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    I know enough to know that at 04.00am it gets dark out on the streets. It has done this for the last twenty odd years, to my knowledge and will probably continue for the forseeable future. At some stage in this ‘future’ I shall retire and probably won’t give a damn if it still gets dark at 04.00am. Until then I shall be out there, somewhere, lurking in the shadows because someone, somewhere will be doing stuff they shouldn’t and then, well then I will introduce myself. In the meanwhile I shall try to remain sane and remember why I joined in the first place and try to ignore all the people who piss me off by making the job more complicated than it should be.
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Replay after 90 minutes.

I have posted this before and found the response both moving and the greatest by far I have had. For all those who have had a dog, lived with it, worked with it and cared for it you will understand my sentiments. About this time every year it comes around again. Some dogs are irreplaceable but some of the personal loss can be replaced by another. Some of you might have already seen it but others might not have.

I hear the phone ringing, I wait for an answer. My mouth is dry and I don’t want to speak. I can’t remember dialling the number. Eventually it is answered just as I am about to hang up and delay the inevitable. My misplaced human sentiment rises to the surface again. I try to talk and explain who I am, what the problem is. The voice on the other end is calm, politely reassuring and knows how I feel. They have seen and heard this a hundred times. I get my time and the count down begins.

90 minutes is an awful long time.

The journey is only a fraction of that. 90 minutes is about as long as a football match. No time at all if your side is 3-0 up but an eternity of torment if your side is 3-0 down.

My 90 minutes of torment has begun.
Every second seems like a minute, seems like an hour, a day, a week.

My friend is not well. He is very not well.

We have seen lots of things together.
We have done lots of things together.
He has saved me from many things and ensured I
returned home. I owe him a lot.

Now I must take him for his last journey.

I cannot explain how such relatively short and slow journey turns out to be such a blur.

I enter the place that has made my friend better on several occasions but that will now stop his suffering because they cannot make him better any more.

They know. They take me to a small room when I walk in and close the door.
They are sympathetic. They care about what they do.

It doesn’t take long but it seems to take forever.
My friend is gone. I’m going to miss him, a lot.

90 minutes was an awfully long time.

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19 Responses

  1. Sympathy, it’s wretched, you don’t forget and at the moment it’s too close to home, for me.

  2. Got me wiping the tears away. You never forget any pet, and I can’t imagine how hard it must be when you’ve been partners in work as well as play.

    Sometimes doing the right thing is the hardest thing.

    Hugs from Edinburgh

  3. Having my own friend put down was awful. She was an old tabby cat, I’d had her from a kitten and the poor animal was old, ill and going senile. Although it is the right decision, it is never an easy one.

  4. Doing your duty for your faithful friend is the noblest of deeds.

  5. To know when to put your family member because that is what all animals are at the end of the day before ourselves is the hardest thing.

    I have copied the post the the vetnurse site. All of us have at some point walk quietly out of the room and wiped the tears away.

  6. This happened to me a couple of years ago.

    Your work colleague and friend and someone you trust has gone, they give you yor last few minutes alone with him and let me hold him one last time and say your last, I cry, he knows something is wrong! They hold the instrument that will stop the suffering, I cry, he takes his last breath, I cry. I was shown out of the rear door of the surgery barely holding myself together, sat in the car and cried. I notice the nurse that helped me, return out the rear door a few minutes later, she was crying.

    A very very sad day.

  7. The last dog that I to have put down was only 4 and riddled with cancer.
    He could hardly move at the end but raised his head to lick the face of the vet who had come to end his suffering.
    Tears all round and a hug from the vet before she left.

  8. That time for me too. My lad (avatar) had Lymphoma and received excellent treatment from Leahurst Vet Hospital. I promised him that when the time came it would be at my hand in the comfort, safety and peace of his own home.
    Unfortunately I had a heart attack recently and when that time did arrive I could not keep my promise. He remained at home but a close friend administered the last injection. I miss him and feel so guilty. Respect to you.

  9. Its the hardest decision to make the power over life and death. Having experienced it its awful nothing can prepare you for it and despite the good words and deeds no one feels that pain at that time as you do.
    They give so much and ask very little may they rest in peace.
    Best wishes and respect to all who know where the author is coming from.

  10. [...] spine, if you’ve every seen a family pet turn nasty, you won’t forget it in a hurry.  And If you have ever had to have a pet put down because it is sick, you’ll have have some idea what it was like, except this came with a whole host of other emotions [...]

  11. It’s a horrible thing to have to loose any animal. If it is loved and is also if it is working partner the loss is immense. I know its slightly different, but I remember the loss of one of our cows. She was 16, and not only supplied us with milk, and a steady supply of calves for most of those years.( she was honourably retired ) but old age caught up with her. The vet was marvellous, and no, she didn’t end up in anyone’s food chain.

  12. Yes WEB, a seat in heartbreak chair lasts forever.

  13. My first Operational dog had to be PTS having been found with a nasty cancer at 6 and a half. He had his spleen removed and moved into the house with us for his last week. Unfortunately he never recovered. I cant believe what a mess i was and how much i still miss him, he was a gentleman of a dog and did his job fantastically. Dave misses him too. We now have Jack to keep us company but Floyd will always have a special place deep deep inside. I have dealt with many things in work, however I was ill prepared for how this affected me.

  14. You and UHDD are makkin me greet.

  15. I am so sorry………….It is a terrible decision to have to make….. and as you say, that last journey is HELL. It is bad enough when your dog is just a pet and companion…but I imagine it must be so much worse to lose a working mate as well

  16. ……this makes my blood boil.

  17. I took my best friend on her final run out two weeks ago, I was present at her birth and she was by my side for the next 15 years. A lot changed in that time, she was my working dog as a Shepard and my friend when not a t work. I got out of farming 7 years back and joined the job over 3 years ago.
    We went to the vets on Wednesday and i joined a new department on the Thursday, the irony is that the new dept is a stepping stone to dog section.

    It was without doubt the hardest thing I have ever done

  18. Even after a couple of decades I can still remember the raw pain of losing my family’s two Labs. The loss of the first to cancer left such a big hole that we couldn’t bear the emptiness in the home, so we got a puppy. When his time came it was heartbreaking to see my son, who had known him since birth, saying goodbye to the best friend he had ever had.
    It took a few years for us to get another dog, but he is just as much part of the family. I know it is going to be unbearable when his time comes.
    The best comfort I can think of is that my childhood and early 20s are packed with memories of Sam and then Bram. The things they got up to still make us laugh. And I will be forever grateful to them for they way they enriched my life.

  19. When you lose someone close that’s what happens. It isn’t nice at all. It’s a blur. Lost 2 people close to me this year.

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