those days where I can't be funny or clever or entertaining.

Right here is where you make a crack about how I've never been any of those things, and we both laugh because it's always possible to laugh.

But it's tougher to do it today because we're having to make the hard decision to say goodbye to our older dog, Ozzy.

You've met Ozzy a couple times before on this blog. He chose the winner in my last blog contest, and I also showed you how our younger dog, Bindi, learned to compensate for Ozzy's deafness by herding him back to us on hikes.

Oz is 15 years old. He's deaf, mostly blind, arthritic, and has a torn ACL, a vestibular disorder, and escalating doggie dementia. Despite all this, his spirits have stayed high, and our vet has continually assured us his quality of life is still good.

But we reached the point this weekend where we aren't sure that's still true.

The significant part of that sentence is "we aren't sure." Friends have always told us, "you'll know when it's time." The thing is, we don't know. Not for sure. Ozzy still has moments where he's the happiest, spunkiest dog at the park, and we think he might just outlive us all.

But those moments are starting to seem more fleeting. I guess that's as close as we can come to knowing?

We've been braced for this for awhile, and we're frankly surprised he's lasted this long. Still, it's not easy. For childless-by-choice couples like us, your pets become your family. Even when you think you're prepared for the inevitable, you never really are.

Stop by tomorrow and I'll be back to my old self. For now, you can see me being my old self young and vivacious self at author Brenda Sedore's blog, where she interviewed me about books and publication and the fact that I often dress like a homeless hooker when I'm writing. Go here to check that out.

But for now, it's time to say goodbye. We'll miss you, buddy.

78 comments :

Jamie Grey said...

I am so sorry to hear about Ozzy, Tawna. We're childless by choice too, and our pets are totally our children. It's so difficult to have to come to a decision like that - no matter how prepared you are, it's never enough. I wish there was something clever or comforting to say to make it better, but know that all of my thoughts and prayers are with you. *Hugs*

Linda G. said...

I'm so sorry, Tawna. Such a tough decision. Even when you know you're doing the right thing--the kindest thing--it still hurts like hell. *hugs*

KAK said...

The final act of kindness is never an easy decision. Those of us in your cyber-verse send you and P sympathy and strength.

Adriana said...

Poor Ozzy :((
sending hugs!

Eleanor Brown said...

I dread having to make this decision - I'm holding good thoughts for you.

Jeannie Moon said...

We take animals into our families and this is the hardest time, but it is also the time they depend on us to make the decision that's not easiest for us, but best for them.

Your memories of the good times will help you through. Many blessings.

Sharon Axline said...

Big hugs to you and Path. I know it's so hard. But he had a great life with the best humans around and a kid sister that sounds like took great care of him too. You'll be missed Ozzy but you'll always be in all our hearts!

Cherie Reich said...

*hugs* It's never an easy decision, but I know you'll make the right one for Ozzy.

Gabriela Lessa said...

So sorry about Ozzy. I recently lost my 13-year-old dog, and I still tear up thinking about it. It's hard. They do become part of the family... *hugs*

Indigo said...

As someone who rescues strays, I know the heartache of losing one of our fur 'kids'. You're allowed moments like these Tawna. Don't ever think you need to apologize for not always being upbeat.

My thoughts are with Ozzy and your family during this sad time. Wishing you strength to know he's loved and knows you would only do what was best for him. (Hugs)Indigo

abby mumford said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Ozzy and the difficult decision you and Pythag have to make.

*hugs*

German Chocolate Betty said...

Oh, I am so, so sorry. Only those of us who have four-legged rather than two-legged family members can really understand the agony.

And the timing of this is soooooo close to home... My darling pooch is 15 going on 16. She is still in pretty good shape, but starting to go a bit deaf and having trouble with the stairs. Also sleeps much more than before. Right now I am across the ocean from her, and won't see her for another couple of months (sabbatical, couldn't bring her along, which broke my heart -- but she was first with a family who spoiled her, now she's with my husband who is back home). I know the day is coming where I may be in your shoes, and am somehow hoping that the decision doesn't have to be made by me, but rather that she just wanders off into the Big Dog Park in the Sky one day. Sigh.

No words can make it better...but hang in there and remember all the good stuff.

