I've read a lot of articles lately about the decision to euthanize.  I never knew so mnay felt like me.  But I'm still feeling overwhelming guilt.  And it isn't even happening until tomorrow.  
   My dog Ace is 14.  He's a cocker spaniel and lab (most likely) mix, and I've had him since he was old enough to be separated from mom.  He's gone though so much with me.  I feel like I was a child (24) when I got him.  So many life changes, and he was always there.  
    About 10 years ago, he was in pain (yelping, something I'd never seen before, and through the rest of his life, I'd never see this display of pain again) and I took him to an emergency vet in the middle of the night.  They took xrays, gave his a pain shot, and told me he had hip displasia.  They said pain may come and go, and it was possible he would live quite a few more years, but in older age, his hips would give him problems and to be prepared for that.  He never again showed pain.  But a few years ago he started showing signs that his hips were giving out....
    He used to bound off of our porch to play fetch.  He would never not jump, he disliked using the steps.  When it first began, he still tried to jump so many times.  He had to start using the stairs.  At least a year ago, the steps began giving
Quote 0 0

...him trouble, so we built him a ramp.  He started having trouble with the ramp eventually.  I don't even remember how long ago.  A friend told me the dog she grew up with had the same issues and they put him to sleep after he couldn't make it outside to go to the bathroom.  This started with Ace at least a few months ago, and just a few weeks ago, he's had problems with urine.  He can't make it a few hours without having an accident.  And still he's never shown any pain.  Granted, he is not the same dog as he was before all these problems.  But I was waiting for some kind of sign.  I thought if I had to do this, it would be to put him out of his misery.  It just isn't like that.  And I've been agonizing over this for months.  
    About a month ago, when hurricane Harvey hit, it hit close enough to cause flooding issues in our area.  We had to evacuate our road.  Ace came with us, and I was lucky to have a friend willing to take in my family, and my dog.  But these friends have steps.  Only 3, but they are way too steep for Ace to climb.  Steps are nearly impossible now.  We had to carry him up and down steps to potty.  My friends were understanding about this, but it was right around then that I began feeling like the owner that 'just can't let go'.  I don't want to be that.  If he would die in his sleep, I would be so happy.  Well, of course, I would cry.  And cry.  But months of crying just to think about what I 'need to do' has been hard.  I feel like I'm doing the grieving backwards.  He's laying here right next to me.  
Quote 0 0

How can I live with myself, killing him?  What if he doesn't want that?  I hate myself just thinking about it.  But I have thought about it too long.  
   It didnt flood in our home (thank goodness) so we came home.  And still I couldn't even make the call to the vet.  Just this past week...  I made the call in a hurry, willing myself to stay calm for 3 whole minutes.  I've had days, and I can't even undertsand how to say goodbye.  And I just don't know how to deal with the guilt.  Please, if someone has any advice, can understand, anything, please reply.  I don't want him to suffer, but he can't tell me if he is.  The only signs I have are... he isnMt the same... not nearly happy as he once was.... he was so happy.  And the increasing problems walking.  The loss of muscle dfinition in his lower half.  In some ways that sounds like enough, but he eats, he snuggles, he drinks water.  Someone help?

