Gemma Joy with one of her 'babies'
Gemma Joy with one of her 'babies'

We said goodbye to Gemma Joy yesterday. As many of you know we have been agonizing about how and when to make the decision to let her go. Her aggression had been escalating and we were finding it increasingly difficult to keep her away from Zoe. For some reason she had taken a severe dislike to Zoe and had attacked her on at least 2 or 3 other occasions. The only way we could move them from one part of the house to the other was to let one outside, move the other one, then let the first one back in the other part of the house. We had to keep 2 sets of gates between them. If Gemma was in the living room she had to be in the X-pen because she could climb the gate and did so even if someone was with her.

No one can be 100% vigilant 100% of the time. It is humanly impossible. They accidentally got together yesterday and Gemma attacked Zoe the second she saw her. I was able to break up the fight fairly quickly but not before there were injuries to Zoe and me. Thankfully Gemma did not get Zoe’s ear again. Zoe has 2 small wounds on her head in addition to being traumatized. If I had not been here Zoe would have likely been seriously injured at the least.

This was a very hard decision to make. We know Gemma has mammary cancer, lung cancer and brain cancer. She had been having complex-partial seizures for most of her waking hours the last couple of weeks. However, she looked great! She loved to cuddle and to launch herself at you from the floor. Because she looked good, the decision was complicated. What we realized yesterday is that Gemma was going to kill one of the smaller dogs due to her cancer. We could not let that happen.


We took her to the vet this afternoon and she was humanely euthanized. She was given a sedative first and she almost went with that medication. Once the drug was administered she was gone very quickly. It was quiet. It was peaceful. It was right. We know it was right, she was calm, surrounded by love and she went to sleep. She didn’t fight or struggle. Gemma Joy was ready.

Making these decisions is very complex. Dogs can’t talk to us and tell us they hurt or they are scared or anxious or that they just don’t want to do it anymore. I think Gemma loved her life with us as much as we loved her. Sadly our love and her desire could not fix her health problems brought on by over-breeding and not being spayed as a young dog.

I have to thank Yvette from Turtle Gardens, not only for rescuing Gemma but for her kind words yesterday. She had seen Gemmy recently and she knew that we were struggling with decision about when the right time would be for her to pass. Yvette’s words, filled with love and compassion, soothed our broken hearts. If I could change one thing about how this happened it would be that Zoe did not get attacked again. Zoe will heal and for that I am grateful. Watching her tonight as she is scared and anxious I can’t wait for it to be a couple of days from now when she will be back to her usual self.

She had the best fuzzy face!

We have lost 3 dogs in less than 6 months. We will be having a serious conversation about whether we can do this again. What is for sure is that it will not be any time soon. Our hearts are broken and we need to hear. The other canine members of our family need a break too. Bringing in new dogs all the time is really hard on all of them too. We have several seniors who need peace and quiet. We do too.

We love you Gemma. You are a very good dog. I hope you are at peace now.

Gemmie loved her belly rubs

8 thoughts on “Gemma

  1. A sad story, but you already know that Gemma had a longer and better life with you than she would have had almost anywhere else.

    As someone with cancer myself, I also know that there’s a point past which I wouldn’t want to continue, but as you said, dogs can’t tell you that, or even really understand it, I doubt. I think you made the right decision.

    How old was she?

    1. Thanks Derek. We believe we made the right decision too. She had a peaceful death, it was quiet, she was surrounded by people who loved her and she was not afraid.

      To answer your other question she was about 8 or so we think.

  2. Sorry for your loss. I know it’s so hard when you have to decide to end the life of a pet. No regrets, though–you definitely gave her the longest & happiest life she could have had. ❤

  3. I’m sorry for your loss, Chris and Deb. I have enjoyed hearing about Gemma Joy, and I love that first picture of her with her chicken baby.
    One of the hazards of adopting seniors or those with serious illnesses is the pain we face when they pass away. Multiple dogs means multiple pain ……and yet I’m very sure you will agree that each has given us a gift, each has brought us great joy, and there is none that we wish we had never adopted. Rest easy in the knowledge that you gave Gemma Joy the sort of home every dog deserves.

  4. I’m so sorry, Chris. That you and Deb care for senior and ill dogs with such love and grace is an incredibly beautiful thing. I wish you didn’t have to suffer the losses. Take care.

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