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Too soon to euthanize? Dealing with guilt and anguish

This is a discussion on Too soon to euthanize? Dealing with guilt and anguish within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I've never put an animal to sleep where I didn't regret it in one way or another. My first dog had a massive stroke and ...

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Old 10-14-2015, 10:37 AM
  #11
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I've never put an animal to sleep where I didn't regret it in one way or another. My first dog had a massive stroke and couldn't move, I still felt horrible.

My first cat was 17 when I put him down, I vacillated about the decision for months on end. Made the decision a couple days before Christmas, he immediately had a great day, put it off for a couple days where he was not having good days, finally brought him in. He went so easily, he was ready. I felt like a terrible person for letting him down.

Both of my horses were the same. One was put down relatively healthy for a 27 year old horse, but to spare him another winter in his very aged condition we did it. Another was put down after going down and being unable to get up, but she was going to be put down that fall anyways due to massive arthritis and the fear of her going down on the ice that winter. Still didn't matter, I questioned every bit of the decision.

There are several others as well. My point is, very rarely, if ever will you not feel guilt to some extend when putting an animal down. You will almost always question whether or not it was too soon or if you did enough for them. Its my opinion that if you're asking those sorts of questions you did everything you could for your pet.

My condolences to you, for what it's worth I think you made the decision and you spared him the worst, which in the end is the most we can do for them.
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:35 AM
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I am so sorry for your loss. In reading everyone's posts it made me realize it is so easy to reassure someone else that it was the best thing to do. But when it comes to your own pet it is so hard to see that clearly. I am reading these trying to make my own decision today about my dog and I am so torn.

Jackson is a 14 yo lab pyrenese mix. Takes prednisone daily for his hips. He has become incontinent although tries on occasion to ask to go out but doesn't usually make it. He will usually have loose bowel movement while sleeping which requires lots of baths. His skull has sunk in I'm assuming due to muscle atrophy and he has lost that "spark" in his eyes. And his tail just hangs there. He just lays there other than when I take him for short walks around the yard. His apppetite is gone (but leave the trash can unlocked and he summons up energy to get into it!) Although he doesn't seem to be in pain, and I dont mind cleaning up his messes, is it fair to keep him going with no quality of life? I know if I read this post from someone else I would know what advice to give, but I don't want to feel selfish or that I did it for "convenience" so I don't know what to do. ..

So I know what you went through with the decision, and I know I would have the same feelings afterwards. But what advice would you give me?
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Old 10-15-2015, 09:19 AM
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Jackson is a 14 yo lab pyrenese mix. Takes prednisone daily for his hips. He has become incontinent although tries on occasion to ask to go out but doesn't usually make it. He will usually have loose bowel movement while sleeping which requires lots of baths. His skull has sunk in I'm assuming due to muscle atrophy and he has lost that "spark" in his eyes. And his tail just hangs there. He just lays there other than when I take him for short walks around the yard. His apppetite is gone (but leave the trash can unlocked and he summons up energy to get into it!) Although he doesn't seem to be in pain, and I dont mind cleaning up his messes, is it fair to keep him going with no quality of life? I know if I read this post from someone else I would know what advice to give, but I don't want to feel selfish or that I did it for "convenience" so I don't know what to do. ..

So I know what you went through with the decision, and I know I would have the same feelings afterwards. But what advice would you give me?
Based on the statement I've bolded, I would say it is time to let him go. (((Hugs)))
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Old 10-15-2015, 09:23 PM
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Before I put my old girl to sleep three years ago, she also required a lot of care. I had the sling for lifting her, the constant medications, the worrying about her all the time. The sense of being needed become part of my bond. I think the fear of not being needed any more made the decision even more difficult. I didn't know what I would do with that extra time I gained from not having to hand feed or cleaning a bum or wiping pee off the floor. Don't let the fear of the future affect your decision with your pet today.
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:01 PM
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Brad your story breaks my heart. No matter how bad off they get, we always feel guilty when we make the decision to end their life. Been there many times.
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Old 11-06-2015, 02:05 PM
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I'm sorry for your loss and understand how you feel, I had to do the same thing a few weeks ago.

I think we'll always feel guilty purely because it's only us who can decide as the pets obviously can't tell us anything.

But you have to think at the point your boy was where he could barely walk, having accidents, tumours all over him getting infected. Was he living or just existing?

My boys lungs were filled with tumours and he could hardly breathe, that was no way to be living either. Sure he seemed happy enough of course he would, he loves us and was always happy to see us. That's why I'm glad I was there at the end, helping him out of the pain, holding his paw as he lay down telling him "Don't worry Mummy's got you" Mine was the last face he saw.

