The day

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The day

Postby vbirddogs » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:06 am

The Day

The day started as any other. Alarm clock was set to go off, but as usual, I awoke about a minute before the beeping began. Unlike any other day though, a sadness filled my heart. Emotions ran wild and tears fell as I clicked on the button to get the coffee going. I could hear her nails scrapping on the tile in the other room as she stirred about. She'd been going down hill fast the last two weeks. Age is a terrible beast we all have to suffer through. An experience maybe the lucky are fortunate to avoid.

Fifteen years had finally taken its toll on her. Her frail frame could barely support her weight. Legs wobbled as she walked. Lying down seemed to all she could do, though her spirit kept her restless as she still wanted to be a part of everything. Her eyes expressing a questioning gaze and a lack of understanding as to what was happening to her. She was tired.

She'd been a good dog. Both my kids had grown up with her, and she'd been there their entire lives. The memories of my daughter crawling in the whelping box with her litters of puppies. The pictures of my son bouncing around the yard with puppies in tow, as their mom carefully watched on. The memories and days training afield. All the trials and hunts she'd been on. Countless weekends hanging out in the horse trailer. All the times I'd hooked her up to a harness and watched her drive forward next to the other dogs. All the times I'd staked her out, walked her to the line. I can still hear the words from the judges at her first American Field Trial, "Where'd you get that dog? I never seen a Red dog run like that." But, most of all, her love and kindness. A gentle spirit and disposition all seemed to be attracted too. A unselfish and unconditional willingness to please.

I knew this day was coming. The time when all dogs simply run out. The time their bodies give in, regardless of their heart and desire. Her dad had simply passed away in my lap while I was watching a movie one afternoon. And the others, each different in how they approached and handled the end. Yet with all the dogs that have been in our lives over the years, it still never gets easier. In some respects, maybe even gets harder. You know that day will come, even as you pick them out as a pup. Yet, we still do it. For we know that what they give us in return is far greater than what we could ever give them. A special gift from God in a way, to help remind us of what unconditional love is truly about.

My wife and kids were all to meet at the vet's office at 3:15 to say our good byes. We were to be there and give support, comfort and love in those final moments. It's important to be there. One thing all dog owners must commit to, regardless of how much it hurts. It was going to be the first time my son would have to experience the pain and witness the loss of something he had loved so dearly. Something that had loved him back even more. A part of his life would now be gone forever, and I saw it in his eyes as he realized it.

She went fast. Her tired body seemed to almost stop with just the sedative. My daughter and wife, as hard as they tried, fought, couldn't hold back their emotions of love and loss. But for my son, it seemed to be the hardest. I could see and feel all his emotion and pain. His sobs and tears evidence of his love for her as the final injection took hold. He loved her the most. He was going to miss her the most. And it was a moment he'll never forget. I was never more proud of him.

Afterwards my son expressed to me all his feelings. He was happy for our "girl" that she would no longer have to endure the pain of going on. Yet, at the same time the feelings and the terrible pain of losing something he loved so dearly. He handled it like a man. A real man who portrays emotion, compassion, love and tenderness. Traits missing from many men these days. And as I watched, I realized that I too was getting old, and realized that this experiences would be one of many teaching moments for my son about the cycle of life and the hope of life after death through Jesus. It will help remind him of the promises that God has made for us.

Last edited by vbirddogs on Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The day

Postby Cajun1085 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:10 am

Sorry for your loss brother.

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Re: The day

Postby DP2LB » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:53 am

So sorry for your loss. What a great tribute though.
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Re: The day

Postby Silverwidgeon » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:57 am

I have never owned a hunting dog... but that brought tears to my eyes. I feel every real hunter truly understands the meaning of life and death, or should.
my condolences, may death bring new life...
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Re: The day

Postby yellowlabhunter » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:42 am


Sorry for your and the families loss. It really hurts. I put one of mine down 1 year and 2 days really hurt the wife and I. I have one left, she will be 13 Jan. 30th. She used to be yellow, now all white. She too is walking very slow and gingerly. She is indoors full time and still gets up when at return home at 0700 to greet me with her unconditional love. I know her time is drawing near, and this one will really hurt! After she moves on, I don't know if I will do this again? The trouble is, we out live them mostly. I do know I gave her the best life one man could provide for her. It seems like yesterday when she glided across the ponds bringing back a downed bird. Her eyes (still are) the same, brown and sincere. She is special and so was yours. It will sting for a while and the stories will remain and be told many times about what your pooch meant to you and yours. Remember your dog had a great life and that you were the reason why. Be well.

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Re: The day

Postby AJCsurf » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:16 am

Man this hits home. With two 9 year old labs I have been trying to prepare for the inevitable the last few years as both of them are slowing down. Sorry for your loss....
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Re: The day

Postby takemnow » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:33 am

Sorry for your loss! Nice tribute to your girl, hope the warm memories out weight the pain of her passing.

