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Nichole

Did I make the right choice

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It's been 2 weeks now since I made the quick decision to put the love of my life and soulmate to sleep. Her name was Lulu. She was a rescue pit that I got back in 2003 when I was 16 years old. Lulu was my life. I don't have children of my own and the past 16 years she has been by my side. Thursday October 17th Lulu started to walk funny, almost like she was drunk. It got worse by Friday and then Saturday where she couldn't get up on her own, or it was very hard for her (she was so stubborn) and proud. This had happened back in July but she recovered. This time seemed much worse. Friday night I was up with her all night and watched her struggle to get up or even go to the bathroom without falling over. I had wanted to wait till Monday to see how she was doing, but couldn't bare to see her in pain. I thought I knew at the time it would be selfish for me to keep her here for me. I didn't want her to be embarrassed or have her pain be unbearable. I didn't want to drag her to the vet either, so I went Friday to get her pain meds to keep her comfortable. I had an appointment to have her put down Monday but after spending Friday night with  her struggling, I contacted the vet Saturday morning. I texted the vet to come by to let lulu pass in my arms at our home. This was the hardest text ive ever had to send knowing in a few short hours the love of my life would be gone forever. I always knew lulu would make me choose when the time was right for her to leave me. She was so loyal, she never would have left me even if it meant her life wasn't enjoyable. My heart is broken, I cant even seem to complete daily task without falling to tears or having the self doubt hit me so hard. I read online what seems to be what she had "Old dog syndrome" which usually clears up on its own within a few weeks. Why didn't I nurse her back to health? Why didn't I take her to the vet? At the time I didn't want to drag her someplace where she would be uncomfortable (lulu hated the vet) This has been the hardest thing ive dealt with my entire life. The pain of missing her is unbearable. Is it normal to doubt yourself after choosing to put your beloved pet down? I had another dog named tootie that died September 2017. Tootie had trouble breathing, it was hard but somewhat easier because her body was telling me it was time. Lulu was old, but could still get around, she fell frequently, maybe I was just used to her old age?

 

I don't know what I can do to make this pain go away.

 

I will miss lulu forever. I hope one day I feel like I did what was best for her :(

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Edited by Nichole

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Nichole,

I am so sorry for your loss. I always tell people when there is a difficult choice to make, the hardest one is usually the right one.

I am 61, and love animals more than most humans so I have had to grieve many animal deaths in the past. My cat Buff we got when I was about 10. I loved him so dearly but when I was 21 my sister's new doberman attacked and shook him making him basically brain dead. my sister took him to the vet and called me. I went to say good bye and have hime euthanized. they let me be with him on the hard aluminum table but when the vet gave the medicine he let out the most awful scream and I went running out. I was so very traumatic for me, and probably him. that was my first experience with euthanasia. it was  horrible. I have euthanized many other pets since (with a much better experience) because I am so much older than you and can't seem to live without a pet.

we need to hear from others that we made the right choice and from what you said there is no doubt in my mind you absolutely did. and in a beautiful way, in her home with her loving owner. it is, in my mind, the HARDEST thing I have ever experienced. i have grieved pets harder than my beloved grandma, whom I loved dearly. I feel shame to say that but it's true. just this year we lost our 17 year old dog, 8 year old favorite cat, our 2 new little bunnies (they just died, we have no idea why) and last week I had to euthanize my horse. that's what brought me to the site tonight. this is SO HARD. this is different because there was an alternative. 

this is a different experience for me because the horse was healthy but had progressive navicular syndrome causing chronic hoof pain. there is no cure. he lived in a boarding stable as I live in the city. i had him 9 years and spent thousands in vet bills and farrier bills, not to mention the basic board bills. I could have found him a home as he could do ok in a pasture for a while as a pet but the fear of him being mistreated or not cared for properly was so great I just could not take that risk. I THOUGHT.

