So Long & Thanks For All the Waffles
Laughter Through Tears

Countdown to Goodbye

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Slightly morbid but necessary update: We've arranged for a vet to come to our home on Wednesday morning to help Ceiba pass while the boys are at school. They understand Wednesday is our Goodbye Day and that she won't be here when they get home.

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In the meantime, we're all working on a Memory Box, full of pictures and drawings and even a teeny tiny Ceiba made out of Lego. We'll include things like her collar and favorite toys when the time comes as well. 

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I have opted to get her ashes back and plan to scatter them on our new work-in-progress garden. No one else in the house wants anything to do with any sort of remains, but I have a mild panic attack at the thought of her just leaving our house and it being like...welp, that's that! So I'm doing that part solely for myself.

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We've been pretty straightforward with the boys about everything -- no sugarcoating so far, but lots of assurances that being sad is totally normal and it's okay to cry or feel other things, like anger or fear. I'm really proud of how they're handling things and working through it each in their own unique way. 

I think I'll read them the Rainbow Bridge poem on Wednesday, and in the meantime we're all admittedly enjoying this time to spoil Ceiba like she's never been spoiled before. She's enjoying it as well, and all the extra cuddles and PEOPLE FOOD PEOPLE FOOD PEOPLE FOOD have lifted her little spirits and she seems more like her old self, rather than the clearly sick-and-getting-sicker dog of the past few weeks. 

(Other than the peeing everywhere. Oh my God. I tried a diaper and it completely freaked her out, like borderline enraged, so we're just accepting the fact that a really thorough steam-cleaning of ALL THE THINGS will commence later this week.)

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(Sunday morning breakfast was some marrow bones, bacon and her very own scrambled egg.)

Of course, the little personality boost makes me re-question EVERYTHING, like should we wait, but ugh we're traveling for spring break next week and I can't leave a sick dog but ugh are we monsters for not just canceling the trip but ugh the boys would be so upset and gaaaahhhhhh.

I rambled a lot of this to the vet, who was so kind and lovely and also like, "No, it's GOOD that she's happy. It's also GOOD that you make the choice before she suddenly isn't anymore." 

I know I know I know. I can't cure bladder cancer with bacon but I just hate everything about all of this. 

I am grateful that our regular vet referred us to the at-home euthanasia service, however. (Peaceful Passage, for those of you in the Baltimore metro area...I have spoken to them on the phone and could already feel their magic calming force-powers.) It'll be so much gentler for her. And after she passes we will bring Max over so he'll be able to know that his little friend is gone and not lost, as I've already developed a recurring nightmare where he decides to compulsively escape the house to go looking for her. 

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(This sweet sunbeam moment only slightly marred by presence of paper towel soaking up the accident Ceiba had like 30 seconds prior.)

We've also...made the decision to adopt another dog, probably sooner rather than later. Despite YEARS of me cynically saying NO MORE PETS UP IN THIS BOY-CHILD ZOO, the second they asked us for a new dog my will started to crack. Then Jason said, "I too would very much like another dog," and started pulling up all the local shelter and rescue sites and I kept seeing dogs with listings that say stuff like "Beau really needs someone home with him most of the day, are you home a lot?" and that's when I broke completely like OH MY GOD I AM I AM HOME A LOT I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE. 

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So that's where things stand today. Keeping our girl loved and warm and super-well fed, ready and completely not-ready to say the gentlest of goodbyes, alternating between crying and acceptance and maybe a little touch of excitement that we might be the right home for another dog who needs us as much as we'll need them. 

Fuck, though. This still really, really sucks. 

Comments

Aleks

This is heartbreaking. I am so, so sorry!

Peanutsmama

Oh,Amy. I've read your blog for almost eleven years, and this breaks my heart. Love to you all. Ceiba will be missed by us all. You've given her a great dog life. Hugs!

Sarahviz

So so sorry you're going through this. I too have 3 sons, and our family dog died while we were on vacation a few years ago. We found that the Scholastic book Dog Heaven was a wonderful resource. xoxo

Melissa

I know, from experience, how much it hurts your heart but you are making her final days so special. My heart goes out to you all.

Cait

I know you know this but in case you need to hear it you are 100% doing the right thing for Ceiba. You've given her a great life up til the end and that's the best that you can do. It still sucks and there's always doubt but I promise you guys will be okay. Much much much love and virtual support!

Meghan

The best dog ever (to our family anyway) had to be put down almost 7 years ago. We were all so, so sad. My parents had her cremated and their plan was to bury her in the backyard. But then the ashes came in this pretty cherry wood box and they thought it was too pretty to bury, so they put her on the mantle. To this day she is still up there. She gets decorated around and on top of for various holidays, and she comes down for wedding pictures, no joke!, and she has even gone on a cross country road trip. Suzie has had quite the adventure since her passing. But oh man, was she a great dog. Sorry about your Ceiba, this sucks.

brandi

Seconding the rec for Dog Heaven. I have Cat Heaven and it's a very, very sweet book, and not overly religious. I'm glad you're making a plan for her remains. We had our kitties cremated when they passed and I'm happy to know they're still sort of with us. Love her up good, and know we're all here with you guys on Team Hamster Dog sending you love.

