Registered: 1518624347 Posts: 6
Hi Cubby’s mom. I too have gone through a range of emotions, including anger at myself for euthanizing my dog Jasper when I did. A friend told me that we can only make a decision based on the information we have at the time. With the diagnosis, age, and especially the vet telling you her opinion, I really feel I would have done the same thing. Sounds like Cubby would have to make a lot of trips to the vet & be on a medicine that
would only prolong the inevitable. Please be gentle on yourself. I know if Cubby could, he would thank you for
taking such good care of him, and he would not want you to beat yourself up. It’s right at a month for me, and I’m just beginning to pull out of the grief & guilt. You will too. I am beginning to feel like I can open my heart to another dog to love. I have even felt anger at the family members who were with me at the vet telling me I needed to go ahead and euthanize Jasper before it got worse. In the end, we were all trying to do what was best for our fur babies. I emailed my vet & explained I was second guessing my decision. ( he was not there the day I took Jasper in, I saw another vet ) .He was kind enough to reply & tell me me he thinks I did the right thing. Somehow just seeing that in writing gave me a bit of comfort. Hugs to you. Believe me,I know it is hard, but little by little, you will begin to heal & smile again. Cubby would want that.
Registered: 1515042483 Posts: 7
Hi @Cubbysmom18, I am really so sorry for your loss. I had to let my 15 year old tuxedo, Clara, go in December and I am still heartbroken. I have had her since she was 5 months old and I was 22. She had chronic kidney disease and, just when it got worse and they found that she had gone into kidney failure, they also heard a heart murmur for the first time. So I don't think it's uncommon for those things to go together. From the sounds of your situation, it sounds like Cubby had very little time left and you did the right thing. When I was trying to figure out how I would know when I needed to bring my baby into the vet for the last time, I read a passage online that said, at a certain point, you are no longer prolonging their life, but prolonging their death. My vet also offered to keep her as an inpatient on fluids, but what was that going to do? I would give up all of my worldly possessions to have kept her with me, but the reality is that none of those options could keep her healthy and alive. As much as it hurts to think about it, my girl was dying and it sounds like yours was too. Just writing this brings tears to my eyes as I was SO attached to my kitty and I still pretty much cry every day. It hurts so badly and I felt guilty at first....we spend our lives keeping them happy and healthy; it feels so unnatural to have to help them pass. But (as I also read somewhere else), at least she was able to pass in the arms of the person who loved her more than anyone in the world. We should all be so lucky. Wishing you peace and healing. --- Whitney
Registered: 1520827061 Posts: 2
Wow guys, thank you so much for that. I kind of figured no one was using the site anymore, and just really needed somewhere to vent my emotions. My husband hasn't been as affected by this, and if he has, he hasn't told me or shown anything. I felt very alone and hurt. I still wish I could have my baby back. Thank you for your stories and support.
Registered: 1513050674 Posts: 15
Cubby'sMom and Whit_signs and others, I'm so sorry for the pain and loss that you feel. We lost our Emma, a calico cat at age 18 years. I second-guessed myself about the way her life ended too. But I can also remind myself that we loved her every single day we had her, and we made the best decision we could with the information we had.
One thing that helped me after losing Emma was to put together a Shutterfly book with photos of her life, ending with a letter that was everything I would say to her, as if she were able to understand it. There are other online photo book companies; that's just the one that I used. It allowed me to interact with her, at least with pictures of her, a little bit more, and to say what was in my heart. I don't know whether other people would find that helpful, but it was comforting to me.
Registered: 1515042483 Posts: 7
Ann_in_iowa -- thanks for the great suggestion! I have been thinking I will make a Shutterfly book when it's not so painful to look at all those pictures (and there are many of them) but I had not thought to write a letter to her as part of the book....I love it. 😉 Sorry about your kitty as well.
Registered: 1513050674 Posts: 15
Whit-signs, I have now had 5 cats in my life, and two of them were just special to me - Plato and Emma. When I lost Plato, I wrote him a long letter. I got a cardboard casket from the vet's office, upholstered it so it would have a nice cushion for him, put my letter, some catnip and toys in there for him, and buried him in the back yard. (Cremation is much easier, and it was my choice last time.) The letter was the important part. Shuttterfly allows you to enter text as well as photos, so I'm glad that I had the opportunity do make the letter a part of the book. And spending time with each picture, the layout on each page, gave me a way to still interact with Emma, but in a different way. Shutterfly also had the option of a plastic pocket that you can attach to the end page, and that was a good place to keep a lock of her fur.
Registered: 1159941216 Posts: 22
I've had to put both my senior dogs to sleep in the last 7 weeks. Shadow, my 13 year-old big girl dog suddenly got sick, found out she had huge tumors and I had to put her down that day, Jan 22. After that, my 15 year-old Greyhound boy Rufus went downhill fast (he was already arthritic, mostly blind and somewhat senile). It got to the point I had to make the decision. He cried on the way to the vet and didn't want to go inside. His hips no longer worked and he was in terrible pain. He would get stuck on the floor when no one was home and couldn't get up. I couldn't stand to see him suffer. They were bonded, Shadow had been with me since she was a tiny puppy and Rufus was young.
I keep seeing Rufus's terror in the parking lot and how he was when they sedated him right before he was PTS. I know I did the right thing but that part keeps playing in my mind. If I hadn't done it, he would be suffering.
Registered: 1518245506 Posts: 13
Wild8hrt, you have had a rough last few weeks! I am so sorry to hear that. Your Shadow and Rufus must have been very close buddies. My Emma Lee was yelping and crying all the way to the vet, but at the time I thought she had just hurt her leg somehow (it was a spinal stroke). It was so devastating to hear her in that pain as I am sure it was for you with your Rufus. As MCKANGEL pointed out to me, if I would have brought her home with more medications and her other health issues, she could have had this happen while I was at work and been crying out in pain with no one around. That guilt of taking them to the vet and making a decision like that is quite horrible, but the other choice is to keep them here in pain, which is definitely not the right one. So sorry to hear of your last weeks and hope things get better for you from now on.
Emma Lee's mom
Registered: 1522009525 Posts: 1
Thank you so much for this thread. It helped me on so many levels today, it is truly unbelievable. I put down my first cat yesterday, Catzilla. She's been with us for exactly 16.5 years, and we have known each other since she came to this world.
She had pancreas cancer that led to a liver failure and blocked bile duct. The cancer was identified a month ago by a local doctor who suggested to put her to sleep immediately to avoid further sufferring. As the tumor did not show on the ultrasound, and did not directly show in her blood results, I completely ignored his advice and pursued further treatment with the best oncologist in the country. This is the only grief I have, that I selfishly kept her alive because I could not cope with the idea of not having her with me... the only thing the new clinic did was get our money as they promised the cat would get better after a round of liquids, meds, further ultrasounds, etc. i drive her there every signe day and spend every evening with her, 4h at the vet, waiting for the liquids... My lovely Catzilla was fading in my eyes and the only thoughts I had was 'they are one of the best clinics in the country, they have to help her...'... they did not. They even pushed for a surgery on her, and stood us up for an euthanasia that was scheduled to take place at home.
In the end I took my girl to the same doctor to diagnosed her. It was the most difficult decision I have made in my life, but I couldn't stand her suffering. She used to have those huge, green eyes that would look at you with all the wisdom and understanding and by the end of her days her beautiful eyes changed the color to yellow. When I arrived at the vet the only question I had to him was 'please, tell me I am doing the right thing and this is the only way'. His reply was 'yes, we all keep fighting until the end and hope for a miracle to happen, but sometimes we need to let go'. And so I did. I held her and pet her till the end, telling her how she was the best, the most beautiful cat. Then I carried her little body out of the vet in my arms and burried her in our garden.
I just wanted to tell you, that sometimes it is better to let go early. We suffer, it hurts so much, but I believe we are equiped better to stand this suffering that our beloved furry companions. I wish I had this courage earlier.
To my lovely Catzilla, who was zillest of them all.
Registered: 1326342541 Posts: 2,440
Ava, I am so very sorry that you had to say good bye to your Catzilla. I know just how hard it is. I am so very sorry also that the "specialist" promised something that they could not deliver.
What I know is that the doubting of ourselves, the second guessing - we all do it. Did I let them go too soon? Did I wait too long? Whichever "side" of the decision I guarantee that you (we all) would question it. We want to understand and make sense of the pain, and sadly often we put that extra burden on ourselves with the question. At the core, I believe we love our babies SO much that regardless of whatever our head/brain tries to tell us, our heart will step in and make the call. And it will be the right call - one that our babies know is made with love and with ONLY their best interest in mind. I am glad for you and Catzilla that you built over 16 years of memories. Those will be the ones that matter. Take care InMemoryOfRascal...and Rambo Forever!
