My friend Stephanie had to euthanize her beloved German Shepherd Drum recently, due to bloat. She messaged me later, wondering if she’d done the right thing.
She had. Drum was older, frail, on NSAIDs, and not a good surgical candidate. A rescue, Drum had anxiety problems. She could not have had a softer landing. Stephanie provided her with the structure, support, aid, kindness and care she needed to blossom.
I very clearly remember a incident which demonstrated this. Stephanie and I had met up to practice nose work. When she took Drum out of her car, the poor dog was terrified by a set of steps near the building at which we were working.
Stephanie stopped everything, moved Drum past her worry threshold, and just sat with her. She simply waited for Drum to calm, and show tentative interest in the staircase. No pressure, no expectations, simply allowing the shepherd to figure out that she was safe.
Stephanie will say that she was only trying to help her dog. Which, of course, she was. She acted in a way to support her dog, not trying to force or lure or coddle Drum until she was “OK.” She waited, calmly, patiently, quietly until the dog was truly OK. How many of us would have that level of patience and understanding?
Drum was a good dog. She made Stephanie a better trainer, a better dog person, and a better human. Lucky you, Drum, for finding Stephanie.
Luckier you, Stephanie, for finding Drum.