Wednesday, September 22, 2010

dearly missed



When I was 9 years old, I finally convinced my parents to get a family dog. We decided to get an English Cocker Spaniel, a gorgeous breed with long, floppy ears, and big, adoring eyes.

We found a breeder, and I had my heart set on getting a black and white puppy. However, there was a certain brown and white puppy that kept following me, nipping my heels gently, wagging his docked tail. He was so incredibly playful from the moment I met him, and I knew that he was the puppy I was going grow up with. It's true, it really is - the dog chooses their owner.

He was the friendliest dog in the world, and loved EVERY visitor that came to our home. He had the biggest heart, which was so appropriate as he was born on Valentines Day, 2001.

Being an only child, he was the one I played my childhood games with. He was a brave Prince, venturing into the forest (which consisted of some tall shrubs in our old house's backyard) to rescue his Beloved (his favourite ball). His favourite game, needless to say, was "Fetch". His tail wagged joyfully every time he saw me, and even more so if I held a leash in my hand.

As I grew older I spent less time with him, but I still loved him just as much. I would try to spend time with him - which was hard, because my mother wouldn't allow him inside the house (although I would occasionally sneak him in) - and we would go for walks to his favourite nearby park. I now believe I could have tried harder to spend more time with him - a little less TV perhaps, and more games of Fetch. I also loved just sitting with him, and once he got over the excitement of playing, he would sometimes rest his head on my knee, and we would soak in the sunshine, the moonlight, the beauty of the day gone by.

One day I came home to find him hiding under a shrub, refusing to move. I was so scared, and after awhile managed to coax him out. It was revealed that he was in intense pain from arthritis in his paw - the first sign of him growing old. I could scarcely believe it - not once had my dog shown a single sign of aging - he had never quite grown up, and was always a puppy to us.

One week ago, I brought him to the front of the house and I noticed he was short of breath. He began making an awful noise, and I thought he was choking, but it turned out he was coughing. We brought him to the vet who said there was nothing wrong, and sent us home. Two days later we brought him back to the vet, and we discovered some horrific news - our beloved dog, my best friend, had a heart that had grown to twice the size it was supposed to be. So beautifully tragic, our dog who had too much love for everyone, was now suffering from the fluid collecting in his lungs from his large, weak heart.

We were told there was nothing we could do for him, except take medication which would not reverse his congenital condition, and would only provide symptomatic relief for his fluid-filled lungs. He could no longer play without wheezing, he would not even run to get his ball when I saw him. Even the medication could not guarantee an extended life - his weak heart could give in at any time.

Throughout the week, he rapidly deteriorated. His coughing became less intermittent and more frequent. I could not go outside without making him overexcited, causing him to wheeze. Even through all his suffering he remained in high spirits, prancing around whenever he saw me, causing yet more suffering. There has never been such an optimistic dog. I made the most excruciating decision of my life - to put my darling best friend to sleep, to put him out of his misery. I could not bear to watch him panting as he tried to eat his dinner, which was usually one of the highlights of his day.

This morning, at approximately 11.20am, my puppy at the tender age of 9 years and 4 months breathed his last breath. I will never forget his last whine as the vet injected him with sleep. He was still warm, and I cried tears of guilt and grief. Should I have fought harder for him? Should I have prolonged his life - and his suffering?

Somehow I think I made the right choice - I let my puppy go whilst he was still in high spirits, and did not let him suffer without reason. He had a life filled with joy and love, and loved greatly. I miss him so much already even though it has only been a few hours - I hear noises and believe for a millisecond that it is my dog, only to be disappointed as the realisation that he is gone sinks in.

There is no better example of unconditional love than my puppy. He had a big heart, both figuratively and literally, and loved everyone with everything he had. I will never, ever, forget him, and he will always be in my heart.

Rest in peace, my beloved Valentine, you are dearly missed.

xoxoxo E.

63 comments:

  1. This is adorable and brought a tear to my eye. I'm so sorry for your loss he sounds gorgeous.
    When I was 12 my best friend died (my cat) and it was such a painful day. I now have two other cats who I love just as much. You can't replace pets but sometimes having another one helps with the pain of the loss.

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  2. Thank you for sharing. It's never easy to speak of a loss, and this is no different. I'm sure you were a great friend to him.

