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Posts: 291


If there is one thing many of us have in common on this site, it is the feeling of guilt.  When I made the decision to put my dog to sleep, it was not because he was "suffering" or because he had a disease.  He did not have a good quality of life anymore.  He was blind, deaf, soiling in the house every day, would have to be medicated to get groomed, was so nervous, so anxious, etc.  The list goes on and on.


At work today, I decided to make two columns.  One column listing reasons why I think I should have held on to Kobe (my shih-tzu) and the other column listing reasons why I felt I should have put him to sleep.  I urge those suffering with guilt to do this as it has helped me tremendously.


On my list, I had 5 reasons why I feel like I should have held on to my dog and 30 reasons why I felt like it was time to say goodbye.


I wanted to share this with everyone.  The guilt was killing me inside (to the point where I didn't feel worthy of even living anymore). 


I want to help those who are suffering the way I did.  Even with the vet telling me it was time, I felt I knew my dog best and should have made the decision.  I still feel guilt, but looking at my list makes me realize that although I never wanted to let go, I made the right decision.


Posts: 339
I still feel guilty about putting my dog to sleep. Granted, she was 17, couldn't see or hear well, and lost control of her bowels and bladder.
That wasn't even the reason The last couple of days she was alive she kept pacing and trying to hide behind the furniture, she kept crying, then she had a seizure and was unable to breathe. She was walking in circles and had what looked like neurological issues.

I didn't want to do it, but it was clear that she was suffering. She barely slept for 2 days and nights, I was awake with her trying to help soothe her.

Yet in spite of this I felt terribly guilty.

I don't think any of us would do this unless we felt is was the absolute best thing for our beloved pets. This is a difficult decision and a heart wrenching experience.

I'm glad you made this list. This is a great idea and I'm sure it'll help to ease the guilt of many of us.

I'm sorry for your loss.



Posts: 2,537

Thankyou for sharing your idea of making a list.  I am glad it helped you and think it will be a good tool for all of us to use.


Thanks Again



Eddie's Mom


Posts: 1,901
this is always such a gut wrenching decision.    and we always question if we did the right thing.   but it was a decision that did not come easily or hastily.   it was a decision made with our hearts to help our babies and take away their unhappiness and suffering.   when life no longer holds any joy or fun for them, it is time for us to help them cross over to the waiting arms of the angels.    i personally feel that for any animal that is dying or no longer has any good quality of life and/or are merely existing that allowing them a gentle, compassionate and easy exit out of this world and being free to run off to the bridge is truly the last act of love, friendship and kindness that we can give them.

please-rest your hearts well and easy.    you gave your furbaby the opportunity to be young and strong once again.   granted they are no longer with us in their physical form but their heaven form will be a wonderous sight to behold  for us one day.  


Posts: 23
I will make this list tonight. My beloved baby was "put to sleep" last Friday, and every now and then I struggle with "what if's". 

My main feeling of guilt is not being there when she passed. My husband was there for her, but I felt I couldn't. Now I wish so badly that I could go back and be there for her, like she was there for me all of these years. I know now that she would've wanted me there and to be the last person she saw before she went to Rainbow Bridge. I know she loves my husband and was comforted by him very much, but my connection with her was greatest, as she was my baby before my husband and I even began dating. 

Posts: 1,355

I had to make the decision 3 times last year to help my babies (Jackie, Chan and Daphne) fly off to the Bridge.  It was a difficult but loving decision.  I hope no one takes offense to this but as some of you know I also lost my mother last year.  She had Alzheimers for 8 years and I watched how her mind and everything that made her the person she was slowly fade away.  However her body continued to "live" on - she could not walk, talk, eat or do anything on her own but she was kept alive due to medical intervention.  How I wish I could have helped her fly off but the law does not allow it.  Instead I had to watch her leave day by day by day.  I am glad I have the right to help my babies leave with dignity and surrounded by love.  JoAnn - Jackie, Chan and Daphne's mom and Kathleen's daughter            


Posts: 44
I don't question that it was the right thing to do for my Trixee-dog, but yes, I still feel enormously guilty. She was 15. She was pretty much completely deaf. Just fur & bones... so skinny... so frail. But she was eating/drinking & peeing/pooping, and altho she had trouble with the stairs, she still could get around on her own. Still greeted me at the door every day when I came home from work. Could we have given her some shots & could she have had another few months, a year? Would she have maintained her "doggyness"?

But the vet said she was in kidney failure. She's had occasional seizures for the past few years. Then it was that horrible Friday night ... one month ago today... she collapsed. Couldn't stand on her own. I knew it was time. I didn't want her to suffer! She'd given me so much love through the years, she was my baby dog. My sweet baby dog. I wanted to let her go on her own... naturally... no shots, no pain. But she WAS in pain. I couldn't let her waste away, just to have another day or week or month with her ... I could not be selfish. And I wanted to be there with her when she went. I couldn't bear the thought of her going to the bridge all alone.

