Tuesday, June 1, 2010

So long, brown dog

Disclaimer: Blow is a pretty graphic and emotional rendering of my dog Nebo's euthanization.  For those who do not read regularly, Nebo was humanely euthanized for aggression.  You can read a little more about his issues here and here and here.

Nebo was euthanized on Saturday morning.  The animal rescue organization determined that he was not suitable for re-homing and that euthanasia was the most humane option.

Nelson and I were able to be with him, and spend time with him before it happened.  It was incredibly difficult.  We had to wait nearly 45 minutes to see Nebo, and that in itself was difficult.

They asked us if we'd like his muzzle removed and we said yes.   They brought in lots of blankets so we could sit on the floor and be comfortable.  They brought Nebo in and he was so happy to see us, as we were him.  We held him and petted him and gave him treats and told him how much we loved him.  Unfortunately, the longer we stayed in the room the more anxious Nebo became. After about 20 minutes we told the vet that we were ready.

It happened very quickly.  The vet and her assistant came in and Nebo ran to Nelson and leaned against him.  He was so scared.  Nelson laid Nebo down on his side so his head was on my lap; Nelson was stroking his back and we were telling him how good he was being and how much we loved him.

They'd inserted the catheter before Nebo came to see us, so the vet began by flushing it with saline.  Nebo was so good.  He just laid there.  Then, she administered the first sedative, to relax him and basically make him completely blissed out.  As she was emptying the syringe, he looked up at me into my eyes for a long moment, and then he looked over at Nelson, and then back at me. He knew we were with him.  Then, the sedative took effect and he kind of spaced out.

"He's completely out of it," the vet told us.

She administered the phenobarbital and about five minutes later she told us, "He's gone.  I'm so sorry for your loss."  The assistant also gave her condolences and they left us with our brown dog for the last time.

The vet had prepared us that there might be a death rattle or twitching or urination, but Nebo didn't do any of those things.  He passed peacefully, and that made is so much easier on Nelson and I.  He was good to us right up to the end.

We held him for another 10 minutes or so while I sobbed into his fur.

Then, we made a donation to the shelter and we headed home.

I'm so glad we were there with Nebo, but it was one of the most emotionally difficult things I've ever gone through in my entire life.

I miss him.  I miss the way he always laid at my feet; the way he was always in the way; they way his head got hot when he was being petted; the way he sometimes inexplicably smelled like grape jelly or breakfast sausage; the way he'd nudge my hand with his cold, wet nose when he wanted a pet; the way he'd chuff when he was hungry or wanted to go outside; they way he leaned slightly to the left when he ran; they way he'd come over and put his head on my lap and look at me with his big, brown eyes; his super expressive doggie eye brows; the Robert Dinero mole on his muzzle; his little T-Rex front legs; the way his ears got low when he was happy; his "low wag" tail wag; his thick, thick brown fur that made it extra good to give him hugs.

I know that we did the right thing, but that's not really giving me much comfort.  I think I will miss him for a long while.

27 comments:

EllenMarie said...

Tears for Nebo. :(

Barbara said...

Crying for all of you. I'm so sorry.

VandyJ said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. Sending good thoughts your way.

Kat said...

So sorry Jenni.

Aliceson said...

This is my second cry today over a dog. Still, you did the right thing and were so strong! I hope I can be as strong for my Oliver... Here I go crying again.

CB said...

I'm sorry for your loss. As hard as it was, you did the right thing. Hugs to you and your family.

Susanica said...

Oh Jenni. I knew I'd be sad hearing about this. And I was right. So, so glad you got to be there with Nebo. You will miss him and you will never forget him. -Monica

LiLu said...

Oh, my lord. I don't know how you did it... I would have been ugly-crying my way through the whole thing. You're a brave lady, and you did the right thing, impossible though it was.

Jan said...

This made me cry (you have no idea how hard that is to do). I'm so sorry, Jenni, even if it was the right thing to do.

I did, however, manage a smile when you wrote about him smelling inexplicably like sausage or grape jelly; when Scooter smells like that, it's most likely because he was consuming it behind our backs.

Sprite's Keeper said...

I don't think I would have the courage to be there for it. You did and made his last moments so much better.
SO sorry for your loss, Jenni and Nelson.
(I know I should be including Oscar and Miles in it, but I think it affected you two the most.)

gretchen said...

So so sorry. I know how hard this is. You handled it very well.

Diana said...

I'm so sorry, Jenni. I'm shedding tears for you, and Nebo, and your family right now. I know you did the right thing but that doesn't make it any easier.

Light and love to you during this really hard time...

Keely said...

You have more courage than I could ever hope for. I'm so sorry. There is nothing good about this kind of situation but I'm glad you chose to be there for Nebo.

*hugs*

rachel said...

I'm sorry that your family is going through this loss :( You did the right thing, sometimes the right decisions are the most difficult to come to.

Michele said...

I can not tell you how much I admire you for being there for Nebo until the end. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it.

Big hugs for you, Nelson and the boys.

Angel said...

I am sad for Nebo, and I admire you and the courage that it took to stay with him until the very end.

Heather said...

It is very small consolation, but you did do the right thing. This was hard to read, I felt your love (& Nebo's) and heartache. And as hard as it was for you both to be there, Nebo left this world with two people by his side who loved him very much, which had to have comforted him.

Momma Hunt said...

Im so sorry for you loss. As I said having been there when I my dog was put down it is hard to do but also good that you could be there for him in his last moments

Bugaloo said...

xoxoxoxoxxo

Julie at MDMA said...

Oh, that is so hard. It was so very brave of you to be there and the very best way to send Nebo on. My condolences ...

Becky said...

You're so brave! And I'm so sorry. What a good dog.

Mrsbear said...

I'm sad for your loss. I can't even imagine the strength it took. He was lucky to have you guys.

elizabeth said...

We had to put our dog down in 2006. Four years ago and we miss her still. It's so hard to loose your pet. My sincere condolances Jenni and family.

thebearandroo said...

I'm so sorry about Nebo, Jenni. I can't begin to imagine the pain you guys are feeling over this.

Stimey said...

I am so sorry. I can't imagine how hard this must have been for you. But know that you made it the best you could for Nebo.

Casey said...

Oh Jenni, I'm so sorry about Nebo.

Amelia said...

Hi Jenni, I'm so sorry for you all and for Nebo, but I'm thrilled he had such a wonderful and loving home for the last 5 years. I'm not sure if you remember, but Nebo was one of the dogs we looked at when we got Dragnet, he was a beautiful and sweet dog. I'm so sorry for your loss and for Oscar and his difficult questions. Thank you for sharing this story.