Home > Dog Behavior, Health Care - Dogs, Pet Topics > Do pets really tell you when it’s time to say goodbye?

Do pets really tell you when it’s time to say goodbye?

October 9, 2011

I recently had a conversation with a friend who said that pets always tell you when it’s time to say goodbye. I had to be completely honest and tell her that I had yet to experience a dog telling me it was time.

It’s true. I have never had a dog or cat tell me when it was time. Not that I doubt that it happens. I’m sure it does. It’s just that I’ve never experienced it myself.

A friend of mine is going through this very same situation right now. Every time she starts to think it’s time to say goodbye, her dog rallies and makes a comeback. There is nothing like a dog rallying back from illness or death to make you doubt yourself and your decision-making process.

I have experienced this very same thing with each of my dogs. Every time I would be ready to say goodbye, they would rally back. The worst is when they are still there in spirit, but their body is failing them. I am always filled with doubt – Is NOW the right time? Is it too early? What if I’m missing something else that is wrong with them and I say goodbye too soon?

Part of me wonders… Am I just too close to the situation to see the signs? Do I refuse to see what they are telling me because I don’t want to see it? It’s definitely a possibility. And yet, when I look back I can honestly say that none of my dogs “told” me that it was time. I always felt like I had to make the decision for them, and each time it devastated me.

So, I want to hear from you. How did you know it was the right time to say goodbye to your pet? Did your pet tell you? And, if so, how did they tell you?


Note: This post has taken on a life of its own since I first posted it back in 2011. I am grateful for those of you have comforted others and helped them to know when was the right time. One reader shared this in the comments section. I have shared it with many a friend who told me later that it was helpful. I encourage you to read it if you are struggling with this question too.

Here is the link to that article:  How to Know When It’s Time to Euthanize Your Pet


It appears the link to the article has been recycled, so I am sharing the words here. I would give full credit to who wrote it, but Yahoo took their name down as well. I hope it will help you as you make the difficult decision to say goodbye. Thank you to Coni for sharing it first.

Remember that pets live in the moment. One of the most wonderful things about animals is how they embrace the present. Every time I walk into my house, my faithful Vizsla throws a one-dog ticker tape parade. The fact that I have entered the house thousands of times before, or that I will leave again in a few hours, means nothing. All that matters to him is the joy that he feels right now.

When our pets are suffering, they don’t reflect on all the great days they have had before, or ponder what the future will bring. All they know is how they feel today. By considering this perspective, we can see the world more clearly through their eyes. And their eyes are what matter.

Ask yourself important questions. Sometimes, articulating or writing down your thoughts can make the right path more apparent. Some questions that help pet owners struggling with this decision include:
• Why do I think it might be time to euthanize?
• What are my fears and concerns about euthanizing?
• Whose interests, besides those of my pet, am I taking into account?
• What are the concerns of the people around me?
• Am I making this decision because it is best for my pet, or because it is best for me because I’m not ready to let go?

Measure their quality of life. This is no more than trying to determine how good or bad our pet’s life is at this moment. Trying to assess this can be difficult, but there are some ways you can try and evaluate it. Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites in the next section.

Is Life a Joy or a Drag?

Our pets may not be able to talk to us and tell us how they are doing, but if we pay close attention, there are many clues that can help us answer that question.

The Rule of “Five Good Things”: Pick the top five things that your pet loves to do. Write them down. When he or she can no longer do three or more of them, quality of life has been impacted to a level where many veterinarians would recommend euthanasia.

Good Days vs. Bad: When pets have “good days and bad days,” it can be difficult to see how their condition is progressing over time. Actually tracking the days when your pet is feeling good as well as the days when he or she is not feeling well can be helpful. A check mark for good days and an X for bad days on your calendar can help you determine when a loved one is having more bad days than good.

HHHHHMM: Doctor Alice Villalobos is a well-known veterinary oncologist. Her “HHHHHMM” Quality of Life Scale is another useful tool. The five H’s and two M’s are: Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Happiness, Hygiene (the ability to keep the pet clean from bodily waste), Mobility and More (as in, more good days than bad). Dr. Villalobos recommends grading each category on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being poorest quality of life and 10 being best). If the majority of categories are ranked as 5 or above, continuing with supportive care is acceptable.
Pet Hospice Journal: Keeping a journal of your pet’s condition, behavior, appetite, etc., can be extremely valuable in evaluating quality of life over time.

A Tale of Two “Endings”
The reality of having older pets is that we must be vigilant in their care and aware that every day is a gift.
In the case of my long-ago patient, Stone, with whom I first walked this path, I am glad to say that he did not suffer unnecessarily with osteosarcoma. His owner made a good decision, and Stone crossed the rainbow bridge while in the loving arms of his people. He was remembered by them as a strong, loving protector of the children in his family, and I will always remember his owner for having the strength and wisdom I hope we’ll all have when the time comes to say that final goodbye.

  1. October 9, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Hi there friend. No, none of my dogs or cats ‘told me’ when it was time. My vet told me once that I would ‘know’. When one of my cats (who had inoperable cancer) could no longer walk, I knew. When one of my cats no longer could eat, I knew. When one of my dogs (who had brain cancer) became aggressive, bit me, became blind and terrified and no longer knew me, I knew. It still took me three hours in the ER for dogs (with blood on my face) to make the decision that I knew I had to make. My younger daughter drove from an hour away knowing
    I wasn’t going to do well. And I didn’t. It’s too much like acting like God! To make a decision whether a being lives or dies? I simply can’t stand it. It’s very wrong – but as many say, it’s the humane thing to do.

    And so on…so I can honestly say in all of my years of being so fortunate to care for so many pets, none of them tried to ‘tell me’. I would never have a pet put down because they sleep a lot and aren’t very active anymore because senior pets will naturally do this. It doesn’t mean they are at the end of their lives. You can still make a sick or older dog/cat happy by loving them, talking to them, spending time with them. After all, they adore you! Just being with you makes them happy.

    I hope everyone will doubt this most painful decision until they KNOW. Let a veterinarian guide you. Let your heart guide you.

    *hugs* to you and anyone having to make a life or death decision,

    • Mel
      October 10, 2011 at 6:43 AM

      Deb – I think that’s a better way of saying it. You will “know” when it is time. I can’t stand that part of the decision-making process either, but as you said, it is the humane thing to do. I never put a dog down for sleeping a lot, but I did have to put a at down because we couldn’t seem to regulate his diabetes. It was awful. Thanks for adding some great thoughts to the discussion.

    • June 26, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      Wow. This is an old thread. Thanks for it. I cry thinking about it but I need to try to get comfortable. My beagle is 14 and I hope she had a good 10 more years. Just trying to understand is all.

      • Korey
        June 25, 2015 at 10:24 PM

        I agree that this is an old thread but I came here today just to find comfort. My wife and I had to decide today to put down our four-year-old kitty. He was so loving and people-centered but he started having urinary problems. It was treated once and then came back with a vengeance about a month later. He was treated and came home but regressed quickly again. Also, he contracted pneumonia which left him so very weak that he couldn’t walk. His strength wouldn’t allow emergency surgery to correct his bladder problem.

        We knew that it was his time but, of course, dreaded it. He died in our arms today–loved immensely from the beginning of his life to the end earlier this morning.

        The pain is horrible but we still have his brother and mother. Those kitties have not left us alone since we came home. They haven’t left our sides all day which is highly unusual for them. I dread the day that we have to decide for them but, as we learned today, they will help us know.

      • coniatthebeach@yahoo.com
        June 27, 2015 at 11:10 AM

        I’m so sorry to read what you’ve been through with your young kitten. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see such a young kitten suffer with such problems with no resolution and then to have to let him go. The mother and brother are obviously grieving with you; hopefully consoling each other will bring you peace. I pray that you will have many healthy years with the other two.

      • Rick
        July 27, 2015 at 9:54 AM

        Yes thank you everyone for your comments & words of comfort…I am having to put my dog of 131/2 years down tomorrow and it’s killing me inside but I’m exhausted & she is to…she has been such a gift of love & support all these years & im sooo grateful! Her bowels can no longer be controlled nor sometimes her urine accidents which when she has her accidents..they are as though she’s having a GI bleed!!! Along with her CHF it’s been a very difficult weekend which I have postponed many times but….I can no longer do this! Thanks for letting me share my grief & sorrow….all of you would have loved her as well…she is simply the best !

  2. Liz Taylor
    October 9, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    well, i have had to make this decision 3 times. and yes-i do feel they told me in their way. i feel once all the medical avenues have been exhausted and my pet refuses to eat any food for days that it is time. once they stop eating their most favorite food in the whole world-it signals to me that they have given up. of course i give them time to bounce back from a sickness. refusing food alone is not a “sign”. but you can just tell when they have given up. i have seen the same thing in people. the lack of desire to live. it is so sad and i hate to be the one to make that kind of decision. but if i feel like my pet is not going to make it back to a healthy and happy life, then it may be time to let go. i go to extremes for my pets as far as medical procedures go (i have no kids) and sometimes there is just nothing else you can do. most recently i had to say goodbye to my shih-tzu scrappy. it was awful, but he was so sick and i couldn’t let him go on that way. so i guess i do think they “tell you”. ultimately it is our decision tho, but i am glad i have it-even tho i have to live with it. at least i can stop the suffering. hugs to all who have had to make this decision-it is a tough one and i am so glad to have a loving husband to help me when these times come.

    • Darlene
      December 2, 2013 at 9:00 AM

      Liz, beautifully said. I have had to “take the reins” for an 18 year old cat(Jasper), a 9 yr old beagle – Merlin – who had cancer, a 14 and half yr old lab – Johnette_ when she could not recover from a stroke..and BarBunny – a 25 year old horse who was just wasting away..even a little hamster who had lived to be FOUR years old…..I am facing it now with our 17 year old Munchkin shepard and ?? mix. It does not get any easier. I don’t like it, but I am responsible. She stopped eating two days ago….We will see ……But no…not a one of them ever told me they were ready to leave me anymore than I was ready to leave them. Best to everyone. Hugs.

      • Rolf
        July 4, 2015 at 9:21 AM

        just found this site. You have been through a lot of pain. I had an 11 1/2 year old Beagle called MERLIN. He had congestive heart failure, which, from Dec. 2014 became worse and worse. He told me with his eyes and gestures that I must help him, which I had told him over and over that I would, whenever he had a problem. There was no misreading his eyes, expressing his suffering and pleading with me.
        In all my life – I am retired – I never had to make a more difficult decision than having Merlin put to sleep. I was there to hold him well after he took his final breath, had his final heart beat. That was May 29, 2015. I have no words to describe my grieving. Rolf

  3. Jan
    October 9, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    I’m sure it is comforting for your friend to think that the dog made the decision that is the hardest one for a human to make. Each dog is different and when the quality of life is gone, we have to be responsible.

    • Mel
      October 10, 2011 at 6:40 AM

      Agree Jan. We do have to be responsible. It is definitely the hardest decision to make.

  4. laffin
    October 9, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    I had to euthanize my 18 yo cocker mix when I was going into a nursing home and couldn’t care for her anymore. My family couldn’t take her and I knew that if I turned her over to a shelter, nobody would adopt an old, blind, deaf dog. I couldn’t stand the thought of her not understanding why her life had changed for the worse and being alone and frightened in a shelter. It still bothers me that I had to do it – I wish I had had other options for her.

    • Mel
      October 10, 2011 at 6:39 AM

      I am so sorry Laffin. I think what you did was a gift of kindness. I cannot imagine how scared and afraid a dog would have been to go to a shelter and die with strangers. Better that you were there with her.
      I think it’s a real tragedy that this country forces the separation of an owner from her pets when they go in a nursing home. It’s neither fair to the person or their pet. This is one thing that has long bothered me.

      • June 20, 2014 at 8:28 AM

        I agree with you Mel, when you are beginning the end of your life, the very last thing you want or should have to do is to give up the one that went through it all with you, stood by you…your bestfriend! They need to start making accommodations for seniors with pets in all retirement homes!! I am so sorry Laffin. As sad as your situation was, you did the right thing honey as hard as it was for you..you did the right thing. Hugs to you!

    • Steph
      October 18, 2014 at 1:04 AM

      You are awesome Laffin. I am praying for you.

  5. October 9, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    This is such a tough decision. Doubt is normal, I think, when you have to make this decision for your pet. But you can’t let your doubts stop you from making the decision when you know it’s the right thing. Will your pet tell you? Maybe, maybe not. Each pet is different and each relationship between pet and pet owner is different. And I think some pets, like some people, have a stronger will. Some simply “give up” sooner than others. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the animal is not suffering. I think the most important thing to consider is your pet’s quality of life. Is your pet still able to enjoy his life? Or does his pain and suffering overshadow that ability? It’s not always an easy question to answer. And like Mel says in her post, it can be particularly difficult when some days seem better than others. We all do the best we can for our pets. Difficult as it is, we also know we have to put aside our own feelings and think about our pet’s best interests, particularly at the end.

    • Mel
      October 10, 2011 at 6:45 AM

      I like how you positioned this Lorie. Does the pain and suffering overshadow their ability to enjoy life?
      That one question probably helps me more than the one people often say about a pet telling you when it’s time.

      • October 10, 2011 at 8:46 AM

        agreed! that’s probably the best way to think about it. i haven’t had to deal with this yet (my parents handled that kind of thing when i was growing up), but i hope to be able to keep things in perspective like that when the time comes with desmond.

      • Darlene
        December 2, 2013 at 9:04 AM

        That is the question I ask myself, Mel. Blessings.

      • Mel
        December 3, 2013 at 8:25 AM

        Me too. Every single time Darlene.

  6. October 9, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Liz – I realize refusal to eat, alone, isn’t a reason to euthanize a cat. It was, however, the first sign that I was told to look for. I remember when both of my parents were dying of lung cancer, refusing to eat was a very bad sign. My brother is a physician and he told me that when the body is dying, food is no longer needed so there is no appetite.

  7. October 10, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    This is something I don’t want to think about for another 7-11 years. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law had to put their dogs in the last few years, and my sister-in-law has had two cats put to sleep. They seemed to know when the time had come. I know when the time does come, I will be an absolute mess.

    • Mel
      October 10, 2011 at 8:21 PM

      I am each and every time Lori. I think Daisy is going to be really hard. I adore her so.

  8. Kristen
    October 10, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    I had a dog who did tell me it was time to go. He had been sick for over a year with immune mediated hepatitis that caused cirrhosis of the liver. He was getting sicker and sicker and we could tell his drug cocktail wasn’t working. We knew the time was coming. Then he had the best day he had in months, he was puppy like. That was followed by the worst night. He and I were up all night and sometime in the early hours of the morning, he gave me a look. It was a look that told me he knew his time was up and we needed to say goodbye. I had alway promised him I would not let him suffer and he was telling me, he was suffering now. We said goodbye the next day.

    I truly believe he knew it was time to go.

    • Tori
      October 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      Kristin, I had an experience similar to yours. My 16 YO English Setter passed away this past winter after a very stoic battle with cancer. I honestly believe she lasted months longer than the eight week prognosis she was given just for my benefit. She was diagnosed in early October, and crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge on Valentine’s Day. (Ironically, she was born on July 4th.)

      Casey never really rallied. She mostly maintained in some odd limbo. Though she had slowly been lethargic for weeks before her day came, she woke up that morning just like the puppy she once was. We had a big breakfast, we played in the snow, we played tug, and then we played ball. After that, she lay down as if that was all she had left to do. She knew, and I knew. All that youth was either her last hurrah, or it was the last catalyst for her, as her legs stopped working a few hours later. I made that crappy phone call to the vet to make her appointment, and even then wondered if I was making her wait too long, and if we should have just jumped into the car and gone that very moment.

      She was really ready. Watching her suffer with cancer was horrible. Watching her dying was worse. The only comfort I have from it was that I stayed with her the whole time until she was at peace, just how she had stayed with me the many weeks before so I’d be strong enough to let her go.

      I do believe they tell you, in their own way. I do believe that sometimes you just know as well. Sometimes both instincts connect, and it’s a bittersweet understanding between owner and pet. And sometimes the owner needs to be brave, and let their little one go when their body gives out. It’s never a good time to say good bye.

      • Mel
        October 10, 2011 at 8:31 PM

        How awfully sad Tori. Do you think she knew this was her last hurrah and she was giving it to you as a gift? Dogs amaze me sometimes. I am so sorry you had to watch her die of cancer. It’s awful isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your bittersweet story. Casey was a lucky girl to have you there with her.

      • Karen Taylor
        June 3, 2014 at 2:13 AM

        Hi, Tori – I’m so glad I read your story. My old Golden Retriever, Sabrina, would be 13 this August. She has had three different kinds of cancer over the last year > May 21, 2013, diagnosis of the first one, osteosarcoma in her jaw. She had five palliative radiation treatments for that immediately after diagnosis in May of last year. The oncologist gave her three months to live. It has never come back. Then mast cell carcinoma on her upper lip and a cleptosarcoma on her heart were found in a scan at the same time in September, 2013. The cleptosarcoma on her heart just sits there doing nothing. The mast cell, however, I had removed from her lip, but it came back after just 27 days. Then, would you believe, without any treatment at all, it simply disappeared in January of this year. But, apparently, it only moved. On May 1, her breathing sounded a little off to me. Had the vet X-ray her, and it’s in her lungs. Here we are at June 2, and by the end of each day, I think ‘tonight will be her last,’ because my precious girl looks so tired, and her legs, too, are starting to give out on her. But for a month now, the next morning she looks so content and again carries on with our day. She’s on Tramadol, so she isn’t in pain, and Prednisone for her old joints. Still eating and drinking, barking at the yardman, brings her ball to me and wants to get in the pool, all of this at a 13-year-old pace, of course. So, I have been so sad and confused, keep letting her do whatever she seems to feel like doing, and keep waiting for ‘something!’ Then I read what you wrote, that maybe Casey stayed with you to let you get strong enough to let him go. Broke my heart, since I think my Sabrina is doing the same thing, and I don’t feel very strong at all. Last night I put on some soft music, lit candles, and slept on the family room floor with her, and we had our talk, and she gave me a look — it was utterly unmistakeable — and it said it all > that she knows it’s time, she knows my heart is in a million pieces, and that we will be okay. Seeing bravery like that in the face of such odds and vulnerability is maybe the most poignant experience I’ve ever had. And today I made an appointment for the vet to come to my house on Wednesday evening. I just hope I can be as brave as Sabrina has been. Thank you, Tori. And thank you, Casey. I hope you and my Breeny meet at the Rainbow Bridge. I wish I could go, too.

      • coniatthebeach
        June 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        Karen, So sorry for your situation. You are so brave to make that call and that very hard decision. It is one of the hardest decisions we have to face as pet owners but aren’t we fortunate to be able to free them from any suffering in an ultimate act of love. We know the void you must be feeling. Your Sabrina has been through a lot but she is now running free of any discomfort. She will always be in your heart. God Bless You at this difficult time.

    • Mel
      October 10, 2011 at 8:20 PM

      Wow Kristen. I am glad that he told you. I’m glad he had a really good day before he said he was ready. I am so sorry for your loss.

  9. October 10, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    When I think of my childhood dog, I often have guilt. Not just because I don’t think I spent enough time with her, but also because I think we waited too long to make this heartbreaking decision. I do think Nikita told us in her own way but because it was so awful, we ignored the signs. Now that it has been six years, I can think about it rationally. The last few moments I spent with her I remember her looking at me with resignation. Her tail no longer wagged, she wasn’t interested in her food. She didn’t even want the treat I offered her. She was definitely telling me she was done. All I did was hold her and cry. Heck, I am crying now.

    I wasn’t the one taking her to the vet. My father did that the next morning without telling me. She was mostly his dog, he was the one who trained her from a puppy. I can only imagine how lonely his drive home must have felt. He told me afterwards that when he picked her up and laid her on the vet’s table, she just put her head down and sighed. She knew and she was grateful.

    Of course, even though it was the right thing to do, it didn’t make it easy. My heart goes out to your friend and all those struggling with this decision.

    • Mel
      October 10, 2011 at 8:26 PM

      How sad Kristine. I have been tearing up all day reading everyone’s responses and personal stories. I think I waited too long with my first dog, a Sheltie. I had her for 15 years and got her at age 15. We grew up together. We had a psychic bond that I cannot describe. I was lost for so long afterwards.

      If there is one thing everyone’s comments has made me realize is that everyone’s experience is the same and yet so different. We all face the heartbreaking decision and it’s not easy for anyone and our pets tell us in so many different ways. This has helped me a great deal. I hope it has helped others too.

  10. Liz Taylor
    October 10, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    DebSweet-yep, the refusal of food is a big sign for me as well. most of my pets got to the point of refusing even their favorite things towards the end. one did not cuz he was on steroids, but i knew the meds were making him eat like crazy. i have a 19 year old yorkie with gallstones who will sometimes refuse food for a day or 2 till he gets better, which is why i said refusing food alone is not a reason (but he will always eat bacon!-lol). but if the medical signs point to organ failure and they are refusing to eat even bacon (!), then i know it is close to the end. withdrawling is also something i see at the end. they go lay in the corner and don’t want attention anymore. that is soooo sad. my kitty did this. i consider these things as my animal “telling” me it’s time.

  11. Connie Eiceman
    October 10, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    We felt with our dogs if they had nothing to enjoy anymore in their senior years, then it was time. It was harder to get around, treats were no longer special, walks were hard on them. they no longer wagged this tail – basically there was no longer “quality of life”. They gave us so many wonderful years and they didn’t deserve to linger when we could put them at peace. More importantly, we could hold them until they went to sleep so they never knew anything else but our comfort and love. It is one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do and we’ve done it 4 times over the 40 years and we will be facing another one in the next year or two.

  12. October 10, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    It makes me cry to even have to think about making this decision 😦 When my kitty Yogi was sick, I was pretty certain that he was ready to go . . his body was so cold and he seemed so despondent, but the vet said that he felt like he wanted to give him another night. He died the next morning in my arms of a heart attack and it broke my heart to watch him suffer his last few breaths, it still breaks my heart to think about it. I don’t know if they tell us, but I wish I would have given him a more peaceful passing. I don’t know how you can ever be certain that you’ve made the right decision, all we can do is listen to our heart ♥

  13. Cindy
    October 10, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    I think you know. Dusty our first one was age. He went fast. His organs started shutting down. By the time we got him to the vet he was almost gone. With my Maximillion he had bladder cancer. He had the surgery. They told us maybe 3 – 6 more months. He survived almost a year before it came back. His eyes seemed to say he was tired it was ok to let him go. My little helper girl, Cassie, was hard. It was age. No longer was she able to take the medicine to help her arthritis. DJ, my “best friend” got diabetes. After months of insulin he got so sick. “He” made that decision. On the way to the vet to check on him I got the call that he didn’t make it. The night before I could see the light in his eyes go out. He didn’t even know we were there. All times were emotionally devasting. You often question yourself night after night, day after day whether it was the right time, Once the heartache slightly lets up, you’ll know what you did was the best for your pet. Sometime even lots of money can’t keep them going. And yet each time our dog would pass away we told ourselves we didn’t want to have to go through that again.But we’d get another one a few months later. Because as hard as it is to let go, all the years you spend with them up to that time, all their love, playfulness & devotion, is what will help you to make that decision. I hope for lots of strength for your friend when that time comes.

