How to Know if You Should Put Your Dog to Sleep – A Vet’s Advice


Should you put your dog down? A veterinarian gives practical, helpful advice to pet owners who are struggling to decide if they should put a dog to sleep.

These guidelines are from Marie Haynes, a veterinarian who had to put her own dog to sleep. She shares her story, and offers information about pet euthanasia. In How to Deal With Guilty Feelings After Your Dog’s Death, she offers even more information about putting a dog to sleep.

“If you can save your dog or cat even one day of discomfort, you must,” says Dr Haynes. And that’s the number one criteria for deciding if you should put your dog to sleep: if a low quality of life or suffering is involved. If your dog is suffering in any way, then it may be time to decide to put your dog down. Here are her practical tips for making this heartbreaking decision…

“Someone said that every time you bring a puppy home, you know one day one you’re walking into a tragedy because dogs live such short lives,” says John Grogan, author of the bestselling book Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog (which went on to become a massive movie success in a film adaptation starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston – they played a couple who adopted a dog called Marley).

As Grogan’s dog Marley shuffled into old age, he brought about some of the biggest emotional lessons for the family, especially in dealing with loss and grief. Grogan and his family had to decide if they should put Marley down, and it wasn’t easy.

“Dogs start slowing down, it’s a great human lesson for children and young adults,” said Grogan in The Independent’s ‘I felt a grief that I had not experienced before, even though I had lost relatives’ – mourning the death of a pet. “You see an encapsulation of a life span, and you see what’s coming for you as a human. It takes people about 70 years or so but it takes dogs about ten.”

These guidelines will help you decide if it’s time to say good-bye to your dog or cat to sleep…

Should You Put Your Dog Down?

Deciding if it’s time to put your dog to sleep is heart wrenching. Here’s what a veterinarian says about making this decision for your dog and your family.

It’s often difficult to tell whether a dog is in pain or suffering, says Dr Haynes, but there are some general guidelines:

  • Is your dog’s appetite suffering? If so, this is often a sign of pain.
  • Does it seem like your dog is enjoying life?
  • Does your dog still do the things that bring her joy?
  • Are you enjoying having your dog around — or is there more pain than happiness?
  • Does your dog seem happy more often than not?
  • Or, do you find that your dog looks distressed or uncomfortable most of the time?

Pet owners often want to be told what to do about putting their dog to sleep, but it has to be the pet owner’s decision. The vet only sees a snapshot of the pet’s life, while the pet owner has the big perspective.

“I see a scared, sick animal in the hospital,” says Dr Haynes. “I don’t see a pet owner’s beloved dog. You have taken care of your dog or cat 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.”



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The bottom line – when it’s time to put a dog to sleep: There will come a day when it is absolutely clear to you that your dog or cat is not enjoying life.  That day is one day too late.  If you can save your pet even one day of discomfort, you must.

Deciding on euthanasia is difficult, but it could be the most loving thing you do for your dog. Sometimes, it helps to hold on to the hope that you’ll see your dog again one day. 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 after you’re both on the other side.

How to Know if You Should Put Your Dog to SleepIn Signs From Pets in the Afterlife, Lyn Ragan explores how some pet owners still have relationships with their beloved animal companions after they’ve passed. identifying signs, messages, and signals from the Afterworld. This books shares simple ways to look for, and read, communications from your dog in the next life.

You can be present if you put your dog to sleep. Euthanasia is similar to falling asleep, and you can be with your dog when he or she drifts away. Remember that euthanasia is generally painless, and almost always goes smoothly.

Do you feel guilty about putting your dog to sleep? Read 4 Ways to Cope With Guilt After Pet Loss.

How this veterinarian decided to put her dog to sleep

“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!”

Be aware of your own feelings of denial

Grogan – the author of Marley and Me – said, “We were watching Marley’s decline and we were in denial about it. We knew the kindest and most humane thing for this dog was to put him down…because he was suffering.”

He, his wife, and his two grown children took the loss of their dog hard.

“We really grieved as a family together,” said Grogan. “It surprised me how deep that grief was and how long it was. We didn’t talk about it for weeks. It was months before we got a new dog.”

should I put my dog to sleepWhen you adopt a dog, you make a decision to share your life with another living creature — a creature with its own personality, needs, and quirks. Dog owners go to great lengths to ensure their dogs are enjoying a happy home life. This makes it more difficult to answer the “should I put my dog to sleep?” question. It doesn’t feel kind, loving, or compassionate to put a dog down…but it may be the best way to take care of your beloved dog.

“It’s amazing how people alter their human life to accommodate a dog, especially an aging dog,” said Grogan. “Dog owners put off holidays, spend a lot of money on medication. I really do respect the individual, you wouldn’t think twice if someone put the same amount of money into a race car or a boat… but you need to ask ‘Am I doing this for the dog and his quality of life, am I doing it for me?'”

If you’re spending a lot of money on medications, surgeries, or medical equipment to keep your dog alive, it may be time to ask yourself some difficult questions.  Are you avoiding the decision to put your dog to sleep because you don’t have the courage or strength to say goodbye?

Give yourself time to grieve

This is a painful decision. Putting a dog down will change your life forever. It will change how you feel when you open the front door after a long day, and it will bring a shadow of grief to your home. Grieving your dog’s death will bring up other types of grief, which you may not have fully worked through. You may be surprised at how difficult this decision and death is for you – after all, it’s “only” a dog, right?

No, it’s not just a dog. If you haven’t dealt with the pain of your past experiences, then putting your dog to sleep will awaken the grief. Read through the readers’ comments below, and you’ll see that not only is the decision to put a dog down difficult…it also gives rise to different – often surprising – types of grief.

Saying goodbye to your dog 🙁

How to Know if You Should Put Your Dog to SleepI wrote Farewell, Friend: A Gentle Guide to Saying Goodbye to Your Dog after facing the loss of my dog. It was awful; I didn’t expect the pain to be so bad…or to last as long as it did. The truth is that you never “get over” the death of your dog. Deciding to put your dog to sleep is the first step in a journey of grief.  

To write this ebook, I interviewed veterinarians, grief experts, counselors, and pet owners who survived their dog’s death. Their stories and wisdom can help you cope with the loss of your dog.

Give yourself time to work through the grieving process. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Know that putting a dog to sleep is part of the natural cycle of life, and it’s very likely the best thing for your dog. Saying goodbye is an action of kindness and compassion, not betrayal or punishment.

How will you remember your dog? For ideas, read my article about different types of pet memorials.

If you have any thoughts on putting your dog to sleep, please comment below. Sharing your experience and struggle can help you make difficult decisions, grieve, and eventually start feeling better.

Your dog loves you, and may be ready to leave this world. If so, say goodbye with a broken heart…but know your spirits and souls will always be intertwined.

xo


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606 thoughts on “How to Know if You Should Put Your Dog to Sleep – A Vet’s Advice

  • Jackie

    I’ve cried As I wiped all the blood from my 12 year old Alaskan Husky it was everywhere there was so much he had biten into his tumor, we wrapped it up and cleaned it but she looks sad and depressed, she’s also diabetic. We ponder about putting her to rest such a hard decision? I cry to just think about it! I know this time around it’s worse than last year where a similar thing happened but then she bounced back, this time just not the same. I’m scared for her, what if she’s got one more year one more month one more day? The what ifs hurt…..

  • Michelle Smith

    My dog Shandy has had sarcoma for the last year it started as a soft lump on the roof of his mouth which has now spread to his gums and also a massive lump on nose. He is still active, eating and drinking but I can see that the lump on his nose is quite irritating as he constantly trys to paw it, therefore we now have to put a cone on him when were not around. When he manages to paw his lump it scabs and bleeds and starts to smell. The vet has previously provided steroids and antibiotics which reduces the infection and smell. The vet now refuses to prescribe more medication as he says Shandy will only continue to deteriorate and therefore the antibiotics are only prolonging the inevitable. Without the meds his infection would get worse. My dilemma is hes still happy, active, eating and drinking whilst on the meds so it seems unfair just to stop them and put him to sleep. It’s so sad.

  • Liz

    We adopted a 5 year old Westie almost 2 years ago , he had a horrendous life , so badly treated and he came with all sorts of issues and aggression , we got a behaviourist in to help , he was very unpredictable and bit me when i tried to brush him , he bit my husband very badly when he tried to put his harness on one day but we worked through it , he can be aggressive with some dogs and doesn’t like children, the groomer we found was fantastic and patient but last time we were called back to collect him , she said he’s too aggressive, he has been going to her since we got him and loves her to bits , she wont take him back now ,over the months he has relaxed and plays ball with us , sits up beside us but can get grumpy but to my horror this morning when i was talking quietly to him and petting him as i always do he suddenly turned on me and has badly bitten my finger , i was bleeding for ages , i have RA and Osteoporosis and have to be careful , we absolutely love him to bits but i’m wondering if we’ve came as far as we can with him , if he would bite in a calm situation what could he possibly do to someone he doesn’t know , he immediately came back beside me and hasn’t left me all day but it’s back to unpredictable again , my husband and he are best buddies but my husband said last time that it had to be last chance and no matter how much we love him ours and others safety must come first , i don’t know whether to tell him or put a plaster on my finger and not let on , it’s so hard , he’s lying on the floor like he’s a perfect pooch but he has had such a horrible former life i personally think the scars are too deep rooted and he has physiological problems and sometimes wonder if putting him to sleep would be kinder than the stress that has never left him no matter how kind and gentle we are towards him , he jumps at the slightest sound and growls , i’m so torn as what to do .

  • nancy Lansing

    i have an eleven year old black lab, about 2 months ago he was diagnosed has having a malignant tumor in his nasal cavity. He can not breathe easy and his nose bleeds like a terrible war zone. He has difficulty breathing through the nose, noisy breathing, mucoid/bloody nasal discharge, sneezing, or facial swelling. He is constantly hungry, but throws up within 10 minutes of eating and the food is not digested yet. He is on meds for pain, nerve damages and joint pain. I see him happy while on meds, but is that just a mask to cover the pain

  • Rick

    I am struggling with putting my thirteen year old Maltese dog to sleep or continue to treat him for Cushing Disease and his recently found kidney tumor which may require surgery. He first was thought to have Cushing disease back during his annual vet check up last October. He was having shallow breathing issues ten days ago and loss of desire to eat so I took him to the vet last Wednesday and had the Cushing blood test again and x-ray. The vet indicated the shallow breathing is most likely due to his liver being swollen. After the x-ray the vet said that it looks like there may be a mass in his liver or kidneys and wanted me to have an ultrasound. So I had that done Thursday and got the results today. He has a grape-size tumor in his kidney which is also pushing or also a bit inside the liver. He is still only eating a bit of what I eat (bits of cereal and toast), but does eat at some goodies and at least one half of what he normally would some days. He of course drinks a lot of water and wants to urinate very often. He doesn’t want to go on long walks like we did not too long ago. He does want to ride in car but I think that is so he can be with me. He is so sweet. I just love him so much. He really sleeps most of the time except when I get up and around and still does not follow me all the time anymore. I know that Cushing Disease is expensive to treat and requires regular blood tests. I spoke with a tech at Med Vet and they indicated, consultation, kidney surgery, blood tests and other procedures may cost up to $6,000 or more. It is a hard decision for me to either put him to sleep or treat him as he is thirteen years old and surgery for a dog that age is risky and the recover can involve other conditions. What should I do? I am a mess and it hurts so much to think about it.

  • Tracy Templeton

    Hi…I had a shitzu, bitcoin mix..he truly was the best dog ever..he was diagnosed with cushings this past summer..We were treating him, but Last week he stopped eating and started to be.lethargic, I took him to our vet, he did a few tests, came back and said his levels were 92, they should be 20..he was kidney failure. I’m not sure what the levels meant, how far into.kidney failure he was, our vet said we could try iv fluids, it could give him a few weeks..I asked him what he would do..he said if it was his dog, he would put h down..that is what I did…o cant help but feel a tremendous amount of guilt..I loved him so much, I feel like it him down..he was 12 by the way..

  • Patti Kennington

    Please can someone tell me where i can find local help for seniors help pay to to my beloved pet of almost 15 yrs to sleep i cannot afford 500 .She will be suffering anyday.

  • Gine Oquendo

    I agree with you because It’s a vets advice and I don’t want to suffer my pet anymore in pain and seeing her living in the pain it’s killing me. Have a decision of pet euthanasia is very hard and tough decision that you need if you really care to your dog.

  • Yolandie Oberholzer

    Hi, I have a 4 year old pekingese who’s back part of het body is completely paralyzed. The operation that she will require is R60 000 and unfortunately I don’t have that money, me and my mom made the decision to put her to sleep today. This was the most difficult decision they I have ever made, she is still a baby but she can’t work and does mot eat. I am so scared I am making the wrong decision.

  • Tracy Truley

    My pitbull is 13 years old, she has spinal stenosis. I have. to fight with her to go outside, hard to sit lay down
    Doesnt want to play, sleeps alot. Appetite is good, she shakes alot eve with tramadol, also level 3 heart murmur and just started a constant cough. The look she gives me iplease help me. Should I put her down

  • Rebecca

    My 15 year old staffie cross Charlie has been going down hill for 2 years. Her platelets dropped dangerously low in 2016 and we thought we were going go lose her but they returned to a normal range with medication.
    She has been on steriods, dementia tablets (because she seems to have become confused) and pain killers for 2 years and in that time, the steriods have caused patchy fur-loss and she has developed fleshy growths but also an open tumor on her shoulder.
    We bathe the tumor but sometimes it becomes infected with puss and a foul smell so she has antibiotics.
    She’s also become increasingly deaf and has very poor eyesight.
    Despite all this, she has remained waggy and happy to see us and to welcome visitors. She’s also remained interested in food and treats.
    For these reason uo to now I’ve justified that she’s just an old lady who can’t do much anymore and she’ll drift off when the time is right.
    Recently though, whereas she’s always wanted to be around us, she’s begun taking herself off to bed and remaining there for much of the time. She seems vety stifg legged and no longer barks and though she still greets and eats you can see a change in her.
    We’ve recently moved house and because of the unfamiliar surroundings and her poor eyesight, Charlie has been bumping into things and falling over.
    We took her to the vets yesterday to get checked and the vet recommended we put Charlie to sleep.
    We booked her in for Tuesday but because she seems perky in herself I wonder if she ought to be given a bit longer or if that would just be cruel… actually writing all her complaints here the answer sounds obvious but seeing her is a different thing. I guess we hsve to try to come to terms with our decision somehow though it nonetheless one of the toughest we can make. Luck and love to everyone in this cruel place xx

  • Judith C

    Dear Laurie,

    Thank you for this article and a place to share everyone’s thoughts.

    My 10 yrs old Maltese is diagnosed with lymphoma 5 months ago, and after reading the possibilities of getting full remission of 1-2 yrs, i decided on chemo therapy. We got two 3 weeks stress free pre-remission but then his nodes started to come back and his therapy turns back to weekly treatments. Most times he is in good shape, eats and sleeps freely. But after each treatment he have sleepless nights because of either an upset tummy or nausea. But then 1-2 days later he is back to himself and I felt that it’s worth it again.

    Keeping him here have changed from hoping to get remission to just keeping him happily eating for 5 days out of 7… whenever he is feeling unwell, I think of putting him to sleep. A day early is better than a day late. But when I see him eating his food in split seconds and looking me with strong lively eyes wanting for more, I then think lucky I didn’t put him to sleep, he still wants to live, it’s still more than just a day.

    Today I’m happy again that he is eating as usual after one day of lost of appetite. And was thinking it’s worth it to keep him here. But then a few hours later, he is having trouble sleeping from probably a side effect of his treatment. And I’m questioning myself again, am I putting him pain rather than in ease from all these treatments? Have I lost the purpose of putting him through chemo? Should I let him go or am I just trying to give relief to myself….

    I jumped from Im sure he is having a quality of life to I’m actually putting him in cycles of pain in hourly bases… I don’t know what is the right decision to make anymore…. I know guilt will haunt me in whenever time i make the decision. But I will like to hear some advices if I’m making this decision too soon…

  • Patricia McGinly

    My 15 year old min pin seems to be in a very deep sleep, barely breathing. Her bowls and urine have let go. I’m hoping she will die at home painlessly in my arms at home. Is this ok? Or should i take her to be put down?

  • Patricia madden

    I have.a 151/2 year old Westie and he is the love of my life. He is now completely blind, deaf, and is having trouble sitting as his back legs are bothering him. He is still eating and drinking, but sleeps most of the day. He has no interest in any of his toys and he just looks so sad and worn out. I think it is getting close to the time to say goodbye. I don’t want to see him suffer, but so hard for me to let him go. Painful to watch him, and I want to do right for him, so stressed. Any advice would be so appreciated.

  • Stephanne

    I have a 10 1/2 year old Westie named Daisy; all summer it seemed that she was struggling… a few times she vomited bile, other times all she did was sleep, easily fatigued this continued until she was only eating her snacks no more meals, then one day she completely stopped eating and we found that she would drink large amounts of water and then go outside and vomit. That was 7 days ago. Since then she was diagnosed as being in DKA – she had not previously been diagnosed with Diabetes. She spent two days in hospital for fluid resuscitation and administration of short acting insulin (that was two days ago). Sunday we started her on long acting insulin but nothing has changed, she refuses to eat (we are only giving partial doses insulin as instructed). During the hospital stay they found a liver cyst and what appears to be an enlarged lymph in the mediastinum. I’m struggling here. She keeps going outside and digging holes – this is new behavior; and I mean a lot of holes, some are big others small. I’m thinking this is an anxiety response to whats happening to her. She doesn’t wag her tail anymore. She was always my happy go lucky trouble maker 🙂 – we had another Westie, Charlie (MY soul mate) he passed in December due to lung cancer (pretty sure Mets from liver – he had chronic liver issues). I always said that Charlie didn’t know he was a dog but Daisy, she is all dog, the hunter, the cunning manipulator of Charlie, the stealer of snacks, the little girl who wagged her tail so hard at seeing my husband you would think her back would break! That’s gone now. Her Vet, is kind, she is seeking to get Daisy regulated on her insulin, we see her tomorrow for BG evaluation. But, I see Daisy, she seems like a dog who knows she is sick and has well it seems that she feels this is her fate. She isolates herself from us. Am I too soon thinking her time is coming or has come? How far do I keep going with more tests and potentially more diagnosis (a suggestion of Cushings has been mentioned.). I still grieve having put Charlie to sleep – he was suffering I know. So now here I am 8 months later with Daisy and feeling lost…

  • Jaymie

    I’m struggling and reading every article on the internet trying to find someone to give me an answer. I have a almost 15 year old Yorkie and I’m just not sure if it’s too soon or too late. She has started urinating all the over the house, she doesn’t play anymore and all she does is sleep. When she is sleeping her breathing sounds wheezing. My husband just keeps telling me she’s fine she’s just old, but does she really have a quality of life? She’s has slept with me every night for almost 15 years and within the last few weeks she jumps off the bed to sleep alone on the floor. Her walking sometimes seems stumbled but she still loves attention and wants to be around people. She just wants to sleep near you. Am I making her suffer or is she just an old lazy dog??

  • Kristi

    My husband and I put our 14 1/2 year old Yorkie Buddy down on Saturday.. He had CHF. We cancelled it 3 times prior. He was still eating and doing normal things. But, he was on the highest medication he could take and was still up and down all night coughing and getting water. We were having to take him to get a shot of Lasix once a week to get fluid off of his lungs. He was still having a hard time breathing.. now we are struggling with guilt.. this is horrible..😢

    • Jim

      Hello Kristi and Husband, In my opinion the fact that You feel guilty assures me You did what had to be done I have had to help 5 of my four legged Best Friends over my lifetime to the next level those were 5 of the hardest choices of my life I believe You will be with Buddy again when You reach the next level May God ease your pain until that day : )

  • Lamont Mccreless

    My ten year old SHIH TZU HAS A TUMOR IN ONE LUNG BLOCING AIR FLOW I FOUND OUT YESTERDAY.THE VET SAYS I WILL KNOW WHEN HE IS HURTING AND ALL,NOW HE COUGHS HARD AND GETS HOT.HE STILL EATS AND DRINKS OK ,BUT I THINK HE IS HURTING WITH THE HARSH COUGHING WHAT DO YOU THINK

  • Brett

    I have an appointment to put my dog to sleep tomorrow. She’s a 13 1/2 yo Chihuahua mix. 2 weeks ago we noticed a large knot on her back. Her vet aspirated the knot and found that they were fat cells. Before that visit she was not eating or pooping a lot. They vet also gave her a shot of b12 and steroid. She ran a test for Addison’s Disease. That test came back negative. After this visit she had an appetite again. After that wore off she wouldn’t eat. The vet suggested that she go to the Animal Specialty Hospital for an abdominal ultrasound. We went and the results were that she had a large mass in her abdomen. They determined it was a sarcoma and said surgery, radiation and chemo was not an option. They estimated she had 2-4 weeks to live. She was sent home with steroids and appetite enticer. She refused to eat for two straight days. After lots of tears and talking with her Doctor we decided to have her put to sleep. Tonight I came home after work and she was bright and bubbly. She ate a little over half a large container of baby food. She ate two teaspoons of peanut butter and some whipped cream. She pooped and urinated with no trouble. She cleaned her paws like she always does.. So now I’m questioning my decision. Wondering if I just need to have a normal visit tomorrow and reschedule this process?

    • Laurie Post author

      What happened at the vet, Brett? Did you have a normal visit with your dog…or did you decide to let her go?

  • Stephanie

    My 13 year old rattier has had double chronic ear infections for years. I have taken her to several vets and tried everything possible but nothing helps. The only option left is to remove her ear canals, which the vet has suggested it is very painful procedure and with her age not to do it. She also has thyroid condition and arthritis. Her ears constantly drain pus. I feel I should euthanize her, but am not sure . I don’t want her to continue to suffer.

  • Liz Shao

    I am seriously considering putting my 13 yr old miniture shnauzer to sleep … he has lost so much weight over the last few months you can see his bines on his back end and now he is constantly having / trying to have bowel movements leaving loose movements and blood .His coat is dull and seems thinner and he is quite smelly , He looks sad sometines with his tail between his legs but iwhat if im making too harsh a decision .. my children will be so upset….

  • Amy

    Hi my name isAmy and I have an Australian husky lab mix her name is Rollover. Cute right, my parents adopted her when she was 2 and she is now 12 1/2 years old. She has hip displasia, she falls and peeing in the house and on herself every day. It’s breaking my heart to make the decision but most days we can barely get her to move and today she has some spunk back in her and I don’t know if I am making the right decision to have her put to sleep tomorrow. My parents got her for my oldest daughter and my husband is leaving the decision up to me. I don’t want her to hate me or feel like I’ve let her down. She can needs an oxygen tank and mask because her breathing is that bad. I have been so distraught on the decision. If someone could please help me I would greatly appreciate it. 🐶🐶🐶

  • julie

    going back to putting your dog to sleep i had to do that less than a week ago. looking back i acted in shock i was only going for an xray which they should have done two weeks before bringing my dog there. could do with some advice if you have the time

  • Jen

    I have finally came to the hard decision to put my precious 14 yo pitt/lab mix Foster down on Monday. I know in my heart it is time but I keep questioning my decision because she still wants treats, is eating and drinking and looking at with the loving big brown eye. However, I know the signs have been here for awhile and I can no longer let her suffer for my sake. She has arthritis and hip dysplasia, over the past few months it has become increasing difficult for her to get up on her own. She is also having accidents because of her mobility issues, and rarely “asks” to go outside anymore. I know its time, but I keep second guessing myself, which I think is natural since this hurts like hell. I’ve had her practically my whole adult life and I’m not sure how I’m going to go through with it, except that I know I have to stay strong and do this for her. I could have never asked for a better dog.

    • julie

      thats really nice im sure you dog was well looked after julie greiving after having my dog put to sleep tues just gone shes everywhere its killing me )

  • Margarida Richards

    Help !! I’m having a hard time deciding my 9 year old pit started limping and falling we tried meds with no help he’s gained alot weight and lays down most of the day. I think he’s in pain some days are better than others but i go back and forth on putting him down my heart is broken I have an appt tomorrow to say good bye but i don’t want to make the wrong desion .

  • Virginia Rice

    Our beloved 13 year old Minature Schnauzer dog Libby has recently had two seizures and a severe UTI. She is on antibiotics and anti seizure medication. She endlessly wanders around the house and will only stop when we wrap her up in a blanket and she she lays down and sleeps. She is still eating but, is very confused and not aware of everything around her. I’m ready for her to go but, my husband, well let’s just say, he is the softy, the one who can’t handle these things. I’m heartbroken but, the realist in this hard life issue. For now, she is with us, for how long?, I don’t know, I love you Lady Liberty, my sweet Libby!

  • Alma Herrera

    My 5 year old dog Duke have cancer he still playing and wagging his tail during the day but in the night he don’t want to sleep he is taking steroids And with that he drinks a lot of water and pee a lot too, he lost a lot of weight I love him with all my life I don’t want to see him suffer or feel more sick.

  • Marylyn Brundage

    I had my beloved Sadie put down two days ago. I have been crying ever since because I feel so guilty. She was 11 years old and had been diagnosed with cancer 11 days ago. I told her I would not make her suffer. On Friday, she barely ate the food she loved and didn’t want to drink, Also during the night she sounded like she couldn’t get air. Now I think I should have waited till she got sicker and I have so many if only I had done this or that. She helped me with the death of my husband and was with me constantly, I feel so bad that I put her down so fast.

    • JiM

      You did the correct and rite thing It was so very difficult because it was done for her and not you I believe you shall see her again in the great energy change Thank You For sharing your ordeal I have a 10 1/2 year old golden retriever he has osteosarcoma in front right paw Vet say s it will break soon and cause him terrible pain but I don t want to let him go I found this out 13 day s ago searching for vet near my home to help him on his way at home so he will not be in a strange place going through this ordeal this must be done soon or his leg will break and he will suffer I hope you find peace in your decision I believe you did he right thing : ) best of luck and say hello to Sadie for me when you get there

    • Janet Kellam

      I am going through this right now, our chocolate lab was diagnosed with CHF 10 1/2 yrs. old. in Oct. and my husband passed in Nov. Thanks to your comment I will wait awhile longer. She is on heart medication and sleeps alot, but still going for short walks and eating and drinking.

  • Karen Fourie

    Thank you for this article. My german shepherd has degenerative spine and arthritis in her legs, but she is only eight years old. In my heart I know she is in pain but I just find it so difficult to accept that it’s time. I faced it with five dogs in my life and that pain is like no other. She is my rock, my best friend and we have gone through so much together. To say goodbye is killing me. You have helped me face reality and I know I have to go through with it to save her. I am scared of facing life without her. I live alone and my dogs are my life. She is a beautiful little girl and dies not deserve to suffer,

  • Debbie

    My 10 year old pikinese is blind. And it look like he has bleeding under the cataracts. Starts peeing al over in the house. And get very angry quickly. What so I do. He still got so much live but I am scared he is suffering. What do I do?

  • Peter price

    My dog is a 45 kilo mastif x she has arthritis in her left knee also she has torn the cruciate ligament she is only 3 years old my family are in bits as i am now disabled with the same ailments as her i find my self on benefits so am useing the rspca who are refusing to operate on her due to her size is there any hope for her out there as she was ferral for the first 5 months of her life we have gone through so much with my baby flo that we have turned around and made a beautiful dog with so much to offer she looks so scary but in truth she is a soppy dribbling teddy bear we are struggling with this decision as we lost our rescue bulldog to disc compresion and our staffy to a mass cell tumour ee never thought we could own another dog but flo came along and stole all our hearts she especially has a soft spot for myself as im riddled with osteo arthritus

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Reta,

    What have you decided to do? It’s such a difficult decision, and it’s hard to know for sure if you should put your dog to sleep…and deciding if he’s in pain can seem impossible. But, a veterinarian once told me that sparing your dog even one day of pain is worth it. But, every dog owner has to decide for herself when it’s time.

    Let me know how you’re doing. It’s good to write about it, even if you feel like the decision isn’t easy.

    Blessings,
    – Laurie

  • Reta Martin

    My 11 year – Multi-Poo- has been on insulin for 2 mths- he went blind-he knows both cottage and home well- does up stairs well- we carry him downstairs at home- eats well on special diet-plays- loves his small bones – we apply cream- artifical eye drops to his eye-his sugar is still high- are we just thinking of ourselves or would it be better to send him to heaven

    • Cathy

      Hi Reta. I was wondering if you still have your beloved dog? My little Izzy was 11 and a schnoodle. I loved her so much. She developed diabetes and also went blind with cataracts. We supported her for 2 years until this summer ( June 15 2019) when she developed glaucoma and pancratitis. She knew outhouse well and after initially getting used to being blind I thought she was doing better. Some days I worry I let her go to long but her diabeteswas under control and her other senses helped her blindness. I prayed I wouldn’t ha e to,ale the decision and that’s what happened. She got tired and couldn’t fight another illness. I will pray flr you and your little one? ❤️

  • Laurie Post author

    Thank you for being here, and for sharing your beautiful and touching stories of putting your dog to sleep. My heart is broken for you — I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a dog is almost worst than losing a human best friend, because our homes are so empty after our dogs are gone.

    How are you doing today? What memories do you want to share?

    Stay connected with people who care, for that will help you grieve and heal. And, sharing your memories of your beloved dog is a beautiful tribute that will keep your love alive.

    xo
    Laurie

  • Sandra Crichlow

    I just put my yorkie to sleep she had breast cancer which opened to the size of a quarter I wash the wound twice daily and pack it with antibiotic ointment then she had one on her neck it had an odor I was with batadine and peroxide but instead the odor was strong after a week I took her to the vet she was eating love all out doors but I can see she was in pain she was restless and had problems breathing the worst decision I had to make in my life I love her so much she would go every where but work with me I’m feeling so guilty wondering if I did the right thingshe died in my arms I’m still grieving for my little girl had her for 12yrs how long before you stop grieving i haven’t cook since I put her to sleep I cry like a baby for her that was my company I live alone and it is hard

  • Elizabeth Hunter

    My beautiful little dog passed on 3 days ago, she was 13 years old
    I am finding it very difficult to deal with this loss.
    She had 2 nights of great discomfort, I stayed with her throughout the night and the 2nd night. I could do nothing to help her.
    My husband took her to the vet who, after Xrays, diagnosed her with congestive heart failure. Bonnie had a severe barking cough sleep. caused by the heart pushing upwards, her panting was constant. I decided to have her put to sleep. I am almost overwhelmed by the level of grief I feel, and guilt.. Hopefully time will help, Bonnie was the only animal I ever had., I loved her so much

  • Cece Norman

    I am so distraught this morning. My almost 18 year old Jack Russell is well, just old. She is feeble and blind and deaf, she never wags her tail anymore. I really don’t want to make that decision. but I know I will have to eventually. I am so sad

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Shauna,

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. Deciding if you should put your dog to sleep is heart wrenching, and the grief feels overwhelming. It’s such a difficult thing to go through, and my heart goes out to you. I understand how you feel.

    Based on what you wrote, I do think it’s time to say goodbye to your dog. I imagine the veterinarian would say the same thing if you took Beano in. I also think it’s so important to spare our dogs the pain of arthritis and joint pain and stiffness…especially if we see that they’re unhappy or frustrated.

    Take time to sit with Beano. Hold him, hug him, kiss his little head…and allow yourself to weep. This is a great loss you’re facing, and it’s important to grieve. Let him tell you what he needs. Is he ready to go? Let him go. Don’t hold him here longer than he needs to be.

    Allow yourself to grieve for as long as you need.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Shauna Murphy

    Hi I would really appreciate your opinion on my beloved pet dog beano. Beano is 15 years of age he was diagnosed with a heart murmur, arthritis and epilepsy a couple of months ago. We recently brought him to the vet as he couldn’t walk on his leg. The vet could not x ray it as was afraid I’d put under annistesia he’s heart wouldn’t take it. She gave us the ultimatum that day. He was doing well was back to himself chasing balls etc but has recently got very bad again. He can barely walk his front legs don’t seem to hold him anymore, he falls over and when he does he is stuck and gets so cross with himself. Do you think it’s time I am in denial at the moment and would really appreciate some advice

  • Virginia

    I’ve euthanized many dogs during my life. All a day late but now I am faced with euthanizing my 14 year old lab mix a day early. Toby began having seizures about 6 months ago but phenobarbital has helped. He is somewhat blind. He has difficulty standing at first so sometimes scoots but does get up to walk. He pees as he walks, so if he has an accident in the house he pees everywhere. He defecates sometimes and stays sitting in his own mess. He does however love treats and food and will bark at the neighbors dogs. I am like others on this board feeling guilty. Is it his time or am I simply overwhelmed by the amount of work. I’ve had a rough year and don’t want that influencing my decision but somehow I think it is. He might live one more year or could have a rapid decline in a week. Is this about me or him 🙁

    • Rosemary Regalado

      Virginia, I am going through the exact same thing with my 8 1/2 year old bull dog. I feel he’s too young and that I should have more time with him. Bully started having seizures in July. He cannot see well, did the phenobarbital do this to him? He also has difficulty going up and down stairs. He pees everywhere. He is eating well. He walks in circles for hours! Exhaustion finally takes a toll on him and he will sleep. I work so most of the day he is by himself. This is not my Bully the one that loved to sleep and run and play. Is it time to put him to sleep? Help me God.

  • Riaan

    I feel so guilty and heartbroken after having to put my little rescued stray, Lucky, to sleep on Sunday. Being a stray I don’t know how old he was, but according to my vet he was quite old. He was undergoing chronic treatment for seizures (including cortisone) and developed an enlarged prostrate which caused him severe discomfort and pain due to the fact that he could not pass stool nor urinate. We began a treatment course for the prostrate but he did not respond to it. I knew that the seizure medicine would cause him kidney problems in future, I decided to spare him the pain and opted to put him to sleep. Now I am really struggling with that decision and wonder if I did the right thing and whether I should have given him a chance! Hope I did the right thing for poor old (un)Lucky…

  • Julie Whistler

    Our 12 1/2 year old yellow lab started losing weight and having various digestive issues. After a couple trips to the vet, we had an ultrasound done on Sam. A tumor was found to be blocking his bowels. We had a further biopsy done to determine if it is cancerous and/or operable; we are still waiting for the results. We are torn what to do if it is operable. The vet told us the surgery would be $2500-3000. Like so may estimates, we know it could wind up being much more. We have already spent over $1500 so far. We are concerned that the tumor may come back anyway or spread further. He had an exterior lump removed a couple of years ago that quickly grew back. We are also concerned that at Sam’s age he may not survive the surgery. We have the money, but would have to dip into savings. I know there are no guarantees, but I wish we had some way of knowing what the odds were in general. We love Sam like a member of our family and the idea of letting him die because we didn’t want to the spend the money makes us feel very guilty. I have read many of the comments here and my heart goes out to all of you who have had to make or are in the process of making this type of decision.

    • Kelly

      Hello, I hope all is well. I am in a similar situation to you was and I was wondering what your decision was and how it worked out for you. Hopefully it’s not to difficult a question for you, I don’t want to cause you any upset but it would really help me to have some advice. Thank you.

