Nursing Voices

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Good Death

Please indulge me today; it’s been a rough week. This is a picture of my dog, Diva. She’s my angel and my little girl. My husband and I rescued her about 8 years ago. Diva had been abused in a puppy mill. We spoiled her rotten. She traveled everywhere with us, and she was the star of the show. She was always full of energy, but last month something changed. Diva started slowing down, so I took her to the vet. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. We’ve been giving her Lasix and other medications, but today it was clear that she was suffering. She was struggling to breathe and she was in pain, so I had her euthanized. According to Wikipedia, the term euthanasia come from the Greek words “eu” and “thanatos” which combined means “good death.” I looked into her eyes as she took her last breath. Indeed, it was a good death. I’ve seen a lot of death throughout my years as a nurse. I wish that all of my patients could have died so peacefully.

My husband and I are crazy animal people. We also have two other dogs, two cats, and we are on a first name bases with all of the employees at our local PetSmart. I’m sure that another little angel will find their way into our home, but not today. I’ll spend today remembering Diva.


Blogger Impetua said...

That is such a difficult thing to go through. I still get weepy about my beloved cat, gone these two years. He was my best animal friend and such a character... After 16 years together, it was time to let him go before things got worse for him, and it was among the hardest days of my life. But to let him suffer would have been worse.

We are also crazy animal people, with two dogs, two cats, two bunnies, two chickens, and two goldfish. Perhaps we should build an ark out back? (Just joking, the dogs, cats and bunnies are all spayed or neutered and we can't have a rooster so no new chickens -- as for the goldfish, evidently they are just good friends.)

My heart goes out to you and yours. Diva was a lucky dog, and you her lucky owners.

3:45 PM  
Blogger rlbates said...

I know your "pain". I lost my dog "Girlfriend" 5 weeks ago. I still grieve for her. (I still grieve for the two I lost 5 years ago.)

Like impetua, my heart goes out to you.

4:31 PM  
Blogger MonkeyGirl said...



4:34 PM  
Blogger Birdy said...

I'm so sorry.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Mage And George said...

I'm so very sorry.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Gerbil said...


8:03 PM  
Blogger Dr. A said...


8:33 PM  
Blogger Nurse Stella said...

I am so sorry. Our dogs are as much a part of our families as the human relatives, and their deaths as painful. May you find comfort in knowing you gave her a wonderful, comfortable life.

8:42 PM  
Blogger FetchingGal said...

I am so soooooooo sorry you had to do that today. I know how bad it feels. My thoughts are with you in this difficult time. XXX (as in hug hug hug)!

10:09 PM  
Blogger raecatherine said...

a good dog is such a loved *friend*. i remember seeing a postsecret once which had a picture of a dog with the words "I miss you more than I could ever let anyone know." Pretty much sums it up! I'm sorry for the loss of your dear poochie.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Angry Nurse said...

For your loss I grieve!

It’s just over a year after I put my first pet Prozac the cat down and it still upsets me.

They bring so much and ask so little…

1:37 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

It's hard to bid them goodbye. I often spend time trying to figure out if my 13-year-old horse will live long enough for me to enjoy him until my death. I'm 63, and it's possible he could live 20 more years. Oh well, I'll just enjoy him for this day. As well as my dog Sadie.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Lea said...

I am so sorry you had to do this. Diva was such an adorable girl and I know she lived a good life with you.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

So sorry to hear about Diva. I know you must be upset.

3:32 PM  
Blogger pixelrn said...

AWWW. I am so sorry. It is never easy. Hope you and the rest of your pack are doing OK.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Smalltown RN said...

Oh I am so sorry for you loss. My dog Bert was recently diagnosed with a form of Lupus....swollen eyes and a raw nose...he's on antibiotics 3 times a day and we have been told that even after the 3 month course of antibiotics, things may never improve. I remember hearing the news from the eyes started to tear...we got Bert from the SPCA and he is the best dog ever....I didnt' realize how much I loved that dog until I thought we might lose him....
Again I a so sorry for your loss...

4:43 PM  
Blogger NocturnalRN said...

Oh this post makes my heart ache for you. I had to euthanize my baby bullldog (brain tumor) 4 years ago and I still miss him terribly. My mom was with me and quoted a bible verse during it >"The Lord is my Shepard......though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil...." She was able to get it out through her tears for me.My baby did pass peacefully as well (while I held him) I will be thinking of you. This part of life really sucks! I feel so sad now :( Hang in there.

5:44 PM  
Blogger TC said...

Oh, honey, I am so sorry. Diva was lucky to have such good parents. My thoughts are with you.

10:38 PM  
Blogger scalpel said...

Sorry, MJ. Losing a pet is like losing a member of the family.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Aqua said...

