A Good Dog Down – Losing a Family Pet

Saying goodbye to the family pet.

Colby was part of our family for 12 years.

As a footnote on a blog I wrote a month ago about the decision of whether to euthanize the family pet, our 12-year-old black and silver miniature schnauzer, the dreaded day finally arrived yesterday.

After long lunch meeting with a publisher and potential author, I settled into my office and figured I’d deal with Colby another day. Wishful thinking. I finally had to man up when I looked at him on the back porch and saw how incredibly awful he felt. I had to force myself to face the fact that an occasional good day didn’t mean he wasn’t miserable almost every day.

Colby did have one great day the past week. Zach and I took him to the park on Saturday. Zach and two of his friends and I were passing the football. Colby trotted after the boys a little – though no mad dashes like the old days when he thought he was a defensive back. He then found some shade and watched the boys run routes with his trademark little smile. He kept his head up the whole time, scanning left and right. I think he wanted to jump in the game one more time.

Just like the old Colby. But the old Colby was gone. Four years of diabetes shots, numerous visits to the vet … it was time. I’m so glad he had that one last good Saturday. Might not have mattered much to him but it was good for Zach and me.

He never ate again after Saturday morning. He hardly moved the last two days. Despite numerous efforts to get him moving and clean him up, he was lying in urine most of the time. So Monday afternoon it was time to end the work day early and take care of a different kind of business.

I had to carry him to the car, which in a sad way made the task at hand easier. On the drive over I talked to him about old times. Colby, remember when … He’d flick his eyebrows up when he heard his name, but otherwise didn’t move a muscle. When we got to the Williamson County Animal Control Center, I decided to stay inside with him for his last shot. I held him. He never flinched when the needle went in. He really was already gone.

It doesn’t rise to the level of so many human tragedies in the world, but losing a family pet is still incredibly difficult and sad.

Thanks for the memories Colby. You were a true friend.

Tim McGraw had a big hit with the lyrics, “I don’t know why they say grown men don’t cry.”

But they do. I know first hand. That’s what happens when you lose a pet who has been part of the family for 12 years.


  1. David and Carol says

    We’re sorry to hear about little Colby. We’ve been through that before….twice….it’s no fun but one of those things in life you must do.

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