Registered: 1581404984 Posts: 3
I just came across this thread. I'm in the same pain... the guilt is overwhelming and I feel in my bones that I made the wrong decision. It's been more than a year since I euthanized my baby and that knowledge has only become clearer with each passing day. I hope God forgives me. The one person whose forgiveness I really need is my baby and he's not here to give it to me. People keep saying that I need to get a new dog... how the hell would that possibly help? I don't want a "new" dog... I want my Miles back. I pray for anyone who has to navigate through this. I wouldn't wish this pain on my worst enemy.
Registered: 1582166945 Posts: 8
I just found this thread as well ... while sitting on my couch feeling like death after making the tragic decision to euthanise my little Maltese Cross, who was around 18 years old, this morning. I'm relieved to read posts that volunteer that pets weren't always so close to death that euthanasia was almost a formality. I think that's what's affecting me the most, with the three other dogs I've had to euthanise they've been ill and the end point has been more visible. Reg, however, was gradually losing her sight and hearing, but still mobile.
I remember my vet some time ago (with a previous dog) saying that smell was a dog's primary sense and for that reason they could live reasonably OK without sight or hearing. With this in mind, I suppose I assumed that Reg's gradual disengagement over the past 12 months was due to lack of sight and hearing. Her walking changed as well, but again I assumed that was due to compensating to lack of sight (which in part I think was the case). She also started to void inside about 14 months ago, but I put it down to picking up bad habits when she briefly stayed in a kennel. However, in recent weeks she seemed unsettled and particularly in the past fortnight I found her in tight corners or between a wall and an object on a few occasions, distressed that she clearly didn't know where she was or how she got there or how to get out. Because I now live alone I found myself increasingly anxious over how safe she was when left alone (always inside). Then yesterday when I returned home from work, she sat up from her bed and when I popped her outside I noticed she was having difficulty walking using her hind legs and she ended up sitting a lot. Her lack of balance made positioning herself over a food bowl difficult as well, so I ended up holding her bowl for her so she could eat and during the night assisting her with her water bowl. Perhaps the worst bit thought was that she became extremely anxious during the evening and nothing I did seemed to help. At 1AM I heard her start to wander again and when I didn't hear her return to her bed I found her distressed in the laundry near her food bowl, appearing not to know where she was. I ended up turning on the light to the hall and making the area safe from her accidentally hitting herself (from turning around quickly)and just letting her pace out her anxiety since trying to console her seemed to make matters worse. After awhile she allowed me to return her to her bed and I sat and patted her until she fell asleep. I knew then that her quality of life had become incredibly poor. She ticked most of the boxes for advanced dementia and was now locked in her own world that perhaps wasn't pleasant. Nonetheless, she seemed 'perky' at the vet this morning, but in an anxious way, not a healthy way. The vet acknowledged that at this stage it could be difficult to gauge quality of life given she didn't have the usual organ failure so often apparent at this age, but that she realised that what I was describing certainly suggested that life wasn't great, despite her still having a strong heart beat. I think the absolute worst part for me was that the sedation given prior to the euthanasia stung her badly, despite the vet being as gentle as possible, and she wailed. She did relax within a minute and I held her throughout the procedure, but God, I felt like a was crucifying her. Both the vet and I are widows and I think that's what also upset us on top of everything else. Reg was the final pet that my late husband and I had together and now I feel as though I've severed that final piece of a living bond. Logically I know that had I have decided to delay my decision with Reg I would've been regretting it by this afternoon - she seemed to be caught in her own ongoing nightmare - but for now I feel crushing guilt and grief. Having said that, I'm so very grateful I goggled "I had my dog euthanised and I feel guilty" and found this site. It's helped knowing that others feel the same way.