Sassy

Oh, I feel so bad for you and your whole family. Bad enough for we adults, but helping the boys with losing a pet is really tough. When we lost our first dog to liver cancer, we made a list at dinner of 10 really good things about Milo. My 5 year old broke my heart when he said "just because he died doesn't mean he was not a great dog!" Doesn't that perfectly capture the anger/love parts of grieving? And your boys are learning to say goodbye to a well loved pet and will learn to welcome a new one into their hearts and lives. Hugs to you all during the process.

Rebecca

My heart aches for all of you. As the mom to two old-lady cats (20 and 18), I know their days are coming, and have a traveling vet lined up. So very glad you found that option; we used our person for our 17 y. o. cat awhile ago and it was so good not to have to take our Peaches anywhere and add travel trauma to it all. Will be thinking of you all and the sweet hamsterdog this week.

Robin

I am so sorry, I sitting at my desk just crying over ya'll up coming loss. My heart breaks for having to make the hard decision.

Keagan

So very sorry :( We had a few days to say goodbye to our beloved family dog. I bought one of those 'make your own personalized garden stepping stone kit' and pushed his paws in the cement with his name for a marker. I was bawling my eyes out the whole time while making it, I'm surprised I even was able to finish it. Lots of cuddles and tears those few days. I'm so glad we were able to have that time with him. Thoughts with you during your time with Ceiba. Sounds like she had a wonderful life with you all.

MaryC

For grieving kids I can also recommend What is Heaven by Maria Shriver. It was good for our family.

I am joining you on the eFF Cancer train, my nearly 18 year old cocker mix went to the vet on Friday and (as I suspected) has a tumor growing in her mouth. She's on antibiotics and steroid which is making her pretty perky for now. I love hearing that your Vet said now while she's happy is right time. I waited too long with my last dog and she was clearly suffering.

Hugs to you all during this most trying tragic time.

Christine

I'm so sorry you guys are going through this. You guys are doing the right thing for your girl <3

Beth

I work for a holistic vet that also does in-home euth - so much better than at a clinic. Please do not feel guilty - you are giving the ultimate gift to your beloved little family member. I can say, that right before they decline, they have a burst of good days or day - but you are right, you can't cure cancer. I have the ashes of my pets as well as I felt the same way. If you can, get the book "Dog Heaven" and read it to your boys. It brought a huge comfort to my son when we lost our best boy dog when my son was 8. Hugs to you and your family.

Meghan S.

Amy, I'm so, so sorry for what you're going through. We recently went through a near identical situation, having to say goodbye to my 11 year old cat (who'd been my companion through shitty apartments and terrible boyfriends, was with me through my wedding, pregnancies, etc.)

Even down to having a looming vacation deadline because I knew that 1. I could not ask anyone on this planet to do the kind of care we were providing for our ailing cat (namely, cleaning up after 6 liquid poops a that mostly landed *next* to the litter box.) and 2. if we boarded him somewhere (likely with our vet) he'd be in a metal cage, sad and alone, and I KNEW he would die while we were gone, and he'd die sad and scared and alone, wondering why we'd abandoned him. I COULD NOT DO THAT to him, he deserved better.

So I felt like a total asshole for scheduling an appointment 10 days before our trip. I honestly still have some guilt, even though I know that we made the right decision, he wasn't getting better, and we said goodbye before he was suffering greatly.

A very good friend of mine is a children's librarian and I asked her for some books to help the kids process what was going to happen. My kids are still very little (2.5 & 1) so a lot of it was over their heads, but our older child has done well understanding that "Kitty was very old, and very sick. The doctor couldn't help him any more. Now he's in heaven with [family members we lost relatively recently.]"

It sounds like you guys are doing a great job preparing the kids for Ceiba's death, and helping them process their feelings. In case you'd like some additional resources, here's my friend's list of books for helping kids deal with the loss of a pet. I felt like 1, 6, & 7 were the ones that were most helpful to us (ok, me. 6 & 7 especially were cathartic for me.)

1. When a Pet Dies-Mr Rogers (I bought this from Amazon since our library didn't have it, it's a simple and straightforward book about pets and death.)

2. The Goodbye Book-Todd Parr (I didn't get a chance to read this one, it was checked out at the library, but I know it's aimed more for toddlers.)

