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Put Our Sweet William To Sleep Yesterday - Now Second-Guessing


SusanKMcD

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HEARTBROKEN.

I had our 6 year old Newfie/Golden Retriever mix put to sleep last evening, now I cannot stop second-guessing my decision though the deed is done and cannot be changed.

Three years ago William injured his knee jumping out of the back of our SUV. He was always in some pain due to knee. He suffered from nasty skin allergies periodically and often had hot spots. Of course through all this he was under a vets care. Last September the skin allergies began again, and he was MISERABLE. He was on several courses of antibiotics and prednisone. The skin condition seemed to improve. We also changed his diet from IAMS to Nutro Venison and Potato at the request of the vet.

A couple months ago (around December) William began to vomit sporadically and poop and piddle in the house (always sporadically), which he had NEVER done - at least not since we first brought him home at 6 months old. (He was a rescue). He seemed depressed for days on end, then would seem to perk up. I was very concerned. More vet trips. No real diagnosis. We tried another course of antibiotics and more prednisone. That course ended at the beginning of January.

Two days ago he had horrible diarrhea in the house and began acting lethargic, depressed, and quit eating. Wouldn't eat his "cookies" (biscuits) and even refused human cheese and crackers - a huge RED flag of big problem.

Yesterday we woke up to more diarrhea in the house, foul vomit, and a separate pile of mucus-y, foamy vomit.

Made an appt. with vet for 5:25. I let him outside as I was beginning to ready myself. I watched him, thinking a stool sample might be a good idea. To my absolute HORROR he voided (pooped) a HUGE GUSH of bright red blood. At that moment, I said to heck with the appt., threw on some clothes, and off to the vet we went with a small sample of the blood.

We waiting FOREVER, all the while I was thinking "he's not coming home" ..... and I was sobbing. The vet finally saw him. LONG story short, we decided to have an abdominal Xray to see if he had an intestinal blockage. He did not. His gums were pinkish (normal), normal temp, but his depression, lethargy, non-eating, past mystery illnesses, etc. made us all wonder what to do .... The vet wanted to keep him over the weekend to run blood tests, urine samples, etc etc etc. It was going to cost over $2,000 which we simply cannot afford, despite our great love for William.

Finally, having been at the vet's for 2 1/2 hours, I asked her what her "gut" feeling was -off the record - she said she felt it would likely be best to end it right then. She said determining his real, underlying problem could be a long, painful process with probable unhappy results. This was my "gut" feeling as well, knowing my dog as well as I do. So, with a broken heart I sent William to the Rainbow Bridge. I've had many dogs in my 57 years. Though each and every one was very special, and each was VERY much loved, William stood head and shoulders above them all - he was a very, VERY special doggie with the biggest heart and best nature EVER. A part of me went with him.

I am grieving awfully, as I knew I would. It would help if I felt more secure about my decision to not leave William at the vet's over the weekend, being subjected to painful testing, and causing him fear and discomfort for days, if not weeks or months; and also my decision to not have him suffer any longer. I'm probably not explaining it very well ... I know my doggie and he was not well. That gush of blood was horrifying.

Since he's been gone, I've seen online he might have had gastroenteritis, which may or may not have been curable ...

Can someone help me?

And I'm so sorry for everyone else's loss(es) and pain. I know how horribly it hurts.

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I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I was there to get you to trust your instinct! When your vet added her instincts if you didnt agree on a deep gut level everything who have shouted NO and you would have done something different. we are taught to ognore our intuition, psychic flashes are ignored. yet the one thing we CAN trust is our links with out dogs. we connect on the emotional, mental physical AND spiritual level with our beloved pet. You changed to a wonderful food. You did everything for him you could think of! He is free now and pain free above all. For him it will be just a blink before you meeting him at the rainbow bridge. I feel my dogs that have passed are around me when I can quiet my grief and be still emotionally. I still have periodic temper tantrums with the guy upstairs that I am not woth my dogs by the way, :).

I hope you will think about the fact that your dog wouold have gladly gone thru what ever treatment and what ever cost of suffering for you. What a gift you gave that sweet little soul, not making him continue to suffer. I had a special dog from Best Friends who became a therapy dog, in fact went through Hospice of the Valleys Pet Connection and I found out a few weeks later that she was suffering from t-cell lymphoma. I only had her for 18 months. I have had 4 other dogs lost from cancer and let me assure you, you did all you could! I truely feeling that your gut knew the suffering he was going through and continued to face. Grieve your heart out and know how welcomed you are here, but please dont feel quilty! You chose the best route for HIM. If it had been for you he would continue to suffer!

