How to Cope When the Family Pet Dies

💫 Sienna Clarke
4 min readOct 18, 2020

We got him at 8 weeks old. He was the cutest thing on four legs.

Photo by Cheryl Cox on Unsplash

The kids adored him, and at the time, we had two girls. He was my third child.

He was super protective of the kids. When they went up the street to play at the neighbors house, he would sit on the neighbor’s front step until the kids were ready to come home. No matter what treat I offered him, he refused to budge.

When we went to bed, he made the rounds of each child’s bedroom, making sure everyone was okay. Then he would settle into his place at the top of the stairs for the night.

After my ex left, he would damn near get attacked anytime he tried to visit, which was fine with me.

He was thirteen years old and he was a beautiful companion. It’s been ten years since I had to have him put down because of back and hip problems that are common with the breed at that age. He could barely walk, and was incontinent. It’s still difficult to even think about without crying.

Prior to this day, I had spoken with the vet about the possibility of surgery. He told me that it might be an option, but my dog would be in pain and on medication for the rest of his life. And all we’d be doing, was prolonging the inevitable.

That wasn’t an option for me.

I put it off for as long as I could. I know. Selfish. Even thinking about doing it broke my heart. It does to this day.

So one day while the kids were at school, I called my brother, he came over and we loaded our family best friend into my van, and made the trip to the vet’s office.

If I go into too much detail, I‘ll be too emotional to finish this piece, so I’ll just say that after it was done, I sat with him in my arms for almost 2 hours while my brother waited for me outside.

I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard, before or since.

I took him while the kids were at school, because if I waited until they got home, there’s no way we would have been able to do it. When they got home, I told them what I did that day. They were sad. We cried. But he was in such bad shape that they understood.

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💫 Sienna Clarke

Single mom to 3 grown ups. Growing into my writing career and enjoying the progress. I write mostly about self discovery, self improvement and relationships.