So yes... I knew... I know - it was definitely the right thing to do. Yet, I still feel horribly guilty for it. Like I let her down somehow. Maybe I should have let her go sooner? Why was I so intent on letting her go "naturally"? Why couldn't I see her pain?- even tho she was eating & drinking & peeing & pooping... she was in pain. But her sweet doggy eyes... so full of love ... for me. I know she didn't want to leave me. Even at the end. I had to lie to her... to tell her it was "Okay" for her to go. And I just feel so guilty for that.

My last words to her were "I will always love you, best dog in the whole world. I'll miss you so much! Everyday! Be at peace, now."

Still, the guilt remains.


Posts: 84
When I made the decision to euthanize my sweet cat Willow 2 weeks ago, I had no idea I would feel the intense guilt that I did and still do. So many others had clear messages from their vet that there was nothing more they could do and that it was the right time.  I never got that clear message from the vet and it continues to haunt me.  Yes, she was old (18) and losing weight, and having trouble breathing, and had fluid around her lungs, and a "density on her Xray that was suggestive of a tumor" and was more lethargic and throwing up a lot...but the vet thought we could do more testing and my husband thought it would be a waste to do because we would not put her through chemo or surgery. She still purred every time I came close to her, she still seemed to like to go outside and eat a few plants, and she seemed to like to sit in the sun and relax up until we started her on medication and then everything went downhill.  I keep wondering what we might have done to adjust the doses of her medication- if we could have found a way to reduce the fluid enough without over medicating her.  See...there go all the what-ifs.  In the end, I take some comfort in knowing she did not suffer too much, that she lived a very rich, full, and even indulged life. I just wish we could have had more time with her, but I know that no matter how much time she would have had on this earth with me, it would not have been enough. 

Posts: 33
I hope anyone struggling with those guilt feelings can get past them...when your pet is suffering, or even if you choose to euth. before the worst of the suffering starts, you are doing a very loving thing by sparing your pet from being in pain, fear, etc.  

They can't even understand why they are suffering, so it's worse for them, in my opinion, than for a human, who can listen to the doctor's explanation of what's happening, etc.  

I think it takes a noble and courageous person to let go, to put your pet first.   

I've had to make that decision several times, and I knew in my heart it was best for my pet, although it was awful for me - I would not consider my own feelings, however, when I knew it was the right thing to do & the right time to do it. 

Hugs to all...


Posts: 84
Scarlet, thank you for that statement about "before the worst of the suffering starts". That is exactly what I think happened, and for me, I wonder if we could have had a little more suffering to have a little more life.  But just reading what I just wrote makes me see the selfishness in it. Sometimes, just a little phrase like you stated can make a difference. I know Willow was suffering, but it was at the beginning of the process and at the end of her long, very full and fun life with our family. Hugs to all and thank you Scarlet. 

Posts: 291


I'm so happy we can all help each other out with this.  Joanmard, I feel for you.  Your cat was 18 years old.  Please do not feel bad.  Like I said, if my vet wouldn't have told me it "was time," and would have suggested X-rays and testing, I would have probably chosen to still put Kobe to sleep, only because of his age and the fact that his little body was just so weak and tired.


Princesspooh - There is no right or wrong answer with being in the room when your beloved animal is put to sleep.  For some, it is the best thing to do, for others, it is just too hard.  I always knew I wanted to be with Kobe when he took his last breath, but to be honest, the sight of seeing his poor little lifeless body on the vet's table will probably haunt me for the rest of my life.  I just found out that when my aunt had one of her dogs put to sleep, she could not be in the room and made her husband stay in the room with her dog.  She wrapped her dog in one of her shirts so her dog would still smell her.


Scarlet812 - As odd as this sounds, for me personally, I feel like such a brave person for staying in the room with my dog when he was put to sleep.  Right before the vet put the 2nd needle in, my husband walked out of the room.  I guess it was too much for him.  It was actually nothing what I expected and was done so very peacefully.  My little guy went to Rainbow Bridge right in my arms where he felt safest. 


Judesmom - I know in my heart that Kobe and I will be reunited again one day forever and that makes me smile!


Beachy - Although it's so hard, you got to say goodbye to your baby, so you should forever be grateful for that! 


Terri - I will tell you the same thing my vet told me.  My dog was almost 15 and like he said, very few dogs live to be that age.  Your baby was 17, what a wondeful life he lived!  I'm sure you took such great care of him!


jrinphx - I understand what you are saying, and maybe we should feel lucky that we can "help" our furchildren end their suffering instead of prolonging it.


Take care.



Posts: 84
Thank you for saying that, aquarian.  My Willow was getting old and changing, despite my inability to always see it clearly.  When I look back now, I see that she had stopped doing so many of the things she used to do.  She still seemed to get something out of life though, until she was medically treated and then the medicine (or too much of it, probably) reduced her quality of life.  I am starting to realize though, that even if we had done more things to prolong her life, she really didn't have much time left and we would have subjected her to more suffering.  I just really miss her.  You all know what that means and how sad it feels. 

Posts: 11
I made my list and my outcome was the opposite. There were many reasons to keep my sweet boy with me and I have a much better understanding of his illness now and how much more manageable it may have been.  The decision was made in haste, but it was an emergency and I couldn't think while he was in pain.  There was so much I didn't consider or think about.  I just shut down.  I felt like I had made the wrong decision and I can see that now.  I really don't know how to forgive myself for making such a huge mistake or what would make it better.  I miss him so much.  Everyone here has been so supportive and this site has been such a blessing. I think your all hero's for all you've done for your fur babies and how strong you've been for them.  I'm inspired by you all and I hope that I can learn from all this to be a better person and a better mama.

