This week my friend Peaches’ Mom, Miss Lily, had to make the hardest decision: When to let Peaches go to the Bridge. My friend and Miss Lily only had five years together. Peaches had a tumor on her heart and lung cancer, a diagnosis so unfair Miss Lily had trouble accepting it but when she saw her beloved friend struggling to breath she knew their duet would come to a close much too early.
When a human reaches the end of their life, as long as they can breathe on their own, their is no decision for loved ones to make. The dying live in unbelievable pain, they struggle for every breath, their dignity is swept away, until they draw their last torturous breath. Dogs are much luckier. We avoid all that suffering. But our last breath is still torture for humans.
Peaches mother was so tormented by one decision: When is it time? Peaches wasn’t eating her food, but was eating treats. Her breath was heavy and labored. She had little energy. Just enough to go out and potty. Her eyes were sunken but they were still filled with love and devotion. Miss Lily hated to see her best friend suffer. But she did not want to send her to the Bridge too early.
My Mom had a lot of experience with Miss Lily’s issue. I too went to the Bridge because of a tumor in my lung. My last night at home I could only breathe standing up. If I laid down it was too painful. I ended up sleeping leaning against Mommy. My Mommy told Miss Lily if Peaches could not lie down it was too painful for Peaches to breathe it could be time.
Miss Lily wanted to make sure that she did not rob Peaches from time they could have together but the truth is that we dogs want to be with you so badly, and we honor the bond to be your devoted friends and angels on the Earth that we do everything we can to mask our pain. If our pain becomes too much for us to hide then we are in terrible pain. Many time we can get better, but when we can’t, well, then it is never too soon.
We dogs are ready and willing to meet the same hideous end that so many humans endure. We will put up with any suffering just to be with you. And we will hide the pain so we don’t leave you. So, in the end, we need you to save us. To save us from ourselves.
Peaches is with us angels at the Bridge now. She has no physical pain. She is breathing easily, running freely, and has her appetite back. She wants me to tell Miss Lily thank you for taking away the terrible pain. She loves her Mom, and misses her, and is very grateful to the woman who saved her.
So when a parent looks at their pup and know they are suffering know that pup is only showing one tenth of the pain they are truly experiencing, and when you realize that it can never been too soon.