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Saying goodbye to our beloved Chocolate


Choco

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On November 8th we made the hardest decision of our life, we euthanized our dog of 19 years, our baby Chocolate.  We had held on for sometime as he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia two years ago and with cancer in the Spring of 2019.  Since his inoperable cancer was diagnosed he lost so much weight from being an almost 70lb German Shepherd mix to ~40 lbs when we put him down.  We had reached the point of the maximum pain meds per day and they honestly weren’t doing much to keep him comfortable in the last weeks prior to his death.  We made an euthanasia appointment in September and backed down from proceeding, he had a good week and I think deep down we were hoping for a miracle.  But, probably after two weeks from the cancellation of that appointment he took a significant turn for the worst, the mobility was almost none, he lost all control of his bowels and he would sleep minimal as his pain kept him up most nights.  We made the the decision to have the vet come to our home for euthanasia as he cried anytime we tried to get him in the car or attempted to move him.  Chocolate was the sweetest, smartest, obedient and so loving; he was a big dog and prior to his illness his size and bark were so intimidating but, he was just a giant teddy bear!  Our guilt and questioning if we should have held on longer has been agonizing since we put him down.  Our vet said it was an act of love but, it literally feels like we murdered him. Does it ever get any easier ?  Should we have waited longer for our baby to depart naturally?  Although part of me feels our baby was hanging on for us despite his discomfort .  Can anyone help with any advice to deal with the guilt?

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Oh my dear. I want to say "Welcome to the club that nobody wants to join." If you read through many of the stories posted in this forum, you'll soon discover that you are not alone in questioning the momentous decision to euthanize your beloved canine companion. I think it just isn't possible to go through this experience without the load of guilt that accompanies it. I  also invite you to read this (including the articles listed at the base): 

Guilt In The Wake of A Euthanasia Decision

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I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend and family member...I lost my beloved Arlie three months ago this Saturday and the pain is excruciating, I know.  What you are feeling is common in grief, we want so much to keep them here with us!  It goes against our grain to have them euthanized.  We think, I could have had him one more day if only...but your vet is right, it was an act of love to let him go.  Now you have taken on his suffering within you.  Grief is a long process, it has a beginning, but not an ending, but it doesn't stay in the same intensity of pain forever, thankfully, I don't think we could handle it if it did.  I am still having a very hard time.  I let my dog go sooner as he was nauseous in the mornings especially and I literally had to bribe him with treats to get him to eat.  Hemp oil helped a lot, he could sleep through the night once I started giving it to him early evening.  (You can read his story with cancer/death in Living with Loss in the Loss of Pet section.)

Personally I think we go through all the "what ifs" as a way of trying to find a different outcome, but there's only one reality and that's the one that happened.  Your wonderful loving care gave him 19 years, wow, that's amazing!  I adopted my dog just before his first birthday and got 10 1/2 years with him...he was my companion as my husband died 14 1/2 years ago.  He was everything to me and I'm still trying to make my way through this, the grief feels like it did when I lost my husband, we were that close.

Here's a couple of other articles in addition to the one on Euthanasia Marty gave you:
http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf
http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml

Another thing I've found helpful is this exercise:  What would you tell a friend going through this?  Tell that same thing to yourself, we need to be our own best friend, all the more so, now.

(((hugs))) Sending you wishes of comfort and peace.

 

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Im sending so many virtual hugs your way! I know the pain so well. What a sweet baby, thank you for sharing this picture. I had to put down my Lulu who was 16 on Oct 19th. It's been 1 month since shes been gone and I still cry each day. I can promise you that you did the right thing. Chocolate would have never left you but what is a quality of life if you cant even get up or walk or live in such pain. He trusted in you to be his advocate. It is the greatest act of kindness and love. I know when the pain is so overwhelming you second guess yourself at each moment and replay what you could have done differently.I promise you that you did the right thing. What an amazing gift Chocolate gave you to give you 19 years! I wish I could have had lulu 19 years. Please try your hardest to know you did the right thing, just last week I stopped punishing myself for the quick decision I made to have someone come to my home as well and put my lulu down. It takes time but I promise as time helps heal you will know that you did the right thing, and Chocolate will be with you forever. Not even death can break a bond that strong. Be kind to yourself right now, Chocolate would have never wanted you to punish yourself for giving him the greatest gift, a loving amazing life for 19 years, and a painless death in his home with the ones he loves.

 

Sending you all the love and hugs, in time maybe you will be able to honor chocolate in giving another animal in need of your love a good life and loving home.

 

Love, 

Nichole 

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Thank you all for your words of encouragement, this platform has really helped and just knowing I am not alone in these feelings is a relief.  I still cry everyday and this week especially hard as we received Chocolate’s ashes back. The articles and your responses are a reminder that others have made that tough decision of putting down their loved babies; not an easy thing but, as community we come together in our grief and appreciate you all!  Taking it one day at time

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I echo what Nichole said.  

Choco, it's the hardest thing in the world.  It was three months for me since losing my Arlie on the 16th.  The pain is excruciating.  I miss him each and every day, life has just become colorless without my baby here, he always brought so much joy.  There's no dog like him.

My heart goes out to anyone having to go through this.  I've known no greater loss other than my husband and of course anyone losing a child.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Almost a month and seems to only get harder! Thank you all for your words of encouragement, this platform has really helped and just knowing I am not alone in these feelings is a relief.  I still cry everyday and this week especially hard as we received Chocolate’s ashes back. The articles and your responses are a reminder that others have made that tough decision of putting down their loved babies; not an easy thing but, as community we come together in our grief and appreciate you all!  Taking it one day at time

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My heart goes out to you.  The loss and pain continue, it'll be four months shortly, not crying as often, on the outside anyway, but on the inside my heart is still broken.  My sister said I may feel like this a year or so, I feel like it'll be the rest of my life.  I still can't move any of his stuff.  I know it doesn't make sense but I want him to know this is still his home.  (I swear grievers are half crazy with their loss, I am anyway.)

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