Jump to content


Photo

What to do?


  • Please log in to reply
69 replies to this topic

#41 rushdoggie

rushdoggie

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,908 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, WA

Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:49 AM

Seriously? You really believe the rest of us don't struggle with our decisons?
J.


Based on so many of the replies in this thread I saw so many people who seem confident and at peace that they did the right thing, that they had the wisdom and grace to know and feel that they made the right call, that they could look back with clarity after the event and see that it was the best thing. I honestly have had such a hard time reading this thread because I want so badly to have that feeling and I don't. People have always told me: you will know when its time. Even Donald just posted something along that line.

Yet more than three weeks later I am still wracked with guilt and grief and feel like maybe I made the wrong choice. I have nightmares and insomnia. I still sneak off to the bathroom to cry because my poor husband hurts to see me cry. I still fear I did the wrong thing.

ETS (because I can't think or make sense when I am crying):

Liz P said:

I believe the euthanasia survey results showed that 95% of owners feel they waited too long, 5% said they chose the right time and no one felt they had done it too soon.


I am feeling that I did it too soon.

f84d543e-e476-430d-b76a-da3c85c28501_zps

 

Training is a journey, not a destination. If you think you’ve arrived, you’ve already missed out.
Denise Fenzi


#42 Sue R

Sue R

    Bark less, wag more

  • Registered Users
  • 10,713 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Bruceton Mills WV
  • Interests:Stockdogs, horses, chocolate

Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:13 PM

Seriously? You really believe the rest of us don't struggle with our decisons? Life is full of what ifs. Your dog can't tell you what he's feeling. So yes, you have to make such a decision not really knowing if it's *really* the time. But that's the covenant you make with that pet when you first bring him home. No pet is going to blame you for letting him go too early. And we all make that final decision based on the best information we have in front of us.

J.

And it is still a struggle even when you know it's time, when the dog "tells you it's time". It's always a struggle. That is why studies show that the vast majority of people feel they waited too long, a much smaller percentage feel they chose the right time, and no one said they did it too soon (Liz P's quote above).

My daughter kept our elderly Border Collie for his last several years. One day, it was just patently obvious that life had lost its joy for him, he was failing and he was miserable. I stayed with him all day until she could get home from school to take him on that last trip. She stopped along the way and bought him a big chocolate bar, that he devoured with enthusiasm even though his appetite for real food was gone. She cried all the way, she cried for days, she cried for months.

It is always a struggle, even when we know it is obviously right and the right time. At least it is in my experience and opinion.
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#43 bc friend

bc friend

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,450 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Houston

Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:27 PM

Based on so many of the replies in this thread I saw so many people who seem confident and at peace that Yet more than three weeks later I am still wracked with guilt and grief and feel like maybe I made the wrong choice.


I don't think you are considering that your loss is very fresh - 3 weeks is not a long time to grieve the loss of a close friend. I would venture to guess that you are still experiencing the normal stages of grief. IME, it is normal to feel guilty - whether you chose to put the dog down or not. If you don't pts and the dog dies a painful natural death, you feel guilt over not preventing the pain; if you do pts, then you feel guilt over whether it was too soon or not soon enough. Most of us who sound so confident have had much longer to come to terms with our loss and maybe put things into more perspective. And sometimes we sound so confident to reassure ourselves we made the "right" decision. In my case, I've 3-1/2 yrs to come terms w/Sara's loss and 14 months since Katie's passing. I can only state my feelings - I didn't choose to end of the lives of my dogs, I chose to end or prevent their suffering.

Hopefully soon the memories of how your dog lived his life will supercede the memories of how he died - it's cliche, but time does help you to remember the joy of having the dog and not the sadness of losing him.

#44 urge to herd

urge to herd

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 3,277 posts

Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:39 PM

No, Rushdoggie, you're not the only one who struggles. In the days leading up to each one's passing, I breathed every breath with them. I watched them, minute by minute, hoping that it was another false alarm, and that he or she would suddenly feel like eating, or be able to walk unaided, or whatever it was for that dog or cat.

The decisions for me are never made lightly. Sometimes it's a bit clearer than other times, but every single time, I struggle to do the right thing for them.

