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December 15, 2013


I had a feeling that when you were looking for a dog and got Zu Zu, part of the motivation (conscious or unconscious) was to have a "back-up" for 12 yr. old Serena (at the time) whose inevitable passing was approaching.

My sincere sympathies. I feel I knew the dog having read many comments about her and seeing her on the dock in one of my favorite pictures.

It is tough to lose a good pet. We had to put our beloved yellow lab to sleep while in the midst of a cross-country move. Fecal incontinence seems to go with the territory during the end game (pun intended) with many dogs. It was for our lab. There were big messes and extra fees at motels as we made our trip. The dog was so distressed and depressed because she could not control herself. Her breathing was labored. Every move was an effort. She had to be lifted into the back of the SUV. Her enlarged heart was failing fast.

A wise and kind veterinarian in Baton Rouge, LA helped us to realize that our dog's time had come. I still appreciate 8 yrs. later his adroit and sensitive handling of the situation. She was given the injection while wrapped in my arms. I felt the life force go out of her. Of course I cried. My family cried. I was numb/in shock for the rest of the trip. Her ashes were mailed to us and by now they have long been absorbed by a big palo verde tree on the property that I see every day.

My childhood dog, a schnauzer, lived to be 18 but for all intents and purposes (enjoyment of life) was dead at 15. He was deaf, blind, arthritic and as incontinent as it is possible to be. He was a fecal faucet. He lived in a heavily newspapered service porch area. It was not good. One family member was unwilling to let go, but they finally acquiesced and the dog was put to sleep.

This aging thing takes courage to face. May you all fare as well as possible in this journey we all must take.

The baby boom generation is getting along in years. Buy stock in adult diaper companies.

tucson, thanks for your support, and sharing your own painful experiences. Yeah, it's tough to lose a beloved dog. Really tough.

Hardest thing for me today was seeing her dog bowl sitting on the counter along with some other Serena-stuff my wife had out to donate to the Humane Society.

I fed Serena every night for 13 years. Geez, that was her bowl! For a while I was both angry and sad. I wanted to keep that damn bowl! Then I realized that what I really wanted was Serena healthy again, eating out of her bowl.

And that couldn't happen. She was gone. Time to let go. But it takes time to do that. Fortunately, our other dog, Zu Zu, is coping better than I expected. In fact, I can't see any difference in her demeanor.

If anything, she seems to be enjoying her elevation to Top Dog status. Now she eats where Serena used to eat. And gets to lie on Serena's pad. That helps, to see Zu Zu acting normally. We went on a normal dog walk tonight. Except Serena wasn't there.

Sad. But life goes on. Life is full of ups and downs. Serena's death was a downer. You're right, by the way: Laurel consciously wanted a second "back up" dog.

Driving home from the vet yesterday, she said "I can't understand how people do this who don't have another dog." Zu Zu was in the car while Serena was euthanized. We didn't want her present. But it sure helped our feelings to have Zu Zu waiting for us, and to be able to drive home with her.

Then the three of us went on a walk.

The family pet, really is a family member. We say we are not afraid of death, but the "going to sleep" is still heart breaking. I guess, a few moments of being heart broken is kinda healthy and normal.

Then time passes and life just goes on.........

My sympathies.

Our Shep turned 12 in August, and is now experiencing the same back leg and incontinence problems.

I know some time has passed; sure it's still not easy for you, our sympathies go out to you. We just had to put our almost 15 year old female Belgian Malinois to sleep the past Wednesday. One of the most difficult decisions we've had to make in a long time. While she had a IVDD, and was being treated, she suffered something this past Sunday, while not really certain, I believe it was a stroke. I rushed her for immediate emergency care; where appeared she was making some progress, but not able to stand. Our vet gave us two options, see a neurologist or the unfortunately. We took her to some of the best neurology care possible, only to find more serious underlying issues, from a very large aortic blood clot, and issues with her kidneys, which depleted a critical protein element (without it causes more blood clots). by this time, she was able to stand and walk. Additional tests were being performed and sent to Cornell to determine the root cause of the protein depletion in her kidneys. We decided we wanted her to come home to commence her recovery, so the specialist provided detailed instructions, from change in diet, medications, etc... One major problem, she would no longer be able to take anti-inflammatory meds, in essence this has been her saving grace and kept her mobile. We brought her home, followed the specific instructions, new meds for blood clots, strict diet (Renal food), baby aspirin, fish oils... Needless to say, we catered to her that evening, and early morning hours when she asked to go out. Even in her worst days she always asked to go outside to do her stuff. On Wednesday morning we woke up and catered to her took her favorite spot behind our home which backs up to a lake; she laid there and while very alert, stared into the distance and eyes starting to close... She resisted my attempt to bring her inside the home, so I asked my wife to sit with her for a little longer.

My wife spends a another fifteen minutes with her outside, and tells me she believes our dog told her it's time and wasn't doing well. So i picked her up and brought her inside the house, placing her on her bed. As my wife and I discussed the situation, our dog simply stared at us as if she knew what we were discussing. We called the vet to discuss with her, and once we said we would be there soon, what's most ironic, our dog immediately stood up and started walking towards the hallway and direction to the door leading to the garage. I immediately placed a leash on her and stopped her short of my home office; here's something even more peculiar, our other dog (male) same bread, he commences to whine and head to the front door as if he needs to relieve himself. So i ask my wife to take the female and I'd take the male to do his stuff but instead I go out to the side of the house. He never actually did anything, but, my wife said the female decided she wanted to go out the front door, more ironic, my wife said our dog got a burst of energy and practically fast walked (fastest we've seen in a long time) to the front of the home. waiting for me to come. My wife said, she's read when dogs are ready they sometimes run into a spot where they can hide and pass on... it appeared to my wife our dog was doing just that.

So the underling reasons we thought it was best to have our dog get the eternal rest she needed - She was already suffering, and the showing signs with the lack of mobility due to anti-inflammatory meds.. but, The thought of our girl having an aortic aneurysm or rectal failure which very well could have occurred at any moment would have been an extremely painful death for our dog; and not something we could live with.

We performed a great service for her; sat underneath a tree, I fed her, gave her water, we stroked and spoke to her all the way till the end. We picked up her cremated remains yesterday; and all of our including our other dog miss her dearly. I was doing well writing this message, until now.

Last night I came across Dr. Haynes message; and we completely agree, but still very difficult to cope with. Thank you for listening.

Thank you for this post. Serena's symptoms were an exact match for my boy, Wookie's. Reading this post made me finally decide to take him to the vet - he was booked in on Friday. But yesterday (Tuesday) he took a turn for the worse; this morning he couldn't walk at all, so I had to book an emergency appointment for him.

He's gone now and whilst part of me wishes I had booked his appointment a week earlier, so he didn't have to struggle this morning. But then I know I would have always wondered if I'd done it too early.

Thanks again - your words really helped me.

Wook, you have my sympathy. Yes, there is a time to make this decision. Only someone who loves his/her pet knows when this time is. You did the right thing.

I feel that with our dog, Serena, also. Helping pets leave this world comfortably, at the right time -- that's a good thing.

Thank you so much for your words, you will never know how much peace they have brought to me. We had to put our Buddy to sleep this week at the ripe old age of 19 years, 7 months, and although his body was pretty strong, his mind was very weak. I have been crying nonstop and wondering if we did the right thing, your story made me realize we did. Thank you for sharing.

Linda, your message means a lot to me. Much appreciated. I'm glad you're more at peace now with your tough decision.

I am so sorry for your loss of Serena. Reading her story made me cry and touched my heart. I recently went through the same thing with my almost 16 year old dog, Uschi. She was a tiny little black Lab (35 lbs) and our first family pet. We loved her with all our heart! She did amazingly well until she turned 15. At this time she had a long dental surgery in which several absessed teeth were removed. It seems that after that she never regained her full strength. Her last four months sounded almost exactly like Serena's....the runaway train, weak back legs, regular "poop explosions", urinary tract infections that didn't respond well to antibiotics, and finally the very worst, dementia. This was the cruelest of all. Twice she became entangled in kitchen chairs and luggage. This was the deciding factor in euthanasia. I like you, had hoped that she would pass away quietly in her sleep. It was not meant to be. The hardest part of choosing euthanasia was that she still took walks everyday, although slow, and ate with enthusiasm the home cooked meals I prepared for her. Eating became an ordeal, too, though, as she stumbled over her bowls and frequently walked through them knocking their contents everywhere. It broke my heart watching this. I knew that I could not let her suffer anymore. I wish that I would have read your article before Uschi died. It has been so hard. It has been 6 weeks and I still cry. Our animal companions have a way of wrapping themselves around our hearts!

Christina, thanks for sharing your story. You loved your dog so much, just as we did. You did the right thing, just as we did. These are difficult decisions. But when the time feels right to euthanize, this is what needs to be done for the good of both dog and owner.

Thank you for your response,Brian.
I know we both made the right decision, but the process leading up to it was agonizing. Wanting to make sure that I had done everything humanly possible to make her old age better and more comfortable. Tried so many things. Tried more things. Exhausted all options. Exhausted myself. And finally, reaching the decision which would get Uschi out of pain and break my heart. I am comforted only by knowing that she is no longer suffering. She like your Serena, will live on in our hearts forever...

First of all my heartfelt sorrow on your loss, and if you accept them, a prayer to your lovely dog. And my apologies if my thoughts are mixed up.

My sweet little 10+ year old Lobo, is having issues with his rear left leg, a Rotweiler/German sheperd mix, making it hip dysplacia, a slow deteriorating condition.

Everyday for the last 2 months have been a daily struggle of trying to accept that it might be his time. Normally an active dog he now struggles up the stairs, with his leg shaking visibly, and the occasional yelp of pain(with obvious symptoms of discomfort/pain),I'm also thinking he's not sleeping through the night). While on walks he can do 25 minutes but is panting heavily when done.

But aside of this, Lobo happily lays down next to me/girlfriend and my daughter, and his joy in eating (I've always spoiled him by sharing my food). and walks, my god how active/happy he gets when I offer to go for a walk( almost like my puppy of yesteryear). That is why I'm struggling with putting him down, with those things bringing so much joy still.
Should the joy outweigh the pain. I don't want him to suffer but I don't want to ever think it was too early, or that I'm made him suffer for my meaningless ideas/feelings. The idea of erring either way tears at me. I do anything for him, even ending his life. Like most of our pets he's been a beacon of hope and love when it seem life would sweep you under a wave of pain and misery. That unconditional love when I get home and that howl of joy with his wagging tail I receive when I get home is worth any pain I will suffer. People say/write you will know when it's time, but I feel I'm at that blades edge where it's seems right one moment, and the next like the cruelest sin, considering how happy he's at that moment.
Any ideas or thoughts on this matter would be greatly welcome.

Jaime, have you forgotten advice from your vet, and ruled out an injury or disease to the leg or hip that can be treated? This was my wife's first thought. She has owned several dogs with hip problems.

Also, is your dog getting any medication for the pain? Our dog was on Rimadyl, which helped her quite a bit.

If the condition is indeed degenerative, it can't be treated, and nothing can be done about the pain -- that's the time to consider putting your dog to sleep if it is clearly suffering.

But make sure you ask a vet, or maybe several vets, to get second opinions, if there is anything that can be done to make your dog more comfortable and/or treat its leg/hip problem.

