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Saying Goodbye

April 26th, 2013 | Posted by Emily in Blog Love | Bumming Out | Doggies! | Fostering. | Loss for words | Super serious.

This evening I will go over to the home of my friend and KC Pittie Pack co-founder, Crystal, to hold her hand as she says goodbye to her longtime foster, Charlie Machete. Crystal found Charlie running around the Trolley Trail in our neighborhood in July 2011. After being unable to locate his owner, she took him in as her foster dog without a second thought.

It became clear pretty quickly that Charlie had some deep seated issues to overcome – fear of people, distrust of (some) dogs, being generally nervous… I have watched for the past two years as Crystal has worked tirelessly with Charlie to help him overcome these issues. She took up jogging to help him expel his nervous energy, she worked on his confidence through training, she bought endless types of leashes and head harnesses to find just the right one for Charlie, and even turned to medicine to help him get through a day without feeling the need to act out with aggression.

Charlie was adopted last year to a guy who seemed okay with working on those issues… until Crystal received a call from a shelter in Omaha alerting her that Charlie had been dropped off at the shelter and unless she picked him up, they would have to euthanize him due to his aggressive nature towards the shelter staff. Crystal’s boyfriend Zach raced up to Omaha to retrieve Charlie and back into foster he went. Crystal amped up her training efforts and things seemed to be getting better… until they weren’t.

After a couple more incidents of Charlie biting or attempting to bite people, Crystal has made the difficult decision to put Charlie to sleep. I will be there by her side as the vet comes to her house to do the procedure. I’ll admit, although I have had several family dogs put to sleep over the years, my mom has always shielded me from the procedure, opting to go to the vet’s office by herself to spare me the pain of it all. So this will be a first for me. But I know that I wouldn’t want to do this alone… and I always got along with Charlie. So I want to pay my respects and tell Charlie that he is a good dog, he is loved so much by Crystal, and that he isn’t going to live his life in fear anymore. And I want to tell Crystal that she is a good foster mom and that she is loved and supported. Today is going to be a hard day – if you think about it, please send some good thoughts and prayers to Crystal and Charlie.


I’ll be back on Monday with part two of my East Coast trip….

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28 Responses

  • Thanks, Emily. I’m glad you can be there with us today and so grateful for all the times you have lifted my spirits during our journey with Charlie Machete. I know you always had hope for him, too.

  • Be strong for him. My virtual respects to his foster mama…

  • avatar Kate says:

    :( this is such a brave decision, that i’m sure was heartbreaking to make. my thoughts are with you all. give a kiss to charlie from all of us who root for the underdogs

  • avatar KN says:

    I”ll be thinking of Crystal and Charlie today! He knows he’s loved, I’m sure.

  • Nola, Sarge and I are sending our love (and even some kisses) to Charlie and Crystal today.

  • avatar Miranda says:

    I’ll be thinking of all of you today. I know it’s a hard decision, but its one done with love.

  • avatar Michelle says:

    Thinking of all three of you… Hold him tight and tell him what a good boy he is.

  • avatar Morgan says:

    I’ve been praying for them ever since I read her post yesterday. Such a tough thing to go through; I’m glad she is going to have a good friend with her. The fact that she gave Charlie a chance to know love is hands down the most important thing to take away from all this. It won’t ease her pain at first, but hopefully as time passes knowing she gave him that gift will make it a little easier. Hugs and kisses from our whole pack to y’alls!

  • I’ve been thinking about Crystal and Charlie since I read her post yesterday and my heart breaks for them both. Sometimes the right decision is really hard and even painful but I’m glad she has a friend like you to be there with her. I’ll be thinking about you all today and wishing I could give you hugs.

  • What a difficult decision to make and one that I know is killing her inside even as she knows she is making the right decision (I’ve been in her shoes and so understand completely). Tell both Crystal and Charlie that they are loved and tell Charlie he is a good dog. Hugs to you as well Emily and thank you for being there for the both of them. {{{CyberHugs}}} to you all.

  • avatar OhMelvin says:

    Crystal is a WONDERFUL dog mom, you are a great friend and Charlie is blessed to have had so much time with such wonderful people. Thinking of you all today.

  • Such a hard decision, but thinking about how the little things make him so anxious thoughout his everyday life, I think this is the most loving thing to do for him. Thinking of you guys.

  • avatar Teresa says:

    I can’t imagine what Crystal is going through. I commend her for making the decision to let him go since it seems this life is not for him. I am sending positive thoughts to her and Charlie and knowing that at Rainbow Bridge Charlie will be the dog he was supposed to be in this life but wasn’t meant to be. Some dogs just can’t be here. Lots of hugs sent your way.

  • Our thoughts, prayers, and hugs to all of you.

    Love,
    Jackie and Mom

  • Thinking of you all today… May Crystal find comfort in knowing she gave him a wonderful experience on this earth. Charlie surely knows how loved he is. Sending warm thought & hugs your way!

  • avatar oschar83 says:

    OMG reading this brings back such memories! We, too, had a ‘Charlie’ that we adopted at what we thought was a younger age then she was! She had many issues like dog aggression, chasing anything with wheels, lunging, etc…..she got to the point that I could walk her, off leash, close to a mile to my sons house without issue! The only thing we could not break her of was biting, nor could we figure out what her triggers were! Each bite (and there were many) was a different scenario. Some situations, like cutting her nails, that I could do and had done a million times over! So sad that you have to make this decision, we know it’s a very difficult one! But know that you are not alone, my heart, thoughts and prayers are with you! Please tell Charlie to find Harley! She will understand! <3

    • avatar Emily says:

      Thanks… I will most definitely let Charlie know that… I am sure there are a lot of dogs over the Rainbow Bridge who will understand what he was going through down here on earth.