Posts: 291
jgarwood - I am so sorry to hear about your list.  I feel like I wasn't thinking clearly when I made the decision for Kobe either.  Just so you know, even with my list having so many reasons to put Kobe to sleep, I still feel guilty.  Yes, the list made me feel better, but I don't think the guilt will ever go away.  When the vet told me it was time, why didn't I ask him WHY?  It was because I was too upset to think straight and I just took his word.  I regret that so much.  I don't know if I can ever forgive myself either, but as people have said, it will hopefully get better with time.  I feel so guilty because unlike your dog, my dog didn't have an illness (that I knew of), his body was just shutting down.  With my list, with people's responses (which have been so helpful), I still go back and forth with it being his time or not.  I'm with you and I don't know how I will ever get past this.

It is NEVER easy to make that decision for our pets.  You did what you thought was best at the time (like myself).  You have a better understanding now, but you did the right thing at the time. 

I hope you feel better.

Posts: 268
Thank you for sharing this. I need to do the same thing, but cannot bring myself to do it. Perhaps tomorrow I will try and make such a list. I may also make a list of his ailments towards the end.

Posts: 33

jgarwood, please don't be so hard on yourself.  I went back and read your original posts, and I truly believe you did the right thing.  That condition might be manageable in some cases, but I've read a whole lot more stories about repeated failures than I have successes. 


We never know - what works for one may not work for numerous others.  They can suffer so much while we try to manage a condition like that.  


I feel strongly that there was a greater force that moved you to that decision and it was because the time was right.   Please be kind to yourself.  :)


Posts: 2,440
jgarwood, you said that the people here inspire you and you want to learn to be a better person/mama.  My heart is breaking for you - you are ALREADY a great person and I know a fabulous mom.  You love your baby and I honestly believe made the decision that you knew in your heart was the right one.  Your pain without your beloved boy mades you want to blame someone - and you have picked yourself.  Your boy was blessed with an amazing mom who took him repeatedly for medical care; and the last blockage was the light bulb in your head that told you it was not fair to have your boy continue to go through it again.  And it would have again.  Like someone else said, not all conditions/animals/humans react the same way all the time.  You cared more for your baby boy than you did yourself.  You ensured that he would not suffer any longer; while you took the suffering on yourself since.  If THAT is not a sign and proof of being a good mom...I don't know what is.

Please be kind to yourself.  Your boy wants that more than you can ever know.

Take care

Posts: 84
Jgarwood, I know how you feel about the guilt and the hastiness and the pressure from others.  I felt all of that, too.  I was also thinking about all the expenses involved in more testing and more treatment.  ( I had another cat that I spent $$$$$ on for a corneal eye transplant, that never really worked and probably did more harm than good...another story).  But others here have helped me see that it was probably the right time, even if I didn't know it, even if I still am not certain. I felt pressured by my husband and daughter, and they have reminded me several times that they loved Willow too and they too wanted what was best for her.  I try to remember that they wouldn't want to hurt her, and maybe they were trying to convince me of what was right for Willow, even though it feels wrong.  No matter what, you loved your sweet boy all his life.  Only a good mama would feel the concern you feel. I know I have learned from my experience and may do things differently the next time I am faced with this situation.  But from what I can see, just about everyone seems to experience guilt no matter what decision they make, no matter how much treatment (or lack of it) they give their pets.  We just love them so much, we hate to think they have suffered or missed out on life because of our choices for them. 

Posts: 5
Hi all,

Yesterday I lost my little baby Charlotte. She was literally the greatest thing that ever happened to me. She was the cutest (4lb) most loyal and happy girl. Cuddling was her favorite thing, as she would often sleep on my head.

One day in February she just collapsed. We rushed her to the hospital and found out her liver was failing. Since then we had her on a ton of medication and she was 100% back to normal. We decided against changing her diet since she wouldn't eat anything we tried and couldn't afford not to eat at her weight.

All of a sudden last week she started being not herself. She would sit up and not be able to keep her eyes open. Wouldn't bark or move when the doorbell rang. Did not even want to sit with me and kept moving around as she could not get comfortable. The last 2 days she lost complete control of her bowel movements. The doctor told us that we could go through some tests, but no matter what the outcome was, there wasn't a lot of hope for recovery.

We had to make the choice to put her to sleep with my whole family right by her side. It was only yesterday but I've been beating myself up ever since. How could I do that to her? What if we just tried one more day of medication? Did I just give up? Seeing her tiny body lying there on the table will forever kill me inside.

She was only 7 yrs old. I am devastated, but reading all these posts is definitely helping. I don't know if I can ever go through this again. I hope I made the right choice.

Thank you all.

Posts: 158

My guilt over my decision to end my little Cupcake's life is eating me up.  I adopted Cupcake, an abandoned and badly undernourished 7-year old Persian kitty from the local SPCA on Feb 28th of this year.  I was told he only had 3 teeth, and 2 were being absorbed, and the 3rd was dead or dying...but other than dental, he was fine.