Yes sir, my dear boy is on pain killers, and anti inflammation medicine, I have let him sleep with me on the bed the last few nights. I've stayed up with him. He sleeps in 15-35 minutes spurts then wakes up panting heavily. I know the vet is trying to take any and all options but won't hint at euthenasia. And I understand why she won't, ill see if she can give him a stronger pain killer.

my last significant other (cat) died on my lap but not before suffering during the night and weeks/month prior which I did not understand until too late. I am ashamed I was so selfish as to fool myself that he would get better.

My darling Maggie, is confused, skittish as she thinks everything she does is wrong. her back end is weak and she urinates on herself and it appears she is sitting when she poops outside and she is going more and more often in the house "when she feels like it". I crate her when I cannot keep constant watch on her but feel it is wrong. everything is baby gated but she still does what she has to and any time -especially when she can find carpet -that is her target. AM I being selfish? I watched my last pet suffer because I was weak. Am I being selfish because I am tired of cleaning up pee and poo and chasing after her because she get lost and feels a need to wander? I cannot afford hundreds/thousands to try to fix her.

This is helping me. Our little Shiba Inu, Saki, is slated to go down this afternoon at 5pm; we have a vet coming to our house. Saki is clearly demented; she doesn't know who we are anymore, and there is no joy when we come home, like there used to be. She stands in her food bowl, gets tangled up under stools, stares at walls, and has no recognition when she looks at me. I think she's deaf, and probably nearly blind, as she trips over things, but manages to avoid large rocks and trees. We have rugs everywhere to help her, as her legs splay out if she's on the hardwood floor. She can't sit. We feed her by hand, making meals of hamburger or chicken with rice, sweet potato, and cheese. Her once glorious tail that arched smartly over her back has been straight down for well over a year. I have been carrying her outside to do her stuff several times a day for months now. She sometimes forgets where she is and poops on the floor, but it's never messy. This morning I took her to the park and to the beach, and she power-walked for over 90 minutes with tail held high! It's almost as if she was flaunting it, like she knows what's up. It's tearing me apart! She did some awkward "hops" and "jumps" (she was an incredible athlete in her prime!), so I know she wants to run, at least in her mind, but the body won't cooperate. She flinches when we try to pet her, and will walk away. She stopped sleeping in her bed months ago, and instead opts for the floor, front feet splayed out like she passed out. She'll never chase another squirrel, scramble after a tennis ball, or scatter a gaggle of geese. It's obvious she'll never run to greet us again, or vocalize for a treat. She's been simply existing for the past few months: eating, pooping (once every couple of days) and peeing, and lots of sleeping. We're terrified to leave her with friends, afraid she'll take a terrible turn for the worse in our absence, so we've curtailed our own activities for weekends (she long ago made it clear she hated riding in the car, which she used to absolutely love; now she screams). Our vet just now called; says that a last day of energy is common; many times the dog can sense a change of energy from their owners, and we can consider this a "parting gift", a memory that Saki would want us to have, to know she'll be OK, and to remember her how she was. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this, and although I know she won't get any better, I still want to cling to the thought of having her around. The alternative is very difficult to think of right now. So, the vet will come, and do an assessment, and we can change our minds right up the last second, but I have a feeling that we will let her go.

Sandy, thanks for sharing your feelings and thoughts so openly. It's tough, really tough, to endure what you're going through. But also wonderful in a way, because the love you feel for your dog is what is causing you so much pain. The love and the pain are one thing, not two.

I've got tears in my eyes also. I miss our Serena, because I loved her so much. Life is what it is, though. Without the love, we wouldn't feel the pain. To care so much about your dog, to be with her and supporting her all the way -- that's wonderful and a great gift for Saki.

So...we let her go. She's gone now. We are hanging outside, sharing stories with our friends who also loved her. We feel empty, and the emptiness in the house is almost unbearable. I know it will get better, but for now, it's almost surreal. Can't wrap my head around the idea that I'll never see her again. This feels worse than when I lost my father. I know the pain will eventually subside somewhat, but I feel I must carry this in her honor. Thank you so much Brian for your kind words...very helpful! Life does and will go on. I will never forget her.

I found this article at a time I need it most. My bulldog is almost 11 and 2 weeks ago she was diagnosed with CHF, arrhythmia, a heart murmur and a large mass was discovered on her heart, which is quite large. We have her on 4 different medications. The vet said she has 3-9 months at best, and we've been struggling with the decision to help her over Rainbow Bridge.

The past week, she's peed over herself constantly, stays in her bed, and I've had to carry her outside. Also, she didn't want anyone petting her, and she'd just walk away if you tried. She is confused, walking into things, and getting lost in the yard. Today we scheduled her appt for Monday to say goodbye.

Then, wouldn't you know, she's acting pretty normal. Came out of her crate, no accidents, let me pet her and love her. Looks me right in the eye and doesn't seem confused. I kept thinking, I should cancel this appt. I can't let her go.

I typed into Google about putting dogs to sleep and came across this article. There are 2 things you said that stuck out at me:

"Usually it doesn't work that way. Dogs typically go through a protracted difficult dying process."

The vet told me this on Friday. I don't want her to collapse or have a heart attack in front of me or my family. Ultimately, due to her arrythmia, that is what will happen.

Second, you said, "If you can save your dog or cat even one day of discomfort, you must."

Today, while she totes around, posing in her tough stance like bulldogs do, barks at me when she wants water or food, and looks at me with adoring eyes, I must remember that TODAY she is doing okay, but tomorrow, or Thursday, she could have a bad day. Her bad days, I think, outweigh her good ones.

Being almost 11, she's lived a long life for a bulldog. She's super tough, so even though she may not show pain, I know she's in it. The vet told me it is very difficult for her to breathe. All that is keeping her alive at this point are the pills we give her every day. But those don't mask any pain she is in.

How do we want to remember her? Like she is today, in this moment, where she seems normal. Not the day we get her up in the morning, and she's already left us, scared in the middle of the night. This way, we can be with her, and pet her, and tell her it's okay.

Thank you so much for this post. I am sure I will struggle with the decision up until the moment I can't change it, but I take comfort in reading this, and feeling reassured we are making the right decision.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am so sorry for your loss. I have been struggling for 5 days about and crying lots over doing the right thing for 14 yr old my lab mix, Lil Bit. I have made an appointment on Monday for her to be put to sleep. I have been still struggling with that decision. However, after reading your experience I now know I am doing the right thing for her.

She too has the fecal incontinence that you were talking about. This week has lost feeling in her right hind leg with doesn't allow her to walk anymore. My Vet thinks it is from another tumor growing back and pressing on her spine. We have to help her with a sling to be able to get up. She now has urinary incontinence too.

My struggle has been that she still has a light in her eye that I just love. Your blog has made me realize that I need to give her, her dignity back and be at peace.

Thank you, Thank you for sharing!

Kristin, we still think about our beloved Serena a lot. But we have no regrets about giving her a peaceful putting to sleep with my wife and I holding her.

Everything dies. Dogs, us, everyone. It is natural to cling to life, both our own and that of loved ones. Yet it also is natural to flow with what life brings, including death.

There will be tears for you, I'm sure, as there were for us. Find the peace within the tears.

Thank you so much for this article. My 15 year old dachshund, Oscar, is having many of the same problems. He wasn't IVDD, but just has a spot in his back that makes everything behind it not work very well.

I have been crying and agonizing over whether it's time -- I've gotten soooo tired of hearing "You will know when it's time." This is not my first rodeo. Since I was a child, I have had close to 20 dogs, and I have been with all of them when they went, except for one. All but two were put to sleep from old age and side effects of old age.

Oscar is the first dog I have ever had with CCD - Canine Cognitive Disease, or as we call it, Doggyheimer's. I looked after my father when he had the same disease, and some days it was pure hell. I've actually said that some days with Oscar are worse than Dad ever was. To make matters worse, he is like the one person above commented in that when he sits -- about ever three to four steps -- he has to be helped up. We've had the poopy problems and now he's started peeing in the house all the time too. But he still loves to eat and he loves to go outside and sit in the grass and lift his nose to the breeze. His ears flap back and he looks like he is smiling.

Your statement about wanting Serena to just go to sleep in her own bed....wow. I can't number the times I've said that in the last couple of months. And then your statement about being put to sleep IS the same thing as falling asleep in their bed. You have helped greatly with that. I can't thank you enough, because I never looked at it that way.

And yes, every time I speak of a visit to the vet, he suddenly becomes able to walk better and lets me pat him and hold him just a little bit longer than is normal anymore. Little stinker!!

I'm really struggling today. My husband and I have made the decision to put our 13 year-old shepherd mix to sleep this afternoon. He developed hip dysplasia at a young age. We were not told about surgery as an option. However, Scrappy, has had an active life. He has a ball that he has played fetch with for as long as I can remember. He even survived being lost for 2 months and Jesus blessed us with having him home again! My struggle is that,although he still eats, drinks, and goes outside to relieve himself, most times he can no longer stand on his own. He has lost so much muscle in his back legs that he wobbles just to stand. His mind is still sharp enough and he wags his tail when he sees us, but my heart knows he's suffering. I do not want his suffering to develop to a worse stage. My husband and I have 4-legged children and love them dearly. I've asked Jesus for signs today and I know in my heart he has given them to me. I understand and sympathize with anyone in this position. It is truly one of the hardest things to do. I explained to my boss today that knowing what my husband and I will be facing this afternoon, I wouldn't be much help at work. She wasn't happy but she wasn't mad either. Serena's story has helped me so much. God bless you for sharing.

This article and comments have been a blessing. 24 hours ago we made the difficult decision to finally let Hank go. Hank has always been a special needs pup. When we rescued him he was my "discount" dog who came 50% off since he was considered special needs. We found after only a short period of time he just need love and acceptance of his quirks. Well about a year ago his quirks started to become worrisome. First the staring off into space went from once and awhile to all he would do. We confirmed with our vet he had CCD and we put him on medication after a few months there was no change so we took him off and started the wait and see game. Fast forward to July. The once and awhile accidents became an everyday issue. He wouldn't only have the accidents but then had no issues painting the room (he had no idea what he was doing)...he would get lost finding his way to the dog door and even on the very sad occasion go full force into the glass door...he would bump into the walls....got lost under a bar stool (all he had to do was lower his chin but couldn't do even that...not wanting to be near us, he would look at us but he wasn't LOOKING at us, I'm sure that makes sense to you....these are just a few examples so we contacted our vet to discuss the "next step" I promise you the next day the flip was switched and Hank was back we decided to then take it day by day. He went weeks of going outside no issues, my cuddle bug was back! I knew he wasn't magically cured but I would take whatever time I could get. a few weeks ago the confusion came back. He was getting stuck in corners, stepping into his food bowls getting lost outside and then this past week while I was holding him on Sunday he pooped in my arms. I could write for days all his symptoms and examples but we decided Thursday night after finding him in the middle of the room covered in his poop that we just couldn't do this to him anymore so I called the vet Friday and she came over at 4:00. While waiting for the vet to come over he managed to go outside several times and I was hating myself until I watched him miss the door coming back in, fell over on his side and couldn't right himself. I had to run down the deck stairs and get him. He passed peacefully in my arms and even saying all that he went through I am hating myself thinking I did it too soon. I KNOW my brain is battling with my heart but I keep telling myself we could have had one more day. No sooner I calm down something ANYTHING sets me off. I think what is so hard is his little mind gave up before his body did. He did have arthritis but that was manageable. He LOOKED like a healthy 14-15 year old doxie. Very little grey, still a plump little shape (well if you felt his rear he was missing a lot of muscle)...it just didn't seem like it was it time. God I miss you Hank. Thank you so much for this. I've read lots articles about sick dogs, cancer, visible illness but to read about other furbabies with this mental decease helps me see I'm not alone with all these feelings.

