Bubba Bear

My Bubba Bear, making the world a better place for everyone who met him from 03.12.1999 – 08.02.2013

I can’t write anything else until I write this. I feel less vulnerable writing it having watched Cesar Millan’s lovely remembrance video about Daddy.

My beautiful Bubba Bear passed away at 1pm on 8 February 2013 aged 13 years and 2 months.

He had congestive heart failure and I made the decision to have him euthanized. I knew it was the right decision and I knew it was the right time. I was very lucky to feel such absolute certainty.

I knew he wasn’t going to pass peacefully in his sleep. I knew I must not risk him suffering in any way – either from drowning from fluid in his lungs or a sudden inability to breathe {he had always had a peculiar fear of not being able to breathe} or a seizure and him feeiing terror/panic from lack of oxygen to his brain.

However, on the scheduled day I found myself wrestling with denial, kidding myself I should wait until tomorrow – one more night … No.

The experience of having a pet euthanized is different – completely individualized – I have found, with every animal for whom I have had to make this decision.

One of the worst times was many years ago when my vet at the time told me one of my 7-week old SPCA foster kittens, whom I had fallen in love with, should be euthanized. And then called me the next day to tell me he had performed an {unauthorized} autopsy and that he could have saved her after all; that she had only had a hiatus hernia.

I have been through the euthanizing of a beloved pet four times in the past 13 months. Our cat Indi was 17 years and in kidney failure, A few months later our cat Peep Peep Yeah, 12 years, was diagnosed with Feline Squamous Cell Carcinoma {voracious mouth cancer}. My constant bedfellow cat of 16 years, A’tish, suffered kidney failure not long after his buddies passed away.

With Bubba – even though it was clear-cut; there was no question of risking him feeling pain or anxiety and every reason to make sure his passing was peaceful – I had to go to a place I have only been to once in my life which was when I gave birth – a shocking place just over the horizon of pain where you have to tap into some ethereal, possibly collective, emergency reserve tank of strength you never knew you had, or you didn’t have until you needed it.

And so after 13 years together and me learning so much from Bubba, such a sweet and extraordinary Malamute, at the end of our time together I gave him the gift of a peaceful death. And he gave me a surprising, powerful gift. He showed me I could be much stronger and braver than I ever imagined.

Now as I sniff his waning scent on his harness, feel lost at walk times, stare blankly at the food he liked in the pet food aisle, pretend to pat him when I wake up, vacuum up what may be the very last of his fur in the dust bunnies on the floor, leave his sheep, duck and pheasant toys on his bed, I also feel uplifted by his gift; a nascent pride in myself for doing the right thing by him at the right time in the right way for him even though it was so very hard for me. I am a better person for it.

I’m writing about this in the hope of supporting others who grieve and because it explains why there is a gap in my postings … and also why I’m suddenly paying attention to Beef Casserole for the Dog’s Soul.

I am, of course, in that limbo place of grief; not having my canine companion with me any more and not feeling ready to let a new companion into my life.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been visiting here and tidying up the design and looking at photos of dogs and finding solace here. When I started, my dreams of Bubba stopped. My dreams of him happily running away from me and me running after him, ‘Bubba! Where are you going?’ and another of me cupping his massive, magnificent face in my hands, looking in his eyes and asking him, ‘what will I do without you?’, waking up with tears in my throat. I held his face like this as he died, holding his gaze, creating peace and calm and love and seeing the light go out.

The dreams stopped because he showed me the answer to my temporary limbo, here, on this website and in my suddenly being gripped by the idea of publishing all the Beef Casserole for the Dog’s Soul stories individually on Kindle – how easily and weirdly effortlessly this has all happened.

I’ve felt driven by Bubba’s memory and this has mobilized me with purpose, albeit in a haze of shock.

Bubba was my tester for the stories. Some he loved more than others – most especially the ones with treats at the end of the story. Ah, the funny memories we have now of our laughter and his sweet face listening and his head cocking from side to side.

I smile.

His beautiful energy and influence is in every story. In this way and in our hearts he lives on forever.

I feel better sharing all that, thank you.

If you are reading this because you are googling for information about your dog who is unwell know that you are far from alone in how you feel. I send you much strength and love. Remember this: any decision made with love is always the right decision.


4 thoughts on “Bubba Forever

  1. so very poignant. Bubba sounds like a sweetheart. Thank you for this message. I dread the day as my Heart and soul Boxer soon to be 14 is with me and I cherish every second moment.

  2. Pingback: Being adopted by a stray | Beef Casserole for the Dog's Soul

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