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A Time to Say Goodbye
Here’s to Bubba
By bringing a pet into our lives, we make a promise to look out for their best interests. This means making sure they’re well-fed and loved, but it also means knowing when we
This is Dr. Derrick Nelson, and I’m sorry to say I have bad news. Bubba has passed away. The old boy lived to be 13 years old, and he was strong and happy right until the end. I first met Bubba when he was 8 years old and in bad shape. He had allergies, skin issues, fleas, heartworms, and only 40 percent of his coat left. His previous owners didn’t have the money to take care of him, and they brought him in to be put to sleep. I looked at that dog, and I knew he still had some life in him, so I told them to sign Bubba over to me. I would take care of him and adopt him out. Bubba was an awesome dog; I knew that fact first and foremost. It’s why I treated him. But over time, I realized just how cool he was. Bubba was so laid-back. He was never hyperactive but still met everyone with a wagging tail. I wanted him to be my dog. At the time, I already had dogs at home, so Bubba became our clinic dog for the first year and a half. He just hung out in the reception area and loved meeting everyone, regardless of whether they came in on two legs or four. A dog should be your companion — an animal that is friendly, wants to be by your side, and that you don’t have to worry about causing trouble or biting someone. I have little kids, and I can’t have a dog that I would ever have to question how they’ll behave. With Bubba, I never worried for a second. He was smart, loving, and relaxed all the time. Aside from the shedding, which he really couldn’t help, he was the perfect dog. Bubba was one of the special ones, which made saying goodbye so much harder. The whole time we had him, Bubba had hip problems. Then the day came when he just couldn’t get up. For the last six months of his life, I knew our time with Bubba was coming to an end. But even though I knew the day was coming, it’s still hard.
have to say goodbye. There’s no perfect method for making this choice. When you know your pet is dying, you can’t let them go too soon, but you can do it too late. I have talked to many owners who said, “I wish I did this earlier. I held on for selfish reasons, and my pet was in pain longer than they needed to be.”
If it’s not the time, I’ll say so. When we can still help the pet or if the animal isn’t ready to call it quits yet, I will let clients know. However, 99 percent of the time, when an owner brings their pet in to say goodbye for the last time, they’ve made the right call. But just because it’s the right choice doesn’t mean it’s easy. We love our pets, and losing them for any reason sucks. Don’t let anyone say you can’t be sad because “it’s just a dog.” Let yourself cry. It’s natural to be sad, and the only way you’ll really overcome that sadness is by giving yourself time to grieve. Don’t feel ashamed for missing a pet you loved.
I got to have five years with the best dog ever. Thank you, Bubba. You really were a good boy.
–Dr. Derrick Nelson
Treating Your Pets Like Family
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