The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done

Resting easy, now

back in a familiar place

always be our girl


Dropping her off yesterday was the easy part; I didn’t have to face the reality yet. The lump on her knee had been growing this past week, each day just a little more swollen. But still. Having to lose her leg feels like so much overkill, like crushing an acorn with a steamroller. It was the right choice, the only option if she’s to have a chance at living out her normal span, and intellectually we accept it. In a couple weeks, once the staples are out and we’re used to seeing the changed shape of her body and the new way she moves, it’ll all be fine. She’ll be fine.

This morning we brought her back home. She was alert and crying when they led her back to us, in pain and confusion. On the way home the sedatives kicked in, and she’s resting peacefully now. The worst part is that it’s impossible to make her understand any of this. I’ve been through surgeries, and the initial pain and shock are bad enough when you know what’s happening and why. I can’t even comprehend  what it’s like to wake up in agony and missing a limb, for no apparent reason other than the cruel whim of strange people, people who are so nice to you when you’re awake.

This is easily the most awful thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. I’m sure, someday, something worse will come along. But for now, intentionally inflicting agony, mutilation and suffering on a beloved innocent creature, regardless of the reason…


I’ll get over it – life doesn’t stop happening just because you feel bad, and sitting around crying certainly won’t help her any. Or me, either.

But anyway – if I seem to be not my usual self for a couple days, well… bear with me. And don’t worry. I really will be alright, because I know that she really will be alright. It wouldn’t be so awful if I didn’t love her so much, and I’m more thankful for that love than I can possibly express.

No matter what, she’ll always be our beautiful girl.


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28 Responses to The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done

  1. Aw, Julie, I’m so sorry for all the pain, but so glad you shared it with us. Sweet snuffly nuzzlies for your sweet, snuggly puppy.




  2. pam says:

    Hugs to you and your sweet Lyra. Don’t be too hard on yourself; we’re often forced into corners by life and must make the hard decisions. She will be fine and you’ll be laughing at her antics again soon.

    Hang in there, and puppy kisses on that soft, sweet head.

  3. Lucy says:

    I know, I know, I know, and the rest I can imagine.

    Crying for you here. This too shall pass.

    Much love.

  4. Gecko says:

    Oh dear, poor Lyra. It is the WORST when you can’t use reason to explain to them. Many head rubs and comfort await her convalescence I am sure.
    Ditto sniff.

  5. walt says:

    My heart goes out to you guys! As much as it hurts now, you did it to save her life, so you went for the higher value. Such events only cause love to grow in intensity.

  6. dogette says:

    Honestly I couldn’t read the entire post. I get too upset. I came from Joanie’s. I ache for you. I really do. What a beautiful, beautiful dog. She is loved even though I don’t know her personally. Please kiss her sweet head for me.


  7. Jean says:

    I just want to rub her head and kiss her nose. Sweet baby!

    (Found you through Joan’s.)

  8. mushroomb says:

    I am very sorry to hear this. She is such a beauty, and I will continue to pray for her.

    On the positive side, we had a dog that had to have an amputation due to an injury many years ago. It did not seem to bother him at all, and he adapted very quickly, never tried to figure out the problem, just the solution.

  9. mushroom says:

    My monitor has suddenly gone all blurry.

    I am very sorry to hear this. She is such a beauty, and I will continue to pray for her.

    On the positive side, we had a dog that had to have an amputation due to an injury many years ago. It did not seem to bother him at all, and he adapted very quickly, never tried to figure out the problem, just the solution.

  10. mushroom says:

    OK, I’ve never done that before.

  11. julie says:

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind words. It’s as you say, Mushroom – she’s adapting quickly, already. I’m amazed that she’s already figuring out how to get around. As long as she can jam one hind leg down her throat (she’s a habitual foot-cleaner), she’s content, more or less.

  12. Greybeard says:

    We had a dog in our neighborhood one of my friends brilliantly nicknamed “The arithmetic dog”…
    … pick up three and carry one! That border collie could run faster than the 25 mile per hour speed limit on our street, and frequently lead its owner to and from the grocery store.
    We animal lovers are such softies, but what choice did you have here? Smart dog… what decision do you think she’d have made? Don’t beat yourself up ’cause you did exactly the right thing, and she’ll surprise you at how quickly she rebounds.
    And yes… spoil her for all of us.
    And by the by… Joan sent me.

