How do you deal with aging, sick dogs?

a girl and her dog standard poodle whiteWe’re a bit stuck on this issue so I’m turning to the blogosphere for advice: we have two old dogs that we’ve had for many, many years, since we got them as 10 week old puppies from a breeder. They’re both standard poodles, smart, funny dogs, but they’re also both old now, about 13 or so.

The problem is that their health is failing. One of them is basically blind and half-deaf, has arthritis and has a difficult time going up and down stairs, getting up from a dog bed, etc., while the other is completely deaf (as far as we can tell, or she’s just mastered the “ignore your master’s voice” trick!) and is sporadically spirited, but has various skin and internal infections that we’ve tried to treat for years unsuccessfully.

Now we find that every morning one of them (probably the deaf one) has gone to the bathroom in the house (we’ve finally isolated them to a single room in the house at night for just this reason) and while we can certainly rip out a crummy old carpet and replace it without much fuss – indeed, we’ve already priced it out with really cheap, bottom-of-the-line carpet – it seems pretty pointless if the first night thereafter we have another “accident”.

I admit, though, I have no experience with aging dogs and the logical side of me says that when a dog is incontinent, deaf, unable to move around on their own, and generally has devolved into not much more than a bearskin rug in our household (most of the time they don’t even get up to bark when someone comes to the door) that maybe it’s time to put them to sleep.

But that’s my logical brain talking. My heart says that we should keep them with us and take care of them until it’s really completely out of control, where they bark randomly, go to the bathroom without even getting up from their dog beds, or simply pass away one night while curled up by the heater.

I dunno. Linda has strong feelings that we should err on the side of taking care of them longer than perhaps we should because, well, they’re part of the family, but I didn’t grow up with pets and am frankly less attached to them than she is. I respect her experience, but she doesn’t really recall the “september of a dog’s life” either, so we’re just not entirely sure how to proceed at this point.

Heck, if we could, I’d love to just give ’em a “Fountain of Youth” shot and have them wake up perky and ready to play and run around, but that’s not how things work on this planet, whether you’re a human or mutt.

So, dear reader, what’s your experience with aging dogs?

73 comments on “How do you deal with aging, sick dogs?

  1. When sickness overcomes them and they are truly suffering, or on the verge of suffering, there is no question (in my own opinion).
    When you can’t remember their last “good day”, you may want to give it some thought.
    Old, arthritic and incontinent, well most of us could experience that and possibly sooner than we’re really ready to leave this earth.
    My little guy is 14. He’s got some health issues and he’s going blind and deaf. I’ve modified my house and my lifestyle a bit and he’s still happy and playful, though not as hardy as he was in his youth. He’s also a poodle, by the way, though not a standard.
    I’ve been told that when “it’s time”, you’ll know.
    I had a mixed breed that passed 6 years ago. She had kidney disease and went into renal failure. I questioned whether it was time and when I thought it was, she’d have another good day. One morning I woke up with her and I just knew. I never questioned that decision and still feel like I did the very best for her.
    I hope that helps.

  2. Another consideration is how attached are your children to these dogs?
    I have spent a lot of money on some older dogs we had…. hip surgeries, growth removals, etc…
    We even had one that had a thyroid condition.
    If they aren’t suffering…..
    My kids always considered pets part of the family.

  3. Funny but I was just thinking about your dogs the other day. Wondering how they were getting on. One thing to think about is the quality of life … are they enjoying life still or are they just existing? Do they interact or are they bumps on the rugs? I am not much help – I’ve never had an old dog either. Too bad we didn’t grow up with pets. I don’t think goldfish count.

  4. Go with your heart, and take care of them as long as they are not clearly suffering. We had four elderly dogs pass away over 15 months recently, so we have seen a lot what you are talking about. However, ours were all able to pass away naturally and in their own time. And they lived with quiet quality until they died. Supplements and care helped with this.
    My wife Billie ( is an animal communicator , and she often has people come to her with this exact question. Is it time? The answer is that it depends on the particular animal. Most of the time, the animals don’t want help dying. They want to make their transition in their own time and way. Some, however, clearly need help, but you know when that time comes when your heart says so. The saddest thing we have ever witnessed was an old dog strugging against the vet who was putting him down at the owner’s request simply because he’d become too much trouble to care for.
    Our motto is “make each day a jewel”. Enjoy their furry presence and the love they continue to bring to you and your family as long as you can. It is all too easy to cut off a dog’s life simply because we can. Again, they shouldn’t be suffering, but from what you’ve described, that’s not what’s going on. People will often urge others to put their dogs down because of the diminished scope of the dog’s life. But like older people, older dogs appreciate receiving the love and care you can give them, and they enjoy being part of the family to the level that they can.

  5. I dealt with that decision twice in the past two years. My 17 year old , Myka, and 16 year old Rudy. Myka went down hill quickly and it was obvious when it was time to let her go. But Rudy was unable to walk unassisted the last two years of his life due to a ruptured disk in his back- his hind legs were paralyzed. I made a sling and supported his hind quarters with it so he could walk and he seemed okay with it. He was mostly incontinent, but I decided as long as he was in no pain and continued to eat that I would not euthanize him. Those last two years, we made his welfare our main priority. He had also lost his hearing and didn’t seem to see well. Finally the day came that he didn’t want to eat anymore and clearly was in pain. I knew then that the time had come- it was time to let him go. I don’t regret for a minute the two years that our lives revolved around him and his welfare. For the other 15 years, his life had revolved around us.
    I know it sounds trite- but when it is time, you will know. I’d say, if you have questions whether it is time to euthanize them, then it probably isn’t the time. Perhaps you can find a way to deal with their incontinence- keep them in a room with tile floors. My neighbor’s house is completely carpeted so she lays a thick layer of plastic on the floor of her computer room and keeps her old dog in there.
    Old age- not much fun for dogs or people.
    Linda (Isabella’s Human)

  6. I know that toward the end of Louie’s life Mom put him in doggie diapers so that he didn’t have to worry about messing the house. He had bladder cancer. The normal prognosis is 180 days and he lived almost 2 years! Incontinence needn’t be the end. Mom used a belly wrap with a maxi pad (whatever those are) in it. She only had to wash it occassionally…and she was very careful to never be gone more than 4 hrs without having someone let us out.
    Likewise, blindness isn’t much of an issue here, Lily, Starry and Poo all have poor vision. They manage.
    Ultimately Mom had to gauge Louie’s quality of life. When he stopped eating on christmas day Mom got him to eat prime rib for a couple days. But then he had trouble getting up and didn’t want to rub his face all over Mom and she knew.
    Mom held him while he passed and cried a lot. But he knew she loved him more than anything to the end. She had him cremated and keeps his cremains on a high shelf in the boys room. He loved that room.
    We still all miss Louie, but Mom knows that Louie was ready to go and she is at peace with it. She was always worried because his original owner had de-barked him. He couldn’t growl or whine..(he had a raspy bark) she was always afraid she wouldn’t know if he was hurting. But he let her know. – M-the-V

  7. Although my experience has been mostly with cats (we have two dogs but they’re not that old yet), I agree with the other comments that if you’re unsure whether it’s time to put the dogs to sleep, it’s not time yet.
    Animals (like people) just seem to withdraw into themselves and lose interest when it’s their time to go. Earlier this year I had to put our sick, 17-year-old cat to sleep. One day I woke up, looked at him and petted him, and just knew it was time to say goodbye.
    Since your wife is closer to the dogs (and probably more intuitive about their level of pain and/or interest), you might want to let her make the decision on this.

  8. I’ll keep my comments short since others have pretty much stated my thoughts already. As strange as it may seem, I think you will know when is the right time to euthanize them. It will be absolutely clear. Even stranger is I know people who have used animal communicators to speak with their pets. Here is the one they used:
    Here are 2 poems you might find useful:
    If it should be that I grow frail and sick
    And pain does keep me from my sleep,
    Then will you do what must be done
    For this–the last battle–can’t be won.
    You will be sad, I understand
    But don’t let grief then stay your hand
    For on this day, more than the rest,
    Your love and friendship must stand the test.
    We have had so many happy years
    You don’t want me to suffer
    So take me where my needs they’ll be met.
    Only stay with me till the end.
    For hold me firm and speak to me
    Until my eyes no longer see
    I know in time you will agree
    It is a kindness you do to me.
    Although my tail its last has waved
    From pain and suffering I have been saved.
    Don’t grieve that it must now be you
    Who has to decide this thing to do
    We’ve been so close–we two–these years,
    Don’t let your heart hold any tears.IF I SHOULD GROW FRAIL
    If it should be that I grow frail and sick
    And pain does keep me from my sleep,
    Then will you do what must be done
    For this–the last battle–can’t be won.
    You will be sad, I understand
    But don’t let grief then stay your hand
    For on this day, more than the rest,
    Your love and friendship must stand the test.
    We have had so many happy years
    You don’t want me to suffer
    So take me where my needs they’ll be met.
    Only stay with me till the end.
    For hold me firm and speak to me
    Until my eyes no longer see
    I know in time you will agree
    It is a kindness you do to me.
    Although my tail its last has waved
    From pain and suffering I have been saved.
    Don’t grieve that it must now be you
    Who has to decide this thing to do
    We’ve been so close–we two–these years,
    Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

