June 12, 2013

On Saying Goodbye to George The Bulldog

(I honestly don't feel like I can write a concise post about this so please forgive me.)

On Monday we had to have our 11 1/2 year old English bulldog, George, put to sleep. 
His health took a pretty quick decline the past couple of months. He wasn't getting around well anymore. We had to help him onto and off the couch and in and out the back door. He couldn't get up the steps to Mom and Dad's bedroom where he slept and he was too big to carry up and down every night. We had to give him pain pills almost every day to help with the joint pain. (Though he enjoyed getting them because he got a whole piece of peanut buttered bread along with the pill.) His legs would slide out on him when he'd walk and we later found out he had neurological damage to his left side which could have been caused by a stroke or brain tumor. 

Monday afternoon he had a seizure. Jeanie called up to me in a panic and I knew something was very wrong. He was unresponsive for about a half hour afterwards. Then he fell off the couch and I had to put his dazed self back on it. He was just laying there shaking and breathing heavy like he did when something was hurting him. We called Mom and Dad to come home and took him to the vet afterward. He looked so normal sitting in the car that I didn't want us to take him to the vet because I knew what was going to happen. It was horrible to know that was the last time he'd ever be home. We just scooped him off the couch and took him to his death.

I kept thinking that he knew what was going on.  His back legs were shaking when he was laying down. Maybe he was just cold on that tile floor. I worried, and still do, that he was scared. It just felt so wrong to determine his fate like that with him in the room. Maybe he was ready though. That's the problem with dogs. They can't talk to you and tell you how they feel. I'll never know if he was so peaceful because they drugged him up or because he was okay with everything. How do you save someone from the most inevitable part of life?

The decision was so hard I can't even put it into words. We knew he was at the end of his life and that any tests or procedures done to him probably would not make him better. It still felt wrong to me. My brain said it was the logical thing to do, but it didn't make it any easier. Poor George hobbled around in the exam room until he just laid down, breathing heavily. The vet thought he couldn't see anymore. He could barely walk. He was hurting but too tough to just give up doing what he wanted to do. It was clear his health wasn't improving. We'd been waiting for the inevitable for months. Now the whole family was together, able to be there for him.
I've never seen my family upset like that before. It's not something I like to remember. I don't want to remember George hurting at the end either. Though through everything his sweet personality was still the same.

George was a true member of our family and his loss has left a massive hole. The pain of letting him go is like nothing I've ever felt and is something I never want to feel again. He was so loved and truly irreplaceable. 

Everywhere I look in my house reminds me of him. Yesterday I kept looking over to his water bowl to check if he needed fresh water. It's going to take a while to get past this anguish. If I stop actively paying attention to something or conversing with somebody my thoughts wander to George and what we all went through on Monday. I hope with time the agony of that day will fade and the 11 wonderful years will be remembered. 

Now I worry that I'll forget the little things about him that I love so much. I worry I'll forget the intricacies of his personality and how soft the top of his head was. I'm scared I'll forget the sound of his snorty breathing, the prance-like change in his gait like he was proud of himself when we told him he looked handsome or when he finished going outside, how he moved his eyebrows just like a person. I'll forget how sometimes he would whine if we were talking to each other and not to him or how he loved to lay in the sun out back. I'm scared I'll forget the tricks he knew, how he played with us, and how it felt to wrap my arms around him.

Not only do I worry about forgetting, but I feel his absence everywhere. I miss him pushing the step stool up to the kitchen table and standing on it to beg for food. I missed him when he wasn't there to lick the last couple drops of beer from the bottle. I missed reaching my right hand over to pat him on the butt when I was  on my spot on the couch. I missed giving him his treats and refilling his water bowl because he loved fresh water the best. I missed seeing my parents light up when they greeted him after work. I missed the sound of his ringing the bells on the door to go outside. I could have sworn I heard him snorting around downstairs when I was getting dressed this morning. 

Everyone who met George loved him. He was the sweetest dog you'd ever know. He was gentle, hilarious, and so full of love. He always wanted to be in the company of people. He was incredibly well-behaved - he never tried to run away and was great with other dogs and all people. His eyes lit up when you talked to him and his little comma-shaped tail would wag. He was a super handsome bulldog too. There are too many good things to say about George. Most of all he really really loved us and we loved him just as much.

I knew this day would come and I was dreading it. I knew I'd be a mess for who knows how long afterward. Sometimes I have to catch my breath it hurts so badly. He was the first and only dog my family has ever had. I will always love my George. I just can't believe he's gone forever. No dog will ever be like him or fill the void he's left. It's just hard to deal with. So I'm sorry if I'm a little absent here for a while. I just don't feel like doing much of anything right now. I guess it's taking up a lot of energy trying to hold myself together and perform like a normal human being in public. 

I'm thankful he was my good boy for 11 years, which is long for a bulldog, but I miss him. He was my best friend. It's crappy that dogs get to spend their whole lives with us but we have to live without them one day. Leaving the vet without him was the worst feeling. It felt like my family wasn't complete anymore. It's not going to be easy to live without Mr. George, my good boy, Georgiekins, baby, smooshy face, softy wrinkle head, bestest friend.

As Dad once said, "George, I do believe you are magnificent." He really was. 


Keep Warm (Danielle) said...

I'm so sorry to hear that. Pets become family and it's not the same without them. A few years ago we had to put down our dog. Devastating. It's good that you were there with him and that he knew how much he was loved... Take care of your heart.