Misty, thanks so much for sharing your story of your love for Hank, and his love for you. I had tears in my eyes as I read your comment to my wife. We are hugely impressed by how well you cared for Hank in both his last days, and before.

Thank you for you all sharing your experiences, and I'm sorry for you all your losses.
Having composed myself again, I felt compelled to share our situation. Rosie is our 15.5 year old Lakeland Terrier who is physically healthy,but due to sudden deafness occurring (within a week about 2 years ago), dementia set in (she's quite blind too). Simple things like having her tea, then forgetting she'd eaten and wanting it again but more stressful things like pacing, not settling, fretting at night time etc. The vet tried various medications all which failed to touch the sides and she recommended a pet behaviourist, which was very encouraging for ideas to try,but Rosie just didn't want to know (she's never had an interest with toys even when younger). In the end, the vet just advised to keep feeding her if she thinks she's hungry,but this results in loss of bowel control as her body is coping with so much food,it simply "falls out" while she's walking. She's always been with us 24 hours a day as she had separation anxiety as a young dog (we rescued her at 18months old) but now life is becoming increasingly difficult. She displays all the symptoms that you have all experienced - blank looks, loss of character etc and the vet's parting words in July for vaccinations was "come back when you've had enough". The only time she gets excited(if you can call it that) is if she sees another dog (she now hates all dogs) and she is quite aggressive.
I feel exactly the same as all of you in that you want a peaceful end for her and by prolonging Rosie's life may mean that it won't be, but my husband just can't bear to come to this decision (she's always been his dog, if you know what I mean). Rosie is alive and healthy in the physical respect, but she's just existing really and her life is no fun. He says that if there was something physically wrong, then it would be a much easier decision to make, but until something triggers that decision moment....but I don't want to make him feel like I'm forcing the issue. Thanks for reading x

It's 3.30 am and I have just returned to bed after wakening up realising once again our lovely 14 year old labrador has suffered (faecal) incontinence.

Your story is exactly the stage where we are at with our beautiful "old faithful" dog. She can still slowly go for a walk and seems to enjoy it, her back legs are week and looses balance quite often, and the faecal incontinence is a twice daily occurrence. But she still wags her tail and knows when it's dinner and chew stick time...even with only 2 teeth. We discussed tonight once again about knowing when the time is right...It is so so hard, thus me finding your story in the early hours. I know deep down it is time and truth be told I wish the decision was taken from me. But what you said is so true she is well now and she could go to sleep pain free and dignified as I would want....but it's just leading her into the vets knowing. I hope I haven't gone on too much. Thank you.

Hi I had a little bulldog called frank I had him at 5 weeks as his mum was rejecting him when I took him on I knew he had fluid on the brain but I fell in love with him the moment I seen him, brought him home and made him into my little baby he was spoilt rotten and had everything I can't even write in words how much this little baby bulldog ment to me the vet had said he will only last 2 weeks but 3 months on frank was going strong untill Monday be was very sleepy no energy always vomiting and wouldn't drink water frank then started having fits throthing at the mouth and nose walking and running in circles and yelping I left it a few hours and just mothered him phoned in sick to look after him later on on Wednesday I took him to the vet and the vet said the pressure on his brain is getting worse and that it would be best to put him to sleep I couldn't accept the fact my baby boy was going to go heaven and I'll never see him again eventually I agreed what was best for frank as the vet said he would die in a fit very soon and I could not be there so he would be scared, since I've put my handsome baby to sleep I can't eat sleep work I'm so emotionally drained and feel guilty I can't help but feel lots of guilt it's haunting me what can I do to help me stop feeling guilty :( mammy loves you to the moon and back frank and you will always be my first puppy and will always be my no1 special boy xxxxxx frank died at only 13 weeks old :(

Gemma, your dearly-loved Frank was suffering. You did the right thing, stopping his pain and confusion. If Frank could have talked, he would have told you, "Momma, help me; make the pain stop." And you did, because somehow, from the depths of your love, you knew what Frank wanted. Again, you did the right thing, because it came out of love.

Thank you for commenting back to me at the moment I can't get my head around I've done it and he's gone a lot of people are telling me to get anther dog not to replace him or forget him but l fill the empty space and fill the house again I'm not sure if I can though I feel guilty on frank, thank you for reply to me it really helps X

I did a search to see if it was normal to feel depressed after putting a dog to sleep, and your blog came up. I've read all the stories,and cried with every single one.
Yesterday morning we had to put my, just turned 8 year old, 1/2 walker 1/2 black & tan coonhound puppy, SirCh, to sleep. I'm so devastated. I can't help but have feelings of guilt and depression.
When he was 2, he started to have a slow growth on one of his nipples. I told myself, I would take him in when it looks like it started to bother him. Years passed. It just grew bigger. So, even though I felt like it still wasn't bothering him, I decided he needed a check up. The doc said it was indeed a benign tumor. That it wasn't harming him. The only thing was, it was now the size of a hackey sack. So we had it removed. With no guarantee of the cancer being gone. Another few years pass, to just a few weeks ago.. SirCh had a fever, wasn't eating. I thought to myself, he just has a cold, no biggie. 2 days later, his lymph nodes with bigger than usual. I remembered a time when the doc said that they did feel a little big but blamed it on the weight gain. So I waited it out for another day. That night, his breathing was so heavy and started to snore very loud. He never snored this loud before. The swollen lymph nodes were blocking his airway. So we took him in. And that's when we got the bad news. He definitely had lymphoma and that he only had a few weeks, if not days, to live. DEVASTATED. Doc put SirCh on prednisone. Saying that it will not heal him, but will make it comfortable for him. During the past 2 1/2 weeks, all we noticed was heavy panting, constant drinking, eating less and loss of strength. He was not able to go up in is chair anymore. Not able to jump in the truck. Slept all day. I knew the time was coming close. My husband and I had already made the decision to not let him suffer.
Present day. We took him in, for what would be his last trip. We had the doc give SirCh the sedative so that he would be relaxed, asleep before the big shot. She said it would take 5 minutes for him to fall asleep. This toughie fought the sedative. We waited 20 minutes. To the point where he tried to stand up. I told the doc, let's do this now before the sedative wore off. This is where my guilt kicks in. What if he wasn't ready to go. What if he was trying to tell.me, "no.. Not yet". I can't help but feel so hurt that I did this to him. I'm constantly reminding myself that he is no longer suffering.. But I just can't shake this feeling. This feeling that I think may be depression.
His bed still lay next to me, along with his blanket. I can still smell him. I look up every now and then thinking I would see him walking around.
After reading all the stories, I realize that its normal to feel like this..
I want to thank you for sharing Serena's story. And to everyone who commented and shared your stories.

I am so happy I found all these comments about having a pet put to sleep and the emotional break down and guilt feelings that go with it. It's 2:44 AM and I can't sleep because I miss my Gizmo. It has been 19 days since I had him put to sleep. Having read all the comments I realize I did the correct thing because Gizmo was suffering at the age of 14. His symptoms were everything I read about Serena.

As a retired cop, I experienced many awful things in my career, but watching my dog leave me was the hardest thing in my life. He was like my child.

My blessings to everyone who reads all of these stories.

I searched and searched for something to ease my grief and guilt. One week ago today, I put my beloved 13 1/2 year old Lab to sleep. She was my best friend and I miss her more than words can say. I have been wondering if I let her go too soon. I have been tormented with that thought. This is the first thing I've seen that has given me some relief from these guilt feelings. Thank you so much.

Laura, I'm sorry for your loss, but thankful for your comment. I'm glad my blog post helped you in this tough time.

My wife believes in getting another dog soon after loss of a pet. I realize this doesn't fit for everybody. Just something to consider. There are so many dogs who need good homes.

I am so thankful I found this page. We are putting our 15 yr old lab Jake to sleep today. I was feeling guilty because he is walking today. He did pee everywhere 3 times so far today. He seems to only have joy with eating and treats. For the past 2 mnths I have found him covered in poop and pee. The day his head was lying in it I realized we had to do something. I have watched him drag himself with his front legs to his food dish. He stumbles, staggers and falls. But then he gets a good day and you think no, not yet! After reading all of these stories, though I am going to be a complete utter mess for I don't know how long, I realize we probably waited longer than we should have. God bless all of you for your grief and your stories.

I'm glad I found this page. I let my 15 year old Aussie named Soda go yesterday and feel terrible and heart broken beyond belief.

I have a jackrussell she is 15 years old and keeps peeing her bed while she's asleep and sometimes peeing blood sometimes when she's walking it looks like her legs going it looks like when she's walking her legs crossing over each other and her body looks like it go's side to side as she walks some times, but the thing is half of me thinks it is time to put her down but the other half thinks it's not but some days i thinks its time it is just a hard decision to make for me and my kids because some days she be playing and seem ok but most days she dose not. i can see what your all saying it just seem so hard to make that decision :'(

Thank you for sharing your story. I made the decision to euthanize my 15 year old mix breed lab / kelpie last week. She was the most amazing creature. I got her from the shelter 13 years ago. As I was driving home from wOrk early one day I realized the shelter was open for 15 more minutes. Although I didn't adopt her that day, I could not get her out of my mind, so after two more visits, I adopted her. It turns out she was house trained. She was perfect with everyone's children. She converted non dog people into dog fans. She even spread dirt from a planter pot all over my ex husband's bed when he moved to the guest room. Years later she is the most loving dog to my now 5 year old son. She woke me up last week as she often does in the night to go outside. But this time she didn't just need a boost to stand up (thanks to her arthritis), she had peed in her bed and she could not stay in a standing position. She collapsed forward. I moved her to a dry towel but she continued to sigh and slightly whimper on and off. In the morning we carried her outside and I held her upright to pee a river. The poor thing had been holding it too long. She slept for a few hours until I woke her and took her to the vet (still unable to sit or stand). The vet didn't address what might cause her collapse but focused on her heart issues, her arthritis and her lungs which had some fluid. I chose to have her put to sleep overwhelmed by the thought of holding her up to pee and carrying her out (50 pounds). I so wish I could have had a day to say goodbye, to feel certain she was ready, to know that she wouldn't stand up. She had been suffering from severe arthritis and yet she was so eager to join us for a meal, to walk very slowly for 1/4 mile, to lay in my son's room until he was sound asleep each night. It is hard not to feel I betrayed my dearest friend and yet I know she struggled with her arthritis and her heart condition. I miss her so... Somehow this blog is one of the first I've found to give me some peace... Thank you for sharing...

I appreciate this blog and everyone who shared their stories here.
My family lost our beloved first dog, a 14 year old Maltese, today. It was a heartbreaking decision, but it was relieving to know she passed peacefully and painlessly with her family by her side. My heart aches and I miss her terribly but I know she's in a better place now.

