Death of A Pet…

Being on a farm we experience a lot of death. The old saying if you have livestock you have deadstock really runs true and even though it’s not ideal and you hate to lose an animal you somehow become immune to it. But what happens when that animal is one of your pets? All of a sudden that immunity is challenged and the armor you put on daily to combat loss crashes to the ground.

Today, I had to say goodbye to one of my pups. A few months back she got very ill, one day she was running the fence like a crazy thing chasing the buggy like all the big dogs do and the next day she was on deaths door. After a very expensive week in hospital she was diagnosed with an auto immune disorder. Her prognosis wasn’t great but she had a fighting chance of overcoming it with medication and care. Within a week she was well but her meds would continue for the next 6 weeks. We were so relieved and life went back to normal. Now bear in mind I have 17 dogs, working dogs, mostly used for cattle work but also they are our family. Some would think if one gets crook and dies then you have plenty more, but here’s the thing, each of those dogs has their own personality, they are their own entity and when you lose one you lose a whole individual, so losing one is as great as if you only had 2 dogs. Well 2 days ago, Xena got very ill again and this time she went downhill fast, it was a public holiday plus a weekend so no vets available until today. I left her at the vet to get her blood work done and was expecting to pick her up this afternoon and take her home with a myriad of tablets. The vet came out and said we need to have a chat…this can’t be good and my stomach started to get that nervous flutter when you are about to get bad news. Her blood work came back with a tonne of problems, her immune disorder had gotten worse and the inflammation in her joints had spread to her neck, something was also going on with her blood cells, which the vet did explain but I couldn’t quite grasp, and then she had developed other auto immune issues. She was very sick and in a lot of pain. The vet told me this was a big problem and he couldn’t fix her, they could maintain her with a cocktail of heavy drugs every month, but those drugs would pose their own problems for her and the side effects were not great. So while fixing one thing I would be making her suffer another, the choices I had were total crap! I had to make the decision of what was best for her and the vet agreed that we needed to euthanize her. I tried to be tough and not cry but the tears started to roll as I signed the form for her death. I cried all the way home, and all afternoon, the loss you feel when a pet dies is terrible. I got home and the 15 other dogs we have in our yard all greeted me happy and barking and smiling and I just couldn’t deal with it all until I had calmed down.

I know I did the right thing for her, I couldn’t let her continue with the pain she was in, and the sickness she felt, just so I didn’t have to deal with the grief. Sometimes we just have to be brave and do the hard things, because sometimes the hard things are the best course of action.


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