My little cattle dog Charly was a delightful companion, and we shared 10 happy years together.  He developed cancer of the jaw in January 2020, which grew worse and was inoperable.  I had him euthanized on April 30.  The vet asked me if I would like to stay with him while he was being euthanized, but I said no.  I could not bring myself to stand there and watch him die.  Now I feel so guilty because I left him alone during his last minutes.  Anyone else gone though this miserable experience?  True, it was the best course of action for him, since he was suffering, but I still feel sad and guilty. 
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I am so sorry to hear about your dog Charly. Cancer is a terrible thing.  My dog Cody passed January 11th of this year from a brain tumor.  He was thirteen and was diagnosed November 2019.  The day we got the results back, they said that the tumor was large and we could either euthanize him then and there, put him on medications to ease the swelling in his brain and stop the seizures, do chemo and radiation or brain surgery but the prognosis wasn't good. We decided to do the medication. He had two months of quality life after starting him on the meds but then he had a series of seizures and relapsed so we knew it was time. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I kept thinking maybe if I would have paid better attention I would have seen something and caught it earlier before it had gotten so big. I still miss him terribly. He was my baby boy, my heart and my life. He gave me unconditional love and was always there for me. My life will never be the same without his sweet demeanor and smiling face. 😭
Julie 💔
"Grief only exists where love lived first."
--Franchesca Cox
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Maxs intestines were riddled with scar tissue. I have so much guilt that he was in pain for so long. He hid it so well. Last year he swallowed a bone at the park, I tried to get it out of his mouth but I couldn’t. I keep thinking I knew he was prone to eating anything, if I had kept a cone on him, could I have saved him? It’s hard to say. But the guilt is overwhelming, it eats away at me. I feel partly responsible for his death. 
Laraine Esposito 
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I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you can remember all the good times you had with Charly. Dogs are so stoic that it’s hard to appreciate how sick they are at the beginning of their disease process.  We do the best we can for them and get rewarded with big brown puppy eyes.

My Jillaroo (cattle dog/husky) also had cancer of the jaw that was diagnosed in February 2020. We had to say goodbye to our sweet girl 2 days ago and I am so sad. She was really hurting at the end, unable to eat or drink so we knew she was ready to be in a better place.  She gave my family so much when we needed it most and I always believed she was heaven sent. I’m so grateful for the 9 years we had with her. 

I hope she’s tired after a long day of chasing squirrels near the Rainbow Bridge. ❤️


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I’m so sorry for your loss and please don’t beat yourself up.  My dog Pecan passed away unexpectedly 8 weeks ago and I could not go in the room and say goodbye to her.  I could not see my sweet girl’s lifeless body.  I wish I did but I was so shocked and heartbroken that I couldn’t.  Please be kind to yourself and know that your dog is always with you and knows how much you love him.  Losing Pecan is the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life and I miss her so much.  All I know is somehow I have to learn to live without her as death unfortunately is part of life.  I’m praying for you and everyone else on this page.
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Laurence,  so sorry for your loss and just seeing this post.  I sure know how you feel.  11 yrs ago me and my husband went through it. Our first dog Ginger, we weren’t with her, she got sick without warning, a ruptured tumor and it was bad. WE left her for observation and tests, said goodbye. But she took a turn for the worse and we got a phone call about what to do next. We decided on euthanasia but we both decided we couldn’t be there. I personally couldn’t handle it.  Looking back I do regret it.  When our Lily got sick and we had to make that dreaded decision again in October I promised myself I’m going be with my girl till the end and so did my husband.  But to be honest days after I kept reliving those last minutes.  So really it’s a matter of choice.  Please do not feel,guilty, you did what was best for him by not having him suffer.  He knew how much he was loved.
Linda *Mom to two boxer angels* Lily {White Girl} 6/22/09 - 10/14/19  ** Ginger {Flashy Fawn Girl} 6/4/97 - 5/28/09
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I am so sorry for your loss. I have had guilt over my Fancy passing. She developed Evans syndrome and was gone in a day. She had little red spots on her belly and I googled it and it looked like bites. She always had sensitive skin. We gave her a bath and rubbed her down with coconut oil. In a day the spots were fading. Two weeks later , she was bleeding from her bad tooth and new spots were back on her belly but different this time. Back to the vet and we got the bad news. I feel like it was all my fault. If I had just taken her to the vet on day one. The Vet said the spots would have not gone away . No matter what was told me I felt as it was all my fault. It has been a month now and I miss her everyday. I know she knew we loved her with all our hearts and we were there in her final moments giving her so much love. Grief is a tricky thing. Good days and bad days.
You did all you could and Charly knew how much you loved him.  Sending you prayers
alan farlowe
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It is natural to feel guilt after we put our dogs to sleep. No matter how ill they were we still second guess ourselves, I still do occasionally. First of all, staying with your pet or not is a very personal choice. There is no right or wrong. If it was too much for you emotionally to see your beloved friend pass, that is okay. Your dog felt your deep love.