Hugs

CJ

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Dear ((( CJ ))) Thank you ever so much .... I am SO missing our giant doggie (135 lbs) and his big, velvety face... his sweet, gentle soul. I so so appreciate your very kind and thoughtful words. I HOPE YOU ARE RIGHT. I keep running recent history and the long vet appointment through my head and wondering if I was too hasty in my decision; too selfish (not wanting to clean more poop and vomit and not wanting to suffer worrying about our beloved boy) but at the same time thinking/hoping I made the RIGHT decision for HIM. I know it's far too late now for regrets, but I cannot help having the guilt thinking I may have done the wrong thing for the wrong reasons; or the right thing for the wrong reasons; or the right thing for the right reasons. Does that make any sense?

He will forever hold a very special place in our hearts - our dear, Sweet William - so patient, tolerant, loving, and even responsible; Obediant, faithful, and the gentlest of giants. Our Big Guy. Oh, how I am sobbing at his loss, wishing I'd spent more time with him, gone for more walks, been a better doggie Mom, giving him more love and praise, but I've had so much on my plate with the recent death of my Dad, placing my mother in assisted due to her dementia, my husband had 2 coronaries, and we sold all my parents' property and belongings -- in all that over the last couple years poor sweet William took a backseat. We never dreamed he'd leave us so soon.

Oh, how I pray I made the proper decision. Gushing blood is definitely NOT a good sign ... and he seemed to be in pain .... Oh dear me. POOR WILLIAM.post-15493-1330219122404_thumb.jpg

Thank you for understanding.

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Susan, dear, my heart goes out to you as I read your sad story, and I hope as time goes by you'll come to see that you made the right decision for your beloved William. I'm not sure if anything we can say will alleviate the guilt you are carrying, because guilt in the aftermath of making this god-like decision to euthanize a cherished animal companion is nearly always present. It's understandable that you are second-guessing your decision, given the clarity of hindsight ~ but that does not mean that you made the "wrong" decision. Given the enormous costs involved, given William's grave condition and the poor prognosis, I would have made the very same decision that you made ~ but I doubt if that makes you feel any better about all of this. This past summer I had to make a similar decision with my own precious dog ~ you can read the details here: http://hovforum.ipbh...indpost&p=54791. We could have put him through all sorts of expensive diagnostic tests to determine the cause of his nosebleed, but we too decided there was no point in making him suffer through all of that. Like you, we released him from his pain, and took that pain upon ourselves in the form of the grief we felt (and still feel) after letting him go.

I think it's good to share your story with the members of our Loss of a Pet forum, as I think it will help you to work through your own feelings about all of this. Oftentimes just telling your story helps, as does hearing from others who can offer their understanding and support. In any event, please know that I am thinking of you and holding you gently in my heart.

I'm also attaching an audio clip of an interview that I hope you will find helpful (see below).

pet_loss_is_a_different_grief.mp3

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Hi and I DO understand!

My sweet Thunder boy was my other half. I was in such rage when they told me that a football size tumor was under his heart and lungs. I had brought him six months ago and they told me he was limping from arthritus! I had helped to bring his into this world, the last to survive and very slow - I took him because I was afraid my well meaning fried would give him to someone who would put him on a chain as unteachable. By the way I believe the studies about altuism where they have shown that one can make a huge difference in those babies just by giving love and attention in those early days. My 120lb baby was really suffering, I stayed home with him as long as I could. As I looked to the week ahead where I would have to leave him. I decided to euthanize him rather then risk him having spells when I was gone. I knew the doubts and second guessing I would go though about this but I could bear to have him suffer. Do you know that dogs dont show their suffering as a survival trait? That is why I said your heart would know the truth that your eyes could not pick up! (I know about the parents too fost mom and then dad from his cancer)

In the last moments Thunder lifted his head to look at me and I KNEW he would have willingly suffered on for me rather then put me through the agony of having him go. Make no mistake, I grieve to this day for him 12 years later I miss him so and count the SECONDs till I am reunited with him and the others again. In the mean time,~ here I am, one more day, that someone has ordained that I am here on this planet. So I might as well make it count for something. Valley West Rescue had a foster that lost a dog at 12st and Van Buren, so in an hour, I am going down where we feed homeless and low income owner's pets, to hand out the lost dog poster I made for them in the area, Westward Ho, Steel Commons and CASS as my way of honoring thunder and passing on when others helped me find Junebug (whpp passed from Cancer.

How did William come into your life?