    He'll always be with you because he still lives on in your heart, and that's the most any dog could ask for.

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  3. "You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us" ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

    This was a refreshing, yet heartbreaking post on Le Love. As beautiful as love between two humans is, there is nothing quite like the love between a human and an animal.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope that when it is time for my rabbit Moon to pass, we will have shared a life with as much love and fulfillment as you and Valentine.

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  4. When I lost my cat (an orange tabby) due to some renal infection I also felt guilty because I had to let him go to prevent him from getting more suffering.

    I still believe he's watching over me, though, wherever he is. He was the bravest, most gorgeous and most understanding cat I've ever had and even though I have two orange tabbies to 'replace' him, the two couldn't quite fill the gap he left even though the two have their own special place in my heart.

    I'm sure your gorgeous Valentine will rest in peace in dog heaven, just like how my wonderful Starbucks will rest in peace in cat heaven.

    <3,
    -R

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  5. so sad. . .you made me cry! Cute dog but you have to move on even if neck burning:(

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  6. I've read all the stories on this blog, and though they are all quite touching, I haven't shed one single tear until I read yours.

    I know how it feels to lose a best friend, my dog was mine. And it's worst when you have to make the decision for him.

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  7. This is so sad. I'm glad that you were a part of each others lives and you will always have the wonderful memories your pup provided you with.

    I don't really believe in putting animals to sleep, I always think they hold on for a reason, but I do understand why people do it. I couldn't imagine watching my baby go through that much pain.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us!

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  8. Ohmy, my heart just broke :( Such a sad story...

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  9. such a gorgeous post.

    http://theutterlyinspired.blogspot.com/

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  10. I don't normally cry when I read stuff but this totally broke my heart :(

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  11. you did the right thing he sounds just like our old dog who we'd had since i was 1. It was a really sad time for me and no one understood saying he was just a dog but he was really more than that. It sounds like you did your best to give him a happy life and as a friend and his owner thats what you were meant to do xx

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  12. aww, hugs. we have a beagle who's getting on in years & i can't imagine what it'd be like to lose him :\

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  13. Dear E,

    I'm very sorry for your loss. My best friend is my dog, and I understand the kind of love that you feel for yours. Nothing can take away the pain right now, but know that his utmost desire was to be in your arms and feel that you're there until the very last second of his life, and you gave him that. He passed happy and complete in the arms of his best friend, mother, and partner in crime.

    S

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  14. there is no love like the love of an animal. nothing can compare to their unconditional devotion. out of everything that I have read on the blog, this post has touched me the deepest.

    Do not feel guilty, you but helped your best friend when they needed it.

    Stay strong.

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  15. I'm very sorry for your loss. You really made me cry.
    My dog is also getting older now and every time he is sick, I'm afraid he won't make it. Yet he gets better every time.
    I wish he could live forever, I don't want to miss him.

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  16. I've read it and with every word Ive cried more and more. I don't want think about a life without my dog.
    I'm so sorry, but I think it was right to let him go. He'll always be with you - in your heart!

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  17. I stumbled across this post on my Google Reader Recommended Feeds list, and reading this broke my heart. I went through something very similar back in 2003 - my beloved Cocker Spaniel, Brownie, had to be put to sleep because she had cancer and a tumor in her brain. The poor old girl was blind and deaf and 13 years old, and it broke my heart when we had to put her to sleep. I'd practically grown up with her. *hugs*

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  18. Oh E,
    Your story brought me to tears. It's been more than a year since I last held my Dodger as he took his final breaths in the vet's office. My heart still aches thinking about him.
    You had to make an incredibly tough decision and just remember that you did what you thought was best for your friend. He was in pain and you eased it as best you could.
    There are people who don't understand the loss of a pet, whether cat, dog, hamster, gecko. They say it's just an animal, it's not like a person died. But I think that's an unfair and cruel thing to say, as if your feelings of loss are unjustified and not okay. Animals can be loved just as much as humans and they can give us love just as much, if not sometimes more. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's okay to grieve for your Valentine and know that there are people out there who will understand. And know that he will always be in your memories and your heart.