Mac said...

hugs and condolences

Misty said...

It's a bad day.
We put our baby down two years ago. She was 15, she ate the table arrangements for our wedding shower, she laid beside me when I had gall bladder attacks with the first pregnancy and she was there when I stumbled to wake 2nd baby from nightmares.
We worried over knowing when the right time was too. She had a stroke one morning before the kids went off to school. It would never have been the right time for us.
I'm so glad we had her and so glad you had him. Take care of yourselves.

PriateBetty said...

Our fifteen year old border collie died on my birthday a few years ago. Worst birthday ever. I couldn't leave the house for three days because I kept bursting into tears at odd moments. I'm so sorry.

German Chocolate Betty said...

BTW, not important, I forgot to mention this:

My Daisy is an Australian Cattle Dog (heeler), a little red one with a lot of Dingo traits... She tried in her early days to herd everything (me, cats, bicyclists, you name it). Great dogs, so loyal...

lynnrush said...

I'm so sorry!
Hang in there.

Karla Nellenbach said...

I'm sorry to hear about your tough decision. My heart goes out to you and P at this time. My parents recently went through the same thing with their 16 year old lab. It was time, but it was still hard because whether you're childless by choice or just want to expand your family with children of furry-four-legged variety, this is the toughest decision you'll ever have to make. *hugs* :(

Terry said...

Never, never ever an easy choice. But I like what Jeannie said. He's depending on you and P to help him now. And surely there is a doggie heaven! Hugs.

Piedmont Writer said...

I'm so sorry Tawna. I had to make the same decision for my old dog on my birthday this year. It wasn't easy, but I felt it was the right thing to do. Her quality of life was diminished and it was time.

Colene Murphy said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry! Losing a pet is SOOOO hard! Buck up though, you probably helped out more than you know.

Jason said...

So sad Tawna, heartfelt sympathies from us to you, as another couple with only furry kids. It sounds like Ozzie had a good one, thanks you and your husband.

Penelope said...

Sending more love. xo

Matthew AT Banning said...

You're not the only one.

I know exactly how you feel.

We lost one of our dogs over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. My parents were on a cruise and he was okay when I fed him the afternoon before. When I went to feed him leftover turkey the next day ...

He was 15 years old too so I'm sending the warmest hug I can because I completely understand.

Stormy said...

Saying goodbye to a pet is never an easy thing. Thankfully, I've a wonderful vet who's guided me through this necessary ritual a couple of times.

*big comfort hugs*

Jamie said...

This made me cry. It breaks my heart to know that you are going through this. My heart goes out to you and your family as you grieve for Ozzy.

Shainer said...

I'm so sorry.

shadowflame1974 said...

awww. Hugs to you hon. It is always hard to do things like that.

Danica Avet said...

*great big hug* Tawna, I'm so sorry you and Pythagoras are going through this. It isn't an easy decision to make. I was afraid I'd have to make something like it when my own dog came down with a kidney infection earlier this year. She pulled through, but it just drove home the point that one day I will have to make this decision and try to do it with the same grace as you and Pythagoras.

My heart goes out to y'all.

Michelle Wolfson said...

We all just try to be the best parents we can, no matter how many legs our kids have. I'm so sorry, Tawna.

Kristina said...

Hugging you and pouring the wine from afar... {hug}

Jeffe Kennedy said...

We went through this with our 16 yo border collie not long ago. We still miss her. Much sympathy on your loss.

Candyland said...

Aww:(
I know what you're going through, right now actually. Our cat is in bad shape and it's never easy to decide what to do...
HUGS.

Kristi said...

I'm so, so sorry...my heart goes out to you today and I'm sending you lots of blog hugs and thoughts.

kd easley said...

So sorry. It's so very hard to make that decision and say goodbye to an old friend. We had to make that decision two years ago this month. Max raised both my boys and was my best buddy for 17 years. I have a new puppy, but I still miss my old friend. Do something nice for yourself today.

Elizabeth Ryann said...

Ugh, that's definitely one of the worst decisions ever. Hugs all around.

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

Oh, sweetie! I'm so sorry. I'm totally bawling right now. I have been there. It is the hardest thing to do. But it is a gift you give him to show how much you love him.