3. Goodbye Mousie--Robie Harris (our library didn't have this one so I didn't get a chance to read it.)

4. How Are You Peeling? (about feelings, not death, but a good one for getting kids to talk about their feelings.)

5. When Dinosaurs Die--Laurie Brown (covers ALL kinds of death, so definitely needs a pre-read so you know which parts are applicable and which you should probably skip over. Same illustrator as the Arthur books, so familiar to many kids.)

6. Remembering Crystal--Sebastian Loth (story about grieving & remembering a loved one)

7. Sally Goes to Heaven--Stephen Huneck (I sobbed like a baby the first time I read this. The story of an old and beloved dog who goes to sleep and wakes up in Heaven, and what Heaven is like for her.)

Gentle hugs to you and the whole family this week, saying goodbye is so hard. I'm so sorry.

Lori

Oh Amy. I have nothing to add but more condolences. It all just sucks.

Kim Strickland

Amy, in a previous post you said that you didnt know so many people care about your little dog. I wanted to say, for me, not so much about your dog, but yourself and your family that i have feelings for. Maybe that sounds creepy, but i mean it in the best way. Your writing makes it impossible for people not to care. So thanks for sharing always. Even when it hurts.

SarahB

You are absolutely doing the right thing. Our vet was similarly kind when we brought in our cat who had days/weeks left with cancer, who could still enjoy cuddles but was clearly suffering. Our vet actually thanked us for making the right call before it got worse, assured us that it was right and kind.

I tear up thinking about it still.

Our son asked for weeks afterward, periodically, why did our kitty have to die? That was very hard. We were a bit lax about saying yes to treats and just being free-wheeling while it was clear we were all sad and grieving.

Condolences to all of you.

Michele

Ugh, I'm so sorry about Ceiba. That's such a hard thing to go through and I can totally sympathize because we're in pretty much the same boat right now with our dog. He has cancer and we're trying to figure out what the right timing is. It's so, so hard. I wish you all well and hope that these next few days are as gentle and peaceful as possible for you.

Dawn

Your kids and pets are the Internet's kids and pets. I've loved them all through you. Thank you for sharing all of your tiny people and animals with us. Love and waffles forever!

Portia

It's so, so hard. But your vet is right: it's so much better to let her go before it gets bad. We waited a few days too long with our sweet beloved rabbit (for the same reasons -- look, he's still loves treats! look, he still asks to be petted!), and I would do anything to go back and change that. It is so awful to realize that we caused him pain because we selfishly weren't ready to say goodbye. You are absolutely doing the right thing.

Also, I think it's wonderful that you are planning to get another dog soon -- it's an honor to Ceiba that you all loved her so much that you can't imagine living without a dog, and the excitement of a new dog will help dull the pain a bit.

Debbie Sjulstad

Sitting here crying at work :(
We have two minpins of our own. So sorry for your loss.

Becki

So sorry for your loss. Sounds like you are preparing the boys very well. Good on you for moving forward on the new pet. It is amazing how comforting a warm, sturdy young dog body is. Especially if you have the boys tell him/her the tales of Ceiba. Cathartic for all

Fraulein N

Give your girl an extra hug for me, please. This is heartbreaking but I'm very relieved for you all that you are getting extra time to spoil the hell out of her, and that she gets to pass at home. It's absolutely the right thing to do, but it obviously still sucks and I'm sorry.

Solmaz

Only you can make a hunger game joke to finally make me break and cry. I was not going to cry... Lots of hugs.

Amalah Fan

Longtime reader, first time commenter. Yes, yes, yes, you are doing the right thing. I cat-sat for a friend who had to go out of town on business. Her cat was sick, and took a turn for the worse. I ended up having to have the cat euthanized before my friend got back. She hates the fact that she wasn't there during her cat's last moments. You are making sure that Ceiba is home safe with someone who loves her when she passes. Bless you!

Joy

Thank you for letting us know how you are fairing. Peace to your lovely family.

Megan Richards

My heart aches for you and your family, and I'm trying not to cry myself. We went through a similar experience recently. Our beagle had already kicked butt on a few things (nearly ruptured massively engorged spleen, liver tumors that turned out to be benign), only to be diagnosed with renal failure in late August. We had to say goodbye in November and while it was the right decision, it still was the WORST decision. A sobbing, heart wrenching decision. And we miss her daily. But yes yes yes, it was for the best, she was miserable those last few days and not the fun loving dog we knew and loved.