By the way, I had to continue this in the comments because my ipad only lets me see so much that I've typed.  Sorry for any confusion...
Quote 0 0
The reason I found this forum was an incredibly quick death, but the big lesson I learned was from my last dog. She was with my family for about 10 years, and she was a big (read: overweight) girly. At the end of her life, she wasn't able to get up without help, and was in pain all the time, which she never showed. I fought my parents tooth and nail about euthanizing her, but I regret that now. The vet wrote us a really kind letter after her passing, and he said a few things that I think you might find helpful. He said that dogs will hang on through incredible pain just for you, not for them, because they love you so much. I understand the hope that he will die in his sleep, but if his internal organs are OK (my last dog was completely healthy inside), that may not be for a very long time. He also said that dogs live in the present, not in the past or the future, so all they know is that their current day is filled with pain.  Unlike humans, they don't hold on to happy memories or hopes for the future to make them feel any better now. So, the kindest thing you can do when they aren't having good days any more is to let them go. It doesn't make it any easier, but it helps to put yourself in his mindset. Having done one really quick death and one really long, drawn-out one, they both suck just as much. But I am so glad that my big guy that I just lost was able to go after eating a couple of hamburgers and a Snickers bar, in a quiet room on a comfy blanket after a couple of hours of belly rubs and head rubs and butt rubs. With my last dog, we took her to the park one last time, even though she couldn't really walk around, and also fed her all the food she wasn't supposed to have, so that she could go out in a happy moment. Either way, I really hope that you find solace in all the good years you shared with your buddy and in knowing that you are doing the right thing.
Ollie's Grieving Mama
Quote 0 0
I found this forum today as my dad had to take my 8 year old rabbit Peter to be put to sleep this morning. He had ongoing dental issues over the past few years and we initially assumed it was that again but my parents took him to the vets on Monday and they found a tumour.... From sitting upright and eating a little over the course of 48 hours he stopped eating, drinking and couldn't sit up. He was also just flopping and letting us cuddle him for prolonged periods.... Something he has never done. We knew we had to let him go. As much as it broke my heart, once he returned from the vets he looked so peaceful and I knew it wasn't hurting him anymore as much as hurt now, I know I did right by him xxx
Quote 0 0
Well, the older and more achy we get, the more we tire a little more of this world, and resign ourselves to passing away one day. And it's true that a young body can have a lot more fun than an old tired one. A young body can jump about. It isn't disabled. It can run and jump....
An old body goes slowly. may have incontinence problems at times, may want to sleep more, can't 'do' steps any more. Humans may need a walking frame or a stair-lift, or may need pain medication for arthritis etc.

I hope you don't take this badly, what I'm about to say, because I might be wrong. I am not with you, I don't know how he is really. I don't know how he looks or how weary he is....or how hard it is for him.

But my 2 cents worth is let him live his old age. If he is still eating, still having some enjoyment of life even in an 'old fella's way'....if he appears not to be in pain but is just disabled, with wasted muscles....maybe it's not his time yet? As I say, I don't know the details so please don't be upset by what I said. Your instincts know better. You know him and love him and will do the best for him.

Usually a dog in pain will refuse to eat. He still seems to have a certain 'quality of life' available to him. You could even ask the vet about painkilling medications or anti-inflammatories if/when he appears less comfortable.

For incontinence problems, there are belly-bands, and there are incontinence sheets for beds, some are not very expensive if you put them underneath a sheet. Then if there's an accident all you need it to wash the sheet the next morning. So his bed won't be soaked.

The only problem with all of that is he may need nursing care and regular supervision, and if for instance you have to work 8-9 hours a day and have no choice in the matter, then that would be harder on him -and you.

My kindest thoughts, whatever your decision. But make your decision for the two of you. You know instinctively what is best. After all, you know him best.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer

Misty's life after death:
Quote 0 0
No, it really doesn't help.  Everything in me is screaming for it not to happen today.  He hasn't been able to walk in years.  If I wait til it gets colder, I will have to carry him outisde to go potty.  He doesn't show pain, but everyone says sometimes they are in pain, and wont show it.  I will definitely talk to the vet, but hearing that has broken my heart all over again.  I have already tried to make excuses to not be doing this today, and everyone I know, including the vet has begged me not to change this.  Not to prolong it any longer than I have.  I am breaking inside.

