The Cost of Living


‘Tis  better to have loved and lost than never to have–”


It’s 12:30am on Saturday night / Sunday morning.  I have to get up in about 8 hours to dig a hole.

Someone offered to help.  I said no.  Someone offered to bring out a Bobcat.  I said no.  It feels wrong.

This is the only way that made any sense.  This is the only way that feels right.  Doing everything alone.  Somehow making it mine.  It feels like it’s my last gift to her.  It feels like I’m cheating if I do it any other way.

The whole thing; the whole event.  The journey.  It’s supposed to celebrate Kaidance and give her one last “hoo-rah”  before going out… but it’s difficult to have a party when you know you need to kill the guest of honor at the end.



The last two weeks have watched her go from bad to worse.  I would guestimate that she is now roughly 95% blind and equally incontinent.  She’s covered in tumors and struggles with breathing and standing.  A dog that was once a passionate connoisseur of food now can’t even find her dish when it’s placed directly under her nose.  Watching her desperately weave her head back and forth over her dinner breaks my heart and makes me sick.

The cost of living.

I have to splash water under her mouth so she knows where it’s at.  She can no longer walk up and down stairs or get into or out of the van.  I have to lift her up and, at 120 pounds, it’s no joke.  Last night my wife and children slept on the second floor in a bed while I slept on the couch in my mother’s living room because we couldn’t get her upstairs.


ABOVE: Kaidance in the days following surgery.  The vet said if we removed all of her tumors we could buy her another six months.  Ended up getting us almost three additional years.


People kept saying, “You’ll know when it’s time, you’ll know.  The dog will tell you” and… I know it’s time.

It’s 12:40am and this time tomorrow she’ll be in the dirt and the thought of the bugs eating my dog twists my gut.

Standing outside at the farm today Jade says, “Let’s bring her a giant bone tomorrow” and I say, “No.  Tomorrow we’re bringing her a Snicker’s Bar and a Whopper and maybe even a personal pan pizza because… why not?

When she finally goes, I want her to think she’s in Heaven before she actually gets there.


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8 thoughts on “The Cost of Living

  1. weare1weddings says:

    Heartbreaking Johnny. My family buried our dogs on front of our house, dug by hand and laid to rest. It is hard, and it also the right thing. We will pray for her safe passage and send our love to heal. Love you guys, goodbye K.

  2. Al/Terri Jacklin says:

    We went through the gut wrenching dog cancer thing a little over a year ago. She had a couple lumps removed but more just came back. Finally the weekend after Thanksgiving she couldn’t keep food down, then not eating. In only 4 weeks she went from good old JoeDi to her final morning. Al had his moment with her before he went to work. I was to take her to the vet for surgery that morning (with the decision that if it went south – let her sleep) but she made the decision herself. In the family room in front of the TV – she went to sleep. In true JoeDi fashion – she did it her way. Peace to Kaidance and peace to you guys.

    • That’s beautiful. We were “hoping” (is that the right word??) that Kaid would just go to sleep at the farm when we weren’t paying any attention.

      It’s funny how much dogs effect us.

  3. Kalie says:

    In second grade, a classmate of mine ( I wish I remembered who) brought in puppies for show and tell. One of those sweet little tikes ran up to me at my desk and I was in love. We named her Jasmine and she was a moody, particular dog for her 17 years! She rollercoastered for months waiting for me to come home for Christmas to say her goodbye. I was there just one day when she decided to go home. The love that we have for them probably doesn’t touch the love they have for us. Heartbreaking as it always is, the life spent with them is so incredibly worth it!

  4. Rose Klix says:

    This makes me sad. I’m sure she is free of suffering, but it’s still sad to go through. I know from personal experience. I still miss my Pomeranian Lady Cinnamon. Bear. She was a faithful friend for thirteen years until she had a stroke and couldn’t function any more. I had her “put to sleep.” She’s buried by the beaver dam trail in the park where we used to walk her. I checked several times and the grave wasn’t disturbed by wild animals. She was wrapped up in a plastic bag. Not good for the environment, but better to protect her carcass. Then we covered the area with branches and such. Rest in peace. I know you will miss your best friend.

    • Hey, Rose! Poms are beautiful dogs. There used to be one at the dog park my wife and I took Kaidance to that had a broken jaw. It’s strange but the dog’s tongue hung out of its mouth at odd angles and it was just the cutest thing.

      We called the dog Tonguey, never being sure what its actual name was, haha.

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