On Saturday evening, we had to put our beloved Black Lab Shadow to sleep.  I feel like my heart has shattered into a million tiny pieces.  I'm also second guessing all the decisions we made that day. 

Shadow was going to be 13 in August. Because of her age, we knew this day was coming sooner rather than later but this was so sudden.  On Friday night, Shadow was out in the yard chasing after our teenage boys.  I suppose this was her last gift to them as this is one of the final memories they will have of her.  In the middle of the night she started panting.  When we all got up Saturday morning she went outside to do her business like normal but refused to eat breakfast and had a hard time getting up the stairs back into the house.  We made her favorite, scramble eggs, to see if she would eat but she refused.  All morning, we noticed that she was not walking normally and seemed to have problems supporting her weight.  As the day went on she seemed so lethargic.  At 2pm we thought it would be best to take her to the Animal ER.  She didn't even raise her head when we got her collar out to take her and she wouldn't walk so my husband had to carry her.  They checked her in and took some vitals.  She had a temperature of 105.  The vet decided to admit her and give her IV fluids to help her feel better and reduce the fever and do some more testing with the thought that the source of the fever was infectious.  Shadow got up to come say goodbye to us before we left for home.  They called around 6pm to say none of the blood tests showed anything and neither did a urine test,  They did manage to get her to eat supper and had her up and walking At 8pm that night we got a call saying they had done an ultrasound on Shadow and the she had a 16 inch tumor of her liver.  She could stay overnight and they would have the surgeon look at her in the morning but due to the size of the tumor the surgery would be very difficult and wouldn't buy her much time if it was successful at all.  My husband agreed to wait until morning to have the surgeon look at her.

After discussing it with my husband we decided it would be best to put her to sleep on Sunday morning.  She would only last a couple of days without treatment and didn't want to put her through a horrible surgery.  After more discussion, I couldn't stand the thought of Shadow spending the night in the hospital hooked up to IV's.  It was a big, scary, strange place away from us and she was very ill.  I wanted to have her put to sleep that night to release Shadow from her pain.  My husband agreed and the whole family went to the Animal Hospital around 10 to put Shadow to sleep. They showed us into a quiet comfy room and we got to spend time with Shadow.  We could have spent hours trying to say goodbye.  After an hour we decided it was time and Shadow crossed Rainbow Bridge with all of us petting her and talking to her. 

Part of me is glad that she was only sick for the last couple of hours of her life.  Up until her last day she was eating well, playing with the kids and laying on the couch getting her belly rubbed.  The suddenness of her death has knocked the wind out of us.  I'm questioning the decision to have her put down, as well as doing it on Saturday night instead of waiting until Sunday.  The grief is crushing.  I've been trying to hold it together for the sake of the kids but when I'm alone all I can do is cry and look at her pictures.  I know in time the sadness will be replaced by the happy memories but a lot of people don't understand the sadness I feel for something they saw as "just a pet".

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I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my baby last Friday. His illness was a shock. I too find it hard to keep it together for my kids. I loved him fiercely. I don't think many people can understand the depth of our pain. I couldn't make it into work today.
I'm sending you love and light.
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Dear Irongrl,

Shadow looks so lovely. It's so hard to let them go and so easy to torment ourselves with all the questions of did I do the right thing,? should I have waited longer etc.

We made the difficult decision to have our boy Spike put to sleep on 18th February.  He was 13 and he wasn't in any immediate danger but he sure had gone downhill and his quality of life was poor. We don't know what might have been happening inside him as he had an ultrasound which suggested some masses but we didn't want to put him through any invasive procedures. Like Shadow he was finding it increasingly difficult to get around and sometimes couldn't get up. He wasn't eating as normal and was panting and whimpering.

Every single day (sometimes many times a day) I question our decision. In my heart I know it was best for him but those nagging doubts, that guilt and those what if's keep on coming along.
Someone here recently referred to this as Satan's whisper - this is very true. It does get easier but it will take time. There is so much support available here. Without these kind people I think I would have gone stir crazy the first week or two after his passing.
These people are here for you too.
Thinking about you.

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So, so sorry.  What a lovely boy he was indeed.  I'm glad you have good memories of chasing the kids that day.  They are not "just a pet" they are family, they are love and innocence.  They are missed deeply.
Sue E
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They are NEVER "just pets".  Every furbaby I have ever owned, and there were many, I treated as my child and a family member.  Some people treat them as their Posessions or an Animal.  I never got that!  My babies always got the run of the house, not a lot of discipline and a lot of love. 

