Registered: 1533041930 Posts: 3
I recently put my dog of almost 13 years down. She was a yellow lab. She seemed to have severe arthritis. Stairs were unavoidable in my house. She had trouble with them. It had been over a year since she slept in my bed. She was slowly going downhill for a little over a year but in april she started regressing a bit faster. She didn't want to play fetch like before anymore. She wasn't even using her bed towards the end. She sometimes couldn't stand up on her own after laying down. She dragged her back feet to the point her right leg would bleed here and there. She didn't appear to be sleeping well. She panted a lot and got up or tried getting up a lot in the middle of the night/early mornings. She was on kd prescription food, glucosamine supplements since she was 8 and fish oil was started in april. When I first noticed trouble with her hind legs such as knuckling or getting up slowly, I put her on galliprant july 2nd. With vets approval I raised her dose as much as I could a few days later. I even got a cold laser device that week and began massaging her with it every other day or every few days. After two weeks of Galliprant, I felt it wasn't helping enough. I reached out to vet again and we added gabbapentin. It make her sleep so well the first night I thought this would be manageable. But after a few days on it she never slept like that again and I did not see any visible improvement. I know I should have given it more time but I was exhausted. I felt that I had started grieving over the loss of my pet since april when things went downhill faster. Even before I decided to put my dog down I couldn't remember a day I didn't cry. I was tired of worrying. Working 40 hrs a week and being away from home for almost 10 hrs a day wasn't making it easier for her. I did not want to try a different pain medication other than galliprant because she had kidney issues and I knew doing that would ultimately lead to kidney failure. (Galliprant has shown to be a lot easier on kidneys). But I could not stand seeing my dog uncomfortable and in pain and on july 24th I decided to put her down on July 28th. I don't think I have ever cried as much as I had in my life as I did that day. I took the rest of the week off work and spent it with her. I even slept on the floor with her.
I feel guilty now. Guilty because I wonder, did I put her down more for her or did I do it more for me? Did I do it to give her peace or did I do it to give me peace? She had a hefty appetite for wet food and human food which is why I wonder if I should have waited. But I don't think I would have wanted to see the day were she refused food. What makes it worse was I always imagined the day I lost her I would fall into depression but I feel okay and that makes me feel even more guilty. She's been on my mind non stop but I don't feel as sad as I thought I would be. I felt more sad watching her regress than after I lost her. I don't know how to take that. Is it because Im at peace now that she is? Or because my selfish need to not constantly worry whether she is okay anymore is fulfilled? I don't feel like I deserve to be happy while she is dead. Has anyone had similar feelings?
Registered: 1237261022 Posts: 34
I am so sorry that you lost your beloved dog. What you are feeling is perfectly normal. You are relieved that your baby is no longer suffering. There is no reason to feel guilty. It’s natural for us to always wonder if we did it too soon. But, you saved your precious pet from more suffering. We have all been there. And I know personally, that one time I waited too long and I still can’t forgive myself. “Anticipatory Grief” can be worse than when they are actually gone. I’m sure your baby knows how much you loved her and that you set her free from her pain. Come visit this site as much as you need to. You will find comfort and understanding here.
Registered: 1533041930 Posts: 3
Thank you for the reply. I'm sure I will be visiting this site for a while. I'm glad I found it.
Registered: 1532489788 Posts: 55
Enyo93, I had a lot of anticipatory grief with my Riley. We found out he had cancer in Oct 2017 and while we tried to build his immune system and treat him naturally, I knew what the final outcome would be. I cried and cried and cried about it and I watched him go down hill, then rebound for a bit, then go down hill again. It was so heartbreaking to watch. He was throwing up quite a bit, his kidneys were also starting to fail, so he was drinking a lot and then spitting the water back up, he was having trouble breathing, he was having trouble getting comfortable. Because I did not want to do any heroics, I really do not know the extent of his cancer. I know he had a mass in his abdomen and his one lymph node was so swollen, it was about the size of a tennis ball and I'm not sure if he had something going on in his chest because of breathing. He also was refusing most foods and got to the point that the only thing he would eat was ham and pork. I felt a lot of guilt too because in some way, I could not watch him anymore. He was doing his best, but I know he felt really bad and the morning my husband and I decided, I still doubted it, but we both were really worried about his lymph node because it grew so much in a couple of weeks and we worried that he would end up gasping for air in the middle of the night, which would have been worse. So we made the decision. I think most people feel guilt about having to make the decision--especially with something like what your dog was going through--she didn't have a fatal health issue, but you obviously knew she was in pain and uncomfortable. I truly understand what you are feeling--the guilt of it all. I was wondering did my Riley know what I was doing, did he know why I was doing it. The day we put him to sleep, I kept saying I killed my dog. It's all such a horrible thing. I wanted Riley to just go to sleep on his own, but I also would not have forgiven myself if he had been gasping for air. Your girl could have fallen or really hurt herself at some point and it may have been worse. You know you would have never done anything deliberately to hurt your beloved dog--you did what you did to help her be in peace. I think many times we want to keep them with us for us, but it's still so very hard.
Registered: 1533041930 Posts: 3
Riley I'm so sorry for your loss. I know exactly how you felt when you kept saying you killed your dog. I kept telling mine while she was falling asleep that I was sorry. I was so sorry. I didn't feel like i had the right to end her life. I too was hoping she would go on her own. You're right. I was afraid she would end up hurting herself especially on the stairs. She already was having minor falls. All it would take was one big one to break a bone. If i had the strength to carry her to avoid stairs I would have. I had bought a lift harness in Hope's she would let me assist her months before but it made her skittish and using the stairs even more stressful. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that they are at peace. I just bought the book a dog's purpose. I'm hoping this brings me some comfort in the thought of a dogs afterlife.
Registered: 1531202970 Posts: 106
I think guilt is *such* a common and natural emotion when you have to make the decisin to euthanize an animal. I feel like my head is telling me that it is the humane and right thing to do but my heart is screaming NONONO. It truly is the last act of love we can show a beloved, ailing pet, but, it is certainly the most difficult one on so many levels.
I am sorry about your yellow lab -- such nice dogs.