The Decision

“When do I make the decision to let them go?” When do I decide what their quality of life is? How do I make these decisions? These words stare at me from the Facebook page. They are the same questions I had to ask myself in June about a beloved canine family member. This time it is my neighbor asking about her 18-year-old cat who is no longer able to control his bowels and cannot stay warm. Any of us that have asked these questions, understand the questions being asked. It isn’t easy being the one that must make the decision if our loved one lives or dies. It feels as if you are adorned with a big black heavy coat, with a sickle in your hand. Your heart hurts, yet you know this is the price you pay for the love you gave and the love you received. The letting go of a relationship that has given so much joy, happiness and love. The place that the soul finds peace. The sadness is about the loss of course, but I think it is the piece of yourself that goes with them you will miss. The person you are when you are around them. Those are what the memories are. Memories of the pieces of the life they shared with you.
It is a relationship that is difficult to explain with words, something that is so deeply expressed with pure emotion. Our animals speak to us in an entirely different language and for a person that has never experienced that language, it is complicated to explain yet simple when you know the language. So when you read on Facebook that your neighbor is struggling with the same questions most pet lovers have had to answer for themselves, the language is perfectly understood yet hard to interpret.

There have been many times I have asked myself those same questions. It never gets easy, yet it becomes less frightening. Understanding death is not a lesson our culture is good with. Our pets don’t seem to fear death. There is another lesson that they are teaching us. The passing from one form to another is done peacefully. The tears flow more now more than ever when I hold that pet, while the veterinary administers the pathway to heaven, yet the tears are filled with tiny pink hearts. They are filled with the love we shared. Knowing it is the right choice to make and the animals know it was the right thing to do. They are counting on us to have the strength to do it.

I feel so honored and grateful to have been able to share so many animal lives in my lifetime. Will my friend and neighbor ask those questions again? She will, I will, and so many people I know will. We will share our support and help each other feel at peace with the decision they know they will have to make because we all speak that same language. The one our pets taught us how to speak.

Some will always ask after the loss of a pet, “So, will you get another dog?” That is like asking, will you choose to love again?” Undeniably, yes! Of course, I will choose to love again.
They have trusted us to teach them how to live with humans, feed them, provide care when they are sick, offer some loves, and now they are trusting us to get them to the other side.

Posted by
Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl Wilson created Why We Wag in 2012 as her result of her lifelong love of dogs. After 22 years in the Educational sector, Cheryl utilizes her expertise as an award winning educator, to educate dog lovers, along with offering supplies that support a healthy, meaningful relationship with canines. Residing in Utah, Cheryl is celebrating her 5th generation with dogs and now her first generation of grand-dogs.