Country Living Series

Monday, August 3, 2015

Goodbye Major

It's been a sad weekend for us. Today Don brought our old black lab/hound mix, Major, to the vet to be euthanized.


Major came into our lives ten years ago as a pound rescue. We were told he was about two years old, though of course no one knew his actual age. As the years went by it became apparent he was well over two, probably more like six years old when we first got him... so he was quite the senior citizen.


In the last few years, of course, he's declined in mobility, but he was always a dog who enjoyed his creature comforts. Early on in our ownership of him, we couldn't keep him off the couch; so we covered it with a sheet and it became "Major's couch." His couch is in the same room as the woodstove, which is a good thing because if there's one thing this dog loved, especially in the winter, it's heat. Sometimes he would literally wrap himself around the stove and sigh contentedly.


When we got Lydia, Major was top dog at first... but with Lydia's dominant personality, he got demoted to second lieutenant. But that was okay. As long as he had his couch and his woodstove, he was a happy canine. And in the yard, the dogs were great friends and often played together.


Almost three years ago we almost lost him due to a horrible infection on his head; but with some antibiotics, he healed up and stayed with us a lot longer than we anticipated. In fact, we called him our Energizer Bunny because he kept going, and going, and going...


On Saturday evening, Don let Major into the yard before bedtime to do his business; but something happened to his back legs, and suddenly they wouldn't support him any more. Don put a water bowl nearby and left him there for the night (which was probably a relief, as it's been terribly hot and the nighttime was cool and lovely).


Sunday morning, unable to move his hefty weight, we shifted him into our hay sled and brought him into the house where he sighed with contentment and slumbered for the day. Toward evening he whined to got outside -- he hadn't lost control of his bladder -- so we reloaded him in the sled and pulled him outside. Again he spent the night on the cool grass.

This morning Don and I put the camper shell on the back of the truck, loaded the sled in back, and Don drove him to the vet for a gentle exit to his life. As it is, we probably let him go for too long, but you know how it is with pets.

Lydia, sensing our mood, has been worried and apprehensive. As Don drove off, I took her for a short walk to distract her. Back home, she sniffed intently in the yard where Major spent the night. Clearly she knows something's up, but hasn't figured it out.


It's hard to lose a pet. Goodbye, Major. Thank you for many happy years.

50 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I am going to have to go through it myself soon. We have a cat that is about 16 years old and failing. She could no longer take our summer heat so a week ago I mover her into my air conditioned shop. It has remained at 76 degrees as that is where all of our food storage is located. She is doing much better but is still shaky and will have to go to sleep soon. I am dreading it as she is a rescue that someone dumped at the plant where I worked and I took her home. She became quite loving as I think she was on deaths door when I got her and I think she knew it. Doesn't make it any easier!

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  2. I have had to make this tough decision 3 times and it never gets easier. Words are not adequate to express the love, loss and memories shared with a beloved pet. Just know, that your heart is big enough to let another pet in to share your life. They can never replace, nor should that ever be expected, but they bring love and healing like nothing else can. I am reminded of a quote that I believe was credited to Will Rogers. "If dogs don't go to Heaven, then I want to go where they go. Rest in Peace Major.

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  3. So sorry for your loss. Our pets are our kids since we do not have any human kids.

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  4. Oh Patrice. I am so sorry. Losing pets is difficult. I will say a prayer for you and yours.

    Ouida Gabriel

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  5. So, so sorry for your loss. Bless you as you go through this.

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  6. Sorry for your loss. I truly am.

    I have had to go through this 3 times myself, last time just 6 weeks ago. My 18 y/o cat went blind and deaf almost at the same time. He was terrified...the process was kind and gentle for him...if there is a cat/dog heaven he's there.

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  7. Patrice,
    It's not easy to have to put an animal down, especially one so dear to your heart. An animal will let you know with a particular look when it's time to say good bye. Major will rest in peace.

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  8. Aw.

    I'm sorry to hear of major's passing. He had a very long and good life, and was a very good old puppity.

    When it comes your time he'll be waiting for you on the rainbow bridge, and he'll never leave your side in Heaven.

    God bless.

    A. McSp.

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  9. I am so sorry for your loss.
    It really helps the dogs left behind NOT to distract them, and ideally to let them see the body of their deceased friend. They understand death and usually get over the loss more quickly than if the animal just "disappears."

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  10. We lost our 13 yr old lab mix rescue to a similar affliction back in January. For the last few days I had to wrap her ind in a towel and cary her out. Then I needed to enlist help to get her front legs lifted the same way. We had a vet come to the house rather than try and get her into and back out of a car - she was not good about vets offices, hated them.