I was concerned, looking at him, whether he'd even make the car ride home!  He was so unbelievably thin, skeletal.  But I just couldn't not take him, couldn't have him dying -if he was- in a cage.  So I took him home.  He was such a good and fearless little critter.  The following day I took him to my Cats Only vets; the vet did an exam, and found a lot to be concerned about; heart murmur etc.  She wanted to do xrays.  On there, she found his heart was enlarged and he seemed to have a lot of fluid around his abdomin-never a good sign.

She suggested I take him into Canada West, vet specialists, for an ultrasound of his abdominal area.  We did so, and they showed a large build-up of fluids, cysts on his liver, and an assortment of other abnormalities.  A further heart ultrasound was recommended; that showed poor Cupcake was in advanced heart failure, with an average (for a previously healthy cat) prognosis of 12-24 weeks.  He also had an undefined infection (which I still believe was due to his tooth problems). He was put on 3 different heart meds.  I kept mentioning the hunched position and the shivering, and that I felt he should be on antibiotics to clear up the infection, whatever it was, but none of the vets agreed. They were all focused on his heart. 

At home during the 2 weeks I had with him, Cupcake was eating very well, and had started putting on some weight-almost a pound in the 2 weeks.  He was playful, but only for a couple minutes at a time.  He most often slept in the crouched "sphinx" position, and I noticed he was often shivering.  The last Friday evening with him, I could see that he seemed to be worsening; shivering more, and looking sad.  But early Saturday morning he was up and wanting his breakfast.  He ate well, and we both went back to bed for a nap.  An hour later I was up and he was wanting a second breakfast.  He sat watching me open his food, and then started chowing down.  As I walked past him on the way to the bathroom, I saw 3 large splashes of blood in the middle of the floor.  I instantly turned to him, but he was busily eating, so I thought it must be me that was bleeding.  I bounced around checking myself over, and he stopped eating to look over at me to see what the heck I was doing.

That's when I noticed the blood dripping from his mouth.  Not a little bit of blood...a lot.  He seemed totally unaware of it.  I rushed him to the vet, while he sat in the front seat in his carrier beside me, looking totally perplexed at all the blood around him soaking into his carrier cushion.  

The ER vet came out after seeing him, and asked me if "kitty has been chewing anything he shouldn't"?  I said no; there was nothing for him to chew on and he wasn't a chewer anyways (certainly not with his 3 painful & dying little teeth). Well, she said, he has a hole in the roof of his mouth,a difficult area to stop the bleeding, and now "we have to make a fast decision" as he'd lost a lot of blood.  

I could let him go...or I could have him rushed to Canada West for blood transfusions. As fluids are the enemy of heart failure, this would trigger further heart problems, which would need stabilizing.  Then dealing with the cause of the sudden hole in his mouth, which was likely a tumor or cancer.

I said it didn't seem as if he'd even make it to Canada West, but she said he would; his vitals were good.  Just as I was about to say "then yes, rush him there", she then said the bleeding was highly likely to recur.  I was so traumatized, the sudden bleeding, blood everywhere, his condition already so poor...this happened on a Saturday, when I was at home, and awake, and able to rush him to ER; what if it had happened the day before, while I was at work?  He would have bled to death.  If it happened again, chances were it would be at night when I was asleep, or during the day when I was at work.  

This was all within 2 minutes; no time to think or call my own vets for their opinions...  I said "We have to let him go."  In my mind was the thought of Cupcake coming through this time, and then bleeding to death on the floor, all by himself, while I was sleeping or at work.  The trauma for him of being rushed to Canada West, and blood transfusions and heart attack and then more treatment for whatever caused this sudden bleeding...and him already under a death sentence.  I couldn't do that to him.

So I held him and told him how good he was and how much I adored him while he was PTS.  "Put to sleep".  Sounds so kind and gentle.  His death was gentle.  But all I see is that I had him killed.  Maybe if I'd really insisted about antibios, this wouldn't have happened.  Maybe he didn't even have heart failure (altho my brain does accept that the cardiologist is considered one of the best in the business and is unlikely to have been wrong).  

Cupcake is at rest; I saw to his after-care, and he's at home in his urn.  He's forever safe and free from pain and fear.  

All 3 of my vets said they firmly believe I'd made the right decision, and the same one they would have made.  The cardiologist said he "probably" would have made the same decision.  

But I'm still struggling badly with my decision to end his life.  He was getting better; he was eating well, and drinking, and peeing and pooping.  His fur was growing back in.  We don't put down critters that are doing better! That he was also bleeding heavily and in advanced heart failure just doesn't seem to want to register with me.  

