First, I want to thank you and Jack for somehow coming into my life this summer though now I believe it was all by Design and a gift from my Toula. You have helped me tremendously and I am finally finding peace that I haven't known since my Toula passed on 11/26/20.
I am however hung up on 2 things. I am a Greek Orthodox Christian and I feel as though I have sinned. First in taking the life of another living creature (I. E. Toula's euthanasia decision) and second in her cremation, (I. E. Destroying God's temple). How do I get past these things to continue my healing?
Those rules were written a long time ago before we had euthanasia and pet cremation. Things can change over 100's of years.
#1) If you looked at the situation from the eyes of God, you would not want a creature to suffer unnecessarily when it can be brought peace.
#2) God's temple is only our body as long as our spirit lives in our body. So at the time of cremation, it was no longer Toula's "temple". Toula vacated the moment she passed and she went straight to God, her spirit joining with His.
I hope this helps somehow. I know religion can run deep but I do not see any sin anywhere. I see only love and compassion and those are the things that God values most in His people.
Love, Jack 🐾
This is one of the many things your pets come to teach. Many of you have found out who your truest friends are as you work through your grief. Who can you turn to? Are you surprised who is there? Are you surprised who is not? One of the things we teach you in our departure is to open your eyes to see Who Is Really There for you. Who loves and supports you through it all? This is a true friend. Meanwhile, we still love you from the other side with a love that never dies.
Love, Jack 🐾
Note from Kate:
I didn't want another dog after Jack. But I had Joey who became quite the handful (!) after Jack passed. There was a time in my early grief I thought of giving up Joey. I was in so much pain! When I realized it was the complications of grief that made me want to give up Joey I got myself on a new path. It was worth the ride. Keep your heart and mind open and try not to make irreversible decisions when you are going through the stages of grief. Once you ultimately accept your loss, you can make better decisions for yourself and for the ones you love.
How? How do I stay with something when I want to leave? How?
How do I let go of something when I don't want it to go?
Does it really matter what breed my dog is? Isn’t every dog, cat, pet just love? Isn’t that all that really matters? Isn’t that what you tell us? Not to label, that love is all that matters?
Does it really matter what I was? She always said it didn't. I was advertised as a Collie-Poo and that's what she came to accept. If it was any different than that, she said it didn't matter. She loved me no matter what I was. She loved me.
They said my mother was a Bearded Collie. They said my father was a Standard Poodle. Some people would argue with her. "No," they'd say, "I can tell he has Afghan Hound in him from the curl in his tail... the length of his hair."
"It doesn't matter," she would reply, "Whatever he is, I love him."
But it turns out that it did matter. Genetic inheritance cannot be denied in humans or in pets. One day she took me to the vet when I was about five years old. I had a small tumor growing on my eyelid that was bothering me. They scheduled surgery with general anesthesia to remove it.
"Come back for him at 1 p.m," they said.
At noon they called. "We've had a delay. Come back for him at 5 p.m."
Eagerly she went to pick me up at 5. They had to tell her what happened.
"He must have sighthound in him," they said. "He is definitely an Afghan Hound."
Sighthounds are a certain group of dogs who have keen eyesight because of the way their eyes and noses are formed. In a puppy, the sense of smell develops first, but in a sighthound pup, the sense of sight comes first. The nose is long and thin and allows for a greater peripheral vision for hunting and targeting. This is one of the things that makes sighthounds unique. They also have lean forms and can run faster and longer than most other breeds.
Sighthounds metabolize medication differently than other breeds. This is in part due to a lower percentage of body fat. Sighthounds also have a unique liver function and cannot process drug substances as quickly as other breeds. It takes them longer to recover and it is part of good veterinary care to manage this.
I had a very bad reaction to the level of drugs they gave me. What started out as a routine surgery turned into an emergency. They almost lost me! But they didn't. They saved me and they documented in my permanent record that I am Afghan Hound; sighthound.