Registered: 1550097364 Posts: 11
I found this sight last year when we put our beloved Gus to sleep. I will always wonder if we did it too soon. We feel like that question was answered this year. Gussies sister Allie went in for some surgery to remove some bumps this Jan. One was a low grade cancer. No big deal. She was healthy. Taking run/walks every day..4 weeks later, after her liver was shutting down. ( long story) we thought we were losing her. We exhausted every resource in Kansas.. she turned yellow. Her liver was severely damaged. They were all saying cancer..I was certain it was one of the multiple drugs she had been given. For good reasons. Blaming no one,. Anesthesia, Carprofin, 3 different antibiotics, a sedative, etc. No no no they said. It’s cancer. We will get you some answers.. KState animal hospital had her in ICU for. 4 days and $3000. They were certain it was cancer. She wasn’t eating, and scared. I finally went up there and demanded to be with her. She was terrified, always has been of noises, and strange stuff. She hadnt eaten in 4 days. I walked her, and she ate like a racehorse. She is now recovering at home. We got her back on the very day, a year after we put Gus to sleep. Feb 12. It was as if God was telling us that he knew we would do all we could for these creatures. It was Gussies time is all. Anyone who comes to this sight must know that they wouldn’t hurt a hair on their beloved animals head in normal circumstances. But we won’t let them suffer Is all. We love these guys. We are looking at several more weeks of wound treatment every night, followed by a 5th surgery for Allie, but we are joyful to have her for more time. I know now in my heart that we did Gus right.
Registered: 1556948376 Posts: 3
I’m so sorry for your loss. I truly understand the pain. I remember bringing my beloved cat in the vet about 10 months ago knowing that he will be or most likely euthanized. My vet said it was time and the night before I made a list of whether my boy had a quality of life. I tried to be objective as possible and all signs pointed to a severely reduced QoL and decrease in health. It was a horrible decision and one I knew was right that day. However, much later in the evening I already started to second guess my decision. I was thinking I gave up on him and it was too soon. Then a few days later I’m started to convince myself I should’ve made the decision earlier. My boy endured a surgery for a different issue and he healed nicely. But 10 weeks later he was euthanized. Now I’m thinking he should have been euthanized prior to the surgery. For the a few month after I went back and forth on whether my decision was too early or too late. Finally, I accepted it was guilt playing with my emotions. Now, when I look back at the situation in it entirety, I would have made the same decision. I did what I felt best for my boy based on the information I had at the time. The decision was always based on what was best for him and not me. You made the same decision, which was what is best for your furbaby. You knew it was time but you miss them so much you start blaming yourself and then guilt combined with grieve causes confusing and conflicting emotions. Rational thought is buried deep inside you and it will take a while to resurface. From your description any ration person would have done the same. Guilt is playing with you. Real guilt is when the decision is made with malice is your heart. You have love not malice in your heart for your decision. In fact I would describe it as unconditional love. Overtime, I hope you can forgive yourself as you did nothing wrong. But true pet lovers always blame themselves.
Registered: 1582166945 Posts: 8
Similar to you, I've also been in the unenviable situation of going ahead with treatment for a dog I had years ago, Edie. The vets I've consulted tend to stand back so as not to influence my decisions whenever I've had to do so (four times to date), but with Edie I allowed myself to be talked into treatment against my better judgement and it only protracted her misery. It's difficult balancing the role of parent and executioner in the absence of our non-human family being able to inform us of their wishes. Don't really know if I'm up for the same again, we'll see in time I guess. C.
Registered: 1556948376 Posts: 3
Sorry but I’m going to disagree with one statement you made. No one on this site including yourself are an executioner, even know, we may feel like it at times. We make the decision to end the suffering and pain for our beloved furbaby. It is a kind and humane decision that break our hearts. After we make the decision and start to regret it afterwards we focus on if something else could have done and in many casing some miracle treatment. We refuse to consider the other outcome and in many cases the most likely which is a natural death due to age or illness. This can be a very cruel and painful death. There are many that could not bring themselves to make the decision to euthanize looking for the miracle treatment and their furbaby suffer greatly. I totally understand their decision but unfortunately it turned out wrong. After many months of would’ve, could’ve and should’ve game playing it made no different. I now look at pictures of my boys during the good time and focus on the love I provided them. They became old and no one can change that. You gave your furbaby a life of everything. You could not have done better.