  13. Mary says:


    I came over from Joan’s place. You did the right thing for Lyra. Please give her a belly rub and lots of ear scritches and kisses from me. And hugs to you for loving her so much!

  14. Sparrow says:

    I came from Joan’s also. Lyra is a beauty and you absolutely did the right thing. She will adapt, as my dachshund did after herniating a disk in her back and partially paralyzing her hindquarters — eight years ago. After two years in a cart, she slowly started regaining the ability to walk, and now can even run (though she runs like Pepi Le Pew with both of her hind legs moving at the same time!).

    Your Lyra is lucky to be in a home where she is clearly beloved! Hugs and doggie kisses to you all.

  15. Oh, Julie. Aaagh, no words.

  16. julie says:

    Wow – again, thank you, everyone. Joan is right; you are the best peeps around. She’s doing much better this morning.

  17. Sal says:

    No, you’re the best dog mommy- she will be fine. And so will you once she recovers.
    hugs and prayers…

  18. Phoebe says:

    I had a beautiful Golden Retriever. At about age 4 or 5, she was hit by a car severing the radial nerve in her left front leg.
    The leg had to be removed at the shoulder. She adapted very well, still ran on the beach in a hobby horse kinda gait, managed stairs
    and got in and out of the car on her own.
    She lived to the ripe old age of 15 as a tripod and was the love of many lives.
    Your pooch will do just fine. You did the right thing.

  19. julie says:

    Thank you, Phoebe. We know it was the right thing; the decision was a no-brainer, really, and that’s what made it bearable. She’s already making an amazing recovery. This afternoon, before I knew what she was doing, she navigated up the stairs on her own, looking for my husband. She’s wobbly, especially when she over-thinks how to move, but she’s doing great. The constant cuddling has to be helping, too 🙂

  20. Linda says:

    You are right-making the decision and handling things on behalf of ourselves is one thing, but to make decisions-loving ones and difficult ones-that is the hardest part of being a parent. You two are the best pet parents I know and Lyra has a great support system in you both and in Zoe. You have all of us Murphys stuck in your corner! Hugs to all of you.

  21. Mom says:

    I Love all of you so much! Your strength is inspiring. Lyra has such a fun and beautiful spirit and I’m so glad she has the both of you to guide her through. I can’t help right now thinking of my mom and how she learned to walk after losing her legs. Remember how upset she was because they made her two inches shorter? I was with her at her physical therapy appointment when she informed them “I am 5’8″ and I will always be 5’8″!#@%!” Then I drove her home and we gathered up her skirts and dresses and took them to her seamstress. Your grandma never mentioned it again. Thank God for the spirit in every living creature…

  22. julie says:

    😀 It’s funny to picture Grandma swearing – the worst I ever heard her say was “Damn!” whispered under her breath. I do remember her being upset about her height, though. And having to go through all that physical therapy.

    Thanks, Mom. We love you, too. I’ll try to remember to call tomorrow.

  23. Bob Agard says:

    Even with the surgery, that is one lucky dog, to have a quality person like you who loves her so much.

  24. QP says:

    Julie, I hope your girl is comfortable and healing well. I’m looking forward to your updates and news of a happy, bouncy tri-leg.

  25. julie says:

    Thanks, Bob and QP. She is mending very well, to our relief (and so are we, for that matter). I’ll post about her again in a day or two.

  26. USS Ben says:

    “It did not seem to bother him at all, and he adapted very quickly, never tried to figure out the problem, just the solution.”

    Wow! I can’t top that ‘Shroomservation (which is good advice for everyone), so I’ll just say I’m still prayin’ for Lyra and you guys, and I hope she continues to heal quickly. It’s tough doin’ the right thing, but y’all are tough and you can make the toughest decisions. And Lyra knows you love her, even if she can’t understand what happened to herv leg.

  27. USS Ben says:

    Her leg. Not sure how a v got in there.

  28. julie says:

    I figured that’s what you meant.
    Thanks, Ben.

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