  • Liljoe

    God all i want to know is if his pain in pelvic. Is worth putting him to sleep or is it worth nurturing him back in time i lost my son due to being murdred two yrs ago and lil joe brought me comfort and taught me to love i cantsee life without him at this time we are so close hes my best friend in the world literally. And i see is only been two days i see himm so sad in oain and want to know if i should try a couple of days will it get better? Or what i hate seeing him like this i need him so bad but dnt want to see him in pain help please

  • Kathy Callaway

    I have a Dashund, He’s 15 years old limps when he walk. He has a lot of large knots through out his body that you can feel on both legs under stomach and on the back of neck and shoulders. He’s having accident in the house he’s never done. He has a hard going up and down stairs which makes him not want to go outside to the bathroom. He sleeps all day

    • Rem

      Hi Kathy,

      I too have a Dachshund and is an older dog. He also has a problem walking straight and though I’ve only caught him once recently, he vomited his food to eat back up again. What’s more sad is that he goes to the bathroom as he walks and I feel as if he can’t control himself to get to the grass where he usually does his business. I want to ask if you were considering Euthanasia or if you decided to go through with it already. I hope you don’t mind me asking.

      Hope to hear back from you soon,
      Rem

  • Linda Acuna

    Me precious Bella Mia is a 13 yr old Maltese. She is my love,my joy my happiness. I’ve had her since she was 7 wks. She’s seen me through EVERYTHING. I know her tie is very near but I’m just not sure yet….what do I do?

  • Rick Winder

    I have a mixed breed female dog who is 18 years old. I have had her 16 years and she is or was everything to
    me. The last 2 years she has gone down hill. Can hardly see or hear, and her back legs are so week he can hardly get around. I have give her the best Vet. care through those 16 years. Now she just stands, when she
    can and looks at the ground. Sometimes she goes in her bed. She does eat well but continues to loose weight. I know in my mind she is ready to go on. I just can’t bring myself to do it yet. I will miss her.

  • Kelley

    I took my 16 1/2 year poodle to vet for routine blood work. I also noticed this week my Jasper had diarrhea and told the Vet. The blood work came back yesterday and my vet said he was having issues with his kidneys that would not resolve on their own, would I be willing to take him to a specialty hospital which was 1 1/2 hours away from my home. I of course took him. Upon examination and based on blood work the doctor was pretty sure we were dealing with Chronic kidney disease. Jasper is also on heart medication. He proposed two courses of action. One to keep him at hospital, give him fluids and run all sorts of tests to conclusively diagnose the severity of the disease and to see if any other underlying issues going on like kidney stones etc.. The cost was anywhere from 2000 to 3600. Or send him home with palliative care and see how he responds. Jasper has lost weight since his last vet visit in october and he also has severe cataracts. I adopted Jasper when he was eight years old when his previous owner became ill. I was going through tough time myself at the time emotionally and financially and my Vet asked me if I would keep him. when I said I would love too but couldn’t afford it he told me do not worry about the bills. So for eight years I have paid for medicines, frontline grooming food etc, but no vet bills to speak of. Part of me wants to treat Jasper aggressively, but the costs worry me as well as his age. There is no cure, the best we could hope for is to manage the disease. But for how long? I don’t think even if I treated him, he would live for years as he will be 17 in May. But I am feeling guilty for not going through with the aggressive treatment. I want what’s best for him and I am just not sure spending all that money and poking and prodding an already elderly dog is truly what is best for him. Of course I want him to be comfortable too. I don’t know if I am doing the right thing.

  • Danielle

    I feel like i was forced to put my doggie down. He is my best friend. Its only been 4 days but itnfeels like an eternity. I miss him so much. My parents influenced me to put my dog to sleep when they put their dog down. Their mentality was the grew up together they should go together. But that was not my choice. I wanted to try and save my dog. They convinced me of the immense pain he was in and that he had no quality of life. But the look in his eyes was not that of a dog at his end. I saw hope and love in him right to the end. When they gave him the anesthetic he started snoring! I wanted to scream stop let him sleep, but instead i let him go. I know i failed him. He trusted me and i didnt do my all to keep him alive. I cant stop crying. I remember all the good times we had together, and am angry that my parents influence and my own susceptibility robbed us of at least a few more days. I can never take that back, and it feels like i will never forgive myself. Please remember Dude, a 12 year old rescue dog from New Orleans, Louisiana. I may have saved his life once, he saved me every day right to the end. I miss you baby!

  • Mandy

    What holds me back is not knowing if something is wrong with Bailey. I would feel like i murdered her if there is nothing wrong . I keep telling myself that it is her age and her breed. Toy poodle,Pomeranian,pekingnese.

  • Laurie

    Dear Amber,

    I’m so sorry that your beloved dog is going through this – and that it’s so hard on you. I don’t think you’re wrong for wanting this to be over, and I don’t think he is enjoying his life like this. Dogs need to be free to romp and play and frolic, and your poor dog is caged inside his own body 🙁

    I can’t tell you if you should put your dog to sleep, but I know I wouldn’t want my dogs to continue a life like that. I believe dogs don’t fear death, and that death is a natural part of life. I think of death as resting in peace, and that our dogs’ spirits will remain here with us. I believe our souls will be reunited with theirs when we die.

    I also believe that there are many beautiful, wonderful dogs who are young right here on earth, who need loving homes. My choice has always been to let my dogs go with a sense of peace, and open my heart and home to another dog who needs someone to care for him. I’m not saying you should put your dog to sleep so you can adopt another dog….I’m just sharing my perspective on dogs, euthanasia, and our life without them.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you as you make this difficult decision. Above all, I pray you have a sense of peace with whatever decision you make.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Amber

    I have a 6 yr old. mini dachshund that had an IVDD episode in June of this year. His hind legs have been paralyzed since. He has mostly been on crate rest since, and has gotten a tiny bit of control in his legs. He can take a couple of steps sometimes. We can’t let him wander around the house because he has not gotten good control of his bowels back. He has a brother that he can’t play with anymore. I thought about a wheelchair, but that won’t help with the messes he makes without potty control. He is my 15 yr old son’s dog and my son thinks we are so mean for wanting to end Scout’s misery. We feel so guilty that we are hurting our son. The dog isn’t in pain, he just has become such a burden to take care of honestly. Last night we were up @ 3 a.m. cleaning up pee and poo that he had dragged himself through all over my laundry room where he stays. He also tears up his legs trying to drag them around outside. Winter will be impossible because he will never be able to go outside to relieve himself. We are still expressing his bladder about 1/2 of the time. Are we wrong to want to end his misery, and honestly ours too. I am so exhausted from the hours and hours of care it takes to just clean him each day. He is like a bird in a cage, he hardly ever comes out of his cart.

  • Laurie

    Dear Mandy,

    I think if your dog Bailey is moody and unhappy and elderly, then maybe it’s time to listen to your husband and your heart. One of the main criteria for deciding if you should put your dog to sleep is her quality of life. If she isn’t enjoying life anymore – and if she’s causing pain and heartache to the family she loves – then I think it might be time to let her rest in peace.

    What is holding you back from putting her to sleep?

  • Mandy

    My dog Bailey is 13 yrs.old and is very very moody. She is 9 lbs.and does not seem to be happy at all. She will even bite me and my husband. She will be loving one minute and then down right hateful the next. My husband is tired of dealing with her. He has brought up putting her to sleep. She has never had much of an appetite. I believe she has mental issues. When you go to pet her, she blinks rapidly and sometimes winces( if she does not bite you). She is a mix breed. We have her sister also and they are nothing alike. I would really appreciate your feelings on what i should do with little Bailey.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Leslie,

    It sounds like you’re thinking that it may be Mollie’s time to go. This is a good decision – in the sense that sometimes our beloved dogs are ready to pass on, and we need to walk them through their final steps here on earth. If you’ve made the decision to say good-bye to Mollie because of her old age and she’s ready to go, it’s just a question of whether you want to wait until next week.

    If she’s in pain, then I think saying good-bye at the clinic now is better than waiting until next week to put her down at home. I don’t know how she responds to being at the veterinary clinic – maybe it’s traumatizing for her? If so, then I totally understand wanting to wait until next week. But, it’s sad to think of her in pain for a whole week — and what if she gets worse?

    I know you don’t know for sure if she’s in pain. Often, it’s such a difficult thing to try to figure out. But, if my dogs were whimpering, I think I’d assume they were in distress. Even emotional distress is painful!

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, and that I don’t have any solid answers for you. If I were you, I’d take my dog to the vet now. I wouldn’t wait, because I’d hate to think she was suffering.

    But, that said, you need to trust your heart and your relationship with Molly. You know her better than anyone, and you need to decide how she’d like to spend her last week or month here on earth.

    I wish you all the best, and hope you come back and let me know how it goes.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Leslie Frank

    My border collie Mollie is 16. Over the past few months, she has lost weight, seems confused, and has fallen over quite often. In the past few days, she has had a lot of trouble getting up (which leads to her whimpering until we can help her), she pants a lot, and she often walks in circles. However, she’s still eating and once we get her up, she’ll walk around the back yard and interact with us and our other two dogs. I’m just afraid that with her whimpering the other night that she may be in pain. I’ve tried to get our mobile vet to stop by but they’re short staffed and can’t see her until next week. I don’t want to take her to an emergency clinic because I prefer that if we do put her down, we have the vet come to the house to do it. Any advice? Thanks!

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Linda,

    I am so sorry you’re going through this with your beloved dog. It’s so tragic and heartbreaking….and the worst part is only you can make this decision.

    If your dog is panicked and suffering, what are your reasons for keeping him alive? Are you putting off euthanasia because you want him to pass away in his sleep? I think that’s what I would do, because I wouldn’t want to be the one to make the decision to put him to sleep.

    To me, it sounds like your poor dog is ready to go…but you can’t let him because you love him so much. I think most pet owners would do the same thing, but sometimes it causes our poor pets more pain than we realize.

    What do you think?

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Linda Knapp

    I am trying to make the decision of putting my Beloved dog of 15 years to sleep. He started with a rare cancer about 1 1/2 years ago. I had his tumor removed successfuly , but this spring it has grown back and the cancer has spread up his leg to his shoulder. His leg is very swollen below the tumors, and he is having a lot of difficulty walking and can’t get up and down stairs without help. He also trips and falls down often, and I have to help him get back up. I see qustion and panic in his eyes. I am still having a very difficult time trying to make this decision. I have prayed that he would go peacefully in his sleep. My heart is ripping apart even as I write this. It seems the bad days are outweighing the good now, and he paces and can’t even lay down comfortably. Why am I having such a hard time making this decision. He doesn’t want to play anymore or hang out in the yard with me anymore. I am still questioning myself. I just don’t know what to do. I know you can’t tell me what to do, but can you give me some guidelines?

  • Eileen

    Thank you for this article. I made the difficult decision to put my Charlie down this past Monday and have now also been struggling with guilt.

    He was 13. I adopted him back in 2005. I was fortunate enough to be told about a mobile vet service. Charlie was always so afraid of going to the doctor. They observed him on Wed., ran tests – which came back really good. His neurological symptoms just got worse over the course of the next few days. Constant pacing, circuling, his gait got even slower, going into corners or places and it looked like he forgot where he was and couldn’t get out. It was also quite harder for him to get up and down steps. I live on a 1st flr condo, so there’s not many, but he struggled. His balance was also off. Without all kinds of tests, the doctor thought he most likely had a brain tumor.

    I’ve been struggling with “did I give up on him soon”. But although he was eating, he was not enjoying life. At least, that’s the impression I had. And that’s the only thing I can go by.

    Your article has helped. Thank you for posting it. Now, it’s time to process through the grief.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Rosie,

    My condolences and sympathies on putting your dog to sleep. She’s been with you so long, and her absence will leave a hole in your heart and in your home.

    I wish you healing and hope as you grieve. May she rest in peace – and may you feel peace after she’s gone.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Rosie

    After 18 years of having my doggy, my husband and I decided that the best thing for her is to be put to sleep. She has been suffering for a while now. I have just been too selfish to part from her or have her part from us. We made the decision last night after a lot of crying and talking. We have a 5pm appointment today. We have basically been laying all day with our doggy and crying. The guilt is just consuming us. And even though intelligently we know this is the best, the pain is too much to bare. We just keep talking and trying to put ourselfs in her situation. This is no longer a good life for her. It’s very hard because I’ve had her since I turned 18. Before husband and child came along. She has grown with me and is a huge part of my everyday routine. What will I do without her?The thought of not being able to see her beautiful little face anymore, is killing me. I hate being so selfish. Part of me just wants to skip this appointment and let her pass at her time here at home, but then I see her struggle to do everything, I mean everything and then my heart hurts for that too. I’m do confused and heart broken. I just hope she knows how much we loved her and that we are going this because of love. I will always love you my little bimbi.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Liz,

    My sincerest condolences on losing Cody – I know what a huge gaping hole his loss leaves! It’s unbelievable, how much life and love our dogs bring to our lives. But I am so glad you feel God’s presence, and His promise that you’ll be reunited with Cody again someday.

    We’re all energy, and energy never leaves us. It takes different forms, but it’s still part of who we are — and it’s still waiting for us when we leave this world. Cody’s energy is still in your heart and your life.

    It sounds like you, your boyfriend, and Cody had a very special time together. What a wonderful way to say good-bye to Cody, and to release him from the constraints of his physical body. You loved him until the very end, and that meant the world to him.

    Thank you for your kind words, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Elizabeth N

    Dear Laurie,

    I have returned; it is now a full week (July 3rd) since I’ve laid my beloved 13-yr-old husky Cody to sleep.

    First off, I need to extend to you my very heartfelt thanks at your thoughtful and understanding words. You really have found your calling and feel so much so about what you’re doing I’ve shared your site with a few friends and intend to share with many more in the near future.

    I was afraid but yet hopeful last week I was going to ‘chicken’ out of my 620 appointment for Cody, but I did not.

    I tried to give Cody the best send-off a puppy could ask for. He spent the majority of the day in the A/C, though it risked (as did happen) quite a mess on the carpets.

    Though he didn’t eat the KFC chicken I also left for him, for breakfast he did enjoy some Roast beef-au-jus, and then again late afternoon, just before my boyfriend (who had come to be Cody’s other best friend) and I took Cody for a short walk (it had gotten so so hot when the sun came, but Cody surprisingly didn’t seem to mind). And on the way over to his appointment, Cody got to enjoy a little ice cream John held out for him.

    Though the whole visit was upsetting and not necessarily perfect in my eyes, I too was able to feed Cody some ice cream ….. he left behind my favorite part of the ice cream too…. the cookie dough pieces!

    Cody left this world with John and I at his side, telling him we loved him and that we were lucky to have had him in our lives, me for all but 7-8 months of his 13-yr,7-month-old life, and John for over 2 years of his life. We were his most recent best buds….. having played with him, carefully preparing his meals, and walking him every weekend like clockwork after my morning runs, and me during the week in the evenings when energy and time and weather allowed.

    As I kissed and pet Cody, I told him we would see him again sometime, and til then to have fun, even if it was chasing cats…

    I have my good and bad (sad) moments. I still feel a tug to rush home to tend to him, and I still tell him every nite, ‘Good nite baby, Mommy loves you….’

    Earlier tonite, and now as I write this, I am dealing with some profound sadness and guilt and am trying to take solace in the idea that I did the right thing…

    Something I realized the next nite, 4th of July nite, in a weird way seems almost poetic and that is this: Cody came into my life last week 13 years ago, year 2000, my first dog on my own as an adult.

    Since Cody’s passing, there have been many coincidental, almost psychic moments if you will, that cements to me my idea that there is a higher being, or God, watching over us, and of which gives me great hope I will get to see and play and walk with my Cody again someday.

    Cody, good nite, sleep tight, Mommy loves you….

    Laurie, I will be checking back in on your site plenty more in the future. Thank you again for the great work you do.

    And please do continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks (longer if you like!); I intend to do likewise.

    God bless,

    Liz

  • Laurie Post author

    Hello Ambra,

    I’m so sorry to hear how Trooper is doing – that’s very sad. My heart goes out to you, because he doesn’t seem to be in pain so it’s not clear if it’s time to put him to sleep.

    I honestly don’t know if it’s time to think about putting him to sleep. Falling in your poop is icky….but is it a sign it’s time to say good-bye? Most veterinarians agree that pain is the best sign that it’s time, but I haven’t heard anyone discuss the problem you have.

    Have you talked to your veterinarian? That would be my first step. I’d try to find out if Trooper’s weight and difficult walking and crouching are symptoms of a larger health issue, and if there is pain involved.

    Trooper sounds like a strong, happy dog — which makes it so much more difficult! It’s never an easy decision, but sometimes dogs do tell us when they’re ready. What would Trooper tell you, if he could talk? What is he trying to tell you? Maybe if you got really still and quiet, and lied down with him, you’d be able to intuit what he wants. This may sound woo-woo to you, but some people say it helps them decide.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, and invite you to keep writing how you feel. You may find the decision within yourself – and you’ll be at peace with it.

    I wish you all the best, and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Let me know how you’re doing.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Frank,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing how you feel after putting your dog to sleep. Many loving pet owners feeling very guilty afterwards – you are not alone!

    Here’s an article I wrote, to help people cope with the guilt:

    https://theadventurouswriter.com/blog/guilty-feelings-after-cat-dog-dies-pet-loss-guilt/

    Please take a few minutes to read the article, and look through the comments from readers. You gave your dog the best loving care you could – and it’s too easy to look back and beat ourselves up for things we did or didn’t do! That’s not fair to you — and I know your dog wouldn’t want you to be feeling so guilty, heartbroken, and devastated. You loved your dog all the way to death, and she knows it. You made the best decisions you could to take care of her, and you loved her with all your heart.

    Make your memories of her wonderful and happy by forgiving yourself, and letting your memories and experiences of your dog rest in peace.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Laurie Post author

    Hello Heidi,

    How are you doing with Jaxson? You’re right; it is a huge, difficult decision to make. And having children adds an extra dimension of complexity. Not only do you not want to see them suffer because the dog is sick, you don’t want your poor dog to be in pain for a moment longer than he has to! It’s a fine balance between making the decision too early, and potentially letting Jaxson suffer.

    I don’t know when the right time is, but a veterinarian once told me that pet owners know. I’m not sure if this is always true. Do you feel a sense either way? Another pet expert told me that your dog will tell you when he’s ready to go….this is another difficult one to determine!

    Writing out your thoughts and feelings is a great way to get to the heart of it and move towards a decision. I welcome you to do that here, or in your private space.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you,
    Laurie

  • Ambra McQuillan

    My boxer, Trooper, is almost 11 years old. He is the love our lives and has given us more joy than imaginable over the years. His legs (primarily his back legs) are giving out on him and he has difficulty walking. He is overweight at nearly 100 lbs. He is now occasionally urinating in the house and has had bowel movements as well in the house. The real issue, however, is now when he squats to have a bowel movement, he cannot hold himself in the necessary position and he falls into his own feces. It is so sad to watch but he is otherwise healthy, eats, drinks, still gives kisses, wags his tail when you give him attention, etc. Are we being selfish. Is it time for us to consider putting Trooper to sleep? Your advise is greatly appreciated.

    • Mo

      I have a 15 he old cocker spaniel first and only dog I have ever had,had gissy from ,6 weeks and have thoughly enjoyed every minute of her life. She has always been full of energy and mischief she has a few health problems but the last year roughly every now and then her back legs give in and she has to have me help her up. She spends all her days in her basket now and messes in her basket she walks and poos as well there is a terrible smell from her rear end is it time which I am dreading life without her

  • frank

    Hi all i just put my 12 yr old American bulldog to sleep yesterday. I am looking for someway to vent how i feel. Her issues began in 2011 when she had pyometra, we paid $900 to operate her and the guy in the vets office said to remove her then small tumors was another $900. I did not know the severity of mammary tumors nor did i know the importance of neutering a female dog. As the tumors , especially one grew to the size of a pear it began to leak from a teet, so i called a guy i found who does operations under the table , like a guy from the street and he said he would charge $350.00, evantually we were going to do the operation yesterday but my mother said she was tool old and it was best we put her down. so i cancelled the appointment and drove with my wife to the animal shelter, by now lulu was suffering having issues standing up, eating all her food, breathing rapidly, her tumor now tore her skin and discharged fluid. she was lethargic and sad. i kissed her and they took her away to another hall, i broke down in tears, i feel so guilty i wanna tell you guys that it is a totally different feeling when your pet is gone, its is the most horrible feeling and i feel guilty, i feel like i should have paid the $900 in 2011 and i feel i should of fought for her. We will always love you Lulu, thank you, you were the most sweet, protecitve, and humble dog anyone could ever have, thnak you guys for reading this, good bye………..

  • Heidi Marquis

    Struggling with the decision as to when is the right time to put my best friend of 11 years Jaxson down. He started coughing and gagging last Friday, took him to the vet Saturday morning and she said his lungs and heart sounded good for an old dog, but he has just gotten worse since then. No for sure dx as we opted to not have extensive testing done since my old guy wouldn’t tolerate any treatment anyway, but as an 11 year old Boxer it’s fairly obviously he is having heart failure.

    Nights are the worst, he coughs and gags all night long, but then he can be fine during the day. He does mostly just lay on the couch and sleeps- but that’s pretty much been his life for most of his senior years 🙂 He’s still drinking, eating lightly and not having an accidents. He doesn’t seem in pain or else I would not want to prolong his suffering selfishly. I also don’t want to make the decision to say good bye too soon.

    This is so hard! I also have 3 children to think about too, I don’t want to have them see their childhood friend suffer.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Elizabeth,

    What a big, sad day for you and Cody. My heart is with you.

    Sometimes people decide to prolong their pet’s life because it makes them (the people, not the pet) feel better. I know how painful it is to lose an animal we love more than almost anything on earth…but sometimes we let our fear of losing them override our ability to make the best decision for them. I don’t if this makes sense — it doesn’t really matter, it’s just me rambling on!

    It’s clear from your comments that your decision about Cody isn’t just about the messing. You are obviously a caring, kind, loving, compassionate, sensitive person, and this decision has been very difficult and painful for you. It’s not as simple as “my dog pooped inside, so I’m putting him down.” That’s not at all what is coming through in your comments.

    It sounds to me like you’re making the right decision. You are doing what’s best for your dog. This is your final act of love, care, and compassion for Cody — you are taking good care of him right until the very end. You love him so much, and you’re making sure he goes peacefully and painlessly.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, tonight and for the next few weeks. Please come back anytime, let me know how you are.

    With sincere sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Elizabeth N

    Laurie,

    I go to the vet tonite…. and have asked already to be counseled as to their opinion, though I am quite sure she’ll say it is up to me…..

    I have asked months ago as to how do I know when the time is right… and she said to consider his favorite things, and that once more than 50% of them either don’t entice or excite him anymore, then that may be a clue.

    I’m not sure what you mean by not basing my decision on what makes me feel better….. what would make me feel best is believing or having hope that he might get better…….

    I hope I didn’t lead you or others to believe my decision is based on the several days-to-a-week daily messing….. a sister of mine had commented to me as to whether I will put her down when she starts messing when she’s older………however, my reasons are cumulative for thinking Cody’s time has come.

    My reasons for thinking his time has come include: loss of appetite, even less interest in eating some of his ‘favorites’….. , steadily losing weight….. only about .4 – .5 lbs a month, but for a dog with no weight issue (he’s always been an active Husky!) I have concerns of his becoming underweight and weak, and finally, his loss of rear-end control and strength, from his muscles needed to walk, to his losing bowel sensation. The other nite I told myself to sleep on it and at 330am I awoke to having heard him, and here I found another mess…. but this mess was unlike others….. I am not sure what end it came out of…. but it was quite strong…. the consistency was more gelatinous than solid…… I plan on asking the vet what may have caused this…. perhaps there are more things going on?

    I ‘ve been preparing myself the last day or two for tonite…. his appointment is at 620pm and before that I hope to spend time with him taking him for one last walk, and feeding him his leftover Roast Beef au jus…..

    I feel I am probably doing the right thing and most everybody around me agrees that the time has come. I just feel so awful and terrible about it because the two biggest reasons for keeping him going are that he is still able to get around……. he’s not as bad as some dogs I’ve seen (but I don’t want him to get to that point either…. that’s not a life worth living) and that to look at my Cody, he still ‘looks’ good…. his eyes look pretty good, his hair (though, being a Husky, going from primarily black-and-white to lighter black-and-white the aging is certainly less noticeable)looks pretty good….. he just overall is still very handsome….!

    Nonetheless, I think my decision has been made, barring my vet offering up some hopeful treatement yet tried, but I think today will be my Cody’s last day on this earth.

    Wish him well…. thank you.

  • Laurie

    Dear Elizabeth,

    What did your vet say about putting Cody to sleep? I can’t tell you if it’s the right thing to keep him alive for another month, that’s a decision that has to come from you.

    But, I do believe that if his quality of life is suffering, then the peaceful rest of eternal sleep is better than a painful existence.

    I don’t think you should make this decision on the basis of what makes you feel better. I think it should be all about your dog. And, if your poor Cody is dragging his paws and ready to say good-bye, then it’s time for you to listen to him.

    It it were me, I would follow his lead, and make a decision that will hurt me deeply but be better in the long – and short – run.

    What happened at the veterinarian?

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Elizabeth N

    I have a 13-year old Husky, Cody, whose hind legs for about the past year have weakened greatly (possibly hip dysplasia?) to the point where monthly I take him for Adequan shots. Before that we use Purina’s prescription Joint Mobility food…. to no avail.

    My baby still likes to go for walks…. in fact, that’s probably the only thing that gets him intereseted in anything.

    Lately, the last month or so, he’s been messing an awful lot (#2) in the house, and now, after 5 or so straight days of this, I don’t know if I can handle much more of this. I hope this last statement doesnt make me sound selfish and cruel…. I love him so much and am very upset at this time as tomorrow night is his next appointment, of which I called the vet’s office and asked if instead of the usual Adequan shot if we could do euthanasia instead……

    Trying to consider his quality of life and his perspective, this is where he’s at: he doesn’t care to eat much at all anymore, unless there is ‘really good’ food in there, like burgers, chicken, etc. ….. his regular dog food he has practically no interest in except for when i guess he gets really really hungry. He sleeps most of his time……. rarely plays with me anymore, and though weakened, seems to really only get enjoyment anymore out of a brief, though much slower walk.

    I feel guilty about considering euthanasia for that reason…. he still has some enjoyment in life….

    I would love to keep him around longer and would do so if I knew he wouldn’t stress out about becoming an ‘outside’ dog. And, as far as the vet appointment goes, I REALLY fear I, as well as he, will have a tough time, because he does not (like most dogs) like his visits with the vet, especially moreso as of late. I fear he’s going to go out in a stressed state and I do not want that. …. why don’t vets do house calls for such instances? Cody’s alert enough physically and mentally I REALLY will feel BAD for causing this.

    Am I doing the right thing in wishing to euthanize him? OR, to make myself feel better (again, selfish I know) should I keep him around a little longer, if only for a month, and try to give him a fantastic month to go out on?

    Please helpp…….

  • Surain Calven

    Dear laurie,

    thank you and i appreciate it. yes me n my dad are more at peace that he went away naturally rather than having us to put him to sleep. im really sad because i miss him very much but yes i do know he is in a better place now and i do hope to meet him someday when my time is up. i guess across the rainbow bridge i shall meet him. thanks again n god bless

    regards,
    Surain

  • Laurie

    Dear Surain,

    I’m so sorry that your shih tzu passed away – but so glad it was painless and in his sleep! That’s so much smoother than having to take him to the vet and making the decision to put him to sleep.

    Thank you for being here, for sharing how it went for you and your dog. I know it’s painful and heartbreaking not to have him around — it’s so sad. But, he’s in a better place because he’s not suffering!

    I wish you all the best as you grieve his death.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Surain Calven

    its okay. he just passed away this morning in his sleep. i guess he had a heart attack coz he didnt show any signs of pain. im glad he went away peacefully yet i miss him so much.

  • Surain Calven

    hi. i have a shih tzu who is 7yrs old. He has been suffering from lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) for about 2-3months now. His condition has worsen over d week or so. He hasnt eaten anytin in 4days but he drinks plenty of water. I’ve been thinking of putting him to sleep but i cant bring myself to it as he is very much alert. But he is quite weak as he sleeps most of the day. He has bowel problem as his motion is diarrhoe like. I do not know what to do.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Cheryl,

    I’ll keep you and your bisenji in my thoughts and prayers. It IS such a difficult decision, isn’t it? But if she’s in pain…the most important thing is to protect her from a painful existence.

    What is the veterinarian’s advice?

    Laurie

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Kim,

    I’m glad Emmie is still with you — and not in pain! I’m so glad she’s with you still.

    I had to take my dog Georgie to the vet a couple days ago, because she was coughing and sneezing for 3 days. It’s nothing more than allergies, thankfully — but it reminded me to cherish every day with our beloved dogs!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Kim S

    Laurie,

    Emmie is still with me. I took her to the vet and after a very thorough exam the vet determined that she was having referred pain. She gets her steroids every other day…and thank the Lord she hasn’t had any more painful episodes. She can walk on concrete, grass, and carpet/rugs….but can’t get good traction on tile or wood floors.

    Thank you for caring enough to ask for me to let you know the outcome. As long as I can keep her pain free SHE WILL BE HERE WITH ME 🙂

    Thanks, Kim

  • Cheryl

    I am struggling with the decision of putting my bisenji down. She has gone blind now and is suffering from fanconie disease. The decision has been hanging out there in front of me for some time. She now is starting to show signs of renal failure. Dribbling when sleeping, a puddle now and the house. Today a new thing….she has not urinated since 8pm last night and it has now been almost 14 hours. Such a hard decisions.

  • Laurie Post author

    Kim, I appreciate the honesty and authenticity in your message! You shared your true feelings, and I’m glad. I can take it 🙂 Your message was a good reminder to me that when we’re coping with such huge decisions, we need immediate support.

    Putting your dog to sleep is one of the most painful decisions you’ll ever make, and you have every right to be emotional and even snippy. I really am glad you spoke your mind.

    I wish you all the best at the vet – maybe it is something that can be adjusted? When you mentioned the shoulder/neck area, I thought of a chiropractic adjustment…but of course the problem is that you don’t want to experiment on your dog unless you’re reasonably sure the treatment will be effective!

    I hope you let me know how things are going, and what you decided to do about Emmie.

    All good things,
    Laurie

  • Kim S

    Thank you Laurie….I am sorry I got snippy. The stress is getting to me and I wanted to delete that message as soon as I posted it. We are headed to the vet in just a little bit. I have discovered that it doesn’t appear to be her lower back that is hurting her now. It appears to be her shoulder/neck area. I am guessing that is bothering her because of the extra stress on that area from the rear weakness. Of course, I am just a nurse, so I am leaving it up to the vet to check her over and dx the problem.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Kim S,

    I’m sorry I wasn’t able to respond as quickly as you would’ve liked, and hope you were able to find a site that can give you what you need.

    One thing I’d consider is what the veterinarian who examined Emmie said. I know the other vet said she could recover fully, but he didn’t actually examine her in person. Theoretically, dogs can recover from many illnesses…but each individual dog’s illness is different, and requires a personal assessment.

    I think it’s important to tease out the difference between keeping Emmie alive because you’re not ready to say good-bye, and keeping her alive because there’s a strong possibility that she’ll recover fully.

    I totally get it, though. My dog Georgie is 3 years old, and it breaks my heart to think that she could be facing death in a year! But if she was in pain, I’d let her go. I don’t believe there is pain or suffering in death – I believe our animals go to Heaven and live a sweet afterlife.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. I wish I could give you the answers you’re looking for — as quickly as you want them! 🙂 All I can do is encourage you to trust your gut instincts, listen objectively to the vet’s advice, and above all trust your dog to tell you if she’s ready to leave our earth.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Kim S

    I have a 4 yr old chihuahua that I am wondering if it is time to put her out of her pain. About a month ago I came home from work and could tell something wasn’t right with her. I took her to the vet and found out she had hurt her back. Within an hour she had no use of her two back legs. She has been on prednisone and ultram for a month. She can now stand and walk on carpet or grass….and I am down to giving her steroids every other day, but she still gets the pain medicine twice a day. I can see when the pain is taking over. She stiffens up, pants, and shakes. I feel so guilty for keeping her here in pain…but she is only 4 yrs old and has made such good progress….but the pain is what is killing my heart.

    I have heard from a co-worker whose husband is a retired vet that there is hope for a full recovery since she has come this far….and Lord knows I love this little girl. She is not ur typical chihuahua….even the vet says she has never seen a chi as loving and happy as my Emmie.

    Am I cruel to keep trying? Am I wrong to think of having her put to sleep. I don’t want her to go …. I am not ready; I love her so much, but there is no guarantee that the pain will go away.

    Please pray for my Emmie and for me….right now the pain meds have kicked in and I am going to let her out of her crate (lol….it’s more like a condo) for her to walk around and play with her ball. No running! Just a 2 foot roll for her to stop it and look up at me with those beautiful brown eyes asking me to roll her ball again.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Grace,

    I am so sorry that your veterinarian wants to do anything and everything to prolong your dog’s life! I knew a vet like that – he was our only option in a small town – and our community was very upset with him. All he cared about was surgeries, medications, treatments — he refused to let our pets die naturally, when they were ready. We – everyone in the community – had to travel to a different town to get proper veterinary care if we believed our animals were ready to go.

    I encourage you to get a second opinion from another veterinarian.

    More importantly, I urge you to trust your gut instincts!! I recently quoted a veterinarian who said that she thinks it’s terrible that pet owners make vets decide when it’s time to put their dogs or cats to sleep. She said we as pet owners know our pets far better than vets do, and we have a better sense of when it’s time for them to go.

    That said, however, we pet owners don’t want to make the decision to end our pet’s life! It’s horrible to have to decide that it’s time for them to die.

    But, that decision is often the kindest, most loving last thing we do for our pets. Putting an older dog through surgeries, meds, treatments — I think it’s a travesty. I believe there comes a time when it’s far better to say good-bye with peace and love, instead of prolonging life at all costs. But I believe in Heaven for pets, and that makes it easier for me to let them go.

    My heart goes out to you, and I wish you didn’t have to make this decision. I wish your vet was more supportive.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and hope you’re able to make a decision that makes you feel better about your dog’s life. Please feel free to come back anytime, and update us.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Grace

    My at least 15 year old golden (adopted so not sure beyond the 15 years i’ve had him) has been using the restroom indoors several times a day for the last two years–as soon as he was diagnosed with kidney failure. He also has arthritis in his hips and his back legs shake terribly and occasionally he cannot stand up. He sleeps most of the day and is no longer the same dog. My vet continues to tell me it is not time to let him go because he still wants treats and hasn’t lost weight despite the fact that he doesn’t eat for days at a time. Now he has a tumor near his anus and the vet wants to remove it and biopsy which is very expensive. He takes 2 pain pills 3 times a day along with an anti inflammatory and glycoflex and an antinausea pill. The vet tells me he isnt in pain but I don’t believe it. My heart tells me it is time to let him go but the vet makes me feel terrible for even suggesting it. Help!

  • Laurie Post author

    Sparing our dogs pain is the most important reason to put them to sleep. I can’t stand the thought of an animal in pain, and would choose euthanasia in a heartbeat if my Georgie was suffering in any way.

    LisaFaye, I think you’re right — often when we write the facts and feelings about deciding to put our dogs down, we see the answer clearly.

    I hope you’re doing well, and feel like you’ve made the right decision for your dog. But as Jeanette said, it’ll still be heartbreaking when we go home without our dogs 🙁

    Doing the right thing isn’t easy.

