How to Know When to Put Your Dog Down


Veterinarian Marie Haynes describes the most important things to look for and how to know when to put your dog down. She also shares her experience with putting her own dog down at home, and offers help for healing the grief of losing your dog.

Are you confused about putting your dog down? It’s natural and expected to feel devastated, guilty, sad, and lost. This information about when to put your dog down is from a veterinarian who had to put her own dog to sleep. She shares her story, and offers general information about the process of putting a dog down.

putting a dog downThis is the most important thing to remember about putting your dog to sleep: “If you can save your dog or cat even one day of discomfort, you must,” says Dr Haynes. To learn about the different types of discomfort and pain, read through the comments section below. Many readers have shared their experience and struggle with knowing when to put a dog down – reading their experiences will help you see you’re not alone.





The number one way to know when to put your dog down

When your dog has a poor quality of life – or is in pain – it’s time to let go.

If your dog is suffering in any way, then it’s time to say good-bye. There are other guidelines and signs that will help you know when to put your dog to sleep, but the bottom line is always quality of life. It’s a difficult decision – and it’s not always easy to know what your dog’s quality of life is.

Dr Haynes says it’s often difficult to tell whether a dog is in pain or suffering, but there are some general guidelines that will help you know when to put your dog down:

  1. Is your dog’s appetite suffering? If so, this can be a sign of pain.
  2. Does it seem like your dog is enjoying life?
  3. Does your dog still do the things that bring her joy?
  4. Are you enjoying having your dog around – or is there more pain than happiness?
  5. Does your dog seem happy more often than not?
  6. Does your dog look distressed or uncomfortable most of the time? That’s when it’s time to put your dog down.

The bottom line about putting a dog down

There will come a day when it is absolutely clear to you that your dog is not enjoying life.  That day is one day too late.  If you can save your dog even one day of discomfort, you must.

when to put your dog down

When to Put My Dog Down

As your dog’s guardian, you want a clear answer about putting your dog down. But, it can’t just be the veterinarian’s decision. The vet only sees a snapshot of your dog’s life. You have the big perspective…which makes it hard to know when to put your dog down.

“I see a scared, sick animal in the hospital,” says Dr Haynes. “You have taken care of your dog all its life. This is your final chance to take care of your pet.  If you can spare your dog pain and suffering, then putting it to sleep is the ultimate gift – no matter how hard it is for you.”

Ease the pain of putting your dog down

Putting your dog down is hard, but it could be the most loving thing you do.

You can be present when you put your dog down. Euthanasia is similar to falling asleep, and you can be with your dog when he or she drifts away. Dr Haynes says pet euthanasia is generally painless, and almost always goes smoothly.

signs its time to put your dog down

How to Know When to Put Your Dog Down

Trying to figure out when to put your dog down is painful because dogs are almost closer to us than people. Dogs don’t change, grow up, fight with us, or leave us. They always stay dependent on us and only grow old…which means they go back to being even more dependent on us! We care for our dogs from start to finish, and our relationship with them is intimate. We feed them, train them, exercise them, help them piddle and poo, take care of their health and medical issues, groom them, and cuddle with them.

Dog owners feel a universal heartache when we have to decide when to put our dogs down. Allow yourself to grieve, and know that you are not alone. If you feel guilty, read Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Dog’s Death.



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“What you once enjoyed you will never lose. What you loved deeply becomes a part of you.” – Helen Keller

How Dr Haynes Decided to Put Her Dog Down

“My shepherd/cattle dog cross, Eddie, had a multitude of problems and I couldn’t decide if it was time for euthanasia.  Then, one day he tore his cruciate ligament.  He had already previously torn the ligament on the other knee and although it was healed he had severe arthritis in that knee.  With both knees injured, Eddie was unable to walk.  My decision to put my dog to sleep was finally made for me.

I went to my office and collected the supplies I needed for euthanasia.  Eddie was such a good boy as I shaved his front leg and placed the needle in his vein.  I will never forget the look of love and trust he gave me as I made the injection.  Then, the life just went out of him and he was gone.  Once he had passed away, his buddy Joey (my other dog) came in the room but he did not seem to care about or comprehend what was happening.  Then, my two cats came in and I swear they suddenly had a look of glee in their eyes as Eddie was very much a cat tormentor!”

If you’re putting your dog down, remember to allow yourself to grieve. Take time to heal.

Helpful Resources for Coping With Your Dog’s Death

how to heal after losing your petPutting your dog down is difficult…and then begins the task of grieving.

Read How to Heal Your Heart After Losing Your Pet: 75 Ways to Cope With Grief and Guilt When Your Dog or Cat Dies, for support. I interviewed veterinarians, grief experts, and pet owners about healing after putting a dog down.

It’s true that time does ease the pain of having to put a dog or cat to sleep, but it’s also good to learn what helped other people cope with the pain. For instance, I talked to one dog owner who got a paw print tattoo after putting her dog to sleep, as a way to remember her pet. I wouldn’t have thought of a tattoo, but she said she is comforted every time she sees it.

Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet is Gary Kowalski’s second book on coping with a dog’s death, and it may help you heal after making the heart-wrenching decision to put your dog down.

putting your dog down

Dog Cremation Urn

If you want to keep your dog’s ashes, the Perfect Memorials Dog in Basket – Pet Cremation Urn pictured is a beautiful vessel. If you’re still searching for how to know when to put your dog down, it may seem too soon to think about cremation urns. However, if you know you want a cremation urn for your dog’s ashes, you’ll need to tell the veterinarian.

One of the best ways to cope with your dog’s death is believing that their souls and spirits live on – and you’ll be reunited one day. Read Animals and the Afterlife: True Stories of Our Best Friends’ Journey Beyond Death  to learn how some pet owners experience their beloved animal companions after their pets died.

And finally, Sympathy Gifts for Dog Lovers After Their Dog Died is an article I wrote for a reader whose friend’s dog had to be put to sleep. It might help you express your sympathy to someone who has to put their dog down.

If you have any thoughts on putting your dog to sleep, please comment below. I can’t give advice about when to put your dog down, but writing can help you decide if euthanasia is the right choice for you.

May you feel peace and guidance as you make this decision. I pray that you know when to put your dog down, and that you know that your dog will rest in peace afterword. I pray for healing through the grief process after you lose your dog. May your heart heal, and open up again to love another dog.

“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.” – Chief Seattle.



Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.


xo




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772 thoughts on “How to Know When to Put Your Dog Down

  • Deborah Burnett Williamson

    My Yorker is 15 years old. I took him to the vet 2 weeks ago and the vet did blood work and it came back really bad. The vet said he had maybe 2 weeks so we brought him home in the last 2 days he has slept continually and is very wobbly when he walks. He eats if I give him food like chicken, hamburger but will not touch his dog food. He drinks water and then immediately urinate. I can see in his eye that he is not enjoying his life anymore, he can’t see or hear and he hasn’t played in quite sometime. He only sleeps and wants to snuggle and seems afraid to be away from me.

  • Big billy

    If it should be that I grow frial and weak And pain keep me from my sleep. Then will you do what must be done.for this–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 it’s last has waved free 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 to–these years don’t let your heart hold any tears.💙❤️ In memory of our beloved Billy Thompson.. love you forever big feller always in our hearts you gave so much big bills until the day we our all on our cullivers together again your with patsey now on your cullivers xxxxxxxxxxx

  • Big billy

    My brother and myself had to make the hardest decision in letting our beloved big billy Thompson go to sleep for the last time on 27th October 17 bills was more human than a dog so clever loyal loving caring the big feller had it all my brother got bills from pet rescue he was abandoned in Ireland when just a little puppy bills came to England my brother and he’s late partner said it was love at first sight both ways wow what a feller he was bills made it to the age of 15 we seen him struggling since he was 13 he stop going up the stairs then he’s big soppy eyes goes grey he had one blue one red he was a special boy I used to call him red eye bill he didn’t go for walks it was cullivers travels what he went on when we’d say that he was up and out then he’s favourite song was your beautiful what a singer bills was on the 27th on he’s cullivers he collapsed 3 times with my brother in the morning he collapsed when I was letting him out for he’s duties he’d been collapsing now for six months we called the vets to home the big feller would never go in a car she came checked the old boy over we could of gave him pain relief but if you truly love your animals pls don’t let them suffer our bills fell asleep in he’s front room brother holding him loving him I went for a cuddle with him he look up gave me a big sloppy kiss as always then fell asleep in brother arms we took the big feller to get cremated he came home with us same day we seen him in chapel he look so peaceful dreaming of his younger days no doubt and the tricks he’d been up to you will know when it’s time to let them rest as me and my brother knew it’s a sad time for sure big bills gave us the look that said thanks guys you done all for me now it’s time for me to sleep.tears in my eyes every day since think of all the happy times you have with your pets like we do wow the house is so quiet with out bills miss him so much he went with he’s dads favourite sleepers a card from us few favourite treats he’s dads golf hat that always carried on he cullivers and he’s big soft bed he’s still on guard duty at home love to all animals lovers

  • Marie

    I know it’s time to put my dog down but I also know that when my last dog died, I couldn’t get over it. I have to take my dog to the vet and let her go but it hurts too much. I can’t do it alone. I’m single and my best friend said she’d help me say goodbye. She had to put her dog down last year, and she knows how hard it is to heal the pain.

    Thank you for writing this article. It doesn’t make it any easier to put my dog to sleep but it helps to know I’m not alone. Thank you, other readers, for commenting. I like to read how other dog owners coped.

    • Sue E

      I’m so sorry Marie. It is so very hard. I had a very, very difficult time getting over the death of my last beloved dog Eddie. I have nothing to offer other than to say you are doing what is best for him. I’m so sorry.

  • Sue E

    I had to turn my dining room (never use it anyway) into a “bedroom” for my older blind dog who could no longer go up the steps. I turned soft music on and he liked it. It’s very hard. I know it sounds weird but when I look back on pictures of my dog it seems his eyes were begging me to let him go. I didn’t see it at the time.

  • Lorraine Anderson

    I have a 14 year old crossbreed, she has arthritis in her lower spine and back legs, she is on medication for this, she seems happy when we are around and eats well, the problem I’m having with her is she has became extremely destructive when left alone, she paces at night time getting stuck behind the tv or in cupboards, bathroom etc, I’m thinking maybe onset of dementia, she also doesn’t like kids or my husband and if they are too rowdy around her will snap at them, she has caused a lot of damage to my house and can’t be left. My head is telling me I need to put her down, but my heart is telling me she is still relatively healthy and likes to go small walks and play with her toys, I just can’t handle her destructiveness and being woken through the night with her stuck behind furniture or in cupboards plus she can be snappy, , health wise it seems cruel to put her down tho, I do t know what to do

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Paddle pop,

    I’m sorry for what you’re going through, with your husband and your dog. It’s especially difficult when family members don’t agree on whether or not it’s time to put your dog down. It’s such an emotional, painful decision for a dog owner to make! And different opinions only makes things more difficult.

    What would you like to see happen with your dog? What does your husband want to do? Maybe you and he could talk to a veterinarian together, and work through the options. It sounds like an objective mediator might be the best way to know if it’s time to put your dog down.

    What do you think?

    – Laurie

  • Paddle pop

    My husband has an 11 yr old ridgeback cross, this dog was thrown over his fence when she was only a few weeks old. She has always had a fulfilling life of destroying things, escaping and putting herself in harm, without any consequences.
    She has always had issues with her back legs, mentally she believes she is fine and can do whatever, but she gets to the point of running and playing until she physically can’t move.
    Last year “2016” her front left leg swell up and she didn’t move for the whole day, we rushed her to the vets and there we found that arthritis has spread to her front legs and that either a bang or over exercise is what’s caused it to flare up, so she was given strict 10 mins of walk or play time. We don’t even get to 10 mins. We have 2 mins of throwing the ball and her running back and forth, as soon as we stop, I watch her struggle to sit down and pass out for hours on end. On top of all this, the escaping while we are at work has just been excessive. Yesterday we got a call at work about her head being stuck in the fence and sliced her neck open. It’s nothing major, although it looked horrible. She is stitched up and doing well, but I just feel like its unfair to keep her going this way. My husband and his mother are so very against my thoughts and make me feel bad, but I can’t help but see them being selfish and putting their own feelings over hers. Most people outside their family have agreed with me. What do I do? I don’t want to see my husband lose her or be upset, but I hate seeing an animal doing what she does to herself. Mentally I believe she has issues. Physically she can’t do much, everything else about her is healthy, except her brain.
    There is only so much we can do. At the moment his new choice is to leave her locked up in a room for 8 hours while we are at work, where our other dog will get locked in or out, which I find unfair, also the pop and wees left behind from doing this. Take her for longer walks I guess and let her suffer for days after, not being able to move. I seriously don’t know what to do. Someone help me or tell me I’m wrong.

    • Sue

      Is she on Rimadyl or anything for her pain? As an arthritis sufferer trust me it’s no fun but with meds they can help. I know some are against them but at 11 I think quality is more important that quantity. I would probably stop throwing the ball for her, sometimes they just do the old routine for you, not realizing the steep price she will pay. You should modify her exercise probably. I have heard that dogs will try to escape to die away from their owner, don’t know why but this has happened to my mom and that is what numerous people told her. I’m sorry, if you really think it is time for her to go maybe you could just try to gently explain to your husband that we must do what is best for her not us. Not easy.

  • Paige

    My baby is 10 or 11 ( we rescued him in 07 they believed he was 8 months ) anyways he was my first baby he sleeps with me did everything.. i got pregnant in 09 and he was so protective and he loves her as if she were his haha. Then came another baby that he loves and protects too. He is my first love and my first baby.. anyways hes been getting all these lumps everywhere from his chest to his hind legs in his gums.. he seems to have trouble breathing laying on his side aswell his vet said he looks and aounds good but i feel different about it. He eats okay drinks alot still plays time to time but he look like hes swollen he 108 lbs he pauses alot before he sits or lays down it just scares me .. should i have him put to sleep?

    • Sue

      Awe Paige, I’m sorry your pup isn’t feeling well. My little guy was the same way with the bumps all over his body…the vet did bloodwork and all was well, but he didn’t seem right to me so I had one of the bumps, not sure what you call it but they injected a needle and did a test to see if it was cancerous and it wasn’t. The weather is very hot so I think that adds to his general blah….he seems perkier when it is cool. I think if you had the vet check him out and he said he was okay…maybe you should just hold off a little if he doesn’t seem in pain as it may just be old age and like people they seem to have more bad days than good…not bad in pain etc. just bad from being old. If he still enjoys the family, eating and going to the bathroom without soiling himself he might be okay for awhile like that.

  • Jorge vargas

    I am a first time dog owner and just bought a dog out of the blue. I am very confused about me putting my 18 month old english mastiff down a week ago. I had a feeling she was sick but not what the vet told me. She had kidney disease. At 18 months? Was she born with it? Did I do something wrong? I’m crushed, she was the most beautifulest, loyalist dog, practically trained herself to do things. She was soooo smart, almost “human-like” is what my buddy’s said. I miss her. I never understood her eating, there were days she ate twice and days she ate once I mean it was never steady. Maybe that should have been a red flag? But I noticed she was eating well the last month or so because the dog food was lasting longer than usual. Then the vomitting came but she was still active and happy, tail wagging and ready to do anything. Still eating and drinking. Then from one day to the next I noticed she seemed disoriented and vomitting more and didn’t want to eat or drink and the seizures started(small not fall I g to the ground). I knew I had to go to the hospital. The vet recommended I euthanize her right away and kept suggesting to do so. I could not wrap my mind around it. I asked for alternatives but she kept saying I wasn’t doing the wrong thing. She was suffering and wouldnt make it past the night. Waterworks came after that and I did what the vet suggested. Lola died in my arms and I was destroyed because she was so young and couldn’t understand why? This happens to dogs that are old. I haven’t been able to find an article related to her. If anyone can help it would be much appreciated..

    • Sue

      Jorge, I am SO sorry. It is so hard when you lose a young dog because in addition to all the heartbreak that goes with losing any dog you have the added feeling of being robbed, because you were. It is not the natural order of things. I don’t know what to say, it is hard even owning dogs all my life I sometimes don’t know what to do or to trust the vet or my own instincts. I lost my dog last year suddenly and it was all such a blur, I was a mess. A few months ago my friend lost her dog and she kept calling me for advice etc. All my feelings of losing Eddie came rushing back, all the nagging doubts I had but was in too much of a daze to think straight when his death happened, anyway to make a long story short I sent a letter to the vet asking him/her to call me or write me back and let me know exactly what happened. It didn’t bring him back but it gave me some comfort. It’s so very, very hard. Lola sounded like a special dog indeed. I am so sorry. Really the only thing that helps is time but also know that you did the best you could and had her best interest at heart so relied on the professional. Hugs, Sue

  • Guy

    I’ve been very distressed lately because my 6.5 year old Saint Bernard, Oscar is having problems walking. He has hip dysplasia and is not a very good candidate for surgery. His front leg is very arthritic and he struggles to walk. Though he is a Saint I never exceed that I would be considering euthenizing at this age. The meds help but he is not getting better. Oscar is the second saint we have has and our last one lived to 14 years which is unheard of. I am so close to Oscar, ad it is killing me to consider putting him to sleep. But I know he is in pain. I am having such a hard time moving to the next phase of this.

    • Sue

      I’m so sorry Guy. My girlfriend lost her St. Bernard last Christmas, he died in his sleep but it was a great shock. I volunteer at a shelter so when we got a St. Bernard in I took special care of him and took him on long leisurely walks. I always loved big dogs but after spending time with this St. I realize what a noble creature they are. Maybe give the medication some time to work or ask vet if you can try something else. I know for my own arthritis the medications can take 2 – 4 months before you notice anything….or what works for one doesn’t work for another so ask to try something else. I am so sorry, you never expect to lose them at a young age…makes it even more difficult and heartbreaking.

      • Guy

        Thanks for your note Sue…last was a tough week as Oscar declined rapidly and was in much pain. We had x rays done and confirmed that he had bone cancer that broke two bones in his knee. The deterioration was noticeable in his films. On Friday w said Good Bye to our dear friend.

        This was my Facebook message about him:

        Today Paul and I said goodbye to a member of our family. Osteosarcoma and a couple of broken bones were too much for him to endure and too much for us to keep him with us longer then God intended. It has been a week of thinking about the dark side of endings so today we would like to focus on the brighter side. While many kindred spirits have visited us over the years in the form of fuzzy four-footed friends (Raja, Rocky, Tasha, Moose, Renoir, and many others), Oscar is just the latest of those for whom we had to say “goodbye and thanks for letting us be your family”. For anyone who knew Oscar, you know that he was proud, strong, stubborn, loveable, fluffy, agitating, a lover, and well, the best friend any two people could have. He was our protector and buddy-quick to demand attention in any way possible using his formidable and muscular frame to lean, push, shove, and sniff his way through life like a bull in a china shop. Though with us for a much shorter time than we would have desired, he reminded us that life is sometimes best spent snoozing, eating, or even just being—his favorite activities. As you may know Saint Bernards are not know for their athleticism but rather more so for their hard headedness, loving abilities, noble good looks, and protective spirit. When these character traits are combined (as was the case with Oscar) they make for a strong force to be reckoned with. We will miss his goofy smile, jumbo nose, fluffy head, ability to make people say “wow” and his constant reminding that ‘big is beauty!’ Most of all we will miss his warm snuggles in winter, his nightly almond snacking with Daddy, and that wonderful feeling of security in the middle of the night when you wake up and realize that there is 155 lbs of utter devotion sleeping at the side of the bed just waiting for your to rise so he can say good morning! As my sister once said, he was our “ luck dragon” in looks and spirit. In the movie, “A Dog’s Purpose” the spirit of a dog can return in a new form and possibly revisit an old master. I don’t expect to see Oscar in the eyes of another friend any time soon as all dogs have their own special soul. But if he were to return, I would want him to visit someone somewhere else so that they can experience his unique spirit we treasured for the past 6.5 years. As Oscar crosses the rainbow bridge, I think about all of our friends that have gone before him, especially Tasha that we hope is waiting for him to be reunited again. Happy journey baby dog! Run, jump, play—you’re on all fours again now and will always be a force to be reckoned with—in our hearts!

        Thank you for your concern….we will mis him ?

    • Sue

      I’m so sorry about Oscar. What a BEAUTIFUL tribute. My heart breaks for you, it is so hard to lose these dear friends/family members, especially so when they are so young. Gentle hugs, Sue

  • Barbara Godina

    My dog Glory is 14-years-old; she is a Westie we rescued from a breeder as she had a heart problem that was taken care of at TAM vet school at 12 weeks old. She now has a right rear torn ACL and is on pain meds. My hubby & I are both elderly & having lots of trouble carrying her. He has mentioned putting her to sleep & I became hysterical. I want to wait after she is on the meds for 2 weeks when we see our vet

    • Sue

      Hi Barbara, how is Glory feeling? I hope the medication has started to work. I had a dog with a torn ACL and lots of rest and confinement healed her to perfection. Maybe you should keep her kenneled until she is back to good health. I know that sounds mean but it would keep her confined and it would also limit you and your husband carrying her. Hope things are better.

  • Ann Shirley

    My 10 yr old Scottie went from fine to not eating or drinking.
    Vet said so much fluid couldn’t see his heart liver huge
    5 days no food threw up one pc of lunch meat on 4th day. Now full of lasix barely wets still no food
    Vet also took a needle biopsy of a tumor and said mast
    Cell tumor. He’s suffering doesn’t want to walk
    Vet still wants to save him. I don’t think he can stand much more pain. I know vet won’t put him down when we go back tomorrow. What can I do?

    • Sue

      How is your Scottie doing? What did the vet say? What were the results of the biopsy? I hope all is well. It is so hard to see them suffering and feeling you don’t know what to do.

  • Glenda Lewis

    My dear beautiful old boy Toby who is a sturdy Maltese, is 14.5 years and gradually went blind with hardened retinas, cataracts as well as deaf totally. Full effects developing around Xmas….(5 months ago) I call him the “Clarke Gable!” Of the white fluffy dog world!..As he really is “The King”…Gable was nicknamed that!! An air of gentle masculine strength!
    He came to me as an adoption after my dear friend and neighbour Tim passed away….7.5 years ago and we have shared beautiful moments of love and play together….but now as I watch him struggle in his world of no sight, bumping around the house, staring at walls, furniture, not hearing my gentle voice, not knowing where I am while his nose twitches wildly trying to connect to my smell…flinching when I go to touch him as he’s not sure what my touch is as I go to pick him up!….Although he’s incredibly stoic through it all…. Hes to be applauded watching how brave he is…finding his way in his silent, unsure world!…It all just seems so unfair as there really is nothing else wrong with him (a bit of arthritis)…and this is why I’m struggling with this most difficult of decisions. The most heart-wrenching of decisions Ive ever had to make in my life!…”Yes!…Is it the right time?” But his now distance from me, sleepiing continually, not responsive…except when a treat or food is available…(his twitching nose again!☺️)and scratching now of his eyes…Are they hurting?….I started helping him with saline eye drops yesterday…
    He does let me know when he needs to go out and can manoeuvre his way…he adores his food…He does bark when he wants something……but I don’t want to get to the point when a lot of these faculties give way too…It must be hard enough for him struggling with just getting about and being in his empty silent no seeing world….
    I had to get up out of bed last night, but I chose deliberately in the dark and fearfully struggled to find my bedroom door and thought of Toby in this way…except, I could hear as I turned the handle…He doesn’t share that grace!!….
    I had another Maltese and had to make his most final of decisions 3 years ago but I felt good about that as Nero was sooooo sick…And he came and told me it was time a month before. He had heart failure and suspected cancer. I felt blessed to be able to help him……
    BUT Toby?!!!…My continual pulling heartstrings will endure I guess for a bit longer as I gently watch him now peacefully sleeping beside me as I write this….
    “Is it time?….Or isn’t it?!”
    Thankyou to this most beautiful site/blog….It’s wonderful to truly be able to express these words, emotions and honesty of how I’m observing what I’m seeing, being a part of with truth and comprehension…??Much love to you all…..

    • Sue

      I am so, so sorry! You are a wonderful person I can tell from the love and caring you have for this most special dog. I always think why does the mind go but the body not, or the body goes and the mind doesn’t..for people too it seems. It is cruel. You will know when the time is right but I just want to say that I adopted a Rotty that was blind, had his eyeballs removed and he was about 8 years old and I was SHOCKED how quickly he learned his way around my house having never ever seen it. I was told that dogs don’t need their eyesight as much as their hearing. This does not help you at all but just to let you know that while we think losing eyesight is terrible, not so much for dogs. They also have special collars you can get to keep them from bumping into walls, I think they are called Angel Collars you can google. I never had to get one for Henry. I did final put him down even though his mind was sharp as a tack, he couldn’t see and he had DM, a disease like multiple schlorosis. He could not go potty without falling in it and I felt he had absolutely no dignity left, as hard as it was to let him go….because his mind was good I don’t regret my decision. I often get sad about it but no regret. Good luck to you. Hugs, Sue

      • G Lewis

        Thankyou Sue for replying so quickly and your kind words.
        Writing my ‘Ode to Toby seems to have settled me…henceforth I think he has picked up on that, and settled him, as he seems more sure and comfortable with himself…Yes. Must be the transference of energies!…Highly believe in that.??
        Yes. The time will come and I’m also a great believer in not prolonging the suffering…But for now, this stoic, brave little boy will continue forthwith his never tiring, caring Mumma caressing him the whole way..?☺️?
        As I conveyed to you before…This site has helped me/us so much??So thanks once again…And God bless you for creating it…
        Much love…..Glenda and Toby Lewis.xxxx

  • T. Love

    I am grief stricken, broken hearted and hurting. Our dog Sugar was put to sleep today. She was a member of our family for over 14 years. A loyal, loving, caring girl. We made the painful decision to have her put to sleep because she was suffering. She hadn’t eaten, insulin wasn’t controlling her glucose levels, she was lethargic, she was no longer our Sugar. I miss her so much!! I was able to tell her that I loved her. This hurts but I know she is no longer suffering but I can’t help but wonder if I did enough for her. I tried Sugar, we tried Sugar. Sad beyond belief!! Rest Our sweet Sugar

  • Donna Argenzio

    My 15 year old Pekingese has been dragging her back legs. She has trouble squatting to do potty. She still enjoys eating and does the happy dance after eating and when I come thru the door, there still has some joy in her. I’m very confused and don’t know what to do.

    • Rachel Brown

      Donna. You took the words right out of my mouth. First off I am so sorry you have to wrestle with the emotions. I am not sure if you have made that final choice. My small dog is 12 and is to a “T” what you are describing. I hope to talk with you soon.

  • Mariza Vocisano

    Thank you my dog is 13 lab mix and still enjoys life
    He has arthritis and has difficulty walking
    This has helped me he’s eating and happy and still wants to go for short walks.
    I’ll keep my eye out for signs it’s coming

  • Rita Saberniak

    My dog Chelsea turned 17 in March. She is a rat terrier mix and a rescued dog. She has been with me for 11 years, my constant shadow when I am home. She having some pain when walking, and coughing with a gag since January. The vet had said her lungs and heart are not normal sounding, and she could have a growth in her throat. Her vision has deteriorated, and her hearing is gone, but she still seem happy at times, wagging her tail and going for the toy. She is still continent except when she’s barking she leaks. I have an appt. tomorrow. I don’t know if that should be it or not.????

  • Patricia Pichler

    My shitzu Molly had to be put to sleep on the 3/2/17 I took her to the vet and I knew she wouldn’t be coming home. When my husband passed away in 2004 May, I got molly she was only 8 weeks old, she was my best support getting through the grieving. Last April she was diagnosed with Congenitial Heart Failure, the tablets worked for a good few months, then she started coughing again, at the end she hadn’t eaten for 6 days, when she drank water she just brought it back up, the morning I took her to the vet, she couldn’t stand up and was shivering. But I still feel guilty that I took her to her death. When she was on the vets table, I cuddled her and told her how much I loved her but I couldn’t stay to watch him give her the needle. I feel guilty about that aswell. I have her home and she is in a little urn. Thank you for reading

    • Sue

      I’m so sorry. Don’t beat yourself up over not staying to the bitter end. You gave her a great life and love. You are always with her in spirit. Take good care and I hope when the time is right you will adopt another special dog that will bring all new love and adventure.

  • Stephen

    I’ve had my Chaco boy for 12 years. He’s a chihuahua, but not the barky bitey kind haha, he has always been the sweetest, attention loving typical lap dog. He’s been a great companion over the years. He would always run around and wag his tail and smile if I said “wanna go for a walk” or even if he heard his leash he’d go crazy. He sits on my lap every day and night and if I say “gimmie hug” he will out his little feet around my neck and bury his face and head under my chin. If I sing a certain pitch he’d bellow and howl. If I said “wanna treat” he’d lose his mind. This past year, between his 11th and 12th year it went all down hill. His once chocolate colored hair was fading to a light brown with white hair on his forehead and t zone. His golden honey eyes now cloudy and eventually went blind. His chunky stubby stature is no more. He’s now a skeleton. His appetite has dwindled and now he seems really off balanced. He cuddles w me still but he sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. Doesn’t react to his leash. At first his walks got shorter and shorter. He started having incontinence issues and I was constantly cleaning his kennel and blankies and always mopping the floor. I literally got up every 2 hours to take him out one day he wouldn’t go outside and when he got up to go he collapsed and flopped around like a fish. I got him calm. He drank and ate and got sick. Sick from both ends. That was this past weekend. He had never gotten like that before. So I made the decision to put him down and that is tomorrow at 3 pm. I’ve taken him on some last drives, he definitely got his appetite back for cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets hahaha. He was always good at eating his own food and not begging. I took him to his favorite park to eat his food and to lay in the sun and take pictures. I used flour salt and water and made a mold for his paw prints and will get him cremated and delivered to me in a personalized engraved box. Right now he’s just laying on me sleeping but I can tell that he knows.today he really took in what was going and in some pictures looked as if he really has appreciated his time here. Some pictures you can just tell he’s ready. He’s let me love him so much extra and when I said “gimme hug” he did. He hasn’t done that in a while. When I cried he buried his face under my chin and looked up and licked me and pushed his little paw on my face and then rest his head on my chest. At first I felt guilty for making this appointment bc I feel I’ve had him as a baby and I should have him till the end and let him pass at home. But then the other part of me doesn’t want to see him in pain and suffering and I think it’s best to put him down. I love him with all my heart and can’t believe this is our last nigh together. I have another dog and a cat but they are 3 and 1 years old respectively and he’s 12. He was my first dog I got at 21 years old and he’s been by my side this whole time. It sucks that this is going down tomorrow but I think it’s the right thing. I have so many pictures of him from the past couple days and have spoiled him w food and treats. We even had a BBQ for him and let him eat some ribs tonight. For a little chihuahua he sure ate the ribs and chewed the bone all evening hahaha. Now he’s just knocked out and sleeping. Anyways. I think it is time for him to go due to his blindness and weakness. Sometimes he gets sick or can’t walk and I think it’s time bc that’s not like him and he’s not going to get better. I know I’ll sob all day tomorrow because I’m starting to cry now. It’s hard making this decision but I can just tell it’s time.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Karina,

    How have the past few days been – did you make a decision about your pug? You aren’t being selfish for not wanting to put him down, not at all. Our dogs are a huge part of our lives, and they take a piece of our hearts with them when they go. I’m sorry you have to make this decision; it is always painful to let go.

    My impression is that you’ve thought about this for awhile…what is your heart telling you to do about your dog?

  • Karina

    Our Pug is 12 years old, he is blind and deaf.
    He is coughing a lot and can’t breath, all signs point to cancer. He still eats good and goes outside but sleeps more than anything. He jumps up from a sound sleep, walks around slowly, coughing and trying to breath. We tried cough medicine our vet subscribed which didn’t do much good, right now he is on antibiotic, he has a lot of mucus coming out of his one nostril and I hope this will make him breath a little better. Last night I was up with him most of the night, he was panting a lot getting up moving around a little just to breath, coughing the whole time. His bad days seem to outnumber his good days anymore. He wants to be with me, follows me around through the house and wants to be held but I don’t know for how much longer I can watch this going on. Sometimes he just lays on the floor and seem to stare in front of him. I don’t want him to be in pain or suffer. Am I being selfish because I don’t want him to go? He loves car rides, gets all excited, how could I take him to the vet knowing that this is his last car ride? I’m crying while I am writing this, I love that “old man”

  • Debbie thomas

    I have read through loads of the comments and heartbreaking it is to have your animal put to sleep, I think the time is right for my gsh his name is bandit he is 7 yrs old an a epileptic he’s been having seizures for the last 5 yrs and gradually over the years have got a lot worse, he’s on medication but I think they have stopped working because over the last few days he’s had over 30 seizures which is not normal for him. I know he’s had enough bless him and as much as I love him I can’t watch him suffer no more.

  • Susan Highsmith

    Thank you all for posting your comments about your babies. I adopted my boy…a CoJack from a shelter a short 2 years 4 months ago. He has been a wonderful dog. So loving and grateful to be with us. He has been yelping at times from day one of my bringing him home. Now…he can barely use his hind legs. This has been going on for about 3 weeks now. I’ve taken him to numerous different Vets and he is on 4 different meds. He is no longer eating his food. Only treats. He refuses to go out to relieve himself. He is scared of hurting. He is whining and crying at night. He is such a social dog and cannot get up to socialize with us now. I see he is miserable just laying under the bed. I am putting my sweet sweet boy to rest at 2:00 today and it has been the hardest decision ever. I pray to God that I am doing what is best for him. I know he is tired of hurting. I love him so very much. I trust he will run free without pain. Until him and I meet again.

  • Heidi

    I have read through many stories and have been brought to tears. I especially liked the poem. I’m facing putting to sleep my beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I have so much anger inside me. She is only 6 years old and I thought we had so much more time together. She was always healthy until one day she started drooling from one side of her mouth, we took her in to have dental xrays and when they went to intubate her they saw a huge mass on her tonsil. Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the tonsils, very aggressive and unfortunately inoperable. I took her to an Oncologist and she said that she may live one possibly two months. Today she has lived 14 weeks since diagnosed. Now her breathing is becoming labored as the tumor is growing bigger and she has a lot of mucus in her mouth, I assume from the irritation. She is still eating, loosing weight but wags her tail, tries to play with her toys and loves to sit outside on the porch and short walks. She sleeps more, I guess he cancer is taking her energy. I don’t know how much longer I have but I know from reading all these heartbreaking stories that some how, some way I will do what is right and listen to her to tell me when the time is right. My life will never be the same….I hope I can eventually put away the anger I have at feeling cheated with only 6 short years together. I know people have had their dogs 12-18 years and that must be hard, but this seems so unfair and hard. Cancer itself is SO unfair. At least I take some comfort in knowing she has had the very best life, best care, a loving family, lots of walks and a yard to chase squirrels and play. My heart is heavy and I am so sorry for anyone facing this decision.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Sans,

    It sounds like you’ve already made the decision that saying good-bye to your beloved dog is the most difficult thing in the world to do, but the most humane and compassionate. You don’t want her to suffer anymore, and you can see that she doesn’t always enjoy her food. She’s not wagging her tail…and you don’t want her to suffer.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this, especially since your husband isn’t ready to say good-bye. It’s always difficult when some family members can’t bear to put a dog down.

    Putting a sick, tired, old dog to sleep is an act of love and compassion. It’s a human’s final way of taking care of their beloved dog, of loving her to the last breath. Prolonging a dog’s death can be a selfish thing – understandable, because we don’t want to grieve and suffer without our dogs…but keeping an old, tired dog alive isn’t always the best thing for the dog.

    Death is a natural ending to life. It’s painful and sad, yes…but it is part of a good life. There are good deaths and bad deaths, and it sounds to me like you want Millie to experience a good death.

    My prayer is that you and your husband are able to agree on a decision. May you and he come to a peaceful agreement about what Millie really needs, and how best you can show her how much you love her.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • Sans

      Thank You Laurie for compassionate and thoughtful response. Last night when my husband returned from work, we had an impromptu family meeting, followed with more tears, but real conversation.
      I told him how much I really understood that he is not ready, and I don’t want him to feel like we pushed him into something that he is not comfortable with, however, this prolonging the outcome is only causing suffering. My daughter and I are also more anxious because while my husband has gone to work, and his daily routine has continued as usual, we are home for the summer, being educators with the summer off. We have been fortunate to spend so much time with her this summer, and making her the focus of all our love and attention.

      Unfortunately, that ends in two weeks and we worry about Millie’s inability to walk, jump and move along to places that give her comfort. We told him that we would rather see her go with a full belly of her favorite foods, and a heart full of pride, dignity and love..

      We have decided as a family to keep her as comfortable as possible with meds until next week, and if we see no glimmer, then we will do what is necessary to make her passage to the other side as comfortable as possible. I also am finding some peace and reminding myself and sharing that this beautiful creature has shared our lives for a long and happy time. She has survived elementary school, two teenagers, endless parties, celebrations, and passings,two college graduations, and a mom and dad who counts her as a daughter. I can’t ask for more..

  • Dianne haines

    I have a 14year old Yorke, she poos and pees everywhere, she has lost a lot of weight but eats and drinks well but you can count every bone in her body her little tail is permanently tucked under, she never wags it anymore she seems really miserable is it time to say goodbye and put her down?

    • Chris

      Sorry but this sounds as if your dog is suffering. The retracted tail suggests misery. My sick old dog seemed sad and held her tail between her legs for one day and I was prepared to put her down until she greeted me the next day with a wagging tail and renewed energy. In your case, I would be feeling for the dog too much to want to witness more pain and would arrange for her to be put down. Incontinence, emaciation and the withdrawn tail are signs she wants to go. All the best with this hard decision.

    • Ross

      I am sitting at home waiting to go to put our beloved black lab down. This is the 3rd dog we will have put down. The other two were lab cross, and we’re both 13 years old when they were put down.
      This lab, pure, is 13 years, 9 months now. I am having a very difficult time with this, again. She is deaf and is having a difficult time walking. Last night she just got up and walked into a corner of the living room and pooped. She used to be so good at asking to go out. She still does sometimes.
      She can’t go for walks of any great distance anymore and I know she would love to. We had her at the lake this last week and she went for a couple of swims, which was one of her favorite things to do.
      She is happy when she sees us, but I am not sure she is happy with anything else in her life, except for when she gets beggin’ strips or table scraps.
      Lately she just lays around and sleeps. She pants a lot which I assume is due to pain and discomfort.
      I wish there was an easy answer to what is the right thing to do. My wife believes this is the right thing to do, and there is a part of me that agrees. I am just hoping that we are making the right decision for our girl.
      I just needed to write this to get it off my chest. I read so many comments, and I know the pain every one of us is going through. Thank you all for sharing.

      • Sans

        This post made me feel like I had to write too..I am besides myself with angst and worry. I don’t want to put my beloved westie, Millie to sleep but I see no way out. She is 14 and has severe arthritis. It has been flaring for years but since April of this year has been horrible. The dr and I are giving her daily meds, such as tramadol, and glucosamine as well as bladder meds. She has frequent leakage, as well as accidents in her sleep. I considered diapers but know her well enough to see that she will be humiliated and tortured. Afterall, I raised a beautiful, independent, spitfire, and know that at 14.5 is not the right time to start sticking, prodding, etc.She sometimes has a good day, but not as many as we would like. Her usual walks are slow and tedious. Her tails is usually down, and sometimes getting her to eat (which also means taking the meds) is a battle. I want her to go peacefully with love in all our hearts, and not torture (which sometimes it feels like, at least to me). I also feel that I am jaded because my brother suffered miserably before his death, and begged for mercy, and I want to be able to give that to Millie so she can die with dignity. Are there any other signs to wait for or am I just being selfish? In the meantime our 23 year old daughter is ready to say good bye, I am ready to say good bye, but my husband keeps having faith and hope, and if he has his way, this can continue for a long time. Thanks in advance for any advice, encouragement ..Sans

  • Laurie Post author

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. How are you coping with the decision to put your beloved dog to sleep? It’s a huge adjustment, and even time doesn’t heal the grief and pain that this loss brings.

    I pray for peace, forgiveness, and freedom from any guilt and grief you may feel.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Marilynn

    My dog Millie was diagnosed with bone cancer last year. My vet recommended that her left leg be removed. Millie adjusted well with 3 legs for about 3 months, then the tumor started growing in her shoulder area. The tumor continued to grow and often would leak a pus looking fluid. My vet gave me some pain pills and pills for inflammation. Millie still gets around but she is weak. She will walk a few steps and then lay down. She still eats and drinks and still had her bodily functions. I noticed last week that another tumor is growing and although she is eating, she is loosing weight. She looks at me and wags her tail and comes to me when I have food for her. I look in her eyes and want to cry. She is a lab that was abandoned along with 2 siblings on my road when they were pups. Millie loved to run and play and hunt. Now she is unable to do so. I decided on Friday that it was time so I contacted my vet and he will be here Monday morning to euthanize her. Sometimes she just lays so still I think she has died but so far she opens her eyes and looks at me. I am second guessing my decision. I am so torn up but I no longer want her to suffer. Please pray for me.

  • Emm

    Thank you for this site. My Cocker Spaniel/Terrier mix will be 17 in July. I am heart broken at his increasing dementia. He is also experiencing weakness in his back legs.
    At this point, he is able to get up and down, but this is also diminishing. I don’t think that he is in pain – no panting – eats well. He doesn’t seem to recognize me and I am having a hard time keeping him groomed and trimmed. A muzzle helps but it really stresses him out. His ears and back end matt if not looked after but I feel so guilty wrestling with him to get it done. Do I leave it go because of his age? He has never gone to a groomer because of his anxiety issues. Going to the vet has always been a major issue for both of us. Right now his is peacefully sleeping on the carpet. His worst dementia pacing episodes are between 10 p.m. And 1a.m. My Dad also has dementia so putting my dog down seems like a betrayal to him.

  • Kelly

    My first baby & my best friend (Dudley) is my 15 year old Dachshund who I am thinking of putting to sleep. He has been blind and deaf for a few years and there is just no life left in him. he is just a shell of the dog he once was & oh how I miss the dog he was. He had an orange ball that he LOVED and he could find anywhere! He went everywhere with me, I cry as I type this because I just don’t know what to do! I need to take him to the vet for a check up because I have found a large lump in the crease where his back leg meet his tummy but he does not act like he is in pain & I am scared to find out what it is. He use to be such a fat dog and now he is just so skinny but he is still eating really good. He does not wag his tail anymore and does nothing but sleep, eat & goes to the bathroom all over my floor and in his kennel. He is wore out and I am wore out from cleaning up and caring after him plus I work long hours during the week. My husband is pressing me to do this but I just don’t think my emotions can handle it! This dog has been with me since I was 20 years old. He has been with me though divorces…moves…having kids everything! I grieve for the dog he once was & I want him back. I got another dachshund thinking it would help me because I missed the old Dudley so much but the new one (Ranger) does not really have anything to do with me because he is my husbands best friend 🙁 I am just lost on what to do.

    • Julie

      Kelly. What did you do? I’m in a similar situation. Almost blind and deaf. He is in no pain but suddenly is weak in the hind end. Stumbling and falling when he tries to walk. No pain. He has to wear a diaper

  • Laurie Post author

    Lend Me a Pup
    – Author Unknown

    I will lend to you for awhile
    a pup, God said,
    For you to love her while she lives
    and to mourn for her when she is gone.
    Maybe for twelve or fourteen years,
    or maybe for two or three
    But will you, till I call her back
    take care of her for me?

    She’ll bring her charms to gladden you
    and (should her stay be brief)
    you’ll always have her memories
    as solace for your grief.
    I cannot promise that she will stay,
    since all from earth return,
    But there are lessons taught below
    I want this pup to learn.

    I’ve looked the whole world over
    in search of teachers true
    And from the folk that crowd life’s land
    I have chosen you.
    Now will you give her all your love
    Nor think the labor vain
    Nor hate me when I come to take my pup back again.

    I fancied that I heard them say
    “Dear Lord Thy Will Be Done,”
    For all the joys this pup will bring,
    the risk of grief you’ll run.
    Will you shelter her with tenderness
    Will you love her while you may
    And for the happiness you’ll know forever grateful stay.

    But should I call her back
    much sooner than you’ve planned
    Please brave the bitter grief that comes
    and try to understand.
    If, by your love, you’ve managed
    my wishes to achieve,
    In memory of her that you’ve loved,
    cherish every moment with your faithful bundle,
    and know she loved you too.

  • Christine

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories. They have been helpful to read. My husband and I have been debating whether or not to let our dog go. It is a very difficult decision. She has had severe allergies since she was 7 months old. She is now 5. Without medication she loses hair, and chews herself raw. We’ve had her on a variety of medications, all of which made her more aggressive with strangers, which was the side effect we were fearing/dreading. We are very cautious in how we are handling her with others. We had allergy tests, and she is allergic to a wide variety of things. She has been on a shot for the past year. In addition to the shot, she has had to have double the initial anti-itch meds that were prescribed, we clean her with a foam and pads daily, and she gets bathed with a medicated wash weekly. According to our vet, this is our final option, and this routing would be what we would be following for the rest of her life. She is still itching, although it is less frequent, and her eyes are constantly goopy. She is tired more often than not, but she does have her playful moments. My husband has reached the point where he is confident that letting her go would be the right choice. I am having a hard time coming to a decision. I can’t tell if I’m being selfish in continuing to keep her here, or if it is logical to keep trying to find something that works.

    • Machell

      My dogs were itching and chewing all their fur off, and we knew that they weren’t flea-infested because they were all treated for fleas each month. My husband and I did some research and discovered that most dogs are allergic to corn, wheat, and other grains (rice seems to be okay). We changed their diets to corn and wheat-free food, and their itching and chewing cleared up in just a few weeks. If you haven’t already tried this, I would suggest you do so before having your precious dog put to sleep. Best wishes!

  • Tom

    I am hurting and torn inside as what to do , I have a tentative appointment for this Friday to put My little Girl Abby my basset hound down that I have had 13 yrs now She had developed a cancer tumer develop on her leg a 7 months ago that could not be removed from her right hind leg it has grown to where she does not get around much due to it being in larged and and drags her right foot which , i have kept wrapped up for her and changing the bandage daily along with carring her up to bed at night and helping her out side to go t the bathroom she has declined her in the past 3 weeks ,although still has her spirt to still begging for food in the kitchen to sleeping in the recliner with assistance , i see a spark in her and I just dont what direction to go , i am second guessing myself , My vet has been wonderful and stated she will let us know when its time also stating that dont wait to long , i feel my heart being ripped out ( i dont know what to think anymore …

  • Mike

    Our Dog was from a backyard breeder that did not look like he should be allowed to own pets, In a big sense, our dog was a rescue dog and we had him since he was only a few weeks- (they were shoving dry food at the litter after separating them from the mother too young), We had him 10 years and he has never missed out on anything in life, the hardest part is that he is still really healthy, after years of behavioural therapy, medication, training, (we’ve done it all), he is now hurting himself and not mentally stable anymore, there is no where left for us to go, he has been a really great friend and is a part of our family even now. Its just breaks my heart because there is nothing wrong with his body and I don’t know if taking away his life is the right thing to do, I am going ahead with it because he just seems unhappy and is now snapping at the other dog and cat where they used to be good playmates. I wish this was black and white, that’s what makes it the hardest.

    • Sue E.

      It’s like that with humans too it seems, it’s either the mind goes or the body, never both. I think you are doing the right thing. My Henry was fine mentally, but his body was shot. He had degenerative myelopathy and he was totally blind. I did as best I could but it was getting too hard for him to go outside to go to the bathroom. He didn’t want to go outside and if he did he would fall into the mess. He was a large rottweiler so it was no small feat getting him in and out. It broke my heart and I still feel guilty because his mind was sharp but he was losing his dignity so I guess I did the right thing, sometimes I’m not sure. I think if your dogs mind is going that it is probably time. Good luck.

