Remembering Niko

Remembering the journey

Before it’s Time to Say Goodbye

with 8 comments

beautiful boy in the August sunshine (8/08)

Losing your fur baby is difficult enough. I’m putting this page together to let you know some things to think about before that day comes. I hope it helps….

You can NEVER take too many pictures! Once they are gone, you have no more opportunities for this, and no matter how big your collection seems, it will suddenly not seem like enough.

Treat yourself to keepsakes.

  • The crayola molding clay is excellent for taking paw prints and is non toxic and not sticky. I took several impressions of Niko’s paws. There is a great video on getting the perfect imprint on the Paw Prints Jewelry site (see below for more on that). I even used mine to get Niko’s paw prints shrunk down and tattooed onto my right ankle. Now he will always walk with me.
  • Crayola’s non toxic, washable finger paints are great for creating paw prints on paper or canvas.
  • Milestones makes a Paw Print Kit that you can use to make stepping stones.
  • My favorite keepsake is my silver pendant from Paw Prints Jewelry. I was told about this site from a friend, but balked at the prices. However, I went ahead and purchased a pendant and I love it. I am SO very glad I did this.
  • Nose print and paw print jewelry is available from a few sites,  where they take a mold of your dog’s (or cat’s) nose or paw and cast it in solid sterling silver. Try 4 Paws ForeverJane Wear or Uncommon Goods or Sugarloaf.
  • Shadow boxes are another wonderful thing. You can put anything in them. Perhaps a photo, a clipping of hair, a scrap from a favorite toy, an imprint or paw print. Your call. If you’re not that crafty, a local frame shop can help you put something really nice together.
  • Color photo books are also common now among online photo printers like ShutterFly. The come out wonderfully and are nice to have when you want something you can grab and flip through any time.
  • Paintings and keepsake boxes are a nice way to honor your friend too. A member of our Lymphoma Heart Dog Angels group passed on this site. The same member also passed on a site for someone that does ceramic artwork with paw prints.
  • Photo etched ornaments are a beautiful addition to the Christmas tree.

My custom Niko print pendant

Do take a clipping or two of  your baby’s fur. You will want to touch it again.

Decide on cremation or burial well before you’re near end. It’s much easier to make this decision when things are going well. While we never like thinking about it, it’s a relief once it’s decided.

If you are going with a burial, think of a good spot or two that you’d like as their final resting place. Then decide what you want to do with the space – plant a garden or a tree. I decided on a weeping cherry for Niko. I also decided I wanted a head stone. I could not order this in advance, but knowing I wanted this helped. We ended up getting our’s through “Calling all Dogs“. They did a beautiful job. They also do urns and ornaments.

If you hope to euthanize at home, have a plan and a back up plan. For us, we had our regular vet on stand by, and a home euthanasia doctor’s information as well, just in case. I did not want to take Niko into the vet for this unless it was an emergency. He hated going to the vet (save for his acupuncture at South Paws – he loved that!).

Also take note of emergency vet clinics in your area, and have directions printed somewhere – just in case.  You don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to a crisis and not know where to go or how to get there. It is difficult to prepare for this, but it’s a nice piece of mind. The most important thing during your fur baby’s last days / weeks / months, is to enjoy life with you.

Snap shot of my Niko folder with over 600 objects (including additional folders of pics). It will never be enough….

Written by rememberingniko

February 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm

8 Responses

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  1. This is such great information. And so true, especially about the pictures! I would also add, make at least one video, if you can, before they are really sick. I treasure the video I have of Gadget so much. Never knew things would change so soon after. And now I am really strongly considering a paw print tattoo, too!

    Sharon Wachsler

    November 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm

  2. Was thinking of you and Niko today…had been to this site but not this page. Great advice, and so is the additional advice of doing videos. Ochi is an almost 13 year old Shiloh Shepherd now, don’t know if you ever saw her at SouthPaws. She tore her ACL a few weeks ago, going the non-surgical route and she’s doing well, but given the age, she’s definitely in the “Every day is a gift” time frame. That’s realy true for all these amazing creatures all the time, but when they are in the “Geriatric” category (only learned last year there was a post-senior category!) you think about it more often…SO glad you said the exception to the “Hate going to the vet rule” was when he came to see us:)!!

