Losing your Dog is to Lose a Piece of Yourself by Ann-Marie Fleming

20 January, 2009


I was at my vet's last night picking up some refills for the various medications Mackenzie my 12 year old pug is currently taking. While I was there an emergency case came in. It was an 8 year old Golden Retriever. I don't know exactly what was wrong with him, but one look at the faces of his family told the whole story. There were three family members, a father, mother and daughter all with tears in their eyes. In speaking with the Practice Manager I learned that they were forced to put the dog down and while I was waiting (for good reason) I witnessed the whole ordeal, from the father explaining this to the rest of his family, to seeing them standing beside the dog at the back of the clinic, to observing them sitting with their dog after he had passed away.

I have to tell you I almost broke down crying. My heart went out to them and I wished I could take away the pain I know they were feeling. I was so close to tears and I immediately starting having flashbacks to losing my precious Churchie, my French Bulldog, my protector and a huge part of my life for over 12 years until this past summer when I lost him due to complications from a heart tumor. I still cry all the time and wonder if I will ever not feel like a piece of my heart has been lost forever. When I saw this happening to another family it hit me hard as I relived the shock, trauma and ache of losing someone I loved.

Our dogs really are a major part of our family and bring us so much love and happiness how can we not be broken after they leave us? The reason I wanted to write this post today was not to depress you or to relive a very sad part of my life, but instead to commend the efforts of my vet. Dr. Maks at Huff's Animal Hospital in Tsawwassen, British Columbia and the girls that keep the clinic running, pour their own hearts into each and every pet they treat. I have never had such a positive relationship before with any other caretakers, human or dog, like I have had with Dr. Maks and her team.

When I was going through the roller coaster ride of care for Churchill and as I continue to have Mackenzie and our newest addition Paige (a brindle Frenchie) looked after, they have had our best interests at the top of their list. Seeing them last night trying to save this dog and take care of the family showed just how much they care as they were so emotionally impacted by what was happening, it was as if they were treating their own dog.

Witnessing this type of care and while extremely sad, seeing the family's love for their dog just shows again the powerful impact our dogs have on our lives. While losing one of our loved ones is like losing a piece of ourselves, I wouldn't trade the time I spent with any of my pets for anything in the entire world. Each one has left me with the most amazing memories and they will be forever in my heart. I miss you Churchie. If anyone has the strength to share stories of their amazing pets that have touched their lives either past or present, please leave a comment. Thanks for listening. 

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