  • jane

    I am also struggling with this decision too.my baby’s name is Gabby she is an Australian cattle dog mixed with dalmation.she is my best friend of 12 years.Gabby has bad arthritis in her spine.she has a hard time getting up and she drags her back paw.she is on a steroid and gabbapetin(nuerotin) she doesn’t seem to be in pain she is eating and drinking and loves her treats..she is peeing in the house because of this arthritis sometimes she might even poo.but she always looks like she his ashamed..i don’t scold her either..its just breaking my heart on what to do.I am not ready to put her down.she still tries to play fetch too.friends tell me I should put her down.i just cant right now..

    • Machell

      Jane–my heart goes out to you. My 13-year-old dog, Luke, is also suffering from severe arthritis in his back hips. He is a German Shepard mix that I adopted from an animal rescue organization when he was just a tiny puppy, and has been my oldest and dearest friend since I brought him home. My vet has prescribed gabbapentin, steroids, Tramadol, and chews to lubricate his joints, and my husband had been diligent in administering them as prescribed. Luke has some decent days and some really bad days. Today was a bad one. He absolutely could not get up by himself, and it took my husband six tries to lift him and getting him to a standing position. But he still eats and drinks, but we are not sure if that’s because of the steroids, which make him very hungry and thirsty. We don’t want to keep Luke in pain, and are not sure if it’s time to euthanize him, or if he has a few months left. Like you, we are facing a very hard decision, and are not sure what to do.

      • Nikki

        This sounds exactly like my 17 year old Ridgeback/Boxer mix. What did you end up deciding to do? I wish she could just tell me what she wants.

  • Donna Ring-Jordan

    I am taking in my Dusty this morning and crying as I write this. Dusty was my mom’s dog, a beautiful shih tzu that we rescued for mom 10 years ago after she had lost her dachshund. Mom passed away in 2008 and Dusty became ours. She was a sweet, sometimes obnoxious dog who very much ruled the roost. She knew she was the princess of the home, and even though at 15 pounds she was much smaller, she was alpha dog over our 25 pound Boomer. She has been showing signs of difficulty eating so, since she is a small dog, we suspected that her teeth were bothering her. We regularly had them cleaned, but thought it may be time for another cleaning.
    We took her to the vet for the required blood testing prior to cleaning. The tests came back, red blood cell count very high, white blood cell count very low. PCV 34. The vet said that there could possibly be some infection and started her on a regimen of antibiotics, telling us to give them twice daily and bring her in for another test in a week.
    Well the week went by and I took her back in. Two day later, yesterday, the vet called with the results. No improvement, in fact, the PCV count had dropped to 29 in a week, an alarming amount. He told us that he could do a bone marrow test to see why it was dropping. I asked him if it could be still infection and he told me that most probably either the bone marrow was not making blood cells or there was a likelihood of her body eating those cells. We spoke about it and I asked his opinion if there would be a treatable problem. He told me that in his experience, he did not think that there would be, it was most probably a cancer. I asked if left untreated what would be the outcome and he said she would most probably deteriorate very quickly since the blood work had shown such a quick decrease.
    She had been our baby and our princess for so many years and has given us so much joy I cannot justify waiting and seeing what will happen. It is not fair to her to watch her not want to eat, and now drink, and she looks so sad. It is time to let her go see her first mom and be happy and well again. It tears at my heart, but I will soon be leaving the house and making the final trip to the vet. Dusty, I love you so very much and because of that, I have to do this. I hope you understand that is why, and when you see Grams give her a kiss for me.

  • Claire Banks

    My 13 year old lab has progressive nerve damage. He is mobile but scuffs his back legs, his sight is very poor, he is very cautious when sitting or standing as doesn’t have great control over his back legs. He often reaches as if he is going to be sick but never is. For the past couple of months he has started faecal messing in the house. He saw the vet a few months ago who advised he wasn’t ready to put down and I would no when he doesn’t get up to eat his food. My dilemma is that although he is still able to get around I wonder if he is happy or suffering now?? He also has days when he dribbles a lot (from the mouth). I think I know the answer but would like some support in decision making.

    • Sue E.

      I hope you find an answer. I just want to say that there are quality of life charts that can help you determine, you can google. I am telling you this because I made the decision to put my beloved foster dog Henry, a blind rottweiler with degenerative myelopathy down one week ago. I am heartbroken and didn’t know about these quality of life charts that had I known…according to the score I shouldn’t have put him down because he was still eating, drinking and seemed fairly happy even though he couldn’t get around more than a few steps without falling and couldn’t see anything. I thought it was time but knowing his good score after the fact has left me more riddled with guilt than I was before. Good luck.

  • Monica Moore

    I had to make the very difficult decision of whether I should put my beloved dog “Sebastian” to sleep or keep going through the motions of his diet and painkiller special needs. He had cancer in the mouth and the tumor was getting bigger and bigger…he was constantly trying to “paw it out,” obviously to no avail. To treat his cancer at 13.5 years old would have required 1/2 of his upper jaw removal to obtain “clear margins” from the cancer. No Way!!! I was able to keep him comfortable for (9) months since diagnosis….but it started to dawn on me how taxing it was for him and I to keep up with this “hospice” type regime. I decided to put him to eternal sleep because it was the best way he could keep his dignity and just gently go away. I’m sure I’m more devastated than he….since he surely must be at peace. It’s been nearly (3) months since his passing…and I’m still so deeply wounded. At this time, I can’t even imagine another dog…although my heart goes out to all of those in need. I hope, in time, my heart will take a turn and be able to move on to another adoption…and love for another dog. It’s such a tough thing to go through….so I’m allowing myself to just rejoice in the memories of my passed dog “Sebastian.” Although he had some quality of life left…it was short and I knew it….I didn’t want to take his cancer discomfort to the extreme. Hardest thing I’ve ever done in “54” years of my life!! I miss him but I hope to return to some normal routine soon. He will NEVER be forgotten and always cherised!

    • Kelly

      Hi I’m going through the same with my dog peppy westie cross. We’ve been together for 12 yrs and he’s my boy. He had a lump removed for his mouth 3 months ago now and it grew back straight away more aggressive this time. He’s on antibiotics and pain relief at the moment. Although he still eats/drinks and loves his short walks ‘as he has arthritis in his hips’ he is uncomfortable. Licking all the time and not settling, the lump is bleeding. I know it’s time but I’m struggling as I want too be with him when he’s pts but I don’t think I’ll be able to control my emotions and stay strong. He’s licked so many tears from my face over the years he always been there, he knew I was pregnat before I did, he’s my shadow. I’m really struggling with this xx

  • Jennifer

    My 13 year old Chocolate Lab, he is everything to us. Last June he was diagnosed with a tumor in his throat that was obstructing his esophagus. They can not take it out due to it being attached to blood vessels and other things. The tumor is now bigger than a soft ball. We puree his food and spoon feed him with his head up due to the tumor cutting off part of his esophagus. He throws up water and food (a lot of it), sometimes 10 to 15 times a week. He now has breathing fits where he will try and catch his breath. Those last for a good 30 seconds, but are not too often. The vet told us at the beginning of the diagnosis that we “would know” when it was time. Chase would be depressed and not acting normal. That is just not true. Chase is still in good spirits, he is happy. The vomiting is almost a daily struggle. Every time I think about “is it time or when” I cant stop crying, What if I do it too soon? Its killing me. I don’t know what to do. How bad does it need to be? If he is still happy, do I wait until he is miserable. I read all these posts and I can not get any clarity. My emotions are maybe clouding my judgement. I don’t know what to do.

  • Laurie Post author

    Guilty feelings are normal, even if we know deep in our hearts that putting a dog down is the best thing for them. It’s important to remember that life can get painful and difficult for animals who are ready to leave this world.

    Prolonging a dog’s life may seem like a loving, kind thing to do…but when a dog is elderly and/or sick, saying goodbye is the most compassionate act of love you could ever give him.

    That said, however…putting a dog down is still one of the most painful experiences a dog lover will ever go through.

  • Rob

    My 11-year-old dachshund had back surgery two years ago, and day before yesterday woke up from a nap with another back injury. He is on pain/anti-inflammatory meds, and though they help very little, I can see that he is in discomfort. He sleeps, but will wake up and just stare at me as if saying: “Do something.”

    I do not want him to go on like this for weeks, months in the “hope” that he will recover…but at what cost to his comfort? I am thinking I need to put him to sleep so he will not be suffering…even a little. He is my baby, but him not suffering is more important than any of the sadness I will feel and be overwhelmed with when I let him go. It is already ripping my heart out.

    I will decide in the next day or so what I am going to do. Thank you ALL for your comments.

  • Melanie

    We’ve had our sweet boy Tucker for six years now. He’s a golden retriever, a very big boy. He weighs 98 pounds and he smiles when we come home. He’s about ten years old, maybe eleven and we got him when he was four or five. He’s the sweetest dog I’ve ever had, but he’s just not doing well anymore. He has arthritis in his back hips. It’s to the point now where he can’t walk well. He falls on the hardwood floor whenever he tries his hardest to get up. It’s heartbreaking, and there’s nothing we can do to help him. He’s on medicine for it, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. We have an appointment to speak with the vet tomorrow afternoon to see what options there are available. My father and I have both really come to a decision that we think it’s time for us to put my sweet boy down. I hate it, I’ve been crying all day on and off. Those deep, gut wrenching sobs, and I can’t seem to stop. I don’t know how I’m going to manage in the vet’s office tomorrow. I’m not ready to put him down, but I know he’s hating not being able to move, and constantly falling when he tries to walk. It’s horrible, and it hurts, but articles and comments like this reassure me that I’m doing the right thing, even if it’s killing me to do it. To anyone reading this, I’m sorry if you’re struggling with the thought of losing your pet. I know how it feels and I hope we can all get through this stuff together. I just know I’m going to miss Tucker for a very long time.

    • Nick

      I’m going through something very similar, I have a 13 year old springer spaniel named Mickey, I’ve had him since he was one when I was in college. He was with me before my wife and 3 kids, we’ve grown up together. He now has a degenerative disease where he has a lot of trouble walking on our hardwood floor where he falls constantly. But what makes this so hard is that he still wants to be right next to me….I don’t want him to suffer but I don’t want to put him down too early.

  • Kim Pearce

    I came here as well as 20 other sites to research this. My dog is a shepherd/chow mix. 11 1/2 years old. His hip and right leg is hurting him so much he cries all the time.He has been in pain a couple of weeks this time. He is given meds but it doesn’t seem to help anymore. He is so miserable. I am feeling so guilty of even thinking about putting him to sleep. Is it just me having a hard time dealing with his pain? Could he get better next week? I am so torn. Thank you for this site.

  • Stephanie

    Thank you so much for writing. I am crying as I read this. We have an almost 13 yo black lab/coon hound mix who has been a delight her entire life. For the last year or so she has been experiencing arthritis in her hind side. We are giving her medicine (I believe the max we can at this point) and while that helped for a while it no longer seems to alleviate the pain. She has trouble getting up, squatting, stairs etc. When she can’t get up away she panics (she has always been anxious). However for the most part once she is up she is our girl, tail wagging , trying to jump ( despite our protests to NOT jump!),happy to be with us and wanting to be pet. Her condition seems to have gotten worse over the last few weeks, often at night we hear her wandering and believe she just can’t get comfortable. We struggle to determine if its time to say goodbye, if the pain outweighs her joy.

  • orville

    As I am reading this article, I am crying my eyes out. I have a 13.6 year old lhasa apso. She was the last thing that my 2 and a half year old dying daughter asked for. My daughter died of leukemia when she was 2 years, 5 months, and 3 days. I have been raising her dog (named shushu). Shushu was the only company that I had through the grieving process with my daughter. I must admit that we had many domestic disputes… but through everything we have loved and cared for each other. Shushu has been battling with a urinary track infection since early December 2015. She started having all sorts of accidents inside the house. She received two different antibiotics, and the infection would go away, and later return. I took her to the vet, and they took an X-ray. It shows that she has arthritis in her spine. She is currently just started to take anti inflammatory medication. It’s only been 3 days. She hasn’t wanted to eat since Monday, and today is already Wednesday. Today, she ate ham (something that she has never eaten in her life). She doesn’t want any of her dry food, or any dog treats. She’s not even eating her favorite… begging strips. When I get her favorite squeaky ball, and I squeeze it… her head and ears go up, and when I through it… she chases, but once she gets to the ball… she no longer gets it with her mouth. She was doing everything normal about a week ago. I gave her clavamox and she was fine, but when I switched her to Enrofloxacin… she looked completely out. It seemed that the entire world had fallen on her body. She stopped eating, and began to move very slow. I just don’t know if it’s related to the Enrofloxacin. I read under the side effects that she would experience loss of appetite and Lethargy. Well… she got both. I love my dog. I know that the day will come, but honestly I don’t know how to be ready. Or if this will pass, and I could enjoy her a little longer? Today she ate ham, and a wet grain free chicken dog food (didn’t finish it, but she ate). Also, she hasn’t pooped since Sunday. She is peeing normal, but no poop.

  • Joe

    Thank you so much for this article. We had to put our 15 year old dachshund down last week due to various heath issues and it’s been extremely difficult dealing with the sadness and feeling of guilt. This article reinforced to me that we clearly made the best decision. The last thing I would have wanted is to have waited too long and for her to suffer. I was able to spend a good part of the afternoon talking to her alone that final day and letting her know how much she meant to me. I could see a different look in her eye that day before we went to the vet which also told me it was time. She was our first baby and will be forever missed. Rest in peace Bailey, I love you.

  • Carol

    I’m so sorry for your loss Michael, my thoughts are prayers are with you. I also share my deepest sympathy with all of you who have lost your precious companions and also for those of you who are trying to make that difficult decision when your dog is old or sick. Unless you have loved a dog, you just don’t realize how deeply it impacts us at the end Yes, Fred’s mouth and gums did deteriorate and he had terrible teeth. I had them cleaned by the vet and that is when he noticed a growth. It never was confirmed 100% that Fred had mouth cancer but due to the symptoms, it was pretty certain he did. One vet suggested having all of his teeth taken out and surgery done on his muzzle. I refused to do that to him. Losing my sweet Freddie was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. I spent almost every minute of every day with him, he would always be snuggled up on my pillow when I woke up in the morning. He was a kind and loving soul. I miss him every day. I have two other dogs and if I mention Fred’s name they look at me in a very puzzled way. When he died they kept looking for him everywhere, even though he died at home.

  • Michael

    We had to put my black labrador down on Monday. The pain is unreal he was my best friend. He was only 11 and a half. He had mouth cancer and generally deteriorated over a month and stopped eating and drinking for ten days. He was skin and bone in the end and feel terrible I didn’t do it sooner but I just couldn’t let him go and kept clinging on to miracles. He layed on me whilst they put the needle in and as it went through his system he raised his head and stared me in the eye as if to say thank you and that it’s okay. As hard as it is to sit when that happens I can’t imagine any other way because if I didn’t he would have been looking for me in his final moment. I miss him so much.

  • Carol

    I know this is long but please, please listen to me when I tell you that it is better to be one day too early having your pet put down, than one day too late. My sweet eleven year old golden boy Freddie was really sick, lethargic, not eating, not walking, nothing like his usual self. He had been deteriorating over time and we could see it was time to let him go. We took him to the vet thinking all along that we would be saying goodbye. The vet, however, insisted that he would be able to cure Freddie if he stayed at the clinic as long as it took for him to ‘recover” Not that it’s all about money, but it t was $400 per day, plus med, plus this that and the next thing. . I had seen this kind of behavior by some vets with my sisters two dogs, the vets charged them thousands and thousands of dollars and they both ended up dying within days anyway . I knew my sweet boy was nearing the end of his life and I couldn’t stand the thought of him in a cage in a strange place, I left him there for one night, hoping he would improve. I went in first thing the next morning and he seemed to be worse not better, so I told the vet I was taking him home because we wanted to have him with us. The vet was clearly angry at me and he insisted that I buy all kinds of medication that was very expensive, as well as special food I was to force feed him with a syringe. It was cruel to do those things to him, he didn’t want to live, he was tired and had had enough, I still feel bad about those last days that he suffered so and I made him more miserable by trying to cure him by shoving food and pills down his throat.
    I believe that the vet just seemed to want to maximize his profit and if I mentioned euthanasia, he was very negative about it, insisting he could cue him. The vet insisted that he was right. I didn’t agree with him, but felt I had to go on trying to help him, just in case. One night, a few short days later he was very, very sick and I had my son carry him into my bedroom. I placed a soft quilt on the floor and cuddled with him, thanking him for being my puppy. I hugged him, kissed his soft nose and told him he had been the best dog ever and whispering over and over how much I loved him. I finally had made the decision to have him put down the next day, because I knew he was dying and I wanted to end his suffering. Before I went to sleep that night I placed him next to my bed so he could be near me. It was about three in the morning that I woke up to a horrible sound. Freddie was dying before my eyes, jerking his head, his eyes practically popping out and his legs jerking like he was trying to run and as he struggled he made a horrible almost howling, screeching sound. I was crying hysterically as I tried to comfort him and not knowing what to do. it was the most horrible thing I have ever witnessed and it is hard to get the image out of my mind after over a year. I loved that sweet boy more than anything and when I think of him I still see that his horrific death in my mind. He had evacuated his bowels, a horrific smelling substance, not like regular feces. It was a mess. I told my twenty four year old son that Freddie had died and he went outside frantically trying to dig a hole for him, but we live on a mountain that is mainly rock. Finally I got him into the house and we cleaned Freddie up and placed him in a quilt. We put him into the car and took him to the vet’s office so we could have him cremated and have him put into an urn. We had just carried his body into the office and my son had to help the vet assistant wrap him in plastic and put him into a freezer. I was destroyed emotionally, my son and I both were. As we were walking out the vet was standing there and cruelly told me that if I would have left him at the office to be treated he would still be alive. I was livid! There was no way Freddie was coming back. He was an eleven year old Golden who had been diagnosed with mouth cancer and gradually was losing ground. I have another Golden, Brandy who is fourteen. She is getting sick now and is finding it hard to get up and is losing control of her bladder. It breaks my heart to have her put down, but I never want to see a dog die in front of my eyes again. I will never forget it and I cry so much still about the way he had to go. I loved him so much and feel like I failed him in the end when I allowed the vet kept trying hopeless “experiments” to keep him alive . My initial gut response was to put him down and because I was advised not too and I didn’t listen to my own gut feeling, we all had to suffer much more than was necessary. Please don”t end up in this situation, it will haunt you for a very long time.

    • Michael

      Thank you carol and sorry you had to go through all that, must of been soul destroying to say the least but thanks for the kind words. Yours had mouth cancer too then? My boy ended up with it taking over the inside of his mouth destroying his gum lining and teeth it was horrendous. Was yours similar?

    • Sue E.

      I am so sorry. I hope you don’t continue to beat yourself up, easy for me to say, because you trusted your vet. I can’t imagine what you had to experience but I think if you didn’t try to do what the vet said you would feel bad about that too. It’s so hard no matter how it ends. I think your story will help many others though. Also, that vet should be reported for his cruel comments to you.

    • Carol Williams

      Three weeks ago my sweet 14.5 year old Golden, Brandy, who for a few months had not been able to lift herself onto her feet without my assistance, fell down and couldn’t stand even with my help.

      What made it very difficult was that her body had failed but she was still seemed happy and affectionate.It was an extremely heartbreaking decision to make but she really had no quality of life left at all. My vet agreed that it was time to have her put down.

      She was excited to ride in the car which made me happy and broke my heart at the same time, knowing it would be her last ride.

      My son was there and we stayed with Brandy, cuddling and petting her until she was gone. It was a very peaceful and humane way for her to die. I miss her terribly but I did what was best for her and I know she is no longer in pain and is at peace.

    • Diane Fisher

      Thank you for sharing your story.
      Know that you have helped me.
      I’m on my 5th dog over my lifetime, it never is a easy decision. Some I have felt at peace and others I have questioned the timing. I also went through the horrible vet scenario.
      Thanks again for sharing and take care.

  • LAURA FISHER

    We rescued a 6 year old Maltese 2 years ago from a puppy mill. She lived her first years in a cage and we have given her so much love. She is blind and no teeth and can’t do a lot of things other dogs do because of her caged life. She now is developing chronic staff infections, ear infections, chronic eye infections which I treat immediately. The vet just keeps putting her on rounds of steroids. I just feel like all of this is due to her very poor diet her first 6 years of life and her health is failing. We think we should put her down. She spins around when she is excited and hits her nose or face on the wall or door or chair and it just breaks my heart. After 2 years and now all the infections *(yes we have tried tons of different foods) finally on Hills science diet) and still the infections. I love her so much but just can’t stand all of her difficulties all the time. I am just so torn since she is still so young but has suffered so much.

  • Christine

    I just found out my 7 year old Bassett Hound mix has cancer. She is ok… for right now. My Vet was talking about Chemo…but do I really want to put her through that? And then there is the question if it even would be successful. I’m sitting here right now crying my eyes out, but I think I know what I have to do… it’s only fair to her, I don’t want her to suffer.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Patricia,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your struggle. It’s so difficult to know when to put a dog to sleep, especially because we love them so much! They’re part of our families, part of our selves.

    Making the decision to end a dog’s life is one of the most painful things we’ll ever do. But, we need to put our own heartache aside and take an objective look at our dog’s quality of life. If our dogs are in pain or not able to take care of their basic needs without help, then it may be time to talk to a veterinarian about the next step.

    Nobody can tell you if it’s time to put your dog to sleep. But, it might help you to talk through this decision with someone who is objective. You need help deciding what the best thing is to do for your dog…and it’s important to put your own pain aside to make the right decision.

    Have you called a veterinarian and talked about ways to help your dog?

  • Patricia kufal

    Please help urgently I need advice. My 15 yr old staffie cross doberman the past 2weeks has gotten bad. He can’t walk so iv to help him , but at times he does. His eye sight went but last day has gone totally. He just sleeps all day and whines when must help him out to pee. He just stands till I show him where I am.
    Him being blind is that a reason to put him down?
    I’m finding it really hard in myself to do it!

    Help please

    Pat

  • Laurie Post author

    Thank you for being here, and for sharing how difficult it is to make this decision. I really appreciate your wisdom after you decide that putting your dog to sleep was the best choice because I know it helps others who are still trying to make this painful decision.

    It’s so important to remember that putting a dog down is a final act of love and compassion. It isn’t a punishment. It’s an act of grace and mercy, of kindness and protection. Our dogs get old. They get sick and weak — their bodies are frail and in pain, but their minds and spirits are so willing to keep going. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” is how Paul puts it in the Bible.

    Our dogs can’t make this decision, but we can. Our dogs can’t tell us they’re ready to leave this world….but if we take time to sit with them, listen to them, and hear what they’re saying, I believe we will make the right decision for them.

    Is your dog tired of this world? It’s time to let go.

  • Karen

    Our oldest in now 14+ and has bad arthritis – I struggle each day with trying to decide if now is the time. Just when I think his quality of life is too poor to continue, he rallies and tries to play with the 2 younger dogs and chews on one of the Nylabones. Yet he needs lots of meds to manage his pain, and even with them he struggles to move. The two younger dogs enjoy his company and try to play with him, as he is able. How do I decide/

  • Tracy

    We had to let our chihuahua Paco go on November 2nd. He was right in between 16&17. Readying these posts have helped me so much. For me the worst part was the guilt I felt after it was done and Reading that I’m not the only one has brought me some comfort. My baby boy was blind, deaf, and had arthritis. When ever we went to the vet his blood work was always good. There answer was always he’s just getting old. Some of my guilt came from my dog had no cancer or disease ( he had bad teeth so he had many cleanings and teeth pulled) that’s how we knew his blood work was good cause at his age they always checked. We woke up on Sunday and he couldn’t use his back legs I had to hold him up to go to the bathroom and he obviously couldn’t walk. That’s when I said enough is enough and made an appointment to let him go the next day. Spent all day with him then at 330 was his appointment. I was so sure going in. We did it. I held him in my arms. I couldn’t let him go on his own. Then the next day the guilt hit. Why didn’t I have the vet check him out one more time. Maybe there was a pill or something. Who am I to decide when his life is over?! But then I read posts like some of these and I cryed but comfort came over me. The vet doesn’t know my baby like I do. He was up all night, slept all day. He was confused, scared a shell of his former self. The last week I could no longer comfort him when he was scared and that’s heartbreaking. I was being selfish. I just hope nowthat I didn’t wait to long. I’ve been going through so many different feelings about this. Still struggling but it helps to ready others stories. I guess my advise is you know your dog, better than anyone else even our vets. They always want to help but they can’t make the decision for us. I have to find comfort in that my baby boy is no longer hurting or scared. I miss him so much.

  • Lou

    In Reply to Jodi – I’m so truly sorry for your loss. It’s so hard because we do the best we can in what is often a difficult situation. Most pet parents will say they either waited too long or didn’t act soon enough. I’m a big believer in the saying “better a day too soon than a day too late.” I too just sent my sweet and wonderful 19 year old cat to the Rainbow Bridge in October. It was really hard to make the decision as I was so afraid that he would be angry with me for letting him go. The hardest call I ever made was to make the appointment to have the vet come out the next day. I see now that I was projecting on to him my fear of not having him anymore. I am more than confident now that I did the right thing in releasing him from his discomfort and illness. He had a beautiful and peaceful death. I find great comfort in this, because I didn’t wait until he was in a horrible medical emergency which may have ended up being traumatic for us both, not to mention extremely painful or uncomfortable to him. Instead I have the memory of the last moments of his life as I held him and his soul peacefully left for his next adventure. He had a wonderful long life, and we were both blessed to have spend so much time together. I miss him everyday, but I know that there was no way he could continue. I know I will see him again. Good thoughts to you.

  • Jodie

    My gorgeous boy of 15 years of absolute love, pleasure and joy was set free last night. My heart is broken and a piece of me has gone with him. Like most people who have commented, I am also wracked with guilt and doubt over the decision. He was almost completely blind and deaf and over the past weeks had not been able to stand by himself from a lying position. He struggled to do so and would give up trying until he could muster the energy to try again. He spent most of his days and nights seemingly disoriented and confused….often staring at walls or stuck on corners or in furniture…..unable to negotiate or remember a way out and the rest of the time sleeping. It broke my heart to see my once vibrant and energetic boy a shell of his former self (of course I am not naive to the fact that age does weary all of us). He was still eating, drinking and toileting, although bending to eat from his bowl did cause obvious discomfort and shaking in his legs. He would flinch when touching him because he had no sensory awareness that you were there and grunted with discomfort when picked up….sometimes even reacting with a gentle nip….he had no teeth from years of fierce ball play, so it didnt harm us nor was it his intention to do so (this little guy had the most gentle nature and has never displayed any behaviour otherwise) . As I reflect, and break my heart with many tears, I cant imagine how scary his world must have become and the insecurity he must have felt….yet with every bump and crash into walls and furniture, he never outwardly displayed any physical pain, as if to protect us from his suffering….and befitting of his namesake…”Hercules” (oh, I should point out my tough, couragous and sensative gorgeous boy, was a Jack Russell X Maltese…and his name made more than a few people smile). My decision was very much guided by the vet, who on final assessment last night, advised that he had arthritic hips causing pain, but more significantly lower spine pain from years of chasing and throwing his balls, as well as eye pain. The Vet advised that we could manage the pain with palliative care, however that would not detract from the quality of life as a result of his world closing in to darkness and feeling confused and frequently stuck. I have not stopped beating myself up wondering if it was the right decision but the biggest regret and guilt I have is making the decision to set him free at that moment and not bringing him home for one last night with us to indulge in treats and all the love and cuddles we could possible indulge him with in that time. We were so overcome with grief and he was disoriented being in a strange envirnoment that I did not want to subject him to that for a second time by returning the next day….. He hadn’t even had dinner that night and it is traumatising me to no end. I am struggling to forgive myself for this. As I held him in my arms when they administered the drugs, he was trying to break free of my embrace and I found this really distressing, as though he knew what was coming and didnt want to go. Then within seconds he was peacefully at rest in my arms. After 20 or so more minutes of cuddles, kisses and stokes, I had to ask the nurse to take him from me because I couldnt voluntarily let him go. The most difficult thing I have ever experienced. My hope is that he understands that it was done with Love, Honour and Respect for him, so he did not suffer. I found some comfort in creating a slideshow trubute of photos of him, shared with family and friends, which evoked beautiful memories. I never imagined it would be this difficult. Struggled through work today shedding many tears. To everyone posting who has lost their beloved pet or is faced with the prospect, I send you love and hugs….there will always be a paw print of them left in our hearts. Until we meet again my beautiful boy “Hercules”….please Know that we will always love you xxx…

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    I am so sorry for your loss. Even just thinking about and planning to put your dog to sleep is a huge, sad burden.

    Just today, I read that animals often know when it’s their time to go. They feel their bodies winding down, they’re in pain, and they’re ready to sleep forever. It occurred to me that perhaps our holding on to their lives is actually doing them a disservice. We love them so much, it seems impossible to imagine life without them! But their old bodies and wise souls need to move on.

    I will keep you in my prayers.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Ryan

    I’m at the cusp of having to make the decision to put my dog down. I’ve had him for 15 years and frankly it’s the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. He’s had hip problems for about 3 years, but last week he had what the vet thinks is a stroke. After a few days of prednisone, he could walk again…but it’s been a week and he can’t get up unassisted. Between work and sleep, if he goes down, he’s could be down for 6-9 hours with no way of getting back up. My decision now is do I wait to see if another week of prednisone works, or finally say ‘goodbye’. I hate the thought that he can’t up to move around when no one is around to help him up….

  • Debbie

    I have a 13/14 year old male Dalmatian. After our first Dal, passed away at 10, 2 months later we rescued Sebastian at 3/4 years old. We have had a decade with him and gave him a wonderful life. In 2009 he won Mr. October for a dog contest that we admitted him in a contest and he won and had his picture on America’s Top Dog Calendar 2009. He had to pick up his award in a limo, walk down the red carpet, was greeted by Paparazzi all here in South Florida. He is definitely my top dog. We took him on a plane to Bimini, Bahamas as we had a condo there and many other car rides of course. He has always been an aggressive food eater and as of now he is still waiting for food as always and does his best to stand and wait for table scraps when we are eating dinner. His back legs for the past few days are not working too well. He keeps falling down and we run to help him up. I have come home from work and in the middle of the night sometimes he defecates on himself. My husband and 12 year old son thinks he still has time because they see him still wanting to eat. Every morning before my husband goes to work he carries him outside so he can do his business. I spoke with my vet and this is the second time he told me it’s time. I know its time but when you see him walking and not falling over I question myself, “Would I be making the right choice?”. After my first dal passed (and I did not have to make the decision coz he died in ER from cardiac arrest) I started my own support group and helped so many people get through their grief and now I feel I can’t even help myself. This is so hard and my son really does not understand this. Any advice would be helpful.

  • Aleta

    We put our German Shepherd to sleep yesterday morning. We saw it coming and initially were in denial because he had a wonderful burst of energy the week before. He jazzed around the yard while we were raking leaves, picked up his sticks and left them in the way of the lawnmower so we would push them to the side. Yet … in the following week, he succumbed. Being so hard to watch, listing. It was the most difficult time period. In his eyes there was still the alert, tipping his head as he listened to the words – waiting to hear the right ones. His name was Maxipolo because he got around like Marcopolo and he is beautiful. He is. I kept asking earlier on, how can we put him to sleep, guilt llllllly. Yet, we watched the pain surface and the beauty of it all, he kept it from us, he did not show or even wish to want to burden us. It happened so fast. So yesterday morning (I am crying) we gave him a big piece of Coconut Cream Cake and took him to our old haunts – silence, beauty, no comparison this friendship, respect, dignity. He took something of me with him as he licked my face and in his eyes he knew. He gave us more. So now I see his face looking from the woods watching and protecting. He gave us more.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Dear Janet,

    I don’t know of any veterinarians in your area, but I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. May you find vet who can help with putting your dog to sleep in a kind, gentle, compassionate way. I pray for peace and strength for you, and that this experience goes smoothly.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • janet

    I have a 7 yrs lab/Sheppard mix and he was a rescue, I have had him most of his life. He is my best friend and my buddy but latley he has developed some type of allergies, now I have given him everything the vet has given me and gave baths and put on pain meds cause his belley is so red raw and he creeps on my rug all day every day, also he is on trefexis so fleas are not a issue. He has always been a freak meaning every little noise would make him fear, now I believe he us high anxiety and at this point nothing is working for him. I ow he is in pain he is constantly panting non stop and pacing and drowling and licking it never ends. I have even given him new med for allergies called Apaqual and still nothing g no relief. I believe he is in pain and I am thinking about putting him down he can’t suffer anymore, vet is only wanting to try different things and really it’s about the money with the vet, I can’t be spending hundreds of dollars only to watch him still do what he does regardless of medication or baths, so please help me in mobile alabama find a vet that would help me put my dog out of his misery.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thank you for sharing your experience with putting your dog to sleep. There’s no easy way through this…our dogs are so special and precious, and no advice I can give will make the decision easier.

    I wrote another article on putting a dog to sleep, called How to Find Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog Down:

    http://theadventurouswriter.com/blog/how-to-find-peace-of-mind-after-putting-a-dog-to-sleep/

    I hope it helps you move forward, and maybe even open your heart to love another dog again one day.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Ray

    Hi I have a 12 year old staff, she been wetting my bed for two years, she has a bad skin condition. But I took her to the vets and asked about her quality of life and he said she looks good she got a slow growing cancer, but she’s different in the house, always chewing her paws and her private parts

  • Sofia

    I had to put two of my dogs down on 10/08/15 and it was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever had to do in my life. One of my dogs we’ve had for 17 years and saying goodbye was unbearable. She was blind and going deaf. She would go to the bathroom on herself and it was hard to see her suffering but what was worse was putting her down! She gave me 17 years of her life and all I did was kill her by putting her down!! The second one was 12 years old and he had arthritis really bad and was also going on to the bathroom on himself. I was right in front of both of them as they were going to sleep and saw the life leave their eyes! I crawled into a ball just bawling in the middle of the room. I am suffering from night mares now and can’t sleep very much! The guilt that I am feeling is unbearable and I can’t find peace of mind. Does anyone have any advice? I don’t know how much more I can handle!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience. There are no easy answers, are there? Putting a dog to sleep is a difficult decision, and nobody can tell you when it’s time. You need to make that call for yourself, and for your dog.

    Here’s one thing that came to my mind as I was reading your comments: you’re not “killing” your dog, and you’re not betraying your dog by putting him to sleep. Death can be a release, a way for our old and sick animals to rest in peace. Death isn’t a punishment or a betrayal…it’s a natural part of life.

    When life is painful because of health issues that can’t be resolved – or if it’s too much to ask our dogs to undergo the treatments to stay alive beyond their natural lives – then surrender to death is the kindest thing we can offer.

    Sometimes putting a dog down is the most compassionate, loving thing we can do for our dogs. Sometimes we need to protect them – and others – from the pain and suffering of old age and health issues that can’t be resolved.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • peter

    we just put our kelpie moose down,he was 12 yrs and had a brain tumour,as tears are streaming down my face i know it was the right thing to do as he wasnt eating,couldnt hardly walk anymore,didnt want to or couldnt interact with us anymore,spent most of the time lying outside under trees or at the bottom of the garden by the fence.
    His breathing was that good and i guess we left it afew days to long as on sunday when we were going to do this,he all of a sudden turned into a different dog,came for a walk,went for a swim,fetch sticks etc,our last good day with him,but what really killed me today wasnt the fact that he was going to sleep,we dont think he really knew what was going on or where he was as the night before he was bumping into things, and didnt seem to know where he was etc, but when the vet went ahead after afew seconds before he went into unconsciousness he howled afew times which came as a total shock,am really struggling as to why that happened and possible reason ?
    I feel everyones pain and this is the hardest,most painful day of my life so far,but have awesome memories which can never be taken away.

  • twyla bowman

    I have 3 dogs two of the dogs I am considering euthanizing but I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do the one dog is the daddy dog he is 11 years old in people years he has a problem with urinating and pooping in the house sometimes he does it every day and then he might go several days or a week without doing it he’s slower and is walking he needs help also when getting into the car and I hear him moaning a little from time to time. the second dog is his daughter she is 9 years old she has hypothyroidism and is on medication, my bishop thinks that I need to euthanize Both dogs for a few reasons, the medical conditions of the oldest dog and the lifetime medical condition of the second, the cost of lifetime care, and the aggression that puts my Mom at risk. The symptions she has with medication arewatery eyes, she’s a little more lazy, but then sometimes wamts to play and loves walks but gets winded very fast, I don’t know if she is having any kind of pain. this dog all her life will have nothing to do with anyone else. She is only interested in me. She will attack anyone getting close to her.She is fully protective of me. She sleeps wirh me. My Mother now 84 has lived with me for 7 years. This dog still is not friendly to my Mom. There is concern about the potential of my Mom getting attacked. This dog is also aggressive toward other dogs. She can not be near my otherv two dogs. SHE WILL ATTACK THEM. HOW DO YOU TAKE A DOG YOU LOVE SO MUCH, A DOG WHO HAS LOVED YOU, A DOG YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO CATE FOR AND PROTECT THEN TAKE THEM TO BE KILLED? Please help! I WANT TO DO THE RIGHT THING WHATEVER THAT IS. also how does one find a vet that is willing to uthanise a dog for these systems if ir is recommended from posts here in response to my post. How do I cope with killing my dog? Thank you.

  • Claire Dolfe

    I euthanized my 15 year old Dachshund last Monday. As well as missing him and mourning his loss, i feel a deep regret that i acted too soon. Now he’s gone i can’t do a thing about it except live with that decision for the rest of my life. Henry and i went through so much together. I had him when i was single and went through the pain of losing my Mum. I am now married with a son and Henry was there through it all. About four years ago Henry had an operation for thyroid cancer, they were unable to remove all the cancer and i was told he would probably live for six months. He developed diabetes a short while later and as a result got cataracts. Recently His bag legs had become weak and he would fall over. Our vet wanted to take some blood results to see what was happening inside his little body. The results came back that he was enemic, his glucose reading was not good and his liver was failing. A couple of days after receiving these results he soiled his bed and was unable to move away from it, he couldn’t stand up and he was wimpering. When i took him to the vets she suggested it was time to say goodbye. Henry was put to sleep later that day and i stayed with him as he breathed his last breath. Obviously when your vet advises you it may be time, they can only advise but ultimately it is you that can only say yes. Writing this now makes me realise probably just how poorly Henry was but because the end came so quickly i feel like i should have taken him back home just to be sure now was the right time. He was still eating well, yes he slept alot but he was 15! I can’t be sure he was suffering i just feel like i let him down at the end of fifteen years together.

  • Tammy

    Dear friends and doggie lovers! If you have to really think this through, then know in your heart of hearts, it is time time to let your’e bestest of the best friends go and be @ peace! We love them no matter what! And they love us more, no matter what! That’s why they are the the last to show they are suffering! Believe me when I say this, they will always, always love us more! Believe me when I say this, they want to be there for us! Always!! We have to show them and care, that it is okay to go to a better place and have peace and no more suffering!!! It is hard! But we owe them a dignified, peace on earth life!! God Bless Them!!!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Dear Nicola,

    Have you talked to the veterinarian about putting your dog down? That may be the best way to find the guidance you need. The vet may want to meet your dog in person before giving you advice on what to do. A veterinarian may also have ideas for different ways to deal with separation anxiety and other health issues that change a dog’s behavior.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. It’s painful and difficult, but I believe you will do what’s best for your dog. Consult with a veterinarian you trust, and know that sometimes the most difficult decisions are the ones that are the most right.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Nicola

    Our dog isn’t unwell in the physical sense of the word, but she has a crippling seperation anxiety. We enrolled her at a day school for dogs, she started off ok, but a year on she has become very stressed and is hurling herself at walls and fences. We work full time and do not have family or friends to help us. She’s obviously very unhappy whenever she isn’t with us. We rehomed her 2 years ago and are unsure how she would cope going back to kennels to be rehomed, plus she would still have anxiety issues and she is 11. We think we have to do the unthinkable, I need advice, we are both in pieces. I would love people to contact me directly with help. N.phillimore@yahoo.com. thanks

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience with putting your dog to sleep. I know your thoughts are helpful to others.

    Jamie, have you taken your dog to the vet? That’s the best way to learn what step to take next and if you should think about putting your dog to sleep. You don’t want Mack to be in pain…and I know you don’t want to say good-bye earlier than you should! The best thing to do is to talk this through with a veterinarian who you trust, who can help you decide what steps to take.

    I wish you all the best as you move forward.

    Blessings and sympathies,
    Laurie

  • Jamie

    Mack is my 7 year old chocolate Lab. He is my “child”. He still eats, drinks and goes potty fine. Recently, though, he will get down in his back end and can’t get back up. Going for walks of any length are extremely painful for him. I know he has hip dysplasia but have no way of knowing if there’s any hope of him getting any better or if he will continue to lie around all day and deteriorate. Any advice is welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.

  • Rita

    I recently had to put my Min Pin “Cooper” down after his health started to go down hill. His balance was off, was having seizures. After labs, his liver enzymes were high and was put on liver medication….he was never the same. About 2 weeks prior, and after stopping the medication, he appeared to be getting back to his normal, happy, playful self. Then he fell out of bed and couldn’t walk or stand and was favoring his one side….vets think he was suffering from a brain tumor and had had a stroke. It was the hardest day of my life, but I didn’t want him to suffer and his quality of life would never be the same. The “Cooper” I knew and loved was gone. I made the decision to put him down the same day. I miss him dearly, but I will always have the memories we shared together. I have since found a pup that was born July 3rd and will get to bring him home in another 8 weeks. He is from the same breeder we got “Cooper” from and I am so excited. His name will be Leonardo Cooper (Leo) for short.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    I don’t think there are any clear-cut, simple answers to this difficult decision. Knowing when to put a dog down is so individual, and so dependent on the dog, the owner, the veterinarian….there simply isn’t one right way to know if you should say good-bye to your dog, or keep moving forward.

    If I had to make this decision right now, I’d sit with my dog for at least 15 minutes. Pick a quiet spot, and settle down with your dog. Look into your dog’s eyes, stroke her back, rub behind her ears. Feel her legs, rub her tummy. Give yourself time to be quiet and sense what your dog wants.

    Sometimes our dogs are ready to go, but we can’t let them because of the pain and grief. I don’t know if you should put your dog down, but I believe it’s important to separate the pain of our loss from what’s best for our dog.

    Only you can make this decision…but it may be slightly easier if you take time with your dog. Wisdom is there, but it’ll only be found in silence and stillness.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Maureen

    I have a 17ish year old small terrier mix that I rescued from the pound about 7 years ago. He is the sweetest boy and has survived two mast cell tumor cancer surgeries an attack by another dog and many other medical scares. About two weeks ago he started to limp and show distress in his back legs. One of his front lets seems weak as well. He is still eating, drinking and go potty like a champ, but is obviously not feeling well. He is laying about more, and his spunk has been reduced. I’ve given him some metacam for the pain and inflammation, but it is very expensive and also is not supposed to be a long term answer. I’m just not sure if it’s time. I should make an appointment to see the vet, but she will spend 5 minutes with him. How does she know? How do you know? When should I make the call?

  • Ella

    I have an 16 1/2 old dog, he is a chihuahua. today alone he has vomited 8 times and tonight we went to wake him up to go to the toilet, he didn’t wake up for a few minutes until my dad picked him up and took him to the toilet. He’s not eating very much and I don’t think I’ve seen him drink all day, he cries all the time and sleeps most of the day. Is it time?

  • donna

    I have a 14 year old lab who no longer can move I believe she had stroke she eats and drinks but never gets up the problem is the pitbull she was raised with I M afraid will die right after her due to the closeness please help me make the right decision

  • natasha

    i have a poodle that is 16 years old. she struggles with her hind legs going up and down. she will sometimes just moan and groan during the day. she cant see very well as she bumps into things. she wee and poos in the house as she sometimes does not know where she is. other than walking up and down she sleeps. the only thing is she still has a appetite., everyone tells me its time. im struggling to make the decision. ?

    • Tim

      based on what you said it’s time. It was a terrible day for me when I lost my lab Bailey. Her arthritis was really bad. She couldn’t walk very well.

      Put the dog’s interest first. I know that is really hard.

  • Amy Smith

    Yesterday I put my 7 pound long coat Chihuahua down. I could not have written this yesterday because tears would have gotten in the way. When I adopted her as a rescue dog she was snappy. Over the six plus years I had her she became a mellow sweet dog who rarely barked and never snapped. First her joints gave out, then her heart and breathing. She was on multiply medications. When she no longer wanted to eat I knew it was time – that does not make it any easier! She was constantly breathing hard and very sluggish. Her old playful self had disappeared. Today I am cleaning out all the dog stuff I have – carrier, crate, car seat, harnesses, leashes, combs, bowls, buggy. You name it I spent a fortune on her. It was all go to the local Humane Society to be sold and the profits to help other dogs. I am 76 and live alone so this is a devastating loss but I am thankful for the good little companion that traveled with me all over the US and to Alaska. I loved her dearly and helping her make a peaceful pain free exit was the least I could do for her. Oh, oh, tears again. I am sure that it will take awhile to adjust to her not being here.

      • Amy Smith

        Thank you, Tim. I have read Rainbow Ridge and it is a lovely sentiment. However, I do not believe in an afterlife. I will reflect on the wonderful times I had with my lovely little dog and be comforted in that.

    • Amy

      Amy, I still have tears quite frequently, and mine has been gone for 7 months. You did the right thing. I’m so sorry for your loss.

      • Amy Smith

        It’s almost a week later. I saw a Chahuahua at the Human Society and burst into tears. All of her stuff is gone. I keep looking for her and being careful not to step on her. I know I did the right thing and received a nice not from the vet who cared for her over the years. It is getting easier. I encourage those who are in doubt to do what is best for the dog and not for you. I could have kept her alive for a few more weeks but they would not have been happy weeks for her.

      • Amy

        I cried today even…it just “hits” me at least once a week how much I loved her, how much she meant to me, and how much I deeply miss her. Life is just not the same without her. I totally agree with what you said, 100%.

  • Dawn

    I’ve been struggling the last few days on putting my 12 year old pit bull ” Sirius ” to sleep. I can’t describe in words what joy he has brought to my life. He has taught me about humanity and love. In many ways …. He saved me. The thought of losing him breaks my heart.
    He has had arthritis mostly in the back legs for some time now. In the last two weeks or so it seems his front foot ( mostly by the elbow ) is bowing out. He walks, but he is slow and limping. Sometimes he falls the last step of the stairs to go outside. I help him into the bed and out of the bed. He has a large tumor on his back . Had a biopsy done and was told it was cancerous. He has been on carprophen for some time and that doesn’t seem to give him any relief anymore. He eats. Boy does he like to eat…. But other than that, he sleeps all day . I don’t want him to be in pain. even throughout it all he’s always happy and smiling. I think he has the heart of a 2 year old…. But his body is failing him. Need advice. ASAP. Thank you
    What we love so deeply , becomes a part of us.

    • Amy

      Hmmm, this is tough. I wonder if you have access to alternative therapies, such as accupuncture, water therapy, or cold laser therapy? My dog showed quite an improvement with cold laser therpay on her lower spine, which helped her hind end. Also, she did really really well on a small but consistent dose of Deramaxx. If he seems haply and still eats and is not crying in pain, and not having accidents in the house, I wonder if it might not quite be “time” yet. What does your vet say?

    • Tim

      you need to put him asleep. I just went through this in September for 13.5 year old dog I found the day after 9/11. My dog had horrible arthritis. We were giving cortisone shots every month. It was so hard but I know now it was the best I could do. If you cannot solve their problems, you have only 1 option. I buried her in a pet cemetery. I can go there now.

  • Crystal

    I have a 11 year old boxer Pitt mix and she is my baby. I have been considering putting her to sleep. For the last year if we are gone longer than a couple hours she usually messes. She is very stiff when she walks up stairs. We have her only limited to our deck stairs but no way around that. She also whimpers from time to time for no reason. My husband says it’s not time hire do you know when it’s right? I don’t want her in pain and I know she’s humiliated when she messes. She Bennett head accidents unless she was sick.