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  19. Ok I'm crying my eyes out trying to finish the story but my eyes got blurred. This is a beautiful story. I love dogs, I never had one cause my mom didn't let me but when I grow up I'll have a puppy.

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  20. E -

    You and I don't know each other but you and Valentine are in my thoughts and heart tonight.

    My darling Meg was put to sleep in November and, though I've never doubted that it was the right thing to do - and I'm sure you made the right decision for Valentine - the pain of her loss was excruciating. As time passes I find that I can remember her with more joy than grief, and I hope that you too will find peace in time.

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  21. It's been two and a half years since my Yatzy left me, and I still cry sometimes, wishing for him to come back. The most spectacular dog in the world.
    He never let anyone pick him up; it made him panic - and I guess I didn't understand that he was going away until he let me carry him from the veterinary's examination table to the room of doom (that's what I call that place, in my head). He was so still, barely breathing into my right ear.
    I loved him with my entire being, and I too wish I had understood that while he was still alive.

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  22. I'm so sorry for your loss. I had to put my golden to sleep two years ago and it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

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  23. you did the right thing. i also have a cocker spaniel 13 this year and ive had her since i was eight years old. i fear this day to happen to me but reading stories like yours remind me that its the right thing to do, ridding them from their misery and suffering

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  24. This really made me cry..

    My rabbit was put to sleep, three weeks ago. It was the best for him, though, getting hun out of his misery.
    He was my best friend, and I had him for 9 years.
    Everyday, I still believe he is there. And Everyday it hits me hard to realize he's gone.:(

    I wish you all the best.

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  25. Dear E, Thank you for sharing and I hope you are not too sad. I wanted to share the thought that I am sure he loved you so much and misses you too!

    Its so hard to say bye to your puppy (even when they are 9 or 11). I wrote a book about love "i hate Cinderella" and dedicated it to my dog as he was the love of my life..and was there for me-- always until he passed away.

    thank you for sharing your lovely words, they reminded me of my love for my dog. and lastly, don't feel guilty, he loved you so much i am sure!
    Amanda

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  26. Making the decision to put down your best friend is one of the worst things in the world. I must admit, my family let our amazing black lab live for much longer than she should've had to deal with. We all regret not putting her down earlier because she spent her last year almost always in pain. :( You did the right thing. Never forget him. You had a truly awesome best friend to share your childhood with.

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  27. Thank you so much lelove for posting my entry, i could hardly believe it when it came up on my dashboard.

    I miss my beloved dog every day (it has almost been 3 months since his death) but i've definitely come to accept that although he has left the world he lives on in my heart and memory. And rather than mourn his death i am grateful for his life that he shared with me, and his friendship.

    And thank you all so so so much for your kind comments, they all mean so much to me. I'm glad all your pets have such wonderful owners who care for them so much as well :)

    xoxoxo E.

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  28. That is a beautiful love story. And one of the few I can relate to.

    If you wish to talk, contact me via shelby.warchild13.com and my husband will let me know.

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  29. Darling, do not reproach yourself -- you made the hardest decision with courage and grace and Esmeralda respects you for that. And your Valentine does too, without doubt, b/c our animals depend on us to know what's best and it's so hard sometimes.
    And it's so very very hard to know that you gave him all you could give, b/c dogs can take infinite amounts of love and affection. But you did, my Darling, you did, as is clear from your story. Esmeralda is honored to read of such devotion. With Love www.dearesmeralda.com

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  30. this has got to be my fave story to read on Le Love so far. Not that I am a sadist but it really touched me and my first tear for a Le Love post fell.

    I hope you feel better and know that Valentine loved you as much as you did and he would hope to see you happy, just like we all wish our dogs will be happy when they go to heaven.

    Losta hugs to you.

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  31. omg,im tearing heavily...
    be strong ok?

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  32. Hi, i'm so deeply moved. I have a cocker spaniel and I've imagined if something like that could happen us. You must be sure your adorable dog rest in peace, you've given to him all the love he needed. He hasn't suffered unnecessarily.. the most important thing. He is resting.. and he will be in your heart forever*
    huge¡
    (I'm sorry for my english..)