When Mija and London were put to sleep my husband and I remained with them. I held Mija in my arms, kissed her face, and told her I loved her. I held London’s paw, stroked her fur, and kissed her. I just wanted to be the last smell and voice they heard.

I am so sorry for the loss of your fur kid. Be kind to yourself and allow time for healing.
Mija, Chihuahua: 2004-2019
16 years
London, Golden Retriever: 2005-2020
15 years

Mom to Misty, Sango, Tami, Abby, Kawaii and Pepita the Chihuahua

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Laurence, I know how you feel. But for some of us, no matter if we are there with our dog at the end, or not, we may still find something to feel guilty about.  I know I have.
On Sunday, May 17, 2020 the vet came to our home to put our beloved cockapoo, Bracken, to sleep. I knew Bracken was not well. He'd been in the hospital the weekend before and diagnosed with congestive heart failure. They gave him diuretics and put him in an oxygen tent, and on Monday afternoon we were able to bring him home. For two days he was feeling so wonderful, as near to his old self as I'd seen him in a long time. But then he starting coughing and gagging again, and had diarrhea all night Saturday, May 16...and I knew.
The vet said he could come to our house Sunday night. It was the worst decision I ever had to make. But that's not the part I feel so terribly guilty about. What I can't get out of my mind, and what I blame myself for and feel so sorry for is that when the vet put a needle in my Bracken, Bracken cried out, twice, so loudly. And I can't stop thinking about it.
I thought I was doing the right thing...having Bracken put to sleep peacefully before real suffering began, but then he ended up yelping in pain. How do I forgive myself for that? That is my last memory of him and it hurts so deeply.
I'm told by another vet that happens, that the end doesn't always go the way we would like it to, and that the needle pain was one moment, out of a lifetime of love and caring. I wish someone could say something to me that would make me believe that.
So, Laurence, please know that even if you had been there, there is a good chance you might still feel guilty, and not being there doesn't change how much you loved your dog.
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To all the people who expressed sympathy for me in regard to the death of Charly, I want to say how much I appreciate your kindness and understanding.  Yes, losing a beloved pet is a bitter experience, but nothing lives forever.  I still think of Charly every day and even write notes to him:


It has been almost three weeks since you were euthanized, and I still feel sad and blue.  
I would liked to have been with you when you were put down, but I could not bear to stand there and watch you die.
It broke my heart to see you being led into the animal hospital by yourself, and the last sad look you gave me will haunt me until the day I too die.  
The ten years I spent with you were the happiest of my life, and we did a lot of enjoyable things together. 
I will always remember the great fun we had hiking in the mountains, exploring the forests, and enjoying our beautiful surroundings.
The delightful years we spent together far outweigh the last sad weeks, so I will treasure those memories and enjoy them.  I feel it was a privilege for me to be able rescue you from that cage, and give you a pleasant life, so much more than so many dogs who spend their whole lives in those cages.  
RIP, little guy, and think of all the happy times!  
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I had to euthanize my Darcy a week ago. I know I made the right decision for her. But I think to myself everyday, could we have had another week or days or hours together. That’s the hardest part. Not knowing If this decision was made at the right time. I think i will live with that. But I helps thinking of our time together 
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One of the most important lessons that we have learned here on the Rainbow Bridge Forum...there are no right answers. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't when it comes to deciding to put them down. And 2nd guessing ourselves is a form of penance we put ourselves through. We punish ourselves with all the endless 2nd guessing. It's just a part of the grief process.
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