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Hello everyone,

Yesterday, I brought my 15 year old lab mix in to be euthanized. It was the first one I'd been a part of, and I've been paralyzed by guilt and anguish since.

He had a host of health issues. The main issue was he limited ability to stand and walk without assistance. He could walk, barely. His hearing and vision were nearly gone, and his body was covered in lipomas and benign tumors tumors, several that would flare up and bleed. He was increasingly incontinent, with at least once incident per day. He was refusing his regular food. And a few days ago, it became clear the tumor on his foot had become infected. At that point, we decided it was time.

Yet, his enthusiasm for "people food" was undimmed an he would show flashes of his former enthusiastic self, picking up a toy and briefly playing.

Here's the thing - he didn't have a terminal illness (that we knew of), and we hadn't exhausted all treatments, and drained our bank account to help him.

He was simply an old, ailing dog with lots of problems that seemed to be getting worse each day.

So I brought him in and let someone inject him with a drug that stopped his heart. And I feel that I betrayed him completely and the 15 years of love that passed between us. I was supposed to protect him and care for him, and when he was most needful of my care, I just gave up on him. And now I just want him back, and keep thinking how sorry I am.

As I took him in, there was this still, small voice saying, "Stop. No". I just thought it was the grief, and that I had to be strong and push through it. But now I think perhaps it was the voice of reason saying, "This isn't right. It's not the time."

I was asking myself the days before, "Who am I to decide when his last day will be? When his last breath will be drawn? What gives me this right?"

I'm in utter anguish now. I should have held on and treated. We could have purchased a harness to help him stand, gotten those benign tumors removed, taken him to a pool to rest his aching joints. How much longer would we have gotten? I don't know. He was in decline, so maybe six months maybe even a year. But I took that away from him.

I don't even know why I'm posting this. Not for reassurance or condemnation. I suppose that I want to know how others have dealt with this type of situation, and if they feel like they made mistakes too, and how to deal with the guilt.

Forgive me, Darwin. I loved you so much!

Brad
 

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I'm sorry to hear that. :(
finding the right time to say goodbye is always a difficult decision.
 

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Forgive me, Darwin. I loved you so much!

Brad
No need to ask forgiveness. You did the right thing. It takes a strong friend to make the toughest decisions and when it came to the wire you didn't let him down. Darwin wouldn't thank you for increasing pain and stress but he for sure is thanking you for all the love and good times. Rejoice in what you had together. It's tough but you did the right thing :huddle:
 

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I'm so sorry you're in so much pain over the decision. I don't know why we humans beat ourselves up so much.

We never want to give up on a pet too soon, but we never want to wait too long and make them suffer unnecessarily, either. It's a fine line to walk, and unfortunately we will almost never get the timing exactly right. Remember that your dog experienced a lifetime of love and care from you and that you did not take this decision lightly but made it thoughtfully and from a place of love. Your dog's experience of his life with you was wonderful, and making the decision a few weeks or months sooner than you COULD have cannot take that away from you or him.

Your dog had a lot of health problems while, none of which were individually terminal illnesses, added up to cause a significant impact on his quality of life. Try to be easy on yourself. I hope you come to find some peace with your decision.
 

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It's never easy to make the decision to euthanize, or to decide to wait. It's also rarely clear cut, people tell you that you'll just know when the time is right, or that the dog will let you know when they are ready, I've found both of those to be nearly always false.

I should have made the decision to put Shadow, my 17 year old dog, to sleep a month or two before he passed away on his own. He'd had a stroke almost 2 years before that had left him completely blind, he had doggy alzheimers, he had severe arthritis, his teeth were getting bad but he wasn't in good enough health to risk cleaning them, he had accidents on the floor due to the alzheimers, and he was slowly stopping eating. Nothing that he had would have killed him alone, except the waning appetite. I jumped through hoops trying to get him to eat, I started by mixing in toppers with his kibble and did that till he stopped eating it, I next tried cooking for him and using a supplement for the vitamins he slowly stopped eating that, a week before he passed I was letting him have anything that he would eat. On a Wednesday, 3 days before he passed away, I had him at the vet thinking I'd have him put to sleep, but the vet gave me some medicine to try and see if it would help, it didn't. I called them on Friday to let them know and ask if it'd be alright to let him pass away at home naturally, or to take him in to be put to sleep, they said his passing should be painless so I kept him at home and he passed away on Sunday morning. If I had to do it all over again I would have either put him to sleep when he first started to not want to eat, but at minimum I'd have had him put to sleep on Wednesday and never tried the medicine.