  9. Hi Dave,
    I recently lost a beloved cat after 22 years. The vet had given her 6 months to live after diagnosing kidney failure, but I managed to keep her going for five extra years. She died in my arms after a fall last week.
    While I’m happy with my own choice for several reasons, I’m also a bit ambivalent about having spent so much time caring for that cat during those years, as much as I loved her. With work/kids/house, life was too exhausting already, and I could certainly understand someone deciding not to prolong the inevitable, especially if their pet isn’t having such a good time of things either. Frankly, as sad as I am, it is a relief to be free from the constant chore of caring for her and cleaning up after her “meltdowns”, especially since she hadn’t really been her old self for some time.
    But– in addition to honoring my own commitment to her, one thing influenced my decision more than any other: my kids. They loved that cat, and their relationship with her had taught them to be kind, gentle, empathetic, and compassionate. She had helped them through some lonely times, and gave them such a profound sense of security. And as long as I gave her “intensive care” four times a day, she was fine and happy. How could I justify to them having her put down, just because it was a lot of work to keep her?
    What I hope it taught my sons, by example, was that, if you make a commitment to someone, you try to keep it, no matter what. That you stay and care for those you love even if it’s hard. That love isn’t always easy and it isn’t always fun. That if someone needs your help, you help them, even if you’re tired or would rather be doing something else. And that you don’t just throw someone away because they’ve become inconvenient.
    If our cat had been suffering, and the suffering couldn’t be eased with medication, I wouldn’t have hesitated to put her down, and would have explained to my kids that sometimes you have to do what seems too painful to stand, you have to suffer that loss, in order to ease the pain of the one you care about. Sometimes letting go is the kindest thing you can do.
    So I guess I’d agree with what others have said: listen to your heart, but consider your family, too. If your dogs are miserable and suffering, you should end it. If they’re just old, but basically happy, and someone in your family really loves them, in the end you may be glad to have put in the extra work.
    (I’d just add one other thing– if you decide you want to keep your guys going a bit longer, you might check with a naturopathic vet or get a book. Intensive nutrition– most commercial pet foods are truly awful–and supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, and milk thistle can make a huge difference in the condition and comfort of an older animal. As I said, I kept our cat going for five extra years, with a regimen of nutrition and herbal therapies, combined with standard veterinary medicines. Her blood tests got better rather than worse. The vet said this was impossible, and was always shocked at how well she was doing.)
    Good luck,
    Kate (Bear’s mom)

  10. The quality of life issue is the most important. If they still derive joy from life, then let them continue to enjoy living.
    My dog Cinco was 12 when we put her to sleep. She had a severe retinal degeneration that made her completely blind in the course of three weeks. She simultaneously went deaf. She would wander into the closet at night, get all tangled up in things, or pee, and then whine miserably until we rescued her.
    The only joy she got was from food. The night we put her down, I fed her a whole fillet mignon, a piece of salmon and a whole bar of semi-sweet dark chocolate. She was the happiest beast ever. The vet came about half an hour later. I think Cinco knew what was happening, and she was very willing about the whole thing. She died in my arms. It was one of the saddest days of my life.

  11. My family had to put my first dog to sleep when he was having trouble breathing due to a heart condition. We weren’t willing to go to extreme measures and he was definitely suffering at age 15. I’ve also had to put a cat to sleep, he wasn’t that old but he had gone into liver failure. He wouldn’t/couldn’t eat, and we weren’t successful pulling him out of it with fluid injections and force-feeding.
    In both cases we decided that the animal’s quality of life was seriously impaired. They were very hard decisions because while the animals were part of our family, we also decided that we would not go to great lengths to extend their lives.
    Much harder to make a conscious decision for euthanasia than to “let nature take its course”, but in the end I think we tried to balance the suffering of the pet and the needs of the entire family.

  12. Unfortunatly I am probably going to pull some heart strings here but at the onset let me say I have a great love for animals and have owned 12 dogs, 30 something parrots, 300 pigeons and a duck. The more experience I have with animals the more I love them, but. I am an adult, a grown human being with all the logic available to me at this point in time in my life, My decissions, like yours, are made with many overall factors influencing them.
    When it comes to an old dog or cat please, the humane thing to do is to put them down. Unlike a previous writer if you aren’t sure if it is the right time, it IS the right time.
    Obviously there are enough signs telling you so for you to be in any sort of doubt at all. These pets, no matter how much we wish to think of them as some sort of human with hates desires and feelings, going by all the human feelings we inflict our animals with, they are, all said and done, animals.
    In the wild they die usually from alot of things but not generally from old age, a sick or weak animal is swiftly delt to by it’s own kind or preditor.
    Okay so man has domesticated many species, all this means is we have altered their natural instincts so they will happily sit in a purse while their owner enjoys a coffee. Bottom line is if it has served, depending on the species, what would be a normal lifetime for it, with you and now it is ill, disabled, deaf, blind or otherwise not the pet it used to be then get over your own inabilities to rationally look at the situation and give the poor animal the peace it deserves.
    Honestly there are literally thousands of so called pets being put down daily around the world and most of these would be in great health, so if you feel guilt about doing the right thing by your pet immediately afterwords go to a pound and save a healthy animal and give that one another great life with your love and caring.

  13. I found your link last week while searching for answers, and information to help me decide what to do for my 17 year old English Setter. Since I was grateful in finding folks’ comments on your link, I feel this obligation to post my immediate experience with my old dog.
    No one can tell you what to do. Unfortunately, it is a decision that you and your wife will have to make, and live with it. I just put my Setter to sleep this morning. While she had been dealing with deafness and also incontinence for a few years, she was relatively happy. She continued to beg for food on a daily basis, and would even sometimes start running during her walks. She could even go up and down stairs. I felt that the dog’s incontinence was affecting my life, but not my dog’s, and therefore, opted to keep her. Unfortunately, earlier this week, while at a kennel, she got dehydrated and then went into kidney failure. The vet at the kennel did not have much hope for her. My personal vet believed that the dehydration caused the kidney failure, and he was correct. By giving her an IV and lots of fluids, we got her blood count to its normal range, but my dog did not want to wake up or walk. She was no longer eating and only wanted to sleep. So today we made the ultimate decision that at this point there is nothing left that we can do for her, and that her organs are in the process of shutting down.
    Everyone told me that when the time is right, you will know. This morning I woke up, and despite how difficult it was, knew that I had to make the decision, and let her go.
    My suggestion to you would be that if in your heart you feel that you ought to take care of them, and they still — to some extent — enjoy certain aspects of life, then go with your heart. If they don’t pass away as a result of natural causes, you will know when it is time. They have provided you and your wife with unconditional love, and are dependent on you to making decisions for them. They will trust that you made the right decision as you have all these years.

  14. I am sobbing reading these posts, thinking about having my 13 year old Welsh Terrier, Rozie, euthanized. She has gone downhill the last 8 months with what started as an inner ear infection and now looks like partial paralysis from a stroke or something. She’s wobbly on my hardwood floors and sometimes is like bambi on ice, flailing around, unable to get up, sometimes peeing and flailing in it. I have to carry her up and down the stairs. My ex-husband is in a rancher (we share our pet as well as our daughter) with mostly carpeting and a doggy-door so she’s more stable and mobile there. Lately, she seems very senile and she wanders incessantly. The partial paralysis has her unable to sit comfortably, she sort of sags into herself and flops onto the floor. She doesn’t play with her squeaky toys for more than a squeak or two…times gone by she would have to kill it – being a mighty terrier – and I could never find one that would last more than 2 minutes, tops.
    What I’m having trouble with is my 11 year old daughter. When Rozie fell ill with terrible vertigo and an inability to stay on her feet, I thought for sure we would have to put her down. She and I cried together for a couple of nights straight. Then the vet said they sometimes come out of this inner ear infection and sure enough, she did improve, but has never been the same since. I haven’t been back to the vet, which may seem heartless, but she is so petrified of him that I can’t bear to put her through the trauma of going there. I have a friend who is an animal health tech and another acquaintance who is a vet and I’m hoping to arrange for them to help me euthanize Rozie at home. What do I do about my child? I swear, I can’t take the agony of telling her ahead of time and having to go through all the trauma that will ensue. Sometimes I think I should just take Rozie and quietly have the deed done myself, tell everyone afterward that I found her at home, dead. What do you think? Would that be denying my daughter some essential experience or participation in the last moments of our beloved pet’s life? Can you share your experiences with telling/preparing/going through this with your children. I would be grateful.

  15. Help! Anyone know about Masticular Myotosis, an imune disease which affects the jaw muscle? We’re treating out 100 LB Rotweiller with 20 MG of prednisone per day. I under stand that the disease is incurable.

  16. Hello, I have a 16 year old Standard Poodle who has been with my family for 15 yrs. She is very loving dog. Sable (dog) is now has loss of hearing, sight and the hips are bad . Her hind leg is bowed from a accident from long ago. She has dental problems now the teeth are all doing black and the vet said by putting her under for cleaning or pulling that she might not make it at her age. I see her now swolling her hard food and want to feed her soft but the breath is so bad now. She is happy still and thinks she is still 3yrs.old. I am afraid that if she runs to much with the other dogs she will die of a heart attack.I don’t want to put her down when she is completely helpless or just laying there dying and fighting for her last breath. Is it wrong for me to put her down while she is still happy ? I don’t think I could watch her lay there and suffer being helpless!

  17. i have a 14 year toy poodle that is half blind and dont see well a night . and has bad hips and a hearttrouble . he still some time act as a young dog. still barks a the mailman. and any one who came to the door. he see his vet a least once a month even ifhe is not sick( for my peace of mind). i like to catch a illness before it can gst to bad. he eats his food and drinks his water ( bottle water) and goes to the bath room out side. he can still jump off the back deck my vet says that my poodle will tell me went he cant jump any more . and i had a poodle tha live to be 16 years old befor we had to put him to sleep .and son live to be 15 years i learn thing from them that i dont do with my dog now. so as long as you keep them happy and see the vet. i dont see way you need to put them to sleep. i dont want to think about the day i will have to put mt to sleep but i wiill not let him be in pain just because i want to still be herre that not fair to nim or me .i still miss my other poodles a lot. they had a good life. if you need to talk to mr just e mail me.

