Time To Say Goodbye

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The past few weeks we’ve been getting closer to the end of our dog, Farley’s life. He’s been having two unrelated chronic problems for almost two years. My husband and I knew this was coming, and we’ve wondered how to explain it to our three year old. Last year, Gibby went to heaven. She had cancer and Christian seemed to understand that she was sick and she went to a place where she wasn’t sick anymore. Farley has one issue, a recurring (daily) rectal prolapse, which just has become normal. Farley’s other issue is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, or doggie-Alzheimer’s. He has slowly been forgetting who he is and who we are. Through all of this he has stayed a calm, sweet and loving dog, just an increasingly confused one. Well, last week he began having “accidents,” forgetting to go to the door to go out. Then he began loosing his faculties, and defecating while he slept. We knew that this was part of the progression of the disease, and we also agreed that when it came to this point, when Farley began to loose his dignity, then we would know it was time to help him let go of this life. Well, we’re here. We can’t seem to find the words to explain to our son why we need to “send” Farley to heaven. With Gibby, it was obvious, and we weren’t there at the hospital when she died in the middle of the night. With Farley, we need to take him. My husband says he can’t explain it to himself, never mind to a three year old. We told our vet, our friends and family that this was probably the week. We lifted Farley’s dietary restrictions so he can eat what he likes, knowing that the next big “blowout” would be his last anyway. But as the week passes, Farley has been rallying. His spirit is up, he’s as affectionate as ever, and he hasn’t had any accidents! Deep down, I know it is time, but we’re finding it impossible to make the call. Our faith teaches us that we should allow God and only God to decide when life should end…yet even our Priest has told us that we need to make this decision to let go and help Farley end his suffering. Our Priest is also owned by dogs, and has openly discussed the loss of his dogs and how it has impacted his life. The last one, Annie, he had to put to sleep too. In the end, I guess what I’m trying to say with all of this rambling, is that I am so thankful for Farley. I have had him for nine years, since he was two, he is a sweet and loving goofball, an ambassador for the shar-pei breed, and my friend. I wish that Christian will remember him, and that he will accept whatever explanation we give him about what we are doing, which is helping our friend find his way home. Con Te Partiro.