For under $100 you can order a Pet DNA testing kit. It may not matter to you what your dog is or how it came to be bred genetically through the years. As more and more people are adopting pets with unknown histories, it is not a bad idea to check it out. The more you know about breed-specific issues, the more empowered you are, the more you will be ready to handle them if and when they arise.
Tomorrow I'm sending my dog to Rainbow Bridge. I'm so hurt, confused, and guilty. Yesterday morning he could hardly walk. His arthritis is bad. Been on painkillers for years. He also has prostate cancer and a tumor on his adrenal gland...They gave him morphine at the vets. What a heartbreaking evening and night. He cried so much. Confused from the morphine. But today he is great. Walking playing eating. He hasn't been this way in days. I know it's because he's not in pain but it'll wear off. Is it worth giving him more morphine and putting him through nights like last night again just to keep him around? I don't know what to do....He's up every hour crying to go out to pee, difficulty pooing... Oh God, I guess I'm looking for someone to say it's time that I'm doing the right thing. This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life."
First of all, you can FEEL guilty, but YOU ARE NOT GUILTY. (Guilt is something the human mind created. Heaven does not know of such things). He has struggled for a very long time and weighing his quality of life with his pain and his condition is imperative. Do not hold him to you with your love because the love won't die when he does. You need to look at everything else that is going on. How would you feel if you were him?
It is such a hard decision but the loving thing to do is let him go. Our Grady suffered for several years with chronic pain and was deaf and blind. We made the appointment to put her to sleep on a Monday. Sunday night and Monday morning she was better than she had been in many months. We thought of it as a final gift for all of us. Later when it was over, we wished we had done it sooner for her. She was so at peace. You will see and you will know then that you did the right thing.
Remember, "It's Not Putting Me Down, It's Lifting Me Up". (Get your FREE copy of our little book here: https://BookHip.com/DCSAKN ) Wishing you strength between here and there. <3
…How many of us have watched someone we love suffer for too long? They have spent weeks, months, years, declining and then, right after we make the decision to let them go, they surprise us by having a really good day? It can knock us for a loop.
One night Grady pee-ed all over our bed. Our bed was also our "den," and any dog knows you don't dirty your den. This is how sick she was, to not be able to honor that. She was 14. She had been incontinent (and arthritic and going blind and deaf over the years). Kate said to her that night, "I can't keep doing this." Kate was so tired from cleaning up after her and carrying her everywhere. Nonetheless, she did it for another two years. It was all because she was waiting for God to call for Grady because she didn't want to have to make The Decision.
She ultimately contacted the vet and scheduled euthanization for Monday. Sunday night we all slept on the floor with Grady instead of bringing her up onto our bed like we always did. It was the first time in many nights that she didn't get up every hour. She slept the whole night through! She got up in the morning, went outside with me with a wag in her tail! She gave a playful little awkward jump when I teased her... and she ate all of her breakfast! We couldn't believe it. Our hearts were full.
It would be easy to second-guess whether we were doing the right thing, to move forward with the plans for the day. Maybe if we just slept on the floor with her every night she'd sleep through the night.... maybe this, maybe that, maybe, maybe, maybe...
Fortunately, our experience working with people on hospice reassured Kate. We had seen it over and over again in our therapy work. Many times people linger on their deathbeds; their breath is slowing, their feet are turning blue... and then all of a sudden one day, they rally back! Where they were confused they are now lucid. Those who were lethargic are miraculously alert and clear for the first time in a long time. They give us the impression that they are not dying after all! Oh everyone is so excited! They are clearly turning a corner and they will be well again! Our prayers have indeed been answered!
Then, in 12 or 24 or more hours, they pass peacefully. It is not this way for everyone, but this has happened often in Kate's thirty years of experience. It matters not the age or the condition or the setting. I think perhaps it is one final chance for the body to have its Swan Song. When we know we can never do something again that we've always done, we always want to do it one more time. Sometimes that's what the final day is for. It gives us a chance to have one more time around before we transform into something else.