  18. As another blog participant basically said, in a situation like this, noone can tell your family what “to do”, that is, what decisions to make regarding what actions to take (or not take) and any related timing, because only your family must live on with these decisions and with the emotional repercussions of making them.
    As leader(s) of the family, these decisions are as important in terms their emotional impact on younger, and perhaps more emotionally vulnerable members of the family, as they are on the family leaders themselves, those who presumably, must ultimately direct, if not make, the decisions. In any family which is emotionally attached to the animals they keep, every family member will struggle emotionally, in terms of their own respective developmental stages, with the loss of a pet. To complicate things further, family leaders carry a responsibility to model appropriate attachment behaviors in terms of how they themselves emotionally manage their own loss relative to their own emotions and to those of their partner(s)and their children, of how one might best parent children in the face of loss, and of how to respond in the face of the moral dilemma of how (and why) one might elect (or not elect) to such make decisions in the first place, at the same time as they share the loss with the rest of their family members and endure the process of grieving their own loss of an important attachment relationship.
    I will soon be facing similar decisions, emotions, and dilemmas regarding our very elderly dog, as I parent my 20 year old son, an adolescent on the verge of adulthood. I do not look forward to those tough times, as inevitable as they are. I know that I will have to balance the demands of the emotional needs of myself, my family members and of our pet against the limitations of our resources and against the moral dilemmas posed by the fact that she is a dog and not a human being, by my belief that a decision to choose to devote extraordinary (whatever that means) resources to extend and enhance, or to the contrary, to shorten or even terminate (and enhance?) her life , is in effect “playing God”, and by the fact that there are many other human beings whose lives could be considerably improved if I directed such resources towards them instead of towards our dog. In the end, I know that each member of our family should feel as comfortable with our respective memories of that experience as we are with our memories of the joy that she has brought us over the years. Despite that it seems a tall order, taking on the role of addressing this issue as a responsible parent is part of the bargain I made 14 years ago when I adopted a pup.
    The way my family deals with the decision-making then, will, I’m sure, differ from how yours does now, as the ages and developmental stages of our children are so different, not to mention the potential for any number of other factors to contribute to the differential dynamics of our respective families. However, my guess is that the basic elements of the process by which each of our families can successfully navigate such a loss, and be true to the basic principals of attachment parenting, will be remarkably similar.
    Raising a discussion of this family crisis of sorts in the context of a blog on attachment parenting is an interesting, and excellent, choice.

  19. One thing I’ve always remembered was Elizabeth Marchall Thomas’ comment that as long as they are eating, they are sustaining their lives and finding joy. For her that was her threshold for the decision of when it was “time”.

  20. I have a 13yr old GSD (german shepherd)…she is slightly deaf and blind…i use the word slightly as sometimes she hears me come through the door other times..she doesnt,she keeps digging hole and being sick on and off..and its really upsetting to watch her do that…i feel in my heart that it is time but i live with my mum and little sister and ultimatly the disision is my mums…Kimbas quality of life isnt as it used to be she finds it hard getting up as she has hip problems and sometimes falling over on her front slightly…i notice it alot more when we go for our dayly short walks together in the park which is 1min down the road…she spends most of her time other than getting up to eat(dry food)as wet meat makes her sick and drink…lying down in on set place up against our sofa…i really feel for her..and i love her we have had her from a puppy…please post me some advice or experience thank you

  21. I have a cat that is now 16 years old, she is barely getting around, and is losing weight awfully fast. I dont have the funds to increase her life expectancy, I have several other cats, two others in the same twilight years as she. She has been a joy and I love her tremendously. It kills me to see her like this, but my heart sinks to even think of having her put down. I don’t want to see her suffer, and think I may be a bit selfish, with wanting her with me. I’m not sure what to do at this point. I was reading and became very emotional with all the different storys, and feel I am such a softy, and need help to make this decision.

  22. Not sure what to say, MJ, but if your cat is experiencing pain and discomfort every single day and there’s no hope of improvement, I’d suggest that perhaps it’s time…
    Update; last week we put our white pup, Jasmine, to sleep. It was very clear she was in great pain, couldn’t stand up any more, and was never going to get any better. It was very tough to make the decision, and we miss her a lot, but we’re comfortable knowing it was the right decision.

  23. Yes, dogs do walk away to die. My beloved gsd was very ill, I knew something was terribly wrong with her so I fell asleep lying down beside her on the floor. In the morning when we woke up, we frantically searched the house for her and she was as far away as she could get, in the furthest corner of the basment. My husband carried her up the steps and took her to the vet and we had her euthanized as there was no chance of recovery. She had acute leukemia. Mom had a similar experience with her cocker spaniel who died of a heart attack.

  24. Does anyone have any experience with dogs running away to die? My 15 year old aged sheltie is missing for 2 days.

  25. i have a question – not a comment…. i have a dog that is around 10 years old and she has body jerks – not like the ones they have in their sleep…this is something terribly not right…she also sometimes falls over to the left side , but she jumps straight back up… she had her splene taken out because of cancer… she was doing this before that surgery , but is still doing it now also… this scares me.. what do you think????

  26. I have a Golden Retriever that is just over a year old. I took her (Baby) in to be fixed and found out by the blood tests that she is in kidney failure. It came as such a shock that I got a second opinion which confirmed the disease. The said she was probably born with it and that it had slowly been taking its toll. This is why we had no clue.
    My husband and I are so close to our dogs (2) that we have been doing everything we could to make her comfortable at home. From meds to intravenous fluids daily.
    The night before last, she wet on herself several times. She growled at our male when he got near her (never did this before). I cried my heart out and made a decision that I would take her in the next morning to be put to sleep. However, when morning came, she was acting more herself and I could not do it.
    I talked at length with my husband and our vet. The vet said that possibly she had another urinary infection, which is common in dogs in renal failure. (We had just gone through a few weeks of antibiotics for a urinary infection and she had been off the antibiotics for just over a week). The other possibility was that her kidney failure had progressed to this point.
    I went to the vet last eve to get more fluids for Baby. At the same time, I asked for more antibiotics. Last night, we had no accidents. We had a great morning. She is eating normally, playing normally and overall doing wonderful today. I really am glad that I did not put her to sleep yesterday.
    We know it is only a matter of time for Baby. However, she plays like the puppy she is. My heart is so broken. And, I feel like a fool. I am a grown woman who has never had to deal with this issue before and I blubber like an idiot.
    I love her and I pray to God that I know when it is time. Everyone tells me I will know. I hope that is true. I just cannot justify putting her to sleep because she has a bad day. However, at the same time, I pray I will know if she is in pain.
    And, this is where I feel like an idiot; I know people have relatives that are terminal so I feel selfish asking. But, Baby means the world and all to me and she has brightened my life. I would like to ask anyone of faith to pray not only for Baby not to experience pain but for me to become accepting and at peace with this entire issue. I suffer from depression and Christmas time is always difficult for me but this has compounded the difficulty. I am coping day to day but know I cannot do it without God’s help. I want the pain to truly stop so I am asking for prayers of acceptance. I believe in the power of prayer.
    SR of Illinois

  27. i had a very healthy dog that at 8 years i began feeding a super premium dog food and continued to remain very healthy up to the point of being bit by another dog almost 3 year ago, however from late fall to early spring, i suspect possibly he survived distemper with few symptoms, but in the following 3 months the incontinence and what resembled wobblers syndrome set in along with much more tempature insensivity. however it was about 1 year later at the beginning of 2007, he appeared to begin loosing footing on his rear leg, which by the middle of 2007, i suspected was overgrown hair covering the rear foot pad and long nails. finally on a visit in august 2007 to the vet, he diagnosed demyelination as the cause… i thought initially it was related to the hair/nails, but finally by october 2007 it began apparent a otherwise healthy dog was loosing the ability to utilize his rear paws. whether it was old age distemper re emerging in a neurological state related to the bite 3 years ealier or myelopathy, the following 1.5 mothes, it became apparent rear limb paralysis requiring a 24 hour pet sitter was very close, for infact it already began. there was such bahavioral changes after that initial bite, but just about a year ago the obvious neurological symptoms, followed by almost a year what initially appeared related to long nails/excessive hair growth to almost paralysis… if this paralysis was not diseased related, i would have dealt with the paralysis, but there was such bahavioral changes which i suspect was hidden distemper finally attacking the nervous symptoms almost 3 years later… otherwise even at the point of paralysis, he still appeared as overall a healthy dog at about 13 years old with no other health issues related to any other chronic disease.. no signs of heart, kidney, or liver disease, a very healthy shiny coat… i was very
    surprised demyelination occured in a aged but otherwise very healthy dog… what started 3 years ago, the final year, became much more apparent towards the end in the last 3 months, particularly the last 2 – 3 weeks… i’m assuming the demyelination took about 1 year.. that slipping and collapsing on the rear limb when diagnosed 3 moths ago, did not became very apparent until the final 2 – 3 weeks literally very close to parlysis

  28. so how did i have to deal with a aging but otherwise healthy dog…..
    initially cut back the nails and long hair, avoid slippery hardwood floors, and a visit to
    the vet… which initially i believed was a
    misdiagnosis, that was in august 2007… otherwise he appeared healthy.
    but by november 2007 it began apparent there was such difficulty literally with seizures and bouts of inability to walk, progression in paralysis was very close… only paralysis in a otherwise healthy dog wouldn’t have mattered, but even though this dog still appeared overall healthy,.. he had cognitive dysfunction for years, but i don’t even question the neurological issue involve injuries to the brain, there was quite apparent bahavioral changes towards the very end, bouts of very
    unusual weird bahavioral… it became apparent
    that he was fast approaching becoming a very
    sick dog that was suffering, not just dealing
    wih paralysis… i couldn’t believe how fast
    the approaching end progressed… all it took
    was about 2 – 3 weeks and it became apparent
    most definitely he truly was suffering.. i didn’t believe it 4 months ago when the vet stated he was suffering, but the last 2 – 3
    weeks it most definitely appeared suffering
    was becoming apparent. Compensating for paralysis was easy but there was such dramatic
    weird bahavior associated with the demyelination,
    it became very apparent that the decline in health happened progressed quickly in a otherwise very healthy dog and what would follow truly was becoming apparent as suffering… that progression of suffering would have become quite
    severe in the coming up at most couple of weeks
    and it was beyond belief towards the end how quickly this progressed