    • Mel
      October 10, 2011 at 8:28 PM

      I so agree Cindy. The time spent with them is so worth the pain we go through at the end. I am so sorry for your loss, but so very glad you had those special moments with them.

  14. October 10, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    I have never had to make the “decision” since the pets were “family pets” and my Mom did the deed. Now that I have 2 dogs that I am solely responsible for, I know the day will come and I hope that I will have the strength to do it at the right time.

    • Mel
      October 10, 2011 at 8:18 PM

      I hope you do too Karen. It’s a tough one to make. I always dread it when my dog gets old because I know I am going to have to say goodbye and I have a hard time with that. I’ve already asked Daisy if she could stay with me forever. I think she said “Yes.”, but I know that she can’t keep that promise.

  15. October 11, 2011 at 4:30 AM

    I’ve never felt certain with the decisions I’ve had to make–even years later looking back.

    My last dog Shadow was very hard because physically she was getting around. But the tumor in her mouth was so large and bleeding copiously enough that she started choking on the blood it produced. I couldn’t be with her all the time and was worried she was choke alone and frightened while we were at work.

    The even harder thing is when you and your partner disagree. Whenever we’ve faced these decisions my husband brings out some horrible story about an animal caught in a trap who chews his leg off to escape with his life. He’s always inclined to wait longer than I am.

    And the further complication was when two of our dogs came to the end of their lives while our regular vet was closed so we had to go to the large, university vet hospital.

    There’s nothing worse than bringing your 16 year old, blind and deaf dog into the hospital riddled with cancer just to have a cheery, young vet student ask you, “Are you sure this is cancer? We could run an MRI to see what’s going on.”

    I’ve never “known” and it’s the price of so much love to live without ever being sure I’ve done the right thing.

  16. October 11, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    I’m crying as I read everyone’s comments. I have never been the one to make that call – Bella is the first dog I’ve had as an adult… when this decision came for all of my other dogs, my mom made the call. It was hard, nonetheless, but I’m honestly terrified of being the one to make that decision in the future.

    I’m also really stressed today because Bella has a tumor and I just scheduled a surgery to have it removed… so this is hitting kind of close to home. I hope that saying goodbye is still really far away for Bella, but as you can imagine I’m kind of freaked out. 😦

  17. Jen
    October 11, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    This is such a hard decision to make for anyone. I have had both experiences.
    One time I just saw it my dogs’s eyes, I know it sounds crazy, but I did. His eyes just told me that it was time and that I was being selfish not letting him go.
    I really try to look at it as the very last gift that I can give them. They have given me so many gifts, that making them pain-free and happy again is the best gift I can give:)
    but it’s never easy.

  18. October 12, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    The morning I put my 15 yo Dalmatian down, He had been declining quickly for about 4 weeks. That morning he just stood in the side yard next to our deck and looked off into space. He was unresponsive as I talked to him. When I finally got his attention and called him to me, he turned and looked at me and the back door like he didn’t know what to do next. I went in the house and got his favorite treat in order to get him to climb the few steps to the backdoor. I held it in front of his nose, he took it in his front teeth, but dropped it … he had NEVER refused a treat in his life. I’m sure he was telling me that he was ready.

    • Mel
      October 13, 2011 at 6:36 AM

      How sad. I would say he was telling you too. 😦

  19. jon
    October 17, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    The vet told me (and I now agree) people tend to wait too long because they can’t let go.

    • Mel
      October 17, 2011 at 6:59 AM

      I think I’ve been there Jon.

  20. Jane
    December 30, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    I have read everyone’s stories and they are all so sad. I think we all feel the same when the time comes in our lives to let our dear furry friends go to the rainbow bridge. I just had to put my beloved shih-tzu (Brandi) to sleep two days ago. He had been suffering from CHF and cardiomyopathy for a couple of years and was progressively getting worse. He was really sick the day before we took him and we just could not bare to see him struggle to breath any longer. There were so many things he wanted to do after he became sick in the last couple of years that he just couldn’t do anymore. It is all about the quality of life when you make that dreadful decision for them. I believe that if I had waited another day he would have died a painful death of heart failure on his own. We had been giving him medications for a year or more, and it became obvious that it just wasn’t working for him anymore. I am grieving for him now and it is very painful. He was my buddy for 12 years. I will never forget him, he will always be in my heart, as well as all the other furry friends I have had to let go of. I have a good boy left to love (shih-tzu) and will hold onto him. I will probably get another to help fill the void for me and give my buddy a friend to play with, but this pain will be with me for a while to come, and I will never forget that dreadful day.

    • Mel
      December 30, 2011 at 7:59 PM

      Oh Jane. I am so, so sorry for your loss. It sounds like Brandi was a well-loved puppy who had an amazing life with you despite his health issues. The pain one feels when one loses a pet is so difficult. They are there for us throughout our good days and bad days. They make us laugh and make life so much easier on the hard days. All I an say is that I hope Brandi gives you a sign that he is okay and doing well. Perhaps that small comfort with ease your pain, if only a little bit.

  21. November 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    I do think they tell you, in their own special ways. I am saying goodbye this very minute to an ‘almost 16 year old’ Giant Schnauzer. Up until today this old friend of mine was cooperating in her treatment for both lymphoma and arthritis. Initially she was misdiagnosed, never received the proper treatment for bad teeth and an upper respiratory infection. Worse still she was allergic to several antibiotics she was put up, had every adverse side effect possible, even seizures and paralysis as a result of her ‘treatment’. No shock to me anyway when her lymph nodes all sprang out like little cauliflower florets. Time after time she rallied like the trooper she is. But enough is enough!
    She’s gotten tired. And a big dog she’s done really well having lived so many years without problems. Some ending. She’s tired of the meds – they upset her stomach. All of them. The antibiotics caused so much diarrhea she lost over 25#! The cancer has robbed more. She’s dehydrated – stomachs upset and is tired of eating just about ANYthing. Can’t get her meds in her any way or how. I’d say it’s her way of telling ME ENUF!!! And I have to listen….boy I don’t want to. I’m medicating all her symptoms. But I always said it would be she who decided. I’d say she has?

    • Mel
      November 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      Ele, I am so sorry. How sad. Yes. I think you are right. She is telling you. That is a life well lived if she is 16. Clearly, your love and care made a difference in her life. I am so very sorry. 😦

    • Connie Eiceman
      December 1, 2012 at 7:23 AM

      So sorry to hear what you and your dear friend are going through. You would hope they would never have to deal with any of that. I think you are right. It doesn’t sound as though she has any quality of life – the measurement I try to use to decide. If she has nothing to look forward to, nothing that makes her tail wag happily anymore, then it is time to give her total relief from pain and let her cross the rainbow bridge so she can romp and play with those that have gone before. God be with you both.

  22. Jasmine
    January 7, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    I believe I was lucky enough to have our dog say it was time. As his health declined and we pondered the decision, there was special look that just said “mom dad I’m too tired to keep going I’m sorry”. The look of disappointment like he was letting us down. Bringing him in was so hard he was able to have his last moment of noseiness before just laying down and giving a sigh of relief. There was no fight. He just laid in our lap took a long sigh and he was gone. He gave us 13 years. So weither he told us or we just knew I’d like to believe he was saying his goodbye.

    • Mel
      January 9, 2013 at 8:10 AM

      I believe you are right Jasmine. He told you. I am so sorry for your loss.

    • Connie Eiceman
      January 9, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      So sorry for your loss. Remember all the wonderful moments over the 13 years. He was lucky to have you; you were lucky to have him.

  23. Ernesto riley
    January 10, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    My 13 year old springer has had a fabulous and active life,but he has today looked at me in a way which says HELP ME! I believe if you have a close bond with your pet you will know by the obvious change in there character,you have a responsibility to end there life with a little dignity and love.I currently have uncontrollable crying sessions as i watch him fade away in front of me,as he has spent every day of his 13 year life with me I will miss him like a son .

    • Connie Eiceman
      January 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      It is one of the hardest things we ever have to do . . . but try to hold those tears until afterwards and spend these last few days/hours assuring him that you love him and treasure him. Try not to let him feel your stress. It is hard. God Bless you both.

  24. K8ie
    March 22, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Right now I am in the position of having had to make this terrible decision just yesterday that it is our cat’s time. Our wonderful little boy Nik is 17 years old with bowel cancer which was discovered 10 months go. It took some time for the vets to figure out what was actually wrong with him and we got him in to an oncologist as soon as we could and he’s had a great level of success fighting the cancer overall with a few setbacks along the way (including losing his vision completely over night) but he always amazingly rallied back and even got his sight back. We told ourselves that as long as he was having more good days than bad days we would do whatever we could for him, even putting our savings set aside for our wedding this summer into treating him. But the last couple of weeks have been different, his food has been going right through him and so he’s eating a ton but not getting very much nutritional value out of his food so if he stays on this path without intervention he’s going to starve to death slowly. He’s still a happy guy and purrs and cuddles with us but with all the diarrhea and a constantly upset stomach and getting weaker every day we know its soon time. He is now at a point where going to the bathroom hurts and his digestive system is so upset that he has accidents all over our house. We have about 30 towels down on all the carpets and constantly are washing them off and putting them back down for him. Even that we don’t mind doing, as long as he’s still having a good time. The vet said we could try him on what she called “recovery chemotherapy” but that it would be very strong and only has about a 25% chance of success she guesses and even if it is successful it will only give him perhaps another 2-4 months of constant trips to the vet (he is very shy and hates to leave the house) and very strong chemo drugs. That doesen’t sound very fun for him to go through in his last days. With out vets help we’ve decided to to spend one last week giving him all the love we can and then will be sending him over the rainbow bridge next week before things get too bad. It absolutely breaks my heart to think about it. My eyes are killing me from 24 hours of crying and I keep questioning if it’s the right decision since he’s not on his death bed at the moment… but then that’s the point, isn’t it? We don’t want him to starve to death slowly but go out in a humane and dignified way. It doesen’t make it any easier though. We love him so much and it’s so hard to know. Thank you all for telling your stories. It’s been really helpful for me to read them at this difficult time.

    • Mel
      March 23, 2013 at 9:23 PM

      Oh Katie. I read your comment with tears in my eyes. I am so sorry. It is always so hard to make that decision. I think many of us wished our pets would make it for us, but often they do not. I know just how you feel. It’s hard to see them acting like themselves, but know that you are extending the pain and discomfort by keeping them with you. I can only say how sorry I am. I know Nik knows you don’t want to say goodbye. May he give you a small sign so you can know you did the right thing. My heart is with all of you.

    • Connie Eiceman
      March 23, 2013 at 9:53 PM

      I know how hard the decision is. I’ve had to make it and I will face making it soon again with our little dog. What I hope to focus on is not what I want but what is best for the beloved pet. Is he better here, going through the indigestion, diarrhea, pain, etc. or crossing over the Rainbow Bridge where he is free from pain, where he can run when he wants to and cuddle when he wants. If you love him, you will know in your heart what to do. God Bless you all.

      • K8ie
        March 29, 2013 at 5:24 PM

        Thanks for your replies Mel and Connie. I read them a few days ago but couldn’t bring myself to reply until now. We said our final goodbyes to Nik at 6 pm last night and it was honestly the hardest thing we have ever done. Our house feels so big and empty without him here. And everything is a reminder of him. Adjusting to life without our little furry family member is going to be so tough. He did everything with us. He slept with us, watched tv with us, came up and sat with us in our home office, even sat at the table in one of the chairs when we had dinner. We do know it was the right decision but it is still the hardest thing that either of has ever been through. Nik had a couple of bad nights earlier this week and we feel that he let us know that he was tired of fighting and was ready to say goodbye. He had a lovely weekend with both of us and I stayed home Tuesday through Thursday to be with him. We took him outside whenever he wanted, he laid around in the sun, took in all the smells, got to eat all of his favourite foods, and he got so much cuddling and affection. He was still feeling well enough to enjoy all of those things and purred a lot but you could see it in his eyes that the pain was getting stronger and the diarrhea was making him weaker and hurting him. The last day he didn’t even try and make it into his box most times. He knew he was loved and was so quiet and peaceful sitting on my lap in the car on the way to the vet. I think he knew. The people at the clinic were so kind and understanding and he went to sleep peacefully in our arms with a sigh and we got to hold him and pet him and say our goodbyes to our sweet little man. He will forever be missed.

      • Connie Eiceman
        March 29, 2013 at 7:34 PM

        So sorry to hear about Nik. I’m sure you will be forever grateful to have stayed home and spent the extra time with him, allowing him to enjoy his favorite things. To know that he felt your love up to his last moment has be to reassuring. I am glad he passed peacefully. He will always be in your heart. Cherish your memories until you meet again.

    • Darlene
      December 3, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      Bless you. I have been in a similar situation – yet they are all different. I am a little late in saying anything; however, I just want send love your way.

  25. June 13, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    well,today I put my little muffin down,,,she was 16-1/2 and she couldn’t walk,very well,she had tremors ,every time we touched her or made loud noises she would jump.it was so bad,we took her potty she couldn’t stand up,she skaking so bad,she was weak,it was so sad,we took to the vet,he said shes in so much pain,so we put her down,I was a mess for awhile still am,but shes in no pain.thankyou

    • Mel
      June 13, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      Oh Yvonne. I am so very sorry. There is no pain like the loss of a best friend. I pray that she lets you know she is okay somehow. I have no words other than to say I am sorry and so very sad for your loss and pain.

    • Coni
      June 14, 2013 at 6:49 AM

      Yvonne, so sorry to hear of your loss. What kind of dog was she? I have a 16 1/2 yo Westie that has arthritis in her hips so she falls down a lot and has been having tremors for about a year. We had her evaluated by a veterinary neurologist who said the tremors do not hurt and as long as she is able to get back up from falls without great effort, she is doing ok. We are facing the same situation and seeing her become a bit weaker month by month so we will be making the same decision soon. I simply wanted you to know that because of our experience being so similar I don’t agree that your dog “was in so much pain”. It does sound like she was ready to go due to her weakness but please don’t feel terrible about the pain if he is referring to the tremors. It is just something that becomes part of their life. That’s been our experience. I hope it gives you some peace of mind.

    • K8ie
      June 18, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      So sorry to hear Yvonne.

    • Darlene
      December 3, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      Very sorry, Yvonne. Sending you love.

  26. Donna De Cant
    June 17, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    I am now facing that situation myself. My boyfriend and I have a 14 year old Rottweiler/Austrailian Shepherd mix. When my boyfriend first got him, he had Parvo and survived. When I first came into Taz’s life, he was dianosed with Heartworm. He survived that with flying colors, but he was also dianosed at that time with arthritis in his back knee. We have been giving him Tramadol for 6 years now.
    Lately, I have seen him getting up, taking a couple steps and collapsing back down. One of his favorite places to relax is on the couch but over the past week, he lays down in front of it, so I know he can’t jump up there anymore. He has still been eating and sometimes he has better days, but others, he comes up to me and the look in his eyes says “Mom, I can’t take much more of this.” My boyfriend also can see this, but he never had to take care of this before, whereas I have been through this twice. Both dogs gave me a ‘sign’ that it was time to go. Taz hasn’t given me that ‘sign’ and I don’t know if he will. If it does come to that, I will have to convince my boyfriend that it is time to let go. Is there anyone else that had to convince their partner that is was the time?

    • Mel
      June 17, 2013 at 9:50 PM

      I am so sorry Donna. Perhaps he is telling you now. I feel so sad for all of you. I know what a hard decision it is and it kills me every single time. I hope someone here can offer their own thoughts and experiences on dealing with a partner and letting go of a beloved pet.

      • K8ie
        June 18, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        Donna, my thoughts are with you. It is never an easy decision. I found that I really questioned whether it was the right time or not up until the moment it became clear to me that my kitty wasn’t having fun anymore. It was a gradual decline with the occasional bad days sprinkled in with lots of good days and then the bad days got closer together… and in the end there were more bad days than good days. Much like your Taz, our little guy stopped doing stuff like jumping up on the bed so we knew he was in pain and kept a close eye on him. We knew it was time when he just wasn’t having fun anymore. It was still the hardest decision that my boyfriend and I have ever made but we both feel it was the right one. We made the decision but had a few days to say goodbye and showered him with treats and let him do all of his favourite activities (going for walks outside, sitting in the sunbeam under the skylight and I even stayed home with him on his last couple of days so he wouldn’t be alone). It has been about 9 weeks now and we still miss him terribly and still think we see him out of the corner of our eyes every once and a while but we are so thankful we were able to end his suffering when his quality of life declined. My boyfriend and I both waffled back and forth over whether it was the right time or not, sometimes at different times with me thinking he was doing ok and my partner thinking it was time and vice versa. We just kept an open dialogue about it which I think prepared us for when it was really time. I really think talking about it often as changes happen makes the situation clearer to both of you since you’ll both notice different things. We talked about things like if he was walking gingerly, if he didn’t want to jump up on things, if he wasn’t eating as much as before, if his bathroom habits changed etc… I really think that because we had talked about it all so much that when the time came to decision making time we were already both on the same page and had time to adjust to the idea of losing him, which made things (a little) easier.

        Take care and know that if keep Taz as your first priority and really focus on what he would want if he could tell you, you won’t go wrong.

    • Deb
      August 16, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      Yes, my partner just lost his mother and I don’t think he can bear the thought of another death in the ‘family’. I’ve been waiting for our 13 year old lab with cancer to give me a sign. I haven’t seen it yet. She always has been and always will be ‘my’ dog. I have to make this decision on my own.

      • Mel
        August 16, 2013 at 10:35 PM

        I am so very sorry Deb. I am sorry about the loss of his mother and facing making a difficult decision alone. I hope you Lab continues to feel well for some time. You didn’t say what kind of cancer, but my brother’s dog lived for 3 more years after he was diagnosed. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I cannot imagine what you are going through right now.

    • Lanny West
      April 19, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      Donna…. it is almost a year since your post. I have been reading all the posts in the blog and can not stop crying. We have a 14 year old Lab mix names Bosch. He was diagnosed with a tumor in his bladder several months ago, he has 3 buldging discs in his spine and hip displasia. I have tried everything I know to do from medication, acupuncture, prolotherapy, spine adjustments, steroid shots, holistic food that I prepare daily, homeopathic tinctures. He has been a real fighter and I could tell he was really tring to recover…. I even has a special set of wheels made to support his back legs which continue to deteriorate. Plus he has started peeing blood. Usually he will walk outside to pee but his back legs are very weak. He has a very difficult time pooping and has started falling over a getting it all over himself. This morning I helped him outside to pee. He was standing fine. I went in the house and when I came out he was lying on the ground. I had to pick him up and carry him in the house. He snapped at me a couple of times. Now he won’t get up at all. I know in my heart it is time to make that very difficult decision. My wife has been out of town all week and comes home today. I am going to have to convince her it is his time. She is going to be heartbroken but not taking care of this is really being selfish on our part. He is my pal. I recued him in 2001 and he had been shot twice and had heart worms. He then contracted a tumor on his back leg. He survived all of that. He was my traveling companion. Went everywhere with me. Slept with us. Loved children. I work out of the house so he has been right by my side since 2001. He has a bed in every room and is where I am always. I laid down on the floor with him this morning after his episode outside and looked in his eyes…… they are dead. The spark has gone. It is time and I am heartbroken.

      • April 20, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Lanny, I am so sorry to read of all you have gone through with Bosch and have had no real success. It does sound as though it is time to say goodbye and although it is one of the hardest things we as dog owners and dog lovers have to face, be thankful that you can relieve Bosch of his discomfort, frustration and depression. By allowing him to cross over, you will be giving him the freedom to once again run without pain and play like a pup – certainly the ultimate act of love. So many of us have faced this moment. Your heart is breaking now because you have loved him totally. You feel a unique bond with Bosch that changed who you are for the better; that can never be taken away. His spirit will live in your heart forever. God Bless You both at this difficult time.

      • Lanny West
        April 21, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        Donna… thank you so much for your loving reply. We had Bosch’s vet come to the house today to do an evaluation. Based on all our input and her evaluation the collective feeling is that it is time to allow him to leave in a graceful, loving manner. She reviewed step by step what would take place. We have not decided exactly when we will do this but we are certain that we will do it in our home, Bosch’s home. Thank you again.

  27. Sunshine
    July 8, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    I put down my sweet 12 year old chihuahua last Friday. I keep thinking what a sweet little thing she was as a puppy. She had numerous health problems, heart, lungs, tumors and eyes. She was on five medications and drops in her eyes. I gave her hydrocodone every four hours the last week.I hand fed her many of her favorites for the last week. One of the last things I remember a few weeks ago was her playing like a puppy. Rolling on her back as I scratched her belly. The vet wanted to put her down on Monday. I begged for a few more days. I couldn’t watch her suffer any longer and took her in Friday. It’s been painful to pick up her bowls, and I can’t seem to bring myself to put away her bed. I buried her wrapped in her favorite blanket with her favorite toy. This is so painful. I can’t stop crying.

    • Mel
      July 8, 2013 at 7:35 AM

      Oh Sunshine. I am so very, very sorry. There is nothing I can say that will ease your pain. Losing a pet is one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. I hope you find some peace in knowing that your puppy had a better life than many. She had love and care and belly rubs. My thoughts are with you.

  28. Connie Eiceman
    July 8, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Last Wed. we put down our beloved Westie, Sadie. I thought I would know when it was time. I had saved up articles advising me of how to assess quality of life and what to look for, how to prepare. One, in particular, really helped, which I would be glad to share. But knowing that it was time didn’t make it any easier. I had to keep telling myself she will be free from any pain she might be having that we don’t know about. She will be free from her tremors that she has endured for about a year. She will now be able to run, something she used to love to do but recently could only try for a few steps. She looked so tired and everything seemed hard to do. Her eyes were so cloudy, her hearing was almost gone, and her back legs were arthritic.

    It broke my heart when she wagged her tail as we arrived at the vets, because she thought she was at the park. We were with her until the end and I know she sensed our love. There is such a void now in our lives. We have to remember that we did it for her. But it is so hard. We had 16 years of kisses and wagging tails and we miss her so much.

