Life without Bubba

It’s been two weeks since we put Bubba to sleep. To say that it was one of the hardest things I have ever done is an understatement. I wish I could say it was a peaceful ending, but it wasn’t really. Because he’d tried to bite the vet and tech at his previous visit, he needed to be muzzled when we brought him in. We did our best to calm him, but he was stressed and scared and confused up until the point that the sedative had almost completely taken over. There wasn’t any way around it. Our vet was so kind and caring through everything, we couldn’t have asked for more from her. We were able to remove the muzzle and spend time alone with him in the office after he was sedated but before he was actually euthanized. Unfortunately I vividly remember everything about the experience; the way he leaned against Natasha’s legs and pushed his face into her trying to get the muzzle off, his last stumbling moments while the sedative took effect, the weight of him as I picked him up and moved him onto the pile of blankets in the middle of the room, the warmth and smell of his lifeless body when I laid on top of him after he was gone… these are not the memories I want call up when I think about him but I know I’ll never be able to shake them.

I miss him like crazy. Some days, like today, I can’t stop looking at pictures of him. Thankfully we have a lot of those and they mostly make me smile. I’ve had to explain what happened over and over to people at the office who were used to seeing him almost every day. That actually feels harder to do as time goes on. We’ve gotten nothing but support from our families and friends, and especially from the folks at our vet who had witnessed our struggles first-hand and were cheering for a happy ending just as much as we were. They wouldn’t even accept payment for his final visit, and they all had tears in their eyes as we walked out with an empty leash in hand. A few days later we got a beautiful card in the mail from our vet. A few days after that we got another card from everyone in their office, with a message that they’d made a donation to have a tree planted in his name in a national forest. I have been so touched by their compassion and I can’t imagine being witness to this kind of thing on a regular basis. All the kindness directed our way really has softened the blow.

A positive thing that has come of this is that Natasha and I have been united by our hurt and also our love for Bubba and for one another. I am blessed to have someone who loves and accepts me at my lowest points. This is one of many trials we’ve gone through, and it’s cliche but true to say we always come through them stronger together. Love can grow from pain if you allow it.

As I said, today has felt difficult. Just after texting Natasha that I was really missing Bubba, a blog post came up on my reader that spoke to our experience and reassured me that we’d made a responsible decision, however difficult it may have been. I’ll share that here in the hopes that it might also help anyone else who has to go through this experience: Rehoming “Cujo”: Dog Obedience Blog

And so things are different around our house now. We packed up all the dog stuff that we might want to use again someday, sold or gave away the rest, and rearranged the furniture so there aren’t any empty spaces where Bubba’s things used to be. I am working more in my basement wood shop. Natasha has taken on an aftershool job and started rock climbing with me at the gym. We had a brief moment of considering getting a puppy, but decided that for now we are happy to focus our energy on other goals. And the cats are a whole lot happier, especially our grandma-kitty Maddie who demands to be pet whenever we’re home. She was always too timid to hang around when Bubba was in the house. There is still plenty to be thankful for.