Hugs

CJ

I KNOW that animals view death different them us. I am convinced that they see the other side with no effort. The big thing was thinking how happy and free of pain he is now for me, I could not wish for him suffering on this side just for me! I think about the animals needing love on this side still...do you know that Maricpa county is the second largest animal crontrol with 98,000 animals just last year, half of them are euthanized. So I MADE myself reframe how I was thinking about his being gone so I could keep functioning and keep helping animals (so many ways to help without actually getting a new pet)

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Susan,

I want to tell you how very sorry I am that you are without your William now, I know that had to be the most agonizing decision you've ever made. We have to make our decisions based on the knowledge we have at the time...and although our beloved pets are worth millions in our eyes, the fact is, our pocketbooks don't contain millions. Unfortunately, money is a real consideration. And so is his suffering. It is a helpless horrible feeling to have to be in the shoes you were in...I know, I've been in similar shoes too many times. The fact that William was head and shoulders above the rest is a tribute to the love you shared with him and the very real connection you had. It is my deep feeling that we will be reunited with our pets as well as our other loved ones. I hope you can console yourself with the fact that he is now out of his suffering and free of pain. He knows you love him, he knows you always did the best you could for him, and he understands. That is the beautiful thing about our beloved dogs, they trust and understand our love for them. You made the right decision. That vet has seen countless situations and has undoubtedly seen this scenario play itself out time and again, with people getting all kinds of tests and probing done on their dogs only to have the end result be the same and a hefty bill at the end and a whole lot more pain and suffering for the pet. She wanted to spare you all that...and spare William as well. Trust your initial instincts and try not to second guess yourself. You are grieving the loss of William, maybe you can try to channel it to something you can do for him in a more positive direction...erect a memorial or maybe buy something that can serve as a visible memorial of him. When my little sister lost her baby daughter, she bought a cherub fountain for her back yard...it served as a memorial for her little girl. A way of saying "I remember you, I will always remember you."

My thoughts and prayers are with you in your loss.

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CJ and MartyT - I greatly appreciate your responses and thoughtful words. I pray I made the right choice and didn't hustle William on his path ... to be brutally honest, I was growing weary of the cleanup and worry over our dear William. At this moment I am sick with the guilt of thinking I may have hurried his passing for my own selfish reasons, though I've "known" in my heart these last several weeks he truly hasn't been "right" and seemed to be depressed, unhappy, and, over the last couple days of his life, in pain not only from his knee but elsewhere.

I worry the vet gave her "gut reaction" as an appeasement to ME - knowing I was as "ready" as I was going to be to release William to a happier and painless world. I am so terribly confused. It seemed like the right thing at the time. Now I wonder if I was too hasty with him, especially with him being so young at 6 or 7 years old. Although I know big dogs (Newfie/Golden mix, 135 lbs) age faster and die younger than smaller dogs, 6 or 7 is still young.

His early passing is a huge concern to me as many years ago I had a beloved doggie named Molly. She was elderly at about 13. She had arthritis in her hind quarters so bad she couldn't get up. In my selfishness to keep her with me as long as possible, I allowed her to suffer. The last few days of her life she couldn't stand on her own (she was approx. a 40 lb. dog - medium size) and I would wake in the morning to find her lying in her own mess. The last morning of her life I could clearly see in her eyes how she longed for release and wanted to "go." She was in pain, she was embarrassed, she felt guilt that she soiled herself indoors. She clearly communicated that to me. We took her to the vet and ended her misery and pain that day. I vowed to NEVER allow another pet linger so long due to my selfishness. NOW I worry that due to a different sort of selfishness and/or fear I hastened William before his time. I do not know how I shall resolve this in my own mind.

William was a rescue dog I found at a no-kill shelter in Indiana. He was to be a companion for another highly energetic young dog we had adopted, Betsy. He was special right from the very start and I fell in love with him instantly. I am of the conviction and my experience has been that I do not choose the companion, the companion chooses me, and he certainly did, as have all my other previous doggies, cats, and even a very special pet rat!

When he chose me, he was approx. 6 months old and he was already a BIG GUY with HUGE PAWS and an even HUGER heart. He as very relaxed, patient, tolerant, and understanding, but also very fun loving and playful. He loved Betsy (who also passed at a young age) and mourned when she was gone. We have two cats - one of whom he bonded closely with. William would lick and lick and lick Johnny (our semi-long haired cat) to the point Johnny would have "dreadlocks" and look like he was a Rasta kitty - we have to get the cat shaved a couple times a year in addition to constant grooming, thanks to Big Bill. We called this playing "Beauty Shop." :) You'd think the cat would *hate* it, but in fact, Johnny would beg for Beauty Shop!

