Saying Your Last Goodbye to a Friend

judah-bday

Last night I didn’t have the time to think about it, or take the time to really let it set in. This morning my heart aches as I sit in silence without my friend for the past 13 years next to my side. It is sad when you lose a pet, especially one that was a member of your family. It sucks even more when you are the one that had to make the decision.

Last night I couldn’t think about it because I am the dad, which means I had to play the role as a dad. My dad was a leader and would take care of situations like this to make them as painless on the family as possible. I knew that is what I had to do. I had to make the decision that it was time. I had to call the doctor, have the hole dug in the yard and then I had to bury him with my bare hands as the sun set on last day of his life. Last night I didn’t have time to ache, last night wasn’t the time to think about how much he was going to be missed. Today is different, today my eyes are swollen and my heart empty, like something very important was taken away.

Those who have lost a close pet understand what it is like. It is not like loosing a family member, it is different, it is more like loosing a piece of your self.

Judah was my dog for almost 13 years. He was my first dog and the first edition to our family. When Lyndsey and I met him I was still in my twenties, young, eager and intent to conquer the world. Now I am a father in my forties with gray hair and young children. These days I don’t dream about conquering the world as much as I do providing for my family. We were together during the prime years of our lives. Judah was not just a pet; he was a critical part of my life and a part of who I am.

He wasn’t really a good dog, as a matter fact he was more mischievous than anything else. He would eat you out of house and home if you gave him an inch. If you didn’t make sure every cabinet was locked, the trash was stowed away in a closet and all guests removed food or drugs from their belongings, he would find whatever he deemed edible and help himself to it when no body was around. This obsession for food interfered with his good judgment, often causing him to get into trouble. Just because he wasn’t a good dog, does not mean that he wasn’t a great friend and teacher. He was as loyal as they come and dealing with his obsessive personality helped prepare me for what it was going to be like to deal with young children.

I would have to think that Judah lived a better life than most people that I know. He spent most of his youth and adulthood as a beach dog in San Diego, California taking daily walks to the beach and dog park. He got to spend a little time in a downtown urban setting as a shop dog meeting new people and going to shows. Then he spent his retirement years in a tropical beach town with no fences, leashes or rules. He got to live in pure k9 anarchy with walks on the beach anytime he wanted and the freedom to scavenge for food as much as he pleased.

The last year really began to take a tole on him and you could really see the signs of aging began to kick in. The past few months and weeks it began to become more and more obvious that the problems that he was having weren’t going to go away. The last week was the hardest as he struggled to breathe and do basic things like stand up or move around. This didn’t stop him from trying to take a daily stroll down to the water for an evening swim, or a scavenger hunt through the neighbors yards to see if they left any trash out; however, you could tell that these tasks took almost everything out of him. On Thursday things continued to take a turn for the worse and we knew that we had to help out in any way that we could.

Last night Lyndsey took the kids out to eat and I stayed at home and sat with my friend as he struggled to breath and yelp though his pain. At this point he couldn’t stand anymore so we sat with his head in my lap and we reminisced about the great life we had together. We shared about the friends we made, the places we had been and the adventures we experienced together.

He was there when I opened my businesses and he was there when I brought my kids home from the hospital as newborns. He was there every day with me at work and by my side on every vacation. But most importantly he was there every day in the wee hours of the morning when most normal people are still asleep, welcoming me into a new day excited for whatever adventure it might bring us.

We talked and cried together until the doctor showed up. With Lyndsey coming home shortly with the kids I knew that I didn’t have time to spare. I held his head in my lap while the Doctor did his procedure to help him out of his pain. I did have to leave the room before the final injection to maintain my composer as I could tell I was slowly loosing my grip in the roll as a strong dad.

Now I sit here in the wee hours of the morning and feel alone. Soon the little ones will be up and I will need to sit them down and tell them what happened. I know my friend is no longer in pain but it doesn’t take away from the fact that sometimes it just sucks being the dad.

One thought on “Saying Your Last Goodbye to a Friend

  1. My beloved dog Karma passed away about a year and half ago and the pain is still real and still very deep. She was such an intricate part not only of our physical livelihood but also of our emotional stability. Im still mourning her seath. It was particularly difficult bc she was in the prime of her life a 4 yrs old and her death came suddenly shicjibfly and painfully. To see her in agony was more than I could ever bear and while I knew we were justified in our decision it was an excruciating one to make and still leaves us wondering if there was some way we could have saved her had we seem earlier signs. Just like Judah, Karma was special and not just to us but to everyone who met her. was a kind soul and a my shining star. I feel compelled to admit her death was more painful than many other deaths of people I had experienced in the past because of her eclectic soul her beautiful energy and her kindness to others; all of which she taught us and made us better people. The void is so apparent and haunts me daily but I know she would definitely want us to move on and adopt another pup similar to her which we’ll do. But nothing will ever compare to the love and adoration we had for Karma. Rest in peace my sweet baby girl 2/13/17. I will always love you and hold you close to my heart.💜

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