      • Amy

        Does she seem happy most of the time or depressed? Does she sleep most of the time or is she restless? Does she still enjoy eating, going for walks, playing, getting petted, and treats?

      • Crystal

        With her temperament I think she will always be happy. She has and is always wanting to please. She tries to play with my yorkie but can’t she just ends up standing there stiff and out of breath. She sleeps most of the day and night. There has been a few nights here recently that she whimpers keeping me up. I am a very light sleeper.

      • Amy

        Well, it doesn’t sound like she is deeply depressed, but she may be in pain a times. I knew my dog was just not herself when it snowed and she didn’t care at all. She loved loved loved snow, but this time, couldn’t care less. Also, she auit drinking water, started pooping in the house, and just looked depressed most of the time. Her face just said “Mom, I’m so tired, in pain. And I can’t do anything fun anymore”. It was so hard to tell for absolute sure, and I went back and forth for a month, then second guesses my decision. I did consult a vet and a pet psychologist, both told me they did feel it was “time”.

        I hope you get clear signs one way or the other and find peace with your decision.

      • Crystal

        Good I am not ready to say goodbye yet. But in my heart I know this is the beginning and it will be downhill but very grateful for any amount of time we have with her. She is my husband’s and my first fur baby. Thank you for the feedback and sorry for your fur baby.

    • sue knights

      We have a 12 year old german shepherd his nerves endings are going in his back legs he drags one to the point he has no claws left the vet gave us medication for his arthritis but this last week he has been toileting in the house he doesnt realise it is coming out when do we make the decision to have him put to sleep, he was so upset over the weekend because he realised what he had done i have come home twice to it this week and the other days he has managed to get out just in time

      • Amy

        Aww, I am so sorry. It does sound like the time is nearing. It is so hard, but just keep in mind that you must do what is best for your beloved dog. If your dog is not enjoying life most of the time, it might be time to say goodbye. I wish you peace with whatever your decision is.

  • Kathleen

    Our beloved Casey is almost 16 1/2. We know the time is close but would love some objective feedback. She has difficulty going up and down the stairs, poops in the house almost daily and has very weak hind legs. She pants and limps when walking while taking 4 tramadols daily. On the other hand she still gets excited to go for a short walk, eats, drinks and enjoys pets and our company. Is it time due to the constant limping and panting despite being on pain relievers, anti inflammatories and monthly adaquin injections?

    • Amy

      Hi Kathleen,

      I am sorry that your sweet Casey is nearing the end of her long life, it is so hard. I would say you are correct, the time is close, but not sure how close. Based on what happened in my dog’s case, I would say we euthanized my dog about 30 days after she got to the point yours is.
      What does your vet say?

  • NetScanr

    I just put my sweet Sugar to sleep on 5/31. I woke up at 3am to her panting in a slightly distressed way. She lived 18 months after a splenectomy and chemo for Hemangiosarcoma. She had a good 18 months, but in the last week she was more anemic than she had been and I assumed internal bleeding had started again. She ate her dinner (woofed it down), and even barked around 11:30 when Bear barked at something. Then there was the sudden change. I took her to the emergency vet and with her history there was little chance anything could be done to give her more happy time. I didn’t want Sugar to suffer any longer than the few hours she already had, so when the vet was ready I told her she could begin. I read a LOT about the process and how important it is for YOU to be strong for your friend in their final moments of life. You don’t want YOUR emotions upsetting your pet during their final moments with you. You can lose it after they are gone. During the vet’s prep, I hugged Sugar, pet her and told her how much I loved her. I asked for kisses and she gave me some really good ones! In my mind, she was telling me she was OK with my decision, and she knew it was time too. I knelt down next to the table so I could be eye to eye with her. She rested her chin on my hand as I stroked her head and told her how sweet of a girl she had always been. We gazed into each others eyes as the vet slowly gave her propofol. She slowly closed her eyes part way, but I could tell when she went unconscious. After a short wait, the vet slowly administered Beuthanasia. After a minute of monitoring, my sweet Sugar’s heart stopped and she was truly gone. Reading up on it, Beuthanasia is a combination drug with 2 chemicals that work differently, but together. The first causes almost instantaneous, painless brain-death. There’s no way your friend will feel anything after brain-death. The 2nd chemical stops the heart. Right now I’m in tears, not over putting my sweet girl to sleep, but over the continuous loss of her sweet presence, never more than 5-6 feet away when I was home. Being one of God’s creatures that I believe he put on this earth and gave me the opportunity to enjoy our lives together for 10 years, I truly believe God will reunite us one day. I only hope my own death will be as peaceful.

  • Beverly

    My 14 year old Westie is having – every now and then pooping accidents in his kennel during the day while I am at work. He is always wanting to eat grass and he has had a very sensitive stomach for years. He now only eats prescription dog food. He can hear anymore and I think his site is limited. He sleeps most of the time but stills gets around fine. My husband thinks it is time to put him to sleep mainly due to the accidental pooping. I would feel terrible to do this at this point. I need some feedback.

    • Amy

      Hi Beverly,

      It is such a tough call. Your dog’s eyes may be cloudy, but it doesn’t always mean they are blind. Does your dog seem happy? Does she still enjoy eating? Enjoy walks? Enjoy your company? If she still seems to enjoy life, I would see if you can treat the accidents. Does it seem like she has accidents because it is diarrhea? Or is it lack of control due to a spinal issue?
      I would seek the advice of your vet and see if they can offer anything to help with the incontinence.

  • Kevin

    Day 4 now since my girl is gone. First day I didn’t wake up crying. I guess that’s progress. Seems unreal that’s she gone. When I get up from the couch I step wide so I don’t step on her, course she’s not there. I go out and hold the door open for her to follow, but she’s not there. I try to keep busy, but that only helps so much because she was always busy with me whatever I did. I feel like a zombie walking thru life, but nothing feels real.

      • Kevin

        Jamie, I am so so sorry, I know the pain your in. There’s no words that will make you feel better. Just let it out when it comes (and with me it comes in waves) and I hope you have someone to cry with. I personally think we will see them again in whatever happens after this life. Anything that loves has a soul and I sometimes think animals have the purest souls of all. I really believe we’ll see them on the other side.

  • Jamie

    I think it’s time.. But it’s so hard.. Angel my 14 year old rat terrier had ha kidney disease for aling time.. This past year she has gone completely blind, she does not eat her dog food but will eat hberger meat, eggs, broccoli, bread, and stuff like that..she smells terrible, her mouth is gray. She sleeps a lot, fell down the stairs this morning, is limp but yet will come outside bark at the neighbors dogs, lay in the sun. She also growls and is very irritated.. After writing this I think I know what I need to do 🙁 so sad..

    • Melissa

      Hi Jamie. My rat terrier woke up with an abscess on her jaw. It was terrible and bloody. I took her to the vet and they decided to do surgery the next day to drain it. When I got there they said they would need to run some blood tests to determine if she was healthy enough to undergo surgery. Sadly, she was not. Her kidneys were not functioning well so they kept her for 24 hours to see if her kidneys improved. Sadly, again, they did not. She couldn’t eat, could barely walk. It was time. It seemed SO sudden to have to make this decision but I know it was the right thing to do. In hindsight I realized she had been losing weight over the last year or so (we took her in from my sister in law a few years ago). The vet also said she looked way older than she was which meant her kidneys had been having issues for quite a while. It took her getting to that point for me to see it. So sad. I hope you enjoy the time you have with your little girl. You will know when it is time.

  • Stephanie

    Hello, I’m trying to get some advice from people on making this hard decision about my dog-she is a aussie shepherd/border collie mix, by far the smartest dog I’ve ever owned, her name is Sydneyand she is almost 15 years old. During this last year she has really gone down hill, losing lots of weight, walking in circles and staring off into space, falling alot, panting a lot, and trouble with stairs and I feel like in her awake times she cannot get comfortable-paces and seems confused. She still eats good sometimes and then other times ignores her food without some additional prodding, yet has only had accidents in the house a couple of times-but granted that she never used too…I think that’s what makes this so hard as I’m seeing a lot of issues people talk about but not all of them so I keep second guessing myself about if its really time yet I know that even though we all love her so much, I dont feel she has a happy life anymore, she doesn’t even want to interact much where she used to be so loving-you have to prompt it and even then she doesn’t usually respond much! Any advice would be great, the vet mostly doesn’t seem to want to give a opinion about it but I feel that’s because she doesn’t show obvious signs of sickness and such, just old age.

    • Kevin

      We just put down or 14 1/2 border collie yesterday. She had also been having trouble the last year or so with getting around, playing ball and Frisbee turned into her standing there and me throwing it to her. I carried her up and down stairs into our bedroom everything and down every morning. About 3 weeks ago started having trouble breathing, which turned out to be cancer. Our plans to put her down peacefully at home tomorrow (our vet would do that) turned into a panic call yesterday because she was struggling to breath. We also kept struggling to determine what her quality of life was and when it was “time”. To me bottom line is 1) Is she suffering? and 2) Is she enjoying anything in her life? Attention, petting, playing, anything. If not, I would lean toward a peace full end, rather than a hurried, painful one after something happens. You sound like me and you’ll regret and second guess any decision you make no matter what it is. My companion, my joy in life, my black & white shadow is gone and its killing me. I hope you have someone to lean on and cry to, cause your going to need it. I am so so sorry, but if its not time, its getting close. Don’t even know you, but sending love your way.

    • Amy

      Stephanie, it is a very tough call. No one wants to put their dog down one day too early, but like Kevin said, one day too late is also not desirable either. All I could do was pray for guidance and signs, and I did receive it. I am so sorry for your struggle, all of us can relate.

    • Alex

      We just put Tiger, our red healer German short haired pointer cross down. She was 13 and a half. It was a very hard decision. She was suffering more and more during hot summers with labored breathing, arthritis, had trouble with stairs and her legs would sometimes just give way. She started drinking and urinating a lot. We agreed would wouldn’t make her suffer another hot summer in Renmark and last night she developed a tooth abscess which was the catalyst for today’s decision. Overall she was probably happy but in some pain with her body beginning to fail. A hard but humane decision.

  • Anna

    My dog is 14 years old, October last year she started to lose a lot of weight very quickly. She lost about 8kg in a matter of weeks and the vet said she had a week to live
    Since then she has stayed between 17-18 kg buy in the last mth or so she has been drinking and eating loads!! So much that she will drink out of the toilet if the is Left open even dirty buckets of water that I have cleaned the floor with.
    She pees in the house daily and has gone on her bed without noticing a few times.
    All tests have come back normal the only other thing the vet said is that they could open her up to see if she has cancer but she’s had 5 cancerous lumps removed already and I don’t want to put her though that again
    Really don’t know what to do! Is It time to say goodbye

    • Kevin

      Certain medications, like Lasix, will make a dog drink a lot and often have accidents. If she’s got a decent quality of life and not suffering or in pain, I would enjoy the time you have, but keep a close eye on her

  • Sherri

    I’m struggling with the decision on our 15 yr old mixed terrier. A mutt we adopted from the pound as a puppy. He’s been terrific, an athletic active dog until recently. This past 6 months we began noticing a difference and very recently he has began walking in tight circles. His vet diagnosed Dementia and found Cushings disease after blood test. She did not recommend the treatment due to his age and what it would do to his quality of life. We were asked to watch him and see how quickly he worsens. Unfortunately his mind is not keeping up with his athletic body. In the past 2 weeks he’s taken a couple of bad falls, missing steps, misjudging distance. He tumbles hard, gets up, shakes it off and resumes. He’s had a couple of accidents in the house and sleeps a lot. My big concern his he’ll eventually break bones, etc. I simply wonder if he is happy…

    • Kevin

      If he’s in otherwise reasonably good health, I’d just tone down his activities. Block off stairs, keeps runs in yard etc. The last year of my loyal Nicky I carried her up and down the stairs every evening and every morning after she took a fall. Everyones relationship with their pet is different, but all I can say since just losing mine is enjoy every minute you can. They won’t be around forever.

  • Kevin

    Waiting for a call from our vet to set up an at home euthanasia. Our border collie Nicky has gotten so afraid of going to vet office, I don’t her to be scared when we do this. She has cancer in at least two organs and keeps accumulating fluid in her chest. Has been drained 3 times. She also has arthritis real bad in rear leg and hips and now that she’s off rymadyl because we started predolosone in hopes of beating back the cancer for a while. She’s still bright and alert, though stopped eating yesterday. I hope we’re doing the right thing, it’s killing me. I don’t know how I’m going to hold her as she dies, but I have to. I owe her that and so much more. She’s been my shadow, my joy and I have to be there now. God give me strength

    • Amy

      I am so glad you have a vet that will come to your home, that will be much better. We had our dog put to sleep in our Jeep because that was her happy place. We couldn’t hold her per se because of her size and weight, but we were in the car with her and touching her. It is the hardest thing ever. I would just say that you need to know it goes very fast. I wish I had understood that before. There is no “slowly going to sleep and drifting off”. Once they are given the sedative, they go right to sleep and then the second drug is given right away. It’s fast and there is no saying goodbye after that. But, I will say, we made a pact that we would do our best not to “let on” that this was a sad event, we did not want her to sense our angst or sadness…we did not want her to feel sadness or fear in her last moments. We drove her body to the crematorium, which was a 40 minute drive. That was very comforting to me. To be the one that took her there, it was good. I am crying right now typing this, and it has been over 6 months. The sadness never leaves.
      I wish you the best. God Bless.

      • Kevin

        Thank you Amy. We made the “appointment” (what a thing to call it) for Friday at 7 PM. Between now and then going to spend as much time with her as I can. She has good and bad times. Mornings are the worst. They will take her body and I asked for an individual cremation. I’m so sorry you still cry and I know I will too for a long long time.

      • Amy

        I thought of one more thing. Cocoa got to eat all of her favorite things on her last day. Whipped cream from the can, grilled steak, peanut butter crackers, and even stopped for a soft serve ice cream cone on the way to the vet. She was so happy that day, she didn’t want to take h usual nap for fear of missing anither “treat”! What a day that was. Enjoy your remaining days with your sweet girl. Take care.

      • Kevin

        We are trying anything to get her to eat. Seems she’ll eat something new for a couple meals, then stop. Went from Gravy canned dog food (she always had kibble before this), then chicken, hamburger & wawa meat balls. She wouldn’t eat the meatballs this morning. I slept on the floor with last night. She had a bad night, not breathing too well, more like panting. Got better this morning. Now feeling guilty we (I really) said Friday. Selfish of me wanting a few more days. But she didn’t have this problem then. I can only pray it will stabilize until Friday evening. If it get bad and we have to take her in, it would only make sense to do it then, but I wanted to avoid the Vets office. She so scared of it now.

      • Amy

        The same thing happened to mine. We made the appointment for a few days out, as we wanted to spend one last weekend with her. Then, in the middle of the night, she was in distress, panting and very uncomfortable. I was beside myself because I thought “Oh no, I waited too long, now she will die tramatically” However, she did get past that. I hope yours does the same thing. Mine never stopped eating, but she did stop drinking. I had to put water on her food to get her fluids.

      • Kevin

        We didn’t make it to Friday. Had a very bad night Monday, couldn’t sleep cause she had to keep breathing. Seemed to get better early morning morning but when I came home for lunch, was bad again. She was in pain, struggling and we couldn’t allow that to go on. We scooped her up and took her to her place of fear and and had to do it. I curse myself for being selfish and trying to spend every waking moment. It was heart breaking as her Adrenalin kicked in from fear and I started doubting if we should go through with it. But we did, one of many regrets I’ll have for the rest of my life.My soulmate is gone and I struggle with every minute not break down. I want to sleep for week, but when I wake, she’ll still be gone. I take it minute by minute, hour by hour, time grags on

      • Kevin

        We didn’t make it to Friday. Had a very bad night Monday, couldn’t sleep cause she had to keep breathing. Seemed to get better early morning morning but when I came home for lunch, was bad again. She was in pain, struggling and we couldn’t allow that to go on. We scooped her up and took her to her place of fear and and had to do it. I curse myself for being selfish and trying to spend every waking moment. It was heart breaking as her Adrenalin kicked in from fear and I started doubting if we should go through with it. But we did, one of many regrets I’ll have for the rest of my life.My soulmate is gone and I struggle with every minute not break down. I want to sleep for week, but when I wake, she’ll still be gone. I take it minute by minute, hour by hour, time drags on.

      • Amy

        Oh Kevin,

        I am so very sorry for your loss and the way that it ended up happening too, I know you had envisioned it going much differently for your sweet girl. Heartbreaking!

        Listen, please try and think of it in a different way. With my sweet girl, she seemed so good the day we did it, I had so many doubts about wether it was maybe too early. In a way, I wanted her to be more acutely ill so that there was NO doubt it was time.

        You see, because we love them so much, we do not want to let them go one day too early or one day too late. We wish we could find that exact day where it is no doubt the right day. But we can’t.

        So, in my case, I know I could most likely have waited another day or maybe even a week….which makes me sad. In your case, you could have done it a day or even a week sooner, which makes you sad too.

        The main thing we need to understand is that we have done our very best to do it the beat way we can, and many times we humans will not get it exactly right.

        But what we have gotten right, is we taken away our beloved dog’s physical pain, and allowed them to end the suffering in the most humane way we could do. As a result, their pain is transferred onto us in the form of emotional pain.

        Your little black and white shadow is free an not in any pain or distress. You were the best care taker she coild have wished for, so don’t be upset, you gave her a great life, and she knew that.

        Let yourself grieve…..cry cry cry it out. I still cry often for my baby girl, but not so much because of her death, more because I miss her in my life.

  • Sieglinde

    Our English Bull Terrier is 13 years old and we considered her a part of our family. She has been for several months now, shaking in her hind quarters when I take her outside. She also eats grass like she is a cow and started urinating/pooping in the house . She drinks more than she eats and as she has gotten older doesn’t eat like she did when she was younger. She will start panting while laying on the couch and sleeps 90% of the day & all night. She balks a lot while walking and on occasion after waking instead of walking to go outside or to water bowl, it’s like she is senile and walks up to a wall and stands there until I lead her away. She has moles fatty cysts/tumors – one the size of my palm, and the vet tested them last month costing us $800 and they were benign. Spankie also has dry eye now and I have to clean her eyes many times during the day to remove the green mucus. My husband has become disabled, and is unable to help me with our beloved pet. She will softly whine sometimes too. Are these signs that she is nearing the end of her life? I don’t want her to be in pain and suffer.

    • Amy

      Hello,

      I think the time may be near. It sounds like your dog might be in pain much of the time. I would consult your vet and then make a decision. I am sorry, it is so hard.

  • Cherrie

    My dog Jonah is scheduled to go in on Wednesday to be evaluated. I’m 99 percent sure it’s time but I don’t want to admit it. He is almost 15 has fatty tumors, warts, he sleeps 90 percent of the time now. He is shakey when he walks, he cannot go up and down stairs, or get in the car with out help anymore. The has a cyst that has emerged on his left thigh and is growing at alarming rates. He coughs up white foam about every other day now. He pants just walking to his water bowl and must lie down to eat because he cannot stand that long. He drinks a great deal of water. I love him though, I have PTSD due to domestic violence and Jonah has been through hell and back with me. He has been my therapy dog, my protector, my confidante, and my anchor. I am scared to go through life without him but he has been such a good dog I don’t want him to suffer. I just wish someone can tell me if I’m doing the right thing. I’m a single parent and cannot pay for chemo and radiation and at his age I’m not sure if he would survive surgery. Please, I feel like my heart is breaking. He is such a piece of me.

    • Kevin

      I’m so sorry Cherrie. I am in a similar position. A people say that they’ll tell tell somehow, but it doesn’t really seem to happen that way.
      I keep telling myself you must do whats right for her. I don’t know what I’ll do without her, but have to push that aside. Do whats right for him.
      Sometimes, if you have a good vet (and most are), ask what would they do if it was their pet. You can usually get a helpful answer.
      Whatever you decide, know that there are a lot more people than you think going through this hell. Try to do whats right for him and try to find peace in that you did the right thing.
      Hang in there, this too will pass.

    • Brett

      Cherrie im sorry to hear your situation….I am the Brett from a few comments below…I know what your feeling….I got my dog not long after I divorced and he went through tough times with me as well…to come home and always see him excited to see me helped me move on from a difficult time….It makes it all that bit tougher.
      Your dog is coughing up white foam…that a sign of mycoplasma disease…your dogs immune system is probably trying its best to fight the tumors he has and this is what happens to them…by the sounds of it…its time for him to go….you are doing the right thing for him….be strong and just think of the time when he lets go and has no more pain to deal with.

  • Lisa

    I just lost my mini-dachshund, Bruno. He was almost 11 yrs old. He’d been sickly his whole live with heart and lung issues. He would get better and worse on a daily basis. One day, he was worse and I took him to the vet, like usual. The vet took one look at him and told me there wasn’t much they could do anymore, he had just reached the limits of his strength. He died peacefully in his sleep. I am heartbroken, but I know he isn’t suffering anymore. It was time for him to go. My other dog is a 13 yr old Chihuahua (Pablo) who seems to be ok for now, but I know it’s coming. It will never be easier, but it’s what we sign up for when we fall in love with our fur babies. <3

  • Brett

    Just got my 13 year old black lab put down yesterday…he started coughing and tablets wouldn’t help..he was covered in lumps and started limping all of a sudden…he had good days and bad days but I could see what was going to happen…the cough was like he was drowning in his own fluid…he would cough up white foam and in the mornings and at night were worse…I am a lot more upset than I thought I would be but it was very peaceful and me and my girlfriend spoiled him the night before and fed him treats all night and let him sleep inside.
    I have been struggling all day but I just know I did the right thing….I live alone and am a shiftworker…to go to work knowing he wasn’t well was killing me…..for the last month or so I used to open the back door with dread wondering if he survived the day or night when I was at work.In the end as sad as I am I know I did the right thing for both of us…rest in peace Buster.
    You were best mate in the world and this experience has made me decide no more dogs for me…you become to attached and I know I will never get another character like him.

  • Ruthann Burke

    my family is being torn apart. OUr Choc Lab is 14 years old and has tumors all over his body and his back legs don’t work so well, they just tremble like crazy. He has Cataracts in both eyes and most times he gets to the bottom of the steps and can’t figure out how to make it up the stairs (almost like he doesn’t remember). Well now, I put him out in the back yard regularly for about 15min. at a time and when he barks to come in. he walks right in and craps across the floor as he walks, he don’t even bend down to go to the bathroom. He never in all of his life ever had accidents in the house. I am having a hard time with him going poo all over my house. I feel it is time to put him to rest, but my husband says that he isn’t that bad yet. I don’t know what to do or think. He still eats, but his whole body shakes all the time. What do you all think? I could use some advice.

    • Amy

      Hi RuthAnn,

      Boy, this sounds so much like my chocolate lab! At 14 she was having the same issues. Very weak hind end, fatty tumors all over her body, and she started going poop in the house and would drop it like a cow almost, as if she didn’t even knkw it was happening until it was too late. I can so relate!!
      I will tell you that her eyes, although they appeared to be very cloudy, the vet did say she was not blind, not even close, it’s just a commin condition that makes it appear that she cannot see out lf them.
      As for the fatty tumors, that is to be exlected with age.
      Now, thw weak hind legs and the pooping in the house, that is really the issue I think. We had some success with cold laser therapy on her spine, but you must find a vet that does it, and it’s not cheap. Also, water therapy amd accupuncture can help, but again, these are expensive specialists, so not alot of folks are in a position to be able to do this type of thing.
      I think your dog is most likely in pain in her hind end…back and hind legs. Does he ever cry out in pain? The shaking and weakness are troubling.
      Have you sought advice from a vet?
      I am so sorry you are going through this, it is very upsetting and stressful.

  • Kim

    My husband and I are leaving in 30 minutes to put our sweet old boy Rusty to rest. He is a black lab Chesapeake bay mix. This is soooo hard I have been crying all day he is the best dog ,loyal loving and just turned 16 years old.He has been declinining for awhile now and just started barking at night because he no longer can get up the stairs. I know it is time but this is so hard he is like one of my children and he will be missed so very much. I just hope I see my ole boy in heaven some day and he is running and having a grand ole time.Well it’s time to go lay him to rest. Kim

  • TIna

    We are laying our sweet molly to rest on Friday and its tearing our family up. She is a 10 year old boxer and the last year she has declined slowly. She is not able to walk very well because of her back legs. Dr. say because of her age surgery is not a good thing. We have to carry her up and down the stairs and hold her up while she goes to the bathroom because she falls when she tries to stand on her own.
    But when the door bell rings she is eager to defend our home and wrestle with her brother Tyson another boxer when she is having a good day. So this is what makes it very hard to make that decision to lay her to rest. In the morning she would eat when my husband would go to work at 5am now she passes on her food until early afternoon and we have to put cheese in her bowl to even sniff it but then she eats. She is always panting which we were told this is a sign of pain for a dog. So please please tell me we are doing the right thing.

    • Tim

      Without a doubt, you are doing the right thing. Your poor baby is suffering. You’ve had her evaluated. There’s nothing you can do to alleviate her pain. You have held onto her for as long as you can and have given her a rich, full, happy life. Unfortunately, she’s sick and not going to get better. Releasing her will be your final act of love for her. It’s the right thing to do. I wish I could tell you that doing the right thing is going to make it easy at all. The right thing for her is going to hurt you badly. That’s why it’s an act of selfless love. I’m so sorry. God bless you and comfort you. Having just gone through this myself a week and a half ago, I am so sad for you. It’s terrible, and the fact that it’s the right thing to do doesn’t change that.

  • Sarah

    Hi everyone,
    I am too feeling huge regret for putting my beautiful Molly to sleep 3 weeks ago after a sudden decline. She had been relatively well but off her food for some time which I put down to her anxiety and I had just moved house, and then went rapidly downhill over a 24 hour period. She wasn’t clotting properly and was anemic so emergency vets gave her medication and blood transfusions but her levels still didn’t improve much. They then found bleeding into abdo from an enlarged abnormal spleen. Our only option was emergency surgery to remove the spleen but the vet stressed how she wasn’t likely to survive an anaesthetic and she was still bleeding a lot. So I don’t even have a diagnosis but they think a splenic tumor. I said I wanted to do everything and so the surgery but they wanted to do a chest X-ray before surgery and it showed abnormal lungs and fluid in her chest. It just seemed everything was against her and every test we did came back bad. She was only 8 1/2 and my everything, my baby. I can’t believe I somehow made the choice to not do surgery. I feel I robbed her of her only chance and ended her life way too soon. It was all such a blur and I regretted the choice instantly and ever since. I don’t know how to live with myself. Especially looking at the situation now not even knowing if it was cancer or not. They just emphasised how her clinical condition wasn’t good for surgery.
    Thanks everyone.
    Sarah

    • Amy

      Oh Sarah, I am so sorry for,your loss and for your angst. I know this feeling so well, many of us do!
      Let me give you some perspective as someone who put their dog down and felt the same guilt and regret…reading your story, to me, it seems like you 100% did the right thing for your sweet Molly.
      It seems to me that Molly was very ill. First not eating, that is actually a big sign. Then, you called the emergency vets and went to extreme measures to help your pup, really, that was alot that you did to help her.
      You wanted to do the surgery, but it was not the best thing to do after they found out about her lungs. There is a huge possibility that Molly would not have survived surgery, meaning she very well may have passed away during surgery, where you would not have been able to be with her. Major surgery is majorly tramatic, especially for an animal that doesn’t know what is going on or why. Scary!
      You did everything you could for Molly. Then you allowed her to pass away with peace and dignity.
      You are a good dog Mom, and you did right by Molly, I can tell.
      Again, I am sorry for your pain, but you took Molly’s pain away and took it upon you. That is serious love, and Molly is free now.
      Take care of yourself and cry and grieve all you need to. This loss is like losing a child, so don’t feel guilty for feeling a deep loss for Molly.
      May peace be with you at this sad time.
      Amy

    • Amy

      Sarah,

      I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Molly, and for your angst about it.

      I put my dog down 6 months ago, and she wasn’t even in as bad a shape as your Molly. From my perspective, you absolutely did the right things.

      You did everything you could do, and when it was obvious that you could do no more, you mase the right and compassionate decision to let Molly to in peace.

      If you had been allowd to put her through surgery, which I doubt the vet would have ended up doning, she very well might have died during the procedure. That would have meant all that trauma for Molly for nothing, not to mention you would not have been able to be with her as she passed.

      You did the right thing for her!

      I am so sorry for your pain, but it will get better, I promise. You were a very good Momma to Molly, and that includes making this decision.

      Take care,
      Amy

  • Janetta

    Well it has officially been a week today since we put our beautiful Princess Puppy to sleep!:((. I miss her everyday and it sucks not to be able to pet her or even give her a treat anymore! I know we did the right thing, and the only thing that gives me a little bit of comfort knowing she is not in pain and suffering anymore! For now I feel that my heart is broken, and I know one day it will heal, but for now I’m grieving the loss of my baby!!:((

  • Sue

    This afternoon we had to put our 14 year old dachshund down. Rusty was her name. She and my 16 year old daughter were best friends. It truly breaks my heart but I know it was the right thing to do. Rusty couldn’t use her back legs and stops walking for the past 2 days. many Many tears tonight but we all know she crossed the rainbow bridge.

    • Amy

      So sorry for your profound loss, may you find peace in knowing your sweet Rusty is no longer suffering. Take care of yourselves.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    My prayers for everyone who is struggling with the grief and loss that comes with putting a dog to sleep. It is absolutely heartbreaking, and it’s not fair. Dogs are so loyal and loving, and I wish we could have them in our lives forever.

    May you heal from the grief, and know that your beloved dog will always be part of you. Your dog is in your heart and soul, and you will be reunited one day. Oh, the things your dog will be so excited to show you when you meet again! Remember how excited your dog was when you got home – whether you were gone all day or for 5 minutes? Well, triple that – and that’s how joyful and excited your dog will be when you meet again.

    With great love comes great suffering.

    in sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Christina

    Thank you for the article above. My husband and I have decides that we must put our American Bulldog down tomorrow. He suffers from a brain tumor and we have talked to our kids but I’m so worried about telling our 10 year old. She will be so heartbroken.
    Please keep us on your thoughts.

  • Adrianna Mahoney

    Im at a torn here, my dog that is 13 has cervical (neck) disk disease which is a disk pressing on her spinal cord causing a lot of pain. We found this out about a couple months ago and she was good while she was on the medicine, but i do not feel right keeping her on a bunch of medicine bc of the other things that could wrong with that aspect. Lately, she doesnt get up much and when she moves she yelps also when we move her she yelps (not all the time but very common) . I dont want her to be in pain all the time but i also dont wanna loose my baby.

  • Kevin

    I’m so heart sick. We noticed our 14 1/2 yr border collie having labored breathing last week. Didn’t seen too bad bad at the time and vet set up a cardiology apt for tomorrow. It got worse and she spent weekend in a emergency clinic. Drained fluid from her lungs, sent out samples, did a scan, some organs are questionable for cancer. The breathing still maybe a heart issue, possibly treated with drugs. she’s laying at my feet now, we played short rounds of ball out back earlier. my boss let me work from home. we are probably going to make decision after cardiologist. my wife is stronger than me, I’m a basket case. I have to be there to hold her when its time, gotta find the strength somehow. I feel so lost

    • Tim

      I’m so sorry. It sounds like you were in the same situation as we were. Our 10.5 year old Chessie was having increasing shortness of breath. This was not something that was going away. Something major was going on with his heart or lungs. The doctor prescribed prednisone to help him breath and to help diagnose the problem. Unfortunately, it made matters worse. He started to react badly to the drug and his panting just got worse. I am heartbroken to say that we made the decision to put him down over the weekend. For the past decade, he was my constant companion. I am overwhelmed with grief. I miss him so much. And I feel guilt and fear that we put him down too soon.

      • Amy

        You did the right thing. You tried meds, and they made things worse. Not being able to breathe is terribly scary and uncomfortable. I know the grief, and it IS overwhelming, but you did do the right thing. I hope you find peace in your decision.

      • Tim

        Thank you. Your words are so encouraging. I will try to find peace, but my heart is more than broken. It’s shattered. I love my buddy and miss him so much.

      • Amy

        Yep, I know the feeling so well. I still (after 6 months) have a “70 pound chocolate lab shaped hole in my heart”. You are not alone. Prayer helped me immensely. Allow yourself to grieve. It WILL get better, I promise. Take good care of yourself, your dog would not want you to feel too bad for too long. (((Hugs)))

      • Stephanie

        It’s been 2 weeks and 1 day since I put my beloved Mandy to sleep. It still hurts so bad. Not a day goes by without tears. I hope it gets better soon.

      • Amy

        Stephanie,

        I understand. For me it was very very raw for a solid month. I cried so much that I broke blood vessels in my eyes.
        It is so hard. You are not alone, we all felt this way.
        It DOES get better, I promise.
        I still cry for my dog after 6 months, but the despair isn’t as deep now.
        Hang in there. You will slowly be able to come to terms with it. Until then, take care of yourself, be good to yourself, just as your beloved dog would want you to.

      • Kevin

        I hear you my friend and although it doesn’t mean much, I understand the pain. Seems us men are not supposed to feel this way, but I’ve found there are many. We are trying Prednisolone and Lasix, but so far (about 3 days), not a lot of improvement. I keep focusing on whats best for her, but it’s such a judgement call and changes constantly. Tuesday we did get 50 feet for a walk before she looked at me and then back at the house. An hour later I’m taking wheel barrels full of dirt from front yard to back and she follows me each time.

      • Tim

        Ken, I’ve encountered that as well. Maybe some of it is sensitivity on my part, but there seems to be a lot of subtle shaming if you are a man and you are devastated emotionally by the loss of a beloved pet. I don’t get it. In my family, I am the dog person. My wife is more emotionally stoic, and while she likes our dogs and considers them part of the family, she admits that she gets no feelings of doggie love by hanging with them. (Full disclosure – she cried as much as any of us when we put Walker to sleep last weekend.) But that prejudice against men seems to be there. However, I can report that in experience, it DOES NOT exist among dog lovers of either gender. My family might not understand me, but other dog lovers do!!!!

        How are things going with your border collie? Although the prednisone did not work for my dog, I’m hopeful it will give yours some relief. My vet told me it can take up to a week to have an effect. We started seeing the effects at around 5 days.

        I am doing ok. I miss my buddy like crazy. Yesterday, I was alone at my Mom’s house, and I just called out his name like I would when he was outside and I wanted him to come in. I just wanted to call him again, even though I knew he was no longer here. But I do want to put something out there that has brought me some measure of comfort. Until last Saturday, I owned two dogs. My remaining dog has made a huge difference. One of the worst times for me is when I walk my surviving dog. I should have two doggies!!!!! Not ONE!!!! It hurts. But we are helping each other. I’m not alone. After enough time has past and I feel like I can emotionally handle it, I’m going to adopt another dog. When the dog that I own now leaves me, I want a companion to help me through the loss. I know that if you are grieving a dog right now, it may be too late for you to act on this advice. But consider it for the future. I’m telling you that Molly has made and continues to make a huge difference in my ability to process this loss.

  • Janetta

    I’m so lost right now!:(. We just found out this past week that our 13 year old Norwegian Elkhound has lymphoma and cancer of the liver and spleen! She is also deaf and has a bit of hip trouble. She has had loss of appetite but now I put real bacon pieces and chicken broth in her dog food and she is finally eating again! We have spoken to the vet about options for her treatment, and none of them of course guarantee if it will help her or make her sick, so we are worried about the possibility of her having to suffer and have decided we couldn’t do that to her! We are going to be putting her to sleep in the next week or so!:((. This is devasting for our daughters and us right now! In the last few days my beautiful sweet dog Misha has been giving me glimpses of being her old self, but then she tires and needs to sleep, and her showing me glimpses feels like a little bit of hope, or maybe she is reminding me of the puppy she was and can no longer be! This is so hard because she is my first baby, and I got her at 6 weeks old! I’m so lost just thinking of the idea of her not being in the house or around us. Some days she looks at me like mom I’m tired and I don’t want to fight anymore, and other days it’s like what are you crying for I’m fine, which makes me feel torn about putting her to sleep! I love my Misha and I just want to do right by her, and I hope and pray this is the right decision!

    • Amy

      Hi Janetta,

      I can see why you are torn, I would be too! I pray that God gives you a sign, so that you can be at peace withyour decision.

      You are a very good Mom to your Misha!

      Peace be with you,
      Amy

      • Janetta

        We have made the decision to put our beautiful girl to sleep on Friday afternoon! Since I posted last I have seen my girl in pain and have seen her struggle to get up and go outside! I know longer see the healthy happy dog she used to be, and enjoying her life! She deserves more than to suffer and get worse everyday! I’m pretty sure she knows she is sick just by the look in her eyes! I have come to acceptance of taking the pain away from her, by putting her to sleep! I will miss her so much, and our family will not be the same without her! She has been loyal and loving and protective of our family and she will always have a special place in my heart, we will never ever forget you Beautiful Girl! Love you Misha

      • Crystal

        Janetta,
        I usually don’t post comments places but after reading about Misha, I felt the need to do so. I am in the exact same situation with my 10 1/2 old English Mastiff, Liberty. The similarities are uncanny really. We too have made her appointment for Friday afternoon. I have been having a hard time coming to terms with her failing health and wondering if we were making the right decision. After reading your story, I know that we are. I don’t want to be selfish with her & I don’t want to see her getting worse and being in pain! We’ve been talking about it for a little while now, we actually had an appointment scheduled for her last Thursday but we just weren’t ready to let go. We took her in and she was put on temporary pain medication. She seems to be doing better but in my heart I know its only temporary and it’s time. I just wanted to say Thank You for your story and opening up my eyes and seeing what is truly best for my Liberty! Give your Misha some love for me and hugs to you and your family!

        The Rainbow Bridge

        “Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
        When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

        All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
        They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

        You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

        Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…. ”

        -Author unknown…

      • Janetta

        Thank you Crystal for the Rainbow Bridge Poem, I need it today! Big hugs and prayers to you and your Liberty today as well!

  • Jim

    Its a sad day. Today has come and we took her down. It was so sad to let her go but I’m glad we did it. She had lost another 2 pounds this last month. We just donated all her stuff to the local spca. We’ll miss her. Rest in peace Shadow. Love you.

  • Cindi

    She was completely fine–except for the arthritis. Never pooped or peed in the house since she was trained by age 12 weeks. I got her at 8 weeks. She was eating, drinking–so when I read all the info on “when it’s time” She didn’t fit any of them, except crying out in pain when lying down. I put her down too early–because her crying in pain was killing ME. I will never forgive myself–and haven’t stopped crying for weeks. I have to go into the bathroom at work to cry.

    Honestly, I want to kill myself. I cannot believe I took her life. –the memory of her whining after being sedated, then getting the Beuthanasia needle is too much to bear.

    • Amy

      Cindi,

      Oh do I know how you are feeling. I spent about an hour this morning sobbing for my dog I put down 6 months ago. It still hurts so much and I have lots of guilt. But my dog still ate, still loved treats, still loved to go for car rides, etc. but her pain & discomfort grew by the week. Her pain meds also stopped working, and she could not sleep through the night. I too saw my precious baby gorl look back at me when the vet took her arm to insert the needle. Just typing this makes me cry. You are not alone. You did the right thing. You are grieving. You will grieve for as long as it takes. It’s OK to take their pain upon yourself. See, your dog is no longer in pain, but now you are. If given the choice, would you switch it back? Would you let your dog feel the almost non-stop arthritis pain so that your emotional pain could be lifted? I bet not. You loved your dog so very much. You did the right thing. You will be together again one day, and you will know for sure it was right.

      • Cindi

        Thank you Amy–yes, I would gladly take her pain. Her pain meds did work, but the combo of Carprofen, Tramadol 50mg 2 T three times a day, Gabapentin 300mg at night, Melatonin, and Glucosamine made her start drooling quite a bit. That is nausea. And still, she would cry when trying to lie down. Siberian Huskies ‘howl” and woo-woo to talk. This was a loud moan.
        My problem is, she only cried out when lying down..and yes, she would get up and pace. Many nights I would lie on the floor with her, in her bed, and hold a heating pad to her hips. I work 10 hour days, so I was getting about 3-4 hours of sleep at night. BUT–other than that, she was fine. Still alert and seemed happy. Never an accident in the house her whole life.
        I wasn’t getting more than 3-4 hours sleep for 2 months. I was giving her 10 pills a day with peanut butter. I had 3 days off in late April, and knew I would need a couple days to mourn. I feel I did this FOR ME. Arranging and scheduling her death.
        They say–at the time your dog’s soul leaves it’s body, it ‘speaks” to you. She was quietly whining after enough sedative for a 200lb. dog, per the vet. She weighted 76 lbs. –She continued to whine, softly and so pitifully. I heard her speak to me when she passed. She said “Mommy, don’t do this! I will stop crying when I lay down if it bothers you. Please, don’t do this” And then she was gone. She had no other symptoms. I should have left her alone, and let her just be an old dog. I thank you for your reply–but I couldn’t even see my mother on Mother’s Day, or see my son. I feel like any enjoyment from life right now, is a betrayal to her. I am so sick of reading all this stuff online about how the signs are–not eating, not enjoying treats, soiling themselves, unable to go outside to use the bathroom, etc– because none of these applied, so I feel a monster. I miss her so bad, that I have cried and prayed for God to take 10 years off my life and give them to her–to bring her back. If I could just see her one more time. No one understands–everyone has children, husband, wife, other pets etc. And I have had other dogs, when I had my family. But it was just me and her. I want to try to plant some flowers tomorrow, and paint my bathroom, and I feel so guilty for even thinking about ‘moving on” without her, I can’t do it.

      • Amy

        Hi Cindi,

        Well, I also thought my dog was telling me the same thing. She looked back at me and I swear her eyes were saying “why are you betraying me?”. I had that terrible guilt for a couple of weeks, crying so much that I broke blood vessels in my eyes. It was torture. So much so that I cried put to my dog and God to forgive. As soon as I did that, a “message” came to me. That look wasn’t “why are you killing me”, it suddenly became clear that that look was “you aren’t leaving me here at the vet, are you?”. Cocoa hated being boarded, even at a friend’s house, she never wanted us to leave her. We didn’t leave her there, we took her body ourselves and drove her 45 mins away to the crematorium. Once I knew she was just afraid to be left, I felt so much better.
        I do not have any kids either, and Cocoa was my first and only dog. I had recently moved to a town I never wanted to be, and she was my comfort. She made it bearable.
        Your feeling like you “scheduled” her death for your own conveneicne is exactly how I felt. In a way, we did the same thing…doing it right before the holidays so that we could travel, because she could no longer travel well.
        If your dog whined while laying down, that is significant, because older dogs do a lot of lying around. If they can’t get relief from lying down, that is a serious quality of life issue, imo. Also, dogs are good at being stoic, and your dog very well may have been in pain at other times as well, but lying down, the signs came out more.
        You are in the throws of serious grief. Be good to yourself, your dog would never want you to feel so bad.
        I am not trying to lecture you, but I just want you to know that you are not alone, and your feelings are normal, and most of all, it will get better!

  • Cindi

    I don’t want to go into the whole story, because if you have commented on this site, then you already know the pain. I put my Siberian Husky down 3 weeks ago at age 14.

    After my divorce of 21 years–she was all I had. I see the posts about–My husband and I had to, my kids and I, my other dogs..etc..But it was just her and I for the last 9 years of her 14 years.
    We had a spiritual connection, that was different from my other dogs in the past, because it was just her and me.

    She got arthritis so bad in her hips, she was crying whenever she would try to lay down. We did the NSAIDS, Tramadol, Glucosamine, and even Melatonin to help her sleep at night. She had a terrible time laying down. Crying out often, and getting back up–then having to lay down again.

    She had no problems getting up. She walked slowly near the end–BUT–She ate, she loved to swim, she loved the dog park, she loved her treats, she greeted me at the door–Spiritually she still loved life, very much. For the first time I have ever known, when putting her to sleep (vet came to my house) She whined. I have put 5 dogs to sleep in my life, and the vet did a very good job—but right before she passed, she whined–several long whines–like “mommy, don’t do this! I am not ready!” –that’s what popped in my head.

    I feel I put her down too early, and I am so sick and sad about it–my heart is maimed with guilt.

  • Katie

    I had my beagle Misty for 12 years (we got her from the shelter and they guessed she was 2-3 when we got her)… Misty started acting strange about 2 weeks ago…not eating, drinking a lot of water, needing to go out every 2 hours and having accidents in the house which she NEVER did. I changed her food about a week before that and thought maybe it was just from the food change. Well this last Thursday I took her into the vet. He x-rays looked fine and they said they would have the blood results the following day as they sent them off to a lab. I got the call Friday that said she was extremely diabetic as her sugar levels were 680 (normal is up to 150). The vet said she was going into diabetic shock and also had the start of pancreatic cancer. The vet said she would need to keep her through the weekend and maybe longer as she was trying to flush her system with an IV. I called her later Friday afternoon and she said she was throwing up a lot and we talked further. She said with a diet change, insulin shots twice a day and weekly vet visits she could hang around for maybe 4-6 months. I was faced with the choice do I keep her around or do I let her go find peace.. it was VERY difficult but I called the vet Friday evening and told her with her age and how sick she was I thought it was best to let her have peace. I went up to the vet to be with her when she passed. The vet carried her into the room by me and she looked terrible… I knew I made the right choice. Her tail wagged a lot when she saw me so I knew she appreciated me being there. I hugged and kissed her and talked to her when they administered it. The vet let me stay as long as I needed when it was done and talked with me for awhile also. I made the choice to get her cremated and get her paw print and some fur. I have a 9 year old that has been with her her whole life and it’s been very hard on all of us. Our furry family members really leave an impression on us. It’s so strange not having her around..seems too quiet. She will be very missed and it will be hard for awhile but I know I made the right choice. I would have loved to have another 4-6 months with her but it’s not worth the suffering and pain she would have went through. There comes a point where you need to think are you doing it to avoid the pain of losing them, or is it what’s best for them?

  • Stephanie

    Is it time? I’m crying my eyes out right now. Last month I came home from work and found my 16+ year old dog limping. I took her to the vet and he suspected a torn ligament in her knee. I have no idea how it happened since I wasn’t home when she got hurt. He ordered 2 weeks of bedrest. I took her to my parent’s house for recovery since they are both retired and can dote on her and care for her full time. Instead of getting better she got worse. She can’t stand up from a seated position, she can’t walk, she can only stand for a few seconds. My parents took her to the vet in their hometown and were told she was just too old. Unfortunately the only pain medicine she will take is metacam which is hard on her kidneys. I called my vet and described the symptoms – he didn’t sound very positive and said she may have a spinal or neurological problem. My parents brought her back today and I have an appointment with her vet on Monday for an exam. This is so hard for me because she’s still eating and pooping fine (with assistance since she can’t squat or stand by herself). The worst thing is I’m having trouble picking her up without biting. She’s not in pain when laying but I think picking her up hurts her. She never would’ve bitten me in the past. I’m so scared to move her. To make matters worse I have a small child at home to watch out for. I think on Monday I may have her be put to sleep unless the vet can give me some miracle cure. This is killing me – I’ve had her for over 15 years and I feel like she’s my first born. Am I doing the right thing?

    • Rachel

      Monday has come, so I hope you made the best decision possible. It does sound like it’s time for her to be at peace. 16+ years is such a long, wonderful life. I have an 11 year old Boston who I think it’s time for me to say good-bye as well. That’s how I stumbled upon this page. How do we ever know for sure we are making the right decision right? I plan to pray a lot about it and hopefully will come to the right answer. Prayers for you as well.

      • Stephanie

        We did put our precious girl to sleep on Monday. It was the right thing to do. She got even worse as the weekend went on. The vet said that most likely it was a tumor or blood clot causing the loss of use of her legs – nothing fixable at her age. I spent all weekend at her bedside. The morning we took her to the vet I gave her an extra helping of food and we shared peanut butter together. I snipped off a lock of hair.
        I chose not to be there for the procedure but my husband stayed and held her the whole time. I stayed until after they sedated her – I wish I hadn’t done that. Her tongue was hanging out and eyes glazed over. I wish I had left before that,

        I’m still crying my eyes out. Today is much better than earlier this week. I know I will be sad for a long time. I have her a great life and I know that putting her to sleep was the best thing considering her condition. But I miss her so much! I am so sad I won’t see her again in this lifetime.
        I hope the best for you and hope you make the best decision for your beloved dog.

