Of Dying Dogs

I’ll just get this straight up front – this is not a sappy tribute to our recently departed dog.  Dexter was indeed an awesome dog, and we got him when he was a puppy:


Although most folks would remember him in his natural habitat:


He lived 10 years, which was several years beyond our expectations (Cavaliers are not the hardiest of breeds), and he had a good run.  In the end, euthanasia was the best choice as cancer made him increasingly uncomfortable.  I have no regrets.

What did surprise me, and I have thought several times since that “I wish I knew that ahead of time,” was the actual euthanasia process at the vet’s office.  We have awesome vets.  Those guys are willing to do anything it takes to fix an injured animal, but totally understanding if you don’t plan on taking heroic measures.  They’ve been our vets for nearly ten years now.  This was the first time I had ever put an animal to sleep, and I should have asked more questions.  In my mind, I equated the process to pre-surgery anesthesia, which can be somewhat slow.  I expected to be there for some time as the process worked itself through, and that’s how I prepared emotionally.

In the end, there were two things I wish I had known ahead of time:

  1. It’s fast.  I mean really fast.  The syringe goes in, the pink goo is injected, and 5 seconds later it’s done.  This is probably a good thing for suffering animals.
  2. The eyes don’t close.  The doctor checked for a heartbeat and said “it’s done.”  I looked down, and Dexter’s eyes were still open.  Apparently, you can close them and they’ll pop back open.  That’s not a huge deal, but I wish I had know that ahead of time too.

Anyway, it’s not my intent to lay out some sob story about my dog.  I just like to be prepared for stuff (I think it’s a holdover from Boy Scouts).  If you’re the same way, and facing a similar situation, at least now you’ll know what to expect.


4 thoughts on “Of Dying Dogs

  • Thomas Hagan

    Thank you for the pictures. I moved out of my parent’s house and missed the last year of my dog’s life. It’s nice to know that when they had her euthanized that it was quick and painless. I have not had a dog since then.

  • Oh Jay…I’m sorry about Dexter. I’m an unapologetic dog lover. This story breaks my heart, but it was the right call.

    Thanks for sharing. I hope I’m never in that situation with Harry, but if I am…I’ll know.

  • I’ve been under the same impression regarding the technicalities of the process. I had to put down two dear friends: one had a stroke, the other cancer of the jaw. A jawless dog, an honest option, is not going to be a happy dog, in my opinion. So, we made the tough call. Both are gone, but ne’er forgotten.

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