Registered: 1523154244 Posts: 2
I still struggle with my decision to put down my darling Gigi on Wed 4/4/18 at 8:20pm. It was the most heart wrenching decision I have ever had to make. A couple of weeks prior she had been diagnosed with kidney failure when I took her in because she stopped eating. I had to hospitalize her for 3 days to get IV therapy. She was a rescue - had been a stray on the streets of Baltimore - I had her for 2 amazing years. Anyways, she hated the vet, hated cages, and loved me. When the doctor told me, I knew that the hourglass to the end had started. But I thought let's try the IV. They told me she had started eating and they sent me home with k/d diet. She ate some the first day back but not enough. I then started researching and bought green tripe, home made recipes, and raw food diet etc. She would eat a little of one one day and then stop and not touch it the next. I had to keep changing her food. She was nauseous and drinking a lot of water. I started force feeding her goats milk when she stopped eating steak or chicken. She started walking slower outside - but she still greeted me and was interested in food - she just wouldn't eat it. She was scavenging for food outside like she was hungry. It was torturing me to have her look at me when I ate or try to see what I was feeding my other dog only to turn it down when it was offered to her. After 6 days of her release of the hospital I called the vet and told him she wasn't eating. I asked if it was time - he said it was the humane thing to do. I did not want to believe it because despite the nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and not eating she looked fine. She was losing weight but she could have lasted 2-3wks? But for what, I thought? I cried so much throughout this 2 week process. Finally I said Gigi - let me know what to do. That night she had breathing problems for an extended period of time when she tried to sleep and she threw up on my bed. I called the vet the next morning to make the appointment. They told me noon - and I couldn't say yes. It was too soon. I called again 3-4 times throughout the day. She threw up again. My mom came over and she perked up, played with her red ball and rolled around the carpet for a minute. I could have waited till the next day or the next. But I thought for what? Her to be sick again? To get worse? To experience pain - maybe have more trouble breathing that night? We could have done more fluid therapy, maybe anti-nausea drugs, who knows....I torture myself with that the most. But that evening my mom drove us to the vet - it took almost 2h in traffic. I put her bed and toys on the back seat and cuddled her. She was so calm and peaceful. She loved car drives and attention from me and I gave it to her for that last time. When we got to the vet she was asleep. I didn't want to take her in because she would stress so I called them and asked if they could give her the first shot in the car. The vet said no. I don't know why I didn't ask for a sleeping pill or valium or something. My brain was not right. I brought her and her bed in. She started trembling and hiding her head in chest. I told her I was sorry and I freaked out and said I can't do this. But I knew... It felt like the vet took forever to come in and give her the shot. She told me it would sting...I still can hear her yelp of pain....and she jumped from my arms and tried to get away. The drug quickly brought her down and I cradled her head and told her I was sorry that I had betrayed her trust like that. I still can see her tongue trying to lick her nose and then slowly not being able to do so until it hung limp from her mouth. The pain and fear that she felt are the things that I feel guilty about the most. The vet came back to put the last shot and fumbled it - they had to poke her hind leg and then her front leg. I kept talking to her and telling her I loved her. When she was gone I held her and said goodbye. My last image of her is on the vet table in her bed laying down. I like that image - and I cling to that and some photos I took of her on the way to the vet or a few days prior. I know I could have waited - but I didn't want her to suffer. I was also suffering every day she didn't eat or comforting her when she would get sick. I knew the decision had to be made and it was almost easier to decide - which makes me feel guilty. She was a stinky dog, who had so many issues, but she was also the prettiest Lhasa apso, who demanded that you love her. She wormed her way into my heart with her intelligence, her affection, and her protectiveness. My other dog, who I have had for 16 years, has no idea that she is gone and is enjoying being an only child again. However, last night when we were driving home I put her bed on the passenger seat for her to sleep in. She got in but then got out and slept next to the bed. She used to do this when Gigi was alive because Gigi would always get the bed and they did not like to share. I cried. I cry when I only have to walk or feed one dog. Or when I don't have her keeping me company on the couch. The grief I understand and it will eventually pass. The guilt and the doubt is harder. I have never had to do this before. And if it is this hard with Gigi, I have no idea how I will cope with my other dog. The selfish part of me wishes she had not been able to walk, or was in agonizing pain - but I didn't want that for her. In my head I keep telling myself that I am in pain over this so that she didn't have to. I hope that she understood that and that someday I will actually come to accept that. Thank you all for sharing your stories - and allowing a forum for me to share mine.
Registered: 1523880376 Posts: 2
I don't know how to grieve right now. It is really really hard. We put our Jack Russell, Sparkee to sleep on Friday, he went very peacefully. He just turned 15 last week, and we bought him a bunch of presents, he loves to open them himself. He was still fairly active until last week, but he had a multitude of issue. He has always had a double heart murmur. He was on 4 different medications for his throat and for his heart, he had a horrible sounding cough to clear the fluid in his throat several times a day that was tough to deal with. The past week, he had to hold his neck up constantly because he was having a really hard time breathing, he couldn't bend down to drink or eat without being in pain. When we took him to the Cardiologist two years ago, they said he would have a minor heart attack at some point due to the advance heart disease. He has fainted several times over the past few years and had some attacks, which were really scary and thankfully he got through each one. My grieve is mainly from the vet on Friday, they said we could sedate him, and they could give him more pills and try to advance his life. My wife and both looked at each other, and said we made a decision, we don't want him to have a massive heart attack at home and have a painful death, we knew the right decision. But i feel so much guilt, He could easily be here right now to hang out with for at least a few more weeks, i feel so bad, i feel worse than i did dealing with close family members dying in the past. It really sucks. I am thinking about writing a childrens book about our puppy for for my wife and our daughter. Today is my telework day and its the first time I've worked from home without my little buddy in 6 years. I started googling adoption agencies but that just makes me sadder looking at other dogs. I don't think I can go through this again.
Registered: 1523928940 Posts: 1
I am new to this site and forum, finding it after doing a google search for regrets/guilt over euthanasia following the loss of my beloved cat. I'm feeling a great deal of regret/guilt/second guessing, plus great sadness with a big hole in my heart since he has passed away two days ago, after a decision to end his suffering and euthanize him. Not only has he left a big hole in my heart, but in my other family members hearts that he's touched as well.