I thank you for your Serena. I had a friend named Dutch who was my friend. He was born Jan.1, 2003 and went to sleep Dec. 9, 2014. I miss him so so much. This was the hardest decision I have ever been faced with. OH! the guilt and the what ifs but I loved him to much to see him hurt so I said Good bye my big boy. He was a handsome red nose bridle APT. Gentle, quiet, loving and smiled alot. He loved people, dogs, cats and me. He had some of the same health issues as Serena. I still cry wandering if I did the right thing. I was searching the internet for answers and came across this page. Thank you for helping me cope. God Bless You!

Thank you for this. I have an appointment for my dog Henry on Thursday. He's doing a little better than usual and it makes me want to cancel it, but I know that if he had a crisis, I'd hate myself for waiting. I still don't feel sure emotionally though.

i have a dog (my best friend ever) she is the smartest dog not only that ive ever had but that ive ever met. i rescued her from an abusive owner when she was around 10 weeks old , he had her on a 2 foot chain hooked to a fence and thought that it was funny that she had to struggle to get to her food and water bowl,while he was laughing and getting his kicks watching this poor puppy struggle i simply stood up and walked over and un chained her. he got ill with me but he knows i have my conceal carry permit so he was afraid to say anything to me. at the time i could not afford to have another dog. long story short we went home but i couldnt stop thinking about this poor dog. so i told my wife stay here i have somthing i have to do. in my line of work she knows not to ask any questions because i wouldnt be able to answer her anyway. no im not into anything illegal actually the opposite. i went to where the dog was the owners had left and no body else was in the residence so i called a paramedic buddy of mine who is also an animal lover and we concocted a story that i had came to politely ask to take custody of this abused dog me and my buddy just happened to be together because we hang out alot and i wanted a witness. but since no one was home the lie had to go deeper we then made up the story that we smelled smoke coming from inside the house. so i kicked in the door and went through the house to the back porch and got the dog. i named her gypsy. she is part husky and part wolf. i found out the dogs history from the former owners sister. he found out i took the dog and what i had done but i dont know if its because of my occupation or just because he knows he wouldnt stand a chance up against me and my buddy in court. with both of us being city rescue workers.i dont know but now 14 years later my dogs back legs shake when she stands not all the time but alot of the time she is not over weight and as far as i and my vet knows there is nothing wrong with her. yet it nags at me. any ideas what could be wrong with her or is it just that she is old.

Hi.I have sat here and read every post. My senior dog,Heidi, is 13 yrs old last june, is having issues and we are prepared to have her put to sleep tmrw morning. We are just struggling with it, I want to make sure it is time and not do this too soon. She has lost control of bladder, even on meds now it isnt as effective. Her bowels are dry and crumbly and she is having bowel movements in her sleep or as she walks. She sleeps most of the day. She is irritable with the other dog. She is having problems getting in and outside, she sways after standing for very long.
I read others posts mentioning the restlessness at night. I feel l like I have an infant, I'm woken up so often. Most times she has already done her business, both. She let's us love on her, but as I was just scratching under her neck, she was swaying and before I knew it, she was on the ground sideways with her hind quarters.
My husband and I have discussed this many times, I've been resistant, feeling it was too soon. Although she can still bolt after a cat or greet her "daddy" each evening as excited as our 2 yr old golden, those are just good moments. Those good moments dont outweigh the bad.
This week I told my husband I knew it was time. We have an appointment at 9:30 in the morning, tomorrow. My husband is taking her. I can't, I want to be with her, but we have 2 young kids that I need to stay home with. Heidi has always been my husbands dog anyway...they went hiking, camping, he used to cart her everywhere in his truck. We are having a service for her,with the kids, as we did for our cat when he was hit, and bury her next to him.
This blog and all following posts have helped me tremendously tonight ,to know that it needs to happen. I have read and nodded my head in agreement with everything. I have cried so hard I couldn't see. It is a comfort to know we are right and I'm not alone in my thoughts and feelings.
Thanks to every one of you for sharing,
Heidi's mom...

Thank you for Serena's story. My Bandit a mix breed mutt was 15 in December'14 He has the pooping and peeing problem to where we can't let him out of the kitchen. He can't make it off the deck any more because of stairs and cannot get out the doggie door either due to bad back legs. He has the doggie dementia and cannot hear anymore. He's from a litter of 10 that his mother our Maggie had so I helped give birth to him. I've put down his mother 4 years ago and his brother 3 years ago. He's the last man standing and this is hard. But after reading these stories my decision is made. Thank you It's time.

Hello...thank you to all who have written their grief stories here. I am thinking that maybe it will help me and others if I share mine. Billy was a 15 year old bishon/cross something. My Billy from the very beginning was a strong willed dog who liked to make the rules. At times I was afraid to clean his ears, or trim his nails. Billy never did bite but I had a lot of anxiety because of his personality. But I grew to love him so very much. I at one point called Rescue Society to give him up, but could not give up on him. I decided that I was the problem, not Billy. I tried to be a better owner. I tried so hard to stop him from licking his paws, to catch him when he would wander away. Billy would growl and bite. Billy had attitude. But I grew to love him. Somehow I missed his teeth going rotten and his gums becoming severely infected. Billy was so strong but in the past few months and weeks his mouth began chattering and shaking uncontrollably. The vet suggested surgery, probably two, and he would most probably be fine. I made the decision that I could not put Billy through one more day of pain. If Billy survived he would have no teeth and the idea of him not being able to enjoy and eat his dinner was simply too much to ask of him. I could not keep Billy alive to comfort my own soul. I let Billy go to sleep in my arms yesterday with my heart warm against his. I loved Billy so much that I took away his pain yesterday and any future pain that he would go through. Thank you for reading my story. It has helped me to write. Janet

Janet, thanks for sharing your feelings and thoughts. In the movie "Shadowlands," a screenwriter gave C.S. Lewis the words, "We read to know that we are not alone."

That's how I look upon these stories of putting a beloved dog to sleep. We all have different tales, but we also all have similar feelings, worries, sadness, dilemmas. Knowing that we are not alone in these very human reactions helps.

The sadness remains. But it is shared with others. Our aloneness diminishes. Dogs give us that feeling of togetherness, of course, which is a big reason why having to let them go is so difficult.

Thank you...I have so much guilt putting down a dog that caused me so much anxiety for 15 years and yet a dog that I grew to love through all his bad character flaws. In the end timesBilly became a gentle, loving soul and one dog that I will never be able to forget.

Some months later since my last comment in October, and Rosie continued in her usual routine - struggling, pacing, not sleeping or settling until she then had a couple of fits over the Christmas weeks. The vet gave her a boost with VitB12 injections, course of anti-inflammatories and the "see how you go" comment.She became increasingly unaware of her lack of bowel control, and her sleeping worsened to the point of my husband having to get up with her every day at 4am. His health was beginning to suffer too because of her so I went to see the vet last week. The questions she asked - Does she enjoy life/walks/food/your company/her own company - is she happy more than sad...the answer to all the questions was a definite no. Relaying this information to my husband was the hardest thing and he went to absolute pieces. I made the final appointment for Rosie but then had to cancel it twice before finally accepting the inevitable on Saturday. Thankfully it was all very calm as I was expecting her put up a fight (she's always been resistant to drugs) but she went to sleep in my arms, finally at peace. I'm sure our lives will be very different from now on - the last 15/16 years Rosie has been with us virtually 24/7. We know we finally made the right decision but boy, was it hard to get there, and this weekend has been really, really tough. Other than the recent fits, I was dreading some crisis much worse that we wouldn't have known how to deal with and we really didn't want Rosie to suffer any pain.The vet said that very often, we continue to keep our pets "alive" as we think it's the right thing to do, whereas we need to consider what our pets might actually want too, but they can't speak and tell us. Rosie has been very hard work for most of her life, but we'll never forget her. RIP Rosie. God bless all of you with pets, it's a huge responsibility and we can only do our very best for them x

I just came on this blog and read all the stories wondering if I did the right thing. I just put my 17.5 year old dachshund to sleep on Saturday and I feel really guilty. But I know I did the right thing. She was constantly going into circles and then hitting head on wall and peeing and pooping in the house and getting stuck in places. She also had trouble with back legs and sat down more than she walked sometimes. I just miss her so much. I guess I was looking for other stories that would make me feel like I did the right thing.
Thank you for your time and for me let this out.

It has been a month since I put my beloved poodle, Koko, to sleep. She was 17, blind, deaf, and had dementia, she was losing control of her bowels and bladder as well and I struggled with the decision to put her down. We could no longer leave her alone for any period of time as she would scream if left by herself. At the time I felt it was the best decision for her as she would not want to be living that life. This was the sweetest animal I had ever encountered and truly my best friend. I would give anything to have one more day with her. I have cried every day since I put her down and have beaten myself up questioning if I had the right to end her life and feel so much guilt over this even though intellectually I know it was the best thing for her. Your article really helped. I don't think I will ever stop missing Koko and I hope to find a sense of peace but I guess it just takes time.

I'm sitting next to my little poodle/terrier mix, Wendy, who is 15 and has chronic renal failure, waiting until noon for our vet to come and put her down. She was diagnosed last September and did well on a reduced protein dog food. We went away for a week a few weeks ago and got a house sitter for her and our two other dogs, and cat and when we returned, Wendy really had gone downhill. I guess our being gone sped things up ...
We had the same house sitter last summer and all the animals did just fine.
Wendy is very alert and wants me at her side constantly. She has no appetite and is now very thin. No energy to greet me at the door like she used to do. I've tried everything, advised by my vet to get her going again, but it's no use. She has been my little shadow for 15 years, and was a rescue. Everywhere I would go, she was there, watching me fold laundry, make the bed, sewing, following me as I vacuumed! It will be incredibly hard to let this dear little dog go. She can still go through the dog door and go out and do her business, legs are weak from not eating. She is continually shivering, so I keep a blanket on her. I worry that I am putting her down too soon, and I feel so guilty about having left for a week earlier this month, even though I know I couldn't predict that she would go downhill like this while we were gone. Wendy's half sister, Mopsy, will have a huge adjustment to make, because she and Wendy have been together since birth. Mopsy is deaf now, and almost blind, and she relies on cues from Wendy as to what's going on. Otherwise, Mopsy is in good health. Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories, and for your story about your dear Serena.

Thank you for sharing your story about Serena. We put our 14 year old German Shepherd, Bear, to sleep on Tuesday, Feb, 3, 2015. When I read your words about going down the stairs like a freight train and up the stairs like the little engine that could, I was brought to tears. That described my Bear perfectly. She had elbow and hip dysplasia as well as degenerative myelopathy I miss her so much. Thank you. Your story helped me to reconcile so of my feelings.

I have tears in my eyes as I type. I put my 18 year old Bischon Frise, Crystal, to sleep today. She had a seizure/stroke this morning and she wasn't able to stand on her back legs.

Like others who have posted here, she had accidents in the house. She also didn't see well and was deaf. She would constantly bump her head on the walls. She still had a good appetite, but she didn't walk well anymore.

I got Crystal from a pet store, around this time, on Valentine's Day. She was the cutest puppy you would ever lay eyes on. I named her Crystal because the icicles hanging on my house looked like crystal.

I still cannot believe she is gone and I will never see her again. She was truly the sweetest and best dog ever and my best friend. I knew this day would come eventually, but it is so hard. The worst part was coming home from the vet to an empty house and I am currently hugging the blanket I wrapped her in.

