Kestrel
It has been a long time since I've felt the kind of grief that the loss of a pet instills within a person, though I have lost many pets because I've always had a lot of animals. I've had birds, I've had rodents, but mainly I have had cats. It was my second or third loss, at least 5 years ago, that drove me to find support. I was rather young at the time but found my way here. Thanks to the members in the chat room, I eventually recovered and though the losses still hurt me, I can keep my chin up.

Now I come here again. I'm hurting and scared and just altogether wanting to shut the world out- for what tomorrow brings me could very possibly kill a little part of me. I will start with saying that I just recently lost my precious bird Church on the 16th of October, who- despite things never going quite as planned.. I loved him and things are not the same without him. I've been distracted, found it hard to be motivated by many things, even the things that I love- and the house is so quiet. I still find myself almost uttering, "Good morning Churchie," and "good night Church," when I wake up in the morning and when I turn the lights off. It was one of those things I did every night, every morning, never missed a beat and now it feels so uncomfortable not to say it. I haven't brought myself to clean and put away his cage yet.

So, how could I have foreseen another loss approaching me all too quickly? One of our cats, Tuffy. 9 years old, a big Maine Coon mix, a loyal and loving boy who must have been a dog in some other life. Over the course of one week we became minorly concerned, then onto really concerned and now we are faced with the choice- the dreaded choice. He is rapidly approaching his final days...

His abdomen is filled with fluid, to the point where he cannot trot behind us during our daily walks around our property anymore. While he tried to join us two days ago, he remained on the porch today, and shied away from our affection, something entirely unlike him. He has lost so much muscle mass that you can feel every bone, yet he will not eat more than a few bites. The vet said when we brought him to her, that there was nothing they could do that would ensure his survival. Cancer or right side heart failure, she said. Fixable but expensive and with generally poor outcomes either way. So she left us with the choice... He was too happy that day, purring and asking for attention, he purred so loudly she had to try three times to get his heartbeat. There was no way we could say he was ready just then. That was only a day ago, and he's gone downhill so fast.

These cats are considered mine so in some manner it is my word that will decide what we do from here. I looked at him today and it just- killed me inside to see him like that. If we don't do something soon, he's going to start starving.. But how can I make this decision? It hurts so much if I consider uttering the words.. But I owe it to him. I'm so scared... I know that tomorrow is more than likely his last day. And I don't want to be selfish but I just know I'm going to blame myself either way..
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Wait for me at the Bridge, my darlings... Bimmer, Mag, Ninetales, Espio, Foxy, Toby, BK, Leo, Church, Tuffy, and Tomasina- each teaching me a valuable lesson, and each giving me immeasurable amounts of love. You will never be forgotten.

We bring these creatures into our lives despite knowing that we will someday have to say goodbye. We do this because we know that the grief is a small price to pay for the lifetime of love we receive from them.
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patent123
I blamed myself and still do at times for not being able to fix my girl.  In the moment of everything going on I wanted to just end her suffering I hated seeing her unable to walk or go to the bathroom on her own.  I rushed to end her life even though saying goodbye killed me watching her suffer made me feel so cruel.  Looking back I don't know how I managed to drive to the vets office to do it.  Although saying goodbye to your friend is so painful and hard it sounds like it may be the nicest thing to do.  If you do decide today is his last day with you make it great! I regret not sitting with my dog more and loving on her.  I also wish I had known about the paw prints you can make in plaster.  Enjoy some quality time together.  I believe our animals know we love them unconditionally and that we do whats in our power to help them.  Unfortunately sometimes the best decision for them is the hardest for us.  I know its easier said then done but don't blame yourself we have no control over our animals and illness.  Your little guy is beautiful.  I will be thinking of the both of you during this difficult time.  Stay strong we are all here for you.  
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Po_Po_and_The_White_Warg
Wow...Tuffy is so beautiful!!!  So precious!  I just want to reach out to you...because I had two loses and one of them was similar to your situation.  I decided to be selfish and keep my Raptor around as long as possible.  My poor baby was suffering...but I couldn't let him go.  I even resorted to force feeding him which he hated.  Then it go to that "ugly point" where I was forced to bring him.  (I'm talking the death howl and flopping around and stuff) 

You don't want to see Tuffy get like that.  I promise...it's crushing and heartbreaking.  Has Tuffy given you that look yet, as to say..."It's time"?  Raptor did that...but I pushed on and told him no.  I should have listen to him.

