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A Good Death

mummummum
December 27th, 2008, 03:50 PM
It's no secret that many more of us and our animals die at this time of year than at any other. But, the sad fact is we rarely talk about it until it is happening in real time or has happened and then all we can offer is comfort. So many seem to be experiencing this living grief now, I'm wondering if we who have been there can help them with our wisdom and experience in closing this final circle.

No one wants to think about it ~ until it's happening and then you can barely think at all. Given their all too brief lives, we as animal lovers and guardians often have to experience death many times within our own lifetime. When it happens suddenly and without warning, there is little or nothing you can do to prepare yourself or them. If we are fortunate, we may have a little more time, whether it's minutes, hours or days ~ to plan for and to give of ourselves fully to them at the end of their lives.

What have you done to make your animal's final moments physically comfortable and emotionally reassuring in their passage from a life full of love to a good death? Where you were not able to do this at all or as fully as you may have wished, how did you help to heal yourself? And knowing what you know now, what will you do differently next time?

hazelrunpack
December 27th, 2008, 04:46 PM
Sometimes the hardest things to do are the simplest--like trying to stay positive. Animals pick up on our stresses, so positive body language can do a lot to put them at ease.

I remind myself that there will be time to mourn later...that my little loved one is too busy living from moment to moment to be worried too much about dying...and that every one of those moments is precious and not to be wasted. This always helps me to get through the last days and stay strong for that last bittersweet moment when it's time to help them leave this life and move on.

Afterward...well afterward you do what you must to work through the grief. It's different for everyone. Eventually, the good memories outweigh those last sad memories and you start to smile again.

As for self-doubts and what ifs...everyone has those moments of doubt and remorse, but what's past is past. You take whatever lessons you can from the past, and try to move on. The bottom line is, if you did the best you could at the time and you made your decisions out of love, no one can ask more of you--not even yourself!

My heart goes out to all who have lost a pet, now, in the past, in the future. :grouphug: Know that your heart keeps all your loved ones safe and your bond with them will never be broken.

:candle:

chico2
December 27th, 2008, 05:23 PM
I do have regrets,regrets that I waited too long before giving my former cats relief and I will not let that happen again with my cats when their time comes.
At the time of Peppis,Sammy's and Cookies passing,I felt an enormous relief,knowing they were not in pain anymore.
I held each one in my arms as they quickly went to sleep forever,the last thing I said was,I love you,as I held their little heads.
I feel the experience was a good one,although my tears were flowing and I was grieving for months for each one and missed them terribly.
I only wish,that one day,if life becomes unbearable for me someone would let me pass the same way.

Terrycito
December 27th, 2008, 05:57 PM
Well, I just lost my pet this past Tuesday, Dec 23rd, it has been the worst experience, especially knowing that I had to make the decision. I keep thinking what if???? my dog was accumulating liquid in his back paws, part of his abdomen and was breathing heavily. He was 13 and a half y/o, yes is old but he was very strong, so it was very hard for me to see him like this; last Sunday he started to act very lethargic, on Monday he wouldn't stand up, I took him to the vet and then to the hospital where he spent the night with IV liquids, dextrose, and even oxygen. The vets did needle biopsy in different sites and found cancerous cells, they didn't know the exact diagnosis, type of cancer, but they thought it had a bad prognosis; maybe weeks or up to a year with treatment, chemotherapy, and most likely in the hospital. When I went to visit him on Tuesday I saw he was very weak, couldn't breath very well, b/c he was with no oxygen, and just let me hold him in my arms. At that moment the options were to proceed with a biopsy and determine the type of cancer for treatment, chemotherapy, OR euthanasia. Sadly I choose the second one, (which by the way was highly recommended) but today after thinking and thinking over I feel I made the wrong decision, what if he had survived the procedure for the biopsy and he could have been in treatment, or what if he didn't survive the procedure and had died while doing the biopsy, or just simply the prognosis was so bad that he only had week(s) to live with a poor quality of life....:pray: I just hope my little dog is doing ok where ever he is, I miss him so much and will ALWAYS LOVE HIM, I only wish him the best in his other life. It was very hard to see him go under those conditions, I just hope I made the right decision at the right moment.

Very sad Vicky:cry:

pbpatti
December 27th, 2008, 07:19 PM
We always suffer the "what if's", knowing that our pets are now safe and in no pain any longer gives me strength to know that what I needed to do was right. It is so difficult to say final goodbyes to those that we love.

luckypenny
December 27th, 2008, 07:29 PM
Thank you for starting this Mx3. It's not something I like to think of but know that it is something I'd like to have better planned.