    • Lisa
      July 30, 2013 at 8:33 AM

      Dear Connie, I am very sorry belive me I know what your feeling. It is so hard to say goodbye and not really know if we will ever see them again. It almost killed me knowing my girl had to make that journey alone, she was never alone. Again I am so sorry and hope your pain is some what easing alittle. Would you mind sharing the artical you spoke of that helped you alot? would be much appreciated. Thank you, Lisa

      • Coni
        July 30, 2013 at 9:42 AM

        I don’t know where I copied this article from but it helped me when the time came.

        Remember that pets live in the moment. One of the most wonderful things about animals is how they embrace the present. Every time I walk into my house, my faithful Vizsla throws a one-dog ticker tape parade. The fact that I have entered the house thousands of times before, or that I will leave again in a few hours, means nothing. All that matters to him is the joy that he feels right now.
        When our pets are suffering, they don’t reflect on all the great days they have had before, or ponder what the future will bring. All they know is how they feel today. By considering this perspective, we can see the world more clearly through their eyes. And their eyes are what matter.
        Ask yourself important questions. Sometimes, articulating or writing down your thoughts can make the right path more apparent. Some questions that help pet owners struggling with this decision include:
        • Why do I think it might be time to euthanize?
        • What are my fears and concerns about euthanizing?
        • Whose interests, besides those of my pet, am I taking into account?
        • What are the concerns of the people around me?
        • Am I making this decision because it is best for my pet, or because it is best for me because I’m not ready to let go?
        Measure their quality of life. This is no more than trying to determine how good or bad our pet’s life is at this moment. Trying to assess this can be difficult, but there are some ways you can try and evaluate it. Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites in the next section.
        Is Life a Joy or a Drag?
        Our pets may not be able to talk to us and tell us how they are doing, but if we pay close attention, there are many clues that can help us answer that question.
        The Rule of “Five Good Things”: Pick the top five things that your pet loves to do. Write them down. When he or she can no longer do three or more of them, quality of life has been impacted to a level where many veterinarians would recommend euthanasia.
        Good Days vs. Bad: When pets have “good days and bad days,” it can be difficult to see how their condition is progressing over time. Actually tracking the days when your pet is feeling good as well as the days when he or she is not feeling well can be helpful. A check mark for good days and an X for bad days on your calendar can help you determine when a loved one is having more bad days than good.
        HHHHHMM: Doctor Alice Villalobos is a well-known veterinary oncologist. Her “HHHHHMM” Quality of Life Scale is another useful tool. The five H’s and two M’s are: Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Happiness, Hygiene (the ability to keep the pet clean from bodily waste), Mobility and More (as in, more good days than bad). Dr. Villalobos recommends grading each category on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being poorest quality of life and 10 being best). If the majority of categories are ranked as 5 or above, continuing with supportive care is acceptable.
        Pet Hospice Journal: Keeping a journal of your pet’s condition, behavior, appetite, etc., can be extremely valuable in evaluating quality of life over time.
        A Tale of Two “Endings”
        The reality of having older pets is that we must be vigilant in their care and aware that every day is a gift.
        In the case of my long-ago patient, Stone, with whom I first walked this path, I am glad to say that he did not suffer unnecessarily with osteosarcoma. His owner made a good decision, and Stone crossed the rainbow bridge while in the loving arms of his people. He was remembered by them as a strong, loving protector of the children in his family, and I will always remember his owner for having the strength and wisdom I hope we’ll all have when the time comes to say that final goodbye.


  29. Lisa
    July 30, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    I just have to say that I have had this experience with my 131/2 year old Rottie. She and I were very close and had taken on the world together, and been through alot side by side her and I. You know, they do tell you it’s time. I fell apart that night I lost my best friend in the whole world. My Vet came to my house at 4am in the morning and a piece of me left with her. I now am facing this very same thing with her brother. He is a 141/2 year old pit bull and I find myself in so much pain at the thought of it. I don’t know if he will tell me the way my girl did or not. I am so confused at what to do. Everyone keeps saying don’t make him suffer, well HELL I don’t want him to suffer at all but I don’t want make a mistake either. They act like your being crewl and don’t understand what he’s going through, I am him mom I know my boy better then anyone. BELIEVE ME I GET IT. I see my boy everyday. He has good days, really good days then has days that are not so good, And I question myself every time on the not so good days. How do I say goodbye when he hasn’t..

  30. Susie's mom
    September 3, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    My little girl, Susie, a Dachhund, has been suffering from a heart condition for about 2 years now. She has been unable to do her ‘ hyperactive’ things she used to do like chasing the birdies (never catching one, but having fun trying to do so) and unable to jump on the beds, or couches but she had had a full, happy life until two days ago. She is part of our family and is treated like the little princess that she is! She turned 13 in March this year so I am happy to have had her in our lives for so long but I am not quite sure of what i should do. Please advise. Just reading the replies above have brought me to tears and I need to know what other animal lovers would do in my shoes.
    She has been diagnosed with an enlarged heart which causes her lungs to fill with fluid and an awful hacking cough. Over the last 6 months she has had attacks which leave her breathless. She is on medication but these attacks are becoming more and more frequent. Its awful to listen to, I try pat her, help her in any way i can but I am feeling more useless as time goes by.
    This last weekend we went away to a beach cottage and upon our return on Sunday evening she had another attack, couldnt breathe and her tongue turned blue. I rushed her up to the vet and after almost an hour and many injections later, she was able to get her breathing under control again. I left the vet with yet another appointment for Susie for more chest xrays and blood tests for her kidneys and liver.
    The diagnosis was not good. The xrays showed that her heart was far more damaged and the left side of her heart is very enlarged. She also has nodules in her lungs and the fluid is visible. I dont want her suffering, i asked the vet if i was being selfish keeping her alive and her answer to me was that i should keep treating her for another month and then see if she improves. What do you think I should do? Is she suffering like I think she is? I love her so much 😦

    • September 3, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      Honestly it sounds as though she is suffering particularly after last weekend episode. She is getting worse and I find it hard to understand that the vet wants to prolong her suffering when there has been no improvement to date. I posted an article giving guidelines for making the ultimate decision on this website; they helped me greatly in making that decision. Although we miss her terribly, we know our little girl is no longer suffering and is at peace. I pray you make the right decision and soon.

      • Susie's mom
        September 3, 2013 at 10:55 PM

        Thanks for your reply. I have read the article and found it helpful. I am going follow all the steps you suggested and hopefully come to a decision soon. My parents also feel that the vet is prolonging her suffering and not thinking about Susie or me but their own bank account. I know this sounds awful but I think they may be right.
        Susie is breathing more quietly today but still refuses to eat. She is drinking a little water. She just looks so sad…it breaks my heart.

      • Mel
        September 4, 2013 at 6:13 AM

        Just a little in defense of the vet. They are always in the difficult position of recommending euthanization and facing owners who may not be ready to say goodbye yet. I am one of those who has a hard time saying goodbye.

        I am so sorry about Susie. It does sound like she is laboring to live. It’s never an easy decision and one I struggle with every single time.

      • Mandy Delport
        September 4, 2013 at 6:57 AM

        I am sorry it came across so badly about the vets. They have been awesome but I wish they would just be truthful. I lost my darling Fifa (a cat) 3 weeks ago to a horrible chest infection that went undiagnosed due to it not being a common ailment and he suffered terribly for 4 days in hospital before they found out what it was and by the Thursday they wanted to op but he died before they could perform it. ( Why did they only do X-rays 3 days after he was admitted? ). I am a bit despondent now.
        I am hoping and praying for the best for Susie and I have decided to give her lots of extra love for the next few days and see if she is going to improve. She still isn’t eating but is drinking. I have tried everything, I even gave her peanut butter this morning! I will not wait the suggested 30 days if she hasn’t improved as I can’t bear to see her suffer 😦
        Sent from my BlackBerry®

      • September 4, 2013 at 7:16 AM

        I’m so sorry to hear that she isn’t eating. That was always a sign with our “girls” that it was time. We tried giving them special treats and they didn’t take them either. It may be her way of helping you make the decision to let her go. Either way, she’ll feel your love. It is so hard. My prayers are with you.

  31. Susie's mom
    September 4, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Thanks Conia. She is resting peacefully now, in bed in her usual spot between my hubby and I. No coughing, breathing quite fast but not panting. I would feel so much better if she was eating, even a little bit! I have decided to take her back to the vet for a check up tomorrow. Perhaps these meds are too strong for her. Keep praying for a miracle , even for a few more healthy months!

  32. Marian
    September 5, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Thank you everyone for leaving your feelings, thoughts and advice for those of us that keep going back and forth as to when is really that right time to put our dogs to sleep. My sweet beagle, Bubba.of only 9 years hurt his back a few months ago and has trouble with one of his hind legs now. He also has a tumor that developed on one of his hips and it’s growing rapidly. He is on pain meds twice a day which has helped, but his health is declining every day. We had to make the decission not to operate on either one because of other health issues. Now it has progressed to Bubba not wanting to do anything. He doesn’t enjoy simple things anymore and does not want to eat. We have changed his food almost daily. Today he is eating boiled hamburger and rice, but based on what I’ve seen and what I know- he will not have an appetite for that soon. We have been going back and forth as to what to do and as a family have reached the decision to put him to sleep tomorrow. We always think that when we see his tail wagging- that it’s a sign that he is maybe going to pull through, but as all of you have said- You really do start to see all of the signs when they are truly ready to go- even though you see that little tail wagging here and there… I think they want to reassure us that it’s OK to let them go and they will be fine with being at peace and no pain.

    • coniatthebeach
      September 5, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      You are very brave to have decided to go tomorrow. It does sound as though he is telling you it is time. He will feel your love until he crosses the Rainbow Bridge where he will be free of pain. It is the hardest thing we have to do. My prayers are with you.

    • Susie's mom
      September 5, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      My thoughts are with you today, Marian. Bubba will know that you have tried everything you could and how much you have loved him.

  33. Susie's mom
    September 5, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    I have such good news about Susie!!!! I took her as I had planned back to the vet yesterday. I told her that I think her meds may be too strong. We adjusted the water tablet and she was given potassium , a nutri supplement and a special high calorie Hills soft food.
    I gave it to her at 3 pm and by 8 pm, she chewed on a piece of soft steak. Yay!!! This morning she is bright eyed and so much stronger, even following me around like my shadow again. Thank you for your prayers. Oh, I also asked the vet to be totally honest as to how much time Susie has left and although difficult to say exactly how long, she thought I could still be with her for 6 -24 months, depending on her quality of life.

    • coniatthebeach
      September 6, 2013 at 7:41 AM

      Great news, Susie’s mom. I am so happy for you. I hope she continues to show improvement. Cherish each day you have with her – I know you will.

  34. Marian
    September 7, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    First off- I am so happy for you and Susie! That is Wonderful.

    Thank you all for your kind words about Bubba. We took him in yesterday. He was ready to let go. Yesterday morning he got up at 5:30 am and rang his bell on the door to go outside and wanted to get up on his favorite lounge chair (but couldn’t beacuse he was too weak). I took the cushion off and put it on the ground and he crawled up on it and layed on it for about 30 minutes. He came inside and I tried EVERYTHING to get him to eat something. I offered him, chicken, hamburger, bacon, eggs, chicken nuggets, treats in which he refused all until a spoonful of peanut butter, which he finally took a tiny lick of. He then went to his favorite corner and fell asleep. When I returned to home about an hour later, He was so very weak. Did not want water, so I brought his bed in to him and it took all the energy he had to want to crawl onto it. I could not believe that just the day before he was still wagging his tail and eating. I then knew in my heart he was ready. My son and I picked his bed up with his favorite SpongeBob blanket and put him in the car to take him to his Vet. He went very peacefully and I was there until the end with him. No more pain- He knew he was loved. To all of you that are questioning yourself about when it’s time- you will know in your heart and your sweet dog’s eyes will tell you. Thank you for letting me post my feelings on this page.

    • Mandy Delport
      September 7, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      I am so sad to say that after my good news about Susie yesterday, she passed away today:( She died peacefully in her sleep this morning. Her heart couldn’t take it anymore. I am so glad I had an extra 6 days with her. I spoilt her like crazy and held her in my arms for ages and kissed that little face often. We said goodbye… Your Bubba is with my baby now, free of pain.
      Sent from my BlackBerry®

      • Mel
        September 8, 2013 at 8:18 PM

        Oh Mandy, I am so sorry. I am so very glad she was able to leave this world in teh place she felt most loved, most safe. I am glad you had the extra time. My condolences.

      • Susie's mom
        September 9, 2013 at 5:56 AM

        Hi, everybody. Thank you for your kind wishes. Its two days on now and I am not as tearful and realise it was for the best. Only twice today, so far!!! I have another old boy to take care of now. Also a daschund, and he is 12. ( This was Susie’s hubby ) He seems to be fretting a bit but I am giving him lots of love and attention. Thankfully, he is healthy, with no heart problems. God Bless all of you and thank you for being there when I needed someone to talk to.

    • Mel
      September 8, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      I am so sorry for your loss Marian. I am glad you had the time with you Bubba. I am glad he let you know it was time. It’s never an easy decision, but it is just a tiny bit easier when you know they are telling you it is time. I am so proud of the people who have been so supportive to so many people who have posted here. I never intended it to be a place where people can come and share their stories and ask for advice, but if it helps you and so many others, then I am so very glad. It is hard enough to say goodbye to a pet. Having people who can support you when you are facing this difficult decision can help so much.

      Godspeed Bubba. Godspeed.

  35. Marian
    September 7, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    oh my- I am so sorry to hear that-but it is nice to know that they are peaceful and at rest. It’s so hard to come into the house without their sweet little faces looking at you. I’m sure you feel the same way that I do since it seems we were like their fulltime caregivers for a while. It was hard waking up this morning and not going right to them to see what they needed at that moment. I keep thinking that I hear his feet pattering on the floor or his breathing in the corner of my room? I guess it just takes time. Do you have other dogs or pets?

    • Connie Eiceman
      September 7, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      Susie and Bubba’s Moms – I am so sorry to hear of your losses. It has been two months and I still “hear” her or go to pick her up and then remember. It takes so long to adjust. My heart breaks for you both. But they are free of pain and running like puppies again. We were so lucky to have them for as long as we did.

  36. JoAnna
    September 17, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    Hello all,
    I have read everyones comments and am tearing up thinking about it. I have a 13 1/2 YO boston terrier that is 90% blind and deaf. He is still eating, drinking, using the bathroom and having “relations” with his favorite blanket. He has become over the past year more unsteady, he wobbles when he stands and leans when he sits and has had accidents in the house (he never has done this before). Me and his dad are scared to take him to the vet because we are scared of the outcome. I know he has some difficulty moving because he grunts. i am sooo scared!!! I know it may sound bad but I hope when the sad time comes he will go quielty in his sleep.

    • September 17, 2013 at 6:47 PM

      His blindness, deafness, grunts and accidents are signs of failing health and deteriorating quality of life. It is sad and one of the hardest things we have to face. The vet may be able to give him medication to reduce the accidents and lessen the pain so you can have him in your lives longer than you fear. But aren’t we fortunate that we can show a final expression of love by releasing a beloved pet from the daily pain and signs of aging where we cannot do that for a human being who may be suffering? Are you keeping him alive, despite what he has to deal with, just to have him by your side or is he really still enjoying the life you have given him? If it is time, please make the decision for your pet’s benefit and let him go. We faced the same thing and, although the void is great, we know she is at peace. My thoughts are with you.

  37. Susie's mom
    September 18, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    Hi, Jo. It does sound like your little one is tired and not having a good quality life at the moment. As hard as it is it may be time to say goodbye. I bawled just thinking about it but I was lucky enough to have had Susie for a couple of more days until she died at home.
    Perhaps the vet can prescribe meds to make him more comfortable until you are ready to say goodbye. I’ll be thinking of u and just remember that your dog knows you love him and whatever u decide it must be for him, not for you.

  38. Margot
    October 15, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    I really appreciate your experiences, because they were helpful to me.
    My 13 year, 7 mos. miniature poodle was put to sleep 9-21-13. The Vets. (4 of them) were not sure she had a trachea collapse. She was diagnosed the end of May 2013, and just before May, was not sick. She had never been on medication. One Vet. felt she my have a thyroid issue, but my husband didn’t want to pay for the blood tests. The Vets. talked us into giving her Adequan injections twice a week, and then once a month, because they had experience with other dogs, which stopped the coughing. Her coughing never stopped. Friday night before she was put to sleep, she had a seizure. She had been on the injections, short term Prednisone and a chemo drug called Atopica & a diarrhea med. called Lomotil that cut down the coughing. The sad thing is that most of those drugs do cause seizures; side effects. I was desperate to help her, and let the Vets. talk me into the strong drugs. I know we can second guess ourselves. How I wish we had gone with the first Vet. and had her thyroid tested. It could have been a simple fix, because if the thyroid isn’t treated, coughing can take place; thyroid med. could have helped her, if it indeed was the thyroid.
    Saturday morning, I took her out of her kennel cab, took her outside and she fell backwards, slid across the grass, and vomited. I brought her in, put her up on a soft chair with me, gave her little sips of water, petted her, talked to her, told her how much I love her. She wanted to get down, so I lifted her down. She walked across the family room beautifully, to drink water out of her dish. She walked back & actually looked good. (Previously, she had fallen outside a lot, but never in the house.) She never had an accident in the home. I lifted her back up, and we spent time together, about 2 hours. She didn’t want anything to eat, just water. She looked at me, climbed on my lap, put her face to my neck, and peered into my eyes for a long time. I knew what she was telling me, that it was time and that she loved me. I kissed her and kissed her, and hugged her lightly. Then, she went into a grand mal seizure. We waited a couple of minutes and then called the Vet. to let him know we were bringing her in. The Vet. said she was seizuring, and it didn’t look good. She was in her cage, on her backside, with her tongue out. It was so sad to see her that way, and she didn’t come out of it. So, the Vet. put her to sleep. This little cream colored poodle was so special, and I miss her & loved her so much. Realistically, I knew I could not have her forever, but I am still crying everyday because I am not certain that I handled things in the right way. I will always wonder if her thyroid should have been tested first. I feel guilty to this day, even though my family & friends say I did what was right, at the time. RIP my sweet Tasha, I will never forget you.

    • Mandy
      October 19, 2013 at 8:35 AM

      Don’t feel guilty ever. U gave her lots of love, u said goodbye, Susie also only would drink water. RIP Tasha, now with my baby , Sue. I still have moment’s of sadness but i know she was ready to go. Thinking of you. Xxx

  39. Margot
    October 18, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    By the way, I just want to let you know that I feel for “ALL OF YOU” that have lost your beloved companions. They really are precious creatures, aren’t they? I know my post is long, but I wanted to share what my experience was. I spent 27 days sleeping on the couch in the family room, caring for my little poodle. I think because I gave her so much care, that it’s hitting me harder and I’m having a hard time with the loss. We all have a hard time, because we love them so deeply. Big Hugs to all of you.

  40. Margot
    October 19, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Thank you Mandy. RIP to your Susie, too.

  41. Janie
    November 11, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    I just had to put a very very beloved pet down this morning…actually he ended up being my 83 year old mother’s pet a very well loved cat Spud. He was almost 14 years old and he has been battling all kinds of illness the last few years but especially the last few months. The vet is sure he had some type of intestinal or stomach cancer. I struggled with what to do because he really did rally as far as I am concerned…his outlook was like a kitten and he even started to really play and just seemed so happy..BUT he got to the point to where he could not keep ANYTHING down….the antibiotics he was on and even the steroid shot ran out and I struggled with trying another round but if anything it would just have bought him a little more time and suffering all along…he wanted to eat and would he had an appetite but again just could not keep ANYTHING down…the vet had assured me that he was in the “hospice” stage so before he appeared to be in anymore pain then he probably was we decided it was time…it was very very difficult but I know he is at total peace now and is not suffering….

    It is hard we want to keep them around but we have to put them first…I would never want an animal to suffer no matter what…so even though I feel guilty cause he did perk up and probably did have SOME time left he would have more than likely be in pain and on meds…no way to live. My heart goes out to all the animal lovers out there that have to face this…my husband and I still have 8 cats of our own and we know we will have to be going through a lot more pain and heartache in the future but to us the love we can give these innocent creatures is so well worth it!

    • Mel
      November 12, 2013 at 6:37 AM

      Oh Janie. I am so sorry. it must have been so hard to say goodbye to Spud. You are right of course, we need to put them first when making a decision. I think you did the right thing. I hope your words of comfort help others.

  42. Tony J
    November 14, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    I came home after working a night shift and found the back door to my house had been kicked in, my wife and two very young children were asleep in bed and had not realised that while they were sleeping burglars had broken into our house.
    I thought the best thing to do would be to buy a dog. He would protect them.I wanted a dog that would be ok with the kids, they were 4 and 8 year olds at the time.
    After much debating and not knowing too much about what dogs did what, we decided to buy a Golden Retriever. Little did we know how much this dog would change our lives.
    I took the kids to Newark to take a look at JIng, we’d looked in the paper and he was from a really good home so off we went.
    He came out to meet us and never stopped sniffing, I think he was the last of the litter but we fell in love from the moment we saw him, It was on the way home to Nottingham that we came up with the name Jing. The kids went from Joltien which was his KC registered name and somehow ended up with Jingo which was later lovingly shortend to Jing.
    He was the perfect pet, He loved and soon became a natural part of our family. We did all the things others do with their beloved pets. Not animals but loved ones.
    JIng lived for 14 happy years with us, we loved him so much. He got old and tired and if i’m honest he tried to tell me a few times that he was tired,he would stand by my side and give me a look of sorrow that only i could see. I loved this dog so much that i now feel that i let him suffer more than he should have. He was telling me that it was his time. God bless you Jing. I will love you always. I’m so sorry if i made you feel pain because we loved you so much.
    Please listen to your loved ones

    • November 14, 2013 at 7:42 PM

      Thanks, Tony, for telling us your beautiful story of Jing. I think many of us feel that we missed the signs at first and allowed our beloved pets to suffer when we could have set them free sooner. So happy that you had 14 wonderful years together. You developed a unique bond that changed who you are for the better, and that can never be taken away. Jing’s spirit will live in your heart forever. God Bless.

  43. Marg
    November 14, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Janie, my heart goes out to you. RIP Spud.
    Tony, best wishes to you and RIP Jing.
    The pain of losing our beloved pets is great.

  44. Susies mom
    November 15, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    RIP Jing! Tony, what a beautiful story of his life with you, he was special and lived a happy life with you.

    RIP Spud, you did the right thing, he was suffering.

  45. Elsy Stiebel
    November 17, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Our Scotty Zoe is very ill with bladder cancer, her tumors are large and she keeps leaking them. We have her well medicated and she seems free and comfortable, she still loves when we take he to the beach but no longer plays there. She keeps rallying back after her 3 or 6 days of not eating. She sleeps most of the day. She was always a playful dog and ready to go wherever we took her. She still climbs up the stairs slowly but she gets there. I cannot see any signs telling me she is ready to go. We all talk to her and have given her permission to leave. For the last two days again she is not eating at all only drinks fresh water. And it is true when the body is actively dying it no longer needs food or water, because all the systems are shutting down. How do we make this decision. I believe in letting things happen naturally and today I find myself confused. I think this will be the week for that awful decision. I also understand that it will an act of kindness, but it is so painful and I am full of doubts. When is the time to say Good bye.

