Tuesday, April 9, 2013


April 9, 2013

You never know what each day will bring. Some days we enjoy fun moments we never anticipated and other days bring disappointment, sometimes it feels like it will never end.

After a walk.
Today, I brought Callie to work in the Miata. She doesn’t like the Miata. The front seat is angled and slippery and she’s too big to ride in it, but that was the vehicle available. As we turned each corner, I held her collar so she wouldn’t lose her balance. During our 20 minute ride to work I told her, we’re "going for a ride in the car; going to work to see AJ and Pip and Junky." Her ears perked up as she got excited about her day.

We arrived at work, and wearing her purple collar she walked with pep down the hall, into the front office, into Janice’s office, where Janice was training Bernice on bookkeeping.

Five minutes later, Janice brought Callie to my office in a panic, with blood all over Callie's nose, mouth and chin. It wasn’t the same amount of blood as we’ve had in the house over the last five months, which were mostly drips. Now, when she sneezed, it was a spray of blood, covering the office walls and our clothes.

I mopped her mouth and tried to stop the blood which took about 10 minutes. We knew we needed to get her to the vet, where they might hopefully stop the bleeding.

The last two months had been difficult at home, especially at night, when Callie’s breathing sounded forced and she gulped and smacked her lips most of the night. None of us got good sleeps.  Just a week ago we took her for a walk to the park where we told Callie that it was ok to leave when it was too hard to continue. Each day was a gift from God. Our prayer was that she would not die alone.

Now, today, with the spray of blood, it crossed my mind that this might be the end. I’ve been opposed to the thought of putting her down, feeling it is not my place to decide when life ends, just as I don’t decide when it begins. But as Kathy Troccoli said during a concert, "God gives you the strength when you need it. Not when you want it but when you need it." I knew that had already be the case having felt strong during the passing of my aunt Shirley, Mom and Dad.

Off to the vet, Janice drove and I sat in the back seat with Callie, holding a cloth over her beak to absorb any unexpected spray. Sitting in the lobby, Callie sneezed again and the blood splattered everywhere imaginable. It was uncontrollable and heart-wrenching.

Kisses goodbye.
Inside, the vet told us the tumour had ruptured. That’s what tumours do. They grow, become full of blood and burst, then grow some more. We knew that the cancer was not going to go away and the tumour would only get bigger, meaning more unexpected sprays of blood.

The vet gave us three options: an x-ray to see what was going on, a scope by the senior vet to see what was going on, or euthanasia. We chose the x-ray, but almost immediately Janice and I knew it would be pointless to find out what we already knew - it was worse. We chose option 3. I couldn’t believe it had come to this point, today. But, today was the day.

Me and Phyllis with Callie's body.
We took Callie for a final walk around the yard behind the vet clinic. She pooed twice and pulled on the leash like she always did, wanting us to walk faster. But we didn’t feel like walking. We invited Crystal to come and see Callie, and our friend Phyllis also came to support us. We took pictures of Callie kissing each of us. She was in such a good mood, which of course, made the decision more painful for us.

Janice and I told each other again, that despite her good attitude, the blood was going to be getting worse as the tumour grew. She couldn’t stay alone and it would be unfair to take her to work. The decision was made.

I went into the vet to confirm our decision and to pay for it. After I slid the Visa card into the machine, it gave me the cost and then as it processed it asked - "Ok?" I started bawling.

Back in the parking lot Janice was having a chat with Callie. She handed me the leash and I walked her to the vet door, as Janice wailed in the parking lot.  My walk slowed down and Phyllis whispered, "It’s not going to get easier." I kept walking.
Funeral in the rain.

I took her to the examination room and gave her a huge squeeze. The vet took her away to give her a sedative and brought her back a minute or two later - she was very tired and limp. As the vet injected her, I laid my nose up to hers and told her over and over "I love you. You’re the best dog." She was too tired to kiss me. Surprisingly, it wasn’t painful to watch; there was something beautiful about it. It wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t feel guilt. The vet listened for a heartbeat and said "It’s done." I remember saying over and over - "I can’t believe it," meaning, I can’t believe I actually had to do what I thought I would never do. 
Phyllis stood by me. Her being there helped me to know I was doing the right thing. I didn’t second guess myself.

Phyllis and the vet wrapped Callie’s body in her blanket and I carried her heavy, extremely limp body to Phyllis’s car. Janice put her hand inside to feel her wool. We decided that Phyllis and her husband would prepare her for burial.

At 8 o'clock, in the a light rain, Simon dug a hole in the yard and laid her down. Janice covered it with dog toys. My brother and I watched.

A sad day, but we knew it was coming. In all, it turned out to be perfect timing. Callie didn’t die alone. She was with us, for her final walk, loved.

I love you, Callie. You're the best dog.


  1. Such a hard decision. Callie is not in pain anymore and yours will ease. It took Jill and I a few weeks after we put Rain the dog down before we could talk about him. Now we joke about all the trouble he used to get in.

  2. I know how that feels as we have many dogs we have loved and lost over 30 years. I know it sounds crazy but it always felt somehow easier when we had another dog to love, or somehow ended up with one that we were not "ready for". I hope you both are able to grieve Callie with the grace and peace of God! xoxo

  3. This is such a difficult decision. I cried just reading this story, because I know all too well the pain. I was so distraught that the vet would not allow me to be with my dog when that time came.

  4. We had to put our cat Callie down a little over a year ago and it was one of the hardest decisions we had to make, as I had raised her from a kitten. I know that the time is coming where I will have to make that decision for my Daisy Dog and it will not be an easy one.

    My heart and prayers go out to you and Janice.

  5. Almost three years ago, one of our two cats Jayden had anemia and was really sick, he had to be put down too, and to make things worse, I was in the hospital at the time waiting to be transfered to Toronto, for surgery. My in laws were here and my father in law had to take Jayden our cat to the vet. I couldn't even be there. The other cat J.T. still misses his buddy and we do too. God bless you guys.

  6. I have been through this same decision with a beloved pet/family member. It is a horrible decision to have to make but the most humane. I couldn't stand to see our cat suffer anymore.

    Your story brings tears to my eyes. I hope that you and Janice will find peace in the days to come. Praying for you both!

  7. I am so sorry for your loss. Callie reminds me of our Ginger. They look very alike. May Callie rest in the arms of God now.

  8. Thank you for sharing this story, Scott. What a hard decision. Glad she wasn't alone.

  9. I'm sorry for you loss Scott. I remember you talking to me about Callie with love at church. It is hard to make the decision but it is comforting to know it is the right one. Sounds like she had a great life.

  10. What a difficult decision you had to make...she is not in any pain anymore and now she running through the fields of heaven!!! You will see her again someday-she will be healthy-perfect!!! Thank you for sharing your story-just reminds me to slow down and hug my kitty, doggies, horses, ducks but I draw the line at the chickens! Please take comfort in knowing that you did the right thing...sending prayers your way....

  11. I only met Callie a few times but I could tell she was a beautiful and joyful dog. God is with you as you and your family heal and Callie is with God


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