Sled Dog Skippy

R.I.P. Sister

Today Ryan and I had to take another sled dog to be euthanized. Sister was a great, gentle old girl of about 17 years. She had cancer and while she had some tumors removed in the past, a new tumor came back with a vengence. She wasn’t eating well and getting thin. Then her tumor grew large enough that it was imparing her ability to walk well. She started to get clumsy and seemed to be pretty depressed. 

It was hard to watch her decline so quickly, but we tried everything we could to keep her comfortable.  The euthanasia drugs worked very quickly on her and it was sad, but I knew it was the best thing to do for her. She had a quick, quiet, and dignified death.

The only time I thought I was going to break down was when Sister closed her eyes and heaved a big sigh and Ryan made this sad little sound, “ooh.” I thought he was going to cry and that made me want to cry because Ryan doesn’t cry at anything. But we’re both pretty tough Alaskans now. No tears.

The vet also said that it was amazing that she had lived that long, especially given that she had malignant tumors in the past. The last tumor was removed 2 years ago–she said that most dogs Sister’s age normally live only 6-9 months after a tumor removal. But Sister kept going for 2 years. Sled dogs are so hard core.

Ryan dug a grave in a beautiful spot and I placed a quartz crystal in the grave with her. Then I covered her up with the soil. This was my first grave digging and it was very strange and very hard work (mostly for Ryan). 

Anyway, I’m so glad Ryan was here. He was so helpful and respectful. 

One aspect that was kind of humorous was the vet–she kept asking me if I was okay. This was only the second time I had interacted with her after I was a blubbering, sobbing mess the first time I met her with a sick dog. I completely embarrassed myself. I guess she thought I would be a wreck with a dying dog! I once again surprised myself by not crying. I do think this will get harder, not easier, the more I get to know the dogs.

A dog dying certainly makes me hug my own dogs a little tighter! Go hug your pets, people!

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