I feel a strong need to write about it, his history with our family, how he came to be a member of our family, what a special cat he was, the wonderful memories and times we had, and the areas I fell short and failed him as an owner, and the doubts, guilt and second-guessing I've been experiencing. My hope is to find people who have gone through the same things and can understand.. who can both provide some honest feedback and hard truths based on objectivity/facts/truths, rather than sugar coat things. Over the past 4.5 years that we have the privilege of having him in our lives, yet so many things transpired in our lives that we've had to deal with -- a cancer in the family which involved a major surgery/6mos chemo/recovery and regular checkups, water damage in our home upstairs that flowed to the garage, requiring renovation and repairs to both (and moving to a hotel temporarily while work some of the work was being done), a bout of cellulitis, our dog having an ulcer in his eye requiring an operation and monitoring, apparently related to skin problems and an immune system gone a bit of whack and fighting against its own body, a move to an apartment that had an upstairs leak coming down into it requiring a temporary hotel stay, a brother and his family's move away all the way across the country that has been hard on us, job 3 job changes, and a parent's dental problems and issues with my own health that were on my mind -- that all meant inadequate attention to the important signs/changes in our beloved cat that should have been heeded early on. Regardless of all of those other life events going on in the past 4.5 years (they seem like a lot when we look back on them now) that we had our beloved cat, there is no excuse for the dereliction of duty and lack of regular checkup appointments for him. I am the one to blame. If I only showed the discipline and sense or urgency in making his care and consideration a top priority, I would have scheduled the appointments. It's not that I had zero free time to take him to those appointments. I would have also thought more about whether to continue giving him dry food vs going back to wet food. I started him on wet food because I felt it would taste better and be easier on his teeth and gums (he had experienced a good amount of tooth loss) until a vet told me that dry food would be better for his teeth and help him keep the ones he had left longer. Since he wasn't liking the dry foods that we had tried (some he liked for maybe a month and then tired of, others he never liked right from the start), I even went back to wet foods for a while and found that some of those he wasn't liking after a while either (including white chicken stripped meat in broth, tuna in broth, etc). Now, looking back, it has occurred to me that maybe it was a general loss of appetite that may have come and gone due to kidney disease. But if that's the case, it was hard to know if it was the food or the disease causing the lack of appetite. I took in my beloved cat off the street 4.5 years ago after seeing him hang around my brother's house enough over the course of 3 weeks (and my brother eventually leaving dry cat food out for him) to suspect that he was without a home.. he had no collar and there were no missing cat postings nearby. He was an Orange Tabby who had the most gentle, sweetest disposition, and a physical frame and disposition that made it seem like it was a female cat. For some reason everyone who first meets him thinks that and often refers to him as a her. He had a beautiful pink nose and pink paw pads. He was a rather thin cat. His meow seemed soft and gentle. He was comfortable in front of us human strangers and greeted us with a friendly and soft meow. He would walk by us and explore my brother's garage when the door was opened and we were standing outside. Incidentally, he reminded me of another Orange Tabby over a decade earlier that was a feral cat hanging out around my house, which I wound up feeding and even taking to the Vet to perform an operation due to green fluid that would come out of one of his eyes. I never took that cat in, even after one day he broke one of his front ankles probably running away from something. He was the sweetest cat and I regret not taking him in or caring for him as much as I could have and should have.. I don't recall the circumstances at the time but there was a black cat, a baby white/black cat with pink nose, and this Orange Tabby cat a decade back and they would hang out in front of my house. The black cat eventually got really sick and skinny for some reason (maybe kidney disease or something else -- i thought maybe cancer at the time) and I never saw him again after seeing him once or twice in his degraded condition. I think he may have went into hiding after he started getting sick. The baby white/black cat with pink nose was the cutest little thing. Somehow she got pregnant while still a young little thing and had a premature delivery right in front of my house and started licking the tiny baby that was breathing but then stopped breathing. It was so sad. That left the Orange Tabby. I remember one time someone had called animal control on it and I had to find out where it was taken and went there to pay for its release. Then I paid for an operation on one of his tear ducts due to this green pus coming out of one of his eyes every now and then. After that he was free to go back out and hang around my house as usual until the day he broke his ankle and had been limping ever since. I still don't remember why I had not taken him in to protect him and have him live out the rest of his life in indoor safety, now that he had been vulnerable to predators. We had plenty of things going on in our family's life at the time that we had to be concerned about and perhaps that's why I didn't get around to taking that Orange Tabby in. But I never forgot him. He too was so kind, gentle and sweet that I thought it was a female, but it turned out to be a male. I promised myself that if I ever should get a cat, that I wouldn't make the same mistakes and I would give the total care that it deserves. I kind of digressed in that last paragraph and took a segway only to show some of my past experience and regrets, and part of my motivation for wanting to not make the same mistakes and do better by animals that cross my path or that I ever own. As a child, I also had a big regret with our beautiful german sherperd that we got as a pup and when we moved to a big house we wound up building him a dog house outside on the ground floor and I stopped walking him as much (mostly my Dad did the walks). I was 7 years old or so at the time, my life was just beginning with making friends at elementary school and all the other things that go on in a boy's life at that age.. and I felt somewhere deep inside that it was wrong for us to be neglecting our dog. One day, the chain he had on him was broken and he was gone. The thinking is that he ran away and my Dad and his friends went looking for him but couldn't find him. It could very well have been some neighbor who couldn't stand to see that anymore. Or the dog couldn't take it anymore and broke free. I feel so guilty and bad about that to this day... he was mostly out of sight and therefore out of mind. At least at that time I was only 7 and could excuse part of it to being too young and my parents should have been more responsible, but I am not free of blame. It's something you grow up to reflect upon and realize what a terrible situation you put the dog in and what terrible conditions. It eats at me often, and I think about it a lot every year since then. I vowed to never let that happen again and to be a good dog/pet owner should I have another. I've learned some hard lessons but some I still need to learn. Fast forward 10+ years and I had decided after 3 weeks of coming across this new Orange Tabby hanging out around my brother's house that I would adopt him unofficially. So one day, on a whim, I decided today would be the day and I went to my brother's house and sure enough he was hanging around nearby. So I grabbed him and put in him in a cardboard carrier and loaded him into my car. My mother gave him his name based on what he looked like, before we confirmed his gender, and thus he was named "Honey". I had also had a little dog (a corgi) and didn't give much thought into the possibility that there would be possible conflict between the two, because my dog didn't seem like the type that would harm the cat and the cat was so easy going and friendly. I was lucky that they wound up getting along or at least co-existing. The first night I brought him home, it was understandably a new environment and so he wasn't exploring much. Instead, he wound up laying down on all four legs and bunching up with his eyes closed. After the first night, he began to explore more. At first I wanted to keep him downstairs, as well as the Corgi, so I could keep the upstairs bedrooms pet hair free. So I had this baby gate placed where the stairway began. Sometime after that, he began to try climbing over it, For the first week or so, it was working well and the cat didn't think to try to jump over it to join me in my bedroom upstairs once he knew that's where i was overnight. So I put up some card board extension barriers on top of the baby gate and he managed to climb over and break the cardboard extension, making his way up to my room at night. At this point I gave up trying to keep them downstairs and let both of them come upstairs to sleep with us. It was nice having this new Orange Tabby as a new family member, introducing additional warmth, new light, and energy into our home and our family. 7 months later, a parent was diagnosed with cancer and it was a whirlwind for the first couple of years. That became my overwhelming concern and resulted in me neglecting full adequate attention to my dog and cat. I should have taken Honey to the vet regularly, had his weight monitored, had some blood tests done to confirm kidney disease, and start early treatment. He may have been able to go on medication, better foods with good hydration within, and more careful monitoring of his water consumption, and could have lived who knows how many more years. Instead, I found myself 4 days ago starting to notice serious symptoms and signs that led me to take him to the vet 3 days ago where a test confirmed kidney disease. The recommendation was 3-5 days of hook up to IV fluids, some additional tests, getting him some wet food better for his kidneys, and careful monitoring for improvements. The doctor said that due to his some of his test numbers being very high (off their measurement scales), prognosis would not be that good. I wanted to get a second opinion and also take him to the vet closer to me which was too booked on that day to see him but had an opening the next morning. So I had this vet just give him a sub-cutaneous injection to hydrate him and I took him home. The next morning I took him to my nearby pet hospital and they looked at the test results and gave me a similar assessment. My cat's features sunken in and he looked in such a weak physical condition, with some very high numbers for some measurements/tests that his prognosis was not good. They performed an ultrasound and found one kidney was much larger than the other and there may have been an obstruction. Surgery would be risky, but antibiotics could be tried to see if that could alleviate or resolve the issue. I could have him hooked up to iv fluids for X number of days but he may not eat (especially in an unfamiliar environment such as a vet hospital, unless they allowed me to make personal visits when they're about to feed him and allow me to try to get him to eat some food in my presence), which would not help his condition improve. And if I were to put him in the hospital for say 5 days, what if it really takes 2 weeks to improve and stabilize due to the degree of his dehydration and nausea, etc. We would not know for if we'd be cutting off treatment prematurely? But ultimately, based on the 2nd doctor's assessment, our cat was going through quite a lot and the chances were low of improvement. Even if there were improvement, the time it would buy us to be together and the quality of it would be in question. I looked at my cat, held him multiple times, and he was just so weak and frail, wanted to be alone laying on the floor, and was having difficulty walking without wobbling. And I thought, I did not want to pursue anything that would make it worse or bring him more pain or more prolonged pain than necessary. What if during the iv fluid treatment and monitoring in the hospital he experienced some complication (it's not a 24 hour monitoring hospital so he'd be there all alone)? What if the iv fluid treatment resulted in improved test results and noticeable improvement in him allowing me to bring him home to give sub-cutaneous injections regularly, but myself or my elderly parent were to get sick, who would be able to give the injection or the medications to our cat? I think the latter could be worked out and there would be a solution