Things to do after your dog has died

Ralphie 2

This poem was written by a friend and colleague, Catherine Young. I hadn't seen her in awhile, and then ran into her at a local coffee shop, where she handed me an envelope with a poem she'd written in it. Oh thanks, I said, focused on other issues at the time. I stuffed the envelope into my purse and thought nothing about it until a few days later when I dug it out to clean up my purse before traveling. And then I read it, and sat down and read it again and got all soppy-eyed and petted Willie and went to the couch and got Tootsie on my lap and read it again. It's the best description I've ever read of how many of us feel after we lose a beloved dog, and it seems especially fitting after so many evocative comments from last week's blog about "dogs as family." Here it is, with a Read More

Love, Guilt & Putting Dogs Down

With apologies for the change in topics, I just have to respond to a comment on my last post, and to the hundreds of comments I've heard over the last 20 + years, about the guilt associated with putting a dog down. It is always wrenching, heart-breaking to euthanize a beloved dog, but taking a dog's life away for a behavioral problem can be especially hard. I can't take away the pain, no matter what the reason for the death, but here are a few things that I have found that have helped me and some of my clients. First, for anyone who has had to euthanize a dog, I hope it helps to know that devoted owners are often wracked with guilt, no matter why the dog died. For example, I euthanized Cool Hand Luke after a long battle with kidney failure. By the time he died (he was close to death Read More