Ruth

#45 Cody & Duchess

Cody & Duchess

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 724 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Florida and the mountains of New Mexico

Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:02 PM

What I take from this very important discussion is - not whether to PTS or treat, not whether to manage pain or try to cure - but the soul searching pain (driven by love) that each and every dog owner here goes through in an attempt to do the right thing. How after they have left us, even for years, their memory can still bring tears to our eyes. How each dog gave so much to us to leave such a lasting impact on us after they are here no more. Then I think of the dogs that I see in the shelter that I volunteer at. Underweight, scarred,scared and unwanted. Wish more people were concerned to do the right thing.

#46 Maralynn

Maralynn

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 3,970 posts

Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:02 PM

As a sort of aside to this discussion I personally it's important to be supportive of friends who might have to make a decision to let a dog (or other pet go) and not make them second guess their decisions by pointing out additional treatment options (unless they are truly seeking such options), or that thus and such isn't *that* expensive, and so on. I know of people who do this, and it's very distressing. For many of us, making such a decision is agony itself. Being made to feel that we didn't do enough, or were chintzy with the expense is just adding to the pain. So if you know someone contemplating the death of their beloved partner, companion, lifelong pet, consider carefully the advice you offer.


Yes, this.

On the flip side there are those people who think you should euth at the first sign of trouble and are very free with that advise too. When Missy was diagnosed last year my boss went on and on THREE DIFFERENT TIMES in the first week to make sure I didn't let her suffer. I was ready to scream.

I finally took her up to his place for a walk with his dog. She hopped out of my car with a ball in her mouth and he goes "Oh which dog is that?" "Umm, it's the one with terminal cancer" "wow, she looks quite peppy" I was thinking, "yes, she does, now will you just shut up about the whole thing?"
Mara
Kipp & Kenzi
Missy, my good girl 1999-2011
K9 Knitter Woolie Dog

#47 Donald McCaig

Donald McCaig

    Geezer

  • Registered Users
  • 1,072 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Highland County Virginia

Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:14 PM

Dear Fellow Mourners,

I've known people who lost a dog forty years ago and still grieve. Sometimes I'll see something - a flash, a dog's movement- that reminds me of my first sheepdog Pip, gone now eighteen years, and that memory brings a sudden scalding tear.

A long time ago, shepherd Geoff Billingham told me, "You can't be a dog handler until you have the regrets." He meant the failure to get a dog to a vet in time, letting a dog run where a car could hit him, simple human failures of attentiveness. I think the regrets are deeper - the regrets are for the life you had, the years you spent together, the dog's endearing/annoying habits, the foolishness, the times that together you were better than you would have been alone.

Like Ms Rushdoggie, my first response to June's death was regrets - all those things i should have done differently. That's what tears are for - to wash regrets.

When she was alive, June forgave my faults - "Oh, that's just old dopey Donald doing dumb things."

As she did when she lay her silky head on my hand and died.

As Ms. Rushdoggie's dog forgave her.

Because that's the last kindness they can give.


Donald McCaig

#48 RoseAmy

RoseAmy

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 300 posts

Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:40 PM

As I said in my first post there is no right or wrong decision. And with my friends I will support them in what ever decision they make.

Rushdoggie..I don't think any of us are confident in our decisions..they are hard ones that must be made. That's why I said that I was glad that Donald came forth and told of his decision..It is one I have vowed to make when the time comes (and that time I know loooms near) with my 2 old guys. HOWEVER believe me as confident as I may sound I know when the times comes a little voice in my head will be questioning that perhaps I should do something to prolong their stay with me.

Also Rushdoggie what has always helped me is to remind myself of the fact that my dog/horse had a great life with me and I did the very best that I knew how to do for them.. When you think of all the animals with uncaring and abusive owners your dog was lucky to have had you. They only wrong decision you could of made was not to have bought your dog into your life in the first place. Be happy for you dog knowing that you gave him such a great life..and that you did the very best you knew how for him.

Your hurt is still fresh..grieve and cry..but never doubt that you did what was best for your dog.

#49 geonni banner

geonni banner

    blabbermouth

  • Registered Users
  • 2,799 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Pt. Richmond, CA, USA
  • Interests:Photography, dog training, samurai movies, anime, illustration

Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:51 PM

There is another scenario here. Some people simply cannot afford to foot a huge vet bill when a dog becomes seriously ill. They may want to. They may feel panic and guilt and dread at the idea of putting down their dog. But for some it isn't a choice between replacing the kitchen cabinets that are getting rather funky or treating the dog for cancer. It's a cold fact that there is not enough money to do either, and no way to get one's hands on it. Does this mean they don't love their dog as much as folk who can drop thousands on treating a dog? Does this mean they shouldn't own a dog if they can't or are unwilling to pay financially ruinous vet bills?

