We had to euthanize Sandy, our sweet, beautiful, 8-year-old family dog this week. She had cancer. It probably started in her abdomen or bladder and rapidly spread to her lungs. When she was diagnosed the vet said she had 6-8 weeks to live. She made it a little over 2 before we did the right thing and said our goodbyes. She was a wonderful companion and friend, not only to my wife and I but to our son as well. She loved him dearly and they grew on each other. Lately, “I love Sandy” would spring forth from my son’s mouth along with some gentle hugs. A Boy and His Dog indeed.
As hard as it was for us to go through this, my wife and I made a conscious effort to guide my 2-1/2 year old son through it as well. This required much more strength than I ever thought I had, but I wanted my son to understand what was happening and know that we were here for him. Here’s what else I wanted him to know:
The truth. We tried very hard to explain to him exactly what was happening so he wouldn’t feel blindsided later. I also wanted him “Sandy is very sick and in pain. Mommy and Daddy are going to take her to the vet and say goodbye. She is going to be euthanized and die so she won’t hurt anymore. She won’t be coming back home.”
It’s OK to be sad and cry. “Mommy and Daddy are sad,” was the observation repeated quite a bit over the past 2 weeks. “Yes, we are.”
Emotions are scary. It’s OK to work through them however you need to. We will be patient, loving, and understanding as you work through your feelings and realize what’s happening.
We help each other through the bad times. As a family we’re all in this together and we need each other to get through it.
Our pets are family. When they hurt, we hurt. We love them like we love each other.
We must do the right thing for our loved ones even if it hurts us. Euthanasia is a gift we can give the animals we love. We surely will experience pain, grief, and loss, but this is the right thing to do when our pets are faced with suffering.
We will cherish the memories. All the photos, videos, and experiences of the happy times. We will celebrate Sandy’s life in all the happiness and love that it was.
Goodbye my sweet Sandy. We love you.
Parenting isn’t always easy especially when we are so emotionally connected to what is going on. It seems to me you did an awesome job of including your son (who loved Sandy so much) in the whole process so he can have some bit of understanding it even at his young age. Hugs to all of you during this rough patch.