It was hard to write this as today I said a final farewell to a very dear friend and lovely member of our family, sweet Takara our beautiful kind Akita.
I know everyone says their dog/cat/pet is the best, but I really can't fault this girl, she has been so easy to train, a pleasure to live with, soft and sometimes timid, fun and friendly with everyone she met. She has brought so much joy and happiness to our family and honestly won my parents affection, to the point I sometimes felt like an outcast.
I think of her as a sister, we have enjoyed many great walks, shared lots of secrets (well I have, but she was a great listener) and had so many lovely times together, its hard to think that I will not see her gorgeous face again.
But like all of us, age has taken its toll, and though she was in very good health for her 14.5 years young, arthritis had crept in and pain was subtly visible without any whimpers or cries of pain. She was in true Akita style a real lady, demure and determined right to the end. Which only made the inevitable decision even more devastating. And left us with the question of 'When is the right time to say goodbye?' possibly the hardest question we will ever have to answer.
After a sleepless night for all of us, and spending hours googling the internet for answers.... Will there be a sign? Will it be obvious when the right time is? What if it's too soon and you have to live with the guilt? When is it too late?
The conclusion was that there is no answer to these questions. It depends on your personal situation, your own judgement of what is acceptable, and dealing with your own emotions. You could say it has to be based on your gut instinct, no one can give you a definite time or make that decision for you. And no matter how much you tell yourself it is for the best and the time is right, your heart fights with your head and complete turmoil prevails.
However one post I read last night helped to clarify it for me... 'Do not feel regret, ask yourself is it too soon, have you tried everything, and don't leave it too late that they are suffering. Be confident in your decision that they have had the best life with you, and in return you are giving them a dignified departure'.
What was some comfort this morning, was knowing my parents had been feeling the same, and although we had discussed the time was imminent, I don't think any one of us had expected it to be today. But something had changed overnight, and when I woke I knew it was the right time. Then without any discussion my mum announced today was the day. And somewhat ashamedly, I felt relief that we had arrived at the same conclusion.
Anyone who has owned a dog/cat/pet will comprehend the devastating emotions that we are currently feeling, and I am sure they will not pass overnight. But we have some amazing memories and so much love for our girl, and in time the sadness will lessen. For anyone about to go through this stage of your pet's life, take your time, enjoy every minute and don't have regrets!
And to finish off I would like to share with you some of her best moments....
She will always be Takara, Queen of our hearts!
Miss you darling girl, fly high!