Our series on Getting Older With Your Dog was always going to come to this point, I suppose, but it’s never an easy topic to know how to bring up. Still, loss is an essential part of life and you have to talk about the fact that your dog will eventually cross the rainbow bridge. Unfortunately, it can’t be avoided.

So how do you approach the death of your four-legged loved one?

The fact is that there is no right or wrong answer. There are no easy answers either. We’ll spend some time talking about various approaches and various attitudes toward the loss of a dog, but you should remember that you aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong if you don’t experience your grief one way or another.

Over the weekend, I came across an absolutely stunning and heartbreaking story about a Reddit user named “Nikolaoss” and his dog Lennox. Lennox was struck with severe cancer and arthritis, with a tumor growth so significant that it was visible on his left shoulder. The dog could barely stand and was eventually put down on January 23, 2013.

Of course, before the boxer had to be put down he was given a final slice of heaven on earth. Lennox’s owner gave him a final meal that could only be described as epic. “This post isn’t meant to be sad in any way,” said Nikolaoss. “He lived like an absolute boss all his life! And the meal reflects that!”

The last meal, shown through pictures and a video clip, includes a turkey leg, bacon, sausages, and rice. Lennox took to the feast like a boss, as you might imagine, and the post from Nikolaoss was a hit. He received over 24,000 upvotes on the site and lots of supportive comments.

Lennox, as you can tell from the video linked here, went for the bacon first.

Nikolaoss’ approach to losing Lennox was to honor his companion and best friend in the best way he knew how. The dog’s life was coming to an end, but that didn’t mean that Lennox had to go out in a wave of sadness and pain. Lennox got to do what a lot of us humans certainly hope we’ll get to do when our time is up: he enjoyed himself one last time.

As we dig into the sensitive subject of losing a dog, we need to remember that it’s not an easy road. But there are ways to make that road easier on everyone involved, especially our dogs, and there are ways to ensure that death is a path to memory and compassion rather than a portal to darkness and fear.

Rest in peace, Lennox.

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Showing 6 comments
  • Diana
    Reply

    I too just put down my family. A dog named Itchy who was 25 yrs old. It was such a hard decsion to make but her suffering was harder for me to watch. I loved her while she was here and I love her even more now she is gone.

    • admin
      Reply

      Hi Diana:
      I’m so sorry to hear about “Itchy”. I know the pain that goes along with their absence. I’ll be thinking of you.

      Janie

  • Julia
    Reply

    I, too, am facing the inevitable. My dear Scooter, the gentlest, kindest soul that I’ve ever known, is losing his back legs and is in pain at times. However, he still has a quality of life, although that is ebbing. I plan to keep him with me as long as possible and while he still finds enjoyment in his day-to-day world.

    I love him so much, and he has added so much joy to my life. I can’t bear being without him, so am spending these days on the floor, petting, hugging, speaking and just showing Scooter how much I love him. // The end of a loved one’s life is the worst part about being alive.

    I truly pray that all dogs go to heaven because, God help me, if not then I don’t want to go!

    • admin
      Reply

      Hi Julia:
      Just curious how old Scooter is and if you’ve tried anything to help with his pain. There are lots of alternatives (safe ones as well)? I second your comment regarding dogs going to heaven!

      Janie

  • sonja
    Reply

    Diana,
    I am so sorry for your loss. This kind of decision is never easy. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Sonja

  • gspal
    Reply

    But what to say when your beloved companion has gone due to its master’s own error? Jerry, my beloved, was a 13 kg male German Spitz who went down because of combo vaccination given to it at age of 11 and died after prolonged six-month suffering. How I wish I had paid heed to its advice to not visit a vet for that routine annual poison. Since then I have made a point of only adopting abandoned adult German Spitz like the one now with me, Bozo, who was 3-4 years old when adopted in October 2010, eight months after Jerry left me, as the pangs of being alone without a beloved companion was unbearable. No vaccines ever for Bozo. It has come to me with nephrolithiasis and calculi in bladder. It is on a daily dose of two tabs/day of Himalaya’s Nefrotec DS and a controlled diet with CBC & kidney function tests every six months. I adore to take care of it. We are always together though I can never forget Jerry or Piksy the earlier female Spitz that too passed away at age 11 being attracted to sugary jaggery in rat poison – again an error. The day I cross The Rainbow Bridge I hope to meet them all.

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