Today I took our cat Sadie in to the vet for a follow up apt. She's been having frequent UTI's this last year and has recently been showing signs of possibly having Hpyerthyroidism. At the last visit they asked us to come back in 2 weeks to do a blood draw and recheck weight. Today was that day. I tricked her into the cat carrier and took her in crying bloody murder the whole drive in. She met with the vampires in the back and came back draped over the shoulder of the vet tech that adores our Newfoundlands Kahlua and Jewels. I remembered to ask about getting heartworm for the dogs and found out we are terrible owners and Jewels was due last November... OOps... A plan was hatched to get both dogs on the same schedule and to bring them in sometime in the next month. This will make it easier on us and also because since Kahlua's annual is in August... I know 8 month pregnant me won't be wanting to take a 140 pound dog in at that time. So equal schedules it is! At the front desk the vet tech asked the scheduler to just book us for the whole day so she could just sit in a room of newfies all day and be in heaven! We joked and had fun when a woman walked in. I looked over expecting to check out what type of dog she was bringing in but saw no dog. I immediately thought "oh she must be picking up an early morning drop off"... but that's impossible because it WAS early morning. Before anyone could say anything she dropped to the ground. Hands in her face... crying. I realized then that she was not there to pick her fur love up.. something bad happened. I first thought "Oh no.. her dog was hit by a car" and prayed I wasn't about to see something awful come in. I heard her somehow get out "I just can't do it.. I can't take him out of the car." Now I realized why she was here... today was her day... the day all of us pet owners dread. At this point the receptionist was on her feet helping her up and to a bench, vet techs were running out from the backroom realizing the situation and our vet was already hugging the woman consoling her as best she could. Two of the vet techs rushed out to her car and in that moment I realized this was me anywhere from now through the next 3-4 years. This is not just me, but anyone who welcomes a furry lovie into their life one day has to make the decision to let them go. That there either is nothing more you can do, that they are in too much pain, or it's just the right thing to do and today was her terrible, awful, decision day. I felt like I was intruding on her day/moment/life and felt myself wanting to just cry with her so I quickly finished paying got all my stuff and snuck Sadie out as fast as I could. My goal was to get out of the parking lot before I saw the dog. I knew if I saw the dog or whatever condition he was in I'd be crying with her. As we got to the car I could see the vet techs at her car with each backdoor open working on getting her dog out. I assumed it was a dog, but I guess it really could have been any animal, but a dog he was. He emerged as I got into my car. He looked to be at least 10-12 and some type of German Shepard mix. Happy, skinny, grey muzzled and going all grey and walking himself in for the last time. That's when I lost it. That was the hard part... seeing that 'happy dog smile' and not look in pain when I'm sure he's in pain, but putting on his happy doggie face for the world. Kahlua has been on borrowed time for years now because of her bad bones. I can remember when the option to put her down after her first birthday was on the table. "She's going to be expensive" I can hear someone say... "She'll be on anti inflamatories and supplements for life".. "We can do surgery, but there are no guarantees it'll last since she's so young and her frame is so big"... We already have the money set aside for if and when we will have to do the other leg. My worst fear is having to put her down before she's old.. before she even has the chance to go grey. No one is ever ready for the day they have to make the decision that woman made today. My heart breaks for her today. There is never anything that can be said or done to ease the pain of losing a best friend, but today I was glad to see how wonderful and helpful my vet staff can be. I sometimes get angry that things cost so much at the vet, but after today I think I'd pay any amount of money to have that staff at my side when it's our turn. I'll hug my fur loves a little tighter today and give them some extra treats and love and remember that our time with them is limited, but never forgotten.