Your Pet Loss Stories

'My Sweet Yukon'

by Suzy

My daughter had been asking for a dog for her upcoming 7th birthday. Of course, she promised she would take of the animal; take him on walks, feed and water him, play with him and clean up after him. My husband and I were both leary of getting her a dog because we knew that once the "newness" wore off, so would her promises to care for him. Growing up, we both had pets and we were aware of how hard it can be when you lose a pet but figured our daughter would be old enough to handle the loss by the time that would happen. So as a family, we decided to get a Yorkshire Terrier.

After looking around, we found the puppy for us. On the way home from picking him up, we were trying to come up with a name for him. We were driving behind a GMC Yukon and that is where his name came from. As suspected, once the newness of Yukon wore off, so did Jenny's promises. So, my husband and I became the primary care givers to Yukon and he became more of our dog instead of Jenny's. He was such a cute puppy; so playful and full of life.

He grew rather quickly into what we believe must be one of the world's largest Yorkies, nearly 20 pounds! He had his own personality. He would throw such a fit if he didn't get his way. He would throw himself on the floor, literally, right in front of you and wouldn't move. He loved to try to climb into boxes that were way to small for him and loved to help try and catch flies. He was always my hero by catching "bugs" for me, including lizards. For some reason, it drove him crazy if you didn't say a word and just stared up at the ceiling. He would bark like crazy until you stopped. He learned many tricks and would sometimes get so excited when you asked him to perform one that he would just do all the tricks he knew.

Although he was always good with our daughter, we quickly learned that he was not fond of kids. He snapped at one of our daughter's friends but quickly learned that the girl had been mean to Yukon so we didn't think much of it. A few years went by and on Christmas Eve, Yukon snapped at my 2 year old niece in the face after she had been pulling at him. After that, we decided that it would be best to keep kids away from Yukon.

It was bedtime, last Monday night and I was in saying good night to our daughter when all of a sudden I heard Yukon yelp as if he had been stepped on but I thought that was odd since I had just seen him in our bed with my husband and knew they were playing. After Yukon yelped, I heard the faucet in our bathroom running so I came in to see what was going on. My husband was bleeding heavily from his mouth. I guess my husband, Steve, spooked Yukon when he put his face on Yukon's side and barked. Our dog latched on to my husband's lip and took a large piece out of it.

We took my husband to the hospital and he ended up having to have plastic surgery the next day to reconstruct his lip. Our daughter is now 12 years old and constantly has friends over. What if that had happened to our daughter or even worse, to one of her friends. We realized that as responsible pet owners, the dog had to go. We thought about giving the dog away but realized that we would only be putting someone else in potential danger. We had no choice; we had to put him down.

We had Yukon for 5 years and 5 months. We was a part of our family. We went on vacation with us, I stayed up all night numerous times nursing him back to health. He was my baby boy. He brought a lot of joy to our lives. And even though he hurt my husband, it was still one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. We took him to the vet and I tried to stay in the room with him until the end but I couldn't. My husband says that he went instantly and died with his eyes open. I know I saw his eyes roll back into his head when he got the shot and I lost it.

It has been 5 days since Yukon was put to sleep and I still cannot stop crying. I thought I saw him the other morning standing in the doorway and I've heard his collar a few times as well. Everything I do reminds me of him. I feel so guilty. I cannot seem to get the look on his face as he was getting the shot out of my mind. It will forever haunt me. He was really a good boy that made a bad mistake. And even though I know we did what had to be done, I still question myself. He made a mistake.... was that worth taking his life. I have to remind myself "what if it would have been Jenny or another little girl that he attacked"? Like the vet told my husband, to a guy it is just a scar, but to a twelve year old girl, it would have been a disfigurement. But nothing I can tell myself or that anyone else can tell me makes the pain any easier.

I never knew losing a pet could hurt so bad. Right now, it feels like the hurt will never go away. I know it hurts my husband as well, but he told me yesterday that it was time for the tears to stop. He reminds me that he was in fact, just an animal. To me, we was my sweet baby boy. I will never forget him and all the love he brought to my life. I hope the tears will stop soon. The last thing I want to say is that some people just don't understand. So many of nurses and doctors and the hospital were so thoughtless when they asked about the disposition of our dog. They would make comments like, so did you kill the dog? or I hope the dog is dead. I finally couldn't take it anymore when the surgeon made a nasty comment about Yukon. I asked him why it was so easy for him to ask if we have killed a member of our family yet. He didn't say another word about it.

Again, this was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my life and I hope I never have to make it again nor do I wish anyone ever to have to make this decision. I love you Yukon. You will never be forgotten and you will be missed. I hope you can forgive me.

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