On June 10th early in the morning, we said goodbye to our sweet Pekingese. She was a rescue dog that we got when she was almost five (rescued from family members) and was with us for seven years. When we first got her we had a house but then, due to economical hardship, had to move into an apartment about two years ago. It was after that move that she started to decline in behavior. We thought it was because she was unhappy with our new living situation so we started to try to find her a new home in March and planned to work with a trainer with her in the interim. We hadn't known about Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome until it was far too late but she had absolutely every one of the symptoms: It was a diagnosis that we didn't even know about until after the fact when we were speaking with an out-of-state friend, who is a vet, about her passing.

At the end of April/beginning of May, she started experiencing uncontrollable diarrhea that nothing would help. She'd swallowed a large string of plastic and strings of towel threads that formed a blockage (something she'd never ever done before, and we hadn't known about the blockage at the time) but she got it out on her own. X-rays done (inconclusive results) and in and out of the vet's, we tried antibiotics, anti-diarrheals, and anti-inflammatories. We fed her a bland diet of only chicken and rice with probiotics and enzymes and nothing else for over a month. Still she was sick to the point where we had to keep her in her crate with wee-wee pads because more than a few times she would end up covered in poo, pee, and vomit. It was breaking our hearts. When we could keep her out of her crate she was depressed and miserable. It was hard to see such a happy, friendly dog decline so rapidly, especially over the weekend.

The other owner, my partner, had just had major surgery that week so she was unable to do much to help. At the end of the weekend, we knew it was time. We spent a perfect and beautiful day with her on Sunday and prepared ourselves for the inevitable. We were woken up early Monday morning to her whining in pain to find that she'd been sitting, and was covered in, poo, pee, and vomit all during the night once more. I helped her out and gently cleaned her off and cleaned out her crate, and we waited for the vet office to open before taking her in. We knew it was the end and had made peace with that. Everyone who knew her, in fact, could tell that it was her time.

The vet office had several vets and, ever since our main and favorite vet left a couple of years ago, we hadn't ever seen the same vet whenever we brought a pet in. That morning was no exception. We told the vet we'd never met before about her behavior changes and that the diarrhea was still an issue. That we believed it was time. We'd had a cat we had to euthanize over three years ago who we spent three years trying to get her diarrhea issue under control only to watch her waste away. We told him we couldn't go through that again. Rather than be compassionate toward our dog's suffering or our pain, the vet became irate and argued with us about our decision. He said that we were wrong to want to euthanize an otherwise healthy dog. He wanted to run more tests and try more medications because her behavior issues were probably just metabolic. We reiterated that we couldn't go through all that. Eventually, he very reluctantly asked us if we really wanted to euthanize her, his tone suggesting that we were choosing to kill her because we didn't want to pay for more tests and treatments.

In the room, she looked up at my partner with loving eyes and gave her a final lick on the chin before the vet came in for her last moments. It was as if she knew what was happening and was telling us that it was okay. She loved us and knew she was loved. Watching a pet pass away is always extremely difficult for us. We probably wouldn't stay to witness it otherwise, but it so much more important to be there with our pets to whisper words of love, to offer comfort, and let them know that everything is okay. After that initial excitable reaction, she laid down, and passed peacefully when the final injection came. In the past we'd been allowed to stay with our pet alone long before and long after, but this vet waited right there for us to leave. We petted her and kissed her head - it was still warm. That's all I can think about still because we were expected to leave right after.

I feel such pain and guilt now. My heart hurts so much. We'd been so sure of our decision even right at that moment. We knew without question that it was the right thing to do. I even felt her relief wash over my sadness in the moment that she passed. I could feel her calm and peace at feeling no more suffering. But now I don't know. Now I question if that really was the right decision. What if we learned about CCDS before it was too late, or even tried treatment for it right then. Or would we only be prolonging her suffering until another three months, or six months, just like we did with our cat who never ever recovered. There are moments during the day when I feel that we did the best we could for her. And then moments like now when I wish we'd given it more thought, took the time to really think about it. Even though all along we'd been saying if anything major happened with her, then it would be her time. We aren't heartless and yet we feel like we were. We even feel guilt for admonishing her in the past for her behavior because we hadn't known it was CCDS at the time.