William also LOVED to play "Werewolf". Stretched out, he was nearly 6' long! He would jump on the bed and pretend attack me ... then give his "Wooooo Woooo Woooooo" howl and pounce and nip and howl some more -- panting and smiling all the while .. the more I said, "Who's my Werewolf?" the more excited and goofy he got with his woooo wooo wooooo and pretend nips. Oh, dear William!!!

Johnny also loved to eat kibble from William's dish. They'd both lie on the floor by the food dish, but William would let Johnny nibble first. Once John had a kibble or two, Big Bill would eat. William would never dream of nosing open a door, or shoving himself through a tight-ish space, he was far too polite. If one of the cats was on the stairs, he'd wait for the cat to move before going up or down. He was just that kind of nice guy. I don't know where he got his manners, but he was a true natural gentleman. It was his nature.

I hope you ladies are correct that I made the right choice. I did not want William to suffer - and I do believe he was --- but on the other hand, being young and not appearing to have been gravely ill for all that long, I just don't know. There was NO diagnosis. And with his temp being normal, and his gums still pink...... Oh .... I just don't KNOW. Do you think a vet would tell me a "pretend" "gut reaction"??? My husband tells me we made the right choice, and my husband truly loves that dog. He wasn't as close to William as I, because I'm home all day and night whereas my husband is away working ... and my husband isn't grieving as I am. I had to take William to the vet alone, but I did call my husband at the last minute to ask what he thought. Surely both of us can't be wrong ... unless I influenced my husband's thinking .... Maybe William wasn't in as bad shape as he seemed? Maybe I was too hasty? Maybe his illness wasn't as serious as it looked (with the gushing rectal blood) Maybe he just had an intestinal bug???? Oh, I am just sick with guilt and regret and I miss our dear sweet William so terribly. My heart is truly broken.post-15493-13302815234835_thumb.jpg

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KAYC -- Your words (and those of the other respondents as well) mean a great deal to me. I appreciate all responses, thank you. My heart goes out to all who have lost beloved companions.

Please tell me HOW you know William (and your dog, and all other dogs) knows we did our best? I so want to believe it ... but I have to be honest .... as I think I mentioned earlier we've had a full plate with my dad's death, mother's dementia, liquidating their estate, etc. etc. etc. William took a backseat to all this over the last 3 years. My guilt level is higher because I know we didn't, and often couldn't, devote as much time and attention to our Big Guy as we should have. And I'm sorry for the times I became impatient with him when he just HAD to squeeze into our postage-stamp size bathroom with me to put his head on lap at an inopportune time .. :) And that I became frustrated when I was exhausted, climbed into bed, and he'd amble in, stare at me, and give his low, rumbling, "I want to go outside" doggie whimpers. WHY couldn't I have been more patient with him instead of sighing, "Oh, William!"? WHY couldn't I have given him that extra pat on the head or pet him more often? I certainly wasn't the least cruel to William, not by a long shot, but we could have done better with just a tiny bit of effort. And I'm not convinced it was REALLY his time .... but then again, I didn't want him to suffer to the point that Molly did when there was absolutely ZERO doubt.

I hope some of this makes sense. I feel I'm babbling and blathering and writing in a disjointed fashion. Can't tell you how much I appreciate the input, it IS helping.

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If you have the kind of vet who appease, they would have suggested all kinds of addional things! I am always honored that a vet trust me to give me there gut feeling because they are so vulnerable if the client turns on them acquising them of not doing enough. I believe dogs above all, are our teachers, our healers, our mirrors. when their time is done they move on to make room for the next one. It sounds to me that you very definatly in a specific stage of growth. Do you have kids where one doent need a whole lot but another does need help, attention and work? Dogs are like that too. I have had dogs which didnt stirl from my side. The four I have now, chose to be downstairs and outside instead of next to me on the bed! dont tell stories made up by humans because dogs have a wonderful life without emotional etories, (shold have petted them more, played with them more...because their reality just is whatever it is by my experience.

I wish you could reply that scene as an impartial outsider because you would see that you make the decision that was right for both of you. My mom was constantly in pain longing for death that was denied her because our socierty demanded she flight for every breath no matter how it hurt (*pre-hospice days). IF she could of recovered (and we never did find a cure) she was doomed to spend her days in bed - something else she hated. Instead she is free of the pain. I even took a picture of her in the casketbecause I never again wanted to forget how much pain she was in before in a picture. You may have husled William on his path - and look how much suffering you saved him! Thank of what he would have gone throu while you did test after test. I STILL feel that your instinctual self KNEW. I applaude you for askig the Vet and trusting her professionalism and instinct too. I ALWAYS get a vets opinion before I make that decision to euthanize BECAUSE I want to have a professional opinion.

