Her name was Jasmine and she was MY dog. You know how it is when there is a family pet, that pet tends to bond with one person more than the others. That was my Jasmine, the most beautiful sable collie in the world.
I was the one who trained her and took care of her. As a matter of fact, she only let me clip her claws when they were too long, and brush her teeth and shave her down in the summer (she loved feeling cooler in the summer, but she looked like an Airedale). She was definitely my dog.
Of course, dogs do not live as long as we do. And it is so hard as they get older to watch them lose their spunk and luster. Then there is the most difficult decision of whether to spare the pet any undue pain or agony suffered from old age.
It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. My children were young and very attached to her, but Jasmine was obviously in pain from arthritic hips and her stomach was so sensitive. I hated to see her like that; it seemed like she was getting sick often. And because she was a part of my family, I wanted to do what I could to help her. However, old age is not curable, so I decided to have her put down.
I took my dog to the vet that day by myself. It was so sad to see her struggle so hard getting out of the car, and she was out of breath before we entered the building. (If I tell you that she wagged her tail and walked along once she was able, do not think me horrible because of my decision.) The vet greeted her and we went to the back. I sat with Jasmine the whole time, petting her and comforting her. I think she knew what was happening and it really seemed like she was at peace with it. She licked my hand and closed her eyes for good. I cried.
In the past when family pets were euthanized the veterinarian handled the remains, but this time I wanted something more – something special to honor and remember my beautiful dog forever. I had her brought to Schoedinger Pet Services to have her cremated. It was the most pleasant and meaningful experience I could have ever hoped for.
Roberta greeted me and consoled me in my loss. Her pet therapy dog, Tara, was there and it was comforting to see another person who loved their pet as much as I did mine. She explained everything that was going to happen and I was comforted in knowing that my Jasmine would be treated with the same dignity and respect as any other family member.
Before she was cremated the staff clipped some of her fur and placed it in a sealed bag. Then they took her paw print and placed it in a wonderful booklet. She was cremated alone, not with other animals, and her remains were placed in a beautiful cherry urn with an engraved nameplate. When I went to pick up her remains the staff treated me with respect and allowed as much time as I needed – being very sensitive to my emotions and feelings.
When I got home I explained to my children why Jasmine was gone and they were sad, but they understood. Then my daughter asked, “Are we going to her funeral?” I guess she thought that since Jasmine went to Schoedinger’s that we would be going to a funeral there, too. Explaining that one was an interesting dilemma but I found beauty in my daughter’s thoughtful consideration.
In parting, I wonder if you have had an amazing experience with your pet? Please share.
Julie is the Director of Community Relations at Schoedinger Funeral Service.