Laura said...


I am so so so SO sorry to hear about George's passing. You can tell that you really loved him and that he was such a fantastic dog. I always loved when he got in on your outfit photos. I'm glad that you got to be with him as you said your goobyes. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.


Rachel Sullivan said...

I'm so sorry.


Frannie Pantz said...

Oh no!!!! I am so very sorry for your loss. The loss of a pet is horrible. The good news is that you have wonderful memories (that you won't forget!) and photos of this cute little guy. I am sending good thoughts your way.

Ali Hval said...

Oh, Jamie! I just wish I could reach through my screen and give you a big hug. I am so terribly sorry to hear about your loss. Losing an animal is such a difficult thing and when I lost my golden retriever in high school, I was pretty sure I'd never live to see the light again. But things do get better, hard as it is to believe that. It's amazing that you're willing to share this with your followers. Such a delicate subject, and this pictures are just so darling. What a lovely dog he was!!

If you do get another dog, don't think of it as a replacement for a void--George still holds a place in your heart and that will never be taken up by anything else. Instead think of it as making a new friend with a new place maybe by George's place. :)

Amanda @ Little Lady Living said...

Oh my gosh, Jamie! This is heart-breaking. I went through the same thing with my family lab a few years ago, and this captured every single feeling of that awful day - I am literally crying at my desk. I wish I could comfort you! It does get easier, eventually, but the hole will always be there. I hope you are able to look back on the happy memories and smile. Sending lots of love your way <3

aprileveryday said...

I'm so sorry to hear about George. I can't even imagine what you're going through right now. I was honestly in tears reading this - you can really tell how much he meant to you and your family and how much you all miss him, but at least he's in a better place now and isn't in pain anymore. He'll know you made the right decision. At least you have great memories of the 11 years you got to spend with him, and I'm sure you'll remember them for a long time. My thoughts are with your family.

JennaStevie said...

Well I just cried my eyes out. I am so so so sorry for your loss, I can't even imagine. Pets are such a huge part of the family and George really was the cutest thing. Having to get surgery for Duke was horrible and stressful, but only a fraction of the pain you and your family is going through right now. I'm glad you guys had 11 years with George and he had an amazing family with you

Sammi said...

Oh no :( I am so, so sorry. I cried reading this! So heart-felt and sweet. My black lab is 14 years old now, and is having trouble going up and down stairs and can't really see or hear well, either. I know she's probably in a fair amount of pain, though she still seems pretty happy most of the time. I can't think about having to put her down, though I know it's coming. George seemed like such a wonderful doggy. At least he's not in any more pain, and he knows how much you love him.

xox Sammi

SomeoneLikeYou said...

Such a beautifully written, heartfelt post. My heart goes out to you and your family, Jamie. I'll be thinking + praying for you all.

What a handsome, wonderful dog George was and he will be remember always <3

Lyndsey said...

Oh my goodness Jamie I'm so sorry for your loss. I know that words never help with the pain of losing a loved one, especially when it's a pet. Dogs are just so much easier to love than humans. This post made me cry really hard because i feel your pain, knowing that i wont have Niyah or Cotton forever. It's so easy to forget that we don't belong of this world, when suddenly death reminds us just how raw and painful mortality is. Just know that George is in Heaven now, waiting for you and your family to be with him again someday. I believe all animals go to heaven, just like people. They were created for a purpose just the same. George was a special guy, i'll miss seeing him around here. I hope things get better and i wish the best for you and your family. ♥

Bhushavali N said...

Oh my! So sorry for your loss dear...
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Miranda said...

I'm so sorry. Losing your dog is such a hard thing to do. But you do always remember them and tell stories and have a good laugh looking back. I'm sure George was truly a magnificent dog :)

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My dog is getting older and I dread the day that I have to say goodbye to him. I hope that it gets a little bit easier as days go by but I know that no dog will ever replace your George.

Alyssa Molin-Graves said...

Oh Jamie- I am so so sorry. What a wonderful dog he was. All dogs go to heaven- especially George. What a great little guy. I will be thinking of you and hoping that with time the good memories will help you cherish him and be a little less sad as time goes by <3

xo, Alyssa

Heather, 29 Skirts said...

I'm sorry to see this! I can tell that George was truly treated as a family member in your home...making him a lucky dog but losing him so hard :( You're right, it's not fair that we outlive our pets by so many years. All we can do is give them the best life possible. I hope you and your family are doing okay.

Shady Del Knight said...

I lost my dog three days ago, Jamie, and I am experiencing everything you wrote here. I can relate to every detail about the agonizing decision to end George's life, his struggle and dignity on the final day, the reminders of him all over the house and the feeling of emptiness now that he's gone. I choose to believe that your Georgiekins now has a new best friend at Rainbow Bridge, my beloved Cocker Spaniel, Toto.

Catie Beatty said...

Everything you wrote is exactly what I'm thinking right now about my dog Frida. Everything reminds me of her. I don't like thinking about times with her and the times without her are just regrets now :( I've lost quite a few animals in my life and it never seems to get easier. Each one, tho, fits like a puzzle piece. A little different but still the perfect fit. I know I'll find another love, but Frida was my soul mate doggy. I like to think we'll find each other again some day. This just can't be all there is. I hope things have gotten easier for you over the months since you wrote this. And I hope thinking about George is more about the happy memories.

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