  • LisaFaye

    Oh how do you know? My Ocho is a mix breed border collie who is 15. We found him abandoned at the river, a tick infested little pup that our vet told us was four or five weeks old. For the past 5,6,7 months, his quality of life is poor to say the best. He hasn’t been able to play for at least a year. Sleeps probably 90% of the time. Recently he can’t get up without help, and often I find him laying in his own poo. His right leg seems to drag behind him, kinda like a stroke. Yesterday he fell outside and was in the heat for I don’t know how long until I found him. I know it’s time but all I can do is cry and my husband won’t even talk about putting him down. I think just by writing this I have my own answer.

  • Jeanette

    @Yeezus
    That is what I keep thinking after 5 months that I put my dog to sleep I had no right. And I still feel sorry for what I did. And I still cry when I think about it. But then I think she had cancer sooner or later she was going to die.She was in a lot of pain at night she used to cry I never heard a dog cry like that.The vet told me from 0 to 10 she is in pain 8. I gave her pain killers and still she cried. If I knew she had any chance of recovering I would have done anything to help her.Maybe your dog doesn’t cry like mine did because for sure you would do anything to take away the pain. And I’m sure that if a person is in a lot of pain and they know that theres no recovery for them thats what they would want to do that someone takes the pain away.

  • Yeezus

    This is the one thing i’m scared of. My GF and I have a pomeranian who’s 7… 8 years left I guess. i don’t know if I can go through with it. If i’m suffering, i don’t want my death in someone else’s hands. i want it on my terms. I know what you’re all thinking, “Dude, it’s a f**king dog! it’s not human, you have to make the decision!” But do i really? Dogs are smart, social creatures. True companions. Do I really have the right? Sure i “own” him, but My dog (Dim Sum, by the way) is his own person. Dude’s like a cat. Independent as all hell. “Won’t play ball with me? F**K you, I’ll bother you til’ you do, or I’ll play with my BLOODCLOT self.” So much personality. So many human traits. So many weird quirks. Truly a friend. How can i reconcile that with Dim Sum’s pending euthanasia looming? I literally think if I could talk to him he’d be like “Are you outside of your cotton pickin’ mind! I WANNA LIVE!” Anyway, compassionate article. I just don’t think we have the right, suffering or not. Convince me.

  • Peyman

    Dear laurie it still somfort me see someone caring.
    I put my beloved dog to sleep 17april, there is some thoughs and exprienses i would like to share with others.
    I was attached to him so much, we shared our bed for 14 years, stared my days with him welcoming me and ended sleeping with me. My words cannot describe love and funs i had with him …
    It was hardest and most painful days of my life since hes gone, 10 days ago i drove out of town every single day where i buried him … I missed him so much when …
    I wish no one face such problem but unfurtunetly its impposible so these are things shouldnt have done:
    As laurie said, dont face it alone, which i did and ithat mich pain alot to be carried alone, i called a vet to come home at evening, i lay down all day talikng to him and knowing he will be gone firever, when vet cane asked me to leave to not see rest often time which i denied, i kissed him for last time and watched him dying in my hands … Wanted to be with him to end as he was with from begging … I find a place out of town start digging ground (in my country there nowhere specsilay for this) and saying goodbye for hour and putting his cold body to the ground … Which there are moment i still see like movie …
    2nd , no matter how old and sick is he like mine, he stoped eating for a week (tried 3 vets to see if they fix the problem) no movements like not knowing me anymore … The guilt will stay with me forever that im sure … I belived i did best for him … But u will never know…
    — something happend i cant understand and keep thinking about that, just about 10 sec to vet arrive when he was still in the street (im in 4th floor) while he was laying down he moved his head and start smelling or looking for someting… After 10 sec vet called my phone tgat he is here … I kissed him and he didnt move even when vet got in … When im thinking about that i feels like he know what was about to happen…
    Sry i took so long, i hope my exprience can help someone at least. Last thing, i remember when sometimes i was tried after work getting home or lazy, he begging me to take him out , i had to deny sometimes . That i regret so much
    Dear thank you, u have been very helpfull and nice i will keep reading and hoping if i can help someone in future.

    Peyman

  • Laurie

    Dear Jeanette,

    Thank you for sharing your video of Lady and Lucky. What a beautiful tribute, memory, and way to say good-bye. It made me cry – and I never knew Lady or Lucky! And, it makes me appreciate my dog Georgie more than ever.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Jeanette

    Four months passed since I put Lady to sleep and I still think of her and of Lucky. Sometimes I say to myself I had no right to take her life away. I know that I did the right thing for her because she was in a lot of pain but still the thought that I put her to sleep makes me feel bad.
    I made a video of my two dogs.

  • Laurie Post author

    Hello Peyman, it’s been a week since you commented. You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want — I just wanted you to know that I’m thinking about and praying for you and your dog.

    Every night, I say prayers for everyone who sees this article, and especially for those who comment because I know a little about them! It matters. You matter.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Peyman

    And yes i wouldnt want to continue if i was in his position,Its unfortunate to say in a society i am that many think ( vets also ) i have to wait and see him suffering and they think its cruel and soon probebly since he eat and show no pain ! Only thing is keeping me from doing that is he still sometimes like to eat but very picky now and the guts probebly to let him go.
    I read sometimes they die in home while we are asleep and it takes maybe hours of suffering. Thats only thing that i dont want to happen to mikee that he is and always been my best friend. I know i already made my mind and wont take me long to get ready for that, i just hoping to find someone to do euthanasia in my home , i dont i can control my self and i want to spend last hours alone …
    Thank you again laurie, you probebly have know idea how much did u help already. (sry posted last comment was miss click)
    Peyman

  • Peyman

    Dear laurie,
    It is so helpful hearing from someone who can understand. difficult decision as you asked, i must say im 30, and trying to make this decision for a month and thinking about that im crying like a baby everyday.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Peyman,

    It’s such a difficult decision, isn’t it? And that we have to make it seems so cruel and unfair.

    If you could put yourself in Mikee’s shoes (or paws!), what would you want your human to know? How does it feel to be Mikee right now?

    A few days ago, I wrote another article on putting your pet to sleep – it was from the veterinarian’s perspective. The most important thing in that article is that our beloved pets tell us when it’s time to say good-bye, and we often don’t hear them because of our own pain. We keep them alive for our own sakes, not for their sakes.

    I can’t tell you if it’s time to say good-bye to Mikee, but it sounds like his life is alot different than it was when he was healthy! He is old and sick, and he’s not getting better.

    How will you cope with the pain of losing him? Is that what’s stopping you from making the decision to put him to sleep?

  • Peyman

    Hello everyone,
    Iv read a lot on many sites about right time to putting an old dog to sleep and i have been in a deep pain for a long time seeing my dog like this, i think its time to put him to sleep but i was hoping to get some help . Here is my 14 years old Mixed terriers conditions: his name is mikee, he lost his sight 2 years ago completly but he could find me or his way to his food and water, but he start sleeping all day and moving only he need water, food or pee.
    But its about a month his find problem hearing and smelling and cant find his way easy anymore( he walks slowly ). Had very bad mouth smell and take him to vet but and dr said need a teeth to removed, but after many tests they desided to not and some test results was kidney problem and kidney stone in one dr said. But didnt see him suffering from urinating. Only thing he do is eating and drinking. I just know they hide they pain and i dont want him to suffer.
    Im desperatly looking for help, im sure there are many of u expriense this and the pain i have and its been with me a year.
    Ty all for reading this and wait for ur help.
    Ty – peyman

  • Vince

    Carol Elizabeth,

    I completely sympathize with your difficult decision.

    We rescued our now-17-year-old setter Scooby from a family we know who could no longer take care of him; they had placed him with a pet adoption agency on a Friday evening, and we found out on the following Sunday and brought him home. That was five years ago. He was in bad shape, so we thought we were providing geriatric care for his final month! But his health drastically improved.

    We got a nearly newborn cavalier spaniel Charlie a few months after we got Scooby. They have been best buddies ever since: we believe Scooby thinks we got him a puppy, and Charlie has his own old dog. This may have further contributed to Scooby’s health improvement. He is very clearly “my dog” and still follows me wherever I go in the house, while Charlie has attached himself to my wife.

    We often joke within the family about how Scooby is 17, doesn’t have any plans for college, no driver’s license, no job, and no plans to leave home. All he does is eat and sleep and sit in front of the TV all day, and only grunts and gives you “the look” when you speak to him.

    For several months Scooby has been exhibiting the same problems you describe. He can still get around on flat non-smooth surfaces, but takes a long, long time to get up when his legs go out from under him on the tile floor; this is a very regular event. He is losing control of his bodily functions (so we’re cleaning up after him several times per day), and has mouth cancer, but still loves to eat. Scooby doesn’t see well now, and frequently runs into walls or furniture when turning around. His hearing is also poor (so, if Charlie jumps up, Scooby follows so he doesn’t miss anything).

    Scooby used to climb the stairs each night to sleep in our 10 year-old child’s bedroom near Charlie (pack mentality, no doubt). Now he only comes up sometimes, and struggles due to his hip dysplasia. His breathing is always labored. He also has trouble going down the three back steps into the yard (often falling when he gets to the bottom), and sometimes looks back at me before descending, with that “do I really have to do this” look. More than once I’ve had to assist him up the steps and back into the house because he only gets up two steps, then slides back down again. After multiple attempts, he gives up for a while. He always growls if he is lifted, obviously in pain.

    Although Scooby still thoroughly enjoys eating, he struggles to get around, and is now starting to show signs of uncharacteristic confusion. He was banished to his garage bed last night (he generally sleeps in the house), and didn’t even seem to care about it.

    Given all of these issues, I don’t expect him to last more than another two months without experiencing even more serious loss of quality of life. Furthermore, our family will be traveling over the summer, and it would be unfair to pass this responsibility and burden to our college-aged dogsitter.

    After a great deal of soul searching, I’ve scheduled a final vet’s appointment for him this coming Saturday, the 20th of April, while my wife and child are out of town for the day. This will be easier, and best, for everyone. I’ll miss him for sure.

    I’ve hoped every day that I’d find he had expired overnight, but that is selfish. As many articles suggest, we’ve already intervened by making decisions to extend the lives of our pets, and it is our responsibility to humanely make this decision also. Is this too soon? Is it too late? How will I know? The best decision we can make is the one we won’t regret tomorrow, or next week, or next month.

    The deciding final factor for me was a statement in this article: “There will come a day when it is absolutely clear to you that your dog or cat is not enjoying life. That day is one day too late. If you can save your pet even one day of discomfort, you must.”

    Our pets deserves to go to rest peacefully, without being in excessive pain, fear, and confusion, with at least some dignity and mental faculties, as long as we’re given the responsibility to decide.

  • julie

    To Rick Weggman

    Rick thank you so much for your kind words and for thinking of me and holding me in your prayers – meant so much to read your words – thank you so much and God bless you too.

    I still feel unsure of my decision, always will, but appreciate that it would only have been a matter of time and the truth is there will never be a time we are happy to say goodbye to these joyous souls that share our lives. I miss Taz inconsoleably and I PRAY that I will see him again some day, can only hope so on that one.

    I give thanks for the 15 years of pure joy he brought me, I have put some of my (many) favourite photos on canvas and put them up around the house – mainly to remind me to think of the wonderful fit and active days we had.

    For any of you going through this heart wrenching decision at the moment, know that you are not alone and we all feel for you. I, personally, can only suggest you talk to your vet, talk to your family and loved ones who know the full picture, and truely consider how happy content your beloved pet is – follow your heart and take a real balanced view.

    Julie xxx

  • Laurie

    Dear Carol Elizabeth,

    It’s such a difficult decision, isn’t it? Your dog seems healthy in some ways, and is drifting away in other ways. I read that it’s hard to tell if dogs are in pain because they often don’t show it. They withdraw.

    Have you talked to your veterinarian? I think that’s an important first step in making this decision. A vet can help you figure out if your dog is suffering in any way. If she is, then I believe it’s time to say good-bye. Euthanasia is a final act of love and compassion – it’s not an act of cruelty! It can be the best last thing you do for your dog.

    I think it’s important to tease out the difference between you not wanting to let go of the sweetest dog you’ve ever known, and you wanting to do the right thing for your dog. Sometimes we don’t do the right thing because we want to protect ourselves, not our dogs.

    I wish you all the best as you make this difficult decision, and hope you return to tell me how you’re doing and what you decided.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Carol Elizabeth

    I am having a horrible decision about putting my dog down. My husband seems to think its about time but I am just not sure. She is a 16 year old yellow lab. She is the sweetest dog I have ever known. She is peeing (has been for about 6 months) and lately has started pooping all over the house. She doesn’t really pee inside in front of us so I can’t tell if she is ashamed by it but when she poops inside she seems to feel bad about it. She is arthritic and is on pain medicine. It helps her a lot but she sometimes has trouble getting up and walking down the stairs. She can do it, it just sometimes takes her awhile. She is also getting senile. She goes through spells at night where she stands at the bottom of the stairs and stares at us and barks (she is doing it right now) then walks around and lays down and immediately gets up again. I don’t know if this means she is in pain. Sometimes she gets a spacey look in her eyes and I know she isn’t in her right mind. She is very hard of hearing and her vision isn’t that great anymore. The good part is that she has a very good appetite, gets really excited for breakfast and dinner, and besides being a little stiff she can walk around and sometimes even trot. She still loves attention and loves being pet. I am terrified of making the wrong decision. I just feel like I have always thought that the time for a dog to go is when they can’t stand up by themselves and lose their independence. I can’t imagine going in with her all happy and trotting around and putting her to sleep. Please give me some insight!

  • Rick Wegmann

    Julie:

    First know that you are in my prayers! Second know that
    God is with you. He will provide comfort in the days ahead if you allow Him to do so.
    I also truly believe, based on your previous comments, that it
    was exactly the right time. You were in no way too soon! Although you don’t feel that right now, with the passing of time you will.
    The purpose of the sedative was to relax
    your precious Taz. You did not let him down, and Taz knows that.
    You can’t erase the many years of your loving relationship with Taz that
    quickly.
    Know that there are many praying for you in this very difficult time. And although incredibly difficult to understand now, with the passing of time, you will come to realize that your decision was the absolute, right decision for your precious Taz.

    God Bless You Julie.

  • julie

    Thanks for your reply Laurie. The vet came on wednesday evening and put Taz to sleep. The sedative hardly touched him, he didn’t want to go and fought against the canula for the lethal dose. He was frightened and panicky, he didn’t want to go. I went with it because i had cried for a week before in contemplation of the pending day. I had taken time off work the preceeding days to spend with him. The crem was booked and had the Easter weekend to get to stop crying before going back to work on Tuesday. I came home to an empty house with a metal jar yesterday and the empty space where my dog was been. I am destroyed. Feel like I murdered and betrayed the most precious trusting thing in my life, he didn’t want go, I let him down. Now I know the poignance of Rick’s comments below, I now have to life with the guilt of too soon,,,,,,,,

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Dave,

    I’m sorry about Rowdy; it sounds like his passing will leave a very big hole in your life, as well as the lives of his furry friends.

    I think you are a very brave and wise man for thinking ahead the way you are, and considering how Rowdy’s death will affect your other two dogs. I would talk to the veterinarian or a dog behavior specialist about how to help Andy. I am not a vet, and I can’t give advice like that. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful.

    That said, however, here’s a general article I wrote about helping animals mourn after someone they love dies:
    https://theadventurouswriter.com/blog/animals-mourning-separation-death-helping-your-pet-cope/

    I hope this helps a little, and wish you all the best as you make this difficult decision.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Julie,

    As heartbreaking as it is, I think you should take your veterinarian’s advice. I don’t think it’s a betrayal to put your dog to sleep; I believe that it is a final act of love and compassion. If your dog is in pain, then he is suffering needlessly. I understand that he seems content. But what kind of life is he living?

    Death is the great unknown, which makes it scary. But what if it is better than being stuck in a body that has broken down and possibly painful?

    I am sorry you have to experience this. It’s terrible, and you may feel like you’ll never get over the loss. You’ll grieve for a long time, and it won’t be easy.

    That said, however, you need to say good-bye when the time is right for you as well as for your dog. There is no easy answer for when it’s right…you have to trust your heart and your head, and be strong and courageous.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Dave Hicks

    I am currently in a situation of denial somewhat. Rowdy is my beloved Dalmatian and has been for nearly 14 years. He has survived through quite a lot from the get go. I believe he is the last out if a liter of 15 pups from June 1999.
    My issue comes when I assist him getting up and realize he has not been able to get up on his own for a couple weeks now. He has not needed much assist in walking but now I help him 90% of the time with the aid if a gait belt. He still eats standing without assistance, poops, and barks actively when the other dogs bark. Wags his tail when having assistance walking and seems to wait to go to the bathroom until I assist him outside. My other issue with this is he has a friend who was a rescue. Andy has become dependent on him and has separation anxiety when they are not together. Needless to say they have only been separated once in the last 6 years and have even survived a Hurrucane evac together. I have a third dog who has not bonded as well with Andy and I’m particularly concerned with his well being afterwards. They still clean and lick each other. They also share the same cot together. What can I expect with Andy after Rowdy passes? I have given myself till Friday to make the decision for Rowdy and would appreciate any advice in assisting with the other dogs emotional state durin this time. What to expect? How to handle a grieving pet afterwards? Thank you.

  • Veronica Brown

    I just made the decision of scheduling my beloved Babee to sleep. She has severe and degenerative joint pain, loss hearing, and becoming blind in both eyes. She’s in pain all the time, I know it, and I don’t want to continue her life on medication that really doesn’t work. I read an article about knowing when the time comes, and it stated that when your dog can’t do the things they use to do, such as that joy in their stride, bounce in their step, that glee and happiness in that you see in the sparkle of their eyes and the wagging of their tails. Well if this doesn’t exist anymore, then it is time.

    On April 6th I will lay on the floor next to my beloved Babee, embracing and kissing her as she goes to sleep in my arms, Tearfully I will take her body and bury her next to her father. 15 Wonderful, loving, loyal, humorous and glorious years you’ve given me.THANK YOU my Best friend . No more pain my dear one. I Will See you again.

  • julie

    i would appreciate your help. i feel so torn and am terrified of betraying my dog when he fights so hard to stay with me. he is 15, he has been on tramadol for nearly a year for arthritus; the last 4 months he has been incontenent, i wash him everyday and change his bedding twice a day. this last month he has totally lost the strength / working of his back legs. the vet has told me i should put him to sleep and we have booked the day for 4 days time. my delemour is that he still seems content, loves his cuddles and brushes, eats like a horse, poohs properly etc, i just don’t know what to do…..

  • Wanda

    Hi: I just found out on a Thursday that my 12-year old dog has an aggressive form of cancer. It all started about a year ago with a sore on his front paw that he kept licking. The vet told me that his condition is only going to get worse and I should put him to sleep. If it wasn’t for the tumor on his paw you couldn’t tell that something is wrong. We keep the tumor covered and he has meds. He eats, plays, wags his tail, and waits for someone to rub his belly. How can I put him to sleep when he’s still so active? Today is Friday and I’ve scheduled his appointment for Monday, but I’m seriously thinking about canceling the appointment until I notice a change in his behavior. This is so hard.

  • Laurie

    Thanks for your thoughts, Rick. I appreciate them – and I know other readers do, too!

    I agree that finding the balance between one day too soon and one day too late is so difficult. Maybe impossible, because if you wait one day too late, then your dog suffers. I love my dog so much, I would rather spare her one moment of suffering.

    It helps me to think that death is not bad. I think of death as another way of being, a step into a spiritual world that I know nothing about. But, I do not believe death is something to be feared or avoided. That helps me when I feel overwhelmed by grief at the loss of my pets.

    When you decide to put your dog to sleep, I think you have to trust that you made the right decision. Second-guessing yourself only brings grief. You have to accept that it is time for your dog to leave this world, and wait for you in the next one.

    There is no clear answer, is there? I think we hold on to the beliefs that help us make sense of the world and our lives.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Rick Wegmann

    One final, final thought on this.

    Dr. Haynes states the following: “There will come a day when it is absolutely clear to you that your dog or cat is not enjoying life. That day is one day too late. If you can save your pet even one day of discomfort, you must.”

    I would only say that if you decide on euthanasia “one day too soon”, my sense is the grief will be with you forever. Do you see the difference? If you’re one day too late, then sadly your pet would have suffered one day too long, but his/her suffering would have been temporary in nature, sad but temporary. If you’re one day to soon, then the suffering for you will be permanent, you’ll always be grieving over the question of “did I decide too soon?” . . .

  • Rick Wegmann

    Thank you for this blog. I read the posts last night and now would like to add my thoughts in the hope of helping someone else.

    My wife and I made the decision to put our 13 year old Schauzer to sleep this morning. Maggie had multiple health problems, sinus arrythmia, protein spillage from her gall bladder, and after dental work three weeks ago, she went downhill fairly fast. The last few days confirmed in our minds that it was time to do the right thing for Maggie and help her to go to sleep. This morning, at the time, when looking in her eyes for the last time, we knew she understood and trusted us that we were doing the right thing for her. Although the grief today has been incredibly hard, we both knew that our decision was for Maggie not for us.

    A final thought. . . after this experience, and I write this in the hope that perhaps it might help someone else, that the emotions were in three parts. First, the thought of losing our precious Maggie. Second, the loss of Maggie. And finally, the aftermath of losing her to euthanasia. The emotion associated with first part was grief and is past us, but let me just say it was heartwrenching. The emotion associated with the second part is grief and is still with us and may be for awhile. But the emotion associated with the third part is JOY and, quite honestly, counterbalances the second and will stay with much longer until our deaths.

    For believers, we have hope that we will be reunited with Maggie in heaven and that brings us incredible joy. For non-believers, just knowing that you did this for your pet and NOT for yourselves can help with the second part.

    Sorry for such a long post, but hopefully it will be of help to some of you. May God Bless you and your families who are going through this.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Mommy,

    It’s one of the most difficult decisions to make! You don’t want to deprive your beloved dog or your family of one day of his life, yet you don’t want him to suffer.

    What does your veterinarian advise? The vet in this article encourages pet owners to put their dogs down before they have even one day of suffering. It’s difficult to predict when suffering will come…but if we pay close attention, we may pick up the signs.

    I don’t know how other people decide…but I would probably err on the side of caution. I would probably put my dog down too soon, for fear of waiting too long.

    I’m not saying you should do this! I can’t tell you when the right time to say good-bye is. I guess I just want you to know that my heart goes out to you as you make this decision.

    There isn’t often an exact right time to put your dog to sleep…you just have to trust your heart, mind, and soul that you’ll know when it’s time.

    I’m sorry I don’t have anything more helpful to give you.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Mommy

    Hello- We have an almost 14 year old black lab who we’ve had since he could fit in the palm of our hand. My inlaws own his son. My son owns his son. And we own one of his grandsons. Needless to say, he’s been the best dog ever! About 7 years ago he became hypothyroid. Meds have managed that fine. About 2 years ago he had a passing out spell, and vet told us he has Laryngeal paralysis and that it would eventually take his life. He is on meds for it. He has had a few episodes of this passing out. Its terrible. It usually starts as hacking and before he can get all the way to our bedroom, he will pass out in the hall. His eyes bulge. Its very frightening/horrifying to see him like that. I do not want him to die like that. Suffocation basically. He doesnt deserve that. BUT… some days he bounces around when its food time and seems to be smiling.
    He has lost all of his body fat. He is literally skin and bones, but he eats like a horse. If he got lost someone would think we were abusing him and not feeding him. He really looks that bad 🙁
    How do people time it? I dont want to rob him or my kids of his last days… and I dont want him to die like that. How do I know when its time? Thank you for this article. Heart-wrenching but needed.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Vicki,

    Thank you for sharing your experience, and your dilemma. I can’t tell you what you should do – only you can make this decision. It’s such a difficult thing to have to decide! It’s awful, and I’m sorry you have to go through this.

    If you can’t afford to get the dental work done, then I don’t know what choices you have. Will the veterinarian reduce his or her rates? Does the humane society have any tips or suggestions?

    My friend is getting her dog spayed, and she called around and found a huge array of prices from veterinarians. Some charge as little as $150 (the SPCA), while others charge $600! So it might be worthwhile to call other veterinarians in your area, and see if the prices vary.

    I’m really sorry I can’t be more helpful. But I think that financial concerns are an unfortunate reality, and I understand that they can lead to a decision to put a dog to sleep. And, sometimes it’s better to protect the dog’s health by not putting him through those stressful, potentially dangerous, surgeries. As hard as it is, sometimes euthanasia really is the best decision for a dog.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Vicki

    We have a 4.5 year old doxie mix, we got her at the humane society not quite a year and a half ago. We love her to bits but were told on our first vets visit that she needed $800 worth of dental work done. This was and to this day is something we cannot afford. Just last week she developed a huge abscess on her left jaw area. Upon taking her to the vet they wanted $600 to put her under and put in a drain plus meds. Again we cannot afford such an amount. We opted for a $200 procedure of lancing the area to allow it to drain and getting some antibiotics. I admit it was totally disgusting bringing her home dripping blood and puss but we thought we would be helping her. Its been 4 days since lancing it, the abscess is smaller but still visible, she has to be kept in a kennel to avoid spreading the mess all over the house and family. She is not eating like she used to and seems depressed. Even when we let her out of the kennel she just goes back in on her own, she is hardly going potty either. We were told it could be her teeth causing the infection, so we would be looking at $1200 at minimum to drain the infection then fix her teeth. We can’t do it and if the meds don’t clear up the abscess I don’t know what to do. I was also told by the vets that it will be slightly risky to put her under at all since she is somewhat overweight. So what to do next? If we can’t afford to fix her up right and she obviously has a lot of discomfort and is not her normal self?

  • Laurie

    Dear Amanda,

    I’ll keep you and Cocoa in my thoughts and prayers. Let us know how things go on Thursday…and remember that sometimes putting your beloved dog to sleep is the most loving and compassionate thing you can do. I know how painful and heartbreaking it is for us.

    It helps me to tell myself that after our pets pass, they are happier, lighter, and more free than they were here on earth – especially if they have health or age issues. And, our souls will reunite again one day. We’ll immediately recognize each other and our bond will be stronger than it ever was on earth.

  • Amanda

    Well, I googled ‘putting your dog to sleep’ and this article came up and I just about cried the whole time I read it. On Saturday morning I woke up to blood sprayed walls and blood smeared wood floors. My 10 year old Chocolate Lab, Cocoa, had blood trickling from one of her nostrils and had snorted blood all over the house overnight. I called our vet immediately but for some reason they had no emergency number on their machine (this is not the first time I have had to ring them in an emergency but it turns out they had a conference over the weekend). I called a different vet and they informed us that as long as she was running around and eating and drinking and going potty, that it would be best to wait until Monday and go see our regular vet because they have past X-rays of Cocoa (she’s had a lot of health problems in the last year) Well it is Monday evening, poor Cocoa had a bloody nose all weekend and spent all day at the vet getting tests done. After sedation, exploration, and X-rays the vet has no answers other than she is slightly anemic from blood loss. The vet thinks a mass or tumor is located above the nasal passage and is hemorrhaging. They tried everything they can do to stop the bleeding. Her only recommendation is that we go see a specialist and get a ct scan which would run us between $1500 & $2000, and that is just for a diagnosis, and from her colleage she was told that the prognosis doesnt look promising, so we might have to make a decision. Now I have no idea what to do, we scheduled an Appt for her for Thursday and if her bleeding hasn’t stopped we might have to put her down. I have no idea what to do, this is so hard. I am 28 and I know that is not exactly ‘young’ but I have never had to make this kind of decision. What is especially hard is the fact she is still acting okay, except for the blood coming out of her nose, she’s looking up at me with her big dopey Labrador grin and wagging her tail. I feel like my heart is breaking. :*(

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Patty, if your dog is biting you, then maybe she isn’t “in her right mind” anymore. She may not know better because her brain isn’t sending her the right signals. I don’t know if that makes sense…have you talked to a veterinarian? I think that’s the best way to decide if you should put your dog to sleep. A vet can help you figure out if your dog is ready to leave this world.

    Dear Sandra, it sounds like you know that it’s time to put your dog to sleep because his quality of life is so low. It’s very sad, especially since he bonded with you and your family so quickly! But I agree with you that it’s horrible to see him suffer so much in his life. It doesn’t sound like he has a good quality of life now, which may mean it’s time to let him go. Sometimes, putting your dog to sleep is the most loving thing you can do.

    Dear Kristina, I’ve read that it’s very difficult to tell if a dog is in pain. They often withdraw to “lick their wounds” (even if their wounds aren’t ones we can see). If your dog is in pain when he goes outside, and if he’s not eating much, then maybe it is time to let him go.

    I don’t think it’s always true that we know when it’s time to put our dogs down. We don’t know what they feel, or what their quality of life really is! But, if you suspect your dog is in pain, then I believe it’s time to say good-bye.

  • Kristina

    I don’t know if its time to let my Patches go or not. He has had large tumors for quite some time. I had them biopsied and they aren’t cancerous. They are getting quite large and it is difficult for him to walk. I give him an anti-flammatory every morning and occasionally a pain pill at night. He has really bad arthritis and he is in pain when he has to go outside. He only has diarrhea now and poops in the house a lot (fortunately, I have hardwood floors and its easy to clean. Its so cold that I can’t make him sleep outside). He eats 1 out of two meals per day. He never cries. I think he is around 15 years old (he was a rescue). I will be devastated when he goes. My problem….I don’t know when to put him to sleep. People say I will know but my Patches never complains. I don’t know if he would “tell” me. Any advice?

  • sandra

    i am fighting with this same decision for my 15+ year old collie retriever mix. we adopted him over a year ago knowing our time with him would be limited but wanted to give him a good home until his time comes.over this short time he has grown to be part of our family and i am finding it hard to let him go and more importantly i want to know it will be the right decision. we have never known him to be a puppy and act like one but even since we have been with him his health has gotten worse. the only thing he has always done and still does is follow me around the house….except he gets confused now, he is deaf, blind, and has trouble walking because of his hind legs. he does cry alot and wont take his pain meds, he seems to be getting thinner and gets stuck when walking unable to get up at times. i have been told by the vet he can no longer take walks however it was one of the few things he had left to make him happy besides following me around. i feel so horrible for him and every time i see him now it makes me want to cry seeing how much trouble he has just getting to his food bowl or getting to the area he goes potty. even when following me i have to help him get unstuck because his hind legs get stuck. i know after even seeing his day to day life in writing i think i do know the right decision but it is still hard to pick up the phone to the vet.

  • Patty

    I have a 14 year old rescue Pom and she is like our family baby. When we got her she oly had one eye. The other had been taken out by a bigger animal

    My question is, since I am the one who doesw all her bathe, food,,,but she bites me. I can sweetly talk to her and slowiing mve down to pet her and she bites me hard…………….

    Thank you
    Patty

  • danual ulin

    hi just wanted to say thanks to all that post and it helped me alot!!!! i have a 17yr old pit bull her name is zean vet told me she has breast cancer see has a big tumor on her belly the size of a baseball i think she is in alot of pain she cant stand up to go to the bathroom so its tuff for me and her dont want to put her down she is like family hell she is family keep thinking who am i to take a life when she keeps fighting to live!!!!!!

  • Laurie

    Dear Shawna,

    My dog has similar problems. Three or four times a week, she refuses to eat, throws up bile, and is lethargic. The medicine that used to work doesn’t work anymore, and we don’t want to pay for expensive tests to determine exactly what she has.

    I can’t tell you if you should put your dog to sleep – but a veterinarian may be able to help you decide. But often the “problem” with vets is that they will move heaven and earth to diagnose and keep animals alive — and it’s the owners who have to pay for the expensive tests and treatments! Often the veterinarian will say keep trying different medications, and won’t advise euthanasia.

    But, a vet can tell you if your dog is suffering and what the chances are that he’ll survive or be healed by a particular treatment. I think it’s worth asking a vet what he or she thinks about putting your dog to sleep.

    Yesterday, a fellow dog owner told me to give my dog Pepto Bismol. I gave her a teaspoon-full, and a couple hours later she ate her food! I was so happy, but I’m not sure if it was the Pepto. I’ll try it again, though. I don’t know if it’ll help a hernia, unfortunately.

    Your dog is becoming aggressive, which may be a sign of pain or even chronic pain. He’s biting your family members…which for some people is a surefire reason to put a dog to sleep.

    It sounds like your dog is suffering a great deal, and you have tried everything you can to help him. Sometimes the final act of love and compassion we show our beloved pets is a release into the hereafter.

    Death isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It’s just that we’ll miss our dogs SO MUCH after they’re gone. Sometimes we fight death for selfish reasons.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. If I were you, I’d probably put my dog to sleep 🙁 but I am not telling you that you should do it. I’m just sharing my thoughts, based on your comments.

    Let me know what you decide to do. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Jeanette,

    Thank you for sharing how difficult it was to put your dog to sleep. You did the right thing – your dog was in a lot of pain, and needed to be released into the sweet hereafter. It was time for her to go.

    You’re mourning your loss – and maybe you will for the rest of your life. I’ve had to put pets to sleep many years ago, and the pain is almost as fresh today as it was then. It’s just a grief I live with.

    I know I did the right thing by putting those pets to sleep, but it still hurts.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Shawna

    I have a 5 yr old pomchi, who is a rescue dog. He was found with a severe hernia, which was operated on before I got him. He has always had an issue with throwing up- every day. I don’t know if it is related to his prior surgery or not. Sometimes he vomits up to 5 times a day. We have tried everything from buying special bowls, food, and medicine. We have been trying different methods to stop him from vomiting for the past four years. He is still having this issue. Last night he had a seizure, very scary! He has also started biting my kids, friends, and husband. They are not seriously injured from his bites, he is only a little 8 pound dog. I really don’t have the money to keep bringing him to the vet. We have not found a remedy in all these years. We are thinking with the latest seizure problem, that this poor dog is suffering too much, no quality of life. We are discussing having him put to sleep. We are torn,I don’t know if putting him to sleep is the right thing. I feel bad that he is so young to have all of these issues, but I don’t know if I can keep living like this. I feel like a bad mom, some advice please?

  • Jeanette

    We have just put our dog to sleep about a month ago and I still think about it.We had a pointer and she was almost 11 years old and in a lot of pain in her shoulders.We took her to the vet and she told us it was artrites.We gave her medicine but still she was in pain.I took her to the vet again and she told me she had bone cancer.I didn’t want to put her to sleep especially because she was very special to my father.But she was in big pain.Another vet told us to give her pain killers and to give her anesthesia but when the affect of the pills went away she would cry a lot.I never heard a dog cry like that.Finally my father told me lets take her to the vet and get her to sleep.When I asked the vet if I’m doing the right thing he agreed with me.I still feel very sorry for what I did but I think that was the best thing to do.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear babsbabi,

    I’m not a veterinarian, so I can’t give advice on when it’s time to put your dog to sleep. My heart goes out to you, though. It’s such a difficult decision.

    “There will come a day when it is absolutely clear to you that your dog or cat is not enjoying life. That day is one day too late. If you can save your pet even one day of discomfort, you must,” says Dr Marie in this article.

    If your dog isn’t enjoying life most of the time, then maybe it’s time to say good-bye. Sometimes we prolong our beloved animals’ lives for our own reasons, not for their well-being. We love them too much to let them go!

    Have you had your dog examined in person, by a veterinarian?

  • babsbabi

    Hi we have a 13yr old german shepherd dobie mix. In the last 6 months we have found out that he has tumors on his hips. His back leg shakes and is getting stiffer but he is too old for surgery. He still eats and drinks but looses his bowl when he sleeps and urinates just thinking about going outside. But he is still really protective of us and tries to play with our other dog. And that is the reason it is throwing us off. What would be your advice???