I was faced with this situation 3 years ago. My Lurcher bitch had a problem which was not at the moment life-threatening, but without intervention would only get worse, and undermine her health. I took her to the vet and when I got the estimate for fixing the problem it was far and away above my means. There was no one to borrow such a sum from, nor the means to pay it back.

My choice was difficult. I did not want to put her down, but what else to do?

I got very lucky. Friends of hers from the dog park - a couple with two other Lurchers - asked if they could take her. They did. They got her attended to right away, and now she is 10 years old and the picture of health and happiness. Was it hard to give her up? Yes. Did I feel blessed to have been provided with a solution to the problem. Absolutely! The dog is happy and healthy and that is what matters most.

I get pictures fairly regularly, and Sugarfoot sees her friend at the dog park fairly often. I got health insurance for Sugar, and feel like I'm better prepared to face a veterinary crisis should one arise.

Sometimes an impossible situation can be overcome. Sometimes it can't. Attached File  2011-0908-Grace-w-ball-at-Sea-Ranch.jpg   173.51K   15 downloads
Attached File  Grace is 9 5-10 1fixed.jpg   75.25K   16 downloads



 


#50 Liz P

Liz P

    optimistic realist

  • Registered Users
  • 4,244 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:somewhere inside my brain

Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:27 PM

Yet more than three weeks later I am still wracked with guilt and grief and feel like maybe I made the wrong choice. I have nightmares and insomnia. I still sneak off to the bathroom to cry because my poor husband hurts to see me cry. I still fear I did the wrong thing.


I would bet we have all gone through the same thing. Weeks after I let Flyboy go I was still a mess, waking up suddenly in the middle of the night feeling like I had murdered by dog. That soon after his death I absolutely felt like I had let him go too soon. It wasn't until a full year after he had died that I happened upon his test results and started to make peace with my decision. That year to grieve had allowed me to look at the information with a more analytical mind and see how very sick he was. I can finally say with confidence that euthanasia was the right choice, and two years in I can admit I may have waited a few days too long.

Grieving is a long and painful process.

Posted Image
Dangerous Dreams Farm


#51 juliepoudrier

juliepoudrier

    Poseur extraordinaire and Borg Queen!

  • Registered Users
  • 14,706 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Virginia

Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:44 PM

I let my Boy go a year and a half ago. He was 15 1/2. Did I agonize over my decision then? Yes. Do I still cry when I think about him? Yes. Do I still sometimes wonder if the time really was right? Yes, I do. Do I worry about the nearly 16 year old every time she refuses a meal, struggles to get up, falls down, appears to struggle to get her breath? Yes. Did I nearly panic the other night when the nearly 15 year old fell over in what appeared to be the same sort of seizure that Boy had right before he died? You bet. Do I cry thinking about the decisions I will likely have to make for both Jill and Willow, probably this year, most certainly within the next twelve months, unless a miracle happens? Yes. But even though the thought of previous losses and losses to come fills me with a great grief, I still understand that I owe it to them to be strong enough to make that decision when it's time. Even knowing that the time is right doesn't make it easier. But the only other choice is not to let them into our hearts to begin with, and I have chosen to suffer the pain of losing them (and the agonizing over the decisions that accompany that) because I would not want to miss the joy of having them a part of my life. I suspect that everyone who has posted to this list feels the same.

What I see in the posts to this thread are people who have given a great deal of thought to how to ease a beloved pet's passing, how to figure out when the time is right and when heroic measures are not the answer, and when to forgive oneself for having to make that hard choice. Our animals can't speak to us--we have to use our intimate knowledge of them to figure out what they're thinking and feeling, and I see a number of people who have searched their hearts and minds thoroughly in order to try to do the right thing.

J.

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

~Vincent van Gogh



mydogs_small2.jpg

Julie Poudrier
Oxford, NC
Willow, Farleigh, Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Twist (the troll), Katty Rat, Little Miss Larky Malarky, Phoebe (the rabid possum), Pipit (aka Goober), Kestrel (aka Messy Kessie), and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis sheep and mule sheep



Visit me on Facebook at Poudrier and Crowder, Set Out Specialists (P&C, SOS)


#52 Blackdawgs

Blackdawgs

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 269 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:45 PM

The flip side of not waiting long enough is waiting too long. I waited too long to euthanize one of the dogs--a ~ 13 year old- that I refused diagnosis and treatment for. I had actually brought the dog to the vet twice expecting that he would not come home with me and both times was talked out of it by the vet (which wasn't hard) The cruel irony is that if I had euthanized him the first time, I would be forever wondering (like Rushdoggie), if he would have recovered (temporarily). As it turned out, his suffering was prolonged by about a week, something that I feel pretty crappy about almost 11 years later.