You are making the right choice. And its fantastic that you guys are going to provide a great home to a dog who really needs one. Hugs to you all. And fuck cancer.

junkie

i've been thinking of y'all for days and days...knowing what lies in store. been in this spot more times than i'd like to count, and just like you...i'll be in it again in the future, most likely more than once. these "furry babies", the sweet loves, they touch us in ways we'll never be fully able to articulate, but we know how special it is that they give us their love and trust and know we're really the ones getting the best end of each deal. we're blessed each and every day we're "allowed" to provide love and sustenance and shelter to them, and they continue to show us what it really means to truly to love unconditionally day in and day out. it's a beautiful, beautiful thing!

so, my heart hurts so much for every single one of you as you do your best to say "goodbye" to ceiba in these last few days...knowing you'll never fully be able to thank them for everything they added to your life...up until now and even in the future! my heart also soars, though...for the lessons you've already taught your boys by example about how we need to always love and take care of all other living creatures and the amazing love and joy they can bring to our lives. it also celebrates the match your family will make when you're ready...to another SO DESERVING sweet animal that will need that same brand of love and acceptance as ceiba did...and that will enrich your lives so greatly for years to come with all the love you could even hope to handle!!! XOXOXO

nic

I'm so, so sorry. It really sounds like y'all are doing all the right things to prepare the kids. I've lost many pets but have yet to lose one since having my son. Our beloved dog is 12 (still in good health, but I'm realistic about his age) and that's a bridge I feel I'll probably have to cross sooner rather than later.

I get the ashes part for sure. We have a box that lives in my home office that has the ashes of a beloved dog (our first "child") and cat. The pup was lost unexpectedly at 4 years old and it devastated us. The kitty was 17 and we had to make the decision to ease her suffering but it was definitely her time. Their ashes live in a beautiful wooden box on a shelf, and pictures of those pets are still scattered throughout our house.

We did the same thing after losing our dog. I swore we wouldn't have another dog for a good long time and then I saw an episode of some animal planet show that was specifically about the breed of dog we'd just lost. That was all it took to tell us we needed another pup, it just wasn't the same without one.

Lynn

So sorry.

My dog is getting closer to this point, and I'm looking for book recommendations or advice on how to deal with this without the God/heaven angle, which doesn't work for us. It's rough.

Callie

When it was time for me to make this same decision over the summer. I questioned whether it was really time a lot,and now 8 or so months later I wished that I had done it sooner. You will not regret being able to give Ceiba this gift of not suffering. The procedure goes so so so fast, I was warned but it still surprised me how quick it really was.

LeighTX

I'm so, so sorry. I really hate this for your whole family, and hope that the boys handle it well.

Sue W.

We too will get another cat the day Savannah goes to the Rainbow Bridge. Not because we don't love her. Because I can't deal with being in this house without another warm body all day long to keep me company. We got Orleans and Savannah the day we sent our Smoky to the Rainbow Bridge. They kept me sane. Ceiba has had a wonderful life with you. She will be at the Bridge when you get there. Peace to all of you.

Dana

If you're interested, there are urns available that contain a tree seed - you add the ashes and plant the entire biodegradable pod. Bios is the name of one, I believe. I want it for myself when the time comes, but I think it would be nice to use for a beloved pet as well. A different spin on the whole buried in the yard vs. scattered ashes debate.

And having a vet come to you for the procedure is ideal - my parents did this with their last dog. It was comforting to have her there at home with us, and relieved them of the stress of having to drive home afterward.

My thoughts will be with you this week. Sending virtual hugs your way.

Dana

If you're interested, there are urns available that contain a tree seed - you add the ashes and plant the entire biodegradable pod. Bios is the name of one, I believe. I want it for myself when the time comes, but I think it would be nice to use for a beloved pet as well. A different spin on the whole buried in the yard vs. scattered ashes debate.

And having a vet come to you for the procedure is ideal - my parents did this with their last dog. It was comforting to have her there at home with us, and relieved them of the stress of having to drive home afterward.

My thoughts will be with you this week. Sending virtual hugs your way.

Harper

HATE that I have this horrible thing in common with you. My sweet dog Hubble went into liver failure Saturday and I made the decision to let him go on Sunday. It was the right decision and it was peaceful and as non-awful as it could be. It hurts and it sucks, but unfortunately the best things in life, those really worth having, leave you as a smoking crate when they are gone. I'm so sorry you and your family have to go though it, but you are doing a great job holding it all together. I'll pour a giant glass of wine for you and another for me because we deserve it.

KImtoo

Another affirmation for your decision here. I think I let my girl stay a title too long, out of pure selfishness. Nothing has ever hurt that much (losing my father came close, but I didn't feel responsible for them) but in retrospect, waiting until I knew she was suffering - well, I wish I had let her go while she was happy.
No regrets over having her put to sleep at home, though, even though it was my vet tech neighbor who did it, and we took her to the vet the next day. It gee mea chance to sit with her and cry over her, as long as I needed to.
Hugs and more hugs to you, Amy. It'll be hard, but you'll get through it.

Andrea

We've gone through this twice in the last 1.5 years. Said goodbye to our 14 yo with kidney probs & dementia. Then, 1 year later said goodbye to our 11 yo after struggling a year with uncurable mystery spinal inflammation problems. A few thoughts I wanted to share....

