As I type this, I’m writing about an event 11 days in the future. Why am I doing it now? Simple, I really am not sure I am going to be able to do it the day of. So here goes …
Today I had to do one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We had to take our dog, put her in our car, and drive her to the vet for her last appointment. As you’re reading this (on the 18th of June), Hannah, the greatest dog I’ve ever had, left this world in the most peaceful manner I could arrange. I can’t write this on the 18th because I’m going to be crying my eyes out.
Hannah came to us when our son was almost one-year-old. She lived to be about 16 ½. We bought her from the Rochester Humane Society in Minnesota. I wanted a dog to teach my children how to take care of an animal. I wanted them to know the joy I had, growing up with dogs. In the end the kids learned so much more.
Hannah was my running partner for many years. She hiked a gazillion miles with us on many a trail. Faithful companion and family protector, she was truly a gift from God. I can tell you that a day won’t go by that I won’t think about her and how great she was.
We decided to put her down instead of trying to take her back to the United States because the plane trip might kill her. A 16 ½ year old lab is essentially ancient by Labrador standards and the risk was just too high. The doctor told us that if anything goes wrong with her, and I mean anything, there is nothing a doctor could do. She would just simply not heal. She was blind and deaf. She also had bouts where she would become very confused. In the end she couldn’t go up or down the stairs anymore. I couldn’t bear the thought of my scared, and potentially injured dog, dying in the cargo hold of an airplane. I couldn’t let that happen.
Hannah has been given daily medications to keep the pain from her old bones in check. But lately that hasn’t even been helping as completely as it had been. But we have been fortunate, she has been in good health her whole life.
Everyone should have a dog like Hannah. Yes, the pain is excruciating when you have to put her down. However, she had an excellent life. The miles of trails we walked, the camping trips, and the doggie nuzzles. We are better for having had her. I can honestly say that she was a gift to us far more than we were a gift to her.
Hannah, to you I say;
“Dear Sweet Girl, I love you dearly. You have been the greatest gift anyone could ask for. You helped raise the kids, protect our home, and gave love freely to those who simply didn’t deserve such unconditional love. Please go forth, without pain, sight and hearing restored, and live life eternal. Someday we shall meet again in the great beyond. I anxiously await that day. With the deepest of love, your human Family.”
It is my sincerest hope that everyone can have a pet in their lives they can miss this deeply. That means you have truly loved and truly been loved.
Your Humble Servant, Bryan the Writer