    • coniatthebeach
      November 17, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      Elsy, I know what you are dealing with as we had a similar situation in July. It is heart wrenching and one of the hardest decisions we had to make. What helped me, and I have posted this before, was an article I shared that guided me through “evaluating” her level of discomfort, her quality of life and when it was time. I hope it will help you. — Remember that pets live in the moment. One of the most wonderful things about animals is how they embrace the present. Every time I walk into my house, my faithful Vizsla throws a one-dog ticker tape parade. The fact that I have entered the house thousands of times before, or that I will leave again in a few hours, means nothing. All that matters to him is the joy that he feels right now.
      When our pets are suffering, they don’t reflect on all the great days they have had before, or ponder what the future will bring. All they know is how they feel today. By considering this perspective, we can see the world more clearly through their eyes. And their eyes are what matter.
      Ask yourself important questions. Sometimes, articulating or writing down your thoughts can make the right path more apparent. Some questions that help pet owners struggling with this decision include:
      • Why do I think it might be time to euthanize?
      • What are my fears and concerns about euthanizing?
      • Whose interests, besides those of my pet, am I taking into account?
      • What are the concerns of the people around me?
      • Am I making this decision because it is best for my pet, or because it is best for me because I’m not ready to let go?
      Measure their quality of life. This is no more than trying to determine how good or bad our pet’s life is at this moment. Trying to assess this can be difficult, but there are some ways you can try and evaluate it. Is Life a Joy or a Drag? Our pets may not be able to talk to us and tell us how they are doing, but if we pay close attention, there are many clues that can help us answer that question. The Rule of “Five Good Things”: Pick the top five things that your pet loves to do. Write them down. When he or she can no longer do three or more of them, quality of life has been impacted to a level where many veterinarians would recommend euthanasia. Good Days vs. Bad: When pets have “good days and bad days,” it can be difficult to see how their condition is progressing over time. Actually tracking the days when your pet is feeling good as well as the days when he or she is not feeling well can be helpful. A check mark for good days and an X for bad days on your calendar can help you determine when a loved one is having more bad days than good.
      HHHHHMM: Doctor Alice Villalobos is a well-known veterinary oncologist. Her “HHHHHMM” Quality of Life Scale is another useful tool. The five H’s and two M’s are: Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Happiness, Hygiene (the ability to keep the pet clean from bodily waste), Mobility and More (as in, more good days than bad). Dr. Villalobos recommends grading each category on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being poorest quality of life and 10 being best). If the majority of categories are ranked as 5 or above, continuing with supportive care is acceptable. Keeping a journal of your pet’s condition, behavior, appetite, etc., can be extremely valuable in evaluating quality of life over time.
      Elsy, I hope you have the strength and wisdom when the time comes to say that final goodbye. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

      • Mel
        November 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        Coni – Thank you for continuing to respond and to help those who are facing the most difficult decisions. You have been so helpful to all who have posted here. Maybe I should have you write a guest blog post on this issue. Interested?

      • coniatthebeach
        November 17, 2013 at 7:53 PM

        Mel, I am honored that you asked but I would not know the first thing about such a venture. I only know what I’ve experienced and how difficult this situation is to face. If anything I’ve learned along the way can help another, then it is time to share. But, thank you, anyway.

  46. Joely
    November 20, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    I have a 16 1/2 Maltese that I’ve had and known since he was four days old. William eats, drinks his water and does his business but he has a case of dimentia. I have tried SAME, Novitel and Selegeline to help to no avail. he will greet me at the door when I come home from work, still wants to be cuddled but he walks around the house and I don’t feel he has a good quality of life. I think our furbabies hang on for us. His vet is coming to our home next Wednesday to send him on but I still wonder -am I doing the right thing by him? My head tells me I am, but my heart is messed up.

    • Mel
      November 20, 2013 at 11:55 AM

      Joely – My friend Edie just went through the same thing. Here is a link to one of her posts on this same issue. http://willmydoghateme.com/end-of-pet-life/grief-relief-consulting-a-hospice-veterinarian
      I hope it helps!

    • Susies mom
      November 20, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      Hi, Joely. I am sorry to hear how stressed you sound about William. I also didn’t know what to do and i was also wondering if i was being selfish trying to keep Susie alive just to have her with me… Fortunately i was lucky enough not to have had to take her but i feel the way you are doing it, at home in a place she loves, with the person she loves is the best way to do it.
      After 16 years, you will know what’s best for her and if her quality of life isn’t good anymore, more than anyone else out there.
      I will be thinking of you next week, (huge hug)

      • Joely
        November 20, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        Thank you Susie’s mom and Marg. I feel he is telling me to please let him go. He is healthy in many ways and not in others. I have to do the selfless thing and let him be at peace. His vet will come to the vet, and I will take his body to the crematorium. I want him to be calm and at peace so when he crosses the Rainbow Bridge, his crossing will be peaceful. I’ve told him its ok to go and he’ll be with his biological mom and dad, his cousin Bo and Pookie and his feline brothers and reassured him he can come visit me and will always be with me spiritually, and then when its my turn to cross over, he can come for me.

        I know its hard to let him go but I know its what is best for him.

      • Mel
        November 20, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        Joely – It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into your decision, and that you are putting his interests above your own, which is an honorable thing to do. I am so sorry. I know how difficult this decision is for you and for everyone with a pet. It has never been easy for me either. Wishing you a peace and comfort.

      • November 20, 2013 at 7:40 PM

        Joely, your Maltese is the same age that our Westie was and having the same symptoms. We “set her free” in July and looking back I know she had just been existing. We got so much happiness the few times she wagged her tail or with the occasional kiss she gave us. I admire your strength in making the decision. So many of us know how you are feeling and will be thinking of you next week. God Bless.

      • Joely
        November 20, 2013 at 8:39 PM

        Thank you so much for your kind comments. I sometimes doubt myself wondering am I doing the right thing but then i see him just walking around the house and I think if that is not how I want to live, why would I want him to live that way. I have found this blog by accident and am so grateful for everyone’s comments and support. I don’t feel so alone.

  47. Marg
    November 20, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    I came here and poured my heart out, because I needed a message board to communicate my feelings concerning the loss of my pet. I feel that is what the rest of the members did by coming here. Coni does a very good job in replying to member’s comments. However, when one person is singled out, it makes me feel as if I am insignificant, and perhaps some of the others feel the same way. No disrespect intended, but everyone is important by adding their comments. If you want to delete this Mel, that’s fine, just my opinion.

    I am so sorry Joely. You have known your Maltese for a long time, longer than some of us have known our pet companions. You have a week to think about the Vet. putting your beloved Maltese to sleep. You know better than anyone what his quality of life is. Prayers and Best Wishes to you in your decision. You provided a loving home for your dog, and always be sure of that.

    • Mel
      November 20, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      Marg – There was no disrespect meant at all. The reason I singled Coni out is because she not only responded to many people’s posts, but also provided what I thought was some really helpful information on how to know when to make this difficult decision. I thought perhaps she had a background in this area, and since many of us struggle with this decision, I thought it would be great to have someone with more knowledge and expertise to write about it. This is not my area of expertise or knowledge. In fact, I really struggle with it. I never know when the right time is and even tend to doubt myself all the way to the end.

      Please know that I have appreciate everyone’s comments and offers of support here, including yours. It’s one of the things I have found most beautiful about this post. It’s like this beautiful, loving and supportive community popped up. It is something I never expected.

      I hope you know that I appreciate everyone’s input and support and love here. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of and to see.

      • Marg
        November 21, 2013 at 8:24 AM

        Mel, thank you for your response. One of the reasons I chose to post here, is because I liked your format on this message site. I’ve looked at other pet grieving sites and I didn’t feel any of them were comparable to this one, so that’s a testament to you. I run an active message board on Yuku, and one of things I try to do is treat everyone the same. If I want someone to Admin or Mod on my community, or if I want someone to do something special I privately message them. I have had members turn away, because they were sensitive to others getting more attention. I have learned by that. Not saying everyone has to incorporate the way I do things, but it’s a learning process. You do a nice job here, and I like the way the members are so compassionate. Grieving is such a personal thing, and we are so fortunate to have people here that support one another in such a loving manner.

      • Joely
        November 21, 2013 at 8:53 AM

        I’m a newbie here finding this place quite by accident, but I have aprpeciated the support and responses I’ve been receiving here.

        I woke up at midnight not being able to sleep wondering if I was doing the right thing by letting William go. I trotted downstairs to get some almond milk and he was fast asleep. I went back to bed and realized one reason he may now be sleeping through the night is not because the Melatonin or Seligeline is working but somehow he knows I am releasing him and he is at peace. I evaluated his quality of life and realized again he has to be released from this state of confusion he is in and remembered a promise I made to him a long time ago. I promised him I would always do the right thing for him, never put him in harms way, never bring him to a vet who did not respect or treat him with compassion and no matter what, his well being will always come first. I realized too that next week about this time, I won’t have him anymore but realized too I won’t have him in the physical sense but he will always be with me in my heart.

  48. Carolyn
    November 20, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    I just put my baby to sleep yesterday, it was the hardest thing and decision I have ever had to make…Fawnzy was only 5 years old and I loved him with all my heart. But he was not feeling good so I took him to vet they did bunch of blood work ex rays and ultra sounds and he had pancreatic. So at my vet for 3 days they had him on intravenous during the day and I would bring him home at night, but one night he was crying in bed so I took him back next day and they transferred him to animal hospital. His liver was enlarged his pancreas on right side was very bad and he had a blockage in bile duct that was not allowing bile to flow thru, they did a plasma transfusion on him which helped in shrinking his liver but his jaundice was going higher fast. He was in hospital for 3 days being looked after plus the 3 days at my vets. So they told me they wanted to operate and try and put a shunt in his bile duct to allow bile to flow thru but if that did not work they would have to take some of his gall bladder and cut hole in it and his intestine and attach them together and he had 50/50 chance of living there was no guantees. I did not want to see him go thru all of this surgery and pain and not know that it would work and I watched him for 7 days in pain and I feel he was telling me he had enough( at least I hope I seen right) he was the sweetest guy ever. I use to hand feed him that would be the only way he would eat and I loved doing it when it was time for him to go to bed he would give me that look and I would have to gather his toys and go to bed lol…never ever have I been so sad I miss him so much and I love him so much. He was so young but I could not take seeing him fighting and being in pain. I really wish he was with me now I have never been so sad and I have loss both my parents and I find this death the worse ever.

    • Joely
      November 20, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      Carolyn, I am so sorry for your loss. Fawnzy was so young, but you did the right thing for him. He is at peace now and one day you will see him again. I believe that with all of my heart and next Wednesday, i will be letting go of my William. The two things that give me strength is knowing he will be at peace and is depending on me to do right by him and knowing I will see him again when its my time to go.

    • November 20, 2013 at 9:20 PM

      Carolyn, I am so sorry for your loss. It is so hard to understand why your precious Fawnzy had to suffer through the symptoms, tests, and pain and having only lived 5 short years. It sounds as though he had a very loving home for those five years and hopefully those memories can bring you peace. You had a very difficult decision and you were brave to let Fawnzy go. Our dear pets teach us how to become better at giving love and acceptance. They make it safe for us to love them with all of our hearts so our capacity to give of ourselves expands; naturally the loss feels larger. They touch our very souls, so we feel that loss, that emptiness, from our deepest essence. You felt a unique bond with Fawnzy that changed who you are for the better; that can never be taken away. His spirit will live in your heart forever. God Bless You at this difficult time.

  49. Marg
    November 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM


    I feel you managed to do an unselfish, loving act for your little Fawzy. It may not seem like it, because your feelings are raw, but please know, that one day you will be at peace with your decision. My little Tasha was put to sleep a little over 2 months ago. I was devastated, I was angry, and I went through all the emotions that we go through when we lose our companions.

    I saw an Ad on Craigslist a couple of weeks ago. There was a post showing an adorable white male miniature poodle, and he was at the Humane Society in Littleton, Colorado. Something about his picture touched me. They mentioned he is a senior, very calm, loving and kind. They stated he is 9 years old. I called the shelter and inquired about him. Then, last Friday I made a round trip of 9 hours to adopt him. I felt this little poodle needed me. He had come in as a stray, very malnourished, long fingernails and mats over his body. The staff didn’t know how long he had been a stray. He is the most loving little dog, and how anyone could have abandoned him, is beyond me? Perhaps his owner died and he got out somehow. He’s in great condition now, except he needs dental work, which is being done in 2 weeks. He was named Vernon at the shelter and I changed his name to Vinny. He had been in the shelter 6 weeks. Most older dogs (or cats) don’t get adopted as soon as the younger ones. When he walked into our home last Friday night, I knew I had done the right thing. He was in awe of the house. He walked through, observing everything slowly, in great detail. I let him out in the backyard with my sheltie, and he ran the whole distance of the fence, so elated to be out there in the grass. That night, he stayed on my lap for a couple of hours, and the stress was slowly leaking from his body. I saw him literally change before my eyes.

    The good news is that Vinny is helping me heal. I miss Tasha with all my heart, and will never forget her. But, somehow in a strange way, Tasha is back with me, in the form of Vinny. There are similarities, but differences, too. I remember reading in (holistic Vet.) Martin Goldstein’s book, “The Nature Of Animal Healing” his recommendation of adopting a pet sooner than later. He stated that others advise to wait a year or two to adopt after a death of a pet, but he feels that’s a mistake. He feels the true healing comes from taking on unconditional love of a dog or cat, and that’s how we are able to move forward with our lives. Obviously, it’s a decision everyone makes for themselves, but I found my experience with Vinny very rewarding, and just wanted to share.

    Carolyn, some day you will be able to love again, a small companion, and in some strange way, your Fawzy will come back to you.

    Hugs to you!

    • Joely
      November 21, 2013 at 9:19 AM


      First, my condolences on the loss of your beloved Tasha. i know how hard it must have been for you and will be going through that next Wednesday, but in many ways, i feel our furkids help heal us. I would not be surprised if little Tasha helped guide you to get little Vinny and how wonderful of you to adopt an older dog. They need love too.

    • November 21, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      Marg, Congratulations on your adoption of Vinny! I think it is wonderful that you have opened your home and your heart to an older pet after going through the difficulty of losing a treasured friend. We want to do the same thing too, in time. We have had beloved pets for the last 38 years and so we are going to take a break and do some traveling. But then our plan is to adopt an older pet. In the meantime, I have to get my “puppy fixes” from neighbors’ dogs or from pet sitting for friends. I am so happy for you. And, I’m very happy for Vinny too, that he has found a loving, forever home.

      • Marg
        November 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        Thank you Coni! My husband really didn’t want another dog, as he wants to travel as well. On many vacations we take our dogs with us. However, I do have a lady friend that pet sits for us, while we’re on vacation, if we don’t feel we can take them. They love going to the hotel rooms, sightseeing in the Jeep, walks at the rest stops, etc. My husband pouted a bit when I brought Vinny home, but he soon got over it. He sees how precious this little guy is and he’s absolutely beautiful. He’s on my lap as I type. I wish I could post a picture of him. I also feel my sheltie is benefiting by having Vinny around. She is more competitive with Vinny for attention, and it keeps her active, instead of laying around all of the time. Plus, they have been playing. (o: Enjoy your travels, Coni. It’s so rewarding experiencing new sights.

      • Joely
        November 21, 2013 at 8:43 PM

        Hi Marg,
        I met William when he was four days old. We connected immediately and I visited him every other week-end until I could bring him home. He is my best friend and my soulmate. I know a part of him will always be with me and I keep telling myself i’m doing the best thing for him. Its always suppose to be about our furkids, but there are times I think of what will come next Wednesday and I just fall apart. I can’t sleep right wondering if I’m doing the right thing (though I know I am) and I don’t feel like eating. My husband came home tonight to find me in tears and then he said he didn’t know how he will handle next week and he broke down too. I think maybe we are crying now so next Wednesday, we will be brave for him.I don’t want his last touch from me to be someone who is crying. I want to be calm so he is too.

        William is 16 1/2 and doesnt look it and I bet your Vinny has a new spring in his step. He has hit the jackpot with a new loving home, new parents and a new lease on life. He will help heal you both.

  50. Marg
    November 21, 2013 at 9:30 AM


    Thank you! My heart goes out to you, because I know that you are not looking forward to next Wednesday, even though you appear to be at peace with your decision concerning William. I think you’re right, Tasha may have guided me to adopt Vinny. He had his physical on Tuesday and the Vet. said it’s hard to tell how old he is, because of his gum disease, but he truly looks and acts younger than 9.

    God bless you on your decision concerning your beloved William, it’s obvious you love him immensely.


  51. Marg
    November 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Hi Joely,

    My husband was more private about his feelings concerning Tasha being put to sleep. I went through the same thing you are going through right now, Joely. I grieved the week before Tasha was put to sleep, and afterwards. I feel you are aware of her impending death, so the strong grieving starts now. The feelings of despair knowing what is going to happen is unbearable, because you know it’s permanent and you will never have William back in his physical form. But, know this, you gave yourself to his whole life, caring and comforting him, and he loves you immensely for that. I’m tearing up as I write this, but as I think about prayers for you, I want you to have strength, supporting love, and fortitude to get through this period. You will get through it, even though it’s one of the toughest acts you will ever do. My best to you and your husband as this week passes by. Thank you for your sentiments concerning Vinny. I’m already crazy about him, and yes, he springs outside in the backyard. LOL Some day you will have the love of another companion.

    Big Hugs & Prayers,

    • Joely
      November 22, 2013 at 8:07 PM


      Thank you. I drove home tonight crying all the way. I realized this is my last week-end with our William, and next week this time, he will be gone from us for three whole days. I asked God to give me strength to do what must be done for William. It’s always been about him. I have always been a strong person, but I don’t feel so very strong. My heart is broken and I don’t know if it will ever mend. My life as I know it will never be the same. There will be a hole in my heart that only William can mend.

      I came home and told my husband I couldn’t do this. I can’t hold him and let him go, but he told me he knows I can do this because its for William, and I have always put him first no matter what. I see my beautiful boy walking around – just walking, and he will come to me. I pick him up, cuddle him, tell him I much I miss him and tell him he will be alright. He is my braveheart and he can do this. I’ve told him not to be scared that he will have his biological mum and dad waiting for him and his feline brothers Kelly and Jake. He will be able to run, sit and play with toys, have treats, fresh clean water so pure and delicious, wonderful food and soft comfy beds – not that he didn’t have that here, but he can come to me to visit whenever and as often as he likes. It is when I’m done telling him this that he kisses me as if he’s saying don’t be sad mommie.

      I’m a mess.

      • Marg
        November 23, 2013 at 11:44 PM


        You’re welcome!
        Our electricity was out this morning, and didn’t get on the computer until late night. I read your message, and my immediate thoughts are that it’s okay to be a mess. I was a mess too, for quite some time, before and afterwards. You have a deep bond with William, that’s obvious. It’s good you are communicating with him, and it sounds like he is understanding what you are trying to say to him. Allow yourself to be a mess, because it is healing.

        My thoughts and prayers are with you.

        Big Hugs,

  52. Marg
    November 29, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Joely, I have been thinking of you and hoping you feel like responding soon to all of us. If you went through with it, I’m sure you are devastated, as well as your husband. I’m going on errands soon. Hugs to you!

  53. November 29, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Joely, along with Marg, I also have been thinking of you and what you must be feeling now, and I expect many of the readers of this blog have been as well. Know that our prayers and thoughts are with you and we hope to hear that all went well and that William is at peace.

    • Joely
      November 29, 2013 at 8:44 PM

      Thank you both for your messages. It is surreal not having him with us anymore. We miss him terribly.

      His vet ran a little late, but he had been sleeping in my arms and was still half asleep. She gave him the first injection and about a minute later, he barked a few times. It in-nerved me making me wonder waste telling me don’t do this to me, I don’t want to go or wa he saying goodbye, but the vet said it was the dementia. His brain/mind was not keeping up with what hus body was going through and it was an involuntary reaction. I kept talking to him telling him it was ok.

      She gave him the second shot and I just held him, told him how much I loved him and he would be alright. I felt him draw his last breath and was grateful it was peaceful for him. I heard dogs due with their eyes opened, but Williams were closed. I wrapped him in his blanket and we drove to the crematorium. It was hard walking out knowing we would never see him again, but I told him I’d see him in my dreams.

      My husband is very upset, but has been such a comfort. He doesn’t want to put up any decorations for the holidays and I’m respecting his feelings. We both want to get another Maltese from Williams breeder, but we both know we have to grieve for our darling boy.

      • November 30, 2013 at 10:02 AM

        Joely, so sorry for the loss of William. It must be comforting to know that you were with him to the end and I’m sure he felt your love. Reading of your experience brings back our last moments with Sadie in July. Our home still feels “empty”; she brought so much joy. If only to have her back for one day, the way she was much younger when she didn’t have any aches, pains, and disabilities. A quote from John Galsworthy’s “Memories” that has always brought me some comfort is – “Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives. Yet, if they find warmth therein, who would begrudge them those years that they have so guarded. And whatever they take, be sure they have deserved.” I hope you find comfort from your memories of sweet William. Time will help to heal. God Bless you both.

  54. Marg
    November 29, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    Thanks for sharing, Joely. We all know it’s going to be tough for you and your husband for quite a while. Prayers for you both! I hope your weekend is peaceful and thoughtful.

  55. JoAnna
    December 3, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    I left a comment a few months ago about our beloved Beavis, a 13 1/2 year old Boston Terrier. Beavis is blind and deaf and his balance has gone wobbly, we pick him up to take him outside and to bed, he runs into everything and has had quite a few accidents on the carpet. We just kept asking ourselves “how is his quality of life??” After many sad conversations with my boyfriend we decided it was time. We have an appointment for Friday. Please keep us in your thoughts during this sad time. I am glad I found this blog it helps knowing that there are more puppy parents going through this. thank you!!

    • Joely
      December 3, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      I know what you are going through. We lost our beloved William last Wednesday. The one deciding factor is are they enjoying life? Can they do the things that make them smile? Sometimes there is more than physical pain – there is emotional and mental pain, and we are their voices. They trust us to make the right decisions for them and they know too how painful it is for us, but our love must overcome the grief. The one thing that keeps me going is knowing my beautiful boy is whole again, is at peace and crazy as it may seem to some, I have heard him bark, seen flashes of him in our home and have dreamed of him. In many ways, he has come to comfort me as he always did. I will say a prayer for your beloved Beavis and you and your family.