1. In my experience neither or my dogs "let me know" it was time. Nor did the "make a list and when they don't do these things anymore it's time" strategy. It was a damn struggle to the end, and we could have always chosen to wait one more day/week/month. But once it was over and we had a chance to grieve we knew we'd made the right call.

2. Just before saying goodbye our last pup, I made one of these books: https://www.twigtale.com/books/bye-bye-daisy-death-of-a-pet. It was very cathartic for me to make it, and my son (3) still asks to read it.

3. It took us exactly one week to get another dog. I too had proclaimed we were done with dogs for a while, but started checking petfinder a few weeks before we said goodbye to our last. For what it's worth, it worked out really well for us.

I'm not really recommending anything for you here. I don't know you, and am not the type to tell anyone what they should do. Just thought I'd share since I've had my own shitty turn(s) at this adult crap lately and spent a lot of time wondering what other people did. All the best to you and your family.

Stacy

So sorry, Amy. I lasted just a couple of days after we said goodbye to our senior dog before I suggested we go to the Humane Society. My husband had wanted to wait, but I work at home a lot too. And my house was empty without a buddy following me around. I met our new fur baby on a Tuesday and took her home on Thursday, just a week after our previous one passed. We were so lucky to find her, and I wish that for your family as well. There are always good dogs in need of good homes. It takes nothing away from all the memories with Ceiba not to wait to adopt again.

Raquel

So so so so sorry to hear about Ceiba. You are doing the right thing and I think having the vacation will help all of you get away from your home to process. Praying for you guys.

Loren

Oh, sweet Ceiba...I am really sorry to hear this. I am a priest and will be leading a healing service on Wednesday morning...I will say special prayers for you all.

Nichole

Oh...yes, all of this. We lost ours in January after a year long battle with cancer. Yes, Fuck Cancer! In the end, she made the choice the night before her appointment was scheduled.

Our vet was amazing through everything. She too offered to have someone come to the house for us (Aurora did not much like the Vet's office, and I hated the idea that she would be scared or anxious in her last minutes). We have spend countless hours crying (we had a year to contemplate, and trust me, it didn't help), and remembering Aurora. We have her remains, and her necklace, and we will probably always keep them.

We had the same talks with our daughter. Yes, this sucks. Yes, we feel sad too. Yes, we agree, its not fair. Yes, we miss her. And yes, we will all heal eventually.

In the last year that we had with her, we did make the decision to add another dog to our family. We ended up finally making a decision: a brother and sister pair in October...it wasn't too soon. I read somewhere that we get to give our gift of loving our puppies so many times over our lives, that's our job. They only get to choose one family to love.

I know, the whole things sucks. But Ceiba has been, and always will be, loved. When she is gone, another puppy gets the chance to have that same love.

Erin

You are absolutely doing the right thing. Hugs, hugs, hugs through this crazy-difficult time.

Mary

You're doing the right thing. One of our dogs had bladder cancer and we knew it was progressing, but she wasn't that bad and then suddenly on Friday night she WAS that bad. Nobody was open all weekend and the poor thing suffered for two days. This happened probably 30 years ago and I still feel guilty about it. Ceiba is lucky to have people who will love her and take care of her until the end.

Cheryl S.

You are doing the right thing. You don't want to wait until she's miserable. (I made that mistake with my cat and I hate myself for it to this day.) The process of putting her down is really very peaceful. Honestly, you wish people could go that way.

Ceiba will remember love and cuddles and waffles.

Hugs to you and the boys. Cancer sucks.

Leah

I am so, so sorry. I had to put my beloved cat down 3 years ago and I still miss her. But take comfort in knowing that we should be so lucky to have someone spoil us rotten in our last days and then let us go painlessly and surrounded by love. I wish you strength for the days to come. Give her a scritch from me!

Susannah

Oh Amy, I know that you are heartbroken but please also know that you are making the right decision for your sweet hamsterdog. We scattered some of our girl's ashes in the lake because that was her most favorite place. But I also planted a Mountain Bell plant in her honor and mixed some of her ashes in with the soil (her name was Belle). So whenever I see that plant blooming, it's like a small part of her is still there soaking in the sunlight. Holy fuck that sounds cheesy when I read it again... sorry. It's the truth though... Sending lots of love to you guys.

Lisa

So sorry, it's so hard to lose a furbaby. Do not feel guilty about making this decision before you leave for a vacation. A few years ago our dog was getting along in age and she had a small stroke and was never quite the same. She got confused a lot and tried climbing into the sink, walked into walls etc. We had a long planned trip coming up and decided to euthanize her before we left. I couldn't leave her with a pet sitter coming in once a day and I feared she would fall down the steps and hurt herself and lay there suffering. You have the make the decision to do whats best for them, even if it's the hardest thing for you. (((hugs)))

Amber

I am so very sorry you are going through this! As someone who lost a healthy pet (or so we thought) while on vacation I have yet to get another pet because that has scarred me too much. We came home to one cat, and I have not forgiven myself for not being there when our sweet kitty needed us. Then, we had a very similar issue last summer with my sweet Maia, and she all of a sudden just stopped being herself, so we knew it was time. One thing I feel the need to tell you is something that my mother in law shared with us at the time - you can ask for a separate cremation. We did, even though it was more expensive, but it made me feel better. Sending you strength during this difficult time.

