I just finished reading about Sprite and I was very moved. In August of 2006 I had to put my beloved greyhound, Agatha, to sleep at age 11. She was suffering from lymphoma; after talking to my vets, I made the decision not to do chemo, and to make her final days comfortable. She lasted about 5 weeks after the diagnosis, and went downhill quickly when it was her time.

Aggie took a turn for the worse about bedtime on Friday night. I sat with her all night, petting her and telling her I loved her. Pigle and Buddy, my other two rescues, were allowed to snuggle with her for the first and last time.

The next morning Aggie started whimpering and I knew what she wanted: she wanted to go to the bathroom. Always fastidious, Agatha never had an accident in the house. I carried her outside, and after she went to the bathroom she walked over to my car and stopped. She looked back over her shoulder at me as if to say, “It’s time for me to go, now.”

I took her to the vet and he told me she was suffering. I had promised Aggie when she was diagnosed I wouldn’t let her suffer, so I made the decision to let her go. He cried, I cried, and the nurse cried. She was a truly great dog.

I have often wondered if I should have treated her for the cancer; when she was 6, she had a seizure. I did an MRI, and we discovered a ruptured aneuryism that healed.

I remember reading in the paper when the racehorse Barbaro was put down that his owners made that decision because they didn’t want him to suffer, and that the bottom line for them was always his quality of life. The quotation that sticks with me is when one owner said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.” When Aggie died, my brother-in-law said his one regret when his twelve year-old Lab died the year before was that Chelsea suffered; he and my sister didn’t put Chelsea to sleep because their two chidlren were so upset at the thought of it.

Here is the email I sent to friends and family after Agatha died:

I feel very lucky to have had such a beautiful creature in my life for the past seven and a half years. How lucky can you be, to have a friend who belongs completely to you, and you to her. She was special; she loved people, hated cats, tolerated some dogs, and liked Piglet and Buddy. She loved long walks on the lakefront and rides in the car. She survived the destruction of Katrina and its aftermath, and she relished life until the very end. When her time came, she died with grace and dignity. We should all be so lucky. I am grateful to have had her as a friend, and I will miss her always.

Aggie was the most beautiful girl in the world, and I still miss her. After 10 months, I accepted another beautiful girl into my home, a seven year old rescue greyhound named Lily. My other two rescues, Piglet (75 lb. lap dog) and Buddy (30 lb. Beagle and opera singer), loved her immediately. Just before Christmas I brought home a street urchin I named Lucy, who my vet says is a lab-beagle mix. I love them all very much, but still miss my first, my big girl, and I always will.

Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Leighanne from LA