Writing about it does help, so thanks for listening.

I think the sign I've been praying for was answered today when I read your story about Serena. I've been putting off having our sweet 13 year old lab, Hunter, put down for a few weeks now. He falls down a lot and I have to help him up. He bangs on all the walls in his room at night as he is struggling to get up to pee or poop. I find him many mornings soiled in his own urine/feces. What I've struggled with is him still interested in his toys and his food. I just felt like it wasn't time yet, but after reading everyone's story, I made the call. I'm sad and feel guilty, but I know I'm making the right decision now. Thank you.

Our Chihuahua Sugar is 15. She was up from 2am to 3:30 am this morning with a night terror - pacing, panting, inconsolable. We know think this is dementia. We are going to the vet today to talk about next steps. We want to end this at the right time and just not sure it is going to be like we thought, heart attack in her sleep. Looks like we need to make the decision that so many of had to make. Many blessings to you all.

Thank you for your post. We've just had the gut wrenching experience of our poodle Renny going into renal failure suddenly. There probably were signs but we didn't really see them. He was a most beloved boy. he had 8 1/2 years of 24/7 companionship. He was having seizures and his remaining life would have been very limited. Our vet agreed with our decision but it's so hard because he was running around just two days ago. We had him put to rest yesterday. Our hearts are broken. But we couldn't let him suffer. Thanks for all your stories. It's helping but we're in a lot of pain.

my 16 yr old border collie is very well in herself, no problems, good heart, bright eyes, eats well but this last wk, back legs wont work anymore and has to be carried outside. We hate to see her like this,do we need to put her down, she is so well looking and vet says old age spine problems bur no pain. Bewildered

my sister's 14 year german shepherd mix, has very bad arthritis in his back leg and been on strong pain killers for the past 2 years and his condition deteriorated fast, he's having trouble walking and standing up to go to the toilet. my sister used to help Zappy to go upstairs and down the stairs but for the past week she just stayed downstairs with zappy so zappy won't get lonely. in the past a few days zappy became urine incontinence, my sister constant changing and cleaning and washing the beddings. zappy hardly touchs his morning meals but eats well in the evening. when you look at his face,he still a very good looking dog, ears standing up and alert but his back legs waste away. it just so sad to watch zappy having trouble getting up and standing up, medication makes zappy sleepy all the time but when he's awake he is alert. how can you put him to sleep when he still aware of his surroundings but when you watch his movement you know he is suffering. it's going to be heart breaking decision about letting zappy go.

Thanks so much to all the joys and also the heartbreak. Just yesterday we had to put Samson to sleep. He was a 14 1/2 year old, 7 pound Maltese. In the last couple months he developed a kidney disease, had bouts with diarrhea and then most recently was not eating. Vet had told us he would eventually stop eating with his kidney condition and we would know when it would be time for him to go to sleep and be peaceful. My wife and I are heartbroken and miss him dearly. We take solace in knowing we gave him a beautiful life and he gave us so much happiness as well. Prayers to all.

Thanks so much to all for sharing the joys and also the heartbreak. Just yesterday we had to put Samson to sleep. He was a 14 1/2 year old, 7 pound Maltese. In the last couple months he developed a kidney disease, had bouts with diarrhea and then most recently was not eating. Vet had told us he would eventually stop eating with his kidney condition and we would know when it would be time for him to go to sleep and be peaceful. My wife and I are heartbroken and miss him dearly. We take solace in knowing we gave him a beautiful life and he gave us so much happiness as well. Prayers to all.

I needed to read this. Five years ago I adopted a 14 year old Peak/Pom cross. Her name has always been Gizmo and this sweet girl outlived her first parents. A heartbreaking experience for anyone, but then who adopts a senior dog, me, I do. She has been the most amazing, funny, boisterous bundle of trouble you could ever imagine and I am so not ready to let her go. She is at the age of renal failure and liver enzyme issues. Today she had a poop explosion, my poor little pip squeak. I hated the thought of bathing her as it is of course the worst winter in ages here in Nova Scotia. As I bathed her I took in her bowed legs, arched spine and awkward stance. My wee girl is old and frail now but she sat like a pro in that tub and let me clean her up and then dry her in front of the fire as those thick furred paws soaked through my jeans. God I love her, she is one of 5 rescues but best little boss around. Like you I wait hoping she will not wake in the morning but have escaped this world to something better. When I read that they usually have protracted difficult dying process, I knew it would be up to me to facilitate her peaceful escape.
Not today, but it will be soon. Thank you. Making this dicission is the kindest most loving thing I can do for Gizzy in greatfulness for all the love and laughter she has given me.

I feel your past pain for the decision and loss of Serena. I too am facing the reality of this and find it so hard to follow through and take her to the vet. Ginny is 15 years old, which people say isn't that old for a Yorkie. Always lively and ready to play, her days now are only filled with eating, sleeping, peeing and pooping-sometimes right where she's laying. I know I will step up to the plate and do what needs to be done, just want to say thanks for a forum to express my grief, frustration and reality of what all animal owner eventually go through.
Denise S.

I am having a difficult time on making the decision to put our loving 14 year old Airedale terrier Clyde to sleep. We rescued him when he was 7 and he has become a very important member of our family. Each day it seems it is getting harder and harder for him to get up as he has little to no muscle tone in his back legs. The vet says it is his spine. He cannot go on walks as his legs are too weak, but given the chance he would not hesitate. He still gets up to eat and goes outside to the bathroom, but most of the time his back legs give out and they fall behind him when he is going down the stairs. I have also notice that he starts to pee a little even before we are outside. He used to always want to go outside, but now he only will go out 3 or 4 times. It's just so hard to think about putting him down as his mind still seems sharp. My husband and I struggle with this decision everyday and feel torn. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


I can totally relate to the on going battle on what to do. My story is above yours. Our case came out of no where and fast for our 5 year old lab mix (read above story) I didn't want to put her down. She had do much more life to give, young, and really, aside from her back, hine kegs giving out, she continued to eat, drink, do everything right. No vomiting or accidents until the the wee hours into the morning which, unfortunately was the day she passed away. No rhime or reason to any of it. I'm still in shock and continue to blame myself. Why didn't I do this or that? Give her more time? More tests, and do on which only makes the realization harder to accept. There's no easy way to go about these decisions. Many of us have gone threw and continue to go threw the grief, which is normal. My beloved Zoey passed away 3 months ago and I still can't her last few secs of her life out of my head. It's mental anguish.

Just know your not alone! This is an amazing page for support as myself have recently found. The worse thing you can do is delay their discomfort and suffering no matter how hard it is to bring ourselves to say goodbye! We can't keep them alive for our sake, that would be selfish. Even though I knew myself was easier said then yo do. Otherwise I hope for a positive turn around do you have many more joyous times together! Sending you strength!

Here I sit, tearing up reading everyone's stories. I too am in the same situation. My Ceasar, who was literally born in my arms, turns 13 next month. He has been my best friend for 13 years. I recently had kids. One is two and the other is almost 1. Ceasar has slowly started loosing feeling in his back legs. He slips and falls on the hardwood floor. Has a lot of trouble getting up, and constantly poops in his sleep. Every night, a couple times a night. He's embarrassed about it, and it's hard keeping up with it when you have two babies. I'm concerned for my kids health. I'm also concerned I'm debating putting Ceasar to sleep. What if this is the wrong decision. What if I'm being selfish. Will he Hate me. He was my first baby when I thought I couldn't have kids. We put our other dog to sleep at 17. He was in rough shape. Do I wait that long again just to be sure it's the right time. I don't think I will ever know for sure. He has his good days. And mentally he is all there. I just don't know what to do

I am truly sorry for your beloved loss! it's heart breaking-just heart breaking!

I had also found myself faced with the dreadful decision to put my beloved Zoey down. Zoey was a lab mix just shy of 5 years old. It was then that my world seemed to become crashing down with puzzling symptoms developing out of nowhere and fast.

Zoey had no prior health issues aside from her back hine leg seeming to give her a little trouble. I noticed about 2 years ago she started having difficulty landing her jump up on our bed. She'd often sleep with me as my husband was gone due to being active duty in the military. She had become my rock from the time she was 8 weeks until she passed. Once I noticed this was becoming more of an issue for her, I'd pick her up to avoid any type of jumping or excess strain on her legs. Shortly after discovering this-we had her routine follow up with our vet to see if she had any injuries. The vet then Explained she had pulled something (kinda like our acl) in her leg. the vet then explained since it really didn't seem to bother or affect her, we'd give it a year since she was so young to see if it would improve on its own. In the mean time, watch what she ate, limit her exercise, and avoid jumping. We'd continue to monitor her and go from there as long as Zoey didn't have any complications or pain.

During that same visit, a tech told me about another local vet who did lazor treatments. Meaning a type of beam/current going to the problematic area for 2 mins to regelated new cells that would produce healthy tissue, fixing the problem. However, in any event, there's always the option for surgery. Which can cost up to $3,000 per leg and didn't guarantee fixing it. Usually once you do surgery, the other hine leg also seems to give out. So we decided to do the lazor treatments, which was 5 sessions. It seemed to have worked giving her more comfort. We also gave her a pain reliever for dogs also used for arthritis.

The Sunday after thanksgiving, I awoke to her panting very heavily. Initally I thought maybe I'd hurt her stomach somehow by constantly picking her up, so I immediately took her to the animal emergency clinic. The vet examined her in a different room to see how she walked and reacted by manipulating the bottom half of her body. Also to see if anything else wad contributing to her discomfort. The vet said she could see the strain of her back leg. Suggested doing a follow up with a vet specializing in therapy. Aside from that, everything appeared to be normal. Esp because she continued to eat fine, drink fine, no vomiting, and using the bathroom regularlly-no accidents.

We had to wait a week to get her into the specialist before starting her second round of lazor treatments. We took her in on a Monday, which the vet put her under to manipulate the joins and take X-rays. Which, again only confirmed what we were previously told. The vet thought she was going to be just fine. In fact, the vet thought she was "milking" me for extra attention. After her appointment with the vet, they did the lazor treatment over both back legs, hips and lower back. Returned tues for 2nd session. That night (Tuesday) she could bearly walk. My husband would pick her up to take her outside which only seemed to hurt her. Even tilting her head back, hurt her. Yet she's still eating, drinking and doing everything else fine. It came to the point she'd get up, fall, get up fall. She couldn't even bend legs to go potty. The worse is really starting to sink in. Regardless of How much I don't want to acknowledge her rapid decline. She began panting so bad, I was filling up large bags of ice to cool and calm her down. Just broke my heart.

Now that the realization is setting in, what am I going to do? Can I keep her comfortable for a 9 hour car ride home for Xmas? That was the plan. Now it's wed and she had not urinated in hours, unable to get up to walk. We knew we couldn't put her threw that pain. We then decided to take her first thing in the am to the vet. She finally calmed down and relaxed Falling a sleep in my arms. She woke up around 9:30 panting very heavy which just broke my heart. I called my husband to inform him I can't allow and watch her suffer, We needed to take her to the vet. At 12:30 pm on Thursday, December 12th, she has now joined my beloved uncle and grandfather in heaven who recently passed prior to zoeys decline. The look in her eyes as I held her in my arms telling her how special she was, I will always love her, and simply put, thanked her. Thanked her for getting me threw lonely times as my husband was gone. Helping my greive with my recent losses, and coming into my life. Within sec she was gone. I had walked in with my sweet girl, and walked out alone. Holy hell was that the hardest things I ever had to do, go threw and watch. The vet said she was in a lot of pain and didn't even give her the full dosage. Zoey was ready. I was in complete shock. Still in complete shock.