If Tuffy gives you that look---or is getting to that point where he is hiding...then it might be a good idea to talk to your vet about coming in. 

much love to you in these hard times
~C
I will always love you...my furry son Raptor and my furry baby Zeus.  How wise you both were....you taught me so much.  I learned that it was I, who needed you....
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animal_qwackers
Tuffy is absolutely gorgeous and I am truly sorry that you are going through such inner turmoil.

My German shepherd, who I said goodbye to on 22nd September, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure on 30th May and the decision to put him to sleep came about as a result of fluid collecting in his abdominal cavity. He had right side heart failure, fluid in the abdomen is one of the symptoms, and he was carrying so much fluid it was beginning to affect his other organs, namely his kidneys. In the end, he was suffering with renal failure as well as heart failure. I looked at various online sites to guide me as to whether it was the 'right time' to end his life before my vet told me he was suffering and I knew I had to say goodbye. I looked at his quality of life over the few days before the horrible ending. He had lost interest in eating, he had exercise intolerance, he didn't want to play with his toys, he didn't greet me or wag his tail, he was lethargic, and his eyes were sunken and vacant. He was finding it difficult to walk and couldn't go to the toilet easily. It was heartbreaking to watch. These were all signs that it was time for my big man to leave my side and cross the rainbow bridge before the vet sealed it by telling me he was now suffering.

During the weeks before his death, my lovely tabby cat, Gonzo, was diagnosed with cancer. The diagnosis came on 14th July, he deteriorated rapidly and I had to say goodbye to him on 17th July. I was grieving heavily for Gonzo but had to stay strong for Solly as my big man needed me during his final weeks. I have been through a traumatic time and the pain is still so raw. I ache for both of them.

The decision to put a beloved pet to sleep is never easy. We humans will always feel guilt at ending a pet's life but it is the final act of ultimate love we feel for them and to stop unnecessary suffering.
I feel your pain at having to go through this and hope you find the strength to do the right thing by your beautiful Tuffy.

Take care of yourself.

Wendy

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” – Jack Lemmon

Solly, Gonzo, Daisy-Mae, Ebony, Jerry, Tigger, Bonnie, Suzy, Cleo, Spike, Sooty, and Tibby – dazzling lights that will never fade. Adored, cherished, I was privileged to know you all. Until we meet again, my beautiful babies. Bowls of love and cuddles, your ever-loving, devoted Mummy xxxxxxxxxx


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Gertie
I am so sorry for the pain you are in. Yes, it is a difficult decision to make. I did just that last year. My little kitty Myles had to be put to sleep on a cold snowy Sunday morning in Jan he was 11. He had been feeling unwell. My vet decided it was his Asthma, put him on steroids. Big mistake, he had congestive heart failure. Jan 20th he was put to sleep in my arms.  The guilt I felt was overwhelming. I should have known it was more then asthma. I live with that guilt to this day. Six months later my Lhasa Duncan the love of my life was put to sleep on July 3, he was 9. He had many health issues. I spent thousands trying to help him, maybe I really tried to help myself. I should have let him go many years ago. But when I adopt a fur baby I make a commitment to them to protect them. I am sure this is how you are feeling. If in your heart you know it is time, do what is best for him. I know the pain and heartache. i am thinking of you.

Sending you hug's,

Duncan & Myles mom xx
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Kestrel
It's really comforting to hear these stories, though I imagine the memories still ache, I appreciate hearing each and every one of them, and I am so sorry for your losses. I never thought that I'd lose any of my pets to things so serious as heart failure or cancer, yet here I am.. I wish I had known but by the time we realized anything was wrong, it was much too late. Maybe it always had been.

Today I woke up so certain that he was ready- but truthfully, he hasn't given me the 'sign' yet. As weak as he seems to be, he's being a fighter, and hasn't yet told me he's ready. I think he looks like he's suffering more than he actually is. This morning and last night he was hunting something in the yard, and he apparently ate quite a bit of food, but I think his teeth are bothering him or he can't muster the energy to chew because all he does is lick it up.. And he was cuddling with his brother Knuckles in one of the beds outside. He was still managing a purr, and he and Knuckles were taking turns grooming each other. He looked completely happy and content... So I return to the mindset in which I try not to wonder how many days he has left.

