I lost my Thatcher on Saturday night and I am completely and totally lost. She has not been in the best health the last 6-8 months. She has a heart murmur that they graded at Level 3 out of 6, and she has a history of seizures dating back to 2003. I have noticed that she has a deep cough at least once a day, pants a great deal of the time and I can almost always hear her breathing. I've had her on medication for seizures for at least a year and she only had one the past few months. Then Saturday afternoon she had a seizure that was different from any of the others. Her head flew back as I held her in my arms and there was a little foam around her mouth. I got her back though, just like I had every other time. A little later she had another seizure, this one smaller than before. She had 2 more later in the afternoon and I was scared I was going to lose her at home so I rushed her to the Emergency Vets. In the car I asked her to hold on until we got there, and she did. The Vet suggested I either hospitalize her until Monday so they could monitor her seizures or consider euthanizing her. I had thought about this possibility and resolved myself to this conclusion before we set foot in the Vet's office. I knew if they mentioned euthanasia then that would be a sign somehow validating my decision. I was terrified at the thought of coming home one day to find Thatchy dead. I didn't want her to die without me being there with her. And I didn't want it to happen in front of her brother and sister (both dogs) who always panicked when she seized. I got to spend an hour with her outside in the grass before my parents arrived for support and it was time. They gave her sedatives and I put my head on the table, where we were eye to eye. I was holding her hand telling her how much I love her when she was given the injection and passed. Since then, I have completely fallen apart. I can't eat, and all I do is cry. I keep thinking about how energetic and normal she was after we walked into the Vet. It was like she was a different dog. She was alert and so much different than she was when we were at home. Now I keep thinking that maybe she wasn't as sick as I thought she was and that I made the wrong choice. I cannot forgive myself and don't even know how I'm supposed to go on without her. I adopted her on 9-7-01. The pound said she was between 3-5 years old, and the ER Vets put her age as 13. She has a sister Reagan and a brother Nelson, and as terrible as it is to admit, she was my favorite... my baby girl, and I treated her as such. Her brother and sister are very confused right now and every time I leave my apartment they look relieved I am not taking them with me. It's been just me and my 3 babies since 2003. I'm not married and they are my only children. They're all I've got, my heart and soul. I have no idea how I could make that choice to end Thatcher's life so quickly. How do I forgive myself for that?! And how in the world do I even begin to repair my heart that is broken in more pieces then I ever knew was possible. I know she had several health problems but maybe it wasn't her time? And now it's too late. I can't go back and change my mind. I loved her more than anything in the world and I chose to end her life. The worst part is when I think about how good she appeared to be once arriving at the Vet it feels like someone stabbed me in the heart because I feel like I made the decision too quickly, and if she could have gone on to live longer. She didn't seem unhappy, even though she wasn't healthy, but the level of panic I felt about her seizure activity and the fact that I truly thought she would pass at home that day because I couldn't get her back to normal afterwords caused me to make the choice. HOW do I even begin the process of forgiving myself. This is the worst feeling I have ever had in my entire life and I keep thinking I brought it upon myself. I don't know what to do. For anyone who read all of this rambling, I thank you. Here is a picture of me and my Gratch at the Vet a few hours before she passed away...

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I understand what your going through. I had made my descison about maddie on a saturday, and by Monday she was playing like a puppy. I talked to her and told her she needed to tell me, and she went down hill right away.
Dont second guess yourself. what you did was out of love.  My maddie, walked in to the vets with a wagging tail, a stuffy in her mouth, but I knew how much she was suffering.  some times animals try so hard just for us, but they are really suffering. I can see the love in your dogs face, and yours for her, thats how I felt about maddie. I also have no family, no relatives at all, there was just me and maddie, so I understand your grief.
with all those seizures, she may have be really suffering.  It will be okay, but try not to feel too guilty, you did what you did...mostly because you loved her.  Judy
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I cry along with you. Making that gut wrenching decision is always so difficult and all of us have been there. Jasmine went downhill fast on a Friday and I did not want her to suffer over the weekend-so after looking at Jas she told me 'please-I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired'.

I know how the guilt will become an everlasting cross that we must carry. But time will heal this and you will be able to remember all the best times, not just the worst times.

