Duchess

Author: Karen Arnold-Korzeniowski, BSN RN
Last Reviewed:

Duchess became our family member when I was five years old. She was the cutest little puppy and the entire family was in love with her. Fast forward 12 years of being a healthy, active dog, she began having trouble walking. My parents took her to the vet and after some testing she was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer had spread throughout her body and treatment was not a viable option. The vet suggested that she be euthanized right away, but my parents decided that they wanted to take her home. My parents were keeping her comfortable by giving her pain medicine prescribed by the vet.

I came home from college a few days after my parents brought her home and I was devastated. She had become incontinent of urine and stool and was having trouble seeing. She was cordoned off in a sunny area of a room that led to the backyard. I carried her into the backyard so that she could lay in the sun, one of her favorite past times. I’ve never told my parents this but I sat in the sun and fed her a hot dog. This did not bode well for the carpet later that day but she really enjoyed that treat.

I tearfully said my goodbyes and went back to school. The next day my dad took Duchess and had her euthanized. She was cremated and her ashes spent a few months in my mom’s prized china cabinet. When winter was over and the ground thawed, my dad buried her ashes in the wooded area behind my childhood home. 

Duchess lived a pretty long and healthy life for a larger dog. It took my parents a couple years before they could get another dog. Addie, their current dog, is about 14 years old. My parents often talk about how they would not wait to put her down if they were in the same situation that they were put in with Duchess. My parents biggest regret is that they didn’t have Duchess put down when the vet suggested so. They feel that she suffered at home and they would never want to do that to another pet. As hard as it would have been to not be able to say bye to Duchess, I agree wholeheartedly with them. She endured suffering that was not necessary.

Our pets bring to our lives an enduring love and many adventures. Having a sick pet can be devastating. You will have to make decisions that you might not want to make and you want to have the pet’s best interest in mind. They helped take care of you during difficult times, so its only fair to take the best care possible of them in return. 

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