      • JoAnna
        December 3, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        Thank you Joely for your kind words.

      • Joely
        December 3, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        You are most welcome. I know its hard but think of what is best for your Beavis and you will find some peace in knowing you are doing the right thing. It hurts like hell the first day, but the one thing that has helped me is I talk to my boy as if he was still with me, and in many ways, I feel he is. I say good morning to him and good night and I focus on the joy he gave my husband and I.

      • JoAnna
        December 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        IT FEELS SOOOOOO more real that the appointment has been made. My eyes well up just reading through these comments and thinking about my baby boy! I know we are doing the right thing but it hurts like HELL and i haven’t even taken him to the vet yet….my heart is breaking!

      • Joely
        December 3, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        I had the same problem. I knew the week before I was going to lose him. His vet was in California at the time. She was very gentle with him anytime he saw her and she always came to the house. I wanted his passing to be peaceful so agreed to wait but it was hell. I cried on the way to work, on the way home, just sitting in my office and a few days before, I went home telling my husband I couldn’t let him go. I felt I was hyperventiliating and just couldn’t bear to do it, but he waited till I calmed down and said we were doing it for him. I realized he was right and I had to do right by him, but I know what you are going through. It hurts like hell.

      • Darlene
        December 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        I am sooooo sorry Joanna. Heart breaking.

      • JoAnna
        December 3, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        Thank you Darlene and Joely! “talking” about it helps so thank you!!!

      • Joely
        December 3, 2013 at 8:17 PM

        JoAnna – talking, crying and remembering are all part of the healing process. Post your feelings and what you are going through. We will help you get through this.

      • JoAnna
        December 4, 2013 at 9:35 AM

        Thank you, I will! Today is a little easier, havent cried yet! it just sucks knowing friday is the day…

  56. Darlene
    December 3, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    I read all the comments here a couple of days ago. I want to thank all of you for your caring and information. I helped my Munchkin of 17 years cross to the other side late yesterday afternoon. I knew it was coming – she was in renal failure, it just took me a bit of time to “let her go”. She is in my heart and memory forever.
    Blessings to ALL of you and your loved animal friends.

  57. December 3, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Darlene, so sorry for your loss. Your Munchkin is at peace and I hope your wonderful memories can bring you the same peace.

    Joanna, it takes so much courage to let our beloved pets go even when we know it is time. Beavis will be free to run, no more instability; he will be able to see and hear once again. I hope those thoughts help you through this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

    • JoAnna
      December 3, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      this is going to be a tough week, thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

  58. Marg
    December 5, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    Darlene, so sorry to read about Munchkin. My heart goes out to you and prayers for peace and cherished memories of your girl.

    Joely, you mentioned you see flashes and heard William bark. I’ve heard other people say they have experienced those types of things after their pets pass away. I have never experienced that, and I have had many dogs. It sounds like it brings you some satisfaction.

    JoAnna, Friday will soon be here, as you know too well. Prayers for strength to get through this and to bring about sleep and peace for Beavis.

    Love to you all!

    • JoAnna
      December 5, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      Thank you for your Thoughts and Prayers! Tomorrow is the day we have been Dreading! i took off Early to lLove on Beavis This Afternoon. say a Prayer For us Tomorrow Around 11am pst. Once Again Thank u Guys

      • Mel
        December 6, 2013 at 6:29 AM

        I will be keeping you and your baby in my thoughts.

      • Joely
        December 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM

        JoAnna, I’m on PST time so have on my calendar at 11 to say a prayer for your beloved Beavis. If this helps you, I’m happy to pass this on but when I held my William, I told him not to be afraid, that he would be going to the Rainbow Bridge. i told him of all his family (canine) and friends he would see. I told him how delicious the food would be, how sweet and fresh the water would be, all the toys he would have to play with, big comfy beds and he would have his hearing, sight and memory back. He could run again with the wind ruffling his hair and he could come visit me whenever he wanted. I told him he was in my circle of love that never ends and I built a special home for him in my heart that is just for him. I sang him I’ll see you in my dreams (he might have been happy he couldn’t hear me – I don’t have the best voice). Every morning I say good morning to him, and I say hello when I come home from work and I say good night. I know he’s in the house with us and I’ve heard him bark and seen flashes of white so I acknowledge he is there. I hope this helps comfort you. Hugs and blessings

      • JoAnna
        December 6, 2013 at 6:01 PM

        Today we made the most difficult decision a dog parent has to make. Beavis came into our lives 8 wonderful years ago, he has brought joy and love to us!!! We have great memories to hold onto. Now he is in puppy heaven able to see and hear and run and play. My heart is breaking, i miss him soooo much already! Rest in peace my baby boy!! We love you and you will always be in our hearts!!

      • Joely
        December 6, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        I know what you are going through! Your Beavis probably met my William. You will see him again. I know it hurts.

      • coniatthebeach
        December 6, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        JoAnna, you were privileged to be the person who shared Beavis’ life. He touched your very soul so you feel that loss, that emptiness, from your deepest essence. His spirit will live in your heart forever. You have set him free; may you find peace in knowing that. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this very difficult time.

  59. Joanna
    December 9, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    I want to thank each of you who commented on my beloved Beavis. Your kind words helped me get through a very tough week. It was sooo appreciated.

    Today was the first work day without him, our daily routine has changed and I feel his absense. I miss him sooo much.

    • Mel
      December 10, 2013 at 6:38 AM

      Oh Joanna, I am so sorry. I am glad others here comforted you in this very difficult time. A friend once said to me, after I had said my goodbyes to Aspen, that it is the absence of their presence everywhere that is the hardest. She was so right. They are so much a part of our days, pour routines, that we notice their absence everywhere. I hope with time your pain will ease and a new dog will give you a chance to love again. Sending you hugs and healing thoughts.

  60. Joanna
    December 12, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    This week has been very difficult! I have a question for the group…After putting Beavis night night a week ago, our 1 year old Holley hasn’t been eating breakfast (but will eat later in the day) and has been really lathargic. My question is does she know that Beavis is gone? and is she in “mourning” like we are? Also has yall’s vet sent you a card with a very nice comment and then your paws print below it??? Ours did on Tuesday and i LOST it!!! just wondering…

    • Joanna
      December 12, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      By the way Holley is a boston terrier….not an actual child…

    • Joely
      December 12, 2013 at 6:25 PM

      Holley is your furchild. But yes it is normal for her to be in mourning. Animals are very sensitive to their surroundings and what is going on so she knows your Beavis is no longer with all of you and like you, she is mourning too. Make sure you give her extra cuddles and attention. She needs TLC too.

    • December 12, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      Joanna, I agree with Joely, Holley is missing her buddy but with extra love and attention she should be fine. We received a card from our vet too but no paw print. It was very thoughtful. Tonight I wrapped up a book for my husband for Christmas called Paw Prints in Heaven by Connie Stubbs. I saw it in a gift shop; it is a keepsake of a beloved pet that has passed on and has a place where you can record your pet’s favorites. Also, a bit of a story. I hope it will be consoling for him. I thought you might be interested. Hugs to you and Holley.

  61. Cas Riepesnell
    December 22, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    My chocolate Lab, Murphee Bear is almost 15 years old…. He has lost control of his bowels for 4-5 months now. Recently though, he is unable to hold is bladder as well. He has very bad hips and cannot make steps and has to have his “bottom” lifted for him. He usually is unable to get up from the floor without help. His eyes are cloudy, yet I can still see his heart and spirit. He rallys every now and then – for about 2-3 minutes, then collapses. It is these tiny bits of time that tells me to keep him going – I know the other times far outweigh those few good minutes each day. I think we’ve made our decision to say our final goodbyes to him – yet each time I think about it, I fall apart. It was even harder to talk to my husband about this….he claims one doesn’t put a pet down because they are incontinent. I agree – but his hips and legs are so bad, as I’ve noted above. I wish God could put his hand on my shoulder and give me that nudge that this is the right thing to do…. I pray Murphee will just “fall asleep” on his own – even though each day I am afraid to walk in the house after work for fear that has happened. I am so torn. I just don’t know….. thank you for listening.

    • Mel
      December 22, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      I am so sorry Cas. I think the question to ask yourself is Murphee Bear enjoying a good quality of life? Is he able to do most things himself? Is he able to drink and eat normally and go outside on his own. Does he seem to be enjoying life? Or does he seem to be just existing. There was a great piece shared on here a while back that I think would be worth reading. It helped my friend Beth make her decision a little easier. http://shine.yahoo.com/pets/know-time-euthanize-pet-162100593.html

    • December 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      I feel your pain, Cas, and your frustration of not knowing what to do. The article Mel referred you to should give you good guidance. It does sound like Murphee Bear is ready to cross over the Rainbow Bridge to where he can run and play with no more pain. We are so fortunate to be able to free our beloved pets from the effects of aging and disability. It is an act of love and, although it is one of the hardest things we ever face, knowing they will no longer suffer brings peace to our hearts. I wish you strength in making the right decision for Murphee Bear. God Bless.

    • Joely
      December 22, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      Cas, the one deciding factor is what is his quality of life? Can he go out the doggy door and relieve himself on his own? Is he in any kind of pain or discomfort? taking a pill masks the symptoms, but not the pain. If we look into our dogs eyes, they tell us how they are feeling. If he is rallying, then collapses, he is telling you to let him go. I lost my beloved William the day before Thanksgiving. My heart is in pain, I cry almost every day and not a day goes by that i don’t say goodmorning, see you later as I leave for work, tell him hello when I come home and tell him good night. I miss him terribly, but if I had to do it again, I’d do the same thing. I would rather be in pain then my beloved boy.

  62. Anne
    December 31, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    We had to have Max,our beautiful blue merle collie/rotweiler cross PTS on December 27th. He was only just turned 7 years old and my hubby and I didn’t have a clue that he had the most aggressive canine cancer there is. He was only officially diagnosed with it on December 6th. The cancer was so advanced, it was inoperable and the tumor was buried out of sight within his body, so was unnoticeable until the last couple of weeks when it suddenly doubled in size. He’d had it for many years slowly growing inside him, but no one knew, we just thought he was a fussy eater,
    We’re still in shock and didn’t for a minute expect to be starting the New Year without him, this is the first time in over 30 years we haven’t had a dog in the house, it feels cold and empty, we miss him so much.
    This type of cancer (hemangiosarcoma) is very common in large dogs, so please get your dogs checked for (operable) early signs regularly once they reach ‘middle age’, especially if they’ve been spayed or castrated as they’re more prone, don’t go through what we just have, it’s heartbreaking.

    • January 1, 2014 at 8:15 AM

      Anne, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss of Max. He was fortunate to have loving parents who knew when it was time and saved him from unnecessary suffering. It is so hard to adjust to that void that exists in your home and in your heart, and even harder at such a joyous time of the year. I hope your memories of those 7 wonderful years will bring you peace. God Bless You.

    • Mel
      January 1, 2014 at 8:20 AM

      Oh Anne. I am so sorry. That is absolutely heartbreaking. I want to give you a hug. I cannot imagine how it must feel to begin the new year like this. I pray that you find some comfort in the memories of your time with Max and hope he sends you a new little one to bring some smiles back to your days.
      Thank you for advocating for regular checks. I was just thinking about this very thing this morning.

    • Lori
      January 3, 2014 at 10:22 PM

      Dear Anne
      Your story makes me cry (again/still). Last week I had to let go of my 18 yr old cat Jack. That was devastating enough. Then this week my 6 yr old lab rescue went to the vet for vomiting. After some tests, we found out she too has hermangiosarcoma. Not what we expected to say the least. My family is devastated. I have 2 little girls who can’t imagine life without their dog. She has been a huge part of our family. I struggle as I know I have a decision to make that is truly breaking all our hearts. She is sleeping a lot, drinking water, but eating nothing at all. I’m not sure how long she can go on before I have to decide. My heart is truly broken and I thank you for having this place to share.


      • January 4, 2014 at 9:05 AM

        I am so sorry to hear of your loss and the situation you are in with your lab. It is a hard decision to make without having to deal with the loss of another pet. Since she has stopped eating, her quality of life is already being affected. I’m sure you will make the decision before she begins to suffer; she has been a loyal, loving family pet. Maybe a rescued adult pet will help the adjustment for your little girls but the loss of these two beloved family members will take a long time to heal in your home and in your heart. My prayers are with you.

      • January 8, 2014 at 7:25 PM


        Thank you for your kind words. We ended up taking Miley on Monday so she could go to the Rainbow Bridge. I knew it was time…..we all miss her terribly but know it was the right thing for us to do for her. In retrospect, I think she brought us our new puppy (a rescue we had just gotten a month ago to be her friend) because she loved us so much she didn’t want to leave us without a dog. It has made it somewhat easier to have a busy puppy to take care of. And she has started to lay in Miley’s regular spots. Miley had a wonderful life. She was very much loved. My only regret was that her life was so short. WHile it was a blessing that her illness came on so quickly and she didn’t have time to suffer, it is shocking to us to not have her with us anymore. She was fine at Christmas! Or so it seemed….

        Thank you again for your very kind words. Miley was a very special dog and will remain in our hearts always. Just as I’m sure your Max will remain in yours. My heart goes out to your family and I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep your family in my prayers also.


      • Mel
        January 8, 2014 at 8:52 PM

        I am so sorry for your loss Lorie. I am glad that Miley didn’t have to suffer and that she had you there to help her to cross to that bridge. I’m also glad the new little one is helping to ease your pain a little. Godspeed Miley.

      • Joely
        January 9, 2014 at 9:04 AM


        I know how you feel and suspect many of us here do. We had to let our beloved William go the day before Thanksgiving and it is still raw for us. People don’t realize how our furchildren are members of the family and many of us who have lost our furchildren have lost family members. Our furchildren always look to us to help them when its their time. Its painful for us, but we are doing what is best for them, and giving them the relief they need, and in many ways, I think when we bring a furry face into our lives, we create that responsibility to help them when they need it.


      • January 9, 2014 at 2:26 PM


        So sorry for your loss. Raw…yes that’s how it feels. I think even we don’t realize the impact their leaving us will have…..it’s kind of overwhelming, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.


  63. Kristi Curto
    January 12, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    I lost a cat from cancer a year ago September, A dog in January from kidney failure and one in February do to old age. I have a 16 year old that I believe in the next few days I will have to make the decision to let her go. Although I have had to make this decision several times in the past, I am having a horrible time letting her go. I think it is because I have lost so many within a year I have enough heartache to last a lifetime. All I do is cry and I still mourn the ones I lost this past year. Saying goodbye to one is bad enough but Skittles will be the fourth in a year. She is 16 and isn’t eating , I’ve taken her in for fluids from dehydration. Once she gets fluids she seems a little alert for a day them it’s back down hill again. I know it is time.This is not a quality of life. I am so sorry for the loss all of you have endured. The pain seems to never go away. Please say a prayer that I have the strength to do what I know is best for Skittles. God bless all of you and your precious companions. ❤

    • January 12, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      Kristi, I am so sorry to hear about your situation. It must be devastating to lose so many beloved pets in such a short amount of time. And then to face another . . . My prayers are with you. May God give you the strength to make the decision and set Skittles free of pain and the problems that come with old age. She’ll be in your heart forever.

  64. January 18, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    My dog I’m writing about now is in pain with arthritis. She gets around but doesn’t have much standing power. Her bark in weak sounding. Someone asked me recently what things did she enjoy doing, i.e., getting into the garbage, sniffing the grass, etc. Well, she never got in the garbage and she only sniffs the grass to urinate or whatever. She does, however, enjoy her cookies and she eats well at least once a day. One dog I had years ago was ready he was so sick, kidney disease – so fast and a cat as well. But kitty was a gentleman and died in his sleep at home. I am forever grateful.

  65. January 18, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    What do you mean moderation???

  66. JMalcolm1
    January 24, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    I had been running a hospice for my 18 year old Basset-Beagle for about a year and a half. It was hard on all of us but she didn’t seem at all ready to leave this earth. (Her appetite was still good and she would still run spontaneously.) It was a grand mal seizure that helped me make the decision to help her die. And even though I knew it was time, it was excruciating.

  67. January 25, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    JMalcom, So sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved dog. The decision to say goodbye is so very hard but the feeling of loss afterward is even harder. So many of us have been there. She had a long life and I’m sure one of love and devotion. She was lucky to have you, someone who gave her comfort and what she needed until she left this world. Hopefully your good memories of all those years will bring you peace during this difficult time. She will surely live on in your heart forever.

    • Joely
      January 25, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Malcolm, I am sorry for your loss. As coniatthebeach said, we have been through it. I lost my little boy almost two months go by and while I miss him to bits, I know I did the right decision. It is so hard to say goodbye to them, but I told my William I would be with him again one day, and I would see him in my dreams (which I have). Our furchildren love us so much that sometimes even though they are in pain or discomfort, they don’t want to leave us. Hard as it is I often feel they need our permission to go. I view our furchildren as gifts and as energy, we will see them again.

  68. Jennifer
    January 27, 2014 at 12:45 AM

    I am so grateful I found this conversation about euthanization. And I am grateful for the honesty of everyone’s words. Last May, we put our terrier Riley down. Although he was 15, we rescued him when he was 8 and only had him for 7. He needed a lot of love so it took some time to earn his trust. He had hemangioma sarcoma, arthritis in his back all being managed by meds quite nicely until the onset of dementia. All of this going on and I was blown away by the fact that he did not want to go. I was completely unprepared for that. This made it excruciating. Pls make sure you get to say goodbye to your pet before any drugs are injected. The vet who came to our home neglected to explain the process, so he was completely sedated before I had a chance to say goodbye. Now I have a 13 yr old pug who has arthritis in his legs. The back legs have started to atrophy and he is unable to walk for the most part and cannot lower himself to poo so he holds it as long as he can. He poos in the house and falls back into it and is very upset. There is a lot of work in the clean up and though I reassure him that he’s a good boy and try to be calm he is really shaken up by it. I love him to pieces and have spent almost every day with him for the last 5 years. He still loves to eat, he still does his “woo woos” and although he is in some pain, he does not want to go. I do not want him to go. I am so angry right now because I thought things were manageable and he would have one more summer. Most dogs do not die natural deaths. I think dogs hanging on and not wanting to go are more common then not. I want to strong for Murphy and give him peace, safety, love, and security in the days before he is gone. I can’t tell you how hard it is to euthanize a dog who’s mind is active and does not want to leave. My heart is breaking. He’s my best friend and I love him more than anyone in this world except my husband. Thanks for this forum so I can share my experience and not feel isolated.

    • Joely
      January 29, 2014 at 6:49 AM

      My beloved William had dimentia. He ate, did his business and while he didn’t use his pee pads, we knew it was because he simply forgot that process. Did our boy want to leave us? I doubt it. I doubt any of our fur children want to go, but they look at us for help, to do for them what they can’t do for thsmselves. We looked at William’s quality of life. How he would get up, walk for hours, stop to stare at a wall before he would walk away, bump into things. Was he happy? When I held him, he felt loved and safe, but he no longer played, took no interest inhis toys, and we could see he was tired. Yesterday was 2 months since we lost him. Not one day goes by that we don’t think of him, miss him and wish he was with us, but I know he us happy and at peace, and I do not regret our decision. My baby died peacefully in my arms with his vet by our side in his home.

      So I for one know how hard it is, and many here do too.

    • coniatthebeach
      January 29, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      Jennifer, It is sad to hear of what you are going through with Murphy. I had a German Shepherd many years ago that was almost 9 and was so healthy except her back legs would not work anymore and we decided it was time when she couldn’t get up from a lying position and couldn’t walk well. When she was put down, the vet had to give her a second injection because her heart was so strong that the first one didn’t end her life. It killed me to lose her. She was my buddy before I got married and my husband had to marry “both of us”. The decision is so hard even if you’ve made it before. There are a few guidelines that I had shared earlier on this blog that might be helpful to you in knowing when it is time and feeling right about the decision. You’ve shown strength and wisdom before with your terrier and I pray you will have them this time around. God Bless you.

  69. dodgrgirl
    February 2, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    After celebrating a new year with my boy acting weird for once sence 2002 Acting weird I mean my husb text me to wake up cause Capone was not doing good. This was Dec 30 2014. He did not seem to recognize him he snarled at him. So after almost falling down the stairs. I ran and sat next to him to see what was wrong. And as I put my hand on him and started to talk to him he did the same to me. So fast fwd he passed @ 1:35 am 2014-2002 . But days before he passed, having bad back legs and couldn’t walk . He got up all byhimself and put his head on my lap. He turns and does the same to my husb. But then right back to me then goes back to lay down. You have to watch them and pay attention. They have their own way of telling you goodbye. I hope I help..

  70. dodgrgirl
    February 2, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    After celebrating a new year with my boy acting weird for once sence 2002 Acting weird I mean my husb text me to wake up cause Capone was not doing good. This was Dec 30 2013. He did not seem to recognize him he snarled at him. So after almost falling down the stairs. I ran and sat next to him to see what was wrong. And as I put my hand on him and started to talk to him he did the same to me. So fast fwd he passed @ 1:35 am 2014-2002 . But days before he passed, having bad back legs and couldn’t walk . He got up all byhimself and put his head on my lap. He turns and does the same to my husb. But then right back to me then goes back to lay down. You have to watch them and pay attention. They have their own way of telling you goodbye. I hope I help..

    • Joely
      February 2, 2014 at 6:02 AM

      Didgrgirl, thanks for sharing. Your boy was telling you it was time for his next journey and was saying goodbye. My boy barked when the vet gave him his first shot. It was right before she gave him the final injection. If we listen, and we watch, they in their own special way tell us. Bless

  71. sandy weinstein
    February 2, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    i dont know if they can tell. i know why my min. schnauzer that my mother took from me had to be put down at age 8 b/c of cancer. my mother regretted to this day that she did not get more than one opinion. a friend had to put her some of her dogs down when they got sick or older. she goes to an animal communicator, which i am not sure i believe in, but some of the things she told this friend seemed unreal and truthful. i have a 12 yrs old now that i worry abt constantly. as for the people that have dogs that have hip problems there is a new thing that they are injected dogs, similar to what they do to people when they have to have cells injected. it has been proven successful. you may have to go to a vet school. they can also rebuild/replacement for hip dysplasia, ?sp. crowns, root planing, gum graphs, implants, root canals, all types of artificial limbs, feet, etc. almost anything you can do for humans you can do for your pet now…so maybe one day they will get them to live as longer than 9-15 yrs or so….i dont think i could handle getting a big dog b/c they dont live as long as small dogs…it is too upsetting to have to say good bye. my min. schn now sleeps forever with her grandparents in my mother’s casket. it was her wish. what i cant stand is that when a pet gets old or has health problems they owner (pet parent) does not want them anymore and does not care what happens to them and has them put down, even if it is a minor thing like diabetes b/c they do not want the expense. would they put their human children down it they got a life long illness? our pets are our children and give us so much more than we could ever give them or repay them back…it is our duty to care for them in sickness and ,,,,,

    • maxes mum
      July 22, 2015 at 7:35 AM

      diabetes in not a minor thing, we lost our baby max to it last friday, he got pancreatitis also, he went down hill fast, our decision had nothing to do with the cost, we only had our dogs best interest in mind when we had to have him put to sleep, im still heartbroken from it and always will be

  72. Keith
    February 25, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    I think my boy let me know he was ready. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I miss him so much! His name is Pnut and he is a Chinese Shar Pei. I had him all his life, from just a little pup to almost 12 years old. He developed cancer and we did everything we could for him without putting him through any unnecessary suffering. When I finally had to make that decision he let me know. He had one last great day and the following morning he just looked at me with those eyes and I could tell he was telling me he was tired and he couldn’t fight any more. He was and will always be my best friend! My heart will forever be broken…

    • Joely
      February 25, 2014 at 7:16 AM

      Keith, my condolences on the loss of your beloved Pnut. Our fur babies find a way to tell us its time for them to move onto their next journey. Losing our fur children is difficult, and I fully understand you feeling your heart will be forever broken. It is coming up to 3 months since we lost our William. At times it feels like a long time has passed, but I have learned, and hope this is of some comfort to you, that we may not be able to see them, but a part of them will always be with us, and one day when it’s our time, they will be there waiting for us never to be parted again.