  29. with the previous earlier posts… i was told i was dealing with a old dog slowing down 5 years ago… i didn’t sense that at all. even with needing to pull on his leash to help him up the steps and recomending pain medication 3 years ago, it was obvious this dog was not exhibiting pain and had a quality life. incontience on hard wood floors was not a issue and neither were occasional accidents and neither what initiall appeared as normal aging of a very old dog.. he had been exhibited deafness for years and neither was the tail becoming limp nor apparent. what resembled wobblers sydrome did not effect the quality of life and neither did some arthritis. initially compensating for what appeared as either seizures or slipping on floors also did not qualify a suffering, if anything compensating for him aided the bond he sensed which added to the quality of his life. neither was needing to carry him to the vet in a box and actually compensating for him the inability to walk, increased the bond he sensed the quality of the bond… even though the vet stating he was in excruisating pain and suffering, this dog did not give any indication of pain nor suffering but it became very apparent some months later that whatever disease was progressing rapidly suffering finally had began… in a way compensating in aiding a disabled dog adds to the quality of their life but the final couple of weeks it became obvious suffering was most definitely beginning to become apparent and progression would have quickly esculated… literally the neurological
    loss wasn’t injuring himself, but continuing to
    injury himself literally twisting joints most likely resulting in dislocating joints.. i never
    really saw suffering related to arthritis, but i could no longer compensate for the demyelination.
    when he could no longer walk or sit or move in what appeared as damaging the joints the final couple of weeks suffering began to become apparent and the real suffering in the coming up
    at most not monthes but at most days/weeks appeared to be fast approaching, not some good days and some bad days…
    i was very surprised when the vet stated this dog has at most weeks/months to live, he was a
    very old dog, that was back in August 2007…
    there were very few syptoms of injuries with resolved themselves within a couple of days by
    trimming the hair underneath the footpads, which
    i thought he was slipping because of the overgrown hair – – but there was no signs of suffering.
    however by the the first second week of november 2007 the progression quickly esculated with obviously became apparent that suffering truly
    was beginning to occur and progression was occuring rapidly… requiring 24 hour assistance to prevent injury, the inability to function without injuring himself which would no longer heal, in the coming up weeks truly that would progress as suffering. the progression of what appeared overall as a healthy dog progressed very quickly to a suffering dog in the span of about 2 – 3 weeks, which would have resulted in a very sick dog in tremendous pain… that is where what quality time remained was very limited to at most days at the very most, within
    week or two tremendous suffering would become apparent, that is the time i took it as end stage… but definitely not the time between august through part of november… but the last week or two became very apparent end stage was very very close where what would follow just would be suffering

  30. i have a 15 1/2 year old bichon with severe hip deterioration, heart failure, and major urinary incontinence. he still has his energentic moments and love his food and also controls his bowels,but that’s about it. i have had him since his birth and even cut the cord. i’m sure it’s time but i have recently moved to south florida and don’t have a vet for him here and am so sad to take him to strangers. I would rather buy drugs online, if possible. Any suggestions?


  32. I have been hoping and praying to be given a sign from my cat that it was the right time to put her to sleep. Perhaps they have been there and I’ve just been too emotionally blind, or selfish, to see them. I rescued my old moggy 20 years ago and we’ve been best friends ever since. She’s seen me graduate from university, get married and have two children. A few weeks ago she seemed to lose her spark. After a visit to the vet I was told that she was suffering with kidney disease. Consequent tests showed she has a malignant tumour growing under her tongue as well as a heart murmur. The vet gave me a list of symptoms to look for that would indicate she was nearing the end of her life. Those symptoms started this morning. I know I’ve got to do the right thing by my best mate but I don’t think I can be there when she takes that last breath. Will I regret this or should I be there to farewell her for the last time?

  33. I’m frustrated with the daily laundering of two elderly pets. One near 18 year old cat and the other, a 14 year old dalmatian. Four years ago, the cat started defacating and vomiting everywhere in the house. He’s still around, although blind in one eye and looks emaciated, but spends his days sleeping and begging for food which I have to portion out very carefully, to avoid vomiting. We close him up at night in his own room which is heavily armored against his accidents. The dalmatian just a few months ago started showing extreme weakness in his hind quarters which by the end of day he seems to be dragging around. He has always had weak bowels, but now goes each night in his sleep. We always come home to accidents and most times he has stepped in them and requires daily bathing. I feel my whole world is spent laundering and cleaning up after them. Help.

  34. I had to let my 10 year old dalmation go because she had gastric adenocarcinoma; it was untreatable. We spent thousands of dollars and would have given everything that we have to save her, but nothing could be done. When she couldn’t eat, we had her put to rest; I beleive that she told me goodbye, so I knew it was time. I have deep regrets and guilt; mainly because of my lab, Lexy, that has been Chloe’s best friend since they were only a few months old (they are only one month apart in age)— Lexy doesn’t know where her “sister” went and seems so sad. My mind tells me that it was right, but my heart will never agree. I do research on the disease, I cry everyday, and explain to my children that a part of their family could not be saved; my Chloe and Lexy are our children and our family feels incomplete without her here. The hardest part is that I know that my husband and I made the decision to take her life even though she was not truly “living” any more. My prayers are that she can, finally, here our voices now (she was completely deaf), and continue to feel our undying love for her.

  35. Hello fellow pet owners,
    I am the owner of a 15.5 yr old terrier mix. He is an indoor dog and very much a family member. We got him when my son (my only child) was only 7 yrs old and Rex’s entire body, head or tail is in almost every photo we have; the memories of our lives throughout the years.
    Rex has been an extraordinary dog in the respect he has never needed medication…until now. He has moderate arthritis expected for his age so he takes Deramaxx for that. His vision and hearing are still very sharp and he runs and plays happy on his “good” days. I have to coax him to eat sometimes but not often enough to believe he’s “going down”.
    Lately, his hind quarters are beginning to wobble, he’s rather weak, tired and somewhat sad looking. I will be taking him to the vet tomorrow to see what is going on. I have decided to do a wait-and-watch thing in the event he does not pass gently on his own. If I suspect he is suffering more than enjoying his life I will sadly and bravely help him “go to sleep”.
    Not to guilt anyone on this forum as this matter is so personal, but shall he need to be relieved from his suffering I am a firm believer in staying with my pet to the very end. Animals love their masters’ face and voice more than anything. They literally live for us and our love for them. My precious dog has been here and comforted me for years. I dare not abandon him at the cold vet’s office and leave him to the arms of others. My eyes WILL be the last eyes he looks into. MY voice will be the last soft words he hears as I reassure him. MY touch will be the final hand on his furry little body as he floats away from me. No matter how painful it may be for me… That moment will not be about me. It will be about my majestic, blonde king and I will make sure he leaves this world like royalty. My “Boy Boy” deserves that much from me. Afterall, he has worshipped me like HIS queen his entire life.
    I have looked to him for stength and love and he’s never ceased to give it. The best I can do for him is be strong for him and love him to the absolute end of our journey together.
    Peace and precious pet paw love to all. May God bless every single one of you making decisions and loving older animals. And remember…How VERY blessed we are to have had the unconditional, perfect love of our animals for so long.

  36. My black and white cocker spaniel was a birthday present from my then boyfriend. He was the answer to all my prayers. I had ran a stop sign when i was fifteen and my mother and another man had passed away. It had been ten years and i started suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. I needed that unconditional love that cody gave me. After a few years the boyfriend was gone and i was battling yet another round of depression.
    My dad had to have a triple by-pass on an emergency basis and he had not been home 9 days before cody started acting weird in his hind legs. I called my vet that night and he said to give him some benadryl and see how he was doing in the morning. Morning came and cody could not move his hind legs, but he could feel them. To make a long story short this vet did not send my dog to a specialty hospital for surgery before it was too late. He was later found guilty of many counts of malpractice against my animal. But you know how civil courts and high powered attorneys are they keep postpoing for almost 2 and a half years till now.
    We are supposed to go to mediation or court to settle up. We were asking for all our back expenses, which were huge-hundreds of thousands of dollars, and future expenses for him. Of course throughout the last 2 and a half years we have exhausted all of our financial means and are broke and being sued for bills. We had to make a choice to by cody’s meds or pay other things. We chose cody.
    I can not name all the problems cody has had over these years but it was going to the vet non stop till we ran out of money then the money people there would not let cody even get meds there! Luckliy ther was his doctor that was able to work with another animal hospital and call prescriptions in without cody having to be hospitalized. Since we had no means to help him if one of his huge problems came back, like his blood disease, he almost died of, cody amazingly was doing the best he had ever done these last eight months.
    Every thing was looking up and then it happened. I had been noticing cody shaking and not eating, but he did not eat that great anyway, and i told my doctor about it thursday last week. He told me not to worry unless he got worse or i saw him bleeding anywhere.
    Last sunday i noticed he was really week and his breathing was shallow so i left my doc a message to call me the next morning. The next morning he acted fine when i changed his diaper and when we went to grandmas to eat. After a while i noticed his breathing was extremely shallow and since i had not heard from my doc i called my other doc and was told to come right away. Still in the car he was sitting up and even gave me a kiss about a half of a mile from my home, then he just slumped over the seat and was unreponsive.
    I screamed his name and i immediately knew he was dead, but i looked to see if he was breathing and he was not.
    I freaked out and stopped and asked for help no one knew what to do then a lady reminded me there was an animal hospital up the road. I raced there and they took him back. The doctor there had went to lunch but they paged her and she came back within 5 minutes but they were doing cpr manually till she got there. My doc was on speaker phone telling her what to do. After thirty minutes and my relatives and a cop showing up i demanded to know, even though i knew. The detective then told me cody had passed.
    This was this monday i feel as if my purpose in life is gone, what am i going to do without taking care and worrying about cody. He filled the void in my heart my mom left…now i feel like i’m dying.
    You have no idea what i did for cody over the last 3 years, how many tears i cried worried about how to pay his bills and when it finally looks like i will be able to take care of him without all this worry he dies. I am suffering from ptsd again now. My family does not understand, because its an animal i am supposed to just get over it…i am still in shock…my shrink says it could be months before the post part sinks in and i really realize he is gone.
    My boyfriend came back until cody died and he just said so many hurtful things, with me in the shape i am in. That is not love…i am having a memorial service and i think my family thinks that is crazy too, but who cares. Cody deserves to be laid to rest in style…i always asked god to never let me have to make the decision to end his life…i guess i got my prayer. The autopsy is inconclusive at this time all organs looked great not even his normal bladder infection.
    They are doing more thorough tests that will be back next week….maybe i will know why he died because i am blaming myself…. if i never know i do not know how i will handle it. I loved him more than life itself and no one understands but codys doctors. They are the only ones to send flowers or cards…no family members… some family members did not even call!!
    I will let you know what the final autopsy says. Please anybody email and help because i am going crazy without my baby.