I am so sorry to hear about Diva's passing away. My dog Bert is to me, what it sounds like Diva was to you. Last November he collapsed and we thought he was going to pass away (he has boxer cardiomyopathy, 4 kinds of cancer and pancreatitis), but a year later, and many meds and tons of love later he's still happy and energetic, but I know the day will come when he is in pain, or unhappy and I will make the same choice you made, to provide the one I love with a "good death". Diva was a lucky dog to have family who cared so much for her.

Take care,

11:51 PM  
Blogger School Nurse Jack said...

You gave Diva a good life, and she gave you memories of love and happiness given on an unconditional level. I'm so sorry for your loss.

I euthanized my 18.5-y-o pound puppy 2 years ago. Even at the end, I questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing. She was so loyal to me, she would have kept pushing on to be by my side through the worst of pain. I had to let her go peacefully and respectfully, as heartbreaking as it was.

Hugs to you this weekend. Good dogs bring so much to our lives and homes. I know your home must be so 'off' right now.

9:50 AM  
Blogger kario said...

So sorry to hear about your dog, but I'm pleased you were attentive enough to notice when she was suffering and help her.

Sending light and love.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Terry at Counting Sheep said...

So sorry about your dog.
She looked like a real sweetie. It's not easy.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Strawberry Lane said...

So sorry about Diva. It's so difficult to let them go. But they are never forgotten.

We are animal people, as well. If it needs to be fed, we probably have it.

Love reading your site. Come from a medical family, so enjoy your comments. Very amusing!

6:32 PM  
Blogger UnsinkableMB said...

I am so sorry for your loss...



6:50 AM  
Blogger AtYourCervix said...

I'm so sorry for your loss MJ. She was blessed to be loved for the 8 years she was a member of your family. (((( hugs ))))

11:59 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

We lost our dog that we rescued from death row recently. He lived with us for almost 14 years. One day he also slowed down, so we took him off to the doctors. On her advise we had to put him down the next day. It was like loosing a member of the family.

A few days later, our other dog Sally, who had lived with us for about the same amount of time, apparently went into some sort of morning due to the loss of her partner. A few days after that, I found her dead amongst the bushes.

The entire family were very upset. It's tough but now we have a new dog that our son gave us.

Our three sons moved out recently so I'll treat this dog also like another member of the family.

Peter McCartney
Sydney Australia

8:21 PM  
Blogger Dr. Brad said...

So sorry for your loss. It sounds like a good death indeed- we can all wish for such grace.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Amrita said...

Dear Mother Jones, I am so sorry to hear about Diva. I am a crazy dog lover and lost my darling in April and still cry for him.I know how it feels.

12:21 AM  
Blogger gypsy said...

i'm so sorry for your loss... Diva's photo is beautiful!!! animals are such amazing gifts to out hearts and souls in this life. i am sure your little Diva is looking out for you and your hubby from Rainbow Bridge - and she knows how blessed she was to be rescued into such a GREAT home...

like an old friend says: dog love is good love!

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:36 AM  
Blogger Richelle said...

ohh so sad... I want to cry. I love dogs so much in fact I have 3. I know how it feels because even I cannot sleep everytime one of my dogs is sick. Sorry for the lost.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our beloved "Sarah" has been gone for almost three months now. She was a lovable beagle. Most of all, I miss how she would scamper out from her little bed when I came in from doing PACU call in the middle of the night. Of course she knew me as the "food goddess" so I would make a trip to the 'frig to give her a piece of lunchmeat. smile

My sympathy to you on the loss of your family companion.


3:01 PM  
Blogger ERnursey said...

I've had to make that difficult decision about two of my beloved dogs. *Hugs*

Each time I've done it i swear I'll never have another pet but soon the house feels too quiet, empty and cold and I find myself longing for anothr pair of chocolate eyes to gaze lovingly into my own. We have a lot of family to love us but no one loves us so unconditionally as a pet.

10:24 PM  
Blogger poody said...
here is a website for you. I am so very sorry to hear of yur loss. I would be devastated as you must be! (((hugs)))

4:27 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

My deepest sympathies. I still miss my Elsie-Mo, though it's been years since we had to put her down.

Hugs, dear. I am so very sorry.

9:27 PM  
Blogger codeblog said...

I know how hard it is to lose a pet. I'm so sorry for your loss.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. This was a lovely post, and made me think about how much I miss Chad, who was a dog my parents had when I was in High School.

An old neighbor of mine recently lost her cat -- an excellent mouser called Buster. She wrote a lovely eulogy to Buster -- who was a real bruiser of a cat -- which was picked up on in our local newspaper, the Princeton Packet, on Oct. 9. Much of it is excellent, but I really liked the opening:

"The morning chorus is singing a little louder, rabbits are a little less nervous, and squirrels are more brazen today. Buster the Cat is gone."

3:28 PM  
Blogger Doc's Girl said...

MJ--I'm so sorry...I hope you are doing okay. *hugs*

10:09 PM  

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