Since everyone is already leaky about Stubby, I'm thinking now might be a good time to talk about something nobody wants to think about: saying goodbye when it's time to go to sleep forever.
In the weeks before Stubby went to sleep, his human and my human did a lot of talking. I didn't hear or understand all of it, but I want to share what I do know. Because even though my human says we're all going to live forever, I know she's totally lying.
KNOW WHEN TO SAY WHEN
One thing I heard our humans talk about was how to know when it's time for the final sleep to come. From what I understand, this is a very hard and complicated decision. You don't want to wait too long, but even too long doesn't feel long enough when you don't want to say goodbye. My human used to work in vet hospitals and says the only thing sadder than seeing someone go to sleep was seeing someone who needed to go to sleep *not* go sleep soon enough. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I think it's really important.
SOMETIMES SLEEP IS A GOOD THING
I heard my human tell Stubby's mom a story about her old dog, Moby. Moby was 11 when they found out she had cancer in her bones. The vet said she had 2 weeks to live unless they took away one of her legs to make it better (maybe, for a little while). My human wanted Moby to be around forever, but dogs like Moby only live 10-12 years and she was already almost 12. So my human decided to not to fight the cancer and let Moby have 11+ happy years instead of 11+ happy ones... plus a great big surgery and who knows what else and for how long.
MAKE THE END THE BEST END EVER
Instead of arguing with the stupid bone cancer, my human decided to make the last 2 weeks of Moby's life the best 2 weeks of her life. She got to eat everything and anything she wanted. Ice cream, hamburgers, people cookies - you name it, she ate it. She was allowed to chase the cat and snack on the forbidden kitty rocca. She got went for illegal off-leash walks on nice golf course grass and played with loads of toys from people who came to visit and say goodbye.
You might not have any warning before it's time for sleep to come, but if you do have time to get ready for it, get ready for it. After exactly 2 weeks, Moby was ready to go to sleep. My human had the vet come to the house so Moby's last memory wouldn't be of a trip to the vet (even though she was one of those weird dogs who loved going to the vet). The vet helped her go to sleep in her own bed filled with toys. When Moby didn't wake up, the vet took her away and turned her into ashes (please don't ask me how that works).
My human says Moby is gone, but will never be forgotten. It's been 8 years since Moby went to sleep, but my human still has her old dogtags and little bits of Moby ashes (the rest are sprinkled all over the country, in places she's lived and places Moby used to visit). She has pictures of Moby (even though they're not that great and she wishes there were more) and 11+ years of really good memories.
I hope some of what I learned about the Final sleep helps someone out there. If you know something that might help some more, please let everyone here know.