Prayers for you.
Cheryl and Angel Jasmine
Jasmine was loved
Jasmine was given ProIn
Jasmine is now gone
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I know how hard it is. I  lost Samantha Saturday. She passed away while I was out of town. I'm thankful we didn't have to make a decision, but you did what you knew to be best and Thatcher knows that.
It does hurt, and it's supposed to.

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My heart goes out to you, i know exactly how you are feeling. My baby girl Maggie was put to sleep just under 2 weeks ago. She too was getting horrific seizures and like Thatcher she too was getting them in "clusters". The night before she was put to sleep she had a seizure at 2 am, 4.30 am and again at 8 am. We had her put to sleep that morning. It was absolutely awful. The worst day of my life. I know how awful it feels to have to do it. I have been torturing myself too, asking myself how could I have done that to her but I know deep down in my heart that it was the right thing to do. You did the right thing.

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I am so sorry for your loss.  I understand totally what you are going through.  Our precious Nicholas died in November of 2008.  He was my baby.  He had a heart murmur and was on medication.  He started having difficulty breating because he heart was so enlarged.  He had gone into cardiac arrest and was hospitalized for a week.  After that my little boy was so weak. He had another episode and I was afraid I would come home one day and find him dead.  I did not want him to die alone. 

It is heartbreaking, I know.  But you made your decision out of love so Thatcher would not suffer.  In time you will be able to remember your baby fondly with a smile on your face. 

This forum helps tremendously.  The compassion, love and understanding here cannot be found elesewhere. 

I know it's hard but remember Thatcher wants you to take care of yourself so you can take care of his brother and sister, and he wants to see his mommy happy too.

Keep posting and sharing what you feel.  It will get better.


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Thank you all SO much for your kind words of support. It has meant SO much to me. I'm struggling every day. I take Thatcher's Collar with me everywhere I go and every night me and her brother and sister kiss it goodnight. Saturday night I watched the clock and cried as I counted down the one week anniversary of when we arrived at the ER Vets, when we sat outside in the grass, when I put her down and how it felt to drive home with only a Collar instead of my baby. I also spilled a glass of wine on my computer’s keyboard. Needless to say this had been a rough road... and that's the understatement of the year.


I have a few questions that I may post in a new thread, because this one is semi-old. I'm going to ask them here too in case someone comes back & reads this & can enlighten me...


1. Someone told me the other day that Dogs have a memory span of about 2 weeks. Is this true?! I don't want my babies to EVER forget their sister


2. What I feel most guilty about is that I was on vacation & had to kennel the dogs for 10 days. They are used to this place & seem pretty happy when we first get there. When I returned to pick them up I was told my total amount due was over $1000. I'm a Social Worker, which obviously means I had to bargain them down & pay them instead of my rent. Approximately $500 worth of my bill consisted of a million tests I did NOT authorize on my Thatcher. They even gave her a bath the day I picked her up. Problem is, in addition to what they charged me is that upon walking out after picking her up I noticed a VERY obvious quarter sized hairless spot where she had literally chewed her skin raw on her backside & in CLEAR view of everyone. I asked about it & they gave me some topical antibiotics. Problem is, when we got home I lifted her hair up and the spot was actually palm sized. Evertime I treated an area, she just found another one. I called the Vet TWICE the week before she passed away to ask how they could charge me $500 for all these tests they ran on Thatcher, yet fail to notice this OBVIOUS spot on her back. The night before she passed away I randomly took pictures of all of her spots. So, basically she spent her last 5 days on earth miserably chewing her skin raw. Oh, and for the record, the VET didn't even call me back until the Saturday she passed away, and left a message asking me to give her a call on Monday to look at her spots... she, however, was in Heaven by then. In addition, and more importantly, HOW did they make her go through all that testing and NOT notice the rapid decline of her health?!?! I'm baffled and LIVID over this & have no idea what to do about it.


3. I got a call yesterday from my Vet saying that Thatcher's ashes have arrived at their office and are ready for pick-up. I don't think I am mentally prepared to pick them up yet, which begs the question: WHAT DO I DO WITH HER ASHES??!! What has anyone else done in this situation?