for that though. It's heart-wrenching enough to lose a pet due to natural causes out of old age, but it's even more heart-wrentching to lose a pet due to possible dereliction of duty, not living up to my full responsibilities, and not being attentive enough to his needs and signs shown that should have set off red flags for me to at least take him to the vet to get checked out regularly. And also heart-wrentching to lose a pet due to possibly making a premature decision about euthaniasia based on a couple of vet doctor assessments and fear that after some brief improvement it could make things worse or unnecessarily prolong whatever pain he may have been in in his last few days. I've been second guessing my decision for two days since. Everything in the house and immediate area be front door where he'd get to go out and explore for a few minutes periodically when he was getting cabin fever from being an indoor cat reminds me and my family members of him. He was everywhere, in every room, under the beds, under the sofas, up on the counters, etc., so there are memories of him everywhere I look. There were the times when he would escape from the house when a door was open, to explore the outside, and we would be in a panic looking all over for him, worried that we could lose him forever and worry about how he'd make it outside in the elements, against other cats and other animals. Partly because of how sweet, gentle and domesticated he was, and partly because we suspect he had hearing loss or no hearing at all, because he wouldn't really respond to sounds and would seem startled at times when we came up from behind him, letting out a big meow of surprise when he turned his head and saw one of us. Fortunately, we were always able to find him and carry him home back to safety. We moved from a house to an apartment and into a condo all within the span of the 4.5 years that he was with us, so there are memories all over that remind us of him. Did I do the right thing by taking him home with me 4.5 years ago, off the streets? Would he have made out better by just being left on the streets, finding and eating things that might have given him better hydration than constant dry cat food? Could he have been later found by someone else who would have done all of the right things that I did wrong, thus giving him an extended life of anywhere from 1-10 years perhaps? Should I have not let fear of something going wrong by trying iv fluid restoration and hospitalization for 3-7 days (1100-2400 in cost), resulting in possible complications and greater pain or further degradation drive me to lean towards euthanizing? Should I have instead viewed the risks of complications as minor and worth it if it meant a notable improvement in his condition after 3-7 days of this treatment (provided he could eat, which is an essential part of his recovery -- which I could try to help him do by being there next to him to try to encourage him to eat something)? Should I have looked into force feeding initially, just to get something in him, so he can get into a state where he'd feel good enough to eat on his own? Would 7 days still not be enough and maybe we would see improvement? For some severe cases, it could take longer to recover.. if his test numbers were greatly improved and he became stabilized, regained weight, energy, and became his old self for the most part, taking prescribed medications and eating foods with water content that are easier on his kidneys, how much longer could he realistically live for? and would his quality of life be good enough to make keeping him alive the better choice? Would he experience complications elsewhere or feel a pain/discomfort every day for the rest of his life, or have good days and bad days? How bad would those bad days get, would they be bad enough and often enough to make him prefer to be put to sleep and not have to go through that, or would it be tolerable and well worth it to him to continue to live? In hindsight, I should have taken him to get tested at the Vet immediately after I took him home 4.5 years ago. He may have been diagnosed sooner (since he was throwing up after eating ever since I got him and had tooth loss which suggested he may not have been a young kitty, so he may have had kidney disease already in some stage at that time) and put on a treatment plan that would mean he got the proper hydration, healthier meals easier on his kidneys, and medications that may help also. It may be impossible to know how much extended life he would have gotten but his chances would have been higher earlier on than later on. And I certainly would have shown proper due diligence had I done so either at that time or even 2 years ago, rather than now, when the symptoms and signs are more severe. Honey has taught me and my parent some hard lessons: 1) you need to be more pro-active, dilligent and acutely monitoring your cat's health based on any changes noticed, getting immediate doctor's examinations asap. 2) You need to properly prioritize spending quality time with them, to fill their wants and needs (taking them out, playing with them, giving them good foods they will enjoy eating, grooming them, giving them preventative medications and treatments, etc), and not only look at filling your own (hugging and kissing them). 3) life is precious and fragile.. you need to take care of your health, drink enough water, protect your organs, eat well, monitor your weight regularly and be alert of any changes in weight, etc. Honey, in his last days and since his passing, has been teaching and sending us a strong message. I hope that we can learn from them and never repeat our mistakes. I hope that we made the right/best decision for Honey in the end, even though we clearly could have made a better decision by taking action much, much sooner which could have given us an unknown amount of additional time with Honey.. it could have been another extra year, or another 10 years.. we will never know. I hope that he feels no more pain that he felt while on Earth. That he can be at peace and living happy in an afterlife. He was such a beautiful cat inside and out, with such a gentle, sweet spirit. I feel so much guilt and pain right now, which I know I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I did love him and shower him with affection daily. We took him on mini trips with us rather than leave him at home alone and tried to minimize any stress from that. But I've come to learn that loving your pets means more than just doing things to fill your own needs.. it's about doing things fill their needs and wants.. to give them the best life you can.. because you've made the commitment and you owe it to them. I hope Honey can forgive my shortcomings and my mistakes that I made with him under my care. I hope that he experienced love and warmth under our roof and felt happy overall. I'm so sorry, Honey.
Registered: 1523846929 Posts: 2
I had to put my beautiful boy, Ollie, down today. He was healthy, happy, and smart, but he was dangerous with humans and animals in most situations. He had a bit history, but not necessarily 'documented.' We had to make a choice because we have our first child on the way in just two-three weeks and we bth felt Ollie had potential to do major damage if not worse.
I feel guilty, lonely, questioning whether it was fair or right for me to put him down. I know he was dangerous, not just a nipper, but he had the ability to look through you and attack. He was however extremely sweet and loving with me, my wife, and our other dog (his only dog friend). After lots of training and behaviorist consulting we felt there was not other option. I miss him so much already and its only been a few hours. I worry that he was scared when he felt the affects of the drugs in his system and confused. I worry that he felt alone even though I was with him. I worry that he felt abandoned, even though he was well-loved. I am just so sad beyond words. I miss you, Ollie.
Registered: 1524625231 Posts: 1
I too have lost my best friend due to a tumor on her liver which caused her to bleed into her abdomen. I have been feeling extremely guilty and almost as if my dog hates me for putting her down. I was too weak to stay and decided to leave before they gave her the shots and I feel that she died lonely in an unfamiliar place without the comfort of her owner. I feel she would’ve been happier if I was just strong enough to say goodbye right as she left.
Registered: 1518245506 Posts: 13
Riptide48, I have not logged into this site for a while, but your note just popped up in my email on this thread and I felt so bad for you. Those are horrible feelings. It has been 2 1/2 months since I made that dreaded decision. It is in that frantic time that you just do things that you may regret. You were not in a good frame of mind to "do the right thing", whatever that may or may not have been. She was with you just before that decision and the vet would have been taking care of her during those final moments. Most likely, she knew you were uncomfortable and you both said your goodbyes before those shots. You were very strong in making the decision you had to make for your best friend. I think the biggest part of it is that she knew and still knows how much you love her. That is what made her happy. Take care.
Emma Lee's mom
Registered: 1524884582 Posts: 22
It's been one week since I had to make the agonizing decision to have my cat, George, euthanized. He was the sweetest boy, such a bright light, with lots of personality. We had a ritual every morning before I left for work, he would assume his position at the end of the bed and I would give him a snack and tell him I'd be home soon. He would also play hide and seek behind the shower curtain when I was in there getting ready for work. Whenever I sat down, he would climb up to my shoulder and wrap his paws around me. He was 13 yrs old, a beautiful tabby boy adopted at 1 yrs old, and I thought he would be with me years longer.
When he was about 8 yrs old, George started losing weight. I took him to the vet and they did blood work, but couldn't find anything wrong and said he might just be "leaning" out, reaching the weight he was supposed to be. About a year later, he was still losing weight so I took him back to the vet. This time, after blood work, they said he had corona virus, that there was no cure, and all I could do was make him comfortable and give him lysene for his immune system. I was confused, thinking this was some sort of death sentence. I researched corona virus, but had more questions than answers. It seemed pretty much symptomatic, no known cause.
George always hated every second of going to the vet so I decided not to take him back, to just give him lots of love and care at home. He would have some bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, and I went on a holistic website and gave him slippery elm powder for his tummy. Over the next 5 years, he had good days and bad (not always feeling his best), but mostly he had good days, and he was still so sweet and loving, not quite as playful as he used to be but still I thought he was doing okay. I fed him good food and his favorite snackies, which he still begged for daily. He was always hungry and ate good, but I guess I stopped paying attention and was in denial to any other signs, like the fact that he was drinking a lot of water and peed a lot, and he was becoming thinner.
One strange thing he started doing though, as he lay on me he would turn his head and stare intently at me for a long time, and I would talk softly to him before he would fall asleep.
Then a week ago, I woke up and he wasn't on my bed where he always slept. I started calling to him but he didn't come, so I got up and found him in the living room, and I stepped in vomit as I reached to pick him up. He was very quiet, and I brought him back to my room and we cuddled together. The next day, it's like he started crashing fast, he had become weaker and got more restless and I noticed he wasn't eating much. I made an appointment with a new vet and she said he was very dehydrated and she felt thickening in his bowels - she thought maybe IBD. He was given fluids, a vitamin B12 shot and pills to stimulate his appetite, and to bring him back in a week. I took George home, feeling scared but also tried to be optimistic.
The next 2 days, George became worse, hunching his body and keeping his head down and trying to hide. He didn't have his usual bright eyes and there was discharge coming out. He would still crawl up on my shoulder but he couldn't seem to get comfortable and he wasn't looking at me. He had started drooling and partially sticking out his tongue He was crying in a strange way when he tried to go up or down the stairs to his litter box, and the moment came when I tried to give him his favorite snack and it dropped out of his mouth, then he wobbled to his water bowl and stared at it without drinking, and I knew I couldn't let him suffer like this. I called the vet on a Saturday and she said she was just going to call me about his labs and said I should bring him in to go over his results.