  38. my dog is almost 15 years old i got her when she was 6 months old. she was so cute. she would run and play with my husband and me. her name is buffy. now she can hardly walk her spine is curved. she is deaf and almost blind. she cannot get up by her self anymore. she walks around trying to lay down. she falls over her food dish. and drinks water all day long. she forgot how to eat i think. i know its time to put her to sleep. but my husband can’t do it. i need someone to talk to, about how i am feeling.

  39. i tried to post a respone nancy…believe me i was scared of having to put cody to sleep someday because of his problems…that did not happen…but you need to listen to your heart…you know what is best for you pet…do not let other people’s opinions cloud your judgement…you will make the right decision for your baby i know it…now help me…email me anytime


  41. Hi Laura,
    Your story is heartbreaking! Just a couple of thoughts that I hope might help you.
    There are support groups in many areas to help deal with the loss of a pet; others are going through similar emotions and it can be helpful to know that you’re not alone and talk to people. You can look for support groups through the ASPCA, or ask your vet if they know of resources. It’s sad that your family is not supportive, but many people don’t understand the emotional connection that you and many others have with pets, so don’t read too much into their not realizing how much you are hurting right now. Try to connect with people who do understand, and maybe you will even find tools to get your family to realize how hard this is for you and be more supportive even if they don’t understand.
    Try to find peace in knowing you did everything you could do for Cody. He was very lucky to have you taking care of him. Almost no one else would have kept him for so long.
    I think it is natural to feel very sad, but it is worrisome that you say your only reason to live was to take care of the dog. I hope you feel that your life has value independent of anyone else, person or animal. You are obviously a very caring person who has suffered tragedies in your life and those have had a profound effect on you. I pray that you will find peace in knowing you’ve done your best, and that’s all anyone can ask of themselves.

  42. ok i was lookin this up for my nana and myself and the rest of us!~ ok here goes ! i got my snick and smoke about maybe 3 or 4 month apart ! and iam 22 got them about maybe 4 or 5 it was like that longs they are always goin to be my babies ! my nana had to make the choice to put snick down today about 2 or 3 hours ago ! shes just lost iam holdin up better then i thought i would ever i dont know why i just iam iam tryin to just cry by mayself and she has lost like one of her kids . i realy dont know what to say but i was not able to get over here fast to spen more time with him be fore they put him down i got mybe 5 mins its realy killin me inside. i got my pets when i needed them snick was at my nanas she loves him so much she thought he was goin to live as long as she did and then they could be up together ! i dont know iam sorry this is just hard my cat is about to go to ! my mom is goin to lose it then to they say things come in threes.i hope that even if iam not there they know how much they mean to me and how much they helpd me and was my best friends. do u think snick knows i did not know that they was goin to put him down intill the last min ! i could not go. i got here asap. held him then they took him. i hope he knew that i love him so much and nothin will ever replace him or her. idk
    but back to this i think that u truly know when it was right i was so agasd it and when they told me i was shocked because my nana was with me on that . but she said mary its time and she would never do it if it was not good for him or anyone ! she loves that dog and says mary iam 61 years old i could die to i dont think she like realy means it but i think she just wants me to be ready iam really cose to my nana she like my second mom they would have to put me away just like if my mom was to . iam hope that you will know like she did. he was 18 or 19 and he fell back in then pee n stuff and he realy only sleep and layd down and ate. he would get stuck like the rest of the old dogs. n like less then a week he lost the hair inbetween his eyes. and today at4 430 all he did was bark loud and he never has barkd that loud 4 a long time. i knew in my heart it was time but i never thought we would have to put him down. iam just sayin unless u really know u will know if u just think they are a job then you should have not got the dog cat in the first place iam sorry just my thought . when you know u know ….do u think they think i dont love them anymore? i was never for it intill today……..):
    how can i help her and my mom when my cat gos? i mean i feel i have to be strong now … plezzz
    if ne help email me it would help me out alot !
    iam truly sorry 4 all your lost cat dogs you will see them again ! in they will be like they was just better.
    iam sorry i did not take alot of time on this or spell all of it right!~ just tryin to do it fast so i could get all my thoughts out if you would help ples.

  43. ok i was lookin this up for my nana and myself and the rest of us!~ ok here goes ! i got my snick and smoke about maybe 3 or 4 month apart ! and iam 22 got them about maybe 4 or 5 it was like that longs they are always goin to be my babies ! my nana had to make the choice to put snick down today about 2 or 3 hours ago ! shes just lost iam holdin up better then i thought i would ever i dont know why i just iam iam tryin to just cry by mayself and she has lost like one of her kids . i realy dont know what to say but i was not able to get over here fast to spen more time with him be fore they put him down i got mybe 5 mins its realy killin me inside. i got my pets when i needed them snick was at my nanas she loves him so much she thought he was goin to live as long as she did and then they could be up together ! i dont know iam sorry this is just hard my cat is about to go to ! my mom is goin to lose it then to they say things come in threes.i hope that even if iam not there they know how much they mean to me and how much they helpd me and was my best friends. do u think snick knows i did not know that they was goin to put him down intill the last min ! i could not go. i got here asap. held him then they took him. i hope he knew that i love him so much and nothin will ever replace him or her. idk
    but back to this i think that u truly know when it was right i was so agasd it and when they told me i was shocked because my nana was with me on that . but she said mary its time and she would never do it if it was not good for him or anyone ! she loves that dog and says mary iam 61 years old i could die to i dont think she like realy means it but i think she just wants me to be ready iam really cose to my nana she like my second mom they would have to put me away just like if my mom was to . iam hope that you will know like she did. he was 18 or 19 and he fell back in then pee n stuff and he realy only sleep and layd down and ate. he would get stuck like the rest of the old dogs. n like less then a week he lost the hair inbetween his eyes. and today at4 430 all he did was bark loud and he never has barkd that loud 4 a long time. i knew in my heart it was time but i never thought we would have to put him down. iam just sayin unless u really know u will know if u just think they are a job then you should have not got the dog cat in the first place iam sorry just my thought . when you know u know ….do u think they think i dont love them anymore? i was never for it intill today……..):
    how can i help her and my mom when my cat gos? i mean i feel i have to be strong now … plezzz
    if ne help email me it would help me out alot !
    iam truly sorry 4 all your lost cat dogs you will see them again ! in they will be like they was just better.
    iam sorry i did not take alot of time on this or spell all of it right!~ just tryin to do it fast so i could get all my thoughts out if you would help ples. rnp snick iam sorry i was not there 4 you all the time or did not spend as much time as i should have i love you with all my heart…….Mary lou

  44. I just lost my lab mix dog that was 17 years old. I had him since he was 1. He was my best friend. He was by my side when I was very sick, went through a divorce, was on my own for many years and then got remarried. He was always at my side and didn’t let me get out of his sight. He tore the ligaments in his leg last year and he has dealt with that the past year plus arthritis, heart murmur and finally kindneys not working properly. He didn’t give me any “signs” like some people say that he wanted to pass on. I didn’t want him to be in any pain or discomfort though so I was putting off taking him in to be put to sleep. He would seem to get better when I planned to take him in. I “knew” that I should do it last week but put it off until this week. I was going to baby him, feed him really well and take him riding in the car (all the things he loved) before taking him to the vet. I didn’t have that choice, as he passed away from a seizure this week, two days before I was going to take him in. It was very unexpected and sudden. I wish I would have been able to do all of those things that I had wanted to do but I did pray that if he passed away at home that I would be with him and he wouldn’t be in any pain. I know that God answered both of those requests. There are things that I wish I could have prevented from happening at the end but I did get to talk to him and hold him as he passed. He knew he was very loved! I think when someone really has that “little voice” telling them that it’s time that it’s best to do it then instead of wait. It’s going to be very hard either way but knowing that you can “plan” when they pass will help you in the long run. Just don’t question yourself over and over or it will end up hurting you a lot worse. They will be in a better place and not suffer anymore. That is the main thing that I keep thinking on that helps get me through. I prayed over that dog for 16 years and I know that he is healed now!

  45. Hi, well, after reading many of the blogs here, i am totally unsure of what to do.
    I have a dog, she is 17 now…deaf and blind from cataracts, she is on rimadyl for her hips.
    she has trouble getting around late in the day, but seems better in the mornings.
    she is very needy now. i can’t leave her alone at all. Can’t leave the house, she cries, and then panics. she runs into things, and gets very confused. i can’t leave her at all. i tried using a kennel cage, but, she messed in it, and then walked in it… i thought that was awful for her, so didn’t do it again.
    she is a small dog, part doxie, and something…
    not over weight,, still has some teeth.
    i am just not sure that there is any quality of life here. she sleeps all the time. no playing anymore. she gets up to eat, and then back to sleep.
    so, i guess i would like some input … i love her, and find it hard to think of the other… but….
    she pees everywhere.

