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Shes Gone


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put my 16 y.o yorkie down yesterday. she was always the most vibrant, energetic, loving animal. up until age 14 she showed no signs of slowing down, with the exception of some hearing loss. i would take her to the park everyday and let her run around like a 2 y.o. then suddenly, over the course of a few days, she went almost completely blind. i was devastated. our lives were completely changed in an instant. cataract surgery , in my mind, at her age, was not an option. i became deeply depressed and contemplated putting her down then so i could move on. but i realized that would be selfish, so i committed myself to making her days as enjoyable and comfortable as they could be as long as she wanted to live and wasnt suffering. i accepted what we had, and enjoyed her maybe more than ever before when i saw her courage to cope with her debilitating condition. i slept on the floor to keep her safe from falling out of bed. 20 months went by, and as time moved on, i knew the end was growing ever closer. lately her navigation skills in her surroundings had diminished, and her appetite wasnt what it once was. id gone to giving her hamburger and roast beef slivers because it was about the only thing i could get her to eat. i didnt feel she was suffering, but ive read that it can be difficult to tell in dogs until the pain gets overwhelming. i talked myself into seeing my vet to discuss whether euthanasia might be the best thing for her now, and to proceed with it if he felt so, even though i knew the decision was entirely mine. the night before the appointment she enjoyed her ride in my truck we take every night more than ever, and ate as well as she ever does. that convinced me to let her live on awhile, but i planned to keep the appointment to discuss it. but she woke me up in the middle of the night not feeling well. i let her out but she just stood there on the step not moving. i took her back in and laid with her in her favorite chair. her breathing became labored, and eventually she had a seizure followed by very rapid breathing which eventually slowed. i thought she was dying in my arms, but she came back somehow. but when i put her down from the chair she was very lethargic and disoriented. id always told myself i wouldnt let her suffer, and while it was possible that she would come back from this episode, i took it as a sign that it was time to put her to rest. so i took her in and put her down. absolutely the hardest thing ive ever done. harder than losing my parents. and im not ashamed to admit that. but now im having the inevitable feelings of guilt that maybe i acted too fast and should have waited to see if she would get better. but better for what. a life that was already of very little quality? and would i be doing it selfishly for me and not in her best interests? any words from anyone to help ease my mind that i acted accordingly would be greatly appreciated. i felt like i went above and beyond what most pet owners would have done. i just miss her so much. thanks for reading. phil

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I'm so sorry for your loss. Sometimes we are closer to our dog than anyone else in the world and it's only natural that it's one of the most painful losses we can suffer. I want to commend you on being so wonderful and sensitive to your dog that you'd sleep on the floor with her so she wouldn't be disoriented. That shows how responsible and caring you are, I would do the same thing for mine, but not many people would.

The dog that I lost 2 1/2 years ago, Lucky, was about 15 and the last two years of her life weren't as grand as they had been. She was growing deaf, and I don't think her eyesight was as keen as it had been. She was getting small tumors, including one on her eye, and she was incontinent. She was a Whippet, and as such, always cold...they have no fat and very short fur, so I would wrap her in blankets and "tuck her in" at night. I dealt with her incontinence as best as I could...continually cleaning the carpet and sleeping next to her so I'd hear her wake up and could let her outside...if and when she could make it. Like your Yorkie, it wasn't an earthshattering illness that said I MUST put her down immediately, but more of a growing awareness that her life was losing the quality of life she'd once had and enjoyed and there was ceasing to be much joy in it for her. She started waking up in the night whimpering, and I knew the time had come. I, too, wondered if I was doing the right thing. Yes, she could have lived longer if I had chosen differently, but would that have been right for her? She was suffering. She felt bad every time she had an "accident" on the floor, even though I didn't scold her...she wanted to do what was right and wasn't able to. Poor little baby girl!

Personally, I think you and I both did the right thing by letting them go to the next world, free of suffering and infirmities. I wish I could give you a big hug, you are a really loving warm person.

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Dear SLB, Oh you poor thing, I am gutted for you. So ridiculously hard to lose your a member of your animal family, it almost puts me off having pets. I still have them...

But, & here's the but - you did EXACTLY the right thing to spare your beloved any more suffering. You waited to see if it looked likely that she would pick up sufficiently, & when it became clear that wasn't going to happen you did the loving & best thing. You did what was best for her, irrespective of your feelings - which is true love. She trusted you & you came through for her.

She was lucky to have you as her Mum, & you have her whole lifetime of mutual adoration to cherish.

With huge sympathy for your loss,

Becka ( & Darcey who was snuggled next to me for most of this typing)


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  • 1 month later...

Phil, I have to tell you that I envy the way you handled things with your little Yorkie. You absolutely went above and beyond and you should take comfort in that. I am absolutely positive that you did the right thing for your dog and that you showed her love and you cared for her in her last days. You did so much more than I did. Just yesterday I put my dog, Molly, to sleep and I feel like the most terrible, awful person ever. As she became sick I distanced myself from her some. I actually think now I was in denial. I was angry at first and then I got really depressed and selfish when she started going down hill. It was weird. The one thing I have dreaded for the past 18 years - her age - is her death. I loved that dog so much. She was my soul mate. About two hours after I put her to sleep reality hit me and I could not stop wailing. I thought I was ready. I thought it would be okay and I thought I was making the right choice. Now I just have a million regrets and I miss her more than I ever thought possible. Even with everything I did wrong, I loved her as much as I have loved anyone or anything. Please know that you loved your dog and you were amazing to her in the end. I wish I had had your example to follow. You slept with her on the floor for 20 months? That in itself was so kind. Why didn't I do something like that? I completely understand feeling like you acted fast. That is what I keep saying. That I made such a rash decision. It's weird how fast it happened. I'm so sorry you feel that way. It doesn't sound at all to me like you made a quick decision. It sounds like you did the absolute best you could for your dog and there are no regrets in that. I admire you and wish I had offered Molly what you did for your dog.

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