I took him in and the vet told me all his levels were high to indicate kidney failure. She said he had mouth ulcers, there was even one on his tongue, which explained his trouble eating and drinking. She said he may have been exposed at one time to the corona virus, possibly the enteric form and he may have been a carrier, but the main concern was his kidneys. Then she offered me options - daily subQ fluids at home, special kidney diet, syringe feeding or mixing with baby food, and I just stared at her in disbelief, I didn't expect that. I asked how much time this would give him, and she thought maybe a few weeks, but I also had to think about quality of life, saying a human in his condition would be on dialysis. She said I could take him home to discuss it with my family and bring him back, but I looked at my poor sick boy, hunched down in pain and said I couldn't put him through this. So the vet didn't suggest euthanasia, I had to make that decision. That's what hurts the most, choosing his death. I really didn't know if it was right or not, I had a fleeting thought of taking him home, but thought more about his pain and that I would have to go to work and leave him for hours at a time. I held him until he passed, kissing him and telling him how much I loved him, he was the best boy.
I have so much guilt now, thinking about the what ifs over and over, did I act too fast? I've been looking up everything on the internet, reading other stories where people gave their cat fluids and fed the kidney diet and they had lived longer. I wish I had tried the options, maybe he would have felt better, but it all happened so fast, I didn't have time to think, all I could see was how much pain he was in, how much it hurt him to eat or even drink. I miss him so much, there is no joy to go home, it's hard to accept.
I haven't yet found my peace.
Registered: 1484431493 Posts: 8
I had my cat yogi for 13 yrs also. Had to put him to sleep janurary 17. He had fiv... he was also showing exactly the same signs as your boy. I made the decision to let him go as didnt want him suffering or passing away in pain. As i found my cat shadow 5 yrs previous and the guilt ate me up for a long time for not making the decision to let vet ease her pain and didn't want to make the same mistake again... our pets rely on us to look after them and help them when gets to much. I now know done the right thing and so have you. Just think what a wonderful life you gave him, and how peaceful he was at the end. Better a day to soon than a day to late. It will get easier. I made a little memory box of photos, collar toys etc...and was a massive help. Take care.
Registered: 1484431493 Posts: 8
I had my cat yogi for 13 yrs also.. he had fiv. Made the decision to let him go when he was showing same signs as your boy. Didn't want to wake up and find him gone as i had with my other cat shadow 5 yrs previous and the guilt was agonising. They rely on us to take care of them and make decisions for them. You gave him a wonderful life and made sure he didn't suffer at the end. Better a day to soon then a day to late. I made a memory box with photos toys etc.... and helped massive. You did the right thing without a doubt and it will get better. Take care. X
Registered: 1524884582 Posts: 22
Toffo71, I'm sorry you lost both your kitties, Yogi and Shadow. And thank you for your comforting words.
I just wish I could have known if George would have felt better, even a little bit, had I chosen to take him home and give fluids, if he would have had more time. I told him I wouldn't let him go, and then when it seemed hopeless, that's exactly what I did. That last day with him was awful, the pain in his eyes, he didn't understand what was happening to him. I've tried to call the vet a couple times, but they keep putting me on hold, so I hang up. I don't know what I want to say, I think I just need some confirmation that this was best for him. I think I will try making a memory box as you suggested. I haven't moved the blanket where he laid on his last night with me or picked up his toys yet, his little mousekins all over the house, I'm sure I'll find some in hidden spots - I don't know if I'll smile or cry. For the first few days, I actually slept through the night, which made me feel guilty as I usually wake up 2-3 times and he would always sense me and lay with his head on my face. But last night, I woke up at 2 a.m. thinking about him, and I cried because he wasn't there to comfort me. I am thankful for this group. I see people around me, and at work, moving on with their lives but I feel numb and alone. I know it will take time.
Registered: 1514728990 Posts: 6
I've been struggling with the death of my almost 16 year old chihuahua since December 29th, 2017. I've gone through the stages of grief and loss, and I will always miss her, but what I can't seem to get over is the deep sense of remorse and guilt that I still feel very strongly to this day. I feel guilty that I chose euthansia for her-- in essence, I chose to end her life. If I had it to do over again, I would have simply done nothing and allowed her to die a natural death. I can't get over the thought that she thought in her last moments that I had betrayed her and had allowed her to be killed. Me, the person who she always trusted, was always loyal to, who she always went to when she was scared and wanted comfort, ultimately betrayed her. Who knows, she may have still been alive right now. But I can't go back in time and do anything about it. She is dead and gone and there's no going back. I just wish I hadn't felt so pressured, and rushed, and hurried in those last moments to make a decision. I wish I had stepped back and taken some time to think about it. If I had known then what I know now, I would have backed off and not done it. Grief eventually fades, because everything eventually dies, and we learn to accept that, but guilt so far for me, has not faded.
Registered: 1528422886 Posts: 4
I made the decision to do this yesterday, with my 17 year old baby dog, and so she is gone from my life. She has been the most permanent thing in my life for 17 years. It tears me up, I can't sleep and I have to just pace around. I went to pick up a sandwich and started crying. I can't go to work. I can't watch tv or a movie. I can't stop pacing. I have been reading others' stories and I feel grief wash over me and while my list of reasons she had to go is much longer than my list of reasons to keep her alive, I still cannot stop the guilt and grief. I hear a high pitched sound like a car brake and think it's her crying out. I walk by where she normally naps and glance over expecting to see her. I walk into a room to go pet her but she isn't there. I can smell her still. It hasn't been 24 hours yet but I can't picture waking up tomorrow and walking through this empty house again, and again, and again. I stayed in my bed until 1pm today in fear of seeing the edge of the mattress where she sleeps, or the cool corner of the room where she goes to nap. I dread every empty corner right now, and I can't stop crying. At the vet's, they asked me if I wanted to get closer to her face or hold her differently and I said no, because I didn't want her to think anything different was happening. I petted her, but I'm not sure she thought anything was going on. I hope she didn't. I hope she felt normal and then went to sleep. But now I even question that- I looked at her and she didn't particularly look anywhere, and then she was gone. I didn't want her to fear that something was going to happen. I don't know how to face tomorrow, or the next few minutes. I lived alone with her, and now I just live alone. I am upset and keep almost getting up to go hug her but then I remember she isn't here. I know she had to go, but the combination of a long time with her, and how sudden I made the decision, because I knew if I brought her back home from the vet to get ready, I would have panicked her or myself too much to go through with it. But now I am falling apart and have to keep pacing and moving but I'm so exhausted and I ache from the crying. I'm trapped in this. I have to see the next minute go by, and tonight, and the hours before morning, and endure all of tomorrow, daily, from now on. My dear baby is gone.
Registered: 1527444915 Posts: 69
I am so very sorry for your loss. I can see that you loved her very much and she you. You mustn’t beat yourself up. You did the kindest thing out of a heart full of love and she knew that, she felt it. It is the hardest thing for us to do is to let go of a dear companion that we love so much. I reacted exactly as you are when I had to put my first 18 year old sick cat to sleep. I cried myself to sleep that night & my heart hurt so bad that I thought I was going to die. She slept with me every night. My husband brought her home in a shioebox because he wanted to bury her, and that was a BIG mistake , because my mind kept playing tricks on me because I thought she was sleeping. It even appeared to me that she was breathing, though she wasn’t. I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy for quite a while. I would think I would see her in her in her normal spots where she napped, my mind played tricks on me. I know how bad it hurts right now for you. Just know that what you did was the best for her. Try to listen to calming peaceful music. It helped me to listen to sad songs & sing them outloud to her, then cry, then yell, then each day it got a little bit better. It will for you. Allow yourself to heal and greive. Your girl would want you to know that she is in a better place and she loves you, because the love never dies. I wish you comfort.
Registered: 1515042483 Posts: 7
enyasdad -- I am so sorry. Reading your post brought tears to my eyes. I have been where you are. My 15 year old kitty, Clara, passed away on December 8 and I didn't get out of bed for days. She was my constant through 5 cities and countless apartments...it was just the two of us. I got her when I moved to Chicago at 22 years old and she was my best friend for 15 years. She slept with me every night and was always at the door when I came home. After she passed away, I had the same issue of seeing her everywhere out of the corner of my eye, thinking I was hearing her....it's just what you are used to. I still cry a lot and have trouble sleeping, but I can tell you that it gets easier. I don't think the pain ever fully goes away, but the ache in your heart and the constant lump in your throat will get better slowly over time. I got a book called "The Pet Loss Companion" which I have re-read several times and would really recommend. You gave your baby a good life and she will always be with you. Take care of yourself and ask for support from the people in your life. Wishing you peace.