    • Connie Eiceman
      February 25, 2014 at 10:08 PM

      Keith, I’m so sorry for your loss of Pnut. It is something you never want to face but you showed strength and courage in making the decision before Pnut endured any unnecessary suffering. They give us so much love and, although your heart feels broken now, that love will remain in your heart forever. I hope your wonderful memories from the last 12 years will help you through this difficult time. God Bless.

      • Keith
        February 26, 2014 at 6:05 AM

        Thanks so much Connie! I will never let him memories fade. I have started a memory book where I am constantly writing down all kinds of memories of my boy! And I have tons of videos and pics, when I am feeling down I just pull up a funny video on my phone and just smile. He made my life so much better!! Its hard not having him around, he went everywhere with me. He was one traveling pup! I still haven’t been able to take his bed out of my truck yet. But I know that he is now up in heaven, rrunning around and playing with all the other dogs and he is healthy once again!

    • Mel
      February 26, 2014 at 6:56 AM

      I am so very sorry Keith. I have always struggled with this decision. Saying goodbye is so damn hard. I am glad your boy told you it was time. It doesn’t make the loss any less, but maybe brings a little peace with it. Just know our hearts are with you right now.

    • Deb
      March 2, 2014 at 5:47 AM

      Keith, I know that look in their eyes, I have to say goodbye to my baby tomorrow, and she just looks at me…she has never slept next to my other dog, and this morning I woke up to find them next to eachother. This is so hard, I can’t stop crying. I am so sorry for your loss, but I know those eyes are telling me…

      • March 2, 2014 at 10:30 PM

        Deb, I’m so sorry for your situation. So many of us have faced it and it is so hard. Know that through love you are freeing your little one from any pain, aging, suffering. She will be free to run and play and she will be at peace. Though your heart will be breaking, I hope in time your memories will bring you peace. We do know how you feel. God Bless you at this difficult time.

  73. Kathy Temple
    March 7, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    Fizzy told me when she was ready. The last weekend as we were sleeping she woke me up talking & then howled. She never howled. Never. I’ve always used kinesiology to find out how she was feeling. So we had a talk then. I asked if she was ready,? yes, do you understand you will leave here?Yes. Still ready. Asked how soon, within the next week… I always got she wasn’t ready, I’m not ready.!.!.! A wonderful person I know & the vet she works with came to my house that following Tuesday am and Fizzy didn’t even get up off the floor. She waited for them to present themselves. I was still by her side from the night before. Sure wished she would have wanted the bed or couch or anything softer than the floor…I miss you “Heart Of My Heart”.

    • Mel
      March 9, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      I am so sorry for your loss Kathy. I think it is wonderful that you were able to communicate with her and know it was the right decision to make and at the right time. No words can ease your pain, but please know you are not alone.

    • Deb
      April 25, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      I wanted her for life, I knew the time would come when our story would end…forever in my heart my dear MiMi. There was never going to be a definite time when I knew she wanted to “go”, but I know in my heart, I did what was best for her. When I got her 12 years ago, I knew this day would come, and I just can’t believe she is gone. I am glad I didn’t prolong death, which was inevidible. I had to do what she could not. I’m sorry my girl. I love you forever…MiMi had cancer of the spleen. Her spleen was removed 7 months ago, and it came back malignant. The vet told me it could be 1 month, it could be 1 year, but it would be. MiMi’s stomach was bloating up with cancer, and I was afraid she would bleed to death if I didn’t make that decision…it is over a month now, and the pain is still unbearable. To answer some questions, I feel MiMi spoke to me with her eyes. She had good days, but the good days were becoming less and less. Even pictures weren’t her old self. I have 2 pictures, and the 2nd. one is the one that “told me” it was time. MiMi shook like crazy each and every time I took her to the vet, even for just a well visit! This day, she did not shake, not even 1 bit…Thank you MiMi for allowing me to be your human. I will love you till the end of time…

  74. March 29, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    The time I had to say goodbye to a furbaby was when the family cat, Patches, had cancer. She hung on all summer but that fall she declined and was no longer eating (and for her that was without question a sign, she loved food) and could barely walk. She was around 14, so when I learned she had cancer I knew it was inevitable She purred the day she was brought in as if telling us it was OK. When our dog, Skippy was put to sleep it was more a case of telling us it was time. He had an accident and was caught between the fence and the rake. He was also blind, deaf and likely had dogzheimer’s. He had some other situations that he came out OK but that particular incident was the sign. Next time, we knew he may not be OK and he was old. So he was put to sleep.

  75. jason
    April 25, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    My beagle had a cancerous tumor but otherwise was totally full of life and eating, walking, playing as usual. The vet said he’d let us know when it was time. After a year plus two months past when other vets said to put him down regardless of his being so happy and enteric he was this one vet said not to do it that he’d let me know. As I mentioned a year and two months later he just stopped eating. No interest in food. He just wanted to sleep near me. I of course was terrified but for three days he’d refuse any food and just want to sleep. Somehow I took that as his saying it was time. Horrible thing to go through when you have had a dog since two months old and 12 years later you loose him but sad as I still am I think it was finally time and we had a year and two months with him after the dog ER had said to put him to sleep ebpven though he was at that time happy and full of life

  76. Jen
    April 25, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    We have had a dog tell us it’s time. What was so devasting for us was “Baby” was only a 7 year old whippet. Baby had apparently developed bone cancer. She began withdrawing, pulling away from the family and literally turning her back. We went on a several week odessey to determine what was wrong and at ever turn she was withdrawn from us and our other two dogs. When it was finally determined to be bone cancer from her leg that had spread to her liver she would hardly come to us at the vet. We had heard that dogs don’t want their families to see them when they pass as they don’t want to disappoint. In her own way, we took her complete withdrawal as telling us what she wanted. They told us treatment would be risky, unlikely to succeed and painful. She told us she didn’t want to try. We were heartbroken but respected her wishes.

  77. April 26, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    I’m not once to mince words – we are not “saying goodbye” to our pets when we have to make this decision… we are literally having to make the decision to have them killed. We don’t do that with a parent or sibling or a child even when they have a terminal illness – in those cases we normally wait for the illness to do it. Yet for our pets, we have to make “that” decision, and it’s for that reason that it’s so incredibly hard. We have to live with the guilt of that, and if we have any doubts about it later, sometimes we do have the, “Oh, I killed my pet”, thoughts that make things so terrible.

    I had three dogs that did fortunately all live to be 12-14 long years, but as with anything they could not live forever. One dog made it easy for me and died with no warning one day when she simply gave out – very traumatic at the time, but year later I know I would have been messed up so much more if I had to make “the” decision with that dog as she was so human-like. Dog 2 wasn’t a shock due to known cancer issues and I had a vet scheduled to come to the house to euthanize her – and on that very morning her body gave out one hour before the vet arrived, again, making it easier on me as with dog 1, there would not have been anything we could do to save them.

    Dog 3 however made it very hard. She too had cancer and got bad. Her last week having to make two trips to the emergency vet. Finally once day I cam home to find multiple piles of vomit, and her swollen and wheezing for breath (again), so I made that call to the Vet to have them come over that day and do it. 30 minutes before they arrived, the dog suddenly “rebounded” and was running through the home with a toy in her mouth, waiting for me to shine the laser pointer for her to (try) to chase. It broke my heart. An adult man, sobbing uncontrollably, thinking I was about to “kill” my dog that maybe, maybe, was having a turnaround. The vet assured me when she arrived I was doing the right thing and that this was normal and she even took the time to go over the xrays on dvd I had for the dog, to point out all of the things the vet ER did not, showing me how the dog was living day to day at that point. So I had her do it. But even today, sometimes, I have doubts about whether I could have waited longer. It’s normal I guess, but this decision is in some ways, harder to deal with than with a sick human relative.

  78. Susan Giangregorio
    April 29, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    Thank you all for sharing. I am struggling with the decision and I am thankful for the candor I have read on this blog.

  79. MistyL
    May 31, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    This is the one topic that instantly brings tears to my eyes at the mere thought and remembrance. Yes, they sometimes do tell you when it’s time for them to go. My Alexander was a beautiful Persian boy. We had been together since he was a kitten and I 12 years old. He was suffering with kidney failure and the treatments were failing to yield results any longer. His appetite became non-existent and nothing tempted him any longer – not food or affection or even just sitting quietly together as he once loved to do. Zander only wanted to be alone. One night when I knew his passing would not be long in coming I made the decision that it was probably best for him that we say goodbye for now. We drove to the clinic where it would happen and I was still doubting my decision. I sat on the stoop with him talking to him and asked him to let me know if this was right. He got up from my lap and walked away from me. I called him back but he would not come. The vet had told me that his passing would be very painful if allowed to happen naturally. I believe with all of my heart that he truly told me it was time for him to go that night. I also believe that the only time I took away from him were days or hours of extreme pain. It did not make it any easier but I do feel that he told me it was time. I still miss him after 15 years but I know that when it’s my turn to go home too he will be there waiting for me. It couldn’t be heaven without him. I’ve gone though this several times since and have learned that if you ask them they will tell you.

  80. kerry smith
    June 20, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    I have a schnauzer, she is 14 years old, we have been dealing with an enlarged heart and the symptoms that go along with that condition. she currently takes about 10 pills a day to control the fluid build-up and meds to help her heart. I am waiting for her to tell me when it is time, but how can I be sure she will?? she no longer plays, barks or interacts with the cat. she sleeps a lot, eats once a day. lately she sometimes seems confused and literally stands in one position for just staring. today I caught her just standing with her head hung down. am I doing her unjust in thinking she will let me know when it is time or am I kidding myself?

    • June 20, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      Kerry, I am so sorry to read of your situation. It is so hard to make the decision and know that it is time. You didn’t mention one thing that brings her joy which would lead me to think she has little or no quality of life. That is normally an indicator of when it is time. Is there room for improvement? If not, she may just be existing. Is there a purpose in continuing this existence beyond having her companionship and love. It is the ultimate act of love to let them go but know in your heart that she will no longer suffer or be confused. She will be free to run, play and live without discomfort. I hope you have the courage to make the decision. God Bless you at this difficult time.

    • Mel
      June 21, 2014 at 12:07 AM

      I can totally relate to your struggle Kerry. I think Coni answered your question better than I could. I think Coni shared a piece a while back that has become my guide when it comes to when is the right time. Much of what she said in her reply to you covers what is in this article. I wish you peace in your decision> i know it is not an easy one.

      Here is that article: https://shine.yahoo.com/pets/know-time-euthanize-pet-162100593.html

  81. June 26, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    We had to put our 13 month old golden retriever puppy down 2 days ago due to high grade lymphoma. The hardest part was determining if the bad outweighed the good. I’ve had to put down both of my parent’s poodles (18yo and 19yo) and that was tough. But they were very old and lived long loving lives. This was 100x worse due to how yound and amazing this dog was. We’re going to miss him for a long time.

    • Mel
      June 26, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      Words cannot express my sorrow for your loss. I could’t help but tear up reading your comment. Losing a dog so young is just wrong and unfair and heartbreaking. I am so sorry for your loss.

  82. July 16, 2014 at 5:55 AM

    Dear Atlanta Owner, your post really says what and how I feel too. Coming from an Asian & buddhist upbringing background (I don’t consider myself quite a buddhist; yet culture, beliefs and upbringing is so ingrained that I cannot help but not be aware..) putting an end to a pet’s suffering is akin to killing like you say. This is where my dilemma is. What if she needs to go through death naturally to reincarnate or to go some place? Putting her to sleep may not only disrupt that journey but the act of killing her (my child) is also a sin. What if the time is not yet for her to go but I prematurely end it for her?
    My girl (a mixed breed) was an emaciated stray with a bleeding leg (a car must have run over her) when I picked her up from the streets some 11 years ago. Initially went out to her with some food and she actually came and gave me a lick on my elbow. Despite her condition, she trusted me and had the most beautiful eyes. Her leg had indeed been broken at the knee and the vet had said that it was starting to fuse and if I wanted to correct it, he would have to break it again. I said no since the vet had assured me that this will not cause her pain or affect her hips. The area never truly heeled for 2 years (despite all sorts of creams and stitches; every time the skin closes, it would break again due to tension in the skin) until a skin graft was carried out by the vet and she had to stay at the clinic for 2 weeks She was estimated to be 2 years old then.
    She turned out to be a very loving dog albeit very shy and generally afraid of men for many years. Probably chased by people in all the time she was a stray. She is now 13-14 years old with a severe heart problem. She had a heart murmur for many years and was on medication for it. About 3-4 months ago, she had 2 fall/collapse episodes and the vet diagnosed that she had valvular disease. There is no treatment for the disease in my country, only medication to treat the symptoms. She had a stroke almost 2 months ago and she has since miraculously recovered to about 70% of her previous state except for head tilt and unbalanced at times. She started to lie down more and occasional coughing developed. Her body started to look distended and ribs were seen despite eating normally. Ascites had creeped in. Brought her to the vet last week for another echogram and this time prognosis is not good. Her body, lungs & now the heart is filling up with fluid despite increasing medications to drain fluid and to relieve pressure in the heart. The vet says she can go anytime now. The valve in the left atrium is hanging by ‘a piece of thread’, there is free flow of blood here and the right atrium is already filling up with blood.
    The vet says that the dog does not know she is going to die, nor is she suffering. Although she does not move very much now except to go to the toilet and to eat (which she is still doing), her demeanour is still alert and her eyes show no sign of tiredness nor pain. She greets me each time i return from work and in the morning, her tail is still wagging. I hope to God she dies painlessly and immediately in her sleep. The vet says if cardiac arrest occurs, death will be immediate but I worry that she may be gagging for breath before that occurs.

    • July 18, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      Angela Lee, I’m so sorry to read of what you and your little girl are going through. What you describe sounds as though she has little quality of life. She does sound ready to move on. I think most of us would want to help her make that transition. She may not be in pain but it sounds as though she is just existing for you. But, as you said, if your beliefs are that she needs to die without any help, then there is nothing to do but wait for her to crossover and hope that it is painless. My prayers are with you.

      • July 22, 2014 at 5:38 AM

        Thank you coniatthebeach for your prayers. My Girlie is still eating and pooping/peeing normally. She is still alert and at times wanting to play with the others. We are taking it a day at a time. Thank you once again. I feel I will do the right thing by her when the time comes…

  83. Chris
    July 19, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    I lost my sweet 13 yr old Maltese, Kobi, last year. He had suffered with Addison’s and Kidney disease for years, but controlled with medication. Finally there were almost daily fluid injections as the kidney disease advanced. I asked my vet how long he could go on like this. The answer was that is varies from months to a much shorter time and I will know when he is just too sick to go on. I left that day knowing my little guy was going to fight hard, as usual. But less than a month later he started showing increased symptoms and one day just stopped eating. He was miserable. When he wasn’t sleeping, he was sick to his stomach. In just a matter of days, the kidney disease took over and I knew the end was near. As I was holding him one day, he kept looking up at me right into my eyes, holding my gaze. I knew he was telling me it was time for him to go. It was a hard decision, but I know it was the right one. I’ll never forget the silent message he sent me with his big brown eyes and even today I tear up remembering that sad but sweet moment with my little Kobi.

  84. July 31, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    july 17 14 at 1:30 am
    My young cat walked over to me, and I held him, as he made a sigh of fear with a meow he could barely cough out. I held him close to me and told him I was there and everything is alright. The sadness about life is that we are all going to die. The best thing is to always have someone there to comfort and hold them. we are all twinkling lights that shine on in
    birth, life, and passing on.My sweet Keekee cat lives on. I don’t ever want to get a cat again..
    The trauma and sadness of losing a loved on is bad enough, this cat did not have a fighting chance. He lives on in my heart and memories. Love ya Keekee

    • Mel
      July 31, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      I am so very sorry for your loss Suzanne. I hope one day you will let another cat into your heart. There are so many with love to give sitting in shelters all across this country. How nice it would be if they had a human of their own to love. 🙂

  85. Eric
    August 5, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    It breaks my heart to say that I, along with my family, lost Iggy, our 11 and 1/2 year old English Bulldog. I still remember the day we first met him, he was a rescue dog who had come from a family who felt they could no longer support him. We got him at around 8 months old, and I was still a child at the time. I remember how excited I was on the day you came to our home, I can’t begin to describe the pure joy I experienced when you came jumping out of that car. You were there throughout my entire childhood; and I can’t thank you enough for that. When I was scared by noises during the night, I would look down at the bottom of my bed and see you, which comforted me to no end. You consoled with me when I was sad, and you became my best friend. You never cared about what was popular, who was “cool”, and what possessions you owned. You cared about our family, and you loved us as much as you possibly could. Whenever friends visited, you would bark at the door in jubilance and would rush to them like the energetic puppy that you were. You constantly stole shoes from our house guests in order to get a dog treat, which was one of your funniest things that you did. As you grew older, you slowed down and had a harder time with physical activities, but that never changed the way that you loved us. You slept more and more every day, but you still loved the occasional walks and lounging outside in the sun. In your final days, your arthritis grew to be too much, and you slept for the vast majority of the day, so I would find you sleeping under the bed and I would sit there with you to let you know how much we all loved you. When you couldn’t walk up the stairs anymore due to the pain, we would gladly carry you. On your final day, we took you out into the front yard for one last time. We sat together in the mulch, watching the sunset. At that moment, I knew that you were ready to cross that rainbow bridge and be with god, as well as your family again. I could tell by the look in your eyes, it was as if you said, “I’m ready, Eric. I love you all so much, I’m just finally ready”. That was such a comforting moment, but such a heartbreaking one. My entire family cried, saying our goodbyes while you were lifted into the car by my dad. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be with you in your last moments here on earth, but I just couldn’t bare to see you go, I was already too heartbroken. Iggy was placed on the table at the veterinarian office, and he sat down for one last time. His heart gave out before any needles were inserted; It was peaceful, he passed in his sleep right there on the table. I knew that you were telling the truth when you told me that you were ready to go. I knew you were holding on as long as you could, just so you could comfort us. To walk around my house without seeing or hearing you is heartbreaking, and I can’t begin to tell you how much we all miss you. We’re keeping all of your toys and favorite things, I know it would make you happy. It comforts me to know that you’re being taken care of in heaven, as you’re finally back to being the young puppy that you were, and finally pain-free. You’re finally up their with Daisy, Bailey, and the rest of your family, watching over us every day. You taught us all about unconditional love, and I can’t thank you enough for that. You were so much more than just a dog, you were our family member, my best friend, my puppy dog. I just want you to know that we all love you so much, and we’re always going to keep you in our hearts. I’m so sorry if you went through too much pain, I couldn’t stand the idea of you being hurt. We all needed you, and we couldn’t stand the idea of letting you go. We’re getting a beautiful urn made for your ashes, and you’ll finally be at home with us again soon. It’s so hard not to cry when I think about you, but I want you to know that nothing could ever replace the amazing times we had together. You were my best friend, and I know that we’ll all see eachother again in heaven one day. Until then, tell everyone up there that we said that we love them, and keep playing like the amazing puppy that you’ve always been. I love you so much, Igg, and I’ll see you again in heaven one day, I know it for a fact. I love you, never forget that, big guy.

    • Mel
      August 5, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      My deepest sympathies for the passing of Iggy. Your loving tribute moved me to tears, Iggy was one lucky dog. When he left this world he clearly had given you his whole heart and soul. May you find peace in knowing he was loved more than many dogs get the chance to feel. Godspeed Iggy.

      • Eric
        August 5, 2014 at 8:08 PM

        Thank you, I really appreciate the kind words. I’m doing my best to focus on the happier times we had with him, but, it’s so difficult. I find such comfort in thinking about how he’s up in heaven surrounded happily by the rest of his family. He will always be loved.

      • Mel
        August 5, 2014 at 8:33 PM

        I have no doubt that is exactly where he is or that he is surrounded by his loving family members. 🙂

    • coniatthebeach
      August 5, 2014 at 10:02 PM

      Thank you for sharing your heartwarming story of Iggy with us. Iggy was so lucky to have such a wonderful home and loving family who also knew when it was time to let him go. And you were so lucky to have almost eleven years with such a great companion. Our beloved pets touch our very souls so we feel that loss, that emptiness, from our deepest essence. You felt a unique bond with Iggy and that can never be taken away. He will be in your heart forever. God Bless you at this difficult time.

  86. Shirley
    August 13, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    We put our 8 year old maltese to sleep this week, she had a liver shunt, diabetes, she went blind and developed dementia and she got to where she was scared to move around we packed her from room to room and outside. If she did try and walk she would bump into something and startle herself. I knew she would never be cured and she took meds and insulin shots everyday. I thought I was doing what was best for her but I feel so guilty like I made a mistake and should have let her live longer. Now it is to late and I don’t know if I will ever feel any better about the decision we made.

    • August 13, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      I’m so sorry to read about what you and your little “girl” have gone through. From what you described, she had little quality of life and that is how we usually determine when it is time to let go. Did she have more bad hours than good hours in a day? It didn’t sound as though she had any joy except maybe your holding her and comforting her. You made a very brave decision to let her go where she is free from pain, confusion, darkness and fear. Her absence has created a deep void in your life because you loved her so much. I hope in time you will realize your decision was an expression of the ultimate act of love. God Bless you at this difficult time.

      • Shirley
        August 21, 2014 at 12:16 AM

        Thank you for your kind words. It has been a little over a week now without her and it is still very difficult. I think about her every day and miss her terribly.

