From the desk of Amy…
It’s a beautiful day in June, a little breezy, but the sun is shining and I can hear the leaves rustling in the trees. Brent walks Gus out of the barn and down the gravel driveway. Gus walks a few feet before his back leg gives out and it just happens to be under a willow tree.
We don’t notice the willow tree, but our vet Dr. Sherry does, “this is a lovely spot under a willow tree”. Elsa is eating weeds beside us and Dr. Sherry says “I don’t think you should be eating those weeds Elsa – it might be poisonous”. On command Elsa spits out the weed and gives Dr. Sherry an annoyed look that only teenagers can make. We laugh too loud.
People ask me why it’s so difficult to euthanize an animal and all the reasons get stuck in my throat and I can’t find the answer.
“Do you have a mat or something for Gus to lay on?” asks Dr. Sherry.
I am amazed that I didn’t think of it and I run to the barn and grab Gus’s beautiful memory foam bed. This is a special bed donated by Gus’s red headed girlfriend years ago. Molly is a very attractive golden retriever who fell in love with Gus. The bed brought great comfort to Gus right up until his final breath. Thank you Monika & Molly.
I give thanks for kind people as I put the bed on the ground under the willow tree. Gus immediately lays on his bed and takes a deep breath as the breeze ruffles his ears. His muscles relax as the sedative takes effect. He’s suddenly tired and rests his head heavily on the bed.
Euthanizing an animal is difficult because they are a part of our everyday life. They rely on us for shelter, food, care, medicine and love. We are their world and they are mine.
I watch his chest rise and fall for the last time. I stroke his head and tell him that we love him, there are many people who love him and will miss him. I tell him Uncle Bill and Megan send their love. Gus has no idea how many lives he’s touched. Gus has no idea that our tears will pave his way to heaven.
When a person dies there is a team of people to help with the process. The funeral director, the mortician, nurses, doctors and grave diggers. Family and friends visit, bring food, bring love, bring support, flowers and kindness.
My tears soak his white fur as his muscles relax and I look at Dr. Sherry as her eyes meet mine. Her stethoscope comes off Gus’s chest and the look she offers is deep and meaningful. He’s gone. Dr. Sherry has sparkling blue eyes and they look sad as she drops the syringe into her pocket.
At a funeral there is a ceremony and people stand up and tell stories, sing songs and celebrate. There is comfort in sharing grief. There is peace.
Dr. Sherry gets to her feet as Brent and I pat Gus’s head one last time. He’s gone and the tears soak my face as Dr. Sherry says “group hug”. We gather and hug. “I’m so sorry for your loss” the willow tree whispers in the wind as a butterfly lands on Gus’s nose and rests.
Dr. Sherry gets in her car after washing her boots and drives away, leaving Brent and I with after care. I stare at Gus’s body on his lovely bed under the willow tree and think, he was loved. I cry hard for a long time.
At the cemetery the hole in the ground is ready to receive the deceased. There is red carpet leading the closest friends and family to the grave site. Family gathers around as the body is lowered into the ground.
I sit on the freshly dug earth as Brent pushes the dirt over Gus’s body and my tears soak the ground. There are no family and friends to bid good bye to Gus. There are no flowers covering a casket. There is just Brent and I laying Gus to rest.
After a person is laid to rest there is a gathering where everyone tells stories about the deceased. A celebration of life.
Alone, I sit in the house and think about my handsome boy. I send a few texts to close family and friends letting them know that Gus has died and is at peace. The messages are supportive and loving.
We will miss Gus desperately. He was a part of our daily life. We loved him and he survived four and a half years longer than anyone expected. He was our light, delight and love. He was a wonderful dog.
In early June of 2016, we laid our boy Gus to rest. He’s at peace running without pain or responsibility. He’s surrounded by love. He has a great following with BCFS and we send this message to all those who loved Gus:
Please help save a dog in Gus’s name… it’s what he would have wanted. Please share your good deed, thought, prayer on the comments below. We get great comfort knowing how many lives Gus has touched.
As for me? Jackson is giving me cuddles and Super Taz is doling out kisses. My support team is in place and I feel lucky to have had a special dog like Gus in my life.
Cheers my boy resting under the willow tree. I will always love you.