  • Patricia Wagner

    Dear Amy, Karen, Janice , and all of you who have experienced the loss of you closest and best friends, my hear grieves for you and I pray for your healing.
    Ever day for the nearly 70 years I have been on this earth I have shared it with a dog. The happiness they have bright to me is beyond words, and the grief at their passings worse than a knife in the heart. I only know too well how you feel and the depth of your sadness.
    To those stupid enough to think the Gates of Heaven are not open to animals convince me they really don’t know God or true pure love.
    My theory, and I have shared it repeatedly is get another dog as quick as possible. You won’t betray your best friends love, but will instead glorify him or her by
    Giving a home and loving another member of the species. May it be a dog sitting in a pounds, or puppy mill, you have the ability to give out happiness and a loving home. And you well know what the returns are in love, loyalty, and a forever bond.

  • Richard beals

    My Beagle , Honey D. Beals , is losing the ability to get around , her back legs , as well as a large tumor is restricting her movement.the vet will not remove the tumor as she is 13 years old….she can barely get up the ramps ,to the couch ,bed , or the steps to get in the car. is it my decision or the vets , as far as who makes the decision. Thank you

    • Marci

      Hi Richard,

      Sorry about the situation with your dog. You make the decision, not the vet. The vet can advise and tell you they can’t treat your dog anymore because there is nothing else they can do, but ultimately you have to decide. It is so hard. Sending you good thoughts for guidance and strength. Take care.

  • Jim

    Our black lab is turning 16 this month. She’s been progressively getting worse – losing a lot of weight and making messes. We’ve been to the vet and he thinks she has dementia, is deaf and is having problems seeing. Medications have helped with some of the issues with her not being able to control her own functions, but it only lasts for a few weeks, then it starts again. The vet doesn’t think she’s necessarily in pain, but her walking isn’t that great as he figures she has arthritis. I’ve been having a terrible time coming to grips with the decision that I think I need to make. She still seems happy being with us and enjoys it when our children be with her and pet her. But I’m afraid that I am just prolonging a situation that will get worse. Aside from the companionship, I don’t think she enjoys any of the things she used to. I’ve been reading all sorts of articles lately and most indicate that the quality of life is so important to consider. Do I let her continue for another month or two? My heard wants to keep her around longer, but I’m wondering if I am being selfish. Its killing me, but the point made in this article about being one day too late is really resonating with me now and is making me question trying for more time.

    • Jana

      Jim, Your story is very similar to mine. I have a 14 1/2 year old female Boarder Collie mix. Like your pup, she has lost weight and is making messes everyday while I am gone at work. The Vet thinks that she has heart problems and Sundowners. She does not sleep well, pants and paces during the night. She is on pain meds for a torn ligament in her knee, and wears a calming collar. Neither of which seem to help her anymore. Please give an update on your situation. I am really struggling with this decision to put her down. She is still eating, and drinking, but is very anxious if I am not around. I want to do what is best for her, but I know at her age the medical help is limited. The article talks about being one day too late – I do agree with that statement. However, I also don’t want to do it a day, week, or month too early. My biggest fear is that I am putting her down for selfish reasons. Yes, she is difficult to take care of. Cleaning messes, and not getting sleep myself because of her restlessness. But, is that enough reason to put her down. In the end, her comfort and quality of life is what matters. Jim, I know it has only been a couple days since you posted your comment. Have you come to any decisions? I would like to hear if your thoughts, or if you are still torn.

      • Debbie Henderson

        I would tell you that the quality of life is diminishing quickly. Pets who do not normally mess up a house, know that they are doing so and that it is wrong. The look of guilt on their face when they can’t help it tears at the heart. I have made the decision to put down (today) our beautiful Basset Hound Lucy who is 13 or 14. We adopted her 12 years ago from a rescue. She is not eating and can’t get herself up from a laying position. Once we help her up she can take a few steps. She has had walking issues before and usually in 4 days she was back to her old self. Tomorrow will be a week and there is no improvement and she has not eaten (except some chicken I feed her a couple of days–and after lots of coaching to get her to eat). So it’s time. She sleeps a lot and seldom wakes up even with load noises and she pants a lot when awake (which could be congestive heart failure). My head knows it’s time but my heart is breaking. We have two younger basset mixes from the rescue too–so that will help some but Lucy will be sorely missed by my family.

      • Jim

        Hi Jana – it is so tough… I have to admit… I delayed it out a little longer but it is coming time. I’m glad she got a little more time, but its clear that she’s just existing. We’re going to book an appt with the vet for this coming Saturday morning. 🙁 I know its going to hit our family like a ton of bricks. But its the right thing to do.

        Debbie – so sorry to hear about Lucy. I hope that you will be ok.

  • Jeff

    hi all, I just wanted to share my recent experience. We have had our chocolate lab since he was a puppy. He was 13 so I’m sure he had a long and happy life. He had his yearly vet visit in March and he was doing good, only thing that was maybe hindering him was arthritis in his hips, but still ran around fine. Fast forward to April 23, he began throwing up, a little at first and still eating and drinking then it got progressively worse, he also stopped eating completely, not even table scraps which he loved!! I had to get him in to see what’s wrong. The vet did blood work and his red blood cells were low and he was dehydrated. He had lost 10 lbs since March. An x-Ray was taken of his midsection and he had a large tumor on or next to his spleen. I was devastated. I knew before the vet even told me what the options were. You can put him through a major surgery which he may or may not make it through and pay a large amount of money or euthanize. I still question if what I did was right. This has been so hard. We decided to euthanize based on the fact he may or may not make it, and we didn’t want him to starve or suffer anymore even though I wanted to do anything to keep him around. I took him home Friday so everyone could say goodbye and monday we put him to sleep. I really hope I did the right thing. It breaks my heart he isn’t here anymore.

    • Amy

      Jeff,

      Sounds very similar to my choco lab’s issues…we put her down 5 months ago in order to end her suffering.

      You did the right thing. It’s so hard, but you did it for him. You essentially transferred your dog’s suffering from him to yourself. That is an act of love.

      Peace be with you.

      • Karen

        Jeff comment needs commended! It even made me feel better about putting my dog down March 9th. I never thought of it as ending our beloved pets pain and putting it on ourselves! It did make me feel better reading that. I do hope all of you reading this who have been in a similar situation are getting through your loss. God knows what are dogs meant to us and will help us through. Thanks again Jeff!

      • Jeff

        Thank you both Amy and Karen, it really helps to share this with others who have been through it, it is soooo hard. I cant help but feel guilty I didn’t do enough or we didn’t catch it sooner and reading other stories on here really helps. It is also reassuring to hear we did the right thing, I don’t want to feel guilty that we didn’t spend the money and put him through the pain and recovery of a surgery at his age and if he didn’t make it I would not have been able to say good bye or take him to the lake one last time.

      • Amy

        Hi Jeff,

        You are in good company right now. Just know that yes, it IS sooooo hard. I kept saying “I have a 70 pound hole in my heart”. My Cocoa occupied that spot for almost 15 years, so life without her was so different, and not as fun or meaningful it seemed.

        I cried ALOT during the first month after she passed. Right around the one month mark, the intense pain lifted. Now, I still cry for her every so often, but I feel like I am not crying about her death so much as that I just miss her.

        Anyway, right now, just let yourself feel all the emotions…every emotion you are feeling (guilt, second guessing, regret, anger, etc) is normal. But it does get easier.

        Once you are ready, please adopt a rescue dog, that will really really help you more than anything!

        Take care,
        Amy

    • Marci

      Hi Jeff,

      I’m sorry for your loss. Making that decision is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and it never gets easier. Since you love your dog so much I’m sure you didn’t make it lightly and did what you knew deep down to be the best thing for your dog. I am going through pretty much exactly the same thing right now with my dog Gracie. She’s a very large dog, part Australian Shepherd and part mystery very large dog. Anyway, our beloved border collie/lab lost his battle with cancer about 6 weeks ago and we thought our dog was depressed. The vet tried to perk her up with some anti depressants but they were no help. Then she stopped eating. After a couple of days of no eating, we took her to the vet and her red blood cells were so low the vets couldn’t believe she was alive. We were told out best option was a blood transfusion which would buy her about a week and give them some time to find out what is causing her problem – cancer, auto immune anemia, etc. An x-ray showed an enlarged spleen as well, but no visible tumor. Her blood work was way too bad for the vet to attempt surgery, she would almost certainly die. We were sent home with her test results and told to visit the specialist for a transfusion. However, after speaking to two different facilities we were told the cost for a dog blood transfusion would probably be upwards of $5000.00. After some research on the internet I read about some food sick animals would almost always eat called critical care, I think made by Hills. Went to the vet and got a can of than and she started eating again, more than she ever has. At her next blood test a couple of days later her blood was even worse, she had lost even more weight and there was more guilt about the transfusion. (I love my animals, but to spend that much money with very little hope for a good result with two college aged kids and retirement 10 – 15 years away, isn’t the right choice for us.) The vet said she has two days left, max. This was a week ago last Thursday. Then she seemed to get better, went on walks, greeted people at the door. We felt hope, but this morning she can’t stand up without a lot of help and she is not eating. She doesn’t seem to be in pain, just fading away. Like others have said here, you took on the pain so he didn’t have to. You sound like a good and kind person and the sadness will get better with time. (Trust me, in the past year I lost my father to cancer, my sweet cat to FIPr, my oldest dog to cancer and am now facing putting down another sweet dog.) Remember, “it is better to have loved and lost than never to love at all.” Anyway, sending good thoughts to all of you and I hope I make it through this one more time myself.

  • Cheri

    I have read the stories on this site and it has helped me in making the hardest decision and that is to let my girl go, she is part Rhodesian Ridgeback and mutt, she can’t see or hear anymore, eats very little except her treats. I took her to the beach this last weekend to let her run and smell the ocean, she did pretty good, got high centered on a log, but she had a good time, but I know it’s time. She been the best girl ever and always had the unconditional love non-dog lovers will never know. Thank you for your stories.

    • Amy

      Cheri,

      I am so glad you took your girl to the beach for one last romp. We also tried to give our lab the best day ever, right before we let her go.

      It is the hardest thing I have ever been through.

      I hope you find some peace with your decision.

  • Fran

    My dog is 15 years old. The past few months have been kind of hard. He has a tumor (benign) on his neck, arthritis, trouble hearing, and recently has had trouble breathing through his nose. He doesn’t walk that great, he has to be carried up and down the stairs and is stumbling most of the time. He is drinking water but eating little. I know he is suffering, he’s not the happy dog running around the house like he used to be. But I feel so guilty putting him down. It’s not only my decision, how do I even bring it up to my family?

  • Caroline

    Hi , I have a jack Russell , max. He has been the most wonderful friend and I love him dearly. He has a twisted spine , vet says he was most likely born with it. He finds it hard to walk and he cannot raise his head much from the floor he falls a lot and his front paws fold making it impossible for him to walk at times. Max is 14 years old and my heart breaks for him everyday. He goes out three times a day on short walks then I put him in his doggy cart I have two more jack Russells so I need to take them out for walks and couldn’t bare to leave max behind. I no I have to make a decision sooner rather than later but I’m finding it so hard . I’ve read all the other story’s and my heart goes out to all of you .

  • Kris

    I’m crying reading these comments. Such a hard life experience, I am facing this with my 15 year old Lhasa, He has eye auto-immune disease and doesn’t see well, arthritis in his hips and back legs, a tumor in his right ear so he doesn’t hear well at all, allergies and “doggie dementia “. He gets very confused and afraid if I am not with him! BUT it’s still such a hard decision!!

    • Amy

      What you have written described my 15 yo lab exactly, with the ear tumor and everything! We made the decision to let her go last November, and it was the hardest thing ever. I still, 5 months later, miss her so much and cry so much for her. It will be very difficult and very sad, that is just the truth. I am so sorry. You are not alone, we are all in the same boat here. All you can do is love on your sweet baby as much as possible unitl that time come.

    • Jennifer

      Thanks to all who have shared your experiences with your beloved pets. I feel like I’m being selfish by keeping my 9 year old chocolate lab alive. He has diabetis, constant ear infections, skin disease (the medicine that would treat his skin counteracts with the insulin so he constantly bites himself until he bleeds.) I’m having a hard time letting go because when I come home, he still greets me at the door, wagging his tail. That is the only enjoyment in his life. As I type this, I’m realizing what I need to do, but I’ve never been through this with a pet and I’m scared for him and me.

      • Amy

        Jennifer,

        I am so sorry you are going through this. My dog was also a chocolate lab. She also had the diabetes and skin issues. She was always hungry, she drank so much water she would puke, had stinky gunky ears, and her hair fell off in patches.
        We did put her on a grain free, low carb diet, and went from feeding twice a day to feeding less food but spreading it out over 4 meals to keep her blood sugar more stable. We bathed her in special medicated shampoo to help her skin. We got drops for her ears and just cleaned them more often. We found a holistic vet who treated her with cold laser therapy and acupuncture. All is made a huge impact on her health and happiness and gave us another solid 2 years with her. She died last fall at almost 15.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear DJ,

    My heart goes out to you and your little pug Stewie. I love him too, and I’ve never even met him! I love the name, and I love pugs….and our earth will cry out when Stewie is gone.

    It’s difficult to discern when a dog is in pain, because they are so stoic. They hide it so well! My dog Georgie had a huge scratch on her eye (from killing a squirrel, but that’s a whole different story), and she didn’t seem to be in pain at all. She ate, chased stuff, slept, growled at strangers at the door. The only way I knew something was wrong was that one eye was closed, like a permanent wink. The veterinarian told me that eye scratches are incredibly painful, and she immediately gave Georgie painkillers. I felt terrible – I didn’t take her to the vet for 3 days, because I kept thinking her eye would heal on its own.

    If my dogs became ill, I wouldn’t want to do extensive tests or treatments either. I love my dogs so much, but I don’t want to put them through anything painful. I believe that death is far more painful for us survivors than it is for dogs or people. I really believe death is “resting in peace” and being enfolded in a constant embrace with God. The thought of not having my dogs with me is heart wrenching, but worse is the thought that they’re suffering.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. May you take Stewie to the vet, and trust yourself to be honest with the vet about your wishes for Stewie’s life. I pray that the vet you go to is like-minded, and supportive of your decision. May you right now be filled with faith, confidence, and strength to do what you believe is best for Stew. You know your dog best, DJ. Stewie is your dog, and he loves you with all his mind, heart, and soul. May you put his welfare before your broken heart, and take care of him all the way to the end of his life. He will love you all the more for it.

    It is such a sacrifice to even think of putting a dog to sleep…but all sacrifices are a heavy blend of extreme love and extreme pain.

    Let us know what you decide, and how you’re doing.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • DJ

    Probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to consider is what to do about my best friend. I have a little pug named Stewie and for the past 6 months I’ve been treating his diabetes with two shots per day. Recently, due to the onset of blindness, that was almost instantaneous, he has begun to run into things and fall out of bed at night when trying to get a drink of water. He has the trademark bulging pug eyes, so because he can’t see he doesn’t know to close them around bushes and objects in the house, so recently somewhere in the house he has poked his eye or scratched it. He can still open it but he’s very scared of me getting too close to it. Anyway, the insulin stopped his constant urination and massive drinking for awhile, but it’s started again, he has accidents all the time and he’s afraid to go up or down the stairs without my guide. The hardest part about this decision, is that he doesn’t seem to be in pain. He’s eating well, drinking well, taking his green bean and carrot treats. The only thing that leads me to believe he may be uncomfortable physically is that he’s not as excited and jumpy, just sleepy and dumpy. I love my dog so much, he’s been with me through some tough moments and I saved him from a terrible situation. He was my rock after I quit drinking, smoking and ended my marriage. He’s been my copilot in my new life, next to me every day, and the thought of him not being with me is making it nearly impossible for me to type this. It just seems it can only get worse for him and that’s just as hard a thought to bear. I’m afraid to go to the vet and tell them that I think it may be time, I don’t want them to think I’m an awful person. I don’t have the cash to do all the testing and treatments to determine other problems and frankly, I don’t want Stew to endure that. I’m just not sure what to do. He’s laying right next to me in his usual spot, snoring away against my leg, and I’m considering putting him down I feel horrible. He’s a beautiful boy and the best friend I’ve ever had, but I don’t know what to do.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    This poem, written from the perspective of a dog who is saying good-bye to his family, made me cry. I think it’s really important to let yourself grieve your loss when you put your dog to sleep. Don’t avoid the pain and tears — pass through them, so your heart heals and you can love again. For life is love….and life is loss.

    Time To Go

    The time has come I think you know
    the Lord is calling so I must go
    I love you so much; I wish it wasn’t so
    I wish I could stay; I don’t want to go

    You’re the best family a dog ever had
    so kind and gentle, never mean or mad
    I’ll never forget the day that we met
    I was so lucky to become your pet

    You opened your door and showed me your heart
    I’ll never forget you; we’ll never part
    You loved me and cared for me over the years
    you taught me everything and took away my fears

    The Lord is calling now I must go
    but before I go I want you to know
    I know it hurts to lose a friend
    but I’ll be with you even at the end.

    Written by John Quealy

  • Debbie

    My Jack russel is 18 years old, blind and deaf. He seems to be healthy. We are considering putting him down. He is confused, bumps into walls and we only foud out yesterday after the neighbours came complaining that he doesn’t stop barking the whole day. I think he feels unsecure even when we are at home i have to spend he whole time to keep him quiet. Unfortunately there is no one during the day to look after him although he is with my 2 other jack russels, he still keeps on barking. He doesn’t play anymore or do anything other than eating his meal to show that he still enjoys life.no one can pick him up except for me, he hurts when you pick him up, I am not sure where exactly, but I know just how to pick him up. am i making the right decision? I feel so guilty!!

    • Amy

      Hi Debbie,

      18 is very old even for a small breed. However, you say your baby is still i. Good health and likes to eat. So, what I would do is ask the vet about getting him on an NSAID and pain medication as well as an Rx for cognitive disorder (dementia). It might be worth a try to medicate him to make him more comfortable and less anxious.

    • Janice

      I lost my 15 year old Jack Russell two days ago, my heart is broken, feel like it won’t heal. It was the hardest thing to do, but I loved him so much, I didn’t want him to suffer anymore, he was very sick . It is a most difficult decision to make. Talk to your vet and see what they think. Buddy took Prozac for a while. they have other meds that they can use to help calm Jack Russells . I would try different things first,, but it is your call. Make a list of positive and negative things about your dog and go from there. Please talk to your vet, they may have some solutions to the problems. I will pray for you and your dog.

      • Janice

        Today was a difficult day for me, I went and pick up Buddy’s ashes and urn. It is cooper with paw prints all over it. I put it on the bookcase, top shelf, in the middle with a picture of him next to it. My Buddy has been gone 11 days, I hurt and am very sad, my best friend is Heaven, I love you Buddy

  • Karen

    I adopted my dog from the SPCA. Named him Rugger.(Rug-ger) he’s been my best friend for 13 short years. I had to take him to the vet yesterday because his back legs are going out on him. He falls up steps and that’s not like him at all. When the vet checked him she said his hips felt fine. His back may be a little sore. But nothing terrible. They did an X-ray and saw nothing. They did a full blood panel that came back fine. I spent 300.00 and they have no answers for me. Today I had to carry the dog outside to go potty. He only went one time. He refused to eat anything this evening for the first time. When we took him back out and tried putting a leash around his neck and bottom half so he could walk he just flops over. Lays on his side. I know he won’t ever walk again. He’s getting worse now since he won’t eat. I feel like if I choose to put him to sleep I’m sinning against though shall not kill. I have prayed to either make him better or take him in his sleep. That way I don’t have to make such a hard decision. I know soon he will not be her with our family…especially me any longer. My next question is this…..Would it be horrible if I were to get him stuffed? Then I will be able to see him everyday for the rest of my life. My mom says I’m wrong. Having him skinned as she put it. I’m so confused. I’m so sad. I’m so angry I’m not rush and can’t get the answers as to what this is that’s going on in him. If anyone ever tells me money isn’t everything again….I will SCREAM!!!!! If I had more money I could keep figuring out what the issue is. Possibly fix it and he will be with us longer. So I have all these decisions if he doesn’t just pass on on his own soon. He can’t get up. He just lays there. We roll him over every few hours. We carry him out to go potty even though he hasnt gone but early this morning. I keep trying to get him to eat things like chicken, cheese, ham, canned dog food etc. I read an article that says animals don’t have souls? That confused me. I thought everything breathing thing had a soul. I’m convinced he does and am struggling with the decision to put him down. This has given me no time to prepare. Get answers. I can’t stop thinking. Or crying. I want him to just get up already. Ugh! I love him so much. He’s my dog. My life. He’s been through a lot with me and no matter what he is always there. He forgives me and used to cry and lay by get door when I had to leave. Please help me figure this out. Or just let me know your praying my precious Rugger boy just goes peacefully in s sleep so I don’t have to think about this decision. Thank you to everyone.

      • Karen

        Thank you. It happened today. Been crying non stop. It hurts. He was my baby. 13 years just wasn’t long enough. I did a paw print and cut some hair from his tail. Have his name tag and other tags on his collar. But crying right now because I want to lay with him and he isn’t her to do that with now.

      • Amy

        So sorry. I know the pain. It cuts so deep. Just cry as much as you need to. I had to put mine down 5 months ago and still I cry for her often. I call out for her and talk to her. Seems pitiful, but I miss her so much. Just know that you gave your baby a wonderful life and you will meet again at the rainbow bridge.

      • Tammy

        Taking my pretty girl Scout to be put down was the hardest, most painful experience; strangely, it was worse than my father’s death because Scout’s death was MY decision. The night before, I laid down on the floor next to her, and I believe she assured me then that she was ready. She lived her 14 years to the fullest and had given us her very best. After she passed, our vet said, “now I know how much you loved her.” I am most grateful for those words. The sadness and, worst of all, the emptiness takes time to overcome. Today I share my ice cream with my sweet boy Pete, so different from Scout, but I know she approves and I believe I will see her again.

    • Janice

      I am so sorry about your dog. God gave us our animals because he knew we needed them. I know it hurts, My Buddy was my life, he saved my life and I his, was going to be put down the next day, I knew then this is the dog God wanted me to have. He brought joy and pleasure to me, my best friend. I am trying to figure out how to go on without him, he was my baby, my everything. I had hoped Buddy would go in his sleep, but he didn’t. I think he was holding on for me, but I knew it was his time. He helped me through my depression and mental illness. I got him at the animal shelter here in town.
      It is your decision, he is you baby. It may be time to let him go. be at peace and I believe there is a Heaven for our animals. There is a poem about Rainbow Bridge, the place where you meet up with your animals when we pass away. You will see him again one day. Buddy was good to me and saw me through a lot too. He knew when I needed extra loving. The process of having them put to sleep was very peaceful I held Buddy as the vet gave him the shots. He gave one to make him feel no pain, and then the medicine that made him go to doggy Heaven. I will pray for Rugger and you, Bless you and Rugger.

      • Karen

        Thank you. Your so kind. My Rugger is missed and I am so sad at times. I knew he would never be able to walk again. He had lost he use of his hind legs then it went to the front legs. It was a very hard decision to make and I kept him around like that longer then other people would have. I kept thinking he wasn’t ready. I know I wasn’t. I also felt like God wouldn’t forgive me if I made the decision to end his life. It’s not my decision. Well, it ended up being my decision in the end. I kept praying asking God to heal him or take him. For some reason God wanted me to learn something from this situation. Though, I haven’t figured it out as of yet. I do also believe we will see our beloved pets again when we make it to Heaven. I have never heard of the rainbow bridge though. I will have to try and google that. To find that story. Again, thank you for your comment. And I wish you peace in your healing process with your beloved Buddy. God bless you in this sad time.

      • Janice

        Bought several books about pets and other animals on what happens when our best friends pass away from this earth. I am reading now, I will see you in Heaven, has a picture of a dog on it. I know I will see Buddy again, God brought us together. The hurt and pain are still there. My kitty know something is different, she goes into the others room and meows, I think she is looking for Buddy. I keep thinking this is all a nightmare and I will wake up and Buddy will be at my side. Then I realize that it is real and Buddy died.. My heart breaks all over again, I don’t know if I can allow myself to get another dog and going through this again. I will get, the time is right, a dog from the animal shelter. I will save a life.

      • Karen

        Janice,
        I’m so sorry for you. As I know what your feeling. I put a pair of black boots down in front of our couch the other night. I sat down and started browsing through channels on TV. Then from the corner of my eye I saw the black from my boots and actually thought it was my Rugger! I started to say Rug what are you….and then I realized they were just my boots sitting there. I was sad. B I do have to say I was more upset and cried a ton more for my dog when he was sick. I was and am still upset I couldn’t keep paying for more testing to find out what caused him to not have the use of his legs. I used to lay with him and cry and say GET UP PLEASE! JUST GET UP to him over and over again. I would sob. He would then start to sound as though he was crying. It was very hard. I did make a paw print with clay and saved his collar and tags. My daughter made a cross from sticks and put it in our flower garden with his collar around it. I saw his collar today and took it to bring inside. I do t want it to fade. I’m going to hang it on a hook in our office area and put the paw print on a little stand if I can find one on the desk. I also cut some hair from his tail and kept that. Were you able to do anything like that with Buddy? I’m sure you have lots if pictures of him and him and you….
        Maybe if you haven’t already you can put some in a frame and hang it in a spot where you can define as a little spot to remember him? If you saved his collar you could also hand it on a hook near the pictures. That may help.
        We have two other dogs. They are labs. Yellow and black. My husband saw our black lab, Hemi today from the side and said how much he looked like Rugger for a second. But Rugger was only 53 lbs. Hemi is like 80-85. One day we will get another dog. But like you, I am not ready for that right now. I hope you had a good weekend and when thinking of Buddy you are able to smile at the silly things he did or just remember the joy he is having in Heaven right now with my Rugger! God bless you.

      • Janice

        I cut some hair from Buddy, Have his collar, will put them by his urn when I get his ashes. Yes, I have the final pictures of Buddy and me. my sisters took at the vet office. I was holding him and one where I was kissing him good bye. It’s been four days, I keep looking for Buddy, then something reminds me of the fact that he is gone, but I have joy knowing I will see my Buddy again one day, I hold on to that, helps me. I will keep you in my prayers.

      • Karen

        My Rugger was 4 days ago too! I did not have him cream aged. I wanted to get him stuffed. To be able to look at him every day for the rest of my life. But then, I felt like my heart may never be able to heal if I had to see him not alive everyday for the rest of my life. I couldn’t afford to get him cream acted after all the money I spent at the vets when he first lost the use of his hind legs. I brought him home and my husband burried him. I have been trying to find a nice marker to put with the cross in the garden. I also have pictures with Rugger that my daughter took at the vets. One of me laying on the floor with him on a dog bed kissing him. Another just holding his head in my hands. Such a sad time for the both of us. Seems we have more in common then we may realize. Well, Janice it is very nice to meet you. We can help each other heal and find peace in knowing our dogs are looking down on us and are probable the best of friends now! Maybe they somehow brought us together! God is an awesome God and does have our backs. We will mend. Just thank The Lord for the time you did have with Buddy. For The Lord knows what we need and that our dogs needed us! Sleep well.

    • Pat

      My dog was very sick over the weekend and had to be rushed to the urgent care where he stayed for two night, costing 2100.00 dlls…. wow! He is 13 and I see the inevitable coming soon. M

    • Pat

      My dog was very sick over the weekend and had to be rushed to the urgent care where he stayed for two night, costing 2100.00 dlls…. wow! He is 13 and I see IT coming soon. He seems to be doing ok but the vet suggested additional test for Cushing Desease, I have read some articles and it describes him to the T. All i know that my heart will break in million pieces but I will do for him what I want for myself when the time comes. I will be in pain because he is gone but he will not suffer, not if i can help it. I love him way, way too much. He brought so much joy to my life, so much unconditional love and will miss him like crazy, but I do believe that God will reunite us one day.

  • Nosilac

    I just had to make the decision to have my beloved 12.5 year old black labrador put to sleep this morning. Libby was rejected as a Guide Dog for the Blind (too friendly apparently!) and came to us in December 2003 at the age of 14 months. She has given us many wonderful years and has been a great friend to my youngest son (now 17) who as Asperger’s Syndrome.

    She had a major elbow operation for diseased cartilage in 2008 and bounced back. In June 2012 we thought we’d lost her with what turned out to be inflammatory brain disease. She confounded our vets but getting back to full health within 5 months. Her zest for life and enthusiasm never wavered.

    She was a great character and you never quite knew what she would get up to next, but was the most gentle, loving dog we could have hoped for. In the last year she has been struggling with arthritic hips, on top of the the arthritis in her elbow which was inevitable after her elbow operation. Two weeks ago she picked up a dreadful gastric virus and this led to the discovery that she had advanced kidney disease, and could no longer take the anti-inflammatory medication for her arthritis. She was obviously in a lot of pain, and the kidney disease led to her drinking excessively and hence losing control of her bladder and this was making her very distressed.

    After discussion with our vet, who’s been treating Libby with acupuncture for the last year and knows her well, I made the decision to let her go this morning. She’s came into my life 9 months after I lost my mum and 9 months later I lost my Dad. In that time I had my youngest son diagnosed with ASD, and in the last 18 months she’s been my constant companion since my husband left us. I know I can’t have another dog just now, I now work much more than I did when she was younger and my youngest is about about to head off to uni. She’s been the best dog ever, My heart is broken, but reading this page has made me surer of my decision and it’s a comfort to know I’m not alone.

    • Tom

      Hi Nosilac,
      I am very moved by your letter. I live with my son, Chris, who has a very old dog “Haley.” Haley is arthritic and mostly sleeps on the couch all day. She has trouble making it up steps and can still walk ok. She enjoys a walk. Chris has high functioning autism and was initially diagnosed with ASD. I’m wondering how your son is doing ?
      -Tom

  • Nikki

    I am having a hard time trying to decide whether or not it is time to put my dog to sleep. She is a Shih-poo mix, approximately 10 years old. I read they can live 12- 15 yrs though. I don’t have to money for her to see a vet right now. She has lived with us for about four years after her previous family was unable to care for her any more.. She came with fleas and dental problems. In the past couple months she has just changed. She is going #1 and #2 all over the house which isn’t usual, is no longer greeting us at the door. She is normally very friendly and greets us and jumps on us and sleeps with the kids. Now I never know where she is, she is usually hiding under the bed and when the kids try to pet her she bites them. Even when I try to pet her, and I am her favorite! Like I said, I cant afford to take her to the vet so I am not sure if there is anything medically wrong but cleaning up pee and poo all day I s starting to get exhausting and also worrying about her biting the kids. She is still eating, but not as much. Any advice?

    • Amy

      Hello,

      I am sorry about your dog, that is a tough situation to be in!

      I would say your dog is either in pain or suffering from a cognitive disorder.

      Does she seem like she is feeling pain in her legs, teeth, or spine?

      Does he “get lost” in familiar places? Such as trying to go outside at the wrong door or cannot find her way out of the kitchen?

    • Amy

      I womder if you could take her into the vet and just get an opinion and not spend too much. What if the fix is something simple?

    • Janice

      I had to take my 15 year old Jack Russell to vet again. He stopped eating and drinking fluids. He had kidney problems, liver problems, and arthritis in back legs. Vet does not feel like he is suffering at this time. I read when they don’t eat, they may be in pain, the vet felt his tummy and nothing seemed enlarged. He had an enlarged heart at well .Buddy saved my life and I saved his, He was to be put down the next day, I couldn’t let that happen. I was looking for a lap dog, but brought Buddy home instead. I named him Buddy. It wiil be 9 years on August 12 that I have had him. I saw my psychiatrist today and talked all about Buddy, he say to get another dog now, I want to give my full attention to Buddy. I suffer from suicidal depression, when I got Buddy I was in bad shape, he brought he out of it at that time. Don’t know what I will do when he is gone forever. He is keeping close to me. Which he always did anyways, but it is different this time. It’s likes he wants to be close by when he dies. I am hoping he will die peacefully in his sleep and I won’t have to have the vet put him to sleep I will have him cremated so he can always be beside me. I had my 18 year old cat put to sleep 3 years ago. It was a hard decision, but she couldn’t stand up anymore, I knew the time had come. Jack Russells can live a long time, I gave him 9 extra years. He is the best dog, always good at the vet.
      My worker was with me today and took us to the vet, she has had to put down 5 animals in the last several year, She knows the drill. I love you Buddy, mama won’t let you suffer. When I see the sign I will take you to Dr. Jon and then you will go to RainbowBridge where I will meet up with you when it comes for me to go. For those of you who don’t know RainBow Bridge, it is the place where you see you departed animals again. You are reunited with them. God loves dogs,, he made them, I bet even Jesus had a dog when growing up. DOG spelled backwards is GOD. That is a God thing for sure. I am praying for all those of you out there that is going through this now. Remember Rainbow Bridge, bless you and you animals.

  • Mel

    I had my 13 year old Lakeland terrier put to sleep yesterday hes kidneys were failuing and he fought on for 6 wks but made the hardest decision to end he’s s pain. Our vet said she didn’t think he would make it over the Easter wk end my heart broke right there All I can say is I’m in pain now my heart really hurts its a pain I can’t even discribe I feel lost i just miss him I miss he’s snoring he’s click clack of he’s nails on the floor. the jangling of he’s collar when he walked about and being able to hoover without him trying to kill it will take sometime to get use too… It’s true what they say a house ain’t a home without a dog I have cats that I love dearly but they don’t fill this house like he did…

    • Amy

      Hi Mel,

      You are not alone. It hurts so deeply when they are gone. It is the hardest thing. I’m so sorry for your loss. Mine went to heaven right before Thanksgiving. It will be very hard for weeks. It took me a solid month before I could make it through an entire day without crying.
      Again, I am sorry!

      • Mel

        Thank you Amy for your kind words some ppl are like its a dog and you will get over it all I can say is they must of never loved or been loved by a treasured pet the wave of emotions you feel and go though is crazy Iv cried so much in these last few days my face is literally sore and now I just feel guilty but it’s nice to talk about him and remember he’s funny ways Iv only just today managed to clean the garden up of hes little poos as made as that sounds it was like removing the very last of him from this house feels like a betrayal mental I know… But I love him so much and he will always be in my heart

      • Amy

        Some people do not understand that dogs are almost closer. To our hearts than our kids because they do not “grow up and leave home”. They always stay very dependent on us and only grow old…which means they go back to being even more delendent on us humans. We care for them from start to finish, and our relationship with them is intimate–we feed them, help them potty, and cuddle with them in bed. Everyone I have talked to a out the loss of my beloved dog felt the same way a out their dog. It is a universal hurt when we lose them. Cry all you need to, just let it out. And know that you are not alone when you feel sad or guilty. But also know that you will see your baby again one day, and it will be wonderful.

    • Janice

      I know how you feel Mel, It is the worst hurt loosing your best friend. My Buddy(he is named Buddy, I named him that) Is close to dying, vet said he did not think Buddy was suffering, he had heart, liver and kidney problems, the blood work showed all that. X-ray of heart showed it enlarged . Vet thought the heart problem would make him die, but Buddy hanged on. I know it will be in a day or two. My poor Buddy went deaf and could not let me know when someone was coming. He was my watchdog also. I know it hurts, and hurts bad. You gave her 13 years. She knew you loved and you loved her.I . I still cry for my cats that I have lost years ago. Remember her with great love, all the fun and wonderful times with her. Remember Rainbow Bridge, I will try and get the poem to it and put it on here. It is ok to cry and cry all you want. You just lost someone most important to you. You are in my prayers, I bet you she is making lots of friends in Heaven.
      God Bless you and her.

      • Mel

        Thank you for your kind words it helps reading that other ppl are going though the same pain and understand how much our fur babies meant to us I’m sorry for your loss

      • Mel

        So I find myself here again from posting last wk the day after I had him put to sleep. Iv cried,,haven’t slept and barely been able to function but had to coz I have 2 young kids so putting on a brave face as they say! But today is a wk he’s been gone and I just had a little cry everyone around me just carrys On my kids have bounced back IT seems my partner doesn’t mention him I just fill down and sad not all the time but not being able to see if he’s okay I guess is why ? god it’s the worse pain I miss him

      • Amy

        I can relate to what you are saying. My dog was my husband’s baby, he had her before we even met. He was so claoe to her and I alwqys said he would be a total mess when she passed. Well he “got over it” so much faster and easier than I did. It has been 5 months since she left us, and I still cry for her so often. You are not alone!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Misa,

    I think Amy gave you some really good advice. It does sound like your little dog is in pain, especially since he’s limping and not eating.

    May you find courage and strength to do what’s best for your chihuahua. Loving our dogs until the very end is a huge sacrifice and it causes us so much pain…but we need to accept responsibility and let them go when they are suffering. I pray that you find the courage you need to take care of your dog by taking him to the veterinarian. Maybe he only needs medications, maybe he needs something else. Whatever your dog needs, I pray that you are able to give it to him quickly so he doesn’t suffer any more. I pray for wisdom, guidance, and healing for you. Amen.

    Let us know what the vet says about your dog.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Misa

    Hello everyone I am here for some advise. I have a 15yr old male chihuahua he has a torn ligament in his back leg so if he walks a lot he begins to hop. Lately he has been having a lot of accidents in the house and his appetite to his food is slim to none. I have tried different foods and nothing seems to help. I can tell he is losing weight. When I get him up in the morning from my bed to let him out he cries when I lift him but then is fine to walk and climb steps. he is very very attached to me as I am to him. I am not sure weather or not it is time to put him down. Please help

    • Amy

      Hello,

      Waht does your vet say about this development?

      It sounds like your dog is in pain. Is you dog on pain meds or anti-inflammatories?

      Amy

    • Sylvie

      Hi Misa,

      Have you been to the vet to fix his leg? What does he/she say? It is a really hard decision which I have had to make 3 times in the last 2 years.

      Good luck and know that loving your dog is also loving it enough to let it go to a place where he will be pain free.

  • patricia stoner

    we lost our dog angel to a immune disorder she was a shepherd collie mix she was so smart & sweet.she had a hard beginning in life. she was left alone in a trailer with no air or heat.she neaver saw a vet and had puppies by herself. when I got her we took her to the vet and had her spaded our vet loved her and when she got sick we all did everything to save her. I am so angry she died and did not make it. when other dog have I pray god will help me to accecpt this we had her for 4 yrs.

    • Amy

      I am so sorry!! It is so hard to lose a dog! It is so unfair isn’t it? You are going through the natural phases of grief. Anger is a normal emotion when we lose a dear loved one.

      Take comfort in knowing that your dog is no longer suffering.

      Please take extra good care of yourself during this time. Cry when you need to.

      When the time is right, rescue another dog that needs your love. That is the best thing you can do to honor the memory of your sweet baby.

      I am so sorry you are hurting, but I do know the feeling too well.

      It will get better with time, I promise!

  • Alex

    Hi everyone

    Really feel supported in reading all your comments, although my situation is slightly different. I just euthanised my beautiful staffy cross ally two weeks ago today. She was eight years old. She attacked and nearly killed a neighbours dog (unprovoked) before turning on another of my dogs who just happened to be nearby. It was like a switch just flipped in her head, no behaviour like that ever before! I had to make the horrible decision based on the safety of my other dogs and my 18 month old son. Rehoming was not an option as a very anxious dog who would not have coped with a prolonged stay in a kennel environment – and all of the rescues local to me are at saturation point. I felt like it was the only decision that was safe for us and fair to her. But it hurts so much. I got her ashes back just yesterday. I’m a vet nurse myself and never in a million years thought id be making that decision. She came all the way here from Australia with me and was the silliest, sweetest dog I know. RIP little girl xx

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Molly,

    Thank you for being here. I understand how difficult it is to actually go to the veterinarian, even if the signs it’s time to put a dog to sleep are clear. It’s heart-breaking, and many dog owners never fully recover from their dog’s death. It’s painful.

    But, part of loving our dogs is letting them go. We need to let them rest in peace – and we need to put our grief and pain aside, so we can love our dogs the way they need to be loved, all the way to the end. My heart breaks for all of us who have to make the decision to put a dog to sleep.

    Gently tell your mum that it is time. She knows it’s time — she just doesn’t want to be the one to do it. You need to be strong, and you need to take care of both your mum and your dog right now. Call the veterinarian, make an appointment, and know that you are doing the most loving thing you could ever do for your beloved Jack Russell.

    Let us know how it goes. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Molly

    I have a 15 year old Jack Russell (16 in May). For about the past year she has had problems with her hip and when she first got them we took her to the vet who gave her shots for it, but it just seemed to make it worse. She can still walk but she does so quite stiffly. She is very skinny, but she still eats and drinks. Some days she is full of life, but other days she spends the whole time sleeping. I’ve suggested to mum we take her to the vet and she agrees but just hasn’t done it yet. We aren’t in a financial position for any treatment so I think she is procrastinating taking her as it’ll probably be bad news. She sometimes wets herself and poops without realising. You kinda get used to get skint appearance, but my aunt called around today and started tearing up when she saw her and saying it was cruel, which made me realise just how thin she is (she nearly looks like those pics of starved dogs you see on the internet), even though she still eats. If it were up to me I would have taken her to the vet awhile ago, but my mum loves her too much to say goodbye. Not sure if I should say something to mum or exactly what I should do.

  • Laurie

    Dear Marci,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for being here, and for sharing the last moments of your dog’s life with us. It sounds like it was bittersweet, a mixture of a meaningful good-bye and deep pain, and your beloved dog spent his life being loved by you. He loves you deeply, and he knows how much you love him.

    Know that he is resting in peace and comfort, and he isn’t struggling with pain or confusion. He knows that you took care of him until the last breath, and that it was a huge sacrifice to let him go. He knows you did everything you could to prolong his life, and that it was for his own comfort that you decided to say good-bye. He devoted his life to you, and he knows that you were fully devoted to him. May you remember him with peace and joy, serenity and the knowledge that his spirit will always be with you.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • Marci

      Laurie,

      Thank you for your kind and comforting words. Your message really did help me feel better about losing my sweet dog. Thanks again and take care,

      Marci

  • Beth

    Hi – we have a 2 1/2 beagle/lab. He is a good dog most of the time but we have been having a rough couple of months. We got kicked out of dog training school for being aggresive. Not he isstaring to growl at me. He not in any pain. Then we noticed he has been drinking a lot also. Called the vet and she came and seen him. Since he getting very aggressive she suggest to put him down. We have tried everything. He is not also starting to chase cars and neighbors kids. They not run by our house cause they are scared. I don’t know what else to do.

    • Sylvie

      Hi Beth,
      I am so sorry about the problems you are experiencing with your dog. I do not agree about putting your dog to sleep because of his aggression. There are behaviourists who specializes in aggression. You can contact a non-kill shelter who will rehabilitate him if you give him up instead of putting him down.
      Best of luck!

  • Cheril

    I stumbled onto this page and I guess after reading everything I now must make that decision as tears roll down my face….
    I have a 17 yr old yorkie named Harley. He had such a rough start in life I never imagined getting to this stage, his mother died at birth so another mom nursed him, then his soft spot wasn’t closing and she thought she would have to put him down before I even had him, but we did he only weighed 1 pound and was so tiny & full of energy. Then my husband had him outside and turned his back for a second just as a Huskey got him by his butt took him out in the parking lot and shook him 3 times my husband luckily kicked that dog and he dropped him. We rushed him to the ER vet and found out his hip & pelvis was broken. I took him to a surgeon to find out he was too small to do anything, so I took him home and kept him in a clothes basket for a few days. He wouldn’t eat just yelp when he moved, I even took him to work with me. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and called the vet about putting him down, well we believe he heard me because one of my co workers had some cake and put it on get finger which he licked right up, it was uphill from there on.
    He went everywhere with me, my mom was in Ok and we went there a lot, of course she spoiled him so he adored her. She passed 3 yrs ago…he use to have to be by my side all the time, on the sofa, in bed everywhere I was he was. Then 2 yrs ago I had to have all of his teeth pulled because they were awful…I don’t think he has ever been the same since. He stopped sleeping with me, and here lately sleeps all the time in his bed.
    I have wrestled for weeks on this, now he has a sore of some kind on his face that when he scratches it he yelps like crazy, I pick him up and his little heart is just racing….I know I am a terrible Mom now that I write it down, but that decision is do awful to make that I just wanted him to go in his sleep….sometimes when he looks at me(probably can’t see me though) I think he’s telling me it’s time….sometimes he eats but most of the time not, he drinks water, & he pees a lot….my heart is truly aching over this I never wanted to have to make it again, I had to put my cat of 12 yrs down 10 yrs ago, I swore. he would have to suffer before I did that, I know that is truly unfair to the smallest little guy that has the biggest part of my heart.
    So I thank you all here for reading this and expressing your pain in helping me do the right thing for him. I know he will find my Mom and they can love on each other until I get there…I’m not to sure about the hole that’s going to be left but life will go on….I will sing”You are my Sunshine” with him in my arms until his heart no longer beats…good bye to my Harley……
    Cheril

    • Marci

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. It sounds like you and Harley were lucky to have found each other. I hope you both find peace soon. Take care.

    • Sylvie

      Hi Marcie,
      I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Harley. Just know that you did the best you could for him and he is in a better place.
      Take care

    • Amy

      I borrowed this from someome else, but it fits so well, and did give me some peace…
      The hardest decision, yet the easiest decision is to let the one you love, go peacefully in your arms. They spend their whole lives devoted to you and showing their profound love to you. You transfer their suffering onto yourself when you let them go and that is a final gift to them. Our heart is broken, but they are at peace. A dog doesn’t leave a last will and testament, but if they did, I believe that they would ask us, when the time was right of course, to open our hearts and home to another dog that needs love. To let a lonely, sad dog enjoy the warmth, love and caring that you can provide. No, your fur-baby will never be replaced, but what an amazing tribute to them when you can, in their memory, love another.

  • Kirsten

    I have a white German shepherd, he will be 2 years old in april. His whole life hes been the most unhappy yet happy dog ever. His first year he had major growing pains in his legs and kept losing his fur and crying a lot so we took him to the vet only to find out hes allergic to grass, weeds, dust mites and green mites. Since hes been off his medicine to clear up his allergic reactions and ear medicine he was constipated and now has the runs. Hes been miserable for a month now and it breaks my heart. I feel like theres more we can do but we cant afford all the stuff they want us to do to help with the allergies. What would you all suggest doing? I feel like hes to young to be out down but at the same time hes not happy right now. He still acts like a playful happy puppy until hes in pain.

    • Sylvie Taher

      Hi Kristen,
      I would try feeding him raw meat with vegetables or a holistic dog food. Sometimes all of these allergies are sometime due to all the junk in kibbles.
      If you feel you cannot take care of him anymore there are associations/shelters that have a no kill policy where you could give him up instead of putting him down. But that could be just as hard.
      If you adopted your dog from a breeder, you can ask them for help too.
      I have a 17 month old long-haired GSD and I could not imagine having to put her down if she was sick or give her away.
      My thoughts are with you and I hope you find peace soon with whatever decision you make.

    • Marci

      I’m sorry your dog is having so many problems. Isn’t there an inexpensive medicine that can help with his stomach issues? I don’t know what the vets want to do that you can’t afford, but there are many groups that will help with vet care. But if you are like us, we aren’t poor but really can’t afford $5000 – $10000 for cancer treatment for our dog – even if we had wanted him to go through chemo. However, I don’t know your situation so I will suggest you search for some of these groups. The humane society had a large list as a place to start. http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_veterinary_care.html
      Again, I’m so sorry. I had a sheltie with bad skin allergies and it was a miserable and expensive experience. He had a series of cortisone shots which the vet warned would shorten his life, which it did – but we didn’t have to put him to sleep and he had a good quality of life for most of his 12 years. I hope things work out for you and your dog.