If I made the wrong decision, my sweet little Cupcake, please forgive me. It was so sudden, so totally unexpected; I was in so much shock, and all I could about was you bleeding to death all alone if this happened again, and the trauma to you of being hospitalized for days, with blood transfusions, tests, tests and more tests...when the specialist had already given you only weeks left as it was.  I feel like I let you down.  I'm so sorry, little one.  :(


Posts: 1
I've never experienced a great loss so far, human or pet. Until this past Saturday. I'm 16, I had my dog Cody since I was 5. He's always been there. Always in the next room, the kitchen, the hallway. He had three seizures this year alone, has had pancreas problems, heart problems, surgery on his leg. In July he was still walking, climbing stairs, still happy. But after his last seizure he declined dramatically. He developed arthritis in both his back legs and the vet and I were almost positive he had a brain tumor. He lost his personality, his happy expression. Within a week he went from limping to almost full paralysis in his back legs. Within 2 days he stopped eating his food and lost the ability to go to the bathroom on his own. At 11 years and 3 months, my parents decided to have him put down. I know he was in pain, and would've only gotten worse, but my gut has been telling me it's not what he wanted. I don't know if it's grief, hurt, sadness, but I still feel it wasn't the right decision.

Posts: 1
I have come here as I have just put our family pet of 14 years down about an hour ago and it's all so overwhelming at the moment.
At the moment I feel like I will never get past this guilt stage in the process.
He was diagnosed with cancer about 6 months ago and was put on medication but has been getting worse ever since. We as a family felt bad seeing him in the state he was in recently. He couldn't walk anymore and was bending his limbs inwards and bleeding from them when he tried walking. He slept all day and hadnt pooed in 4 days. But the thing that's killing me is that he wasn't in enough pain for me to accept the fact that he needed to be put down. Yes he whinced from time to time and cried out occasionally (but very rarely), but he responded when we were around he still loved us and would be so excited to see us and it pains me so much to feel as though I've let him down in some way.
The vet told us there was nothing we could do because the cancer got so bad but he wasn't doing too bad in my eyes and I can't bear the thought of him fighting to get away from the needle before he was put down.
I've read that it's better a day early that a day too late but I can't shake this feeling I feel so bad and I miss him so much

Posts: 346
Terrible Terrible feeling.....its a feeling of being Zoned out somewhere....when people hear them but aren't comprehending anything theya re saying.......I have been there for many of my pets when they gave her that last shot.........I was dying with I get older I cannot see the suffering....I cant take the guilt also....Its indescribable the deep intense depth of pain you feel......and it doesn't go away fast either like most people think you can just get another dog or cat and just get on with life forget about it type of attitude...I literally HATE these types of people...I gravitate away from non animal loving people also....even hunters I don't like in a way...this is me.....but I guess we have to accept this is life.. 

Posts: 3
Same here. Had to put my bunny to sleep after she broke her hind leg. I couldnt afford surgery but i knew it was wrong of me to let her go through so much pain. I had to put her down and this help me come to terms with the fact that i had no othee choice. Thank you.

Posts: 2
I wanted to post since I had to put my 14 year old border collie mix dog Tallie down yesterday.  Her health was rapidly declining (losing ability to walk, lack of bowel control, dementia, fear/anxiety etc.).  I spoke with my vet a few weeks back and he told me I would know when it's the right time.  Once our family came to terms that it was time to let her pass to doggie heaven the stress became very overwhelming for me.   I knew it was the only option for her, but having to make the decision and setup a time to euthanize her was a really heavy weight to carry. The emotions were overwhelming leading up to the yesterday morning when I took her to the vet.

Once I was at the vet and I took a step back to look at the situation I knew this was the only decision we could make that was in the best interest for our furry family member.  I put my arms around her on the vet table as the procedure took place.  She had a large dose of anthesia about 5 minutes before the final shot so when it was time she was already in a deep sleep.  I felt it was very peaceful when she passed.  As sad as I was to lose my friend, a huge weight of guilt was lifted at that moment. 

Now that's its been a day, I am in mourning, but the guilt of the euthanization is gone. 

If you are feeling guilt before or after euthanizing your pet, I would recommend talking to your vet, family, and or friends.  They can give you perspective from the outside looking in.  All creatures go thru the full cycle of life and when you euthanize a sick animal that cannot recover you are sparing them from slowly dying day by day and prolonging what will eventually happen anyways.

Posts: 2
I just had my beloved Pomeranian "Foxy" to sleep 2 hours ago and it has completely destroyed me emotionally. I had her for over 13 years and despite her only having 1 eye, no teeth and going dead and blind she had an amazing life and didn't slow anything to stop her. Last night she begun having seizures and I rushed her to the pet hospital. This morning I got a all saying she was doing better and that I could come pick her up. Upon arriving she had another seizure and then things just got worse. She was unable to eat and the number of seizures caused neurological damage. She was crying when o came back and calmed down after I held her but soon went back to crying very loudly and not being very alert. My biggest regret is that all this happened in less than 10 hours and I no longer have my baby anymore. Financially I was unable to get her the care she needed and I can't stop crying. She held my hand the whole time on the way to the hospital and that is what really makes it difficult for me. She was scared and I couldn't take care of her anymore. I feel like I failed her and I feel this pain will never leave me :( you don't understand how much I loved her! I just want to take her for one more walk

Posts: 59
I am so sorry for your loss. You really loved Foxy. I do understand how much you loved her. I had to put my dog Emma to sleep on 12/4. I rescued her from a high kill shelter 13 years ago. She was everything to me. I have said the same thing you're saying so many times before "I just want to take her for one more walk".
You did everything you could for your baby given the circumstances. She went on to Rainbow Bridge knowing how much you love her. I know right now it is hard to find any comfort in what others might say, but this site is great support. Everyone here has experienced a loss. I understand the pain you're feeling. It is awful. You're in my thoughts. Many hugs.

