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We lost our 12 year old Golden, Honey, earlier this month. She had oral melanoma at the base of her tongue, which extended into her soft palate and later into her nose. Her lymph nodes and salivary gland on one side of her neck were very large as well. What had been a dime-sized lymph node in May grew into a softball sized group of tumors by late August. We were running out of time very quickly but she was still enjoying life so the timing didn't feel right to euthanize.

As the tumors grew it made it difficult for her to eat anything except soft food, so I boiled chicken and we would hand-feed her all of her meals. The tumor in her mouth was very vascular, which caused additional problems that were sometimes difficult to deal with in a busy household. I spent a large portion of my day caring for her and keeping her as clean and comfortable as possible. It was a labor of love and I'd do it again. No regrets.

The weekend before she passed away, Honey was playing, tail wagging, bringing us toys and eating everything in sight. On Monday night she put herself to bed early, then never got up again. By Tuesday afternoon it was clear she was done fighting this terrible disease. She couldn't or wouldn't eat or drink anything, wouldn't take her pain meds, had developed labored breathing, and couldn't get up off the floor without us carrying her. We took her in to her vet on Wednesday and she passed away peacefully while eating chocolate chip ice cream. She went downhill so fast that the decision was made for us.
 

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It was so moving. I knew she was doing something she had never done before, but until she died the next day, I didn't know why she was doing it or what it meant. Animals have definitely demonstrated over time that they know when they are going to die (they go off alone somewhere, for example), and I truly believe she knew. It makes me teary to remember, too.
They definitely know. On my Golden's last trip to the park where we hiked every day, she wanted to stop and just stand still while looking around, in several of her favorite areas, like she was committing them all to memory. She did the same thing with my daughter's room (my daughter was 7 when we adopted Honey as a puppy, so they grew up together and had so many great times in that room). It was her way of saying goodbye.

Many years ago, I had a GSD who was suffering from bone cancer. One day he started prompting me to play all of his favorite games, even some I had forgotten about because we hadn't played them since he was a puppy. He passed away in his sleep that evening, just a few weeks shy of his 14th birthday. They know.
 

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The day she died, my Honey bear went next door to see the neighbors who sometimes kept her when we were on a trip. They said later they hadn't seen her in a couple months. I always wondered if she had gone over to say goodbye.
Twice I have let my dog see the other dog after they passed and they seemed to understand. After that they never looked for the dog or seemed to wonder what had happened. I feel like they understood death in some way.
That is so sweet that your Honey bear went to see her friends. They really do seem to know what's going on and accept it without fear or sadness. Maybe they say goodbye this way, at least partly, for us, as if they're remembering the good times and saying thank you for their lives with us. Either way, I see it as such a loving, respectful, comforting, and aware gesture and it makes me love and appreciate them even more. Their hearts are so pure.💖
 
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