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Is it time to say good-bye to our dog Martha?


I took Martha to her veterinarian. She has a growth on her stomach and she is having trouble walking with her hind legs. Is it time to say good-bye?

When my youngest daughter was two we put our fourteen-year-old dog, Sally to sleep. Her grandmother said to her, “Sally was put to sleep today.”

My daughter said, “We killed her.”

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
― Will Rogers

In two days, we have a seven-thirty appointment at the veterinarians to put Martha down. She will die in her sleep. The doctor will give her a sedative, and then give her a narcotic which will stop her heart.

Martha weighs 63.8 pounds. She used to weigh 104 pounds.

Martha has cancer.

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
― Agnes Sligh Turnbull

This morning, for the first time, she didn’t eat her dried dog food.  I made her warm bone broth; she drank the stainless steel bowl dry.

For the next two days, we will pet her, love her, and say good-bye.

The first night Martha slept beside my bed on December 2nd, 2008, after we bought her from Craigslist, she snored. I thought, “Crap, how many years do I have to listen to a dog snore beside my bed?”

Seven years, one month, twenty-nine days.

It wasn’t long enough.


Have you ever loved and lost a pet? Please click here to comment. HERE. As always I love to hear from you.



About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Pamela,

    I am very sorry to hear of the loss of Martha. Hugs and prayers to you and your family.


  • Ruanna

    A while back someone shared a useful thought on this topic: “it is better to let them go a week early, rather than an hour too late.” I’ve been through the hour-too-late scenario and definitely agree. I am sorry for your loss Pamela.

  • Thank you Mike.
    Really, thank you.

  • GirlGriot

    Pamela, I’m so sorry. Give Martha a pet and kiss from me. And give yourself a big, big hug from me. 🙁

    • Thank you GirlGriot for the hug,
      We took her last night to the veterinarian.
      It is quiet here today.

      • GirlGriot


      • Susan W A

        oh my … “it’s quiet here today” hit me like thunder, then I felt it was immediately replaced by wide open calm and the beauty of Martha filling that space.

        Dear Pamela, may you easily conjure up that feeling you have known for so many years of martha’s head heavy on your lap, doggie breath rhythm hinting at her dreams, your hand resting gently on her soft soft fur.

        love to you, pamela.

        don’t worry … I’m pretty darn sure Martha is having a really nice visit in heaven with dear Pooh Hodges, and as I mentioned to you with Pooh, I know for certain that my loving sister is delighting in welcoming Martha with warm hugs, tasty treats and enriching play time.

        in solidarity … [swa]

  • La McCoy

    Dear, dear Martha,
    You have always been such a good friend to me.
    You have taken such good care of your family.
    I love your writing.
    I will miss you Martha.
    I will join you at heavens gate soon. Watch for me.
    We will laugh and tell stories.
    We will run in good health and play ball until both of our families arrive.
    Then we will introduce them to God and give them a tour.
    Dear Martha we will have all of eternity to play and laugh with our loved ones.
    I will miss you Martha and see you soon.
    I love you. Edelweiss
    Ps. Mom cried the whole time she typed this for me. How silly. We know we will
    Be with God and see her soon.

    • My Dear Edelweiss,
      You have loved Martha too. Thank you for your love and concern. You are a good dog Edelweiss, you take care of Laura and help recycle all of the cardboard boxes.
      One day you will meet Martha and Pooh in Heaven, but hopefully not soon.
      Love Mrs. Hodges

      • La McCoy

        Dear Mrs Hodges,
        I am 12 today and have lived a lot longer than Mom’s other Germans.
        So Mom has prepared me to know this life is not forever.
        Doggies believe they are going back to God in Heaven.
        I was glad when Mom told me she bleived that too. That will make the time we have to go a little easier.
        Right now I feel good. I am enjoying my family, playing ball and talks on the phone with my cousin doggies.
        My love to Martha, Pooh and each of you.
        PS. Mom tried hard not to cry today.

  • Erin Heimler

    Thank you for sharing this most painful and vulnerable thing. Two weeks ago today we took our 14 year old girl Jessie to the vet for goodbye. She also was losing the function of her back legs. We spent 3 days with her in the waiting between appointments, petting her in the sunshine and feeding her peanut butter and remembering her life. I’m still heartbroken – but reading your post makes it feel a little less lonely. Thank you for sharing Martha and your heart with us. Peace, strength and comfort to both of you.

    • Hello Erin,
      I am sorry to hear about the death of Jessie. I read your comment before we took Martha to the vet. I petted Martha too in the sunshine and gave her peanut better.
      Would you like to share a photograph of Jessie here?
      All my best,

  • marie chappron

    so sorry that you must say good bye to your faithful Martha. we had to say good bye to our sweet Tatiana on 10.22,2015 she had just had her 13th birthday on 10.10.2015. she was wobbly on her legs so we knew it was time. the humane society did a very nice job and we got a cast of her paw. had her since she was a puppy a boxer sharpei from a litter of 10 and i was a puppy mom for the first time. loved every minute. miss Tati so much. she is no longer in pain and someday we will be together again. have a good cry and sweet memories of what was. Martha was unconditional love. much love cousin xoxo

    • Hello dear cousin Marie,
      I am so sorry to hear about the death of your sweet dog, Tatiana. Years and years of unconditional love. Thank you for your love and understanding.
      Would you like to share a photograph of Tati here?