Terrycito, I can empathize with hoping that the right decisions were made at the right time. :grouphug:

I don't regret being there with my two dogs who were euthanized. I don't regret having helped one pass on because of extreme pain and old age regardless of how heartbreaking it was. I do struggle with the reasons we had to euthanize another. Something still very painful and haven't come to terms with and perhaps never will.

I do regret not having it done at home where they were most comfortable. For the future, in case, I do have a short list of vets who would come to our home if necessary.

Hazel, I'm going to memorize your post and hopefully be able to draw upon it when the time comes :o. Thank you.

mummummum
December 27th, 2008, 07:54 PM
It sure isn't something that I want to think about either luckypenny :sad:. But, Declan is getting old :sad:and I got to thinking after reading so many posts about pets who are dying or have died recently.

joeysmama
December 27th, 2008, 08:03 PM
We tried everything we could for Joey. We went to so many different vets and different hospitals. We kept hoping against hope. We went into debt just to try one more test, one more treatment, one more chance.

In the end there wasn't even the sliver of a chance that he would recover and it was just a matter of how many hours he had left to suffer.:sad: He was in an oxygen crate to help ease his breathing difficulties and he was vocalizing incoherently.

I will always regret not having made the decision to let him go sooner than I did. But I wouldn't have forgiven myself for not giving him every last chance for the life he deserved.

The day we said goodbye I went home and got a blanket from home, from our family room that would have all of our scents on it and the scent of home.

When we took him out of the incubator type thing I held him in his blanket and talked to him gently because I was truly the only person Joey loved and he loved me so much. I had been inconsolable up to that moment but held it together to try to give him some calm moments.

He had come into our lives during a difficult time, when I was recovering from cancer and he gave us something to talk about, think about, etc. besides my next scan. He was the kids first dog and everything was about Joey for some time.

The minute the doctor told me he was gone I cried all over again. I cried on his little head and couldn't stop saying "Thank you Joey. I love you Joey. Thank you, Thank you for saving me.":sad:

luckypenny
December 27th, 2008, 08:37 PM
It sure isn't something that I want to think about either luckypenny :sad:. But, Declan is getting old :sad:and I got to thinking after reading so many posts about pets who are dying or have died recently.

Have you made any plans :o?

I cried on his little head and couldn't stop saying "Thank you Joey. I love you Joey. Thank you, Thank you for saving me.":sad:

:cry:

:grouphug:

mummummum
December 27th, 2008, 11:06 PM
Tai came into my life when I was in my early twenties. I had "adopted" other doggies along the way (is there's something about me ;) ?) in my life but, she was the first puppy who was all my own. If a human and a canine can have a soul mate, she's mine.

There was no particular thing that happened ~ there was simply a moment I understood she wanted to go on. And, that I had to let her go.

I contacted a Vet who would come to the house to do the necessary (this was unusual and illegal then). I booked a few days off work to spend with Tai and did just that ~ I was just with her, doing all the things she was able to do and loved to do.

What I wish I did: gave her "cake" (all the crap stuff that she loved and the good stuff that was bad for her but she loved anyway)

What I did do and won't regret: sleep "right upside" her, although this wasn't our "normal", I held her close for that last night and part of the day.

When the Vet came to our home, she was truly wonderful and I will never forget her compassion and care.

It wasn't inexpensive back then and I have no idea what it is now. All I knew was I wanted my grrrl to die on the the same rug she had she slept on for so many years. I think it's far better to die at home.

The only thing in the actual process of death I would have done differently is to have given Tai an oral sedative or oral morphine in advance of the injections ~ with older dogs it's sometimes hard to find a vein. In Tai's case, she cried out in pain and looked straight at me before she became unconscious. I truly wish that was different.

But, I hope to make Declan's passing better.

Karin
December 28th, 2008, 12:52 AM
I have worked around animals for almost 30 years now.
That aside. I am also the type of person that does not take them all home. I have at times had a house full, from goats, dogs cats calf's even chickens. I use to harbor some lame whitetail deer along with my goats. I rehabilated orphaned wildlife too. (still do)
I have raised meat animals also at the same time. Not many but I did, and I know the difference.
I care for all of them, but only the ones that grab my heart so hard and pick me have been my partners. Ciara was my last partner, room mate. I can't use the word pet to describe her, she was more than that. We were closer sisters than my own human sister.
I wish she was here, I miss her terribly, I was about to post about her last days and I'm crying agin too much. Maybe later.

mummummum
December 28th, 2008, 01:18 AM
Ciara was my last partner, room mate. I can't use the word pet to describe her, she was more than that. We were closer sisters than my own human sister.
I wish she was here, I miss her terribly, I was about to post about her last days and I'm crying agin too much. Maybe later.