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Michelle84,

    I am so sorry I didn’t respond sooner – sometimes I can’t keep up online, because of my offline life!

    You commented a week ago. Are you still struggling with the decision to put your dog to sleep?

  • Michelle84

    Hi all, i have a 10 year old shi tzu cross mini fox terrier. My first dog ever, not a family pet either, solely my best friend. Im here because i am unsure if it is time for her to go to sleep..I gave her a bath the other day and i noticed her back legs felt SO SMALL, almost brittle, like a chicken bone, i can feel her spine in her back, although she eats well, and have noticed her shrinking in size a little, Also although it doesnt sound too nice, her poos have dropped dramatically in size, no matter what she eats. She has had a tumour on one of her nipples for 2 years now, the vet was unsure if it was cancerous or not but doesnt seem to bother my dog. She doesn’t do anything but sleep these days, unless someone walks past our fence, then she goes beserk ( a big reason i second guess putting her to sleep.. just that tiny bit of life in her )when she looks at me, she almost looks sad. I think i know that putting her to sleep is the ideal choice for her, but i am unsure if i am doing the right thing? I also don’t know if i can bring myself to actually act on my instincts. Which is why i am posting this.. Should i put her to sleep? Somebody please reply, i am so so so unsure of what i should do.

  • Holly

    hi

    my gandma has an 18 year old sharpei she has had since she was a puppy who is rather ragged looking and has gone deaf. She has staarted having trouble getting around and is getting rather stiff when standing and laying down. I have trouble admitting that she really looks pretty terrible around the house and has an occasional urinary incontinence. However this old lady dog still seems to have some spunk when she goes outside its like a completely different dog. she sprints off the porch to the yard and makes her rounds around the back yard and still shows my small dog whos boss when shes feeling irritable. As far as I can tell she eats pretty well, we wet the dog food, she is still drinking and follows us around the house. she paws our feet when she wants out stilll follows hand signals despite being deaf. she has some large fluid like filled lumps in her groin area but does not seem to be in any pain she just seems old. my grandma is considering putting her down soon im just wondering if this is the right choice. Being a sharpei part of the ragged looking thing is she has bare spots where her hair has fallen out of course. I just dont see her as miserable and i guess am looking for outside advice as to whether its time or if we should wait she really does still have some spunk she just looks old. I just have a feeling like when she is truly ready she will just pass.

    thanks

  • Suzy

    I have a 13 year old Boston Terrier that we have had since she was 9 weeks old. I am tormented with the thought of putting her down. She has Cushings, she is blind and can not hear well at all. She wimpers quite a bit with no reason. She does have a tumor on her back side that the vet no suspects in cancerous. I think it is coming time but I can not bear the thought of taking her life.
    Stuggling
    Suzy

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Mel4,

    Maybe the best way to talk to your dad is to help him see that putting his dog down is an act of love and compassion. Prolonging his dog’s life isn’t the best thing for the dog. Somehow, your dad has to realize that his dog is suffering…but I don’t know how to get him to see that.

    Sometimes, people respond well to a professional opinion, such as from a veterinarian. Would your dad listen to a vet? That may be one one to help him see that euthanasia is the best option.

    Another possibility is to talk about death with your dad. This is difficult — I know my parents do NOT like to discuss death! But, maybe if you and your dad can have an honest conversation about death, maybe it’ll help him see that death isn’t necessarily the worst thing for his dog.

    Finally, maybe your dad is scared of his own death. I don’t know how old he is, but maybe he associates his dog’s death with his own mortality. I don’t know how to help him get comfortable with the idea of dying, other than to share information about death. Death isn’t necessarily a horrible, tragic end to life!

    I hope this helps a little. I’d start with getting a professional opinion from a veterinarian, I think. That seems the least difficult, and the most practical way to get your dad to see that his poor dog is suffering.

  • mel4

    I am in need of advice my dad lives with us he is recently disabled and unable to work, he has 15 year Cocker Spaniel. We got this dog after we had our other Cocker Spaniel ran over, my dad took loosing him very badly and quickly got a new dog. He has always given the dog the best care possible. For 6 months the dog has had a dislocated hip, the vet was unable to correct as the other leg was too weak to support. He cannot walk more than a few steps without fallingand getting up is extremely hard. He is coughing constantly and has trouble settling in to fall asleep. He has recently started to pant and goes in circles. He eats well and drinks (he is a overweight dog, has a thyroid problem.) He no longer plays or barks and has not been able to hear for a long time, I think he is also close to blind. His poop this week has become very loose and he is having accidents in the house. I realize it is time to go and I hate to see the poor dog suffer, but my dad said he cant put him to sleep. What can I saw or do to help get my dad through this? I dont want the poor dog to keep suffering.

  • Ashley

    I’m so torn apart about my dog. I have a 9 year old male chihuahua. I’ve had him since he was 3. He has had a heart murmur since he has been born. Within the past six months, it has started to take a toll on him. We have been to the vet many, many times. He is having a hard time breathing. He sounds wheezy, and you can hear the fluid in his lungs. The vet says he has chronic heart failure, and today he had an episode, putting him into acute heart failure. Every time he has an episode we take him to the vet to get an inter venous diuretic to drain the fluid from his lungs. His heart is enlarging at a rapid rate pushing on his wind pipe making it hard for him to breathe. He is on two medications, the diuretic and a heart medicine. Our family is in love with Buddy (Boo Boo). The doctor says there’s not much more we can do (because we cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars on heart surgery), but to wait this out and see if the medication will help. I just cant stand to see him go through these episodes and our family is talking about putting him to sleep. The thought of it gives me chills, makes me sick, brings tears to my eyes. I don’t know if I’m over-reacting, but this little guy has been with me through many many many hard times in my life. I absolutely love him to pieces. I don’t know what to do. 🙁 Please any professional suggestions…

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Anne,

    It might be good to get an objective professional opinion about your sister’s dog. Putting him down will be very painful for her, and if you’re the one to make the decision then you’re the “bad guy.” If I were you, I’d take Rolfie to the veterinarian,and get him or her to make the decision.

    The other consideration is that you can’t take care of him anymore! He is an old dog, and his quality of life has gone downhill. From what you say, it sounds like his life is naturally winding down.

    Putting a dog to sleep is a final act of love and compassion, and can save a dog so much stress and pain.

    The problem is getting your sister to see this…which is why I think a veterinarian’s opinion on your dog would be really helpful.

    Let me know how it goes…I hope you’re doing okay.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Cameron,

    I am sorry Ralphy isn’t doing so good these days. Have you made a decision? It sounds like he’s not enjoying his life anymore – especially if he’s not eating or enjoying his treats. The odour is a concern, because healthy dogs don’t smell that strongly.

    What is happening with him – has anything changed since you wrote?

  • Laurie Post author

    Hello Larissa,

    I’m so sorry to hear that Tasha is going through this! And I’m sorry for you, too – it’s such a difficult position to be in. I dread the day I have to decide if I should put Georgie to sleep.

    It sounds like putting her down would be more difficult for you than for her. I think putting a dog to sleep is a final act of love and compassion, not a “bad” thing to do. The end of a dog’s life can be painful and difficult, and death can bring freedom, peace, and lightness.

    I know that losing her is heartbreaking. But, if she’s in pain and not having a good quality of life, then I think it’s important to put her needs before yours. It’s awful, I know. You’ll never forget her and you’ll never really get over her death…but you don’t want to make her suffer longer than necessary.

    Have you taken her to the veterinarian? That may help you make this difficult decision.

    I wish you all the best. Let me know how it goes.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Aidanzmom,

    If I were you, I would let Bubba go. I’m sorry to say this because I have a dog that I love more than anything, but I know I couldn’t afford to spend $5,000 for surgery. More importantly, I wouldn’t want to put her through the pain and discomfort of the internal bleeding. And what if the surgery wasn’t successful, or needed to be re-done for some reason?

    That’s just my two cents…I know this is an incredibly difficult decision, especially if you’re unprepared.

    Another option is to ask family if they want to help pay for the surgery, as an early Christmas gift.

    Some pet owners would pay anything and go through anything to save their dogs. I’m not in that camp…I think it’s better to let an older, sick dog go, and open my heart and home to another dog in need.

    That’s just me, though! You need to make the decision that’s best for you and your family. I wish you all the best, and hope you come back and let me know how you’re doing.

  • Laurie Post author

    Steve,

    It might be good to take your dog to a veterinarian, to get his/her opinion on whether it’s time to put her to sleep. Nobody but you can make this difficult decision. Objectively speaking, however, I wonder if her body is doing what she’s naturally ready to do? It sounds like her body is winding down, and she is slowing down.

    I don’t know – I can’t say if you should put her to sleep – but I think that if you think it may be time…then you need to trust your instincts. Putting your dog to sleep may be your final act of love and compassion.

  • Steve

    I have a 14-15 year old bweagle terrier mix. She is now pretty much blind, she no longer has interest in doing things. She’s losing weight, but still eating, all she wants to do is sleep and no longer wants to be petted or cuddle. She no longer tells me when she needs to go outside and is constantly having accidents in the house. I can’t tell if she is in pain or not and I’m not sure what to do. How do I know when it’s time to put her to sleep?

  • aidanzmom

    Hi , my dad has an 11 year old beagle who is his best friend , Bubba !! Bubba has always been such a good loyal boy , a lover of life . 3 days ago he wasnt acting right , he wouldnt eat his food , however he was eating the cats food and drinking , but he couldnt walk down the porch steps . When he did walk , he woukd take a couple steps and gasp for air . Today he acts like he is struggling very much to breathe and can barely walk . He is still eating though . I took him to the vet and she said he has internal bleeding and is filled with fluid .My options are drive from NY to NJ (3 HRS_) and have surgery done on him that could cost 5000 or more (i cant afford that ) and the vet said there was a good chance Bubba wouldnt make it on the ride . The thing thats killing me is this was so sudden , a shock and hes still eating and still alert . I am torn and dont know what to do , I asked the vet if he was suffering and she said truthfully she couldnt answer me . I dont want to lose my dear friend but I caant afford surgery and I dont want him to stay how he is because what iff he is suffering ? What do I do ??

  • Larissa

    I have a 13, almost 14 year old german shepard/Golden Retriever mix named Tasha. She got Vestibular disease (old dog disease) about a month ago and recovered fairly quickly from it, but now i’m worried that she’s having a stroke. She has that head tilt and she can hardly stand on her own without falling over. She also has arthiritis in her back legs, so she has difficulty going to the bathroom on her own, i have to brace her so she won’t fall over. She just recently started eating less and drinking less, but she still does both.
    She still plays with a tennis ball sometimes, but only while she’s lying down. She licks my hand all the time while i pet her, and she still seems like she knows what’s going on around her, but i think she’s in pain. I’ve had her since i was 6 years old and the thought of putting her down breaks my heart. I don’t know what to do and I would love some good, honest advice.

  • fran

    I am right now waiting for my vet to come. My big boy Damien was 13 yesterday. I got Damien when I was working part-time at a vet. He was about 2 months old and in terrible shape. He had frost bite on his face and a skin infection from trying to keep warm in the winter by burrowing into the dirt. The kid that brought him in was trying to sell him saying he was a full rottie (he is part rotie part chow). I convinced this kid that I should take him because he would not be able to afford the meds. Everyone in my house freaked out because I was bringing yet another dog home. Of course, after they saw him, that was it! Few months face cleared up and he was a happy puppy! And a happy doggie! Very well behaved, no accidents, no begging, didn’t even leave the yard when we opened the gate! Yesterday started out o.k. but as the day went into the night, he couldn’t even get up. His hind legs just stopped moving. I see him right now, and he looks so sad. I know Damien has to be put to sleep, but it is breaking my heart. He will be my fourth pet that I have to put to sleep in less than 2 years and it does not get any easier. I know that he is suffering and I know what I have to do, but that does not make the decision any better. I just hope that he will forgive me.

  • Cameron

    I am struggling. I am sooo sad. My mini poodle, Ralphy, is 13 years and 9 months old. He has had diabetes since he was 7 years old. I give him two shots a day. He is blind. He had always been active. Just this past September he still enjoyed his 2 mile walk. Something changed in October. He no longer goes for walks. He just stops and won’t budge. His appetite has been declining. I had to hand feed him and even that did not guarantee he would finish his meal. This is a problem because if he doesn’t eat he will have a low blood sugar level. This has happened a couple of times over the past two weeks and I have had to give him honey to lick off my finger. He has to have his insulin even if he doesn’t eat because his blood sugar will just keep elevating. He sleeps all day and night. He does not play with his toys or his chewy bones. He won’t eat treats. I have made him eggs for breakfast and chicken for dinner because he will starve before he eats his dog food and I really need him to eat. He has developed a very strong odor. It smell like feces but he is not breaking wind and this smell stays with him even right after a bath. This odor can fill the room. I am not sure if the odor is an indicator.
    I am struggling because I love him so much that I am thinking he could live to 15 or 16 like some poodles and maybe this is just a phase and he will bounce back. i am so torn. I really need help. A part of me has begun to acknowledge that he may be done with this world and then he will get up and walk to his water bowl maybe wag a tail (but that doesn’t happen daily anymore) and then I think maybe he will bounce back.
    I am sorry this is so long. I am feeling so helpless. I don’t know how to make the decision or when.

  • Doug

    For Rosemarie – As you can see from my earlier post I also had a Pekingese that I put to sleep on September 14th. She also displayed many of the same simptoms that your dog is experienceing; slept all the time was deaf and could no longer walk or even stand. I had to feed her by hand like a person who is bed ridden. I knew it was time when she peed right where she layed. You are doing the right thing…may your grieving be short.

  • Kim A

    thank you for all your stories….today we are putting our 15 yr old beloved springer spaniel, Lady, to sleep. I think with anyone close to you who is dying…you have to go through a grieving process. It has taken me hours of tears, reading and reflection to come to this decision. I know it is the right one for her…not me BUT HER….and that is what you have to come to terms with. 2 days ago, I didn’t quite see it but if you ask them to just let you know if they are ready…I truly believe they will let you know. Lady did that for me today….she just looked me straight in the eyes and said with those sad eyes…I have had enough.
    We went for our last “little” walk , took lots of pics and a short video, and now I know I have done all I can do for her. we have countless memories and she watched my children go up….I have been blessed to have the most loving, loyal, sweetest dog in the world…and I thank God for allowing us great joy these past 15 years. I wish you all the strength and love you need for making probably one of the most difficult decisions but know you are not alone….thank you again for sharing….

  • Rosemarie

    I have a 15 year old Pekinese name Chloe. She has been an amazing dog for such a long time but now she can’t see or walk very well. She sleeps all the time. I have to wake her to take her outside. then I bring her in and she goes back to sleep. I have another Pekinese she is 8 years old. When she is around Chloe she gets freaked out and goes out of her way not to walk by her. She (my younger dog) won’t lay in the dogs bed because Chloe sleeps there. For the last 10 days she has this strong odor that is smelling my whole house. I been struggling for a long time and I did make an appointment to put her down this Monday. SHe does eat and drink. .She constantly licks the floor. She does not play or climb steps . Sometimes she wets her bed. I just need to make sure I am making the right decision.

  • Anne Pettus

    Dear Laurie,
    I think it is time to put a dog I care for, my sister’s medium-large size 15 year old dog, a mixed breed, “Rolfie,” down, but my 64 year old sister wants to keep him going. About two years ago she became unable to care for the dog. She had moved to a shared apartment that did not allow dogs. The dog barked incessantly, my sister worked odd hours, and the apartment complex told her the dog had to leave. He came to live with me, and I have given him Cadillac care and love him, but I can not manage him any longer. He has these signs – what do you think? My sister seems delusional. I think she is delusional. I am with him 24/7. He is:
    1) Mostly deaf and blind, can not hear whistles, claps or see objects in front of him
    2) Severely arthritic, can hardly negotiate two steps, often unable to get up. Sometimes unable to go for short walk. Spends most of his time lying on his bed. I try to give him nice walks, but he is often too tired.
    3) Often defecates in the house. Usually he barks to go out, but now often fails to bark.
    4) Seems to have bowel problems, alternating between acute straining and constipation and diarrhea. I carefully feed him pumpkin, special food, chicken and rice.
    5) Becomes agitated and irritable at night, seems disoriented, barks off and on for hours some nights when he seems constipated or has bowel problems.
    6) Seems very depressed, sometimes moans.
    7) Has become nocturnal, sleeping all day, and then barking, agitated at night. Can’t decide to go in or out. Disoriented and runs into doors and furniture.

    He still feels OK somedays and likes his walk, but generally is becoming weaker. I have another wonderful 8 year old Lab who needs attention, but this older dog absorbs everything I’ve got. I just can’t cope anymore.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Jessica,

    Keela sounds like such a wonderful dog! She loves you so much, and the thought of putting her to sleep is heartbreaking.

    Your upcoming move may force you to make a decision before you’re ready, but maybe it’s for the best? I’m not saying it’s time to put Keela to sleep because only you can make that decision. But, the move may be hard on her — even if there wasn’t the flight of stairs. And her life seems to be naturally coming to an end. She’s getting old, and her body isn’t holding up.

    In reading your comment, part of me thinks you have already made the decision…it’s just the carrying out with it that’s left. But you have to remember that putting your dog to sleep doesn’t mean you don’t love her. You choose to say good-bye because you love her so much, and you want to spare her unnecessary pain and suffering. You want her to leave this earth before she experiences the pain and suffering old age can bring.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. But if she’s already in pain, maybe the move would cause her worse suffering than she’s already experiencing.

    I wish you all the best as you make this terrible decision. But remember that she is going to a better place – she’ll be happy, light, and free of the encumbrances of her physical body!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Nina,

    I’m so sorry – Sam sounds like he’s having a hard time, and so are you. I think you need to take him to see a veterinarian, who can help you decide if it’s time to put your dog to sleep.

    From what you said, it sounds like his life isn’t as good as it was. And, he may be in pain because he’s barking more. The poor thing — I feel bad for him! I can’t tell you if it’s time to put him to sleep, but I know that if dogs are in pain, then it’s time to say good-bye.

    Take him to the vet, and get a professional opinion. And, remember that euthanasia is a final act of love and kindness! Most of the time, it’s way more painful for the owner than the dog, because we don’t want to lose our beloved animal.

    I guess the thing to ask yourself is, are you keeping him alive for his sake, or yours?

    Let me know what you think, and what the veterinarian says.

    Blessings and sympathies,
    Laurie

  • Jason

    Selfish,
    This sounds a lot like my 5 year old cocka-poo. He had an endoscopy done and the biopsy came back gastrointestinal lymphoma. 🙁

  • Jessica

    I have a 12 year old American staffordshire terrier, Keela. I’m am so torn to wether or not I should put her to sleep. She has had hip displaysia for many years, and we have been giving her pain pills for a long time. She has trouble getting up and sitting down. She has been going to the bathroom in the house for a couple years now, and she does not know when it’s coming most of the time. I come home and clean poop a couple tomes a week, on the floors and in her bed that she is still laying in. She is partially going deaf. The vet did not tell me that, but I know. She used to bark at everything, and now she sometimes does not even hear the doorbell. I look at her sometimes and it looks like she is going blind in one eye…she just stares at nothing. She still eats her food and will always take a treat. She still shows signs of wanting to play with my 2 and 4 year old kids, but it only lasts a couple minutes before she hurts herself moving to quickly. She has numerous moles and fluid filled bubbles other body. She is always licking her back legs, front legs, etc. Even though it is difficult for her to get up and down,she follows me from room to room, even if its just for a second. Even though i hate it, I am used to cleaning up after her, but I know it’s not sanitary for my kids. We are moving into a 2 story house in a couple weeks, and I was sure I would feel comfortable doing it by this point. She is clearly in pain and nowhere near the dog she used to be, but I love her dearly and still see how happy she is to be with us. The decision is killing me. I know she will never make it up and down 25 stairs everyday, all day. I know she will not be able to handle not sleeping with us upstairs. She has slept by my side since she was 3.5 months old. I need help please!

  • Juanita

    Hi,
    I feel i want to put my 6 month old puppie/dog foxi (looks like mixed – because owners can lie about their type) with short leg to sleep. As I feel I can’t give him away to anyone. It is really hard. And he is not the dog anymore I wanted. Just tell me what to do really. I missed my another dog standard foxi Billy, he was my great guard dog that can protect me from anyone. I didn’t learn the dog, only to sit.Because i’m hard of hearing. We moved and i wasn’t sure if we are doing the right thing. My parents took him to put out.
    I have no more words.

  • Nina Bukovac

    I have a wonderful beagle named Sam, who I adopted 10 years ago. Although high maintenance at times, he has been my baby and my best friend every second of every day. He is approximately 13 years old and has arthritis in his back legs. He has always slept a lot and has always barked but now he barks as if he is confused or in pain. He does take an arthritis pill but I don’t know how he is feeling. Lately he has begun to smell badly and I fear he may have some bad teeth bye only has 12 left as the others were removed 2 years ago due to severe decay. He still sleeps a lot, and eats fine – loves human food and dog biscuits! He likes to be near me all the time but his barking is getting out of control and I can’t seem to calm him down at times. He does have some trouble walking and sometimes wobbles over.

    Can someone please tell me if he sounds like he is suffering? I need help with this, I can’t even think of saying goodbye to him, but I can’t deal with the barking. I don’t know what to do!!! Can someone help me and even guide me to a decision?

    How do I schedule the day he will die? I just can’t do this, please help

  • Laurie

    Dear Selfish (but I don’t think you’re being selfish!),

    I’m so sorry that your dog is going through this. It’s so hard on both you and her. She’s probably not absorbing nutrients, and is probably feeling less and less energetic all the time. With blood loss comes iron deficiencies!

    My dog has irritable bowel syndrome, which means she loses blood and has diarrhea. The veterinarian said he could do a scope to confirm the diagnosis, or give our dog a powder (prescription medication) to sprinkle on her food twice a day. We chose the powder and gave it to her for 3 months, and she hasn’t had a bout of diarrhea or blood since then.

    I started feeding our dog chicken soup and white rice, along with half a cup of dry seafood kibble. The chicken soup I make myself – I just boil either a whole chicken carcass (we have roast chicken once every couple of weeks), or a couple of drumsticks or thighs, bone in. I don’t season the soup at all – it’s just plain broth. I give her about 1/2 cup every meal, along with a couple tablespoons of white rice and her dry seafood kibble (for nutrients).

    Is it possible to take your dog to a different veterinarian, and try a different medication? I don’t know anything about drugs for dogs, and I can’t even remember the name of the med my vet gave our dog. But I think a different vet may be able to help you find the right medication. Maybe the veterinarian you have doesn’t have enough experience in intestinal disorders in dogs.

    Medications take time to work. I have ulcerative colitis, which is an intestinal disease (that’s how I knew my dog has an intestinal disorder! The symptoms are the same). We gave our dog the powder 2 times a day for 3 months. I don’t know how long your veterinarian tried the different medications, but maybe it needs to be longer.

    I hope this helps a little. I’m really sorry I don’t have any solid answers for you. If I were you, I’d try the chicken soup/white rice/dry seafood kibble combination, and get a second opinion from a different veterinarian.

    I think you’ll find the right way to get your dog healthy and diarrhea-less again – it’ll just take time and effort. Hopefully, the next thing you try will work!

    Let me know how it goes.

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  • Bob

    My 11 year old lab has had diabetes/cushings disease for about a year and a half now. We have had him on meds and insulin for the whole time, and he seemed to be doing ok.

    The last week or so, he stopped eating almost anything. He is still hungry, since he will eat easy things like chicken. But he also does nothing but lay around. And he has lost almost all muscle in his hind legs.

    I keep telling myself I will do the right thing when the time is right. But I am having a hard time knowing. He will still eat certain things, so I know he has an appitite. He drinks water, does his business outside still, no accidents. He never whines or shows signs that he is in pain.

    But he does not seem happy. He just lays around. He does not walk up to me to be petted anymore. He does not seem to enjoy when I do pet him. This is going to be hard to make this decision.

  • Selfish in KC?

    I need some advice. I have a 5 (yes, only 5 y/o) Shih-poo. She has been the best dog anyone could ask for and our first ‘baby’. Now that we have 2 children, she may have gone down the totem pole a bit, but still HUGE part of family.

    She has had chronic diarrhea for the past 8/9 months now. This has got to be extremely bad over the past month, where it is to the point where she needs to go outside every 45 minutes to an hour all day and night. Most of the time it is just liquid, but mainly blood. We have been trying for months now, every diet known to man. And at least 5 different steroids and medications. Nothing has worked. We keep paying for blood work, sonograms, etc. and are told that minus this issue she is a healthy dog. But she definitely has abnormalities in the small intestine/colon. They want to do a scope now costing yet another $1-2K….my husband says that we are being selfish and we have to let her go. As she is obviously not herself, she is barely eating, and has lost over 30% of her body weight. But these ‘specialists’ lead me to believe that this next test may be the one that they find something and come up with the right dosage, etc. to treat her. Which makes me feel like I am giving up on her if I don’t. (Which I don’t think my husband would even consider it at this point).

    We are exhausted (and not just from the newborn at home), as Marley causes us to wake up way more than her. And really don’t want to keep throwing money down the drain but I don’t want to end her young life too soon either. I expected her to be part of our family for another 10 years.

    Am I being selfish, cheap, what? I feel at such a loss…..

  • Tracy

    I had a Yorkshire Terrier who I owned for 11 and a half years. I am sending this as I have been through the terrible ordeal of making a decision to have my pet put to sleep and want to share my feelings about what happened. First of all his breathing was very shallow and I had to rush him to the vets as I was very concerned about him. They took an X-ray and informed me that my dog had an onset of heart disease, I remember being very distraught but still not realising that this was terminal, in my head he would get better. I unfortunately had to take him back a couple of times to have steriod injections to keep him going as the shallow breathing came back, still I thought he would be ok for a long time but I remember crying my eyes out at the vets thinking I had lost him, the vet said he gave him an injection and he was fine. Before all this he had to have his teeth extacted – quite a few but not all. He was kept alive with steroids etc for a year, so I feel I prolonged his life when I should have let him go when his illness was diagnosed so he did not suffer.

    I had to nurse him morning and night with tablets and make sure he took them by crushing his food, he was a fussy eater so this made me worried sick that he might reject the tablets and food. A year later he did, he stopped eating the food with the crushed tablets. He would sit in his bed looking frail and his eye looked misted over. I could not bear to see him like this so when I returned from work I scooped him up and took him to the vet to ask what was wrong with him, still I thought he would live a long time. The vet said he did not look good, his muscle was wasting, his eye sight was going. I had to make a decision there and then whether to keep him going with a steroid injection – the vet said he may go back to normal again but could not promise for how long, he did say though the kindest thing to do would be to have him put to sleep. I asked him three times for reassurance if it was the best thing to have him put to sleep and the vet said yes. I then agreed to have him put to sleep there and then. I remember just before my dog was put to sleep my dad said a big dog came over to my Pepe and licked his face, Pepe just let the dog lick his face which was unusal as he was quite feisty even though he was little.

    I stayed with Pepe whilst he was put to sleep, the vet saying to him how he was a brave boy. He went out like a puff of smoke, that quick, he must have been waiting to go. I had to put my dog before myself and I am so glad I did, I have no regrets and this is why I have shared this with others on here as I no longer get upset about Pepe cause I know he is at peace. I did say to him I will not let you suffer if you are in pain and I kept my promise. I hope this helps others as Pepe was my world and I could not imagine being without him. I have his picture with his collar hanging on the frame in my room and know he is safe and at peace. I am thinking of your dogs too and my love and thoughts go to you and them.

  • Rose

    My dads, dog is suffering Hes been with my dad and mom seens 2001 he has a skin diease and is whinng and crying all night long. My dad is not capiable of taking care of him. My dad will be lost without him as my mom passed away in 2008. The dog also wont go outside to go potty only in the summer. It is unhealthy for all of us. I cant say anything about putting him down because my dad goes off the handle when it comes to that dog..does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this. I feel for the dog its time to put the dog to rest please reply thank you Rose

  • Carla Reinecke

    Hi there,
    I am in a very confused state and need advice. I have two old dogs one 15 years a miniature pincher male called Archie and the other 14 years mix bread that I got from the SPCA female called Phoebe. Archie at this stage is losing teeth and his hearing and sight is almost gone. But I take him regularly to the vet and we cannot visibly see that he is in pain. He does sleep most of the time and does not really socialize with the other dogs anymore. He fell off the bed the other night just because I guess he couldn’t see or judge the distance (the bed is not high at all) He fell a tooth out.
    Phoebe she is struggling and we visit the vet often. She’s on hart tablets and Triumph (not sure of the spelling but it does contain cortisone) because she does have a constant runny and blocked nose and throat. Then we also give her an actual horse sinus relieve gel that I tried because I have a horse and I was desperate my vet later said it can do no harm only improve if possible. We have tried everything else and the last was the final resort. She has lost weight and her skin is looking very strange almost dry/leathery and her hair is not growing anymore. I have noticed this the last 2 weeks. I feel she cannot get more and more medication causing other problems again like liver or kidney failure.
    I am now at the point where I decided it is time to put them down. It hurts me to look at how they deteriorate and they are not the same dogs anymore. I do wonder if I am selfish in that reasoning and also I want to put them down together. I don’t think it is fair to leave one behind. I also feel that I would rather want to hold them when they are put to sleep but I do not know how on this earth to do one and then still be calm for the other. Am I wrong in putting both down at the same time
    Carla

  • Laurie

    Dear Frustrated and Guilty,

    I’m sorry that your dog isn’t doing well. It sounds like it’s hard on you and your husband. She’s been with you for so long!

    Have you talked to your veterinarian? That’s one way to know if it’s the right time to put her to sleep. Vets are often good sources of support and guidance.

    And, remember that the “quality of life” that the vet was talking about in this article isn’t just about pain. Dogs are good at hiding pain (a veterinarian told me that), and we don’t always know if they’re suffering. But, quality of life is also about feeling uncomfortable, confused, and unhappy.

    If I were you, I’d talk to a veterinarian with my husband present. Prolonging your dog’s life because you’re not ready to say good-bye isn’t good for her, you, your marriage, or your dog.

    Putting your dog to sleep is heartbreaking, which is why your husband is reluctant. But he needs to put his dog first, over his own feelings of grief and loss.

    This is all easier said than done! It’s so difficult to accept. Sometimes people need to hear an objective perspective from an external person, such as a veterinarian. That might help with the process of saying good-bye.

    I like to think of death as a release and freedom from the confines of this world, and of painful physical bodies. I hope your husband and you can see euthanasia as the final act of love for your dog, not an act of betrayal. It’s sometimes the most compassionate, loving thing you can do for your best friend.

    I hope this helps a little, and wish you all the best in this difficult time. Come back and let us know how you’re doing.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Frustrated and Guilty

    Please, someone help. I have an 18 year old black lab mix, who has literally been the best dog in the world. She has been incontinent for several years, and lately, when she has to poop, she will just pace relentlessly rather than tell us, then will poop in the house. She also paces when she is hungry, thirsty, or just for no reason, so it is so difficult to tell. I am picking up poop now daily. She has arthritis in her back hips, can barely see or hear. But, she still plays with our younger dog once in awhile and seeks out attention. I find myself resenting her now, and that just seems so wrong, as she was such a great dog. But, she is more my husband’s dog then mine, and whenever I bring up the possibility of putting her to sleep, he goes ballistic. Do I just keep waiting for her to show signs of pain? Do I push it? How do I convince my husband it is time if it is, in fact, time? I am torn between thinking putting her down is best for her, or best for me? I am frustrated at not having a clean house… now for at least three years with pee on the carpet… and guilty for thinking this is about me… someone please help….

  • Diane

    We had a 12-yr-old black lab that was diagnosed with prostate cancer only 3 weeks ago. It had spread to his lungs and he had lost the function of one kidney. His decline was steady. It became a trick to try to get him to take his pills and he started refusing food. He had to go out to relieve himself all the time and he constantly leaked blood and urine. On Wednesday Oct 3, 2012 something seemed even worse about him. We didn’t want him to suffer and feel constant pain. We took him to the vet to be put to sleep. I think he knew if was time. The vet gave me a comforter for him to lay down on which he did so immediately and went to sleep. The vet then gave him the injection and it was very peaceful. I truly believe that my dog was thanking me for giving him peace. My husband and I have shed a lot of tears because he was a wonderful companion. He will be truly missed by all.

  • Luka

    @Teri and @Ilene:

    Teri, I completely understand what you’ve been through. We have Gordon Setter, he was great until he was 1.5 old. Then, he started getting the skin condition. As we had no kids back then, we spent really a gazillion of money to find out what’s the problem, tried everything + more than you listed. Nothing seemed to help. We sent skin and blood samples more than once to Germany (we’re in Croatia) via DHL to get it inspected by top vet labs. In the end, it appeared that he was born with genetic malformation, missing some skin cells (not sure which, I can’t recall, it was years ago) + he has had hypothyroidism.

    His condition detoriated, but then got better (never visually, though, just the licking/chewing/biting part), we did everything we could. He’s 9, his fur/coat is so awful, it’s really horrible. But, when he’s not licking/biting/scratching, he’s amazing dog. We noticed it has to do with humidity: when days get more humid (or when it rains, but just humidity is much worse), it gets horrible for him. And since autumn is starting, he’s starting to feel much worse… we’ve thought of putting him to sleep many times, but it’s so hard for us. Yet, this year, it seems to be the worst, he even got some bump(s) randomly and at moments it drains a bit of blood (due to scratching or biting, but can’t be sure).

    I feel horrible, but that’s best for him, I guess? 🙁

  • Sharon M. Leigh

    A little over 2 years ago, my husband and I had to let go to not one but two of our beloved pet family members. It was so awful and we miss them dearly. I didn’t think I could go through that before or after ,the pain was so great. I decided to write a journal, and that journal turned into a book called -Our Pugs’ Journey-which was recently published on LuLu.com- I wanted everyone to know how beautiful our lives were because of these two pugs and how our lives after were so different. I want other pet owners out there to know they are not alone,saying good-bye to a precious pet member can feel so lonely. I wrote this book to honor them,but to also keep their memories alive. So please as you go through your journeys, read my book and keep not only my pugs memories alive ,but your precious pet family too! God bless you all as you go through your own journeys…Sharon M. Leigh–author

  • Elizabeth

    My dog was mauled by two others a few years ago. He survived, but had a tear in his hip muscle, a hernia and multiple puncture wounds. He had multiple surgeries and has done pretty good, until recently. Now the tear in his muscle is growing more and more visible, and he sometimes makes these “ouch, ouch, ouch sounds”. The last few nights he’s been sleeping on the sofa, instead of with me. He still plays and makes his little happy faces, but I know the hip is getting worse and the vet said there’s no real fixing it. I don’t want him to suffer, but he seems to enjoy most of his time still. He’s been such a wonderful little dog. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have him around. I’m going to see if his hip will get better if I restrict his activity and use the meds for pain. Maybe the acuity will lessen. He’s only 6 years old. I love my dog, but his little cries and trembling, pained expressions let me know the pain he feels, although intermittent, are very extreme. I’m hoping he does ok for at least a few months-we’re moving to a place with ducks and a dog park-both of which he’ll love. Either way, he nearly died on 6FEB2011 and he’s been on an extension. Thank God for other pet owners, all who understand the love for our four legged family members.