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  33. Hi, i'm so deeply moved. I have a cocker spaniel and I've imagined if something like that could happen us. You must be sure your adorable dog rest in peace, you've given to him all the love he needed. He hasn't suffered unnecessarily.. the most important thing. He is resting.. and he will be in your heart forever*
    huge¡
    (I'm sorry for my english..)

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  34. E,

    Your story has left me with tears running in a constant stream down my face.
    The part that hit me the hardest was your regret - wishing you spent more time with Valentine.
    It's so hard when you look back in that way and wish you did things differently because dogs are such beautiful creatures. Always happy to see you, always ready to play and welcome you so long as you have the time to spend with them.
    My puppy is only a year old, and I really hope I can cherish every moment with him.
    It will be a heartbreaking day when he has to leave me.

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  35. Some animals are too much better than people, even if they can't speak like us. They don't know what hate is.
    I'm sorry for your loss. Be sure that you did what you should do.

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  36. Wow, I'm so sorry about the loss. I totally know how that feels seeing as how we just had to put our Dog down last week. Again, my sincerest hopes of peace for you... I never thought I could love a dog as much as I did. He truly became my best friend...

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  37. Dear E,
    I'm sorry about your loss, I have a Bichon Frise and she is 8 years old and she is the most amazing dog, I know she is old but I kind of refuse to think that she is. I can't imagine not having her! Every time I think of that, I hug and kiss her so much.

    Stay positive and strong, I'm sure your beautiful Cocker knew how much you loved him!

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  38. "There has never been such an optimistic dog. I made the most excruciating decision of my life - to put my darling best friend to sleep, to put him out of his misery."

    this post was heartbreaking and wonderfully written, sorry for the loss of your beloved.

    but, why do we as people feel that we have the 'right' to put an creature "out of it's misery" as we so often do with our pets... it's terribly sad.

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  39. I cried so terribly much when I read this.

    We just put our dog of 16 years down this past Tuesday, so I know exactly what you must be going through. I keep thinking I hear her and see her...I even mechanically avoid pee puddles that aren't really there because I'd become so adjusted to cleaning up after her failing kidneys.

    I miss and love my friend very, very much. She was a desperately loving companion to my family and myself, and she'll never be forgotten.

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  40. I cried reading this. Im so sorry <3 I can´t help thinking about my cat who is a bit overweight. I hope he won´t suffer from pain due to it. Relationships to pets really are something special, they are always there for you.

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  41. this made me cry. i had to make the decision to put my dog down too as he was really suffering and i remember watching him go..it's been 2 years but i still miss him dearly

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  42. I once heard a beautiful saying that goes something like this, "A dog is man's best friend for ten or so years. A man is a dog's most important thing in his entire lifetime of ten or so years."

    I have a puppy who is 16 going on 17 and as much as I don't want to admit it, I know "that day" will eventually come. Though my dog has lost his sight and hearing, every night before I go to sleep I whisper in his ears "I love you." I know he can still hear me through his heart.

    Stay strong! I am sure your baby is in heaven wagging his tail, thanking you for loving him unconditionally and providing him with a beautiful life.

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  43. OMG this story made me cry! i just can say that your lovely puppy is ina better place and isnot suffering anymore! RIP

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  44. I don't know how I wound up on your page... maybe it was fate. But thank you for posting this. I too am an only child, and your story almost replicates mine with my own dog. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, and it has almost been 4 months ago since we put mine down. Lately though I have deprived myself from sleep every night crying myself to sleep because I miss him. He got me through a hard childhood and I don't know if I would even be here if it wasn't for him. It is the hardest thing you may have had to do in your life, and I want you to know that you aren't alone. Thank you for making me feel that. Its hard and I hope with all my heart that this will get easier for you. With love and care, mandy.

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  45. god this made me cry.

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  46. aww this made me cry :( I thought about my dog and how much I miss him even after 2 years of letting him go too...

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  47. THE ONLY LE-LOVE POST THAT EVER MADE ME CRY...

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  48. this was so sad to read, and now i'm sitting here crying, but with my dog at my feet. i know all to well how you feel, i've lost animals before. i've always loved animals almost more than people, and my now 8 year old dog is my best friend. i always check that he's breathing when he lies on the floor, sleeping. and i don't know how i'll ever survive without him, though i know that the day will come eventually. i wish you the best of luck with gaining another animal-friend in the future, and i'm sure he had a wonderful life with you. dogs don't expect much but they still give everything.

    hugs from ylva and bianco, the lagotto.