I understand.

Tai was my grrrl. She's been gone for 14 + years now and I still cry :grouphug:

That's why it's important to talk about it and think about it and plan, both for ourselves and so that we do better with the next one. And for those who are going through it now, so that we can help them.

ScottieDog
December 28th, 2008, 01:58 AM
We faced so much with our Tipper. She passed on September 23, 2008 and my heart is still heavy. In Sept. 07 she was rushed to the Vet ER for an emergency splenectomy and we were told it was likely cancer. It wasn't and we were blessed with an extra year--but it wasn't enough. Her life for that last year was doctor after doctor, test after test. At first to screen for cancer. Then she began having infections that would not clear up. We faced an additional surgery for suspected bladder cancer, then we discovered the hepatitis. One of her medications went toxic and she went into kidney failure. My big questions were if I should have done the last surgery. I was told that I could have another 2-3 years with her if I did--I had 3 months. When she was diagnosed with kidney failure she was critical. She was in ICU for 13 days, home 16 days, in ICU 3 1/2 days, home 4 days and then back for the last time.

We thought we were losing her the first ICU hospitalization and decided it was time to let her go. We made our plans, selected her burial spot, made a special tag for her collar to bury her with....But then the doctor said there was hope, so we kept trying. By the last time, we knew she wasn't coming home and that, although she had the strongest spirit imaginable, her body was just shutting down. We spent several hours with her the night before and begged the nurses to keep her comfortable. We took her favorite treats and let her eat out of the cookie jar so to speak. We had time to prepare, get a casket, gather her favorite toys and a soft blanket. I wrote her a letter to bury her with that let her know I loved her. I made a list of instructions for the vet to prepare her body. Even though it hurt, I tried to control as much of it as I could. I loved her and could not let HER hurt. And I prayed for her passing to be peaceful and gentle. It was. I also gave a prayer of thanks that we had the extra year. It is still very hard to discuss. We were fortunate that our family vet was very supportive and caring, even though he had turned her case over to specialists. The specialists were also caring. I think it makes a difference when the vets understand the special bond we have.

TeriM
December 28th, 2008, 02:12 AM
My cat "Bud" was sick and taken in and treated for what we thought were deteriorating kidneys. He did very well with the fluids for a bit and then stopped eating unless I basically force fed him. He also seemed to be carrying a lot of extra fluids. When I took him back for his last time to my vet we ended up doing emergency surgery. I stayed with him in recovery and then my vet (also a friend) took him home with her for the weekend. He seemed to actually recover quite well for a few days and then she called me monday evening and he was doing much worse. She was crying and I was crying and she was recommending euthenasia. I trusted her judgement and told her to go ahead. When we got the test results back it turned out that he had a very fast and agressive form of cancer.

I deeply regret that I wasn't there when Bud left this world and also that I never kept his ashes. I would have liked to place them somewhere I can remember him. I will never again not be there for my pets final moments. I know that Bud knew he was loved but that still haunts me to this day. When the time comes for Lucy (those thoughts are always present with a thirteen year old dog) I will be there and we will take her ashes and spread them on the beach at Tofino which is a place she absolutely loved as do myself and hubby. I don't know if my hubby will be able to be there for her last moments but that is also ok with me. We all need to do what is best for our own grieving process. One of my best friends had a beagle that passed a few years back and was Lucy's very first and best buddy. She still has his ashes and we have decided that we will do the ashes together so our friends can start their next journey together.

chico2
December 28th, 2008, 08:48 AM
This is certainly a very emotional post,but somehow fitting,as we go in to another year.
I don't do resolutions,but as long as I live,I will always try to take the best of care of my boys,like Karin,I do not like to call them pets,they are family-members.
I think we learn by experience,I've had to end a painful life of 5 cats and my dog Mishka.

