"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." --Roger Caras
INTRODUCTION…Our hearts were broken. With the severity of his old age issues and a losing battle with S.A.* we knew the time had come. I had called the vet a few days earlier and made an appointment with him to have T-Bone put to sleep, and now Kay and I and “Bone” made the agonizing trip to the vet clinic. After a few minutes in the waiting area we were ushered into the exam room. I was both crying and shaking, and you could see the tears streaming down my wife’s face. When the vet came in he briefly explained to us what he was going to do. Even though T-Bone was mostly blind we both wanted to be in a position to look into his eyes as he passed away. But (as had always been the case at the vet) he was so anxious and struggling so much that I had to sit on the floor and hold him as tight as I could with him straddling my lap. His head was toward my left and I felt bad that I wouldn’t be able to look into his eyes but at least I was able to hug him as close as possible. We had tried to prepare ourselves for T-Bone’s death, but neither of us was prepared for what he did in the last few moments of his life…..
This is the story of our dog T-Bone. It’s the story of a dog but it’s also the story of patience, love, and our struggle to cure him of his separation anxiety (S.A.)*. Along the way we learned some things about life, God’s love and patience for us and a cure for the separation anxiety that afflicts us all.
We pray this story will be a blessing to you all.
Dan & Kay
If you would like to contact Dan or Kay you can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
*A Word about S.A.
“Separation anxiety (S.A.) is an important behavioral problem which can cause tremendous emotional distress for both dogs and owners. It can occur in dogs of any age or breed, and is one of the most common reasons for pet owners to euthanize or give up their dogs.” (Katharine Hillestad, DVM, from www.peteducation.com).
Having grown up with dogs (mostly Labs) I knew how a healthy dog should act and what a healthy dog should look like. As this story will relate, from day one T-Bone seemed to be different. Over the years we tried cure after cure, remedy after remedy to try to heal or lessen his anxiety attacks. And when we tell this story to friends and family, a lot of them are amazed that we were so patient with him for so long (perhaps many dogs with his sickness would have gone to that "great dog-house in the sky" at a much earlier age), but we were always willing to try one more thing or give him one more chance -- and at times it seemed that he was getting better. But then something (that we could never put our finger on) would trigger his anxiety and it seemed that we would go back to square one. As I look back I realize that perhaps there are some things we should have done differently with T-Bone and I am sure that we made some training mistakes with him along the way (parents sometimes say the same thing when they look back at how they raised their kids). But as the story will relate, throughout T-Bone's life we sought wisdom from family, friends and professionals in a hope of lessening or curing his separation anxiety disorder so that he might live a good dog life. So one of our hopes is that, after reading this story, if you are struggling with a pet that suffers from separation anxiety, you will be willing to exercise the utmost patience and love for your dog.
"Dog ownership is like a rainbow. Puppies are the joy at one end. Old dogs are the treasure at the other."