Posts: 1,910

Euthanasia can become the best in an array of horrible options.  We are destined to outlive our furred ones no matter what we do.

Like you, aquarian, I've had to make lists of plus or minuses.  When the minuses double the pluses, when I've bluntly asked our vet of 20 years what he would do if this were his cat and he says "It's time", that corroborates what I already had concluded.  Sure, more veterinary care could be done, but just because it's there doesn't mean it makes sense to use it.  

Because for myself and for my kitties I come down very much on the side of quality of life over calendar length.  I do not want them to get to the point where all that lies ahead is increasing pain and debilitation with no hope of ever again feeling good and enjoying life.  Years ago as I contemplated the final days of my Houston cat the woman whose organization had fostered him and his sister Whitney emailed me "Better a day too soon than a day too late."  That shocked me at first... but when I thought about it, of course I'd not subject my beloved furred ones to an existence which they no longer enjoyed nor would ever again. 

Medical intervention can keep the body functioning, but if my kitties can no longer purr and be happy, can't get around, can't groom themselves (normal cats spend 15% of their waking hours grooming, we humans are way more slovenly than our cats are), it's selfishness on my part to keep them here just because I don't want to lose them.  We are human, we are biologically destined to outlive our furred ones no matter what.

It was horrible the day my Shalimar was diagnosed with a nasal cancer two months before she turned 16.  The vet said she already had a constant headache, at any time she could suddenly hemorrhage or be in agony.  The sole treatment was radiation which was likely to cause brain damage and wouldn't be a cure.  She was a tiny little 8 1/2 pound girl, of course the radiation would cause brain damage.  All I could think of was what if a crisis happened to her while I was away from the house or asleep.  I chose euthanasia that day. 

Of course this is not what everybody agrees with.  But it's what I do.  All my cats, whatever else I did or didn't do, *knew* that they were loved, in that regard I have zero doubt, I made darned sure of that.  For we humans who remain behind, there isn't a happy ending.  We lose a family member and it hurts for a long time afterwards.


Posts: 14
Kame22 - I agree with you and understand. It was a difficult decision to put our Bruce "to sleep", but to watch him suffer so much was even worse. His pain and illness could not be managed any longer. My heart hurts but I know he is no longer suffering, each situation is different and we all know what is best for our individual pets. I wish everyone comfort in their stages of grief. Some days are worse than others, but like all of us I feel my life is richer because of the love of my pets. Blessings to all, Jenna Louise

Posts: 62
this is from the poem section and help me a lot

The Last Battle

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this -- the last battle -- can't be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don't let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don't grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We've been so close -- we two -- these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

-- Unknown


Posts: 14
Thank you Henry, it helps me also. Jenna. Louise

Posts: 227
This is so touching. That day just flashed in my head. I don't have guilt over the decision but have so much guilt about not catching her cancer sooner. I miss her so much.

Posts: 555


I will be forever grateful for your courage in helping me. Even though it was hard on your heart you where there for me. Yours was the face of love I saw in my heart when I left this world. All I remember is the love and joy you give me. The pain is no more. I fly with the eagles and run with the wolves. I dance on the clouds and find their silver lining. Please remember the life we shared and let the joy of those memories help you find peace. You stood by my side and you are always in my heart. We are always one. You gave me the rarest gift that only you could give me the gift of freedom from pain. You made it easier for me to find Rainbow Bridge.

I am not alone, I have made many friends. The lamb does lay down with the lion. Now is time for you to heal. You did what was best for me you let me go. I will never be far. Look into the night sky and the stars that twinkle and know that I am well and whole again. I thank you for the years together no matter how long or short. Love can happen in a heart beat and last forever.

© J.C. Stewart aka



Posts: 1,910
Thank you, BarTendersBluesWolf.  Has your work been published?  It could help a lot of people.


Posts: 1

My dear sweet Timmy a lab greyhound mix that I adopted when he was 4 months old was put to rest on Friday 12th. I had to put other beloved furry children of mine to sleep because of old age disease or aggressive cancer- but never for this reason. Aggression, unpredictable rage. I had him for 8 years. During that time he attacked one of my elderly dogs then one of my most laid back dogs and most recently me and my 2 year old boxer mix.

When I adopted him he was living at the vet found roaming on the streets at just a few weeks old. He hid in the corner, vet said he would not bond with anyone and just laid there. I brought him home. Over time he trusted me, played with me, and I loved him and he loved me. But things would always be a little bit off with him. So I created an environment that I thought worked for him. After his attack on my elderly dog in the middle of the night I brought him to the vet to examine what was wrong- blood work etc. Nothing. He was put on Xanax. That was over 3 years ago. The flare-ups or attacks were not constant, he was joyful at times, and very sweet for the most part. Which makes this so gut wrenching.