  87. Rhiannon
    August 17, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    I am facing possibly saying goodbye to my beloved miniature pomeranian Tyler tomorrow – and its hard, because how do you know if its the right decision? I have had my fur baby for 16 years – since I was 12 – and its breaking my heart. Part of me hopes that the vet will reassure me that there are other options, but the reality is that he has been falling apart for years. It would be so much easier if he was in obvious pain, or if he had an incurable illness, but really, he’s just old. His bloodwork and internal organs are that of a much younger dog, which makes it hard. On the flip side, I’m sure now he has dementia, and the last few days he’s done nothing but lie in bed, not eating, not drinking. I did coax him into eating a few hot chips (his favourite) but I had to put them in his bed to convince him. He doesn’t seem to remember how to use his back legs anymore, and has trouble standing. He only has one eye that works, but I’m sure that his vision and hearing is failing. I’m not convinced that he knows who I am half the time. He has serious trouble pooping, to where he yelps in pain. He doesn’t seem to enjoy pats, or what used to be his favourite, belly rubs at all. He’s distanced himself, and never seems to want to sit with me, and has gone from sleeping on the end of my bed every night to wandering the house at night and sleeping in the lounge room. He seems to get lost all of the time. In the last week particularly, he seems to have gone downhill so much, but what if he is just having a bad week?

    I guess the trouble is that whilst I’m not convinced that he’s ‘happy’, I’m also not convinced that he’s miserable. What if I am thinking of this too early? What if some selfish part of me is thinking of this in response to the fact that he always ‘goes’ inside now, and its a bit of a bother? What if I go through with it and I live with the guilt forever? Reading through, I can see sometimes you just have to make the choice, but I don’t know if I can bear it.

    Wish me luck at the vets in the morning, hopefully I’m just overreacting at the thought of losing my little furry companion.

    • Mel
      August 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      I am so terribly sorry. I know that questioning process well. It is so hard to know when. A reader, Coni, shared a nice piece that I have now posted at the end of this post to help people make the most difficult decision to say goodbye. I hope it will help you. My friend Edie went through this same thing when her Frankie got doggie dementia. I am providing her blog link here in hope that it will also provide you some information: http://willmydoghateme.com/end-of-pet-life/the-frankie-diaries-923-whose-quality-of-life

      Whatever you decide to do, I want you to know how hard I know it is and that you are not alone. I am so sorry you are having to make this difficult decision.

      • Rhiannon
        August 17, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        Thanks Mel for the kind words. In the end the choice was easy to make, I think I knew it was coming so I was lucky in that I spent his last night with him sleeping on the couch. My baby Tyler passed about an hour ago and I am heartbroken. He had lost 25% of his body weight, his heart rate was down from 160bpm to 100bpm and he was so weak he couldnt hold himself up anymore. The vet said if we’d left it another 24 hours his heart probably would have given out on its own, and IV fluids would only be a very temporary relief. I held him as he passed.

        I honestly dont know how to go on without him, he was my fuzzy little constant in a very changeable world. My only solace is that the vet said it was the best thing for him.

      • Mel
        August 17, 2014 at 7:58 PM

        Oh Rhiannon, I am so sorry. I think that was his way if telling you that he was ready. I am so so sorry for your pain. I know what you mean. They are so much a part of our lives and routines, that when they are gone we are so lost. Praying you find peace in knowing how much he loved you and knew he was loved so much. I will be saying a little prayer for both of you.

  88. Chris
    September 15, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    I have 2 jack Russells. One is blind and the other one is 15 and old. Today me and my mum had to make the decision to put him to sleep as over the weekend he was being sick and today he wasn’t moving out of his bed and was so lethargic. It’s so sad to not have him here anymore. I hope my other dog doesn’t notice as he’s blind.

    • September 15, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      Chris, I’m so sorry for your loss. You made a wise and brave decision to let him go. I’m sure you will miss him terribly and, although your other dog is blind, I expect he sensed the presence of the other dog and felt comfort from his companionship. As you grieve for the one you lost, you may want to give extra attention and love to the one left behind. He may show signs of grief as well. God Bless You at this difficult time.

    • Mel
      September 18, 2014 at 6:49 AM

      I am so sorry Chris. It is always so hard to say goodbye and make that decision to let them go. I agree with Coni, I think your blind little guy may need a little extra loving. My condolences for your loss.

  89. October 8, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    I wish I found this post and the article you shared above earlier. I had to put my pomeranian to sleep months ago and it was such a difficult, difficult decision. Thoughts of “what if”s and “maybe later?” kept flashing in my mind. I felt so guilty. I kept thinking we would have had more years to spend together…why is this happening?

    Even now, nearly 7 months later, I still think of him a lot. I still look at his photos, eyes watering, bittersweet feelings swimming in my mind. I can’t help but picture our last moment together, petting his soft fur, hoping to comfort and reassure him that everything was ok when my heart was crumbling. I still remember the blank stare when all life was taken out of him…

    If you were to ask me if my dog said goodbye, I would have answered no back then. I didn’t want to accept the fact that he was going to leave so soon. But now that my mind is cleared, yes, I think he knew. Looking back, when we went to see him at the doctor’s on his last day, he didn’t even want to look at us. He sat near the back of his cage, hiding behind shadows. We called his name, but he wouldn’t even glance at us. So now I know…that he was ready to say goodbye. 😦

    Thank you so much for this post. Losing a friend when his life is in your hands…it hurts so badly.

    • Mel
      October 8, 2014 at 6:59 AM

      I am so very sorry for your loss. Yes, it is hard to see they are saying goodbye when you are so heartbroken. I know that I have had the same struggle. I hope you feel more at peace with your decision. I know it is not an easy one. It sounds like your dog really was saying goodbye.

  90. October 19, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    I don’t know if this thread is still active, but in the event it is, I am struggling right now with putting a dog to sleep. I have had her for a month, a beautiful chocolate lab. Her owner died of cancer and I promised him I would take care of her. She is 13 1/2, the right side of her face is just cancer/rotten flesh. She paws at it constantly. When I first brought her home she would follow me everywhere and eat like a pig and chase my cats and bark at my birds. Now she just lays around and wants me to rub her belly. I am struggling to get her to eat, but she will eat some. Her breathing seems a little erratic, I don’t know how she sleeps peacefully with cancer invading her body and her face always sore and bleeding. But I don’t know if I should put her to sleep. I have never had a dog before, not ever. Everyone says look at the quality of her life. I don’t know if she is suffering a lot. I think she should join her daddy in heaven, but I feel tremendous guilt if I let her go too soon. What if I am doing this for selfish reasons, because I am always cleaning up blood and washing rugs and towels. She went for a walk this morning, but she walks slow. Oh my gosh, I just keep praying for some magic answer to tell me it is time. I think it is time, then she perks up some. I don’t know if I ever will forgive myself if I put her to sleep too soon. Oh, she vomited this morning too. I will never own an animal, this is beyond painful. I will never promise again to take someone’s pet. It is hard to believe I could fall in love and become so attached in one month. I just cry all the time. I don’t even know what I am saying, I am just rambling. Searching the Internet for answers that are not there.

    • October 19, 2014 at 5:24 PM

      I’m sorry for all you have had to deal with in taking on the responsibility of your friend’s dog. From your descriptions, it sounds like she is in pain from the cancer on her face; also she is showing signs of “shutting down” by slowing down and by not having interest in eating on her own. These are usually the signs we interpret as their way of saying “it is time to go”. I think she should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible but I think you will find he/she will recommend that the dog be put out of her misery. It is not an easy decision and many of us have had to make it. It is usually determined by quality of life and, frankly, she doesn’t have much quality of life, although you have done everything possible to make her last month comfortable and full of love. And that is what you promised your friend. Letting her go to a place where she has no pain is really an act of caring. I’m sure you will make the right decision. God Bless You at this difficult time.

  91. October 19, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    Thank you for your kind reply. After I made this post, I made an appointment tomorrow morning too see the vet and put her down. I will take her on one last walk in the grass in the morning if she wants to go. It is so hard, but It is time for her to see her dad. So heartbreaking, but oddly enough having made the decision, I feel more at peace. God bless you for taking the time to comfort me.

  92. Sunshine
    October 20, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    God Bless You for taking this sweet pup. You have done everything to make her comfortable. Also honored your commitment to a friend. One of my biggest worries is if I should pass, who will take care of my precious fur children. They never live long enough, yet bring such joy when they are here with us.

  93. October 21, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Sunshine, I put Sadie to sleep yesterday. It was such a difficult decision to make but I knew she was in pain and the cancer was spreading. We had a great morning and I cried a lot but she went peacefully and with love. I have to believe she is with her daddy now. The house is just so empty. I don’t think she told me it was time though as this thread states. I never had a dog, I wasn’t reading the signs – dogs just wag their tail and live for the moment and follow you around. Yet she was in pain, she kept panting even at rest which is why I brought her in. Sunshine, plan now for your babies and write down your desires. Find people who will agree to love your animals and care for them if something happens. It will give you great peace of mind. I miss Sadie so much. So much love in such a small (well not so small) package. My heart goes out to all of you who have lost an animal. The pain and emptiness is so hard.

    • Sunshine
      October 21, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      Sometimes they LOVE us so much they hold on for us. I’ve had dogs I knew were in horrific pain and yet they kept trying so hard just to spend more time with me. Wendy, my sister is in charge of my animals if something happens to me. The problem now is when I asked, I had two dogs and a cat. Currently I have six dogs and a cat.

  94. November 23, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Hi I’m certain my little Kelpie X only the father knows Megs is holding on for my sake,she was born 1995 before the launch of windows 95 before megabites became very popular as a word, she is 19yo and 4 months now, 11- 2014 and has her good days and her not so good days,She has spent everyday of her life with me, sleeps on her own bed in my room, I chose her as a pup at 20 minutes old as it was my mates dog who had pups, I never patted or played with the other pups and formed a good bond on smell.just knew that was my kindred spirit. Sort of knew her markings, She has NEVER been sick, or on tablets, apart from ear and eye minor stuff mainly from swimming and water in the ear and conjunctivitis,the vet said she had a heart murmur as a pup and would be lucky to make it to 5, she used to run around like a maniac so figured its not a problem, after some years the murmur went, Now she is 19 yo and like a little old lady the tail still wags not as fast, she eats drinks walks , I carry her half way and she walks back home, if she struggles carry her ,but 8 of 10 days she walks say 500meters, sleeps most of the day. Has been nearly deaf since 12yo still hears a whistle though,we walk every day, I worked it out we have gone from Sydney to Western australia 4000km 8 times that was up until 16yo have not counted since, her athritis is not bad, always kept her off tiles and cement always fed raw meet never cooked, dogs cant cook, either can I for that matter and I always fed her cat food rich in omega 3 mainly fish,
    It is doing my head in just thinking about putting my best mate to sleep, Its like deciding to chop my own arm off. I keep saying ive given her the best life possibl but dont want my emotions or Megs emotions to cloud the decision, or her or my health, Yes it has had an alarming effect on my health, Depression is a bastard, she was a big help in treating that. trying to reason is it time is doing my head in, There is not pill for a broken heart and I’ll deal with that in time, I look back on how she was in videos, The decline in her over the last year has been fast, no cancer, and think how can you tell when its time to call the vet, I got some answers here which aim grateful for. like if she is eating and drinking thats enough of a reason but is it, quality of life ,the 5 things list, she will tell you, she has adapted and is doing her best to be in a routine She will let you know if she wants to go out to do a wee most of the time, she is nearly blind with cateracts, but is good at night, Ive adabted for her and walk at night pretty sure she lines the street lights up. But also after walking that route for 19 years she knows where she is, My main concern is I dont want her to suffer ,but Im sure she is hangin in there for me,as she has been a little mother to me. Still has to like my arm every day, She may not be able to see and the vet advised against surgury because of her age, 16 then but she is defanatly in the dreamworld from her animated dreams, legs move and barks, this is why I think she wets the bed sometimes, that bit of grass needed graffiting.
    Mabe she will make it to 20yo but each day is a gift, that my little mates still here.
    She is not in pain, just old, a bit forgetfull like I wanted to go outside for a pee and stands ther for 10 minutes thinking about it, and another 10 deciding where is the exact spot to graffiti. At 4am I think what am I doing.
    This is an old thread and probably no one will read this, but its helped me just writing this out, In the future I can look back at this post and it might help

    • November 23, 2014 at 9:57 PM

      Many of us have gone through the stages of an aging pet and have had to make the difficult decision of when to say goodbye – not wanting the pet to be in any pain or discomfort but also not wanting to part before it is necessary. You are the best judge of her quality of life. You state that you feel she is holding on for your sake, yet you mention that she still walks with you each day, her arthritis isn’t bad and she isn’t in any pain. If it is just her partial blindness, her deafness and a bit of dementia you are concerned about, that is all part of being an older dog. But if her bad days outnumber her good days or her bad hours outnumber her good hours in a day, then it is a good indication that it is time to free her from the discomfort. If she loses interest in eating, it is normally a sign, especially at such an advanced age. If she cannot get up and down easily from a sitting and lying position, she is probably uncomfortable. It sounds as though you have given her an incredible life and she is one lucky pup. You and Megs have a special bond that cannot be taken away. Even after she is gone, she will live in your heart forever. I wish you wonderful times with the time you have remaining, courage to make the decision when it is time and peace knowing that it is with love that we say goodbye.

  95. Kathy Lynch
    November 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    My dog and best bud for 13 years did indeed tell us it was time. The look of fear and sadness. And he would climb up my husband’s chest and look at him like “please do something! ” He had pain from arthritis. He had lost his appetite. He no longer had any joy. I have had animals all my life, but had never experienced one telling me his time had come. But I am so glad he did. He made our decision a little easier, though it was still hard to do, and I miss him so much. He was such a loyal companion to me, walking through some very hard times with me, so in return, I helped him through his difficult time. I held him until he took his last breath. I have other dogs. But I think there will only be one Barnaby. I miss you, little guy.

    • November 29, 2014 at 7:08 AM

      Thanks for sharing your story of Barnaby with us. What a special little guy. Such a hard decision made easier because he had a way of telling you. What a special bond you two had. God Bless You.

  96. Mikey
    November 29, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    Yesterday I said goodbye to my 16 year old amstaff. I have had this fellow since he was a little pup. Stone (Winston) was my best mate, we lived a wonderful life together with his buddy bella (Dalmatian cross). About 6 months ago we noticed he was slowing down more than normal for an old dog. X-rays indicated he had spodilosys of the vertebrae in his lower back and had started limping on one of his hind legs, all the cartlidge around his vertebrae had calcified and he was having stability issues. We began treating him with steroids and tramedol and he was much better alert and happy, however I still felt that something more was going on, he seems to have lost his ‘spark’ , further tests identified suspected motor-neurone related desease over the last few months as a result of this nerve related issue he was unable to lift his head (this didn’t stop him though, just walked around with his head down) he began to lose muscle tone and body weight he went from 35kg to 23kg in a matter of weeks even though he was still eating and drinking. The last fortnight things started to turn bad. Every night he would wet the bed , struggled to eat and didn’t drink a lot. We were visiting the vet once a week(for the last month or so) and agreed that he whilst he wasn’t in any pain, his quality of life was very diminished and that it was time to make a decision. I could see he wasn’t happy but laboured over this probably longer than I should have. In the end I couldn’t make a rational decision so the decision I made was to go with whatever advice the vet gave. We booked him in to see the vet yesterday morning before going we cuddled and cried together he tried to follow me into the yard but could only make a few steps before falling down I picked him up in my arms and carried him to the car, told him it was ok and that I loved him. We got to the vets and I knew what the right thing to do was, when the time came though I had to leave the room I couldn’t watch, so I waited outside. Afterwards I went in and held him closed his eyes and said goodbye.
    I feel so blessed to have had this boy in my life he gave me nothing but love. I feel I let him down as I wasn’t in the room in his final moment and that I maybe didn’t make the decision to let him go earlier caused him some pain.
    The tears are still fresh, we are lucky though to have our other girl, just pray she doesn’t pine to much as she has known no other her entire life.
    I will see you again my friend one day, I am sorry if I caused you any anguish , know that were loved and always will be xx

    • coniatthebeach
      December 1, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      I’m so sorry to read of the recent loss of your best mate. It sounds as though he was ready to go but you certainly made every effort over the last six months to keep his discomfort to a minimum. So many of us have had second thoughts afterwards about whether we should have done something sooner. But saying goodbye is one of the hardest things we have to face; we keep trying to ease their disabilities and look for those moments of joy from them. The two of you had a special bond; I’m sure he felt your love even if you weren’t there in his final moments. We lost our little dog a year ago after 16 years. It felt as though she had been a part of our lives forever; the void was immense. Time has helped but I still miss her terribly. Cuddle with Bella even more now; she’ll need it too. Time will help you and someday you will see Stone again. God Bless You at this difficult time.

      • mikey
        December 2, 2014 at 12:24 AM

        Thankyou for your kind words. It is comforting to know that others have gone through the same thing. I’m sure time will heal, I will never forget though. Getting over the guilt is the hardest part for me. All I can see is his face looking at me whilst we were waiting in the clinic I saw in his eyes and he looked at me and I saw some recognition for the first time in months, he looked like the puppy he was and it is killing me. I know it was the loving thing to do but cant help second guessing myself, should I have done more, why didn’t I spend more time with him ( I work a lot, like we all do these days), why did I get cranky with him sometimes, was I a good ‘pack leader’. I wish there was some way we could talk so I can know he is safe , happy and had a good life with us. He has left such a massive void, more than I ever realised.

  97. David
    December 17, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    When my 15 year old could no longer squat to do her business I knew it was time to let her go. That was very painful.

  98. nicole
    December 25, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    I have an 8yom Brittany who suffered 4 pelvic fractures 4 years ago. I knew that arthritis was inevitable. What I was not prepared for was it being this soon and this severe. My dogs quality of life is horrible. This dog was a search dog and is my best friend and business partner. He only walks on 3 legs, he can’t stand up without asssitance, he tends to fal down the stairs and it’s breaking not only my heart but my familys heart as well. My vet visit didnt go as expected as I was told I needed to provide advanced arthritis aides such as laser treatments and indoor swimming and a massage therapist. We cannot afford these options. As much as I love my dog I need to love him enough to do right by him. Is my vet right? Am I doing too little? Constantly providing drugs just doesnt seem fair!

    • December 26, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      I can only imagine your frustration and concern over your Brittany. I don’t have any easy answers but I would consider getting at least one more vet’s opinion, particularly a vet who specializes in orthopedic problems, and explain that you are not in a position to spend a lot of money for extreme measures, but you want to relieve him of his discomfort in the most efficient way possible. There is a lot of information online that might be helpful, such as how you can provide the therapeutic massage to your dog. If he has arthritis, then drugs are inevitable to keep him more comfortable. I hope someone else has other ideas for you. I wish you the best in your ongoing care of your best friend. We never want to see them in any kind of pain. God Bless You.

    • Mel
      December 29, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      Coni is so right. I would get another vet’s opinion. Also, has anyone suggested laser treatments? I have heard amazing things. The last thing to check out is gene therapy. They are now finding that introducing healthy genes into dogs with arthritis is helping in ways they never expected. http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/2013/06/veterinary-highlights-study-to-relieve.html

  99. January 1, 2015 at 5:58 PM

    Reblogged this on ZeroBites Dog Training and commented:
    Its a hard decision to make, when to say goodbye.

  100. Carol Thompson
    January 23, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    I had an approx. 16 yr old male poodle/shih-Tzu mix who could not hear or see, had “doggie dementia” & was having mobility problems. he did not seem to be in pain, was not losing weight, but slept most of the time. I had told him to let me know when he was “done”. One morning I woke up & he was laboring to breathe, had a rapid heart rate, could not stand up & then started having seizures. The stress was evident on his sweet little face. I believe he had a stroke & I believe that was his sign to me. I called the mobile vet the next day. she confirmed my “diagnosis” & medicated him to let him slip peacefully away in my arms in my living room.

    • January 26, 2015 at 9:10 AM

      You were fortunate to have a sign from your little guy that it was the right time; also, that he didn’t really suffer pain until the end. It still doesn’t make it any easier on the owner to say goodbye to your best friend and companion. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  101. Jenny
    January 26, 2015 at 1:27 PM

    My beloved 11 year old Cavalier King Charles spaniel passed away yesterday. It was the most stressful decision I have ever made and I still am in shock that it happened only 24 hours ago.

    I got Emma when I was 23 and now I’m 34. We spent my entire early adulthood together. She worked in 3 different offices with me, she went to parties, doggie daycare, we walked all over town and made friends at dog runs across the city.

    Emma was diagnosed with a severe heart murmur a year and a half ago, then with Congestive Heart Failure a year ago. She started on 2 prescriptions, then up to 5, and it was stressful and expensive, but worth it because she was active, eating, rambunctious, silly and full of life. There were slight declines here and there, then plateaus, then little boosts, but I watched her every little move. She was a picky eater, so I gave her what she wanted, I carried her up and down the stairs when she was tired, she had to urinate all the time so she just went on peepee pads in that bathroom until I got home, she had accidents on the couch after a coughing episode, but I just cleaned it and inevitably let her jump back up. I just wanted her to be happy (and I couldn’t say no)!

    Last Tuesday night she fainted and that was the beginning of the end. She stopped eating, her coughing was worse, there was blood in her urine, she just lay there on the floor breathing so rapidly her entire body shook. If i pet her she would get excited then start coughing, and was very disoriented. I knew it was over when when I said her name, but she didn’t respond. Maybe one tail wag, one glance.

    I wasn’t ready to let go. I wanted her to pass on with dignity and with light in her eyes. I feel so guilty that it might have been too soon, but I know it’s because I wasn’t ready…or was it too soon?! I spent all of Saturday and Sunday morning with her, then everything happened so fast. I wanted the vet to talk me out of it. I knew that it wouldn’t be more than a couple days, maybe a week. How could I ask Emma for more when she looked at me so withdrawn, weak, struggling to breath; still there, but ready to go? I wasn’t ready.

    Emma passed away peacefully in my arms. I stayed with her after. I think I made the right decision, but it’s so hard and I miss her.

    • January 26, 2015 at 5:49 PM

      I am so sorry to read of the loss of your Emma. So many of us have had to make that decision and I can tell you, we are never ready. You know in your heart that day will come and you hope that you can handle it but when it does, it is about the hardest decision we ever have to make. You mentioned that you had hoped she still would have a light in her eyes, but if she had, you would most likely have questioned your decision to let her go even more. From what you described, she was very uncomfortable and probably in pain. When a dog has trouble breathing, it gets frightened and you would not have wanted to prolong those conditions. You had 11 wonderful years together and you were with her until her last breath. You’ve demonstrated how much you loved her by freeing her from her ailments. Think of her as running free of pain, breathing like a pup, acting rambunctious and full of life once again because you cared so much for her. May you find peace from your memories. God Bless you at this most difficult time.

