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Is It Time To Say Goodbye?

Your dog is your best friend. He does not judge you and is always there for you. Through thick and thin he has stood by you enjoying your laughter and comforting your tears. All too soon it may become time for you to give back all the dedication and loyalty he has given to you - when it is time to say goodbye. You must remember that your dog cannot speak to you but if you listen very, very carefully you may find that you can hear him in unorthodox ways. His eyes will look into your soul and, if you are completely honest with yourself, no matter how much it hurts you will hear his message via the miracle of sight for he is asking your permission to leave you. So dedicated and loyal, he doesn't want to disappoint you even when he can barely keep awake. I was devastated when my beloved dog, Joey, collapsed and had to be rushed to the vets. I instinctively knew that this was it. He had been growing older, sleeping a lot, walking slowly and finding things a bit more difficult than he used to. It was heartbreaking and very emotional when the vet said that although he could send Joey to the veterinary Hospital for tests he could not guarantee that he would still be alive when he got there. Vets are in a very difficult position when faced with a desperate pet owner who wants to try anything to keep his pet a bit longer. The vet will know if your pet doesn't have much chance of survival so if you are ever in this position try not to let your heart rule your head and listen to his advice carefully. After all you would not want to prolong your pet's life on this earth if it didn't have any quality. You owe him more than that. Faced with the seriousness of Joey's condition I asked the vet what he would do if it was his dog. This is not the first time I have done this and I have always found that a vet will answer honestly: e.g. In his opinion there is no cure and by administering drugs or sending your pet away for tests it would only prolong their life by a couple of days. Why would you put your pet through that? It seems selfish to hang on to him just so that you can avoid the hurt and pain of losing him for another couple of days. Try to overcome your emotions and do what is best for your pet rather than what is best for you. You will be extremely upset of course for the first few days or weeks but then, like everything else, you will recover from the heartbreak and then it will be time to enjoy happy memories of time spent with your beloved pet. I have many treasured memories of Joey. I can clearly remember him, young and playful, running into the kitchen from the garden one morning in early autumn in a whirlwind of excitement at being alive and bringing the smell of apples and damp earth with him. His tail was wagging (as always) and he was just full of life and exuberance. When I conjure up that episode from our shared past it doesn't make me sad - it makes me smile because he was so much loved and so happy. Another treasured memory that I have is when Joey won a red rosette as he came first in a veteran dog class at a village fete pet show. I was so proud of him and of course he could tell and in return looked very pleased with himself. My last, bitter sweet memory of him is when I took him in the car to a field he could no longer walk to where he always used to have a fantastic time sniffing for rabbits. I had been meaning to take him there for weeks and that morning we just loaded up the car and went. He had a fantastic time and I was so happy for him. He died that night. Yes, it was extremely upsetting but it's also a wonderful memory of my very dear friend for whom I could do more; I was repaying his love by letting him go that evening. I can live very happily now with these memories, plus many, many others, as I know that I could not have done any more to make my dog happy throughout his time with me. I also knew that sooner or later another dog would become my friend; not to replace Joey but to add value to my life. Many people say that they will never have another dog after losing their dearest pet but don't be hasty, take a step back. Rover would not want you to be miserable after all the care he has taken to make you happy over the years you had together. It would be such a shame to deny his wishes - you have to go through all the hurt at Rover's loss but then, when you are ready, surely you can move on and give another dog a loving, welcoming home. Of course your new dog will never be the same as Rover - you would not want him to be - but he will soon earn a place in your heart and although you will never forget your much loved and now departed dog, you will see that you do indeed have room in your life and emotions for another canine pal. Whilst this article is about dogs the advice remains the same whatever type of pet you have as we can love all creatures dearly - even a Tarantula! Listen to your pet with your senses; listen to your vet and ask his advice. Above all allow your pet to die with dignity.

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