My dog passed away yesterday. I had to put her down. Since then I can not help but keep thinking if I have made the right decision. My heart is full of her. Wherever I turn, she is there. I keep thinking of the time we spent together, the naughty things she did and the time weeks before she died. I can not help but crying and keep thinking if I have done all I can for her.
She was a senior dog (>12 and I do not know exactly how old for she was from a local shelter. I had her for 9.5 years). 6 months ago, she was doing fine and was a happy dog. The only thing we noticed she was not normal was her weight. She was gradually losing weight. It changed from 54 lb to 42 lb in about 3 years. We told her vet during her routine and the vet checked the blood profile and did the extra sound and did not suggest anything wrong. The only thing the vet suggested was the muscle loss on her rear legs. Since nothing else was wrong, neither of us took it seriously. One month later, we found out she drinking and urinating excessively and we took her to see the vet again. She believed my dog had Cushing’s Syndrome. And her blood pressure was high. She prescribed her vetoryl and the drug for high blood pressure. Two month later, we had another blood test done and blood pressure taken and it suggested everything went back to normal. We just needed to keep on the same medicines. During the visit, we reported to the vet that her legs problem get worse and she sometimes dragging her legs around. And the doctor said it was because she was losing her muscle. About 5 days ago, we found her gum was bleeding and she sometimes could not get herself up for bathroom. So we had another visit to the vet. The vet said the gum problem was not a really a gum problem. She said it was because her immune system was not functional so it had infection on the mouth. Also my dogs could not raise herself up so she just wet herself when she needed to pee or poo. She said the dog's internal functions were breaking down and she did not have the muscle to get herself up. So she believed I should put her to sleep. She did not have anything to offer to help her.
Even it happened yesterday and my dog was gone. I can not help but asking myself if I did the right thing. Even she was old. Had we done all things we can do to help her. I regretted that I did not take her to another vet for second opinion. The vet I have used for more then 10 years and I liked them before. But now I keep asking if she suggested the right thing. Without any test, how did she know her body is not functional? Can she tell just by looking her mouth? If the muscle loss is such a serious issue and would get her not to be able to stand anymore, why she did not tell us and why she did not do things to help her? Or there was really not too much she can do for a senior dog. I can not sleep and keep wondering for the questions. I appreciate your opinion otherwise I can not keep my mind in peace. The moment I saw she was gone, I felt so so sorry. Had I done the right thing for her? People told me that I did the right thing for not letting her suffer anymore, and once dogs lose the muscle they had very little chance to stand up. But is it the truth? She was still eating well even with her leg problem. Maybe she still enjoyed the life. But now she is gone forever.
My friend, you did the right thing. There is nothing you can do for muscle loss in animals that i know of. Plus, when the immune system is breaking down in a dog and they are wetting themselves, there is NOTHING you can do. And why would you ask us if you did the right thing? You cannot change the past, whats done is done. There is no use crying over if you should have let it live or otherwise. I am sorry your dog died, that is very sad. Best of luck to all of you :)
I am so sorry for the loss of your good friend. To me, it sounds like both you and your vet gave her good care throughout her life. Every individual's body is going to give out sometime, and this was her time. Twelve is pretty old. In some breeds, it is exceptionally old. So I would not say that she died prematurely. She lived a long, happy life, she and got to be an old dog, and then, sadly, she died.
Please try not to have regrets. We sometimes read posts on this site from people who spend thousands of dollars and go to extraordinary lengths to try to save the lives of elderly dogs, and it usually does not postpone the inevitable for very long -- if at all. Sometimes those types of heroic efforts do nothing more than extend the animal's suffering and, at the same time, put the owner into debt.
I invite you not to beat yourself up over what you did or didn't do. It is sad enough that your dog died. There is no need for you to feel bad that you didn't handle the situation differently. The ultimate outcome would have been the same, regardless.
At some point, every dog passes away, just as every human does. Dogs' lives are a lot shorter than ours, so we are usually the ones who are left to grieve. Again, I am sorry for your loss. In my heartfelt opinion, you were kind and caring, to the end.
If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.
You will be sad, I understand.
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.
We've had so many happy years.
What is to come can hold no fears.
You'd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come -- please let me go.
Take me where my need they'll tend,
And please stay with me till the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.
Please do not grieve -- it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years;
Don't let your heart hold back its tears.
*Incidentally, you did the right thing. I just went through this very thing with my sister, and although gut'wrenching, it's what was best for Boo-Boo-Dawg (14.5 y/o Basset Hound). You did the right thing Sister. Don't fret.
We went through the exact same thing in February with our 12 year old Sheltie. She was diagnosed with Cushings in November (although I think she had it long before that) and was drinking and peeing a lot. We too put her on Vetoryl, which helped the peeing, but her legs continued to go on and off, and she kept losing weight. Our vet was absolutely no help, and after awhile we insisted on hav ing her retested, which showed her levels were off, so she had to be put on steriods. She got extremely sick after that. She had gradually lost any interest in eating, which for years was the main interest in her life. She would also pee on herself, like your dog. The last week we had to carry her outside on and off, and she would just lay in her bed with a terrified look on her face. There was absolutely nothing she would eat. I knew by looking at her there was nothing else that could be done, and my vet said he knew of nothing. It wasn't fair to have her see me cry everytime I looked at her, and the last day she stood up and went to pee and I could see she didn't even know what she was doing or where she was. I know you feel guilty, I still do, but there was absolutely nothing else you could do for your dog. Cushings Disease is a horrible thing for a dog to go through, you tried everything to help your dog, and I know it wasn't cheap. Keep telling yourself there was nothing else left to do, because there wasn't. I still think I hear ours barking when I come home, and I miss her every day, but I also have a lot of happy memories. Please miss your dog, but know that she wouldn't have had much longer on her own, and would have suffered more each day. Take Care.