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Re: The day

Postby OGblackcloud » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:59 am

Very sorry for your loss
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Re: The day

Postby sprigs4days » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:25 am

This hits home. My old boy just turned 10 and I know my days in the field with him are coming to an end. This vid sums it all up perfectly. I still go back to watch it from time to time....sorry for your loss man.
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Re: The day

Postby quigby979 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:35 am

Very sorry for loss Vbirddogs, they become so much a part of our lifes. Prayers and blessings to you.
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Re: The day

Postby duckscout » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:08 am

Sorry for your loss just put down my 15yr lab bear
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Re: The day

Postby ycduckhunter » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:24 pm

Wow reading that really hit home almost teared up sitting in class. I have a 10 year old lab who just went through a minor surgery and i really noticed the effects her age are having on her, shes really slowing down. Sorry for your loss im sure you have some great memories with her
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Re: The day

Postby duckdoa » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:53 pm

It sucks, thanks for taking the time (and letting your heart heal) and pen your thoughts. Like a heartfelt love song that makes 99.9% of the people who listen to the story behind the song want to sing along and share the feelings of the songwriter you have done the same by letting your emotions come out in such a wonderful and poetic way. I have had dogs pass away too in the past but I have never felt the way inside like I do about my 1st duck dog I've had for 2 years now. When she ran in front of the quad last year in the pond and got under 1 tire all I could do was yell out NO (to myself) jump off and hold her and tell her I was sorry as I was checking her out. Luckily she was ok. Later I couldn't help but wonder why I was so emotional, I resolved myself to just not fight the fact that I love that dog... Thanks for the touching story.
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Re: The day

Postby Jkhunts » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:47 pm

Very sorry for your loss Vbirddogs. I've gone through it with 2 labs and 1 mix breed. They all touch the lives of our family and what you said about your how your dog affected your family was beautiful. If we could learn from our dogs how to show unconditional love the world would be a much better place.

I have 6 year old lab that doesn't hunt because she's gun shy, but I still take her along because she just wants to be with me wherever I go, she is content to stay in the truck. I love that dog more than any other I have ever owned and I know her end will come just as the others, it never gets easier, no matter how prepared you think you are. What you said about your son shows he has learned from you to be a compassionate person and that is a compliment to you and your wife how he's been raised.

My father-in-law passed away last week, but I know one day I will see him again, along with my dad, and of course my savior Jesus Christ. I would like to think our dogs will be in heaven too, maybe that will be a big surprise for us when we leave this world.

God bless you and your family.
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Re: The day

Postby bugman » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:18 pm

Boy, that story wrenched my heart. We've lost a golden. a beagle and a flat-coated retriever in the last few years. With all 3 I cried like a baby. Fortunately our vet came to the house for the final act. We buried them on the hill above our house where we like to think they still watch us. They used to love to sit up there and view the neighborhood. We called them the "voyeur dogs". We still go up to their graves and talk to them. My old, retired English pointer is next, but his time is a bit further off. Our current and younger lab and golden tolerate his attempts to play and his slower gait. We all hate to think of that time coming. But we know a new pup will fill the hole in our hearts when he is gone. What a shame a dog's life is shorter than ours, but that just opens us up to new buddies when our grief has lessened a bit. Keep a dog biscuit in your pocket and a new dog friend will appear.
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Re: The day

Postby bellabitch » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:16 am

I am so sorry for your loss. Been there twice. it is just as hard each time. it is an unfortunate part of life that both my kids experienced at a young age and then again as late teens. I got a new pup as soon as possible and it really helped - buying new furniture as the pup destroyed it kept me busy and took my mind off of the loss. I wish you all the best. You are a good writer and you have left your dear friend a wonderful tribute. Peace!
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Re: The day

Postby marsh-mello » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:02 pm


Powerful essay on being a dogs owner and dealing with the inevitable. :bow: :bow:

I am on my third lab and I still tear up when thinking back on the memories and holding my first dogs head as he was put down and witnessing the life slip away from his loving and approving eyes. Cancer is a terrible thing to watch take it's slow and painful toll until mercy is the only option out of necessity.

I can't even type anymore......
Last edited by marsh-mello on Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The day

Postby yellowhound » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:13 pm

Sorry for your loss brother I know the feeling (I guess we all do as hunters and dog owners). I had to put down my yellow (Grady) at age 5 for lymphoma in September. Sat on the floor of the vet's office and cried like a baby. Tough thing to do as we spend hours in the field training and hunting with them. My condolences.
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Re: The day

Postby vbirddogs » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:42 pm

I want to thanks all of you who posted onto this post. I know the vast majority on here have hunted with, or do hunt with, a dog. And, for most of us they are not just dogs, but a companions. Thanks again!!

Sprigs4life.....what a great video you posted.
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