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Posts: 115
Hi all
      About 2 1/2 months ago I put my 161/2 year old  wonderful dog companion chewy to sleep and i still have guilt over that choice.I wrote here before but her story is she had a seizure we went to the vet where he told me she had life threatening anemia from either had an immune disease IMHA or cancer.He said  we could give her an immediate  transfusion and run tests but put her odds low she would survive  like 17% unless cancer which would be worse.She also had bad arthritis in her front legs which was getting worse and a spine disease(wooblers) for the past 6 years which she had trouble feeling her back legs and she could walk but with a sway and she would sometimes fall.So with her bad vet prognosis and other ailments i decided to let her go.Also the vet said he would put her to sleep if it was his dog.The guilt i am feeling is that i knew she was getting old and when we went to the vet i almost had it in my mind that i was going to have to put her to was almost like i got the courage to let her go and didnt think of any other options.I just think i didnt look at any other choices and maybe i was frozen in my decision before we even got to the vet.Maybe i didnt want to go thru it all over again.I know her outlook was very poor but maybe i should have tried one more time to save her she had struggled so hard her whole life.I realize that  the outcome probably would have been the same no matter what my frame of mind i was in but i still have some guilt over it.In the end I just went with my vets advice but he did tell me it was still my decision to make and we could try transfusion and tests.I just saw my chewy so weak and she looked so worn out that I let her go.I didnt want her to go thru more tests needles and then be alone and die anyway.I just think i should have thought about it for a little longer instead of just telling the vet okay.i am so confused over this and i miss her so much.thanks for listening

Posts: 1,910
choochoo, I am so sorry for your loss of Chewy.

You are still  grieving, and one of the worst parts of that grieving is the guilt and the second questions we torment ourselves with.  As if trying to go on without our beloved furred one isn't more than hard enough.

I read through your post.  First of all Chewy was 16 1/2 years old.  (I'm a cat person, but) in dog years that means Chewy was something over 112 years old. I've read that one year of a dog's live equals 7 years of a human's.  Chewy lived a remarkably *long* life!!

For the last six years Chewy had difficulties with walking, arthritis and other things.  So that means that for quite a while life wasn't optimal for Chewy.  Our furred ones are magnificent at adjusting to things, but still, there is the inconvenience and the discomfort (we all hope it isn't pain). 

You know, we all know, that our furred ones love us so much, so much want to be with us, that they are expert at hiding pain and how badly off they really are.  Five times this year people have told me how their beloved cat or dog suddenly "collapsed" and within a day they had to put their furred one to sleep, due to incurable horrible problems that they'd had little if any hint of up to that point.  These are not uncaring people, they just didn't have anything to see.  It is devastating to those of us left behind, but there was practically nothing at all to notice in the weeks before, nothing that warranted a trip to the vet.

All that last paragraph is a longwinded way of saying that I think Chewy felt a lot worse than anyone realized.

You said that your vet told you if it were his dog, he would put Chewy to sleep.  We (me and three kitties) have been going to a wonderful vet for about 15 years now.  He had tears in his eyes when he put to sleep my wonderful Bartholomew cat five years ago.  He has at least four "office pets," whose owners turned them in rather than pay for their ongoing physical problems.  Rather than put them to sleep, he keeps them there, and they get all his free medical care and attention from the staff and those of us who come in with our own furred ones. 

Veterinaries do *not* lightly talk about euthanasia.  A vet like mine has a calling and cares so much about quality of life for the furred one that he has foregone a lot of income (I know what other friend's vets charge in this county).  A mercenary vet, which is pretty rare, still has concerns of decency; while there might be still more procedures to perform, at some point it no longer makes sense.  Either way, whichever kind of vet you have, it came down to the point that leaving this world was the best of the horrible choices left.

I don't know if you asked for a post-mortem.  It is very likely that Chewy did have cancer, though.  At that age, any treatment would have been impossible.

choochoo,  We are the humans, we are the ones who will live longer, it's simple biology. We knew this when we opened our lives and our hearts to them that they wouldn't live as long as we do. 

You left nothing undone.  I truly believe that if you had done one thing more, it would only have prolonged a painful life for Chewy.  I am absolutely certain that we are very fortunate to be able to end a time of suffering with no hope of a life of quality again for our furred ones when we can't do that for our beloved humans.

Please do not doubt yourself.  You gave what many people on this board have called the final act of love.  You saved Chewy more suffering at the cost of taking it on to yourself.  You are a loving and caring person.

Posts: 251
Hi choochoo,

I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful girl Chewy and all the guilt you have right now. Chewy was your soulmate and to lose her is just heartbreaking.

My heart aches for you that you are feeling so much guilt. I know what that haunting, gutwrenching guilt is like and I would not wish that on anyone. Your story sounds so similar to mine. My Nugget had debilitating arthritis and a growth under his was 6 months ago he was PTS and I too feel that I went to the vet that day knowing that was what had to be done, if that makes any sense and that I wasn't maybe opent o anything else although that did recommend that it was time...I am still horrifically haunted by the grief to this day and cry for my boy constantly.

Choo choo, we are here for you and we understand your grief and your guilt....I believe that you did the only thing you could do for your Chewy...but I know me telling you doesn't really help as people tell me the same thing about my Nugs yet I still feel so guilty.

Be kind to yourself and be sure that your Chewy still loves you and is with you...if you need to chat you can email me on I know how you feel.

A big cuddle to you,

Nuggetsmum Alana

Posts: 1,328

It's normal to second guess yourself. Your pet had multiple health problems and you knew it was time. You made the right decision based on what you knew and felt to be right. The guilt always seems to be with us no matter what we do. Take care.


