What It's Like to Lose a Pet

My dog, Boo, was 13 when he passed this past summer. He was having problems with his heart and his lungs. His lungs were slowly building up with fluid, which sometimes made it hard to breathe. We expected him to pass, so we began preparing for how to handle it. However, no preparation could prepare us for this.

You might think, "A dog isn't such a big loss!" That's what I believed too. I thought that, yes, I would be sad, but expected to get over it quickly and not be too emotional about it.

But when the time came, I ended up being less prepared than I expected. Boo was having extreme trouble breathing one night, about a week after his 13th birthday. He was coughing and wheezing, and we knew we had to take him to the vet as soon as possible.

Part of us thought that we could help him and he could come home, and another part of us expected the worst. When we got to the vet, the veterinarians took him, and we waited for what seemed like forever.

He was placed into a small oxygen chamber to try to help him breathe. He stayed overnight and they monitored him. They also gave him medication. We thought that night that there was a chance he would make it through and be able to come home the next day.

The next day, however, proved that sentiment wrong. Boo was not getting any better with the medications, and they told my mom to make a decision: either keep him in the hospital longer or put him to rest. The vets were not hopeful of his recovery and that was not reassuring.

My family and I hopped in the car and drove over to see Boo one last time. We brought his favorite toys and bacon to feed him. When we got to the veterinary hospital and walked back to the oxygen chambers, Boo's tail was wagging. He was so happy to see us. We fed him bacon and all had the chance to pet him. There were a lot of tears. It was the first time I had ever seen one of my sisters cry. We were all heartbroken, especially my dad, who loved that dog so much.

We said our goodbyes and left. Later that night, my mom went back, and as she held Boo in her arms, they put him to sleep.

I felt devastated. I never expected to be so emotional over the death of a dog, but Boo was a founding part of our family. From the time I was 6 years old, he was always there when I got home. Now when I come home, I see my other dog, Teddy, but it feels like there's something missing. Boo had such a big personality and without him, the house feels emptier.

Losing my dog was far more difficult than I could have ever imagined. It just goes to show how much pets can play such a formative and integral part in someone's life. I miss Boo all the time. I miss him rolling in the grass and eating worms and his love of baked goods, especially muffins. And even though he's gone, I will always cherish the time we had together.


Image Credits: Katie Mazzolini