  • Marci

    Hi, I have a 12 year old lab/border collie mix. He is a sweet dog and the “protector” of our family. He is currently experiencing cancer on his front leg. We had the tumor removed twice in the past year and after the last surgery, in mid-December, it grew back within a month with a vengeance. His leg is currently bandaged, but when the bandage is changed is it clear that the tumor is growing like crazy and oozing blood and other fluid. It is also prone to infection. He is not as perky as he once was as he doesn’t wander around as much as he used to, but he still goes to the door to greet people, he still goes outside every time I go and tells me if he needs to go out. His appetite is great and he is drinking plenty of water. He barks at the mail and UPS deliveries. He occasionally even still plays – runs in the new snow or writhes around on his back and barks at the other dogs over toys. We wags his tail often and still begs for dog treats and occasionally tries to get our dinner off the stove. We will still go for a short walk. Are these moments of happiness worth the hours he lies on the floor or dog be and stares at me with a sad look? Just when I think I know he is suffering or unhappy he rallies. He is on some medicines – pain killers, antibiotics, prednisone, etc. We all love this dog like crazy and there is some dispute within the family about whether it is time or not. Any input from you who know what it is like would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Amy

      Hi Marci,

      To me, it doesn’t seem like time quite yet, but of course I cannot know like you can. But I think your dog does sound like it is still enjoying life enough now that it might not be time just yet.
      What does your vet say?

      • Marci

        The vet has pretty much given up on him and made me feel like the next time I felt he needed medical attention I should just have him put down. This makes me feel like I can’t ask questions about his pain level or get any other help with him.

      • Sylvie Taher

        Hi Marci,
        I agree with Amy, I don’t think it is his time yet, as for your vet, get another one, or tell him you are not ready to put your dog to sleep and you want his help…that’s what you pay him for!!
        Good luck, my thoughts are with you !

      • Marci

        Thank you both for your kind words and advice. I would love to give the vet a piece of my mind, but I have several other pets and need to have the clinic available until I can find someone new. Which I think I need to do. Thanks again.

      • Marci

        Well, much has happened in the two days since I first posted. My dog, Cooper, took a dramatic downhill turn with trouble breathing and even more trouble walking. When we changed his bandage that night we could see his leg bone – the cancer had eaten away almost all of the muscle and tissue and left horrible dead tissue with an even worse smell. This cancer advanced so fast it was shocking. We spoke to another vet who said there was really nothing else to be done and if his leg looked as we described he was probably in severe pain. We decided we could not make him suffer, so we cooked him a steak and gave him some of all his favorite things to eat. Family and friends spent time with him, and I spent a lot of time with him. He got lots of hugs and kisses. Yesterday was a warm and sunny day for a change and he wandered around our yard until he had to lie down. We took him to the shelter where we got him 12 years ago – since he associates the vet’s office with stress and pain – and he wandered around the grounds with all the interesting smells and enjoyed the sunshine and had a last dog treat. He was enjoying himself and seemed happy, and then we had him put to sleep. I thought I would feel more relieved since I was so worried that he was suffering, but I was just incredibly sad. Many tears have been shed since then, but I still believe we did the right thing. He was too good to us for us to be anything but kind to him. I will miss him for the rest of my life. R.I.P. Cooper and thanks to all of you.

      • Amy

        Marci,

        I am so so sorry. I cried when I read your post. I am still crying. My chocolate lab was in a similar same situation 3 months ago. On her last day, we grilled here a steak, took her for one last walk, and then took her for an ice cream cone on the way to the vet. It is the hardest thing I have ever experienced, and I still cry for her almost every day.

        There is nothing I can say to make it feel better. All you can do is know that you will see your baby again one day.

        Today would have been my Cocoa’s 15th birthday. I miss her so deeply. I know your pain. I am so sorry.

  • Robin

    After reading all the comments it tears me apart how helpless people really are when it comes to the health of your pets. I have never lost anybody close to me but I feel very soon I will, my douge De bordeaux has just been diagnosed with severe heart dicease and it breaks my heart to see my dog who was once so strong, full of life bubbly now so fragile and depressed. The hardest bit is the memorys and wishing you had made more time with them when they were jolly and well.
    I can’t even begin to imagine the day that I have to put him to sleep because I feel at 4 years of age I did not expect him to go so soon, he became more than just a pet he feels like he’s my son as silly as it may sound, I raised him, trained him, showed him life , went through the bad times aswell as the good and to picture him not there breaks my heart, maybe a tattoo of him will comfort me in a small way , I still do not know how I will cope when he’s gone because somewhere along the line when I went to see this small puppy who blessed me with 4 years of his life became my everything

  • Will

    Reading some of the comments on here has been really heart breaking. I have a five year old female jack russell. She has had a really bad life, burnt on her head which scarred badly, bladder stones which needed an operation. Then she has had a further two operations a spay and also something was wrong with her intestines. Unfortunately, after all of this, she now has Lymphoma. It has truly been one of the most heart breaking experiences of my life. It took them 6 weeks to diagnose and then to hear the words almost crippled me on the spot. She has been on a Steroid drug now for nearly a week and has a little more energy than before but she is not herself. I keep reading up on how to make the decision to have her put to sleep but i don’t know how to do it i just cannot imagine doing that to her. I know its an act of love etc but i feel like i am betraying her. I don’t know what i am going to do because i love this animal so very much i cannot stand to see her suffer.

    • Sylvie

      Hi Will,

      Keeko, my American Eskimo was burned badly on her back with what the vet believes to be bacon grease prior to my adopting her 5 years ago. So on top of having problems with her back legs, being blind and death, and chronic gingivitis, she still goes on happy to eat and see us.

      I know what you are going through, and when it is time you will know.

      Good luck

  • Laurie

    Dear Laurie,

    I encourage you to listen to your veterinarians advice about your sweet little Bruiser. When our dogs are our world – which your Yorkie is to you – we tend to let our unwillingness to say good-bye overshadow our perspective. We let our dogs live in pain instead of making the ultimate sacrifice, the final act of love and care.

    Are you keeping Bruiser alive for his sake, or yours?

    My prayers are with you as you make this decision. It’s terribly sad – heartbreaking – but it is an important way to take care of your dog. You will be crushed with grief, but you will know that you didn’t let your poor little dog suffer longer than he had to. You will mourn your terrible loss, and your heart will eventually heal. You will know that Bruiser is resting in peace, and getting all the treats he loves in his doggy heaven.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Sylvie Taher

    Hi ladies,

    Thank you so much for all of your kind words. I have been questioning myself a lot about putting my beautiful Keeko to sleep and I have decided to wait a little while longer. She has not soiled herself in a few days and she is moving around well enough.

    I had to put my other rescue Chow mix who was 15 in November 2013 and I did not have so much doubt as I do with her. I just knew it was her time.

    I had to put my 12 year Himalayan cat to sleep a few months ago after he had had a stroke. In his case the decision was made for me. He had lost feeling in his hind legs and one of his front legs. I still see him take his last breath and the thought of doing this to Keeko is just too much.

    Thank you again!

  • Christina

    Hi all,
    I myself am reading these stories and comments to find comfort for myself in the past few days. Last night I had to put my baby girl to sleep. She was a 16 yr old golden retriever, and up until 2 days ago she was a relitively happy/healthy girl. Until we woke up to her one morning unable to walk with her back legs. She digressed quickly through the day. Although she was alert..she was also partially blind, Un able to control bowel movements, and immobile. It all happened so fast. She was still understanding to what was going on but i could see her pain… It took a lot to admit it was time, but it I took comfort in believing there was more for her beyond this pain in her life, and she could pass on and be free. I was lucky to have such a helpful vet, and vet techs. They were comforting, supportive, and informative. I was able to lay next to my girl, tell her I love her, and watch her fall asleep peacefully. It has been one of the hardest experiences of my life, but it was gratifying in the sense that now my girl is at peace. She was my first and only pet, I got her when I was 10 years old( I’m now 26) and I feel like I lost a sibling, but my advice is to be there, say you love them, and remember every minute. enjoy every minute of every hug or kiss; because I havent forgotten them. I remember the first kiss I gave and the last. Every one in between is just as special too. I don’t write this to be sad, or make you sad. It was just my experience.
    What ever you have going on with your pets, the best advice I got was, ‘ you know when you know’ if the thought of ‘it’s time’ passes through.. then it’s a true possibkility because there had to be something causing you to think that. Go with you’re instincts, and if your baby isn’t really smiling.. Not just cause they are looking at you…but smiling all the time.. Then it’s time. And know it will all be alright. Remember them, love them forever, and it will be okay.

  • Laurie

    I have a yorkie named Bruiser, he’s my world. About 6 years ago he had hip surgery on his left side, addition to knee surgery a year or so later. A few months ago, we came home and Bruiser couldn’t put his right rear leg down. I took him to the Vet they did blood work, x-ray etc.. to be told he would not be a candidate for surgery that his also in heart failure. I asked her what should I do he cant put weight on his leg. The vet stated if it was her she’d put him down. I left with Bruiser confused because he still seems happy, as the months have gone on, he just will urinate anyplace ( this is not him) I carry him up the stairs most always, he will on occasion but its rare come up, going down seems ok most the time. I struggle because he still gets excited for his treat. how can I tell if he’s in pain, according to the vet she said he his . It’s such a hard thing trying to make a decision like this. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Sylvie,

    My prayers are with you as you decide if it’s time to put your dog to sleep. It’s a huge and hard decision, especially when your spouse or kids don’t agree. My friend put her dog to sleep, and her husband and adult children did not think it was time. But my friend knew it was time because she was with their dog all day long, and she could see how difficult life was for him. Her family is still unhappy with her decision….but she had to do what she felt was right.

    May your husband see how difficult this is for you and your dog. May he support your decision — and most importantly, may he learn how to process his grief so he can do what’s best for your dog. It’s possible that his pain and grief is what’s holding him back from letting her go.

    May you say good-bye to your dog with peace, and may you know that euthanasia is often the final act of love we give our dogs. It’s a huge sacrifice for us, but blessed resting in peace for them.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Sylvie Taher

    Hi, I have an American Eskimo that I rescued 5 years ago. She was supposed to be 5 but my vet thought she was closer to 7. She has aged a lot since the last year and she is no longer able to get up from the ground by herself. She has no responses in her back legs. We are not sure why. She is now blind and deaf and has been soiling herself almost daily. We get up in the morning and she is lying in her pee.She can no longer go for walks as she limps and looks in pain. She cannot see where she is going and I need to put my hand in front of her for her to smell me to know where to go. She sometimes looks like she is lost in the house.

    I made an appointment to put her to sleep on Thursday, March 5th, but my husband does not agree as he says she still eats and is happy to see us when we get home.

    What do you think?

    • Amy

      Hi Sylvie,

      What you are describing sound just like what I experienced with my labrador, however, she was nearly 15 when she showed these symptoms. She was also very happy to eat and to see us, so that is also the reason why I had a very hard time deciding to put her down.

      My dog’s condition was brought on 2 years prior from a spinal injury, after which she was paritally paralyzed for 3 days. We rehabed her back with cold laser therapy, strong anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants. She bounced back strong for a good year before we she declined again, and when she did, it was severe. She was just like your dog, went deaf, couldn’t get up without assistance, and started to poo and pee in her bed almost daily.

      My question is, what does your vet say?

    • laura

      Hi,

      Just read your situation and my friend was in the same situation not long ago her dog had the same problems as your dog is experiencing and her husband didn’t want to put him down.
      They came to a decision to go a head with it in the end.
      In your situation (and would have said the same to my friend) I would agree you are doing the right thing…. beacuase she is just like a human and plays a huge part of your family. But would you leave your family laying in wee and poo until your come home. Your lovely dog may look happy but is she inside? Does she seem in pain? She can’t see, bless her. If you think she is in pain or suffering, don’t let her my lovely, let her go in peace and comfort before it gets much worse and hurts you even more. (Hope this helps a little)
      Same as the lady above what does your vet say?
      Take care. Laura.

  • Laurie

    Dear Laura,

    That’s so terrible and sad, that your poor puppy got sick so young in her life. And to see her in pain like that, I can’t even imagine how horrible it was. I’m so sorry that you had to experience this – and with your first pet.

    My prayers are with you, as you deal with the grief and shock. I hope you will be able to adopt another pet one day — because your experience was very unusual! Most of the time, we bring our dogs home and get to love them for years and years.

    May you find comfort and peace as you adjust to life without your little dog.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • laura

      Thank you for your kind reply.
      I have felt a bit better over the weekend. Feeling better about the decision made but I can’t help feeling we could have done more and could the vets have done more to really define the illness. Everything seemed to move so quick in a space of 12hours yet definment and answers were so slow and still not underlined. By thinking too much of the situation I guess is torturing myself. I can’t help but feel guilty.

  • Laura

    We had our west highland terrier for just over 6weeks and was 4months old. In two days she changed hugely.
    First day, heavy drooling, tongue out, walking slow, we thought maybe she is having a sad day. Next day in the am very lively, come lunch time shes dropped again drooling, slow walking tongue out. Took to vets who gave an injection to stop drooling said see how we get on, 3hrs later it started all oveer again, took her back, done blood tests, all clear, normal temp.etc….they then look into it more abd was 99% sure she had a form of meninjitous, injected her with steriod and said see how she goes, got home around 7pm, all ok. 10-2am her whole tongue was our server drooling, couldnt breath and ger face had sunk back, crying it was herrendous! We took to emergency vets, who said she agreed with last vet and said she now cant move herneck, it just stayed down. They said they could do further tests which would cost around 1800. But spending this meant we would get that answer but no treatment could help her. At this point the destress she was in we could not bring her home to think about it!! We made the decision there. We then sadly let her go but at the end i said uts all, love yoy, kisses, her little nose just lifted as i went to kiss her. I cant help to think could we have done more. Dud i do the wrong thing. I feel extremely sad and sick. This was out first ever pet. 🙁

    Laura.

    • Linda

      I understand exactly what you are saying, I am sitting here reading all these and its so sad. We love our pets so much, we want them to be with us forever. We want to do whatever it takes to achieve that. I have an appt. to put my 9 yr old rotweiller down due to lymphoma cancer. He isnt’ suffering yet but not eating, and other symptoms. I question am I doing the right thing? Is there anything else I could do to get just one more day with my beloved friend. I am doing this because he is my beloved friend and I don’t want him to suffer. I cry constantly, I question myself constantly will I have the strength to follow through with my decision on Friday. I am having doctor come to my home where he can be with familiar things and his other two pals, Harley and nana (Dogs) they all grew up together. Not quite sure they realize what is happening other than their mommy is crying a lot. So everyone who is reading this please say a prayer for my and my DOJA who will be loved and missed till the end of time. I know how everyone feels that is on this site, god bless you all.

      • Amy

        Linda,

        My heart hurts for you. I know the pain. I know the doubt. I know the guilt. I am so sorry.

        I too was faced with this very gut wrenching decision 3 months ago…my 15 yr old lab.

        I cried so much too leading up to it. I cried for weeks afterward. It got better after a month, but to this day I still cry for her.

        It is so hard. Dogs are one of the most amazing gifts God gave us.so hard to say goodbye to them, it’s just not fair.

        I’m so sorry. Tears!

  • Tracie

    My dog Rosie was diagnosed with a slow growing cancer on February 2. She was doing good for the first 3 weeks with the pain medicine they put her on and then this past weekend she went down hill. She was having labored breathing on Sunday. Took her in Monday they said it was time to let her go. They said take her home spoil,love her, and spend the Monday with her and bring her in Tuesday at 4:30 to put her down. I know it’s time cause she gives me that stare in my eyes. Hope you know what I’m talking about. I have to do this for her so she does not suffer anymore. I made her a big ribeye steak dinner last night and today she ate it all last night,but did not eat it all today. She makes a gurgling sound when she eats or drinks not sure what that may be. They say maybe the cancer got in her lungs. She is an afghan hound, and she is 14 years old almost 15.

    • Amy

      Tracie,

      So sorry about Rosie. I had a lab the same age, 14 (almost 15) that we put down in Nkvember right before Thanksgiving. Hardest thing EVER. I still cry for her…was laying in bed last night and just started crying because I miss her so much and am sad that we had to put her down.

      How did Tuesday go? How are you feeling today?

      Amy

  • Laurie

    Dear Claire,

    Thank you for sharing here. It sounds like poor Leo isn’t happy. He’s uncomfortable, likely in pain, and not enjoying his life anymore. I believe that putting your dog to sleep is a final act of love, compassion, and mercy for him.

    Saying good-bye to Leo will be a huge sacrifice and loss for you, but I believe it is the only way to show your love. He is suffering, and he needs to rest in peace.

    That’s just my opinion, though — your veterinarian may have other suggestions, after seeing Leo in person! I wish you all the best when you take your beloved dog to the vet.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • linda

    my Alsatian x collie dog is 15 in april and has really bad arthritis in back legs, hes going blind and deaf and has horners syndrome has lost his bark. hes also going bit senile and has strange episodes where he will stand under table staring at nothing. he struggles to get up most days now and doesn’t like going out.he goes into garden for a wee but poos in house all the time.i love him to bits and cant let go am I being selfish? is it time to?

    • Amy

      Oh gosh, this sounds so much like my lab who would have been 15 next month. We did put her down because she just seemed like she was not happy anymore, along with all the things you stated about your dog. It was such a hard decision. We put her down the week of Thanksgiving, and some days I regret it, some days I feel it was the right thing. Such a difficult decision!! I feel for you. It has been over 2 months, but I cried so much today for her. I wish you peace with whatever you decide to do…either way, it will be sad.

    • M

      Please don’t let your sweet dog suffer another day. I want to be gentle in my reply but you have to ask yourself what the poor baby’s quality of life is. I’m sure you give all the love required but it is definitely time.

    • Claire

      Hi I am kinda in the same situation as you. I have a collie cross who is about 14 years old. Leo has always been a very happy dog, but in Dec he started having seizures. My vet said that the most likely cause is a brain tumor. Since dec he has gone downhill quite quickly. He also has arthritis and standing up is now very difficult for him. He is so depressed looking he makes me cry. He has started having seizures much more frequently . He pees and poos in the house every night. He growls at us when we try to encourage him to go outside and just wants to lie in his bed most of the time. When he does stand up he paces in circles and very rarely wags his tail when we interact with him. Today he stood and stared at a wall for a while and got stuck trying to move past a table I had moved from his usual spot. I had to move the table as he was just trying to walk right through it. I have an appointment tomorrow with the vet and am seriously considering putting him to sleep. I have hardly slept for a week because I am so stressed out about it. I can see he still has a bit of life in him and thats why I am wondering if its too early? but then I think, Leo is NOT going to get better. He is going to get WORSE. I can’t bare the thought of him getting worse. I don’t want to watch him suffer or be in constant pain. Please someone help me know if I am making the right decision in getting him put to sleep.

      Thanks in advance x

      • Mercedes

        Oh Claire I’m so sorry…. I know how much it hurts to watch your poor pet just go downhill. I had a 10 year old Boston Terrier that presented seizures last February that were controlled with bromides for about 9 – 10 months… then they came back with a vengeance in October and our vet confirmed brain tumor. It was so hard to make the decision to let her go… but on November 14th I held her, and loved her, and helped he go. It still makes me teary eyed typing it. I love her. I miss her. But I have no doubt that what I did was right by her. With the brain tumor, it won’t get better. Like you, I ended up on this page hoping for an answer tona question that deep down…. I already knew. Big hugs and warm energy being sent your way….

  • Savannah

    Hello All, I’ve been searching and searching on the net and I ended up here. Wondering what true dog owners and lovers would do? We have an 11 year old Doxie. His name is Louie and he has been battling Cushing for the past 4 years. 2 years ago we put him on medication but it seems no matter the dose or changes he is not getting better. He has a large list of symptoms… insatiable hunger to the point where he gets into things that could hurt him. Tears into cabinets at the hinges cause he thinks there may be food there. We started using a baby gate to keep him out of the kitchen and from hurting himself and I came home to a bloody destroyed fence and a dog with a broken tail. insatiable thirst, it is probably what kills me the most, I can’t imagine feeling, being, or dealing with being this thirsty. I find him in the bathtub in the middle of the night though he is too old to really even get in there. He is almost completely bald and is licking the remaining fur off all his paws. Other than food and drink he doesn’t do much, he can act spunky but for the most part just sleeps. He has in the last year started acting as though he has separation anxiety and barking all day long. He has also been having accidents in the house, not all the time but I know for an 11 year old trained dog this is not normal. He has always been a chill and an awesome dog but these past few years he isn’t the same dog at all. I recently found out that I was pregnant and it saddens me to think we may have to put him down. Sometimes I find him sleeping in random parts of the house sleeping by himself which is totally out of character of him. My husband and I have spent over $3500 this year alone and we are running out of savings. When we see the vet they always want more tests and more or different medication. Any advice (not in medical) but in passion is needed. I always thought we would have him so much longer than 11 years but I know this is not my same Louie we have had and the thought that he can’t be comfortable or may hurt himself when we are at work just has been so stressed. Pet owners, help…

    • Michelle

      Savannah I sympathize with you! I recently went through the same type of circumstance…..making the decision. After what I dealt with for my sweet 14 year old cocker spaniel Rylie, and what she went through, it truly comes down to making the decision based on your pet only. At 14 Rylie had arthritis which Pred kept under control. She ate, drank, went outside…..the normal things you think would keep you from putting a dog down. Unfortunately, she had a tumor in her ear canal and developed a chronic ear infection that became worse over time. It turned into pseudomonas and it’s resistant to most meds. After expensive injections, it cleared then came back. It was now resistant to that. We came to a wall, either do surgery which would remove her canal or just continue cleaning and try to keep her comfortable. She never showed pain and the vet said she was the best patient he’s ever had. A couple months ago it changed. So thinking of how horrible it must feel with all the bad stuff that goes along with this and she had started losing hair most likely from the infection going into her system, I knew she needed peace. She had a great Christmas and ate Prime Rib and more Prime Rib!!! It was her special day for love. On Dec 29th she crossed over to Rainbow Bridge. It is the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but it has to be yours and vets won’t tell you directly it’s time. I’m still grieving, I cry only because I miss her sassy butt barking every morning because I’m not getting her breakfast quick enough! I know it was the right choice, but that came the morning of. She was a snow bunny and would lay in it and eat it only coming in with the hope of more food then back out! It hadn’t really snowed and I had wished for 1 more snow for her…..that last sight of seeing her happy with frozen snowballs on her fur and face! It just melted my heart watching her and that morning it began to snow! Just enough to please her, I know it was a sign that she was ready. Savannah all I can do is tell you my experience and I hope it helps in your journey, a difficult journey. I know it’s peaceful and I held her every moment so she left here knowing the love she felt since we took home our little 8 week old runt of the litter with the adorable white stripe on her head! You will know in your heart what your furry baby needs! I’m here if you need someone!

    • Susan

      Savannah, I’m so sorry. I truly understand! Please read about what I wrote in below comments. Sounds to me that another vet’s opinion may be needed. If your dog is having that many problems over such a long time and things aren’t better, and then the vet wants to do more treatments?? Doesn’t sound right. As much as we love our pets and don’t want to be without them, there comes a time when we must do what’s best for them AND us. You certainly don’t need this stress while being pregnant. What I did was try to put myself in their place. Would I want to live that way? It’s ok to put them down when their quality of life has diminished so badly. It’s also ok to feel badly, sadly, and to mourn. Don’t feel guilty. When you have those thoughts just replace them with a fond memory. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make, but it was the right one. I will pray for you. Try to now concentrate on the new baby and yourself!

    • Amy

      Oh my goodness Savannah, I am so sorry that your poor Louie is suffering and that you are faced with this heartache. I will be honest with you…if it were my dog I would most likely help Louie out of his misery. You have tried what you can, and he is not getting better–I am afraid he will only get worse. Poor Louie is trapped in a sick body, and life is not fun for him anymore. In fact life is probably pretty much miserable for him most days.

      I think if Louie were able to talk to you, he would say please let me go in peace.
      http://ubertoolcomic.com/?comic=no-97

      I am so sorry!

    • Sig

      Savannah, So sad. If this were happening to a friend of yours, you were outside looking in, what would you say? How would you feel? When you are in the thick of it,(and could be you are extra emotional being pregnant,) and its your first, second or even third time around, with having to put a good dog down, its so very hard to be rational. I’m having do do it any day now with my 16 year young cattle dog /german shepherd who has never left my side. But for a killer tumor in her mouth, she is , was, perfectly healthy which makes me feel like a killer. I’m talking to a pet psychic tomorrow to see my dog’s side of things and hopefully release some of my overwhelmng fear. My higher enlightened self knows better about Life and Death, but I need assistance right now .Listen, what I really think, is that because you’re giving birth in the future, its best to take the steps you need to, and to try to heal from the grief, so as not to have your baby pick up on your raw sorrow.Try to resolve, be resolute, and most of all be kind to yourself . If you get another pet, I would not return to that vet. so sorry. Blessings.

  • mimi

    Thanks for all the stories. My 14 year old Pom is in the hospital he has a diagnosis of Addison Disease and I don’t won’t to put him through all the test and medications and reading others stories will help me to make the decision that I know I must do once I pick him up on tomorrow. He had not been eating or drinking so I had to take him in and this is what I found out that is wrong with him. I did research and he is not his self and I don’t won’t meds for the remaining of his life and he can’t truly be the dog I know. I just needed to hear other people stories because he is my baby and he has been with me and my husband for almost 15 years. He will be 15 this year he looks so sad and depressed. It hurts me to talk about it.

    • Susan

      MIMI, I’m so sorry. It’s so hard to see our pets change, suffer, or just not be themselves. I’m the one with the two dachshunds that I put down two weeks ago. It was the hardest thing I ever did. Now that two weeks have passed I don’t miss them any less, but I feel I did what was best for them. My only advise is to consult your vet. You will know what to do and when. Listen to your heart. I couldn’t talk about it either without crying. It’s better now, but I still cry, I miss them so. Just remember there is another puppy/dog out there that can steal your heart when you are ready. We can never replace the ones we had but can learn to love a new pet.

    • Amy

      I am so sorry about your dog’s diagnosis. I know that Addisons is petty common in dogs. I would say that 15 is a rile old age for most breeds. What does your vet say? I wonder if your dog can try the meds to see if it can feel better?

  • Kaylee Leffingwell

    I have an about 14 year old chocolate lab named Charlee. I say about 14 because I rescued him 5 years ago so don’t know his exact age. Charlee has hip dysplasia and lately he has been extra wobbley when walking around. For the past 2 days I have to help him up and sorta guide him outside when he goes to the restroom to make sure he doesn’t fall over. I know that if he can no longer get up on his own that I will have to put him down, but I guess because I have only had him 5 years I feel it is to soon. I am waiting out these next few days to see how charlee does. I guess I am just looking for reassurance or suggestions on what to do. Thanks

    • Susan

      So sorry, it’s such a hard thing to go through. I just put my two dachshunds down this past Monday. You can read about it below. My husband and i finally got up the courage to do so. All the advise I can give you would be to try to put yourself in his place. Would he want to continue to go on in the state he’s in? What does your vet advise? What a blessing that you rescued him! Lucky dog! If your heart will allow you, there are many many more out there that need rescuing. We can never replace the dogs we have had, but we can build new memories with a new one coming into the family. They can also make the grieving process a “little” easier. I will pray for you during this process. Susan

    • Amy

      Hi Kaylee, I just put my almost 15 yr old chocolate lab down about a month ago. It is the hardest thing to do, but sometimes the best thing tou can do for your beloved dog if it suffering. I would suggest getting a consult with your vet to see if there is anything else that can be done for Charlee. If not, then I would say take some time to prepare to say goodbye. Spend some extra time with him, giving all the love, hugs, kisses you can shower on him…talk to him and tell him what a good dog he has been. Good luck with your decision, it is a very difficult one.

      • Kaylee Leffingwell

        Thank you so much for responding. It just hard because in the head a day face he seems fine, but his body is just not up to it anymore. Did your lab have issues with his hips before he was put down?

      • Amy

        My lab was in great shape her whole life, until she injured her lower back 2 years ago. I was walking her and she darted after some ducks and when she got the the end of her leash, it snapped her to the ground and she hurt her back so badly that she was paralyzed for 3 days. We rehabbed her back and she had a really good year and then started going back downhill last year. But she did not have any hip or knee problems like many labs do. I also wonder if she might have had cancer because we found othr she had lost 20 pounds over the final year of her life…yet she ate all the time. I miss her sweet face and solemn eyes so much. She was my “only child” and the only dog I ever had. She was so special. It is hard to lose our best friends who love us so much.

    • L

      Hi,
      If your really love your dog you’ll get him wheels to get around. I have a 105 lb German Shepherd that has degenerative myelopathy and he’s been in wheels for 1 1/2 years now. He absolutely loves it, and it has given him his life back. He runs, gets to play with other dogs, is happy and not missing a beat. I could not fathom saying goodbye when he lost his back legs. Would you want to end your life if you were not able to walk?

      • Amy

        Hi “L”,

        Everyone’s situation is different. If you prefer to make mean spirited comments and broad generalizations, rather than be supportive and helpful, this might not be the right place for you!

      • Savannah

        I agree with Amy, to say someone doesn’t “really love” their dog because they might not be able to choose a life of wheels for them or take care of them correctly with such modifications is awful. Eveyone here loves their pet, it’s why they are here.

  • Michelle

    I posted on here a couple weeks ago about my 14 year old cocker spaniel…..the sweetest girl. I was struggling with the decision to give her peace and on Dec 29th my ex-husband and I took our girl in. Even though it was peaceful and the right decision, I never imagined the guilt, pain and sadness I feel. I kept petting and kissing her until the end and after. We have a place called Paws to Angels and she met us there and offered support then again after. She took my girl placed her in a casket wrapped in a blanket and she has been cared for in such a dignified manner. I will be able to pick up her ashes and bring her home on Monday. Being such a huge animal lover, I always worry about our furry babies treatment after death. I am so grateful for this wonderful service! Rest in peace our sweet, sweet Rylie!

    • Amy

      I cried everyday for the first 4 weeks after our Cocoa went to Heaven. I had terrible guilt, regret, and heartache. After the 1 month mark, I felt quite a bit better and can now think about her without the urge to cry my eyes out. RIP Rylie.

  • Jennifer

    I have a 13 year old Yorkie, he is almost blind and was diagnosed with a collapsed trechea last year. The meds he is on have not helped him much. He has progressivley gotten worse. I have not slept in bed with my husband for over 2 months, having to sleep on the sofa with Cooch to keep him calm at night. He also has dementia, so he paces the floor and stares into space. I know the time is close to making a decision. It is honestly the hardest decision I have ever made. I pray every night for God just to take him in his sleep. We don’t want our sweet boy suffering for our selfishness. Don’t know what to do!!!!!!

    • Susan

      Jennifer, I feel your pain. I am the one that wrote about my two 15 yr old sausage dogs, brothers, litter mates. We finally got up the courage to put them both down at the same time on Monday. And, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. In fact as soon as I dropped them at the vet, I almost turned around to go back and get them. I kept busy that day running errands, etc. Our Vet and Vet’s assistant helped us a lot in making the decision. In away I think I was looking for “permission”, that it’s ok. I knew that Chief would grieve badly as they were always together. He wasn’t in good shape either. My husband and I made the decision to do it for their sake as well as ours. We weren’t sleeping either because Coach had dementia and was doing the same thing your dog is doing. The thing that helped me the most was putting myself in their place. Would I want to live like that? I will be praying for you and your husband. Susan

      • Amy

        Hi Susan, I am glad you were able to make the decision about your dogs crossing the rainbow bridge together. That was a tough one, I am sure. God Bless ya’ll.

      • Jennifer

        Susan,
        Thank you for your incouragment. And if am so sorry you had make decision for both of your babies. I am trying to do the best for my Cooch. It is breaking my heart but, it is time to do something for him. I am just ready for him to rest. I know it has been a hard fight for him the last few weeks.

        Jennifer

      • Susan

        It’s still so fresh. I miss them not being in their favorite chair, wagging tails, sitting with me on the sofa. They would jockey for position next to me especially in the winter. So, every time I tear up and wonder if I did the right thing I just think for something funny they did and try to remember them like they were before old age got them. Hang in there!

      • Mike

        I am sorry for your loss.
        Had to put my little girl down on December 22..she was my best friend and confidant. I can still see her running with her little ears back and so very happy. I completely understand what you are going through…it really sucks….but…we have to think about how much better they are…not how it makes us feel…our babies….we do what is best for them no matter how much it hurts…

  • Susan

    We have two sausage dogs, brothers, out of same litter, 15 yrs old. One of them has dementia, not too active, mostly blind and deaf. However, he never forgets it’s meal time or time for a snack. He is having some urine accidents in the house, not on a regular basis yet. He can no longer be kenneled because of the dementia so some nights he’ll come in our room and wake us up, or scratch on the door. Meds haven’t worked. We are thinking it’s time to put him down. Our dilemma is the brother. He’s in fair shape but is also mostly blind and deaf. Since they have never been apart should we put him down as well? Will he miss him brother and it cause him sadness and confusion? We’re having such a hard time with this. Has anyone else dealt with this situation, or have thoughts? Thxs, Susan

    • Amy

      Oh my, so heart breaking! I am no expert, by any stretch, but I have read that dogs do not mourn death the same as humans do. Every dog is different, of course, but I wonder if the brother might have a period of sadness, and then get past it much faster than you will. I don’t know…anyone else have expertise is this situation?

      • Susan

        Thanks Amy. We are really on the fence about this. If the second dog was younger with no issues of course we wouldn’t consider putting him down. They are so close. Always have to be together, sleeping, eating, going outside, etc.

      • Amy

        Gosh, maybe you could do what I did and call the SPCA pet loss hotline. The doctor, a psychologist, is very nice and very willing to talk as long as you need, helping you make a decision about that. I do not have the number, but you could google it, as I did. Such a hard place to be, between a rock and a hard place, really.

      • Mandy

        Dogs and cats definitely grieve for their lost companions. I know this from experience after losing my terrier Max to epilepsy after a five-year struggle. The meds kept things under control most of the time, but he would sometimes have to stay at the vet overnight. The morning he didn’t come home (passed away in his sleep), our other two dogs paced and howled (I also thought they were just picking up on our distress) until we explained to them that Maxie had gone to a better place (yes, dogs can’t understand us but they sure looked like they were listening), led them to have a sniff at his bed and his blankie and then packed them away. They were both depressed for about a week (poor appetite, tails down, sniffing at the place his bed used to be, you know the symptoms) and then started to rally. Ten years later, Cody still gets excited when he sees a white terrier until the dog comes closer, then he loses interest. The same was true of our cats. Tadgie’s brother died of a heart attack, and Tadge roamed the house for months calling out in the ‘special voice’ he used to use to call Cat.

      • Amy

        Oh wow, what a sad story, I am sorry for you losses! I guess it kind of confirms what I thought…that they do mourn but not the same (as long and deeply) as we do. I think they get past the loss faster than we humans do, as I am at 6 weeks after my loss and I am still a mess. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • Christina (Moxie) Tuituku

    Our 13 year old long-haired black lab/chow/retriever is getting distressed at night, a recently acquired behavior. Prince nuzzles me awake and I go through the list: “Do you want to go out?” We go outside. One night it was twice within 2 and a half hours. He did nothing. We came back in. Just a bit ago, it was 4a.m. & again nothing. “Oh, you want water!” Prince drinks a lot of water and his 24 oz. bowl is bone dry. Of course, it wasn’t when I went to bed at 1a.m. “Well, you don’t want food because there is still some in your bowl.” Meanwhile, Prince is doggedly clinging to me (pun intended).

    Now I cannot go back to bed. So I lay in my recliner and google “13 yr old dog acting senile,” & I eventually click my way to this blog. As I typed, Prince wedged himself underneath a wooden tv table and between the sofa & the arm of my recliner, an unusual posture. He just stares at me with his once brown, now glazed mottled blue eyes and breathes heavily into my face. I notice, with pangs of guilt, how bad his teeth are, although none appear missing. I look upon his shabby, dull coat where endless tufts of hair are begging to be gently tugged away. Even though his coat sheds enough to blacken our beige carpet & even though one brushing yields enough fur to stuff a couple of plastic grocery bags, his unkempt coat remains an unfinished task, mainly because he is in much discomfort no matter how delicately I brush & he lets me know in no uncertain manner, growling, baring his teeth, & even snapping.

    He has had hip dysplasia since we got him when he was 18 weeks old. And I don’t recall when, but fairly early on, he acquired a growth on his side. I thought it to be a tumor, but the vet said it’s common, benign, & I’m just to make sure it never gets punctured! Although that growth remains the largest, Prince now has several smaller versions all over. I don’t know if they cause him pain. Moreover, he has hot spots on both of his rear paws. They are constantly festering, but the vet says there is not a whole lot more to be done about them. So he hobbles about & at times his hind quarters collapse between his hip dysplasia and very painful ankles and paws.

    I think about Prince’s aging process. He is often listless & yet still does respond to normal commands, or inquiries (e.g. You want to go out? You want some food? Would you like some cheese?) He manages to wag his tail when another family member comes walking through the door. Much of his care is taking its toll on me, but that is because I am disabled with my own chronic pain issues. Personal inconvenience is not an acceptable reason for putting him down. I must trust I will know when the time is right for Prince.

    • Amy

      Hi Christina,

      I can very much relate to what you a going through with Prince. My 15 yr old lab also showed signs of cognitive decline/disease. She would sleep all day and then be restless during the night, as if she had her days and nights mixed up. She would sometimes go out in the middle of the night and not go potty but just stand there and stare into the darkness. As she ages, she preferred close and tight spaces. She would squeeze under furniture, as if she felt safer there. She also would soe,times “get lost” in the corner of a room, or go to the wrong side of the door to go out.

      It is so hard to see them go downhill. We too tried everything we could…meds, laser therapy, specially cooked meals, etc. it would all work at first but then she would slip down a little further.

      Towards the end, I was so confused about what to do about Cocoa’s condition. I ended up calling a “Pet Loss Hotline” at the SPCA. I spoke at length with a psychologist. It helped me a lot, I would recommend it.

      I feel for you, putting my sweet baby down was the hardest and most gut wrenching thing I have ever experienced.

      I hope you find peace.

  • Laurie

    It seems to me that even though putting my dog to sleep will be heart breaking for me, it in the end will show her how much she was really loved, said Cindy in November….and I believe it is true. That’s sacrificial love – it hurts more than anything, but it may be the most compassionate thing we can do for our beloved dogs.

    • billy bell

      I put my bevoved Lucy to sleep today….She was an almost 9 year old
      Shep/huskey rescue who was the love of my life.after almost 10 months
      Of seeing her slipping away bit by bit with sevier arthritis in her back
      Legs….I made the hardest destion I ever made in my life. I couldn’t
      Stand to see her loose a bit more of her Lucyness every week. We tried
      Everything….. Drugs that gave her kidney levels
      Unacceptably high numbers, antibiotics to combat that, pain meds etc.
      She kept getting worse… I had to drag her to walk, feed her by hand and carry her up and down 3 flights of stares…hold her up in front of her water bowel….although I’ve had 3 dogs prior to Lucy…I never had to make a choice Like I made today… All my other babies died on their own. I’ve been prepareing for this day for a while now and as I write this I still can’t beleve she’s no longer here. All of the things she loved no longer meant anything to her anymore…I know in my heart I did the right thing…but my heart is so broken.

      • Amy

        Hi Billy Bell,

        I am so sorry about Lucy, my heart breaks for you. The first month (give or take) after they are gone is so hard. My baby Cocoa has been gone just under a month and I still cry almost every day for her. I miss her sweet face so much.
        We too tried everything for our dog, meds, laser therapy, home cooked food, etc. it all helped for a period of time, and then she would slip down a little further.
        All I can say is just allow yourself to fully grieve and know that feelings of regret and guilt are normal, but those negative feelings will soften and you will be left with good memories.
        Cocoa was my only dog ever. I think that means she will always be the most special to me, but I do want another one soon.
        I hope you have some emotional support. I do still talk to my dog all the time and look at her pictures every day. I also have her ashes and a paw print that I hold dear.
        Hang in there, and come back to this blog Andy rite a outd our feelings whenever you need to. I will always respond! It helps so much!

      • Mike

        I am about to put my little dog…Lucy… to sleep tomorrow morning.

        She has been my “rock” through my parents dying…a bad relationship…and just “in general” been an always happy and positive part of my day.

        She is diabetic & blind…but that never kept her from being a “dog”….wish I had her courage and out look on life. Now she is in renal failure…not even close to the dog I knew…can’t let her suffer any longer. Going to miss her bunches.

      • Amy

        Oh Mike, I am so sorry you are having to put Lucy down at Christmas. It sounds like you are not conflicted though, so that is much better than not really knowing if it is the right time or not. It is very hard to do either way. I hope you find peace and have people around you that are understanding and know what a difficult time this is for you. Godspeed Lucy.

      • Susan

        Thank you for your reply above. Yes, you are right. We have to do what’s best for them not us. Do you plan to get another dog?

      • Mike

        I don’t know….as much as I enjoy the company…fun…companionship…someone to talk to…that doesn’t talk back.. ;)…gonna be hard to replace Lucy…plus…it is just me.
        You going to?

      • Susan

        Not now. My husband and I are retired and have begun to travel some. Maybe in a few years when our traveling days are over.

  • Laurie

    Dear SaraLyn,

    I’m sorry you’re going through this with your beloved dog, and I hope this weekend is going better than you expected. It’s so difficult to know if our dogs are in pain, and if putting them to sleep is the right thing…I have a little Bichon, too. They’re so amazing, I love my dog so much!

    With great love comes great sacrifice. I know this is easier to say than do, but I believe we need to protect our beloved creatures from pain. I truly believe that dogs really do “rest in peace” after they are put to sleep, and that it is up to us to put our pain and grief aside. We need to do what’s best for our dogs no matter how it makes us feel.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision, and prepare to let Miss Bebe go. Maybe she took a turn for the better and doesn’t have to say good-bye yet….but I pray for peace and healthy grieving when her time comes.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • Michael

      Hi, my Staffie, Toby, is now between 12 & 13 years old (we rescued him back in 2004 so are not sure!). For the past year or so he has been suffering with arthiritis in both his back legs. Consequently his walks became much shorter than he would like, but he still appeared a happy dog. Earlier this year he jumped down the stairs to greet the postman and damaged his front right leg, he has been on meds (Cortisone Steroids) ever since but the leg won’t heal. So he hasn’t had a walk for 3 months now. This morning he vomited blood and some strange ‘kidney like’ substance. The vet wants to see him and I have booked an appointment for this evening; but I feel in my heart of hearts that it is now time to let him go, I’ve been thinking about it for a month. The problem is that I can’t stop crying when I think of it and I just don’t know if I can do this and can’t see how I will ever get over it. He has been my faithful companion through thick and thin and no other dog could ever replace him or his character. I guess I am looking for some reassurance that this is the right thing to do. I know everyone has to go through this at some point, but I just can’t seem to find the courage. 🙁

      • Joy

        I feel for you. My dog Raffles is 14, he had arthritis and had pulled all the hair out of his legs andd is now working on his back. He is blind, almost deaf, has a heart condition,which has been controlled with medication for years. I lost my husband last year so letting go of Raffles is hard. He still misses his dad and has changed over the last year. The only thing he still enjoys is eating. He eats like a horse but nothing else pleases him. No walks, no toys. I know I should do something but can’t make a decision. My vet isn’t very helpful actually. Last week I spent $225 on medications. Wish there were an easy answer.

      • Amy

        Hi Joy,

        I found this site because my husband and I put our beloved (nearly 15 year old) chocolate lab down 3 weeks ago today and I still cry everyday about it.

        I too was tormented about wether it was time or not to put Cocoa down. She too had severe arthritis in her hind legs, she had a spinal injury, was almost completely deaf, and her eyes wee cloudy. She had recurrent and chronic colitis. Like Raffles, the only thing that still brought her joy was eating. She even quit drinking water from her bowl for 2 weeks, but she always wanted to eat…all day long if it was up to her. Toward the end, she slept much of the day, but she would wake up like clockwork to eat!

        If she had stopped eating, it would have been so much easier to know it was truly time to let her go. But no, she always wanted to eat!

        I prayed to God to give me a sign that it was time. That night, Cocoa soiled her bed over and over for hours. We would get her and the bed all cleaned up, fall back to sleep, and she would have another accident in her bed, and the worst part was that she didn’t even know she was doing it. Then, she got out of bed and was shaking in pain. I was terrified that we had waited too long, and it was a very bad feeling.

        The next day we called the vet and made an appt to euthanize her that day late afternoon.

        We did everything fun we could think of for her that day. We fed her all kinds of food she loved, but never got to eat due to her colitis….peanut butter crackers, whipped cream from the can, and grilled steak. She was so excited and happy that she didn’t even take a nap that day, which was totally out of the ordinary for her.

        It was still the hardest thing I have ever done, and I will be honest, part of me regrets it. Part of me wishes I had called it off. I am tormented by a few things that happened during the euthanasia, and I hope in time those feelings will lessen.

        Bottom line, it is so hard! Only you and your dog can be the judge of when it is time, and even then it is still so hard! When the time comes, please make sure you find a compassionate and caring vet, if you feel yours is not.

      • Michael

        Hi Joy, I’m so sorry to hear about Raffles, I hope in some way my reply can help. At 1AM last Saturday morning, not long after my post, I was put in a position where I had to find the courage afterall. Toby had vomited blood for the second time and I knew that this was it and without further ado I called the vet and gave the order. While I was on the phone with him the line suddenly went dead, and do you know what, I thought he had put the phone down (because of the hour), at that moment I was wrought – I had a very sick dog on my hands for the night and no way to deal with him. Thankfully the vet called back and was persuaded to come out, fortunately we live quite close to the practice. I find it too painful to go trough the whole process at the moment, but took solace in that it went smoothly (sorry to hear of you experience Amy) and was completely humane, not sudden and he died in my arms with all my love. There are a couple of images afterwards that I can’t get out of my mind, but as Amy says time will help. Joy, you will definitely know in your heart of hearts when it’s time to make the decision, because somehow and in some way you will look at Raffles and know, the both of you (I believe). It’s such a shame that after so many years of joy shared things have to end like this. I am happy that Toby is freed, it is our feelings of loss that is devastating and I think we all have to understand this in order to begin grieving. I’ve had some lovely messages of support from friends which has also helped… so try and talk if you can bear to. x

      • Amy

        I am so sorry you had to go through that trauma with Toby. That type of thing seems to always happen in the middle of the night, when it seems even more scary and desperate.

        It hurts your heart deeply.

        I feel for you.

        I hope you are able to fully grieve and then find peace.

  • SaraLyn

    I am really glad to find this blog. My precious Bichon, Miss Bebe has been with me for 13 years. I adopted her when she was 2. She turned 15 in September. We moved to Australia in 2002 and moved back in 2004. She has never been sick all these years until 3 weeks ago. She was so excited when I came home from work one day and dropped to the floor with a seizure. I scooped her up and rushed her to the Vet. After blood work etc, all was fine. No worries. The next morning, she was so excited when I got up and she basically fainted melting to the floor. I scooped up up again and to the vet. They kept her for the day. Still nothing. Got her home and she was excited again, and fainted melting to floor. Back to the vet as it was their late clinic. They started her meds. 2 days later her breathing was abnormal. After xrays ect..congestive heart failure, bladder stone. More meds. She started feeling like her ol self. She only had one more fainting spell and she was fine 15 min later. As of tues, she is unable to maintain her balance and not eating, only drinking water. Dropped her off at the vet’s in hopes of good news soon. I decided to go the the vet’s office to check in. After the news, I felt like dying. I could not breathe. Her liver and kidney’s are failing. I pulled a mattress in the living room near her spot so I can be beside her. Thank God I have an amazing staff to give me this time to be with my sweet girl. I know I need to make the decision as she now cannot hold her balance as she tries to get up and I help her. She urinates and then I place her back in her bed. I do not want her to suffer what so ever. Is it time? By reading the questions above, I know it is time. She just drank lots of water as I gave her…in a syringe nausea meds. I just need to know if she is in any pain at this moment. She is not on any meds as I want the weekend to fully make the decision. Help!!

