Knowing When It’s Time To Say Goodbye

No doubt about it: For those of us who love dogs, the joy of living with a special pet is unparalleled. And at the same time, the grief of losing that same dog is unbearable. Recently I had to say goodbye to my “heart dog” of nearly 13 years. I wrote about Denver’s last days in my blog, “Gratitude in My Grief.” My experience generated several emails from readers who wanted to know how I knew when it was time to say goodbye. The stories and emails I received were all variations of the question “How will I know?” It’s a question I have asked myself every time a dog I loved has neared the end of his life. It’s a question I asked my veterinarian several times in the past few months. It’s a question I recently had to answer for myself, and for Denver. I thought I would provide my thoughts on how I managed to answer this dreaded question about how to know when it’s time to say goodbye.

Gratitude in My Grief

A week ago I had to say goodbye to Denver, my Labrador Retriever. He was a special dog to me and my family. He and I had an amazing bond, forged over the nearly 13 years I had him. Some dogs are just like that. If you’re reading my blog, you probably already know these things and know exactly what it means to have a “heart dog.” In trying to work through my own grief over losing him, I thought it would help to write about some of the things I’m grateful for during Denver’s last days.

Canine Gym — in a Box!

I have been big proponents of FitPaws equipment and have also recommended The Klimb platform from Blue-9 Products. These are both great products to add some fun games and activities to your dog’s life. These are both great products that can help you promote your training services and/or add as upsell services to your training clients. Regardless of how you use them, I am a huge fan. 

Getting Involved with Service Dogs

Everyone has probably seen service dogs, helping people who have physical challenges operate more effectively in their day-to- day routines. But what goes into the training of a service dog to make it such a great companion?

For starters, there’s the gear: different leashes, head collars or vests can be important. For example, a gentle leader head collar might allow a service-dog- in-training to eat and play, all while learning to focus on their handler. A vest is a great tool that might allow others to know that the dog is working and should not be disturbed. Although gear is important, even more important are the people who raise service dogs. The end result of the hours, weeks, and months involved in helping to raise and train a service dog is a hardworking animal that offers help to others. It takes time and energy to raise a service dog, including the willingness to take an animal out into the community so it develops the social skills that are necessary to daily life even before the dog gets it’s service dog training. Interested in learning more about the specifics that go into helping train a service dog? Use this graphic to get started, and check out this article.