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Posts: 1
Hello.. I found this website the other day and I really hope that I can get some help with how bad my heart hurts. Monday I had to put my 6 year old English Springer Spaniel "Diego" down. It's hard to even say his name without tearing up. He was my best friend and I loved him with all my heart. What really bothers me the most was that he was a very healthy dog. He was not ill or injured. He had aggression issues "Unpredictable Rage" according to our Vet. and because of that I feel like I murdered my beloved Diego.
It all started about 4 years ago when and it's gotten worse ever since. He became very aggressive toward my wife and other members of the family. It really got to the point were I couldn't trust him anymore around anybody else besides me. I would never know when he might become aggressive because when he did, it seems like it came out of no where and then after it's like nothing ever happened. He was clearly not well. I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old and recently Diego has started to growl at my 5 year old for no reason at all. Over the years we've talked with our Vet about his issues and he was put on medication. We have consulted with a Behaviorist the Breeder and went through 2 courses of dog training and nothing seemed to work. I recently got in contact with the Springer Rescue foundation about him and they couldn't take him because of his aggression issues and suggested he be put down. I knew I couldn't trust him in another family. So the decision was made to put him down. The week leading up to the appointment was so hard for me. I've cried so much, I don't think there are anymore tears left. The last night I slept on the floor besides him just hugging him as long as I could. He was a perfect boy 95% of the time, it was the other 5% I worried about. Please tell me the pain will go away.... Did I do the right thing?   Is he mad at me? The guilt is killing me inside...

Posts: 1,737

The truth is Diego was sick - no, not a physical ailment that could be seen - but still sick. And as with some physical ailments, some mental ailments cannot be successfully treated. You did not "murder" Diego - you set him free. Even when we free our beloved companions from catastrophic physical ailments like end stage cancer we often go through feeling that same way, it is normal. Guilt is very often the 1st steps on griefs path, but the what ifs and if onlys are simply our grief tormenting us. When we loose these precious souls why really doesn't matter - love is a shared bond and when that bond seemes severed it hurts. But Diego is with you always - free of the aggression he could not control - simply in a form you cannot see.
The Gentle Ones  (please click here and open and read this - it may help)

Please know you did try and in the end had no real choice - what were Diego's options? Life in a cage? Intervention by the authorities when things got too out of control? Someone mauled and his death happening either at the hands of someone trying to stop him or with strangers in an animal control facility? You gave him every chance you could then made sure he left with dignity surrounded by love. Please know all you are feeling right now is normal and no matter what the circumstances is what we have all felt. i am so very sorry for your loss.



Posts: 1,605
I am so sorry for what you have been going through with Diego...Its such an awful decision to make.  But it sounds like you did everything right - you tried everything you could.  Sometimes things are just beyond our control.  Did you do the right thing?  Maybe the question you need to ask is how you would feel if Diego did seriously injur someone, espescially your child?  It sounds as if this could have been a real possibility. 

You did not murder your friend.  You said yourself that "clearly he was not well" - he may have been a healthy dog physically but from what you describe it really sounds as if Diego may have had a serious problem mentally.  The choice you made not only released you and your family from potential harm, but it also released Diego from his problems.  Diego is free from his aggression now.  Diego could not live a trusted life people here - but now in heaven he is free to love.  I honestly think that he would thank you for the sacrifice you made.

I can't tell you the pain will go away tomorrow or next week or next month.  But I can tell you it does get better over time.  You will get through this.


Posts: 596
Chris, this is such a sad story. But you know, Diego was not happy living the way he was. He knew there was something wrong. Dogs are very smart, and I really don't think they fear death as we do. I've seen acceptance in their eyes when the time comes.

The hard part is for you to know you gave Diego peace. He is free from his illness and he can be whole and well. He knew you loved him and he trusted you to do what you had to do.

Only time will ease the gut wrenching ache in your heart. And forgiving yourself is a step to lessen the pain.

I've got an electric candle that I light for Bubba, so I can still see a glow and know he's never forgotten, always remembered and forever loved. It helps me when I feel sadness. I want his life to overshadow his death.

Posts: 1,983
I'm very sorry, the decision you had to make was for the best of all you love, including Diego.  Our hearts have a very difficult time accepting what our minds know was the best decision for all, even Diego. 

