When Your Dog Dies 

There comes a time when the inevitable will occur, your dog or cat has died, or you have to put them down.  You knew the time was coming; you could see it in their eyes.  Your pet’s health was diminishing, and it was becoming frighteningly clear what had to be done.  Do you keep giving them medicine to prolong your best friend or let nature take its course? These are questions only you can answer.  If your pet could talk, I’m sure they would tell you what an incredible life they have had and that it was their time to go.  Be confident in your decisions and smile for the life and love you provided them and vice versa.  It is one of the hardest and most responsible decisions you will have to make in your life. Your best friend, soul mate, loyal confidant, has lived a long but all too ephemeral life and was suffering from old age and their vital signs were failing.  With their alacritous eyes dimmed, your pet doesn’t want or deserve to live without their dignity, respect, and health.

As the “godfather” and in the wills of dozens of the dogs and cats that I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting throughout this truly wonderful career as a Miami dog trainer, behaviorist and pet care provider, I still weep like a child when I hear that one of my client’s dogs or cats, shelter dogs or cats, has passed or had to be put down.

How to Overcome Grief and Sadness

The only solace and fortified strength that gets my clients and me through these tough times are remembering the beautiful moments shared together, all of the smiles and experiences you have had and reflecting on how enriched their pet’s life was, by being together, side by side, to take in the world.  Yes, their body may be gone, but your dog or cat never left you in spirit, heart or soul.  They have left an ineradicable mark on your life. Even to this day, I can feel the presence throughout the day of countless pets I had when I was a child and every shelter dog or cat, foster dog or cat, stray dog or cat or client’s dog or cat that I have the pleasure of experiencing life with.  Life would not be the same without the animals and pets that inhabit our planet earth and that we luckily get to share our lives with.  I get lost in the eyes of a dog or cat when I am working intensely with them; the connection is palpable, the feeling as strong as ever and the closeness and bond unbreakable.  Words don’t do “love” justice, I am just not talented enough a writer to opine about the intricacies and nuances of the most incredible feelings one can experience as a human being on this planet.  Although the prose inadequate, when you feel and experience this love, you know it!

It really is a pleasure beyond words, as every interaction with a sentient, sacrosanct being is, and reminds us of why we are alive and what it is like to be present, aware and in the moment with no other cares in the world, carpe diem.  A connection with your pup or cat is like none other.  Their vivacious, visceral, verve for life is reinvigorating, refreshing and draws you into “living.”  Pets ameliorate our lives and bless our homes.  Transcending the good times and the bad just like in any relationship and time and time again they are by your side and there for you, every time in good spirits and making you smile and remember that life is too short, just smile, live and love.

Your home may seem empty now, the vestige of your pet’s physicality gone but your heart and life are full of love and warmth that you shared together and felt throughout the years.  Console with other dog owners and people who understand what you are going through.  Compassion breads health and healing.  Don’t be afraid to cry, let it out, as crying is natural and helpful to many.

This article is in memory of “Onion” who was a wonderful big Black Labrador Retriever that had a lust for life, people, and food, like no other. Onion and all the other dogs and cats in this world need humans as much as we need them. Don’t let dogs and cats down, when the time is right, and you have healed from your loss, go celebrate life again and learn what it means to be alive with another incredible connection, your dog or cat wouldn’t have it any other way.  Rest in Peace to Onion and all of our pets that have passed away and left an indelible mark on our hearts and lives.

And remember when the time comes, adopt and rescue, don’t shop.

When your dog dies