thank you April 8, 2016 4:36 PM   Subscribe

I said goodbye to my sweet little dog yesterday. I want to thank this community for providing such kindness and guidance, without my even needing to ask.

here's my sky. I rescued him from the pound almost 13 years ago, when I was just 19. he was such trouble! but he was my heart. the younger, feisty version, as well as the slow, sweet one whose trusting face and paw I held until the very end. I left my marriage last year and nurturing him has been an emotional lifesaver, though increasingly difficult and heartbreaking as the months passed, and I couldn't make time slow down. at 14, his canine dementia kept worsening, and he'd pace and get stuck, and he'd long forgotten how to be housebroken, and sometimes his legs wouldn't work...
but then he'd have a few good days!
and then another bad one.

which fall is the ultimatum? how do you measure happiness against suffering? how can you possibly make such a final decision about your best friend, your sidekick, your truest love?

I was desperate for guidance, for answers. and then I found this thread. it came up on google – although I'd considered asking about sky many times, I hadn't thought to search this site. I came back to it several times in these last few weeks, rereading with tears streaming down my face, taking in everyone's stories and wisdom and kindness. especially that from Eyebrows McGee, who said euthanasia is the last great act of compassion we can give our pets.

at last, I accepted that I couldn't protect him anymore. that thread, not even my own, helped lend me the strength to give my little skyball one last gift, one final act of love and protection.

so many thanks to this community. and so many hugs to anyone else who's been through this, or will be.

has someone else's ask thread ever helped you during a difficult time?
posted by changeling to Uptime at 4:36 PM (28 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

I am so sorry for your loss, changeling.
posted by meese at 4:37 PM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Aw, I'm sorry about Sky.

I'm glad AskMe was able to help. I've definitely had that experience too, of being grateful to read old threads where someone's asking the same question, to get through a hard time.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:40 PM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Aw, I'm sorry to hear that. What a cute boy! Looks like he gave you lots of love, and you gave him a great life. That's what a rescue dog wants. You done a good job and a good thing for sky.

especially that from Eyebrows McGee, who said euthanasia is the last great act of compassion we can give our pets.

This is true and a good framing for one of the hardest duties of pet ownership.

has someone else's ask thread ever helped you during a difficult time?

All the family threads, especially the threads where unusual behavior is considered 'normal' within that group of people. I think that's when AskMe is most useful - acting as a sounding board so you can check in with a smart group of people who can tell you when something Ain't Right.

So sorry for your loss, losing a pet is one of the most difficult things there is.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:03 PM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

one final act of love and protection.

Yes, exactly this. I am sorry for the loss of Sky. You did the loving and necessary thing. (Hug and tissues)
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:17 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

has someone else's ask thread ever helped you during a difficult time?

Yes, but perhaps more notably, this very MeTa and your wonderful pictures and words about your pup have given me something to smile about on the day where my wife and I had to say goodbye to our cat, so thank you so much for sharing them.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:19 PM on April 8, 2016 [13 favorites]

I'm so sorry. But good for you for doing the difficult but compassionate thing.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:35 PM on April 8, 2016

I remember that post. It went up just after my old dog died and reading everyone's responses helped me grieve too. I'm so sorry, changeling. This post made me cry again, thinking of my old boy and yours (what a beautiful creature!), but it's a good cry.

has someone else's ask thread ever helped you during a difficult time?

I keep a list of AskMe comments from old threads for taking to therapy and reading on bad days. I credit this site, along with my partner, with giving me the push to really get better help for my mental health at least twice when I was in crisis; actually, I just had a psychiatric evaluation and for the first time ever I don't fit the criteria for depression, after a few decades of treatment resistance. It's quite surreal. It had much to do with what I read on this site, and hardly anyone who helped will ever know that. So I guess this is my thank-you. I wonder how many people out there read threads and realize important things and don't ever even sign up for accounts.
posted by thetortoise at 5:39 PM on April 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

I am so sorry for your loss--what a heartwrenching experience for you. Your Sky looks so beautiful and happy in those photos! I am really, really glad you found that thread and that it helped you so much. I remember crying when I posted it but hoping it would help the OP. You have truly given your beloved dog a gift, even though it was very hard for you.

I think you are right that many threads help people who come across them maybe even years later. I know there have been threads that have helped me a lot, especially grief and loss threads because it is so reassuring to read about the many different ways we can grieve, and to know that there's not a right or wrong way.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:45 PM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Sorry about your sweet little pup, and an internet pat-on-the-back for taking on the difficult decision.

> has someone else's ask thread ever helped you during a difficult time?

I've linked to it multiple times and put it on my profile: Stop using words.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:52 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am so sorry, it's really hard to say goodbye to beloved pets. I often send people a link to this song/poem on MeFi Music which is a nice alternative to Rainbow Bridge types of things for times like these.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:04 PM on April 8, 2016

Thank you for this and for the elegy you wrote which is so beautiful and so touching that I'm crying. Such a pretty face on such a pretty boy. It sounds like the two of you hit the love lottery when you found each other. I'm glad you have lots of pictures. Take good care of yourself.
posted by janey47 at 10:31 PM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm so sorry for your loss. He looks like he was a beautiful dog. Such a sweet face.
posted by colfax at 3:11 AM on April 9, 2016

What a handsome pup, and your description of Sky's traits are right in line with what I've experienced with my own Husky. What a wonderful experience the two of you shared, it's evident that love filled your lives. Me and Lara wish you peace in a difficult time.
posted by HuronBob at 5:04 AM on April 9, 2016

What a beautiful boy. I am so glad you had each other.
posted by minsies at 6:05 AM on April 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Such a gorgeous dog. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm glad he stayed long enough to help you through your breakup and I'm glad that thread was able to help you make such a brave decision. Sending you hugs if you want them and take care of yourself.
posted by billiebee at 6:08 AM on April 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am so sorry for your loss but I am convinced that you made the right and loving choice.
posted by Lynsey at 9:24 AM on April 9, 2016

biggest of hugs. It sounds like you two gave each other a lot of love and happiness. you acted with great compassion and I am sorry for you loss.
posted by supermedusa at 10:41 AM on April 9, 2016

I follow your instagram account because I basically follow any mefite with an open account and pet photos in there. Sky was so beautiful and you clearly adored him, I was always really happy to see him pop up in my feed. So I'm sorry he's gone.