And there was onetime where my instinct KNEW that Foxie wasnt ready to go, even through the vet told me she had two weeks, she had a clear diagnosis and took the holistic path for FIVE years, because that time was good QUALITY time where she was NOT in pain. But I "knew".

I hope sharing my experience is helping. Again to spearate the grief which will be a long time (if ever) from the guilt which is your inned self punishing you for every thing you have done wrong! (Especially when "you didnt know")

He sounds like he would have been a great Therapy dog!

Hugs

CJ

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Dear CJ -- Thank you so much again. Absolutely YES, your responses DO help and help a great deal. THANK YOU. And yes, I do think we humans too often attribute human feelings/thoughts to our animals that the animal doesn't think/feel at all. But being human, we find it difficult to relate to their thoughts/feelings in any other way but our own. I can't tell you the number of times I've looked at one of my furbabies through the years, and thought, "Wow. Look at the way he/she is looking at me. You'd think I beat the hell out of that animal every day of its life" when nothing could be further from the truth! ot to denegrate the ASPCA TV ads, but I've seen my dogs and cats with those very same facial expressions and our animals were all cherished, loved, warm, dry, well fed, entertained, etc. So yes, I agree, we can sometimes take what we *think* we see far out of true context.

I guess the truly IMPORTANT thing, in the long run, is that our dear, special, Sweet William is out of pain, no matter his age or what led to his passing. He knew he was loved and he is now happy and free. Though we don't know what his true/real/extent of his health condition was of this past Friday, at the very least he had experienced knee pain for several years and was showing signs of it worsening; having difficulty standing up, walking for any extended distance (like on a longish walk), etc. So, at the very LEAST he is now free of that - and having a serious knee injury myself I know how painful it can be.

OH MY GOSH --- This is unbelievable. I had to interrupt writing this post to answer the phone - it was the pet crematory. I had left a message because I had forgotten to let the vet know I wanted paw prints from William. Long story short, the lady at the crematory called me back a few minutes ago. They have Sweet William now. She has spent her entire life around animals and worked as a vet tech for many years. She was kind enough to listen to my story and has alleviated most of my guilt --- she said that William, as a Newfie, is OLD at 6 or 7, that those big guys only last 7-8 years, so he was already heading into the end of his life.

When I told her of his pooping/piddling indoors, his various issues, and lastly the blood gush, she said she has seen it before and it's almost always incurable. It's been her long-term experience that symptoms like that indicate cancer or some other horrible widespread illness. She is absoluting CONVINCED William would have suffered through all sorts of testing and we would have ended up with the same sad ending. I couldn't thank her ENOUGH. If only the vet had given me the same sort of reassurance, I would not have been in this gawd-awful amount of guilt-ridden pain for the last 2 days. Grief, absolutely - not not this guilt. I thank Polly from the very bottom of my heart. She said yes, we may have hustled him along, but hustled him away from much pain and suffering - in fact, she is fairly confident he was already suffering --- I mean, let's face it, a huge blood gush from the rectum is not good news. OMG, I am so thankful and relieved I cannot say. Now I can grieve for the loss of our dear doggie, and be free of the consuming guilt. THANK YOU, POLLY.

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Good afternoon,

My name is Scott and I am fortunate to be the human companion, and primary care-giver, to three (sadly now two) older Airedale Terriers. When I applied for admission to this group my Toffee hadn't formally entered Hospice, but I had been providing intensive caring to her for months. Things just happened so fast, her veterinarian returned from a conference and agreed to participate in her Hospice (his first) on Thursday afternoon and by Saturday morning she was gone. You see in my country of Canada we're years behind America in many ways, although of late much in keeping with Germany of the 1930's, and need-less-to-say grief healing especially for loss of companion animals is virtually non-existent (as is hospice care).

I have been following these postings with much interest and gratitude as I too have immense feelings of guilt, albeit diiferent in context than Susan's. That said, it would seem to me that guilt is a common denominator with companion animal loss regardless of euthanasia or hospice, and guilt too shall pass as one moves through their grieving.

