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Pet Tip of the Week: Before the Bridge (

by Dawn Watson (

DarlaYou’ve had Fido for eight or nine years and suddenly, he’s slowing down. He seems to be forgetting where he is or forgets to alert you to go outside. It may be time to make some end-of-life choices.

Healthy large to medium sized dogs can live to be nine years old. Small, healthy dogs usually live fifteen or sixteen years. If a dog has been neglected, ill, or abused his life span may be much shorter. So, what do you do when your best buddy can’t function normally anymore? The answer varies. If Fido is not in pain you may want to let nature take its course. Offer him food and/or warm broth. You may need to feed him with a medical syringe. Offer him water and a quiet, comfortable place to lay, preferably with family members nearby. Remember, he can hear you, so speak softly and kindly to him.

If your elderly dog is in pain, call your veterinarian. Some vets will prescribe pain relievers over the phone so you won’t have to take him there. You may decide to have your pet euthanized at the doctor’s office. There are also veterinarians that will come to your home and gently ease him out of this life.

When your dog has passed away there are many options to consider. The least expensive one is to have your veterinarian handle the cremation arrangements. Another is to take the remains to a pet crematorium where you can also order the ashes sent to you in a beautiful container. The most expensive method is to have your buddy buried in a pet cemetery. It is never easy saying goodbye. But if you’ve given your dog a good life you can be glad you loved him until the end and feel certain that he is no longer in pain.

Wado udohiyu, (thank you very much in the Cherokee language)

Dawn Watson

Owner, Brother of the Wolf, LLC

R.I.P. Darla Jean Watson