  • Greg

    @Jamie

    I posted a comment a few weeks ago and haven’t been back since that time. Making that final decision is the hardest thing I have ever had to do even though in my dog’s case it was the correct decision, I still fought it to literally the very end.

    He had stopped eating, only drinking water and panting heavily during his waking hours. Your lovely dog Sophie although deaf and blind seems to be in much better shape than my dog Lucky was.

    Have you considered using baby gates and limiting her travel around the house?

    Ultimately nobody can make that decision for you but trust me you will know when it’s time.

    I wish you and your family the best you all have been blessed with her for these 15 years.

  • Jamie

    My Italian Greyhound, Sophie, is 15 years old. She is completely blind and deaf, and I’m not sure if it’s time for her to go. She walks fine, she begs for food at the table, but all day she runs into things, very restless, constantly walking in circles running into furniture, walls, etc. We wrapped all our chair, table legs, etc., in bubble wrap but we can’t wrap everything. But right now she’s standing at the edge of the bed with her front feet up, so obviously she’s still fairly nimble, still goes for walks, etc., but I can’t imagine what it must be like for her to be blindly stumbling into furniture and walls all day. I don’t want her to suffer.

    Can someone please give me advice? Should I put her down?

  • Ilene

    To Teri
    I read your post regarding your dog with skin problems. How horrible. Just a thought – maybe you can take him to a dog dermatologist. Also, if it hasnt been done, have him checked for scabbies. There ia a medication and it changed by rescue dogs life.

  • christi

    I am glad to see I am not alone…My boy Jack is not doing so well..He has many issues..He has survived so many things..Cancer, Congestive heart failure, life threatening allergies…At 12 and a half, he is losing his ability to walk. He goes in the house sometimes. Other times he goes outside..He throws his food up…I was ready to put him down yesterday but then he seemed to improve. This morning, he wakes me at 5am to go outside, A GOOD THING, HE KNEW HE HAD TO GO….then he threw up all his food, NOT A GOOD THING…He has a brother, Rusty….they are stuck like GLUE…..I was so alone in this world..I had no family of my own..then Rusty was born and I picked HIM..Jack came next and he picked ME…He saw me through so many things, Jack did..now I must see him through to peace. My heart goes out to all suffering the loss of a pet, they are our children…No parent should have to say goodbye to their children. Yet, we took them on, knowing it was only for a while and we must understand that we owe them peace.

  • Babs

    I have only had this foster dog, Beau, for a week. I volunteer at a shelter and he was dumped here as they said they couldn’t afford them. He had obviously been neglected for a long time. I have 3 dogs already – the legal limit in my county, but Beau is now our 4th. He is at least 11 the vet thinks and has bad arthritis and bad hips. He’s a yellow lab/shepherd mix and I love him as much as the dogs I’ve had for 7, 5, and 4 years. He’s on Tramadol, a spinal drug, Rimadyl and something else to help with his incontinence. He had another big “accident” tonight and my husband is not too sympathetic. I cannot let this dog go back to the shelter; he’s bonded with me and I want to give him a few last happy weeks. He’s eating okay, loves treats, and loves to go outside with my 3 rambunctious able bodied dogs. I can’t reach for the leash without Beau getting as excited as he can without falling down. His legs go out from under him pretty often and the stairs are nearly impossible, but he does it once a day to come sleep in my room with me. How can I possibly love this dog so much after a week?

  • Laura

    I am the owner of a 17 year old Chuhuahua who I think is at the end of her time with us. She was originally owned by my in-laws and I took care of her whenever they travelled. She came to me perminently after 5 or 6 years when my in laws passed away. Tessa was willed to me. She has had a very peaceful life, never going for a walk – she hated walks. She had her favorite food almost every day – Chicken and lots of soft comfy bedding. I am the owner of a large sheep dog cross and a tabby cat who Tessa completely ignores. She is very much a grumpy old lady. She has been incontinent most of her life. She decides when she will go, thank you very much. The past 2 years she rarely will go outside, or will go out to pee and come in and do the rest on the floor. She is mostly blind and deaf now. She took a wrong turn about a month ago and nearly leaped down a flight of stairs that I was coming up. I have come to the decision today to finally put her to rest. I feel terrible crying so hard reading these stories. I can’t say she has been loved as much as my own pets. I have always taken care of her the best I can but she has always been like a visitor. Do you think it is time to let her go? Why do I feel so bad? I wonder what my Father in law would want me to do?
    Thank you for allowing me to ramble.

  • Dan

    How do I bring to a close the life of my friend, my shadow and my bed buddy. She was a gift from my boys to their mother for her birthday, but Abby attached herself to me…she became my dog. I think I just was more patient with her and her behaviour. Abby is a mix breed chow/doberman I think, and a challenging one at that. She has always been aggressive, the big “B”. But, in the face of all that, I loved her. I would lay on the couch with her body curled up in my legs and her head across my legs and just pet her, soothing that anxious, high-strung “personality”. She did not play well with other dogs, but we had four other dogs, so that to was a challenge…always refereeing. She was my “problem” child, not to be trusted around other dogs…had to watch her like a hawk. She was a bright rust color, but as the years have passed her muzzle is white and her head, ears and front legs have white in them also and that high-strung “personality” has waned. She has lost her sight and her hips are a mess. So much so, that it’s difficult for her to walk. She has difficulty getting up, so that has led to “many” accidents of both varieties. I have to help her outside as she has trouble stepping off the porch. I keep her steady as she steps off and walks to the grass. Early in the morning, when I take my dogs out, she will walk slowly and unsteadily out the sidewalk and thrust her nose into the air smelling the cool morning breeze and looking around…she can’t see anything, but she looks just the same and she will turn and look back my direction with those empty eyes as if to say, “You’re still there aren’t you?” I miss my rambunctuous, fiesty Abby. I will take her to the vet today and have her put to sleep. She has suffered enough and needs release from her frail age-worn body. I will miss her.

  • Rob

    It looks as though the time has come for my best friend to move on to another journey. Darth entered my life in summer of 1998, and for 14 years everyone has been blessed to be in his company. I picked him at a animal shelter and he stood out from all the other dogs. He jumped over the 6 foot fence, just to see me and tell me “get me out of here” As a large gentle black pit-lab mix, he was with me when I was shot at as police officer, divorced, re-married 5 years later,my son was born and my father died. How can a person repay something as magical as the unconditional love of a dog.He is now in constant pain and cannot walk and has been on meds for years. Its too much to ask of him to handle, even as tough a breed as he is the pain is too much now. We were able to have 4 wonderful pain free years with the help of his medicine. As tonight winds down and we have our last meal, I will give him steak and hugs and cry while I sleep besides him. I thank God that I was blessed to have him in my life, and indeed the name dog reversed shows the name of our creator. Thank you for sending him to me and my family, and now he will return as we all will one day. Take care of my best friend, I will see you on the other side…one day.

  • sherrie

    We have had my rottwoller for almost nine years. He was an aggressive dog but not with my family. We have had him since he was four weeks old. My nine yr old daughter was raised with him along with several other children for over half their live. The sad time has come for us to put him down tomorrow at 11am. He had surgery to remove a large tumor and the vet discovered it was already threw his body. My family including me an my husband are just heart broken. This is one of the hardest things i will have to do. But, like i told my husband, I am his mother on earth and he will die in my arms. I will not let him die alone. God help me tomorrow. none of us are dealing well with this.

  • Greg

    My dog Lucky a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel ended his journey yesterday morning in the vet’s office. He had been going downhill slowly for a few months but recently stopped eating and would drink water incessantly. It was the hardest decision I have ever made and the grief I am trying to deal with is as difficult as the loss of my father.

    I never took my time with Lucky for granted, for life whether human or animal, is finite and must come to a close at some point. He was in so many ways spoken and unspoken, my best friend,my companion, who would lay with me and comfort me when things were bad and enjoy the fun times as well with our walks and inline skates through the neighborhood.

    He possessed that rarest of love, unconditional love, and even though my heart is breaking now, what he has given me cannot be measured nor can it be taken away and I am so lucky to have had Lucky in my life for these 13 years.

    Seems like only yesterday waiting at LAX on a long descending conveyor belt with three dog carrying cages from Dallas, Texas (Lucky had two siblings who were also finding their new homes that day) I instinctively grabbed one of them not being able to see what was inside, and sure enough it was Lucky and was greeted with kisses instantly.

    That warm spring day in 1999 he entered my heart and will remain until my days are complete.

    To Lucky the best friend I’ve ever had with heavy heart I say goodbye this September day with hope we meet again some day.

  • Noreen

    Thank you all for sharing your heartfelt stories of not just a dog but and absolute member of “your family!” My dog, Kobe, a Welsh Terrier, is 14 years old and “my baby.” I just look at him lately and I cry; thinking back to the “good old days.” Kobe has gone through so much with me and my family. I’m searching the web right now for some miracle answer on “what should I do?” I KNOW my dog is in pain, in my heart I can tell. Kobe has been suffering for quite a long time, but when I took him to the vet 9 mos ago, she told me that if I can name five things that make Kobe happy, then keep him alive. If not, then I’m doing it for me. Well, I can name five things: #1.he likes to eat (but I have to hand feed him ALL the time)he has trouble figuring out how to stand by the bowl and eat, it’s crazy, he runs around as if the food is going to bite him. If I hold on to him, my arm around his belly, put my hand up to his mouth, he will eat all his food. He begs for bones, but my husband believes it’s just an old habit; because once he gets the bone, he cannot eat it. He just licks at it. #2 He loves when I come home from work. Rain, snow, whatever, we go for a walk. He isn’t as interested once we get outside, he just stands panting and looking around; maybe pee on a bush or two. #3 He loves for me to pet him, standing there for hours I can just pamper him right now. #4 He still gets excited when I come home from the store, thinking he is going to get a “present.” #5….. well there really isn’t a number 5… I just realized this as I’m typing. In fact, #3 and #4 really don’t count either. Kobe, trembles often, wimpers/whines many times during the day, he paws at his face, he lays wherever anymore (on his side always), he has trouble standing and will fall over easily if he gets a little off balance, and he is peeing everywhere (my diningroom is carpeted in puppy pads – I never had a problem with Kobe he was very good about going outside). You were right, it does help to share your story. I’m keeping Kobe alive for my own selfish reasons. I just wish I did’t have to even make this kind of a call. He’s in pain and I don’t know where or why. The vet put him on Tramadol approximately 9 mos ago and he takes it faithfully, I’m sure it’s getting to his organs. I think I’m going to spend some “alone” time with my puppy and then take him to go to sleep… and may he live in pain no more. Thank you for letting me share my heart. My best friend… who always loves me, never judges me, and always happy to see me… may we all be with our beloved pets again in heaven.

  • Kathy

    We put our beloved 14 year old dog to sleep last Thursday. It was agonising wondering if it was time to let her go. So many times we asked people ‘How can you tell when it is time’? The answer was always ‘You will know’. So, we did know in the end. We had an amazing vet come to our home and she passed away so peacefully in her own warm bed. We feel empty and bereft but at the same time, we know we did the right thing. What a difficult journey, but what a wonderful dog who did not deserve to suffer.

  • Dottie

    I have a yellow lab/retriever mix that is 13 yrs old he has spinal arthritis and has lost mobility in his front and back legs at one time or another and is on prednisone and tramadol for the last couple of years but now he seems to be having the same problems of tripping over his front paws and sometimes falling down to where I have to help him up. And he has a hard time sleeping at nitetime he is constantly up and down and panting really hard. I think he is in pain and I want to have him put down but he is all I have in the world! Do I not be selfish and go ahead and put him down and how do I deal with it ????

  • Doug Gallagher

    Missey is a 16 year old Pikingese. She has arthritis her entire life. She is now deaf and is unable to walk or stand with out help. She still drinks and eats and does not appear to be in any pain. She spends all of her time sleeping. My thoughts are to continue to nurse her until it becomes obvious that she is suffering.

    Any thoughts? Do you think it’s time?

  • Laurie Post author

    I wrote this for Brenda, who is struggling with putting her dog to sleep:

    My Dog Has Cancer – How Do I Say Goodbye?

    If you have any experience with this type of loss, please feel free to share your thoughts.

  • Brenda

    Hello,

    I have a beautiful 8 year old male bernese mountain dog named Benas. I rescued him when he was a pup and when he was just 7 years old, he was diagnoswed with lyphoma-Stage IVA. His disposition was great and we decided for him to receive chemo treatmets. Within the first treatment, he went into remission. He finished the protocol and did not receive any chemo for almost 8 months. Then it happened, I had taken Beans to his oncologist and the discovered that Bean’s lymphoma had returned. Becuase Beans had such great success with the first round of chemo, we diceided to do a “rescue protocol”. The first 0 treatments were great and again Beans tolerated it and went into remission. Then he had to start a pill called Lomustine or CCMU. After the third dose, Beans began to fail and his appetite was completely lost. His white blood cells went down and he developed pneumonia. Beans has lost a great amount of muscle mass and I am getting him fluids almost evey night at my local vet because he isn’t eating or drinking. I feel it’s time but I can’t tell you the agony I feel inside. I never felt this way before and I am so scared to say “goodbye”. If you could provide me with some advice I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much. Brenda

  • Bud dog

    To CC,

    My dog also suffered a vestibular attach in January, having him in the hospital over a week. After a month of rehab, he was able to walk on his own without falling down and his head has straighten significantly. He has begun to exhibit previous signs of excitement and playfulness prior to his attach. I never gave up on his recovery, however I have medical bills exceeding $10,000. My dog currently is suffering from an ulcer which requires special meals of either chicken, pork, rice, potatoes; choice is decided by his food desire for that day. It is very tough watching him age and have signs of the disease, however I do not and will not regret allowing him all the time he needs. I know he will tell me when it is time… Good Luck with your friend..

  • Teri

    I am feeling very guily of even thinking of having my dog put down. He isn’t even 3 years old, but has had a horrible skin condition for the past 1 1/2 years. I have taken him to the vet, and tried antibiotics, and medicated shampoos, tried changing his diet, tried fish oil, and tea tree oil, and almost everything else anyone has suggested. But, nothing seems to help. He scratches almost constantly, or licks and bites at himself. He has lost almost all his fur from his rib-cage down to his tail from scratching and chewing on himself.He used to love going to the dog park, and he still gets excited about going, but once we are there, he lays by my side and barely even pays attention to the other dogs. So, last night I just broke down and told my son that I think I might have to have Dusty put to sleep. Why? Because he started scratching his head, and when I noticed the scratching didn’t stop… I went to stop him, and he had scratched so much and so hard that his head was bleeding (and I don’t know when or if he would have stopped on his own). And this is not the first time he has made himself bleed. I am not rich, and cannot afford to keep returning to the vet, because I have my kids to think of first, and I just feel I am out of options and money, and I think that is why I am feeling guilty. Because I wish I could give him more medical care… that something, someday may help. I am just lost……

  • Lorie

    I’m pretty sure it’s time for our schnauzer. He’s at least 15 and possibly a bit older. I adopted him from a shelter 14 years ago, They told me he’d been on the euthanasia list in their sister shelter but someone tried to give him another chance & sent him to the one where I found him. He is a purebred dog and they thought he was only 1 or 2 years old. He was shaved to the skin and had ticks. He became a hearing dog for my young deaf dog and was her companion until her death 3 years ago. Now he’s nearly unable to keep his legs under hm to walk, he’s deaf and nearly blind. He sleeps all day lik he in a coma the wakes up at night and paces relentlessly all night long. He slips and slides because of his legs. He eats but I think it’s just habit. He seems confused and agitated whenever he’s awake. e’s been soiling inside for the past 2 weeks because he forgetswhere the dog door is or how to use it. The last 2 nights have been he worst and convinced me it’s time. He has pooped in the laundry room where the dog door is & where sleeps at night nd then slid and slipped in it covering himself and the room in poo. The past 2 mornings have been awful for me to find him like that and then have to scrub the room and him. There is nothing good left in his life, only confusion. This is awful to know I have to take him to the vet tomorrow – I’ve been through it many times as we keep multiple pets- and it breaks my heart. He’s been with me through my children growing up, my divorce and me recent remarriage. He’s always been my dog and tomorrow I’ll do the last thin I can to take care of him.

  • CC

    This is so painful, such a complicated issue. I had an appointment scheduled a week ago but then my dog seemed to improve after I stopped her meds for dizziness and nausea. She has vestibular disease. It can come and go, lessen and worsen but she has not enjoyed life much at all in a month, only eating. She doesn’t seem to be in pain but I know it is horrible for her to feel like she’s on a roller coaster constantly. She can’t walk straight or, at the moment, at all. She is suffering but I absolutely cannot take her right now to end her life. The issue is more complex because in the wild, she’d be gone for sure, without someone to help her away from ant hills outside, hand feed her, and give her water. I feel right now I’d be letting her go just because it is painful for me to watch her suffer, not because I’m sure she is ready to go. I hear a lot about guilt from those who have euthanized their dog, but I’d like to hear from someone who waited it out and saw their dog go naturally in some way. This is so painful, but it’s about her, not me. I want to hear both sides of the issue, if there’s anyone out there willing to share. Thank you.

  • MJ

    Michelle, when we put Sparkie down yesterday our 17 yr old son was at school. he knew what was going on but just because of the type of person he is, he didn’t get emotional about it (at least not in front of me) I’d only suggest that since your daughters are old enough that you ask them if they’d like to be present. The first dog we put down almost 12 years ago went more peacefully than Sparkie did. I was crushed to see Sparkie agitate when the first sedative was given and then the poor sweet thing was unable to keep her tongue in her mouth. This actually made me very angry and sad all at once. IDK, no matter what, its traumatizing. but this last time with dear Sparkie, I was a bit caught off guard as I’d witnessed a euthanasia before and it was more peaceful. Maybe because the dog was further gone. The vet was wonderful, it was just her last few moments which I’m agonizing about as I write this, seemed less than peacful. So sorry for your sweet doggie and you and your family having to go through this. It is just the hardest thing.

  • MJ

    So, it’s done – my sweet little 11 year old wheaten terrier with fur as soft as bunny ears was put to sleep this morning in our home. Our vet first gave her a sedative to calm her. I could tell she was fighting it- her poor little body immobilized but her head switching back and forth. I don’t think she was ready to go… the guilt I have over that is the worst. But she hadn’t eaten in almost 3 days and her little belly was hard and distended. Her breathing very labored…. I just couldn’t stand to see her suffer another day. She’s survived by her litter mate brother who so far seems oblivious to her death–If only some of that would rub off on me. I’ve had horrible anxiety to the point of feeling panic because of her death. I miss her so much it physically hurts-not eaten all day. I know this will all pass, I know the memories of how special she was, how spunky and funny she was, and how much I absolutely crave petting and scratching her furry head will fade. But right now it’s there front and center all the emotions piling up sometimes feeling insurmountable. For anyone else going thru this gut-wrenching process my heart goes out to you.

  • Michelle

    This is so hard. We Are putting our 12 year boxer down this weekend. I can’t stop crying and I lay down next to her every night. I want to spend every moment I can with her. Should I have my 8 and 10 year old daughters go when we put her down?

  • MJ

    so finally I’ve made the decision. Tomorrow will be my dear sweet “Sparkie-pants” last day here on earth. I write thru tears but know that I’m making the right decision. She’s not eating (2 days now) and her little belly is so bloated and hard. She’s having trouble breathing- very shallow rapid breathing. I don’t think she’s in severe pain, but I know that’s she’s very uncomfortable. She no long jumps up on the couch to lay her little head on the pillow or is wanting to go out, even for a short walk with her brother and me. yesterday I took her with me to the pet store and she seemed energized, sniffing everything in sight. But I know that she’s not going to get better and I know the best thing is to stop her from suffering even more than she is already. What I don’t know for sure is if it’s the absolute right time to do this… Am I doing it for me or for her? I can’t bear to see her as a shell of her former self. She was always so full of life and spunk. I’m so very sad and only hope that I’m doing the right thing. I love her so very much.

  • DJ

    Today is another day I look at my beatuiful Purbread Shepard name Helga. I call woo woo for short. She turned 13 this pass August the 08th 2012.I read the stories and had tears I know how much everyone that has posted something love there pets and when you need to make that decision it is always the haredest thing to do. I lost my 2 dogs last year Daja January 09th then Mack Feb 14th I still have not recovered from that ordeal.Now here I am faced with Helga I am not ready an I don’t think she is she may have trouble getting up and is confused but she is still able to do her girly business out side and still eats like a horse despite loosing some weight. She loves to goes for walks even tho we don’t do the long ones anymore she will drag her legs.But she is still alert barts when someone comes in the yard.She is teaching Lucy the new pup (rotti) the ropes. Still I worry if I have just put the blinders on and she is ready but I am not.I too have been told you will know when it’s time they have a way of letting you know.Really? is my dog going to say hey mom I am ready to died??? I don’t think so everyones sisuation is different every dog or cat has something different that may or may not contruibute to the problem. I beleive when I see for myself that Helga is just not happy or when she has a change that is very different from her normal self I can only belive this will be the time. I think that for all who struggle with this painful decision look at the sisuation write the pro an cons of the sisuation. like is my pet eating?? is my pet in any pain?? basicly the quialty of life is it the same as before?? if no then maybe it is time but if you animal is still able to do the bathroom thing on it’s own and is eating an you don’t belive there in pain all is good. let them live when they can’t do anything like go on there own that is a sign something is wrong an it could be time to say good bye as much as that sucks.
    Take care to all going though this tough time and my condolance to all that have lost that special family memeber.

  • Jenn

    I put my best friend to sleep this morning. I am missing him horribly right now, but I know I made the right decision. I just wanted to say that reading this article and all of the comments really helped me do what I needed to do. The statement from the article “If you can save your dog or cat even one day of discomfort, you must” went through my head all morning. My baby was not the same dog I have shared my life with for almost 11 years. And he wasn’t going to get better. He wasn’t in pain, and I didn’t want it to get to that point. Thank you for all of your comments and wisdom, that came from the same difficult experience that I went through this morning. I’ll leave you with something a man said to me while I was sitting with my dog just before he was put to sleep: “Life is a series of dogs.” Take what you will from that. I am taking it as a positive, meaning we will give love to many in our lifetimes and each and every one brings us joy, learning experiences, and that never ending unconditional love that we can only get from a dog. RIP buddy! You will never be forgotten, but forever loved.

  • Jan

    Hi Amy & Cheri.

    I had my Golden Retriver Molly who would have been 16 in one month put to sleep today. It was not my decision but rather the vet who said, “I don’t want you to leave this office with Molly. She needs to be put down now.”

    Her heart rate was 120 beats per minute and she was lying down. She had not eaten for three days.

    We also have hardwood floors and Molly had a hard time getting up off the floot. She would pee sometime during the last 3 months because she could not get up fast enough. I even bought her Pawz rubber boots which did help her as long as she didn’t pull them off.

    I should also say she seemed to be almost blind and had a 90% hearing loss. Two years ago her weight was 61 pounds. Last February she was 46.5. I assume she was about 35 pounds today. You could see her ribs. Her hips were very boney.

    Two weeks ago she seemed like she would rather sleep or be outside on the deck. I went to bring her inside that night and opened the door and she started to come in than she backed out. It is carpeted so she had traction to get up off the floor and could go down three steps to the yard. So I let her. I figured she thought that was better than to ware the rubber boots.

    Last Friday she had poop in the diaper I put on her but I didn’t get all of it off her. On Sunday I washed her ahd found maggots under her butt. The next day she would not eat. I called the vet yesterday to go in today at 12:00.

    This morning I decided to give her another shower. As I was cutting some mats from her hair on her back I saw it was infested with maggots again. She even had small hols in her skin from them.

    I guess that what happens when you leave a dog outside if your not careful. That is why I thought she stoped eating and thus my reason to take her to the vet. Thinking the vet could give me something to help Molly if the maggots were a issie.

    So for the last week she had much more trouble with standing up and staying up. I could see it was difficult for her to walk on the hardwood floor. When she would walk she would walk into a corner or go behind something and not be able to get out.

    I promised Molly when I got her I would never have her put to sleep unless I knew she was in a lot of pain.

    The vet said by looking at her that it was time to let her go. It would be the best for Molly. So I said yes.

  • MJ

    It just seems like so many of us are agonizing over the same decision. it’s so so hard. my 11 yr. old wheaten terrier with cancer, no cure (already lost one leg to amputation), eating less each day, practically nothing yesterday. Then today she’s up wanting to go for a ride in the car – so excited. Definitely moving slower, sleeping lots, shallow breathing – but loves to be petted, wants to be with us, tail ever-wagging. I won’t put her down until she’s unable to walk or control her bladder. Is that cruel? I just can’t see snuffing the life out of her while she’s still enjoying some of life. She’s on Metacam and appetite stimulant…. they are less and less effective as the days wear on.

  • Jenny

    I have a 14 year 8 mo old yellow lab who has been with us from the early months of marriage. She has been there through the birth of both our children and has always been a loving constant presence in our home. We could not have asked for a better dog. I have never posted before but am in agony over the decision to put her down. She has arthritis making it difficult for her to get up and down. She can no longer do stairs without assistance which means she takes 3 steps outside to go to the bathroom on the deck and then comes back inside. She sleeps alot but would expect this for an old dog. She is eating well and always has. She drinks alot of water which is new in the past 6 months. She has been having more frequent accidents in the house which has been frustrating for all of us. Her vision and hearing have also deteriorated. As I have read in other posts, she too pants alot along with pacing at night and I wasn’t sure what this meant. Is she having trouble breathing? is she hot? Is it anxiety/dementia? What makes this so hard is that she still takes pleasure in seeing us. Her tail always wags when we are near and she almost always makes an attempt to come to the door when we come home (once she is able to hear and see us come in). She knows when we are packing for the lake and follows us around making sure we don’t leave without her. The hard part is that once we get to the lake all she does now is sleep in the cottage and go to the bathroom on the deck. This was a dog who would spend endless hours in the water fetching a stick. We have made an appointment tomorrow to put her down and are having doubts whether we are making the right decision. Should we wait for more obvious signs of illness or should we spare her any more suffering no longer living the life she once enjoyed? I can’t imagine life without her but knew that this day would come. I just feel like we are killing her? Oh if she could only go peacefully in her sleep! What to do!!

  • Natalie

    Hi there,

    Reassuring to know there are many others facing the same difficult decision. I have a 14yr old Norfolk terrier who we’ve had since she was a puppy. After major surgery to have mammary tumours removed last week, the stitches have now come apart and we are now making trips to the vet daily to have the open wound cleaned and covered. The cancer will grow back at some stage we are told but I’m the meantime, despite all she’s going through, she continues to wag her tail, follow my every move and enjoy my company. It is breaking my heart just to look at her.

    Is it too soon to consider euthanasia as she is still with it, has an appetite etc or do we wait until it gets worse whilst visiting the cry every day which is both unrealistic time and money wise.

    Any advice/support out there would be warmly welcomed at this very difficult time.

    Thank you.

  • Jas

    I have a German Shepard which my parents got me at the age of 5, he is now 12 years old and is losing the life in the back of his legs. He literally has to drag himself and he falls over whenever he attempts to walk. It’s heartbreaking to watch and I think it’s time to out him down because he seems like he’s in pain but he is still playful and eating all of his food. What do you think would be the best thing to do?

  • Stacy

    My 11.5 year old lab-shepherd mix Cinders was diagnosed with lymphoma about a three weeks ago. I had found swollen lymph nodes a couple of weeks before that. The vet said that often dogs have about two months without treatment. I do not believe in chemo for dogs (and after seeing what it did to a good friend and my own father who both ulitimately passed, I wonder if it is good for people (only somewhat kidding here). So I was hopeful for more “good” time with Cinders without pumping her full of drugs. She has begun to eat less – refuses to eat her kibble but eats small amounts of cooked chicken sausage – and she has lost quite a bit of weight. Her back legs are weak and just this morning, she struggled to have her first bowel movement in several days. It was thin and ribbon-like (the vet warned me of this). So it is time. And I feel incredibly guilty about stopping her life if she has any good days left in her. But she can’t tell me if she is happy, if she feels pain, if she is ready. I have made the decision to take her after work to the vet and I feel guilty that her last day on earth is home alone. Yup – guilt.

  • MJ

    Kym
    I completely hear that you’re stressing about your situation- I couldn’t sympathize more. My dog is 11 with cancer and every day I think will be “the day” ….. IDK- I try to go by how well I think my dog is adjusting… In other words, my dog isn’t nearly as active as before, but still enjoys very short walks, tummy rubs and just being with me. It’s so hard to know when to do the deed- I’m waiting for the bad to outweigh the good. In your case, maybe the dr. bills wouldn’t be much more than before after she gets over the kennel cough? I know people who’ve been in similar circumstances and just put a time limit on how long they’d wait to see if the dog improved. Say after 3 or 6 mos. you could re-evaluate and then make a decision. Don’t pressure yourself to come to a quick decision- if it were me, the move alone would be making me crazy! Good luck

  • Kym

    To add to my above “please help” – two months ago she was hospitalized with pancreatitis for 4 days and put on medication for an additional 7.

  • Kym

    I have an 11 year old Pug, Mulan. She has been diagnosed with diabetes for 5 years now, which she is managed with caninsulin. She also has a skin condition which is managed with an antibiotic called Atopica – which causes dry eye, which is managed with prescription eye drops. It has just been confirmed by the vet that she is 98% blind in both eyes. About three weeks ago she was diagnosed with Kennel cough and after being treated by medication for two weeks she is still coughing which the vet says to “wait it out and if it doesn’t go away in another 14 days to bring her back in”. On top of all of this distress, we have just moved homes and she is learning the map of the new house by being lead on a leash and coached for directions but it is obvious how worried she is about each step. It breaks my heart to think of putting her down, because I know all of the above mentioned things are “manageable” with the financial burden of the vet, and on one hand I wonder if I am being selfish because of the financial responsbilities and on the other I wonder if I am being selfish by keeping her with me. Please help.

  • Jerry

    My Minpin has diabetes. I cannot afford the expense of daily shots and have decided to let her live as long as she does not suffer any. She has progressed to the point that she is very thin showing all her ribs and weighs hardly nothing. She is also blind. She does however still eat a healthy meal and finds her way around the yard, up and down the deck with no problem. She still perks up when she hears my voice and attacks my foot when I play with her. I can’t decide what to do and how long to let her go. Anyone else have this type of problem? I would like to hear how others have handled it.

  • dee

    I don’t ever write to blogs, but I am going to now because I have been helped here, and would like to do the same. We have a 16.5 year old cocker who has been our loved family pet from the beginning. I too have been wondering if it’s time, was I rushing it, should we keep going…and reading your questions, which are the same as mine, describing the same issues, I realize that it IS time and I’m going to prepare everyone and make the appt. Yes, he still eats and wags his tail if he knows it is me (he’s deaf and just about blind), and yes, it will be so hard….but there is no purpose to his life anymore, the panting and pacing at night, the accidents which are frustrating for us all, the sleeping all the time, the falling down. Really? It’s enough. As someone said, I don’t want to wait until he has a bad fall and is in terrible pain on the way to the vets – just so the decision is made for me. And also, with winter coming, it will be so difficult for him. It’s time. Thank you all for your thoughts and I hope you each find your answer.

  • MJ

    One more thing for Chris… I was trying to decide too, when the time came, should I go to the vet or have my dear doggy put to sleep at home. I’ve decided I will have it done here at home, the place she knows and loves best. I will be with her to the end.
    Her brother will know she’s gone and it will be devastating but I just feel I have to do what is best and most comfortable for her.

  • MJ

    I agree with recent post re: medication for pain. A week ago I posted about my wheaton terrier being near the end…. luckily I ended up starting her on Metacam (for pain)and Metazapine(to increase her appetite). Knowing this dog, I truly believe I would’ve had to put her to sleep last week had I not started her on these meds. Still she’s not long for this life –and that is very hard accept. At least at this time she’s eating a tiny bit more and has a bit of her energy back. I’ve had to adjust and learn to take it one day at a time. Now my other dog has a serious ear infection and is showing more signs of distress than my cancer ridden one. My heart goes out to any of you dealing with the loss of your pet or a sick or disabled pet. It truly breaks your heart. I love that this web site gives us a chance to air our grief to people who really understand how it feels to go through this very difficult experience.

  • Julie

    I noticed that several people who have left comments say that their dogs have issues with legs and hips and have problems walking, running, or falling over. I just wanted to suggest talking to your vet about giving your dog arthritis or joint medication (if they’re not already on medication) instead of putting your pet down. Our elderly dog has shown a huge improvement on medication and you can definitely tell a difference if he goes just a few days without. Along with pain medication, it has greatly extended his quality of life.

  • Chris

    Mike and I are taking Sam to the doctor tomorrow for ultrasound, and possible biopsy.. Already preparing for worst.. Sam’s only 9, went blind with SARDS 3 months ago and has been going downhill ever since.. Liver count is over 1400 which is bad. In May it was 200. He is a miserable baby, and I know what we need to do. I truly believe he will be so much better off, and that I will see him again. But as everyone on here knows, it is the worst feeling for us. Should we have the vet come to our house, and allow our other dogs to be there with him, or should it just be Mommy and Daddy? so freaking sad right now….

  • cassie

    as I begain to write this with tears in my eyes trying to decide what I should do about my 17 year old yorkie Abraham,it eased my pain a little reading the other articles seeing that I’m not alone in trying to make this decision.Had Abe(short name)since 8 mos,from a breeder.He’s been a joy all these many years,Love Him.Lately he’s been licking himself like crazy on both sides of his stomach just before his legs (all the hair is gone),his sight and hearing is gone & when we’ll walking and I’m ahead of him and I call him it’s as if he thinks I’m in the opposite direction.His back legs I’m sure has arthrites,he can’t jump on the sofa/bed now without missing and falling,even has fallen a little ways down the steps.this morning really got to me,he was really confused,like he did’nt know where he was,could’nt do anything,very jumpy.You are right,I’m the only one to make the decision on what to do.It’s a hard choice to make. Do I want to continue to see Him suffer?? and or smile as I remember the good times we have shared for 17 years

  • MJ

    I’m currently in the throes of deciding whether or not to put my sweet dog to sleep. 1 year and 3 mos ago she was diagnosed with hystiocytic sarcoma in the rear knee. Her leg was amputated to the hip and she underwent chemo (lomustine) every 3 weeks. The cancer has come back in her chest. Chemo is really not an option – neither is surgery, this is a super aggressive cancer. I’m AGONIZING over this decision and obsessing like never before about how long to let her live. She is not really eating, only certain foods, maybe 1/2 cup per day. She’s an 11 year old wheaton terrier weighs about 28 lbs. The worst of it is she just stands and looks aimlessly around, unless she’s lying down sleeping. She will go on quick walks just to relieve herself, but has pretty bad diahrreah-got to be painful. Is see a lot of posts where the dogs/cats are no longer able to walk and the owners are carrying them around. I just don’t want her to get to that point. 12 years ago I put down my golden retreiver on the morning when he became unable to walk and was having accidents. With him it was more sudden and I didn’t have more than a few weeks before he was gone. This time I’ve been stressing for months about her condition and worried that she’s in pain. IDK, thanks for listening…. this is just the hardest thing to go through. Wouldn’t wish it on anyone and yet here we all are experiencing very much the same agony.

  • Joan

    Amy…. you’re dilemma sounds almost exactly like mine. My Border Collie/Lab is 14yr 8 months.