  • Michelle

    I’m so glad I found this! I am meeting with my vet in the morning to discuss my 14 yr old Cocker Spaniel Rylie. She is amazing….has never been aggressive or bit anyone and has always been happy and so fun. The last couple years have been tough and she has been battling a chronic ear infection that just won’t go away. It is pseudomonas and is resistant to many drugs. Making matters worse is the large tumor just in the ear canal opening so it’s difficult getting her drops down inside and the tumor can’t be removed. She has horrible arthritis in her back and hind legs and is on prednisone for her ear and the joints. Even with that she struggles to get up. She misses a stair occasionally or a back leg gives out.
    A couple weeks ago she went through a wild puppy stage for about a week that had my kids and myself in shock. She chased squirrels and ran…..she hasn’t done that in years. She was playful and alert. It didn’t last and I wonder if it was a sign. Something she did for us. When my ex-husband would come over she would cry and shake with excitement and you couldn’t help but smile. Now she doesn’t even get up, but wags her little tail. She still eats…..in fact that is kind of her obsession and we say if she had thumbs the rest of the world would go hungry! :). No decreased appetite, but I don’t think that is a factor with her. She sleeps, and when awake begs for food then sleeps. That is her life…..she won’t go for walks and I let her go outside in front but she just potties and right back to the door. Years ago if she got out we would be chasing her down the street and only way she would stop is if you said TREAT! So, is it time? She has never shown pain even the vet doesn’t understand it. Her eyes lost that glow…..she is now popping up skin tumors like crazy and losing patches of hair. I feel it’s time, I constantly cry, I know in my heart. I have an 11 yr old Pom that is acting sullen….he blocks the doggie door like he doesn’t want her going outside. He has luxating patellar, torn ACL in both back legs. He can no longer go up the stairs so he barks and we have to carry him. He has allergies does the reverse sneeze a lot, and a collapsing trachea. I can’t see them apart and with his ailments…..I am mortified to admit I have had thoughts of letting them go to Rainbow Bridge together. I’m making myself cry just writing about having that thought and it makes me feel like a bad mommy. I love animals and tried to save an opossum after it got hit by a car…..I am so sad and depressed I just don’t know what to do.

    Thank you to anyone who reads this LONG STORY! I already feel like my baby is gone 🙁

    • Mercedes

      My heart truly hurts for you as I know you, like probably the majority of the rest of us, landed on this blog in a moment of desperation seeking for answers to a question that you already know….. We just somehow want someone to tell us YES. THIS is the right time and this is the right decision. It completely sucks that though everyone offers support, no one can tell us anything that will make the decision easier. I posted on here a few weeks ago…. for the same reason. My Boston Terrier had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, her quality of life had dropped drastically (though I will say in hindsight now that she is gone, and my memories of her are returning to the fullest happiest times, I had apparently blocked out how badly she had gotten). She was basically not functioning, and then, I too got one more magical day with my dog. She ran up and down the stairs to potty that day, jumped and cuddled on the couch, licked my tears. She gave me I think 1 more good day….. so I would know it was ok. The next day, she was back to her “sick” self…. and the vet came and freed her of that stupid body so she could once again run and be free.

      I, too, feel like I mourned her loss for a LONG time before we actually let her go. The week before I made the decision was pure hell and agony. I don’t regret what I did for her…. I feel it was the last kind act I could offer a best friend who had helped me through so much in life. She couldn’t make that decision for herself…. worst part of being a dog owner.

      May you find peace…… I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. And though “time heals all wounds” is so cliché….. it will be 3 weeks this Friday….. I think of her ALL OF THE TIME….. but more and more I am able to think of her and smile and not think of her and cry. That’s progress. That’s something.

      *hugs*

      • Michelle

        Thank you so much! The support helps the guilt feeling ease up a little. I also talked to my sister who is the level headed one, who has been preparing me for this and I sensed her relief when I admitted it felt like the time. I also told her of my unsettling thought of putting my 11 yr old Pom down at the same time. He isn’t as bad, but he isn’t in great shape. I was waiting to hear no it’s not his time…..instead she said given his health she thinks it is a good idea to let them go together. My Ex had initially thought that too, but I just dismissed it. I’m labeling myself a dog killer in my head, maybe because having to make the final decision is more than I can handle. I wish someone would just say yes it is time for Rylie and Blackjack. Why is this so damn hard?

      • Amy

        Michelle, have you been abLe to make any decisions yet? Today is 3 weeks from when we put our sweet Cocoa down. Just wondering how things are for you all?

      • Michelle

        I saw my vet and he said I’m up against a wall as far as her ear goes. It will not get any better. He seemed a little surprised when I brought up end of life though. He said all her labs were good and no indication of kidney/liver problems. The hair falling out is a skin infection and she is on meds and a special shampoo which is helping. He said it was my decision and nobody wants her to suffer though. He mentioned the ear and how some dogs will do the head tilt when their in pain, Rylie doesn’t do that. I know the time is soon but we are going to take it week by week.

      • Amy

        I think that is a good approach, take it week by week. My dog had the skin infection too and lost her hair in patches. I used a medicated shampoo and a round of antibiotics and it went away and her hair grew back.

    • elizabeth davies

      I cried reading this because I am in the same position. My 10yr old westie has chronic pseudomonas infections in both ears she too has a tumour in her ear and another one appeared this week on the tip of her ear her ear looks so sore it must be so uncomfortable for her yet she is still the sweet natured dog she has always been she too has a good apetite but no longer enjoys going out she sleeps and eats but has lost that spark she used to have I am heart broken at the prospect of saying good bye so is my 18 yr old son who I bought her for as a puppy when he was 8 seeing his tears is unbearable but is keeping her alive more about us and our heart ache I need to do the right thing for her but I am so torn

      • Michelle

        I feel so torn as well and being the holiday season, it’s even harder. My husband went out the morning and bought a crib mattress to make him feel better since he can’t get on bed any longer to hard on him. And he growls when lifted obviously due to diabetic nerve pain.

      • elizabeth davies

        Took Mindy back to the vets this morning he is adament every thing that could be done has been done it is noe time to let her go so the decision has been made for me I don’t want her to suffer he had let me bring her home for a couple of days so my son can say good buy to her my heart is breaking as I write this but I have to put her welfare first love you Mindy you have given us so much love and joy little one we will never forget you xxx

      • Amy

        I’m so sorry. It is so hard to say goodbye. We put our beloved Cocoa down 3 weeks ago today, and I still cry everyday for her. I think we love dogs so much because they never hurt our feelings like people do…they just love us and are so cute and needy…unlike kids who get more and more independent as they age…dogs need us more as they age, so we get even closer to them, as we care for them in the most intimate ways.

  • Mary

    We have a 14 year old puppy that has been struggling with Pancreatic Cancer for about two years. She has doubled her weight since being diagnosed. We’ve had emergent care bills close to two thousand dollars as we learned that she needed to be fed almost every four hours or she will have convulsions and other fun stuff.
    She is now coughing and hacking up what I can guess is phlegm. She pants fast and heavily as she walks, stands pretty much all the time yet she hardly breathes when she lays down. All of this is mixed with bouts of hacking/coughing regardless of her being upright or not.
    Does she still enjoy us giving her attention and petting her? Sure. However, as she struggles to go up and down the stairs to either the yard or as she follows me around the house…I can’t help but wonder when is it enough? I keep expecting to wake up to a dead dog but she’s like the energizer doggy who doesn’t stop.
    I have been reluctant to talk to my vet because I’m not sure how to approach them…will a vet put down a pet just on the say so of the owner? Is heavy, loud panting and coughing up phlegm a good enough reason to say this to a Vet?

    • Verdin

      Mary,

      I read your post and wanted to reply. I am facing putting my dog to sleep soon. He is 16 and has an aggressive cancer. I don’t want to wait until he is suffering. He and I have had 16 good years together. I have been reading about symptoms of pain and the heavy, loud panting is a symptom that your dog is in pain. You should talk to your veterinarian. I am sure he or she will be very receptive. I think many people wait too long and vets find it hard to tell people that. Putting your dog to sleep does not mean that you don’t value or love her. You do it to prevent suffering.

      I wish you strength and peace through this process.

  • cindy

    I am considering putting my 11 year old lab/shepard down. We have had Tammy since she was 3 months old.
    She has battled allergies for at least the last 9 years. The allergies have made er chew herself raw, which in turn caused skin infections, and made her smell really bad. We tried injections and pills for the allergies, they worked for a short time. Lately she has been losing control of her bowel and bladder, and she struggles to stand up and walk. The problem is in her back legs, which was why we quit doing the injections. One of the side effects to the depo injections was muscle weakness. She wanders all the time, almost as if she is lost. I hate the thought of putting her down, but surely it is an act of kindness. Tammy is not the sharpest tool in the shed. However she is very loving, and loyal to a fault. Even now with all her health issues, she would lay her life down for mine. It seems to me that even though it will be heart breaking for me, it in the end will show her how much she was really loved.

  • Jessie

    I have to make the toughest decision to put my beautiful 9.5yr Dobbie, Precious, down yesterday. Found a tumor growth in her back tit and decided to get it remove last month. After the biopsy, found that the growth is malignant and it has gone into the lymph nodes. She was back to her usual self for 2 weeks but last week, things got worse cos lumps were growing on her belly and her limp on her front left leg got worse with a big lump and the whole leg was swollen. She started to lose her appetite and was very thirsty. She wasn’t even going to the bathroom, all she does is lay there. It hurts to see her in pain and I have to make the tough call to put her to sleep. It was devastating since she was with me since a pup and we got her after we put the last Dobbie down due to bone cancer. She has been through so much with me, the birth of my daughter, my divorce and moving to our very own place, losing my job….my daughter and I miss her so dearly. I still feel I can do more or shouldn’t have got the tumor removed in the first place, still can’t believe she’s gone.

  • Laurie

    Dear Michelle,

    Thank you for being here. I don’t know any affordable ways to put a dog down…but if it was me, I’d tell my veterinarian that I can’t afford it. I’d ask if they can donate the euthanasia and cremation. Some veterinarians are willing to help out by donating their time and supplies.

    I wish you all the best in this, I hope you find a solution that works.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    I am so sorry for your loss. Life without our dogs almost seems unbearable, because they are so much a part of our daily routines. I have two dogs, and this article on putting a dog to sleep always reminds me how precious they are and how short life is.

    May your broken hearts heal. May you find comfort in the idea that your dogs are resting in peace, and watching you with love and compassion. Your dog doesn’t want your memories to be full of pain or regret! Your dog wants you to be happy in your life, full of energy and love. My prayer is that the grief you feel will pass naturally and even quickly, and that you are able to open your heart and home to another dog in the future – a dog who needs to be rescued, and who will be eternally grateful for your presence. Just like your old dog was, and is.

    Blessings and sympathies,
    Laurie

  • Nigel

    A very sad day today that I had to let me special baby girl go. She has suffered from Cushings disease, arthritis, thyroid and collapsed wrists. I had not concern about the money for her healthcare but her quality of life was impacted.

    Over the last few weeks she has been struggling to walk and she fell off the deck into a plant pot. I could tell she was not comfortable and struggling to get our coordination in check.

    This morning she had a seizure and it was without doubt one of the most awful experiences to watch someone you love go through such misery. It appears she may have had a few whilst we didn’t see her which must have been awful for the poor girl.

    I took her to the vet immediately after witnessing the seizure and the Vet ran some blood test and compared to a couple of weeks ago. She said from her opinion Tasha was heading for renal failure and anything we do now would be for sustaining for weeks not months and she may suffer during this time.

    In tears I had to make the call, it was time to let my baby go. I held her as she passed and I was happy it was so peaceful and quick. I am now going through the grieving process and obvious guilt on whether I made the right decision or not….it’s too late anyway as she is gone and at rest.

    It is the hardest decision I have ever made in my life but I need to believe as sad as life is without her, it was the right decision for her….not me.

  • Mercedes

    My dear, sweet baby Rennie is an 11 year old Boston Terrier. She had her first seizure in February and they were contolled by potassium bromide unitl last week. She had 4 seizures this weekend and ended up at the hospital for a pheno injection since 3 were within 24 hours. She has a brain tumor.

    Her anxiety is worsening…. she paces in circles confused a lot…. for the last 24 hours she has had no bladder control…. but the vet gave her some prednisone and said we’d know within 3 days if it would help or not. I’m sitting here looking at her as I type this with tears just flowing down my face. I already know what I need to do for her…. I just don’t know if I do it today or if I can delay it a week. My heart is hurting so badly and I just want some peace….. for me and for her…..

      • Amy

        Mercedes,

        I am so sorry.

        I too had to make that very difficult decision about a week after you did. Hardest thing ever. I still cry every day. I miss her sweet face. I feel guilt & some regret.

        How are you feeling about your loss these days?

      • Mercedes

        Hi Amy. Thanks for reaching out. It has now been a month without my baby…. and though I feel it’s easier at times ( I am able to remember her with smiles instead of tears occasionally), I miss her so much still. I do not regret our decision, but it doesn’t make the fact that she is gone any easier. I hope you are finding peace and comfort…. I know how hard that is. Every first without her hurts…. just as every first with her was joyous…. “… what we have enjoyed, we can never lose… all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” ~ Helen Keller

      • Amy

        I am amazed at how folks of all backgrounds feel the same sense of sadness and loss about their dogs dying. I always thought I loved Cocoa so much because I never was able to have kids, and she is my first and only dog…my only child so to speak. Well, I have learned that even those with human kids, those that have had or still do have other dogs, also feel the same sense of loss. That makes me feel better in a way…my feelings are universal.
        I wish you peace.

      • cindy

        Mercedes,
        Yesterday I put down our dog Tammy. It was one of the most difficult things I had to do. I got Tammy for my husband the week before Christmas 2003. Here I was almost exactly 11 years later letting her go. I cried as I made the decision, and I cried as I held her sweet face, and watched the light leave her eyes. I brought her home, and buried her. While I knew she was gone, it hit me hard this morning. I was getting ready to leave the house this morning, and her face was not there to greet me, so that I could put her outside. I guess that’s when I really felt my heart break. She was a loyal and loving family member for 11 years. I did what was the best thing for her, even though it hurt me and my husband so much. I know with time it will get easier, and it will for you too. Just remember you did what you had to, out of love for your furry child.

      • Amy

        Oh Cindy, I know exactly what you mean. It has been over three weeks for us, but I still “look” for Cocoa every time I come home…I do miss her sweet face and the energy her spirit gave me and our household.
        I look at her pictures and talk to her still. I say “I have a 70 pound hole in my heart and it hurts so much”
        I feel for you, I know the pain. You are not alone!

      • Mercedes

        I am so sorry Tammy… your hurt and sadness now is really raw I’m sure… like I said…. every first without our fur baby’s will now cause pause, and often times tears. Thank you for your words… I know I did right by her… I just miss her so much and trying to figure out a new normal without her sucks. And Amy you are so right…. this is one of those things that unites us all…. maybe one last loving act from our pooches…. a gentle reminder that people can be compassionatecompassionate and can try to understand if we let them. Love and light to you both.

      • Mercedes

        UGH I’m so sorry…. that’s what I get for posting on my phone… I meant to say *I am so sorry Cindy for your Tammy*…. No more phone comments from me!

  • Jenny

    Im ready.. Im tired of the suffering.. I have 11 yr old Chihuahua, who is 1/ blind…
    I hear him wine daily.. he keeps me up at night wining..

    I keep getting we will call you from the vet… every time I suggest putting him down..

    For the past week my poor chihuahua has been unable to walk,.. the pain meds dont seem to be working.. blood work was fine but Kidney test came back high.. they say he injured his shoulder or back up by shoulder blade, he just keeps tucking his legs under wont even try and stand.. I have to hold him up to potty.. or he lays in his pee and i have to bathe him after wards..
    Being a single parent only part time working I couldnt afford the x ray and they refused to Bill me.. I spent $200 last week on blood work, a capstar for 5 fleas, and that was it other than a nights stay at the vet, with a emergency visit and still no results.. They think he will come out of it.. and get better..

    I cant take hearing him whining anymore.. I feel its time to put him down.. hes my youngest sons first friend and pet, I got him 6 months after my son was born.. its going to be heard on all of us..

    • Paul Patrick

      Hi Jenny,

      Your words hit me hard and so very close to my heart as I read your post I had a chichuaua named Posey and had to help her across the Rainbow Bridge this past Oct. 3. Posey had similar conditions. Her kidneys weren’t working properly, I too had to help her stand at times to potty. She paced the floor and walked back and forth from the house to the shed and would fall at times. She would fall on the house floors or get stuck in a corner and not know how to get out. Posey was weak in her hind legs from the phenobarbital she had to take because of multiple seizures she had on two occasions. She had a breathing problem also. I too took her to the emergency vet twice.

      After the last visit to the vet before she had seizures, she started whining in the vets office. Posey never whined before. She too whined at night and wanted out of bed to pace the floors while I needed sleep because I work full-time. I was up 4-5 times a night comforting her and I came home at lunch to check on her.

      Posey was Mommas dog she brought home at six weeks old. Momma passed June 30, 2013 after Daddy Oct 13, 2012, then Sally, Mommas pug passed Oct. 22, 2013. Now with Posey gone, I feel very alone and lost. I have cried at least once if not more daily almost since Posey left.

      They say helping you pet across the Rainbow Bridge is the last act of love you can give. It was the hardest thing I ever did but I had too-for Posey she was 12 yrs. Old.

      Please feel free to write me at my email anytime. You and your family are in my
      prayers. Paul

      • Amy

        Hi Paul,

        I am so sorry for your loss. I know how you feel. I had to let my sweet 15 yr old lab go 3 weeks ago and I too cry every day. I look at her photos and miss her sweet face every day.

        How are you coping these days?

  • Michelle

    I have a 9 year old Jack Russell, Sammy he is diabetic which has recently caused his sight to go due to cataract, he has constant ear infections due to polips in his ear he is now deaf in that ear. He has just started limping Vet says could be because of ear infection. My husband and I had decided 2 years ago when he was diagnosed with diabetes, we would go by quality of life. Obviously it’s time. But now we’re stuck in another situation I recently got let go from my job in July, still unemployed seeking full time work. Husband contractor business is slow but we keep roof over our heads and insulin for Sammy. We want to put him down and have him cremated. We obviously can’t afford this. Hoping by posting my story someone will know an affordable way to put our sweet pup down.

  • Laurie

    Dear June,

    You love your dog so much, it’s almost impossible to think about putting him to sleep! The loss is heartbreaking, and it seems like you’ll never get over it. It’s very sad, and such a difficult thing to do.

    But, I think your first concern needs to be for your dog. Not on keeping him alive, but letting him go so he doesn’t suffer anymore. Is it fair to him to stay alive if he’s in pain, and not enjoying a good life anymore?

    My prayer is that you find the strength you need to let him go. This is sacrificial love — it’s about putting your dogs’ needs before yours. This is a final act of love, to put him down and let him rest in peace. It will be painful for you, but I hope you find comfort in the knowledge that you loved him enough to put his needs before yours. I know it’s painful, but I believe there is a time that we need to let our dogs go. It breaks my heart to think of life without my dogs….but I feel sick at the thought of them living in pain.

    Let me know how things go, if you decide to put your dog to sleep 🙁

    With deepest sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for being here, I know how difficult it is to put a dog to sleep when you love her so much. It may feel like it’s heartless to say good-bye, but it’s not.

    Putting your dog to sleep when she is sick and not enjoying life anymore is the most caring, loving thing you can do. It is an act of sacrificial love, of kindness and compassion. If you’re keeping her alive when she is in pain or not enjoying life, then I believe you are doing her a disservice. You might be keeping her alive for your own sake, not for hers.

    I don’t know how you can be absolutely 100% sure….but what makes me think it might be time to let her go is that you said your dog isn’t enjoying her life. I believe you’ve answered your own question, but you don’t want to put her down because of the grief you’ll feel.

    And indeed, you will be so sad at your loss. But, you will know she isn’t suffering anymore. I hope that knowledge – that she will be resting in peace in a safe, secure place – helps you make the decision a little easier and eases your pain.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • June reynolds

      Hi I don’t know what to do about putting my dog to sleep, he is a 10 year old german Shepard his back legs have been bad for a while now but over the last few days they had been times where he hasn’t been able to pick him self up, he has been threw so much all his life when he was 5 wks he managed to scoff a large bowl of complete dog food his mothers food, he had to have a major operation then at the time the vets rang me asked if I woulx give them my permission to put him to sleep because he swallowed mucas threw the operation had Got a bad case of humonia and they said he wouldn’t make it threw the night, but I said no and at the time it was Xmas I said to the vet no it’s xmas miricals happen I will not give you my permission to put him to sleep. 10 years later I still have him he is bad now with his back end but vets have gave me pai. Killers for him hoping he will get threw to the end of next week, I are finding it so hard to come to terms with letting my baby go i also still have his mother she is fit and healthy will she sense that he’d son has gone has to this day she cleans his face every morning and every night. Do you think I will lose hey soon after of heart hake, I can not cope I would rather it be me then my baby’s.

  • Anita

    Hello my little dog is 18 ryes old
    She no longer enjoys her life .
    My problem is trying to decipher
    If it it’s time to let her go .
    She seems to have all the problems that an older dog goes throught.
    I don’t want to seem heartless .but how can I be absolutely shure .
    Any advise to help thanks
    Anita

  • Laurie

    Dear Margaret,

    Trust that you made the right decision. You were listening to your heart and mind, and you believed that it was time to put your dog to sleep. You did what you thought was right for your 16 year old dog, and you have to trust that it was time for her to go.

    You saw that she was in pain and struggling, so you saved her from more painful moments in the future. How can this be the wrong decision? You decide to put your dog to sleep because you loved her so much, and you wanted her to be free from her old, sore, achy body. I believe you made the right decision, and my prayer for you is that you find peace and healing.

    Your beloved dog is watching you with love and a free spirit, and does not want you to suffer. She wants you to be happy and peaceful, and secure in the knowledge that she forgives you and is very glad you let her go.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Letting my dog go

    Thank you for this post. My wife and I have been debating putting our dog to sleep for a few weeks now, and it really has been tough on the whole family. Our dog was a very big part of our family, and it’s going to be really hard to say goodbye.

  • Laurie

    Andrew,

    It’s such a difficult decision to make – and what might make me decide to put my dog down may be very different than what might make you decide. Above all, we need to be at peace with our decision.

    Your boy is young, only six years old. But age isn’t the most important factor – it’s his quality of life. A dog can be 15 years old and enjoying a great life, or one year old and suffering. If you believe that your dog is still enjoying a good quality of life, then maybe it’s not time to put him to sleep. But if you believe “a good life” is more than sitting at home….then maybe it’s time to let him go.

    What do you think your Bernese mountain dog would tell you to do? Is he ready to go? Dogs don’t fear death the way humans do…it’s possible that he’s ready, but you aren’t.

    I’m sorry there aren’t any easy answers, and I wish you all the best in this decision.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Gillian,

    How is your Pomeranian today? Does she still seem to be scared, and in pain?

    I think the biggest question is whether or not she’s ready to leave this world. You know her better than anyone…when you sit with her and put your hands gently on her body, do you get any sense of what she wants from her life? I know this is difficult to know for certain, but I believe our dogs aren’t afraid of death. They’re scared of lots of things on this earth and they don’t necessarily want to die….but they know death is as natural as being born.

    If my dogs were in pain and not enjoying an active life, I would let them go. I wouldn’t give them pain medication, because I’d have no idea how effective it was. I know it’s easier to say this when it’s not my dogs who are suffering, but I really believe I’d choose to let them rest in peace rather than try to prolong their lives.

    Only you can make this decision…and you need to be at peace with putting your dog to sleep. My prayer for you is that you find the strength, courage, and love you need to make the most sacrificial decision of all.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Andrew

    It seems like everyone feels exactly the same way when it comes to this decision. My boy is only 6 years old. He is a bernese mountain dog. Has hip diplasia and austio arthritus (i think the arthritus comes with the hips). Also he has decided that any piece of fabiric in the house is his to eat. Which in turn is really messing with his digestive system leading to accidents in the house. I do not know what to do because he can only walk for about 5 minutes and then he is in pain all night. I feel terrible that he can no longer go out and about but at the same time he does not seem “unhappy” sitting at home. Am i being selfish keeping him at home all the time? Any advice?

  • vickie

    I am facing this decision for my ten year old basset who has suspected disc on the point of rupture, dodgy ticker and thyroid problems as well as skin issues. In the last three weeks her legs have been failing and she is no longer the cheeky, full of life character she was. Going to the toilet and eating now seem difficult for her. Reading your page had helped me make this heartbreaking but right decision and on Friday the vet will come home to put her to sleep. I will miss her more than words can say but know I have to make this decision in her best interest… She is existing not living.

    • Steve Nixon

      I had to take our Yorkshire terrier on the 3rd October. She was 17 years old but her kidneys were failing. I felt guilty about letting her go. Its broken my heart, she was our life. Muffin we miss you so much you will never be forgotten xx

      • Fiona

        Oh Steve my heart totally breaks for you. My Yorkie, Sparky is being euthanised on Wednesday this week and I am totally and utterly distraught.
        My little man will be 16 years 8 months old and although the vet said his heart his strong and his legs don’t seem too bad, he has been totally deaf for a long time. He has cataracts and doggie dementia. He sleeps nearly all day but at night is anxious and distressed, pacing, whining & barking. At night he is doubly incontinent and walks through his urine & excrement where normally dogs would walk around it. He is sad for most of the time and is constantly hungry (due to dementia he forgets he has been fed) and seems tormented. I feel it’s not fair for my beautiful boy to go on in this way, he deserves so much better. Selfishly I want him with me forever and can’t bear the thought of life without him. The vet said his quality of life doesn’t seem too good now and that’s what has to be considered. Trying to do fun things with loads of love and treats for his last days

      • Steve Nixon

        Hi Fiona. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. But Muffin was not eating properly and she was very unsteady on her legs. All the food that she loved she wouldnt touch, except for a little cooked chicken. She was drinking less too. 17 years to have your best friend is a long long time. I look around the house for her everyday in all the little places she would snuggle into. She made our house a proper home with not having children. We miss her with all our hearts. Goodnight old lady and God bless Muffin xx

      • Stephen nixon

        Hi Fiona. We lost Muffin as you know on 3rd Oct. On the 28th October we collected our new ten week old Yorkshire Terrier, Millie. We only had Millie for five days, she died this morning 3rd November at 4am. We just don’t know what’s happening in our lives at the moment and what we’ve done to deserve this. She was the most gorgeous looking Yorkie we have ever seen and so bubbly and characterful. She was settling in lovely with us, but stopped eating on Friday. I took her back to the breeder on Sunday morning and she passed away a 4am on Monday. We are absolutely devastated. She was a bundle of joy and love. R.I.P. Millie. You will never be forgotten for the joy you gave us in you very short life. Goodnight, God bless xxxxxxx

    • Carol

      Today I had to make the heartbreaking decision to put my beloved cocker spaniel to sleep , his name was woody and he was 13 years old . Woody had kidney failure and had deteriorated over the past three days , he couldn’t eat or drink or go to the toilet, the saddest thing was is that he kept struggling out into the garden and laying down in the wet grass , his breathing was laboured and he was making a strange noise. We carried him back inside and laid him on his bed, woody looked so sad and his eyes said he had had enough , through tears and grief we rang the vet who came within the hour . We told woody how much we loved him , kissed him stroked and cuddled him and the vet gave him the injection, woody went to sleep instantly , no distress just heartbreak for us, I never realised it would hurt this much , it’s been 7 hours since woody died we are distraught, it’d agony How will I ever get over this ? I’ve never cried do much I just want him back .

  • Gillian

    I have an 8 year old Pomeranian in CHF, with a collapsing Trachea, one back leg that had a luxating patella but repaired with pins amd recently the other has been diagnosed with the same. About 18 months ago she was diagnosed with the CHF and is being treated and we recently added tramadol for her back leg discomfort because surgery is not an option. Tonight her back leg with pins seems to have frozen up and she could barely walk. Since then she’s hiding herself in the back of her kennel which is what she usually does when she’s scared. I did give her some tramadol this evening. I’m thinking that if the back leg doesn’t resolve itself in the next few days maybe it’s time. But then I feel guilty because she isn’t doing “that” bad. However her life consists of just eating sleeping and going to the bathroom. She doesn’t play, has never liked my giving her too much affection, so that hasn’t changed. I don’t know if I’m heading to the right decision. Her vet and I did have a conversation last month that she will probably not last 6 months because of the CHF. But it’s her legs and the discomfort that’s the issue now. I can always up her meds but is it fair to dope her up so she is comatose? I’m so confused. Thanks for any input you might have.

  • Laurie

    My thoughts are with you, as you think about putting your dogs to sleep. May you find peace and acceptance as you make this decision, and may the veterinarian who helps you be kind, compassionate, and supportive.

    And, may you remember that your dogs will rest in peace – without pain or fear – after they die. They will embrace death as naturally as they embraced every moment of their lives.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Karren

    We are thinking of having our lab mix put to sleep either monday or tuesday morning. He is 16 years old and has a myriad of problems, from skin issues, to not being able to see or hear well, and he can barely walk without staggering over into something. He has started to turn away from his food as well. I know his quality of life is poor and he sleeps most of the time, when he isn’t pacing around. I know it’s time to let him go, but I still question myself.

    • Leslie

      KAREN, we are in the exact same boat! Our black lab/golden mix is 17 and has a lot of the same problems you mentioned. She still eats like she always has though. Did you put your dog down? If so, do you feel it was the right decision? We are struggling. Even had an appt and cancelled. Thank you!

    • Lei

      Aloha;
      I said goodbye to my loving beautiful very sick black lab retriever mix I cradled he’s head in my arms; kissed him for one last time. I could not stay to watch he’s last struggle and bleeding out; I tried in vein to stop. Scarface (we didn’t name him) came to use 10 years ago; rescued from the pound; he was 2 years old and his first family couldn’t take with them no money to fly a large dog back to mainland. I was not looking for a dog that day; he was sitting in a cage of many others afraid; too large for any family that wanted only smaller dogs. I looked at him; I asked him why couldn’t they take? He tilted he’s head and talked to me with he’s eyes. Love at first sight!
      I am hurting; crying calling he’s name thru the house today…..”Scarface come to Mommy”
      I just couldn’t do it; my Vet who has helped us many times with our other loving pets. See my husband, Tim was our strong person who did it all. I left Scarface and went home to let Tim know that he’s buddy was gone; Tim has demensia and in a wheelchair; I will have to slowly let him understand.

    • Donna Bonsall

      I too have a 16yr old shepherd mix, our appt is today… so very difficult to make and keep this appt as I cancelled the original appt over a month ago. But other than his good appetite, all the signs are here and clear. As one person described, my Jasper is basically existing, not living. He just sleeps most all day, paces the house at night and his potty habits are well, just not what they were in his younger days. I made this decision to put him down because I fear that he will pass alone and in pain while we are at work, and that I cannot live with that thought… we also have a 3yr old little guy I am sure will miss him too, so my plan is to honor Jasper’s lifeby remembering all the great times we had and the love and devotion he gave to us all these years. He has been a great dog and will be sadly missed. But I am doing this out of pure love!

  • Nicky

    Tomorrow I’m saying goodbye to my much loved staffie Keiko. She just turned 11 last month and we’ve had her since she was weaned. In May this year she started having fits and has been on epiphen ever since. We also give her metacalm for her joint pain. Over the last month she has deteriorated quite rapidly and is displaying all the symptoms of dementia. She hasn’t gone upstairs for weeks, no longer greets us in the morning or when I come home from work, She’ll come up like she wants petted and then pulls away. She paces and pants and cries at night. In the last week she has fouled in the house just a short time after being let out which she has never done before. Oh and she licks everything..the couch, our clothes, the fridge door, the wall in the corner she gets stuck in. She eats but doesn’t have the same enjoyment and won’t play anymore. Her wee personality is gone and she doesn’t show pleasure or enthusiasm at anything. My heart is breaking but I know it’s time to let her go. Just a short 4 weeks ago she would ‘help’ me garden and play tug. She’s lying sleeping just now, snoring gently the way she does and it’s hard to think she won’t be here this time tomorrow. You would think she is fine but I know she will wake soon and the pacing and crying will start. I’m so thankful for all the joy and love she has given us. I don’t know how I’m going to say good bye, it hurts so much

    • Nicky

      So yesterday my son and I took Keiko to the beach for the last time on the way to the vet. She padded dutifully up and down the beach accepting the treats we gave her. The contrast between her and the other dogs, even the older ones, we met was striking. She didn’t wag her tail or greet people, it was clear she was putting up with it for our sakes. We walked through the park beside the vet, took a last picture of her and James and then went in to say goodbye.
      It was so gentle and painless, literally like she went to sleep, my heart broke again, as I saw the full extent of my son’s love for her. Our vet was an angel, so sensitive and compassionate, I’m so grateful to this wonderful professional lady.
      I had snuggled with Keiko on the couch in the early hours of the morning. She laid her head in the crook of my arm and looked into my eyes. She seemed to be crying and I kissed her and told her I was going to make it better, she licked me and dozed off while I held her and listened to her breathe..
      I thought my heart would be empty and have shed many tears however this morning as I lay in the same place on the same couch without her comforting weight, thinking of the previous morning I felt a ‘thank you’ in my heart and realised it is still full. Full of the memories and love she gave, full of the gratitude I can feel from her for keeping my promise, full of the knowledge that the precious gift of loving her could never leave the space empty. So, it still hurts but she’s entitled to the pain and I embrace it’s bitter-sweetness as proof of our love.

      • Steve Nixon

        We had our 17 year old Yorkshire Terrier put to sleep on Friday 3rd October 2014. She was struggling with high kidney levels, not eating properly for nearly three weeks, wobbling when she walked and trembling a lot of times. I took her to the vets where she didn’t move off her blanket, she just lay there. I stroked her head and paws as she went to sleep. It broke my heart. I feel so guilty in letting her go. Maybe more could have been done ?. I just told the vet that I though she had given up. The hardest decision I have ever made in my life. I kissed her face and said goodbye before I broke my heart and left her. I’m having her cremated and should have her back on Friday 10th October. Goodnight God bless Muffin we will always have you in our hearts and minds. Sleep tight old lady x

  • Colleen

    Thank you so much for this article as it brought me comfort. We made the very difficult decision to put our 13 year old Golden Retriever down just on Monday. It was the hardest decision and hardest week. Now I am plagued with guilt and worry we did it too soon. She was in pain. She panted most of the day and couldn’t get up off the floor without some assistance or looking so uncomfortable. It was starting to become difficult for me to even watch her because she seemed to be struggling so much at times. Yet, she still got excited to see certain people and was still eating. Last week as she was coming up the stairs to come inside her front legs gave out and she slammed her face on the stairs. That was when I decided we might be getting close. I just have horrible guilt and miss my friend so much.
    Thanks again for this article.

    • Margaret

      I still feel guilt and remorse that we put our Aussie mix to sleep too soon
      and that was in August. She also struggled to get up and sit down and
      sometimes fell over for no apparent reason. She was eating sporadically,
      but no enjoyment. Even though she was almost sixteen, I don’t know that
      she was ready to leave. It just broke my heart to watch her struggle. Now
      I am tormented that I should have waited.
      Thank you for this article, it helped.

  • Laurie

    Dear Nicola,

    Thank you for being here – it sounds like you’ve been having a great deal of difficulty with your youngest schnauzer. It also sounds like he’s not doing well.

    Nobody can make the decision to put your dog to sleep for you…it’s something you have to decide, because you need to be at peace with your decision. If you make this decision because someone told you to, then you’d later second guess yourself, and even be angry at the person who told you it’s time to put your dog to sleep.

    I think all dog owners should look at their beloved dog’s quality of life. Is your dog happy, pain-free, and able to enjoy his life? Most of the time, we know the answer to this…it’s just that we love our dogs so much, we never want to lose them. The grief of not having them around feels overwhelming. But, we can’t keep our dogs in pain. We have to make the most difficult decision at a time they need us most. That’s sacrificial love: putting our own feelings aside, and doing what’s best for our dogs.

    Is your beloved schnauzer ready to leave this world? Lay your hands on him, take a deep calming breath, and look into his eyes and soul. Is it time for him to go? Let him decide. Remember that dogs don’t fear death; it’s as natural to them as birth. Don’t let your fear get in the way of taking good care of your dog.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, as you make this decision.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Kelly,

    Thank you for being here, and for sharing how Max is doing. Deciding if you should put your dog to sleep is so difficult – and there are no easy answers.

    I think the bottom line is his quality of life. Max’s brave, strong heart could keep beating for months or another year or maybe even longer…but is he comfortable, pain free, and enjoying the things he used to? I don’t think it’s “unfair” to keep him alive because he’s not really enjoying life the way he used to.

    Is Max ready to go? Death is as natural to dogs as birth, as chasing squirrels, as eating yummy dry kibble. Humans fear death because of our grief and loss, but dogs don’t have that same dread. Sometimes we protect our dogs from death, when we should be protecting them from discomfort, pain, and a body that just isn’t up for this world anymore.

    I don’t know if it’s Max’s time to go, but I encourage you to sit with him. Take his lovely head, look into his eyes, and ask him if he’s ready to leave this world. Remember that death brings peace and the end of suffering in an aged body. I believe death is freedom and release, and it’s the final act of love — sacrificial love — that we give our dogs.

    Is Max ready to leave this world, to be free from his body?

    My prayers are with you as you make this decision. May you feel peace and serenity, even though you’ll be pierced by the grief you feel at the thought of life without your beloved dog.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • Kelly

      Dear Laurie:

      Thank you so much in your kind worded response. I read these words as I grieve for Max, for I had him put to rest today at 11am. I did just as suggested, I looked deep into his cataract covered eyes and know that he was dealing with the pain and depression for my sake, which made me decide to do for him. My life will never be the same, but I am truly blessed to have had him in my life.

      Sincerely:
      Kelly

      • Nettie

        Dear Kelly,
        I am sorry for the loss of Max!
        I was in the same position as you yesterday as I had to put my golden retriever “Bubbles” to sleep at 1 pm. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I swear a piece of my heart died with her. We spent 17 years together and were only apart for 4 weeks of those 17 years….it was an incredible journey!
        I do want to say to those that may read this note later…PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE be with your furry companion when it is time to put them to rest. They want you there until the end…it is hard to think about it, but it is the RIGHT THING TO DO!
        From Stan Rawlinson’s The 10 Commandments (from a dog’s perspective) #10: go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch” or “let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, regardless of what you do, I will always love you.
        Again, my sincerest apologizes on the loss of your sweet dog! I know that Max & Bubbles are running around in doggie heaven!

  • Nicola

    I have three schnauzers and my baby who is 10 was diagnosed with diabetes, Cushings, high Cholestrol and high triglycerides. We are thinking about putting him to sleep because he is so lethargic and lost a lot of weight, peeing pooping and puking in the house. I am up all night with him and exhausted. What do I do?

  • Kelly

    My Max is 15 1/2 yrs old. Him and I have been through a lot together and I am grateful to have had him for this long. At 11 yrs people called me crazy when I sent him for ACL surgery, stating he was too old, but to me, age wasn’t a factor..he still played, chased squirrels/bunnies and loved to run over the hill to the creek. Surgery a success, after months of recovery, Max continued his run/play times. At age 13, he had a large mass growing on his shoulder we had removed so it didn’t inhibit his ability to walk. This too was a success, mass hasn’t grown back. However, for the past yr, he has been deteriorating, mentally as well as physically. He seems confused sometimes, sleeps a lot, drinks a lot of water, is hard of hearing and sometimes his back leg will give out on him. He has some good days where he will act like a puppy when I come home, though this lasts about 30 sec. I have no doubt he has “life” left in him, but I don’t believe it is “quality life” as he no longer does the “fun things” anymore, including scratch his butt! I am trying to get the courage to call the vet and make an appointment to put him to sleep but I’m scared that I am doing this prematurely and don’t want to be unfair to him. Any opinions will be welcomed.

  • Shelley

    Five days ago my dog Probie, 8 year old Amstaff Bull Terrier, was diagnosed with Inguinal Mast Cell Tumor. We started her on Kinavet at the time she was diagnosed. It is too early to tell if this drug is helping in anyway, but I am trying to be hopeful. Her initial blood test shows normal counts in every area. I’m also giving her Benadryl to help block the production of histamine and slow the tumor growth. I have also switched her diet to a low carb high fat, since most malignant cells depend on steady glucose availability in the blood for their energy and biomass.

    Probie stills has a healthy appetite, loves to play fetch with the same level of enthusiasm, and as of now does not appear to be in any discomfort.

    I have the best vet. I have been with him for 20 years – four dogs, and a cat. He has been with me through two euthanasia’s. The decision never gets easier, the signs never become any clearer. But with my previous experiences, I believe it is better to be a week too early, than one day too late.

    I am painfully aware that this cancer is terminal and I will be faced with the end of life decision. I just hope and pray I can have a little more time with her. She truly is one of God’s gifts.

  • Laurie

    Dear Frankie,

    It sounds like your dog isn’t happy, and isn’t enjoying a very good or peaceful life. I believe veterinarians say that if the quality of a dog’s life is low – or if the dog is in pain or highly irritable – then it’s time to say good-bye.

    Do you think your husky is ready to leave this world? Sometimes we need to listen carefully to our dogs, for they know what the next step is. They don’t fear death like we do. Is your beloved dog telling you it’s time for her to rest in peace?

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Frankie

    I have a 13 year old husky we almost lost her once she had a infected uterus and we took care of that now she hardly wants to go outside she having accidents in the house she can’t hardly get around when she wants and she snapping at people she looks miserable half the time and she just layes around what your intake in this

  • Laurie

    Thank you, Millie, for sharing your thoughts on putting a dog to sleep. We love our dogs so much, we feel terrible about ending their lives…but we don’t realize that death may bring release, freedom, and peace.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Terri,

    Putting your dog to sleep is not a terrible thing to do! It is a final act of love and compassion. Putting your dog to sleep means you love your dog so much you can’t bear to see him in pain anymore. Saying good-bye is a natural act of sacrificial love that shows how much you care about him. You’re willing to let him rest in peace, and not drag him through an unhappy, uncomfortable, even painful life.

    Euthanasia isn’t a punishment or failure on your part. It’s about saying good-bye with dignity and respect, before life gets unbearably difficult or painful. I believe in life after death, and that there is great peace in death. The whole “rest in peace” thing is something I really believe — even for our beloved dogs. I also believe our dogs’ spirits won’t leave us when our dogs leave this earth…and our souls will be reunited with theirs in the future.

    My prayer for you is that you accept your dog’s final days – whether it’s now or several months from now – with peace, serenity, and freedom. I pray you are able to overcome whatever feelings of guilt or anxiety you have, and find somehow healing in this transition. I also pray you hear what your dog is telling you…sometimes our dogs know what they want and what’s best for them. We sometimes just don’t have the courage to hear what they’re telling us. Sometimes they just want to be freed from the pain of this life. My prayer is that you know in your heart that whatever you decide for your dog is the best thing for both of you. Amen.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • Peggy

      Hello, reading your comment has helped me with my decision, my 4 legged daughter Bella has Kidney Failure she is only 2 1/2 years old the vet says to young to have this her brother died of the same thing when he was 15 months old. I will miss her terribly, in readying other articles about this disease I came across a poem Rainbow Bridge here it is: I know I will see my baby girl again………..

      When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
      There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
      There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

      All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
      The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

      They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

      You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

      Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

      Author unknown…

  • Laurie

    Dear Iris,

    I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through with your dog, for how traumatic and painful it was. It sounds so frightening and confusing, and your poor dog suffered. I can’t imagine how upsetting it must have been. It sounds like the veterinarian and staff weren’t caring, kind, or compassionate. They have such an important job, and when they act coldly and even cruelly, we are devastated — and helpless. I have a couple of little dogs, too, and the instinct to protect and love them is so strong. We feel like we let them down when they suffer pain, because they’re so vulnerable and dependent on us.

    I can’t offer advice, but my prayer is that you are able to let your dog’s death go. May you find a way to accept the past – for it can’t be changed. May you forgive yourself for not doing things differently, and may you forgive the veterinarian for not saving your beloved chihuahua-terrier. Acceptance and forgiveness are not easy to grasp and hold…but if you can work towards accepting and forgiving, you will find freedom from the heavy burden of grief and guilt. I pray you are able to find peace with your dog’s life and death, that you learn to remember her with love and joy. Holding on to the anger, frustration, and injustice at how your dog’s life ended won’t help anybody. In fact, it’ll just eat away at you and fill you with more pain than you can handle.

    I wrote an article to help another reader work through the pain and anger she felt after putting her dog to sleep. It may help you process your feelings, and move towards the peace that I know your beloved dog wants you to have. Dogs are naturally forgiving, compassionate, and accepting of life and death.

    May you feel the strength, energy, and love of your dog’s spirit and soul. May you find freedom from the burdens of guilt and pain, so your dog can rest in peace and so you can remember her with serenity and acceptance.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Terri

    I’m considering putting my dog down. He’s 13 years old. He’s lost his hearing and his eyesight is bad.
    I work , when he was younger, I could leave him alone for hours. He was able to control his toileting. I can no longer keep him caged for hours. I have to barricade him in the kitchen. And , when I come home , it’s such a mess. He also pees and poops in the house while I’m there. This has been going on for sometime now and I’m loosing my patience. It keeps me in such a nervous state. I feel that my life is being controlled by the dog to some extent. I guess I’m just looking for some reassurance that I’m not a terrible person, if I do make the decision to put him down.
    Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Millie

      Teri, My adult daughter’s dog has been with us for 15 years. She, too, is quite deaf and has poor eyesight. She is taking meds for arthritic pain. She walks, but painfully. She sometimes falls on our smooth floors and needs help to get up. She often needs a boost to get back in the house after going outside. She no longer runs around the yard or is interested in playing. She is beginning to loose weight and is often restless–I think because she is so uncomfortable.We have found that we can no longer go away overnight and have someone else come and care for her or board her. I think it is probably time, but I am not sure my daughter is ready. Don’t feel guilty–you are NOT a terrible person–not if you are considering your dog’s quality of life and whether he can any longer enjoy his favorite activities. Not being able to control his body functions is stressful for him , too.

  • Iris

    Our beloved chihuahua-terrier was put to sleep Aug.30 and I am suffering extreme guilt. Only a week before, she became severely ill, first with panting in the early morning, followed two days later with severe vomiting and loss of appetite. We’d seen our vet at the first signs, but he didn’t ask to see her when the symptoms were worse. He sent us to the vet hospital for an ultrasound two days later, but by then she had tremors. The vet did not bother to talk to me, and when I asked the tech what the tremors meant, she said she didn’t know. Later the vet called about the ultrasound, saying our dear dog had pacreatitis. She then said she suspected brain tumor or stroke and giggled that a MRI would cost thousands. She shrugged off the fact that the poor dog had not eaten for four days. Finally, we brought her in because she was staggering, had violent tremors of the head, neck, and limbs, and was becoming glassy-eyed. I deeply regret not consulting with our regular vet, but he had pretty much sent our case to these incompetents. The next doctor blamed us for her condition, although she’d been in the hospital all day when she had the ultrasound. No one bothered to tell us how susceptible to hypoglycemia small dogs are. Her symptoms were consistent with that, but they all latched on to the one doctor saying “brain tumor” because of the trembling. Twelve hours of glucose IV had stopped the tremors, but directly contrary to this evidence, the doctor insisted there was no improvement. She, like all the other cold, condescending vets here, gave us nothing but bad news. This tough little dog had survived a week of starvation and was still able to walk and drink water, but the doctor dismissed any positive sign. She did advise that IV therapy usually is needed for three days, so we planned to see what the outcome would be. We came to visit and I was told that the vet in charge of her case would be there. She had not bothered to return my call and they said she was unavailable again. We went to visit our baby and were just leaving when we were accosted by the doctor on duty. She stated flatly, “I don’t know much about the case, but your dog will never recover or ever eat again. She has an incurable brain lesion.” No evidence, no proof, just spouting the party line. I asked how this was possible in one week, and she said it was very fast growing. She then asked us if we would like to take the dog home to say good-bye, but she said she might die outside the hospital. We were taken to a room to say good-bye, but when our precious dog was brought to us, she fell asleep peacefully in our arms. (We had just seen her in the ICU with bleary eyes and drooling.) I suggested to my daughter that maybe she could make it, but the poor girl had been influenced by the vet and said we should relieve her suffering. The guilt and regret come from not insisting that someone give a damn and treat her suffering, then from allowing an unqualified person to push us into euthanasia. It should be our carefully considered decision, not hers. I keep wondering what the outcome would have been if we had given her the full course of fluid therapy. Would she have rallied, recovered her appetite, and been with us for months more or maybe a year? She did have dementia but she had good moments. She also had molars that needed to come out but it would take a while before she was stable enough to go through that. There was no heart disease, no liver disease, blood pressure normal, coat still silky, no cancer. The pancreatitis had caused elevated BUN, but they didn’t give me the final number. I can’t understand why these doctors were so quick to give up when no one had even bothered to get a complete history. If only we told the last doctor that we were going to get a second opinion! Thank you for any advice you can offer.