  • avatar Jenna Krabacher says:

    This is the second blog post I have read by a highly respected, very popular blogger and I write this praying that these posts do not become the “trend”. My fear is that when beautiful writers such as yourself share stories like this it may give readers “permission” to do the same thing. I have had to make this decision and it haunts me every single day. One of my dearest friends in rescue had to have a dog put down and it went horribly. She too is haunted every single day by the decision. I feel that these type of posts must be very clear on the gravity of the situation and the potential outcomes and consequences. It does not matter how many “professionals” tell you you are doing the right thing. It does not matter how much you feel at the time you are doing the right thing. There is always remorse. There is always the fear that you could have done more, better, something, anything to save that dog. No matter what there is always that deep-seeded regret. it does not go away and that person has to live with it. I only share my story privately and very few people know about it. I do not ever want to be considered a person who “endorses dog euthanasia” nor do I ever want anyone saying/thinking/feeling; “Well, Jenna did it so it must be OK…” This is a very personal, emotional and harrowing situation that I feel deserves to be shared. I feel and appreciate that Charlie and Crystal should be remembered, honored and supported. I’m just not sure it’s a story that should be shared with the whole world. The previous comments are sincere, supportive, kind and loving. Those are not the only people this message will reach and that is my fear. My thoughts and prayers are with Charlie and Crystal. And I hope that a follow-up blog is written when this truly sinks in and Crystal is willing to also share how this has affected her emotionally. I truly want to know if she is OK or does she feel like my friend and I do and that she will never, ever, ever do it again. If personal stories such as this are going to be shared I think the author must also share the outcomes; not matter what they are and no matter if it makes a good “story”/”blog” or not.

    • avatar Emily says:

      Jenna,

      I appreciate what you are saying, and I do not doubt for one minute that Crystal will spend the rest of her life wondering if she could have done just one more thing that could have “fixed” Charlie. I have sat with her countless times as she explained the latest incident with Charlie and the steps she was taking to ensure it would never happen again. But inevitably, it did. I did not write this post to endorse euthanasia, but rather to share the heartbreaking decision that my dear friend is having to make after years of trying to “fix” a dog who was deeply emotionally scarred.

      I suspect that there are many readers out there who have had or will have to deal with a similar situation in their lifetime. I want them to know that they are not alone. Making a decision like this is never easy – if it is easy, then I question whether or not you have a soul. But it is important to know that you are not alone in your pain and that your friends are there for you no matter what.

      I am sure that in the coming days, weeks, and months Crystal will come to terms with what has happened and will most likely share her thoughts about it on her blog (waywarddogs.com). I will be sure to share her thoughts here as well. I can promise you this: Crystal did everything (and more) that she could possibly do to help Charlie. The decision to let him go is breaking her heart. My job is only to hold her hand and let her know that she is so, so loved and she did the best she could for Charlie. Outside of that, I have no room for anything else.

      • I, for one, fully support your and Crystal’s decision to share this heart-wrenching experience with us. Regardless of one’s reasons for starting to blog, you quickly realize that the reason you keep doing it is because of the amazing and supportive community of fellow bloggers. You blog so that you don’t feel alone and to connect with like-minded folks. Regardless of whether one has experienced this scenario, we all feel your pain and support you via virtual hugs. Love ya, girl! Thank you for allowing us to be there for you both during this difficult time.

  • avatar Hannah K says:

    Sending good thoughts to Crystal, you, and especially Charlie. Such a hard decision, and if Crystal is anything like you, I know it must be heartbreaking. I admire you all so much for the love you give to your dogs, foster or otherwise. I love what you said: “he isn’t going to live his life in fear anymore.” That is the one thing that we can rejoice in here, right?

  • avatar Laurie says:

    Emily,

    I just saw you post tonight, so by the time you read this Charlie will be at the Rainbow Bridge, and will no longer be in fear…please let your friend Crystal know that she is in my thoughts (as are you), as I know how heart-wrenching a decision this must have been. Thank you Emily for being there with Crystal, I’m sure that meant a lot. I hope that in time Crystal will be able to find comfort in knowing that she did what was best for Charlie.

  • So sorry to hear this, it must be the most difficult decision to make. At least Crystal gave Charlie a safe and comfortable and even enjoyable last couple years of his life and gave him the best shot she could. That is way more than so many deserving dogs get.

  • avatar pitlandiapooch says:

    =( I’ve been thinking a lot about Charlie the last couple of days. My grandma had to put her dog down on Tuesday and the vet came to the house to do in-home euthanasia because he was just too bad to be taken in to the vet (he was really old and had bad hips…couldn’t stand up anymore…). I wasn’t there for the procedure, but my grandma is still really shaken up over it. You are such an amazing friend to stand by Crystal’s side when saying goodbye to Charlie.

  • This broke my heart, what an incredibly difficult decision for your friend to have to make. So glad that she has someone like you in her life, you’re a good friend and wonderful person to be there for her and Charlie even though it can’t have been easy. May Charlie be at peace, happy and fearless over the rainbow bridge, thinking of you all.

  • avatar cafall says:

    We will be thinking of you. We know this was a very difficult decision. We had a Dane once with a brain tumor that turned him aggressive. Our vet talked to us and said that it would be better to do it this way and remember all the good times then to only remember him hurting someone. Sending love and hugs for Charlie.

    Sam

  • avatar Anita says:

    How did I miss this? This is something that I hold near and dear to my heart with having so many issues with Maize. Sending you and Crystal lots of love from Chicago