You do it because you know it's right, you do it because you love them SO much that you don't want them to suffer anymore. You could have drained your bank account exhausting every option but during that time they're just carrying on suffering.

We feel bad because they're gone and we miss them. But as I said, we only feel the guilt because it's us that has to make the choice. But we do it for the right reasons.
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Old 09-16-2017, 09:05 PM
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Hello,
I just put my beloved Pug Sophie to sleep 2 days ago and I'm agonizing over every detail wondering if I did it too soon.
2 weeks prior she fell to her side and could not walk, her head tilted to the side. We took her to the emergency and the vet did blood tests and observed her for a few hours before saying we would try predihisone and ear meds in case it was swelling from an inner ear infection. She was doubtful but wanted to try this.
Sophie got better but continued to pant terribly (the panting had been getting worse the past few months) and was able to walk albeit wobbly and still slightly tilted. The steroids were being tapered down for 3 or so days when Sophie suddenly did not want to move and acted like it was hard for her to get up. She just wanted to sleep and when she was awake she was panting and seemed miserable. I took her back to the vet and the vet said since the tilt and other symptoms, albeit better, were still there and she was now getting where she didn't want to drink and eat that it was time to think about quality of life as the symptoms pointed towards a brain issue (most likely tumor). Sophie did not seem very responsive by this time either.
After agonizing over this I did hold her as she was put to her final sleep but now the guilt is just horrendous wondering if I should have waited, or did something differently.
I mostly write this as I needed to talk about it with people who may have been in this type of situation before.

Thank you for your time

Diana
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Old 09-17-2017, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Labrys67 View Post
Hello,
I just put my beloved Pug Sophie to sleep 2 days ago and I'm agonizing over every detail wondering if I did it too soon.
2 weeks prior she fell to her side and could not walk, her head tilted to the side. We took her to the emergency and the vet did blood tests and observed her for a few hours before saying we would try predihisone and ear meds in case it was swelling from an inner ear infection. She was doubtful but wanted to try this.
Sophie got better but continued to pant terribly (the panting had been getting worse the past few months) and was able to walk albeit wobbly and still slightly tilted. The steroids were being tapered down for 3 or so days when Sophie suddenly did not want to move and acted like it was hard for her to get up. She just wanted to sleep and when she was awake she was panting and seemed miserable. I took her back to the vet and the vet said since the tilt and other symptoms, albeit better, were still there and she was now getting where she didn't want to drink and eat that it was time to think about quality of life as the symptoms pointed towards a brain issue (most likely tumor). Sophie did not seem very responsive by this time either.
After agonizing over this I did hold her as she was put to her final sleep but now the guilt is just horrendous wondering if I should have waited, or did something differently.
I mostly write this as I needed to talk about it with people who may have been in this type of situation before.

Thank you for your time

Diana
I'm so sorry for your loss! You did the right thing with the information that you had. Do not feel guilty, you stopped her from suffering and a potentially slow lingering death.

Almost 2 years ago I first posted in this thread, it's post #5 if you want to read it, and that post was made almost a year and a month after Shadow, my beloved 17 year 8 month old dog passed away. I still stand by what I wrote in that thread. It's better to let them go a bit early then to wait and have them suffer. Either way us owners who adore our dogs are going to feel guilty, but if we end it a bit early we have the comfort of thinking that we saved our dog from suffering, if we wait we are faced with knowing we could have spared them the suffering.

In Shadow's case I waited, I kept hoping something would work, something would get him eating again, somehow he'd get his appetite back and get better. I did everything I could think of to help him, home cooked for him, offered anything I thought he'd find appetizing, took him to the vet, gave him the medicine prescribed, Nothing worked. In the end I allowed him to needlessly linger, and he slowly wasted away. You saved your girl that type of slow wasting away. Sometimes that's all we can do, and you know what? It sucks big time and I don't think any of us are happy about it, but that caring is what makes us such good owners.
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:37 AM
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You didn't make that decision lightly, or for your own benefit. You did it out of love for your dog, and a need to make a responsible decision for him.

You did well. You made a good decision for him. Mourn him, and miss him, but don't beat yourself up. This is the hardest part of having a dog, and you took good care of him.
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Old 09-17-2017, 12:18 PM
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I'm so sorry I completely understand what you are going through I had to put my Luna to sleep about a month ago it's been a difficult couple months
I am feeling guilt but not that I put her to sleep too soon I feel like I waited too long I was selfish and wasn't ready to let go I still wish I did it sooner
you saved her unnecessary pain something I wish I had done with my girl


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