To my dear girls, Sydda, Lula, and Zuzu:
By now I know that you've been told about me and that you must be very sad and upset. It is never easy for humans especially to lose those they love very much. But I wanted to make sure you knew how much I appreciated this wonderful, long, good life that you gave me. Even though I was never one to run and bounce around and play, I felt so proud and happy to wake up each day to a house full of people who loved me and cared for me so well. Even when I would just spend my days sleeping, many times a day, there was always someone coming up to me to say hello or to pet me or to tell me how much they loved me. I secretly kind of liked it when you would argue over who would give me a treat, because it showed me just how much you thought of me. Many dogs aren't so blessed as I was to live such a sweet, long life with children like you. Thank you for every large and small thing you have done over the years to make me so happy.
I know that it isn't natural for humans to lose those they love in death, and it's very sad for them for a while. But please know that for animals, death is very natural and we don't dread it as people do. Many animals in nature that are sick or reach old age, including some cats and dogs, will often go find a nice comfortable hidden place outside to fall asleep in death. Other animals rely on their humans to decide the right time. I know that my humans, you girls and mommy and daddy, have seen over the last couple of years the trouble I have had getting around. I could never say it out loud, of course, but if you looked at me closely in the eyes, you could see that I was in a lot of pain - pain that comes from old age. My bones hurt a lot and I hated to move, even when I took medicine for the pain. I still loved to eat, but lately, I could not even bring myself to get up for breakfast so mommy had to bring it to me. Walking hurt, and going up and down the few steps to the yard each day was very hard, too. I didn't enjoy going outside as much as I use to. So this is why I spent most of my time sleeping. Just like with people, it's harder to think about being in pain when you can sleep. As you know, instead of getting better, those of us that reach old age get worse. I know that mommy and daddy didn't want this for me, and I know that you didn't want this for me either. It was extremely difficult to decide to end the pain because mommy and daddy knew how much I would be missed, but I am so, so thankful that I will no longer have to struggle each day. In human years, I reached over 98 years of age, and that is a very, very, very long life both for dogs and humans. It doesn't happen often that dogs live that long, and I am blessed to be one of those fortunate few that did. Take cheer in knowing that it was in large part because of you, your care, and your love that I lived so long.
I know you will miss me but as soon as you are able, please think about the happy and fun times we shared together over the years. Mommy and Daddy and I wanted you to have a special day to remember my good life like you did the day Skyler the parakeet passed away. It is ok to smile and know that you were part of something wonderful - your dog living to be almost 100 people years! And it is ok to love Ruby as you always have. I did like the little dog even though she goes overboard with that squeak toy of hers sometimes. Like me, she had a rocky start her first few years before coming to live here, and I want her to experience to the full the happiness of having such a wonderful family, too.
As you're listening to this letter being read to you, take comfort in knowing that I gently fell asleep a very happy dog, and that I no longer suffer. This was the right and loving thing to do, and I appreciate you loving me enough to understand. I love you very, very much, my sweet family. Thank you for everything.
We put our dear old dog of 14 down on Tuesday while our kids were away on a camping trip with their grandfather. We decided to not let them know that we had made the appointment because we knew their little hearts would be miserable and heartbroken during the days leading up to the vet visit. I didn't want to distress them before their long awaited camping trip or Cara Bella during her final days. However, we have been preparing them for the last couple of years - especially the last few months as Cara Bella's health declined, gently reminding them that she wouldn't live much longer, and may need to be put to sleep as we would not let her suffer. The kids were very good about doting on her and giving her extra special attention whenever they could. There were saddened and upset by the news, but not shocked. We had a special family meal in her honor last night and that helped to lift the girls' spirits. Of course, bed time - when goodnight kisses are often doled out to our furbabies - was quite a different story. It will take time, I know.
Edited to add: The first photo was taken the day we adopted Cara Bella when she was about 7 years old. She was severely obese due to an inactive life and being overfed before coming here. We were able to get her weight back down and even so, it surprised me that she was able to live so long considering the very unhealthy beginning of her life. We were fortunate!