My daughter had to put her beloved dog, Bailey, to sleep. It was not a decision made lightly. This suffering dog was part of the family, but what was the right choice? The vet said that it was time, and yet, this alternative was a struggle for the family. Would it be best for her to just go naturally or to watch the dog labor to exist? I certainly didn’t envy her decision.
Over the years, my husband and I watched Bailey whenever our daughter was gone. In fact, Bailey stayed with us during much of her puppy years when our daughter was in college. I loved that dog, too. Bailey was absolutely the cutest puppy I’d ever seen! Her ears drug the ground when she walked and often the dog would trip over those floppy ears (which was hilarious)! I have to admit that I spoiled her. In my defense, Bailey was my first “grand-dog” so spoiling for grandparents comes with the territory. Just a few weeks before Bailey passed we had her at our home once more. It was difficult to watch her struggle. I totally understood my daughter’s dilemma.
The dog was sick and had a hard time even moving around. Bailey frequently had “accidents” in the house. Her life had been riddled with mishaps: broken hip that required surgery, intestinal difficulties, hearing loss and cataracts. (On the bright side perhaps because she was a beagle, her sense of smell seemed to remain intact.) Bailey rarely did anything but sleep. On some days, eating was even too much to ask of her. Her quality of life appeared non-existent. And yet… what to do? Finally, the decision was made. Our daughter’s husband stayed with Bailey until the end.
Over the years, I’ve wondered if there will be pets in Heaven. Then I think of Noah and the Ark. If God had Noah save two of each kind of animal, then He must value their worth. Because of our love for our pets, it must be true. After all, pets love us unconditionally just like Our Lord. On good days and bad, they greet us with wagging tails and sloppy kisses. Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.” I agree! I think that we will see Bailey again one day, only we will see her at her best: running free with her nose in the air, chasing bunnies and wagging her tail.