The Long Good-bye– Helen 01/27/10

Today was one of the most painful days I have had.  We had to euthanize our little four-pound Yorkie, Danny Boy.  We brought Danny home at 6 weeks of age, a mere ball of black fur that fit into the palm of my hand.  From the very first night, he has slept in our bed between Bryce and I, cuddling close to feel our warm bodies.   Danny has always been our “baby”, even as he grew up to become a spunky little dog with a big dog personality.  Yes, Danny was only four pounds but he  never hesitated to bark at dogs  ten times his size.  He also had a big, big heart and showered everyone with is wet doggie kisses.  There wasn’t a human alive that Danny didn’t like.  However, other dogs were another story.  He had no problem defending his territory and that sometimes got him into trouble–usually with his older sister.    Mitzie Sue is a year older and twice his size, but Danny never seemed to learn that she could only tolerate his behavior for so long, and then she would get angry.  The fights were akin to any human sibling quarrels–lots of noise but never any bloodshed.  When push came to shove he would always relent and wind up on his back.  We always said we should have named him “Little Caesar”.

Danny had a good life.  He always got treats.  He was the dog that would bark and beg for goodies, and of course, his sister always got some too, because after all, parents can’t play favorites, right.  Danny and Mitzie had a wardrobe of clothes that would make any diva jealous…matching pink and blue harnesses and leashes; matching pink and blue sweaters; matching turquoise rain slickers; brown bomber jackets with imitation sheepskin collars; the black Harley shirts; etc.  Yes, both dogs were treated well.

Two months ago, at the age of twelve, Danny started to get sick.  He couldn’t keep food down.  An expensive four days in the vet hospital with lots of tests and x-rays revealed that he had pancreatitis, kidney, bladder, and gall stones, arthritis in his spine, nodules in his spleen and gastritis.  After much reading on the net, I began making him home-made doggie food with lean chicken, brown rice and vegetables.  Danny loved this food and inhaled it in record time.  He started to look pretty good and the extra vitamins and salmon oil that I added made his coat shine.  Yes, it looked like we had our ole Danny back again!  But this past Sunday he seemed to have trouble walking, falling over a lot crab-walking to one side.  He also would not drink any water–not good.  On Monday we put him back in the vet hospital and were told that he probably had a stroke or maybe more than one.  Danny did not improve over the past few days.  The outlook was grim.  I didn’t feel I should take him home and watch him die from dehydration or another stroke.  So Bryce and I, with much pain in our hearts, made the decision to preserve his dignity and end his suffering.

I like to imagine that his little soul is free now and he is barking and running after all those big dogs that have gone before him.  Good-bye my dear and faithful friend–you will always be remembered and loved.


For information about Helen and Bryce’s Love Odyssey marriage retreats visit  where the strategy behind these couples retreats  is described in detail.

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