Lois Crawford

I'm glad you posted all about your Cieba. We are facing the same decision with our precious 6 lb. poodle. She has COPD and an enlarged heart and she just coughs all the time. She's on 6 meds twice a day. I read on the web some advice we've taken. It said to write down their 5 favorite things to do, and when they can only do 3, you need to look at quality of life issues. So we are still hanging in there, but sneaking a little more table food, cuddling more. Good luck with you boys and I think you've made the right decision.

Anna Berglowe-Lynch

I am so sorry that you and your family have to go through this. It sucks! But you are such a good pet owner for helping to ease the passing. Prayers and hugs for your family.

Operation Pink Herring

I also used at-home euthanasia when it was time to say goodbye to both of my cats, and it is 100% the way to go. It was still sad, of course, but it was... peaceful. I'm glad you found a vet who could do it for you.

I'm sorry about all of this. it sucks. Ceiba has had a great life with you guys.

Megan

I'm a school psychologist and I highly recommend "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney" by Judith Viorst. So sorry for you all....

Melanie

We put our FIV+/in kidney failure first furbaby to sleep 12/31/13 (Yeah, it was a happy freakin' new year). When we told they vet afterward how he'd been all weekend, he was all, "Oh yeah, that was definitely end-stage. It was time." My "Memory Bag" holds the box with his ashes and his favorite toys. Right next to his "brother" who passed suddenly 16 months later. I miss them so.

Sarah

I'm so sorry - all possible love to you and yours.

For what it's worth, in case it helps while you're doing research: my husband and I live in Maryland, and we adopted a rescue dog 6 months ago. We got her through PetConnect Rescue, who were super nice, very reputable, and helped us make sure we were the right humans for her. We totally recommend them when you guys are ready!

aibee

I'm so very sorry :(

CJ

Your hilarious dog posts once made me snort coffee through my nose. Ceiba has brought joy and chuckles to many people and we will all miss her. Hugs to you and your family.

Kristen

As a child, when my brother and i's beloved dog died, my mom bought a stuffed animal of the same color and put his collar on it and told us "when you feel sad, you can pet the stuffie, and buster will know to come down from heaven and sit with you until you feel better"


<3

So sorry for your loss, Amy!

Lee

I'm so sorry. We had to let our 21 year old cat go last October and I was a hot mess for days. Hugs all around. You're doing it right.

Sara

Six months ago I had to help my dog cross over the Rainbow Bridge. Our vet come to our house and we said good-bye under her favorite tree in the yard. It was so hard and sad and I'm crying right now typing this. It's good that you're helping her pass before she's in too much pain or discomfort. My Gracie wen't down hill fast and it was heartbreaking to watch. You are doing the right thing.

Ann

We just lost our beloved 14.75 year old pup Chelle to a brain tumor a month ago. I feel ya on this one. My 4-year-old has STRUGGLED with this. She didn't get to say good-bye ahead of time as everything went south very quickly and resulted in an emergency vet trip, etc. etc. My heart hurts for all of you. When you think you're ready for a BIGASS u*g*l*y* cry-fest to "get it all out", get yourself a copy of the children's book "The Forever Dog" by Bill Cochran. HOOOOOO Boy. We ordered it for our daughter. My husband and I sobbed as we traded off reading it to her. But. BUT. Despite being a heart-rending read, it's been the best thing for us. There's still a big Chelle-sized spot in my heart, but now I understand that it's not a hole. It's her new home.

Chris

Very long-time reader here - I am so, so sorry. I've been in this position myself and it is the absolute worst. Thoughts are with you and your family!

Abby

Love to you all, and be encouraged that you are doing the right thing. Spoil her good again tomorrow.

We are going though a similar process with our dog - lymphoma, though, in her case. Not sure how much longer, but not much. Yeah, fuck cancer.

suburbanmom2

Wishing peace and wonderful memories to you and your family and a gentle, peaceful passing to dear
Ceiba.

Megan

That photo of Ceiba with Max just gets me in the feels. I've got nothing else to say, but I'll miss hamsterdog a ton.

Oh, and @Lynn -- this comes, so, so close. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ynMrmloUVA

Carrie Wilson

My heart is breaking for all of you. I know how hard this is. I have the ashes of all 3 of my cats in beautiful wooden boxes upstairs in my dresser. I couldn't stand the idea of not having them with me so I totally get it. And it will be the same with our dog. I need them with me. Even if it isn't really them anymore. Sending peace and comfort to all of you through this incredibly difficult time.

