We Said Bye to Sayrah

On Monday Oct 27th we took a trip to the Blossom Hill VCA to put Sayrah to sleep. Her osteosarcoma had progressed very rapidly over the previous week and it was starting to cause big blood blisters, or hemotoma’s on her skin. It was quite a unreal site, that was both sickening and very unnerving because we were not sure when we would have pools of blood and a big mess.

Numerous people said we would know when it was time for her to go. And boy was this the time. The hemotoma’s were growing, we only had 1 day left of pain medication, she ate all her dog food and she finished a $25 container of freeze dried liver treats in 3 days.

Sunday we tried to bring her to the beach in San Francisco. We stopped at In and Out burger and she had a cheeseburger. When we arrived at the beach she really wanted to get out. But when I tried to move her from the truck, the hemotoma’s immediately started dripping and causing a pool of blood under her. I tried wrapping it in gauze, but we didn’t have enough to wrap it well enough. I put a surgical dressing pad on top of it, but I was still afraid that we would need to find a local vet in San Francisco to put her to sleep if we tried to take her to the ocean side. After tending to her wounds she had layed down and was content to go nowhere. So I put her back into the truck and let her rest and stay still.

In somewhat a symbolic way, it was as if Sayrah had passed the torch on to my kids. I sat there in the back of the truck at the beach, my kids running around and playing on the beach like Sayrah used to do. And now Sayrah at the beach side, dying, ready to move on, content to let the kids take her place.

Back on the beach, Claire seemed to have the same personality as Sayrah. Claire would get wet by the waves but keep on going back. Sayrah used to do the same thing. And coincidentally we sometimes call Claire, “Sayrah”, by accident. I joke that we’re changing her name to Sayrah from now on.

That night back at home I put her in the backyard for fear that we might wake up to a pool of blood on our carpet. At around 2 am I woke up and checked on her, she was asleep. At around 4 am I woke up again and checked on her and her head was up and she was awake. So I put on some warm cloths and went out and layed with her. I went back and forth from spending time with her, crying and doing other things around the house.

Morning time came, I made latte’s, breakfast, took showers, got dressed, etc. Sayrah’s scheduled time was 11am. So there was plenty of time for everyone to say their goodbyes. Jenn and I were going to the vet while my mother and father watched Claire and Matthew.

The drive to the vet was very difficult. I was crying, and Sayrah was making whimpering sounds in the back. I reassured Sayrah that it’s okay, everything will be already and it will all be over soon. She quieted down after that.

Once we arrived at the vet, Jenn said a prayer of thanx to God for Sayrah while I cried. I went in to let the staff know I was there with Sayrah. They said they would come out and get me. I opened up the back of the Tahoe were Sayrah was laying. Jenn and I sat in the back of the truck with her and told her how good of a dog she’s been and how we love her and will miss her. We talked to her about all the things we appreciated about her. In all her years with us. She never bit anyone. She was always so tolerant of Matthew and Claire’s irritating things they would do. There’s so many good things to say about her.

She was sniffing around at the tidbits of treats that were around her, so I put the rest of the freeze dried liver treats and more of the beef treats and she ate them up.

A lady came out to get us, I carried her through a side door so I didn’t have to go through the lobby. At this point my heart was racing. I was trying not to cry because not only was I walking out in the open, but I had to carry Sayrah and didn’t want to drop her. But I couldn’t hold anything back at this point. I was a sobbing while carrying my dog. I felt like I was in one of those war movies carrying a wounded friend who was shot on the battlefield and wasn’t going to make it.

We walked into a small room and placed her up on the metal table that had a towel covering it. Sayrah didn’t struggle, but quietly layed there. The vet came in and took one look at her wound and knew in a moment that she was ready to go. She explained that the vet techs would come in and prepare her arm to receive the injection. We would step out while they do this and they would call us back in. Then we could spend more time with her. When we were ready for the injection, I would poke my head out into the hallway and let the staff know that we were ready.

The vet techs placed an IV in her leg with a receptical for a syringe. Some dogs would give a struggle and it would become a little unnerving, which is why the wanted us to step out during that time. But we were later told that she was a very sweet and peaceful dog during this and gave no struggle or whimpers to the vet techs. She was ready to go.

Before the injection, we spent maybe 10 minutes with her, saying our goodbyes, crying, telling her we love her, petting her, and kissing her. Then we called the vet in for the injection. She explained that it was basically a narcotic overdose that would first give a cold sensation up her arm and would soon after stop her heart.

I told the vet to wait, while I knelt down next to the table so that my face was level with Sayrah’s. I held her face up to mine, cradled it in my hands and looked into her eyes. I told the vet I was ready. She began the injection and I told Sayrah again and again that I love her, she’s been such a good girl, “that’s my girl”. She pulled her head up out of my hands for a moment as she felt the narcotic solution’s coldness come through her leg. I directed her head back into my hands and continued telling her “I love you Sayrah”. In a moment, I felt the weight of her head slowly rest completely in my hands. I let her head down and kissed her face. Jenn burst out into tears and crying, as did I.

The vet said “that was the most peaceful euthanasia we’ve seen in a long time”. She said, “she was ready to go”. She gave us hugs and comforted us and told us we can spend as much time as we wanted with her. And if I wanted to have some hair shaved off Sayrah, I could pick a spot, and let her know when we were ready.

We spent another 5-10 minutes with Sayrah, telling her our goodbyes, kissing her, smelling her. Each time was to be the last, but I didn’t want it to end. Even though she was dead, I didn’t want to leave her. Her eyes were still open and it seemed perhaps she can still see and hear me. I continued to look into her eyes and tell her, “I love you, Sayrah” and everything else.

Looking into her face I always appreciated how beautiful a dog she is. It was as if God had dressed her face up with makeup. She had beautiful eyes, eyelashes, coloring on her face. I would often tell her, “that’s my beautiful girl”.

I wanted to remember her smell forever, so I breathed in deep to smell her. My favorite spot being the same spot I love to kiss. It’s between her eyes and her nose, right on the side of her face. It’s like three’s a little nook there to hide away a kiss. Jenn also kissed and smelled the spot.

I called the vet back and she shaved the spot under her neck were she has a beautiful strip of white fur that meets with the tan fur. She shaved along the border where we got a mix of white and tan fur and put it in a small ziplock bag.

We spent another 5-10 minutes after with Sayrah, repeatedly spending our last moments with her, and not wanting any moment to be the last. At a break in our emotions, we left, paid the clerk in the front office and got back in the truck. Jenn was driving, so she climbed into the driver’s seat, and I into the passenger’s seat. As we prepared to leave, we each had one last welling up as we realized we were leaving her at the vet and wouldn’t see her again. Jenn was crying more than me at this point. I asked Jenn if she wanted me to drive. She gave a sobbing laugh, saying no. We headed back home where I spent more time crying and sobbing on my bed.

The day before, I had already decided to make use of my day off and take the kids to the pumpkin patch since Halloween would be on Friday. There would be very little time during the rest of the week to take them and it would be a good break from the sadness. When grandma and grandpa brought the kids back to us it’s always amazing how they just cheer me right up. They truly are a blessing.

Matthew doesn’t like me to be sad. He’s says, “Daddy are you sad?”.

I’ll say, “Yes, I miss Sayrah.”

He’ll say, “It’s okay Daddy. It’s okay.”

We’ll ask him. “Where’s Sayrah?”

He’ll say, “She’s in heaven, with Jesus.”

We’ll say, “That’s right Matthew. You’re right, it’s okay.”

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