Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When Your Heart is Broken

Nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming heartache that envelopes you the first time you walk into your house after having put your dog down before her time. You can't be prepared for that moment when you look around and see it all: the empty crate, the empty bed, the basket of toys, the dog bowls still on the floor. 

No one tells you how you will stand there, sobbing, unable to catch your breath, and your heart will break more than it already has. No one tells you about the guilt that will come with those waves of tears, and how you will instantly begin to second guess your decision, despite knowing in your logical brain that you made the right choice for everyone, including your dog. 

Nothing can prepare you for the insensitive people who judge your decision, and make heartless and cruel statements about you to others on the most painful days of your life. No one can know the path we had to walk to get to this point, or the heartbreak that it took to make such a difficult decision, but they can judge our actions in less than a minute. 

No one can help you to clean up the house, or pack away the dishes and toys, because that is a task you have to do on your own. No one tells you that for days afterward you will continue to find things in places that you forgot about: YoPups tucked into the freezer, hiking bowls stashed in the closet, training meat in bags in the fridge. No one tells you that each time the grief will hit you like a freight train all over again, and you will start to think that you might never stop crying. 

Nothing would have made me happier than to be able to keep my dog. Putting her down was one of the most painful, heartbreaking decisions that I have ever had to make in my life. My logical brain knows that we did the right thing, which was confirmed after a long consult with our trainer and our vet, but my broken heart feels like we failed her in some way, and wishes she was still here. 

Nothing we did led us here, and I know that, in my logical brain. My broken heart questions all. I wonder what we could have done better. How we could have helped her more. Why we couldn't have saved her. What we failed at that sent her spiraling backward when there seemed to be hope for such a short time. My broken heart holds on to that hope we had, all those months ago when we thought she could be fixed. 

No one saw this photo, taken on April 23rd, when she was just 12 and a half weeks old. She was enrolled at Puppy Kindergarten at the MHS at the time, and we hadn't started our work with a private trainer yet. She was 3 months old, and had been with us for only a month. She had issues with biting, poor impulse control, lack of self-control, low tolerance for frustration, anxiety, issues with being handled (pet, touched, hooked to a leash), and she was fearful and shy around other puppies. That look on her face, as she bit and tugged at that leash, became known to us as "danger". 

No one saw this look on her face when she was a 60 pound adolescent dog, pulling at the end of her leash on a walk, because she was suddenly frustrated about : not getting to meet another dog, go the way she wanted, fill in who knows what here. In addition to the biting and tugging, she would also jump up and bite at the leash, right near my hand, and pull and fight, until something else distracted her, whenever that was. It was a scary time, and our walks were no longer enjoyable. 

No one saw her spiral downward, unable to be at rest, unable to deal with the smallest bit of frustration, unable to keep her teeth off of everyone, and eventually turning on me, the person she loved most in the world. No one saw her fight the vet in her last minutes, fully sedated, a fighter to the end. 

 No one will ever know how worried we were when we first got her, and she couldn't keep her teeth to herself. No one will ever know how hard we fought for her, wanting to raise her up to the potential that we saw in her.  No one will ever know how much we loved her, and how much joy she brought into our lives. No one will ever know how much we miss her, and how broken our hearts are without her here. 


fillyjonk said...


For what it's worth, I think you made the right decision.

onescrappychick said...

Thank you <3