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A tribute to our beloved dog, Dash

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As adults, we are often faced with making some very difficult decisions. Decisions that when viewed by other members of the family, may or may not be seen as being made correctly. This past weekend was without a doubt, the single most difficult decision that any member of my family has ever had to deal with. My husband and I awoke Saturday morning to find one of the family pets in dire need of a trip to the veterinarians. Our 5 year old Boston Terrier had a large protrusion on his right buttocks and hip.

Off to the family vets we went. Our Dr was surprised to see us, as we usually only see her for scheduled check-ups and shots. Upon her initial examination, I could tell by her facial expression and change in demeanour, we were not about to receive a vote of confidence or a bill of good health.

Our beloved dog, Dash was suffering a perineal hernia which was in fact constricting the dogs bladder. The Dr took several x-rays to determine the extent of the damage the hernia was causing. We reviewed the x-rays with her, where she showed us his bladder was no longer visible. As the reality of what we were seeing began to sink in, she informed us of the next course of action.

We were told that under the circumstances, euthanasia was the right answer. She told us that Dash was in pain and would only get worse. Too say that my husband and I felt like we were punched in the stomach, would be an understatement. My stomach felt like it was about to leave my body. I haven't felt this amount of anguish since the death of my mother, only 4 years ago.

My husband is more of a realist than I am, and I was hoping for a better outcome for my beloved Dash. He had no idea that what awaited him was his eventual demise. I struggle to write this, but realize it needs to be told. I can only hope that my experiences will shed a positive light on what we as parents and pet lovers will eventually have to deal with as they grow older.

Our vet suggested that if we were not ready to make the decision, then maybe we should get a second opinion from another vets office. My husband thought it a very good idea, as he could see the suffering in my eyes. Along side me through this whole ordeal was my father, the voice of reason. We packed our little guy into the car and drove to another vets in Mississauga. Five minutes in the door and we were confronted with the harsh reality of the situation. Dash was not coming home. My husband, my father an myself conferred for a few moments and made the tough decision, the only one we could make.

I called back to our family animal hospital to let them know of the outcome with the referral and asked if we could come back there to see her. She could feel my pain and understood my request was emotionally motivated.

The procedure was very peaceful and he was gone within a minute. He looked up into my eyes with a sense of goodbye. It was almost as if he knew what was about to happen.

On our way home in the car, my husband and I discussed the best way to break the bad news to the kids. We both agreed that trying to make up something to make it easier on them could back fire in the long run. Even the slightest misstep in our story could result in a lifetime of hurt and trust issues. We sat the girls down, took a deep breath and I let my husband take the wheel. He was very compassionate and sympathetic towards their feelings. He explained to them in detail about what the different doctors had to say about Dash's condition. As much as he was trying to ease into it, it made no real difference, the hurt was already welling up in their eyes.

Once he broke the news that Dash would not be coming home, the waterworks began. By far the most difficult evening of my life. Too see your four children, completely devastated and torn apart by the loss of their beloved dog, is just something you cannot plan for. We sat for almost 6 hours with them crying, to the point of exhaustion on our part. But it was something I would do a hundred times over if needed.

I realize that we have a long road ahead in terms of getting over the emotional loss of such a wonderful dog, but I am sure with the love and support of each other, we will come out of this experience a closer knit family than before. And who knows, there may even be another dog in the house some day.

I urge everyone who has children to go home and hug them like never before. Make sure they know that they are loved.

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