Over time his aggression increased- he attacked my dear adopted sweet lab Belle just one evening- my 2 year old was nearby in his crate. Then he would not eat with other dogs around him (he would growl and attack) so I had him eat alone. He ate slow and nervous and ready to attack.

It became just a home where I was walking on eggshells and so were my other two dogs.

I discussed with my vet and others who have been through this and my vet thought that most likely he had a brain disorder or tumor causing the unpredictable rage. It increases over time I was told. I knew what I had to do since I know he would just starve to death in a shelter and just die alone and sad.

My guilt is beyond belief. I have never had to make such a horrible decision and act to save the family before something worse or awful happened. I keep wondering and asking myself what I could have done differently- maybe I should have given away my other animals. I loved my Timmy with all my heart and he did not know what he was doing. He had no control over it. I felt so sorry for him. And I felt like I had killed my own child. Begging God for forgiveness. I miss him. I miss all the commotion he created and the happy most wonderful times of joy. I miss that he chose to trust me and love me and I him. I am heartbroken and feel such gut wrenching guilt and pain. The house is peaceful now- but oh how I miss his beautiful presence when he could cope.

Posts: 5
Grievingmom - You are absolutely correct that this board is non-judgmental and accepts all manner of opinions and thoughts.  It is why I gravitated here instead of the numerous other websites and blogs.  Prior to Monday morning, I never had any direct experience with euthanasia.  Though I didn't think about it often, when I did, I had an opinion similar to yours. "Letting go", Putting to sleep", "Euthanizing", whatever term was used just meant "kill".  I thought why would anyone voluntarily kill someone they supposedly love.  I thought it was the coward's way out and that you should give your pet every opportunity to live and do nothing to shorten the natural life.  In addition to those opinions, I was ignorant of the process and thought of it as a prison execution with my beloved pet strapped to a gurney and convulsing as they died.

That was all before my wonderful dog Jack very suddenly was diagnosed with incurable cancer and was drowning as his blood filled his lungs.  He could not eat or walk and was too weak to even lift his head.  He may have lasted another few days, perhaps a week or so if the vet continued to drain his lungs. Though it was sudden, he was clearly suffering and literally getting worse by the minute.  My initial reaction was denial and that I was taking him home and he would somehow make it.  I would never give the order to kill him.  I was blinded by anguish, guilt, regret and many other emotions.  But my very compassionate and patient vet explained (many times) that there was no way he was going to get better and would suffer tremendously regardless of how much longer he lasted naturally.  He also said the end may be very traumatic with seizures, a heart attack or other terrible thing that no one would want to witness.  Worse yet, he may die scared and alone with no one around.  I was also told that it was selfish to let him suffer just so because I didn't want to lose him.  Somehow, through all the shock and pain, I got the message.  I couldn't let this wonderful, loving, devoted little animal suffer for one more second because of my selfishness. Though I made the decision I was still extremely scared about the process itself.  Emotions aside, I still ignorantly imagined it as some type of torture chamber.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  My beloved Jack passed from this earth on Monday morning in my arms, wrapped in his favorite blanket and surrounded by his loved ones.  It was completely painless and took literally seconds.  He just closed his eyes and went to sleep.  The agony of the process was unbearable, but for me, not him.  Having experienced it personally it is hard to imagine a more peaceful and dignified way to go.  I would have spent every penny I have if I thought he could be restored to his previous healthy and vibrant state.  But it wasn't to be and while I have other regrets, I know I made the right decision with letting him go.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and in some cases maybe a pet's life can be prolonged with some level of quality or they will pass peacefully at home.  That is a personal decision to be made with your vet, but it seems in the vast majority of cases it is just wishful thinking and all we are doing is prolonging the inevitable and putting our pet, and ultimately ourselves, through unnecessary suffering. 

Posts: 155
I couldn't possibly comment or even remember the specifics of all the pervious posts so I will only comment from my own experience. Let's face it, euthanasia is a profoundly difficult decision to make and one that I can't imagine is ever made without some level of anxiety and guilt as it is in essence, ending a life. I have experienced it four times with four precious cats over the years and it never gets any easier or clearer and even if it seems that way at the time as soon as it's done I lose my mind in regret and grief. In my more rational moments I do believe it is ending their pain and suffering or even potential pain and suffering ( which I was very grateful someone mentioned here in a previous post ). I do believe if you are going to do it ' better a day too soon than a day too late ''. Another helpful deciision making marker for me has been the fine line of prolonging life or prolonging death. I used to have a wise vet who would counsel me with talk of where my pet would have been if he was human... Likely in a hospital with all kinds of supportive care and machines and medications if very ill. I suppose that leads me to the concept of natural death which I think can happen but is rare as a gentle passing. I know there's been some discussion of that here too and a friend of mine was advocating it recently and I feel that with our pets we interfere with their natural life by domesticating them, they live far beyond any time they were designed to or would live if they lived a 'natural' life. If they were in the wild living a natural life they would pass more quickly from predators or the elements. If, as my vet said they were people, they would have extreme care in helping them through their death. Again, I'm not saying it isn't possible and honestly I find euthanasia very difficult as well and do feel the decision and the act can feel like killing but given the unknown surely it is the lesser of evils for their suffering. I would suffer for ever if it helped my beloved pets. I don't have any clear answers and as I said, it should be a difficult decision. I had hoped to be more articulate in my response but it's such a hard discussion. I have certainly suffered insane amounts of grief and regret over it, it's such a huge dilemma to face in the worst possible time. We are imperfect and don't know the answers. We do our best and hope our best gets better. Peace to you all in your losses.