    The wandering in circles aimlessly day & night, hips give out and falls down or sinks down when he’s standing, sleeps, pants excessively – this is in part due to a liver issue that has improved in the last year with samE pills. He still eats ok, also not a big eater but has lost 2.5 lbs in a month. We have him sleeping outside on the deck now because he’s had a few accidents indoors. I’ve noticed his wet bed 3 times in 2 weeks.

    As I re-read what I have just wrote it sounds like what a life that is? It’s just so damn hard to make that final decision because some days are good. He still follows me everywhere, tries to run to keep up but then pays for it the next day. I think at this point I’m looking for support or more information to let me know it’s ok to let him go. I’ve joke for years about “When Boomer goes away to college then we can go to Europe” – except the time is getting closer and it’s not so funny anymore.

    Yes, it’s a roller coast from hell but we’ve had a good 14.5 year run and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

  • John

    I have a 14 yr old lab shepherd husky mix who is 14 plus. We got Barney from the humane society. Over the years we have replaced both rear knees and were glad to do it. Barney suffers from hip displatia and the past few months have been difficult. He has a hard time standing and walking even with daily medication. Yesterday Barney stumbled down the steps going outside and fell again today. I realized that he could seriously injure himself which would lead to a painful wait while I made arrangements to put him to sleep. I have decided to spare Barney the possibility of more pain and suffering. Tomorrow I will call the vet and take him in. It will be hard bit it is now the right time. I will miss him but this is best.

  • Cue McCollister

    I have a 14 yr old dachshund mix, his name is Lizzard…Lizzy for short! When we rescued him 14 yrs ago he looked just like the dog on the Taco Bell commercial…and “here Lizzard, Lizzard, Lizzard” was the first thing that came to my mind…his pointed ears were bigger than his whole body! I think he may be mixed with Chihuahua.
    Lizzy has suffered from seizures for years. He does have daily meds and for the most part they work but when he does have a seizure they are are longer and worse each time. He also has a ruptured disc in his back and steroids seem to help for a week or two after the shot….but in the last few months he can’t seem to control his potty habits, he has completely converted back to before he was house trained. I have taken all rugs up and have potty pads every where in my home.
    He has always been my shadow and that has not changed but now he just follows and stares at me, like he is looking right through me, he almost cowers down. I know he doesn’t hear well if at all but all of this was ok…he still seemed ok but the last few days he has gotten worse. Walks crooked, can’t seem to set comfortable, trembles all the time and whimpers….I think it’s time but feel so bad, I don’t want to take his life if it’s not….I just don’t know what to do!

  • Amy

    Hi Cherie,

    I empathize completely.

    I have a greyhound pitbull cross named Jack that I agonize over everyday. He was so hyper at age 12 that strangers were still telling me that he’d ‘get over his puppy stage’ I loved the look on their face when I told them how old he was 🙂

    Now at 14 and 9 mths he sleeps all day and pants and paces all night (I am told this is a sign of dementia) I’ve gone days with out sleep as we have hardwood floors and if he falls down he does not have the traction to get himself back up so my nights are full of anxiety and worry.

    He absolutely LOVES other dogs but when my neighbour’s puppies come over to play with him, there are days when he doesn’t lift his head off his pillow and other days when he gets all excited and **tries** to run around the backyard with them as he weaves back and forth and his back legs about 60% of the time give out on him.

    Is the fact that he still tries enough of a sign that it’s not time? I had him x-rayed about 18 months ago looking for arthritis but they found no inflammation in the joints (I’m sure there is now) and told me that he was in no pain…he has some sort of muscle degenerative disease that comes with age.

    He usually eats with no issues (which is important because he never was a big eater) but I look in his eyes some days and I don’t know if he’s ‘there’ anymore.

    I’m so sick and tired of everyone telling me “Oh, don’t worry. You’ll know. He’ll tell you.” What the hell is that suppose to mean?? Am I to wait until my dog begs me to die? Should I stop being a coward and do what needs to be done now instead of waiting for him to suffer?

    This is a roller coaster ride from hell.

  • Cheri

    I have a 15 year old shepherd, lab, husky mix named Raff. We adopted him and his brother Riff when they were just about a year old. After fortifying the yard numerous times, we finally got them to stay home. ( labs are notorious for taking off on their own). unless of course someone left the gate open and then they were gone in a shot! Flash ahead to now. Riff had to be put down due to a tumor in his liver.All I can say is devastating. That was four months ago. Now Raffy is unable to control his bowels, he has the typical shepherd back legs, so we have to carry him up the stairs (he weighs over 100 lbs). He still eats, minimally, and wags his tail sometimes. But even when he’s laying down, he is short of breath and panting. We leave the air on for him when it’s hot but he’s constantly panting. The gate was left open today and he “walked off” this time. Came back panting harder than ever, but i have to think that he got in a good adventure. (it was only about 10 minutes till we found him waiting at the front door).my question is,does he seem sick enough to be put down? He poops and is not even aware, he can’t stand up on his own, but he still wags his tail. I know his legs give him pain, but when do we know when enough is enough? Opinions please! From people who love their best friends!

  • Steve & Helen Hagen

    Today we have made the heart wrenching decision to have our beloved “Rudy” put to rest tommorrow. We found Rudy tied to a street sign during a snow storm. We kept coming back thinking that perhaps someone had ran in the store across the parking lot and would return soon. No one did, after an hour or so we lured him in the car with some treats, he so happy to be out of the cold and snow. Oh we made the attempt to locate his owner but no one claimed him. Rudy is a 13-14 year old Lab mix, we guess he may have been a year or two old when he adopted us. He is everything a loyal, loving pet can be. He has given us years and years of joy. We will keep his ashes and along with “Carlos” our 15 year old who passed just 2 weeks before we found Rudy will be lovingly placed beneath a tree we will plant this fall. Together they will feel the sunshine, the rain, and yes the snow as we gaze out at that living tree and remember how much they are missed and one day soon another critter will start the cycle all over again.

  • Cliff

    So I have 3 pets that I need advice on 2 cats and a dog.

    The cats are sisters and have come to a ripe age of 16yrs old we saved them when they were about a year old from the animal shelter, they have always lived with digestive issues, one a vet called bulimic (Sheeba) and the other has anxiety issues (Mocha). Well both cats at this point still eat and drink just fine, however they stay in the same place by their food except to go potty. Which they will do now where ever they feel like it. At times they make it to the litter box to do #2 but we find pee spray on everything and in the stool we commonly find blood and have had it tested and the vets find nothing yet its there, the other issue is they are both now eating and vomiting there food up almost daily, one of them is so skinny you would think we starve it and she sheds like mad, however her sister is big and healthy looking. They also meow this dreadfully loud meow during the night almost as if they were in pain, but if we pick them up and take them to sit and hold them they still purr and enjoy the touch the bigger girl more often than the skinnier one she is a touch me only when I ask cat (the one with the anxiety issue) She was actually on “kittie prozac” that we rubbed in her ear for a while and it worked she came out more and played, this was years ago but we just can’t afford the special diet and the destruction of furniture and clean up. This is my first dilemma is it time or what do I look for?

    Next we have Charlie (Beautiful, friendliest Black Lab you will ever meet) He is like another kid to me, he is part of our family and we are dreading the day, I feel like I am going to have to do it soon though. Charlie was a puppy when we got him on Christmas Eve I was getting last minute groceries and outside was a Dad and his two kids giving away these labs. My kids were with me at the time 3 and 5 both yelling and screaming to get one dad get one. We went to the car and I loaded it up and put the kids in their car seats and were gonna leave, I stopped and told the kids I forgot something and went and got our first family dog, there were 3 to choose from and Charlie wasn’t barking or fussing like the other two so I asked to see him. The moment I held him I knew he was ours. Well sorry went on a bit there. Charlie will be 14 in October, he has been the best lab you could ever have except one issue, I had to build a fence because he was a runner and no chain would hold him he even broke a metal pipe off the house we had him chained to (I needed a fence anyways :)) Well at 8yrs Charlie started having a few issue with Joint Arthritis I guess common in labs, we started a supplement and pain reliever from the vet and it was doing great he was running and playing and happy as ever, then at 10yrs he tore his I believe they said ACL in his rear right leg and had to have surgery. He came back but not quite the runner anymore but still happy as can be, he still try’s to jump up in my recliner and lay with me, he is a heavy boy. However most recently his Arthritis is flaring all over, both rear legs and his back. He is happy and eating and drinking, but he is losing weight, you would think the opposite would happen. It is becoming painful to watch him try to lay down or get up, we have doubled the supplements tried other pain med’s we are currently trying (SOD Injections) but nothing seems to work, sadly I see the pain when he is moving he favors the leg that he had surgery on when he walks it is slow and with a limp, his breathing has become heavy and fast. He is still happy and wants to play he just can’t anymore. I see the pain but I also see my best friend in him I know when he is happy and I can see when he is not. He cannot hold his leg up to pee anymore, he even looks in pain when he is doing a number 2, but what do I do? If is happy yet in pain, eating and drinking. I feel like soon this is going to be a “Charlie and me” moment at the vet, and my family has all made this my call and responsibility. I don’t know what to do, do I wait till he can’t walk anymore, will he show me its time? I really need help, please give me some good advice the current vet says oh this (SOD) will keep him good for years. Its been almost a month and I don’t see a change maybe his back is straighter but nothing else is any better. Sad and worried and want to make the right decision for my “family members” my pets.

  • Jessica

    It’s my falt. I waited to long. Today he is sick. I should have taken him in to the vet a few weeks ago. I’m sure sorry Ruben you have been a good friend. He is still eating and drinking water. But all he does is sleep. Is there joy? I don’t think so. Not sure what to do. How can I end his life?

  • Avaclue

    I am. In the midst of ‘the decision’ having very conflicting ideas. Reading through some of the entries I thought I could add something for others if not myself.

    Firstly, years ago our quite elderly Persian cat died. I wanted our golden retriever to know it had happened, so I showed her his body. He had died on our neighbour’s doorstep. She was so stricken with grief, she went to every house in our small culdesac street and marked her territory and as she returned she had drewel hanging from her mouth. An animal’s love is so far reaching for all things around them.

    Then, on the psychic line. I had a dog from when I was 11 who was awesome. He was hit by a car when I was 14 and I was there. Years later I went to a psychic and she told me about a dog, described him and he was showing her a cream couch. The couch was his. We three sisters would sit there and one by one he would kick us to the floor! Then he warned of my red dog’s tooth, whom he played with. Sure enough Jake my ridgeback, had a broken canine that I had missed. Another psychic years after that, described my Jake and his love for me and another dog that looked similar with him which was one of his puppies (we had given to a friend) that had died only months before. The golden retriever turned up too. They do go on. They love, so therefore they have a soul.

    So now, my old girl ridgeback, diagnosed with haemangio sarchoma eight months ago and now about 105 in dog years. She can’t walk at all. She’s dropped masses of weight. And tonight she has a big infection on her shoulder. It’s my father-in-law’s funeral in two days and my son’s 12th birthday today. I wish she would go by herself and I hoped she would tell me it was time like Jake did, but this is all she knows. If the infection doesn’t let up, I will have to do it, because it looks that bad. She has had puppies and looked after me while I had my four, very maternal. She has been the insane dog that scared everyone off and then loved us to bits. But it is time. So hard to say goodbye to a pure friend. I do feel like a natural death is better, that they have some say, and maybe help them along when it’s close. I thought the cancer would have taken her months ago and quickly, but she is fighting. She still looks to me each time I go out to her with eyes saying “How you doing Mum?” with big ears pushed forward, still bumps her head to me for a pat. She might not walk, but she is still with us and her daughter who she loves. The hard part of owning a pet that becomes your friend.

    I wish you all the best.

  • VIctoria

    Today I think I will be putting my 15.5 year old golden down. Think because I am in such turmoil about the thought of not having her anymore but she is in pain, can’t walk, won’t eat her food but will eat bread. She has been getting worse and worse over the past few months – walking crooked, slow getting up. Got home from work yesterday to her spread eagle in the kitchen and lethargic, heavily panting. Got her back to her bed where she laid and panted without moving her head. I got a Rymidal down her, she took it but nothing else. This morning I got her outside with a lot of help and she did her potty thing but won’t stand on her own and has no coordination. She drank some water, and is a bit more alert which makes it so darn hard to make the call and drive. I know what I must do but to do it is so hard….

  • chris

    @Brittany it sounds like you were a loving presence in your dog’s life. And when you are grown you will likely be a wonderful pet owner again.
    I am going to do some random act of dog kindness in your pet’s memory. Maybe we can all play it forward to celebrate the love of a deceased pet.

  • Brittany

    My dog shilo is like a brother to me, he is a loving and caring shitzu with a little bit of terrier,he is also 10. Today my father took shilo to the vet after seeing him moving slow not e ating and parcially in pain my dad tells me shilos bodie is not producing enough red blood cells. He is suppost to have 40 or more Red blood cells in his body but only has 16. Since I am only a middle child of my family of 6 including shilo I don’t have to really make the desion but it still hurts inside to hav him taken away from me by a simple little needle that’s injected into his blood stream. I don’t like seeing him in pain and weak but I don’t want to live my life without my shilo beside me licking my hand with joy and understanding. Is there anyway to get rid of the pain growwing in my heart with dispare? I would greatly injoy a answer.

  • kathy and LEO maguire

    I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. Finally, I just got the idea to bring the box of tissue and throw it on my bed instead of numerous trips to the bath. I am scrambling to experience every possible emotion I can now, before LEO is gone, so as not to have any regrets: I hate regrets. I’d prefer to make a jackass out of myself than experience regret. For me, it never fully goes away. It’s 1:59pm. The vet will be here at 5pm. Should I cancel? Very tempting. If so, then what? Can I get a few more good days out of him? What does LEO want? I’m feeling frantic, sick, my chest hurts. LEO is our 17year old darling friend. We found him on the street before we were married. Maybe to let him go is to equate the loss with my marriage. My darling husband and I are together however, I’m sure the longevity is synonymous with my marriage has alot to do with it: I AM losing a part of my union. Afterall, I’ve been married to two men all this time. Im having a hard time closing this book, for the last time, on 17 chapers of companionship; friendship, true doggie/human love. I’m terrified I’m forgetting something. With just one call I can alleviate this uncertainty. For what? Maybe I’m missing something. I could be too hasty. Tick Tock. Look at him. He’s comfortable right now, laying on his side where hes most comfy. Oh no, its my husband calling. He said his good byes yesterday before leaving for work…lots of tears there. He drives chemicals for a living, I dont want to cause him anymore undue grief so I told him I put it off. HIs response: “You made my heart smile” Yes, I do believe that was the right action to take. My husband always puts himself second to the safety of the public on roadways and I too feel a commitment as well. There’s LEO, when he’s at his most relaxed state..on his side. Otherwise, he lays in a contorted state and it’s distrubing to me: his back legs dont curl under properly for laying anymore which affects his front legs which affects the position of his head. I notice every little detail about this guy. Fortunately, I am home to take care of his every need. He barks and I jump. Lately, I’ve been needing to hoist him up, he lost the mobility and flexiabilty in his rear legs. I awake every morning to a LEO egg. Or lately, that egg wakes me up at 2am for attention. I joked to my husband “If LEO makes it outside THATS THE ACCIDENT!!! ” LOL. If thats all it was though I could most certainly postpone today. I’m like Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons. LOL. Or the Quicker Picker Upper gal commerical from the 70’s. Who was she? Wasnt that Rosie too? But its more than his regular irregular bowels. He’s been falling outside for the past week. It’s hard for him to pick up his front paws too. And as of late hes been a little damp when I pick him up. Cant help but to wonder how much longer he would have if his frequent seizures werent a factor. For every seizure he had myself or my husband sat with him, laid with him, cuddled him. Never once did he go thru one alone. Tick Tock. Another hour has gone by. So am I saying then I have 2 hours left with my friend????? Oh My Gosh. 17years reduced to 2 hours. It cant be!!! Yes, I think I would postpone if I didnt think I’d piss the vet off. I’ll call… maybe there was a clerical error. Think Kathy Think. Check list: We took 50 pics, my husband did a sketch of LEO and his friend Jimmy, I took his tag off for use in LEO art later. More hugs? Of course. I’m washing his rug so I can lay down next to him and more pics. If I were in a restaurant, I’d order a cup of hot water and 2 tea bags FOR MY EYES!!!!! I’m in/past menopause and yet I just got a visitor. ACKKKKKKKKKK. Where is the justice? Hes stretching. Since I’ve been noticing his hearing and eyesight diminishing I walk by him ALWAYS placing one foot close to his nose and rubbing his snout so he can smell me as I go by. I know he appreciates that. Deep breaths Kathy even though I feel a degree of hyperventilating starting. Yes, regret. I sure in the hell dont want to experience: “If I had only known” moments. “What if…..” neither. LEO is a big boy too. Maybe just his breed…a mixed breed of some sorts: Yellow lab/Old Yeller, tall. ……lalalala “and dont you make my brown eyes blue…..I’ll miss you LEO. One of the few things that brings us solace is that we will see you again. We get to see each other again in heaven. Yes, God cares. Hes sees and is aware of every sparrow. LEO will be united with us some day. But thats for later. That will help me in the grieving process later. Right now, I feel panic. And why dont someone invent a nose guard to prevent unwanted drips on the keyboard!!!!! We got everything else. LOL. How is it I can cry and laugh at the same time. Humor IS coping. Rug is in dryer: check. Put on lipstick for more pics. Honey, lipstick cant help this face now. But since I’m gonna be in denial anyway……….everything looks better in denial.
    WE picked LEO up from the road in 1997 in CALIF, moved to Alabama, moved to Florida, to Virgina, moved to North Carolina and now back where it all began only a few short miles from the beginning in 1997.
    Drip. Drip. Tick Tock. ONe more hour left. It just feels wrong to be able to preplan something of this magnitude; preplan sadness?
    Oh, I gotta go…someones at the door. Goodbye.

  • Carol

    We really have not been able to discuss putting down our dog as a family. No one wants to say that we should put our dear boy down. When we rescued him 9 years ago, the vet told us he was about 9, which means he might be as old as 18 – seems hard to believe! But he is really suffering and that is why I googled this discussion. He really cannot walk properly, he cannot see or hear, and he is not interested in eating. Several times we had to go into the woods to find him – we think he went there to die. We have to carry him around, and we try to keep him clean, but he is covered with excrement a lot of time from being unable to stand. He has been the world’s best pet. Just the cutest, best personality. The kids have grown up with him. I keep thinking he will just go to sleep on his own, it seems unnatural to end his life with artificial means…?

  • Dan

    My girl Dixie, a 14 year old Black Lab. She indeed is a hunting dog. She is now limping, she tore ligament’s in her back right leg, she put’s little to no pressure on it. She is so kind hearted, I know it’s time, saying good bye too such a beauty, it’s very difficult. With all of her hunting she has did, I would say she has about 3,000 mile’s underneath her and I know she would keep going if asked, that would be so selfish of me.

  • Pansy

    I have a beautiful American cockerspaniel about 11 years of age, we found her cause her previous owner abandoned her, yes she is blind, partially deaf and had a lost in appititte, couldnt really walk anymore as her leg joints were starting get weak, she was nearly runned down by a car after escaping from our house and she no longer did active activities with the family.. She was a good dog but her time has come when we decided that she was suffering and so we put her to sleep— couldn’t be selfish and kept her there for our own sake.

    Leila my lovely will always be remembered and missed. Peace.

  • Heather

    Im sitting here beside our elderly dog. He won’t eat or drink and he just keeps crying in pain. We should have him put down but my mother is too selfish to realize that he’s no living he’s just existing and barely that.

  • loretta

    i’m trying to make a decision for my beloved billie. she’s a 12 yr old yellow lab. i adopted her at 2 1/2. i knew she had an enlarged heart but couldn’t let anyone put her down. her cardiologist expected her to live only 7 years. she recently developed diabetes which has taken her sight quickly. she is also deaf. i look at her everyday and wonder will i know when it’s time. she eats but is still losing weight. she doesn’t seem to be in pain. she still enjoys rolling around in the yard. she pants constantly and seems to be distressed more often than not. i just don’t know what to do.
    will she let me know?

  • Rachel

    @ Debbie and Jason

    Jason, knowing that your beloved Lucy is sick has to be heartbreaking, and I am truly sorry. Enjoy every single minute you have with her! She will appreciate that you are there with her. It is hard without our pets, but you will find the strength to go on. Believe in yourself and know that Lucy wuld want you to live a long and happy life.

    Debbie, I am sorry for what you are going through and know how hard it is. It will be one month on the 22nd that I had my Sherman put out of his pain. I miss him every single day. Just know that is does get easier. It was the hardest decision that I have ever made, but know it was the right one. Just put your dog’s best interest at heart and you will know what is the right thing to do. I wish you all the best.

    Rachel

  • Jason Patchett

    I was told yesterday (18/07/2012) that my dog Lucy has a tumor growing up her spinal cord. She is only six and the most amazing Golden Labrador you could ever wish to have as your companion. The VET has told me that she has between 3 to 12 weeks left using chemotherapy. These next few weeks are going to be joyous yet very painful. I really will lose my best friend, we walk everywhere together and has had so much fun. She is loving, adoring and full of youth. My heart breaks knowing that soon, I will have to put her to rest. I’m not sure that I even want to go on and I’m 43! I may be a coward but it’s pure and utter pain. I just hope that one day, we will meet again in heaven.

  • Debbie

    Hello, I have been sitting here, reading all of your stories and agonizing over having to make this very same decision. My Seamus is 15 years old and has hip displasia, he poops and doesn’t even realize he is laying in it. We have been dealing with this for about a year now, he still eats and drinks and once he is up he still gets around. I wish there was no “choice” to be made. I wish God would step in and it wouldn’t be left up to me-my husband’s family think I am being selfish for not putting him down, but he has been a part of my family since he was 6 weeks old and it’s such a hard decision. Sorry if some of this doesn’t make sense, tears are streaming as I am typing.

  • cgmckeever

    There is an awesome article here:
    NEARING THE END page 36

    Excerpt:

    Anticipatory Grief
    When a terminal diagnosis is given, or
    if it is becoming evident that a pet does
    not have much time left, family members
    may begin to feel a great deal of sadness,
    anger, or a myriad of other emotions.
    These feelings, known as anticipatory
    grief, are a form of grief that occurs prior
    to the loss. If these feelings become debilitating, the best course of action is to
    seek out a professional therapist, or to
    find a local or online support group. The
    emotions that accompany anticipatory
    grief are often confusing and isolating.
    Talking through them in a professional
    setting may not alleviate these feelings
    entirely, but they may ease some of the
    secondary discomforts that often spring
    from these emotions.
    With this in mind, it is essential that
    families take the appropriate actions in
    the anticipatory stages to minimize the
    potential for feelings such as self loathing, uncertainty, and guilt after the death
    occurs. Many times family members will
    say, “What if we had done this,” or “We
    should have tried that.” A good way to
    defend against this is to have an end of
    life plan in place before it is needed. If
    possible, start by thinking about what
    you would do if you were given a terminal diagnosis and start gathering facts in
    order to be aware of all of your options.
    End of life care is continually changing
    and, if desired, euthanasia can be your
    family’s last resort rather than the only
    option. This may ultimately reduce the
    level of stress and guilt that is felt after
    the pet passes away.

  • Barbara and Joe Svoboda

    We decided yesterday(July 3,2012) to put Pepper, our 12 yr. old Lab to sleep. It was so sad for us, but I knew that day was coming. I whispered in her ear as I was petting her for the last time that she was going to a better place and she would be greeted by my little sister and my sisters-in-law whom they loved her alot, and one day we would see her again in the Heavens. I am so tearful as I am typing this, I miss her terribly. One minute I feel like I did the wrong thing and then the next minute I am relieved she is no longer in pain. So I pray to God we did the right thing for our beloved Pepper. She was a good dog through out her life with unconditional love and she will always be in our hearts. We love you,Pepper,and miss you very much.

  • Laurie Post author

    Hi Aiden,

    I’m not a veterinarian, and I don’t know if your dog was in pain before he died. I’m sorry you had to experience that – I know it would have been very difficult for me to hear my dog make a noise like that.

    I found a really good article about euthanasia in dogs. In it, Mo says that dogs may twitch and vocalize as they are being euthanized. This doesn’t mean they’re in pain – it’s just the drug kicking in and affecting their bodies.

    I believe that dogs are not in pain when they are put to sleep. I think your dog reacted to the drug, but didn’t experience pain. Those drugs are powerful and effective, and work really fast.

    I hope this helps, and I wish you all the best as you heal from saying good-bye.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Aiden

    Hi I’m sorry to hear of your loss 🙁 I just have a question about Euthanasia, today(now yesterday) at 6 at night, I had my beloved 10 year old bunny put to sleep as a result of a bad eye infection. The vet gave him a muscle relaxer that soon caused him to fall asleep, once asleep the vet gave him the injection to his kidney, after waiting a while is heart had not stopped. She then pulled him out of the box, shaved his ear and gave him the injection to his ear (still asleep), as she began to push the needle and the fluid came out, he tried to move his head and he kicked his leg, then let off this horrible squeal that I will never forget, to me it sounded like a scream of horrific pain. But I haven’t got a lot of knowledge on this topic so I was wondering, as a vet could you please give me an honest answer? Would you be able to tell if he was in pain right before he passed, or was that simply just a muscle convulsion and a nerve twitch?
    Thank you for your time, your answer will be very appreciated 🙂

  • cgmckeever

    @walter — here are my thoughts

    you’ll want to work up to a place where you feel internally good that you made your pups last fews days full of love and him knowing how amazing he has been in your life. Be it a week from today or 6 months today. Heck .. this is how we should treat them all the time, its so easy just to let life get in the way

    as much as you contemplate the issue, come to grips that there is always a time where you will need to say goodbye .. and that it is truly the most humane and selfless thing you can do – to help usher them in.

    DONT let the descision get in the way of you making them feel and know how much they are loved as the time nears. This is one of my greatest regrets is that a lot of the weekend I spent in my own turmoil … and then, one day she was gone.

    Decide if your decision to keep them is for you or them. You’ll know when it becomes more for you than them, and just keep in mind that its (unfortuantely) how things are ..we need to say goodbye to our most loyal and loved friends

  • cgmckeever

    @walter — if you (or anyone) wants someone to bounce things off of – feel free …. its the username above @gmail.com

  • Walter

    I have a golden retreaver that is over 84 dog years old,His hip hurt some times but not all the time.he seems to have no energy and some times I have to help him get up from laying around so much cause of stiffness.He dosent play any more all he does is eat and lay on his side pressed up aginst the wall.This dog has been the love of my life for a pet and I have so many fun memorys I dont know if I should send him off to rain bow bridge where pets wait for their owners to pass over also to meet them.Can any one give me insite or advise I am to week.And the worst thing is I am a man and I guess I should be stronger.

  • cgmckeever

    Yesterday I had a 30 minute phone call with a animal psychic. Let me put it this way. I am a very analytical person, but there is a piece of me that strongly hopes that there is really more than the daily grind leading into the inevitable.

    He told me what I needed (wanted?) to hear in a way that I needed to hear it. Nothing that I havent already heard, but said in a way (and maybe perspective) that just resonated.

    Yes, he said some things that I didnt tell him, but nothing that some creative googling possibly couldnt find. He touched on the psychological/emotional turmoil I was having and talked me through it.

    There were a lot of coincidental circumstances that lead up to our good bye. Two weeks prior, I received a phone call from someone that was once extremely connected to my baby girl, in which I havent spoken to in close to 10 years. What was the subject line? ‘How is my baby’

    The week prior, I took her to the vet. It was a routine visit – one that I didnt feel was needed, but maybe there was an anti-inflammatory for her arthritis. That Friday I got a reality check from the blood work, which pushed me into spending a strong loving weekend with her. One that was unfortunately wrought with contemplation and turmoil.

    I started to notice (coincidentally) that when Karma would walk under the CO2 detector it would beep. The beep of a low battery – but it would be once and then never again – unlike the continual beep to get you to replace the battery (keep this in your head, its gonna shock you in 1 paragraph)

    On Sunday, I learned about a new local ER. 2 hours later, I found myself at that ER – whose bedside manner and facility for saying goodbye was unparalleled. It wasnt an exam room – it was a peace room. A room set up so both parties were comfortable and can spend the last few minutes in embrace and love.

    Throughout the week, as I was waking, I would hear the CO2 detector beep. The mornings have been the hardest, knowing that there isnt a little princess to take out or feed. The beep would shock me, again — only happens randomly (again – dont think I am nuts — its just the little things that I am trying to connect with to make this transition easier).

    Yesterday — one week after learning the reality I started to tremble and needed a quick walk. 30 minutes later, I got a call from the vet that Karma’s ashes have arrived.

    Coincidental or not – I received them 40 minutes before my Animal Guide call. 30 seconds before the call … What happened? The CO2 detector beeped, then the phone rang.

    (preface some of this can be found via creative googling, some of it even within the blog commentary)

    I am 100% positive that all I told him was that her name was Karma.

    He knew her breed and that her ears were floppy (not indicative of the breed). He nailed her age. He asked if the end was quick, but planned.

    The one thing that I wanted to know – was if something during that weekend was a tipping point. The response was that it was time.

    She was still processing it all, but was happy and knew that everything that led up to it was needed.

    A parting comments was ‘one of her favorite moments was the ice cream’. Well who doesnt give their pup some ice cream 😉 ? … Regardless, I had just given her some over that weekend — so it resonated.

    He spoke to me directly about just the loss and mourning period. It was good, it was needed. I appreciate the talk – it was different than a friend, it was different than a therapist – it was simply what I needed to hear and how I needed to hear it.

    In addition – this blog has been a tremendous inspiration for me – not only to get my thoughts out, but to bond with the others on here.

    Thank you

  • Rachel

    @cgmckeever and @gerry I so know what you are ging through. Yesterday we put our beloved Beagle to sleep. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It was time, he was in pain and suffering. I feel so guilty for the decision that I made for him. I haven’t stopped crying much since then. I miss him so much already. We have a 3 year old Golden Retriever that seemed fine yesterday, I don’t think he realized he was really gone. This morning is a different story, he seems very sad. This is all breaking my heart, and I hope it gets easier very soon.

  • cgmckeever

    @gerry – I am going through a similar thing right now. I feel empty, and that I made a decision which resulted in me saying goodbye to my best friend.

    I know deep down that she was going to (and quite possibly already begun to) suffer. It just is surreal that one moment she was here, and the next she wasnt, and it was all based on a decision.

    But as someone said earlier, the best gift we can ever give them is the humanity to not have them suffer, and the selflessness to not keep them around for our own.

    Let us cherish the thoughts and unconditional love that they bestowed on us, and know that they are in a better place.

  • Gerry

    Hi, this is so difficult- My wife and I had our beloved German Shepherd, Tara, put to sleep on Monday 18th. I feel so guilty about it. I took her to the Vet 18 months ago as she was starting to be a bit unsteady on her feet. The vet said she had hip displasia, and said she would probably go off her back legs in 6- 12 months. We were obviously devastated at this- Tara was 9 at the time- and was otherwise fit and healthy. 6 months went by, and her unsteadiness got worse… after 12 months she had gone off her back legs completely (Christmas 2011) and we invested in a dog mobility trolley for her so she could still go for walks(which she really enjoyed). She would go on her trolley and pull herself along quite happily with her front legs with the wheels doing the job of her back legs. At home, she was like a seal- pulling herself along across the carpet…but she managed OK and still had a good appetite and played with her toys. By the beginning of June there was no feeling or movement in her back legs at all, and she had slowed down considerably on her trolley. Whereas before, we couldn’t keep up with her, it was now taking an eternity to get round the field. Her front legs also seemed to be weaker, and she would sometimes slip in the kitchen, landing flat on her stomach. My wife and I decided on Monday that it wasn’t fair any more… she couldn’t toilet herself, she was semi incontinent and needed help to be fed and have a drink. It just seemed that she had little quality of life. In the last week, she also cried after coming back from the field. So we made the difficult decision on Monday to put her to sleep. The thing that made it all the more difficult was that she was still alert and had a good appetite…it was her body that let her down. I still feel guilty, although I know she was deteriorating and was likely to be in pain. She was on pain killers already with anti inflammatories, but that obviously wasn’t enough. We shall never forget her.
    Gerry

  • Carolyn

    My 12 year old chihuahua seems to be in ok health. He eat well, drinks alot and now has problems with peeing and pooping in the house multiple times a day. He has also become very intolerant of my two kids and nips and growls at them all the time. I am at a loss! I am contemplating putting him down because I feel he is not happy and I don’t want him to hurt my kids, is that wrong?

  • Debbie

    I am so grateful for everyone’s post on this message board. This sick feeling I have doesn’t seem quite so unbearable now.
    I’ve decided to take my 14 year old maltese, Kittie Lu to the vet tomorrow and have her put to sleep. I keep telling myself she has good days still, but the fact remains that she’s in pain every day from arthritis. She can barely see and her hearing is going as well.
    Having your messages to read is helping me with the agony of taking her in. She will be relieved from the pain she is in and the frustration she must feel when she falls off the steps or bumps into things.
    Kittie Lu has seen me through 3 solid years of bad health and spent endless hours laying next to me in bed. Her constant comfort and companionship also got me through a very sad divorce. Now that I am strong again, I have to be good to her and let her go before her suffering is constant and void of good times.
    We had a good day today working in the garden. She laid in the sun for a bit and then watched me from the porch. We went for a ride and she’s had some yummy cheese. She’s dirty from the outdoors and is laying on the bed between the cat and me. I’ll give her a nice warm bath tonight, put a pretty, pink bow in her hair and snuggle one last night… she deserves endless sweet dreams.
    Peace be with you all during this difficult time.

  • Renee

    Hi Rachel, I just have to say after reading your comment it is as if I wrote it myself. Your scenario is so similar to mine. I think if you really read what you wrote that is all the assurance you need. You will see that you are saying your poor baby’s quality of life is just not there. I know we get side tracked from our decision when we see a sign of their tail wagging or them eating but the reality is they lived a long happy life and just need for us to do right by them and take them to their next life. I know it is so hard and it just would be easier if we had a vet tell us what to do. 🙂 We have to be strong for our babies! I know it is hard. I am going this Saturday with my little Allie monster. waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah..but I know it is the right thing to do. I can’t watch her discomfort anymore. 🙁

  • cgmckeever

    @rachel — you explained my situation to a tee. Spend some amazing time with him and let him know what a wonderful part of the family and your life he has been.

  • Rachel

    I am having a horrible time deciding to put my dog to sleep. He is a 12 year old Beagle. He’s had arthritis, and it just seems to be getting worse. He is very unsteady on his feet, gets knocked down very easily and has a very hard time getting back up. We had to buy him a ramp to go up and down the 4 stairs to get outside, this is now very difficult for him. His eyesight and hearing are going, and his belly appears fatter than normal. It takes him a long time to even sit or lay down. He sleeps all the time, and now snaps at people if he gets nervous that he may get hurt. The poor thing just doesn’t seem happy, I don’t know the last time his tail wagged, and he has stopped barking at passerbys in the past week. Some days his breathing is faster than others, and he has started coughing the past couple days. I guess I just need assurance that I am doing the right thing, probably cause he still eats, but he has always had food agression so it doesn’t surprise me that much. The last time I took him to the vet, his pulse was very weak and so was he. They had know idea what was wrong with him, and in a couple days he perked back up. This time is different, he just seems to be in pain and not happy. God, I hope I am doing the right thing! 🙁

  • cgmckeever

    @Renee and @Lisa — I just read both your messages. The first thing that I will say to you is change the mind set from ‘putting down’ to saying goodbye and ushering them into a better place.

