I just found out yesterday that my childhood dog (Chester) has a tumour in his belly and needs to be put down. I got him when I was 16 - to help me through my parents divorce. It's so sad. He's lived with my dad and his girlfriend for the last 6 years, as I moved into an apartment when I was 22 and found out the hard way that Jack Russell's don't do well in apartments.
Anyway. I was so upset yesterday when I found out, I still can't believe how hard it's hit me. He hasn't been "my" dog for at least 6 years, but he was my little baby for the first 7 years of his life, so I shouldn't be surprised that it hurts so much.
The vet wanted to put him down yesterday when they found the tumour, but my dad's girlfriend wouldn't let them. We can't just put him down in one afternoon. The whole family needs to say goodbye to him! The vet gave him a steroid injection, plus some very strong pain killers to get him through the next week. She said it's hard to say how he'll go - he could live for a week, or 6 months. Nobody knows. But he's in pain.
It's such a hard decision now - WHEN is the right time? When he is pumped full of pain killers, and laxatives (to help him poo), he seems to be in relatively good spirits. Even chases the possums.. But I spent about 5 hours with him today, and as soon as those pain killers start to wear off he can barely move. Poor little guy is in so much pain, and has a big lump on his back as well. He's just about to turn 13 which is a good age for a Jack Russell.
I cried for a good 6 hours yesterday - but I guess that's normal. A dog becomes part of the family, so of course it's going to be so hard to say goodbye.
I'm happy that I'm not the one in the position to have to pick the day when he gets put down. It seems as though it will be up to my dad. I don't think I want to go to the vet with him and watch him pass away though, it would just be too painful. I read a quote yesterday which said "the anticipation of death is more painful than death itself" - and I guess that's true. Trying to 'guess' which day he'll be put down is hard. How long do I grieve for? Whereas if I'd known today that he was just gone, it would be easier. I'll have one more opportunity to say goodbye to him this week, so I better make the most of it.
I feel like my heart is breaking. Poor Chester.