Quote 0 0
You know your baby best. You know what his quality of life is like right now. And I think that you will make the kindest decision you can based on his best interests. I am so, so sorry and my thoughts will be with you today.
Ollie's Grieving Mama
Quote 0 0
Thinking of you at this hard time , sorry that's all I can say ,I was in your position over 7 weeks ago & its awful, I realy feel your pain its the most hardest decision to make ever . Plz take care Annemarie x
Quote 0 0
I really feel your pain on this because I had the same feelings.  The only difference is my baby was a cat (18 years old), but he was losing his rear legs and then started collapsing while trying to walk, couldn't get over the low side of his litter box so would have accidents.  So totally unlike him, yet he was eating well, interacting with everyone, bright and sharp minded, loving, and interested in everything around him.  Even when we put him in his carrier for that "final journey", he reached out his paw to touch my foot as if he was trying to get my attention and stop me.  He also tried to unhook the latch on his cage.  This devastated me.  I don't know how I even made the decision.  He was definitely not ready to go, but his body was giving out.  I too felt like I murdered my baby and will always wonder if he felt the same or if I made a bad decision.  He was even bright and alert at the vet's office (middle of the night at the emergency vet), but then wouldn't look at me or show me any affection like he usually did.  Looked resigned like he didn't have a choice in the matter.  I cried the whole time and still wonder if I did the right thing, so I totally totally understand how you feel.  I don't know how to tell you how to get through this or come to terms with it.  I went to one grief counseling session at our local Dove Lewis and the group leader there said to write him a letter about how I felt.  I haven't done that yet as I would soak the paper with my tears.  I hope our babies do understand why we had to do it and that we would never have done it under any other circumstances.  I also felt I did it too soon.  It was probably for the best, but I still don't feel it.  If you can find a local group support, that may help you.  Or maybe you could write that letter to your baby too.  I did write a song for him because he used to pester me while I tried to play my guitar, so that felt appropriate.  I hope you can find something that will help ease the guilt.  I am sure you did the right thing, as I'm sure in my "head" that I did, but my heart isn't there yet.  This will probably take you a lot of time.  Please be gentle with yourself.  
Quote 0 0
I know the pain you are going through. I was recently thinking about my beloved dog getting grey and older and the anxiety has already started about how I could possibly let him go, even though that may be several years down the road.
I think the most difficult thing a person can go through is when it is time to let their best friend go. I can't think of anything more painful outside of losing a beloved human friend or family member.
14 years old is a long lifetime for a dog, and a life spent loved and in a great home since puppyhood is almost unheard of anymore and literally like winning Lotto for a dog. The only thing they want in this world is to be near their human. And he has had a lifetime with his special human. To say he had a dogs dream life is an understatement.
The cruelest thing in this world is that our dogs lifespans are waaay too short in my opinion. They are babies, become rambunctious 'teenagers' , more calm adults and then aged and slow seemingly right before our eyes. To us it is a cruelly short time, but to them it is a lifetime that has come full circle, and in your babies case a lifetime of wonderful memories and love and care.
I am not going to say it is even remotely easy, because it never is. Or that you won't feel guilty, because that is inevitable regardless of the circumstances. The guilt is unavoidable and I think just a very normal response. But you have to think, if you prolonged his life, why? To get a few more months together with a dog who has lived his wonderful life and been loved well into old age? It won't be any easier 3 months from now, or 6 months or a fact it might be worse.
Several years ago I waited until my pit bull died on her own and to this day I regret that. She had cancer and I continued to put her through chemo with a delusion she would pull through good as new. She was 15 years old and I should have put her to sleep long before . She suffered her last few months because I could not let her go. She died alone at home while I was at work instead of with me, pain free and surrounded by comforting people and comforting talk. I have never really forgiven myself.
I have lost some dogs since then, and each one broke my heart and left me questioning if it was the right thing and feeling guilty. But when the initial grief lifted a bit I realized I let those dogs go before they were completely uncomfortable and before they really suffered and it is a very peaceful feeling. Unlike the feelings I still have about my poor pit bull.
I think about how I could have dragged their lives out a few months for my own benefit but I did not. I actually feel sort of proud of that, because I am the kind of person who will hold on to my doggies because I can't say goodbye. Apparently even if they are suffering (in the case of my pit bull)
It will be extremely difficult to go through but the overwhelmingly peaceful feeling you will get at some point knowing you did the right thing and that you did the most selfless thing a person can do will be worth it.
You don't think straight when it is time to let them go. Very recently (in June) I was thinking I was ready to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to prolong the life of my 17 year old chihuahua for what the vet even said would be just a few months at most. Spending thousands seemed like a good idea at the time to avoid the pain of losing her. I am grateful that the vet and my husband were thinking straight and helped me make the decision to put her to sleep.
Now I am so thankful for that decision. She died in my arms before she truly started suffering and I feel like a better person because of it.
I will be thinking of you and your baby...
Quote 0 0
I once read that love does
the highest good for whom
we may love.

Which means that if our
Pets are suffering than
the highest good would
be to seek to end
thier suffering and doing
so out of love.

Hoping that the above
makes some sense??

Quote 0 0