  • Laurie

    Dear Patti,

    As hard as it is to say this, it sounds like the right decision is to put Timmy to sleep. Your dog is not happy — he WAS happy because you loved him and gave him a wonderful life! — but now he is old. It’s time for him to find peace and freedom. He is suffering in his little doggy body, because he knows he should not be messing in the house but he can’t help it. He can sense your frustration and anger….and he knows you are grieved at the thought of putting him to sleep.

    You took such good care of Timmy for his whole life…and the greatest act of love and compassion might be to take care of him as he leaves this world. Putting a dog to sleep is a huge sacrifice. It’s painful and sad…and it might be the most loving last thing we do for our aged, ailing dogs.

    My prayer is that you find peace in your heart with whatever decision you make – whether you decide to put him down soon, or whether you decide to wait a bit longer. I also pray that you lay your hands on Timmy, and get a sense of what he wants you to do with his life. Is he ready to go? Open your heart, soul, and mind, and listen to his answer. If you sense he is done with this life and his little doggy body, I pray you are able to move forward with love and peace. Amen.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • patti

    I have had my Yorkie, Timmy, for over 14yrs now, 7 yrs ago we found he was diabetic, I have been giving him insulin 2x’s a day for more then 7 yrs. now. Overall, he and I have dealt well with this condition, however, along with diabetes blindness follows, and now his hearing is just not what it use to be. My Timmy LOVES to eat but his obsession is as much as right after he eats he wines for more food especially when he knows your making something or another family member is eating.. He has been urinating frequently in the house, and pooping everywhere. I do know its time but only because my husband says its time, and he is getting angry about it lately, but he will not do the duty of putting him down, he is leaving it all up to me to do the chore. I have put down all our animals in my life time, but this one seems to be the hardest because he has lived the longest of all my animals. My plan is to take him to MacDonalds and give him as many cheese burgers & French fries he can eat, and then make his last car ride before he goes. I know its the best thing, however, he still wags his tail, and wines and cries when I walk in the door as he always has, but so much mess over nite and all day long its beginning to smell like a kennel at times. I don’t know if my decision is because its what my husband wants or because it truly is time to put him down..I know he is not in pain but at time I wonder if his mind is in take.. At times I find myself getting extremely angry at Timmy, and hit him when he poops or pees in the house or wines to obsession over a bite to eat, and that I know I should NEVER do.. but I get so upset cause I m picking up poop and pee all day long or yelling at him to shut up!. he walks into walls and falls down our deck I have to watch him closely so he doesn’t get hurt. Its becoming a real chore to keep him safe. DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO?????????????? IS IT TIME????? )8

  • meg

    It hurts so much now. My cat is very sick. His kidneys are failing . He’s 14 yrs old & I know I have to let him go, but damn, my tears are falling.

    • patti

      It only gets worse, Kidney disease it doesn’t get better. sorry to say. It may be time to do the right thing for your pet. but only you can say yes its time or not its not. but as I said Kidney disease doesn’t get better it only get worse, in time, and usually a short amount of time. May god watch over your cat and give you guidance.

  • Laurie

    Dear Mary,

    Thank you for being here, and for sharing your love for Bailey with us. Your extreme love makes the decision so much more difficult! As dog owners and lovers, the last thing we want to do is put our dogs to sleep. I think many of us put our own feelings above our dog’s enjoyment of life…and we wait too long to say good-bye.

    I can’t tell you what to do, but I believe adoption won’t be welcomed with open arms by a humane society or rescue organization. Adopting out an older dog who has health issues is a long shot, and it may be too hard on Bailey to have to adjust emotionally to a new family while going through more medical treatments. But, I encourage you to call the local humane societies and talk it through with them.

    One of the best pieces of advice I’ve read in the comments sections in all articles about putting a dog to sleep is to take a moment to listen to what your dog wants. Sit with Bailey, hold him, and ask him what he wants to be done with his life. Does he want to continue the way he is? Is he truly happy, or is he ready to go? Are you holding him back – are you holding him here, when he really just wants to rest in peace?

    I also read that dogs aren’t afraid of death. Dying is as normal and natural as living – it’s humans who are afraid of death, and humans who have to grieve the end of a dog’s life.

    Putting your dog to sleep may be the most loving thing you can do for him. Prolonging his life and putting him through more treatments and medications doesn’t seem to me to be the best way to live. Financially, it’s a hardship. Physically, it’s so difficult for dogs to be given medications, surgeries, treatments — when sometimes the best solution is simply resting in peace.

    My prayer for you is that you come to a decision you’re comfortable with. It won’t be easy, and I pray you realize that just because a decision involves grief does not mean it’s the wrong thing to do. I pray you are able to release Bailey, whether it’s into eternity or another dog lover’s home. I also pray you figure out why guilt is such a big part of this decision for you, and that you learn how natural death is to animals. Death is simply another stage – it’s passing into a different world. May you learn to be comfortable with this world, even though you have no idea what it entails, and may you trust God that He will hold Bailey’s heart and soul in His loving hands. And, may you rest in the knowledge that you and Bailey will be reunited in spirit one day.

    I’ll keep you and Bailey in my thoughts and prayers. Please let me know what you decide…I pray the decision is clear, if not easy.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • Mary

      Dear Laurie,

      I found a vet clinic that has very reasonable prices. Bailey has an appointment tomorrow. Since I’ve started him back on Benadryl he’s been more playful. When Bailey was 4, before his licking got so bad, a vet told me I should cut a whole in the bottom of a 3 gallon pail. He said to cut the hole barely large enough to wiggle it over Bailey’s ears. I’m hoping tomorrow the vet will give Bailey some antibiotics. Between the meds and the bucket (lol) I’m hoping his acral lick granulomas can heal. If this doesn’t work then my decision will be clear. Thank you for your compassion.
      Mary

  • Mary

    I’m so torn about what to do. My yellow Lab Bailey is eight years old. When he was about 2 he developed seizures. I couldn’t afford treatment so we never told the vet and just dealt with it, but we figured out that it was related to his dog food. We switched him to a L.I.D. diet and the seizures subsided almost entirely. He has always had a major licking problem and has many lick granulomas all over his legs, hind quarters and now his tail. I can’t afford to take him to the vet every time he gets an infection. I’ve treated the sores as best I can at home with OTC meds but they are no longer helping.

    I believe Bailey has major allergy issues because he sneezes all the time, constantly rubs his face on the carpet and scratches himself insanely all the time. The sores on his body are so bad right now that he does nothing but lick, or lay in his crate. I’ve tried every kind of e-collar imaginable but he is a regular Houdini and can get them off within about 30 seconds. I know that if I take him to the vet they will give him antibiotics and steroids and that will temporarily clear up the infections. The problem is, within a few weeks to a month he’ll have new infections.I just can’t afford to keep going to the vet. I feel horrible because I don’t want my decision to come down to money but I know its not fair for Bailey to suffer because I can’t afford treatment. I feel so guilty. My husband has been ready to put Bailey down for a while and says it’s my call, but I can hardly bear the thought of it.

    The last two years that Bailey has gone for vaccinations, he has had a bad reaction. The first time, he seemed lame for about twenty-four hours. He didn’t want to get up and walk, even to go outside, but he seemed happy to see us and didn’t seem too upset. This past February when Bailey got his shots (at a shot clinic not the vet), he had a more severe reaction. He seemed to be in immense pain and could hardly walk or move. If we so much as tried to touch him or move him, he growled and snapped at us. I gave him small doses of aspirin and he gradually got better over the course of a week. I’m afraid what will happen when he goes for his next set of annual vaccinations. Here again, we couldn’t afford the emergency vet clinic to have his severe reaction evaluated and treated. I feel like such a bad doggie parent, and sooooo guilty.

    Yesterday my husband made a remark about how Bailey “isn’t right” because he doesn’t come to the door and greet us, he lays around all day, and he has no interest in his usual play activities. I suddenly said it’s time and that we should put him down this weekend. My husband seemed shocked, but agreed and we told my 16 year old step-daughter (he’s her dog) and she teared up a little but understood. After I said it was time, my husband almost tried talking me out of it, but I told him not to because the decision was made and I couldn’t go through this agonizing decision again later.

    Now I’m having second thoughts because Bailey seemed a little more like his old self this morning. He’s only eight years old and has a treatable condition, but due to financial issues I can’t afford treatment. Lick granulomas are one of the hardest conditions for vets to treat and the laser surgery option sounds horrific, plus it isn’t all that successful in curing the condition. All I can see for our future is a constant struggle to prevent Bailey from licking. I tried behavioral therapy suggested by vet (smacking him on the nose when he licks) but then he got depressed and sad and seemed fearful of me. Once again I was racked with terrible guilt. I have tried distraction and redirecting him away from licking but last night when I tried that by gently pulling his collar to prevent licking, he growled and barked somewhat aggressively at me. I don’t want him to grow to hate me because of my efforts to stop his self-destructive behavior. I also know part of the problem is that Bailey spends long hours by himself. My husband works nights and sleeps days, so the dog only has about an hour interaction with my husband in the morning and a few hours at night with me. Other than that he’s on his own. I feel terribly guilty about this too.

    I almost wonder if I should put him up for adoption at a rescue organization so that he can find a family that can afford to treat his conditions. But I fear the unknown, will he be better off, will another family love him as much as I do????

    I’m also afraid when I call the vet to schedule an appointment to have Bailey put to sleep they will refuse because he has a treatable condition.

    I feel so guilty for even considering putting Bailey to sleep. We can hardly even afford this option but we have to do something. I told my husband we could take him to the vet and see what they say about his conditions before we ask for him to be put to sleep but I’m not even sure we can afford that option. My only other option is to forego the vet and any hope of a reprieve and call the county dog kennel to see if they will put poor Bailey to sleep.

    I am so heartbroken, torn and conflicted. I just don’t know what to do. I feel so guilty, because Bailey is still a relatively happy dog some of the time. He doesn’t have incontinence issues, and he still occasionally likes to play and run in the yard.

    I love Bailey so much, he’s my buddy and companion while I’m home alone at night when my husband is working. Sometimes I think my life revolves around that dog. I’ve bonded with him like no other dog I’ve ever owned. He’s not just a pet he’s a family member and he’s my baby, a great source of joy in my life. But I feel like I’m being selfish putting my feelings over his suffering. I’m wracked with guilt.

    Desperately seeking guidance. What should I do????

    Thank you so much for letting me poor my hear out.

    • john

      I also have a yellow lab. Max is 12 this October. He has several ruptured disks and hasn’t been able to walk for a week. He is mostly blind and won a battle with cancer 2 years ago. He’s still at the vets as I write this. If he hasn’t regained his ability to walk on his own, I’ll bring him home for the weekend and take him back on Tuesday.

      He is such a big old goof. I love him with all of my heart. Tuesday will likely be our last day together, but I will spoil him like crazy for the next few days. He’s saved me from a lot of stupid decisions. He’s always been my buddy and confidant.

      I feel rotten and terrible, and like a traitor. But, I do think it is the right thing to do in my case. My heart is breaking and I dread coming home and him not being at the door to greet me.

      I will be a mess for a long time, but I will love and miss my Max forever. Thanks for letting me get some of this off my chest. I wish you the best.

  • Laurie

    Dear Emma Ames,

    It sounds like you made the decision to put your dog to sleep out of love for him. If he was alive today, he might be in so much pain — and you want to spare him that!

    You did the right thing. He is resting in peace, and not suffering from the physical pain he’d be feeling if he was alive today. My prayer for you is that you stop second-guessing your decision, that you accept that you made the supreme sacrifice out of love for him. You made the decision to put your dog to sleep so he could be spared even one minute of pain and suffering, and that is a gift of love and compassion for your dog. Now it’s time to grieve your loss, but know that you did the right thing.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

    • Emma Ames

      Hi sorry to join this conversation but I had to have my dog put to sleep yesterday, I have had him for 14 years, he may have been a little older than this when I had him he was not a pup however I lived him with all my heart . His name was Ben, a Labrador cross, He had arthritis and had starting to be incontinent .. I took him to vets and they said his symptoms would only get worse so I made the decision to have him put to sleep .. however I feel like I betrayed him and feel distraught and guilty .. I feel like I should have spent another day with him, pampering him and loving him . I don’t know how to deal with these feelings . Thanks Emma

  • Laurie

    Dear Debbie,

    Yes, it would be so nice if our beloved dogs could go peacefully in their sleep, wouldn’t it? That’s the double-edged sword part of modern medical technology: we have the tools to keep our dogs (and people) alive much longer than “normal”, but then we still have to make the difficult decision about when to put our dogs to sleep.

    Have you heard the saying, “When it’s time, you’ll know”? I’ve heard that about the decision about when to put a dog to sleep. I’m not sure if I believe it fully, but many dog owners say that the time is clear to them.

    But, just because it’s the right time to put a dog to sleep doesn’t mean it’ll be easy! It’s such a huge decision – it’s life and death – and our dogs rely on us for everything. They give us their hearts, lives, and unconditional love, and we feel like we’re betraying them by putting them to sleep.

    But, I don’t think putting a dog down is betrayal. I think it’s a final act of love, kindness, and compassion. When it comes to put my dogs down, I’ll probably err on the side of too early rather than too late, because I hate the thought of them being in pain. I know it’s difficult to tell when a dog is suffering because they’re so stoic, and I don’t want my dogs to suffer for one moment. I would rather they rest in peace for eternity than suffer through a painful minute on earth.

    That said, however, each dog owner needs to dig deep into her heart to discover when the time has come. Maybe I’d make the decision a few weeks or months earlier than you – I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that you need to feel at peace with your decision.

    Sit with Gypsy, and try to get a sense of what she wants you to do. Is she ready to leave this earth? What is holding her back? If she’s ready to go, maybe the only thing holding her back is the humans who love her so much. Maybe the humans need to make the sacrifice, and set her free. I don’t know if this is the case, I’m just thinking out loud.

    I’m sorry I don’t have the answers you need, but I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your struggle. That’s a tough decision to make! It doesn’t sound like Chelsea’s health is much of a problem, other than the extreme heat and dog-unfriendly nature of Dubai (which are big obstacles to owning a dog there!). Most of the comments I get on this article about putting a dog to sleep are from owners whose dogs have health issues, or whose dogs are very old.

    I don’t think it’s bad or wrong of you to think about putting her to sleep. It’s an option, and you need to think through your options. I also don’t think dogs — generally speaking — feel pain when they are put to sleep, but I have heard bad stories. I think it’s like with anything – sometimes you have a terrible experience, but if things go as they normally should, then the dog will just fall asleep. I also don’t know how the veterinarians are in Dubai, but I imagine there are some good ones there. Like anywhere, there is probably good and bad.

    If I were in your shoes, I’d call the humane societies and veterinary clinics in your area, and talk through the options. There may be options you haven’t thought of.

    And, I would consider relocating to a dog-friendly apartment or house. Personally, I’d have a hard time putting my dogs to sleep for any reason other than illness or old age. But this is a different decision for each person – we have to make choices that we can live with. I can’t tell you what the best decision is, or predict how you’ll feel after you make our decision.

    I encourage you to take your time, explore your options, and be open to making the decision that best suits Chelsea, you, and your family members. This is a decision that you’ll feel the effects of for the rest of your life, so it might be good to move slowly.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Claudia,

    I never think that putting a dog to sleep is about bad ownership. On the contrary, saying good-bye to a beloved dog you’ve had for years is a huge sacrifice, and a sign of extreme love and loyalty! Keeping a dog alive in spite of all health issues and problems is selfish, I think. We may have the technology, medicine, and power to keep dogs (and humans) alive no matter how sick or old they are, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better life.

    The bottom line is that you need to be at peace with your decision. If you think Maggie is ready to go, then you need to give her the gift of release and freedom. Someone once told me that our dogs tell us when they’re ready. If we be still and sit with them, we will learn from them if they’re ready to leave this earth.

    Our dogs love us so much, and I believe we need to love them back by accepting that death is a natural part of life. However, I know this is an extremely difficult decision – I dread the day I have to decide if it’s time to put one of my dogs to sleep. But, I also am ready to open my heart and home to another dog or two after mine find their way home to God.

    I will keep you in my prayers as you make this decision. May you love Maggie as only you can, and may you feel peaceful about whatever happens.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Debbie

    I am trying to decide what to do with our dog, Gypsy. She is probably 14 or 15, we got her from the shelter, so we are not sure. She is a “canardly” breed – we “can hardly” tell what kind she is! Actually, she is mostly golden retriever and german shepherd. She had melanoma on her jaw 2 years ago and we had it removed. The pathology report said the cancer cells were all the way to the end of the sample. She has done well, but now she has another smaller tumor on her jaw in the same place. Our normal vet is out of the office until September and the vet who fills in for him is not a surgeon. The regular vet will be back in the office sometime in September. He will probably xray her lungs to see if it has gone there. If it hasn’t he may be able to just take it off so it’s more comfortable for her to eat. But I am seriously considering putting her down. She is on Proin for bladder issues, still dribbles and pees when she lays on a blanket on the floor. It went thru to the hardwood, which I wasn’t real happy about. She sleeps most of the time, and when she isn’t sleeping, she is whining to go out, take her out, she whines to come in, then out, etc. She eats fairly well, but sometimes leaves her food for quite a while. We discovered the first tumor when she was whining when she ate. If I put broth or something on her food she will gobble it up, but the vet said not to do it cause she was overweight. So we cut down on her food and quit the broth, and she lost weight and was eating all her food. Then she started acting hungry, so we started giving her more. She is hard of hearing and doesn’t get up sometimes even when I put her cheese-covered Proin right in front of her nose, and I have to shake her to wake her. We are going away for a couple of days and are going to have someone come in twice a day to take her out, but I’m not sure this is going to be enough. I know I’m going all over the place with this, and I’m tearing up just thinking of putting her down! It’s my daughter’s dog, who is out of the country. She would rather we do it while she is gone. I have never been really fond of the dog, too much mess and dog hair, but I find as she gets older and I am the one home with her most of the time I have come to care for her much more. My husband says he is not ready to put her down yet, but he doesn’t have to stay home and hear the whining that much or clean up the messes, though he will take her for a walk often when she whines when he is home. Is it time to put her down? she still likes to go for a walk, eats grass and whatever else she can find, will run for a bit if I run, but not long. Getting to like shorter and shorter walks. I would hope we could just wake up one day and find her gone, but are we willing to wait for that to happen? Thanks for any comments, I just needed to say this!

  • Michael

    I have had our American staff, Chelsea, for almost 10 years. We got her in NY and then moved to London. In both London and NY Chelsea was a happy dog, running freely, playing ball etc. However last year we had to relocate to Dubai and took chelsea with us, however the apartment we moved into forbids dogs so I had to find her a foster home. She is living with a wonderful couple, but they I think that the time has come where they would like their space. I cant keep moving Chelsea from one home to another and Dubai is such a dog unfriendly place not to mention the extreme heather in the summer with temperatures reaching 45 celsius. I know Chelsea cant be happy as she cannot run off the lead and in the summer its just too hot to be out for more than 2 minutes….What do I do? Is it bad of me to think about putting her down? Will she feel any pain? I am so upset. Any advice would be welcomed.

  • Claudia

    We are trying to decide what to do about our beloved dog Maggie, an English Springer Spaniel. She is 14 years old, diabetic and blind. She’s also become hard of hearing. We give her two shots a day and monitor her blood sugar each morning. Her behavior has changed from being fun loving and energetic to sleeping most of the time. She now gets extremely anxious if there is any slight variation in her routine. She also has times of incontinence which are distressing. If we put her outside for even a few minutes she whines and cries and scratches the wood off the door frame. Are we bad dog owners for thinking it might be “time”? We love her and want to do the right thing. She still has joy when she eats and when she has a short walk but other than that she seems to be in her own world and not very aware of us. This is all so distressing. I’ve talked with our vet but she just thinks about more meds….ie mood stabilizers, etc. Should we try this…along with the insulin and incontinence medications?

    • Lindy

      Hi Claudia…my name is Lindy and your situation sounds similar to mine. Last Sunday we put to sleep our beloved yellow lab, Bodie. He would have been 13 in November. He was diabetic and blind, too. He had been sleeping most of the time and would go off into different places in the house during the day to sleep. He ate pretty well and loved his treats. He used to love to go on walks and swim in our pool, but that was becoming difficult for him and he hadn’t done those things for months. He became more anxious about things and he would lick his front legs periodically and panted even though it wasn’t a hot day, so we knew he was in pain…he had all the symptoms. He was incontinent for quite some time and I was constantly cleaning up his pee and poo…the vet put him on Proin to help the peeing, but he still had accidents. It was the hardest decision my family and I have ever made. I still question if we did the right thing even though everyone says yes. The final point that made me realize it was that I didn’t want him to get worse and suffer…now I am the one suffering his loss, but I would rather do that than have him be in more pain and not enjoying his life. We had a vet come to the house to put him down and he fell asleep with us surrounding him with love and soothing words. My husband thinks he knew and wanted to go. I’d like to think the same thing myself. The grief is almost unbearable at times, but I know it will get better. I pray we made the right decision. Prayers for you and others trying to decide…it’s not easy. Best, Lindy

      • vivi mcqueen

        my name vivi my dog (yellow lab)
        is named eddy (after my father),long story. eddy is 14 and about 4 mo. I have never had any dog or cat that i had to make the decision about putting to sleep, they all died from something out of my control that i did’t have to decide about.i look at him now and he is laying by the chair, and peers up at me every now and then. like he knows what i am trying to do.
        he is so smart, i think. i just don’t know. he walks down and up 15 stares sometimes w/ my help sometimes not. he has number 2 accidents in the house and i don’t care. never pees in the house.
        i am now disable and, humane wise,, completly alone.and i hate going through this alone. anyway i will talk more to his vet tomorrow. we will see what happens. wish us luck, vivi

  • Laurie

    Dear Jacqueline,

    Thank you for being here – it sounds like you have a very sad good-bye coming up. Poor Casey, it sounds like she needs so much help, just to get on with daily life. She is winding down, and maybe she is ready to go.

    You have loved her for so long, and it’s heartbreaking to say good-bye. But, with great love comes great sacrifice. Casey will rest in peace after you let her go – she will be running in spirit, enjoying her food, and playing with all the other dogs — including Sooty! And every so often, they’ll stop playing and they’ll look down on you here on earth, and they’ll watch you with love. They will feel the love you have for them in their hearts. And then they’ll go back to their free, joyful frolicking without any pain or sadness!

    May you have a peaceful good-bye, and enjoy your holiday. You’ll always have Casey with you in your heart, no matter where you go. She wants you to be happy and free.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • jacqueline morris

    I have an 18 year old papallion . she looks as cute today as on the day I brought her home aged 4 weeks. she is white long hair and has a very gentle nature.
    She is now living in the kitchen so I can keep an eye on her. She sleeps most of the day but now and again. She will have a few minutes of excess running in and out the kitchen door.
    I dont know what to make of that behavior. – its like a panic attack.
    She still goes out the dog flap day and night to go to her toilet area.
    She has bad cataracts so is blind.
    She has bad teeth – she has had 2 operations to remove some. Therefor not many left.
    She is deaf and I have to put her chopped up food close to her nose. – she likes it when I feed her.
    There is no sign of her being in pain. Sometimes she just stares at the wall or what ever and I will then pick her up and take her outside.
    I am going on holiday for 5 weeks and have booked my 4 yr old chirahaha into boarding kennels.
    I told the owner about Casey – she advised me the best thing I could do for her was put her to sleep.
    She said she would stress after me – 5 weeks is a long time to not have contact with me.
    I know – casey has had a good innings – but its hard for me to make the decision when theres no pain.
    I cant ask anyone to take care of her because that too wouldn’t be fair on Casey.
    I know it has to be done before I leave to go on my holiday – I just felt I needed to write to someone.
    My friend has the only other surviving dog, called sooty, She is so distressed at the thought of him going – Sooty is worse than casey. I told her that if she put sooty to sleep – I would do the same for casey at the same day and time.
    However I have a month before I leave and I will be seeing my friend with Sooty whilst on holiday.
    Ok thanks for listening all you dog lovers.

  • Laurie

    Dear Tammy,

    Thank you for being here – it sounds like it felt like a major betrayal that your family put their and your dog to sleep without acknowledging you. I would want to be told, too — even if it wasn’t my dog! We want a chance to say good-bye, maybe even in person, and to be present during our dog’s final moments — even if we aren’t in the same room or city or state.

    I would feel the same way, like I wouldn’t want to care for my family anymore, either. I would want to punish them for making feel feel I wasn’t part of my dog’s life, that I wasn’t important enough to be included in the process.

    My prayer for you is that you rise above those feelings of pain, bitterness, end even revenge. My prayer is that you find forgiveness in your heart — because if you hold on to the resentment, you will suffer worse than they will. I pray that you can see the situation from their perspective, and trust that they were doing what they thought best. For your own sake, I pray that you are able to find peace in your heart, acceptance in your soul, and love in your actions. I pray that you are able to remember your dog with love, joy, and no shadow of the pain you now feel.

    I will keep you in my prayers!

    xo
    Laurie

  • Tammy

    I’m 50. My mother/sisters put their dog to sleep (whom I love very much) without letting me know. I know the dog was very sick with cancer – I’ve been very involved, even the day before. Then my sister said she called the emergency vet line. I was led to believe to see if the Vet would come and see a plan of action (as she put it). I was carrying my cell phone with me at work all day. When I ddin’t hear from them, I called, and she told me the Vet came and put the dog to sleep like 2 hours before. I feel betrayed and angry. If she told me at the time the vet came, I would have said “if that’s what the Vet feels is best” yeah, I would have cried, but to not contact me to spare me like I was a child, not part of them, etc. hurt me very deeply. They wanted to call when I got home. Well, I drove home crying anyway – more feeling betrayed than for the dog. Today I feel deeply depressed and don’t want to give a hoot for them anymore or anyone. Petty maybe, but it’s how I feel.

  • Laurie

    Dear Emma,

    Thank you for being here – I am so sorry that your beloved vizsla is hurt. It’s a terrible thing for us humans to see the dogs we love so much in pain, and to feel powerless to help them. Your dog used to be happy, joyful, and playful…and now her whole life is different.

    I don’t know what the right thing to do is, and I’m not telling you what to do. But, for me the bottom line is the quality of life. If my dogs weren’t enjoying life anymore because they were in pain or suffering in any way, then I believe for me the right thing would be to say good-bye. I wouldn’t put my dogs on painkillers because I have no idea what their pain is like. What if the painkiller only dulls the pain, and my dogs are living with a low level chronic pain? My personal opinion is that I would not want to go this route.

    Sometimes we love our dogs so much, we can’t put them to sleep. I think love can blind us, and lead us to keep our pets alive longer than is good for them. I don’t know if this what you’re doing, but it’s important to remember that putting a dog to sleep can be a final act of selfless, perfect love. It’s a sacrifice for us to put our dogs down, because we want our dogs with us forever! It’s a terrible heartbreak. But that’s why it’s a sacrifice, because we are doing something that causes us pain but could be the best way to love our dog.

    My prayer for you, Emma, is that you find peace with whatever decision you make. I pray that you are able to connect with your beloved vizsla, and listen to her heart. What does she want? My prayer is that you are able to use your intuition to do what’s best for her, not what’s best for you. May you find peace, guidance, clarity, and compassion as you be still and sit with her. Let her guide you, and tell you what she needs from you.

    I will keep you and her in my thoughts and prayers.

    Blessings and sympathies,
    Laurie

    • Emma

      Thank you for your sweet words Laurie. I actually got as far as getting the vet out for the last time this afternoon, and then cancelled him and took her for a swim in the sunshine instead. And I felt like we had cheated death. I could see glimpses of her joyful self and I could have burst with gratitude. And then when we got home she could hardly walk. I do have to release her beautiful spirit I know. Thank you for your kindness. It means a lot.
      Emma

  • Emma

    I would really appreciate any advice. I am in such a horrible mental state. My beautiful (only) 2 year old vizsla was injured last year. As a result she has degenerative discs and a very significant foreleg lameness. Her thighs are swollen. Her gait is awful. She cannot run properly or play with other dogs. That was her joy. I take her swimming each day and lots of gentle stop and sniff walks, massage, chiropractor, acupuncture, painkillers etc.We don’t go to the beach or camping or the mountains or anything. Her life is flat and I wanted it to the best life a dog could have. I cannot find the words to say how much I love her or how wonderful she is. I didn’t know a dog could be so completely lovely. I used to think her name should have been ‘Play’ or ‘Happy’ because that was all she ever was. Now she stays under the bed as much as she can.

    The orthopaedic vet surgeon advised pts. My regular vet says to keep her going with pain relief. I can’t work or think. It hurts to breathe and it just goes on and on month after month. I am just consumed with it all. If I let her go on like this it won’t be the right thing and if I have her pts it won’t be the right thing. What is the right thing and how did I let such a perfect friend get hurt?

  • Laurie

    Dear Carolyn,

    I’m sorry you haven’t heard from Robert. I just wanted to say I wish you all the best as you try to decide if you should put ThunderBear to sleep. It sounds like she’s been having a hard time of it, and you aren’t sure what is best for her.

    There are no easy answers, but I really believe what the veterinarian said in this article is true. If you can spare your dog even one day of suffering, then maybe it’s the right time to let her rest in peace. Sending her off is painful, but it may be the most loving thing you can do. You won’t have to worry about her suffering longer than she needs to.

    I know it’s a difficult decision, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Robert,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience with your shepherd chow mix. What’s his name?

    I called my veterinarian and asked about putting a dog to sleep in an owner’s home, and found out that it doesn’t happen very often. But there are mobile veterinarians who proved hospice-type care for dogs – including euthanasia. You might try searching the internet for “at home euthanasia for dogs” and add your location, to see if there are mobile veterinarians in your area.

    As I said, my veterinarian rarely puts pets to sleep at home. Not only is it more expensive, there is also the issue of taking the dog’s body away for cremation or burial. Plus, if things don’t go smoothly, there isn’t the same type of support they’d have at the vet clinic.

    As far as the right time goes….I’ve heard dog owners say that when the time is right, you’ll know. But many others say that it was a difficult, terrible decision even at the very end. Other owners say that you have to listen to your dog, because your dog knows when he’s ready to go. I don’t know what you think about this, but maybe it’ll help in some way.

    I wish I had the rightest, easiest answers, but I’m afraid I don’t! Let me know what happens.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Robert Bailey

    I have a shepherd chow mix I adopted when he was six months old, he is now 15+ and showing all the signs of old age. he still eats but not as much, he has relieved himself in the house, sleeps most of the day. Occasionally has a limp and has trouble standing up but still wants to go for a walk each day although those walks have become much shorter. His hearing is much reduced along with his eye sight. I know the time is coming but I am unsure when is the right time. Do I wait until he can no longer move around without great difficulty? Or should end it before that. I do not want to deprive him of a single day of life but also do not want him to suffer.

    Is there a Vet that will euthanize him at my house? I do not want his last moments to be stressful, I want him to die where he has been the most comfortable.
    Robert Bailey

    • Carolyn Durham

      Robert,
      I have a chow mix, her name is ThunderBear and she is 18 1/2 yrs old. The problems you are experiencing with your dog are exactly the problems our Bear Bear is facing. I just don’t know what to do. She does not appear to be in any pain, but she has such difficulty standing, laying down, walking etc. The other morning we were woken up to a very strange groaning noise. She never barks anymore or makes even whining noises when she wants to go out. My husband and I rushed down stairs and found her laying spread eagle on the kitchen floor, unable to get up. It’s as though the pads on her paws no longer grip the tile floor and her forearms go out to the sides and her back legs give her little to no support anymore. We helped her up and she was fine, other than the fact that she relieved herself on the kitchen floor. My husband walks her 3-4 times per day but she rarely does anything outside anymore, waits until she comes in and goes to the bathroom in the house. My biggest fear is that she will collapse and not be able to get up, while we are gone during the day and spend the whole day agonizing on how to get up. That kind of suffering or anxiety, I don’t want her to have. Every part of my mind tells me to let her go to doggy heaven, but I am so worried that it is too soon and she may have several more good days ahead of her. We are going out of town next week and I don’t want to board her, but I am afraid to keep her at home all day and have my kids check in on her periodically. We all work which makes it difficult and we have to make this trip, my sister has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I feel so guilty that I am rushing this decision because of all of these factors, but I come back to thinking; is waiting for her to fall asleep one night and not wake up, ever going to happen and how long do we hold on????? I am sorry to go on so, but I am hoping that you could let me know what you have decided to do about your dog and maybe give me some clarity regarding my decision.
      Thanks for any advice,
      Carolyn

  • Laurie

    Dear Lauren,

    Putting a dog to sleep is a sad, difficult decision to make. The only advice I have is to think about how your dogs feel. Are they suffering? If they’re in pain and/or not enjoying life anymore, then letting them go is the most loving thing you can do for them. I know it’s difficult to determine if your dogs are suffering, but there are some signs that dogs just aren’t happy anymore.

    If you can spare your dogs even one day — one hour — of suffering, then maybe it’s time to put them to sleep.

    What does your veterinarian advise?

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • lauren rifenburgh

    Im facing loss of 3 of our 7 dogs. One is a shi tzu who is 14 & almost died last week but was saved with ER visit, oxygen tent, antibiotics, etc. He is not wanting to do much now and I hate thought of just finding his body one morning. My other 2 are a spanish mastiff and st. bernard. both close to 8 yrs. they fought and mastiff lost more. he has many staples but worst is his back legs give out about 75% of the time now and he cant use stairs (he fell down them) and barely gets around now. hangs his head and I feel so bad for him as he lays there. not himself. St bernard got bites to his chest that caused huge “water balloon” and has 2 shunts. first recheck they kept them in cuz he still has much to drain. he not the same either. but at least he still gets excited by walks and car rides. Any one of these is HARD. I can barely type this thinking about it. But I need to know what to do. my kids are affected too. any advice greatly appreciated. thank you.

  • Laurie

    Dear Grace,

    I’m sorry that you have to make this decision, because it sure isn’t an easy one. Nobody can tell you what the right decision is – you have to know in your heart that you’re doing the right thing. Some dog lovers would say putting a dog to sleep is the most loving thing you can do, if the dog is too old or sick to keep going. Others say we should keep them alive as long as possible, regardless of the financial or physical cost.

    I lean towards putting dogs to sleep when they need alot of medical attention. I don’t think it’s pleasant for them to undergo surgeries and other medical procedures – especially when they’re old dogs. I know many dog lovers disagree with me…..and I guess that’s the hazard of inviting opinions on when it’s time to put a dog to sleep! There is no one “right answer”, or right way of doing things.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. You are showing these old dogs so much love and kindness towards the end of their lives…I know they’re grateful and happy to be with you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to stay alive forever, chug chug chugging along.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. I know you’ll do the right thing – whether it’s saying good-bye before things get worse, or going forward with the medical procedures. You’ll know in your heart what the best thing is.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Grace C

    Hello:
    I am hoping someone can help with my decision. I came across 2 sweet old dogs at a garage sale. The owner has moved out the country and left friends in charge of all her belongings including these dogs. They looked fragile and weak and had yellow nasal discharge and what looked like infected gums and decayed teeth. I decided to take them to a local vet- who informed me that their teeth have not been cared for and the results was years of plaque build up and now infection. After blood work- their organ functions surprisingly came back normally abnormal for their age- but no sighns of failure. He suggested putting them down but also says that there is an option of oral surgery which will fix the core problems of their current illnesses. I discovered that One is 19 and the other is 16 yrs old. Ive been giving them oral antibiotics and feeding them regularly keeping them sheltered in my own home. They had been kept the house where no one lived anymore, the dog owner’s would feed them in the morning, leave them in the yard during the day and then bring them back in to sleep in a closed in area b/c they are have never been house broken. The owner is angry that brought them to the vet- saying she wishes them to die naturally and be given to a home that houses Alzhiemer’s patients. Well this place has refused them since they are unable to accomodate these dogs high needs. I’ve been told that these dog’s are suffering b/c their person has abondonded them…however, they seem to warm up quickly to anyone how holds them, they wag and have super appetites despite all that has happened to them. The most difficult thing against them in being adoptable besides their age is that they are not potty trained. Is it ethical to put these dogs down b/c no one has the time for them? Resuce programs Ive called say they do not want to invest in older dogs? I have 2 dogs already and honestly it is a lot of work to care for them, expensive pee pee pads, vet bills out of my own pocket already. The dental work alone will cost $$$ and w/o gauarantee they will survive the anesthesia given their cardiac and kidney age. I know I cannot keep them, but also saddened that they may be at risk for further abuse b/c they are not potty trained. The owner may want me to bring them back to that empty house where feeding and human touch is inconisitent… I am am given permission to take over them… thoughts have came up that I could care for them for “a time” to give them sweet memories ….. before putting them to sleep? But how much time? And I am already struggling with the given estimate for the oral surgeries for them. Very hard to think of making that decision when I still see those tails wag, big appetites. Any advice, words… ideas please for helping me decide the faith for thesed dogs?

    • Rosemary

      Hi Grace C.
      I wanted to say that first of all, THANK YOU for taking those dogs out of that environment. I will never understand why people do this…mistreat animals.
      I think ALL decisions that are now made about those dogs are now YOURS. They don’t get any voice in the matter. When they gave them to you at that garage sale and you took them in…they became yours.
      I am glad that you took them to the vet and now have them on antibiotics. It is probably helping them feel better.
      As for the teeth work that is needed, I don’t know where you are, but there are lower cost ASPCAs here and there that will do things like shots, neuter, teeth, etc.
      But in all honesty, if you can’t take care of them and no one else can either…what is the choice? I guess I would put them down before I would abandon them once again in their life. They don’t deserve to be left alone again.
      Harsh truth, yes. A 19 year old dog and a 16 year old dog won’t have much of a chance anywhere else.
      I think it’s awful that the other owner didn’t take care of those dogs in the first place, humanely. Geeze…the former owner wants them to die naturally? WTH!!??!!
      Sorry…this one just upsets me, and I usually don’t get this way.
      I am so very proud of you and others that try so very hard to do the right thing…feeding, vetting and loving on them. At least you tried, versus those who don’t.
      I am sure you will make the right decision for them. Just please, don’t give them back to those awful people who had them before.
      Thanks for all you do.

  • Laurie

    Dear Linda,

    It’s such a difficult decision – I’m sorry you have to think about putting Brandy to sleep. I think it’d be good see what the veterinarian says. Sometimes they can give us information that helps. I have heard of “doggie diapers”, but part of me thinks that’s just prolonging the inevitable. And, I’m sure it’s not fun for anyone to be in a diaper. It must be confusing for the dogs, and maybe even potentially unhealthy. Infections and such, with urine in contact with skin that could have a cut or something. I don’t know much about it, obviously!

    I have nothing to advise, I just wanted to say my heart is with you as you think about putting your dog to sleep. I hope you can release all guilt if you decide to say good-bye, and that you let Brandy rest in peace. And if you decide to keep trying, I wish you well! Come back anytime, let me know how you are.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Linda

    I have a 17 year old lab mix. Her name is Brandy. i have had her for about 4 years. She belonged to my brother but when he was no longer able to keep her i took her in. She has recently started having accidents and urinating on her self. Some days are good and we have no accidents but outher days she completely wets her bed. It’s usually happens while she’s sleeping. She is also starting to move around a lot slower and some days she won’t eat her food but will partake in one of her doggie treats. She still wags her tail and gets little short bursts of energy but for the most part she does a lot of sleeping. I’m starting to think that maybe it’s time to put her down. I have what I call her “old lady” check up coming up the end of this week and will talk to the vet again about what she thinks I should do. I’m just looking for another opinion … I know putting her to sleep is something I’m going to have to deal with in the near future but I don’t want to do it to soon or wait to long. Any input would be great.

    • Rosemary

      Hi. A 17 year old lab is quite the wonderful thing. Thank you for taking her in and giving her a home with you.

      I have just a few suggestions about the issues you wrote about.

      *You could give the dog Dasuquin…which is a mix of Glucosamine Hydrochloride and Chondroitin. I got mine from my VET and he gave me the brand from Nutramax. It is liver flavored chewables. It takes a couple weeks to see a difference in the movement of the dog, but it has helped my dogs move easier.

      *Rimadyl is a good pain reliever for dogs. Chewable. Prescription from the VET.

      *A tablespoon of Coconut Oil each day helps keep things moving.

      *There are drugs from the VET that helps with the incontinence.

      *Doggy diapers when she sleeps? Or put a doggy pee pad under her when she sleeps?

      If all those options works, great…but if not….that is fine as well. Only you know (and you VET) if the dog is in so much pain and unhappy that perhaps the next step is to seek peace for the dog.

      I wish you all the best. And thank you again for giving this doggy a home for it’s retirement years. You did great!

      • Linda

        Thank you for the advice!!! I use the doggie pee pee pads and change her bed sheets daily … I know I wouldn’t want to sleep in wet sheets so I’m sure she doesn’t want to either!!! The vet has given her a few different things for her movement but I didn’t see any difference. She’s just old and slow!! Every time I take her to the vet they are always shocked that’ she is still alive and doing as well as she is. I know I don’t have a lot more time with her and soon I’m sure I will have to make a decision but for now as longs as she’s happy I’m happy!! She still gets super excited to see me when I get home from work and she and my 10 year old Chesapeake Bay Reteriver still play… It’s just for super short periods of time!!! Like all old people .. She has her good days and her not so good days. As long as the good days out number the bad I’m gonna let her keep hanging out with us!!! Thanks again!!!!!

  • Laurie

    Dear Michelle,

    It sounds like you and your son are going through such a difficult, sad time right now. I’m sorry your poor dog is not a good candidate for surgery, and that it seems like the consensus is that he should be put to sleep. It’s heartbreaking, especially since your son and you have both experienced a great loss.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you’re able to let your dog rest in peace, and that you can remember him with love and joy after he’s gone.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • michelle

      Dear Laurie,
      This morning he got up and went out to the toilet and he is barking and wagging his tail I know the pain killers are helping him. I was ready last night to euthanize him today but now I don’t want too. I rang the vet and she said it won’t get better (which I know.) I want to take it a day at a time …Is this wrong of me? ….michelle

      • Laurie

        Dear Michelle,

        You love your dog so much that you’d do anything for him – and that’s not wrong! You want him to live as long as possible, because imagining life without him is terrible. That’s not wrong, to want him to live so you can spend as much time with him as possible.

        I can’t tell you when it’s time to put your beloved dog to sleep – nobody can do that, because nobody knows how long he’ll live or how much pain he’s in (if any!).

        The bottom line is your reason for making a decision to keep him alive longer. Is it for him, or for you? Sometimes we make decisions based on the extreme love we feel, but that love blinds us to the pain our dogs are in if they’re struggling with an illness. I guess my question for you is, “Are you keeping your dog alive because he is healed and his quality of life is good again, or because you can’t bear the thought of letting him go?”

        The veterinarian I interviewed for this article about putting a dog to sleep said, “If you can spare your dog even one day of pain and suffering, then you must.”

        It’s not my intention to push you towards putting your dog to sleep. I have two dogs I love so much, and I can’t imagine the day that I have to say good-bye! It’s terrible. But sometimes love involves sacrifice…and sometimes that sacrifice is the heartbreak we feel when we release our beloved animals and let them pass on in peace.

        My heart breaks for you, whether you say good-bye to your beloved dog today or in a month. No matter when it happens, it’ll hurt – and I am sending you my sympathies.

        Come back, update me anytime.

        Warm hugs,
        Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Alice,

    It sounds like your poor little terrier is on his last legs, and it’s time for you to let him rest in peace. I hope you’re able to see your way clear to making the decision that is best for him. I know that putting a dog to sleep is one of the most difficult decisions we could ever make…it’s heartbreaking. My heart and soul goes out to you, and I pray that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

    Listen to Rosemary’s kind and wise words – I couldn’t have said it better myself. You are not alone. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Amanda

    Thank you so much for your reply. It has been a week today since I held her in my arms whilst she went to sleep. I have never had to make such a hard decision in my life. This week has been so hard it has made me very poorly even though everyone keeps telling me it was the right thing I did.

    I hope in time I will find peace with what I did I miss her with all my heart. Thank you for your lovely reply it is so nice to hear xxx

  • michelle

    My baby Beau is 14 and 3 months. I had his cruciate ligament fixed on his back right leg 4 years ago and yesterday he did his back left. I took him to the vet this morning and they said they can operate but he is not a good candidate for surgery. As he has a limp on his right leg and arthritis also he would be leaning heavily on his right leg which would be painful. His recovery would be up to 6 weeks and I will have to be with him at all times. Everyone says I should put him to sleep. I agree in my head but my heart hurts no end. I know euthanasia is the right choice but it doesn’t make it any easier. I will miss him so much and so will my son who lost his father 2 weeks ago and my other dog Chico who is 3. This is the first time I have had to make this decision all my other pets have passed on there own. He seems fine otherwise eating and drinking as normal. Why is life so hard sometimes?

    • Rosemary

      Hi Michele,
      First off, the words that jumped out at me was that your son’s father has just passed on very recently. I am so sorry for your family’s loss.
      And now dealing with a dog that is in the age and shape that you have described…is heartbreaking in and of itself.
      Just like Laurie has said, she can’t tell you “when” to put an animal to rest, and nor will I. But, if your pet is in pain, can’t get better, and probably hurting more than you can tell…well, it might be what you need to do.
      It’s beyond hard and sad to do this for your pet…I know. Been there. Questioning when and why will make you crazy with quilt. I know. Been there with that as well. In the end though, peace is where things need to go.
      I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers for your family.

  • Alice Davis

    I have little rat terrier 15 yrs old. He has had diareah for a week. Can’t seem to control it. He doesn’t even move he just goes. He has arthritis and several of his teeth have fallen out. All he does is lay and sleep. He is eating and drinking if I bring it to him. It hurts me to watch him walk he just looks so miserable. I live on a fixed income with limited resources so expensive vet bills are not an option. I have been hoping it would get better or mr peanut would go on his own, I just can. Not seem to make a decision . I am crying as I am writing this it is very hard to know what to do.

    • Rosemary

      Dear Alice, I am so sorry for what you and your little pet have had to go through. I can see by the way you have described everything, that you know in your heart that you have to let you pet have final peace.
      I am so glad that he had such a good LONG life with you but now he needs you for one more thing…to rest.
      I had always hoped that when MY pets had gotten so sick and old that they would go to sleep forever on their own, but they never did. It seemed like they would just hang on because they wanted to please me. It isn’t about ME, it’s about the pet and their pain and suffering. But, in the end…I just knew that I needed to do what was best for my pet, and give it rest. It’s always…ALWAYS hard to do…but when done with love…well…love reigns.
      Hugs.

  • Laurie

    Dear Amanda,

    It sounds like putting your beloved dog to sleep was the right decision, because you prevented her from experiencing more pain!