#53 Sue R

Sue R

    Bark less, wag more

  • Registered Users
  • 10,713 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Bruceton Mills WV
  • Interests:Stockdogs, horses, chocolate

Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:08 PM

There is another scenario here. Some people simply cannot afford to foot a huge vet bill when a dog becomes seriously ill. They may want to. They may feel panic and guilt and dread at the idea of putting down their dog.

This is also a very important point. Many people have pets and can (and will) provide reasonable, affordable, normal health care. But some people can't justify an expensive treatment - they don't have the resources, they have other demands on their resources, or whatever.

Everyone has to take into account their situation, including the welfare of the animal and the prognosis, to make the decision that is right for them.

Geonni - That was certainly a wonderful, win-win situation. Bless those folks who stepped in and helped!
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#54 Root Beer

Root Beer

    It's a Dean Dog Adventure!

  • Registered Users
  • 6,221 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Pennsylvania

Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:42 PM

Based on so many of the replies in this thread I saw so many people who seem confident and at peace that they did the right thing, that they had the wisdom and grace to know and feel that they made the right call, that they could look back with clarity after the event and see that it was the best thing.


That is not how I felt at the time. I struggled with it. I cried for days and weeks. At night when I was supposed to be sleeping, on my way to and from work, and any time I wasn't in front of kids at work.

I worried about whether or not I might be giving up too soon, if she might suddenly get better, if there was something she might eat if I could only find it. Much of my life became consumed with trying to get her to eat something, and I still think of it at times when I run across some of the foods I tried.

I didn't know it was time. Maddie wasn't clearly telling me that it was time to let her go. In fact, I don't believe she wanted to go. But I had to make the choice between making that decision or letting her starve herself to death. I didn't have peace with the decision, I wasn't confident - it tore my heart to pieces.

But I simply could not let her starve. It came down to that.

Then came the guilt of feeling like I had killed her. And maybe if I seen some of the earlier signs, that I only saw in retrospect - maybe she could have been diagnosed while she was still somewhat healthy and something could have been done for her.

My acceptance of what happened is somewhat personal, but it happened some time later.

I still miss her like crazy.

I planted two shrubs in her flower garden yesterday. Why? She won't be here to lay under them. I don't think any of the other dogs would. I bought her shrubs and she isn't even here. I hope one of my other dogs will eventually enjoy their shade, but really, they are Maddie's.

I do know that I did what I had to do, and now I do have peace with the decision. But I will never feel good about it. And seven months later, I know it was right not to let her starve to death.

But I didn't feel that way at the time, nor even in the immediate weeks afterward.

Kristine
And Dean Dog and Tessa
In Memory:  Sammie, Speedy, and Maddie

 

Tessa's Training Blog - Our Training and Experiences in Musical Freestyle, Agility, and Rally FrEe

 

Tessa+Snooker.JPG


#55 beachdogz

beachdogz

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 618 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Western Pa.

Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:55 PM

Years ago, I used to say about my boy Archer -- the day he quits eating is the day I will know. That dog ate through everything...good and bad. I knew it was coming...and of course, the day came that he refused to eat. He was going into renal failure and I knew that. Everyone is different. I always measured the quality of life as my guide. I called the vet and made an appointment. That night we took our last walk. The next morning, when I came downstairs he greeted me like he was a puppy. Driving to the vet, I prayed to God to give me a sign...was I doing the right thing? When we got to the vet, he asked me how old Archer was. "He's twelve" I said. My vet looked at his card. "No, Bonnie, he's thirteen." (I knew that...I just want him to be twelve.) To make a long story short, after the exam, my vet asked, "Has he been coughing?" No. "Has he been throwing up?" No. Geez, I thought was this the sign?? "Well", he said, "it's hard to believe he's not coughing with as bad a heart murmur as he now has...and not throwing up with the sizable tumor he has." There was my sign. I could have taken him home...to let him die naturally and maybe in pain. Or I could end it now. My vet told me that many times dogs seem to rally and people take them home, only to bring them back a few days later for the inevitable. It hurt...but I chose to end it right there and then. The quality of his life was more important to me. That was probably 20 years ago or more, and still I tear up as I am writing this. I have made that decision for almost every dog I've owned....14 in the past. An old friend and long-time breeder who I knew years ago once told me that no matter how many dogs you have, losing them never gets easier. And she was correct.
"Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely, the world will be changed for that one dog"

