Sitting with a dying dog

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Twig
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Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Twig » 28 Apr 2012, 03:59

Here in San Antonio, we are throwing our annual celebration/party called Fiesta. Schools are out and businesses are closed. We forget all of our differences and have a great time. In stark contrast, I am sitting here with my dog who is slowly dying. I decided not to jack him up on prednisone yet again; he is tired, and I made him the promise that I wouldn't force him to go through any more misery. He is not eating anything at all, although he will take water via syringe. He is too weak to stand up. The water comes out both ends, so I've been washing a lot.

I am absolutely the worst Gwers slacker, so I haven't come to the part where I learn how Druidry can help me deal with this situation. I have cried for weeks; I never knew how noisy grief could be. Here lies dying the greatest love I've ever given or received. I am making peace with letting him go, but what is there in Druidry to comfort me? What ritual can I do for him as he departs this world?
"...some part of me is tree." -- Stephanie Kaza (Buddhist author)

"It takes courage to live ordinary lives." -- Connie Schultz (newspaper columnist)

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Hennie
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Hennie » 28 Apr 2012, 06:01

Hi Twig, I don't know about your Druidry question, but I think a great ritual would be to stay with him and comfort him (if possible) untill he is dead. Wishing you strenght, Hennie

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Twig
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Twig » 28 Apr 2012, 06:15

Thank you for writing, Hennie. I just finished making a pallet on the floor by the couch where he's been for the last four days. I've barely left his side since December when all of this started. I comfort him as much as I can, but he really doesn't want me to mess with him. Dying must take a lot of energy.
"...some part of me is tree." -- Stephanie Kaza (Buddhist author)

"It takes courage to live ordinary lives." -- Connie Schultz (newspaper columnist)

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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Crystal Dragon » 28 Apr 2012, 10:34

Hi Twig,

I was so very sorry to read your post this morning :-( The passing of a loved one be they human or a beloved pet like Riley, can be a very difficult time and grief is a very personal and individual thing. When Riley's time comes to pass, you could light a candle to guide his way to the Summerlands and ask the Great Spirit (Gods/Goddesses whichever you use) to Bless, care for and guide Riley on the next stage of his journey. When I am with an animal that is about to pass to Spirit, I always tell them that I love them deeply and that I always will; I thank them for whatever time we have been able to share during this life time and I like to give them Blessings of peace and love as they pass. Whatever words/thoughts you feel come from your heart at this time will be the right one's and Riley knows just how much you love him. Don't worry if you are to upset to talk to Riley, he will 'read' your thoughts.

Crying is a natural and good way to release grief, and I also expect that you feel drained of energy at this time. That said, I am sure you will find the strength you need when it is needed. What you have experienced in recent months due to Riley's illness will take time to come to terms with and you can only take each day as it comes but from expereince I can tell you that as each day passes it does get a little easier and you will find that at some point in the future you will be able to remember the happier times with Riley of which I am sure there are many.

Remember you have friends here and you are always welcome to email me whenever you want to.

:hug: With Love & Blessings to you and Riley at this time,

CD

PS You may find the following link of help: http://www.pagan-transitions.org.uk/petbereavement.html
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Susanne
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Susanne » 28 Apr 2012, 12:50

Oh Twig....I am so sorry to see your post this morning. I have been wondering about you & Riley & am sharing your tears.
About 5 years ago I lost one of my beloved pets under much the same circumstances. She was a beautiful & loving Irish Wolfhound named Millie who was a huge part of our family. She was 10 years old which is old for that breed but far to young for us to lose. She had heart failure and reading your story reminds me so much of her final day.
She was so weak that she couldn't move herself at all so I set up her blankets with all of her goodies on the floor and my two kids and I sat with her. There was always at least one of us with her. I remember my kids even brought their homework over so they could be near.
Our other dog stayed by her side as well and by the end of the afternoon our cats had joined us too. It was amazing really. Because she was so big and we couldn't move her easily to relieve her I had our vet come to the house & put her to sleep with her head on my lap. It was one hard thing to do but she was safe and finally comfortable and knew that she was loved.

I tell you this because I want to let you know that I understand very well what you are going through. Not much can ease your pain right now. CDs suggestion about lighting a candle is great, I did just that as well. Saying a prayer for her safe passage and imagining her in my mind as the goofy, romping dog that I knew running around with a whole pile of new friends in the summerlands. :) I was (& still am) convinced that sharing a love like that in your life is a forever thing & that I will, in some way, shape or form, see her again. She is buried on our land where she is with me everyday. I haven't done so yet since a lot of work needs to be done around that area but but I plan on planting a tree by her. Maybe you could do something like that for Riley....perhaps a pecan tree :)

We all cried so much during that time. I remember having a constant headache. As I told my kids at that point that crying was OK..."a shower for the soul". Which is not a bad thing.