Now-3 months later, I'm still heart broken. I've now entered the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" zone. Why didn't I have blood work done. Maybe I should have given her more than 2 weeks for improved rather than just put her down. After all, us humans done always bounce back within a few weeks. No matter what I try telling myself, read, do, or watch helps. I know it's not my fault and I can't beat myself up over it, yet I still feel like I had failed her. Esp since this just happen so fast and out of no where.

I miss her terribly and just can't seem to accept it even though I don't have an alternative choice. My heart just hadn't caught up to my brain. I guess it's just going to take time. Until then I just gotta get threw each day by day. After all, what is my alternative? At best, time is our only solution. Which still doesn't fix, change or end the pain in our hearts, but pacifies our feelings to help cope with our loss. In my heart is where we'll meet again!

We have a 15 year old lab/rot mix. He's a treasure and pure heart. However he also has been loosing muscle tone in his hind area. He's battled back successfully from a stroke. And he poops at least once a day in the house. He tries to get to the door but it just falls out. Then he tumbles down the three steps but needs cheering to get back up the same 3 steps. His mind is 100% here and he is a very happy dog. His breath and gas smell as bad as when he does poop. He can't get enough water and sleeps a lot. I can tell by my husbands face he feels it's time but I just don't know. Sometimes I feel it is but feel like I'm giving up on him. I just said the same thing you did the other day. I pray I will wake up one morning and he will have passed on his own. Maybe that thought IS the answer. Why else would you think something like that? I just hate to cute it short if it's not time. I've spent a lot of time battling this. I just don't know what to do. I don't know how to explains this decision to our kids either:(

I'm sorry for your loss. I realize this article is 2 years old but reading it and the comments are helping me a lot. Our sweet schnauzer is 18 1/2. She is doing so many of the things mentioned here. She still eats, not as much, and drinks but the quality of her life is going. I pick her up to relieve herself outside because she has so much trouble finding the door. She then walks around and around in the yard before she goes, usually 30 minutes later. I help her as she gets tangled up in the dining room chairs and I watch her aimlessly pace around the room only to stop and stare at the walls. She just walks away when we pet her and she doesn't even interact with us at all. Our other dog completely ignores her now. Last night she peeped in her bed twice. I've been telling myself that she's still eating and drinking and doesn't seem to be in pain. I can continue to help her and take care of her, but I'm really thinking I'm not really helping anymore. I'm doing these things for me because I'm having trouble letting go. Reading this article and comments has really helped me. I ,too, was hoping she'd just "go to sleep" one day. Now I realize that I'm going to have to help her to do just that. She's given us a lifetime of love and companionship. Now it's time for me to give her the relief she needs.

Hi folks.. I know this is an old string but I've come across it because we too are faced with the same situation.

I live in the UK with my beloved friend Tiah Mariah who is a 15 year old Staffy cross suffering from CCD. Everything Brian wrote about is happening.. the poop explosions, the confusion, staring, collapsing her back legs are going.. she looks like a new born dear, Bambi.. with the splayed legs trying to get her balance.
She shakes, a lot, and walks about getting stuck in places until she collapses which usually happens at night.

I said to my wife just the other day, echoing that of Brian's words.. I wish we came down to find her gone..

I've had Tiah for 13 years. I'd gone through a marriage split up with my first wife and lost everything. My job, my home, my kids, everything. I was destitute, alone and scared and stupidly tried to take my own life. It was without any doubt the lowest point of my life.

I moved back to the village to where I grew up and re-started life.. attending counseling sessions and popping pills like they were smarties. It was then that my mother said, Mark.. get a dog. Do it now. Go!

I went to a local charity ran dog shelter where a two years old abandoned Tiah sat. (Crying now) As soon as our eyes met, I knew. I pointed her out and the cage was opened, she immediately jumped on my back and was licking my ears, snuffling my head, she wouldn't leave me alone. I knew she was the one.

From that day we ate together, we shared the same bed. Morning walks across the fields, a sausage sandwich and a cup of tea watching the sun rise over canals and rivers, ornamental railway and a forest in the background, we could see for miles, and all with Tiah by my side.

Everywhere I went, she went. If she couldn't go, I didn't go. I trained her, she obeyed, and slowly I got better. I had saved her life, she had saved mine.

I feel so lost right now.. it's clear that Tiah is suffering and I know in my heart it's time. It's gut wrenching, I feel utterly lost, and frustrated. But i know.

We have an appointment today at 3:30 with our VET i'm scared they will say what I want them to say, but at the same time I don't want them to say it, If that makes sense.

My friend deserves more than this, and as painful a decision it will be, I know, ultimately, deep down, that she deserves to pass away with dignity.. when I look into her eyes I see it.. and it breaks my heart.

Mark, thanks for sharing the story of you and Tiah. Very moving. Thirteen years... wow. Your sadness and sense of loss is completely understandable. All I can express is my sympathy, along with confidence that, because you love TIah so much, whatever you decide to do in this difficult time will be the right decision for her.

I too appreciated this article. Sorry for your loss. My dog Midnight that I raised from 6 weeks until she was 15 had to be put to sleep. It's only been 2 weeks and I feel my heart will never heal. She had shaky legs with tremors for quite some time as she got older. The vet said she had arthritis. She had surgery 2 years ago for spindle cell tumor on her side after I felt a lump on day. The vet said it could be reoccurring but I never noticed another lump. What I did notice was that her hind legs kept giving out on her. She couldn't stand very long before she had to go down. She was having trouble going poop because he legs wouldn't hold her up long enough. She was very constipated most of the time. She still liked her walks but now we couldn't go very far. She fell down the stairs several times. Even though they were only 5 steps she would end up on the hard wood floor splayed out. My heart was breaking at this time. She was my love and companion and stayed at my side when my only child died and then my husband 4 years later. She was a part of me. When she stared going in circles and going to the wrong side of the door I was getting worried. She sometimes seemed to stare blankly and that her eyes weren't focusing. I took her to the vet one day before this sleep took place. I wanted him to trim her nails and check a growth on her nose she developed. He said it was her time. I cried and said how could this be. He said well at least you had her for 2 more years after her surgery. I had scheduled her for the procedure but changed my mind because she seemed okay for two days. My neighbor said she was rallying. The next night she had a very hard time breathing and sleeping. I held her and she looked at me. I told her how sorry I was for her. I didn't want to be selfish because I didn't want to lose her but deep down knew it was time. I took her the next day to the vet and said just do it. She walked back and forth to my husband and the 2 vet assistants and me. When he gave her the twilight shot she became very wobbly and unstable. I had my husband put her on the table with the blanket and held her close to me. I didn't want to let go. When the vet came in and gave her the final shot I thought I would die too. I wish I would have remembered to close her eyes but she was gone in an instant. I came home hysterical and just wanted to be left alone with my broken heart. I had her cremated so I could bury her ashes with me, my husband and son. I had her paw prints made because I would always hold her paw in my hand and tell her she had pretty feet, pretty eyes etc. I guess I know deep down it was the right decision but I am dealing with the guilt that I could have waited. I never wanted to play God and make that decision. I think I have had one too many losses in my life and losing her was like the final link to my family. Again I thank you for your article made me cry but I felt we all have that final decision to make.

Hi everyone,
I am really struggling to cope after the sudden serious illness of my beautiful Molly over 6 weeks ago. It's different to some of your stories in that she was younger and had a sudden life threatening illness but I feel I ended things too soon and didn't let her have a chance. I think I still can't accept she is gone and it was under very traumatic and sudden circumstances so I wasn't prepared at all, she was only 8 1/2 years old and my best friend, so sweet and followed me everywhere. She was sleeping more and off her food sometimes but she was always quite picky, and then just wasn't herself on the Saturday morning 6 weeks ago so I took her to the vet. They mis diagnosed and told me to take her home, keep her quiet over the weekend and we would do more tests Monday. I'm very angry at that vet and angry at myself for not getting a second opinion earlier as I had no idea what was going on internally. I took her to the emergency vet later that night and she was very anaemic and not clotting properly. They gave her blood transfusions and medications but it didn't help much and they then realised she was bleeding internally most likely from her spleen, which was abnormal in size and very painful for her. I am horrified that Molly was bleeding internally all of Saturday and I didn't know! She was still eating and drinking a bit and didn't cry or wimper and I didn't know she was in pain! She was just a bit lethargic and not herself. The internal bleeding was quite bad and we were going to do emergency surgery to remove the spleen but on chest X-ray she had fluid on her lungs and the vet kept saying she wasn't in a good way for an operation and likely to die during the procedure. And if she got through it was likely to be cancer and she had a poor prognosis and likely a poor future. I'm so devastated all this info came out of no where and it all happened so quickly. The vet talked us out of doing the surgery even though I wanted to save my baby. I'm horrified I somehow allowed her to be put to sleep in my arms without trying the surgery as they seemed sure she wouldn't survive it. They think it was a blood Tumor and likely hermangiosarcoma, but I will never know as we didn't do the surgery!! She had previously had 2 skin growths removed in past years that were benign blood growths. Looking back now it seems to make no sense to take away her chance by not doing the surgery even though I wanted to!! I'm just horrified with myself and feel I have made the worst mistake of my life. I didn't think it through at all and now it can never be undone. I'm not coping very well and not sure how to live with that decision I somehow made. I'm consumed by regret and sadness that I didn't do more for my sweet girl. She should have lived much longer. Thanks for letting me vent, it's hard to find people who understand what a bond you can have with an animal. Molly was my companion and baby girl and way more than a dog, and I feel so responsible for her and that I let her down and cut her life short.

My husband and I have a very hard decision to make. Our beautiful Sash is a 15 year old lab mix who has fecal incontinence. Her back legs are getting weaker and we sometimes have to help her up. She spends about 23 hours a day in her bed. In the morning she waits for my husband to go outside and get the newspaper. She's still eating and at times plays with our younger dog. There are times that her bed is wet. What to do? I'm so sad.

Finding this site was a blessing. 30 minutes ago I just sent my best friend of 17 yrs on. I was feeling so much guilt..was it too soon? I realized that I was holding on to him for me. His quality of life was deteriorating. My proud Shiba Inu would defecate in the bed while he slept. During his last walk in the park he fell on his face. He had a very tough time sitting or standing up. Sure he occasionally showed signs of the old Akira but most of his day was filled with sleeping and struggling to sit up. I still have some guilt but I know I did the right thing for him. My heart is sad and I feel alone but I had to let him go.