With Mishka(collie/sheperdX),i still often look up to the sky and say"forgive me my girl"and I often find myself crying over her.
This happened in the late 60's,Mishka had arthritis in her spine,was in terrible pain,but rather than trying treatment we had her euthanized:sad:
It was a little different in the 60's,not many options available for animals,but to this day I regret ending her life,I will never forgive myself.
She was the kindest,sweetest dog,was she here today,this would not have happened.
I will never forget Mishka and the injustice I did to her:sad:

Rottielover
December 28th, 2008, 09:16 AM
I have made the decision a couple of times, and just like LP there was one that will always stick by me as a what if, maybe if I did this.
The others were in pain and I knew it was not fair for me to hold on to them for me.
After a lot of soul searching with Bear that I had to PTS, I believe fully in quality of life before quantity. I think that is also the reason I am doing what I am doing with Roxy.
I have a plan when the time comes, I just hope that I can put my feelings aside and do what I know will be right.

Caite
January 2nd, 2009, 12:01 AM
My family got a beautiful golden retriever when I was younger who was the best girl one could ask for. She lived until she was days shy of her 14th birthday and died from a combination of old age and cancer. We arranged to have her PTS and allowed everyone (family and friends - she was a popular dog!) to come and say goodbye to her the night before her appointment. After everyone had gone and it was just the family left, she laid down on her favorite spot on the kitchen floor and died on her own time schedule with her family around her. It was heartbreakingly awful but we were so glad to have been spared from wondering if putting her to sleep was the right choice.

She was named after a song, so the family all poured a drink in her memory, put the song on repeat and talked about all of our favorite things about her all night long. We have many pictures of her in each of our houses (now that all of us kids have moved out). I have two of my own dogs now, who are wonderful and different than my first dog, but I still miss her, and when I do, I play the song and have a good cry and a good laugh at the same time, thinking of how insane and beautiful she was. And then I play with my own dogs until the are no longer amused by me crawling around on the floor.

I think I will keep remembering her for as long as I live (I hope, anyhow!) and I keep remembering even if it makes me a little sad. I don't know if this helps anyone, but 8 years later, that dog can still make me cry my eyes out and make me laugh until I am ready to keel over. Remembering fondly is all we can do.

htsource
January 2nd, 2009, 12:50 AM
I lost my beloved Gigi in Sept of this year (American Eskimo), she was 12 years old. What could I have done better was to have probably more than once a year check up when she was that old. She was suffering from various tumors and it was too late. We took her to the vet and she only lasted another week after that. She went downhill very quickly. I did the best for her to put her down, it was the toughest decision to make but her last day, she couldn't even walk, she was really suffering and I couldn't really let her suffer. It makes me sobber even typing this, but I'm sure she's so happy now crossing the rainbow bridge.

It's unfortunately our pets don't have long life span like we do, sooner or later, we have to face this. I guess the important thing is when we look back, if we're providing the best to our pets, and remember all the happy moment with them, that's all we can do. Please when the moment comes, do the best for our pets.

JennieV
January 2nd, 2009, 12:58 AM
Today, January 2nd, 2009, marks five months since Tarzan was PTS. I have been preparing myself for that over the past 2 years, but when it actually happens it still catches you by surprise. I am glad I went there and held him till he was gone, and saw that he was peaceful and unafraid. I do not regret having made that decision, but it feels like a huge chunk of my life and of my heart is now gone.
Tarzan would have turned 16 years old in December 2008. Having to celebrate this Holiday season without him makes it so bitter-sweet and so sad, that I keep trying to push back the tears. And I miss him. I miss him so much that sometimes I hear his pacing in the night...

I couldn't not have a dog. My heart broke to a million pieces every night upon return home...So we rescued a puppy. Sparky is so wonderful and sweet and just purely unique in his originality. He is a breath of fresh air and a ball of amazing energy. He does not replace Tarzan, nobody ever will, but he brings me peace and a new kind of joy.

And I finally was able to make a memorial movie for Tarzan, compiling some cute pictures that I have of him with a most meaningful (to me) song. I feel that by doing so, I created a kind of a tribute for him, for the kind of dog that he was. We also planted a Red Maple tree at our cottage place, at the place that he loved the MOST.

I guess that would be my way of dealing with losing Tarzan.

P.S. here's the link to the video, if you want to see.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb-6FoE-6sY

htsource
January 2nd, 2009, 01:17 AM
What a lovely video, now you give me some ideas. I should do something similar for Gigi. Thank you

chico2
January 2nd, 2009, 08:22 AM
JennieV,what a wonderful memorial of a very much loved little boy:pawprint:

Jim Hall
January 2nd, 2009, 09:30 AM
To Help amother soul who is suffering peacefully to the other side is a sacrwed righr and privelege of our species.