Registered: 1513050674 Posts: 15
Enyasdad, I'm so sorry. I know that your pain is real. You gave your little girl a good home, and you loved her every single day you had her. I lost our 18-year old cat, Emma last November, and I felt a lot of what you described so well. One thing that helped me with Emma was to do a Shutterfly book with photos and memories of those 18 years. Working on that book was a way for me to continue to interact with her, but in a different way. I treasure that book now. I also began volunteering at a local animal shelter. I recommend that if you have the time to do it. One other thing - someone with this much love to give can love again. There will be another animal that needs you in the future. Don't rush it, but you'll know when you are ready.
Registered: 1528422886 Posts: 4
Thank you for the understanding and encouragement. I have read a lot here and in other places in terms of others having similar experiences. It doesn't really feel like it helps me, but I still appreciate it. I tried getting drunk last night so I could sleep. I don't drink much very often, and at my age hangovers are awful, so it's certainly not a sustainable thing to do- but it was out of desperation to make it through the hours and minutes. I have another set of hours and minutes right now. It's 3am, I cleaned the downstairs of my house, read the internet, watched the news, all day. I was watching a video and heard high pitched squealing and in the most insane moment of this ordeal, I went downstairs to see if it was my dog outside the door, as if she woke up and came home. I knew of course, that this was impossible.. but I figured I'd check because it would consume 2 minutes or so. Looking outside I saw where we had taken our walks just 3 days ago. Where she would fall because she couldn't stand for long. Where she pooped on the doormat and I said "no" as if she had chosen to do so, as if she didn't already feel dejected that she couldn't control her functions. I am so sorry for so much. And I have to face the house again and lay in my bed alone again, and wake up tomorrow as late as possible so I can delay as much as possible the next moment of being without her. I don't know how to deal with each minute now- I've already cleaned, there is nothing left to clean. I did a donation button for the shelter where I got her 17 years ago and raised $240, and donated another $300. I ordered two framed pictures of photos of her to make a memorial wall with her collar, but also read that it helps not to have that stuff around for the first few weeks, so I suppose I will hide it somewhere when it comes. I looked at dogs online from a nearby shelter and realized I don't have the time to care for one now- my Enya was old and slept a lot, and was used to my long days at work and our sporadic long days at home together to make up for it, but a new dog would require daily playtime and .. I can't really afford the rent here because my stocks are tanking, so I will have to move anyway and almost nobody accepts pets, so it is logistically a nightmare to adopt a new dog anytime soon. That is jarring to me because it means I can't really fill the void with another dog. I thought about being suicidal, as in considering whether I am, along with the news of several celebrities having taken their lives this week; and like many posts I've read here, I have passive ideation: "if I died in my sleep that would be fine" but no inclination to hurt myself. I just dread every minute and can't imagine how to get through the hours now. I've paced a lot. I can't leave the house because I'll start crying or panicking. I ordered pizza and had half a slice. I'd like to get drunk again but as I said, it doesn't work and I didn't forget a thing. I think it did help me stay in bed a little longer today, but it wasn't worth it. I have friends and coworkers now checking on me via text and email and I don't want to talk to anyone, it's exhausting but I have to respond in case someone thinks I'd hurt myself. I have meetings that I should attend at work Monday so I feel pressured to pull myself together enough to do them. But right now I have to deal with how to deal with right now, right now. My long-term plan is to be a workaholic. That will help me avoid this empty house in the long run. But for now, I'm just going crazy, pacing and worrying that the next minute or hour will be worse, and empty, and I'm so sorry to my baby Enya. She could have made it another week or month, and she would still be here now, and none of this would be happening. But I have to cry and go to bed and cry again, and wait for tomorrow so I can do it all again. Thank you for listening, or reading as it were.
Registered: 1528445002 Posts: 2
It's Saturday afternoon and my little Yorkie cross Bryn is sleeping quietly in his bed. He's almost 16 - a very good age. He's not wanted to eat for two days his poor little stomach is so empty that he keeps retching & bringing up bile. I hand fed him some pieces of boiled chicken early this morning but he has thrown that back up some hours later undigested. He's shaky on his legs and it's easier to carry him into the garden now - he hasn't had any interest in his beloved walks for a while. He's suffering from confusion and will just stare at the wall or into the corner for ages. He gets lost in the house and I have to go look for him. His quality of life is deteriorating & I know there's no way back. He's been seeing his very kind vet for a couple of months and he knows that if Bryn's quality of life started to suffer(as it has) then a decision would need to be made, there's nothing further that can be done for the little fella. I've taken that decision - to have him euthanized on Monday and my heart is breaking. He still has control of his bodily functions at this point so I want to make sure that he can go peacefully but above all with dignity. We've been together 24 / 7 for six years - he 'found' me and helped me recover from the loss of my beautiful German Shepherd dog. We've been away together on trips so many times over the years and done lots of great things together - I've always tried to give him experiences that he had never had in the situation he previously came from. The next day or so will be torture but I will be saying my goodbyes & shedding many tears in the hope that I can be strong for him when Monday comes - God knows I've already shed gallons just coming to this decision. It's obvious that he's very tired but soon he will be at rest. We live by the sea and when his ashes come back to me I will scatter them on the beach he loved to run on - one day I too will join him there. If you should be kind enough to read this post - please think of us on Monday - I know that everyone here has been through this process and will understand the pain- it's so so hard at this time. Thank you.
Registered: 1518624347 Posts: 6
I read your post last week, & indeed I thought of you both Monday morning. How are you doing?
Registered: 1528445002 Posts: 2
We took the final trip to the vet's last Monday as planned. Bryn passed very quickly and peacefully - the staff were kind & compassionate. The office called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that his ashes had come back so I will pick them up on Monday. Thank you very much for asking how I am. I have shed a tear at some point each day and feel the stillness & emptiness in the house without the little guy following me around like my shadow. I'm still automatically checking to see he has water in the place where his bowl used to be & making sure the doors are shut so that he can't wander outside. At this stage it is more a feeling of numbness that I have. I know everything will get better in time. Once again - thank you & God bless.
Registered: 1529614251 Posts: 1
I'm struggling to cope with the loss of my beloved cat, Inky. I've had him for 13 years and we had the strongest bond. He was such a butt head to most people, but he was an absolute angel for me. He was a strikingly beautiful jet black Norwegian forest cat. He'd been acting fine, and suddenly this past saturday, I could see the look of pain on his face. He seemed to sleep a lot more than normal, and he wouldn't cuddle with me like he usually would. He kept trying to go to a quiet room, away from us, when he would normally be following me around, chatting with me. I tried to place him on a comfy spot to sleep, but I kept walking in on him hunched over in pain. I also found him depressingly draped over the water bowl, with his head laying in it. RED FLAG. I knew he was very ill. I tried to make something special for him to eat, but he wasn't interested. When he didn't eat breakfast I rushed him to the emergency vet, Sunday morning. A few tests were done, and I was told he was severely anemic, severely dehyrdrated, and needed a blood transfusion to survive the next 24 hrs. I signed the paperwork and he stayed overnight. I picked him up and transferred him to my regular vet the next morning (Monday). More tests were ran, and it was discovered that he had a rare case of fip, and a belly full of fluid. Basically a terminal death sentence. I couldn't afford all kinds of experimental treatment, especially if I would only be prolonging his suffering. I made the decision to put my sweet baby to sleep, because I felt like this was not about me. I held him at the very end, telling him how much I love him, and I always will. I'm having him cremated, so he can always be with me.
But I'm struggling with my decision now. I wish I would have waited a day to have more time with him. I wish I would have gotten a second opinion. I wish the vet would have been wrong. (I still feel like i made the right decision at the time because i couldnt bear to watch him suffer.) But i cant help but feel like i acted too quickly. I love him more than anything I've ever loved in my life. I miss him so much it hurts.
Registered: 1530627134 Posts: 1
I'm thankful I found this discussion board and thread. It is a great comfort to know that I am not the only one trying to cope with the feeling of guilt on top of overwhelming grief at having had our pet put to sleep.
We had our Labrador retriever, Boomer, put to sleep June 28. He was almost 14 1/2 years old and for most of his life was a big dog -- about 102 pounds -- though he was down to 83 pounds as of his final vet visit.