And Lastly, 4. I'm beating myself up BIG time, because I boarded her for 10 days while I was on vacation, which means I only had her for 5 days before she passed. And the night before I went out with my friends and got home very late. I had NO clue that I would be missing many of my last opportunities to make more memories with Thatcher. It's killing me that she spent 10 of her last 15 days in a kennel, and I only had her back for 5 days before she died. And her last night alive, I wasn't even home until 2am. I think about this EVERY single day and blame myself for it. I also wish EVERY single day that I could rewind the clock and at least given her just ONE more night with me and her siblings. How do I get past THIS kind of guilt?! It seems impossible...


Thanks for reading and ANY comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Thatchersmommy, I'm so sorry for your loss.

You did the right thing. And you did it out of love, for fear that Thatcher would suffer more, for fear that your other dogs would have a traumatic experience. YOU are the one who is suffering now, not Thatcher. Thatcher has no more pain and he would likely have had far more pain if you hadn't let him pass over when you did.

My Boogie was also excited to go to the vet on her last trip where neither she nor I knew that she wouldn't come back. It was wonderful that you got the time outside in the grass...clueless as I was, I didn't even stop to sit down with my Boogie and it was during an uncomplicated surgery they discovered a huge cancer in her throat and I had to consent to having her put to sleep over the phone. They had even, minutes earlier, called me to ask if I could take her home after the surgery because she wouldn't be allowed to bark (the surgery was for a paralyzed trachea) and there was a lot of barking in the overnight room, so it would better if she could be at home. I was of course ecstatic, I wanted her to never be away from me. And then 15 minutes later my life fell apart.

My other doggie, three years younger than Boogie, had only known life with Boogie at her side for ten years. She was affected by it for many, many months. I don't know where the "attention span of 14 days" comes from. That was not my experience. 

The urn. I can only tell you that when they called me to tell me that it arrived (three anxious weeks later), I hauled ass to get to the vet as soon as possible. I brought my younger dog for support and a big pair of sunglasses. I walked  up to the counter and didn't need take a number and sit and wait....I would have screamed at the top of my lungs if they'd made me wait there so I guess I had that look about me. I HAD TO get Boogie, or what was left of Boogie's EARTHLY REMAINS (and I'm capping those words, because I fully expect to be together with her again when I myself pass over) home, home, home, they needed to be with me and not anywhere else. She belongs at home. And for the first three or more months I slept with her urn cradled in my arms and kept the urn under my comforter during the daytime. Now I have her urn (it's a big urn, I think it's intended for humans, but it's white and feels organic, made of plaster or something like that) on the nightstand next to my bed.

When I die, I'm going to have my two dogs' ashes cremated with me. And buried together with me. That decision is one I made many years ago.

I, too, am single and my dogs are my children. I couldn't have asked for better children. It's heart-breaking that they don't live as long as "regular" children, but the love they gave me in the too-short years we got to spend together is more than most parents get from their children during a lifetime. I'm grateful and humbled that I got to experience a love so deep and true.

I started a diary a few days after Boogie died. The first several entries are just a few words, I was so stunned, simply out of my mind with grief. But then I started writing to her using the many different names I had for her,  Boogiebaby, Bestboogieintheworld, etc, and telling her about my day and how I was feeling. I write in the diary every day and it is a tremendous comfort to me. It's where I sit down and quietly just think about her and what I feel. I connect with her through my loving and searching words. 

It is probably too early for you, but keep yourself open to receiving signs. Too early because the pain is so great for the first long time that you aren't able to be open to receiving. It was for me. But then, one evening while walking for miles and miles with my other doggie, sad, distraught, feeling awful, I suddenly and definitely unexpectedly felt a warm and happy calm come over me. That was my first sign.

Thatchersmommy, my heart goes out to you. This is one of the toughest moments you will experience in your lfe. All of us here understand, because all of us here are going through it. It is hell on earth. But the love we had and still have with our pet is worth going through ten hells on earth before we are together again with our beloved pets.

My Boogie died on 3/25/2010. She was the best dog anybody could ask for. I will be with her again when my time comes.

A drawing of Pax by Heather Spears. She specializes in bereavement and is wonderful to work with, she understands how we feel. She can be reached at
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