Losing a Pet

My family and I got a puppy 4 years ago for Christmas. It was a huge decision since I was afraid of dogs at the time and we had 4 children. Our kids kept asking so we decided to get one while they were young so they could help take care of it.
Fast forward 4 years. Getting that puppy was the best decision we ever made. Our dog, Sweetie, bonded our family. She made us more active outside {hikes, runs and walks}, she showed our kids how to take care of something, how to be responsible and to love.
Sweetie gave us a sense of safety and security and she helped me get over my fear of dogs. She was such an active dog, but lately I noticed she wasn’t herself so I brought her into the Vet. We were told her glands were so big and probably had lymphoma. The test was sent to the lab and 3 days later we found out the horrible news. Sweetie was in the last stage of lymphoma cancer and there was nothing we could do. We made the decision that was best for Sweetie; to put her down. This was our families first real pet.  We did not know how to deal with this. I can totally say that Sweetie was a part of our family. We loved her, brought her on trips and took care of her. The fact that she was only 4 years old and suffering was an added hardship on all of us. We always thought we would have her until our kids were in college.  We put Sweetie down last week. Because it is so fresh and the emotions are still raw, I have a few things that helped our family cope with this tragedy.
1. Tell your kids individually what is going on with your pet and the plans that will happen. Each child is so individual with the way they cope. Some of my kids cried and cried and we just hugged them. Some of my kids had a lot of questions and wanted to talk about it.
My husband took each child into our room and told them about Sweetie and it was a good bonding moment for that child and us as parents.
2. Ask  the Vet as many questions as you have. I have never been through this before so I just talked to the vet about the procedure and what our part was in it. She told me that the best way to show our dog we loved her was to stay with her until the end so she didn’t
feel lonely. As difficult as this was to lay right beside Sweetie as she passed, I was happy that she had people who loved her down to the last second of her life. I hope she felt our love for her.
3. Make a movie of all of the videos and pictures you have of your dog and the family. The day before we were going to take Sweetie into the Vet, I knew this would help us heal so I spent some time on iMovie putting together all of the pictures and video clips we had
of our family with Sweetie. When the kids all came home from school and wanted to know how Sweetie did we talked to them about how she wasn’t in any more pain and then showed them the video. They were crying at the end and we just had a family hug. It helped all of us to remember the good times we had with Sweetie. Don’t forget to take pictures of your pet so you can always remember them.
4. We watched, ” A dogs Purpose” that night at the movie theater as a family. Some say this would be too hard, but for us, it was therapeutic. On the way to the movie theater and on the way home, we each told our favorite Sweetie stories and memories. The movie was
all about loving dogs and how each dog has a purpose. We each talked about what purpose Sweetie had for each of us.
5. My husband ordered a stone that said SWEETIE 2012-2017 and we will be putting it in our back yard by Sweeties favorite tree. We don’t want to forget the memories we had with her. This will help the kids remember her.
6. This was so new to us, and I had no idea I was going to be as emotional as I was, but having people call, text and comment on social media helped me a lot! I never knew how hard it was for people to lose a dog so from now on when someone I know loses a
cherished pet, I will be sensitive and loving. You can’t understand how hard it is until you have to go through it.

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