Registered: 1577638808 Posts: 2
First let me say I'm sorry for both your loss and pain. I think I have a good inkling how you feel. The day after Christmas we decided to put our Chunky down. He had been hit with cancer , both in his lungs and neck. We agonized over this, my wife and I adopted him when he was 6 months old, a crazy lab/dane puppy. He turned into a wonderful companion, he was a star wherever we took him. I too have been told to get another dog, but I don't think we will can find another one like him. So, like you I want my boy back. But I know that's not possible. We made the decision because we knew Chunky was going to continue suffering and one day soon we would find him passed. When healthy Chunky weighed between 85 and 90 pounds . His final day he was down to 74 lbs. I can't tell you that you will ever truly be over the loss. But it does ease with time. Perhaps after some more time passes you will consider another pup, remember there are so many dogs that need a home and you sound like someone with a lot of love to give.
Registered: 1581028601 Posts: 9
I'm so sorry you're suffering so. If you'd like, please tell us what happened that makes you feel so guilty. We're all here for the same reason. With Love, Felina's Mom
Registered: 1581404984 Posts: 3
Hello Felina's mom and Chunky's dad,
You're all so sweet. I'm praying for us and for all of the babies who are no longer here. Miles' illness began in July 2018. Unquenchable thirst followed by intermittent diarrhea... going out to pee almost every 2 hours and toothpaste like consistency to his poop. He was 13 and a half at the time and being fed a kibble diet, albeit a high quality one (Orijen). I immediately pulled his kibble and started boiling him organic chicken breast and white rice. it was like pouring gasoline on a fire. It made everything worse. Husband and i rushed him to the specialist vet who knew him very well by that point (he had had digestive problems since he was 10 but they always responded to a change of diet/boiled chicken). The vet was very concerned by his condition... his stomach was bloated and he was in a lot of pain. She insisted on keeping him and running every test she could while giving him vital fluids. He ended up spending 3 nights at the vets and his condition deteriorated even more. He refused to eat the Royal Canine that they put out for him and was clearly depressed. What's worse (if you can look at it that way) every single test came back negative. He didn't have a parasite, it wasn't an obvious form of cancer, his kidney/ liver numbers were good and it wasn't Cushing's disease... which I was convinced it was. She was flummoxed. Mind you, not once did this specialist ask me "What have you been feeding him?". I yanked him out of there and brought him home. Based on research that I had done on my own, I figured that this was inflammation in his body caused by chicken and turkey (the main ingredients of his Orijen kibble)... that part I got right. But how I responded to it has been the mistake of my life. I began feeding him a rotational diet of *cooked* wild salmon, ground lamb, and lean beef with brown rice, sweet potatoes and spinach. He absolutely refused to eat green beans, peas or carrots so I did not use those veggies. To my initial delight, his appetite returned full force, his bloating slowly diminished though did not go away entirely. But over the next 3 and a half months his condition still gradually declined. He was sleeping all day, had no desire to play and his thirst was still abnormal. I realize now that he was not getting key nutrients in his food as well as moisture, which is crucial for dogs (and cats I believe) and this was leaving him in a chronic state of malnutrition and dehydration. My poor sweet boy... I did not know. I thought he was dying. The vet thought it was just his age, even though 13 and half for a miniature poodle is not very old. We came back from a trip to Italy in the middle of October and my parents had been watching him, feeding him this same diet, and I saw that the eyes of my boy were not the same. We couldn't leave the house because he had to go out to pee every hour, his diarrhea returned, although by then it was interment with constipation and his energy level was zero. He was waking me up in the middle of the night to pee and now a new habit: to eat grass. I was under so much stress that God forgive me, I was praying "please, if you're dying, please go in your sleep." My baby would have a lived a much longer life if it wasn't for my incompetence. My husband and I made and canceled 2 visits from the vet who comes to your home to Euthanize. I was in absolute hell. I was crying every day and was a nervous wreck, unable to function or leave his side. When Miles woke me up yet again at night to drink water, pee and eat grass, I made the third appointment and this time we kept it. My baby was euthanized on November 5th 2018 and life has been a nightmare ever since. A dog cannot tell you that he or she wants to go, and indeed even when they're in pain, some of them still want to live. Miles was following me around like he always did on that last day, eager to be by my side... hence Carolynet saying that we are our dog's executioners. We are. It is unthinkable... an untenable position to be in. How are we expected to care for and then kill these babies? They should all go peacefully in their sleep but they don't. Oftentimes vets are unhelpful, as they were in my situation, so how are we supposed to know what to do?? I tell my husband that I can jump out of a plane now, I can go skydiving, bungee jumping... nothing scares me as much as what I went through, what I continue to go through. Because my heart didn't stop beating when Miles' did. Severus, Carolynet, DanC, FelinasMom and Chunky's dad, I am praying for you all. I am so sorry for all of your losses. It brings tears to my eyes. I know you were all amazing parents and I know that energy cannot/does not die. Just because we cannot see our fur babies does not mean they aren't here. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be here typing.