    Your gut knows its time, your heart wants more time. Enjoy the moments. Cherish the memories. I am finally getting to a place where I can clearly see that keeping her around would have only been for me, and she would have started to suffer. Maybe I was in denial for a little while, but I honestly and truly know that there was still love in her heart and wagger in her tail … but it was going to leave quick.

    Things I wish I knew then that I realize now … If it is 1 minute or 10 minutes, enjoy the time – and dont contemplate the decision. Let them know that they are loved. Rub their belly Tell them how special they are and how they changed you forever.

    I was there with her as she moved on. I couldnt encourage this more so. Giving them comfort and knowing they you are with them now and forever. My only realization was, I wish I could have kept my composure. She was calm, but I wish I could have reciprocated and made it as peaceful as possible.

    Keep their love in your hearts … and feel their imprint on you forever.

  • Lisa

    15 years ago I was having a difficult time after a break up with my boyfriend when my mom showed up on my doorstep with a gift, a cocker spaniel puppy. The best gift Ive ever been given! I named her Muffin & she has been my most loyal friend and constant companion as I am now 40 & never married. I worked for an animal hospital for many years & was lucky enough to always be able to give her the highest quality of care but now its getting very close to time to put her to sleep, she was at the vet about a month ago for a dental cleaning & while under anesthesia they discovered a large mass in her abdomen, they said at her age they didnt recommend surgery so take her home & enjoy the time you have left with her. That time is here and I am not sure how Im going to do this. I am sitting here at 4:30 am writing this because Muffin woke me up by wandering into the kitchen bumping into walls & not being able to find her way back out, I got up to let her out & it was just now that I realized its “time”. I was just at the vets last pm picking up meds for her & while there I scheduled an appt for this monday to discuss putting her down & now I fear it will be the day I have to say goodbye……..Im heartbroken:-(

  • Cindy

    Vee, I am so sorry. We had to put our little yourkie down two days ago.
    Out of the blue she went into kidney failer at 13 years old and the vet said she was dying and her organs were shutting down and that to spare here suffering we need to. No treatment could help her at the stage she was in. It is so hard. But we have to remember that we keep them alive for us. Dogs to not have a sense of time and future. They know now..this moment, which is part of the reason they come with so much to teach us. If you could save your dog one day of suffering when the outlook of every getting better again is not possible, you should. We are heart broken but every pet owner knows when they bring that puppy home that the day will come to face the goodbye. When my other youkie was put down 8 months ago and we held him..all I could say was thank you, and I love you. Life is about change…sometimes it hurts. Sometimes love is making the hard choice. Read the book if you have not already..The Art of Racing in the Rain. It is told from a dogs point of view. When a dog can not longer have the joy of being a dog..it is time. It is humane, it can be a final act of love when a dog is suffering. God bless you. I know how much it hurts. We have been crying non stop to not have her any longer. We cry because for now life is not as sweet without her. It will be sweet again when when the reason for change shows itself. For now we greive we cry we remember but we do not have to watch her suffer which wold hurt even more. Thank you for loving you animal so much. Love is the only thing that lasts forever and you will be forever together in that love. I promise..The story of the Velvetine Rabbit….you do not become “real” until you have loved and been loved has so much truth to it. You both are now real in love and love is forever.

  • Renee

    I have read everyone’s heart wrenching stories and although it makes me sad, it really puts in perspective we need to do what is best for our furry family members. Today I have decided it is time to end my 15 year old cocker spaniel, Allie’s life. I seriously do not know how I will find the strength to physically get her to the vet and actually go through with it. She is deaf and blind, bad arthritis and in pain. Her quality of life consists of sleeping and banging in to things all day. I look at her and when she lays down her head does not even hit the floor, I just know her eye pressure is high and she is walking around with the equivalent to a migraine. I have her on three medications and am getting recommendations to take her to eye specialist. At some point we have to ask ourselves, what is next? If I take her to specialist then what? She remains blind, deaf, bad arthritis and has a large fatty tumor about the size of her head on her shoulder. In a way I almost feel ashamed for selfishly keeping her around only to make myself feel better. I guess we should have known when we made a member of our family, this day would come and we almost don’t have a choice. It is the utlimate selfless act to make sure our little buddy is no longer living in pain. I hope you all find comfort with this decision and their absence gets easier.

  • cgmckeever

    This article helped me with one of the hardest decisions I have ever faced. My baby girl – Karma had been losing mobility for a few months – and it may have been longer, I was just in denial.

    Last summer, at the beach – one her most favorite places on this planet – she didnt have the spunk, and her legs started to shake. She was 13 at the time. Playing fetch, she would, on a good day, maybe retrieve the ball twice before laying down.

    Then, as I said, the last few months her mobility worsened. She resisted walking, and we had to handle her potty situation as best we could.

    She still had happiness in her eyes, but I know with each passing day and her lying around that it was leaving her.

    Then last week, I took her to the vet – hoping for a miracle arthritis pill. Based on her history and age, the vet didnt think that was an option. A few days later the blood work came back.

    She had history of a liver issue that could never be isolated, and the results were now off the chart. The vet said testing would just lead to information for an informed decision, she is too old to treat.

    Now – I dont know if this was straight talk (most likely) or just BS .. but it was what I needed to hear. I left early from work and we went to the beach. I could tell she wanted to be there, but she realized she didnt have it in her.

    The rest of the weekend, I spent in turnmoil – but also surrounded her with love. I got her favorite McDonalds fries, and I remember her finding them in her bowl during the middle of the night.

    On Sunday we went to the park and chilled in the shade. She had little energy. My gut told me it was near, my brain said that she is no sicker than before the vet visit. I swore to myself that when she is definitively suffering — I wont debate, and I will usher her into a new life.

    When we got back from the park, we took a nap — when she woke up – she came looking for me. Not something that she has recently done. When I took her out – she pee’d dark brown almost red. I knew it was time.

    We went to the ER where I was told that she had a fever and dehydration. I could put her into 24hr ICU/IV .. but I knew what was needed.

    I spent a few minutes alone with her – holding her as close as I could and then helped usher her into the next phase of her eternal life.

    I have many questions – did I over exert her during the weekend, or was she happy that we got to spend time together. Was the decision and time too quick near the end.

    All I know is that in retrospect, her quality of life was starting to (if not minimized) by just existing.

    Was she happy? Her tail was wagging, her eyes had life … but was it consistent? Was she suffering? I dont think she was in pain, but her struggle with mobility was getting worse.

    Im dealing with this the best I can – and I miss her extremely .. but I know that if she was still here today, it would have crossed the lateral to be more for me than her. This doesnt detract from how much I miss her. I will never stop. I love her — she was and always will be my baby girl

  • TorontoLady

    We have a 12 year old American Eskimo. We adopted her when she was 2 and I was not even old enough to drive now 10 years later she cant walk, poos and pees her self dosent eat, has diabetes and is just not enjoying life. It is very hard to say goodbye since its my parents decision.
    But it just really hurts my heart. I wish she passed naturally in her sleep vs. us making the conscious decision to end her life. That is what I was struggling with:(
    healing light and love to us all.
    Hope to see them again some day.

  • Laurie Post author

    I’m so sorry you have to face this – it’s a terrible, terrible thing to have to put your dog to sleep. I’ve only had my dog for one year, and a couple nights ago I dreamed that she died. I woke up crying and hyperventilating, and will never forget how much pain I felt at her death.

    I think the best way to cope with putting your dog to sleep is to keep reminding yourself that if your dog stayed alive, she’d be in pain. Her life is winding down, and it’s not humane or healthy to keep her alive no matter what.

    And, who’s to say that death is bad or unhappier than life? What if death is peaceful or even joyous? We’re very scared of death, but we don’t know why we’re so scared of it.

    The worst part of losing your dog is facing life without her, after she’s been your constant companion. She has loved you unconditionally, and has relied on you for her very life. Now you feel like you’re betraying her by putting her down…but I don’t see it as a betrayal. I see it as a final act of love and care.

    It’s facing life without her that’s the most painful part. And I don’t know what to say to make it better. I wish I had words of wisdom or healing, but all I can say is that you’re not alone…and it will get better. In time you’ll remember your dog with love, peace, and joy. And, maybe you’ll open your heart and home to another dog who needs love, who will be devoted and loyal to you.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Vee

    I can’t let go… It’s hurting… My goirgeous sammie Ursa has been with me for 14 gorgeous years and I know the time has come. She has an evolving case or paralysis and the cortisone shots no longer seem to be doing the trick. This morning she went out for her morning pee and fell down on top of it. The look of stress and anguish in her face was terrible. For the past five months we’ve been giving her shots of cortisone and she always bounces back to a certain extent.But now she’s not doing it any more. She hasn’t had a bite for 2 days and she just lies there… she pooped herself too and she just looks mortified. I hate to admit that she has to cross the raimbow bridge now, I just can’t seem to find it in me. I’m killing my best friend! We’re so strongly against doing it to humans, why should we do it to our pets who are sometimes ten times as loyal and kind as any human being?? Why is eutrhanaisa on an animal “kindness” but on human beings its “murder”? I can’t seem to find the strength, I know I should, I know she’s no longer happy here, but she’s been my best friend for 14 years,how am I supposed to do this?? (Can’t stop crying as I type this… god it hurts…) Please help me.

  • Nick

    This morning we had to make the decision to let our beloved Dalmatian Rex go, just four weeks after losing our sweetpea Roo also a Dalmatian. Both were fourteen years old when they passed and both times we knew that we had to put our selfish feelings aside and let them go, because keeping them going just one more day would have been selfish. Why should they suffer just because we need to keep them with us? Now they are gone, the most instinctive reaction is to break down crying, which we are doing constantly, but once again this is only thinking of ourselves and the loss we are feeling. It brings a smile to our faces and a warm feeling inside our hearts when we think of the love there was between us and that no longer are they in pain.

    We know it is hard to think about doing what must be done, but when you are faced with this decision, look into their eyes and you will know when it is time and when it happens, however hard it is, be there with them and let your face be the last thing they see.

    XXX

  • Tracey

    Hi I HAVE A POODLE CALLED CURLEY, AND CURLEY IS 14 years old… Curley is a charming gental little sole. But for about 6 months now he has started to poop,pee, and vomit inside, when he is outside or letf inside by himself he howls all the time and dosent stop..this has been stressful for all… I am getting told it time to put him down, he follows me every where , now he is deaf and dosent see to well , we have him on medication the vet says he is very well in all other ways ,healthy… I just don’t know what is best he has been apart of the family for so long and given so much love to us all, I don’t want to say good bye.

  • sue Tucker

    I have a 16 year old dog called socks. Today I’m making the hardest dicision of my life.

    Socks has a heart condition, breathing problems, back legs are going and she doen’t eat every day. She sits all day and paces last thing at night. She can’t walk outside for more than 10 minutes. She still has a play with me at night (some times). I don’t think she is in pain but 80% she seems very unhappy. She is settled as long as she knows where i am. When I’m at work she sits by the front door and waits.

    I don’t want her to go! She means everything to our family. Deep in my heart with all my pain and guilt I know she needs to be helped on her way.

    Help Me I don’t know what to do.

    I can’t stop crying

  • Rose

    I Have on the 29th May 2012 had to have my Best friend & sole mate boxer dog Tigger put to sleep he would be 10yrs old on July 18th 2012.

    Daddy had taken him his usual morning walk on the field behind where we live it was only a small walk as he had been diagnosed with an enlarged heart twelve months ago and was on heart medication , as he was coming off the field Tigger collapsed, after a few minutes he made it back to the house Tigger walked through the house onto the decking outside the back garden vomited drank out of his water dish I had just filled then lay down totally exhausted. I knew he wasn’t right so I called the emergency vet who asked us to take him in ,when we arrived the vet picked him up and carried him to his room and gave Tigger a thorough examination, He looked up at me and said he was very anaemic and he could take bloods but we would still be here until 6pm and he would still be saying the best thing we could do was to let him go !! I cried so much and kissed him and talked to Tigger until he fell asleep I had Tigger cremated and have now had his ashes back, I also requested a cutting of his hair for a keepsake and have now found a site who are at this minute making a necklace with a forget me not flower inside with some of Tiggers hair placed inside and engraved on the back some wonderful words so I can keep him next to my heart forever I am devastated and miss him until I ache ,but I couldn’t let him suffer ,I have made a photo album from when Tigger was a puppy to the day before he fell asleep I was always taking pictures of him, I have a huge canvas of Tigger in the livingroom and a huge framed picture over our bed infact his pic is in every room , He will be in my thoughts forever,
    It is a big decision to make but don’t let him suffer! speak to your vet take care god bless .

  • Dianne

    My Pumpkins was just 7 WHEN I PUT HER TO SLEEP TWO WEEKS AGO TODAY. SHE GOT TO WHERE SHE COULD NOT STAND OR WALK. WITHOUT FALLING. I CARRIED HER AROUND WITH ME. FINALLY I KNEW IT WAS TIME IN HER EYES WHEN SHE LOOKED AT ME. SHE WAS COMFORTING ME BECAJSE SHE KNEW I DID NOT WANT TO LOSE JER. SHE WAS A POM AND MY HEART. I CRY EVERYDAY AND FEEL SO LONELY WITHOUT HER I WILL NEVER GET ANOTHER ONE BECAUSE THE HURT IS TO BAD TO GO THROUGH IT AGAIN.

  • Sara

    I put my 10 year old cat down a few months ago. He had lyphoma. One night at 130am I looked at him and just knew it was time. My heart still breaks when I think of him. But I know that he was in severe pain, not eating, drinking and had lost more than half his body weight in 6 months. He was my baby, he Will always have a place in my heart. Sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing. Then I remember the look on his face that night when the decision was instantly made. He is in a better place now with no more pain and suffering. My boyfriend has a dog that is past his time. I wish he would put him down. I don’t say anything because the choice needs to come from him. I have learned 1 thing from the years tragic events. When your best friend who can’t tell you what’s wrong is no longer enjoying life and is suffering its much kinder to put them down then watch their days go by in misery.

  • Beth Barbaro

    I’m sitting here reading your article with tears running down my face. My beloved boxer Cleo who is 8 has suddenly taken a turn for the worst. She developed swollen lymph nodes in her neck about a month ago and was treated with anti-biotics and anti-inflammitories, and did great until one week ago. She had continued to eat and play with no issues, then very suddenly she started loosing weight very quickly, I think her sister was eating her cleo’s share of the food. We changed her to soft food smaller portions more often but is now vomiting. They think that the swollen lymph nodes where actually an enlarged thyroid which almost always means cancer. I can’t bare nor afford to put her through a long drawn out battle with cancer. We are going to the vet in the morning for a recheck and I think the only thing left to do is put her out of her suffering. I am afraid that her sister our almost 11 year old boxer will be so heart broken that she will closely follow her to doggie heaven. I will loose my girls very close together and it breaks my heart. Thank you for putting this in such a caring and heart felt light. I was feeling like going to vet tomorrow and saying I think it’s end for her that they would think I was a horrible person, but being her doggie mom I know what decision I need to make. Thanks! Beth (sad doggie mom)

  • Miranda

    I have a Border Collie mix named Bella who is just under 9 years old. Long story short, she’s been having several problems recently such as loss of appetite, dramatic weight loss, arthritis in her back legs, and incontinence. She doesn’t seem to be in much pain, but it’s obvious she’s in severe discomfort. We’ve been debating on whether or not to put her down for a few days now. And based on her condition, I certainly think it’s the right decision. But what’s tearing me apart is the fact that she seems somewhat young to be put down. I honestly don’t know if we’ve done everything we can to save her. I still think she might have some fight left in her, and I couldn’t live with myself if we euthanized her prematurely. I know it’s kinder to put her down. But I just don’t want to give up on her if there’s a chance we could improve her quality of life for just a little bit longer. If there are no improvements within a certain period of time, chances are good that we’ll put her down regardless.

    We’ve had to put a couple of animals to sleep in the past, and it felt like they pretty much told us that they were ready to go. But it’s completely the opposite with Bella. It’s so hard to decipher whether or not she’s telling us she’s ready to go. Man, it’s times like these I wish animals could directly speak to us.

  • Ann Obrzut

    hi, this is so hard for me, clancy has been with me for 16 years. im crying like a baby right now. i dont want to let him go. he has been having difficulty getting around, his back end is shot. but he got around. his appetite is super. but now, we go to help him up when he falls and now he cant stay up. he doesnt cry at all. i am taking him to the vet tomorrow and kind of leave it up to a professional opinion. Just put my 15 year old cat down a month ago. this is such an awful feeling.

  • Natalie

    Ellen, I am so sorry you are going through this. I think it would be best to gather the whole family around and have an honest talk about this situation once and for all. This is going to be one of the most important events in your childrens life, therefore you have to handel it diplomatically yet honestly. If your dog is not doing better, you are just prolonging the discomfort for him and you know that sooner or later, you will have to face that final day. It is going to be very hard, but know for sure that you will be given the strength to go on and one day smile again, and maybe one day re-open your hearts and home to a doggy who needs your love. God bless you.

  • Ellen

    Hello. I am in the same spot most of you are too…. My (was 165lb…now130lb) American Bulldog Duke is looking not so hot these days. He has been diagnosed with cancer and heartworm recently. I brought him in for a very swollen paw and we found out that is was most likely due to the cancer. He seems happy most days still, but his paw is still swollen. It is pitting edema and weeps fluid daily. Yesterday I noticed a small puddle of fluid under his paw as he was laying on my floor. I decided right then and there i couldnt let this go on. I fear it getting infected from constant moisture paired with this heat wave we are having in Michigan. My husband is already so upset with me talking about putting him to sleep so i feel like im in a very tough spot. We also have a 3 year old and 2 year old twin girls thgat are OBSESSED with their dogs. Any advice for me? Im so sad to see him changing like this but I have to be rational. How should I approach this? any advice would help. Thanks! Ellen.

  • Samantha

    My sweet baby girl, best friend, soulmate, and love of my life hasn’t been herself the past 4 days. It seems to get slightly worse each day. She does have happy moments. The outdoors, short walks, hard boiled eggs and lots of lovin’ seem to pep her up which makes this decision even harder. About 6 months ago she got very sick, we took her to the vet and discovered a very large tumor in her abdomen and were told we should think about euthanizing her in the next few days. My family and I was absolutely devastated. I cried for several days even though she was feeling better. I changed her diet to 100% organic vegetarian, made sure she got lots of exercise and attention and she was better than ever. She had the energy of a puppy and lost 10 lbs! (she was slightly overweight before). I am so grateful for the extra 6 months I got with her that I thought I would not have. Although it is extremely devastating, and a very difficult decision, with an unclear answer, I know in my heart it’s her time to go. I cannot stand to see her in discomfort any longer, and I know she doesn’t like to see me cry all the time. I haven’t left her side for more than a few minutes these past few days, in fact she’s right next to me. Sleeping like an angel 🙂 I love you so much, Georgia. I’ll be missing you more than you know. We’ll be together again very soon.

  • Jeff

    Dear Laurie and all

    Thank you for the support last month regarding my child.

    She passed in her sleep on her own terms last week. Thanks God I didn’t have to do that horrid vet scene.
    She was eating/drinking the last night but passed while I was asleep. She didn’t want me to witness this.

    Was quite a shock to see her gone but I’m happy she went in her own warm bed.
    Had her nearly 18 years and being a large dog, that is a long time. A blessing. 17 very good years. The last 6 months were a challenge but I wanted her to go when she wanted to. As per the vet the last week, she didn’t appear to be in pain otherwise I would have done the horrendous E word.

    I firmly believe (in the absence of pain and unhappiness in their eyes) pets should pass naturally on their terms even if their health places a burden on the owner.
    Would you carry your Mother out of her bed to be terminated against her wishes?
    I know some will say they are animals, people are people. Sorry I don’t buy it.
    Some will say the animal can’t make decisions to pass on their own, I disagree, they will give up when THEY want to, naturally.

    I will go on a personal crusade against that horrible unnatural euthanasia. Its just not natural.
    Yes yes do it if the pet is in pain or has given up food water and that spark is gone in their eyes.

    You will know by the pets eyes when they are ready to check out.

    Had a wonderful wake and service for her at a beautiful chapel/cemetery. Watched her go into the ground hysterical saying goodbye.

  • Kathi

    I found this webpage while I was searching for the answer of how not to have to put my girl down. I dont think I can handle it without an enormous amount of crying and hysteria. Princess is 13 (March 7th) German Shepard, she is my girl.She has had the hip issues for awhile and though she has been on glycosame for years and now on steroids from the vet she is still getting worse. She is doing her business in the house almost everyday.She is eating the diaper off and the poop,she ate the bootie off her foot(she has been dragging her feet and the knuckles are bleeding. She still gets her stick when we go out and always want to run for it-she loves her stick! I am beside myself but my house is really starting to hold the smells and my back porch looks like a crime scene with all the streaks of blood from her toes. I dont think she feels it because I wash them and she doesnt flinch plus her leg has almost no resistance. I bought her a wheel chair but its no good, she cant lay down in it and she cant use it in the house. 3 nights ago she woke me up barking/howling because she couldnt get up of the wood floor. I want her to have a natural death but I dont want her to die without me being here. OMG I am a wreck, my neighbor thought I should bring her to the vet a month ago but I cant, she still wants to play with her stick! I appreciate a place I can put this down. Thanks

  • pearllb

    I realize the choice is a personal one which no one can make for you but I do feel I need support in even contemplating this agonizing decision. My dog has just turned 14, he is a cockapoo we has since a puppy that has been given an amazing life. About 9 months ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer which was discovered from tests following increased urination in the house. We chose to do chemotherapy that is now being followed up with chemo we give him in the form of pills and were told that the tumor did decrease. We never expected him to be cured but rather increase his quality of life and give him the opportunity to die of old age as opposed to the severe pain symptoms associated with prostate cancer. We were hoping that he would urinate less as his tumor shrunk but it has only increased over the past few months. Needless to say we have spent thousands of dollars, prob close to 7 or more right now so I can honestly say we have done everything possible to extend his life. He still eats, begs for food, needs to be lifted often, wags his tail when we get home and doesn’t appear to be in pain except for arthritis that he takes meds for. The biggest problem for us is that he urinates and deficates in the house all day and I mean sometimes every 15 min. I am cleaning up from him all day long from morning until night, he does hold it at night when he’s sleeping but usually that’s no more then 6 hrs at best. We started to put down wee wee pads that I thought was such a great idea, he was going on them about 50 percent of the time but now its probably more like 25%, maybe. It has gotten to the point where I hate being home sometimes because of the constant cleaning that is required and I am not exaggerating when I report that it can be every 30 mins, esp urination but I also think the chemo has contributed toward stomach issues as well. I know his quality of life is not the same, he sleeps more, the side of his face around the mouth has begun to droop, not sure what that is yet. What i do know is that our quality of life has suffered from all of this, not to mention the environment of the our house. We can not really get the oder out and as much as we all adore him there is part of me that doesn’t want him around due to the constant cleaning. I could go on here and I thank anyone that takes the time to read all of this rambling. It feels good to write it so even if someone doesn’t respond it has been a helpful activity. I know I’ve been an incredible dog owner, almost always putting my dogs needs first but I just don’t how much more I can take of this, my husband feels the same but I can’t even imagine putting our dog to sleep. Any words of advice or support would be so appreciated.

  • Kannan

    Dear Kristin, it is the same with most of us. It is not at all an easy decision to put your so loved pet to sleep. Though our pet might be going through a lot of pain, they would not let us know it. Probably they don’t want to see us put into agony seeing them suffering. So, neither the pet is interested to bid good bye to us. But, unfortunately and definitely no one else could decide on it. It is you and you alone would be taking this unpleasant decision. It is how cruel of Him (the Almighty)to let this be decided by us! You wouldn’t be able to forgive yourself if you decide it wrongly, in a hurry. So, don’t decide it on a hurry. Judge on the pet’s condition watching / observing closely and decide if you are convinced -considering the quality of his life and the sufferings he is enduring everyday – that it would be definitely better for Samson to bid good bye. Talk to him. Definitely our pets understand our language and feelings better than we understand theirs.

  • Kristin

    My puppy is now 18 years/3 months. Samson pre-dates my husband and 3 children coming into my life!!!! He has been the perfect dog. I’m struggling, as I see so many of you are to, to find the “time” to put him to sleep! I’ve prayed fervently that he would tell me he was done by dying in his sleep or just refusing to eat. Though his hearing is mostly gone, he sees fine and eats twice a day. But he can no longer lift himself to a standing position, and falls regularly because his back legs don’t work well. He now poops and pees in his sleep…but still pees outside too when we get him up and out. How do you live with the guilt of deciding the time for your pet to die!!! I don’t know that he has quality of life. But he obviously has the will to live with his eating/drinking. Wish someone would take the decision out of my hands. Samson will for sure be in heaven, but I don’t want to “kill” him because he’s an inconvience or sleeps all day! What to do!

  • Sarah

    Our beloved Yorkie/Spitz is 16 years old, is deaf and almost completely blind. She has a heart murmer that the vet says is a 5 out of 5 in severity. The murmur is causing congestive heart failure and ultimately renal (kidney) failure. She has lost weight and is not able to be an active ranch dog anymore. She sleeps and coughs due to the heart failure. She passes out or has seizures if she gets excited. The renal failure causes her to drink large amounts of water and then urinate large amounts anywhere at any time. Her deafness and blindness make her very vulnerable outdoors on. She is stuck indoors unless we are there to watch her every move.
    My husband will not let her go. He just can’t. He keeps delaying the inevitable. My poor husband has had this little dog by his side day and night for 15 years. She was so tough and sooo smart. A real true hero of a dog. One of a kind. She knows everything about us and how to run the ranch. It won’t be the same without her. We tried medications. I feel that putting her down and burying her on the ranch will be our last gift to her for being so wonderful and loyal for her whole life. I am ready because she is ready.
    Oh dear we also have a 20 year old cat.

  • Elaine

    We have a Bichon named Jon Benet, sounds weird I know.. We bought the puppy for our daughter for Christmas in 1996 and she was not named so when we saw the news of Jon Benet Ramsey’s death my 6 year old daughter named her Jon Benet. Funny thing is we found out later that Jon Benet had a Bichon dog as well..Getting to the heart of the story is that J.B. is now 16 years old in human years so that makes her between 77 to 80 in doggie years. We love her so much, but she is almost totally deaf and really hard to see, she sleeps most of every day. However when she goes out to potty she runs around. She comes back inside all excited and runs through the house and sometimes runs into things and hits herself really hard. It is those times I just want to sit down and cry my eyes out.. Her dental condition is bad, but she does eat ok. I am just torn and I know at her age she is probably in some pain, just don’t know for sure. When she starts to walk it is like she has to warm up before her back legs start working well. She gets groomed once a month and she really enjoys feeling pretty and seems to get a little spunk at those times. However for the most part she is just sleeping the remainder of her life away (22) hours a day…She poops when she is walking through the house and she does not even realize it. We just go behind and pick it up..Am I being selfish keeping her on this earth this way??? It is just really hard to put her down.

  • Kris

    Hello, As I read your responses I am sitting listening to my springer/dalmation mix sit at the back door and cry. She is wanting to get outside with my lab/chow mix. Gabi (the lab) has been in our family since she was old enough to leave her mother. Sadie(the springer) was rescued from the side of a back road about 3 and a half years ago. When we brought her home she submitted to the lab. However, recently she has been attacking the lab and we can no longer leave them in the same room together. Our lab suffers from pain in her back legs and she has recentlt started lossing patchs of hair, leaving behind white patches of flaky skin.We have tried the various meds for her pain and her skin and nothing is working. I know that in the wild the other pack members kill the leader when they can no longer function. Gabi has trouble getting up, she no longer plays like she used to and she didn’t eat last night.She is 10 and a half. We have had her in the house all week and she doesn’t really like it as she is normally an indoor/outdoor dog. We have a huge fenced in yard with large dog houses that we let the dogs stay in when we are not home.She still loves attention and wages her tail weakly but I am wondering if putting her to sleep would be more merciful than what we are doing. The dogs whimper for the other since we have separated them permanently. If we do put them together the srpinger attacks and Gabi submits. Is this a sign that she is ready to go? We love our dogs very much and it is hurting all of us to see this take place. Any advice would be great. I have talked to trainers, vets etc. but we still can’t decide. Thanks

  • michael

    Im in bits, absolute bits. Megan my GSP has been by my side for 16 and half years. She has had the best life ever possible for a dog i feel, but now as i write this she is lay on her bed at my feet not a happy dog. She sleeps most of the day and her one back leg has now overnight given up on her. When she walks she drags her foot which needs constant care as the claw is wearing down i have to carry her to the grass so she can go to toilet, sometimes she has accidents in her bed overnight i feel so distressed to see her like this. I know she isnt happy and cries quite abit, i know now that i should take her to the vets so she can pass over but i hate the thought of not ever seeing her again. This is the worst feeling in the world….why cant they live forever. I love you MEG XX

  • Christine Carrig

    Hi everyone, I am reading, with great sadness, and a lot of tears, your stories. We had to put down our darling Boxer, Lily, last year, as she had become paralysed and couldn’t walk.
    Of course I cried for months, and still cry,but in the end, and this is the part I want you to all read, it’s out of our OWN SELFISHNESS that we keep our dogs alive when they should be euthanased. It’s kinder to put them to sleep than to let them suffer. If a dog can’t walk properly, can’t run around and enjoy life (even if it IS wagging its tail) then it’s time to say goodbye, for YOUR DOG’S SAKE. So, if you truly love your furry babies, and I know you do, then PLEASE. I am begging you, be kind to them and let them go. Letting them go is the best gift you could give them, even if it does upset you. You will get over the grief eventually, and that’s not to say you’ll ever forget your babies. I am always adopting dogs – special needs dogs, unwanted dogs, strays etc. and I love them all equally, but I know now that when the time comes, I will do the right thing by THEM. Just because your dog “smiles and you and wags its tail” is no reason to prolong their poor quality of life, after all, as I said before, that’s just to keep YOU happy.
    I wish you all well, and my heart goes out to you, as I shed tears reading all your stories.
    Chris from Australia
    ps: one way of overcoming your grief is to adopt another doggie (or cat) that needs your love. it helps!

  • Suzanne

    Brian,

    Your chihuahua sound like he has IVDD, intervertebral disk disease. Put him on crate rest right away and go to the website called dodgerslist.com and read about thise terrible disease.

  • Jim A

    Kannan…I am living your same nightmare..

    We put our loving Fox Terrier down Mar 6..Not a single day has went by that I haven’t cried from guilt, thinking she might have made it a few more days..And like you..2 months have went by and I don’t think I will ever get over it.

    She was the most loved family member I have ever had… (13 1/2 years)..YES including humans!..

    Thanks and I am sharing your hurt….

    Jim A.

  • Kannan

    We had a German Shepherd called Tuffy. She was the darling of my home and the housing society we lived in. She was friendly with all the children around. She was about 15 1/2 years old. For the last one month she had problem in walking and started falling. She developed anal infection too and it was not curing. For the last 10 days she became immobile as her hind legs got paralysed. She was urinating and defecating at home. Her hind legs were getting swollen every day. The vet told us that her heart is not pumping enough. Though the doctor had advised us to put her to sleep, we could not make up our mind for almost 3 to 4 weeks as still she was full of life and responding to us and still there was brilliance in her face and she was eating well too. Finally, we fixed up the date for 6th May 2012 and gave her all the food she loved, spoked to her and we all took photographs with her and then took her to the vet. There she started shivering and it gave us a feeling that she was not still ready to give up. But, still we happened to put her to sleep and since then we all lost our sleep. Everyone at home is in tears and there is a huge sense of guilt, as it appears to us that she wanted to live a few more days. My daughter was very close to her and she had been taking care of her so dearly. Today is my daughter’s birth day and she still cries. I wonder whether we would be able to recover fully as we might carry this feeling of guilt throughout.

  • Lee cairns

    It’s Been a little over 24hrs since we had to have our
    15yr old boxer dog “BEAU” put to sleep! We had
    Him since he was just 6 weeks old and he was everything to us! beaus health declined in in the last 12 months. His hearing went, he had tumors in his eyes, his back legs were going, he had a large lump on his bum, his hair was falling out due to advanced kidney failure. He also had dementia which made him bark all of the time and his kidney failure was making him wee all over the place including in his bed!! We are struggling to come to terms with the loss. Our 3 children have grown up with him. I had to be strong and take him! The worst part was that I couldn’t handle being there with him so I left him with the vet which is killing me for doing this. I feel totally guilty about it. I feel as though he is still here! We loved him so much and will miss him.

  • Jody

    In response to Cathy’s comment of her dog Winston:
    I have been wondering what to do about my miniature schnauzer, Jazz. He’s 16 now and sometimes shakes, don’t think he is in pain though as when I bend his legs and stretch them he doesn’t even flinch, but he has had trouble straightening his back legs sometimes. When he has this though he can’t walk at all to drag them like your dog. He does have his good days but shows some discomfort. Thing is though he’s not off his food, in fact he’s very greedy. Likes his walks but are beginning to get difficult. I need to hold him up when he has a poo, otherwise he just will fall on it. He often leans to one side and can fall when doing this, our laminate doesn’t help! I do try to make his life as comfortable as I can but as I work I do worry about him when leaving him and make sure he is in bed when I go and cover everything hard that he could fall on with cushions. I am struggling with the decision as some days he seems ok and others he can seem quite bad. But also at the same time think how long can I let him go on having these days where he’s bad. I will be taking him to the vets soon for his booster and will ask for some advice. But any advice & comments are much appreciated.

  • Cathy

    I am trying to decide (with great difficulty) if it is time to put my precious Winston down. Winston is 17 years old a sheltie/lab mix and I have had him since he was 6 weeks old. He used to shake with pain from arthritis and we started a regimen of two baby aspirin a day and the shaking stopped so I really don’t believe he is in pain anymore. He sees very well but is quite deaf at this point. His nose has taken over for his loss of hearing since he can smell a cracked egg from two rooms away.

    Anyway, he has started dragging his left rear leg and sometimes his right leg as well. Even just a few minutes ago he went outside and did not go potty but went for a simple walk around the yard dragging his leg but a smile on his face. I think he was just happy to enjoy the outside. This is what makes my decision so hard.

    Enjoys spending time with me in the living room otherwise he just sleeps on his cushioned bed. He eats and drinks normally. So what is the right thing to do?

