I have just returned home after putting one of my dogs to sleep.
She was 14 years old and it was her time. It still does not get any easier.
I bred her from a lovely bitch I had that was herself sired by Shadowbrae Drake the year after he won the Retriever Championship. She was one of only 4 in the litter and I kept her and another bitch that turned out to be one of the best I have ever had. She now stands in the run wondering where her companion is.
They have never been apart since the day they were born, and if my wife had not been here this morning to talk me out of it she may well still be with her litter sister, as the heartbreak caused of putting one down is now almost overtaken by her surviving sisters loneliness.
The act of putting my dogs to sleep reduces me to an emotional wreck. She sat with me in the front of the pick-up for the first time ever because it just did not seem right for her to be in the back on her own for her final journey. To feel her nose nudge my hand and see her eyes still look at me with such adoration, as if comforting me yet not knowing what is about to happen....
Her last sight was fittingly of the ground she knew, worked and was trained on. She is now buried beside her mother and another of my dogs next to a duck pond on ground I shoot. Some may laugh but I silently speak to them whenever I'm there and I feel like they have never left.
For her to collapse at her back-end out the blue last night would suggest that she has been carrying pain for some time and never showed it which was typical of her character.
Her tail wagged until the very end.