Three years ago we had to put down my min-pin, Alexis. She was my baby girl and meant the world to me. I’m still not over losing her, and really don’t think I ever will be.
Well last month, we had to go through this again with our Sammy. He was a Shih-Tzu/Pomeranian mix. Sammy was 12 1/2 years old. He was SUCH a good dog. So smart, and so easy to train. He never gave us any problems. When he was about 1 year old, I noticed a little lump in his neck, and had the vet check it out. They did a biopsy and said it was non-cancerous. I was relieved.
The lump didn’t seem to get much bigger for several years, and then it suddenly seemed to be getting bigger. We had it checked out often, and the vet always said it was just fatty tissue or a fatty tumor.
We always shaved him down in the summer, because he didn’t tolerate the heat very well. One summer when he was about 9 years old, we noticed he would get these really dark, almost black patches on his skin. The vet said he had a skin allergy. We treated him and changed his food, and it seemed to clear up, but would occasionally, briefly come back a couple more times during different summers.
We then noticed a sore on his back and it was getting thicker and thicker. Had this checked out at the vet’s, and they said it was a skin tumor. The vet said they didn’t think it would be a good idea to dig into it because he could bleed out. At one point it was protruding above his skin about an inch. We changed his dog food and to our surprise, the sore – the tumor – almost went away completely. We always kept the hair around the tumor shaved so it wouldn’t bother his sore. And it cleared up so much, we had to search to find it. We were so happy his tumor “disappeared”.
Months later, the tumor started to reappear, and he started throwing up – every day. And sometimes, several times a day. We also noticed the tumor in his neck had been getting larger. Once again, we took him to the vet’s. I thought the tumor in his neck was about the size of a golf ball. The vet examined him, and said the tumor in his throat was larger than we had thought – it was the size of an orange. And it was hard as a rock. His weight had also gone from almost 30 lbs, to 18 lbs.
We found out he had cancer at 11 years old. We were devastated.
We asked the vet what our options were, and we were told there were no vets that would be willing to do surgery on his throat because it would be like “kicking a hornet’s nest”. Words I will never ever forget. We were told that all we could do, was to keep him comfortable. He didn’t appear to be in any pain at all, and not uncomfortable at all, and other than the daily vomiting, he was in good spirits. He was still running around playing with our other dogs and he still had a very healthy appetite. So we expected him to be around for a long time still. He seemed indestructible. It just felt like he would be here forever. And of course, that’s what we wanted.
A little over a year after he was diagnosed, his health started failing rapidly. He started limping, and we found many new lumps all over his neck, face, stomach and sides. He was vomiting everything he ate or drank. He lost so much weight, he was down to 11 lbs. The cancer was rapidly spreading throughout his body. This was a dog who at one point was so chunky, at almost 30 lbs he could barely squeeze through the doggy doors. Now he couldn’t get through them because he physically couldn’t walk through them. The last month of his life, it was like his entire body was paralyzed. He would try to walk and just fall down. We had to hold him up to drink water and to feed him, or we would put everything on a flat plate so he could drink or eat comfortably. Our hearts were breaking.
On May 3rd, we made the heart breaking decision to free him of this painful and uncomfortable life that his life had turned into. He was staring directly at me when the vet gave him his shot, and he died looking right into my eyes as I pet his head and told him how much we loved him. I think putting a pet down is one of the hardest things to go through. At least, it is for me. They are not just pets, they are family, and they depend on us to love and protect them, and when it’s time for them to go, it doesn’t seem fair. Why can’t they live as long as people?
So I’m going to dry up my tears now and explain a couple things I do to remember our dogs by.
First, you have to decide if you want your dog cremated or buried. This was SUCH a difficult decision for me the first time I had to go through this. When Alexis was alive and well I always said I was going to have her stuffed. Yes, I said stuffed. I wanted her physically with me forever. I looked into this and found out this really wasn’t a viable option. And realistically people don’t normally do this. I then had to decide between burial or cremation. This decision tore me apart. I didn’t like either option. After talking to friends and family and getting advice, I decided on cremation – because I could have her ashes with me always. If we sold the house, I could always bring her with us. If we had her buried, that would be much more difficult, or we’d have to leave her, and that was not an option.
So I decided on cremation. I’ll never forget when I picked up her ashes (keep in mind, she was my very first dog) and her ashes were in this tiny little tin box. I didn’t think it could be possible that she was in there. But she was. The next decision, was where would I put her? It took me a couple of weeks to decide on where to put her ashes. In those two weeks, I carried her from room to room until I could decide.
I finally decided on my work room, because I work from home, and this was the room she spent the most time with me in. And, she had comfy beds in my work room and loved it in there. It’s a bright room with lots of windows that she loved looking out of. So Chris built me a little shelf on the wall, I placed her collar with her name tag around the tiny tin box her ashes were in, and that’s where I placed her.
So when it was time, we did the same for Sammy. They are now both on the shelf with their collars & tags around their tins. My Sammy & Alexis are together again, where they belong.
**Drying my tears again**
Ok, so on to my project. I made glass pendant tiles for each one after they passed away. You can use them as necklaces, but I use them to hang in the rear view mirror of my car. This way they are always with me ♥
Here are the supplies you will need:
- Clear glass pendants. You can get square pendant tiles like these, but they also come in other shapes and sizes.
- If you use an inkjet printer to print your image, you will need MicroGlaze to keep the ink from running or bleeding through. (You can skip this step if you use a laser printer)
- Diamond Glaze to seal your photo to the glass.
- Jewelry bail to attach to the back of your pendant, which is what holds your chain to the pendant.
- E-6000 adhesive to adhere the bale to the pendant.
- Ball chain or any type, size or color of chain you prefer.
The first step is to decide on a photo for your pendant. You have to make sure it will fit on your pendant so if you are printing it, you may need to resize it on your computer. Print out your photo. If you use an ink-jet printer, you will want to put a layer of MicroGlaze over the photo first, to keep the photo from bleeding through or smearing. This will protect your photo.
The tiles are 1″ square, and the same size as scrabble tiles. They have a flat side and a slightly rounded side. On the FLAT side of the tile, put a thin layer of your Diamond glaze.
Then press the picture, photo side DOWN, and smooth out all the bubbles.
When you flip it over, you will be able to see if there are any bubbles. Press them out quickly. Then let the tile dry for a couple of hours. When it is dry, get your scissors and trim any excess paper on your picture. You want the picture to fit on the tile perfectly.
Then get your glass glaze again, and place another layer of it on the back side of the photo, as well as on all of the edges. You want to completely seal that photo in.
Let that dry for several hours – preferably overnight. You will see that the glaze gives it a really nice shine.
The next day, or when you are positive the glaze is completely dried, get a little of your E-6000 or similar epoxy and place just a dab on the back of your bail, and attach it to the back of your tile.
Let it dry completely.
Then just add your chain. Now you have a lovely keepsake pendant that you can treasure forever.
I turned this photo of Sammy into this pendant.
And they are both remembered wherever we go. ♥