now I am killing myself going between grief and regret and remorse. I know 2 people who re-homed horses and one said she wishes she had euthanized cause he wasn't cared for at all and my sister just rescued her old horse from a re-homing and found him in pretty bad condition. she drove 2,600 miles to get him back. my horse was so spoiled i called him a pet. he was a pet. I'm praying I made the right choice too.

my sister reminded me that animals are very stoic and avoid showing pain because it makes them vulnerable. sounds like Lulu was showing pain so you did the hardest thing for YOU and the best for your LULU. you are suffering, she is at peace. it's the most generous thing we can do, I think.

in my experience the things that have helped me are time (the pain does lessen), cry, cry, cry. take time off work, a few days.  It's ok if you can afford it. keep talking about it. keep writing on the forum. Do some journaling. I know you were sobbing when you wrote that, like me, but it's therapeutic. WRITE Lulu a goodbye note and I like to make a little shrine (not now, after you've healed a bit). be good to yourself.

I'm sure you will get support here on the forum. Sometimes knowing you are not alone in your grief is helpful. You did the right thing. keeping Lulu alive so you didn't have to suffer the grief would have been cruel. you made the right choice.

love,

Karen

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On 11/4/2019 at 10:39 AM, Nichole said:

Is it normal to doubt yourself after choosing to put your beloved pet down?

Absolutely, almost without exception.  I am so sorry for your loss and for having to make the hardest decision of your life.  I had to have my dog Arlie euthanized August 16 and it was the hardest decision I've ever made.  He had inoperable cancer and I didn't want him to suffer any more just because I wanted him here.  Like your dog, he was stoic and tried his best to please me.  We still went on walks even on his death day.  I managed to coax him into eating, bribing him with special treats in his food, he gained 1 1/2 lbs. during his cancer which is highly unusual because he tried to please me and because of my bribery.  Sometimes I think I should have had him put down sooner.  But when you do it, you think, I could have him with me still...he could have lived one more day or one more week.  Or maybe i should have gotten a second opinion...but his blood tests don't lie, neither does his body which went downhill.  He had no energy and obviously didn't feel good, he was nauseous, especially in the mornings.  I felt about my dog as you do yours, he was everything in the world to me, my companion, best friend, and I called him my soulmate in a dog.  It's the hardest thing in the world to get used to not having him here.  I bawl still and it's been 11 1/2 weeks.  I bought a memorial stone for his grave and painted rocks in his honor (to put on his grave but the sealant didn't hold up in the weather so I moved them to his doghouse).  It helps to do something to honor them.

I want to let you know that the act of kindness you did in having your dog euthanized was selfless.  This is not "normal" for dogs, something was terribly wrong.  I've had nine dogs in my lifetime and none of them displayed what yours did.  My Lucky did experience her hip/leg going out from under her at times, she was 14 (Whippet/Dalmatian) and when she started whimpering in the night I knew it was time.  Yes she could have lived longer, months maybe, but the kindest thing to do was to alleviate her suffering.  She hadn't smiled much the last two years.  

I hope these articles will be of help to you as they have been to many others.

Second guessing our decision in grief/loss is kind of our way of trying to come up with a different outcome, but there's only one outcome and that's the one that took place.  (((hugs)))

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2014/04/pet-loss-guilt-in-wake-of-euthanasia.html
http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf
http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml

@cowchaser  I hope you also will read these articles.  I totally understand your thinking in making your decision and in my opinion you made the right choice.  Locally in Oregon there are 61 horses "rescued" from a boarder/trainer that are starving, bones showing, it's so sad, the owners are unable to locate their horse or get them back, they say it could take months...who wants to take a chance on something like that happening.  Here is the update on that story: https://www.kezi.com/content/news/Dead-horses-found-on-Creswell-property--564488701.html

I applaud you for putting your horse' welfare ahead of your own self, that is the sign of a really good parent.

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Well said, dear Kay, and I hope whoever reads your post will take your words to heart. I've always said that it is only the good people who feel guilty. And I've yet to meet a pet parent who did not feel guilty when making this awesome and heavy decision. ❤️

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