Yesterday I had to make the very difficult decision to put down Winger.

There has never been such a hard decision. I woke up in the morning to find fresh blood in the hallway. One of the big mast cell tumours behind his ear had broke open and was bleeding. It was exactly like when the big one on the top of his head was bleeding so badly and had to be surgically removed.

I cried from 6:30am onwards. I knew it wouldn’t stop bleeding on it’s own. Realistically the only way to stop it is to remove the tumour. It was actually bleeding in 3 spots. I could tell the one behind his other ear was a day or two away from doing the same thing. It was the one way I didn’t want him to go – just because one of his tumours was bleeding.

I stayed home and by noon I had decided and had to call into the vet. Our regular vet, Dr. P, wasn’t there. The vet tech on the phone went through all the body care options with me, some were just too gruesome. If I had a farm, or a house where I felt I’d be staying for some time, I definitely would have buried him. But I don’t, so I opted for private cremation. Some of the options included a man who picks them up and disposes of them at the public landfill! The cremation centre is in New Liskeard so it will be a few weeks before I’ll get his ashes.

Herc did the nicest thing for us. He came over and we played fetch with Winger in the backyard for 10-15 minutes. Then Herc drove us to the vet’s office for our 4:45 appointment. Around 5, it was time. I requested that I wanted to be with him. They lifted him to a table and made him lie down. I put my arms around him in a hug and squeezed so tight. They had to shave his front leg to find a vein. The vet who was there explained what was going to happen and that he’d take a few long breathes. He put in the needle in. Winger inhaled a bit and only took one long exhale. I felt it all, it was like the air was being let out of him, and he rested on the table. It was soooo peaceful. He looked like he was sleeping. It was a relief to hear his constant heavy heavy panting and coughing stop. It was then I was sure I did the right thing. I gave him a final kiss above his nose and left. Sobbing sooo loudly of course.

Winger was special to me from the start. I always thought fate brought him to me. I was going through a lot of transitions in my life, my social circle was changing, and my parents had split up. Winger was the best friend I needed so bad.

My house feels empty. Surf is quiet. I’m not sure if she really realizes yet or not. She’s sure getting spoiled though. With just one dog now, I’ll take her with me more often. Herc’s dog isn’t much of a player with her, so I worry she’ll age fast now all alone. If that happens, the breeders of Winger and Surf are expecting a litter sired by Winger and Surf’s brother soon, and have let the option open of me adopting a puppy. I’ll have to see.

It’s so strange to let only one dog out. There is no Winger lying in the hallway, no Winger jumping up when I get up out of my chair to follow me. Picking up his food dish was tough. I remember how he used to jump on the bed to wake me up. He would roll on his back and steamroll me. The gooseberry bush in the back yard is full of his fur because he rubbed on it, and all around it, every day – especially first thing in the morning. I missed stepping over him to go pee at 4am. He has a huge stuffed lion animal that I hugged most of the night. He loved carrying that around.

I know I have made so many good memories with Winger and I have hundreds of photos of him. Now that he is gone, I’m thankful he was still able to run and play until the end and I didn’t allow him to suffer more than he did. I do think he was much sicker than he showed. The vet also said that because he was gone so fast.

I’m not a religious person. I do believe in some spiritual things. I think his soul is somewhere. I hope Surf and I have a guardian angel Winger now. Part of me hopes he’ll be reincarnated into a puppy, but mostly I do believe Surf and I will meet him again some day. I know Winger was never content unless he was with me.

Sorry if I made you cry reading this, I just need to type out my feelings. I told my bosses I wouldn’t be into work until at least Monday. I’m just crying all the time and no one wants to do that at work.

Winger, I love you. Thanks for enriching our lives. I’ll love and miss you always.


(photo shown is from April 11th, 1998. Winger was 4. This is within a few minutes of meeting him in Duluth, Minnesota.)

Edit: There have been many wonderful comments left for us on my Canadian Goldens website: