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Saying Goodbye


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Basenji Information worth knowing


"Saying Goodbye"

by Sally Wallis, Zande Basenjis, with friendly permission of the author


It is never the right time to say goodbye to an old friend and we are indeed lucky if they take that decision for us and enjoy a peaceful passing. All too often though, a stroke, general deterioration in health, loss of that indefinable 'quality of life' we wish for them, means that we have to help them on their way. We should look upon this assistance as the last act of love we can do for a faithful friend - letting them go with dignity and without suffering.


Unless we are aware of an alternative, it is all too easy to put off the inevitable out of fear of our own loss and grief and let our pets suffer a fraction longer than they need or should. Our old friend is asking us "please help me", but all we can think of is that last trip in the car, and the return journey with an empty crate.


This is very understandable but it need not be like this. When the time comes, any vet will be more than willing (for additional cost but what does that matter at a time like this) to come to the house. This is true, not only in my own country but in most others.


There is a world of difference between taking our old darling in the motor car to a place of (perhaps) unhappy memories like jabs and leaving him or her alone and possibly frightened, and having the vet come to us, allowing the family to say good bye, cuddling our pet at the moment of departure and sitting at ease with our thoughts, perhaps surrounded by other pets.


No need to brave the traffic home through our tears. No need just to leave the body there. The vet will arrange to take the body away and perform an autopsy, should one be indicated. The body may even be returned for burial.


I have suggested this course of action to quite a few Basenji families I have met on the 'web'. In the stress of the moment, they hadn't thought of it and were not even aware that it could be arranged. However, they discovered that it was not only possible but desirable, gave them comfort and eased them through a painful experience.


We have been this road several times over the years - recently I spent a morning with a friend until the Vet came to despatch her eleven year old Dobe. He did it there where she was standing and helped us carry her outside. He even offered to help us dig - but we refused. It was so easy and such a relief for the lovely old lady.


As an additional comfort, our local vets will have at least an idea of the cost and accept payment there and then, obviating any plain brown envelopes through the post to revive grief at the end of the month. We have lost two ancient Basenjis in the past year and their names have never shown up on any veterinary bill or statement of account. Somehow that made their passing more acceptable.


Our own animals, cats, dogs, even a child's pony, lie in our pets' 'cemetery' along the far edge of our tennis court. 'Memorial Avenue' is decorated with magnificent flowering bushes and each animal has a headstone, laid flat to the ground, with the name on it. We found tiny pebbles etching the name were flicked out when we tended the lawns so Marvin writes the name in the concrete.


It is a pleasant, peaceful place - I think I will take a walk in the sunshine among old friends.