    It sure is remarkable how much it hurts to lose them. There'll be no where near as much wailing from the females when I go, that's fersure.

    Sincerest sympathies.

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  11. Oh Patrice, Don and your daughters. I, too, feel your pain of losing a beloved pet. Just last Friday, we made our way to the vets to say goodbye to our sweet girl, "Missy" aka Melissa Victoria Mousetrap. She was a beautiful little kitty both inside and out. She came to us 8 years ago, and we too never knew her age. She filled our lives with love and laughter and all the cuddling we could ask for. She is on the kitty side of the bridge in heaven now and watching Major enjoying the time until we meet our "loved forever and never forgotten" four legged family members. RIP Major. sincerely, Kathy in Maine

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  12. Sounds like Major had a wonderful life. And I'd say you picked the right day to go to the vet.

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  13. Sorry to hear about Major, Patrice. It's always difficult to lose a member of the family, as that's what I've always considered my pets to be. I currently have a 17 year old tomcat named Big Mac, have had him since he was a kitten. Fortunately, besides a cataract blinding one eye, he's in good health and still active. I know he probably won't last too many more years, and I don't look forward to the day when I'm without him. I live alone and he's my only companion. He helps to make my house a home to me.

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  14. Really sorry to hear about Major. We had to euthanize one of ours last year. I still miss having her around. Deepest sympathies.

    Southern Gal

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  15. One day after our mixed breed, Tar Baby, had died, my husband came home with a mixed Lab, who became known as Bo Bo. He had his own chair and loved lying by the stove. We knew he was really slowing, so an appointment was scheduled for the next day. He died the night before, in front of the stove. We have another mixed breed, Mocha, an indication of her color.

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  16. Sorry to hear and my sympathies Patrice. Our pets fill parts of our souls than no-one else can.

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  17. The final act of love to a beloved pet is to give them a painless, humane and dignified passage to doggy heaven.

    Carl in the UP

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  18. So sorry to read this news. I remember reading your post about Major's infection years ago and being so glad he recovered well. You gave Major a beautiful life and he surely added joy to yours.

    As some in my circle say, "Good dog, Major. That'll do."

    Heart with you and prayers for you all.

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  19. I'm very sorry for your loss. There is NO truer friend than a dog.

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  20. Sorry to hear about your loss of Major. A prayer for you and Don tonight--ken

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  21. So long Old Bud. Rest in peace.

    Huggs..

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  22. Oh no. Major. Such a good boy. I can see him spending his senior years snuggled by the fire, taking it easy. Ahhh. Heavy sigh. Nodding off to sleep. Such a life. All possible because of his humans taking good care of him. All dogs should be so lucky.

    And all humans, too.

    Just Me

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  23. To say I'm sad for your loss would be an understatement. My wife and I love black labs. Over the past 40 years we have had 9 dogs, 7 of them were black labs. Every time we lose one of our dogs it breaks our hearts. They are like family. We trained them all to obey, behave, not jump on anyone and to stay off the furniture. Our friends and neighbors are astounded at how calm and well-behaved they all are. (We followed the teachings of Paul Loeb and Caesar Milan.) Currently we have 3 dogs, but the oldest is 15 and we don't think she'll be around much longer. They have their own room and their own bed. They are very happy with those arrangements! --Fred in AZ

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  24. Patrice - i have sent this post to many friends when their pets have passed. it was written by my friend, my Uncle Gerald, and it has brought comfort to many people, including me. have a look:

    http://thelastrobin.blogspot.ca/2009/12/our-dogs-and-cats-alive-again.html

    it will probably make you cry, but the crying will be tears of joy!

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  25. Oh Patrice, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It is indeed a heartwrenching thing to go through. Blessings to you all, Kat

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  26. I am so sorry. As the "parent" of 2 furry friends, I too, realize how much they become family. Had to put one of my former dogs down due to COPD, and we waited longer than we should have as well - hard decision. Love and prayers to you. Lynne in MN

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  27. So very sorry for your loss. I know how you feel and it hurts. Especially with dog you had so long. We had our Rocky 15 yrs after rescuing him. He was a sweet dog all his life and then we had a Duke our Gentle Giant Great dane only 5 yrs he left too soon as they all do. The love give is unmeasurable and joy for life , they are worth every second.

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  28. So sorry for your loss.

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  29. So sorry for your loss.

    Don't beat yourself up for waiting. It's a very, very difficult (both emotionally and in terms of judgment) to make. Heaven knows I was grateful, two summers ago, when our old orange tabby cat made the call for me by laying down for a nap in a patch of sunshine and not getting back up again. I was going to call the vet that afternoon.

    You hate for them to suffer, but then it seems a terrible presumption and usurpation to rush these things...