I am struggling with the guilt I feel over making the decision to put him to sleep. I'm a teacher, so I'm at home during summer. This past year was the first full school year I worked full-time, so it was the first full year Boomer was alone all day. Out of curiosity, I videoed him one day to see how he spent his time when no one was home. He slept the whole time, moving only to change positions. Our boys, who are now 23 and 21, grew up with Boomer. We got him in April, 2004, when he was 10 weeks old. He was a great dog to grow up with: kind, patient, never bit anyone but he was protective, funny, silly, energetic, and incredibly smart. But over the past two or three years, he developed health problems. He had tumors on his torso (the vet said most were probably benign, but we're not sure about any internal ones that may have existed). He had a tumor on his rear end that ruptured Easter Sunday 2017 -- blood everywhere! -- which required surgery, and they were not sure they got it all (it could wrap around his intestines, etc., had it come back -- and it may have internally).
Last fall, he lost interest in eating. This was a dog that LIVED TO EAT. He'd scarf his food down in less than a minute. Then it took 2 minutes for him to eat, about a year ago. Then 3 minutes. Then... He just didn't want to eat. So, I changed foods, and that helped for a while, but before this past school year ended (May 23), he was back to not wanting to eat. I had to coerce him to eat, try to hand feed him, add "extras" (bread, butter, grated Parmesan cheese, lunch meat, shredded cheese) to his bowl to get him to eat. He had diarrhea and constipation. He wanted out 4x before I went to work (which is saying a lot since I woke at 5 a.m. and left at 6:30 a.m., and he was out that many times in my last weeks of school). He had an accident in the house in April, and he's never done that (he looked
so ashamed and embarrassed when my husband got home). His leavings in the yard was more often puddles of poo than piles.
Boomer had some sort of seizure in January, about a week after our Navy son finished a brief visit with us here at home on leave. When I found Boomer, he was laying half in, half out of his kennel, eyes open, tongue hanging out, not breathing, unresponsive. Shaking him, patting him firmly on his side aroused him, and he was dazed; we have no idea what it was.
Boomer also went deaf in the past six months: where he used to fear fireworks, firecrackers, thunder... the past two months or so, he showed no response to those things; he also didn't acknowledge when someone came into the house or even walked into a room (unless they stomped). He was diagnosed with GOLPP (
geriatric onset laryngeal paralysis and polyneuropathy), and had all the symptoms, including hind leg weakness; I think it's been more than 2 years since he attempted to go in the basement with us, and getting down the 2 steps, or back up them, into/out of the house was difficult for him. He tripped, frequently. His legs slid out from him if he stood on the kitchen floor. I had to get a rug for him to stand on so he could eat his food without sliding and doing the splits, or without me standing over him, keeping his legs from sliding with my own feet against his. He choked/coughed/gagged all the time and it sounded slept all day and always seemed to have a hard time finding a comfortable way to lay. He would pace around, panting, sometimes whining, and if you put your hand on him, he would be shaking. Our vet agreed that it was probably time for him, rather than wait until he was truly suffering. so painful. Over the past several months, Boomer
I know he was in pain much of the time, through that previous sentences details. But he also had good days, when he was alert, following us around, attempting to chase squirrels (and tripping over and falling). There were days he'd still kind of act like a puppy. In fact, the day we put him to sleep, he was alert and aware (and he
hates the vet's office). Which made it all the more harder on me to do what we were there to do. I almost backed out and said forget it.
My younger son (21 yo) went with me. My husband didn't want me to do it; he wanted the dog to go naturally; as did I, but I start school in a little more than a month and I didn't want Boomer alone all day again. I didn't want him to go alone, either. I didn't want our son to be present, but he stayed as the vet administered the medications to Boomer.
Since our younger son has an apartment, he's not here all day. When he comes to visit now, it's hard for him because the dog was ever-present. EVERYTHING we do, the dog was there. Getting ice cubes out? The dog begged at the freezer door, wanting an ice cube. Going outside? The bells on the back door would clang (he rang them when he wanted out). Those bells are gone now. The kennel is gone. The pillow bed in the dining room is gone. The dog isn't looking out the front door when his car pulls into the drive. I'm adjusting because I'm here a lot of the time, getting used to it. But our younger son, when he comes here... It's going to take him longer to cope, I think.
And another bad point: I couldn't tell our older son until the next afternoon, because he was on duty on ship, and I wanted to be able to tell him when he was in his barracks and had some time to himself, alone, privacy, and the weekend to cope with his feelings. And I had to tell him over the phone. When he comes home on leave in the next few months, he's going to be hit with a whole new round of grief.
Someone really early on this thread (one of the first posts I saw, back from 2012) mentioned writing a list of the reasons to have done it and the reasons to not put your pet down. I know from how long my paragraph is above about Boomer's problems that it outweighs keeping him around for OUR emotions.
But I still feel incredibly guilty, having made the decision and having done it.
(Thank you if you've managed to read this far. Thank you for "listening.")
Registered: 1530548599 Posts: 9
Dear Mom of 2 boys,
I am a mom of 2 boys 20 and 22. We had Angel for 15 when my sons were being homeschooled by me. Im also a teacher. Angel did everything we did including sitting on top of their books while we were studying and joining us in our daily devotions. She rode in the van with me everyday to drop them off and pick them up when my sons went to public school. She went to all their baseball practices as my husband was the coach and Angel would show the boys how to field balls.
My sons are still at home going to college. This has been the most traumatic decision we have had to make and we waited for God to take her peacefully but ..... She struggled breathing the day just Sunday, and we saw the suffering which we hadnt seen before. She was just like how you described Boomer and ice cubes. She was a member fully of our family and she was an important significant joyous part of the pack.
My sons and husband are not very demonstrative and dont easily show emotions. Angel brought that out in them. They dont like to hear me talking all about my day and my nonstop chatter but Angel would. Angel was my link to God on earth. Now that she is gone I am struggling. I feel like I lost the one relationship in this house that really loved me and wanted to be around me. Everyone else is in their own world and Im alone now. I have felt a new tenderness from my husband as he loved Angel very much. She showered him with her attention before he would come inside the house. He gave more attention to her than me and vice versa. Like I said my husband is kind of shut down. He wasnt shut down when the vet came to our home on Sunday. He sobbed and sobbed and I saw a tender side to him that Id never seen in 26 years of marriage. He is not as hard hit as I am though. He goes to work and Im off from work for the summer. I am just sitting at home grieving. My sister has invited me to visit her and her husband at the lake with her RV and ATV. Part of me wants to go get away from the memories and cry. Part of me says its not ok to leave the home where Angel has lived and be around her memories. Part of me says I cant stand the pain. This is a unexpected decison I have to make when I feel like I cant think about anyting else but I miss her and I look for her as I always would but i hurt when my brain says no more. What does anyone thing of traveling right after a pet dies? I cant decide.
Registered: 1531496113 Posts: 17
I have been on here reading everyone's stories of how they feel so much guilt and shame for ending their pet's life....I too had to do this on June 15th, 2018 with my 16 year old pom mix named Missy. She was my entire world for 16 years and mostly it was just her and I, but boy did we have good times, I took her everywhere. She had kidney disease, enlarged heart from CHF, really bad bouts of bloody diarrhea (was told it was colitis), confusion here and there. In the last several days she begun to circle, and loose use of her hind legs and would bump into walls. She then had a bad seizure in my arms. I had her on IV fluids for 2 days, they had to stop as it was hurting her heart ( which they never told me it would do this). I thought perhaps it was her kidney disease that were causing the symptoms and wanted the fluids to give her some time so I could at least taker her home. The vet said there is nothing they can do and the humane thing would be to end her life, the fluids hurt her heart even more. I wasn't prepared, although the signs were there. I thought perhaps she was experiencing vestibular disease with the loss of balance, etc. I wanted to do the procedure at home but all mobile vets were busy for the next 4 days-I did not want to bring her home and have her suffer or go through even more. I held her in my arms and said my goodbyes. My life changed drastically that day and now I feel deep depression thinking "did I do the right thing?" The emerg. vet I was in was terrible, they were insensitive and it made things much worse. I miss her terribly. I would like to mention that I have talked to a couple of pet mediums-animal communicators since then and it has helped so much, they truly provided so much relief and even did a body scan so it made sense as to what was happening with her.