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    www.khan-diggit.blogspot.com

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  50. Personally i'm not a blubber, in fact i don't cry at anything. After seeing the picture of your happy cocker spaniel, I had to read the story, as I have two cocker spaniels myself. By the end you had me in sheds of tears, it's a really touching story and losing an animal is like losing a member of the family. Please continue to write in such an emotive manner, and I hope your loss eases slightly soon.

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  51. Ohh this has me crying so much. My darling Jessie died 2 years ago and I still sometimes cry from missing her. She was my best friend for all of my school life, 13 years. And when we had to put her down I felt guilty for spending so much wasted time on the internet than with her in her last few weeks.

    However I don't feel guilty for putting her down. She had the same thing your gorgeous dog Valentine, arthirits and an enlargened heart, as well as cancer. And though she would have left us herself later that day or the next we couldnt bear to see her in so much pain for any longer.

    I hope now that a week has passed that the shock has worn off a little and that you don't hear the sounds of what could have been Valentine anymore (I remember those being so hard).
    Lots of love - Simone

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  52. I am in 9th Grade, and have never lost a dog before. I have an 8 going on 9 year old dog that we have had since before I started kindergarten. About 6 months ago, we got a new dog, a lively 1 year old. It never really registered, until we brought him home, that my 8 year old dog really is getting older. These 8 years have gone by so fast, and I know that however long he has left will go by fast too. I am dreading when the time comes where all I want to do is turn back the clock. Thank you for reminding me even further to make the most of every moment we have together. As soon as I am done posting this I am going to go upstairs and give my dog a long hug and be thankful that I have him now.

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  53. my dog, my best friend and my childhood died tomorrow in the age of 11 because of newgrowth in it`s head.
    I can`t stop crying because of your and my stories.

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  54. its 7am and i just woke up and read this, and now im bawling my eyes out as my Princess sits beside me. it's only been a year with her and i could never imagine losing her. she has always been my loyal bestfriend. when my boyfriend picks me up from work, i smile but not really laugh entirely. when i get home to my princess, even after a hard day's work, for some strange reason i feel my spirits are uplifted. i would smile and laugh with her. play a little fetch, and even when im already starving, i would fix her a little dinner first before myself :)

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  55. This is the only post on Le Love that i've ever cried while reading. I'm sorry for your loss :(

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  56. gosh...its so sad...i cried so hart when i read this..remindes of my dog which died 2 years ago..he was 14..
    i know how you feel :(

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  57. What a beautiful posting. I completely relate to what you went through. Approximately a year ago I lost my puppy after having him for 17 years. I got him when I was in the sixth grade and I believe his spirit was supposed to be with mine. I remember that Sunday afternoon when he breathed his last breath. I still miss him to this day. He had a beautiful, loving, passive spirit. he would love hurt a fly. He was a cockerspaniel and looks so much like your dog in the photo you posted. Every day I try to carry my dog's spirit with me. I hope to have some of his spirit because he was so special. I miss him.

    Warm Regards,
    Stefanie

    http://realbeauty-realbeauty.blogspot.com/

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  58. I have gone through this as well, and it is so hard because, at the end of the day, a pet is a definitive member of the family. This is the conflict of having a pet; they bring so much love and joy, yet their life spand is so unfairly short. Thank you for sharing your emotional story - it has clearly struck a chord with all of us.

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  59. Thanks so much for your article, quite helpful material.

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  60. This can't work in reality, that's what I think.

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  62. We should be ashamed at all remaining aspects of permitted animal cruelty in our mainly civilized countries. Historically, however, things do gradually change for the better. One tiny local example of this was when, in 2004, the law in Britain was changed so that people were no longer permitted to set dogs onto deer, hares and foxes etc so that these animals could be literally torn apart. Those activities were in a similar league to cock fighting and dog fighting and no one would seek to justify bringing those back – or wouldn’t they in a world where people still go to cheer watching bulls being tortured to death. Looking for large dog breeds for families Wondering what large dog breeds are good with kids or would be good for apartments Find out here A complete list of large dog breeds

    ReplyDelete

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