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Readers Respond: Saying goodbye to our pets with dignity

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From the article: Saying Goodbye
This is a very common theme on this site and forum; the decision to end the life of a beloved pet and how to cope with grief after the loss of a pet. Sometimes the decision "happens" on its own, and other times, our pet slowly declines, leaving us with lots of time for questions and indecision.

There's always that "what if" chance that tomorrow will be a better day, our pet really isn't that sick, or the appetite will come back. But usually, deep down, we do know when it is time, whether we can admit it or not.

How did you "know" it was time? Can you offer advice for coping with guilt or grief? Please share your tips. Help others with tips

gone but never forgotten

our 16year old staffie cross was euthanized this morning after congestive heart failure came on over the course of one week, this loving dog never gave any trouble and leaves with dignity and memories that will never leave our family, the decision made because she could not stand up and breathing really strained, fell to sleep in the arms of its owner, after the injection all strain and pain fell from her face and she relaxed, the last injection followed swiftly and she was gone in peace and with immeasurable love. she was our childs companion from birth and truly a member of the family and will never be forgotten. Rest assured you are doing right by your pet and the animal may be with you for short time or a lifetime but the memories are there forever
—Guest don

Where and When

In many years and partings with beloved furry children I have experienced many avenues of dealing with "Twilight Time". Two stand out as best. In having euthanasia done; I made an appointment with our Veterinarian as his last appointment of the day. He lovingly suggested that when our Westie's time came with Lymphoma. We had his office to ourselves and a peaceful environment. I brought him in accompanied by his sister Westie,as suggested, and she sat in the waiting room with a friend; so she was there to sense death and see him after; then they took him away. She dealt better with his leaving. Her recovery was easier. She didn't continue to look for him. She knew he was gone. This last time; when her time came; I was able to have it done here at home. It was arranged days in advance. Peacefully. I buried her in the yard. It takes courage to comfort them and help them through. Your presence and soothing voice matter most. The ultimate act of love. I hope this helps someone.
—NanaMcal

Goodbye, my precious angel

I put my beloved dog to sleep yesterday. She was12 years old and has suffered from liver disese since she was three. I tried every med and almost lived at the vet's office during the past year. She has been so different during the past month. But that's not really what I want to convey. I want to let all those who have adored a pet to know that I have never experienced such pain as watching her die and spending today without her. I held her and kissed her and thanked her for giving me so much love during our time together. She was always there there to lick my tears. She slept with me every night. A few nights ago, however, she and I just laid in my bed and stared at each other lovingly for the longest time. She had reached a pont that she couldn't be touched for long. She was becoming confused and for the first time in her life, started to not be abe to control her bowels. But what is most important is that I don't know how I'll ever live without her, my soulmate.
—Guest Linda C

I know it's time

7 and a half years later, since we picked our beautiful, playful pup, it's time to say good bye . He got cancer and we chose to take his leg. He is a Fula mastiff and at 135lbs we thought it wouldn't work. But we gained a half of a year to share our love. Now he can barely stand up, and staring into the wall and away from me, I know he sees something. Hopefully my mom! You will always be a part of us and we will see you again Cain! We love you!!!
—Guest Camron

dealing with loss of our chihuahua

weve had cornflake for 12 years. last year he developed congestive heart failure. as it progressed, he started coughing more and more. we could hear the gurgling when he breathed. my wife did everything she could and he actually lived about 15 months longer than the drs said he would. this past sunday, 7/21/13, he took a turn for worse and started coughing up fluid tinted with blood. we could tell he wasn't getting enough oxygen, he became stumbly and was having to force his lungs to breathe. around 11pm we finally made the decision to end his suffering. I took him to the vet and we talked about his condition. they told me he was suffering and it would be best to euthanize him. right before they did it, he started tossing his head back and forth as if he couldn't get any oxygen in them. the drs quickly stuck the needle in a vein in his leg and within 3 seconds his chest stopped moving...it looked very peaceful. he even looked to almost have a little smile like he was saying thank you.
—shaggy232350

Shiloh

Our beloved soul mate was sadly put to sleep today we struggled with the decision but I knew in my heart I had to let her go I've cried silently for weeks before the final day we had our collie Shiloh for 15 wonderful years and the memories of her are like a beautiful storybook come true now the book is closed those memories of her will remain until we meet again the unconditional live was amazing and to all of you out there going through the motions we all have that one special experience that we can hold onto and cherish your story's have helped me tonight all the best.
—Guest Mandy

Preparing to let him go....when pugs fly

Pauly, my 9 1/2 yr old pug is suffering from degenerative myelopathy. Slowly his hind legs are losing control, he has epilepsy too. He's become incontinent now and feels bad about going potty in the house. :( he's been my love, he was my first child, and I will cry for him for many years as I really do love him and his sweet sweet silly soul. I feel selfish that I have to say goodbye so soon, but diapers don't make him happy, and he has troubles walking.....they make it harder, see you again buddy, momma loves you. He's getting every one of his favorite foods this week. Watermelon, green beans, hot dogs and cantaloupe ;)
—Guest Pugsmom

My Girl of 14 1/2 years

Thank you for all these words and responses. I am heading to the vet in the next half hour to say good bye to my beautiful Weimy who has graced our family for over 14 years! She is my first baby and my 'baby before babies' as I always say! It is time and I find peace in knowing that! Her sister our Doberman passed away at age 8 and I waited too long to help her pass and did not want to repeat this same mistake! She has grace and dignity and a large piece of my heart! My world will never be the same! I know who I will be greeted by first at the gates of Heaven...smiling...ears flopping as she runs to me. I will never forget!
—Guest James

we will always miss you Duke.