Registered: 1535204335 Posts: 2
Enyasdad This is my first day as Tess was put to sleep yesterday and I can relate...especially the drink part and dying in your sleep naturally. I was going to go out late last night and buy some whisky to try and deaden some of what I felt inside, but I do suffer from migraine so thought better of it in case of a hangover. I did fall asleep for a couple of hours and when I awoke I realised I hadn't taken my handful of blood pressure pills for the day. I wondered about maybe not taking them and maybe I would have a heart attack or a stroke and then I can't be blamed for killing myself. Anyway, I thought better of it as I have children and grandchildren. Anyway, knowing my luck, I may have just been paralysed in bed. However, I just want this heavy feeling in my chest to go, or the feeling of not being able to breathe when I think of her, or the feeling I've drank caustic soda as my guts feel like they've been wrenched out. I made some toast today, I took one bite and then had to throw the rest out. All day I've wanted to go back to yesterday...an hour before...a minute before...even a second before they injected her just to stop it from happening just so I could have her with me now. My heart is breaking, no, it's broken and I don't know what to do. This is the second time I've gone through this, but the first time was different as Jess was on her last legs and was really poorly...she had been for weeks. Tess, on the other hand, was fine, everything was fine apart from her limping with this swollen leg. However, an x-ray showed this hard tumour was pressing on her hip joint and could dislocate at any time causing severe pain. The vet told me there was nothing they could do and it was terminal and to save Tess from inevitable severe pain the best course of action was to put her to sleep. Did I want to take her home for the week-end and spend sometime with her and then bring her back next week to put her to sleep. I couldn't, I was too afraid of it dislocating and causing her pain, but I was more afraid of taking her out of there and never taking her back. However, today I want to back to yesterday and change my mind and I can't it's too late. I know where I am now will get better with time as I've been here before, just as you will. I know for me this time around it will take more time, because like you I now live on my own and I'm now retired. When I had Jess put to sleep at 14 I was working full time and I also had my youngest daughter living with me. With Tess it has been just me and her for over 12 years. For all others out there, you will get through this, just as I did the first time around, even though I don't believe it myself for one bit at this moment in time. It took me 3 years before I could accept another into my home. I looked around the rescue kennels for months but I was always looking for Jess. Then one day my sister brought around a border collie of around 3-4 months that someone had giving away as they didn't want her. What a dog they missed out on, from the bottom of my heart I thank them and my sister too for bringing her to me. I was going to call her daisy but kept calling her Jess by mistake, hence why I called her Tess. I hope it doesn't take me another 3 years before I can accept another. Oh, by the way, it is going to have to be called Bess. For all of you out there that are wanting the company of a dog but can't because of landlord rules, as far as I know all the rescue kennels have volunteers who take their dogs out for long walks. Also, in addition to taking rescue doggies on walkies, there's plenty of caravans and holiday cottages take dogs, the dog you take on walkies from the rescue kennels you could maybe also foster for a week and take it on holiday with you.
Registered: 1192588852 Posts: 30
For me it was a sudden decision I had to make.
My Burley was struck suddenly with saddle thrombus. I went from having a loving, cuddly ten year old boy, to seeing him in pain and unable to move his back legs. I was out of town when it happened. A friend who was watching him rushed him to the emergency clinic in town (I'd never dealt with them before, it was a holiday, they were the only ones open) and I got a call from them out of the blue, explaining the situation and the word "euthanize" came up. I asked if I could see him, but it would take me an hour to get there, and they said yes, they'd give him more pain medicine until then. Following the most anxiety-filled drive ever complete with traffic jam, I got to the clinic and they brought me in a waiting room, a staff member came in and asked if was ready to discuss "aftercare." I looked at her blankly and just said I wanted to see him. They brought Burley in...he was clearly under the influence of meds, I'm sure he was uncomfortable with his physical condition, plus the fact he was at the clinic (he hated being around strangers or in strange places). Honestly I don't even know if my being there comforted him or not. The vet came in, explained the situation--saddle thrombus is usually sudden, the options were to send him to a specialist out of town, but she said even then the options of survival would be very slim, and she thought the humane thing to do would be euthanasia. Now, having seen my husband and other family members' facing terminal conditions, I found that their prognosis was pretty much exactly what happened. They said Dad would pass in three months even with treatment; he died in three months. They said my husband would pass in one year even with treatment, he passed exactly one year and three days. So...I figured this veterinarian knew a lot about this condition, and I trusted her advice. I stroked Burley gently and whispered "I love you" over and over, and told him his daddy would be there to greet him (don't know if that's true; I'd like to believe it), and he passed. Since then, I've been reading up on saddle thrombus, and reading about how their cats' condition turned around and they went on to lead healthy lives, and I second-guess myself.
Registered: 1326342541 Posts: 2,440
Siyahamba - I am sorry that you were faced with such a sudden decision with your Burley. I had the same - for the same reason with my Rascal. I'm not sure what research you found that indicated that cats recover and live long and healthy lives? After I made that quick decision with my Rascal I immediately had records sent to her primary vet and had a full workup set up for Rambo (Rascal's brother and littermate). I asked their primary vet about the treatment option that I did not move forward with for Rascal as I didn't think it was best for her. Her primary vet said that when a cat presents with saddle thrombus to her clinic they do not even discuss treatment "option". She said that is because the treatment is extremely harsh on the cat and less than half will survive the treatment. Then assuming they survive even with strict ongoing blood thinner shots and monitoring when they throw one clot they will throw another. Could be a day/week one never knows. She said "best" case scenario is that the cat will live another 4-6 months. I was there with my Rascal. I woke up to her screaming. It wasn't just lost of use - it was horrific pain. I can assure you that you made the right decision for your Burley. If you had chosen an alternate option and ever had to listen to your sweet baby scream...it would haunt you for life. You made the best choice for your Burley - even though your heart is breaking it truly was a choice of love.
Take care InMemoryOfRascal
Registered: 1192588852 Posts: 30
Thank you for replying. I guess I understand that, rationally, it was the correct option. I guess I'm still in shock: he was happy and healthy the day before, then suddenly a veterinarian is recommending what she did.
Registered: 1326342541 Posts: 2,440
Siyahamba - totally understand. I struggled - seriously struggled - after I lost my Rascal. (You can search and read my initial posts here.) My girl was fine the night before; indoor only cat; vet visits every year (sooner if needed) including bloodwork dental, etc. No known issues. Night before fine. I wake up to her scream; from the time that I rushed her to the ER and was home without her was probably under an hour. How can that be? How can a perfectly happy and healthy cat with no known issues be taken so suddenly. I am so thankful that you were able to see your Burley to say goodbyes. Also thankful (for you) that you didn't see/hear his pain and he was more comfortable when you did see him. That kind of sudden decision is so hard, no time to prepare. We all second guess. I can tell you without a single doubt in my mind that you made the right loving call for your boy.
Take care InMemoryofRascal...and Rambo
Registered: 1537101565 Posts: 1
I just put both my boys down yesterday and I am riddled with guilt and devestated at the same time. I am so heartbroken I can’t take it. They were best of pals. Chale’ was our 15 year old Havanese and had been having seizures for some time but they had gotten much worse recently. He was on 4 medications already when he started to have coughing fits. We took him to the vet and the diagnosis was collapsed trachea and stage 3 heart murmur with fluid around his heart. His brother Guthrie had been suffering from Cushings for some time but had more good days than bad but recently had trouble standing and he tensed up every time he would take a breath. He was so skinny you could see his whole rib cage and backbone but he still ate and pooped and would sometimes still pick on his brother. Now the house is silent and I quietly weep wishing for one more moment.
Registered: 1535204335 Posts: 2
To Coolrick. Take a look at Rainbow Bridge Dogs on Facebook.
Rick, I lost my 12 year old Tess 3 weeks gone Friday. A border collie of 12 that still looked like a 1 year old. Apart from a swollen leg and a limp there was nothing wrong with her. I took her to the vet as we had an x-ray appointment that morning, however, they found a large growth in her groin, a few hours after I was driving back home alone. I live on my own and she was my life, we shared everything. I'd had her from when she was an unwanted 3-4months pup. I have grieved for Tess far more than I did from the death of my own mother 2 years ago. I know time will heal the wound, how do I know, because I've been through this before when I had my dog of 14 years put to sleep around 16 years ago. I can't remember it feeling this bad though, but maybe one just forgets the pain. I have grief, guilt, regret of not taking her home for the week-end and then taking her back, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to take her back. All that week-end I couldn't believe I could have had her for another couple of days, but had been too weak. For the first two weeks I didn't eat much at all as I felt, not only had my heart been torn, but my insides had been ripped out too. It is a little better than it was. I did arrange to go and look at another border collie a couple of days ago, but the thought took me right back to how I felt the first day and realised it's far too soon. However, I can't wait until I can fill my heart and home with another dog and hope it won't be as long as 3 years like it was last time. I have suggested the above Rainbow Bridge Dogs on Facebook as it's a very busy page and it's where people help each other who have just lost their dog, many of them, like you and I, who had to have them put to sleep, giving them the added guilt to their grief. I find I can lose myself in there for awhile and some of the posts are upsetting, but they kind of somehow help knowing I am not alone. Also, you're the only one that's been on here for days, on there, there's people on everyday that has just lost their dog...give it a try. Linda