Sad news about Doo

I’ve thought about writing this post for a week, but I haven’t been able to say anything without getting frozen with emotion.

I turned a corner with regards to Doo Dog the weekend before this past one. Those of you that don’t know the story, Doo is my 17 1/2 year old American Cocker Spaniel and my best friend in the whole world. He has been mostly blind, deaf, and bladder-incontinent for some time. He loses his balance often. He runs into things. He gets confused easily. He rarely sleeps through the night. He paces. He is easily startled. He wears diapers. Peeing on himself and not being able to see as he eats means that he gets greasy and smelly pretty quickly. But bathing, never one of his favorite activities, has now become occasion for a panic attack. He freaks out, thrashes like a crazy dog, poops in the tub, and it turns into an ordeal for us both. Usually a people-loving dog, he tried to bite the groomers last time he went and they eventually gave up and gave him back to me untrimmed. He doesn’t like to go outside unless it’s not too dark and not too bright and not too cold and not too wet. Suffice it to say that he makes a mess of the house. Often.

I’ve been dealing with this (with the help of my naturopathic and allopathic vet) for quite some time. Nothing major happened last weekend that precipitated a shift in my attitude about continuing on. It simply got to be too much.Now that I’m back at work full-time, I can’t keep up with the demands of caring for him. Consequently, I’m usually frustrated or disgusted around him (because I’ve just cleaned up a mess), or tense and controlling because I’m vigilantly trying to prevent the next frustrating or disgusting episode. And then I cry and cry because I hate that this little being who has been absolutely devoted to and adoring of me for his whole life has to suffer not only his own infirmities but my negativity as well.

I’ve been praying that he will simply die on his own, peacefully. It has been tearing me apart that my own inner resources ran out before his. Especially since there are still a few things about life that he seems to enjoy (e.g., eating, sniffing things in the yard, being with me).

I’ve been spontaneously breaking out in crying fits about this all week–less and less over the confusion and guilt of ending this and more and more over the grief of not having him in my life–and I imagine that I will continue to grieve long after he is gone. We have been together nearly half my life and all of my adult life. It’s hard to imagine life without him, and the idea of cruising down the highway without my little buddy beside me is so so sad.

A lot of friends and family have offered “if I can do anything–anything at all ….” I’ve got a couple of very understanding friends to go with Doo and I for the final event. My vet sent me flowers. That has all been really good. Mostly, it helps a lot knowing that the important folks in my life care and understand how confusing and heart-wrenching this process has been. Perhaps, if you all could keep Doo and I in your hearts on Saturday, October 27 at 11 AM MT as his little soul departs this world, it would mean a lot to me, and, if you don’t mind, make a little prayer for the peace of his soul … and to fill the Doo-shaped hole in my heart with peace, gratitude, and wisdom.

The Cure

We think we get over things.
We don't get over things.
Or say, we get over the measles,
but not a broken heart.
We need to make that distinction.
the things that become part of our experience
never become less of our experience.
How can I say?
The way to "get over" life is to die.
Short of that, you move with it,
let the pain be pain,
not in the hope that it will vanish,
but in the faith that it will fit in,
find its place in the shape of thing.
And then be not any less pain
but true form.
Because anything natural has an inherent shape
and will flow towards it.
And a life is as natural as a leaf.
That's what we are looking for:
not the end of a thing, but the shape of it.
Wisdom is seeing the shape of your life
without obliterating a single instant of it. 
......................................Mary Oliver

11 thoughts on “Sad news about Doo

  1. Oh my friend. I’m so sorry there’s been so much pain and struggle mixed in to the love between you and Doo for a long while. The word that came to me as I read this was Mercy. For him and for you. I am and will continue to be keeping you both in my thoughts, and sending you all my love.

    • Thanks so much for your words. And I really appreciate the offer.

      I did checkout euthanasia at home, but when I started calling around, I just got too upset explaining the situation to somebody new. For myself, I need to go with my vet that I already trust and feel comfortable losing my shit in front of. Plus, it will feel more like closure, going to the same people that have so lovingly kept him alive and comfortable for so long.

      Things haven’t gone well this week. Lots of very messy accidents. He has a sore from where his diaper is rubbing. And, while I’m glad I gave myself a couple of weeks to get, I’m feeling about as ready now as I’m gonna be. At this point, I’m just making myself more and more upset by dragging it on.

      I’ve called the vet to see if they can squeeze us in sooner. They aren’t open today, but maybe it will happen tomorrow. Sigh. I hate to say goodbye.

  2. Doo

    I understand. I have been there.

    It’s the right thing to do.

    You must take someone with you.

    You will hurt for a long time but you has given Doo a good life. There are dogs that have had terrible lives. Just think of how much you have loved him and he has loved you back. I hope he meets my Max.

    I am sorry.


  3. :::hugs:::

    Your relationship with Doo mirrors my Heidi-kitty experience in so many ways. She was also 17 1/2, and every day was the up and down internal fight of “please let go” vs. “please don’t leave me”. So much of my identity as an adult was tied to her, besides just loving her and wanting her near me forever.

    I know you know that it will be ok, and that it’s alright to want his pain to end. And that Doo does not hold against you the frustration of his care (he probably feels much the same way; it’s not him you’re frustrated with, he knows, but the situation).

    The love and the memories really are forever. I know this now. Sometimes I can close my eyes and remember how it felt to hold her or cuddle with her on the couch, and I have that moment back, in just as deep of a way. And like Thich Nhat Hanh said, though more eloquently than me here, you can truly see them in a blade of grass, or a leaf, or the wind, or an old toy of their’s that you don’t part with. And their journey has to go on, without us, in whatever capacity it goes on.

    I’m here for you if you ever need to talk about it, and my thoughts will be with you both.

    • Thanks a lot for that. It really helps hearing it from someone who has gone through it recently, especially someone that I know gets as attached and devoted to their fuzzy ones as I do.

      I’m so tired of crying about it now. It’s actually starting to make me weak and sick. But I seem to not be able to hold it back when I talk about it. So, better to move on to the moving on part ASAP.

      We’ve had a difficult few days here. A poopy, tracked-in mess on the floor every day. You’d think that I’d get inured to cleaning it up, but I’m so exhausted that it makes me more nauseous every time. I hate to cage him during the day because he is often caged at night now. I can tell that Doo doesn’t really like the confusion of what’s happening to his body either.

      Last night, I called the vet asking to have the date moved up to ASAP. The office isn’t open today, so maybe they will squeeze us in on Friday. We aren’t really getting any quality time in anymore. And I’m as ready as I’m gonna be. Dragging it out now is more stressful than getting on with it.


      Thanks for your thoughts, empathy, and wisdom. It really does help.

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