I didn't see that thread and I don't know if I'm sorry or relieved that I missed it. Because I had to make pretty much exactly that decision. When we left NZ I had three cats, two young and healthy (and still with us today) and Mandy who was old and had progressive liver disease and severe arthritis. At that point she just lived for love, warmth, and cuddles. Mandy couldn't come with us for many reasons but was hanging on regardless and I really thought we'd have to get her put down before we left. We had assumed she'd die before it came up but my PhD was done and I had a job lined up and there she still was. We were ready for the end of life stuff because we'd been through that already with her brother (also progressive liver failure), and in that case we opted to do it as soon as he noticed how sick he was and when his behaviour changed rather than wait until the last minute. He was mis-diagnosed at the start of his illness so he deteriorated faster than he should have, but I always feel good about how we handled the end and know he didn't suffer and I think that's more important.

With Mandy we were fortunate that we found an after hours vet clinic that wanted to adopt her. There were highly trained people there are all hours of the day and night to give her the hugs she wanted so much -along with all the many medications she was on- and they doted on her. When the on-call vets grabbed a nap during overnight shifts she was right there to press against their belly and keep them warm, then when they got up she went and sat at the end of the corridor and kept an eye on things. She lived happily with them for about three months after we left, then they made the decision to put her down one weekend when she deteriorated really fast and they did not let things drag on beyond hope. This was the best I could hope for in the circumstances and I'm grateful they had the courage to make the loving decision for a cat they'd only known a little while. Knowing that they would do this was huge for me, I was so worried someone would take her then let things drag because they didn't know her well enough to see the signs. So highly-trained and experienced and compassionate professionals for the win.

So yeah, TLDR, moved overseas with the two good cats, left the one old cat behind to die with someone else. The only reason I refuse to feel guilty about that is that she got the best end of life care possible and the knowledge that I can do the same when necessary for my current beasts.
posted by shelleycat at 11:50 AM on April 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

It sounds like the two of you hit the love lottery when you found each other.

Oh I missed this the first time around. What a nice description and clearly so appropriate here.
posted by shelleycat at 11:52 AM on April 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

So very sorry for your loss. We lost our cat to cancer in January and I legit spent hours on Metafilter reading threads to help me cope. Wishing you easy coming days. Take care of yourself.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:20 PM on April 9, 2016

I'm glad my comment was able to help you and, I agree, this really is the best place for finding compassionate advice in tough life situations.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:40 PM on April 9, 2016

Wishing peace to your heart, changeling, and I am truly sorry for your loss. The right thing to do is so often the hardest.
posted by vers at 11:24 AM on April 10, 2016

All the condolences. Loosing a pet, whether suddenly or foreseen, is a terrible thing.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:36 AM on April 10, 2016

Oh, he was so beautiful. You brought me to tears, but good tears. I adore my pup, who is my profile picture, and I know our time is limited. You gave your Sky a wonderful life, and a lovely, lovely tribute, and a peaceful kind ending.

I wish with all my heart that you find another canine soul that needs and adores you. When you are ready.
posted by bearwife at 3:01 PM on April 11, 2016

Such a beautiful and so clearly well-lived fuzzbutt!

My heart is broken for you. But you did what was needful and right. It is an act of love and kindness to help our fuzzbutts cross over gently. It hurts. Oh, how it hurts! I hope you can find peace, knowing that you loved Sky enough to let him go.
posted by MissySedai at 9:24 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

It was during my lurking stages when Mefi was closed to new joiners in the early Naughties that I had to make a similar decision with my darling cat of 18 years, "PC." Short for Pregnant Cat, long story. (I'll try to scan and post the one image I've got). She chose me as a stray as I began my adult life and was my touchstone through many personal and professional changes. She was probably closer to 19 or 20 at the end. I'm not sure I would have tapped the community at the end of her run even if I could have. I wasn't so much reading AskMe at that point, but I knew what I needed to do.

I held her during and through the procedure. She held eye contact the whole way through, trusting and loving. I sobbed for hours afterwards. Those last days and that moment of ending still bring tears.

Your Sky is so beautiful and clearly happy. My Tipper, also a rescue cat, is approaching 12 and is beginning to have some health issues. I dread when I'll need to make that same call again.

These animals inhabit ours lives and bring us comfort and love. Love and honest care is the thing we need to return. Damn, though, can it be painful.
posted by michswiss at 7:13 AM on April 12, 2016

I'm sorry for your loss. But I'm so happy for what you found with your beautiful friend all those years. Caring for a non-human animal puts us in touch with the world in such a different way. Being around animals makes us better people.

Those are wonderful pictures and a loving tribute.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:55 PM on April 13, 2016

I'm so sorry honey. It's so hard to realise that compassion often means such pain. Big hugs.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:39 PM on April 18, 2016

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