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Posts: 1
Hi guys. Yesterday I had to make the hardest decision. I had to put one of my pups to sleep. At the time I felt like it was the right thing to do. She was a 15 year old husky/collie mix. She was old and frail she had tumors all over her. She's been having trouble walking, and about two years ago she had to have surgery because she broke her hip. She hasn't been hearing very well, and she seemed to be very disinterested in everything. She was the light of my mom's life, and visa versa, my mom passed away in March and since then she seemed to be going down hill more and more. I have a neighbor that walks my dogs for me while I'm at work, and yesterday she called me to let me know that she thinks sky hurt her self. She was going to take her out. And she had to come right back up with her because sky couldn't walk, I called the vet and made an appointment. I wasn't sure if I was going to put her to sleep or not, but once I saw her I knew, she couldn't walk so I had to put a towel under her to help her walk to the car and lift her up to put her in. Now I'm having all kinds of guilt, like why did I do that? I should have tried everything I could to fix her, but then I was thinking about her quality of life, if I had fixed whatever was wrong, would it have improved her life more, or would they have put her on meds? They didn't examine her or anything. Just did it. I feel terrible, I feel like I killed my sister. The vet didn't even tell me how fast it would be, they stuck her as I was rubbing her face and kissing her nose. And I was holding her head, and i wound up holding her head up, but I looked at her face and she was smiling. I'm just so confused, will I ever get over this guilt? Ive never had to make a decision like this in my life. And now I'm sad. And my 5 year old dog who has grown up with her here, is sad and I don't know what to do for him either. Ugh. Do you guys think I made the right decision? I couldn't watch her limping around anymore. She would just lay down all day and only get up to eat or go for walks. I miss my puppy, and my heart really hurts.

Posts: 730
I am so very sorry you've lost Sky.  Her loss is tied so closely to losing your mum, as she was her beloved little pet, and now you've lost that connection along with Sky.  My heart breaks for you.  

No matter what you did - or did not do - the end result would have been exactly the same.  You could have spent endless hours in the vet, spent countless dollars, and tried everything thing under the sun only to end up in the same place you are now - trying to cope with the loss of beautiful Sky.  Sky was old, ill, and clearly communicating her change in quality of life these past few months.  You simply gave her the grace of an ending her illness and old age would never have allowed her to have.  There is no guilt to be found here - only love and compassion for a beloved family member who trusted you to make the right decisions for her - and that's just what you did.

The idea that veterinary science and medicine have come so far that we are obliged to 'try everything' puts all of us in the position of feeling like we have control over life and death.  We do not.  All life has an ending, sometimes to illness, sometimes to accident, and most often to simple old age.  There are battles you might win along the way, but you could never have won this war - ever - and Sky would have succumbed to her conditions as surely as the sun rose this morning.  Your option was one of timing, ensuring that Sky would not suffer increasingly painful or invasive visits to the vet, and would not die alone, in pain, or in a condition of suffering and grief.  

Sky died as she lived, wrapped in the arms of a person who loved her, needed her, and knew how important she was.  She doesn't share the memories you have of her last moments, she only knows she was with you, and that's the best possible place she could have been at the end of her life. And, finally, she is reunited with your mum, a person who meant the world to her.

Take a deep breath, feel my hand in yours, and know that you did the right thing - the ONLY thing - that made sense for Sky.  What happens now is just grief.  And grief cannot be tied to guilt because it's not a real place to put your feelings of loss and mourning.  Sky does not deserve to be tied to a dark, negative and hopeless emotion.  She represented light, love and warmth.  YOU do not deserve to give guilt any energy, for it's lying to you, telling you that somehow you were the master over life and death and made decisions that were thoughtless or harmful.  All her life, Sky depended on her family to make the right calls - and this one was no different though the outcome of the decision was her loss.  But make no mistake, this decision, like every other one you've ever made for her, was based upon your love, your connection to her, and your desire to do what was right.  

I know how badly you miss her.  I know how much you want her back.  I know what you'd give for one more minute, one more hour, one more day.  And these are the worst feelings in the world because there is absolutely nothing you can do to change this awful reality.  But what does change, I promise you with all my heart, is YOU.  At some point, the narrative changes in your head from remembering what it was like to lose her to remembering what it was like to HAVE her - and Sky becomes part of the love in your heart forever - safe, and in a place where you can never lose her again.  There is no timetable for this - grief doesn't follow a calendar or a schedule.  It's one step forward, two steps back, sleepless nights, crying, and thinking, and aching, physically and emotionally.  She was yours, she was a connection to your beloved mum, and she's now in a place where you cannot touch her or feel her again.  But she is with you, inside you, part of you forever.  Just like your mum.  Just as a sister.

Sky.  A beautiful name, and a beautiful story of love.  As I look at the Sky right now, I am sending you all the care and support I can, because you need to know you are not alone.  The love you feel for her comes through in every word that you wrote.  

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