You spared your beloved dog a lot of suffering and pain. You could have probably given him more time, but at what cost to him? It sounds as if he was in pain, and there's only so much you can do for an elderly dog before it becomes unfair to them. What Shadow taught me was that there is such a thing as waiting to long to put an elderly dog to sleep, but that it's rare to put one to sleep to soon when you notice the good days are gone and all you see are good moments, the bad days have taken over. He taught me that elderly dogs cannot bounce back from illness like they did when they were young, that each thing takes a toll and they do not fully recover from it and it adds up. I waited to long, and I deeply regret it but I have forgiven myself since I didn't know better.
 
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You did the right thing. Short and simple. Who knows if he would've lived longer then he could've hurt himself worse trying to stand. We don't what would've happened if you hung on but personally i think what you did was the right thing. He's now in peace and watching over you :)

Sorry for your loss!
 

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I just put my cat Kayla to sleep about an hour ago.

She was in great shape for an old cat...probably 18 years old. But she got bone cancer, it showed up in her left front leg. She was uncomfortable, but not in pain.

For me, the decision wasn't too hard... I let my cat pass from this world after living a great life with me...and I let her go, free from major pain. I hated to do it but don't regret it.

I could have probably let her live for another month or so...give her pain killers...etc...but there was no fixing the problem and the only point in keeping her around would have been for selfish reasons...just to have her with me.

She on the other hand, would be the one feeling more and more ill with each day, dealing with the affects and side affects of pain killers. She would have just gone from being uncomfortable to feeling pain in spite of the meds, but pets are good at hiding pain and by the time a human sees it...the animal probably has been hurting more than they let on.

With your dog, I think you knew that too...that things were not going to get better, and I hope you feel no guilt in allowing your pet to pass from this world before he was reduced to a point of only being able to get around due to the fact that was doped up on painkillers, or unable to function normally...unable to get up to go relieve itself properly...etc... .

Even if there were treatments...there is a no treatment for just getting old and all the stuff that goes alone with it.

Without the care and love and attention you gave your dog, he would have never made it to that age he did....too many pets in this world have owners who don't give their pets proper care, and thus shorten their lifespan by a good many years.

I know it's common to say Rest In Peace...but for pet owners who have to make that ultimate decision, we need to grant our selves permission to Live In Peace... in granting our beloved pets a dignified death when we know things are bad and only going to get worse with their aches and pains.

My condolences on the loss of your dog, Darwin.

Stormy
 

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Rain,

I really can't express how much your post meant to me. It's giving me comfort to hear from another pet owner that maybe I did right by my little guy, Darwin.

I'll tell you what's hurting so bad. It's when I think about his head resting on my lap, his eyes tired but alert. The vet with three syringes. One milky white for the propofol. One a jewel-like blue with the phenobarbital. One clear with saline. She asks, "Are you ready?" I nod, unable to speak - the grief descending. She makes the injections. Maybe 30 seconds pass, and she checks his heart with a stethoscope. "He's gone. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.", she said. I look down at my little boy, just to see if his body is moving. When he was sleeping over the years, I used to always think jokingly, "Did you go and die on me?". This time, no movement. Just stillness. I gently lifted up his head, and moved to the floor where I could look at his face. His eyes were still open, so I tried to close them. I kissed his nose. That exact moment in time was the most painful. Just the site of him there, but gone. Then I really lost it, and realized I needed to calm myself because of the noise I was making.

I'm so sorry for going into such detail. Talking about it seems to help. When I think back on that moment and the image in my mind, it's like I'm being stabbed.

The vet was a young intern, and she seemed genuinely distraught as I wept and was unable to speak. She repeated, "I'm so sorry." several times. I don't know. I feel really grateful to her for that. For her genuine empathy. Euthanasia must be hard on the vets too. I wrote her a letter thanking her along with pictures of Darwin when he was young and healthy. Hopefully she doesn't think I'm odd for doing so. I just felt this strange connection with her in that moment when he slipped away so very quietly, between breaths. No more pain for my dog.

Thank you again.

Brad
 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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. :huddle:
 

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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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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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