Posts: 115

Thank you so much for reading my post and responding in such a caring way.As for my vet he is a very caring vet who strongly believes in quality of life so i knew he would lean to pts in a case such as mine.Kamc thanks for your words of support and insight.I do believe chewy was hiding her sickness and pain she had such a will to live.I also think she had a cancer but ill never know for sure.Either way i know she was very old and wasnt gonna live forever i know but there still is some doubt in my mind probably because it happened so fast.your words do help me though realize that it was probably chewys time to leave me.nuggetmum thanks for your help and am sorry you had to lose you loved nugget as my chewy.maybe we both knew it was time to say goodbye to our loved ones but then we realized they are gone and we wont see them again at least not in this life.nancee thanks also i hope you are right that i did the best for my chewy.the guilt of seeing her eyes close as i held her just seems to gnaw at me.I know i can never bring her back but it just doesnt seem fair that i had to make the choice to end her life.I know i dont have a magic potion that could make her young again but the pain of losing her and the guilt of letting someone end of life is just unbearable at times.She was so special.I hope she is happy and hope there is a rainbow bridge where i can see her again.thank you all


Posts: 196

I think we often confuse our grieving and sadness at losing our pet with regret for making the decision to euthanize.  When a pet is old and sick, we know in our hearts they won't be with us long, and that is the part we regret.  We love them so much and hate to see them suffer so, and we do the loving thing, even though it is heartwrenching to say goodbye.  As time goes by, you will be able to separate the two things, and will know you did the right thing -- There is nothing to feel guilty about.  You did what was right for someone you loved very much.  Our pets can't make out living wills or tell us what they want.  But no one wants to live in pain or in a completely diminished capability.  Sadness and grieving are the things we deal with, but we should never feel guilty for taking our babies out of pain -- especially when we know they will never get younger or recover from their illness.


Posts: 5,100
You know, I truly believe on the day you let Chewy go you had a moment of clarity of mind that allowed you to make the hardest but the most merciful decision for Chewy.  With Chewy's advanced age and all of her severe medical illnesses it seems so clear if you had tried something else it would have primarily been for "you" not for her.  Like you said, your precious baby looked so worn out, and you just did not want to do anything more to make her suffer or to PROLONG her suffering.  A transfusion is such a temporary fix.  And more possibly painful tests to find what?  Cancer?  You let your mind overrule your heart and DID THE RIGHT THING for her.  You should be so proud that you mustered that strength.  I know without a doubt that Chewy is so proud and so GRATEFUL you freed her from all that pain.  Just let that thought sink in for one moment.  You are her hero.

Betsy Noodle's grateful mom

Posts: 215

I am right along with you.  I put my Smokey to sleep just Thursday and I went into the vet with the mindset that if the tests came back good, I would continue and bring Smokey home.  But if the tests revealed more poking and prodding and still serious problems, I felt I had to let him go.  I had everything prepared just in case I had to make the most difficult decision.  I chose to let Smokey go.  I cannot forgive myself, thinking oh, but what if I tried this......I am suffering incredible guilt and sadness right now.  But at the same time, Smokey was 16 1/2 years old (cat) and I had been watching the quality of his life and body diminishing.  I wasn't getting ahead of all of the different problems. 

In the end, we have to believe we are doing the best thing for our pets.  I cannot offer you much right now because of my state.......except that I pray God will grant you peace and comfort.  Chewy knows that you loved her. 

Posts: 143
I can't think of anything to add to what the others have said.  You made a gut wrenching decision that was the best decision for your dear Chewy.  I believe that all of us who have made that decision suffer some guilt, as well as the sadness and overwhelming grief.

We understand.   

Posts: 115

thanks again for all your support.This is just the most painful thing i have ever gone thru.Maybe i did think with my brain on that day instead of my heart as i still dont know how i said okay to the vet.maybe thats why i still hurt so much my heart would have told me to try one more thing but i realize that it would have probably jusy prolonged her pain>it just that you hear people saying dont keep your pet around for yourself if she is so sick.But i still feel that i almost took the easy way out by listening to my vets advice and almost letting him chose.i know i didnt want to see chewy in pain anymore and tranfusions and tests probably wouldnt have helped but i still think maybe i couldve tried at least.Was i afraid to see her linger around and then have to put her to sleep later anyway.Probably.i know thats what probably would have happened and i think i just couldnt handle was probably both a choice to end her pain and my pain of watching her and then having to PTS anyway.I know im rambling on and looking at lot of possiblities but when you let someone you love go i guess you want to be absolutely certain.I know she was very sick and deep down i probably feel i did the right thing but i guess i just miss her so much.I would have given my life for hers as i know she would have the done the same for me.SO why do i feel somehow i failed her?thanks again for listenng


Posts: 215

I have a book titled, "Surviving the Heartbreak of Choosing Death for Your Pet."  The author is Linda M. Peterson.  In the book, Chapter 20, there is a section on what a pet would say to their human friend during this decision making process.  It is a wonderful letter to us and part of a meditation for the end of our pet's life.  If I can get to it today, I'll type that letter and title the post, "Dear Human Friend."  I think as long as I give credit to the author, it's okay to do that.  BTW, her book is very very good.

Let's try to stop beating ourselves up for our decision to end our pet's pain.  We are in essence taking away from all of the love and care we gave them for so long.  I know, and you know that our pet's love us, we just have to look at that piece, rather then that last moment.

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