Aggression is so difficult to understand when they are only given love and affection every day they are with you.  But it can be from so many things;  breeding, brain abnormalities, and how they were socialized to humans at 8-10 weeks old.  I've read it comes out most often after they are 2 and continues to get worse with time.  If it is severe, there is no amount of behavioral training that will change it.  It was something Diego had no control over.

He loved you, and he lived every day with your love.  That was such a blessing for him to know that depth of love in his lifetime.  So many never experience it at all. 

He is your boy and now he is safe from his demons, his constant fear that someone would harm him or you and that he had to protect both of you.  His irrational feelings were very stressful for him.  His fears are over, and now it's only time for "peace" in his little heart and soul.  I believe he thanks his Daddy for that.

He flew home in the arms of the angels where God told him, it's OK  Diego, you're home now and you can play and romp in the sun without fear or anger.  You and those you love are safe and they will come for you one day to be together with you forever.


Posts: 11,058
I am so sorry your dear friend, Diego, has passed on.  There have been other here who have had to put down an aggressive pet also, and it is always so painful.  You wish with all of your heart that a miracle would occur and your baby would be kind and gentle all of the time.  You make the right decision for your family, but I know how hard it is without Diego.  He didn't want to be causing trouble....and that is what is so sad. I wish that aggressive behavior did not is too painful.  My heart goes out to you, Chris.  Your sweet boy is at the bridge now with all of our babies.  He is angelic and loved by everyone.  You will see your boy when it is your time to go home.  Diego will wait for you.

precious Christoph ~ my sweet bunny ~


Posts: 5,102
Dear Chris,

I am so very, very sorry for your loss of your beloved Springer, Diego.  I don't think I can say it any more poignantly than Ghatten did; Diego was ill and you did your best to help him.  When he could not be cured, you did what any other loving and devoted furparent would do.  Diego knows your heart.  He knows how much you loved/still love him.  He is now living with all of our furbabies in the radiant light of the Bridge, and is free of all suffering.  I just wish there were words that could lessen your pain.

Jon Katz wrote a book about a wonderful Border Collie he rescued who  subsequently developed aggression issues.  It is entitled "A Good Dog--The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life."  He writes about the aching grief that one feels in such sad situations.  In the end, he speaks so eloquently of how Orson, whom he profoundly loved, is still guiding his life.  This book may or may not be helpful to you, but I thought I would mention it.  Sometimes, I think it can be helpful to read the words of someone who has walked in your shoes.

I will keep you in my prayers.


Posts: 541

Chris, I am so very sorry for your loss and for the pain you are going through. Please know that you made the only choice possible. My heart goes out to you and it breaks for you. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you and I hope you find peace and comfort soon in your sorrow.


Posts: 29
I am so completely and sincerely sorry for what you have had to go through, for what you are going through, and what I'm sure you will continue to go through for some time yet.  I have walked in your shoes.  I am still walking in your shoes, five months later.

I am just shaking my head, I still don't understand, I still don't think it possible that I could have made the decision to end my dog's life, as otherwise healthy as he was at just 1 yr old.  I never ever thought it possible that I could do such a thing, and I imagine you are having some of these same thoughts.

It has taken some real adjusting to make myself really understand that what was done was necessary, and that I did everything in my power to help him, it just wasn't enough, it was out of my control.  It has also taken time to forgive myself, and I still struggle with that.  I slip back to wondering what if I'd done this, what if I'd done that, what if I'd have called the behaviorist sooner, what if I'd have bought a house with a fenced in yard, etc, etc.

Continue to trust yourself in knowing that you did the right thing.  Guilt is a natural process, even if you're not guilty, forgive yourself anyway, forgive yourself every day!  It is such a sad situation, one I wouldn't wish for anyone to have to go through.  I wish you health and healing and know that you're not alone.  And your pup is not alone either.  My best to you  ~ Cindy

Posts: 315
Chris, I still feel guilt over the mistakes I made at the time of Riley's passing and over every little thing I did wrong during the 11-1/2 years we were together.  
I spoke with an animal communicator to be sure he is okay.  What I learned is that they only remember the love and that this love continues forever.  

Posts: 56

I am very sorry for your loss.

I have experiance with your situation and have sent you a private message.

Cindy, Abby's Mom, I miss her so
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