Yesterday, we decided to put down my sweet Sheltie girl, and I am terrified and wrought with guilt over the thought we did it too soon.

She was diagnosed with TCC (bladder cancer) in January 2018 after many problems with peeing in the house, struggling to pee outside and on walks, and peeing blood. The vet put her on piroxicam, and it seemed to help for about 6 weeks. However, for the last 3 weeks, her appetite changed, she was not as playful, and she had more frequent accidents in the house. She would come inside from our back yard and instantly potty on the floor. The look of shame on her face as she did so drives me to tears, and I hope she knows we understood.

Duchess would still eat her regular food most of the time, but it would take her longer. There were a couple times in the past week she wouldn’t touch her food. She also would react when we came home but no longer would greet us at the door with our other dog. We recently took her on a walk when the weather warmed up and she was not nearly as energetic and didn’t seem to enjoy it as she had to squat excessively (50-100 times in a 20 min walk). She used to love chasing toys with our other dog but would either not get up to do so or would only do so for about 5 min and then would lay down. It seems like she was in pain when she tried. At the vet, she had lost her balance on one side with one of her back legs giving out. She had broken this leg as a puppy, so I’m not sure if that is a factor. She also had developed a very glassy look and seemed dazed most of the time.

I am struggling because I still saw joy in her a couple of times a day, though not for extended amounts of time. She stilled enjoyed love and affection from us. Also, we have a baby on the way and need to replace our carpet and do other things to prepare our house, so I can’t shake the feeling that we would have tried to do more for her if this weren’t the case.

Yesterday, the vet told us she was also experiencing kidney failure on top of the cancer. We had 2 options - add gabapentin to ease pain and try wet dog food for 2 weeks to see if there was any improvement or end her suffering. We couldn’t bear the thought of her feeling shame, pain, or fear. My husband and I ultimately chose to put her down. I can’t help but fear that our own preparation for the baby played a role in this. I have prayed, talked to my husband, family members, and friends about this, but the guilt is not ceasing to the point where I did not sleep and cannot stop crying.

Any input from other pet lovers? Did we do it too soon?

I miss her so much.
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Oh Lrnmir~

I am so very sorry to read about Duchess. This all happened to you yesterday. Everything is raw, or surreal, or maybe you wish you could close your eyes & then wake up-- as it was all a bad dream. It is so hard. But I do believe your girl guided you here. In the depth of grief, despair, replay, 'what ifs', & non stop crying, finding 'The Rainbow Bridge Forum' was an important part of being able to heal. Everyone here understands the wicked pain because we have lived it...and worked through it. Right now, every single thing is about Duchess. Please try to take it not just one day at a time...go hour to hour...and know that there may be very difficult days ahead. I understand the questions & wondering. I went through it after my Lucy passed.

But I truly believe that you made you decision from a place of pure, unconditional love. You took her pain. And now you carry it. You did not want her to suffer anymore. Extending treatments may/may not have extended Duchess' life. But quality of life? Joy? You wrote you "still saw joy in her" but they rally. She loved you, loves you still and likely was trying so hard to rally & try to get back to 'normal'. But that wasn't going to happen. You knew her quality of life was only going to get worse. Even if you got more time, I don't think the outcome would have been different except that your baby would have suffered even more. You chose because you loved her. There's a moment...when your heart...deep inside helped you to chose for Duchess. You did not make the decision 'for you'-- to have her with you longer-- but you chose 'for her'. Only in time, after many months, was I able to come to terms with my own decision. On the day Lucy went to sleep...I was unsure. When I looked into my girl's eyes, I knew I had to let her go. But afterwards, when I replayed how I was thinking about Lucy's uncertain surgeries, treatments & my own 2 work schedules...I beat myself up...wondering if I put 'work' over Lucy? Nope. And I don't think you put baby preparation, carpeting etc., over Duchess. It may take time to accept this. But I truly believe you loved her that much that you did not want her to suffer any longer. 

Please come here often. We all understand. The forum folks are compassionate, no-judgement people. Please post more about Duchess, pictures...if and when you feel that you are able. Please know you have my sympathy and my understanding.


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Lrn mlr, I am so very very sorry for your excruciating loss of Duchess. There's nothing any of us can say that will help ease your pain. It's just devastating to have to make that hard decision. And unfortunately it is a decision that inevitably makes you feel conflicted. If you feel like you did it just a little bit too soon it crushes you and if you feel like you did it just a little bit too late it crushes you also. And none of us can crawl into our precious little furry loved ones minds and bodies to know exactly what they're experiencing. Please try not to blame yourself. From what you have described Duchess's quality of life had deteriorated greatly and there was very very little left to hold on to that was good. It certainly sounds to me that you made the loving, compassionate, heart-rending choice to Let Her Go, to keep her from suffering any more than she had. Be good to yourself. The grief is unbearable and so horribly Raw the first few days. I hope you will keep writing here and connecting here and knowing that we all understand how heart-rending it is to have to say goodbye to a baby and to make that decision . .wishing you much much comfort and peace on your journey.