Registered: 1582166945 Posts: 8
What a shocker of an experience, although from the outside looking in I can't see where your incompetence lies. And perhaps that's the key to our combined situations. We observe our own actions and our pets responses through a completely different lens compared to how others might see it from the outside looking in. All that I'm reading from your situation is a completely loyal parent who resolutely tried to exhaust all avenues while keeping Mile's quality of life as the absolute priority. I think, though, that the situation definitely feels worse when medical opinion urges us to try further investigations (both with humans and non-humans), but I'm saying that knowing that vets are only doing their best as well. I've actually found it helpful on occasion to try and examine my actions as though I was listening to what occurred as described by someone else and consequently find myself feeling far less judgemental and more objective. Nonetheless, these experiences leave us reeling which I suppose is a measure of our genuine love we had for the deceased. Like you I found myself praying that Reg would go in her sleep and begging her to just let me have one good night sleep as months of sleep deprivation started affecting me badly. But now I'd give my right arm to have her wake me up and even to clean up after her again. I know if I could turn back time that wouldn't last, but it a tough adjustment we go through.
Registered: 1581404984 Posts: 3
You're absolutely right... when we listen to other people's experiences, we have empathy and understanding and we don't give that to ourselves. I was thinking for the past 15 months now that if only Miles had been older, if only it had been organ failure or another serious illness (not that we are wishing illness on our babies) but that that would have made my decision more acceptable, easier to wrap my mind around. What I'm finding by reading everyone else's story is that that is rarely the case. It doesn't matter how old our dogs or cats are, doesn't matter if they had cancer or dementia or any other terrible, unsustainable illness, the decision to euthanize them always crushes us. I think of you and your beloved 18 year old Reg and I find myself envying your time with her, not realizing that someone else might looking at me thinking "wow, I wish I had 13 and a half years with my dog." It's never long enough. It can't be. The fact that I exist when Miles' physical body no longer does is incompatible with my mind. But you have lost a husband and other fur babies and are well acquainted with this. Every day with them is a gift and when they're healthy and vibrant we don't realize that it won't be that way forever. Sending you all my love. I know it's the hardest when its fresh and you just went through this 2 days ago. I'm so so sorry. We are all here for you and for each other.
Registered: 1582892344 Posts: 2
I have spent the last two days reading this message board. I feel comfort in the fact I am not alone but I am wracked with guilt, devastation and grief after putting Tabby, our 12.5 year old cat to rest on 26 February 2020. I apologise in advance for the length of this post but it is my heart in words.
Tabby was a special cat. She was feisty and a little bit mean, but she was affectionate and loyal to her family. As Tabby grew up she developed aggression issues. She was always loving to our family but there was absolutely no way someone from outside our household could touch her. This slowly got worse and vet visits became nearly impossible. It reached the point where sedation would be required for a simple check-up. It became far too stressful for her so we thought the kindest thing to do would be to stop with the regular vet check-ups unless there was particular reason to go. While this felt like the right decision at the time, I now feel negligent and like a bad owner. I wonder if we had kept up with the check-ups, if her kidney failure could have been detected earlier.
On the morning of 25 February I noticed that the fur on Tabby’s back legs was looking a bit matted. She had always been very good at grooming herself so we made an appointment with the vet for the following day. When I got home that afternoon Tabby was waiting at the door, curled up in a ball looking extremely vulnerable. This was very unusual behaviour for her. When I opened the door she hobbled inside, limping to avoid putting weight on her back legs. She plopped herself at my feet and looked up at me so vulnerable and in so much pain. She was very clearly asking for me to help her so I called our vet in a panic and told them we were coming in.
At this point no one else was home to help me with the task of putting her in the crate. I feel sick to my stomach when I think of myself covering her with a towel just trying to get her in the crate without being bitten and scratched. She was begging me for help and I shoved her in a crate which she hated.
At the vet they tried to assess Tabby but she wouldn’t let them touch her. The vet clinic was filled with the sound of her hissing and howling any time they came near her. The only option was sedation but it was the end of the day so they recommended we take her home and monitor her and bring her back first thing in the morning for sedation.
That night she slept in my room and was so affectionate. She woke me multiple times for pats and looked up at me so lovingly. When I saw how much life she had left in her that night I was sure whatever issue she had would be minor and we’d have her back home with us.
After sedation and an initial assessment, the vet thought it was a spinal issue so they did x-rays. The x-rays came back clear and she had no temperature. It was determined she may have hurt a muscle or tendon and the plan was then to put her pain medication for a week and keep her confined to my room. They took her bloods to make sure her kidneys could handle such strong pain medication but when her bloods came back they revealed chronic kidney failure. The vet advised her kidneys were completely non-functional and there was nothing we could do to help her. Our options were to keep her on a drip at the vet for a few days, take her home for another week to say good bye but this would inevitably cause her to suffer, or let her go that day. We decided to let her go. While the rational side of me knows this was the right decision, my heart feels so much guilt and regret. I wish we brought her home and cooked her a delicious steak. I wish we could have showered her in love for a week and had time to say good-bye. But I know this would have been for us, not her. The kindest thing to do was to end her suffering and I take solace in knowing her pain has ended but I feel so much sadness.
She had so much life left in her, she still seemed so happy and I fear that she didn’t want to die. She came to me for help and I ended her life and I hate myself for that.
Registered: 1326342541 Posts: 2,437
Tabbysmom - I am so sorry for your pain. I know too well how hard it is to make that decision and then to second guess/beat ourself up for that decision.
Your Tabby reminded me of my Rascal. My girl wasn't socialized when I got her at 3 months (neither was her brother Rambo) so while both of them were the BEST with me, they were absolutely petrified of anyone else and going to the vet. Rambo...that big lug would just hide. Rascal though...she would FIGHT. My girl could clear a room. And she was not opposed to drawing first blood. So I know your panic when Tabby came to you. I know you believe that you let Tabby down when she came to you - but you did exactly what SHE needed from you. She trusted that you would fix the pain. Reality is that not every medical issue can be fixed - and you made the HARDEST of choices for Tabby. YOU took on the pain and released her from hers. As for being a bad mom for not going annually to the vet - while a different (honestly quite worse) thing happened to my Rascal, she DID go to the vet annually. There was nothing in her charts that would have warned us of a potential heart issue. She didn't show the signs. AND after I lost her I immediately took her brother (littermate) in for full checkup, cardiologist, blood work you name it...he had it. Nothing. But even with annual checkups, 3 years later my bestest boy was in the ER with heart and kidney failure. So PLEASE know that you did not contribute or cause your Tabby any pain - she loved you and knows that any and every decision you made was in her best interest. And know that kidney issues with cats absolutely can come on suddenly. Please be kind to yourself. I have no doubt that your Tabby girl does not want you beating yourself up. Take care InMemoryOfRascal...and Rambo
Registered: 1582166945 Posts: 8
The plight of Tabby reminds me of my first cat, Ethel. She loathed and detested the vet and would fight to avoid being placed in the cat cage. Despite seeing that one of her eyes didn't look great, her determination NOT to be caged made me decide not to put her through the anguish of visiting the vet. In the end I took her there (some weeks later) when she was barely compos and after staying up with her throughout most of the night while she clearly was deteriorating. The vet said that she had severe kidney failure and she was euthanised there and then. For ages I felt that I should've persevered with trying to get her into the vet, but she was absolutely panicked at my attempts. Now, some 20 years on, I can see that my decision to allow her some autonomy wasn't so bad. I've been far more vigilant, subsequently, in taking dogs and cats to the vet and while providing good medical care is obviously part and parcel of responsible pet ownership, when things have become hideously wrong I've at times been left with the feeling that I only contributed to their angst during their final months/weeks/days.
Tabbysmom, I reckon you allowed your girl the opportunity to live life under her terms and conditions. That's painful for you, but under the conditions you've described the absolute best for her. She may well have been traumatised if you'd pushed her into annual vet checks and as various contributors to this site attest, it may well have led to nothing different to the outcome you have both endured. I hope you can feel comfort as time passes.
Registered: 1582892344 Posts: 2
Thank you for your kind reply InMemoryOfRascal...and Rambo. The rational side of me knows all the things you are saying are true. But the completely broken and devastated side of me is just riddled with guilt and sadness. I just miss her so much. The thought that I will never see her again is so painful. I find myself looking for her and going about our routine and then I realise she is gone.
Truthfully, I'd shave years off my life for another year with her. I would also like to say that I'm sorry for your two losses. It's obvious you loved them very much and miss them dearly.
Registered: 1326342541 Posts: 2,437
Tabbysmom - sadly I absolutely know just how deep the pain is being here without my baby. Quite honestly when I lost my Rascal, I didn't think it was possible to hurt so much. If you went back and read some of my first posts here you would see - like you - the deep pain, the guilt, the second guessing. When I found this board (first time ever participating in anything like this online) it was my lifeline. People here told me that it does get better. I grabbed that "promise" and clung to it - even though I didn't really believe it. But with time, for me a LONG time, it does get better. I lost my Rascal 8 years ago and I miss her every day. THAT doesn't change. But with time I think more of my girl that loved only me, trusted only me and our 11 years together, all of the good memories..versus the last sudden 2 hrs.
I would encourage you to start your own post - tell people about your Tabby girl. Let people get to know your girl and share your love. Take care InMemoryOfRascal...and Rambo
Registered: 1529423348 Posts: 160
As I read through these posts tonight, the tears start to flow down my face. I really try to avoid reliving the last moments of my cat when I had her euthanised more than 2 years ago. It's something I will never feel good about.
This is a really fantastic bit of advice posted on this thread by Dear Miss a few months back :- "Hello, I always try and remind myself that I did this FOR them NOT TO them, I know if I had waited even a few days more she would of died in a horrible way, and that may have brought me on more guilt.....we set them free from pain and misery, to a place where they are no longer suffering." What a profound insight that is. I will try to reframe things in that perspective.
Registered: 1582166945 Posts: 8
Reading of your beautiful Blue Heeler's demise reminds me so much of watching how my own dog died. Academically you know it was the correct thing to do and there's absolutely nothing more you could have done other than extend their misery. I think things feel so much worse when they have those rare moments of lucidity and that's when I used to find myself double guessing whether I was doing the right thing. Just imagine what she would have been like now though? Would you have been observing a dog comfortable in her element or would you have been witnessing further decline? I actually found it really helpful to try and project what I would've been watching had I have not made the decision I did. There's no way I can conjure up a favourable image - euthanasia was clearly the correct choice, albeit the most painful one. Losing your second dog so shortly afterwards seems an intolerable amount of grief for fate to pile into such a brief moment.
I hope you soon find some sort of solace, even if it's making a memory garden for both of them.
Registered: 1531496113 Posts: 17
Pintosage- My girl went through the exact same thing, she was 16. She ended up having a really bad seizure in my arms towards the very end and lost use of her hind legs. Please try and not feel guilty as you did this for him NOT to him. To live that way is suffering and I would not want that for myself, I still cry for her after 1.5 years but I know I did it because I love her, and you did too.