Dealing with the Losses. The Hardest Part of Senior Dog Rescue

The hardest part of being a part of Mureille’s Place, be it volunteer or supporter, is the inevitable heartbreak when one of our sweet seniors passes away. We do very few adoptions because of this very fact. It is hard when they pass and adopters realize this as well so we cherish the ones that are willing to put their heart on the line and open their home to one of our seniors. They are special people and rare.

With each senior dog we take in, we roll the dice on how long they will be here. That is why from day one we do all we can to make them happy and healthy and comfortable no matter what condition they arrive in. Our life’s work and mission is to make their final days their best days no matter how many days they have with us. Over and over we welcome them in and fall in love with them and it doesn’t take long for them to steal our hearts. And over and over we say goodbye. In the end, the most comforting thought for those of us left behind is that the dog wanted for nothing. We did all we could to ensure they left this world with their dignity intact knowing how loved they were and always will be.

People often ask me if I’ve gotten used to losing dogs and some think it doesn’t bother me anymore because I have been through it so many times. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Each and every dog that comes to us has a piece of my heart and our volunteer’s hearts. I cry just as hard now as I did when I lost my first senior Mureille many years ago. It never gets easier. If the day comes that a death doesn’t effect me, that it is the day I have to throw in the towel on senior rescue. I never want to become numb to this aspect of what we do here. Yes, it is the hardest part but in many ways it is the most important part. I am there at the end to hold a paw, stroke a head and be the last face they see before passing. When we have to put a dog down I try to smile and be as happy and calm and loving as I can be so they can pass without being stressed or distraught. There will be time to cry when it is over. My job is to help them go as peacefully as possible. I am there when their owner couldn’t be and I am honored to be there for them in that way.

In their memory, we hang a beautiful wind chime with their name written on it. We get them from Grace Note Chimes You’d be surprised how many times those chimes ring when there is no wind. I like to think it is them saying hi or letting me know they found their way to the Rainbow Bridge. It is comforting to me to hear the chimes and it always makes me smile.

Some days are harder than others and running a senior dog sanctuary is not for everyone but the heartache is worth it because I can look back and know that I gave them the very best life that I could….Dog bless, Barbara


About Mureille's Place - A Senior Dog Sanctuary

I operate a small home based 501c3 senior dog rescue called Mureille's Place named for our 1st senior dog Mureille (pronounced Mer-Ray). I eat, sleep and breath senior dogs. I am married to my wonderful husband Kirk.
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