Our dear 15 old pekingese dog went to sleep two days ago. For almost two years he couldnt take the stairs anymore and we carried him in our hands to go out. He slept in our room and couldnt bear to stay alone when we were at home, always near us. He would vow if we occasionally closed the door of our bedroom.and he would come to my knees if he saw me crying. But he stopped eating lately and coldnt walk anymore. His temperature went down to 36 and the vet said he would soon die, so we decided.to put. Him to sleep.l could never imagine l would feel this way awful.it is like a person leaving you. HOPE YOU ARE PLAYING WITH ANGELS DUKE. WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU.
—Guest dr.B

Barney the People

Barney, our Boston Terrier, was truly a people. We adopted him from an animal shelter and he was the very best dog we've ever had. At age 12 he was diagnosed with late stage Cushing Disease. He had lost his hair and his limbs became paralyzed. But he was still able to stand & shuffle around & still ate, drank & pooped. The oral chemo treatment gave him 2 more years, which regardless of his disabilities, were happy. I would take him to work & he would stand at the door watching everyone. Then the day came - while getting ready to go to work I reached down to pet him and he told me with his eyes that it was time. No whimpers or sighs - I just knew. My husband was with him that very day as they administered the injection and said it was very peaceful. I couldn't bear to be present, I think he knew that, but it was no less hard to come home to an empty house. I bought a memorial statue with a plaque. Remembering him brings me endless joy. My beloved Barney, the people.
—Perrrcilia

My Sweet Baby Christmas

Two days ago I had my sweet 19 1/2 year old main coon kitty put to sleep. My heart is breaking and I can't stop crying. Other than bad hips she was in good shape. In March she developed a tumor on the left side of her throat and bad breath which was oral cancer. During her last week we stopped giving her cat treats and dry food because of chocking. She still loved canned food but got tired and I would spoon feed her. She stopped grooming but still washed her face after eating. Her purr and breathing was changing. All week I agonized over the decision but I couldn't bear to come home and see her suffering. Her last day was spent devouring a whole can of Chicken of the Sea Tuna with whipped cream for dessert and laying on the patio. She was still feisty as she hissed at the vet. She was surrounded by family & love as we said goodby. She is buried in a special spot by my pond. I know It was time but we had her so long and I miss her so much it hurts. God bless you Chrispy. Love MoM xoxox
—Sharonlmay

I've been there, done that

I have had to put many animals to sleep, over many, many decades of companion animal rescue. I will spare you all the drama. Basically, it's a horrible, traumatizing event that you HAVE TO endure. You owe it to your animal friends to be there for them during their last moments. talk to them, hold them, hold their paws, sing to them, give them cookies and whatever's first. Don't let any vet rush you, if it isn't an emergency. Allow yourself some private time with the animal, to say your goodbyes. You only get one chance at goodbyes. I hate to say I am experienced in such a thing, but unfortunately I am. The worst experiences I had was having to euthanize my cat I had 23 years...I ended up calling people to help me, to be with me during this event. Also, I was forced to PTS a feral cat I had rescued, who became completely blocked, couldn't pee, and they did it have "p.u." surgery back then (was a long time ago!) to reverse this condition. If I could say anything, it'd be "be there".
—Guest LavenderLace

Missing Bella

We had to lay our 13.5 yr. old mini schnauzer to rest last Wed. (3/13/13). I am just heartbroken about it and can't stop crying. She had congestive heart failure and towards the end was passing out 2 - 4 xs/day. I selfishley kept her alive because her little tail still wagged when we came in the door and I couldn't bear the thought of not seeing her face anymore. On her last day alive she had passed out after going to the bathroom in the house. I ran over and caught her head before it hit the floor. She was sprawled out on her belly. After a few minutes she got up and acted semi-normal, but I knew that her situation was getting worse and worse and she was uncomfortable. We took her to the vet that evening. I bawled like a baby and prayed over her while they put the shot in. I keep replaying it in my head. I knew the day would come, but I didn't think it would be so hard. The hard part is everything in the house reminds me of her. She was like a child to me. I miss you Bella!
—Guest Courtenay

super trooper

last week had to have our springer put to sleep it was heartbreaking ;but no it was for best as he was suffering and tired .gud night trooper love you loads always
—Guest lesley

oliver

had to have my boy ollie put to sleep last february.found him as a stray and he was an amazing dog.had beentogether for 15 years. he survived a rta with me,and held on to comfort and look after me when in april 2010 ,my partner died suddenly.ollie was at that time very ill and suffering seizures, was blind and deaf,had a heart murmer and failing kidneys,but he held on to life for me,until finally he lay down and closed his eyes and i knew he was telling me it was ok to let him go.i stayed with him and held his beautiful face in my hands and did my best not to cry as i did'nt want him to feel anxious.i took him home and put him in his bed and slept beside him that night.we buried him in his favourite place in the garden,and planted roses and sweet scented honeysuckle beside his resting place.it's very beautiful and peaceful and i go there and talk to him while i'm working in the garden.he's always in my thoughts,every day.we had such fun throughout our time together and i was blessedxxx
—Guest gael

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Saying goodbye to our pets with dignity

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