Saying Goodbye to Ellie Mae

Saying Goodbye to Ellie Mae

One of the most disheartening parts of sharing your life with a pet is the realization that he or she will eventually leave you. With an average life expectancy of 10 – 12 years for dogs, and 10 – 14 years for cats, the length of time we have them by our side simply isn’t enough. And, sadly, those years can be cut even shorter by disease and unfortunate accidents. For some pet parents, there may come a time when a decision needs to be made ~ the decision of whether or not to help your pet cross over the Rainbow Bridge.

As a pet parents ourselves, my husband and I were lucky enough to share 13 years of my lives with our “baby girl” ~ a 135 pound Great Dane named Ellie Mae. You may or may not know, but a Great Dane’s average life expectancy is a mere 7 – 9 years, so having Ellie Mae for 13 years was extraordinary. The typical Great Dane, Ellie was graceful, loving, gentle and unaware of her large size (picture a 135 pound lap dog!). Fortunately, she never experienced any serious ailments, other than those typical of an aging dog. As she entered her double-digit ages, she slowed down considerably, lost muscle tone in her legs and became less steady in her steps. But her loving demeanor, her appetite and her sweet disposition never wavered; and that is what made it so difficult for us to decide whether or not, at the age of 13, she needed to be helped along on her way to the Rainbow Bridge. Seeing Ellie physically decline seemed to be overshadowed by the love we shared; it was hard for me especially to let go. When I finally realized her quality of life was little to none, she was likely in pain, and her condition would never get anything but worse, my husband and I made the painful, heart wrenching decision to have her euthanized.

We both knew we didn’t want to put Ellie through the stress of going to our veterinarian’s office for a procedure. It was a process to get her into a vehicle when she was young due to her size; maneuvering her comfortably at this point just didn’t seem possible and it wasn’t something we wanted her to endure. So, I visited the In-Home Pet Euthanasia Directory and found a veterinarian in our area who provided the services we needed.

Ellie was always a spoiled pooch (as I believe all pets should be!). She had her own twin-sized bed with cute pink sheets that were changed regularly; she was fed quality food; she was walked and exercised regularly; she had a bathing routine; and she was given the utmost care and attention. For all intents and purposes, she was our baby girl. Her life was precious and comfortable, and we wanted her passing to be the same.

The veterinarian who came to our home took the time to explain to my husband and I the process of euthanasia, introduced herself to our Ellie Mae and spent a few moments petting her and talking to her, and told my husband and that, if we wanted to, we could sit or lie with Ellie Mae and cuddle her while the drugs were administered. With one of her pet parents on each side, whispering in her ear how much we loved her, Ellie lay comfortably on her bed as she drifted off into a forever sleep. We both truly believe she left this world knowing and feeling how cherished she was.

For anyone seeking a stress-free, private and personalized experience as you say farewell to your beloved pet, I highly recommend at-home euthanasia. It provides a unique opportunity to keep your pet where he or she is most comfortable and makes a difficult time a little bit easier for you both. The process, though daunting for any pet parent to witness, is peaceful and dignified. It does cost more than euthanasia conducted in a veterinarian’s office but, in my opinion, the additional cost was well worth the end result ~ our baby girl taking her final breath while in our arms, in the comfort of her own home, surrounded with love.

Written by Darlene Wagner Butler for The Poop and Nothing But the Poop

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