Thanks for the nice words. Although it made me cry again and again, I feel better after reading the postings. I know I should be tough and control myself. But I still can not help crying. I buried her in my backyard. My heart hurts every time I looked out from the window. I was so ignorant about the Cushing and did not realize that the muscle loss could become fatal. I even put her in a dog camp for 7 days 3 weeks before she died because of a family vacation. Her condition was ok and she can still walk then, and the vet said she was ok too. So I did. But she became a lot worse when we saw her again after we came back from vacation. She became a lot thinner and almost can not walk. Two days later she totally lost the ability to move her rear legs. The dog camp was good and I usually put my dogs there for they do not use cages and have an open area for all the dogs to stay together. I had her there to try half day before the vacation and she seemed to be ok. She used to like to be socialize with other dogs. But this time and I think it was killing her. She looked so miserable. I regret so much on putting her to the boarding place. When I thought about it, my heart is full of regret and sometime I feel my chest can not take anymore and would explode off. I did not do a good job on protecting her. I am responsible for it. But she is gone, I can not do anything for her anymore. I know I should control myself and not crying and trying to stop regretting. But I am just not there yet.
My goodness girl, you gave her 9.5 wonderful years of her life!!!!! That she lived to be almost 12 years old is a testamont to how wonderful you took care of her!! Cry all you want, yes it does get easier with time. I've lost 2 shelties, 1 to cancer and 1 to acute kidney failure. I had to put them both down and it doesn't get any easier to do. Remember this, sometimes the hardest thing to do, is the kindest thing to do. Your dog loved you unconditionally, and you set her spirit free!!! My heart goes out to you, and I pray for you to someday understand that what you did was out of the love of your heart and your dog knew this. We are all here for you. God bless.
A friend of mine told me, after I had just had a dog put down, and I was second-guessing myself just like you are doing now (although it has been a few days now, so hopefully you are gradually becoming able to accept the situation a little bit better), that it is ALWAYS either too late or too early, whenever you euthenize a dog. I had to think about that one for a little while.
What my friend meant was that if you do it while the dog is still comfortable, then you did it too early -- in the sense that the dog could have lived a little longer, because it was still comfortable. On the other hand, if you wait until the dog is suffering, then you have waited too late, because you didn't prevent him from getting to that stage.
The point is, there is no absolutely right time or perfect time to make this decision. It is one that we don't want to have to make at all. You just do the best you can with it, and with a friend like you had, I'm sure she understands.
It has been a few days now and I keep thinking it over for the past few days. Although it is very true I should not let her suffer more, I did not really make the decision based on my own judgment. I took my dear dog Missy to see vet on Monday and the Doctor suggested to put her down. It was a shock news for me for I did not think the condition was so bad and untreatable. Everyone else kept telling me that I should do it for her. I was so terrified by the though that I am the one who would keep her suffer if I do not make the decision soon. So I did and she was gone on Wednesday. From Monday to Wednesday, sometimes I had questioned myself if it is the right time since she still eats well and likes food. But because it was such a difficult decision I did not want to think it over again so I tried to push the thought away from my mind. Now almost one week later. I do realize that is not a very responsible thing I did. What I should have done is taking a few days off from work and staying with her all day. So I can watch her and tell by myself if it is the right time to put her to sleep. And I should have cooked her some nice food and maybe helping her to gain some weight back. And massage her legs to help her feel more comfortable. I might have driven to the same conclusion, but at least it would be from my own judgment and we would have some quality time together before she went away if so. I feel regret that I could not have clear thought then. My mind was full of sadness and could not have any logical thinking. I have another senior dog so I might need to face a similar decision in a few years. I hope I can do it better then. I had learned the lesson a very hard way. My dearest Missy, please forgive me. You trusted me and counted on me for your whole life but I did not do the right thing for you in the last few days of your life. Please forgive me.
Thanks for all who dropped me kind words and notes. They really helped.
If you keep going down this path, you'll live in pain. Why don't you, instead, remember all the good times you had with her? If you keep second guessing yourself and doubting the decision you made, it'll only lead you to sorrow.
From everything you've told us about Missy's condition and deterioration, you did the right thing.
Your dog would have only gotten worse, and the stress on her and you would not have been good. She would have gotten more terrified of seeing you cry in front of her and not knowing why. You may not think she was suffering that bad, but I'm sure she was a lot worse than you think. She knew she was loved in the end, and thats all that counts. If you waited any longer, it would have been for your benefit, and that would not have been fair. YOU DID THE RIGHT THING AND AT THE RIGHT TIME. I went through the same thing months ago, and I too have another dog that is older (eleven) I am concentrating on enjoying her while shes healthy and not looking back on my other buddy, who although isn't here anymore, I'm sure she is happier than she ever was.
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