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cherriecouttsphotography.com » Cherrie Coutts Photography

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The Golden Thread: My promise to my dog and a heartbreaking event that rocked us all.

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Last night, my faith in humanity wavered… majorly.

“I am heart broken beyond words right now. Had I known this would happen we would have made changes to make it work. Astro, the 9 year old Golden that needed a home has been put to sleep!!!!! I’m finding it really hard to have compassion for his owner, right now… I’m so sorry I didn’t step in sooner. I had the highest of hopes for the system, here and honestly thought someone could give him a better life in his senior years that didn’t include the complication of our 3 flights of stairs. And I honestly was so naive to think that Sweden didn’t just allow animals to be put to sleep without provable medical cause. To say that this is an injustice is too little too late. I feel incredibly sad. I feel sick to my stomach. I feel angry to the point of inciting a riot. Worst of all, I feel responsible. I believe in Karma… and I’m trying SO hard not to judge, but I hope it comes back to this person – ten fold! Astro, we light a candle for you, tonight. I’m sorry we let you down.”

This was my Facebook status last night after I found out poor Astro’s fate. The few minutes I managed to stop crying in order to write it were filled with such anger and disappointment. And I am still angry. I could barely sleep and when I did, I had dreams that it was all different and that we were able to save him. But then you wake up and realise that it was all real, that someone really did put down their dog without medical cause.

When we take an animal into our lives, we make an unspoken promise to them to protect and nurture them for their whole lifespan. To care for them like family members and give them the unconditional love they give us… even if we don’t deserve it. The incredible injustice Astro has been served  is immeasurably wrong and it hurts me down to my very core to think that someone, after 9 years, has broken their promise to their dog. He wasn’t sick. He wasn’t too old to move. He was just an inconvenience to someone and he was thrown out by the person who was supposed to care for him the most.

I am trying REALLY hard to understand what could drive someone to do such a thing. And the fact that it was done without even telling members of the Kennel that it was happening is beyond forgiveness. Us members of the Kennel tried SO hard to find a suitable forever home for Astro… and many… MANY of us would have taken him DESPITE the challenges we faced… yet, we weren’t given the chance. Astro wasn’t given the chance.

When we first heard about this in August, the first thought was to take him in. The second thought was for his well being and how 3 flights of stairs would have only made the life of a 9 year old dog challenging…. then by September we thought about Fostering him until he could find his forever home and members of the Kennel scrambled to put the word out. I personally contacted everyone I know, pleading for them to put the word out and put up flyers everywhere I could. And then not a month later we find out the most horrible news… he was gone. I am angry that it was done and I am even MORE angry that this person didn’t have enough HEART to let us Kennel members KNOW. This person not only took Astro’s life for no good reason, they took his CHANCE at a fresh start with someone who WOULD have given him the love and care he deserves!! Needless to say, this person will never be allowed near another Golden Retriever, again.

I am writing this out of emotion, yes… and I am probably being very harsh… but I don’t care. This was WRONG. And as I sit here, with my own Golden Retriever, Bentley, by my side as always… all I can think about is how we could have helped if only given the chance. How lucky I am to have Bentley in my life and…. when it all comes down to it… how short that time really is. Goldens are a large breed, so 10 – 15 years is what they grace us with usually, which is by no means enough time. To cut that short… well… it’s a travesty!!!

This has rocked the Kennel to it’s heart and soul and even though we are in mourning we can take some (however little) comfort in knowing that at least Astro is in a better place and away from the wretched person that didn’t think enough of him to let him live. So I ask you, I plead with you, if you’re an animal lover, a dog owner, a cat owner… think about what they really mean to you. REALLY think about it. Maybe if people remind themselves that our animal companions don’t live for themselves, but for us, things like this wouldn’t happen. Maybe.

While my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity failed me last night, I can only take solace in the fact that not everyone is so cruel… and I leave you with a portrait of one Golden who has captured the hearts of so many. My Bentley. I made a promise to him and I intend to not only keep it, but exceed the expectations I originally set. I will never, ever, let something like this happen again. Astro I am sorry. How someone could give up on you… I just don’t know.

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  • Janine - October 5, 2013 - 12:55

    Cherrie, thank you for writing this. It’s such an important message and I can understand how you’re feeling. I feel so angry and heartbroken at the same time. As you know, we were really, really tempted to take him but just felt that we couldn’t give him everything he deserved right now. If we’d known that this was the alternative we would’ve just made it work. In a heartbeat. I’m sure a lot of other people would’ve too. I’m so upset that there was no warning and that this was even allowed to happen.ReplyCancel

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