A Story by LizLadyNinja

A mother stands by her 3 year old son's side as they put their friend to sleep


It is my belief, that the hardest thing for any person to experience is death. Especially when the death occurs in the family. Death is the one thing, that as parents, we try to shield our children from. On this particular day I am with my four year old son, and we are here with Simon. In less than an hour, Simon will no longer be with us.

            I stood at the circulation desk filling out the paperwork. We had known this was coming, my husband and I. We were just hoping that Jake would be a little older before we had to put Simon down. I checked the box on the form that indicated that we wanted the body after they euthanized the dog. It was important to me that Jake got to burry his best friend.

            Simon had been a stray that I had brought home one morning shortly after graduating from college. I had been at my office watching the news when one of those adoption-of-the-day programs came on. Simon was one of three dogs that the humane society was trying to get adopted. He was a seven year old Shi Tzu, with cream coloring, and a gentle temper. I had called the humane society just after the program aired and said I would be down on my lunch break to look at Simon.

            So I cut my lunch early, and made sure to take an extended lunch. I really couldn’t afford to do that since I was an intern, but I knew that my family needed that dog. Once I arrived at the shelter, and saw Simon I just couldn’t put him back in the kennel. So I carried him to the circulation desk and began filling out the paper work to take him home.

            Sadness overwhelmed me as I realized that I was now filling out end of life papers for our dear old friend. Simon was now twelve years old. Simon and Jake had been best buds since Andrew and I brought Jake home from the hospital. We didn’t have a photograph of Jake without Simon somewhere in the frame.

            Tears stung my eyes as I looked back at my little boy, and old dog. Jake sat on the brown waiting room bench, clutching Simon. His tiny child sized hands held the dog tight, but also gently. It was almost more than I could handle. Turned back to the nurse at the desk, handed her the papers and gave her a feeble smile. I walked over to my child and sat next to him.

            I gently pushed his chocolate brown hair from his face. He looked up to me, his eyes red and cheeks puffy from crying. The sight of him in such turmoil nearly killed me. Speech was stolen from me. Death was one of those things where you just never knew what to say to the people who were mourning. I let out a sign and pushed my sandy blonde hair out of my face.

            Jake sniffed loudly, and his tiny voice broke the silence between us. “Mommy, why does Simon have to die?”

            Each word was a dagger in my heart. I looked at Jake for a moment and wondered where the wisdom for that question had come from. Then I sighed to keep the tears at bay and answered my son.

            “Simon’s very sick baby. He hurts all the time. We’re going to stop the pain.” The explanation sounded more like a cop out to me, but Jake nodded and looked down into the silky white fur.

            “Is it going to hurt?” Jake asked a few seconds later.

            “No, it’s not going to hurt. The doctor will give Simon some medicine and he will go to sleep….”

            Jake cut me off. “And then he will die?”

            I nodded, unable to actually say yes.

            The minutes ticked by, and stretched into what seemed like eons. Each time the vet came to the waiting room I feared it was our turn. It was almost worse watching everyone else go in to the exam rooms with their pets. They would be taking their friend’s home with them, alive and happy. When we left, Simon would be in a box so that we could burry him.

            I had chosen a large cardboard box that had once been home to a pair of my husbands work shoes. It was large enough that I could fit Simons blanket in there, along with his favorite squeaky toy. And on Jakes request, we had put some dog food and treats in the box as well.

            The vet came back to the waiting room, and our eyes met. I knew that the time had finally come. I looked at Jake, gave the best smile I could, and helped him down from the bench. He held Simon even tighter as we walked back beyond the swinging gate that lead to the exam rooms.

            Jake buried his face in Simon’s fur, and walked blindly at my side. I placed my hand on his back to guide him in the right direction. Each step tore at my heart. I was absolutely sick that the time had come. I steered my child into the exam room and the vet closed the door behind us.

            “Would you like a few minutes to say good bye?” He asked us gently.

            I shook my head. We had said our good byes this morning, and prolonging the inevitable was making me physically ill. I looked at Jake, who had not surfaced from the creamy patch of fur at Simon’s back. I gave Jake a few more minutes with Simon before I got down on my knees and waited for Jake to look at me.

            His tiny face peered over the dog’s fur, and he began to tremble. We met eyes, and I gently took Simon from Jake. Simon was so warm in my arms; it was hard to believe this was the last time I would ever hold him. I choked back a sob as I laid Simon down on the cold exam table.

            Jake had pulled the chair in the corner over to the exam table and climbed on top of it. He began to pet Simon’s head. Which I was grateful for, he missed the doctor fill the syringe with the deadly serum. I couldn’t bear for Jake to actually witness the doctor euthanize Simon, so I had requested that we do the procedure in two stages. We would wait with Simon, while the anesthetic the doctor would administer would put Simon to sleep. We would then leave the room while the doctor administered the drug that would end Simon’s life. (I had had made sure to leave the box for Simon with the vet the day I scheduled the appointment.)

            Jakes small voice was all I could focus on. He was gently talking to Simon. I’m not sure what he was saying, as I had finally given in to my own grief. The doctor had joined is at the exam table. He gently stroked Simon’s fur, before inserting the needle into the vein in Simon’s leg.

            I looked into Simon’s big brown eyes for the last time as his eye lids grew heavy. I wiped the tears away the escaped. I looked at Jake. His young eyes were full of sadness, but he was being strong for Simon. Simon’s eyes closed and Jake leaned over the table and kissed Simon on the head.

            “I love you.” He said gently.

            Tears were streaming down my face as I watched my little boy take his first steps into manhood. After a few moments I took Jake by the hand, helped him down from the chair, and we left the exam room.

            We stood at the circulation desk, waiting for the vet to bring out the box that contained Simon. Jake looked at me, and for a minute stood and pondered. When he had sufficiently thought through his question he tugged at my shirt to get my attention.

            “Mommy, do you think the baby is sad?” He asked.

            I looked at my son, and a small smile spread across my face. “Yes, I think the baby is sad.” I said, swallowing tears.

            Jake looked at my small bulging tummy. Then he hugged me around the middle and directed his attention to the developing bump.  

            “Don’t cry baby.”

            The doctor came out of the exam room carrying the large cardboard box. He passed it to me quietly, and then looked at Jake.

            “I’m sorry.” He said.

            I thanked him, and lead my son out into the warm sunshine. We would miss Simon, but things would be okay.


© 2008 LizLadyNinja

Author's Note

Just another piece of fiction that is in the revision stage! Enjoy!

My Review

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I have never had a dog and I'm not fond of them either and yet this piece moved me so much that I almost don't know what to write here in the review.

So I'll just say that this was an amazing story.
The description was so perfect that I felt I was present in the room with the mother and son.

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh My Goodness......there were actually tears in my eyes! Wonderful piece of work. I can relate somewhat because I have had so many dogs that we have had to put down. It is no where near fun. Great job!

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

that was too sad. I'm crying, its not far when things like that happen and this story reminded me of the tough times i shared with my best friends.
my first dog i didn't know he died when i was three and he had pneumonia he died at the vets
my second, the one i knew all my life i watched die. He was put down he had a brain tumor. its was so sad.
And recently last december I lost the most amazing dog. He was my everything. He was old and he didn't look sick but apprantly he was. At least he died in his sleep.
You are an amazing writer. You put so much emotion into what you write and that why when I read it you made me cry. Please keep writing. xoxo

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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3 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on March 18, 2008
Last Updated on March 18, 2008



Denver, CO

I joined Writerscafe almost 10 years ago, when it was in its infancy. I dealt with the breakdown when it lost our writing and many of my pieces were unrecoverable. Which, as you can imagine was pretty.. more..