Heather

Oh Amy, it's been a million years since I've left a comment on your blog. But I am so, so sorry for your grief. I think I was actually "here" when you got her, and I..just...ugh. No words. But I'm sorry. Sending all the love.

Alison

I recently said goodbye to my girl, a 14 year old shihtzu. I thought I wouldn't want another dog for awhile but as soon as she was gone I was online looking for dogs to adopt. If you've always had a dog, it leaves such a hole. I used to cuddle my dog when I was sad. When she died, I didn't have a dog to cuddle anymore when I really needed it.

Heather

I have followed your blog for about 13 years.... when we had just gotten our Chihuahua, Mocha, and I was googling some symptoms she had. Your hilarious writing and sometimes parallel life (dog, boys, moving, etc...) has kept me a longtime reader. Ceiba's antics remind me so much of our little Mocha. It is so uncanny that we have started experiencing accidents with Mocha, and that fun cough thing too (no specific diagnosis yet though, dreading the vet visit). My heart breaks for you and your family during this time of loss. And it brings the reality closer to home for me as well when the time comes for Mocha. Please know that I have been (and will be) thinking of you. Hugs!

WendyB

Much love and comfort to you and your boys. I didn't grow up a pet person but have had a few as an adult - wow, I was prepared for so much sadness. I love that you can have someone come to the house, easier on everyone. Now give Ceiba an extra spoon of peanut butter and a head scratch for me. She'll be missed!

Nancy

Nothing but hugs for all of you.

Jen

Echoing that you're making the right choice for Ceiba. We also do at home euthanasia and allow the other pets a chance to say goodbye if they wish. Some do, some don't, but I do really believe it helps those that are left behind. They understand death. Thinking of you and your family in this difficult time.

Sheena Luttrull

I found your blog because I was in the process of adopting my own min pin hampster dog and have been an avid reader since then. China was older than Ceiba but we got them within a week of each other and I have laughed at the similarities between the two dogs often. My poor China is also rapidly detoriating and we are planning a date to put her down as well. I know there is nothing I can say to help you through this but your words have helped me through knowing that losing China is a rapidly approaching reality. I pray you all find peace and this really sucks. I also have plans to get another dog and I have been told that nothing relaces the one that past but the distraction and bonding with a new one does help.

Marcy

All the hugs to you and yours, Amy.

Lisa

So sorry to hear this news. I was tearing up while reading this at the office. I know how very hard it is to lose a pet. They are such a part of the family. Hugs to your family.

Amy in StL

BACON! CURE ALL THE THINGS!

Also, I love how you had your will broken by boys and by the fact that so many dogs do need someone home all day and you are all "I volunteer as tribute". People named Amy rock.

Anna

Oh, I am weeping with you over this! Partly because I am PMSing but mostly because I am a crazy lady with 5 dogs and any touching animal thing makes me cry. I'm so glad you found the service that will come to your home - it will be so nice that she doesn't have to go to a strange and scary place for her last moments. I'm also really glad you're getting a new dog. When my Winston passed away a few years ago someone sent me a poem that was basically a letter from a deceased pet saying please share my food and toys and warm bed with another dog who needs it. So a few weeks later we rescued a shelter dog...and another one the next year,,,and the next. Did I mention that I have five dogs?

MariaV

I'm crying for you and your family.

Feebs

I'm so sorry you and the boys are going through this :(
This line tho:
"OH MY GOD I AM I AM HOME A LOT I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE. " - Made me laugh in the middle of a work call.

Hugs to all of you

Kristine

As a fellow pet parent I'm so sorry to hear this. But there is no doubt that Ceiba has had a wonderful life filled with love.

Christina

I have been reading your blog for a number of years and my heart breaks for you. We lost our beloved (only 4 years old) pooch this past weekend and the pain is raw. It was unexpected but she had some seizure issues for a few years, and let's just say that did not make her passing easier. I keep thinking that losing her the way we did (after a particularly bad bout of seizures) was easier than having to make a decision like the one your family has made. Anyhow, just thought that even though I am a stranger to you, I could offer some comfort from someone who knows the pain of this loss. Find comfort in knowing she is surrounding by her loved ones as she makes this journey.

