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What last joyful thing did you do with your dog before saying goodbye?

November 5, 2012 32 comments

Aspen

A while back I saw this email posted on Life With Dogs. It was a request from a woman with a 15-year-old Border Collie.

She wrote

“…we have a 15-year-old Border Collie that is trained in herding but due to health issues hasn’t been able to herd in a very long time. His health is declining quickly and we would love to have him chase a few sheep around for one last time.”

I couldn’t help but be moved by her plea and hoped and prayed that someone would be able to answer her request.

Well, as it turns out, someone did. Thanks to my friend Sue over at Talking Dogs, I was able to see one very happy dog herd sheep for the last time (you can watch the video here).

It brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t help it. What dog owner wouldn’t want the same for their dog? That one last chance to give their dog an opportunity to do what they loved?

It brought back some memories of the things I have done to give my dogs the very same experience of joy. That one last hurrah.

My Sheltie, Alicia, was 15 when we said goodbye, but I remember taking her on short walks all the way up to the very end. She couldn’t go very far, and often I would end up carrying her home, but I just loved seeing her wagging tail when I brought out her leash. It was worth it. On our last day together, I made sure to buy her a cheeseburger because I she loved them so. She ended up getting sick in my brand new car, but I didn’t care. I had given her something she loved. One last time.

When it was time to say goodby to my senior dog, Aspen, I made sure that I left the window down so she could stick her nose out. She loved to sit in the backseat and sniff the air as we drove from place to place. Besides going to the dog park, it was one of her most favorite things to do. I was not going to deny her that joy in those last moments. I still remember looking in my rear view mirror and seeing the tip of her nose poking out the window. I remember smiling through my tears in that moment.

It’s only natural to want the best for our dogs, even as the end nears. We want them to experience some amount of joy in their last moments with us. I suspect it’s as much for us as it is for them.

So what things have you done to give your dogs that one last chance to enjoy what they loved most? What was your dog’s last hurrah moment? I’d love to hear your stories.

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