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December 23, 2013



I read Levin's "Rescuing Sprite" and got the same feeling reading this post Jeff. It's too emotional to describe. As I told you previously, these dogs and cats do more for us than we can ever do for them. They keep us sane in a world that isn't. They offer love and ask nothing in return---there's no "end game" for them. And no, there's never a right time to make "the choice" to end their suffering. It's so hard to say goodbye, we often keep them alive (even if suffering) for ourselves----not for them. So you and your wife made the ultimate unselfish decision by saying goodbye to that beautiful dog when I know how difficult it must have been. It stings----and while the empty feeling never goes away, the joy that Gretchen brought to your lives will overtake the sorrow soon enough. Those memories will overpower the final stages of life that are so hard to accept. We adopted an Irish Setter when I was about 12 years old----and that dog saw me through middle school, high school, college and about a year and a half after college graduation. Clancy "raised me" in a lot of ways. And now we have a great cat, Harry, who has bonded with my son and I----sleeps with us, hangs out with us, loves when we have company----a really social cat. When the twins are older, maybe you'll add a new member to the family---never replacing Gretchen, but bringing sine joy in the future.

Ed S

It's a tough decision, but you did the right thing. Pets have their way of telling us that they want to go: ...thanks for all the food and playing and petting and such, but we really don't want to be a burden. Just let me go to sleep, they say at last. We give our pets more dignity in death than we do other humans. We don't store them away in nursing homes, sitting in their own poop, eating baby food and feeling bewildered for years and years.
I saw my two cats put down and let me tell you I blubbered as much if not more than when I had to pull my dying mother's plug. Someone was there for them to see them out in their final moments; may we all have such comfort and surcease from pain...
I feel sorry for an aunt of mine who was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping a few years ago when she collapsed and died in a mall, surrounded by strangers. Now that's a bad way to go.

John B

Definitely a difficult decision, but you made the right decision, and you showed her lots of love during her life. You will always be filled with all the memories.


You can't save them all, but you saved her. Time is a bastard, nothing you can do about that, but the things you could do you did.


So sorry for your loss, Jeff. My sister and I went through the same with a 19 year old cat, Tucker, last May. He was a rescue.

Know that you have given a measure of life and happiness to one of God's innocent creatures that would not have received it otherwise.


Bill DeFelice


It's never easy to lose someone close, especially a pet for which you had such a bond. You do, however, have to remember one thing.

Fate had it that you and Carrie crossed paths with Gretchen to become her guardians and caretakers. I'm convinced that there's a reason for many things to happen and while it might be sad to have lost this cherished member of your family you should reflect on the love and companionship she gave you. Your recent loss may not be the most pleasant of memories of your journeys together, but I'm certain the last dozen years were packed with happy memories - remember those and I'd bet it will bring a smile to your face.


My condolences again, Jeff. Your love for Gretchen says a lot about your character, at least in my book!

We lost a cat about a year ago and for a few months after I kept on thinking I saw her out of the corner of my eye. Don't be surprised if you "feel" Gretchen's presence for a time; whatever you might believe of in terms of afterlife and such, I think it reasonable to consider that some kind of "energy" remains, at least for a time, that isn't "just in our head." But who knows.


Jonny: They come back to visit in dreams sometimes too. People/animals have energy after death. It sounds crazy until you experience it.


Angelo - interesting point on the dreams - I lost a dog 11 or 12 years ago and at least several times a year I have a dream that he is still alive.


I still feel her presence. I told my daughters she went to a special place for old dogs but they want her to come home. Tough sell to 3 year old twins.


Brandon: A woman I worked with years ago was into the metaphysical---she's the one who told me that this could happen---and as she put it "They come back to visit the only way they can---in dreams."


Most traditional metaphysics - from shamanic to Buddhist to Western esoteric (and "occult"), all of which the New Age is based upon - holds that "death" is merely the transition from one state of being ("life") to something that exists afterwards, which is not unlike dreams, which in turn is a transition to reincarnation or some other state of being. But the point is that the dream world is akin to one of the great states of being/consciousness within thousands of years of human belief, a belief that was based upon the experience of shamans and mystics for tens of thousands of years.

The point being, it makes a kind of sense that departed animals, and people for that matter, would be able to contact us through dreams because dreams--according to traditional metaphysics--is kind of like the glue that holds different realms together, a kind of "astral space" in which physical "worlds" float. The Australian Aboriginals envision this as a kind of primordial archetypal world that is eternal and which the physical world is a temporal manifestation of. They call it the Dreamtime.

Bill Bush

As an animal rescuer and foster parent of many cats and a few dogs, I thank you for giving a difficult dog time to come around. And from having been with several when they were past saving, thank you for not permitting a painful lingering. I can tell you that every shelter has great dogs waiting for you. I see California shelter dogs all the time on FB. If you get another adult you can avoid having potty training to do all over again. The girls will probably enjoy a younger, more outgoing dog that fits their energy level and will be there for their years at home. Hard economic times put many perfectly trained dogs in shelters. There is nothing wrong with the dogs. There is something wrong in the socio-economic system.

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