Today has been a sad morning as my good friend Sara had to make the decision to say goodbye to one of her elderly standard poodles.
Hugo aka KC Registered 'Curly Clown' was just over 14.5 years old and had lived a charmed and happy life.
I had the pleasure of meeting him along with his brothers when he was around 8 years old – Sara introduced him as the joker of the family, and it was true he could always make people smile :-)
As we waited for the vet this morning, we recalled our favourite memories of this mischievous black poodle. And as there is with every old dog, there were many to share.
He had dabbled at agility and shown some promise, but as he couldn’t really see the point of going more than 6 obstacles without some sort of reward his competition career never really took off ;-)
Food was always extremely important to Hugo, and it was a standing joke that he couldn’t be kept waiting for anything like that. He truly believed that the dog and his housekeeping staff lived here! ;-)
Making people laugh seemed to be his number one role in life. One of my favourites was watching Sara play on the floor with him, by blowing in his face which caused him to go all silly and play bow, before being liberally spanked for being a ‘bad, naughty boy’. He LOVED being her special boy and making her laugh :-)
His family adored him and he blessed Jane and Sara’s lives with his gentle presence and funny little ways. He shall be greatly missed by anyone lucky enough to meet him.
Losing a dog is a very personal experience and grief is inevitable over an animal who is very much part of your family.
As I wiped away my tears when Hugo peacefully slipped away, it reminded me of the unavoidable goodbyes that I will need to make with my own dogs in the future.
Whilst it is sad to have to contemplate the thought of it, I think the way that Sara had thought it through beforehand really helped her deal with the reality of the situation.
Here are some things that you might want to think about well in advance of such a sad moment, so you can just focus on your dog when the time comes.
- Is there a particular vet that you would like to use, perhaps one that knows you and them very well?
- Who would you like to be present in the room when your dog is put to sleep?
- Where would you like to say goodbye? With the vet coming to your home, or would you prefer to visit your surgery?
- Would you like to keep their collar? If so, don’t forget to take it off or ask someone to do that for you.
- What would you like to happen after your dog has died? Would you like to bury them at home or have their body cremated? If so would you like to have their ashes returned to you?
Even if you’re able to plan in advance such as with an elderly dog that’s reached that time, I think it will always be hard to let them go.
Be kind to yourself in your grief and for those who don’t grasp your loss of ‘just a dog’, pity them for their lack of understanding. For they have probably never experienced the love of a good dog, and that is something even sadder than the heartache of losing one.
Hugo’s ashes will be back with him family shortly along with a very special engraving. Sara requested that it should be of her own favourite and important memory of this very special dog and the trick he loved to do best of all.
Hugo 2000 - 2015 'Give Me Five'
Sweet dreams old boy, sweet dreams.