Whole Dog Journal's Blog October 26, 2010

Celebrate life!

Posted at 09:23AM - Comments: (10)

I attended a unique canine-related event yesterday, and while I was initially reluctant to go, I’m really glad I did.

An acquaintance, not someone I know well, was holding a “celebration of life” for her Boxer, Dempsey, who has terminal cancer. She knows it’s just a matter of time before she has to put her very special dog to sleep. And she decided she wanted to have one more party, one that Dempsey would enjoy, with her dog-loving friends (and their dogs). She held the event at a training and daycare center, so the dogs could have fun socializing and playing in a safe and dog-friendly environment. She baked some special dog treats, and provided human snacks, too.

Dempsey is only five years old; he should still be in the prime of his life. Lymphoma has turned him into a skeleton and shortened his lifespan. However, thanks to his owner’s assiduous care and attention to his diet, and a veterinary-guided plan to keep the dog as comfortable as possible to the end, Dempsey’s coat is as glossy and smooth as ever, his eyes are bright, and his energy is good. He was literally the life of the party. He played with his friends, ran herd on the obstreperous pups, let everyone run their hands over his silky coat, and begged for treats – and why not? His guests gave him anything he wanted, because we couldn’t give him what we really wished for him: a longer life.  

Comments (10)

The ultimate look of bliss on your dog's face while jelly is squirting out of the corners of his mouth from a jelly doughnut....It was his dessert after he ate a large order of McDonald's French Fries......The night before we put him down for cancer.

Posted by: azlowlongdogs | October 30, 2010 7:44 PM    Report this comment

When it was clear that my Heart of Hearts, Shikki, was on borrowed time, I had an ice-cream sundae party for her, her human friends, and doggie friends. We went visiting the homes of some of her friends who weren't able to attend. We had a blast! I also honored her love of hikes and swimming by pulling her around the neighborhood in her little red wagon, singing, "Bumping Up and down in my little red wagon..." and then holding her in the lake while we swam. Shikki was looking great right up until the minute she went over the Rainbow Bridge. I'm very happy that I was able to send my bestest buddy off in a way that honored her spirit.

Posted by: PAULA T | October 27, 2010 4:44 PM    Report this comment

Fabulous idea, our 7 year old std l/h dachshund died this year from a cancerous tumor on his heart. Almost to the end he acted normally - then one night he acted very odd, and the next day was obviously ill. The vet suggested we should bring him in to have him put to sleep as all his symptoms showed the end was very near. In the end a half hour after we made that call, he collapsed and died. It was awful, but I am glad and thankful he only had a couple of days of being obviously ill. Wish we had arranged a party for him, but I am glad he lived life to the full and was loved and spoiled right to the end.

Posted by: Linda L | October 27, 2010 3:06 PM    Report this comment

My heart dog has been in remission from a very aggressive cancer for 16 months. Watching him enjoy life and not fret about tomorrow has been a great lesson for me. He's a very timid guy, so throwing a party for him is out of the question, but we celebrate his life everyday with play, walks and the occasional agility trial. I try to follow his lead and be joyous in the time that we have together.

Posted by: Leslie U | October 27, 2010 11:17 AM    Report this comment

When my Tyro had a few months left, I drove her 2500 miles (round trip) to see her favorite people and dogs that we had left when we moved. She remembered each of them even though it had been 3 years. I've never seen her so happy. I call it my Make A Wish trip, and would do it again to help her enjoy life while she could.

Posted by: Diane N | October 27, 2010 11:10 AM    Report this comment

When my mixed breed Mac was about 16 and showing his age, we had a barbeque in our fenced yard with all his favorite people and dogs. He lived a couple of months longer, but I'm glad I did it while he could still enjoy the company and attention.

Posted by: Amy M | October 27, 2010 10:54 AM    Report this comment

How sweet!It was a lovely way for this lady to let their friends have a last great time w/ Dempsey. Saying good-bye is never easy.
I am still grieving the untimely death of my best friend in the whole wide world. Penelope was the light of my life!She was a Yellow Lab mixed breed "throw away" rescue dog with a tough past life. She was in my home as a foster for a year. No one wanted to adopt her due to an injured leg so I did. Even after leg surgery, she was left w/ a limp. Nelope overcame her fears & many behavior problems to obtain her CGC & we were a registered Therapy Dog Team. She was killed by a car on 12-15-09. It seemed to be an immediate death thank goodness. She was extremely well trained & trained not to go beyond a point in the yard. For 6 1/2 yrs she never did but her one mistake cost her her life. She was out playing in the yard w/ my Brother's older dogs and something caused she to void her training. It just goes to show NO matter how well trained, in the end they are dogs.

I had a visitation before burial. It was difficult on me but gave a way for many of her human friends to come & say good-bye. She looked like a doggie angel in her gorgeous casket lying on her white satin mattress & pillow w/ pastel artificial rose petals scattered in her casket. I had pictures out of her at different ages of her life & her scrapbook so all could view and reminisce over the many activities, fun mixed breed shows we competed in,and the many places we traveled together.
Nelope touched many lives in many ways in her sweet short life and I felt this was a final way to honor her. I'm happy I did it and so were her friends.

Posted by: Unknown | October 27, 2010 10:01 AM    Report this comment

This is a wonderul story, we just lost our English Bulldog to cancer in August. I wish we would've made time for more time for fun days instead of stressing about how to save him.

Posted by: meagen w | October 26, 2010 7:04 PM    Report this comment

This really hit home. I just lost my 7 year old greyhound, my heart dog, after we fought osteosarcoma for 11 months. I to was blessed to be able to keep her looking and feeling great right up to the last couple days. We celebrated her life in many ways while she was with me but I wish I had thought of something like this.

Posted by: VERONICA M | October 26, 2010 1:10 PM    Report this comment

I think this is a wonderful way to say good-by. She must be a wonderful lady who really loved her pet, Dempsey.

Posted by: Arnold C | October 26, 2010 10:49 AM    Report this comment

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