It is the sacred trust we hold for our family members, whether thye own paws or hands

All animals have the buddah spirit
All animals have the right to live and die with dignity and careing.

scooter1
January 10th, 2009, 04:58 PM
I have been married 32 years and have a daughter and grand daughter.
I love them all like crazy.
When my buddy died last month I felt like my only friend and the only creature
that truly loved me had passed away.

mummummum
January 10th, 2009, 05:17 PM
I'm so very sorry for your loss Scooter ~ you've lost a soul-mate. I understand and have felt this kind of grief.

Is there anything you might have done differently in the way you helped him to die? Is there a particular and concrete way you are keeping his life alive and dear to you in these early months?

mummummum
January 10th, 2009, 05:22 PM
To Help amother soul who is suffering peacefully to the other side is a sacrwed righr and privelege of our species.

It is the sacred trust we hold for our family members, whether thye own paws or hands

All animals have the buddah spirit
All animals have the right to live and die with dignity and careing.

What a profound and moving truth Jim ~ thank you for finding words to name this heart-bond we all feel.

mummummum
January 10th, 2009, 05:50 PM
With Mishka(collie/sheperdX),i still often look up to the sky and say"forgive me my girl"and I often find myself crying over her.
This happened in the late 60's,Mishka had arthritis in her spine,was in terrible pain,but rather than trying treatment we had her euthanized:sad:
It was a little different in the 60's,not many options available for animals,but to this day I regret ending her life,I will never forgive myself.
She was the kindest,sweetest dog,was she here today,this would not have happened.
I will never forget Mishka and the injustice I did to her:sad:

I wish I could take away your pain. I wish I could take away your guilt.

Intellectually, you know you did your best with the tools, attitudes and resources available. I also know that, like me, reason doesn't often make a difference to what our hearts decide.

The only thing I can tell you is this ~ from every animal I have caused to or sat watch and bear witness while they died, I have learned something from each of them about a better way to die. And, I think you have too. I carry those precious lessons forward with how I live with my animals and my humans. And I think you do too. In understanding how to die well, we understand how to live well.

Mishka has done her job well with you Chico.

chico2
January 11th, 2009, 08:38 AM
3Xmum....now you got me in tears,but thank's for understanding:pawprint:

bds1960to
January 12th, 2009, 10:16 PM
My ex-wife and I went to the Victoria, B.C. humane society in October 1990 and brought home a tiny little 6-week-old brown thing that could sit in the palm of your hand. Not even the one we'd considered adopting. She was with a white-ish friend in a cage and it was that one we'd thought we might take home. Taking a few minutes to think about it, we wandered through some other rooms. Coming back, the white-ish one was gone. The poor little brown thing was now alone, so we couldn't leave without her.

Part tabby, part calico with little white Mickey Mouse paws, she was in my arms as we stood at the counter ready to take her away. Beside us were two parents and a little girl with the first kitten, deciding it wasn't the right idea, and putting her back. Ironic for us, but we stuck with our choice. A few days later on the living room floor trying to decide on a name, I got out a book of Canadian place names and when I said "Sydney" (as in Nova Scotia) aloud, the kitten looked up. I'd discovered her name.

Two years later, as my wife and I were splitting up. I told her she could take Sydney. But that first night of sleeping in separate bedrooms, Sydney slept with me. "Well," said my ex, "I think Sydney's made up her own mind about who she wants to be with." And so it was. I didn't choose her. She chose me. And through the next 16 years, through the vicissitudes of life, she was always there. Always constant. Always rock solid in love.

She went deaf 3 years ago at age 15. Getting older and slower, she also now needed a lift up to her favorite shelf in the linen closet. A few months later, she needed an intermediate hop onto a chair to then get up onto the bed. she was, afterall, as a human, getting into her 80s.

Two years ago she started losing weight in stages about six months apart with no set of symptoms that fit a particular diagnosis. Not diabetes, thyroid or anything else. Blood work yielded no answers either. The vet and I decided not to subject her to batteries of tests given her age and that she was otherwise happy and healthy, eating and drinking and using her box with no changes.

About a year ago, she stopped grooming herself and I began it. So bad it became that every month or so, I spent a half hour with scissors cutting heavy mats from her hair. She didn't mind. Much. LOL. I think she liked not having the mats.

By then, playing had stopped. She was an old lady. And pretty skinny.

In very late November, the weight drop started again and she dissipated to feather-light. Yet still purring, still eating and living otherwise as normal. But I was concerned. This was way too thin. I felt this would be the last bout of weight loss. there wasn't any more to lose and live.