When they pass, it is the same to me as having an Immediate family pass. 
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I am so sorry for your loss of Shadow. Know you did the right thing. Your Shadow is now free of pain and disease playing with all our babies at rainbow bridge. Our love for them is strong. Our pain is deep. All of us here on the forum feel the same way. All our animals are the light of our lives. I had to put my Sadie down on feb 18th due to renal failure. She was 7 and a half years old. I would not have made it without all the wonderful people here.
Wishing you peace and healing at this most difficult time.
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I am so sorry that you lost your beautiful Shadow! I think your decision to let her go peacefully before she suffered any more was so courageous. Unfortunately the grief we feel afterward can feel like being hit by a bus. I lost my boy 5 months ago (after 15 years) and it was devastating. These little creatures climb into our hearts and hang on making us the most caring people. The hole left in your heart may never be completely filled but in time, thinking of Shadow will bring a smile to your face. Meanwhile, I hope it will comfort you, just a little, to know that there are people here on this forum who understand and feel your heartbreak.
Sending you hugs and wishing you peace!
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I wanted to add my condolences. I know you are going through such a difficult time so I'll simply say that I am sorry you had to say goodbye to your wonderful girl, Shadow!
Take Care of yourself during this very sad time!
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Irongrl~~~ I am very sorry to read about Shadow. Her picture is amazing-- such a beautiful girl and those chestnut brown eyes are filled with love. You can see it. When the 'dark times' come, and I am sorry to say they will, please try & think of Shadow in this picture. Then when you compare to the last day with you guys when she was suffering-- you will know that you made the loving, brave & unselfish decision to take her pain. Maybe not now...maybe not for some time...but after the waves of wondering, guilt, sadness, & hollow emptiness ease a bit, you will know that Shadow felt your love all around her. She knew that you loved her so much that you did not want her to suffer one more night. It's been 5 months since my Lucy passed. Every now & then, I have replay of that last day & I am depleted again. It is because we shared such a heart & soul connection with our babies.

Please go slow...hour to hour...and know that all of the emotions you feel are because you miss Shadow more than anything. She was an important part of your family-- your days & nights-- your life. Her love is still with you and will be in your hearts forever. Keep talking to her. I hope you get signs that she is with you-- whether it's a sound, a thought, a feeling, a song, the wind. When it happens, it can be comforting. But the pain is fierce. We all truly understand. The hollow, empty house is wicked. Come here often. Hugs, Kasey

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Like everyone else has said, I'm very sorry to hear your story. I'm right there with you. We put our 11 yr old Bassett down this morning. It was unexpected and without warning. We, too, are questioning whether we made a good decision. Like you guys, we petted, hugged, and kissed our little Dixie as she went down. She looked me right in the eyes as I told her how much I loved her. Im sure your house feels as empty as mine right now. Take care
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Thanks to everyone for their kind messages.  As much as I mourn Shadow it hurts my heart to see so many other people(like Rusty) in the same situation.  I have always said that dogs are God's angels on earth.  They can only stay with us for a short time because they are needed in Heaven. 
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Dear Shadow,

You had many names:  Shadow, ShadowBaby, ShadowShark, BabyShark, ScoobySnacks, Girlfriend, Little Black, BabyBlue, and GrandmaPuppy.  It’s has been two days since you left us.  Sometimes I don’t believe it’s true.  You must be upstairs sleeping on the bed or under the desk in the office.  But it is real.  We have put away your collar, dinner bowl and food container.  Your winter coat had already been put away for the season.  You never had many toys.  You thought that dog toys were beneath you since you were really a person.  I look at the spot in our bed where you slept and your favorite spot on the couch and chair and feel sad.  There is still a dent in the couch where you sat for the last time.  I can’t stand to have anyone sit there now and ruin that dent.  We will be finding black fur occasionally in a dusty corner or when we vacuum.  But there will come a time when even that is gone.  But we will always have our memories of you and the love you gave to our family. 

 Over the last year you started to walk up to us and lay your head in our lap or nudge our hand to ask to be petted.  I wonder if you knew that you didn’t have much time left with us.  I’m happy that I never ignored you or turned you away and always took the time to give you some love.  Anytime I passed you sitting on the couch or at the top of the stairs I never failed to stop to talk to you or pet you and let you know how beautiful you were and how much you were loved.  I feel better knowing that I didn’t take our time together for granted and you always knew how much your family adored you. 