Only recently have I started to get over the guilt of euthanizing our cat over three years ago. I don't know if I can handle carrying yet more grief and pain over this, too. It feels like too much. I have talked to friends and others but I feel like they don't understand the depth of our guilt and pain over having to euthanize a dog who didn't have a particular illness or disease. We made the decision because her quality of life had deteriorated so much but I don't find that thought comforting enough. The guilt trip laid on us by the vet only makes me feel even worse. Just like that link for CCDS says: It can be a difficult decision to end the life of a pet whose body may be functioning well, but whose mind is not. But I feel like I don't know anyone who would understand that.
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I am deeply sorry for your loss. I understand.
RIP our beautiful shining Star. We love you and will miss you always and forever.
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First of all I am so sorry for your loss.  I know how difficult it is to make the decision to let a much loved dog go to sleep.  I went through that recently with my twelve year old dog Bailey. You have nothing to feel guilty about.  You did what you did out of love for your baby because you didn't want to see her go through any further pain.
That vet had no right to treat you that way.  I am sorry you had to deal with that too.  I didn't know my vet very well because Bailey was not a regular to the practice.  He had only really been for his annual injections and check ups before, he was rarely ill.  I have to say my vet showed alot of compassion and when I had my own doubts he reassured me I was doing the kindest thing for Bailey at the right time.  I needed that reassurance.
It sounds to me like your dog was telling you it was ok to let her go.  You loved her and she loved you very much.  Please don't let that vet make you feel guilty.
Everyone here understands how you feel.  Most of us have lost a loved one. I am sorry I don't know anything about CCDS.  My thoughts are with you and your partner.
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Thank you so much, firelace. I just read about your experience and I am so sorry for your loss as well. You have nothing to feel guilty for. We all love our babies very much and try to do what's best for them. They know this and know that they are loved.
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Thank you so incredibly much, Diana, for all of your kind words. And thank you for saying what I know, in my heart at least, is true. That we did what we did out of love and that the vet shouldn't have treated us so terribly for wanting to do what was right for our baby.

Our pup rarely went to the vet either except for her annual appointments and vaccines, and boarding occasionally. Maybe that's why the CCDS wasn't discovered, I don't know. She never got sick, though, so this was the first major issue we brought her in for. It feels like it all happened so fast.

I read your story and am glad that you had a vet who was supportive. I am very sorry for your loss also. It's hard no matter what the circumstances.

You are right. I will try not to let that vet make me feel guilty or cloud the memories of her last moments. Thank you again.
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I am truly sorry for your loss. I lost my Pekingese in March. She died of pneumonia. Knowing full well the personality and pride that a Peke exhibits leaving one in that diminished condition would be dishonorable.
You made the right decision. My girl passed quickly on her own but I was ready to put her down if she was suffering. And veterinary fees can be an issue. My Cosette was only there six hours and the bill was $1,100. I did have to put my last dog to sleep. She was a Cocker Spaniel and had liver cancer.
You did all you could for her and assured she would not suffer at the end.
Please accept my deepest sympathy. I have had many dogs but losing this Peke has been the hardest.
They really have strong personalities that go deep into the heart. I still miss her every day.
Vicky (Cosette's mom)
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Thank you, Vicky. I am sorry to hear about your loss as well. We thought for sure, because of the breed, we would lose ours to something like pneumonia or a heart condition or something. We never ever expected CCDS which we didn't even know about until after the fact.

Pekes really are a very special breed. Such proud, wonderful, sweet personalities. I have never had or known another dog like her. I miss her so much that it hurts. Everybody who knew and ever met her loved her. She really was the best, sweetest dog.
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