This will be a hard time for you coming up. Know that my thoughts are with you & Riley for both of your comfort. Take care and be well.
Sue

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Bart
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Bart » 28 Apr 2012, 12:56

Peace and strength.

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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby lotuswelcome » 28 Apr 2012, 16:05

dear Twig, I'm sorry to hear about your dog Riley. I'll go along with what Hennie suggested, stay with him, comfort him. Dogs know when they are truly loved. And cry all you want.( I loved Susanne's metaphor 'a shower for the soul'). Quite recently, I thought I would loose my dog Chiquita. She was very ill. So I can imagine how you must be feeling now. :hug: :hug:
Yes, light a candle, pray, whisper in his ear how much you love him and how much joy he brought into your life. And write to all of us here if you want. You know you and Riley are not alone at all. :hug:

blessings, love and strength :candle:

Maca
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Blyth » 28 Apr 2012, 18:53

Sending love and blessings to you and Riley :hug:
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby kytty » 29 Apr 2012, 01:01

Oh Twig, I am almost in tears as my aches for you and Riley.
Having held my beloved Charlie in my arms as he past over, I know exactly how hard, frustrating and seemingly unfair it is.

After his passing I thought I would never have another dog. Too hard. Taking on a reject; spending years getting him right physically and mentally only to have him die. Didn't want to go through that again. For a while I was dogless. What a dark time that was. But he refused to lay down ... and he would creep back into my conscious. Memories... fond memories....Loving memories.

Since Charlie I have had 5 dogs come into my life. 4 have been rescue dogs, abused & or homeless. 2 have passed over 2 I have re-homed. Podhraig (a min pin) has stayed. As I write this another pup Freddy (a 3mth old Rhodesian Ridgeback x lab x x who knows) has come into our lives. He belong to a friend of mine who is having trouble training him... so he's here for a bit of two-on-one boot-camp. I have just graduated as a Medicinal Herbalist and have re-enrolled to specialise in herbal medicine for cats, dogs and horses.

Charlie is the reason why I do what I do and his memory guides me... so I guess my message to you is its ok to grieve for Riley, because the love you two share will never leave you.

kytty
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Selene » 29 Apr 2012, 03:03

Twig, I am so sorry to hear about Riley. I know how much he means to you. I went through something very similar with my sweet cat, Duncan, the light of my life, almost 5 years ago. I stayed with him as much as I could during his last days and held close and told him I loved him, over and over, when it came time for our veterinarian to release him from his misery. There is no easy way; all I could do was to try to read when he was ready to go and make it possible. The only thing worse than my suffering was his. I wish him a gentle journey and eventual comfort for you in his loving memory.
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby D'Arzhur » 29 Apr 2012, 10:38

Dear Twig, The bond between us humans and our best friends is so precious... They give us so much more then we sometimes realise. I really feel for you Twig and for Riley... Being together like you are is a form of a ritual already sharing tears, suffering and especially love. Let us know when the time has come for him to continue his journey and we will be there to wish him well and to hug you...
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby fulbert-avebury » 29 Apr 2012, 14:57

Twig, sending you energy and peace at this most difficult time. I am sure your care and concern with and of Riley will come back to you in many ways, especially through the looks he undoubtedly gives you.
Jeffrey

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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Willowen » 01 May 2012, 02:05

Dear Twig,
I am so sorry to hear about Riley. Losing your best friend is never easy, but grief is a part of this process and sometimes it helps some to know that people care. I lost my best friend, Grey a few years ago, and there are often times that I still miss him. Sometimes it makes me feel better to imagine him running through the fields being happy like he used to be. I believe he is in his "Summerland".
My heart goes out to you and to Riley too. If you need anything or would like to visit please don't hesitate to send a message or an e-mail.
Peace to you
Julia :wolf:
"The Way itself is a strengthening of spirit, a growing closer to the balance that governs the world. Progress is slow along the Way, but every step of the journey is like a note in the oldest tune of all. When you have the tune complete, you complete yourself." from Moonheart by Charles De Lint

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Twig
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Twig » 01 May 2012, 02:39

Thank you, everyone, for your own personal stories and your heartfelt understanding. The people on this board never let me down, rather you are all a great source of strength and comfort to me. Taking the time to write about such a painful topic is deeply appreciated. Your own experiences were heart-wrenching to read, but they really helped me. Likewise, the advice given. A candle burns for Riley at this exact moment.