  46. You have to just follow your heart. My poodle had many health issues over his 15 years. Over the last 5 or so he was deaf, blind, had throyd condition but still seemed very happy. I always promised him I would not let him suffer bad pain. One morning I woke up and he did not get out of bed to walk, eat or drink. His tummy was very hard and I thought it was “gas”. By early afternoon he was still in the same position and moaning very low. Took him to vet and she did tests on the spot and told me he had a tumor in his abdomon. I made the decision then and there for him. Kissed him on his little mouth while he was licking my lips,then he stopped licking my lips when the drug stopped his heart, but he know I was there til the very very end…He went very quietly. I caressed him and stroked him for a long time afterward. He trusted me and knew he was loved. Follow your heart

  47. I have a 17 year old yorkie I have had him since he was 8 weeks old he is almost completly
    blind, cannot hear very well. Has a large hernia
    on his butt, the vet cannot remove because of his age. And he has cushings. My vet said if we gave him medicine, it would decrease his life. And to give him baby aspirin. Now he is whinning all the time. It is very low, I do not know if he is uncomfortable, or in pain I do not know what is going on. It breaks my heart. I have to do something. I cannot think of myself I have to think of him. And also the cost is $50.00. Why is that so much? It is already very hard to do this and the cost has to be very high. And of course I work and cannot miss another day. I have to figure out something
    I cannot let this poor little animal suffer.
    I have never done something like this before.
    It will be very very hard, but I know it has to be done. My pray was the little thing just fall asleep with no pain.
    heart broke

  48. I am cortney i am 13 years of age and i have a chocolate lab who has been with me my whole life she is now 14 and she is not doing well. Just rencently she has not been eating so we have been hand feeding her. She will eat out of our hands. She can not walk and she goes to the bathroom without getting up. She shakes when we pet her. I am very sad because today 5/4/09 she will be put to sleep. I am so sad and i feel like our family is ending her life. I am so sad and i lover he so much but by this afternoon she will be in another place.

  49. A few days ago, we had to put our 12 year-old dalmatian (Hannah)down. Hannah was a smaller sized dalmatian who acted like a puppy her whole life, up until a few months ago. Her energy level was just insane. About 6 months ago, we noticed she was coughing a lot at night & breathing funny so we took her to the vet. After several tests, they told us she has a heart condition (not that serious). We put her on the medications & everything was good.
    Two months ago, Hannah (who was a serious mooch)started getting picky with her food. Then almost immediately, she stopped eating & drinking & lost all her energy, so we took her to the Vet right away. They said she has acute kidney failure (most likely from leptospirosis from drinking in the lake or eating something outside). One vet told us to put her down. I did some research on the internet & saw the odds & chances for recovery, so we refused to put her down. Took her to another vet & started IV fluids & medications. Because of her heart condition, they warned us that intense IV fluid therapy (which would have been ideal) could put her into cardiac arrest. We didn’t want to risk that so we took her in for 4 days straights, all day long fluid therapy and kept her there overnight once, constantly monitoring her blood results hoping her numbers go down. When we had originally brought her in, her Creatinine number was 640 & she was barely moving. After all the fluid therapy, her number was down to 400. She was looking great, acting completely normal, running around being a brat, eating like the mooch that she was…everything was fine.
    One week later, we took her to an internal medicine specialist to see if we should make any changes to her medication & monitor her improvement. We were certain that she was fixed. They say that if 25% of the kidney tissue is intact, the animal can make a full recovery with proper care. The specialist called me later that day & told me Hannah had 1 week to live. I couldn’t believe it. She was running marathons, playing savagely with her toys…I just couldn’t believe. Specialist said the numbers don’t lie. She said we have 2 options: we take her in for very intense fluid therapy which may or may not work with a 50%-70% chance she will get a heart attack or take care of her at home until it’s time to put her down. We debated this one like crazy. It was the hardest decision we had to make (much harder than the Euthanasia). We didn’t know if we should take the risk & what if she died in that hospital like that? We couldn’t do it. We kept her at home & continued with her medications & her low-protein diet.
    The morning after the specialist told me Hanna has 2 weeks to live, the weather just became amazing (where I live, it rains almost everyday of the year & it’s freezing cold). It suddenly became so sunny and hot, we could walk around & shorts & suntan on our deck. Every day the weather was beautiful. Every single day, we took Hannah someplace different she loved (in the convertible with the top down – she loved that). The beach, another beach, the forest, the lake, the rivers, the farmland etc etc…. She had so much life & energy, we thought maybe the doctor doesn’t know what she’s talking about. We got hope after weeks of crying & falling apart.
    When the 1 week mark hit, Hannah was still going strong. We continued to take her everywhere & play with her. It had not rained or been cold at all. It had been hot & sunny now for 3 weeks straight (where I’m from, that’s a miracle)& Hannah was having so much fun & doing great.
    Then one day, I woke up & it was pouring rain. That day Hannah stopped eating. We tried all different kinds of foods, she would only eat a few pieces of chicken a day. After a few days, she stopped eating completely. We knew it was happening & what was coming. I had told myself originally that we would put her down when she stops drinking because dehydration is the worst. But she didn’t stop drinking (although the water bowl was always next to her & I had to put it to her mouth for her to drink out of). What was difficult for us was that she was not actually suffering any physical pain. From what vets told me & my internet research, I found out that dogs with kidney failure don’t suffer pain – there is no pain associated with this illness, only nausea, stomach discomfort. Had she been in serious pain, we would have put her down immediatelyy. I’ve seen people who keep their suffering dogs & feed them painkillers which don’t fully kill the pain & I think that’s so wrong & selfish. But Hannah had no pain.
    I kept looking at her, trying to figure out when is time. One day I heard her stomach growling & that was my first sign – she’s hungry. Although she was really overweight & would not be that physically impacted without food, I knew what hunger felt like from my wrestling days. Then she would not move at all or hardly at all. We had to carry her up & down the stairs because she seemed dizzy or out of it or something. Her breath stunk like something I’ve never smelt before & she was constantly passing gas (but a really awful unusual smell). She would do random things like go on the sundeck & sleep out there in the freezing cold weather (which she never would have done before). She would only go to pee & not walks & she had no poo at all. She would just stand outside & sniff the air & look at me. This went on for 4-5 days. It rained everyday. Then one day, she sat up & she stared at me for like 5 minutes straight. I kept trying to figure out what her eyes were saying. It was something to the effect of, “do something”. She licked her pillow & there was blood coming out her mouth. I cried & cried & cried & cried. That night, my fiance took her to have her put down. He refused to let me come – he thought I would have an anxiety attack & not be able to handle it. It snowed that night. Yes, in May it snowed when weeks before we were tanning on our deck. The next morning, the sun came out, the weather was hot enough for shorts & I woke up to the sound of birds chirping.
    If your dog is truly suffering, please put them down. If what’s happening with them is an inconvenience, stick with them because they would have done the same for you if they could. We spent close to $5000 that we didn’t have & the money was never the issue for us. We don’t regret any of it because we feel we did whatever we could for her & those 3 weeks of energy & life she had in her, & the quality time we spent with her was worth so much than the $5000. This dog changed my life. She appeared in my life by accident (I never went to buy her or adopt her or anything), and before her I didn’t care about animals. Because of her I find myself having so much compassion for all forms of life & nature. She has made me sensitive in a way that I never though I could be. I’m not sure what stage of grief I’m at right now. I’m still crying. I feel so alone (I never really had any friends or a social life – I was a loner & my dog was my best friend). I don’t know what to do. People don’t take animals that seriously & that makes me mad. The guy who posts “it’s still an animal”, I don’t agree with what you’re saying & I think you’re a logical & not emotional person. I’ve lost a huge part of myself. I just want her back. I feel for all of you & I’m glad we have a place to post our experiences & feelings on this topic. Good luck to us all & I’m sure we’ll be ok.

    • My heart goes out to you guys! Its the worst pain in the world, but slowly, very slowly, it will get a little easier to bear.
      My 12 year old dalmation, Kali is slowing down considerable, and going a little deaf. It hasnt gotten bad yet, but I’m bracing for it. Shes my second one. My first daly lived to 11, was diagnosed with bone cancer in November, and by January I had to put her down as she couldnt drink, eat, etc. Your story brought it all back, as I sit crying and writing this. I know what a horrible feeling it is, and it seems like its never going to go away, but it will. And we can only hope that we will meet up again with them up in heaven. Take care!!

    • I’m having some real difficulties dealing with one of my dogs being sick. The vet believes it might be skin cancer as he is a white, almost albino, mix breed. I was told several years ago that this could be an issue eventually. He will have a blood test today to determine the cause of his problems. Lately he’s been wiggly on his legs, eating less and vomiting at times. His sister had the same problems a few months back but she got better after seeing the vet. However his sister is brown and doesn’t seem to have the same skin problem as him. I just feel extremely sad since i don’t know how long he will have if it turns out to be cancer. I’m hoping its not. He is nine years old and I guess he’s had quite a good life in dog years. I’ve lost two dogs before and the pain was just unbearable. I lost one in 2005 and I promised myself i would never have another dog again as I was terribly affected by it. Then a year later my sister found those 3 little puppies in the woods and gave them to me. They’ve been my babies ever since. One was ran over by a car 4 years ago and it literally tore me apart. I hope I can remain positive for him. My girlfriend told me to stay positive as he will feel that i am sad and that will make him sad. Something which I am well aware of since i have a very strong bond with my dogs. But its just too hard not to cry when I look at him and imagine him dying and not being able to say anything.