On Nov. 29, she stopped drinking water and wouldn't drink it no matter what I did. Yet she still ate her wet food breakfast and dinner. On Dec. 2, she greeted me from atop the bed with her usual happy meow and purring when I came home from work. But that suppertime, she did not touch her dinner. By 7 pm, she developed a limp in one hind quarter. By mid-evening, it was a full blown 4-legged stagger. I gave her some milk (yes, I know about milk) just to get some liquid into her. She lapped it up greedily. I stayed up until 11 pm with her in this distress and went to bed knowing the next morning we'd be making a last trip to the vet. My expectation was confirmed at about 3 a.m. when a sound from the kitchen woke me. She was lying sprawled on her side and not even trying to raise her head much less trying to get up. She must have fallen while getting in or out of her box. She was now too weak to squat in her box. She just fell over when she tried. I held her up so she could toilet. I took her to bed for a while and lay awake with her. She lay not purring and with eyes wide open, not sleeping. She finally made a move to get up. I picked her up and we went to the livingroom. She would stagger over to a spot in the dining room and collapse to lie down, trying to get up occasionally to head back to her box or the dish of milk in the kitchen. But she had no musculature left and had a hard time shifting her hind quarters under her to stand. A couple of times she made it and I again helped her toilet. A couple of times she stumbled and sank to a sit and didn't try further. When she lay down, she did not sleep.

There was no question that it was time to let her go. She was in such distress that it wasn't fair to keep her going. And I couldn't possibly leave her alone in the apartment safely anymore.

The vet opened at 8 a.m. and I called. They could see us at 11 a.m. One of the longest 3-hour periods of my life. Syd lay on the floor in the spot she chose, just staring, not moving.

I got her favorite pink beach towel -- she would always lie on it on a shelf in the bedroom closet as a favorite spot to be -- and wrapped her in it. I started convulsing in sobs that would go on in bouts over the next hour, because now it was becoming real. And the guilt started setting in. "Shouldn't I try more, harder? How can I kill her without attempting something else?" I even said that to her doctor who told me in response not to torture myself. She'd weighed Sydney and checked her over and agreed with my assessment that she was just too far gone to try anything else.

We were in the hospital's quiet room (pictured), sitting on the couch. The doctor took Syd away, then came back with her, still wrapped in her pink towel, this time with a catheter tube in a front leg and the doctor explained the two injections to come. I sat holding her against me, talked to her for a minute. Then the doctor put her to sleep with the first injection. Then stopped her heart with the second. She listened at Syd's chest with her stethescope and said quietly, "She's gone". We talked for a bit, then she took Syd from me and said I could stay in the quiet room as long as I liked. When I left it and went to the reception desk, the whole staff was choked up. They'd known Syd for 5 years.

It took a lot of fighting myself in the next days to stop the "I should have done more"s. Really, keeping her alive for my sake, because letting her go would be tough on me, would have been terrible cruelty. If I find a moment when I get a guilt pang still, I just remember that little face in the wee hours of the morning that last morning, lying motionless on the dining room floor, staring into space and I know that, yeah, it was time. It was time.

Jim Hall
January 12th, 2009, 11:31 PM
what a lovely story thank you

Dog Dancer
January 12th, 2009, 11:52 PM
Really this is a lovely thread. Sad, but moving and terribly terribly loving.

I, like TeriM, have regrets that I was not with my 17 year old cat Cinder when it was her time. I had lost my husband on Dec. 2nd, and shortly thereafter we got a second puppy to help the older dog with her SA. Of course the cat was not too happy with a new puppy at 17 years old. Shortly after coming home the puppy (Halo) came down with kennel cough, and then the cat got very ill with an upper resperatory condition. She had been losing weight for some time, and I knew her days were numbered. This condition was really very hard on her. We treated it for a bit, but it wasn't improving and she stopped eating and just really went downhill fast. I was devastated.

On New Years Eve day I took her one of the only vets I could reach to have her pts. I booked an appt. and took her in with a friend in the car with the two dogs (one very sick also). When I went in with her (this was a vet I'd never been to), they said they'd take her. I said no, I'll be with her. Oh they don't do that. Well tough I said, I'm always with my pets when they go. Then they informed me that the vet wasn't even in and wouldn't be for a couple hours, but I could wait if I wanted. I was crushed and so confused. With the sick puppy in the car I made the decision to leave poor Cinder behind with strangers, stuck in a cage until strangers could put her down. That was 8 years ago and to this day I so regret having done that. I know that had it been any other time I would never have done that to my sweet cat, but having just lost my husband, having a sick puppy and now a sick cat, I just wasn't thinking straight. I would give anything to have that choice back again and get a "do over". I hope in my heart she knows that I'm so sorry for doing that to her and that she was so loved.

