Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Still

65 Comments

A week ago today you left me, baby-girl. I know it wasn’t entirely your idea, at least not the particular day and time, but you’d been telling me, subtlety, for weeks that you weren’t feeling well. So I made the decision to set you free.

Still…I wonder if I was too early, if you wanted to stick around for a little more time. You were mostly happy on Monday and Tuesday. I almost changed my mind.

Just before the vet arrived.

Still…you weren’t eating. Every day you ate less. On Sunday you ate hardly anything at all and buried your face in the cool grass when we went outside. We didn’t want you to starve. Food was always your favorite thing.

Still…I miss you so much. I don’t know how to be without you. I can’t seem to catch my breath. I know I should write a tribute to you but I can’t. Not just yet. As long as I don’t write that piece I can fool myself into thinking you’re just in the other room, or at camp.

Always waiting on her mama, she’ll wait for me across the bridge now.

I will miss you forever, sweetie.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

65 thoughts on “Still

  1. So very hard. But when a dog stops eating, the end is near.

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    • Yes, we had discussed this several times over the past year. We had decided if she stopped eating it would be time. But when the time came it was really hard to stick with that decision.

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      • Oh, I know. That happened with Liam. But what’s the alternative? Letting a dog starve to death? Horrible no matter how you think of it. As a blogging friend of mine noted, when you have a dog or a cat, you are responsible for that animal’s life…and death. I find it a heavy burden that doesn’t get any easier as I age.

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  2. So hard… but I agree with Laurie… it’s not good when a dog stops eating.
    Sending love and hugs your way.

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  3. Hugs to you, Dawn! We miss her too.

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  4. Oh Dawn- sending a giant hug and so understand the feeling and the loss. I too had to make the hard decision to let my boys go-I feel it just complicates the grief though. I made one of those photo books on snapfish right after, scrolling through years of photos and placing them on pages. It somehow helped, and then allowed me something to look at, to look back through years. It brought a kind of solace, and allowed me to remember the healthy dog, rather than the 18 year old. ❤ ❤

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  5. It is always hard and I have second guessed myself every time we had to do it. She is in a better better place and not suffering.

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    • This was the first time I’ve had to make the decision. Our other two shelties died in their own way on their own terms. Plus Katie and I were so close. But we knew she was stubborn enough to make us make the decision. And she was, she was Katie to the end.

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  6. You showed her love, Dawn. They always seem to perk up before – torture for us, really. Zeke met the vet at the door, collecting pets and scratches, very welcoming. Just about broke my heart. But we know, deep down, that it is fleeing. You did right by her. Sending lots and lots of hugs to you.

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    • Oh my that would have been hard. Katie was sort of like that. We were sitting in the yard, she was napping and when the vet pulled up she got up to greet him, after all he was in her driveway. She sniffed his car and then walked in the house with all of us. Out in the yard she was in his bag trying to find something good to eat. I had to pick her up and put her back on the blanket.

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  7. Oh, Dawn, I’m so very sorry to read this. It takes courage to let them go peacefully before their suffering gets too much. My sweetheart had the same painful decision to make and the last straw was when his dog stopped being interested in fried chicken. I read afterwards that injured or sick dogs go to great lengths to hide their suffering from us because of the ways of the pack. I think they can be very brave animals. I’m sure you made the right decision. Katie was looked after so lovingly right until the very end. You can’t do better than that.

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  8. I miss the Princess posting. “Katie here” always made me smile. The way she would get her friends to ‘not look at the camera for Mama’ and ‘one photo, one treat’ were a great way to start my day. Don’t beat yourself up, Dawn. You were the best Princess Mama ever.

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  9. Earlier when you commented on my pink post I read “pink was Katie’s color.” I hurried over to your blog. WordPress must have unfollowed your posts on my email otherwise I would have read these sooner. Again my condolences, Dawn. Princess Katie was a beautiful girl and her stories brought back such fond memories of my mom’s collies from time gone by. However we believe, I’m confident that we will all see our beautiful furbabies in Heaven. Gary Kurz writes several books about this, in particular, Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates. I wish you peace and send hugs as you remember Katie.

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  10. Dawn, my heart goes out to you and your husband. Please don’t second-guess your decision. We do the best we can — with advice from the vet — and our pups really do tell us when they’re ready to go. Dallas did the same thing. He always was a chow-hound, but I knew the end was near when he stopped eating. And drinking. Making that decision is the final gift we can give them. It’s part of the contract we “sign” when we take them into our arms as wee ones, that we’ll always love them and look after them. Now the angels are looking after Princess Katie! You were such good pet parents for her and gave her a wonderful life — never doubt that. She knew she was loved, a pampered Princess who didn’t want to leave but WILL see you again. Take all the time you need to heal. Grief has no timetable. Everybody grieves differently. Hold tight to each other and let your love heal you through this. Don’t even try to read those Rainbow Bridge poems and such right now! Know you’re in my thoughts and prayers and if there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know. You are loved, too!!

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    • I think the vet thought she could go longer…but we knew how she really was, especially that last weekend I talked to the vet for a long time Monday afternoon…and she agreed in the end when I described how little she’d eat and how she’d lay in the yard without moving. Still…I think she thought we could get a few more days….but a few more days like those we had just experienced would only make us all sad.

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      • Absolutely! I’m blessed the vet agreed it was time for Dallas. I’d hate second-guessing myself! In the end, you listened to Katie, and that brave princess (who surely didn’t want to leave you) told you it was her time. She knew what she was doing.

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  11. So sorry to hear this. You’ll miss her dearly! Wonderful photos of her. All my best wishes! Annebeth

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  12. I know all too well how hard this is. I couldn’t write a tribute for either of my boys (they passed 9 days apart) for a LONG time. Still haven’t written proper ones. Katie’s top photo looks nearly exactly like Dakota’s (a month before he passed from cancer). To me, he didn’t look ill, until I see the photos now. Dakota had stopped eating for 5 days…(yes we waited a day or two too long). The day the Vet came my heart broke even more because he fought leaving us. It is so normal to think that we made the decision too early. It’s so hard. What somewhat helped with the pain was I made a TON of collages to hang on the wall. TONS of them. They are still hanging. This way I get to see both my boys every day. It is so hard and my heart just breaks for you. Sending (((hugs))) and prayers of comfort.

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    • Yes, I noticed that she looked sad in photos, where I had thought we were having a good day. But photos don’t lie and I’ve known for a few weeks that she wasn’t happy. And when she stopped eating there was no other decision to be made. I love her so much. My girl.

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  13. You loved her, so you did the right thing. I’ve felt those feelings too. It is hard beyond words and I’m sure you know that time is the only thing that will help. Take all the time you need.

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  14. It is hard, letting them go. Hugs.

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  15. Huge hugs to you♥ Losing them is so hard♥

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  16. I’m so sorry Dawn. I know how hard it is, and only time will make the hurt less. I hope you can fill your days with things you love.

    To me, that photo of Katie shows she was ready. The twinkle was gone. You did the right thing.

    Grieving for a dog can feel so lonely, I hope you feel the support you have here.

    Sending you love.

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    • I’ve been distracted by the arrival the day after of my sister and brother who were on a trip arranged before we knew about Katie. So they’ve been here all week…lots to do, people to visit, meals to prepare. I go to bed exhausted every night. They leave in the morning though and then I’ll have time to cry…if I still feel like it. Probably will. Yes, I feel the support from all of you out there. I know you’ve all been through similar experiences. It’s helped so much.

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  17. I rescheduled That Vet Visit just one more day for Remington and Tika and Boost. Just little signs that they were still ready to stay for a bit. But i the end I think I was reading my own signs that I wanted them to stay for a bit more. In all cases, in retrospect the following day, I wished that I hadn’t postponed. It is a hard choice no matter what, but as others have said, and you, too, I think it’s a gift that we can give to companions who can’t really tell us, just show us.
    I knew Remington was going to go soon, because: 3 months of cancer, so I worked on a little memorial page for him ahead of time. For Tika and Boost, I knew, but just couldn’t, before or for quite a while after. You have done yourself a service, though, I think, by having Katie so often in your blog; her story is largely there already. She had a lovely life with you, all those walks and sleeping in the tent in the back yard and playing with her favorite… darn, was it a sheep? Pig?
    And i’m sorry that I never had a chance to meet her, except so well through your words.