 We are fortunate that you were not sick until the very last hours of your life.  You enjoyed eating, playing, and just hanging out with your people.  The night before you passed away you were chasing the boys around the yard.  It is one of their last memories of you and it is a wonderful gift that you gave them.  I wonder if you were waiting for the right time to leave us? The last few months have been crazy with the boys applying and auditioning for college.  Were you waiting for them to have their plans settled?  Were you waiting for us to come back from Hawaii? 

 We will always remember you for:

 I always felt that when we “talked” you could see straight into my heart and know what I was feeling.  Whether I was happy or sad, you completely understood what was going on.  You could just about talk with your eyes. They held so much expression that reflected your big heart.

 You had the most beautiful, black, shiny,  satiny fur.  Everyone that petted you would comment on your amazing fur.  I think you were a little vain over it too.

 How much you loved to play ball.   We had to be careful how much we threw for you because you would chase a ball until you fell over.   You would always bring it back and drop it right at our feet.  If it was too far away we would say “can’t reach” and you would pick it up and drop it closer.  I hope you find lots of kids in Dog Heaven to throw the ball for you.  You will not be slowed down by arthritis or old age anymore.

Your crazy addiction to ice cubes.  Whenever someone got ice cubes from the refrigerator, you would come running from anywhere in the house.  You passed this love on to your brother Kevin too. 

How you looked in your little red winter coat.  It was a beautiful contrast to your black fur.  You loved wearing it.  I think it made you feel like a person. 

You loved playing board games with the boys.  If they were on the floor playing games you would always be found down on the floor with them.  They always let you “play” whether it was Monopoly, Chess or Sorry.  They would roll the dice for you and move your men and handle your Monopoly money.   Somehow you always lost and never cared.  You were happy to be included in whatever they were doing. 

 How you loved to lie on the floor in front of the fireplace when it was cold. 

 How you would swing your paw up and around when you “gave five” to people.

 How you loved to sit in a shady spot in the yard on nice days and watch the world go by.  You also loved rolling in the grass.

 How you would lie on the couch on your back with your legs in the air. 

 Wherever you are now Shadow, know that we miss you dearly.  We’ll be looking for signs that you are with us and look forward to seeing you again someday at the Rainbow Bridge. 


 Mom, Dad,  the boys and Kevin Sweetman. Shadow playing chess.jpg 





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Beautiful sentiment, Irongrl.
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It has been six days since you left us. A week ago today was a normal day and I had no idea how our lives would change so quickly.   It is the first nice day of spring and you would have loved it. You would have gone out into the grass and rolled around and then gone to lay under the shade of your favorite tree.  I wish you had stayed with us a few more days so you could have experienced one last beautiful spring day.  Instead the morning that you left us it had snowed. It has been cold and gray for a month.  Kind of fitting for the way I have felt.  It feels kind of obscene to have the sun shining when my heart feels like a cement block.

I'm so messed up with grief .  Your dad and I did our weekly clean up of the yard before trash day.  I had a hard time scooping up your last little poopies in the yard.  An even worse time taking them out to the road.  They were taking away another sign that you were here with us.   I've been fighting with myself to leave your winter coat in the cupboard.  I want to take it upstairs and sleep with it.  I'm afraid looking at it would cause too much pain. I'm afraid I'll never let it go if I get it out.  I've been talking to you a lot, hoping you will come to me in my dreams and let us know you are ok.

The family vet sent a card to us.  Nellie at the front desk remembered how every time you would come in for your appointment you knew that you had to be weighed.  She always thought it was funny that you would come in and jump up on the scale and sit and wait to be weighed.  The neighbors haven't noticed that you are gone yet.  I dread telling them that you will not be running over to them to say hi and get petted. 

Shadow I just want you to know that you are missed.  I try to feel better knowing that you are no longer sick, or in pain. You had a long life . I also know that you would not want us to be sad.  So we will try to go out and enjoy the day as you would have enjoyed it.
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Irongrl, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my almost 12 year old shepherd 4 days ago and it was sudden as well. Like you I question my decision, but I realize it was my last act of love I could give her. My daughter feels guilty because she didn't do any special good bye before she went back to college 2 weeks ago - nobody would have thought it would be the last time she saw her 'sister'. My husband and I were there when she passed and we told her how wonderful of a dog she was and how much we loved her. I miss her so much every single hour of every single day and don't know how to move on. She was my everything and this pain is killing me. Wishing you and your family peace
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