  50. So I found your site and now Im sitting here balling like a baby and really feeling a deep sorrow for my 19 year old mutt mix. When I rescued him as a pup, he had been doused with gas, and gang members were trying to set him on fire…He has been one of the best dogs ever…
    Last year our 20 year old lab died naturally..But now Pistol is holding on and I fear suffering. Part of me says NO! He’s been fighting to stay alive his entire life..But after hearing his moans this morning, I think its time…This is one of the hardest things I will ever do..
    Pistol…I love you…we will meet again..
    Please let go before I have to drive to the vet…

  51. You’ll know when it’s time. Their eyes will tell you. The wondering when its time, the aching heart, and the gut wrench feelings somehow ease.
    Your baby doesn’t want you to hurt and suffer; that’s why many will try to hide their eyes by turning away from you. Some will go find a place to hide, while others will even run away. They live for you and remain loyal to the very end.
    It’s the most difficult decision we’ll ever make because they lived entirely for you. They never judged you, in fact, nothing on earth will ever have such a faithful heart, an unmatched loyalty and unconditional love as our furry friends.
    So share & enjoy them every day, as tomorrow may be the day we say……. “good-bye my baby, until we meet again, I love you”.
    In memory of my Ruby girl
    God’s Speed, my pet loving friends.

  52. I have a retriever collie cross who is 15 years old.
    In april she started with epilepsy and this was controlled with Epiphen. She has arthritus and cannot walk far but loves swimming, her sight and hearing are not what they used to be. She has had three v bad seizures in less than 24 hours and looks so sad. I feel i have to be kind and take her to the vets to go to sleep, but, what it i am wrong….

  53. Tonight I have tears running down my cheeks as I stroked my beloved Siberian Husky,Catherina. She was diagnosed six months ago with both liver and spleen cancer on top of a uterus infection. Any one of the three should have killed her.
    I teach preventative medicine, so of course I went into over drive action,trying to cure my girl. The short story is I went to several vets and wound up for the final diagnosis with a professor of Internal Medicine at the medical school.
    Catherina was always extraordinarily healthy and energetic, as well as alert and playful.
    She went from bring fine one night to collapsed the next morning.
    Short version: I have done everything I know how to do using breakthrough medicine and creating a Recovery Anti-Cancer Diet to bring her back to vitality.
    And we cheated death for six months with health, vitality, and fun.
    Then yesterday we went on a two mile walk, longer than she had walked in six months. And it proved too much. She was lying on the day bed tonight, with no energy at all. Enough to hold her head up with a happy face, twice.
    Tonight has woken me up to what my priest told me six months ago, ” We are all mortal.” My priest had come to the house within an hour of the cancer diagnosis, six months ago. God Bless Him.
    At that time I felt that I simply could not live and did not want to live, if my girl was not here.
    Again , as my priest said, ” Love is love, whether it is from a two legged or a four legged.”
    I have loved well and she loved well.
    She will probably rally from this exhaustion. But tonight the tears remind me of the deep love and the care and how we changed each other because of a deep and abiding trust.
    And what came out of is that even though I told people ” I don’t care about saving the whole world, only about saving my girl”, I am now writing a cancer prevention workbook that will be launched as a national program.
    Somehow that does not comfort me that my work will touch many lives and that others will benefit from all the things I have learned. My heart is crying out because my beautiful girl is slipping away from me and I cannot go where she goes.
    I was criticized only yesterday by a cancer patient who said,” All you do for that dog, nobody did for me! Nobody was cooking for me three hours a day, or giving me detox baths or massages, or making sure I got all the supplements.”
    I cannot take away the pain of the human cancer patients and their families.
    I cannot take away my own pain of losing my girl.
    I can know that my life is richer and enhanced because I loved deeply and dared to allow another to know me and me to know her.
    It is late . My girl is here asleep at my feet as I sit at my desk.
    She is ever present . What I can know is that our loved ones are always in our hearts.
    I created a book and a movie of her life. And that brought me comfort assembling the pages and the designs, to explain in poetry and photographs that this girl was loved well and will be remembered.
    You can honor your beloved animal in remembering what real love is: letting go of both fear and ego and doing what is indeed right for that creature.
    I do hope this note helps you, as you balance the questions of life and death and find meaning in both the answers and the questions.

  54. We lost our 12 year old black lab on Monday. My Husband and I had never had a dog before. When our kids were grown the one daughter still at home brought home a puppy. We named him Max (Maxwell) when he was bad. Not very ofen. It took some time to adjust, our house wasn’t puppy proof. But we fell in love with him quickly. And he adored us. Last Oct 31st, his Birthday, we got the word he had squamous cell carcinoma of the nasal septum. Our vet said this was a very aggressive cancer and less than a month to live. Being a nurse I felt we had to do everything possible to extend his life. I searched the internet for hours and found a well renowned Oncologist. With her help we were able to give intra-lesional chemotherapy with a new drug called Neopraxine. This drug is able to keep the good cells and gobble up the bad. It worked for almost a year. Seven dog years. On Sunday our dog just crashed. He had shortness of breath, and pain control was no longer manageable. We made the decision to have put to sleep. We had a vet come to our house to do so. Max went to sleep in our living room on his pillow surronded by the people who loved him. It was the hardest decision we have ever had to make. Our dog gave us everything and now it was our turn to give back to him, death with dignity.
    RIP Max, we love you.

  55. I have a 7 year old schipperkie “Ben” who is currently being treated for severe arthritis that it is affecting his immune system.
    He is currently on prednisone and it appears to be helping him although he still has a hard time with stairs (takes them very slowly) and can no longer jump up on our bed (I pick him up now). I have spent $3000.00 to date at the Ohio State University Vet. Hospital and am very happy with what they have done for him and spending the money on Ben is not an issue, as I would do anything for my best buddy.
    I just wanted to see what others do in this position and am quite impressed with this site/blog and the love and understanding that each of you has shown your friends. God bless each of you and please say a prayer for my best friend Ben!!

  56. i had numerous occasions to be around elderly animals, in my own house and while working as a vet assistant for 3 veterinarians. I can say the most heartbreaking euthanasias were perfectly healthy animals that would greet us in the morning tied to our vet office doorknob. My own two old dogs walked into the woods and were simply gone, no smell, GONE. My old cat (28!!) crawled into the bottom of the furnace and fell asleep…he had had his nine lives, having been shot in the face with a .22 as a teenager. Another old guy was hit by a car and paralyzed, laid in a ditch for 6 days till we found him. My then progressive vet gave him acupuncture treatments and he regained use of his legs. Since, I have co-owned a dachsund that was 18 when she died; my fiancee bought her when she could fit in the palm of his hand… blind as a bat but she could find him in a snowstorm with her nose! Sometimes she would run up to the vacuum cleaner thinking it was a person but as she got closer her tail would cease to wag as she smelled it was not human! God, we love them, and it is our responsibility to take care of them.

  57. I am shocked by the casual discussion of euthanisia on the net. I don’t believe it’s right for our hand to take a life, especially the little loved one who stood by you all of your life through good times and bad and only loved you, comforted you, licked you, gave you kisses everyday. My dog Pommagranite had lymes disease and got congestive heart failure. Earlier in his life he had been run over by a car. I fed him crushed chicken bones I would chew up on the ends as he had no chewing teeth, salmon, sea weed,trout,chicken,sardines, meat, millet, pearl barley, brown rice, a variety of veggies occasionally, skin,and of course dog food. he even starting walking with his hind legs sideways, couldn’t breathe at night for years. Finally I took him by the seaside and he started jumping on the jetty’s for 1/2 an hour. He was 15 and made a miraculous recovery. If there were rocks on our hike well he would jump along like a puppy. His lungs would clear up and he got stronger and stronger rapidly. His legs straightened out, he started jumping and racing around the house, could run up stairs, moaned with joy when he got a good rub. I thought he would live with me forever. Now he is gone. Too much freedom one morning and he wandered into the road. I would never have been able to end his life. Perhaps it was god’s way of taking him. How can we choose when to end a life? I don’t believe we can. If you stay with your buddy till the end you will feel the peace I will never know. That god took your little guy when he was ready to go. Not you. And you will see the natural progression to death which helps us cope. To take a life early you will never feel that peace. I too almost died. I fought to stay alive. I am glad to have had that chance. You will be glad to find the srength to experience natural death. You won’t have any regrets. You will know in your heart that you were there every step of the way for your pal. God will take them when they are ready. I have read of people’s dogs enjoying treats and snuggling and they put them down. Now they have remorse for a death they created. I would give anything to have been able to be with my pompom when he was elderly. I would give anything to cater to him as he gave to me so many years of comfort. I would give anything to have a poop or a pee in my house to clean up. I would give anyting to know that I stood by him till his natural death. Not to have him go from my action of giving him freedom in those last days. I had forgotten he was a dog. He was more like an angel.
    Perhaps god needed him to help someone else now.

  58. Just had to have our Yorkie of 10 years put to sleep. He died of Ketoacidosis. I know more about diabetis and ketoacidosis then I ever want to know now! About 1 1/2 years ago we noticed Clancy started to drink more water than he used to. He was eating just fine. We took him to the Vet and told her of our concerns. She supposidly checked him out and said he appeared to be ok. She gave me a little bottle and told me to catch his urine and bring it in ti her. She also told me to measure how musch water he dramk in a 3 day period and let her know. That was kind of hard since we have another Yorkie and they both drink out of the same bowel. I seperated the bowels but they would drink out of each others. Plus Clancy wouldn’t let me catch his urine.
    After about 4 days he seemed to go back to drinking normalley. As time passed he seemed just fine. About 2 weeks before we put him to sleep he started throwing up here and there. Then I noticed his bowel habits changed to one a day and it was very little. 4 days before we put him to sleep he started drinking water by the ton.
    The day we took him to the Vet he would drink the water then throw it up. He lost all his energy. Plus he lost 7 pounds in 2 weeks.
    We just had him to the Vet 2 weeks before to get his toenails clipped and he appeared fine.
    What’s really hard about all this is we didn’t have the money to get him to the Vet any sooner. Plus my wife is a Diabetic! It hurts so bad that we could have been so stupid to have missed all the signs. I know there had to be some.
    Every morning he would wake me up to go outside. He would wine a little bit , then as soon as I raised my head up off the pillow, he would jump up and down like a yo-yo. Then he would jump up on the bed and come crashing into my arms and bury his head in me
    It’s been a weeks now and it still hurts so bad. Our other little yorkie(Gazoo) is still looking for Clancy. He is 3 years old. They used to play together all the time and play tug of war with the same toys.
    I know Clancy is better off. The Vet said he was in a lot of pain.
    It still amazes me how musch water he drank and then he would hod until the cows came home before he would pee. He never peeed in the house as bad off as he was.
    I miss him!!!!!

