What Do You Do on a Dog’s Last Day?

That day always comes. Way too early.

For our doggeroo, Vegas, it took 16 years for her time to come – but her time has come.

I’ve had 3 dogs as an adult. Two Golden Retrievers and one, well, Vegas. She’s technically a Goldendoodle, but had decided long ago that she was going to be her own dog.

Me: There you go, Vegas. Get the ball.

Her: Why?


Me: Come!

Her: Hard no. It smells way better over here.


Me: Look! Water! How fun!

Her: It’s wet and it’s cold and I’m going to take a poo right on the path over there. Two poos in fact.

She had been named Vegas by her previous owners. Named Veggies by my nieces, Girlzies by The Oldest. I preferred Spazadoodle or later in her life, Barkadoodle. She’d been called Veg, Vegeroos, Vegamatic, Vegetables, Fluffy Girl, Goobers and of course, Vegas!!!!!!!!! with 9 exclamation points.

But what to do on that last day?

With Juno, our first dog, we took her around to all the people she loved, including Margot’s mom who had been terrified of dogs before she met Juno. For Freya, who barely had the energy to move, I carried her to her three favourite parks and we sat there in the sun, soaking in the smells and warmth.

For Vegas, she never had a favourite park so we had to think of something else, some way to make her last hours her happiest hours despite the pain she was in.

First, lots of cuddles, pats and ear rubbies. She loved ear rubs so much she’d groan.

Then, food. Her favourite was, well, meat. Or treats. So why not both? I went out and bought her a whole Kolbassa sausage and a whole bag of treats. Any time she caught wind of that sausage, she would drool a Lake Superior puddle on the floor, and she’d even fetch a treat, though technically she’d eat it when she found it and not bring it back.

So, good choices.

Then what? Find her arch enemy, the Orange cat, and get it to sit on the fence so Vegas could lose her shit one last time? Or maybe have a friend come over so she could follow them out the door and try to go home with them since it was so harsh where she lived? Or maybe have the pizza guy come by so she could bark at him like he meant to kill everyone in the house?

Those seem to be her favourite things.

But in the end, we simply went out to the front lawn. I held her up so she could sniff around one last time. She got to feel the warm sun on her furry, fur. She could watch the world go by with her cloudy eyes even though I honestly don’t know how much she could see anymore.

I wish I could do more. I wish I could take away her pain and make her eyes see again. I wish she didn’t have to go because her passing will tear another giant hole in my heart.

But her time has come.

When my time comes, I hope they take away my mushy peas and give me a chocolate bar. I hope they give me a chance to smell coffee one last time. And I hope someone says, I love you, I will miss you.

I love you Vegas. I will miss you.

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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8 Responses to What Do You Do on a Dog’s Last Day?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh Joe, I’m so sorry. Such a special girl.

  2. Sean says:

    Fantastic goodbye, Joe. One of your best

  3. Gord Bonar says:

    Great tribute Joe! I laughed and I shed a tear. Sorry for your loss!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh, such a bittersweet day. Your post brought back so many memories of my own ‘good bye’ days with dear Beans, and Reggie and Angus and Tessie and Gryphon. But since I’ve been there, I know, as you do, that when we get a dog, we make a promise. A promise to walk with them right to the end. To be there, right by their side, right at the very end. And, most importantly of all, we promise that we will hold them and love them and let them go, even when we don’t want to do so. Fulfilling that promise is a both a duty and a privilege. Well done, Joe. Remember the happy times with dear Vegas.

  5. I remember Vegas well. What a great companion she was to you for so many years. That’s what makes losing them so damn hard. I know from losing my two black labs Sofie and Tuva. But they live on in our hearts. Forever. That’s their gift to us.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What a delightful tribute. Most of us have been through it at least once😟

  7. Anonymous says:

    Such a wonderful tearful article. We can all relate to these sad moments. xo We wish that they would never leave us.

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