I still do worry that it will be soon. Whether that is tomorrow, or the next, I can't help but hope that he makes it through the weekend. I feel like I shouldn't be upset yet but it's the knowing that hurts. I'm thankful that he's still here with me but I know that it's only a matter of time and that's a hard thing to accept.
Wait for me at the Bridge, my darlings... Bimmer, Mag, Ninetales, Espio, Foxy, Toby, BK, Leo, Church, Tuffy, and Tomasina- each teaching me a valuable lesson, and each giving me immeasurable amounts of love. You will never be forgotten.

We bring these creatures into our lives despite knowing that we will someday have to say goodbye. We do this because we know that the grief is a small price to pay for the lifetime of love we receive from them.
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Charliesmommy
I'm sorry that you had to say goodbye to your precious Church and so sad that you have to prepare to say goodbye again to your sweet Tuffy.  He's a beautiful boy.

I had to let my Charlie go on 9/4.  I had taken him to the vet as he hadn't been feeling well for a few days but wasn't ready to hear that he had all the signs of liver disease and the only treatment was expensive, lengthy, and not a good prognosis.  As he was 15 1/2, I didn't think it was right to put him through any more so we didn't even finish the wellness visit.  I took him home with some comfort meds and hoped for more time.  his health deteriorated rapidly and I took him back in the next day to say goodbye. 

I understand the feeling of wishing I had known sooner.  I still have days that I wonder if things would have been different if I had known much earlier that Charlie was having problems I don't know.  Maybe it wouldn't have mattered.  I think we second guess ourselves a lot "after" the dx's are made.

Yes, the knowing is hard.  I brought Charlie home from the vets desperately thinking that maybe there was some way I could turn things around and while I will forever be grateful for that one last day, it was SO hard.

I'll be thinking of you and Tuffy
hugs,
Tammy
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Kestrel
I'm so sorry to hear about Charlie, Tammy. And everyone else's losses.. This was the first time where I was able to make the choice for my pet, instead of it coming down to the point where they're already too sick to go on when we take them in. And Tuffy made it far longer than I had expected, and for that I am so, so thankful. He didn't have to suffer any longer than necessary, and even though it hurts that he's gone, there's also that peace of mind that we could help him on his way.

I woke up this morning, not expecting today to be any different than any other day- but I found my parents outside with Tuffy, petting and watching him. He had tried to walk up and greet my mom but could walk no further and just..laid down in the gravel where he stood. That was when we realized that he couldn't go on any longer. Even his meow had changed- it was desperate, like he was asking us to please help him. So I said, it's time. There was no doubt. When we put the carrier in front of him, he walked right in, and just laid down and got comfortable. The veterinary clinic allowed us to be with him and we just pet him nonstop, every time we'd stop he'd meow at us with that desperate little meow, and when they sedated him he looked so comfortable and content. Like that was all he wanted.

We brought him home and allowed our dog, who Tuffy had always allowed to rough house with him even though he didn't really appreciate it, to sniff and see that Tuffy wasn't with us anymore. He got..very upset. Perhaps it was somewhat personification but I really think he knew, perhaps he didn't understand entirely but he knew. So now Tuffy rests beside Church, in one corner of our orchard, and he'll always be able to follow us around the field in spirit.
Wait for me at the Bridge, my darlings... Bimmer, Mag, Ninetales, Espio, Foxy, Toby, BK, Leo, Church, Tuffy, and Tomasina- each teaching me a valuable lesson, and each giving me immeasurable amounts of love. You will never be forgotten.

We bring these creatures into our lives despite knowing that we will someday have to say goodbye. We do this because we know that the grief is a small price to pay for the lifetime of love we receive from them.
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Charliesmommy
I am so sorry about Tuffy but glad that you were able to have some more time with him.

hugs
Tammy
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Po_Po_and_The_White_Warg
Please know my thoughts are with you.... I'm truly sorry that Tuffy has passed.  I understand how hard it is.  I also what to thank you...thank you for sharing your story (and Tuffy's of course).  It actually helps me...helps me heal as well.  *sending virtual hugs your way*

Sincerely,
Christine
I will always love you...my furry son Raptor and my furry baby Zeus.  How wise you both were....you taught me so much.  I learned that it was I, who needed you....
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Katel
Oh I realize how difficult this was for you but like many of us you wanted to be sure it was
Tuffy's time and not to have to second guess afterwards.  My vet has always said 'a day too soon
rather than a day too late' but it can be hard to make that decision.   You loved Tuffy dearly
and right up to the end and he knew it.  We can't give them a greater gift.  I say this with
tears falling as in the last 7 months I have had to pts two darling precious ones, the last one 3 weeks ago, and my heart is broken, but I know I did the right thing. 
Sending you healing prayers on the loss of your sweet Tuffy.  ,
Kate 
  