I am sorry for all your losses, I just dont want to accept that our 15 3/4 yo staffy is coming to a point where I know she wont want to go on, & I will never be ready to lose her.
She has a weakness in her back legs, she struggles to go up to bed, last night she fell down for about 3/4 of the way up the stairs, she also has many lumps on her body, we went to the vet for her injections & her 6 monthly blood screen, the vet said although nothing jumped out at him, she has a high level of liver enzyme & something to do with calcium, I asked what this meant he said it could be a type of blood cancer, I declined further tests as, at her age nothing will give her another 5 or so years, she no longer plays with her toys or looks happy, she is a staffy, I just want someone to giveme an opiniion

It is sad to loose a friend. To me my little 12 year old chiuahaha Gucci is just that, one of my best friends. She is a mom of two.(my sister has one baby and lives in Vancouver) We lost her other baby, Basil just 10 months ago tragically from a vet suggesting something to help figure out the extent of her having insipidus diabetes that ultimately caused her to go brain dead overnight. It was to dare the worst experience in my life.I also have the dad Roberto who has pulmonary adema (swollen heart syndrome) (I brought them home from mexico so the bad genes must be from imbreeding or something sad) GUCCI however, has been blind for the past 6 years. She went blind from genetics and has developed glaucoma in the past 2 years. Her eye pressures were extremely high causing her right eye to appear to almost be ready to fall out of the socket at any time. We've managed to get the left eye down to a healthy manageable state but the right, although a little better than before is still a big concern and the vet keeps saying we may have to consider removing it. We've noticed over the past year her legs being a bit wobbly but she's blind and sleeps a lot so figured it was lack of muscle. I've been walking her a lot more (and by walking I mean taking her to a big open field and calling her so she walks towards me ) for the past 4 or 5 months, she even began having a bit of stride as if about to try and run. She has had 3 dental surgeries to date to remove rotting teeth due to gingivitis with her most recent surgery to remove her final teeth about a month ago. Since then, about a week ago today her legs got noticeable worse. She began "knuckling" (walking on her knuckles or tops of her feet instead of the pads) on her right front and back feet and went from climbing the stairs fine to not being able to at all, over a matter of days!. I took her to the vet who told me unfortunately it was nuerological. I could have CT scans done or see a neurologist but it is likely in the brain and inoperable, high risk and expensive for a 12 year old dog. She has also had incontenence for the past 7 or 8 months. I love this dog with everything I have. She has been loving eating since her last dental surgery, her mouth must just feel so much better. She is the happiest when I'm with her. She loves just sitting on my lap while I'm working or sitting in the passenger seat while I'm out running errands. She had been enjoying her little frolics in the park but the past week has been tough to watch. Almost going into full splits when squatting to pee and tripping over herself. This disorder isn't painful which makes deciding when to say goodbye that mush harder. If she enjoys her food and hanging with mom (me) and isn't in pain is it fair to make the choice to end a life? I feel like it should be my choice. It's so not fair, heartbreaking and confusing. I want to ask her what she wants but I can't. I want her to give me a sign that she wants to go not be just hating to see her deteriorate even though she's seemingly comfortable doing so....

Our Shepard is 13 and can't see so good anymore. He is losing his hearing and has hip dysplasia while he sometimes can get up on his own he needs to be lifted at others. My wife and I are both senior's and are not able to bend over and lift him. We called the vet and he will come to the house and put him to sleep. So ok, it's settled and will be done the day after tomorrow and now I feel guilty like I'm doing the wrong thing. I am over 80 years old and have always had a dog so I know we made the right decision but I sure wish it was me rather than Pup. I know you're not supposed to cry when you're over 80, but, I can promise you that whoever said that was not telling the truth.

I can't tell you how much you sharing your experience with your Serena helped us with our Missy.

I didn't realize dogs got dementia like people do and we were confused by her not wanting to be physically close or be petted. We told ourselves maybe she didn't want to be bothered because she was now an old lady. She too would stare off, seemingly at nothing, but we attributed that to her failing eyesight thinking she was simply trying to focus.

Missy was always fit and people thought she was a much younger dog than she was. We just didn't see what was going on because the changes were so gradual. Missy was 15-1/2 and her hind leg muscles were wasting and squatting was becoming more and more difficult. Although she didn't poop in the house, she would stop everywhere and anywhere and pee -- usually just standing there. She was drinking tremendous amounts of water but the vet said there were no signs of diabetes In the last year, she developed an almost chronic bladder infection -- improving with antibiotics but returning as soon as the medications stopped. The next step was some sort of operation.

After I read your article and the comments from the veterinarian you included, I realized I was choosing not to see what was right in front of me. I read everything to my husband and we decided to make the call to the vet. When we lost her brother and year and a half earlier, it was an obvious decision; Buddy had cancer and was in pain. Aging issues were so much more subtle and made us second-guess ourselves.

Thankfully after reading the article I took her favorite quilt with us and she laid on it on the table while I gently rubbed her face, kissed her forehead, and told her she would soon go play with her brother, Buddy. With the injection, the assistant allowed her to roll to her side and I laid her head down. She did let out a little sigh - not as if she was scared - but I couldn't help but wonder if it wasn't a greeting; if Buddy wasn't there to greet her and take her home.

Thank you again for sharing,

You have just describe my life for the last month and a half. My sweet 13 year old Chocolate Lab has gone through almost everything you have said. The pooping in the house I have put up with since it hasn't been explosive diarrhea. The dr gave me Xanax for the nighttime pacing and has helped some. I have been told I will know when it's time but Emmy is our first dog that has actually gotten old, all our other dogs never lived past 10.
She isn't the same dog like ahe used to be.

I'm glad I happened upon this. Our elderly English bulldog is 12 + and although there have been accidents on and off this week he has completely lost control of his bowels and bladder. He will just defecate anywhere in the house, we've had to confine him to a crate when indoors and he just hates this and starts battering against it to bust out. He is deaf, almost blind, quite grumpy, arthritic, and has not been fit to walk any distance really for quite some time. I feel that maybe the most humane thing to do at this stage is to let him go to sleep. I feel guilty that I have been angry at his constant poop clean up. I don't know where its all coming from as his appetite is minimal, in fact he has barely eaten at all this past four days. Very difficult decision to make indeed but I feel that for his breed where the life expectancy is 8-10 years he really has had a pretty good long life before things started to shut down.

Thank you for sharing your story. I have been in tears for the past 6 days, struggling with deciding wether or not it's "right" to let my 14yo Sheltie/golden mix, Mia, go. Your post sounds like it could have been me talking. The fecal incontenance, the weak legs, stumbling & falling... It's her big brown eyes that cause me to second guess. But, I want her to go peacefully, and with dignity. Thank you for putting into words the way I feel. We have an appointment Friday morning to let her go to The rainbow bridge.

I'm going through this as well with my 13 1/2 old chocolate lab. I hate thinking of doing it when I think I'm tired of cleaning up after her-I think I'm being selfish! My husband is letting me decide but I know the peeing and pooping is getting to be too much. I think I just need to say it's time.😢

We are going through the exact ...word for word situation with out girl, Joy. She's a yellow lab. She is just about 14 yrs old. I'm relieved to know that my instincts are right and it's time. Thank you for this story.

I sit here reading with tears in my eyes. I sent Bailey to heaven November 21, 2014 and it still hurts. Know was best thing for him. He'd been having problems walking for awhile and he began having the dementia symptoms about 3 weeks prior really bad. He got tangled in things and couldn't find his way back in doggie door. He'd always been a free spirit coming and going as he pleased. I realized it was time but I sure didn't want to let him go. I read somewhere that my pain would eventually go away but his never would. I'm not sure the part about my pain going away was true. I guess I can say it has eased over time. To top it off 2 months later I lost my maxi who choked on some meat. Both had been wonderful companions and it was devastating. Bailey was almost 16 and Maxi was 13. I didn't know if I could ever own another dog. I didn't know if my heart could stand another eventual loss, but God directed me to a website and we got a new sweet baby who is awesome. He doesn't take the place but he certainly occupies his own spot of my heart. Tomorrow we are going to pick up little BBs brother Ammo. I will have my two fur babies again and looking forward to a long loving relationship. I'm so thankful to have loved and had the love of Maxi and Bailey. I miss them dearly but I know they lived a long full life and there's a season for everything. To those who have lost a very special fur baby my heart goes out to you. I'm here to tell you that it truly is better to have loved and lost thAn never to love at all.

The author is exactly right, and this article has helped me stop worrying about whether this is the right decision.

The hope of my dog passing away peacefully in her sleep is actually the last gift I can give to her—and I can be there with her and say goodbye as it happens.

I've decided to have it happen Monday. I am devastated. The only thought that approximates how I feel are from Doctor Who:

"You can spend the rest of your life with me. But I can't spend the rest of mine with you. I have to live on, alone."

Goodbye Polka. I will miss you and love you forever.


I am so glad I found your post! We are struggling with the same decision for our beloved almost 17 year old Bichon, Lexie. I actually have the appointment scheduled in 2 weeks, but it seems surreal and I am having a hard time seeing myself being able to go through with it. She is diabetic, is pretty much blind, while not deaf, she doesn't hear very well, and the vet has said she has doggie dementia (what I call it). She is now in a diaper at all times when she is awake. We have had to move 2 times in the past 2 years (out of state move, then out of a rental). This was very hard on her. The house is laid out differently than any others we have had. So she has no idea where the door is. It is a slider. There have been a few times from the outside when she has hurled herself into it. I carry her outside and back in to do her business - which she can do, though sometimes she is a little wobbly. She trips over the thinnest twigs or slightly uneven ground. But even when she goes outside, there is no guarantee she won't turn around and go right away again once inside. We have to keep her in a bathroom during the day. We keep pee pads down, which she may or may not hit. There have been several times of late when she poo'd in the room, then tracked and tracked through it. Looked like the poop explosions others have described. We have never seen anything like it, the room was painted in it. And I wondered how it was for her being stuck in there until we got home. She was potty trained well, and if there was ever an accident in the house (extremely rare) - you knew she just couldn't hold it anymore. She paces endlessly. Startles easily, doesn't seem to enjoy being petted anymore, doesn't seek us out anymore. She was never the proverbial lap dog, but she still liked being around us. I can't remember the last time I got a full night of sleep, because I am up with her at least once, sometimes twice, during the night when I hear her click, click, clicking around and shaking (which generally means she has pooped in her diaper - and I don't want to leave her in it). Her legs are weak, she falls over easily (we believe arthritis, which we have her on medication for, which has helped as she no longer helps out randomly). She still eats, that is really about her only obvious enjoyment. She gets lost in the backyard, though sometimes she does seem to enjoy being out. She hasn't been able to go on walks for years now, first it was the arthritis (even though she wanted to go). Now there is no interest. She used to love car rides. Now she could care less. I know I am going on and on, but this is helping me to see how much is gone. Every now and again she does this odd jumping around thing with the other dogs, though it almost looks like she is nipping at them. It is a glimpse of joy and her wanting to play. But it is over in seconds, and we can't join in with her at that point as we once did, she doesn't understand. I have also hoped I would come home and she just passed in her sleep. Your comment about them just going to sleep at the vets being like this was very helpful, a different way of looking at this that I hadn't considered. I don't think she is in overwhelming physical pain, but objectively, I also don't think she has any real joy left. I have visited with my vet, who was so very good, and we talked through this. She reassured me that my thinking it might be time was not out of line at all with all that I describe. She was very supportive. So now we will try to enjoy her last couple of weeks, which is hard, because we can't really enjoy them "with" her. But I will pamper her all I can and try to be strong when the time comes. Because realistically, her life consists of being diapers, eating her 2 meals a day, being in the bathroom during workdays, sleeping or circling/pacing endlessly. Not much of a life, and I can't help but wonder if I have already waited too long. :-( Thank you again for sharing your story.