(Sorry for the poor punctuation Etc having to post on my phone today)
-Missing Marissa deeply
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Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate the support and shared experiences. This is truly the hardest thing I’ve been through, and I seem to do okay until it is time to come home. The house seems so empty, and I see her sweet face everywhere. I’m hoping time and prayers will help me to heal, but it is so painful. I miss her so much and would do anything to have additional healthy years with her.
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I am so sorry for your loss.  I know how hard it is.  
From what you write here, no, I don't think it was too soon. Not at all.  I think most of us feel that it was too soon and feel guilt.  
I can relate to your dog looking and seeming happy on the day you took her in, because I lost Timmer (my beloved cat) six weeks ago now and the day I took him in he had moments where he seemed OK.  I've had to let cats go before and they were at death's door at the time, but with him, it didn't SEEM like he was but, he would also turn away from me and appear very much in pain.
He was diagnosed with IBD and GI lymphoma. I've never had cancer but they say it is painful which makes sense to me, otherwise they wouldn't give people morphine for the pain.  Like your girl trying to pee, Tim was always in the litter box trying to poop.  His colon had swollen shut.  
It's very hard to let them go because we love them so much and they fill our lives with love.  We miss them so much.  But I do believe they are in a place now and not feeling any pain.  I do believe we will see them again.
This site and another one I am on for grief support, has helped me tremendously.  I still cry nearly every day over Timmer. You grief as long as you want and take your time.  
Come back on here and write.  It helps.
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Your sweet Duchess was given so much love.
As an outsider it sounds like you put her needs and feelings before your own, even if you worry that it was the other way around. You knew you were going to be devastated when you had to say goodbye, and yet you also knew she may be uncomfortable or embarrassed due to her accidents. Even if you had all the time in the world, I️ think you would have still been in that same predicament. That’s the most selfLESS logic, and bless you for that.
There’s never a good time to say goodbye. Some worry they did so too early, others too late. It’s our minds trying to rationalize and process something that is so emotional and painful. You don’t deserve to torture yourself with “what if’s” and “if onlys”. Miss her, mourn her, and when you’re ready, celebrate her life.
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Thank you for your kind words. I woke up with a whole new fear today. While we were waiting for the vet, my mother, who was with me because my husband couldn’t miss work and I was very emotional, told Duchess, “You won’t potty on the floor anymore.” She said it in kindness, telling Duchess this burden of hers would be gone. However, I instantly told Duch, “That’s not why though.” After revisiting that conversation in a dream last night, I am afraid Duchess thought this was punishment for pottying on the floor. It most certainly was not, and I would have cleaned up accidents indefinitely had I know they were not causing her pain and shame. I can’t get over the fear she thought this was her punishment and it’s killing me. Aside from very few times when frustration got the best of us, we always told Duchess that it was okay and we understood when she had accidents, being careful to love on her after. Can anyone relate to this fear?
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This is my beautiful girl. She was the prettiest dog I’ve ever seen and so very sweet and gentle. She followed me everywhere, but that was one of the things that went at the end. Instead of following right behind, she would come find me after 5 or more minutes. I just want to see her walk around the corner.

She has a fur sister, Piper, but Piper doesn’t love on me and snuggle me like Duchess did, and I’m having a hard time with that.
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LRN - Duchess is a lovely lovely doggie!  I know my cat Timmer used to follow me everywhere.  Something could be going on outside the windows, but he only had eyes for me.  Now I don't have that anymore.  It takes a lot of getting used to.  I have another cat too, and like your other doggie, it's not the same and she is not as affectionate.  I think with some time your dog might come around.  My cat is starting to realize she's the only one and has me to herself.

Regarding what your mom said.  Well, I think perhaps she meant that Duchess wouldn't be embarrassed anymore about anything.  I'm sorry that you are struggling with this and it is understandable. I would too.  But Duchess was YOUR dog and she knows your heart.  DO NOT give weight to this one statement from your mom over an entire lifetime of LOVE you had with Duchess.  The relationship with your dog, the feelings you had for each other, do not cancel because your mom said that.

Duchess was probably in a tremendous amount of pain.  What you did was the ultimate for her.  It is a kind and humane thing to do.  I am not one for having a pet linger to the end, while trying to pull tricks out of my sleeve to have them around just for me.  That is selfish.  And when you get cancer involved -- it's a no win situation.  You hear about people doing all kinds of things and their pets lasting another few months or maybe even years (I know someone on another forum who had their cat treated and they did last for years), but what is the quality of that cat or dog's life?  Probably not that great.
I hope in time you find peace with your decision and the pain of that last day will start to fade. I am finding that to be true with Timmer.  It's really hard, though.

If it helps you, can you talk to your vet about whether you did the right thing? I had to do that a couple of weeks after Timmer passed on.  I sent him a thank you card and I told him I struggle with my decision to let Timmer go and he called me, took the time to talk with me about it.  
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No doubt in my mind you let Duchess go too soon. You did right by her. 

B Weinstein
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You love her. She died without having to go through the pain of dying. She’s okay. Duchess loves you. Like Lorelei loves me. They’re watching over us.
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