    When you look back on your decision to say good-bye, your grief is causing you to second-guess your decision. But you have to remember that you made the decision to put her to sleep because it seemed like the best thing at the time. And, I believe it WAS the right decision, for all the reasons the veterinarian shared.

    But the grief is overwhelming. I’m sorry. I wish I had the right words to take the pain away. You’re not alone in this grief, and I believe your spirit will be reunited with Puddin’s spirit one day! She is watching over you, loving you, and feeling so happy and grateful that she was part of your life. She wants you to remember her with peace and joy, not pain and guilt.

    May you remember your dog with peace and joy, because that is what she would have wanted.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • amanda

    Hi I wanted to write on here because I am having a very difficult time with what i have done, Friday just passed we had 2 hours to decide whether we start treatment for our old dog or put her to sleep.

    Puddin our bichon frise was 13 years old i had, had her since i was 14. 2 years ago puddin had to have a very horrible operation on her groin to remove a very large cancer it was a scary time for us but we decided if it came back we would let her live her life to the full. Puddin was never spayed which they said it might be the cause of what had happened but at the time we still couldnt do it as she was in heat. we decided to not let her go through more pain. Puddin’s lumps did not come back.

    3 weeks ago puddin started to drink lots and lots of water and eat sooo much food and she was messing in the house and flooding the house. i thought that the cancer had come back and it was nearly time to say good bye. At this point she was still happy in her self playing with my new arrival who she loved dearly but then by this week we noticed she had lost lots of weight to the point i could see her bones. this scared me so we took her to get tested. the bloods showed that his has way too much sugar in her system and she was getting very poorly with it as she was sick twice and her eyes was going a funny colour. the vet said we can start her on treatment but she would have to stay in the hospital and it might not work because of her age. if it did work it would cost us alot of money a week and we dont have that money at all or insurance. the vet had advised us if we couldnt go through with the trial we would have to say good bye as she was getting worse. I could not believe that we was going to have to make a desision with in 2 hours. pudding was still happy and walking and eating but she was old as her legs was getting weak. we decided to say goodbye to her and let her drift off to sleep. i am absolutely devistated to the point i am sick. i feel so much quilt that we could of saved her even though the vets said her vains wasnt very good either. i am really struggling x

    • Rosemary

      Hi Amanda,
      I am so sorry for your loss. I truly understand.
      Looks like you provided a great home to your dog and there was plenty of love to go around, all those years.
      I am sure that your Vet was trying to also keep your pet from feeling sick as well. A lot of times, a pet doesn’t LOOK sick or ACT sick, but they ARE sick. It’s hard to tell at times.
      You did a final loving thing for her, to give her peace.
      Try not to feel the guilt about it. Try to remember the good things about her.
      Hugs.

  • Louise

    Did I do the right thing? My Peganise Sokkies (17yrs) had to be put down, the last few days she struggled to eat, can not swallow or chew food, her breathing was not normal, could not breath trough her nose, could not walk and exstreame weight loss, she weighed 2.3 the day I put her down… would she had a chance if I put her on a drip?

    • Rosemary

      Hi Louise,
      First off, my sympathy for your loss at this time.
      Golly…your dog was 17 years old. I am always amazed at what love and kindness can do for some animals…and clearly, YOU gave lots of both love and kindness to your dear friend for her to live so long.
      I truly believe that you did all you could do for her and your final gift to her was to give her peace.
      It’s never easy, this I know all too well.
      Because of love, we grieve. We grieve because we love.

      • Louise

        Thank you Rosemary, it is almost 3 weeks and I miss Sokkies so much, in the evening when I have to give the other dogs food, this is the time I miss her the most and to lock the doors at night and she is no longer with me…it is SO hard. Thank you and the other people who started this site, it helps to talk about it…a little. THANK YOU

  • Laurie

    Dear Cheril,

    Thank you for being here. It’s wonderful to hear that you had 16 years with Harley! I have a friend whose dog is called Harley, as well. He’s a border collie who loves to herd everyone around.

    I hope that if you have to make the decision to put him to sleep, that you feel comfortable with it. I wish you peace as you think about what’s best for Harley. I totally understand that losing a pet is somehow more traumatic than losing a loved one…I’ve lost several family members and it hurts, but losing my dogs and cats is a different type of pain. Our pets are so vulnerable, unconditionally loving, dependent, and easy to be with…saying good-bye is devastating.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Ms Eddy,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, as you put your dog to sleep today. I hope all goes well, and Bailey is resting in peace after a smooth transition from this world to the next one.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Alison,

    I agree with everything Rosemary said, especially the “quality of life” part. I believe resting in peace is preferable to suffering through surgeries, medications, and veterinarian visits. At some point, the pain and discomfort isn’t worth it, for either our beloved dogs or us.

    But of course this is your decision, and you have to do what you’re most comfortable with. I love animals so much, and I can’t stand to see them in pain. I’d rather say good-bye too early than too late, because it breaks my heart to see dogs hurting. My thing is that I can’t tell how much they’re hurting, because animals are pretty good at hiding their pain.

    Whatever you decide, I’m sending you my thoughts and prayers. Let us know how you’re doing.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

    • Alison

      Thank you for your replies. I still have not gone through with it. 2 cancelled appointments. UGH. She remains the same with a blown knee and I know I’ll have to make the call soon as the 3 flights of stairs are just horrible for us both. I can see how much pain she is in when I’m home yet she still is so lovable and seemingly happy. Except I can’t let her run or play or be a dog 🙁 This has been so hard and I’m really not sure if prolonging this for her or me. To make it worse her vet is making me feel even worse. They told me “I’m better off trying to re-home put down a perfectly healthy dog” She has never been healthy and I do my best but I do not see a good outcome doing this surgery and I also know most of the time the other knee goes soon after and I have to consider my financial situation. I never thought it would be this hard but I truly feel like she’s trusting me and I’m failing her.

  • Laurie

    Dear Tes,

    I’m sorry I didn’t respond earlier, and my heart goes out to you for this tough decision you have to make about putting your English Springer Spaniel to sleep. It’s a very difficult decision, and it sometimes helps to talk it through with a veterinarian.

    Everyone seems to have a different perspective of when to put a dog down – and I believe there is no one “right” answer. Personally, I’m less inclined to put my pets through repeated surgeries, medications, vet visits, etc, especially if they’re getting old. But sometimes those operations and medications turn out to be good for our animals, and worthwhile. It’s such an individual decision, and nobody can tell you what the right thing for your dog – and your family – is.

    I think if my dog was aggressive towards humans, I’d lean towards saying good-bye. Sometimes aggression is a sign of pain – and it’s definitely not good to live in pain! Nor is it good to live in fear of what our animals might do to our family.

    What does your husband think about putting your dog to sleep?

  • Ms. Eddy

    Our Shiba, Bailey, turned 15 on Tuesday. For months we have watched him go steadily downhill.
    A few months ago we thought he had a stroke; he couldn’t stand or walk.
    I cried the entire night, thinking thatvwe would have to out him down. When we took him to the vet we found out that he had severe inflammation in his inner ear; the prescription was to give him Bonine. It was like a miracle cure; as long as he had his pill first thing in the morning he could function.
    He is almost completely blind and deaf, and spends all of his waking hours pacing frantically and going in circles until he falls over. He gets stuck in every corner in the house and yard.
    He has trouble walking on the tile and wood floors so I have covered almost everywhere with non-slip area rugs.
    Sometimes he can manage the stairs but most times I have to pick him up and carry him up and down.
    He howls day and night; the vet said before that it seemed to be anxiety, but now it seems like more than that.
    He hasn’t been sleeping more than a couple of hours at a time, and it seems like it is getting harder for him to relieve himself.
    He has lost so much weight; I can feel his spine when I pet him.
    I kept thinking that I was being good to him by taking care of him for so long; going without sleep for months and constantly cleaning up after him. I thought it was like taking care of an elderly parent; that you don’t put down your dog just because he is old and takes up most of your time and energy.
    But last night, even with the sedative I gave him, he wouldn’t settle. He paced non-stop all night, howling even though we were right with him, petting him and talking with him. I had to wake my husband up to spell me about 4:00 am because I was so exhausted.
    His howling kept me from going to sleep so I got back up and took him outside, thinking that maybe he just had to go. All he did was circle the yard, unsteadily, because it is getting harder and harder for him to walk; he was whining the whole time.
    When I brought him back in, the howling started again. He seemed so frantic and confused. I gave him his Bonine and another 12 sedative. He finally fell asleep, but he is whimpering in his sleep.
    And now I know; it’s time.
    Not because I am tired, but because he is.
    And now I feel like I have been selfish for keeping him here as long as I have.
    I kept hoping that when his time came, he would just go to sleep and not wake up. I didn’t want to have to make that decision for him.
    I have been afraid of dogs for most of my life; Bailey is the first dog I have ever emotionally bonded with, so my decision has not come easy.
    When the vet opens this morning, I will ask my daughter (who was Bailey’s original owner), to go with me to help Bailey go to sleep one last time.

    • Rosemary

      Ms Eddy and family,
      I am so sorry. I know it’s all very hard to muddle through. Your Bailey knew you loved him…dogs love, I KNOW this.
      You did everything you could have possibly done, and now you gave the ultimate gift….peace.
      My hugs, thoughts and prayers are with you.
      Rosemary

  • Alison

    I’m struggling with guilt on whether to put my dog to sleep. First because she is only 6. She is a Rottie/Lab mix that has had one issue after another since I adopted her at 11 months old. First she had such severe allergies to everything that she would scratch herself raw. We managed to get them under great control. She also has severe separation anxiety which has gotten slightly better, I was bringing her to a doggie day care while I worked a few days a week. She has Pancreatitis and/or gastroentrinitis which has required trips to animal ER when she has flare ups she also has arthritis in her hips. I give her Glucosamine for that. Last week she tore her ACL or CCL the dog version. She is in so much pain. I’m reluctant to do surgery since we live on the 3rd floor (this is the ONLY place I could find that would take a dog when I was forced to relocate). I have quite literally spent several thousand $$ for her variety of issues over the years and I’m not complaining. I just can’t stand to see her in pain. Also not being able to play, go to day care and being home alone is causing her so much stress and anxiety. BUT she’s so young. I’m wrecked with guilt and sadness over even considering but I don’t know what more I can do?

    • Rosemary

      Dear Alison,
      I am so sorry that your dog has had so many health issues. It’s always a puzzle to me as to ‘why’ some dogs (and people too) have struggles like this.
      It seems to me that you are a very loving pet momma…thank you!
      I get on here (on this forum) because I care about pets and their wonderful families. I see that you have asked some questions, so, here is just my opinion.
      Besides all the other issues that your dog has, NOW having a torn ACL or CCL is a BIG DEAL for a dog to heal from. I know that surgery can help in limited situations, but the dog is in constant pain and limited mobility forever more after it. Most dogs that I have known that have the surgery do not do well afterwards. It seems to me that dogs go through a lot of pain and you as the owner of the dog go through a lot of pain and money.
      I guess I wouldn’t do the surgery and I would help the dog rest eternally. Quality of life just isn’t there.
      But…I want you to know that this is just MY opinion…and you need to do whatever you need to do. I RESPECT you in whatever decision you make. You do whatever you need to do because of love. Been there, done that. It’s heart breaking, either way.
      Hugs to you.

  • Laurie

    Dear Patty,

    Tyler sounds like an amazing dog, and you and he have an incredible bond! We don’t connect with people the way we connect with our dogs, do we? We love our dogs so much – they’re part of our heart, soul, and spirit.

    I offer you my sympathy and prayers as you prepare to say good-bye to Tylerman. It’s heartbreaking, but it sounds like you know you’re doing the right thing for him. He needs to shed his slow, painful earthly body and pass over into lightness, freedom, and eternity. And I believe he needs you to be at peace with this decision, and let him go with joy and sadness.

    You will meet Tyler again someday. His spirit will not be extinguished! His physical body will be gone, but his the energy of his soul will always be with you.

    My heart breaks for you, and I will keep you in my prayers as you grieve your loss. It is a huge loss, and I encourage you to honor your pain and sadness. Say good-bye to Tyler, and allow yourself time to grieve. His death is just as traumatic as losing a loved one, and I hope you’re able to give yourself time and space to express your loss — and to remember how awesome it was to have Tyler in your life.

    Come back anytime and let me know how you’re doing.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

    • Tes

      Hi. I’m just searching sites this afternoon in the hopes of getting help and support for a tough decision we are having to make. I hope this works, we need it. We have a 9-year old English Springer Spaniel, who has had two surgeries on her right knee, and has now blown out her left knee; she has a disc separation at L7-S1 from injury several years ago; she is aggressive toward my husband, having actually bitten him in the face requiring 12 stitches; we can’t have our 5-year old and 13-year old goddaughters to our home because of her aggression….so, we are praying about letting her go before putting her through another knee surgery. Are we being selfish? We’re trying to approach this from the depth of our love for her, releasing her from the demons of aggression; and saving her the pain and misery of another surgery. Can anyone help me? Thank you.

      • Rosemary

        Hi Tes.
        I am sorry that your dog is going through all of this. I am sorry that your family has to experience this. I truly am. Been there, done that.

        At the VERY TOP of this webpage are something helpful to think about…

        “Here’s the bottom line about putting a dog down:
        There will come a day when it is absolutely clear to you that your dog is not enjoying life. That day is one day too late. If you can save your dog even one day of discomfort, you must.”

        In the way you describe your dog, he is in a lot of pain and is lashing out. He is doing that because of the pain and the anxiety that he is experiencing. I don’t feel that he is safe to have around your family either. I do not feel that you are being selfish.

        If it was me, I would help my dog by ending his suffering. It will hurt you terribly to do so, but love is the “why” you are doing it. Give you and your family time to “say goodbye” to your dog. I find that it helps to have that one special day or afternoon with your dog where you talk to him, give lots of treats, love him as much as he will accept at the time.

        You asked for opinions…and this is mine. In the last part of your letter for help, you pretty much said already what you feel you need to do. I will keep you and your family in my prayers at this time. (hugs)

    • Patty

      Our dog Tyler is 19 1/2 years old. I’ve had him since he was 7 (a rescue pup). The story is supposed to be that I rescued him, but in reality he rescued me. You see, I had just gotten a divorce after 25 years of marriage and Tyler came into my life and gave me a reason to live every day. Tyler has many health problems of course at his old age, we give him a handful of pills each day. We actually went to the Vet’s office yesterday to discuss putting Tyler down, and all we ended up doing is arguing (my husband and I) over what is right. For months now, Tyler does nothing but pace, turns circles, he is blind and deaf. The Vet said that he may know we are still around. It’s such a hard decision to make. I think I am ready, then I just can’t do it. I run the scenario through my head over and over. It has been months since I have slept through a night because Tyler is up all throughout each night and it is a matter of hurry up and get him out the door. He walks very, very slow. I know in my heart he is tired. I also know he has lived a great life since the day he came home with me. We were kind of like what you see in the movie, I took him around and showed him my house and told him this was not his room or area, what he was not to get on and what was okay to get on. I bought him a bed and put it at the foot of my bed. Each morning I woke up and he was right beside me and to this day he remains there each night. He has never been put in a kennel, he has travelled with me everywhere. He continues to eat and drink, but that is all he does, besides the pacing and turning circles. It breaks my heart and I sit here day and night watching him deteriorate this way. I get it in my head that next Saturday will be the day, but then as I said before, I just can’t do it. The guilt is killing me. The not knowing and worrying about something happening to him while we are at work is killing me and affecting my work. I know there is no reassurance that everything will be okay, but I just can’t imagine life on the other side without him beside me. Since he came into my life, he is the reason things have been done, I bought an SUV with him in mind for travelling, we bought a house next to a huge park with him in mind, every plan that has been made has him in mind and a part of it, we have birthdays in the park for him, family pictures made, he is truly my third child. It is my husband’s only child, other than his beloved cat. I guess what I am trying to say here is, I just don’t know how to plan such a thing for Tyler. You know when a family member passes away, you plan afterwards, you don’t plan the day for them to die. I pray God will help me and watch over my Tylerman!

  • Laurie

    Dear Adele,

    Making the decision to put a dog down is one of the most difficult decisions we’ll ever make. And – as you mentioned – it never gets easier.

    It sounds like your husband is very uncomfortable with the decision, and maybe even scared of facing the heartbreaking grief of losing Romeo. Some people never get over the loss, and can’t open their hearts to love a dog again.

    I suggest giving your husband a book about coping with the loss of a pet – even if you think he won’t read it. You might read it yourself, to get an idea of how to support him as he grieves. And it’ll help you grieve your loss, as well. Most books offer really good suggestions on how to move on and heal after a pet dies.

    Another suggestion is to make time to talk to your husband about death, loss, and grief. What loss has he grieved in the pass, and what helped him cope? Did he get help, or did he face it alone? Sometimes, losing our pets brings up all sorts of past losses and griefs…it’s not always just about the loss of our dog.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision. Stay in touch.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Adele Peters

    Being a dog owner for many years I’ve put dogs down and have had them pass while with me. Neither of them get easier with time. I have a 14 year old male Yorkshire that loved life but now he is blind and deaf with multiple ear infections which gives off a terrible odor, has allergies which makes him scratch and itch most of the time and has recently been diagnosed with water in his lungs and has been put on water pills twice a day for the rest of whatever life he has. It’s been tough cause the pills make him urinate frequently as he does make it to the paper about 50 % of the time that other 50% not so good, I’m cleaning up urine all day long. He has a hard time standing still it seems his back legs what to give out so he just keeps walking and pumping into things being blind or he is sleeping. His life consists of eating walking and urinating and sleeping. I’m planning a move to California from New Jersey this summer and I know he will never make the plane ride. He stresses out in 1/2 hour car ride to get him groomed. I skim over the conversation about putting him down with my husband cause he can’t face Romeo being old and sick and leaving us. Romeo can’t be left alone for long periods of time which being a bit selfish stops me from my life. How do I handle this … the frustration is building I love the little guy but I don’t think has the quality of life that a dog should have. Any suggestions thoughts ideas would love to hear them 🙁

    • Rosemary

      Hi Adele,
      I understand your concerns, and it is very obvious that you love your dog and even though you are struggling with his many health issues, you are still trying to do the best you can for your dog.
      I had a 13 year old chihuahua that was having kidney failure and arthritis and was on the verge of being diabetic. He peed a lot, cried when walking or being held, ate only if you hand fed him, etc. It was no qualitiy of life for him and really no quality of life for me as well. I couldn’t leave him. My home became an infirmary for my sweet friend.
      I had asked my Vet about “how do you know when” and he simply said this…”When your home has turned into a hospice for your pet, and all you are doing is making the pet last longer….it’s time to help the pet pass on.”
      Sometimes, it’s just so very hard to do what is needed to be done…but maybe it’s a “last gift” that we can do for our beloved pets.
      I don’t know that this helps you any, but just know that I can simpathize with your hard decision. You will do the right thing that is needed for YOUR family…whatever that will be. (hugs)

      • Brenda VanAuken

        Hi, Rosemary–

        Thanks for your reply to Adele. It helped us make the difficult decision. The statement …”When your home has turned into a hospice for your pet, and all you are doing is making the pet last longer….it’s time to help the pet pass on.” is what confirmed that it was the right decision. We had become a hospice for Riley these last few weeks–special foods to try to get him to eat, carrying him when he couldn’t walk, giving him pain pills to help him get through the day.

        That statement made me realize that we really weren’t doing Riley any favors. So I called the vet and made the appointment, then we spent the following days spoiling him rotten and giving him all the love we could cram into the time left. Today was the day, and it was really rough. Riley always hated for us to leave him, so I stayed with him to the end, and even though it broke my heart, I’m glad I did.

        Even now I’m still crying. I’m dreading going to bed because we were the kind of parents who let their furbaby sleep with them (I always said that Riley graciously shared his bed with us), and I know that even though my husband is there, the bed will seem so empty.

      • Rosemary

        Brenda,
        I am glad that I could help you in my very small way. It is beyond hard, yes, I know. My heart hurts for you. My sympathies for you and your family.
        Some of the hardest things we do in life, is for love.
        ((hugs))

      • Mimi

        Adele, Rosemary, and Vangie,

        I know what all of you have been or are going through. I am on my second senior miniature poodle, a rescue, who is exhibiting all the symptoms of my first one in her last year. Both blind and deaf, pacing, anxious, circling, back end failing, having to be hand fed, constantly cleaning up pee because I can’t, couldn’t, get them outside in time. I had and still have extreme guilt over my first poodle, Rachel, thinking that I could have done better by her after she lost her sight and hearing and became weak in her back end. I was the best owner up until then. We had an incredible bond. When she became infirm, I did everything I could think of at the time to help her.

        We were at the vet every three months to check her kidney values, which fluctuated. I would ask the vet, “What can I do for her in her older age?” and never got any answers other than “she’s old.” For the last seven months of her life, I gave her fluids under her skin every day, but she kept losing weight, even though her appetite was good. I took her to a number of vets, and none seemed interested in making her life better or prolonging it. Near the end, I was looking up dog carts and harnesses to help her with her back end failure. I just couldn’t understand why the vets were writing her off. Her heart and lungs were great.

        The day came when I knew that she was suffering, and I had a vet come to my cabin to put her down. Before the vet came, I took her out in the sun and took pictures of me holding her. I looked at them then, her raising her head up to me, but I have not been able to look at one picture of her since. Afterward, I was consumed with guilt and remorse. Why didn’t I know to feed her something different, why didn’t I get her teeth done and ignore my original vet who told me that she couldn’t undergo anesthesia again? Why did I put her in her canvas dog tent, where she would circle endlessly and then fall down? I thought that it would keep her safe.

        Everyone who saw us together would tell me that I was such a good mother. But after she left, I thought that I could have done much better. I read about all these people who go to great lengths for their dogs, and I thought that I had failed her in her final year, at 17 and a half years old. I’m sure I could have done better; the vets were no help. But the truth is, once she went blind and deaf, she stopped wagging her tail and never wagged it again. That really upset me. She went from a vibrant, happy, playful dog to one that got stuck in corners and who was never the dog she had been, although she still knew me and was comforted lying in my arms and sleeping with me.

        I felt extremely guilty about being frustrated with her at times, wanting her to settle down so that I could sleep. There was very little sleep for either of us the last year of her life. And now, just a year later, it is the same with Oliver. He is repeating Rachel’s last year exactly, minus the SQ fluids. But, he also has a suspected cancer on his hind end, which is growing. I keep forgetting about that when I see him pretty vibrant on our walks, and scarfing up food. I asked about a biopsy, and my vet said that it would leave a big, gaping gash.

        So I guess the bottom line, what I’m trying to say, is that sometimes our grasping at straws is not doing our beloved pets any good. How much is our wanting to keep them with us, all the memories of the happy days, overshadowing their need to leave. I empathize with everyone who is going through this difficult process.

      • Rosemary

        Mimi,
        You have well worded the thoughts of many. We try to do the very best with what info and strengths we have. We do it all with love. Our pets know that, I truly believe that. We are bonded to them and they to us.
        I often wonder just WHY I have a pet at times…when they get old and sick is such a painful time. When it’s time to ease them into death just about kills ME.
        After I had to put a beloved pet down, I asked the Vet just WHY do I keep getting pets, when in the end, they leave me too soon? The Vet told me, “Love sends two souls together for a little time, and love sends us apart again. It’s something that is needed in our lives, to give love.” (I have such a good Vet! He should be a shrink actually! Very wise.)
        I have a cat who is just diagnosed with stomach cancer. It isn’t pretty as she vomits a couple times a day lately. She has meds to take to limit it some and some pain pills as well. (A person hasn’t LIVED until you have to give pills to a CAT on a regular basis!!!! haha) I also just noticed that she has a large lump growing on her lower lip…it doesn’t look good either…so I imagine it’s part of the cancer deal. My cat is 13. That isn’t ancient for an indoor only cat. I guess when the cat is visibly suffering, I need to make some decisions. It doesn’t get any easier.
        My dog is 8…a minpin. He has a condition where his body does not process fat well, and he can’t get rid of it. Of all places to store fat, it is affecting his eyes. It looks like he has cataracts but actually the fat cells are building up on his eyes. Weird. He has daily eye drops for this and a special diet to try to control all this…in the hopes that he won’t go blind. It seems to help.
        ANYway….it’s amazing what we will do to help our pets…our loves….our family. We do what we need to do. A lot of times, it surely is hard to do it though. I have full sympathy for those most hard of decisions to make.
        Big hugs to all who are hurting with a loss or hurting with decisions about what to do.

      • Adele Peters

        Thank You Mimi for your kind words I feel your painmy boy Romeo isn’t in pain that’s where the problem comes in if I knew he had pain it would be easy to the right thing but everybody keeps telling me it’s his quality of life not quantity. my concerns now or I’m moving to San Diego I don’t know if he’ll be able to make the 5 hour flight and being that he has water on the lungs and taking water pills I’m unable to sedate him to keep in relaxedso I kinda know what I have to do in my head but its not in my heartI do hope that God takes him before I have to do this.

      • Cheril

        Hello, I am kind of in the same boat as you, I have a 16 year old male yorkie that I don’t know what to do either. He s going blind, I think he can see a little, his hearing is going, he potties all the time ( I have rubber backed rugs everywhere), he eats some but is extremely picky, walks over smells it then walks away so I cook him a hamburger party which he eats until some of it comes back up, and the rest f the time he sleeps.

        Harley was never a socialable dog, he was attacked my a huskie right after I got him and he only weighed a pound so when the huskie shook him the third time he broke his hip & pelvis. So because he was so small there was nothing the vet could do for him which after 3 days of him being in pain and not eating I thought I was going to have to put him down then, but when I was on the phone with the vet he must have heard and started eating…now we are 16 years later and confused on it again.

        They say to ask 6 questions but when I look at them he really never was up for any of them anyway, he used to have to be laying on me either in bed or on the sofa, now he wants nothing but the bed I bought him, which smells like urine a lot which I guess is dripping off, so I dust it with carpet fresh all the time since you can’t wash them. I had to have all of his teeth pulled last summer because his teeth were so bad it smelled like his butt…which he has done very well with eating even dry food which amazed us..I see him drinking water so he hasn’t stopped that..but in general all he does anymore is sleep and pee. If I try to hold him he squirms wanting down and back on his bed. I even went to a animal psychic and asked her if it was time …yea I know…all she said was he stopped sleeping with me because he can’t control his bathroom times and didn’t want to mess on my bed….whatever..

        So like you I’m not sure if it’s time or not..is he in pain? Doesn’t act like it, he doesn’t play anymore but he’s 16 who would, he eats but is very selective, he drinks water but certainly pees a lot, does he act happy! No but he really never did..I know he’s not as energetic as he used to be but neither would I at 112, My 84 yr old mother had ALZ for 7 years 2 of which there was no quality of life…but I didn’t put her down,..has Harley lost most of his quality of life?

        I had to put my 12 yr old cat down 9 years ago and I have to say that was almost as hard as losing both of my parents..I swore I would never make that decision again, and here I am. I don’t want to question my decision for the rest of my life, but I don’t want my dog to be miserable so I can remain without guilt…if he was showing pain there would be no doubt in my mind,..but….I know no one else can make ths decision but me but it does help reading others with the same issue… I pray every night that God just takes him in he sleep but I don’t believe that’s gonna happen…my heart will ache when he does go but I also know I have had 16 years with him and that in itself is amazing..

        Good luck with your decision I’ll be checking back to see what is happening…
        Cheril

    • Vangie

      It is hard I know, believe me I still struggle with guilt and regret for deciding to put my dog down two months ago. Her quality of life was suffering she was just existing and like my vet told me, only you know the dog he used to be but if I had known how much I would miss her honestly, I would have just waited and let her go on her own. Like you said, the frustration started building and I was exhausted cleaning up pee and poop every day. There are alot of helpful articles on this site and I was so glad I found it.

    • Adele Peters

      Thank you all for your kind words and suggestions they are greatly appreciated. Romeo is still with us, he doesn’t seem to be in any pain but needs constant looking after due to his urinating problem because of being on water pills twice a day. My problem now is my husband and I are relocating to San Diego and I’m not sure if Romeo will be able to make a 5+ hour flight. He gets antsy driving in his car seat 20 minutes to his groomer due to the urinating problem. I’m at a loss I’m heartbroken I don’t know what to do. I love him so much I think of nothing but what am I gonna do when I leave in July … This has saddened me and caused stress in my home and my life 🙁

      • Rosemary

        Adele,
        Hi. I re-read what you had written on April 2.

        I also re-read what I had responded to you on April 2. I still stand by what I had said about : “I had asked my Vet about “how do you know when” and he simply said this…”When your home has turned into a hospice for your pet, and all you are doing is making the pet last longer….it’s time to help the pet pass on.” ”

        I am going to “go out on a limb here” and suggest that you have these options:
        1. don’t move
        2. move but DRIVE the dog even though you will have to stop several times along the journey
        3. Fly with the dog in a little carrier WITH YOU ON BOARD along with a LOT of pee pads with you. Also, perhaps give your doggy a little sedative when flying so it isn’t anxious. Heck, some PEOPLE need sedatives when flying! lol
        4. put the dog down before you move

        Just please don’t leave the dog behind withOUT you. Don’t abandon him. (I know you won’t do that, but I just stuck that in there…sorry if I offended you on that one.)

        It’s only May…see what June brings. If things don’t get any better for the dog or your family; you will then know what to do.

        Blessings

  • Laurie

    Hello Vangie,

    That’s a great question – how do you know if you’re ready to adopt a dog after putting your dog to sleep? I wrote this article for you, it’s called
    5 Signs You’re Ready to Adopt a Dog After Your Dog Died. Here’s the link:

    http://theadventurouswriter.com/blog/dog-adoption-how-to-know-should-you-adopt-a-dog-today/

    I hope it helps. Let us know what you decide! I’d adopt a dog fairly quickly if I had to put mine down — but everyone is different. Some of us need time to grieve before we open our hearts and homes to others.

    The bottom line is that if you feel ready to adopt another dog, then it’s time. I wouldn’t be too concerned about what other people say. They don’t know your heart as well as you do.

    Are the people you live with supportive about you adopting another dog? That’s the second sign you should adopt 🙂 The first sign is your own gut feeling.

  • Laurie

    Thank you, Patricia – I think that’s really good advice. It’s so difficult to know when to put your beloved dog to sleep…but I think your comments help.

    Dionne, I wish you all the best as you make this difficult decision.

  • Dionne

    Laurie,
    My boy Raydar is a lab/roti/dob mix and just turned 14 in Jan. When he was young he tore both his cruciate ligaments (one after the other). About 3.5 years ago he started slowing down and his back legs have now become progressively worse. He pretty much needs my assistance to help him up most of the time. He can’t really go out for a walk anymore because he falls every 10-20 steps or so. He has also has incontenance that started a year and a half ago. Lately he can’t hold his bowels and it just falls out of him. I am struggling with “when is it time?” I know it’s nearing but I’m not sure. He is still eating and drinking and seems happy most times. Any input for me?

    • Patricia

      My 14-year-old dog was eating and seemed happy too, but once he could not walk or get up easily and his bowels were an issue, I knew it was time. He could have lasted longer, but I am sure in retrospect that to wait would have been for me and not for him. We had a very peaceful exit planned in our home. He was happily eating treats from my hand and then gently fell asleep. I am very sad at his loss, but I am 100% certain it was right for him. Someone told me as Teddy was declining. “It is far better to do this loving act a week early than a day too late.” That really sealed the decision for me. I did not want him to get to the point when he could not stand up at all and had to be carried around. I let him go while he still had his dignity. It truly is a loving act to let them go before it gets to its absolute worst. Good luck. I am so sorry you have to say goodbye to a loyal companion.

  • P

    Vangie,

    You are a good person. I struggled and sometimes still do about putting my Taboo down the day after Christmas. I felt and at moments feel like I was being selfish and could have done more. We have to realize or believe that what we did was NOT for us but for them. I couldn’t deal knowing Taboo couldn’t be anymore the dog she once was. The next day after I removed her bedding, found the cutest picture of her and had it blown up to an 8×10 and framed an hung it next to my other to dogs who have since passed before her. Everyday I smile and know that she is better.

    We have to remember w/animals we are their voice, and care givers. They are animals they can’t tell us there is something wrong or it hurts there, or they don’t feel good. In days ahead it the sad will settle and the fond memories of the fun, love and all the other stuff you did will overwhelm the should of, could of.

    My thoughts…. remove her bed from your room, and fill the void w/maybe placing an Ipod next to the bed where you have to focus on that. I have her tags / collar in my jewerly box w/ DOG (our Beagle which died in my arms at home in Oct) Everytime I go in there I smile and think hmmmmm my funny funny babies. Keep them safe St.Francis. You can have a heavy heart but remember animals find us. Ebony will make sure in time you’ll have a new puppy bed along side yours. Prayers and hugs to know you are ok.

    • Vangie

      I have a question: how long should one wait to get another dog? I have been feeling so empty and guilty that I was considering getting another dog and started feeling guilty about that! My coworkers say I shouldn’t get another dog right now but my family says it is OK to want another one.

      • kitty

        I think you’ll find many different opinions on the subject, but it’s really your own decision. Some people get another pet right away, others take months or even years.

        Personally – and you can see my comment about my cat below – I got two kittens a week later. I felt miserable and was missing my cat, but I still had all of her things there, her tree/scratching post and pads, her toys that she hasn’t touched for a while. I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. and I was just missing having a cat. So I went to a rescue and got two kittens. I am still missing my cat, and no new pet will ever replace the old one, but they do fill the void. They have very different personalities, and they will never replace my old cat, but they are new lives to love and cherish. Besides, there are really so many homeless pets in shelters and rescues out there. Even poppies and kittens. People say how poppies and kittens always get adopted, but the two I got were “left over” from the kitten season (born in July) and they were growing older in the rescue.

        Do I feel guilty? Yes, sometimes, I even thought that the ringworm my kittens have is a kind of karma for getting them so soon (and I am not even religious), but bottom line is neither my old cat nor your dog care now how long we wait. So do what feels right. As long as you understand that your new dog is likely to be very different from your old one, you should be fine.

        This is just my personal opinion.

  • Laurie

    Patti,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with Killer. I’m so glad you have no regrets, and you know the right thing was to put him to sleep.

    He is resting in peace. May you remember him with love, joy, and a peaceful spirit. Remember all the beautiful moments you had with him, and know you’ll always carry him around in your heart and soul.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Jenni,

    I hope your work day went okay, and that you didn’t break down. But it’s also important to let yourself grieve, even if you have to go to the bathroom and cry at work! You’re mourning a huge loss in your life, and you need to express and process your feelings.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

    • Vangie

      My heart is so heavy. I had my black cocker spaniel Ebony put to sleep on Monday, February 3rd and I am having a hard time coping because the guilt is so overwhelming. She was getting so old and her health was deteriorating in so many ways. She had lost weight, she was going blind, deaf, her hind leg would shake and her back side would slowly drop down to the floor. She was only eating small amounts of food and sometimes she would fall. Lately, taking her for a walk had become a challenge she walked slower and she started having accidents in the house which used to make me mad at first because she house trained and I didn’t realize something was wrong. She slept all the time and when she wasnt sleeping she would just roam or walk in small circles. Early December, the vet gave her some pills to help with her cognitive functions but it was helping much and she said if it didn’t I would have my “decision”. So I made the decision on Monday to have her put to sleep. I asked the vet if it were her dog if she would do it and she said yes to end her suffering. I watched the first injection and when she started falling down like she was drunk, I lost it. Then they layed her on the blanket sleeping and I cried so hard, I knelt down beside her petting her and telling her I love her but this was best so she wouldn’t suffer any more. I left the room for the second injection and when she was “gone” the assistant came and asked if I wanted to see her one last time and I went in and it was like she was at peace laying there so I was able to leave. This morning, I lost it again so I just prayed and asked God to forgive me but most importantly for my Ebony to forgive me because there were days I was so frustrated with her, scolding her and wishing she would just pass on her own than for me to make the decision for her. She was with me for 16 years and now when I go home and don’t hear her footprints on the floor or when I wake up in the morning and she’s not beside me in her doggy bed, it is really hard and I can’t stop crying thinking, wondering what I coulda, shoulda and woulda done to not have this void I am feeling for deciding to let her go.

      • craig R

        You did Ebony a favor, it was for the love of her. When time passes you’ll realize that as well. I wouldn’t want my dogs suffering with no chance of having a quality life again.
        You had her a long time be thankfully blessed for that. Again guilt always looms upon us as a false feeling, of course you feel grievence.When my two Pomeranians reach the Rainbow Bridge I’ll be devastated as well then hoping for support of others.They’re five & four years old my wonderful furballs.My first dogs too,I’m on a site on Facebook called “I Love My Pomeranians’. Great photos & support from fellow Pom Owners.

      • Patricia

        Please be kind to yourself. You made a very loving decision to relieve Ebony of pain and suffering. There is no room for guilt. Sadness, yes. It is terribly sad to say goodbye. I had to say goodbye to my 14-year-old Teddy in December. It was unbelievably painful and I certainly miss him terribly, but I have come to understand that it was the loving thing to do so he would not live with pain and ailments any longer. Forgive yourself so you can fill up all that space in your heart with loving memories that honor Ebony and all she meant to you. If she could talk from beyond, I’ll bet she’s say thank you. Feelings are what make life worthwhile. Sometimes they are difficult ones, but joy is there too. You will feel joy again!

      • Vangie

        Thank you. This has been more difficult than I thought it would be. I have to excuse myself at work everytime I feel the tears coming. My little Ebony’s health was deteriorating so badly, my sister said she would cry because it was hard to watch. My mom tried to warn me a few months ago when she saw how much weight she lost. She told me to prepare myself because she thought Ebony was dying. I was in denial because I didn’t want to make the choice to end her life but what helps to ease my guilt is knowing that she is no longer in any pain or discomfort.

      • Vangie

        I have a question: how long should one wait to get another dog? I have been feeling so empty and guilty that I was considering getting another dog and started feeling guilty about that! My coworkers say I shouldn’t get another dog right now what are your opinions? 6 months? 1 year?

  • Patti

    My heart is broken. I said goodbye to my devoted and loyal companion of 18 1/2 years 2 days ago, New Years Eve of 2013. I’ve been battling with the thought of taking him in to have him put to sleep but I could not bring myself to let him go. This little Jack Russell/Shelty mix, Killer, has been the light of my life for so long that the idea of not having him around was unbearable. His appetite was great, still waking me up at 5:30 am for his breakfast up to the last day. It was when I came home from work at lunch to let him outside that I discovered him on the bathroom floor unable to get up. He had urinated and was lying in it. He was not even fighting to get up. When I lifted him to have him stand he could not stay standing. I held him for a while and tried to have him stand again but he was unable to stay upright. I knew at that point that I had waited too long to let him go. I called my vet. They stated they didn’t have any openings but to come in and they would fit us in. I wanted to take a little time to be with Killer before I took him in. I brought him on the bed with me and snuggled with him, wrapping my body protectively around his. He slept. We spent about an hour like this, me loving him, petting him, whispering in his ear how much I adored him. It was then time. I bundled him up in our snuggle blanket and put him in the car with me. As I waited in the patient room for the vet to come in I held Killer in my arms. I held my face close to his telling him I loved him and breathing in his breath. The vet was very compassionate, crying with me as Killer passed. Even though I’m heart broken I know without a doubt that I did the right thing. My only regret is that I waited too long. But the thing that eases my suffering somewhat is that he died peacefully in my arms and that he is no longer suffering.
    Goodbye my Sweet Baby Killer. You have been my four-legged soul mate and I will never forget the unconditional love we shared.

  • Jenni

    I just put my Sammy to sleep yesterday afternoon. I had to take him to emergency because it was NYE and all the offices were closed.

    He had a chronic ear infection in one ear caused by a 95% blockage by a tumor. The surgery would have been out of my budget and possibly very uncomfortable and uncertain for him. It involved removing the entire ear canal. He was about 12 years old and was a stray I picked up about three years ago.

    He had been going downhill over the last week. Basically acting extremely tired, sleeping all the time, yelping when I would get anywhere near his ear, not eating his favorite treats, giving me weird looks due to discomfort, and not really being able to hold his head up. He also started trembling uncontrollably, which really scared me because I couldn’t stand to see him suffer.

    I had been anticipating this ever since the vet told me about the tumor three months ago, but it didn’t make it any easier to go through with it. I didn’t want him to suffer or to come home and find him half alive or dead, not knowing how he’d died (had it been peaceful or painful? no, i couldn’t bear it).

    My heart goes out to all of you dealing with this. I have never felt such bereavement as I do now being alone in this apartment … with no Sammy sitting on the balcony looking out, coming in and out as he pleases. The silence and absence of his spirit is killing me at this moment. I even went on a walk today, which caused me to cry, because since I moved here, he was always with me on my walks. It seemed weird being out by myself.

    I have to go back to work tomorrow. I will try my best to keep it together and not have a mental breakdown.

    I think if our pets could talk to us, they would tell us they are no longer suffering, and that we should not torture ourselves, because they know we did all we could and loved them so much. They just seem to live completely in the moment and only know if they’re happy or in pain. I have also had four dogs put to sleep and in every case, it was such a peaceful end to their suffering and I never really regretted doing it. Still, doesn’t make the loss any less traumatic and devastating.

    I LOVE YOU, SAMMY. MY BEST FRIEND. MY ANGEL. THANK YOU FOR COMING INTO MY LIFE. WITH LOVE FOREVER, Jenni

    • Patricia

      Jenni, I’m glad you took the time to write. It is cathartic, although not enough to ever match the sadness of goodbye. Thinking of you and hoping you recover quickly from this loss while your memories lock n to bring you smiles about Sammy for a long time. He was one lucky stray to find you.

    • Patti

      Jenni, I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t think it matters how much we know letting a pet go is the right thing, it is still the hardest thing to do. We do everything in our power to keep them safe, fed, dry, and out of danger, so the thought of ending their life goes against everything we’ve ever done for them. But it is the most compassionate and selfless thing to do for them. I pray for your broken heart and that you find peace knowing you did what was best for Sammy.
      Patti

  • Peggy

    Lee,

    I am sad to hear of Naomi. My Taboo is resting peacefully or not with God now. I took her yesterday to the Vet (26Dec13). I took her myself, funny she knew sometihng was up. It was hard but the Vet was awesome and the Tech also. My Taboo had the same issues w/the exceptation of months prior she was bleeding bad. They didn’t know how to treat the mass that was in her.

    All aside, it was ok. I was w/her and it took only mins. The Vet gave me a few mins and said when I’m ready they will take care of her and bring her out to the car for me. They came out w/ her in a box w/the Rainbow Bridge Passage on top. I did it! I brought her home, placed her in the grave my husband dug, and took care of the rest. (I made my husband go to RI to see his family as we had planned for months) He knew I wanted to put her to sleep but wanted me to wait. Nope… I told him that she past in her sleep. Which isn’t far from the truth.

    I believe that we are stronger than we think. I am praying you hold her dear enough to do the best for her. Ask yourself if this was you how would want someone to take care of you. We make conscience decisions for ourselves all the time. When we can we make Living Wills, right, we make our decisions and place others in a position to do the same.

    Pray! Hold her and tell her you’ll see her later.

  • Lee

    I have a 15 year old bassett mix that has over the past month gotten very sickly. We have taken her to the vet on multiple occasions because she gets skin tags that have to be removed and biopsied for cancer. They have all come back as non cancerous, but just recently we have noticed all she does is sleep and gas lost quite a bit of weight. She is deaf and now we are sure but think she is losing her eye sight. We have an appt tomorrow at the vet. I really hate to put her to sleep but want what is best her. Please give me some insight or your opinion based on what I have written. I really love my Naomi. PS she is not eating well now either

  • Peggy

    I’m overwhelmed of all the comments. My Taboo of 15 yrs is the best dog ever. I got her as a house warming gift. Since than she has been everywhere with me. This past few months she has been not doing well. First she started bleeding again, (Vets had no thoughts) she stopped last week (after 3 longs months). In that time she played, barked when we asked for story time, and loved treat time. Than just last week, stopped eating. Drinking water like no tomorrow. I can keep up w/her in the day but at night well, I will now have to replace my carpet in the hallway & bedroom. I have to leave for my job in a week for a month. It’s too much for my husband so as not to be selfish I am putting her to sleep. I keep praying that she goes to sleep thinking it will be easier but it’s not. She’s not well, the spark in her eyes has turned to sad. I know she wants to bark, bark and dance around but it just seems as if she is trapped. Do I feel guilty, selfish YES! But, I also have to understand and believe in that God has reasons. I have to believe He wants my Boo Boo to be as she was when I got her 15 yrs ago. Thank you everyone for seeing the recents post. I comforts me and helps me to know I am not alone. I love my Boo Boo, but I have to not be selfish to hang on and think in a day or two she’ll bounce back. Can I be forgiven for being selfish, can I be forgiven by others who think I should just seek Vet help? To help her yes would be awesome but for how long? Thank you for just having the post of support

    • Patricia

      Peggy, please be absolutely reassured that putting Taboo down is the most loving gesture you can give. 15 years is a very full life for a dog. I put Teddy down two weeks ago and although I miss him terribly, I’m absolutely sure I gave him a peaceful ending before his pain got worse. It was the best gift I could give him. Truly, this is a loving thing to do for a beloved pet. Do not feel guilty. You are not being selfish. Going to extreme lengths to keep your dog alive feels natural but it is not doing the dog a favor. Give yourself loving permission to send Taboo off peacefully.

    • Peggy

      Yesterday I put my girl down. 15 yrs w/Taboo she was the best. I read the comments from everyone, help all my friends love, kept saying my prayers, and I stayed strong. it was hard but she is better off now. I couldn’t care for her, and the Vets couldn’t help w/her illness.
      Pets can’t make Living Wills like we can. They see w/their eyes and tell affections w/the wagging fo the tell and barks.
      Today is the first day w/o my Boo Boo girl, but she’ s w/me. I see her everyday in my heart and in the pictures. I’ll be w/her oneday, but not right now God doesn’t want me yet. He wanted Taboo, I guess some Angel needed a Storyteller and she did…… that was her thing. All you had to say was you got a story… and for what seemed like forever she started to bark w/expression. God’s Speed to all who are struggling w/a hard decision. But look at this way how would like someone to handle you if you were in the position where you couldn’t talk for yourself? HUGS everyone…. thank you for all your supports

  • Stacy

    Good morning everyone. I have made the difficult decision and me and my beloved Orion will be heading to the vet this afternoon so that he can finally be free of pain and go back to the lively puppy that he is in his heart. My poor Rott/German Shepard mix is 14 and half years old and has lived a good life. He’s been a faithful companion and now it is time for me to give him the ultimate gift. It’s time for me to take on his pain as I adjust to life without my shadow (he loves to follow me everywhere when he has the strength to actually get up and walk.)
    Thank you all once again for sharing your stories here. They have been a great help and comfort for me.
    And for all of those who have made this decision for your friends, I promise you that Orion will be a great friend to all of them once he is with them. He’s so gentle and loving but will definitely be looking for a good game of tug of war with a rope or stuffed toy!

  • michelle

    Good morning. I have a 12+ year old rat terrier named eddie that I adopted from the Humane Society close to 12 years ago. I was told he was about a year old but I honestly feel he was older. He was on his 31st day. No one wanted him because of his back broken legs that were inoperable. He does use one hink leg to aid in walking but he was damaged goods. I knew in my heart I had to save him. He has been an amazing dog ever since. Recently he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure about 6 months ago. Then two weeks ago he was struggling with a horrible cough. Vet medicates him, cough gone. He went to his 2 week check up this past Friday to find that he lost 3lbs. He hasnt been hungry in about a week. I gave him shredded boiled chicken wednesday evening and it came up completely undigested thursday morning. The vet has given him two full days of IV, diuretic, anti nausea, hunger stimulants, two antibiotics plus his regular heart meds. His blood work was poor on friday but improved on Saturday BUT he isn’t eating and since he is so old his lapping up of water take a while because its hit and miss for about 5 minutes. I tried giving him the coconut water advised by vet for potassium but he hates it. He fights ne when I try to administer meds. Its as if he just wants to be left alone. I know Eddies quality of life is failing because of his