I’ve had to put down pets before, and although it’s hard, they were old and had long, full lives. This past February, however, I had to put down my 7 year old Shepherd, VanGough. I adopted VanGough and his life long companion Melllie, another Shepherd, from the Seeing Eye of Morristown after my 14 year old Shepherd died. They are called “rejects” when they don’t make the guide dog program, but you can imagine, these are amazing rejects! Mellie & VanGough loved each other. They were inseparable, and because VanGough had 2 full years of seeing eye training, he was an incredibly obedient dog. He never left my side when we were hiking. All he wanted to do was play with Mellie and chase a stick. He did both with gusto. In February, we came home from our evening walk and I placed their food bowls down. VanGough took a couple of bites and backed away.

He loved food, so I knew something was wrong. 12 hours later, he was gone. A tumor had formed on his spleen. These aggressive, soft tumors burst, and that’s when he backed away from his food. He was sick all night, and when I got him into the emergency vet they did an ultrasound and found lesions on his liver, as well. It was a hopeless situation. Mellie was with me when he died, but dogs don’t understand these things.

The worst part was coming home night after night and seeing this blank look on her face. Where was her buddy? I could not explain it to her. It was horrible. It was so sad. I have since adopted two other dogs, a Shepherd mix about 4-years old and a full Shep about 8 years old. Both had been abused and both are now happy and well adjusted. Mellie likes her new friends, but it will never be the same. I think about VanGough and my other pets who have passed, everyday. I miss them all, but I miss my Vangough terribly. He was truly my best dog, so obedient, and Mellie’s best friend. I’ve attached a sketch of him taken from a photo. He was handsome and happy and died way too soon. Thanks Mark for this forum.

 Elizabeth from NJ