  59. my dog dougie is 13 years old. he’s a golden retriever-lab mix we adopted from the pound when he was 5 months old. animal control found him wandering the streets of santa rosa, california, and no one came in to claim him. his cage at the humane society had a note labeling him as a “sweet dog”. he was a rowdy little puppy for years. my oldest daughter wanted this dog to be “hers”, so we kept him in her room when we went out. he slept under her bed. years passed, and the girls grew up and left home, and dougie became “my” dog.
    what a good sweet boy! he was in fairly good health until around last thanksgiving, when he started crying while lying down, looking at me with pleading eyes. he’s a heavy boy, from his love of food and eating, and i noticed that when this happened, he’d be lying on top of his back legs and couldn’t get up.
    he had good days and bad days, but lately he’s having a hard time getting up more and more often. yesterday i left him on the deck to go to the store and when i came home i could hear him crying from the driveway. it’s hard to lift him up (he’s 100 pounds), and i’m so afraid i’ll hurt his organs or break his ribs. i hate to put him down because so much of him is still there, and functional, but he’s lost most of his bowel control, and his hearing as well, and i don’t know what to do…
    i love you, dougie dog…

  60. I would’nt help my tears when I thought of my beloved dog Coco who pass away this morning. Her howl woke me up, guess she knows she’s going. When I carried her, talk and sayang her, she’s calm and stop howling. I knew from her look that she’s leaving. I thank her for keeping me company, I told her we love her very much and that she will be miss. Told her not to worry and when she is ready to make the journey, in the meantime I here with her to keep her company. She seems to know, she look up (she blind & deaf). Told her to close her eyes & rest, told her to walk straight to the light and be with her maker. I know it’s the least I would do for her to be by her side. She’s was very serene & calm when she died an hour later. The cause of her death I would not figure out. When her heart stopped, noticed that blackish red liquid flows from her mouth, soft stools from her butt. Few days before I have brought her to see a vet & have blood test but show no symptons of any organ failures. Two days prior to her death, she lost all interest on food & drink even her favorites. She passed soft stools. Checked with the vet on the condition of her death and was told it might be a digestive problem or due to her old age (15 yrs)defensive system in her body has broken down. They would be sure likewise the cause of the liquid. Whatever the cause, she’s gone. At least she died peacefully. I pray she rest in peace & happy in the animal heaven. I guess she has chosen to die in the comfort of her home in dignity (have hand made her a white casket) Although sad, I am happy to be able to be with her in her last journey, talk to her, clean her, position & wrap her before putting her in the casket to rest. A final prayer and sent her off to the crematation Centre. As I see the van took off my last farewell to a wonderful dog who’s there for me & now my friend, this is the least I would do for you. Rest in peace.

  61. I had a dalmation for 15yrs and I had her put to sleep and I wished I never did that.To this day it haunts me. Yes, Molly was suffering with arthritis etc. Yet,I never quite got over that.

  62. Oh Sue, I started crying when I read your post, my ole boy Sarge is 14 years old. He isnt messing in the house but is starting to have some getting around issues, up and down stairs that type of thing. I know its comeing and I hate to even think about it. I watched his birth and have had him his entire life. He is like one of my kids..only one like him. When its time I hope I have the strength to let him go.

  63. Thanks for creating a forum to discuss this. My 16 and 1/2 year old Aussie mix disappeared from a farm that I was visiting last weekend. We have visited the farm many times, and she used to wait by my car to make sure that I would take her back to the city with me. Lately she has been exhibiting all the signs of old age, incontinence, disorientation,pacing and wandering, sensitive stomach. Her eating was still pretty good. It had become difficult to take care of her, but my 4-year old daughter really loves the dog. We looked all over the farm, put up posters, and have called the animal shelters. I’m convinced she either went away to die or she got confused and wandered off, and couldn’t find her way back. I feel badly that I wasn’t able to find her and bring her back home. She is an independent spirit, but I wish that I could have been there for her. So, don’t let your older dogs out without a leash! She was an extremely good navigator, and always came back when I let her out (leashless). Any suggestions as how to couch the disappearance with a 4-year old would be welcome.

  64. last march i wrote about my dog dougie. i never thought he’d still be here with me in january, but here he is walking around the living room, wagging his stubby tail (he was missing most of his tail when i adopted him), begging food and attention, occasionally falling down. i have learned to lift him back up, lifting below his rib cage with both hands interlocked. he used to be able to get back up by himself some of the time, but now, when he falls down, he is stuck there unless someone lifts his hind legs back up.
    i often feel like i have a baby in the house. he likes to sleep alone in the empty bedroom, and i have to listen for his cries when he wants to get up. he frequently poops inside, and now occasionally pees in the house or dribbles a trail of pee on his way out the door. but he’s still my dougie dog, he hasn’t lost his appetite even for a single day, and still gives me kisses when i say, “give me a kiss, dougie dog.”
    i keep hoping (not really hoping though) that something will happen that makes it clear that it is time for him to go. i’m looking into vets who come to the house and put him to sleep at home without the trauma of going to the vets office. until then, or until i am brave enough to let my sweet friend go, i say “i love you, dougie dog.”

  65. less than 24 hours after i wrote about my dougie dog, dougie tripped and fell in the living room. he didn’t yelp or cry, but he could barely steady himself when i lifted him up. i thought he just had to take it easy for a few days, but over the next few hours, he began crying and breathing with little cries in each breath. he couldn’t sleep and grew inconsolable. i tried giving him painkillers, but they didn’t seem to help.
    i sat with him and petted him, knowing that this was likely the event i’d been dreading when i knew that it was clearly time to let dougie go. despite his misery, his ears perked up when i brought over some raw hamburger meat and he gobbled it down, but as soon as it was gone he began crying again. i tried calling friends seeking someone to help me lift dougie up and into the car. no one was home or answering their cell phone. finally i called my younger daughter and she came over. with great effort we managed to get dougie into the car. i’d tried calling the mobile vet who makes housecalls, but her answering machine said to call the 24 hour pet hospital.
    i was hoping they could put dougie to sleep in the car, and the kind young veterinarian agreed, but dougie grew restless waiting in the car and was soon lying on the pavement in the parking lot. when the vet tried putting the needle in his leg he yelped and squirmed terribly, fighting it with all his strength. i asked myself why i was torturing my dog when i was hoping to end his pain, wondering if maybe i should take him back home. finally they stopped trying to insert the needle, and he quieted down. the vet gave him a sedative inside and i hugged him as he finally relaxed and grew tired. he barely noticed the euthanasia needle. i hugged him tight as he let himself go. he looked so sweet and peaceful at last.
    what i want to remember about dougie is his beautiful spirit. he was so friendly, sweet and accepting. he loved everybody he met, flaws and all. he had a beautiful attitude toward life that i wish i had. he never held back his good feelings. his energy shined like the finest gold.
    i’ll miss you, dougie dog.

  66. i’m feeling remorseful about dougie’s death. at first i was just relieved that he finally went peacefully. even though everyone tells me it was the right and humane thing to do, i have awful memories of him struggling in the parking lot, fighting the needle. he didn’t want to die. he wanted to feel like his old self again, doing his favorite things with the people he loved. he was looking to me to help him, and i feel like i let this beautiful dog down.
    but i couldn’t make him young and healthy again. i tell myself, he was 14. he had outlived all the other dogs we knew. his rear legs were almost useless, and now he had hurt himself and couldn’t sleep or stop crying. he could no longer walk up the hill to our house and hadn’t been swimming in a while because the banks were too steep for his bad back legs. but i didn’t mind giving dougie the extra care he needed his last few months, lifting him up, cleaning up after him, etc. many of my friends, watching me lift up dougie’s rear end again and again told me i should put him down. my daughters both thought he was suffering. but did he want to die? would he have chosen euthanasia at the vets? i wish so much he could have died peacefully and naturally in his sleep.
    if i hadn’t taken him to the vets saturday night, i would have had to leave him home all by himself when i went to work later that night, crying and hurting and unable to get up. what should i have done? i miss you so much, dougie. how will i ever do my dishes without you to lick them off for me? i’m sorry for all those times when you wanted to get up on the couch with me and i didn’t want to move my junk somewhere else to make room for you. you know i really cared. i hope i did the right thing. i hope you’re really in a better place. peace and blessings, my sweet dougie dog. may you still bring joy and radiance wherever you are, wherever you go.

  67. Sue-
    So sorry to hear about your dog. It certainly sounds like it was the right time for him to go. My 15 1/2 year old golden/black lab/german shepherd dog has an appointment tomorrow. She can’t hear well, but her real problem is that she has lots of trouble getting up from the floor, and sometimes needs help. She has been taking arthritis pain meds, but has lost a lot of muscle in the past couple months. It is a very hard thing to do, but I want to spare Cam the pain and suffering that will only get worse.
    I’m sure you did the right thing with Dougie. The fact that we have to make the decision causes us guilt added to the normal grief. Do not feel guilty, you made the right decision.

  68. there haven’t been any new entries since i last visited here. i just wanted to say that even though it’s been almost two years since dougie passed, and i have a sweet young golden retriever named jesse bear that i love dearly, whenever i think of dougie, i burst into tears of guilt, sadness and pain. i told myself this morning that i should be able to think of the sweet funny things dougie did, and the good times we had together, but all i feel is sadness and guilt. i hope that if i make a little extra money this christmas from tips i get from my newspaper route, to use some of that money to contact an animal intuitive who can let dougie know how sorry i am for putting him down so abruptly, and how much i miss him, and to see if he is somewhere out there, and is ok.

    i still love you, my sweet old dougie dog
    you will never be forgotten

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