Posted Image

Kylie Rusty Stormy

#56 geonni banner

geonni banner

    blabbermouth

  • Registered Users
  • 2,799 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Pt. Richmond, CA, USA
  • Interests:Photography, dog training, samurai movies, anime, illustration

Posted 08 April 2012 - 09:39 PM

I wanted to share this story with those of you who are interested. This happened to me when I was working at a veterinary hospital. I was haunted by it for a very long time, and only putting it down on paper helped me to get over it. Fair warning - it is not a happy story.

http://sugarfootsez....t-ok-kitty.html



 


#57 Maralynn

Maralynn

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 3,970 posts

Posted 08 April 2012 - 10:42 PM

That is not how I felt at the time. I struggled with it. I cried for days and weeks. At night when I was supposed to be sleeping, on my way to and from work, and any time I wasn't in front of kids at work.

I worried about whether or not I might be giving up too soon, if she might suddenly get better, if there was something she might eat if I could only find it. Much of my life became consumed with trying to get her to eat something, and I still think of it at times when I run across some of the foods I tried.

---

But I simply could not let her starve. It came down to that.

Then came the guilt of feeling like I had killed her. And maybe if I seen some of the earlier signs, that I only saw in retrospect - maybe she could have been diagnosed while she was still somewhat healthy and something could have been done for her.

---

I still miss her like crazy.


This.

Substitute a few words and it's my story. I went through weeks of "if onlys" before I lost her - if only the cancer had been found sooner. The primary tumor was on her spleen, if it had been found before it had metastasized then maybe surgery would have made a difference.

Then came the agonizing how will I ever make the decision and when.

In the end it came down to the fact that I just couldn't let her get worse. I second guessed myself after I made the appointment. The only reason I didn't back out was that I knew it was terminal and, while I knew her heart was still willing, I could see her body had almost given out on her. I couldn't let her get any worse. But it was the hardest decision that I've ever had to make.

That was 9 months ago and I still don't really talk about her because it hurts too much and I just start crying.
Mara
Kipp & Kenzi
Missy, my good girl 1999-2011
K9 Knitter Woolie Dog

#58 Star

Star

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 201 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Shady Shores, Texas
  • Interests:Riding Horses, Reading

Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:28 AM

I wanted to share this story with those of you who are interested. This happened to me when I was working at a veterinary hospital. I was haunted by it for a very long time, and only putting it down on paper helped me to get over it. Fair warning - it is not a happy story.

http://sugarfootsez.blogspot.com/2012/04/its-not-ok-kitty.html


What awful people. What an awful vet. I'm sorry you had to get caught in that.

#59 mbc1963

mbc1963

    My Dog Is Grouchier Than Your Dog.

  • Registered Users
  • 2,426 posts

Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:46 AM

My father's old dog was 14. She was my baby - I lived at home the year they got her, and loved her like my own dog.

She had hemangiosarcoma, and we brought her home to let her live out her last days. My parents went away for a weekend, and I was watching the dog. I could tell she was going; she had slipped back to not eating, moving slowly and painfully. I actually called my sister on Saturday and said, "This dog is going to die. Should I take her to the vet and have her put down?" My sister encouraged me to wait until my parents got home.

Well, Tuesday morning, my father woke up to the sound of screaming. The dog was wracked with some kind of incredibly painful seizure or brain bleed. My 76-year-old father had to carry his writhing, screaming dog to the car and manage to drag her into the vet's office to be put down. He remembers this horrific moment with great and intense pain.

If I think about this, I regret it - every single time. I could have saved the dog and my father the horrible end. I chose not to - and it was bad for the dog, my dad, and me.

I would choose 1,000 times wondering if I had done it too soon if I could wipe out my father's memory of those last hours.

Mary

#60 Tommy Coyote

Tommy Coyote

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,740 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Kansas City, Mo

Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:50 AM

Timely article that just came out in the KC Star.

http://kansascity.co...-surprised.html


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Copyright: All posts and images on this site are protected by copyright, and may not be reproduced or distributed in any way without permission. Banner photo courtesy of Denise Wall, 2009 CDWall. For further information, contact info@bordercollie.org.