Another Stephanie

I just want to chime in that you are absolutely doing the right thing. I know from experience: I've had 5 dogs as an adult (we have morphed from a one-dog family to a mostly three-dog family, cuz we're just crazy, and well, greyhounds are just addictive). Our first dog as a married couple was 11 when we had her put to sleep. We waited probably three or four days too long to put her down, and it was terrible. She was just miserable. I still feel guilty about it sometimes, and it was 8 years ago. We had a traveling vet come for our 9 year old greyhound when it was time, and it was probably, again, later than it needed to be. Again, I still feel guilty, and it's been 5 years. We just lost Roxy, our 11 year old greyhound last month. It was very sudden, and very unexpected. On a Friday night, she ate a little less than usual, moved a little slower, but was otherwise herself. The next morning, she was not okay. She peed all over herself and her bed, and it was bloody, and she was very wobbly on her feet. I called to get her into the vet, and called my 17 year old daughter home from a sleepover. Less than 10 minutes after my daughter got home, Roxy just stopped breathing. It was awful, as you can imagine, and shocking, to say the least, but like my husband said, she went out on her own terms. And we didn't have to decide when to make that call. It's so hard to decide, you feel like no matter what, you're doing it wrong. "Maybe I should have waited longer?"; " Maybe I waited too long?" It really is better, for everyone, to err on the earlier side. It's good that Ceiba's being spoiled, and that she's happy.
I'll be thinking of you tomorrow (I know that sounds vaguely creepy, as you don't know me at all. But I mean it in the most non-creepy way). As a fellow pet owner, my heart goes out to you and your family.
I'm glad that you're thinking about another dog in the near future. It's good for your boys, it'll help soften the blow, just a little. We would have adopted another greyhound by now (even though we have two still with us--did I mention that we're crazy?) but we're waiting until we get back from our vacation in a couple of weeks to take the plunge.
Your little hamster dog has had a great life with your family and you've done your best for her.

RzDrms

I'm praying she's not in too much horrible pain and that tomorrow morning goes as smoothly and peacefully as possible. I meant to tell you to ask your vet about the at-home thing, because I've already called my vet about it in preparation. I was told they'd do a house visit since my cat is already a patient there. I'm *NOT* looking forward to the day, and I've basically kind of had to stop reading your blog for a bit (skimming) because it makes me nauseated to think about. I'm SO SORRY you're going through this. I've told my cat almost every day for the last 18 years that she's my best! girl! EVER! I hope I have many more to do so.... Please tell your pup that she's your best! girl! EVER! It always makes my kitty happy.

::warm hugs::

Becky Rhoades

I'm so sorry about Ceiba. Saying Goodbye to Lulu is a great book for this sad situation if you need it, I haven't seen it mentioned here in the other comments and it was recommended to us by our preschool director, Bev Bos. Im sorry I haven't commented before this. I love your blog. Keep up the good work raising that wonderful family of yours, including the fur babies.

Julie

This is the first time I read your blog. Someone posted a link on my friend's Facebook page because she is going through the same situation you are. Tomorrow she'll say goodbye to her dog who also has bladder cancer. I'm sorry you and your family are going through this. However you will always remember how much you loved Ceiba and all the love she gave you.

notsupergirl

Amy,
First, you have my sympathy. What a difficult thing to face. Secondly, I'm just really glad you're doing this rather than waiting. Of course, I'm not there, but I've been there, and we waited too long. And then, once we knew we'd already waited too long, we had to wait a little longer for the appointment. I wish I could take back those bad days. I think that a merciful exit before life is complete misery is a gift we can offer our pets, and while it doesn't make it easy, ever, I do take some comfort in that.
Best to you and your family.

Maria

I've read your blog for 11 years, and have never posted a comment, even though there were so many I wanted to. I guess it's just that whole "I don't actually know you, I shouldn't be commenting on your life" thing that I feel with blogs I read.

But today I am sending you and your family light and love and strength from afar. I will go home tonight and hug my fur babies a little tighter, and say a little prayer for Ceiba and the Storch family...

michelle b

You are absolutely doing the right thing by Ceiba. Hugs to you all.

I volunteer in my local animal shelter walking the dogs, and there are always dogs that linger in the shelter because they do need a home with someone home a lot, which isn't very common. Giving one of those dogs a loving home sooner rather than later does not in any way diminish your love for Ceiba. Thanks for adopting instead of shopping.

Christine

Thinking of you today. Sending lots and lots of love.

Mara

Sending your sweet family so much love today.
We also recommend "Saying Goodbye to Lulu" - although it made me sob, it seemed to help my 2.5 yr old process the whole event.

<3

Courtney

Another internet stranger thinking of you and your family today. Goodbye to sweet Ceiba. I'm very sorry.

MrsCockles

I am so very sorry. This just breaks my heart. Over the years I have read the funny Ceiba posts to my (now 18 year old) son. When we went to DC for a school trip we even had to stop and take a pic in front of the restaurant because he knew she was named for it. That little dog brought so much laughter to so many people. Thinking of you and your family today.

Holly

I haven't read your blog in a couple of weeks and just catching up now and realizing it's Wednesday night. Shit, I'm so sorry. I'm sitting here sobbing for your little hamster dog and your family. Sending love and hugs from a stranger.

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