I am so very sorry that you are going through this. If there was a way I could take some of the pain away, I gladly would. Huge hugs to you and your family in this difficult time.
This will probably be jumbled, but here are some of the things I've found that help me get through the whole ordeal:
If you're unable or don't want to bury your dog, look for a pet cremation service, and arrange in advance for it, as you'll be overcome at the moment and possibly not able to deal with those kinds of arrangements. Some will even pick up your dog at the vet's office so that you don't have to try to drive any more yourself.
Let the kids decide whether they want to be there at the moment or not. If they do, then make sure you explain what will happen so they know what to expect. If they don't want to, then make sure they know that it is perfectly okay not to go. If they don't want to be IN the room, but want to see the body, allow it. They will need to have their own form of closure, and they will probably know how they can deal with it best. Trust them.
If possible, make it the first or last appointment of the day at the vet's office. If it's the first, you won't have to wait in misery in the waiting room, seeing the other pets coming and going. If it's the last, then you won't have to deal with walking out in tears through the other pet owners. Do any paperwork and payments up front so that you don't have to deal with it afterwards. It may be helpful to have Sherman with you, but not IN the room when it happens, so he can see the body as well. Perhaps he can wait in the car.
Spoil him completely rotten while you can. On the last day, give him any and all things he normally cannot have - if he loves ice cream and chocolate, let him have it. Feed him hot dogs or other "horrible" foods that he will love, but that is bad for him otherwise. It might be worth it to sedate him (pill in food) more easily this way if you think he will be upset at going to the vet's office. However, if he normally enjoys the vet, then I wouldn't go with sedation, so that he can be "himself" when he goes in.
Tell him that he has your permission to go, and how much you love him. If you're going to be in the room with him, then make sure you are telling him how wonderful he is right up until the end and how happy he has made you. Don't be afraid of him seeing you cry, he will understand. Don't think it's bad if he sees you grieving, he knows more than you think.
That's all I can think of right now, especially since I've used up the rest of my Kleenix, and I need to go hug my critters and bawl on them. I hate that you're going through this, that you're having this pain, it is a pretty awful thing to deal with. There's just one more thing, and it's a beautiful writing about the three most memorable days of your pet's life.
A Living Love
If you ever love an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember . . .
The first is a day, blessed with happiness, when you bring home your young new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked numerous opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder. Or, perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter -- simply because something in its eyes reached your heart. But when you bring that chosen pet home, and watch it explore, and claim its special place in your hall or front room -- and when you feel it brush against you for the first time -- it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry with you through the many years to come.
The second day will occur eight or nine or ten years later. It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional. But, for a surprising instant, you will look at your longtime friend and see age where you once saw youth. You will see slow deliberate steps where you once saw energy. And you will see sleep when you once saw activity. So you will begin to adjust your friend's diet -- and you may add a pill or two to her food. And you may feel a growing fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming emptiness. And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off, until the third day finally arrives.
And on this day -- if your friend and whatever higher being you believe in have not decided for you, then you will be faced with making a decision of your own -- on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you -- you will feel as long as a single star in the dark night.
If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief, or comfort you.
But if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through the many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul -- a bit smaller in size than your own -- seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come.
And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg -- very very lightly.
And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, friend used to lie -- you will remember those three significant days. The memory will most likely to be painful, and leave an ache in your heart--
As time passes the ache will come and go as if it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache.
But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when -- along with the memory of your pet -- and piercing through the heaviness in your heart -- there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved, and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love -- like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this Love will remain and grow -- and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go. And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live. It is a Love which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to join our Beloved Pets -- it is a Love we will always possess.
~~by Martin Scot Kosins