My Barbara and I adopted Toffee and "sister" Taylor from AireCanada Airedale Rescue Network in January 2008. The grrrls' first family emigrated to Albania and weren't able to take them with, so we gladly welcomed them to our wee home. Since we became a family these prairie grrrls followed us to the mountains of Banff, badlands of Drumheller, and now the river valley city of Edmonton, Alberta. Not ones to rest on their good looks they started two enterprises: Diggers 'R' Us...specializing in tree planting and foundation excavations, and Airedale Investigations...you loose it, we find it especially if it's food. Ever community-minded, Toffee and Taylor volunteered at their local public libraries in "Paws for a Story" programming; helping children pratice reading aloud before an attentive and unconditionally accepting audience.

In late 2009, AireCanada contacted us with a plea for a retired "Show Grrrl" in need of a home, so in January 2010 we welcomed Ruby Tuesday and they officially prowled the streets of Edmonton as the Airedale Grrrl Gang. At the time, we now had an 11-year old (Toffee), 10-year old (Taylor), and eight year old (Ruby), and each in various stages of osteo-arthritis.

When Toffee and Taylor entered our lives in 2008 both had been taking Metacam for their arthritis; Taylor without complication, but by the spring of 2011 Toffee's little system was becoming compromised by the medication and need-less-to-say her arthritis was going unchecked. Running low on options given she couldn't tolerate other medications and becoming quite bed-ridden we opted for regenerative stem cell surgery in May 2011.

Wow! Did Toffee respond to the surgery or what?!? Although 12 going on 13, she was seemingly a puppy again: jumping, walking, climbing stairs, and even the occasional sprint after a kindly rabbit (who slowed down upon seeing his/her pursuer trotting her little heart out). Everything was going along famously until autumn 2011 when some new signs appeared, but in our ignorance we just chocked them up to her age.

In early January 2012, when in for a dental check-up, poor Toffee had an infected incisor that was affecting her bite, chewing, eating, etc., I described to her vet some of the other signs I had observed. A diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) lead to a trial of Anipryl. Although our cheeky monkey responded to the antibiotic for her tooth, unfortunately she did not responded to the Anipryl; not all dogs do unfortunately. In fact, her CDS symptomology had worsened to the point that Barbara, I and Dr. Scott agreed February 9th to enter her in Hospice care. My little spunkey monkey slipped away that following Saturday morning. She was aware until her passing; listening to me tell stories of Toffee, Taylor, Ruby and The Girl (Barbara).

Sadly for Barbara, she was in Regina, Saskatchewan, for work and couldn't get back home, so she experienced Toffee's last hours through a telephone. Taylor and Ruby were right there with Toffee and me when she passed, as was Barbara's sister Joni (human companion to Airedale-cousin Molly).

The past few days have been beyond belief: consoling a grieving Girl long distance; caring for a grieving Taylor...Toffee will forever be her anchor...as Toffee was there to guide puppy Taylor those many years ago, so has Taylor been here to intensively care for her elderly Toffee; consoling a grieving Ruby; consoling a grieving SIL and Aire-cousin; and, nurturing my own grief. I had Toffee lying-in-state in a sub-zero environment for almost a week before Barbara finally got home; we've since decided to cremate and then visit all of Toffee's favourite places next summer.

In all of this I feel immense guilt for feeling I did not do enough to lessen Toffee's suffering, missed all of her signs of dementia and could have done something sooner, haven't lessened everyone else's sadness, and for losing my temper with Toffee even when I knew she was trying so hard not to pee, poo or vomit in the house. Oh how I wish I had set up a litter box, or given her permission sooner as I finally did in saying "please, please pee, poo or puke in the house; it's now minus 20 outside and too cold for a wee grrrl". Although I was the only care-giver and was following Toffee's reversed sleep-wake cycle AND caring for Taylor and Ruby's normal sleep-wake cycles, I was so sleep deprived...well, it's just an excuse and I am having so much difficulty forgiving myself for my short-sightedness and ignorance.

Fortunately for me Taylor, Ruby, Barbara, Joni and Molly have been much more forgiving, and thankfully we have come to help each other with our grief and healing. And at Barbara's suggestion I am finding some solace in feeling anger with some neighbours who found it within their "rights" to condemn without solicitation our decision to offer hospice to Toffee and file complaint for daytime barking when I was trying to nap after staying up all night with my spunkey monkey.

Although my Barbara has had to return to Regina, just yesterday the couple that fostered Toffee and Taylor before their adoption came to visit Taylor, Ruby and I. Taylor's spirits picked-up immediately and I'll be forever grateful to them for their thoughtfulness and enduring kindness.

For me, I think I've found a new calling (and way to alleviate my guilt) by bringing the messages of grief healing and hospice care to the AireCanada Airedale Rescue Network, Toffee's veterinary team (as Taylor and Ruby will need it some day), our local humane society, and perhaps even to my country (before it's too far gone).

