Monday, October 7, 2013

Goodbye Old Friend

Goodbye Old Friend
Guy 199?-2013
How do I even begin to write this... we've had the pleasure of Guy's company for 10 long years and he's made an immeasurable impression on our lives. We were told he was 6 or 7 when we adopted him in 2003.  There's so much to say and yet I'm at a loss for words.  Whenever he was around I always felt comfort, joy and love.

Today I'm sad to lose my best friend, but there's also an odd sense of serenity.  I know his suffering is over.  He left me with his joyful spirit and many happy memories.  A big "Thank You" to all my friends and Flickr friends for loving him as much.  Having been able to share his wonderful moments with you has made this experience immeasurable.  From the bottom of our hearts, "Thank you."

We left Guy with a bouquet of flowers from the yard and a lock of hair from each of us.  He will be cremated and I plan on making a "Guy" urn.

324/365 Holding Hands
Knowing When:
We started to notice Guy's health and agility slowing down about 2 or 3 years ago, but the last 6-8 months is when it really started to spiral.  We knew from then on we might have to euthanize him at some point.  Slipping away quietly in the night was unlikely and we didn't want to prolong his suffering.  It wasn't a matter of what to do, but when to do it...  I think this is/was the toughest decision we had to make.

There are many resources out there to help you gauge a pet's "quality of life".
Lap of Love has a great PDF/worksheet and I also found THIS checklist very helpful.  I thought the worksheet was helpful but too simple so I also took daily logs for about 2-3 weeks.  These were a few things I tried to observe:
Did he have a good night sleep?
Did he throw up or have diarrhea?
Had he moaned or seemed like he was in pain and if so the duration.
When and how much he ate.
When and for how long he slept.

By the end good days were when he was able to sleep and eat.  It has been at least 3 months since I saw any signs of enjoyment like rolling around or rubbing his face on the furniture.  I also like to take a lot of pictures of Guy, a hobby of mine.  I went through my library of photos and noticed that I hadn't seen a picture of him smiling in months.  Most were pictures of him sleepy or looking droopy.  I think in the last 2 weeks he had 5 or 6 "good days" and about 4 or 5 "bad days", with a few "meh" days. We made the choice on Sunday to let him go today.

26/365 Don't You Forget About Me
"Don't You Forget About Me" taken 9/3/12
We spent the entire day hanging out and I made him is favorite meal: fried steak.  He ate well and ate willingly.  He slept for most of the day with a calmness that I haven't seen in weeks.  There was no moaning or his usual signs of discomfort.  The sun was out and the sky was blue.  We'll always look back on how nice today was.

For those considering euthanasia, I would recommend a "home vet".  My good friend Kamala told me about this and it was the best advice I've gotten.  Guy went comfortably at home, on the couch in his usual spot.  He was not anxious or nervous, we held his paw until the very last moment.

If you're in the Seattle/nearby area we HIGHLY RECOMMEND Compassion 4 Paws and Dr. Sara.  She made the transition smooth and painless, having her there is like having a good friend by your side as you go through this difficult passage.  Dr. Sara has an amazingly empathetic spirit and she brings a very serene energy to the room.  We met for the first time today, my husband made the call and spoke with her previously.  She came in and we talked a little bit about Guy, she stroked him and got to know him.  They sat for a bit and she asked us if we were ready.  She then gave him a sedative which put him in a deep sleep.  We got to hold him and hug on him for as long as we needed to.  We said our goodbyes and she proceeded with the final injection.  Guy just drifted away.

taken yesterday :)
the gorgeous smile!
19/365 Beggar Mode!
Yes, dogs can smile!


Anonymous said...

Diem, my heart goes to you and your family for the passing of our sweet dear Guy. He was special to all of us at Flickr and the Blythe community.
It was because of your love and the love from your family that he had such a wonderful and happy life.

He has brought many laughters from all the great photos you took, they are precious!

Rest in peace Guy, we will all miss you,
I will miss you!

Much love,
Pauline/ RoseAmethyst 88

Shelley Noble said...

A hard decision, made with obvious great love. Bless his little heart for living such a good life bringing your family joy.

*annina* said...

It feels like I knew this little man... I loved every single photo I saw of him on Flickr - he made me laugh out loud so many times. God, I'm actually crying whilst writing this... Guy, you will be missed!

Liz | Ellie and Addie said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. I know how much of an impact my dogs make on my life and I can't imagine losing them. I'm sending prayers and good thoughts to you.

Diem Chau said...

Thank you everyone, the days since have been very hard. It's almost like physical withdrawal, I'm so used to holding him and picking him up. Some echos of his presence are there, I still expect to hear barking when I come home.

Anja said...

I lost my dear cat Guust a month ago. He did not suffer long; less then 24 hours. I am sad, but in peace, since he lived 18 (!) happy years.
How loving and wonderful that you were so thoughtful and precise in determining when was the right time to let go. That is animal love. I wish you strength!

Oh, and I love your art!

Anja said...

I recently lost my cat. Wishing you strength. You decided wisely and lovingly. Love your art.

Diem Chau said...

Thank you Anja,
I still think about Guy every day. It is hard to work in a quite studio w/o my little buddy around.

Anonymous said...

Dear Diem,

It has been so long and I have not known of your heart-testing loss of the wonderful and most fun-to-follow Guy until today. How many times and how early on it was when I used to comment on he via Flickr? Many... because he was simply a character, that you could only fall for via your pictures captured of he. This team effort of you and your boy, brought enjoyment not only to me, but for many others, too. Thank you for sharing some of his fascinating ways with us over the years. I'm so sorry that you had to part ways with him in life... if only, we could have them forever in our world... to age with us and for it not to be so brief. Sadly, it can't be so and we have to explore treasured memories and moments together instead. You have given all in love, though! And, he can take this with him and your heart can carry this as proof for always. They will never cease in memory and heart... it takes just a simple moment for you to be transported back to times together. And, you must go back over these moments to keep breathing in those tender and loving interactions spent with each other. Our boys (fur companions) have given us so much to appreciate and taught us the greatest love of all... unconditional that it is. So sorry for your loss!

Take care and know, that he is the company of some fine animals that have been by our sides through much in life, too.



Diem Chau said...

Thank you so much Erika :)

I still get weepy thinking about Guy... we've adopted a bonded pair in the new year. They are doing great. Guy was truly an incredible dog, so much personality. It meant so much to me being able to share his memories and photos with everyone on Flickr and through Guy hats. I get a warm fuzzy feeling every time I see a Guy hat now!