Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pet Loss: Our Sweet Duchess

Yesterday, October 23rd my family lost a very important member.

Yesterday, may have just been the hardest day of my life.

Duchess came into my life when I still lived at home, still was in high school.

She was a young, vibrant, pain in the rear.

She loved to rip down blinds, get in the trash and make me cry because she wouldn't come in the house and you couldn't just leave her outside because she would jump the fence.

That was 11 1/2 years ago.

As she aged she became so much to me. I was never scared with her around, I had someone comfort me when I was sad, I had someone who accepted me for who I was, someone who loved me without ever expecting anything in return.

When I moved out to be on my own, she would spend the night with me and come for for sleep overs.

She helped me when I was young inexperienced Mother. She helped my daughter stand on her own and then walk on her own. She was so tolerant of 2 baby girls 6 years apart. Two little baby girls pulling out hair to stand, laying on her, being rough then they didn't know better yet, and she loved every minute of love she received.

She was always a beautiful, sweet soul.

In the past few years she became sick, she had a thyroid issue which caused her weight to drop rapidly. At the time we didn't know what it was, all we thought was cancer. We were so happy when it was her tyriod and it could be controlled with a daily pill. 

I had not seen her as much as I should have in the past couple of years, I am full of regret now.

She came to visit me about a month ago which was a heart breaking shock to me. It was the first time I saw her "old" , but she was still my sweet girl.

Last week my Mom called me to tell me, she thought it was time. That Duchess was not doing very well.

Duchess had canine degenerative myelopathy.

It had rapidly progressed Monday night, she was unable to walk at all. Her breathing had changed. Tuesday morning my Mom told me, it had to be today.

I have never cried so much in my life as I prepared to get ready to go to my Mom's home with my husband.

I was going to loose someone so important in my life. 

When we pulled up to my Mom's, I thought I would see Duchess on the porch waiting for me. But she was not there. She was in the house, laying on a blanket, breathing hard but still happy to see me. I was able to love her and be with her for an hour.

Until, it became time to leave to make the appointment time.

We prayed for strength, my husband was hardly able to talk through tears.

My Mom and husband struggled to carry Duchess so she would not be in pain. I watched my strong husband cry like I have never seen him before.  

Duchess struggled to be able to look out of the windows on one last car ride. My Mom just laid with her in the back of the Explorer until we got to the office.

We went in awhile my husband stayed with Duchess. It seemed like an eternity.

Then all to fast it all came at once.

The vet tech went and got my sweet girl. She was scared, I can't help but see the terrified look on her face. I fell apart, instantly. My Mom was so strong, how she was I do not know. 

I watched my sweet sister dog get a shot that was going to end her life. My husband tried so hard to comfort me, but all I wanted to do was spend that last second of her life with her, to feel her last breath. 

I couldn't believe she was gone, my husband had to physically hold me so I would not collapse.

We wrapped her up... and took her home. 

My Mom wanted to make a foot print of her paw, so that is what we did. I was able to see her to just be with her alone one last time. Although her life had left her body, I loved that sweet hairy german shepherd.

Then came the long car ride to take her to the crematory. 

Where again, I fell apart. Saying goodbye is the hardest thing I've ever done ever in my life.

She is gone now, gone to the rainbow bridge they say. At this time I have to strongly rely on my faith, that she is in a better place. Waiting for me to be with her again someday. 

Until then, I just continue to cry.  Continue to comfort my Mom, who is now alone in a house full of memories. Who was so strong, the one who had to make that horrible decision.

Comfort my daughters, one who doesn't much understand but knows Duchess is with Jesus (as she says) and one daughter who has lost someone who has always been part of her life. Sweet tears flowing down a 10 year old girls face, to experience loss like this on a level like this, breaks my heart. 

Such a huge loss in my life. In the life of many people. Although some may never understand the love of a pet on this level, I know many do.

Please pray for our family, my Mom and everyone who has been touched by such a wonderful dog.


  1. I'm on so sorry. This is so well written that it made me cry and cry. I lost my dachshund Huckleberry to a stroke in January. And even tho' he was 11 1/2 years old, he did not look or act old at all. As doxies often live to be 15 to 17 years old,I just wasn't ready. Your story just shows that we can never be ready. Warm Hugs to you and your family.

    1. Thank you so very much for taking the time to comment :) I am so sorry to hear about Huckleberry, thank you for sharing. It really means a lot when someone can share a story of how they can relate to your pain. I am sorry I made you cry though. Thank you again for the comment :)

  2. I'm so sorry, she looks like she was a very loving dog. We have Buster our yellow lab and I do dread the day but I'm determined to be with him like you were, it meant so much to Duchess that you did that. Will pray for you and your family!

    1. Thank you so very much for the prayers for our family :) She was a great dog, as I am sure Buster is too! Thank you for your comment :)


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