  • Dona

    I lost my Grand puppy Beau just under a month ago. A beautiful vibrant Weimaraner /Border Collie mix and only 4-1/2 years old. Out of the blue he suffered 3 major seizures on Easter Sunday. Each one destroyed this beautiful animal’s personality, memory, and physical appearance. After 10-15 minutes after the seizure’s ended he would gain his eye sight again and most of the paralysis would go away but he became extremely aggressive. He spent the day at the hospital and we picked him up in the evening and brought him home. Within the hour he suffered the third and worse seizure. We took him back to the hospital. They kept him overnight locked in a small cage ( he was 70lb dog) in a dark corner of the hospital and drugged him with propofol to stop the incessive barking & pacing. The next morning the Vet declared it was most likely a brain tumor or lesions with the aggressive behavior, and deemed him as untreatable, as well as a ticking time bomb. We had a decision to make and it was excruciating but one that needed to be made. We brought him home to Grandmas( my house) where he had run the perimeter and been spoiled much of his 4 years…his favorite place on earth. We feed him well and loved him for the entire day, all though he did not even acknowledge any of us….he was not my grand puppy at all. He allowed us to touch him and watch him walk about the yard. We brought over his partner in crime Buddy ( 4 yr old Coon Hound )to play. He didn’t play. He paced…..drank excessively and every once in a while there would be a glimpse of Beau in his actions but very short lived….They took him to be put down at 4:00 p.m. I said my goodbyes to this beautiful creature in my front room. He allowed me to hug him and kiss him and not once did he react, he just sat there and let me do and say what I wanted and then quickly jumped up as it was time to go….. The kids kissed him and stroked him telling him how much he was loved as he went to sleep…I thank God they did so their last memory of Beau was him going to a peaceful sleep. ( When he would lay down to sleep is when the seizure’s happened and I didn’t want that to be what they remembered)….We don’t know for sure if he was untreatable or if there was a treatment to cure him, or if the next seizure would kill him, if he would attack anyone…what we do know is our beloved Beau was not the same and would never be the same happy healthy loving energetic dog again. There were signs of trouble and we missed those signs. I am totally grief stricken with the loss of him and cannot seem to get passed it…as here I am telling my story, wiping away the tears a month later…We made the right decision for Beau …I am a bit angry now and asking why??? Why my beautiful grand-puppy and why he was so young? 2 days later I found out my kids are expecting my first grandchild. If I were asked to give up my grand-puppy to get a grand-baby I couldn’t have made that choice….Beau made that choice for me….RIP Beaudacious 4/09/12 Grandma loves you and misses you !!!!!

  • Brian

    My wife and I rescued 2 chihuahuas from going to the shelter this past september by agreeing to take them both together. We were told that the male that we recieved was 7 and the female is 4. About a week ago, the male started to yelp at times for no reason, and the past day and a half, anytime he walks or anyone touches certain parts of his body he yelps and snips. We have only had him a short time, but he is one of the family. But my wife and I were talking tonight and think that he may need to be put down, but i cannt imagine coming home from work and not seeing his wagging tail. What should i do? Please Help

  • pam

    I Have A Bichon And Have Only Had Hem For 4 Years Since The Day He Was Born, But The Vet Said He Was An Old Dog Who Was 14 So i Guess He Was Talking About Dog Years Or something. The Vet Says He Has Worms But He doesnt Say What Kind. my Dog Hasnt Eaten For 5 Days. Any Thing He Eats He’ll Just Throw it back Up. The Vet Doesnt Help Much Because He Hasnt recommended Anything On How To get Some food In Him. He Gives Us Some Pills But They Dont Work. My Dog Cant Really Walk Much. He’ll Stumble Or wobble When He trys To walk. It Looks Like a Lot Of Effort for Him To Even get Up. He Doesnt Respond To anyone. He Wont even Bark. The Vet Said That The Best Thing To Do If He Doesnt Get Better Is To Put Him To Sleep But i Cant Imajine Life With Him! Isn’t There Another Way?! I Thought Worms Were Curable! I Need Help.

  • jessica

    I have a 4yr old cocker spaniel that have skin problems, a horrible condition on her left ear, cherry eyes on both eyes and she is going a lil blind. I don’t have the money to help her I’m losing my apartment and won’t have a place to live and no one to take care of her while I go to work. I feel that she is really not enjoying her life I mean she gets happy wen she sees me and eats well and drinks lots of water I can’t afford taking her to the vet , I know if I take her to a shelter they will put her to sleep so I just need to know if it will be more convinient that we put her to sleep because she is my brother’s dog and he is moving out of state and can’t take her with him. I don’t have anyone to take her pls help me I don’t want to make the wrong choice,, she is always scratching,biting her legs Cus they itch I love her so much but j can’t keep her because I just recently lost a very gd job and now I’m working 12 hrs part time at under 8$ an hr that’s why I can’t afford rent or nothing help!!!

    Jessica

  • Amy

    I have an almost 10 year old rat terrier. He has been an awesome dog and I love him. But for the last year we have been dealing with his health. He has been to several doctors and they all just put him on antibiotics and shampoo’s to help him. Nothing help’s my dog and he is constantly scratching, licking and bleeding. He still eats and drinks, just not as much as he used to. He is not as active as he was, but once in a while I can still get him very excited and he will play for a bit, and then goes right to bed. What should I do with him? Our vet bills are outrages now and we just can’t afford to continue taking him, especially when nothing is helping.

    Please help.

  • Sarah

    I have an 18 year old beagle springer spaniel mix, and I’ve been debating for a little while whether or not to put her to sleep. I had to start crating her in the house about a year ago, because she would defecate and urinate everywhere despite going outside regularly. For the last few months she has started defecating and urinating in her crate as well; I’ve had to clean her crate at least once every 2 days. She has just recently started eating the feces immediately after defecating. She has tumors and growths all over her body and severe arthritis. Her hearing, sight, and sense of smell have all diminished to the point of being nearly non-existent. But she still wags her tail and is happy when she sees me. She also eats and drinks very well. I feel terrible even contemplating putting her to sleep…

  • Maggie

    I’ve just read so many of your posts.. and yesterday we put my Mom’s beloved doggie an almost 18 year old bichon the cutest little baby and wonderful loving personality with a blessed soul.. we put her to sleep yesterday… She lost usage of her back legs they stuck straight out and seemed paralyzed.. she wasn’t eating.. and she would now and then yelp and a little bit of crying.. it was time…we loved her so very much and she gave us so many great years.. but I layed down on the floor with her and I talked to her.. I told her that she gave us beautiful years and if she wanted to go that it was up to her and if she wanted to stay and could rally we’d be right here behind her. She actually raised her tail.. she seems ready and happy that I told her it was okay to go… they say not to cry in front of your dog and to seem happy so that her/his last days are happy, talk to her or him and thank her or him for the time she/he gave you. My dog/ (Mom’s dog) was not eating.. and she did not go to the bathroom…she was very ill and though her upper body sometimes perked up and we could feel like she was okay.. only half of her was okay.. but she needed all of her body to be okay.. she was old and ready.. and we knew that the merciful thing was to have her not suffer and to give her the gift of her dignity and a peaceful passing. I’m hearing from so many that it’s hard to do this and some saying that they fear doing this alone. I understand, I bought a beautiful blanket pink and fluffy, I bought a medal from the local people hospital that said “remember I’ll always be with you” with a cross on the back, you could use whatever religion you believe in or even just a wonderful saying. We brought her to the vet my Mother holding her and my Step Dad and myself. I was in the room and made sure that she was treated with the utmost of care, on top of the beautiful comfortable new pink blanket that I bought for her and the vet was kind and caring.. they easily put her under sedation so she was completely peaceful.. I knew this was the right thing and the most merciful thing and loving act and she was fine with it.I stood and kept my hand on her head and my other hand on her body.. the vet tech was also petting her and I asked the vet to let me know when she had passed and he checked and said that she had..We bought a little bouquet of flowers and she was wrapped in the blanket and I made sure that her final resting was with that blanket. Flowers and another family member came to the house and we had a ceremony and put stones and flowers outside. and we said a prayer.. there is no question in my mind that this was the right thing to do for the pet that I loved. A routine and a formal procedure of how you would like to honor your pet either with a friend or a pet bereivent group is fine but if the beloved pet is suffering at all it is time to show the ultimate care. When the pet is old and is suffering any day more is a day too long.. it’s time now not time to wait.. The vet gave us a paw print made of plaster of paris. we took her things and put them in the garage.. they can be donated to the shelter for another pet to enjoy. If you have no family then have a routine set in advance of how you will spend that day and the next day in honoring your pet. A friend of mine goes once a week to the shelter to walk the pets that are there and to clean out their cages as a donation of her time. You could also go a few times a week to help the shelters. Paws-a-while I think is the name of one organization. I hope this has helped. I know that I’m at peace my pet is and my Mom is. I hope this helps anyone who just doesn’t know what to do. God bless.

  • jennifer

    i have a 3 yr old coker spaniel chiuaua mix she is my 4 yr old daughters best friend their personalities are almost identical. well a few days ago some kids in the neighbor hood thought they would let her out and then threw her over my back fence which is about 5 ft tall well needless to say she messed up her back and now we just waiting to see if anti inflammitories will work for her we had a good day yesterday but today she starting to show the signs of losing feeling in her hind legs we already knew it was a possiblity but now we are goint to start having to think of letting her go because she is in sever amounts of pain and can barely walk she perks up when my daughter comes around but to see her suffer is hard and having to explain to a 4 yr old that her dog may die is even harder these next few day will only tell

  • Akhila

    An hour ago my cookie decided to leave this world and terrorize doggy heaven. I just want to say i love you so much ad i want to thank god for blessing me with so much time with cookie and so many wonderful memories to cherish and remember always. i know i will meet her again until then i love you my baby and you take care of yourself.

  • Akhila

    Dear Laurie,

    Cookie has been with us for 17 years and we’ve had a great time together. She has literally never been sick a single day, 2 years ago she developed a cataract in her left eye which left her blind but did not reduce her naughtiness one bit. Since the last 2 weeks she is been quite ill, she has no appetite, unable to walk, she usually lets us know when she needs to use the bathroom, now we find puddles all around the house. she loves going for a walk but now is even not able to change her position. i love her so much and feel so guilty even thinking anout euthanasia. i feel she is in pain and everytime i think of her i can’t stop my tears. i was reading through everyones experience and wanted to share my own.

  • Lisa

    I’m crying my eyes right now with even the thought of putting my fur baby to sleep.

    But I’ve searched everywhere to see why my dog, Wicked, border collie/akita mix, cries so much. He just turned 15 and it seems his whole year of being 14 years old took toll on him. Also, he almost died and had to get flushed out inpatient for almost 5 days at the vet’s because he had a bad reaction to rimadyl. Right now he has been on Tramadol for almost 1 year. We’ve decided if it helps with the pain we will keep him on it til he passes. But lately, it doesn’t seem that the meds work very much. He whines and cries a lot. He can barely get up, half the time we have to help him up by picking his hind legs up for him. (kind of hard to do because it causes him some pain and he’s about 80-85 pounds) I love my furbaby. He’s been with me through thick and thin and even though he is a dog he’s my first baby. My 3 year old is gentle with him and loves him. He even asks me if Wicked will be going to doggie heaven soon because he is old. He really does not want his ‘puppy’ to go to heaven yet. I don’t either. But I really hate hearing him cry especially that I don’t know what is making him do it. I don’t make much money enough to take him to get him completely checked out. I used what I had in savings to save his life when he was 14 years old. I know he has bad allergies and bad arthritis. I just don’t know what to do. He stopped crying now but it goes on and off all night. And it hurts my heart. He can’t walk very far but even on the short walks he drags all his legs on the way back. but I know if he doesn’t get out for a walk, it would hurt him more.

    I love my Wicked dog.

  • Karry

    Hello, I have a 15 yo Bichon-poodle mix. He is my baby and I love him dearly! He has been paralyzed for the last 9 years utilizing a wheelchair most of the time. Now he is leaking urine and pooping all the time all over the house. He has not been able to play like a normal dog in 9 years. He drags his lower half around the house and uses the wheels outside. He has cataracts pretty bad in both eyes. His eats well. I have done the very best that I can for him, but now I don’t think I am being fair to him anymore. Please I heed suggestions and help.

  • Steve Lynch

    Vet came around on thursday April 19,said that my only love and friend 14yo staffy cross, TIP, had massive tumor in his abdomin and said he should be put to sleep….and the next day friday April 20 2.38pm as we lay looking into each others eyes he passed away…have cried ever since.TIP was a very good doggie and i love him very much,i hardly ever worked and lived in poverty struggling with mortgage payments just to be with him.We walked every day 2-4Ks never missing a day until the last 3 days we just went to the park…I wish the vet had some more of that stuff for me and i would have gladly gone with him.Went on our walk this morning(Mon) with the lead over my shoulder as usual and just broke down every 20 meters…..I love TIP and cant get over this…but i suppose i will.My heart felt feelings are with all who are in this situation,thank’s

  • monica

    i remember when i had to put my two dogs to sleep. my first dog which i had putted on sleep was suffering from the serious aggression , even he was kept together with family he didnt enjoy the love with gave to him and he was so much aggressive on the kids even he had bitten my sons cheek. my son got a serious injury being biten on his cheeks and i didnt had choice but to put my dog to sleep for the family safety. it was hard for me to see my dog being on sleep but it was for his own good , he didnt enjoy to be with people and with other pets as he always was to much aggressive, and he didnt enjoy his life at all. but i think i did a good thing to put him on sleep he maybe having a better happy life in heaven with god and he is happy in there as a all death dogs should be. i know someday one day i will meet him and my other dog which i had to put on sleep too because the reason was why she cannot have puppies , she was pregnant and she didnt give a birth propoly because all the puppies were death inside her because she was no capable to have a birth. i took her to the vet with the hope that the vet will be able to take the death puppies from her tummy, he did take off two puppies of her budy but there was other puppies who were stock in here tummy. she was suffering very horrible pain and the vet had told me if i want her to be her a life and take other death puppies from her tummy she needs a operation/surgery but there is a chance she might not survive and it cost lot of money. for me it was hard decision to put her on sleep even the tears come up from my eyes by seeing her suffering from the pain and not being able have her own baby puppies,. i didnt had enough money for her to afford the surgery at that time. the only choice i made to not to see her in pain i decided with all family to pet her on sleep for her own good, my daughter cried alot and she tried to tell me not to put the our dog to sleep because she loved her so much. but i told her if she will be alive she wont be able to enjoy her life by not having her own puppies and being in pain, if we want her to be happy again we must do the right thing which we can put her on sleep , and i told her that our dog will be going to a better place and it will be healthy and happy again with a god and with other dog which i had putted on sleep too. it was painful for me to do this decision but i know that my dog will be happy and thank full that i did something good for her , and i hope someday i will meet them both in the other world and we will be happy once again. i never forget my two those dogs because they always will stay in my heart until i will meet them again.

  • Michele

    Please help I am in a very stressful situation. I have a 12 year old Dapple Doxie, he is a pure bred and has a lot of the issues that come with being a Doxie. He also has epilepsy though he hasn’t had a seizure in years. Over the last few months, I have noticed that his vision is getting worse and he is starting to walk with his left rear tilting to the side. Along with the vision loss he has become “cranky” is someone walks in to a dark room and he cannot smell them or hear them right away he become very aggressive. The same occurs if you get to close to him with out making yourself known. In all though he is not showing any signs of pain. His appetite is fine. If I’d let him he would eat until his belly exploded. When he is near you and recognizes you his tail wags and loves to give kisses. However, it is getting to the point that I cannot kennel him with the other dogs because he starts to become aggressive if they frighten him. There have been no injuries from his aggressiveness, just a lot of barking and bickering between them. Am I just tempting fate with not putting him down yet?

  • Susan

    Wow I understand the saying “mans best friend”…yesterday I said goodbye to my best friend Lacee, a 13 yr old chocolate lab. She had cushings and thyroid and high blood pressure and arthritist and …but she was my everything. She too Adam had an appetite but we could tell she was not happy anymore. Don’t get me wrong she would have done anything for us to make us happy even if she wasn’t but I could tell her body was not cooperating with her anymore so we said goodbye…Adam 2 years earlier on April 1 we lost her sister Cagnee unexpectantly. Lacee and Cagnee were litter mates we, as a family did everything together….I mean everything! So when we loss Cagnee I too was worried about Lacee because Cagnee was her sister and best buddy. I can tell you what we did to help Lacee deal with her sisters loss…we became Lacee’s pack….Lacee went everywhere with us even to Starbucks..we kept Lacee occupied with us…I think keeping her busy and occupied with our lives help the transition plus we think Lacee secretly enjoyed all the attention too. It’s not easy to see your animal heartbroken but you can grieve together now is the time to put all your love and energy into your 9 year old…..it’s time for you all to keep each other busy….in my situation another puppy was not an option due to Lacee’s issues but I can tell you being there for your 9 year old and both of you all keeping each other busy will help tremendously at least it did in my case. I am so sorry for your loss. Today was the first day in a long time I didn’t have to wake up at 5 am to feed my Lacee girl… Gosh how I miss her she and her sister were truly my best friends and I am loss without them I know they are together now running around and sniffing each others you know …I am so thankful to have known Cagnee and Lacee…I miss them so much it hurts. This site was the first site I went to this morning and reading all the stories has helped and lets me know I am not alone in my love for my doggies….my furry kids. My life is empty today and my eyes are swollen closed from crying but my heart will always be filled with the love and memories of my Cagnee and Lacee….until one has loved an animal a part of ones soul remains unawakend….

  • Adam

    So many touching stories 🙁 We put our 14 year old dog down yesterday and I’m pretty much a wreck. She wasn’t well, she had arthritis and had to take 5 pills a day for other conditions and allergies. She still had a healthy appetite though but unfortunately she just wasn’t comfortable. She couldn’t sleep properly, she couldn’t walk properly, her hearing was poor and over the past few weeks we’d been thinking about her sight. So it was certainly the best thing to do for her – does not make it any easier though. Now our focus shifts to our other younger dog, who is 9 and does not know life without Molly. She has been looking around the house for her and seems depressed. I am struggling to find any information on the internet about how to handle a dog grieving over their friend, so if anyone has any help it would be much appreciated. RIP Molly.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Haley,

    I’m sorry that your dog is causing so much stress to you and your neighbors. It sounds like you’re at your wits’ end – you don’t know what to do next!

    But no, I don’t think you should put your dog to sleep just because he’s difficult to handle. I totally understand how hard it is to cope with a demanding dog, but euthanasia isn’t a solution.

    What do your parents say? I think putting your dog up for adoption is better than putting him to sleep, but it depends on his health, how old he is, and if he has other behavioral issues.

    Maybe your dog would be happier on a farm or with a family who can give him lots of exercise. Dogs need to run and play with other dogs, otherwise their energy builds up and they cause problems at home.

    Or maybe your dog just needs more exercise, to romp with other dogs and burn off that hyper-ness? Another option is you and your dog taking dog obedience classes together, to learn how he should be behaving.

    If you haven’t talked to your veterinarian, that may be a good thing to do. The vet assistant or vet herself may have some ideas on how to calm your dog down, without putting him to sleep.

    I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Haley

    My dog is getting really hyper and barking and the neighbor is complaining too much screaming “Shut your dog up lady” and “put your dog away and shut it up” and I am sick of it. I am only 12 years old and I cry a lot because of that . I know I am over reacting but getting him quite is starting to interfere with my school work and I am sick of it! I don’t think I could put up with it anymore. So I just want to ask if you think I should put him to sleep or put him for adoption?

  • Conni

    I have an 8 yr old mastiff whos name is B.B and she is now blind, old, has a broken leg, has hip problems, and might have joint problems. I have tried to hang on to her gor as long as i could but i now understand that everyday my baby suffers is one day lost of her life i dont want her to be miserable forever, i think it is the right thing to do by putting her down i dont want to but i belive i have to. My sorrow should not be the reason i chose to do this but it is her sorrow and the looks of pain i know she is tired of giving ne because i am tired of seeing her make the faces just to tell me she is done. I was reading your comments crying and am doing the same writing mine. I will miss B.B for she was and is so beautiful and full of life and now i understand that she will be in a better place and we will meet again someday. B.B love allways and forever.

  • Allen

    Had to put my golden mix to sleep April 9. She was 12 yrs and had a large tumor on back leg which had split open and was infected. She had arthritis taking 1.5 aspirin a day. She could not climb the couple of steps to the back door and bark for treats. She would just lay in the front yard. She resisted going to the animal clinic. One option we had was take a round of antibiotics and come back in 2 weeks. She went peacefully and rested her head on my foot at the end. Me and my wife have been crying off and on. We will get over it though.

  • sam

    i cried my eyes out reading everyones comments yesterday, we have a 9yr old samoyed who has bladder cancer and was getting worse. Today i took him to the vets and hes severely anemic and was very close to needing a blood transfusion. I made the hardest decision of my life and asked the vet to let him go. I know in my heart it was the right thing to do however sad it makes me. Thank you buster for the wonderfull times you’ve given me, love you forever xxxx

  • Laurie

    Dear Jeff,

    I did overlook your main question – I apologize! I got caught up in the idea of living without your dog, and lost sight of your question.

    I’m afraid I don’t know offhand of any organizations that help pet owners through the process of euthanization. Different cities will have different resources, though. I’d call my local SPCA or other dog rescue societies, and ask if they have any ideas.

    Have you considered switching to a different veterinarian? I know it’s difficult, especially when your vet knows your dog, the symptoms, prognosis, etc…but it may be worthwhile to call another veterinarian. Not for a second opinion as much as for support for when you’re ready to put your dog to sleep.

    Some vets even travel to your home, to put your dog to sleep at home. I don’t know how common this is or how much it costs, but I’ve heard this from several dog owners.

    I’m really sorry I don’t have any concrete answers for you. If you do call the SPCA or other humane societies, let me know what they say. I don’t think you’re alone – many pet owners would be grateful for support when they have to put their dogs down, especially from people who know what they’re going through.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Liz

    Hi Jeff
    I feel so desperately sad for you. In the end I had my darling Ruby put to sleep yesterday at 1pm. I have to say, the agony of watching her deteriorate and wondering when to make the painful decision was actually much worse than finally letting her go. I already miss her and feel sad but I also feel at peace knowng she is at peace and knowing I wont have to make that horrible decision again. I have found great comfort in a company called Treasured Friends. I actually contacted them to cremate Ruby and return her ashes. They have been so kind and reassuring and it has helped me. The number is 01843 808288 and they have a website. You can email if you are too upset to speak over the phone. I would also advise you to get another dog asap. Of course you will never replace the one you have lost but it will give you a focus and a purpose to keep strong. Remember, you are not alone. So many people feel like you do but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
    Liz x

  • Jane

    We are in the process of making this decision with our 14 year old rescue dog. We adopted him five years ago at the age of 9 and subsequently realized he had endured significant abuse. He cannot have toys because they make him aggressive; he only plays with blankets. We cannot take him to the vet – and don’t suggest sedation – we’ve tried it – because he snaps. His breath is fetid and he has recently started eating rocks. Google searches indicate that this could easily lead to an intestinal bleed – very painful. We are of the mindset that especially given the agony he endured prior to coming here, we must not allow him to suffer any more pain and would rather put him down 2 months too soon than 2 seconds too late.

  • Jeff

    Hi Laurie
    Thank you for your reply.

    I did read the article and it had very good info.

    I’m trying to reach out to people so my dog isn’t my entire life, however this is a slow and lengthy process but really not the number one issue at this moment.

    The #1 issue is that I was really just asking here if there were recommendations for organizations or support groups that can come with me and be with me at the vets during this process.

    I can’t do it alone; I need support at the vet. The vet and their staff are not supportive, they see this frequently and its routine to them.

    Thanks, Jeff

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Jeff,

    I’m sorry to hear that putting your dog to sleep will have such a deep, heartbreaking effect on you. I think euthanasia is much more difficult to deal with if we don’t have other sources of love in our lives.

    I wrote this article for you:

    Can’t Live Without Your Dog? How to Survive Your Pet’s Death

    Please find ways to reach out to people in your life, so you can experience connection. I love my dog, but I can’t make her my whole life. She is a big part of my life – a huge part! – but she’s not everything to me.

    Can you find a way to make other parts of your life meaningful, so putting your dog to sleep won’t devastate you?

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Jeff

    I have no family, divorced, and no friends, very depressed and my dog is the only friend I know.
    She needs to go to heaven but what about me after this is over?
    Who can be with me to do this, are there any organizations to help?
    I don’t think have the courage to do this alone and I fear for myself when its over.

  • Julie

    I need some advice, I have an 18 year old Border Collie. About 2 years ago her hips started giving out on her, her hearing is going and now she has begun wetting in the house, and she doesn’t even realize. She has big hump on the side of her neck which the vet has said is not cancer and not painful for her, and her stomach is bloated. We have 2 other younger dogs which I believe has kept her feeling younger. She will occasionally run across the yard like she is a puppy and it makes me think she has a lot of life left in her, then I watch her walk up the steps and she looks like she is in pain. I am taking her to the vet this week for his advice, but will welcome any advice as we struggle to make this decision.

  • jackie

    i had my 14 ols schitzu put to sleep las fri .he lost an ongoin battle at xmas after months of trying to save it but cdnt .so then other eye started we went through weeks of treatment the last fri he as booked in for yet anotherop to try and remove ulcer just like last one .also he cd hardly walk i ended up carring him lol took him 2 mins to sit down and always slept .. and his spine was curving .. i was goin to give it a chance but vet said it was time … i ran out and let husband stay ..i feel so guilty what if i and vet was wrong and i killed my baby xx i cry every day hes been cremated and i keep telling him how sorry i am and if will forgive me xx ive his brother of nearly 16 here and i feel awful and selfish xx did i make right choice ?

  • Liz

    I think its time to put my beloved staffordshire bull terrier Ruby to sleep. She is almost 12 and has cancer of the stomach lining. She is not managing to keep food down and is vomiting every day. We have medication but she is getting weaker. I know I am being incredibly selfish but I just cant let her go. Every time I think about phoning the vet I fall to pieces and cant do it. She is my best friend and the pain is unbearable. I know what I have to do but it is so painful 🙁

  • Chloe

    I read that when a dog is most sick when being euthanized the heavy breathing will go on for longer…I believed that my dog was very sick and she just went to seep. Did i do the right thing??

  • Jim Armstrong

    This board is like a support group for us..My wife and I (vet also) finally made the decision on putting down our 13 yr and 5 mo old Fox Terrier..She was with us 24/7 all of her life…This is absolutely the hardest thing I have went through in my entire life!…Its been 3 weeks now and being a grown man, I have cried every day. She had a bloated belly and was on insulin twice a day for high blood sugar for 11 months..Vet said she possibly had a tumor.(High liver count).I couldn’t keep her glucose level down as I was giving her 18 units twice a day…Finally Mar. 6 she was throwing up, wouldn’t eat, had diarrhea, and gave me that look of “Take me home”…I called the vet, and she said bring her in…She took us in a private room so we could kiss her and tell her goodbye..She gave her a relaxing shot and a couple minutes later gave her the shot to end her life..We cried and took her to the car wrapped in her blanket and back home to bury her in the back yard with my other 4 babies…Needless to say, I loved them all, but this was the hardest….RIP My baby Terry..We love and miss you!

    • Joanne

      I posted in January shortly after we put our precious Alabama to sleep. I have not regretted it since. At the time it was a hard decision. I know she is at peace. I miss her terribly. It is just not normal to not have dog hair on the house. We do have two other dogs, but they don’t shed. Too think I would miss the dog hair… Odd. Basically all I can say is that it is your job as a parent to make health care decisions for your pet. We keep them safe and happy all of their lives. We have to continue to do that on their last breaths. It’s our responsibility. I didn’t want it to be an awful emergency. It was time and we had the vet come to our house to put her to sleep peacefully on her couch. I made the choice out of love for her. We do treat animals better than humans. I let her die with peace, dignity and respect. In my arms. You will know when the time is right.

  • D Mack

    I am sitting here reading everyone’s post crying my eyes out. Me and my husband have decided to put our 13 year old shepard hound mix to sleep. She has Degenerate Myopathy. At first, the vets thought it was arthritis, but she is slowly getting paralyzed in her hine legs and realized it’s much worse. She walks on both rear knuckles and she always has to be lifted to get up off the floor. She cannot climb the stairs up or down, so we carry her and she cannot squat to urinate. Sometimes she falls and we have to hold her up. All she does is eat, sleep and drink. She will chew a bone, but we cannot take her to the dog park anymore. When we call her name she doesn’t hear us and now in the past two days her right eye has started to point in different direction than her left eye. I really don’t want to play god and I wish he would take her. It’s the hardest decision that I could ever make.

  • Deb

    I am struggling terribly with the decision all of those who have written on this site have already made. I have a 14 year old Jack Russell who I utterly love. Two years ago he became completely blind. He now is totally deaf. He gets around a bit but sleeps mostly and wets himself in his sleep. He still eats most days and is seems happy to be held. He is scared when left alone for too long but is, for some reason, terrified in the car so we can’t take him with us. His little body is still strong but I worry so much about his Jack Russell spirit – My kids, now all grown, all think he would want to go – that he isn’t the same. I just don’t know. Miserable and sad – hard to know what is right.

  • Judy R.

    I am writing because this is a place where people understand. About 14 or 15 years ago my teenage daughter “rescued” a stray chocolate lab she named Tucker. Tucker was running around Oakland CA loose in a park nearby, and was about 6 months old we think. We’ll never know Tucker’s early story. Only that she is a very skittish and nervous dog, and we can’t tell if it is her nature or if it is the result of abuse. My daughter didn’t live with me at the time. She had rejected me due to a divorce and chose to live with her dad.

    About 2 years later my daughter, Tucker, and her other pets, a dog and a cat all came to live with me involuntarily. Her dad and new stepmom had “kicked her out” because she got bad grades in community college! Now I was rescuing them all.

    Since then my daughter has grown up and left home, the other 2 pets have passed to the Rainbow Bridge, and now it may be time for Tucker. I had moved a year ago and couldn’t take Tucker with me, but luckily another relative stepped up and gave Tucker a home. But now she can’t do it any longer. So I am going back to get Tucker this Sunday (Easter) and bring her back home with me and my husband. My daughter isn’t in the picture; she is refusing to talk to me (again). Why, I don’t truly understand. I consider Tucker my dog; I’ve provided her a home all these years.

    Our first step is to love her and treat her like “the queen” that she is. Then to the vet’s for a full assessment, then whatever decision we need to make. My heart is breaking because I know euthanasia is a strong possibility. There are no adoptive homes for 14-15 year old Labs (we’ve tried). I will be home from work next week to take care of Tucker and figure out what we can do. I want to observe her closely (no one has done this over the past year). All I want is to give her a nice home for whatever time she has left. I have no idea what her health is like; the relative was not very observant and only comments that Tucker is urinary incontinent at night. But there is no doggie door so we can’t really tell what is happening.

    Where I live, a senior mobile home, I figure if we don’t put Tucker down right away, I will keep her home until my hand is forced. Once they know I’ve got another dog, it’ll all be finished. It all depends. We have a wonderful vet who I know will shoot straight with us and it will help us greatly.

    Not that I won’t cry for a week. I’ve done this before and it hurts to let them go.

  • Monica

    I have pitt/lab mix dog that will turn 13 in August. He injured one of his back paws on February 2011, it took him about a month to completely heal from it. We took him to the vet and she gave him some pain pills that would also help with the swelling. I wasn’t content with the way she dealt with the situation since I was hoping there was a shot or something more she could do. For about 2weeks straight he was on his bed and got a pretty bad bed sore on the same paw. We would clean it and apply antibiotic ointment on it a few times a day until he finally went back to normal. Now again on Monday he woke up with a swollen back paw, looks even worse than last time. He’s not eating well, wants to be outside all day, he’s pooped on his bed the last 2 days and this morning also threw up. As I mentioned before he’ll be turning 13 in 5 months…. is it time to let go? Should I take him to another ver that perhaps can take an x-ray or provide an injection that will help? I don’t want to make a quick decision if he still has a few months or years left but I don’t want him to keep suffering. I have sat there and looked into his eyes hoping he understands me. I tell him to find a way to let me know if he’s ready to go…or even better if he is to just fall asleep and not wake up. I really don’t know what to do, I don’t want to make this decision but as his owner I know I have to. My sister makes me feel sooooo guilty for thinking this. How can I make her understand? I’m pregnant and my husband supports what ever decision I make but leaves it all up to me. 🙁

  • janet carter

    i my dog as had inreguarler fits since i have had her last month two about 20mins each now all i can think is when the next one will come tryed tablets but changed her so much not for her, its is like living with a time bomb, since her last ones she is not the same she is 8yrears old i think it is time to let her go as the next one good be very bad and i don’t want that for me or her

  • Scott

    Here it is, the day I had to put my german short haired pointer to rest. Sebastian was his name. Best dog I have had in my life, we did everything together. Besides his failing sight, his back legs were going out, and last month he fell down the stairs trying to go up them. Since then, he had not been himself, and for the past week, he wouldn’t eat, and when it was time to go out, he’d just lay there. He wasn’t himself, he didn’t act anything like he normally would, As painful as it was to make the decision,I knew in my heart it was time. I brought him home, and buried him the backyard so I’ll always be near him. To quote:
    “If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.” (Marjorie Garber)
    I’ll miss you pal..

  • Wolfen

    Just put my collie Angus down yesterday. I embarrassed myself by crying in front of my wife. I couldn’t stop myself. I got him 13 years ago and he has been a loyal friend and gave me unconditional love. I regret not spending more time with him, especial the past year, because I knew he was deteriorating. He just trusted me and I watched him fade away in the vet’s office. Unlike the silly picture at the top of the page that says, “believe that you will see your dog again one day”, I know that he is gone and that’s that. No need for nonsense, just looking to get over the pain. I will have his ashes for the rest of my life and am glad about that.

  • Gregg

    Hi Everyone. Today is the day for my beloved blue heeler Tampa to be put down. She is only 8 years old, but has declined so much in the last year. She is attacking our other dog that she grew up with and now she is just throwing up when she eats. She is tired all the time and doesnt move like she used to. She started developing cataracts a year ago and the weight has just been adding on, even with a diet and her getting sick. The vet has been checking for everything and cant find an answer on what is going on. It is like she has just quit……Her and I have been through so much together. She is developing tumors on her body. I love her so much.

    Montana

  • Tracy

    I am struggling today, as our vet recommended our 7 year-old Toy Poodle, Chi Chi, should be put down due to kidney failure. She has battled this condition since late last fall. Recently she has begun to have seizures (brought on by excitement), she’s lost a lot of weight, walks with a hunch in her back, vomits off and on, and only occassionally leaves her bed to move around. I am so conflicted between what the vet has told us and watching her face light up and her tail wag furiously when we enter the room. My mind does not see a sick animal, yet I know it will only get worse. The kicker is that we are leaving to go out of town in a little more than a week, and I feel forced into making this decision faster than I’d like to. I think if we left her at this point, the stress alone would cause her to pass. I’m in desperate need of a sign from God…..

  • nicole lincoln

    We have a mixed breed who is suffering from advanced hip issues, and no longer can take meds for the hips because of bleeding. Now he can barely get up sometimes without assistance. He whines all the time, has teeth issues, the list goes on. He is 13 my son does not want to put him down and I think it is beyond time. I don’t have the financial resourced to put into a dog that is not happy and has a very poor prognosis. He also has lost control of his bladder and is now urinating all over our house. It has gone well beyond the point of putting him down in my opinion. I’m hoping someone can help me with the right words to explain to my adult son that it’s time to let go of his beloved first pet.

  • flo

    I just came home from the vet where my sweet rosebud,a 15 year old maltese was put to sleep…i feel so guilty but,i know she is ok now..lately all she wanted to do is sleep even though she still ate with the lack od teeth…i know she was no longer happy and someday i will see her again,i love her so much

  • Pam

    I’m faced with the prospect of having to have my 13 year old Blue Heeler put to sleep, but I don’t know if it’s time now or if I should wait. He has heartworms and it’s progressed, in spite of treatment, to the point where he can barely breathe. I was up all night with him last night because the only way he could rest was if I was rubbing his neck. The reason I’m torn about timing is that he still eats and drinks well, can still get around, but getting up brings on horrible coughing spasms and he keeps looking at me with these sad eyes, like he’s begging me to do something.

    I can’t take him to the vet because he’s too big for me to carry, but he can’t get into the van on his own. Also, he’s extremely protective and they have to muzzle him to treat hi