Last night, we put our 6 year old english mastiff to sleep.  I'm in shock and utter pain and I'm having a hard time coming to grips with everything.

We "rescued" Sullivan 6 years ago.  By rescue, we were buying a mastiff from a reputable breeder, and when we got there there was a much smaller mastiff male who also had the best personality of the bunch and immediately jumped into my son's arms.  We were told he had worms and was getting better, but was still sick.  We made a (from a logical standpoint stupid) decision to take him home.

Our vet said he was very sick, but after a few weeks of literally feeding him off my chest, he gained weight and became healthy.  He was the love of our family's life.  He slept with my young teenage son's bed, and any time I worked from home it was with a mastiff head in my lap.  Simply put, he was the kindest, sweetest, and yes slobberiest gentle giant you could imagine.  I grew up with Saint Bernards in my family, but I became an English Mastiff person with my Sullivan.

He's been healthy excelt for a couple years ago he had an ACL repair that went well, but he was still a bit shaky - No pain and nothing that prevented him from playing out in the yard with us, etc.  However, that's what made last Tuesday the shock of our lives.  He was limping two weekends ago, just slightly, on his front paw.  Decided to head to our vet and get him checked out.  The xrays were pretty clear that he had osteosarcoma.  At six.  Given his back leg issues she didn't think he was a good candidate for treatment (amputation, chemo, radiation, and even then we're looking at 6 months).  I thought we would have a couple months to pamper him at least.  We got some pain meds from the vet and went home.

He went downhill fast in just a few days.  His slight limp came to the point he could barely walk.  He wasn't eating, we started giving him chicken and rice and wet food - And he gobbled that up.  He was losing weight and fur (not the normal mastiff shedding, we were used to that).  It was the horrible yelps that he would have multiple times a day and at night.  We were giving him multiple pain meds at pretty much max and it was still getting through at times.  Yesterday before we made the decision I still think the good times > the bad, but I wonder if I was moving the goalposts at what a good day was.  It was time.

I still feel guilt as if I failed him:  Were there possibly other meds to take the pain away to buy him a few more weeks (he was on Prevocox, gabapentin, and Toradol, pretty much at max doses)?  A second opinion (our vets are top-notch U of Pennsylvania vets, so the idea of not trusting them is insane - They've taken care of our animals for decades)?  I know its not logical, but damn me if I don't think I screwed Sullivan over still.

While I was sad, I didn't even cry at my father's funeral.  I've been bawling like a small child for nearly a week.  I have a family I need to get it together for but I feel like my soul has been ripped from my chest.  I don't know how to make this better.
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I just want to say that I am so sorry you lost Sullivan.  I had to put my own dog down last night, also due to cancer, so I know what you are feeling.  You did everything that you could do for your boy.  You had great veterinarians and you were making sure he got what he needed.  It's not your fault.  It's terribly cruel that cancer took him so young, but I am sure that Sullivan knew you were helping him and that you loved him.  I hope that you and your family will feel some relief soon, especially here at the holidays.  I know from my own past experiences with this that it just takes time, but you never forget your pets and the guilty feelings always linger because we know they trusted us with their lives.  In this case, you needed to end his suffering, and that was the humane and best thing to do for him.  My condolences to you and your family.     
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