Susan, for what it's worth, we did the best we could with the emotions and information we had at the time and I defy a single human on this planet to find fault with that.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully submitted,

Scott

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My Dear Scott --- You have had your hands MORE than full with the love and care you have provided Toffee, your other grrrrrrls, and your human companion, Barbara as well. My heart goes out to you.

Judging from your description, you have absolutely no reason at all to feel ANY guilt or remorse. You dd everything you possibly could to ease Toffee's suffering and, let's face it, we're all only human, not superhuman. I'm not a good one to talk to others about guilt --- as you can plainly tell I suffered extensively this weekend until my guilt was allayed by a semi-professional this afternoon ---- but though my guilt has been lifted my grieving remains.

It is very clear you love your Grrrrls and have done everything possible to provide happy, healthy, nurtured lives. You care(d) for them in the very best way possible and for that you should be proud and satisfied.

There are limitations to our knowledge, though we strive to understand completely. God's way is God's way, not our way. You had no means of knowing Toffee's condition in advance; no way to fully understand it and/or counteract it. She was spared a great deal of suffering and she knew she was truly loved.

Hoping you find peace soon - (((Scott, Barbara, and Grrrrrrls)))

Kindly, Susan

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry for your loss. I had my Lily put to sleep on Sunday morning. So many things run through your mind with you have to do what we did, but there are no mistakes in life and it was their time. My Lily never recovered from my husbands death two years ago and I know that they are together now.

That doesn't make missing our babies any less. No matter what others say to comfort us, it is something we have to process on our own. All I can say, from experience, is that it will get better. My emotions are up and down as I am sure yours are right now. Just go with it until they subside.

loss of loved ones, our pets as well as humans; I held my husband and I held Lily....just sucks big time.

My heart is with you.

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I am soooo sorry for your loss! I know nothing will fill that hole you have ever until you are united at the rainbow bridge and that grief is all right!

Please Please do not confuse the pain of the loss with the guilt. You acted exactly as I wopuld have, even to going to the vet without the appointment. You made the decsions based on the porfessional judgement of your vet AND your gut and heart which knows what is truth. That heavens, I believe that the shock we go through freezes the brain which is all full of rationalizations and thoughts of heroic actions which dont do for our beloved pets but make us humans feel better.

I have come to see that really, it is not the number of days but the fact that we were there for them to help them through their disease and even to the rainbow bridge. I really feel that pets dont feel about death the way humans do because they see the other side and all our pets that have gone before. Did you know that Maricopa County had 98.000 pets pass through its doors last year and about half were euthanized? How wonderful that you were there to give love and support to that sweet fourlegged soul! How lucky he was to find you and have you there for his journey for he so easily could have been alone and suffered so much more!

I have said before that I have termper tantrums sometimes because I HATE being left behind here on this planet but here I am, another day and more dogs awaiting help that I can give. I hope that you can use you will to focus on the good you did and still continue to do!!!

Hugs!

CJ

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Sandie,

I am sorry for your loss, you are right, they get to join our loved ones until we can have a reunion.

My daughter and her husband, Melissa and Don, just lost their precious cat, Casey five days ago. They're going to have her cremated and I told them I would buy them another cat to keep their other one, Rick, company when they find the one they want to join their family. Casey has been with them a long while and had lost a lot of weight, they knew something serious was wrong but didn't have the thousands of dollars it would cost for the tests so had to just do what they could and make her life as comfortable as possible. The last two days of her life she was not feeling good at all and at last she crawled under the dining room table and just died. :( Poor Casey!

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Hello Everyone - Just wanted to stop by and thank you all for helping me deal with the huge, sad loss of our dear Sweet William and the Monday-morning quarterbacking that plagued me deeply. Although I had said I would not be adopting another dog after William ..... well ....... YES, we did! The void was too great and I knew another poor little furchild would be happy in our home. My husband greatly encouraged me. I am SO glad he did! (Over the last 30 years I had always found another companion shortly after the loss of the previous furbaby; this time I didn't think I'd want to)

I'm pleased to present Little Kenny Tiger - an 11-month-old Heinz 57. When asked what breeds he thinks Kenny could be, our vet replied: "He's greatly homogenized" :) His name: "Little" because, at 50 lbs, he's much smaller than William was at 135 lbs; "Kenny" because it's a funny name for dog; and "Tiger" because he's brindle coated. Due to the positioning of the stripes on his face, he looks perpetually worried which is so endearing.