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Ravensmommy
"My vet has always said 'a day too soon rather than a day too late"

Kate,

Thank you so, so much for sharing what your vet said. I have been wracked with guilt since Tuesday that I let my Raven go too soon. She had lymphoma and wasn't able to eat, drink, or even breathe well, but I have really been struggling with the thought that I should have given her just a few more days. The vet had just prescribed prednisone a week before and had told me that the steroid would give her six more months. To lose her less than a week later has been devastating and I've been terrified that I let her go too soon. Reading what your vet told you has eased my guilt somewhat.

Hugs,
Melissa (Ravensmommy)
Mommy will always love you and keep you in her heart, my dear sweet Raven.
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SK1944
I can only speak from my experience and would not dare to say it's right for anyone else. But I feel it's kinder to let our loved ones go a bit early than too late, after they suffer so much that it hurts them and us. I let my Pepper go a bit early. She could have hung on maybe even a week. I don't know. But my rule is when their quality of life no longer exists and they're just surviving, it's time to let them go. I just sort of make that my point and it makes the decision somewhat easier. Yes, I suffer as much or even more. I go through (am going through now) all the emotions, the guilt and grief. But I need a time where I say this is the time. Now is the time. And then try not to second guess myself. The keyword is "try" because I guess we always do.

I'm very sorry for what you're going through and understand how you feel. I'm going through the pain of loss right now myself.

We regret either giving them a few more days or doing it early. But I made my cutoff decision when my previous dog, Sague, laid on my floor and gasped for air and took hours to die and I was totally helpless. I will always regret not letting him go one to three or four days earlier because he suffered so much and so did I.
Pet Parent to a wonderful diabetic cat, Buddy. He's all I have left and spoiled rotten. I've had a chain of pet losses the last few years and it doesn't get easier.
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Kestrel
It's times like this that I wonder how I find the strength to get through, most days. I was doing okay but it always seems that something finds a way to spark a memory or bring up a realization... That they're really gone. Then I have to take some time to let it all out.

I took a walk with my father around our property yesterday evening. It was..oddly lonely. Even with our other kitty, Tuffy's brother, following us, he kept at a distance and it seemed so wrong to see him following us alone instead of tagging alongside his big brother. We are down to four cats now and feeding time is always uncomfortable- "did we forget someone?" No, because Tuffy is no longer with us.

Tomorrow I plan to visit his and Church's graves and just..relax for a little. I think I've been keeping my eyes glued to the computer screen for the last two days because it keeps my mind busy and not dwelling, but as soon as I find a break I start thinking about him again. It just hit me a few minutes ago that he's really gone, as if I hadn't known that already. I wouldn't mind getting to pet him or hold him one more time. Or even to get one of his kisses that always involved being nipped because he tended to be really oral about things...

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Tuffy and his brother, Knuckles, snuggling, something that wasn't really that common of them even though they were bonded. This was several days after we had learned Tuffy wasn't going to make it very long. They took turns grooming each other, both of them were purring and content. Yet even here Tuffy looks tired and not himself.. It's amazing how much of a fighter he was, putting on a show of happiness despite his tiring body.

I know now that it was the right time. I do not question my decision- if he had gone on any longer, he would have been miserable, we did not even want to wait a single day longer to take him in to our regular vet because they couldn't fit us in until the next day. The morning that he was taken in, he surely got to see the gorgeous sunrise over our field- it was as if the world knew it needed to put up an amazing display to say farewell to him. He did not have to witness the storm that came through that night, the cold, the rain or the wind. The last thing he knew was comfort and the beauty of a rainy morning sunset.

And while I will probably go to bed with a tear in my eye, writing all of this and reading all of your stories really does help. You're all in my thoughts, whether you've recently lost someone or not.
Wait for me at the Bridge, my darlings... Bimmer, Mag, Ninetales, Espio, Foxy, Toby, BK, Leo, Church, Tuffy, and Tomasina- each teaching me a valuable lesson, and each giving me immeasurable amounts of love. You will never be forgotten.

We bring these creatures into our lives despite knowing that we will someday have to say goodbye. We do this because we know that the grief is a small price to pay for the lifetime of love we receive from them.
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