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    • I remember Tike and Boost. That was soooooo hard, I know. I agree it’s really ME that wanted her to stay longer, who was trying to see signs that she could. But if you really look at her photos that last day, it’s obvious she was ready. She had a favorite toy, Piggy, who played Piggy in the Tunnel….but she also loved Lambie, both of which she won during obedience trials.

      Thank you for the years of commiseration between dog moms. And for your support now. I know you know.

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  18. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, to let my girl Alex go. It’s so hard to know when it’s time because your heart never says “it’s time”. Love to Katie and to you.

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  19. Having gone through this with Khyra and Holly, do NOT second guess your choce and decision – I felt a calm once I made the calls for both – and celebrated them until their just for now end –

    I’ve read of too many sharing their experiences where they pushed it – and regreted it –

    And from my 8hrs away vantage point, she was ready – I know Ludo’s mom said that – and I’ll second what she wrote –

    It is a tough one – but again, what we promise – and owe them –

    After letting Holly go, I was dogless for six months – six long months – but now that hole is well filled by Willow –

    Willow sends her love to The Mitten State – and still so happy to have gotten to meet YOU!

    H&K&W,
    Willow and Phyll

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    • Such wise words. You are right. I thought about it today and was very glad I wasn’t facing it now…I felt somewhat guilty that I was somewhat relieved that it was behind me. I’ve been dreading this for more than a year. In fact, if I’m honest, I’ve been dreading this since she turned 10. I don’t know if we’ll get another dog. If it was just me I think I would. But not right away.

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  20. Hugs to you, Dawn. Each passing day, it’ll get easier. But, the pain will never go completely away. When I made the same choice for my Copper, my daughter had just gone through making the tough decision for her cat. She sent me a card that said, “Copper trusted you, loved you, and you’re hurting now so he doesn’t have to hurt anymore. You made the most difficult decision out of love – the choice to take away his pain and take it upon yourself instead – how lucky of him to be loved so much.” You loved Katie – and she knew it and wanted you to remember her on a good day.

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  21. Yes, you will. I can’t say more but feel very close to you, Dawn

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  22. There are no words, just sending hugs! ❤️

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  23. Sending you hugs and love. ❤

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  24. I feel so bad for you. I know the hurt you’re feeling. Take solace that you made all your decisions for her out of love. And Katie knew that.

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    • Thank you. I know you’ve been through the same. Katie for sure knew we loved her. I carried her into the house that last time, with the vet coming in with us…and she was content. Her dad held her out in the yard during the initial shot. I thought it was only fair that he get to do that. Plus I was there kissing her. She just fell asleep. She tried not to…for a moment, she tried to stay alert but of course she couldn’t. I told Bruce that she was already not there as her little eyes closed. It was peaceful and at the time I didn’t feel grief. But I sure do now.

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  25. No words, just a hurting heart for you and me too..

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  26. I have only had to involve a vet 2 times and it was so hard. Our Chloe our 12-year-old blue heeler had a massive cancerous tumor on her nipple. It was the size of a grapefruit. We were okay dealing with this until the day I came home and she was on her side and could no longer get up. She was on her side swimming in no water. The next time was our 2 year old miniature Eskimo spitz she got into some poisonous plant Sago Palm at the neighbors and had her kidney and liver shut down. She had seizures 3 x every 5 minutes. I know I did the right thing but it’s never easy to do this. I think when you love them beyond measure you have to do what’s the right thing to keep them from pain even if it hurts us in the long run. Try not to second guess yourself and just remember you did what you needed to do for Katie.

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  27. I am so sorry Dawn, my heart goes out to you and your husband. Katie was so special, of course you will second guess your decisions….that is normal we all do it when it comes to that last Vet appointment. You took such good care of her and gave her such a good life! We have to always make the right decisions for them and not for us. It is hard. Very hard when your heart is broken. Sending you a hug!

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