I have always said my Furs choose me, I do not choose them. This darling boy chose ME when I visited the shelter. I asked to see several different dogs - Kenny was the special one who immediately jumped onto my lap and smothered me in doggie kissies which made a tough decision much easier. They were all beautiful, wonderful dogs and I know several more have since chosen their own new Mamas and Dads.

I'll not prattle on and on about how wonderful a boy Little Kenny Tiger is - (and he is!) - I just want to make the point to those reading this thread that although none of our precious pets can be "replaced" - each one is precious and special in and of him/herself - If you can see your way through your grief you'll probably find you have plenty of love for another fur child who needs you. My husband was right - it is better for me to channel my grief into love and a good home for this delightful, funny young guy. I hope the rest of you are able to to find peace within your grief as well.

XXXOO

Susan

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Hi Susan,

I am sorry to hear about William and what you have been going thru with second guessing yourself. I too lost my little jack russell a year ago. She went thru a whole month of biopsies, drugs, surgeries because I could not imagine my life without her. I had her for 8 years and I felt it was not fair to not get her for another 8 so I put her thru a lot and did not listen to my gut. Finally the last day when the vet said that the only way to possibly save her is for exploratory surgery. Every 4 hours of giving her drugs for possibly the rest of her life, I decided she deserved better than this. It has been my faith that has pulled me thru this plus reading wonderful letters from people on this site that helped me get over "the firsts." I still miss her dearly and there is not a day that does not go by that I do not see her face or worry that there is a possibility that I will not see her again some day. I decided that since I can not get another animal quite yet, I now sponsor dogs in memory of Katie at a humane society. It really helps to ease the pain to see others able to bring home a pet and rescue a pet at the same time.

I am so glad to hear that you saved another life by rescuing another dog. Even though you miss William, it probably feels wonderful to safe a life. I wish you the best!

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  • 1 month later...

Please don't second guess yourself. Any decision you made concerning William you made them out of love and concern for him. You knew in your heart and it was confirmed by the Vets opinion about William. Your heart is broken, and you must grief for him as for any other lost love. You did something for William that we cannot do for our human loves. You gave him the Ultimate gift of love by letting him leave this realm with dignity. I am sincerely sorry for your loss. I have a Newfie/GSD mix and I think I understand the personality unique to William. God bless you and bring you comfort and peace of heart.

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Congratulations on "Little", what a sweet dog! I think you made a wise decision, as your heart is indeed big enough to love another and make his life special. Of course one doesn't replace another, just as our kids wouldn't, yet I've never adopted a dog and regretted it!

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  • 7 years later...

I too had to make the decision to lay my sweet cat to rest. I could not afford the blood work, test or whatever they’d end up doing. I do know that I was not in the frame of mind to actually make the decision that I did. The vet did mention giving him a shot but being in the state of mind that I was in, I didn’t even think to ask what kind of shot. I don’t know if it was antibiotics or what. I ended his life and can’t get past the grief and second guessing myself. The vet asked me several times if I was sure but again, I was in no frame of mind to make the decision. I’m beating myself up and am so very heartbroken and guilt ridden. I don’t know how to get past it. 

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@Terry V

First, I am so sorry for the loss of your cat.  I lost my 25 year old cat two months ago and it still hits me how empty/quiet it is without her.

What you are going through is very common in grief...we question everything we do.  After I had my dog put to sleep 6 1/2 months ago (cancer) I remember thinking the next morning, "He could be alive today..."  He was suffering and it would only get worse!  But we beat ourselves up.  Whether you knew exactly what was wrong with your cat or not, you knew something was wrong or you wouldn't have taken him to the vet.  Esp. when you couldn't afford it...and I get that, they are very expensive nowadays.  To me it's a shame it's become a conglomerate instead of someone in it for caring about animals.  I've seen enough of the big corporations that charge a fortune and care little about the animals.  I didn't go through a bunch of testing with my cat, I knew her kidneys had shut down, but the vet said her liver was shut down too.  She always made the litter box but her stools looked different than usual.  Somehow the vet knew what was wrong with her even w/o testing.  It could be your vet knew too...you might ask him to call you and talk to him about it.  Tell him about your second guessing yourself and ask him his assessment, why he'd suggested that shot.  Once you hear his explanation it may help settle your questions a bit.

It's hard to grapple with all the feelings we have after euthanasia.  I know I did the right thing for Arlie  and Kitty.  It was their time.  I pray you can let that realization seep into you as well, it may take a while, sometimes we seem to need to go the whole gamut of feelings, it's part of the processing.  My heart goes out to you, I know how hard this is to go through.  (((hugs)))

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