I told you a while ago he reminded me of my sweet Sadie. When I saw that video, I had a feeling this day would be coming sooner rather than later for you. Sending you a long distance hug, my friend.

Posey said...

Tears. I'll be thinking of y'all today.

CKHB said...

I'm so, so sorry. Thank you for sharing your good boy with us before he had to go.

ExMagistra said...

Ugh. My pregnant arse is bawling over here (while clutching my own pooch, who was our only child for five years before his humanoid brother came along).

I am so sorry to hear about Ozzy. I've had to watch my parents go through this three times, and it's never an easy decision, though, it's definitely the humane one. Lots of cyber hugs for you today.

Harley May said...

HUGS to you, Tawna. I'm so sorry. With you as his Mommy, I know he led a happy, happy life. All of your readers can tell how much you love your animals.

Thank you for sharing him with us.

Kristi Helvig said...

I'm so sorry. He looks like the sweetest dog and I can't imagine facing that decision. My dogs are my kids as well even though I have human children too. I'm sending you virtual hugs. :)

Angela Perry said...

Sorry Tawna. If there's anything I can do, please let me know. I know that's hard online, but I can send you bad jokes and animated sparkly avatars.

Joyce said...

So sorry, Tawna. Sending hugs.

Jen J. Danna said...

Tawna, I'm so very sorry. No matter how big or how small, pets are true members of our family and losing them is very, very hard. Having to make the decision that it's time is even harder, but remember that you're doing it for him, not for you. It's what he needs and it's the right thing to do. Let yourself grieve his loss and then remember him fondly. Hugs to you and Pythagorus...

Clever Betty said...

I had to have my dog, Stormy, put down in July of this year due to a respiratory illness. I feel your pain.
FgBV'S.

Patty Blount said...

Oh, Tawna! *cries*

I wish there were words I could say that, like a magic spell, could erase your pain. I am so very sorry.

Four legs or two - the loss of anyone beloved is hard.

Hugs to you and P.

LR said...

Sorry to hear that, Tawna. :( I'm sure he had a very happy life with you and Pythagorus.

Dr. Goose said...

This news absolutely, totally, and completely sucks ass.

Janet Reid said...

I'm so sorry. I still miss my beloved Newfie and she's been gone a long time now. I carried her ashes around with me for years because I couldn't bear to part with her forever. I know that makes sound like a lunatic, but I think we all are allowed a little bit of crazy to deal with grief.

(((hugs to you and the family, four legged ones as well)))

Mary said...

I am so sorry about your child with fur. (I'm crying as I type this.) I, too, am childless by choice and my two dogs *are* my kids. My little buddy, Remington, was with me for 15 years. I still miss him, even though it's been two years.

You, your husband, and Ozzie are in my thoughts. Just know, there is a doggie heaven, and they get to all go there.

snacks said...

I have spent many moments with that lovable pup and I must say he is the most loyal, happy-go-lucky dog I've had the pleasure to play with. He and Holly will once again be able to wrestle and I bet there's an everlasting supply of frisbees in doggie heaven. We'll miss you Oz!

Michele Shaw said...

Oh boy, do I know. One of my 13 year old Shelties is not doing well and we are starting to question the same thing. It's hard to let go, yet you want the best, pain-free life for them. So sorry to hear about Ozzie. Dogs make every day better.

Tawna Fenske said...

Thanks so very much to all of you for your love, support, and kind words. You don't know how much it means to me.

It was a really rough morning here. Pythagoras took the day off so we could both be with him. Everyone at the vet clinic knew Ozzy so well, and by the time we left, everyone (including the vet) was in tears.

Afterward, we took our younger dog (Bindi) to the dog park just so we could watch her frolic around and get giddy with dog joy. That was nice and made us smile, but we were sad all over again when we got home and Bindi started looking all over the house for Oz.

We went through this a year ago when we lost our other dog to cancer, so we know things will get easier. Still, it hurts a lot right now.

Thanks again for all your support.

Tawna

Douglas Morrison said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. DougM

Abby Minard said...

So sorry to hear about Ozzy. My thoughts are with you today.

Abby Minard said...

