Planning, Preparing and Creating a Wonderful End of Life--
For our Dog Kuba.
We inherited Kuba—a regal, playfully loving black lab—about six years ago, when his owners were moving to Nunavut.
He befriended our Pug Frankie and was ignored by Smokie; our fat bossy cat. I had never had such an obedient, well-behaved and needy dog. Going to the bathroom alone became a thing of the past. He loves us wholeheartedly, and we love him back. Our daughter Jadyn snuggles him often, and Tanner calls him his brother and insists that Kuba sleeps beside his bed. He does so, surrounded by his stuffies; Bear, Cow, Flap and Muffin.
Kuba is now 12, with big lumps everywhere and his back legs are starting to “give out” more often. He slid down the stairs this morning while he was trying to get up them. It is time to accept that he is at the end stage of his life and we are preparing our hearts for immense grief. Kuba is a member of this family, and his absence is going to hurt for a long time.
As I urge the world to talk about, plan and prepare for grief, death and dying before it arrives, I am walking my talk. Death and dying is inconvenient and often unpredictable and difficult to navigate sometimes, so I am doing my best to prepare for what is coming… whenever and however it may be.
I am able to take care of things logically right now, exploring our options. I called the veterinarian (put # in my phone) to discuss euthanasia; the cost (set aside $ in the account), a possible home visit or where else it could take place. I’ve printed many pictures of Kuba with the kids and the cat and his favorite position... on his back with all four limbs in different directions.
We are giving Kuba extra love as he nears end of life. The kids know it could be any day or months, but it is coming. We openly discuss everything, and they want him buried on our property. So we are creating a sacred area surrounded by lovely trees. We’ve gathered special rocks to put around his grave and stumps to sit on and have a “visit” with Kuba whenever we want. We can do this because we choose to believe that we stay connected forever, and his spirit with always be with us.
Whenever Jadyn or Tanner want to talk about it, we do.
I go out to the sacred area most days, to clear brush, to think and take care of everything else, so when it’s time for Kuba to leave this earth. There will be nothing left to do but grieve, and then heal our hearts with all the wonderful memories of a really great dog who joined our family. I won’t miss all the hair and the bad breath. I may or may not miss having company in the bathroom.
But I sure will miss all that love!
Yvonne Heath is Canada's Proactive Living Consultant. She is a Speaker, Television Host, Award Winning Author
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