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December 15, 2013


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.

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