    • Deb
      January 26, 2015 at 6:04 PM

      So sorry for your loss. My Morkie died in March, and I am still missing her like crazy. I can cry just reading your story…I ended up getting a puppy, knowing I’d have to make this decision again some day…so sad. Thinking of you. Deb

    • Jenny
      January 27, 2015 at 12:37 AM

      Thank you both for your responses. After having the day to think and talk my feelings through, I know I made the right decision. It’s just that the last 4 days went by so quickly. I spent all day Saturday with her and Sunday morning, but somehow they feel like a blur, so I am trying to hold onto every last, little memory. I just hope that everything I did made her feel loved and that she wasn’t scared.

      Emma still had some light in her eyes just before we left for the vet and she wagged her tail for a moment. I was in denial about what was happening, but going through the motions because I knew what I had to do for her. If I didn’t, I would be so selfish. I wasn’t ready, but what are a few more days when she’s suffering? When we were in the car she just looked at me and I knew. It was her time.

      Now I keep pretending I see her around my apartment, and I keep talking to her because we had our routines and little cues and nicknames. She was a precious gift and I am so thankful she was mine. She is in heaven playing with all the other angel pups.

      Thank you again for your kind words.

  102. Susan
    February 4, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    I just lost my 9 year old Bernese Mountain Dog this morning…my beloved Leo. Today was going to be the day we were going to have to make the dreaded visit the vet, as he stopped eating his dog food 5 days ago and stopped eating ALL food – even his favorites – chicken and bananas! – 24 hours ago. I knew the time had come. He knew it too. He actuallly wouldn’t come to me or my husband when we called him these last two days.He just wanted to stay outside and lay in his yard with his canine brother Jack. Normally Leo would sleep on the living room couch and Jack would sleep on our bedroom floor, but the last couple of nights neither dog would come inside.I checked on him this morning at 4:20 am and he was laying there in the grass, just looking out over his big backyard, and waiting for it to snow – his favorite past-time! I knocked on the kitchen window and he turned his head to me. I said, “Good Morning, my sweet Leo… how are you doing today?” Just a short time later, he was gone. My prayers were answered in that he went peacefully in his yard, with his brother by his side. We picked him up (all 112 pounds of him!), cried into his thick beautiful fur and said good-bye to the smartest, sweetest dog I’ve ever known. Every time I played the piano, he would come jump on his couch and listen to his very own private concert – for hours. He would never get up unless I was done playing. My heart is broken. All that being said, I think that sometimes they do let you know. Leo NOT coming to us when we called or opening the back door to let himself in the house was his sign to us. Until the last couple of days, our 9 year old Bernie acted like a 9 month old puppy! I had to have a vet put my first dog down after a 2 month battle with cancer and my only solace this time is that my Leo went on his terms and I didn’t have to see that needle go into that sweet paw that stepped on my toes more times than I can count. I think I might’ve had a nervous breakdown if I had to witness that with this particular dog. I still have my beautiful malamute Jack and we will run today and every day in honor of my dear, sweet Leo, my soulmate and the love of life. I will love you forever!

    • coniatthebeach
      February 4, 2015 at 8:07 PM

      I’m so sorry to hear of Leo’s passing; he sounds like a really special dog. Our dear pets give us unconditional love and when they are gone the void is immense. They touch our very souls, so we feel that loss, that emptiness, from our deepest essence. Fortunately Leo passed peacefully without you having to make that decision for him. I’m sure Jack will feel the loss as well. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you can find comfort from the many good memories and the wonderful life you and Leo gave to each other. God Bless you at this very difficult time.

    • Mel
      February 4, 2015 at 8:19 PM

      Susan, I am so very sorry for your loss. Your words were a beautiful tribute of love to Leo. He clearly was much loved. I am glad he got to leave on his terms and you did not have to make the heartbreaking decision to take him in. That has always been one of the hardest things for me – every single time. I cannot imagine the pain his loss brings, but my hear is with yours tonight. I pray that Leo runs with you and Jack in spirit. Godspeed Leo.

  103. Vicki
    March 15, 2015 at 2:28 PM

    Our 8yr old Golden Retriever, Ozzy, passed away with us all by his side in December. With our other two dogs I’d never felt that they let me know when they needed to go, but with Ozzy it was clear to me from that early morning he was ready. Three years previously he’d been diagnosed with renal failure, we’d been managing it well with tablets and a regulated diet but two weeks before he died he went downhill and never perked back up again. He stopped eating about two days before the end, and the last day he wouldn’t touch even an ounce of water, not even an ice cube (which he had previously loved to snack on!).
    I used to lie on the kitchen floor with him at eye level and let him lick my nose, and that morning was no different, though as soon as I got down to his level he gave me one of his paws and literally stared right through me with sunken eyes. He’d never looked at me that way before. It broke my heart. I believe he was asking to go, but it wasn’t my decision to make, it was my dad’s decision and every piece of him was going to try one last thing before admitting defeat. Though I believe he should have made the decision sooner, you’d never understand just how much my dad loved that dog. December 6th, my mum called the vet, it was a Saturday but they would make a house call in this special occasion (Ozzy was well loved by all who knew him), they gave us a 45min window to get everything sorted out. Ozzy passed away in his bed, on a new mattress I’d bought him for an early Christmas present, 20mins later.
    It was peaceful, he just slipped away, but I wouldn’t wish watching a beloved pet die on my worst enemy. Witnessing his last breath was indescribable, he’d left a huge hole in our family, one that won’t be filled for some time.
    Despite all this, I do believe he’s still here (another thing I’m not sure I believed in till it happened to me) the other week I was bringing the horses in one evening (something he liked to accompany me with on a regular basis) and on two separate ocassions I felt pressure on my leg just above my knee, right where he used to poke me with his nose when he thought he deserved a treat. It wasn’t spooky or creepy, it was just something I knew to be his thing, and it makes me smile. It’s awfully hard going forwards, for all of us, but those little moments make me realise how lucky I was to have known him and how honoured I was to have had him in my life. Sweet dreams Ozzy x

    • Mel
      March 15, 2015 at 10:04 PM

      I am so sorry for your loss Vicki. How fortunate he was to have you all there for him as he passed. Clearly he spoke to you.
      I also believe he is with you now. I think our pets let us know they are okay once they have passed. How lovely that Ozzy has done that for you too. What a loved dog.

  104. maddieshae
    March 17, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    I used to think that the idea of your pet “telling you” that it was time was just something owners say to comfort themselves. However, a few months ago when it came time to put my dog of about 10 years down, I realized that he was telling us it was time. We knew he had arthritis, but what we didn’t know is that he had a tumor in his hip. He would gnaw at that hip of the leg attached to it because it was completely numb and he could not feel it. It got to the point where nothing could get him out of bed and he would just stare at us with sad eyes. It was extremely difficult to put him down, but when a dog is suffering as much as he was and is trying to tell you that it’s time for them to go, it has to be done. I wish he was still here, but at least I can take comfort knowing that he is in a better place and is no longer in pain. I think dogs do tell us, or try to tell us, when it is time. I don’t know about other animals, but I know dogs do, at least in my experience. I think it’s just a matter of whether or not we realize they are trying to talk to us.

  105. Emily Atkinson
    April 23, 2015 at 11:49 PM

    I just put my chihuahua sandi down after over 2 yrs of keeping her healthy due to heart failure. My last 8 months give or take consisted of working endless hours to come home just to be with her and my other chihuahua Bill. She suffered from back problems so I built a ramp to get on bed. She had a collapsed trach, then her heart enlarged and as of two weeks ago today she was on 16 pills a day. She was my love and my life and even my kids say I loved her more than them!!! Lol. Hum. Putting her down was the most traumatic ordeal because she received nitro glycerin days earlier. We spent the last evening in bed with Elvis aloha on tv and Mango candle lit as well as another light that changed different shades if soft blues. We talked we cried and layed in bed what seemed like days. She lifted her head and just licked me like the past, which surprised me because she even stopped with the kisses in past weeks. So after few minutes of our lil kisses she just layed back down. We must of fallen asleep around 5 am because around 7:30 I awoke to her just whining that I’ve become so used to. I called my kids and said I think it may be time. Long story short she fought tooth and nail in Dr office but again with all the candles and my perfume on her with lights out we said our goodbyes. I just brought her ashes home today because it took me a week to get the strength to go and finalize it. Getting her cedar box and setting it on my lap driving home gave me some peace. As I’m writing this I’m in tears not so peaceful. This is just as bad as losing my mom 18 yrs ago When I was only 36. But, sandi gave me those last yummy kisses and we both new it……….RIP LIL GIRL….

    • April 26, 2015 at 7:25 AM

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry to hear of your loss of Sandi. Losing your best friend is something many of us have gone through and, as you said, it is the hardest thing. Know that she is in a better place and no longer has those difficulties she has been dealing with these last two years. You made the decision out of your love, but isn’t it special that she told you it was time . . . what a bond you two had. She will be in your heart forever. God Bless You at this difficult time.

  106. yaminah millares
    April 27, 2015 at 10:12 AM

    It makes me really sad reading these posts because I wish my baby could last as long as some of these pets. My Bella is 5 going to be 6 very soon, she was diagnosed with pancreatitis last yeat and was very ill. She is so strong that a week at the vet she was doing better. Than again the beginning of this year she has been sick a lot started with throwing up, but it progressively got worse almost every day, with blood, and her throwing up was scary she would do it like 3 times and it would seem as if she was choking. With a million vet visits, different opinions, ER, got to the point where watee would make her throw up, she was even pooping black, her appetite would lessen, she was so calm, changing diet, they did an exploratory biopsy where the doctors found a huge ulcer in her stomach which they thought was the problem. Sadly, when our results came back from the lab I was in shock with the devastating news that it was highly graded lymphosarcoma, they send out for the stomach so I still don’t know how advanced it is. Bella is the only happiness in my life, she is a black lab/ german shephard we love each other so much, I spend my days off walking her, just relaxing with my baby. Now I find out tomorrow how advanced it is and since she is so young to start chemo on her. But I am just heartbroken because she doesn’t want to eat, she just follows me and lays down wherever I go, her energy level decreased 75 percent, she has lost so much weight, and she throws up if she eats to fast, the only thing she does is drink water. I am sad because I wish I could keep her for another 10 years, and enjoy her more, I never had anyone love me so much, even in her painful days she gets so happy to see me, she follows me wherever I go. This is so hard for me, I have never been through this.

    • April 28, 2015 at 7:49 AM

      What a horrible thing for you and Bella to go through. It is so hard for us to see our best friend suffering and not enjoying life. So sad that it took so long to discover the real problem. I hope the treatment will not be so stressful and the prognosis will be promising. The vet should be able to give her something to help with her appetite and keep up her strength. They are doing amazing recoveries these days and my wish is that Bella will be one of those. You may be able to find online other pet owners who have had dogs with lymphosarcoma and endured the chemo and now have happy, “healthy” dogs in remission. My prayers are with you. Please let us know her progress.

  107. Michelle
    May 18, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    I’m so conflicted. I have had to make this decision once before. My dog, Calvin, had osteosarcoma in his upper jaw. His prognosis was 2-4 months without treatment, which is the decision I took. I wanted his last few months to have as much quality as possible. Months passed, and then a year. He still showed no progressive signs that the cancer was spreading. Another six months and there it was – the blood on the tennis ball. We removed more of the mass and it then quickly spread up his face. It was the day he couldn’t push the door open with his nose that I decided. He was still eating like a horse, jumping around the house and chasing tennis balls with amazing force. But I finally realized how much pain he was in. Now my 13 yr. old newfie/retriever mix, Sampson…arthritis is his ailment. He’s still getting up, quite frequently too because he follows me everywhere around the house. But sometimes, he has to push so hard to get up, a small nugget of poop comes out. He still eats with an awesome appetite, drinks plenty of fluids and is always excited when I walk through the door. Tail is always wagging. But he can’t run and even swimming will have him limping for the rest of the day. His stride is all over the place, very unstable. I’m considering often, this decision I have to make and when. I don’t want Sam to get to the point he can’t get up, or won’t eat, or isn’t happy to see me. But am I making the decision too soon if I do before he gets to those stages? I don’t want him to suffer, but I don’t want to take away more happy days he could spend.

    • May 19, 2015 at 8:22 AM

      I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through with Sam. It sounds like you have answered your question by explaining that you don’t want to let go too soon. The vet should be able to give you medication to help with arthritis pain which may help him with mobility. There are also ways to get glucosamine and chondroitin into his system (pills, biscuits, food) and hyaluronic acid in liquid form is available online; these products can be very helpful to his joints even at his age. The fact that he is still eating well means that he is not stressed. It is a difficult decision to make but if he still has quality of life to most of his days then you may want to wait until that changes or until he tells you. It is never easy, as you know. Cherish every moment with him.

      • Michelle
        May 19, 2015 at 9:36 AM

        Thank you so much for your kind reply. I do cherish every moment – can’t get enough of kisses and belly rubs. He’s my angel! He has been medicated on NSAID’s for two years and pain reliever for the last year, and has responded very well to the meds without side effects. But we’re at a stage where neither medication can be increased. It’s hard to watch the decline and I’m having to assist him more and more in getting up lately. Thank you again for the reply – it means a lot to me!

  108. NetScanr
    June 1, 2015 at 10:09 PM

    My Sugar, a sweet Black-Lab mix crossed-over yesterday morning very peacefully. She survived Hemangiosarcoma for 18 months! When I woke up at 3am with her panting in a way that seemed more than from heat, and when I offered treats and said ‘car’ and she didn’t budge, it was time to go to the emergency vet hospital. So my perspective is it isn’t usually what they tell you but what they don’t tell you and/or HOW. Be sure to go to a vet that uses a 2-drug process, with Propohol being the first. Anyone who has ever had an Endoscopy or other outpatient procedure will tell you that you get a pleasant buzzing sensation for a second or 2 and then its “Lights Out”. As things were being prepared in another room, I knelt-down on the floor and was petting Sugar, telling her how much I loved her, gazed into her pretty eyes and gave her hugs. I asked for kisses and she gave me several deliberate long kisses. That’s when I knew without doubt that we both agreed that it was time. When the vet came in to let me know things were ready, I told her we should start. I was still kneeling on the floor, eye-level with my sweet girl. Dogs pick up on OUR emotions and distress, and prolonging the inevitable does no good for your dog or you. I kept petting Sugar’s soft head and talking to her, as she rested her chin on my hand. I gazed into her pretty eyes intently, and Sugar gazed back as intently. She didn’t get distracted by the vet inserting the needle into the catheter. As the vet slowly gave her the Propophol, Sugar’s eyes closed partially and I knew then she had drifted off into peaceful sleep. I made sure I was the last person/thing she saw. The vet waited about a minute before giving her the heart-stopping drug. It took almost a minute for Sugar’s heart to stop, so DON’T EVER let a vet tell you a single-drug approach is good, because that is NOT the truth!

    • June 14, 2015 at 9:23 PM

      Thank you for this information …I will remember this when it is time for my pet to cross…she too has been panting lately and I think that her mammary tumors, although they were removed, cells have metastasized to her lymph glands…I dread this so much but it is good to know there is a humane way to let them go in peace

      • Mel
        June 17, 2015 at 6:28 AM

        I am so sorry you are going through this now Krysty. Praying you have a peaceful goodbye when it is time. It is never easy.

  109. June 14, 2015 at 9:17 PM

    my 13 yo female cocker survived 2 mammary tumor surgeries and now I believe is deaf and sometimes looks confused…the other day she wandered into the road and has never done that before….I always let her out in the morning and and does her thing and always comes right back…I started calling for her and did not see any sign of her in our yard. I heard some commotion and voices on our road so I ran down the drive to see what was going on hoping that she didn’t get hit by a car. I was relieved to see two gardeners walking her back toward me…they called the vet, who gave them my address, ( she had the tag on her collar with her license), thank goodness for that. I thanked them profusely and went back in the house with her. She seemed fine and the next day could barely get off the bed. She offered me her left paw which she never does and I felt a huge lump under her armpit. She was limping and I could see in a lot of pain. I began to think she was perhaps hit by the car and this was a dislocated shoulder but the lump just felt like a egg sized swelling that happened to come out of nowhere. It was the weekend and I could not get her to a vet. I scoured the internet to see what all the possibilities might be. Some said lymphoma some said hematoma..I didn’t know what to think and cannot wait for Monday to take her into the vet. My loving dog who has been there for me through thick and thin was back and ok -I think- we went out to the yard she seemed to just stop and slowly scan the entire yard and then look back at me almost like to thank me for being her friend. I broke into uncontrollable tears as the song by Sara Mcclachlan poured into my head “will you remember me?” It was like we had this spiritual communication and she was telling me her time is coming and that she ran down the road because she didn’t want me to deal with her illnesses anymore. I was a basket case as I tried to gather myself, I picked her up and held her so close to my heart and kissed and caressed her soft golden fur. I cannot imagine life without her and she really was a true gift because she was my first dog, the dog I dreamed of all my life and then I got her because my kids wanted a puppy when they were little …my kids grew up and left and My dog was still here with me, I call her my 3rd child…I nursed her through her surgeries which were heart wrenching because they just don’t know what is going on and you just want to hold them forever. Later that night I was cleaning out some old spaces and I found a box from my childhood with a collection of tiny golden cocker spaniel statues…I then realized she was meant for me and she was waiting for me in the right time and place….and here she was in my life . I know the time is coming soon and I am totally not ready for that yet. I know there is a God because he gave me this wonderful friend and all these signs were not just a coincidence. I will remember her when she does go to that special place because I know she will be waiting for me and yes she will remember me..and I will always remember her.

    • Mel
      June 17, 2015 at 6:30 AM

      Just reading your words is heartbreaking. There just isn’t any easy way to say goodbye to a loving and faithful companion. We try to look past them aging and then past their aches and pains because we want them to stay with us forever. I pray you and she find peace in the end. I am so sorry.

  110. Jane
    June 22, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    Twice my dogs have let me know it’s time. In fact, my 1st 121/2 yo BMD let my then 15 yo son know- he called us from a sports tournament hustled home and as we walked in the door our Travis looked @ us, wagged his tail & waited fir us to sit around him. Once we were seated, he wagged his tail more, lucked out hands as we petted him & then he passed on.
    Our 2nd BMD, Carlos, lived to be almost 11 yo & had spondylitis & Degenerative Myelopathy. We carried him outside & this once very active & proud dog accepted our assistance the last 6 months of his life. The day before he left we spent outside under his favorite tree and he was calm, content & enjoying his day outside. He woke up the next morning & their on his face said, “Sorry I’m done here!”
    We called the Hospice Vet and she arrived within the hour; Carlos was ready to move on with her help. He left us @ almost 11 yo & he plainly let us know he had had enough.

  111. Frank
    June 30, 2015 at 11:51 PM

    I realize this is an old thread but hope someone out there reads this and can help.Three years ago i was diagnosed with stage four cancer and given three months or less to live. My beaglr Ben, now 15 had been acting strange.. He would not leave my side and I told my
    partner, I think Ben knows something I don;t I was right and have .learned cancer cells secrete a different waste than healthy cells that dogs can smell and detect. Test is called CEA4. By the gtace of God my cancer went away. This November will be 4 years.Ben has had a lot of hralth issues, but has acted the same late;y. My cancer has returned. He eats like a horse, has arthritis,does not seem in pain, I just don;t think he can handle it again,and seems to be failing quickly. I am about to go through tough chemo don’t know if I can handle losing him and Chemo. Suggestions please

    • July 1, 2015 at 8:47 AM

      What a rough road you have to face. I am so sorry. It is not clear to me how he is “failing”. Since he is eating well and not in any pain, it sounds as if he has quality of life; wanting to stay close to you is his way of showing love and devotion. Although he is a senior dog, if he is kept relatively active and doesn’t overeat, he may be just what you need to see you through your course of therapy. My prayers are with you both as you face the future.

    • P
      August 2, 2015 at 7:52 AM

      Sorry to hear about your cancer returning. My mother just won a battle with cancer. She has a 12 year old senior dog which I love very much. The dog didn’t act differently during her course of cancer, but I notice she does try to persuade mother to move around more which she can’t do at this point because of her foot surgery. But I do believe dogs know when there is an issue…they can smell it. I took my mothers dog into a pet store one day and there was an older woman inside of the store that moved very slowly. My mothers dog cried out as we walked by her and I knew she knew the woman was in pain. Your dog is happy to be with you, do not separate yourself from him. They can handle more than you think. Not only does your dog know you are sick, he realizes he is an older dog. My recommendation to you is to follow your doctors orders, become a healthier version of your self and beat cancer again. Don’t worry about your dog…he is a wonderful companion to you and has been for years. It’s hard when a dog passes away when it does happen, but you have to focus on him being present now. Focus on making him a healthier version of his self as well. When they have arthritis…I feel like the more they move around the less stiffness they feel. Try not to run him too hard, a nice walk is good. I don’t allow my mothers dog to jump up because I realize this triggers stiffness. I also try to massage her whenever I’m around. Whenever I take her for a ride,I have my fiancé pick her up and put her in our jeep. And pick her up to take her out as well…just be mindful about what’s best for your dog. Senior dogs should eat food developed for seniors as well…and keep the weight off of them. They should be lean and healthy.

  112. July 18, 2015 at 4:17 PM

    I guess that’s a given. The death of my first cat was unnatural therefore unexpected. My first cat was killed and it was difficult because we had no last exchanges/goodbyes-honestly it was a real struggle for everyone in my family I guess we’ll never forget him.
    Ultimately cherishing the moments we had with him when he was alive is the one gift no one can take away.

  113. P
    August 2, 2015 at 7:32 AM

    I have a very close relationship with all of my parents dogs. I’ve taken their pets to the vet, found them when they’ve run away from my parents home, barged them, etc. They’re dogs love me; and I have a very strong bond with them. One day my parents called me and told me one of they’re dogs had a cold. When I got to their home two days later, I noticed a difference in his breathing. He sounded as if he had asthma. I immediately knew he may’ve had water collecting in his lungs which is a common issue with male dogs when they reach a certain age. My opinion. I took him outside and noticed the other dog tried to initiate play with him, but then kind of stopped in her tracks like she knew he didn’t feel well. I let him off of the leash to see what he’d do and he just came back to me sat by my side and gave me a lick. I knew at that point that he was really sick and on his last whim. I told my parents to take him to the vet the next day because I felt he was fighting for air…it wasn’t just a cold. I didn’t know of any animal walk in clinics in the area. Well unfortunately he never made it. The next morning when my father took him for a walk…he collapsed. When they got to the vet…the vet felt he was at a risky age for surgery and felt the best option for my parents was to just put him down. He was 8 years old.

  1. May 29, 2015 at 12:42 PM
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