Monday, June 3, 2013

Saying Goodbye...

Saying goodbye to anyone is hard, and almost 3 weeks ago Adam and I had to make the heart wrenching decision to say goodbye to on of our dogs.

When Adam was 17 he got a dog while he was living at home. He got an English setter that was from a breeder that his Dad had gotten some dogs from. He named him Luke. When Adam turned 19 he graduated (with his associates degree in surverying) and moved to Indianapolis. The apartment he lived in didn't allow pets so Adam says he wanted to find a home for Luke. However Adam's mom wouldn't let him. Adam's mom wouldn't allow him in the house due to shedding so he spent his days outside.

In the years to follow Adam moved back home for a short time and then back up to Indianapolis for good in 2004 (he was 23). In the time that followed Adams parents became very busy with their growing business and other things in their lives that I think Luke became an afterthought. Although he was fed everyday, he contracted heartworm (twice) and sort of became a loner.

When Adam and I got married I told him that I wanted to bring Luke home once we got established since we had a back yard and we had more time to give him the love an attention that all animals deserve. So in Jan of 2010 we brought him home.

What I didn't take into consideration was how long Luke had been on his own (11 years at this point). He was stuck in his ways, was going blind from cataracts, and was more of a challenge than our two puppies.
My Favorite picture of him. Right after we brought him home.
I have no current pictures of him because he looked so frail and
I didn't want to remember him like that. 
He would snap at you if you pet him in the wrong spot, he would snap at you if you approached him and he didn't know it (he was going deaf too). He CONSTANTLY paced because his hips hurt and due to not being able to hear/see would bark at EVERYTHING.  Overall he challenged me on a daily basis.

I made it no secret how much of a challenge he was  to me. He annoyed me, he scared me when it came to us having kids and I felt like he was a danger to LIncoln once he started to move. But through it all Adam wasn't ready to say goodbye. We got a huge fence to keep him in the kitchen once he started to lose control of his bodily functions and in the last few months kept him in his cage so he could lay down without feeling like he was bothering anyone.

Since December Luke started to lose weight. He literally became a skeleton of his former self. He also developed a huge tumor somewhere between the size of a golfball and one of LIncoln's toy balls.

So 3 weeks ago Adam and I loaded up all 3 of our dogs to take them to the low cost vet clinic attached to the Hamilton County humane society. We decided to let one of the vets take a look at him and tell us what they thought.

The vet weighed him and he was only 28lbs. (2 years ago, the last time he was weighed he was almost 50) and then she examined him and told us that his gums were pale and it was obvious that he had some sort of cancer that was eating away at him. She told us we could do x-rays and blood work and try to treat it, but at this stage it wasn't looking good.

Adam and I have long been of the philosophy that dogs are just that, dogs. We are not millionaires and we can't afford to put thousands of dollars into them. If they got sick with a disease we would try to keep them comfortable until it was time to say goodbye. When we told her that we weren't interested in treating it she told us it was about time to think of other options.

On our way home I called our vet to see what it would cost and when we could say goodbye. I feel looking back I probably pushed to have him put down that day because I wanted Adam to be there to say goodbye and he was home. It was obvious that Luke wasn't going to last too much longer (he started peeing blood earlier that morning)

So at 5:00 on Friday May 17 week took Luke to the vet and said our goodbyes.
Actually saying goodbye was a lot harder than I ever imagined. I've had to say goodbye to pets before (my Lucie) but when we did that, my dad made that decision. It's a lot harder being the ones to make the decision.

When we were saying goodbye Lincoln tried to fist pound Luke and give him a hug (I like to think that he was saying goodbye in his own way). Then Luke laid down on the blanket the vet laid out and went to sleep. When the vet came in to give the medication Luke snapped at him (he was his grumpy old self to the end). Then I pet him until his heart stopped. (and balled my eyes out) In fact it was the first time I've seen Adam cry. It was a very sad day in the Chafin house...

Looking back I know we did the right thing. It was hard and I cried A LOT and I cried for days even but I know Luke isn't suffering and I like to think he was ready too and tired of fighting. but I have to be honest and say it just isn't the same without him. I got rid of his cage and gate but the house is so quiet without him. with his constant pacing the house was always noisy.

And I can even say that I miss him in his own special way. I wish things could have been different and we could have loved him from day one like our girls and I think I would have felt different about him while he was alive. But I know we gave him a great last 4 years of his life and he was a good dog in his own way. So thank you Luke for a great 15 years. You are missed buddy.
The place that cremated him gave us an imprint of his paw.
Its on the shelf with his collar next to the one I have of Lucie
Miss you Luke!

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