It's so sad reading these comments and brings tears to my eyes. I have a yellow lab, 14 years old, he is still so very handsome, tomorrow I go to the vet's because of the inevitable, I have been putting it of as I fear the worse. He has bad hips, although can walk very clumsily and falls down on his bottom occasionally still I my eyes seems ok. He constantly poops and wees all day, in his sleep even if he is walking to go outside, it's gone on since last year but I think it's that time. He finds it difficult to get up and whines and barks, frustration, it's very sad to watch. But he eats and still seems himself. He is deaf, although he can hear the neighbours and barks, yet if we call him, he can't hear us. I have tried course of injections for his hips in the past it didn't really do much. Now with the incontinence and other ailments I fear the worse. Tomorrow is the day and I am scared for the outcome. I feel for all those that are going through this, I have had him from 9 weeks old and he is a superstar, starring in the Andrex adverts when he was a puppy. So very special and if I lose him I am going to be heartbroken, my house will be empty, he is like my child.

This blog has helped me immensely. My 14 year old cocker spaniel is scheduled for his eternal sleep in 2 days. My wife and I have dealt with off and on urinating and defecating in the house the past 6 months, probably 70 plus accidents at least. He suffers from Cushing's disease and arthritis in his back legs. The meds for the Cushing's help to an extent, but he still has periods of accidents even though he goes out multiple times a day. He pants a lot, and paces sometimes all night long. I have lost a lot of sleep in the last month just letting him out numerous times in the night. We are more frequently carrying him up and down steps. It's hurting our hearts like crazy because he has had such good days recently. We can't keep running more and more tests for a better medication balance. It isn't fair to him. He has entertained us, made us mad, made us laugh, acted like a protector, comforted, and is the sweetest member of the family. He always forgives and forgets. He used to throw a one dog ticker tape parade every time I arrived home, but now it's a trip down the stairs to give a tired "hi, dad", the effort is still there. God bless my little doggy and all the other "best friends" I have read about.

Thank you for all your kind words. I too am "second guessing" letting my beloved sweetie "go". She was my best girl. I miss her so much, but the dementia and once in 6 weeks seizure made my baby very quiet and restless.
Mama loves you.

Lucky was 12. We rescued her at 9 months and gave her a well deserved life. She was a loyal protector who watched over our family. Beautiful to watch her play and work, trying to never think of this emotional day when she would leave us for good.
Thanks Doc for your help and understanding.

I love My BEAUTIFUL ROJA, she has been with me for 15 Years .I got her when I first moved to TUCSON, actually my husband surprised me and brought her home, it was LOVE AT FIRST SITE! ROJEE has hind leg Arthritis , my husband says it is hip dysplasia! I know in the near future we will have to also put My BEAUTIFUL ROJA to sleep but I am not ready yet, I know she has a form of Dementia, but i can see that she still eats and goes to the bathroom then it is not time yet. ROJA NEVER went in the house very well potty trained but has gone in our house several time on whites carpeting, my husband bought aVery Good Carpet Cleaner and we seem to get it to look like New! I don't care about going out anymore and if I do I come home not more than 3 hours leaving her alone, ROJA had Separation anxiety I could NEVER LEAVE HER IN ANY OF THE HOUSES INSIDE, but she is Okay to leave her now inside, she rather not be outside and she could spend all the time OUTSIDE, SHE LOVEF IT! I HOPE GOD WILL GIVE ME THE STRENGTH WHEN IT IS TIME! I LOVE HER SOO MUCH😍😍😍😍😍

Good article and good comments by all those struggling with their decision.

I have always gone with the theory that the pet owner will know when it is time.

In our case our dog had all the symptoms of advanced old age and we knew it was time and had the dreaded appointment scheduled. But had to move it up when she had 2 strokes in a few hours a couple days before. She gave me one last look in the eye that said it was time.


I felt like I knew you and Serena after ready that article. I was in them moments with this Oregonian. You told a very good story here, the best nonfiction kind. I have a 14 year old dog myself. His health is going down hill. Not quite as bad as, Serena's. He has that hip dysplasia. He has a hard time with stairs, getting up and down, and they are weak. I've noticed that the muscles in his bad are hard as a rock, that must be painful. I just got done massaging him. I have a heating pad on him now while he sleep. He has a real bad tooth at the back of his mouth. I usually have him tramadol. I need to get it pulled but can't afford it. He don't seem to be in too bad of pain or I'd make a way for it, and eventually will. He is worth it to me.

I can't imagine my life without my dog. I've had him most of my adult life. I got him in my early twenties and I just turned 37. It's going to be so strange not having him there. I worry about knowing when it is time as well. Everyone tells me that I will know. But do we really? Sounds like Serena got in pretty bad shape before you made the move. Having to stand up to do a bowl movement is very sad. However, if you did wait a little later than you should have it was not too far after. Like you said she was not in bad pain. I don't want my dog to suffer a long drug out death. There is nothing worse than dying then suffering very badly along the way. No doubt.

Your post did open my mind up to it more. I knew I'd eventually do it but your post softened me up to it more. It may sound crazy but I actually worry if he has an afterlife and if so what will he think if I'm not there to take care of him. I know how that sounds and I doubt it but you never know-
I think about how I'll manage without him and him being afraid without me. I just love him so much. I look at him like a human. He has been my best friend and companion for so long. He always loved me no matter what. Dogs give you there hearts completely.

I imagine he will be around another year. Please pray that I will know when it's time. I will keep you and Serena's story with me. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm not going to proof read this so please excuse any errors.


My BEAUTIFUL SHIBA INU Roja was EUTHANIZED yesterday, she was My Baby, My Queen, I have been crying off and on for 24 hours! ROJEE was the Bedt, Smart as a Whip! My husband Lived her SO SO MUCH we got her the 3rd Day we moved to TUCSON she has been with me for 15 Loving Years! I had her Monthly groomings which she Loved, She was Immaculate! We use to walk in a Shopping Center which is where the Elite would shop, they would all run out of their shops all the time to ADMIRE ROJA, SHE WAS A BEAUTY RED COAT,AND GOLDEN RED TAIL. ROJEE started having one hind leg problems and then both started bothering her about 6 months ago, shd also lost her gearing and then got DEMENTIA! My Husband and I tried to deal with the same experiences you all went thru, put her in Rimadyl and Nuestrick for the DEMENTIA. I prayed it would helped but I was just fooling myself. The Last Nite when she st rated Peeing on her self I knew it was time plus her Stumbling and Falling got Worse and I hated to see her like that . Sunday Nite after wiping her side of Per and also Roja was. Clean Freak ROJA would have not liked her doing it on herself and also me cleaning her up! ROJA was house broken immediately, and never went BOO BOO IN THE HOUSE, but unfortunately she did. She with her BIG BROWN EYES LOOKED I AM SORRY MOMMY BUT I COULDNT HELP IT. I LOVED HER SO MUCH I got down on the floor with her and looked those BEAUTIFUL BROWN AND BAWLED SHE COULDNT HEAR ME BUT COULD SEE I WAS IN DISTRESS AND THE TEARS FELL ON HER NOSE, AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SOME MONTHS SHE HASNT KISSED ME, BUT SHE KISSED MY NOSE AND LOOKED AT ME LIKE I AM GOING TO MISS YOU MOMMY BUT IT IS TIME.THAT NITE SHE SLEPT VERY CLOSE ON THE FLOOR NEAR US, USUALLY SHE WOULD MOVE AROUND AT NITE BUT DID NOT THST NITE. Called our VET yesterday got us in at11:00, and it was all over by 11:30. She went VERY PEACEFULLY! MY HEART has a BIG VOID IN IT, I MISS HER AND LOVED HER SO MUCH. TODSY I NEEDED TO POST THIS. I am Crying while I am doing this, but I wanted her to go with DIGNITY which I felt she did. I have a Beautiful Oil of her on My Wall which I had Painted last Summer. SHE WILL ALWSYS BE WITHME JUST LIKE MY DAD IS RIP! I LOVED THEM BOTH SO MUCH AND WILL MISS HER LIKE I DO MY DAD EVERY DAY😍😍😍

I don´t know if this blog is still active -- it seems nobody has written anything on it for two years -- but I''ll give it a try, for a lot of the stuff that I read here made so much sense. Cora is the name of my gorgeous, adorable 14 y.o. yellow lab. As of January 2016 her hind legs have become weaker and weaker and she's had more and more trouble standing up on her own -- most of the time she'll need help to get up. By March 2016 fecal incontinence had kicked in, and it's such a nightmare, including -- maybe most of all -- to herself. And as of some eight weeks ago there has been urinary incontinence too. Her quality of life is next to zero, but she mostly alert (she does sllep a lot during the day, but it's always been like that), still has an appetite, gets all excited when I grab her lead to take her out for a walk and seems to enjoy getting a pat (which we quite often give). We've seen quite a few vets and even had a spinal ct-scan on her: no tumors have been found, it just seems her spine is slowly degenerating. We´ve been paying for a weekly acupuncture and phisiotherapy session, but it doesn´t seem to help her recover hind-leg strength. My wife is absolutely on edge -- or past it -- with the constant messes in the kitchen, which the dog is nowadays mostly confined to. Cora will often lie on her own poop and pee and then somehow move away from the spot, spreading the mess all over the floor and herself. Whenever I'm home I keep my ears open for the scratching sounds her efforts to get up make and rush to the kitchen when I hear her, even during the night -- she will oftentimes immediately drink a lot of water (it looks like she somehow figures she doesn´t know when she'll get a chance to do that again). I've been so sad and lost wondering whether it's time to put her to sleep. I know she's not living a dignified life, but the spark in her eye is not gone yet: she can still smile and utterly enjoys a (very slow) walk. Any thoughts, anybody? Thanks.

Not sure if this blog is still up or not. But I wanted to post my story. We had to put our 10 year old German pointer/ lab mix down yesterday. It was the hardest thing I've had to do. Because I have the guilt today. The what if's.... Bud had a cervical disc issue to wear he couldn't use his front legs to walk. They were knuckling. He wasn't peeing or pooping. The vet said they would have to drain his urine by sticking a needle in his bladder and pulling it out. That would have to be done 3 times a day. When he is supposed to be strict cage rest. He couldn't walk or stand up. But he was sharp as a pin, he wagged his tail. He ate, didn't drink much. You can tell he was stressed, because he wanted to get up and go, but he couldnt. His back legs were starting to be affected as well. But I just feel like I failed him miserably. Should I have waited to see of the prednisone would ever take effect....the what if's are killing me today. I hope the feeling of failure leaves me...I pick up his ashes today. I'm not ready for that.
I just wanted to let you know I've read all of these stories, they have helped me a little. And to thank you for having this blog on here.

Wtf is wrong with you? Your dog can't control herself and you kill her outta laziness? Seriously fuck you

Hi, perfect timing I found this. Or maybe not because I'm simply searching for answers the day of our dog's last day. Oh boy. I simply wanted to let you know I found your post, and it helped me to release some emotions I was holding in. It's such a hard decision to make, for anyone, and I'm lucky I didn't have to make it myself - my parents did. But it is a hard decision to accept.
But we all love our animal friends and don't want them to suffer. I mean we spend their whole lives trying to keep them happy and avoid any pain or injury.
We have an Australian Shepherd- Catahoula Leopard Hound. Her hips have been giving out and a couple days ago she could no longer get up.
Needless to say she is very loved, she's had an excelente life.
And I hope you've been well over the years!

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