I had Riley euthanized this afternoon. For the last three days, he'd been so very sick. I did think I would lose him over the week-end, but he stayed around. He hadn't eaten anything at all for four days, and even drinking water gave him diarrhea or caused him to throw up bile. I could not watch him suffer any longer. My vet was very kind and gentle, and Riley was gone in a split second. I am grateful that he is no longer a prisoner inside that little body ravaged by cancer.

Not surprisingly, I am somewhat of a wreck. Everywhere I look in my house or yard, I expect to see him. I can't seem to focus on anything, and chores are (still!) undone. It's like being in a daze or something. It's too quiet and empty in here. I'm sure this feeling will pass, but in the meantime, I feel completely at sea. I am exhausted from the sobs which attack me unaware. I thought for sure, I'd cried all the tears I possibly had in the tank!
"...some part of me is tree." -- Stephanie Kaza (Buddhist author)

"It takes courage to live ordinary lives." -- Connie Schultz (newspaper columnist)

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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Selene » 01 May 2012, 02:42

Twig, I know. Many hugs.
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Kima » 01 May 2012, 07:03

Take it easy for a couple of days. I know how hard it is to lose a dog. I still miss mine years later.

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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Hennie » 01 May 2012, 07:08

Dear Twig, if you douted it, you did the right thing.
Hang on,
Hennie

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Twig
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Twig » 01 May 2012, 08:04

Selene -- I know you know. Thank you.

I know it was the right thing to do, Hennie. I now realize, however, that I should have done it sooner. Riley sort of threw me off course with an unexpected behavior last Tuesday. Due to my limitations, I was not always a reliable dog walker, but I had wonderful volunteers and two young neighbors I gave a dollar a walk. But on Tuesday, I took him in the front yard to pee, and he yanked the leash away from the front door, indicating that he wanted to head off on what was our usual walking path. I obliged him as he headed toward our community garden. We we walking v-e-r-y slowly, but we were walking! He was so weak at this point. Once we'd gone to the garden, I started turning him around, but no. He wanted to follow our nightly trail. Onward. When we reached a likely shortcut, he was having nothing to do with that. He decided that he wanted to go further. But I went ahead and pulled him into the courtyard-shortcut because if he'd given out, I couldn't carry 20 pounds of dog very far. We headed for home, and he had his mind made up that we were going to add another leg to the trip. It was a reasonable request, so I gave in. Finally we arrived home, and he eagerly consumed a treat.

He never got up again, and quit eating the next day. He wanted very little to drink, and eventually quit drinking as well (except through a syringe full of water I would slowly squirt into his mouth). I didn't know what to think. Was he better, but just worn out from the walk? Did he just want to visit his old haunts before passing? Should I give him the chance to enjoy himself again? Thus, I misjudged the situation and did not decide on euthanasia until Friday, thereby adding the week-end to his misery. I should have been able to see what was really happening and taken him in at least by Thursday. Love is blind.

I am wandering around here in total silence and treading very lightly in the house as if I were made of glass and might break. I don't seem to be connected to anything around me. It is very strange. Your advice, Kima, to take it easy is certainly good! Thank you. Best I adhere to that policy as I am really sort of "out-of-it."
"...some part of me is tree." -- Stephanie Kaza (Buddhist author)

"It takes courage to live ordinary lives." -- Connie Schultz (newspaper columnist)

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Hennie
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Hennie » 01 May 2012, 08:32

Don't do it, Twig, don't blame yourself for this. You did what you thought was right. The dogs-friend is always the last to see the truth.
My dog was bitten severly by two pitt bulls. I took him to the vets, who stitched him up, even gave him a blood transfusion and then gave the dog back to me, so I took him home. Three hours later he died in my arms; it was only then that I realised the vet had given him back to me to take him home and let him die in his own, relative comfortable surroundings. The vet never sent me a bill, ah, well, time for a good cry...

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Susanne
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Re: Sitting with a dying dog

Postby Susanne » 01 May 2012, 11:03

Twig
I am so sorry for your loss. I'm glad Riley had a last hurrah with you & you with him. Don't beat yourself up. As Hennie so wisely stated, we who love our animal friends so much are the last to see it.
Definitely take it easy....those chores & housework will still be there when you're ready.
Lots of love to you. :hug:
Sue


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