    Hugs and prayers.

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  30. I saw this poem at a vet's office one day:

    It came to me that everytime I loose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them,

    And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart.

    If I live long enough, all the components of my heart with be dog and I will become as generous and loving as they are.

    Take care,

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    1. That is beautiful .
      Sidetrack Susie

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  31. Hugs and prayers to you and your family. We have been through the same situation several times as well, and understand all too well. I like the poem Anonymous posted.

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  32. My prayers are with you Mrs. Lewis. Losing a family member that loves unconditionally, like dogs do, is supremely difficult. I'll pray that your family finds peace in knowing that Major is in a happy place now, just as he was in your home.

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  33. Our prayers are with you, we have in the past lost fur babies, and are nearing a time when our oldest dog is also going to have to go to heaven. We will keep you all in our prayers.

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  34. It's the worst part of having animals and also an inevitable one: they do not have very long lives. I had a similar situation with my Labrador a couple of years ago--she broke her hip. After euthanizing her, looking at videos and pictures I had taken it was obvious she was in steep decline before then. I don't think I waited too long, however, and I don't think you did, either. Dogs look at life differently and when you spend every day with one, you know when it's time.

    It's not a happy event, but it's one you have to do. We try our best to give them good lives and we owe it to them to give them good deaths.

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  35. Sorry for your loss, he was a part of your family! It is hard to see them in pain. We have a black lab who is living out his last summer with us, having hip problems too. It is never easy to let them go, but take solace that the pain is gone :(

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  36. Patrice,

    I am saddened to hear of Major's passing and mourn with you and your family. May the fond memories of Major being a family member warm your families' heart for the rest of your life.

    I know it is hard to be away in school when this happens, so extra prayers for eldest daughter, here in Ohio.

    God Bless,
    Steve Blow
    Morrow, Oh

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  37. Oh dear, I'm so sorry for your loss!

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  38. Sorry, I have a similar experience, it is difficult losing them, but they truly love being with us.

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  39. Major looks just like our Blackberry...she is 14 . we just lost our other mixed Lab ,Jesse a month ago in an accident , he was about 14 also....a rescue. They are wonderful animals , so sorry for your family
    .We just had to decide on surgery for Blackberry's enormous tumors all over , being nearly blind and totally deaf ..and 14 ..it was a hard call to make. The vet says she MAY have another year in her.. although she acts younger than her years, the vet has never see a Lab live past 15..right now she looks as though we got her a tummy tuck and face lift ....but I am sure within a year or so we also will have another difficult decision to be made.Karen

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  40. I'm so sorry, it's hard, especially with a pet. Now there will be an empty spot next to the fire stove that will need filling.
    Prayers for the family.

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  41. God sends them and He calls them home. Rest easy, Major.
    Two weeks ago, I had reason to discuss end of life decisions with my oldest son, stating my wishes to which my son replied he would want to tell the doctors to do whatever possible to keep me alive. I assured him I loved him and the other kids but to let me go as I was going to the best place to be with Father and other loved ones. In my mind I also saw my four legged loved ones.
    I've been out of state with my soon to be 86 yo dad in ICU from what started out as a sinus infection. A vibrant healthy active man. Even though all my brothers are here, I felt alone and prayed to God to help me with what was happening.
    The next morning there was mewing at my camper door at 0600. I opened it and the wild stray half grown kitten that had been darting about the last 12 days came in and made herself at home, would not stop rubbing and purring. Thank you, Father, for the 5 lbs of happiness (pregnant of course) that you sent for me to hold and cry into. She wipes my tears so softly
    God sends them and He calls them home. We learn from them about what is important. We are retired and another mouth and vet bills are not in the budget. We will certainly make it work though.
    Praying for you at this painful time. You helped Major heed the final call and were a blessing to him by doing so.
    Sidetracksusie

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  42. So sorry to hear of Major's passing. I know he was a beloved member of the family.

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  43. Blessings and sweet thoughts from one rescue mom to another.

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  44. http://www.petloss.com/poems/maingrp/dogspryr.htm

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  45. So sorry for your loss of Major...

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  46. To your entire family, I am so sorry. Over the years we have said goodbye to many furry friends. Some just disappeared, some died and some we have had to have the vet put down. Sometimes I think those may be the hardest. But we love all our animals, they are family to us and things never see quite the same, whether its people or critters. But God knows and sees all things. He knows your sorrow and your kindness to Major. May He bless all of you.

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  47. So sorry for your loss.y mother always reminded us that " IF it wernt for us making them part of our family they would on had none, if it wernt for us loving then they would of had no love or pets or scratching behind the ears and mo matter how short or how long their lives were with us they were happy to the very end!"

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