So sorry to hear about Ozzy. My thoughts are with you today.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I'm sorry, Tawna. A while ago, you wrote that you couldn't read THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. There's a time for that book. I say that because I picked it up several months after I lost my cat to lymphoma, and Enzo's voice comforted me. Someday, the book may work for you. Right now, I send you, Pythagoras and Bindi a hug.

Laura Fenske said...

Love to you and your hubby. I'm so sorry.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Hey, Honey.

I know what you're feeling. We went through that with Chester last month. It's funny how you know when it's time.

We sent Chester over the Rainbow Bridge quietly and gently. I know your old pup is at peace and pain-free.

demery bader-saye said...

So, so sorry :( What a little sweetie he is. Will be thinking of you guys.

Damien Walters Grintalis said...

Tawna, I am so very sorry.

Bookewyrme said...

I'm so sorry to hear that Tawna. My thoughts are with you.

~Lia

Christine said...

I am so sorry to hear about your beloved pet. I have a wonderful feline, nicknamed Dowager Feline Clancy, who is also reaching the end of her days. Right now she is on my lap, sweetly purring, but I know she is not 100%. She purrs because I am with her and she loves me. We're watching her. Waiting. Looking for the "you'll know moment" but she too surprises us with her sudden feisty moments and her kittenish ways.

She's been with me for 18 years. I can't imagine saying goodbye to her.

Many hugs and love to you and your husband as you say goodbye to your beloved companion.

Ricki Schultz said...

Such a difficult decision to make. :( My thoughts are with you.

Brenda Sedore said...

So sorry to hear about your gorgeous doggie. All the best to you and your hubby.

Thanks again for the awesome interview on my blog. Nice to see how well received it was. It was fun to learn more about you.

**hugs**

Kathy C said...

So sorry about your puppy. My thoughts are with you.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Being owned by a pet is one of the hardest jobs in the world.
My thoughts are with you.

Glynis said...

We've had to make that crappy decision for two of our beloved cats this past year. It sucks. It's sad. It hurts.

((heart)) and ((hugs)) to the both of you.

Liz Hayes said...

We experienced something similar with our lab/golden retriever Murphy. He'd managed with arthitis for years, but got to the point he wouldn't even stand to go to the bathroom. He stopped eating, and we took him to the vet to put him down.

But while we were waiting in the parking lot to go in for the final goodbye, Murphy perked up, was energetically sniffing around and wagging his tail for a delivery driver waiting nearby. Seeing him so active and cheerful, we were seriously second-guessing our decision. But we followed through -- and at least our final memory is of him happy and relatively healthy-looking, not sad and defeated.

I hope you come to terms with your decision, and remember all the good times you had with Ozzy over 15 years.

Leona said...

*hugs*

Suz said...

Aw bless. This post puts mega tears in my eyes. It reminds me of when my ex boyfriend's doggy Max got old and sick. He deteriorated over a year, but most of Max's days were good ones. Closer to the end of his life his health went downhill in a matter of weeks. Then one day, my ex's dad saw Max get up and walk through the door to the back garden. Max laid himself down on his side, on the patio tiles and died :(

Cynthia said...

I hear ya loud and clear. I have a 14 year old lab, and he is arthritic, mostly blind and slowly going deaf. He was our first baby. We had him before our boys. Everyone tells us the same thing, you'll know when it is time, but frankly I agree, you do't always know. We got a new puppy to ease the pain when the day comes. Still you are never prepared. Take one day at a time and know that you gave him a great life.

Christi Goddard said...

My thoughts are with you. Decisions like these are the hardest we ever make, and we carry them with us always. He's beautiful. My favorite breed.

Tawna Fenske said...

Thanks again for all your kind words and shared stories. It really, REALLY helped me get through a pretty rough day. You guys are the best!

Tawna

inkgrrl said...

Oh gods sweetie, I'm so, so sorry. My dogs are staring at me right now wondering why I'm crying and if they get to eat Kleenex as a side effect. I can't even look at them... haven't had to face the death of a fur baby in many years. Hugs and sloppy puppy kisses to you and Pythagoras.

Suzi McGowen said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is to make that decision, even when you know it's the right decision.

Kerry Schafer said...

Tears for you and Oz. When we decided our old dog needed to rest a few years back, a friend had to take her in for me. I'm so sorry - I know how it hurts.