Reading through this message board has been a big help in terms of dealing with the guilt I feel about what I am facing. My 16 year old baby girl, Kiwi, is scheduled for euthanasia at home on Thursday August 16th. I thought I was accepting of it but now, as we get closer to the date, I'm not so sure.
I wrote out a letter to my fiancé because he has been pretty vocal about how he feels that Kiwi has been kept alive past her time. He has felt this way for over a year and has even called me selfish for keeping her alive. She has been blind and deaf for a few years, pees in the house if not taken out every 3-4 hours, has developed doggie dementia and was recently diagnosed with epilepsy (though she's only had a handful of small seizures). I've even hid from him that it was recently found out that she has a mass/tumor in her abdominal area because I feared he would use that as even more ammunition for his argument to put her down.
This is my letter to him. I have not sent it. I'm fearful of his reaction.
For some reason, I am afraid to talk to you about my feelings because I fear your response and lack of understanding and that you will turn things on me. But I simply can’t hide my feelings any longer. So here goes…
The day that I have dreaded for as long as I have been a mommy to Kiwi (which is 16 years and 25 days exactly) is just a few hours away and I am already feeling racked by guilt, sadness and shame. I feel like I am stuck in a bad dream from which I can’t wake up. As you know, for a person like me who feels deep sadness at seeing roadkill, the thought of an animal dying is beyond upsetting and if you think that I have the mental fortitude to kill my own little baby girl, you would be wrong. It is gutting me. I feel exactly what you have called me previously for keeping Kiwi alive despite her many issues… SELFISH. I feel selfish for letting her go before her time is truly up. I fear I may hate myself for doing this. Her beautiful little face will forever haunt me.
You may or may not understand this… but a mom knows. A mom knows when her baby is suffering and ready to give up on living. And though we both agree she is no longer living her best life, she still has that itty bitty bit of spunk, especially when she gets held by me, brought out to a soft patch of green grass or fed anything other than her regular dog food. For all we know, she may have another year or two in her. I’m disgusted with myself at the thought of robbing her of that. She is NOT in pain or distress, does not have any type of organ failure and is still eating normally. These are good things. Her many issues (which are relatively normal for senior dogs) are being controlled by meds and TLC. I also hate seeing her bump into walls and pace around the room endlessly but she seems to function well despite this. If I saw her exhibit any sign of pain or distress, I would not question it and would let her go. That is how it’s usually done. People hold on for hope until it is clearer than ice that there is no hope left.
You can see that I am struggling with this. Still, I can go through with her euthanasia procedure on Thursday so that we can all move on from this but I can’t guarantee that I won’t be consumed by thoughts of Maybe It Was Too Soon? What the Hell Have I Done? Did I ReaLLy Just Kill My Baby Because Of Our Hectic LifeStyle? or the worst… Did My Fiancé Just Convince Me To Let Go Of The First Thing I’ve Ever Truly Loved?
It’s safe to say that I will be a mess for while after all is said and done. I expect you to give me the space I need to grieve and feel whatever range of emotions I am sure to go through. Your support and love is greatly needed at this time.
Aside from this contentious issue, my fiancé is an otherwise great man so it's extremely difficult for me to realize how he feels about all this. He supported Kiwi throughout her many issues over the years but now he just feels it has to come to an end. He claims to feel really bad for her. I hate to say it, but I am not so sure about that...
Thank you fellow dog-parents for giving me a place to write down my thoughts. Your insight is appreciated.
Update: I wrote this post last night while my emotions were pretty raw and I was feeling sorry for myself and especially sorry for Kiwi. The truth of the matter is that my Baby Girl Kiwi is no longer a baby, she is in fact, a little old lady who is now just existing, and not living. Though she isn't exhibiting any outward signs of pain and suffering, her daily quality of life consists of sleeping on the ceramic tile floor (because she can't be bothered to find her bed), pacing around in circles and getting stuck in tight little corners (which I have tried to eliminate as best I can but still...) and looking around the room slightly disoriented and exasperated. She is essentially a shadow of her former self. So, in my heart of hearts, I feel it's best to let her go now while not suffering and while I am here with her. I must travel for the next 6 months with my fiancé and the alternative would've been to pass her off to family but in her current condition, and with anything being possible when it comes to her many issues, I feel it is a burden to impose that on others and I would hate to get the news that she has suffered a distressing episode or has died without me being there for her. So, for me and her, I feel I am left with no other options.
I have arranged for her to go gently and peacefully while laying on her favorite blankie outside on the soft grass overlooking the lake on our property. My sister will be there for emotional support since my fiancé is in hometown tending to his ailing father. I will stay with Kiwi until the sedatives render her into a deep state of relaxation and I will give her my final kisses and hugs goodbye. I will let the vet do the final deed on her own and wait for Kiwi to be picked up by the animal funeral service who will then cremate her in the most respectful way I know possible. I do not intend to see Kiwi lifeless as I prefer to remember her as a beautiful, live and breathing soul. I will then wait for her beautiful pink mother-of-pearl urn to be returned to me and I will cherish that little urn for the rest of my days.
I love you Kiwi.