No More Good Days

by Jen on September 28, 2009

in I'm all out of clever today,What would Scooby Do?

After thirteen years, we are now dogless. On Friday, we had to euthanize Marley, our remaining dog of the three who were once part of our family.

After years of extraordinarily good health, about six months ago she developed osteosarcoma. We were unwilling to put her through surgery (amputation) and chemotherapy/radiation/other painful treatment at her age. Twelve years old is the equivalent of about 95 for a Giant Schnauzer. Instead, we opted to keep an eye on her condition and medicate her to keep her comfortable. For a while, she was the same as always. She ate and drank. She played with the boys (as much as a 95-year-old would). She greeted us at the door after work. She could still use her dog door to go in and out on her own. She ran the fenceline and howled like the Hound of the Baskervilles at the deer in our woods. She wagged her tail and perked up her ears. And so we worried about how we would know it was time, when the time came. We didn’t want her to suffer. Our first two dogs each just died; no terrible math was required from us. Everyone we talked to gave us the exact same advice: When the time comes, you will just know.

Last week, it became obvious. Without going into agonizing detail, it’s simplest said that she stopped having good days. We’re lucky that since we got our first family pet thirteen years ago, we’ve become good friends with our vet (seven pets means a lot of vet appointments). Hub and I have never had to have a pet put to sleep before; Doc was there for us as both a vet and a friend. But it was still probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Now it’s constantly obvious that something is missing. It’s still at our house in moments when it shouldn’t be.* After the kids go to bed, no dog stirs in the great room when we pass through it or sighs softly on her bed in the corner of our bedroom when we go to bed. No eighty pound dog blocks the front door and refuses to budge. There’s no click-click of dog nails on the hardwood floors. No dog comes to lay their head in my lap. There’s one less being that I have to think about feeding and caring for, yet I still find myself thinking about her before I remember that she’s gone.

*Yes, we still have four cats, but two stay mostly outside and besides, cats are silent ninjas compared to dogs.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenni September 28, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Oh, I am so, so sorry. I'm sure you loved her well and she felt that when she went. Take care.

2 grimsaburger September 28, 2009 at 3:18 pm

That's terrible. We once had a cat for three months that we had to euthanize, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'm sure it pales in comparison. I'm so sorry for your loss.

3 Julie September 28, 2009 at 9:47 pm

I am so terribly sorry;. When a giant or any other dog leaves us, a part of our hearts go with them. I have always felt the only way to try and plug that hole is with another giant. She was so beautiful. Giant hugs to warm your hearts………

4 norasdad September 29, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Thank you for this. We euthanized Nora (the notorious soft-coated Giant Schnauzer mudqueen) in January at age 11. My daughter, who's a vet, insisted on doing the deed, because "Nora doesn't permit strangers in the house." She thought it would be easier on Nora; we thought it would be hard on her. All of us were right.
Yes, it's too quiet at night. We can leave food on the counters, and bring the garbage pail back inside. I think we will miss her forever, even when we have another dog.

5 ragtopday September 30, 2009 at 11:35 am

I am so sorry. Losing a pet is heart wrenching and the stillness a constant reminder. Hugs to you.

6 Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 1:22 pm

I'm so sorry. Not knowing Marley but knowing Giants I understand your loss. The hardest thing to do is the right thing.
Michelle in Oklahoma
Owned by Griffin the rescue Giant
Mattie the rescue mutt
and temp foster mom to 2 rescue Giants

7 jen @ negative lane October 2, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Thank you everyone. I know I've been MIA this fall, mostly because I'm beyond swamped at work (new teaching position and all) as well as at home. It means a lot to me that you all still visit and read and comment here. I'm trying to figure out how to post more often and read everyone's blogs more promptly.

Also, a special thank you to all the Giant owners & lovers who have come out of the woodwork to visit and comment here this week (even those who visited and didn't comment — I know you were here). Giant Schnauzers are such a unique breed. Anyone who knows Giants understands exactly what I'm feeling.

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