Never again will one of my pets pass with strangers if I can help it. My first dog died at a vet clinic of a ruptured heart valve. They were keeping her overnight on IV's thinking she was anemic. An hour later the vet called to tell me she had died on their table. While devastated that she died alone (without us), it wasn't like I made that choice, she wasn't supposed to die. Given the choice, even if you think it would be too hard to be there and see them being put down, truly, it's the only way to do it in my mind. But then, I guess everyone is different.

But always, like Jim said, we owe it to them to give them the life and death they deserve. They are not ours to hold onto once their time has come. My condolences to all of those who have lost loved pets (and humans) over the years and recently, we've all been there and know how hard it is.

mummummum
January 13th, 2009, 12:04 AM
I deeply regret that I wasn't there when Bud left this world and also that I never kept his ashes. I would have liked to place them somewhere I can remember him.

When I started looking for a house in Toronto my Real Estate Agent and I discovered we were "dog people" and one day (around house 1,200,459 :rolleyes:) we were talking about animals and she told me to open her glove compartment. Inside there was a spice jar which I learned was the cremated remains of her dog, her soulmate. She explained that there were plenty of places she could have scattered his ashes but, being in the car was what he liked best in the world , this was the way she felt closest to him and she really, couldn't think of a better place. At the time I was (being young) more than a little :eek: by this but as I got older and gained a better understanding of death, and life, I accepted that this is what works for her and it doesn't need to work for me for it to be right and good.

One of my best friends had a beagle that passed a few years back and was Lucy's very first and best buddy. She still has his ashes and we have decided that we will do the ashes together so our friends can start their next journey together.

What a beautiful thought. Thank you. I'll remember this for Ceili and Bridie.

TacoGrl
January 13th, 2009, 12:15 AM
I am crying and typing, so please bear with me :sad:

I had Jaeger for 15 years...since she was less than a month old...found her in a parking lot of a 7-11...adorable little brown tabby with a little tail that stuck straight up and little feet that could propel her from the ground to hanging off the front of my shirt before I could see her coming! I put her to sleep from throat/mouth cancer...I cried and cried...I had to be strong for Mooki though when I got home.

I had Mooki for 14 years...got her from the SPCA...she was such a sick little girl when I brought her home and Jag didn't quite know what to think of her. Mooki was my little buddy...she was always by me...she was so smart...I love her soooo much :cry: I changed my screen name because I just can't see her name every time I come here...I know that will change, but right now, I just can't.

I have adopted two kitties Seth and Messina who will come home tomorrow evening and I am so happy to be able to give them a home full of love and they don't ever have to live under a house again or be hungry again.

What would I have done different? Nothing. I held both my angels in their final moments (Jaeger fell asleep in my arms-Mooki fell asleep in a kitty bed with me hugging her and of course bawling during both!)...I have both their little boxes on my night stands...it's funny, I thanked them too...

chico2
January 13th, 2009, 08:22 AM
bds1960,thank you for your beautiful tribute to Sidney,she was obviously loved very much:grouphug:

TacoGrl,I understand how you feel,Jag and little Mooki will always be with you and you will one day think of Mooki with a smile on your face,not tears,it's a long grieving process,but perfectly natural,you lost someone you love.
Thank you for accepting two new little ones into your life,they are 2 lucky little kittens.

I agree,this is a great thread but one not without tears:sad:
I've had to lay several animals to rest and it's never easy,how could it be??
You make a decision to end a loved ones life,but with that decision comes the relief of no more suffering.

TacoGrl
January 13th, 2009, 09:03 AM
Thank you chico :2huggers:

Longblades
January 13th, 2009, 10:38 AM
Like some others one of my biggest regrets is that I did not help ease the passing of a well loved pet. Our English Springer Spaniel, Whisper, was a rescue and our Vet always said he had a bigger file on her than any other dog in his practice. At age 14 and a half a combination of our old Vet preparing to sell his practice to new, young Vets and those new ones telling us they could medicate a dog with kidney and liver failure, enlarged heart, asthma, scarred lung tissue, nerve damage etc led us to keeping her on longer than she deserved.

Our old Vet finally put in an appearance and called me and said "let's let this wonderful old girl go, she's had such a good life." I agreed but it was too late. She died that night at the Vet's, all alone. Now I am crying again. That she died all alone at the Vet's is another of my regrets. I wish I had been there to hold on to her even though the Vet said she was too far along to know if I was there, I think it would have been a comfort to both of us.

