When dogs feel ill they seek isolation, this is an age old instinct, designed to help keep them away from predators.
However, I believe our pet dogs like us there, and usually they do not die peacefully at home, or in their sleep.
If it's a bad illness that causes a lot of pain (like cancer), too, they should be "put to sleep" with human intervention, which, of course, requires a human to be present.
This is an excerpt from a tribute I wrote to a long-term foster we had...and tells about how, at the end, my dog lifted his head and gazed into my eyes.
Even the veterinarian was amazed, as he was loosing consciousnesses, that he became almost "hyper aware" and made that final contact with me. It was really beautiful...
You looked once again into my eyes today as you parted the earth, when your crippled, painful body could contain you no longer, you lifted your head and looked up and gazed deep into my eyes as you left…as if to burn my image into your memory…or perhaps so I could burn yours into mine. I will never forget that last gift you gave me.
That is beautiful. And awesome and sad at the same time.
What I couldn't figure out with Tinker (yes, she had a fun name, but that was what the shelter had her coming to
) was that she wasn't sick. She did have a fatty tumor, but that was removed years before she died. She was so loved, and you could really&honestly see, she loved everyone in my family so. My dad, more than anyone, I think. Don't know what it is about him, but now all 3 of our dogs have made it a point to seek him out and sneak attack a cuddle session, which he so openly accepts (which is funny since he was the one that was most hard to agree on getting a dog!)
She was still pretty full of life at 11/12 years old(they weren't completely sure of her age-judged by her teeth) and she never seemed in pain. Although, you could see she was getting older- anytime my mom said "I've got some bad news" I always asked "is it Tinker!?" I was not prepared for the time that she said yes.
My mom found her, and she and my dad buried her in our backyard and placed a beautiful stone over it. I catch Buddy(our wheaten terrier mix) lounging right next to it or on it every so often. I like to think he knows there was a girl before him that was so loved! But hey, who knows what dogs think, really!
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