  • JeNan Merrill

    I am so sorry to hear about your precious friend and companion. I hope these next two days are very special for you all. Our sweet Maggie is 14 and each day she has her struggles. She is not to this point yet but I learned a lesson from our last dog ten years ago. We waited too long and she suffered too much. You are wise and loving not to do that with Martha. No, our time with these sweet pets is never long enough. Prayers for your family.

    • Hello JeNan,
      Thank you for your kind words of comfort and your prayers. Do you have a photograph of Maggie to share? Loving her every day, until it is time. I will be thinking of you and your sweet Maggie.
      I gave Martha a peanut butter treat last night. I thought about giving her special food, but I didn’t want her to get sick her last few days. I just gave her more time and sat with her.

  • EmFairley

    Pamela, my sweet friend, my heart breaks for you and your family. Please give Martha a gentle hug from me too. She will always be with you, and will always have a special place in my heart too.

    Love, hugs and prayers,
    Em xoxox

    • Hi EmFairley,
      Thank you for your love, hugs and prayers. Thank you for loving Martha too.

      • EmFairley

        No need to thank me. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

        Sending another gentle hug

  • Pamela- We just said goodbye to our loyal cat, Einstein. Thyroid cancer. We knew it was time when his appetite waned and he had trouble breathing. It’s so hard to lose these loving companions who give us unconditional love. Yet, the greatest gift we can give our pets is freedom from pain and suffering. Wishing you strength and peace.

  • Pamela, sending tons of prayers and much love to Martha and you.

    • Thank you David for your prayers. Missing Martha today.

  • Elsie

    I am so sorry Pamela. I know this is a difficult decision and one made because you love Martha.

    • Thank you Elsie,
      Her appointment was last night.
      The house is quieter today.

  • Berdeane Bodley

    Yes, there have been too many & each one was sooooooooooooooo sad!! we love each one of our pets in a special way and then they have to go to pet heaven. Good bye Martha, you were (are) dearly loved. Nana

  • Lorraine Norwood

    Pamela, my heart is hurting for you, especially since Martha is a Lab, the very best kind of dog in the whole world (IMHO). I was in your place once with my beloved black Lab. When she could no longer stand up and had given up eating, I took her to the vet to say good-bye. As I’m sure you know, eating is a Lab’s favorite thing to do, especially cruising counters at the nose level or stealing treats out of children’s hands or getting away from her owner and eating road kill (and then rolling in it). So when she could no longer do these things and looked like she was miserable all the time, her quality of life had come to an end. A vet told me once that dogs, especially Labs, do not want to show their owners their pain. We cannot know their pain. We can only know their love. And know this — Martha loves you.

    • Thank you Lorraine,
      It is always hard to say good-bye.

  • MaryAnne

    I have two dogs waiting for me if and when I get to heaven. Blacky and Olive are already there. And it was one of the most painfull times in my life. Oh it’s a given, the dogs will make it there before me…. no question. Take your time now with the family saying goodbye, because you know,
    Martha will be with you for an eternity, if and when you get to heaven.

    • Thank you MaryAnne,
      Saying good-bye to a pet is always hard. Do you have any photographs of Blacky or Olive you would like to share?

  • Irina Peterson

    Never say good-bye to your pet while they are still alive. Who are you to decide it is time for them to die? You are not even a veterinarian. You are not a dog wisperer, and certainly you are not GOD. You know nothing about them except things you THINK you know. Just imagine you being a pet of a superior being who you can not deliver a message to leave you alone and to let you to die on your own terms. How much torture it must be to hear goodbye while you are still breathing…
    Do not look for reasons to play God. Just treat others as you want to be treated. End of story.

    • I am not God. Thankfully. I am going on the advice of my veterinarian.
      A hard decision, but one that is made with much thought and love for my pet. She has cancer. She is in pain.
      End of story. My story.

      • Irina Peterson

        I regret so much I listened to the vet. I had to say goodbye to my pet a year ago. Every day now I regret I didn’t listen to my heart. I dont want you to feel what I feel. Think it through. Listen to your heart. I wish your Martha gets well before your vet decides her faith for her. Pets have a better chance to recover if you only have faith. Best of luck!

        • Irina,
          I am so sorry you had to say good-bye to your pet a year ago. Thank you for being concerned about my feelings. We had talked about putting her down over a year ago, but we wanted to keep her as long as we could, for her sake as well as ours. Now her cancer has spread and she has stopped eating. Sadly, it is time.
          All my best,

        • EmFairley

          Irena, if you knew Martha the way we do (myself if only through Pamela’s adoring posts for her), you would know that Martha herself knows it’s time to go. Pamela isn’t playing God at all. What she is doing is what is right for her beloved four legged baby

          • Irina Peterson

            My message was a warning to avoid a mistake that can never be fixed. Obviously I don’t know the situation. I am sorry if I sounded angry, because I am angry, but with myself only.