When it’s time…

by: Jennifer Oldfield

As I watch a close friend struggle with the decision to let her dearest companion go, I am reminded once again at how hard this decision is.  We all wonder, is there more that I can do? We all agonize over the coming loss, our hearts break, tears fall and we wish they could be with us longer.   Nothing prepares you for this day, whether you knew it was coming soon or it arrived suddenly.  Nothing makes your heart ache less, nothing makes the decision simple.

Pets aren’t just pets, they are family.  Our pets provide us with such joy and laughter.  They provide us with comfort, they help heal our hearts.  They give us their all because we are their everything.

On this day I am reminded of my girl I lost 5 years ago.  With the birth of my first son, came the death of my first dog.  I say my first dog, because she was the first dog I got when I moved away from home, the first dog I purchased myself.  Shreddie was very special, she was with me through every major event in my life.  My first marriage, my divorce, my convocation from University, my second marriage.  When I became pregnant, somehow in my heart I knew Shreddie would not be around to see my child grow up.

Shreddie on her 13th birthday

Shreddie on her 13th birthday

Shreddie passed 3 months shy of her 14th birthday.  She stopped eating while I was in the hospital.  She held on until we got home and was with me for one more milestone in my life – I got the joy of introducing my son to her.  The next day I had to let her go.  It broke my heart and created a sadness in me I had never experienced before.

Shreddie gave me so much; she introduced me to some of my closest friends, she gave me the love for the dog sport I continue to play, she comforted me when I was sad and sat by me when I was sick.  All her life she spent making me smile, easing my pain.  Now it was my turn to end her’s.  Although we did an xray, just to be sure, I knew in my heart it was time.  I couldn’t ask anything else from my sweet girl, it was my turn to give back.  To give the one gift we are able to give them, the gift to end their pain and allow them to run free once again.

It took 3 years before I could look in the drawer where the pictures of her lay, without bursting into tears.  Although there is still a Malamute shaped hole in my heart, it holds the most precious thing of all – memories.  Memories of her that now make me smile, warm my heart and ease the sadness that never completely goes away.  Now I can remember her fuzzy ears, her giant grin, her vocal “woo” and know that I am blessed.  Blessed to have gotten 13+ years to build all those happy moments.  Although her body is gone, her spirit is always with me.


The loss of our dearest companions isn’t easy and no words will ever make it so.  How do you decide then when it is time?  Consider their quality of life.  For more information on making the decision, the euthanasia process and grief resources visit our website at www.albertnorthvetclinic.ca  If we can do anything to help you through this process, please let us know.


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