Saying Goodbye




Saying Goodbye

I recently found the Word Press weekly photo challenge and have really enjoyed using it as a jumping off point for my thoughts.  I have also enjoyed reading other peoples takes on the themes.

Today I discovered the WordPress Discover Challenge.  This week the theme is memory.  How appropriate that with today being National Pet Day, I used this photo earlier on my Instagram Feed.  This was taken on April 2, 2015.  This was the day that we would say goodbye to our beloved Golden Retriever, Nikita “Nikki”.

I have a strong memory of that day.  She had been sick leading up to this point, her body weakening to the point of not being able to move to a standing position without help.  No one ever spoke the words during her slow decline, but I felt it in my gut.  The “C” word.  A few days prior to April 2nd, I would once again be at the vet talking about the ulcerations and swelling of her leg and about how the pain medicines did not appear to be helping.

The mass in her abdomen seemed to be wreaking havoc.  Her breathing becoming more labored.  It was a vet that I hadn’t seen before.  We discussed what was going on.  I asked her if it was cancer and she said yes.  She had run an ultrasound over her abdomen when she took her back for some other work.  This was the first time it became real.  I thought it was cancer, but it had never even been said prior to this.  We discussed the options as I choked back tears.    I am not one for public displays of emotion so while my heart was pounding in my ears and I was wishing more than ever that my husband was with me, I somehow made it through the conversation.

I left not sure if I could actually make the decision.  I wanted her to go peacefully in her sleep.  She was the first dog that I had ever owned and been completely responsible for.  I still remember the day we went to the breeder.  Our boys were 16 months and almost 3.  We had narrowed it down to a Golden Retriever because they are known for being good with kids.  When I met the puppies, I felt drawn to both her and her brother, trying to decide who was meant to come home with us.  Her brother ended up barrelling down my barely walking 16 month old, which made me nervous.  I thought “if she shows me that she loves me when I pick her up, then she is the one.”  I remember lifting her up and she nuzzled into my neck.  I knew in that moment she was our family.

I even felt like she picked her name.  My in-laws were in town and had come with us.  On the car ride home, my father-in-law said that we should name her Nike and call her Nikki.  At that same moment, I had been thinking that we should name her Nikita and call her Nikki.  So she was named Nikita, but just like a child was only called that if she caused trouble or I couldn’t find her.  The first night she cried and cried in her penned area  My momma heart broke because I was sure she missed her family.  We had an air mattress in our room for the boys to lay on since we had company.  She and I spent the first night curled up together on that mattress.  We would have an amazing 12 1/2 years with her.   She grew along with our family, lived in all our homes, and loved us deeply.

We ended up choosing to put her to sleep.  It was the hardest, most painful decision that I have had to make so far in life.  In the end, I concluded that dragging out her pain was selfishness on my part.  They schedule it so that you don’t typically pass any people in the lobby since it is such a heartwrenching day.  I didn’t know if I would be able to stay in the room, but my husband would.  We picked the early morning time.  The kids would all be able to say goodbye.  The picture is of my middle son.  They said their goodbyes and left for school.  We then took her in and stayed by her side until the end.

I love this picture because I can so clearly see the love she held for us in her eyes.

9/26/02-04/02/15.  Until we meet again – “May the Lord keep watch between you and me while we are away from each other” Genesis 31:49

Let your light shine!





20 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye

  1. great photo.
    i feel we treat our pets at the time of death better than we do humans.
    we out live too many of our pets.
    i have had to put down many of my llamas and had the vet tend to the dogs. i see it as not ending a life as much as ending their suffering.

  2. It sounds and looks like Nikita had a wonderful life filled with lots of love. I can relate to the agony you had when making the decision to put her to sleep. It’s been more than 10 years since I had to put my dog to sleep. It was indeed the hardest decision I had to make, but knew it was for the best. My family and I often remember her. The wacky things she did. Just keep remembering all the smiles she put on your face.

    1. Thank you. She was a wonderful dog and did give us lots of laughs and smiles. I’m sorry that you had to make that decision also. I think we know what is right in our minds, but our hearts rebel. Thinking of the good memories always brings a smile.

  3. My own Golden is 11 1/2 and doing well as I type. But time is wearing on her and like all dog owners we will have to face the day sooner than we want. The fact that we love her so fiercely guarantees grieving desperately. For now we stay in the moment.
    You are a good writer and it will be my pleasure to follow your blog.

    1. Thank you. I hope you have lots of more years of love with your Golden. I have never met an unhappy Golden. In fact, the vet used to call ours “happy tail” because her tail was always going in greeting, even when she got sick.

  4. What a beautiful photo of obviously a much loved dog. Saying goodbye is never easy, we had to put down our beloved Blue Heeler after 15 years of life with us. It was a few years ago now but the pain and loss lingered for a long time. Cherish your memories. This was a lovely post.

  5. A very very touching post. It resonates with me deeply as I know it will with most of Ho have given their hearts to another. Thank you.

  6. Great photo.I’m sure Nikki enjoyed the whole time she was with you.I remember when our dog passed away last Dec.,2013,her name is Sam (named after the dog in I am Legend movie) We woke up one day and found her lifeless at the backyard.I was crying so hard while touching her lifeless body.It looked like she was poisoned.I don’t know why someone could be that so cruel.And the worst part was,she was even pregnant at that time and would have given birth almost in a few days.Unfortunately,it happened.Really painful..But I know she’s happy now watching over us.And Nikita as well. 🙂

    1. What a horrible thing for her and for you all to have to go through! I’m so sorry that you had to experience that. It’s awful when humans show their cruel side. She was given a great name (love that movie-showing a better side of humanity with his sacrifice) and I’m sure she is watching over you 🙂

      1. Thanks.Now we have Simba which is one of her grandpuppies that looks so much like her.It was like she was reincarnated.Though Simba turns to be a bit naughtier.But it felt so relieved and happy to have her.I really think a dog is must-have in the family. 🙂

  7. We also faced this heart wrenching punch in the gut. We adopted a lab when she was about two. A cast off shelter dog that ended up being the best dog you could ever want. This past July, she stopped eating and then drinking. My youngest teenager stayed home with her and drove her around on the golf cart, her favorite activity. She waited for us all to get home that day and then she faded away. Time and a new puppy have helped heal the family, but her place in our hearts will never be filled!

    1. I’m sorry for your loss. It’s amazing how much love a dog brings to our lives and they give it so unconditionally. We also have a 6 year old Yorkie Poo that we have had since she was a puppy and she keeps our hands full!

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