I chose to be happy

Four weeks ago we had to make the heartbreaking decision to put our beautiful black Labrador to sleep. He was only 11 and a puppy in his mind but sadly end stage osteoarthritis had caused such damage to his elbow we were no longer able to keep him comfortable.

I knew for some time that there would be a decision to be made and as I have done for myself I made a plan for how I wanted his end of life to be. I wanted him to be at home, in the garden, not afraid and able to eat until he fell asleep. He had the perfect end of life in the sunshine out in the garden he loved so much. He fell asleep eating squeezy cheese and ribeye steak.

The death of a pet can be just as traumatic as that of a person. Grief is inevitable and everyone handles their grief differently. I am not saying how I coped is right or the best way but it was the best way for me.

I chose to be happy. That sounds weird when I had just facilitated the end of the life of my best friend. I chose to be happy, because Gillie spent his entire life being happy and giving love. Even when he was in pain he would wag his tail and look for the joy in every moment. I made a conscious decision that I wanted to pay tribute to his life by continuing his happiness – after all I was blessed with 11 years of love from him.

To me, although there were some tears shed on the day I wanted to carry on the gift that he gave me so freely and unconditionally. He has taught me one of the greatest lessons of my life – be more dog. Look for the good in everyone and everything and if you can’t find anything pee on it and move on!

Choosing to be happy is not an easy way to deal with death but perhaps worth thinking about how you would like to honour the memory of someone or something you have loved.