Something I have learned along the way. It is not true that our loved pets tell us when it is time for them to go. Not in any of my cases anyway and not for friends. Instead, I have found they tend to rally and hold on in our presence. Despite the contradictory evidence given above of our new Vet's opinions, I do think it is very important to take your Vet's diagnosis into account. They see the pet when you are not there and the pet probably does not act the same at all. It is a very delicate balancing act to weigh the actions of the pet when in your company against their actions when at the Vets, and probably stressed. There is often not an easy answer.

Last year we made the decision about our second dog, our black Lab, Jet. Her health changed with the finding of invertebral disk disease and significant spinal spondylosis at age 12 1/2. Two years later she had declined and I knew the time was near. My OH is absolutely useless in situations like this. He still thinks we did a horrible thing in euthanizing a stray cat with full blown FIP, whereas I believe we saved that cat from a horrible, horrible death. Anyway, this time I asked him what he thought if I made a decision about Jet and implemented it in his absence. I really did not want him there, getting all blubbery and upsetting her. He agreed and that's what I did. I held her close, told her I loved her and used all the lovey dovey words she and I used to speak to each other. I did not cry till later and then I cried for weeks. I cried even longer for the first dog, Whisper, because she is the one I felt I let down.

It has been gut wrenching to just write this down. I hope it helps someone.

chico2
January 13th, 2009, 04:57 PM
Longblades,here I go again too:cry:I think we all have our regrets,nothing much we can do about that,just ask to be forgiven,like I often do with my Mishka and she was put down 30yrs ago.
My husband would have nothing to do with putting our former 3 cats down,he believed they should die"peacefully"at home.
Well,I do not believe it is anything peaceful by dying in pain at home.
All three of my former kitties took their last breath in my arms,a very peaceful,painless passing,both my vet and I were crying,but my babies had peace.

doggy lover
January 13th, 2009, 05:17 PM
I lost my dog Travis 5 years ago on Jan 10 and I still miss him with all my heart.
We had a week after we found out that Travis had bone cancer until we had him pts. We spent all the time we could with him over those last 7 days, the night before I made him a t-bone steak for dinner did he enjoy it. Then we took him to the vet near our cottage and had him pts there so that he could be buried up there (our regular vet suggested this as then we would not have to transfer his body so far). The vet was great my husband could not stay with him but I did. I spoke to him and rubbed his ears until there was no more sound. The last thing to stop was his tail from wagging, the vet kind of laughed and said that he was a big dog and it took a lot to take the wag out of his tail. I kissed him and thanked him for the life he had shared with us and when I tried to close his eyes the vet told me that they don't that is how you see to their soul.
It was a freezing cold day but the sky was a brilliant blue, when we placed him into the ground. We said our final goodbyes and came home with heavy hearts. Neither one of us wanted to stay up there that weekend seeing his grave was a constant reminder of what we had done.
But now Travis is always with us up there my daughter made him a headstone and we always stop by his grave when we are there just to say hello. He shall always be a part of our family and he shall forever roam the land that he loved.

chico2
January 13th, 2009, 05:30 PM
That's beautiful Doggy Lover:grouphug:

ashtoreth
January 14th, 2009, 03:10 PM
Couple of years ago, I had my "first dog", not my first dog per say, I always been surrounded by dogs, but no, Eben was different, he was the first dog I bought my self, trained alone and everything. When I got him, I was living alone in an apartment, but the area I was in wasn't the best, so I felt more secure knowing a dog was with me (even though he was a labradorXbearnease) he was my guardian and I was his.

Only a few months after I noticed him limping, so I brought him at the vet and he did an X-ray, said everything was fine, to limit his movement a bit for a while (sure, let's see you try to calm 5 months old lab cross)Easier said than done. but I tried my best, he was crated most of the time now, and I could see he hated it. Now couple of months after that, things got worse and out of control with the same leg, he was limping all the time, whining and couldn't move as he would have wanted, so I got back at the vet, who did another Xray and saw the torn ACLs from his leg, and the other leg being weaker as well.

I asked a lot of vets what could be done, I was willing to pay for the surgery, but he said with the damage to the other leg now as well, there wasn't much I could do.

It kills me to know that I could have done some more research and get him one of those wheels thing or whatever. But I keep on reminding my self how much he loved to run and jump around.

It took me a while to get over that, and I'm still thinking about him.

:rip: