Registered: 1502549193 Posts: 7
I put my beloved doggie to sleep 2 days ago. And I still can't believe I did it. Buddy was 15 1/2 years old, a big fluffy golden retriever mix, and the best dog anyone could ever ask for. He was highly intelligent, loyal, stubborn, strong, and silly. And he was my best friend.
He developed inflammation/accumulation of blood on one of his front legs and it became so swollen that it looked 3x bigger than his other leg. His back legs were also weak. He could only walk a few steps and could no longer go up or downstairs [an issue since I live in a second floor apartment. I took him to two different vets and got painkillers and more meds [he was already on arthritis meds]. I got him harnesses and orthopedic bed and used pee pads to relieve himself indoors when he couldn't get up to go potty. The pain from the swollen leg was so bad [even with meds], that he actually bit me 2-3 times when I got too near the leg. He would also do continuous, anxious barking/whining at all hours of the night and even during the day. I couldn't figure out why he was barking. The only thing that got him calm was either massaging/petting him until he slept or going outside. My baby lost his ability to walk around late June. This was a dog whose greatest joy in life was going on walks. I took him outside twice a day to the yard to enjoy the sunshine [I carried all 75 lbs of him and when that got hard, I used a dog stretcher]. We still went to the park almost every weekend this summer. I took him to one more vet, a specialist. They ran blood-work and saw that he was anemic. They did an ultrasound and found that Buddy had a large mass in his spleen that was more likely than not hemangiosarcoma, basically a cancerous tumor that would rupture and cause death via internal bleeding. I decided not to do surgery because the recovery would be hard on such an old dog. I was so afraid that he was suffering, just living out his days sitting around in his bed/floor, soiling himself, waiting for possible death from the tumor. This was a very proud and intelligent dog. The non-stop barking made me think that he was frustrated and miserable with his situation. Not to mention the pain from his leg. So I made the hard decision to have him put to sleep. I took 2+ weeks off work to be with him and we spent every day together. Now that he is gone I have extreme regret and guilt and so many what ifs. He was still eating and drinking fine [he could never refuse a treat!]. He loved sitting outside with me. He still loved getting gushed over and petted and massaged [as long as you stayed away from the leg]. Here I am now with his collar in my hands and his fave chew toy pressed to me, crying, and thinking, "Why did I do this to my best friend"? Maybe another medicine would have helped. Maybe he could have passed on his own peacefully. Maybe the mass in his spleen was benign and nothing would have happened there. Maybe I should have gone to another vet for another opinion. I am single, have no kids, and am not close with family. Buddy was all I had. We have been inseparable since I was in junior high. All I keep thinking is, I took away the sunshine from him. He was still eating/drinking, so he probably wasn't ready to go. Why did I do this to my best friend? Both the apartment and I are feeling extremely empty inside. :(
Registered: 1392761300 Posts: 994
Buddy was 15 1/2 and had a great life and was greatly loved.
Our canine friends are so good at hiding their pain, and weakness. They also try to please us .. my boy Tuffy had a grand mal seizure, took him to the Vet and she was ready to put him down right there after the diagnosis and prognosis. But she gave us a few more days. In the meantime I took him for walks to his favourite places. We were out for an hour a day. On his Rainbow Bridge day I told the vet that and she was shocked he could do that. His liver enzymes were elevated and he was very weak. My Father In Law was the one who said "He was just trying to please you.". <3 That's part of it, but he always loved walks and was very snoopy.
Don't be so hard on yourself. Buddy was your sunshine and love. You did what was best for him, even though it has now brought you this pain.
Tuffy had the same issue. His tumor was going to rupture and he would bleed out. The vet told me this would be very painful. So my wife and I decided to do what was best for our boy.
With Toby 11 months later it was similar. He was losing weight and we found he was full of tumors. The vet said we could put him on painkillers and .. basically watch him waste away over the next weeks or month. We made the decision to set him free. It caused us a lot of pain in both cases, but we saved our boys from needless pain and suffering. In both cases our vet told us we were doing the right thing, that she would do the same if they were hers.
Tuffy, Toby, Ellie and Missy's Dad
Registered: 1498260666 Posts: 36
I'm so sorry for your loss. You loved your precious Buddy for 15-1/2 years and the two of you shared the best life possible. But your beloved dog was in pain and suffering, so you absolutely did the right thing to set him free on his journey to the hereafter. You gave him a dignified, peaceful passing with as little suffering as necessary, and now the grief process is ahead of you. It's normal and part of it all to regret, to second-guess, and to feel the heartache. But Buddy is in your heart, and his legacy is to leave all who encountered him better people. That's what I believe. Almost two months later I miss my Mickey Aussie dog terribly (only 8-1/2, hemangiosarcoma also--a truly rotten and sneaky cancer), but I want his legacy to be the strength, compassion, and energy that he gave to me and my family. I don't want to waste all that he gave us. You will come to know that your baby is still with you, trust in that. Sending hugs.
Registered: 1501682493 Posts: 13
you are not alone. My heart hurts for you as I (and everyone on here) know how terrible you feel. Try not to be so hard on yourself. I know, it's difficult not to overthink everything. One thing I am starting to realize as time ticks on is: you have no other option but to look forward, and put one foot in front of the other. It's awful having to move forward without your best friend, but we as humans stick around longer than our furkids. It seems really unfair, but we can't change it. There would never have been a "right" time to say goodbye. There would never have been enough time with your Buddy. There would never be less pain and grief than what you are feeling now. What you DO take away from this is that Buddy is not hurting or in pain anymore. You did the most selfless thing by letting him go before he suffered more. And it sounds like that was pretty likely to happen. There is no question the next weeks/months will be the worst of maybe your life: filled with tears and grief. Just remember you aren't alone. We are strangers, but all have one awful thing in common- we've all lost our angels/best friends/family/loves of our lives. I grieve with you, and know your pain. take care- cheab (Gizzie's mom)
Registered: 1502549193 Posts: 7
Tears are streaming down my face as I type this. I didn't expect such kindness and wonderful words from so many. Thank you, really, thank you so much.
I feel like I am on a roller-coaster ride. One minute I feel at peace with the decision. The next minute I have a mini panic attack and a sense of deep regret and guilt come over me. The "what ifs" start: What if he wasn't in that much pain? What if the constant barking was for something simple and I didn't understand him? What if something else could have helped him walk again? I also feel immense guilt that he was still eating and drinking. It looks like by the time most dogs are put to sleep, they are already refusing food and water. But Buddy was still happily wolfing down everything. It makes me think that he wasn't ready to die and that I made the choice too early. Do the feelings of guilt ever go away?
Registered: 1502549193 Posts: 7
Cheab, you are so right. Even if I waited longer and put Buddy to sleep a month or two later, I would probably still be feeling as guilty and depressed as I am now. thank you so much for your kind words. I am so glad to have found this forum and to have people who understand this kind of loss. Other people who I know just say, "Oh, too bad... (pauses for a moment)... You can get another dog". They don't get it!!!!
jfivecents5: Hemangiosarcoma is terrible. I am so sorry about your doggie. Your words about thinking about Buddy's legacy gave me a lot of comfort. I never thought of it that way. It is true. My dog was the best thing that ever happened to me. He made me a better, more compassionate person, more outgoing and outdoorsy. (we were always outside on walks, at parks, etc) Isn't it amazing how these fluffy little guys give us so much in so little time? Mondo: I really liked the story about your Tuffy. He loved you so much that he wanted to make you happy with those last walks. I think that we feel so much pain at the loss of our dogs because they give us pure love, companionship, and loyalty like no other, maybe even better than many humans in our lives. I will keep your post in mind when the guilt starts seeping into my thoughts. I will keep reminding myself that I tried to do what was best and spared him needless suffering.
Registered: 1503009956 Posts: 158
I'm not an expert or might not be the best support for trying to support others, as I have just lost my very best friend days ago.. I'm also full of anger, full of what if's and having hard time being understanding for this part of Life. I am way beyond heart broken and feel the big emptiness.
I've been reading some post on this site for days now, and wasn't really planning on to comment to strangers, but your post got me signed up.
I am so very sorry for your loss and for everyone else including myself, that lost their best friend, their everything!
I completely understand the heart wrecking pain and emptiness! Did we do the right thing by putting them to sleep..?
Can't stand when people tell me: it was his/her time to go. None of the animals should ever go! I know that's not realistic thinking, but I'm sure you get my point.
Someone also told me that, putting my baby to sleep made him release from suffering!
I didn't like that comment either, just like I don't like most of them I hear. But then thinking about the fact that he couldn't even walk anymore... I think you see the picture, since yours struggled with that pain as well.
I know how that looks and how it feels seeing them that way!
Of course I also have thought about if natural death could've been easier in any way?
Whenever you can start being a bit easier on yourself (and trust me I'm not even there yet) then you might be able to see for yourself if this natural version of Buddy's unfortunate passing could have made it easier.?
I wish I didn't need to make the decision at all of putting my sweet loving best friend to sleep, actually wish I never had to lose him, but waiting for his natural death while his suffering so much... Only would have helped me (us) to see him that much longer, but seeing him without much life left in him...
I don't see your original post the same time as I am typing this, but you have mentioned something like where you feel you took the sunshine away from your Buddy...
Sounds like he was so lucky that you actually gave him sunshine and showed him life! Well I don't know how you treated him and all, but you're here and being heart broken means much more, also he lived a pretty long life for a dog, (even tho it never seems long enough) so I assume you've raised him and spent all his life with you!?
I more feel like you took his suffering away.. But that's always easier to say.
As far as what if's, I'm not going to get on about my not much trust in vets in general (but I'm sure there are few exceptions), about meds, all the junk they get in their so called dog foods, all that chemical crap they breath in from being outside and such.
I'd say these are one of the big reasons for them to suffer and what takes the sunshine away from our beloved ones way too soon or at some point.
Registered: 1503108551 Posts: 2
OK, count me in as another person who had no intention of doing anything but reading these boards until I came across your post. I just had my beautiful boy Griffin put to sleep two days ago, on Wednesday. He was my first dog, a black and white herding dog mix, about 34 pounds with pointy ears and a plumy tail. He was approximately 17-1/2 years old, and had been with me for 14-1/2 of those years. I loved him like I've never loved anyone or anything else in my life. At age 7 or 8, he was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy, which we controlled beautifully with a single drug for nearly 10 years. A few weeks ago, he had four seizures in one day. A few days later, an MRI revealed that he had THREE brain tumors. We began to discuss treatment options, and the question was whether to pursue radiation treatments (which had a good chance of shrinking these kind of tumors, if he could withstand everything that went with the radiation) or opt for palliative care. While I was struggling with this decision, about a week ago, Griff started behaving much like Buddy was: constantly restless, panting, pacing, and vocalizing. He always ate like a champ and drank happily, though (probably due at least in part to the prednisone he was on). Beginning this Monday afternoon, I switched him from prednisone to Medrol in the hopes of sparing him some side effects, but by then it seemed to be too late. Griff was restless and vocalizing all day and all night long, then lost the use of his back legs, then, eventually, his front legs too. At the recommendation of his neurologist, I tried giving him phenobarbital and gabapentin to head off any potential seizures and make sure he wasn't in pain, but he was as miserable and restless as ever, only immobile and trapped wherever he lay. After finding him in puddles of his own pee, cleaning him up, and a night of trying to console him to no avail, I just couldn't bear to watch him suffer like that anymore. I called his beloved vet on Wednesday morning, and she came to the house and put him to sleep. Since then, I've been in agony just as you are. It's unlikely that Griff's brain tumors were growing fast enough to cause such a rapid decline--did I jump the gun and end his life over side effects of neurological meds? Phenobarbital is known to cause ataxia--if I waited a day or two, would the side effects have passed and would he have felt better again? I was struggling to carry him outside over and over again from my fourth floor condo. Did I opt for the convenient choice for myself over fighting for him? I'm still struggling, believe me, but I think I'm starting to see that my gut did the right thing. The way I explained it to someone earlier today was that, on Wednesday morning, my gut stood up and said, "this suffering is horrible, it's wrong, no more." Once that was over, my brain took the reins again, and it's been scrambling ever since. Because I'm basically a cerebral person, I tend to trust my brain over my gut in most situations, so it's been really difficult. But, this time, I think I'll probably eventually grasp that my gut understood something my brain didn't. I don't know you, of course, and I wouldn't presume to say anything about how you think or tick. But I know that you love Buddy (present tense) just as I love Griffin. So I hope and suspect that, over time, you'll reach the same conclusion. Above all, I wish you, and me, and all of us, peace.
Registered: 1503009956 Posts: 158
So sorry for your loss as well and the pain and heartache you're going through!
Sounds like Griffin was a lucky boy to have lived such a long years (even tho it never feels long enough) and to be with such caring family. Going through 10 years with epilepsy I imagine wasn't easy of course, but good to hear he has managed beautifully.
My sweet baby was black and white too.. he was also on prednisone for a year, and also lost the use of his legs. Seeing him struggling so much and almost not even living, it was so heart breaking.
I guess that's all I wanted to say. Peace to you as well.
Registered: 1485695648 Posts: 311
I am so sorry for your loss..it is so hard and so devastating...no matter when, no matter how or at what age we lose our best friends we feel extremely sad. Your best friend had a winderful life with you and the two of you shared wonderful years together...he reached the point when his body was no longer able to go on as he wished....you just couldn't see him suffer any longer and you did the right thing....he is no longer by your side but he will always be in your heart...his soul still lives with you and your love never died...
I have read a book "Signs from Pets in the Afterlife" it helped me a bit.
I lost my angel Westie at the age of 12 due to his vet's negligence, he had a curable infection, but ended up with a sepsis...I feel terribly guilty...I took him to two vets, but my poor thing died in my arms unexpectedly...he could have lived a few more years...
I am sending you hugs...do visit this page often..people in this site understand your pain...
Diana Pido's Mom
Registered: 1502549193 Posts: 7
@Heartbroken12 Thanks for your words. Your comment about waiting for Buddy's natural death really hit home for me. I sat down and really thought it through. I thought to myself, would a natural death really have been better for Buddy? And I came to the conclusion, that it probably wouldn't have been any better. The only thing that would change is that I would have no guilt about making the decision of putting him to sleep. But I would probably make myself feel guilty about something else. Besides, I prefer that I suffer (through guilt/regret) instead of my dog suffer (by waiting and waiting, suffering through pain, until natural death comes). When one thinks of it in that perspective, it makes the decision for euthanasia a little clearer... @Pidolin Thank you for your kind words. I will check out that book. I am sorry for your loss as well. It is comforting to know that others understand this type of pain. Other people in my life are not so understanding, mostly because they never had a pet. But I pity them. For what is life without knowing a dog's companionship and love?! @WerWerWer I am really glad that you decided to sign up and post, because you helped me a lot. We had a very similar experience. I especially took this to heart: "I'm still struggling, believe me, but I think I'm starting to see that my gut did the right thing. The way I explained it to someone earlier today was that, on Wednesday morning, my gut stood up and said, "this suffering is horrible, it's wrong, no more." Once that was over, my brain took the reins again, and it's been scrambling ever since. Because I'm basically a cerebral person, I tend to trust my brain over my gut in most situations, so it's been really difficult. But, this time, I think I'll probably eventually grasp that my gut understood something my brain didn't". I too am very cerebral person, an overthinker. My brain made the decision and my heart was in pieces over it. But it feels like deep deep deep down, in the gut, I know that I made the right decision. And now my brain and heart are playing catch-up, trying to come to terms with the decision. I thank you. It has been a month since Buddy passed. I am feeling a little more at peace. I still have moments where I panic and think to myself, "He could have been here if only I hadn't done xyz". I still haven't been able to spread his ashes. It feels like I would be saying goodbye, permanently. It is silly, I know. And the holidays are going to be so hard because his fave holidays are coming up, Thanksgiving and Xmas. He used to start sniffing and pawing under the tree as soon as it went up because he knew there would be toys for him under it come Xmas. And on Thanksgiving, he would sit in the kitchen and watch all the preparation, tail wagging, because he knew a big feast was coming and then lots of time playing in the leaves. I can't stand to think that he won't be by my side for next 30, 40, 50 years. But I take it one day at a time.
Registered: 1503108551 Posts: 2
Wow, the universe is a truly amazing thing sometimes. Your post came along on the day I picked up Griffin's ashes from the vet. I'm so glad I was able to be of some help to you. It does sound like we've been going through really similar experiences, from really similar perspectives. For what it's worth, something that really stuck with *me* was a point from an article--might have been from this site, maybe not--that said this: with euthanasia, if you wait until there's absolutely NO doubt in your mind that "it's time," you've waited too long. That struck me as profoundly true. If euthanasia is intended to be a "good death," an act of loving kindness to avoid unnecessary suffering, I wouldn't want to wait until my baby was in obvious agony to set him free. (Just to be clear, this is not a judgment on anyone else's situation: I totally understand that there are circumstances like accidents and sudden-onset illnesses where agony is unavoidable. But in situations like ours, where the end is a slower and more gradual process, I would hope to avoid getting there if at all possible.) Meanwhile, it's almost a month out for me too, and while it's better than it was at first there are still some really hard days (like today). I think my brain has finally accepted that what was wrong with Griff at the end just couldn't be fixed, and when I ask myself honestly whether I would want him back if I could undo what I did, the answer is no, not as he was. I'd love to have him back as his younger, healthy, vibrant self, but not suffering and miserable. So now I've just settled into missing him horribly, which is sad but better than feeling guilty for failing him. I have these weird, surreal moments of confusion and forgetting--like, sometimes I'll be out on the street at a time when everyone else will be walking their dogs, and I'll think, wait, what happened? I don't remember opting out of this....and then it hits me that he's gone. Or I'll go to make something for dinner that I always used to "share" with Griff and realize I don't have to put his little portion aside for him. I know what you mean about holidays too...Griff loved Thanksgiving. Turkey was one of his absolute favorite foods, plus he got spoiled rotten by my parents, who adored him. Thanksgiving without him is going to be strange. @HeartBroken12: Thank you, too, for your kind words. They were, and are, much appreciated. Truthfully, we were very lucky with Griff's epilepsy over the years--hearing others' stories makes me realize just *how* lucky. A squirt of potassium bromide in his dinner every day more or less did the trick right up until the brain tumors took over at the end.
Registered: 1502997651 Posts: 23
Buddy'sBuddy, I experienced a lot of the same that happened to you. My dog stopped being able to walk in mid-July, and was not able to stand at all by late July. Yet he still had a great appetite, and was doing great outside of leg weakness and pain. He still looked really good too. So that made making the decision all that much harder. Had he not had cancer I'm sure I could have had him at least another year or two, maybe even three.
Mine also had the anxious barking and whining thing, mostly at night at first, and sometimes I got annoyed with him, and feel guilty for that now. I wish I had handled it more the way it sounds like you did (I was good with him about 90% of the time, but that should have been closer to 100%). I like that you took 2 weeks off work to spend time with him, I really wish I had done that with mine. I was distracted by other things going on, and didn't give mine the full attention he deserved at the end -- I spent plenty of time with him, but not much quality time while thinking "this is it, our last bit of time together." And now I feel really horrible about that -- I wish I had handled things more like you did.
Registered: 1502549193 Posts: 7
It has been a year since Buddy died. Like they say, hindsight is 20-20. Though I still have some lingering feelings of guilt and what-ifs and OMG-what-did-I-do, I am comforted by the fact that Buddy didn't have to keep suffering and living trapped in a body that could no longer allow him to do the things that he loved (run around, go on walks, climb onto the couch with me), just for my sake. The guilty feelings come and go, and I think it is because death is so hard, that we have to find something or someone to blame for this pain and the easiest target is ourselves. I have tons of regrets (like I wish I could've had the procedure done in our apartment, but I somehow think he would've been even more nervous at a strange vet in his space while he was vulnerable. He disliked strangers tremendously...), but these regrets are part of the healing process.
I was stuck on the fact that he was still eating his treats, etc. So he was ok, right? But that was literally the only thing that he was still capable of doing on his own. He was in so much pain and discomfort, that he didn't even have interested in his own toys. To anyone else, struggling with the decision on whether or not to put your beloved pet to sleep, just know that you don't have to wait until everything that they enjoy is gone or no longer possible for them to do. I finally thought to myself, why should I wait until poor Buddy is 100% miserable? Because it will make me feel better about the decision? I prefer that I suffer 100x more than let him suffer. He was a dog that thoroughly enjoyed his life. In looking at old pics and videos of him, I could see that he was very happy and that he loved me a lot. And I am comforted by the fact that I could be there by his side his entire life, even until the end. Whatever choice you make for your beloved pet is the right one, because you love them so much there is no way you would do something that isn't in their best interest. We have to be more forgiving and trusting of ourselves. Over time, I am sure that I will stop thinking so much about Buddy's death and will mostly think about his life and the thousands of happy moments we had in 15 years. It will take time, but it will happen. He changed my life for the better and I think about him every day and probably will till the day I die.
Registered: 1527444915 Posts: 69
So very true.
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
Registered: 1532487720 Posts: 11
Thanks for the poem 😢
I adopted siblings back in 2000 as pups so I had to make that decision twice in August 2016 and 3 weeks ago😢😢 😢 I know I was lucky to have had them with me for so long 💜
Registered: 1528497506 Posts: 228
Dog Life and Buddy's Buddy,
What a beautiful poem. It brought tears to my eyes. And to Buddy's Buddy, three months ago I had to make the decision to let my precious Rosie pass. She had congestive heart failure. She was a jack russell terrier and I had her for almost 15 years. She was a stray so I have no idea how old she really was. God, I miss my Rosie so much. But I never regret what I did. My Rosie still was eating and drinking and would even jump in the car for her beloved rides. However, she became deaf, couldn't see well and every movement was an effort for my little angel. Walks were non-existent and she followed me around looking sad and dejected. After I picked her up from the vet where they had pumped two lbs of fluid from her lungs, we had a talk that night. I told her I loved her so much, but if she was ready to go to the Rainbow Bridge, I would let her go. The next morning, she was in cardiac crisis (as the vet calls it). I took her to the emergency vet and held her in my arms as she passed. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever done. But I let her go while she still had some dignity left..and that is what you did with Buddy. Jackie (Rosie, Lulu and Kitkat's Mama)