Posts: 2
I'm just in tears reading all these old posts from as far back as 2012.  If any of you are still here, thank you so much for posting your stories.  It's a bit comforting knowing I am not alone.  

I had to put my special boy to sleep today, the sweetest cat in the world, and I'm not sure I did the right thing either.  He had a tumour in his mouth that was "most likely" cancerous, and was told he would not survive if it was.  I opted not to do a biopsy because there would be no hope for him if it was malignant, so I didn't want him going through that pain for nothing.  Within a few weeks the tumour had grown to the point he could barely eat and on the last day, no food and trouble drinking.  He developed another lump further down that side and a limp on that leg, and his pupils were sometimes very different sizes.  Any attempted treatment would have been painful and had a low chance of keeping him alive more than a few weeks...but there was a chance.  I could tell he was in extreme pain and could not bear to have him suffer through any more for a maybe, but he was only 11, and now after it's too late I can't help but feel...I made the wrong decision.  What if something would have worked and he could have had another few years?  I was desperate to end his pain because my baby was hurting so much, and the other options meant even more pain...but there was a chance.  Would he have wanted me to take the chance?  I will never know.  My poor sweet boy, I love him so much.  And he loved and trusted me completely.  I may have done him wrong.  My special little boy...

Posts: 4
I felt like it was the right decision at the time but now that I think of it I feel like maybe I could have done more and maybe the vet was wrong. My dog was 17 when he died 6 months ago. His legs were getting weak but we got him dog boots so he could walk around easier and he was happy and seemed healthy and acted like he always did just a little slower then he use to be. He seemed a little tired the night before he died but I got him a new toy when I came home from work and he played with it for a little while and then we went to bed. When I woke up he was breathing a little heavy but it was very mild and he didnt seem like he was in pain I took him out to use the bathroom and he was so weak and couldn't stand. I took him inside and fed him and he ate like normal. I took him back into my bed but he was still acting the same not getting worse or better. Eventually he started to get worse. I took him to the vet and the vet said he looked like he was going to die and I probably should put him to sleep. So I didn't know what to do so the vet said he would put him on oxygen for now. The vet said that the oxygen made him feel better. But he thought that it was congestive heart failure and that they would do x rays. He found that it wasn't that and that it was because his stomach was enlarged. He said that it was probably from cancer somewhere in his body or just excess air in his stomach. There was a way to figure out what one it was and he would have to get a tube in his throat and if it passed through then it wasn't cancer and they could get rid of the excess air and he may or may not be back again with the same problem the next day but if it was cancer then the tube wouldn't go through and he would have gotten a tube down his throat for no reason. So I didn't want to stress him out with a tube in his throat on his last day if it was cancer so I decided to just put him to sleep. But I still feel like if he ate then how could his stomach been blocked off. I just keep thinking that maybe if he got the air out he would still be alive. Maybe if I was faster then he would still be alive.


Posts: 1
I decided last week it was time my baby girl should be put too sleep. Chloe was a beautiful, gentle doberman x hunterway. She would be 15years exactly 3weeks after the day we put her to sleep. I have horendous guilt inside me and don't feel it will ever go away. I deep down know it was or was nearly time, it doesn't seem too help when everyone tells me I've done the right thing, she was probably in pain, she was lucky to have the life she did. My sweet little angel I was hoping she would just naturally go in her sleep when we camped out in the lounge with her in her last night. I know she was deaf, hardly any vision, mobility was poor as had really bad arthritis due to both her ACL reconstructed over the years, had cushings disease, panting and breathing was starting to sound wheezy, she was also incontinent but I didn't care. I knew I had to let her go she was starting too look tired a lot, but what I find hard is she had some really good moments where she looked like a puppy again especially if the treats were around or food, which made me think I was putting her down and she was still happy to be here with me, I felt like a murderer especially cos we decided on the fri night and she went on the tues so felt like she was in death row. If I had to do it again I would decide straight away and get it over with as the pain for days trying to be strong for her and she was fed up with my suffocation of love. Unfortunately she was never going to give us the sign of going off her food to know that was time as she had cushings disease which meant she was always hungry. We spoiled her the last few days, cooked breakfast, milk and she loved her choc and always had an advent calendar, she had hers early but just find it hard now as she is not here and everything that happens is a first time without her here. I live everyday wishing I could turn back the clock but I know that would be selfish. I used to believe in the rainbow bridge and heaven but finding it hard to positvley think like that I just feel she is non existent and it hurts. I am happy we had her put to rest at home and not the vets as she would have had to be carried and scared going to the vet. I would have spent any amount of money too keep her happy, even if i didn't have the money she was my baby and I'll never forget her just hope I can get over this guilt. Should I have waited a month until after her birthday and Christmas, but she was starting to decline weekly and daily. RIP my beautiful angel mummy misses you xx
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