    monique anthis-hunt

    September 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    • Monique – Have you been following John and Schoep’s story? Reminds me how special an old soul is. https://www.facebook.com/Schoep.and.John?ref=ts. I hope your baby is feeling better soon and has many happy days still to come.

      rememberingniko

      September 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      • I had seen the story and of course the picture, which makes me cry every time, but have not been following it…too close to a similar situation. Ochi now is suffering from probable degenerative myelopathy. Acupuncture helps, along with exercise, B12 shots, craniel sacral work, massage, supplements, homeopathy, etc. and with each dog, I learn stuff and am amazed by my dogs and how they deal with it, but to protect myself a bit, I pull back from reading things that are too depressing Ochi did have a great 13th birthday, so happy about that! But cried New Year’s Eve thinking it most likely is our last one together on earth, praying that it isn’t. Know you know what that’s like!!

        monique anthis-hunt

        January 2, 2013 at 12:26 am

  3. Lost our big baby December 26, 2013. Thurman left behind his little sister. He was 10 and she is heartbroken. She is getting better but always looks for him outside in our big fenced in yard. I had gotten them both a rawhide bone for a Christmas present and he never got to eat his and she won’t either. Bailey just carries it from room to room where he use to lay down. It’s been in my office in the house for about 10 days now. I trip over it but I don’t have the heart to throw it out. We had Thurman cremated. He was not feeling well for a few months. In and out of the vets, breathing heavy, couldn’t get comfortable and then the day after Christmas I noticed a lump on his side by his ribs. He was 120 pounds and was always pretty stocky and you would never have known it was a lump. I had left work for the day and my husband took Thurman at noon to the vets that he has been seeing since he was 8 weeks old. They could not tell if it was a tumor, spleen, kidney issue or what but he was obviously uncomfortable. The vet said we were not bad parent’s for not seeing it because of his size it was hard to tell. We decided on surgery to remove whatever it was to make him comfortable. The vet could not tell with the x-rays or sonogram so opening him up was the only thing to do, we did not want him to suffer anymore. We did tell him before surgery to not make any heroic attempts to bring him back if his heart stops if they found it to be cancerous because we are not financially able to handle that cost since my husband is out of work and it would be so painful for our Thurman. Thurman looked at me one last time when he walked down the hall to the surgical room to be prepped. We got the call at 4 that he did not make it. His heart stopped after the vet removed a football size tumor that was constricting his aorta, intestines and stomach. We immediately went to the vet hospital and saw him for the last time. He looked so peaceful. We made sure we got a lock of his beautiful black and white fur and a couple paw prints in play doh. I’m glad we did this. We had him cremated and he is now in a large wooden box about the size of a jewelry box. His collar and leash are inside and the crematorium made a paw print out of concrete too. I am still heart broken. The vet said Thurman would not have wanted us to go through the pain of him having to have chemo so it was time for him to go. Bailey keeps us going but my husband being out of work breaks down almost every day in his office where Thurman would lay when I was not home. I just miss having two dogs but cannot have another one, not now. We live in New York state and the winters are bitter cold and with me working full time and hopefully him going to work soon it would be too difficult and Bailey just is not into other dogs. We tried having her visit with our daughter’s 6 month old Burmese Mountain dog but that did not go well. Bailey was the runt of the litter and Thurman was the biggest and she actually turned out to be the dominant one of the two. Oh well, some day. Rainbow Bridge keeps me going as well as another story I found. God Bless and thanks for the posting. It helped. I hope you are having new adventures with a new dog. My dogs were rescued from the local SPCA.

    Cathy

    January 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm

  4. thank you for this info I have to have my dog of 12 years put down this week and I am unable to think straight. it was so kind of you to pass on this info. thank you again

    Carrie Hartman

    February 5, 2014 at 9:43 pm

  5. Happened to come across your website just now. Our Pepsi is almost 12, and the vet has told us that she may have a few days or weeks, while I hope she has many, many years. She has been diagnosed with a palm sized mast cell tumor by her hind legs. We opted quality of life over surgery based on the Vet’s opinion. I am going to miss her, and cry while at work, as Pepsi knows when I cry and gets stressed. Oh God, I am going to miss her!

    Viji

    March 3, 2014 at 9:06 pm


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