I don't get on here much these days, but maybe a few of you remember me. I'm a former K9 officer, and have had my dog since we both retired 8 years ago. My dog is 2 weeks from his 14th bday, and I have finally had to make the decision, its time to let him go. It's heart wrenching, a multitude of emotions. I know many of you have posted RIP's for you beloved canine pals, so you get it.
Elmo doesn't have cancer, no other terminal illness. His organs are just fine. His problem- arthritis. Its crazy to think that arthritis would be the reason to euthanize your dog. However, his has progressed so bad over the last couple of years, that for a year he can't go up or down stairs on his own, he started pooping in his sleep randmonly over the last 6 months, because he can't tell when he has to go. In the last 3 months I've had to hold him while he does poo, so he doesnt' fall over. In the last 2 days, he hasn't been able to pee without me holding him up (I have a back leg harness). And although he is alert when awake, likes to eat and gets playful (barks like crazy while I'm cheering for the Redskins. But In the last 6 months Elmo has gone from being able to walk down the block to walking only a few feet, and now can't even stand on his own for more than 5-10 seconds.
Determining your dogs quality of life has to be answered on a case by case basis. To the people who have encouraged me to put him down sooner, I've said, "If I was in a wheel chair would you put me down?" I think I've realized that is no longer a valid comparison. I know the pain of his joints has to be hurting, I can see in his eyes he is tired. I know his quality of life consists of food, me petting him and sleeping all day. He has lost so much weight from not being able to exercise.
I've really struggled with -Why do I have to be the one to make that decision? Isn't it up to God when its our time? I don't want to play God, I don't want to be the one to make this decision. What if I'm doing this too soon? Is there more than can be done?
Last night the selfishness subsided and it hit me. God put this in my hands. He trusts me, Elmo trusts me- We as pet owner are entrusted to know when its time. Of all the responsibilities we have as pet owners, deciding when to let go is the most difficult, but is also the most important.
My gf works for the county Animal control- so her co worker and boss have offered to euthanize Elmo at home for no cost. We are doing this tomorrow evening. Its the best scenario I could ask for, peaceful falling asleep at home, in my arms. It's playing out to be the last scene from Marley and Me that made everyone cry.
I took today and tomorrow off work, to spend some time with the old guy. Although I'm sitting here watching tv and playing on the computer while he is fast asleep. It's the most surreal feeling to know in just over 24 hours, I won't be able to see him again, play "bad guy" ever again,
And not trying to say that a working dog is closer to their owner than a household pet, but my mom put it this way, she said I have a closer relationship to this dog than any person in my life, probably including her. I've had some pretty rough times since leaving law enforcement 8 years ago, and I know without a doubt, this dog kept me going. Elmo always did what I asked, selflessly put himself in harms way to save my life and those around me. Even when I first got him, guys w 20 yrs of police K9 experience said this dog had something special. Everyone who ever met Elmo just fell in love. I could take him to an elementary school one minute, and then ask him to chase down a bad guy. He had the perfect personality, a total momma's boy, but also a fierce defender. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect dog.
So RIP my friend. I'm forever thankful God chose me to be your human.
this pic is from May 2002
He's not just a dog, he's a cop...and he's not just any cop, he's my partner.