How do I know when it is time to put my dog down?

I recently had a VERY long conversation with an old friend.  His aged dog was suffering and he was trying to determine if the time had come to put his buddy down.  Between the two of us, we put a lot of energy into the discussion, so I wanted to document the gist of it in case I ever needed to cover the topic again.


Before I begin however, I must stress that I am not a vet and nothing I say should be construed as medical advice.  You simply must have a conversation with your vet prior to reaching any conclusion.  My father has always had dogs, and for that large portion of my life that I’ve shared with him, I of course have had dogs as well.  And I’ve had to face these decisions with him on multiple occasions.


Putting a dog (or any pet for that matter) down is one of the hardest things that a person can be called on to do.  It is perhaps the ultimate price that a dog owner has to pay.  But, really, if you put this task in context of the love, enjoyment, and myriad other benefits that you’ve gained from a lifetime with a dog – the weight of this task isn’t much.  It is one of the costs of dog ownership.  You knew it when you decided to adopt the dog.  Dogs have a much shorter life span than humans, so the odds were pretty well set that you would have to face this day eventually.


I don’t know if any of that makes the decision easier, but it does point towards your obligation to make the decision – and make it wisely.  This is perhaps my most important point – as the owner of the dog it is your decision to make.  It is your responsibility.  Your dog, your faithful companion, your best friend is counting on you to do the right thing for him.  He trusts you in this as he has trusted you in all things ever since that first day when he licked your face and stole your heart.


This means that you must dispose of the myth that your dog will “tell you when it is time.”  Oh how wonderful and comforting it would be if that was true.  But it isn’t true.  In fact the exact opposite is true.  Your dog is hardwired, genetically coded to hide this information from you.  In the wild, a weak dog is a dead dog.  So all dogs will do their very best to hide any weakness.  The very fact that you are thinking about this topic probably tells you that your dog has already failed in this effort – which in his canine mind is a life-and-death matter.


Only your vet can tell you if your dog’s condition is a temporary, curable situation.  Even if it is theoretically curable, that doesn’t mean that it is practical to do so.  I heard on NPR the other day the story of a man who has spent over $20,000 on radiation treatments for his pet duck’s cancer.  Not very many of us can do that.  And even if we could it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should.  Is curing your dog’s condition worth losing your house over?  Should your kids skip meals so that the dog can have his medication?  Only you can make this decision.  But do keep in mind that a dog is a dog and however much a part of your family he is, you have to consider the rest of your human family in the equation.


On a more practical question, is your dog still capable of living and enjoying a dog’s life?  Can the poor creature still sit, stand, and walk on his own?  No dog is happy, or even still really a dog, if he can’t get up and defecate on his own power.  Sure his tail still thumps that happy greeting when he sees you, but if he can’t take care of his own business he isn’t happy.


Understand that you will second-guess yourself.  That is a normal part of the grieving process.  And you will grieve when your beloved companion is gone.  Delaying the decision will not change that one single iota.  And your grief, or your concerns about the grief that is guaranteed to be coming your way, cannot be a part of your decision process.  You will grieve.  The loss will hurt.  You cannot change that, and you don’t really want to change that.  But this decision is not about you.  Yes, one more day of chasing rabbits or playing fetch or whatever would be wonderful.  But wanting it, which of course you do, doesn’t make it real.


The only factor now is what is best for your dog.  If he cannot live a dog’s life – feeding himself and eliminating for himself, then it is time to go.  Hold him, love him, and let him drift off to sleep one last time in your arms.  Do him that last loving favor and take him to the bridge.


If you aren’t familiar with the Rainbow Bridge myth, remember that Google is your friend.  There are many sites that feature this story, here is just one of them


The basic story is that when a pet dies, they go to a place just this side of heaven.  Nearby is a rainbow bridge that leads to heaven.  Your pet is restored to his full health and vigor.  He romps and plays there with other pets, waiting for the day that you arrive so that the two of you can cross the bridge together and live happily ever after.  I don’t know that it fits into any sort of orthodox religion, but it has been a comfort to me – and that is good enough.


My father, wise man that he is, tells a slightly different tale, but one that has also long been a comfort to me.  It is the story of an old man who finds himself walking along a country road.  From out of a nearby field comes his favorite old dog, who had passed away many years ago.  The dog is healthy and very pleased to see him.  The two walk along the road, enjoying each other’s company – as only a man and his dog can.   It is a beautiful day, and although the sun is beating down on them, the joy of walking together is overwhelming.


They soon come to a beautiful alabaster wall that surrounds a huge complex along the side of the road.  Eventually, they come upon the gates to the glorious place.  There is a man sitting at a desk outside of the gate.  He tells the man that these are the gates to heaven, and the man is welcome to enter.  Inside there will be cool water and a comfortable place to lie in the shade.  The old man is thrilled.  He pets his dog and says “come on boy, let’s go.”  But the official stops him.  He says that while the old man is welcome in heaven, there is no place for dogs in heaven.


The old man is really torn.  Of course he wants to enter the gates of heaven, but to have to leave his dog behind is an enormous price.  He decides that he’s just going to walk a while longer with his old dog.  So they proceed down the road.


Eventually they come to a rickety old wooden gate.  Just inside the gate is a very old man lounging along side a well.  He calls to the pair and asks if they would like to come sit in the shade and enjoy some of his cool well water.  The man says “I would love to, but my dog is thirsty as well.”  The well-keeper says “but of course, you’ll find not only a pitcher of cool water, but a clean bowl for your dog there as well.”


The pair sit and cool off in the shade.  The well water is the most amazing, refreshing water they have ever tasted.  The man tells the well-keeper of their travels, and the dilemma posed by the gates of heaven.  The well-keeper laughs and says “You have to watch out for that old trickster by the fancy gate.  That’s the devil and those aren’t the gates to heaven, but the gates to hell.  This here is heaven.”  The man appears puzzled, but the well-keeper continues “You don’t think that I would create a creature as magnificent and loving as a dog and then ask you to abandon him in order to enter my kingdom do you?  That’s just a last test for you.  Any man who would abandon his dog isn’t welcome in heaven.”


I hope that all of my rambling has been of some help to somebody somewhere along the way.


423 comments on “How do I know when it is time to put my dog down?

  1. Traci says:

    Thank you. This is what I certainly needed to hear. As an animal lover and daughter of a dog breeder I should know better, but when it came down to my own dog, a 12 year old black lab fighting cancer, I should have been more aware. You are correct in all that you say about dogs in their natural wild environment. I knew all of this! It is not natural for my dog to be the skeletal figure he has become in the last few months and I believe strongly that these are decisions they need help with. I believe my once 110+ pound lab who is approximately 70 pounds and has lost his zeal is speaking to me without words. Thank you so much for confirming what I already felt in my heart! You’re an angel…..big hugs!

    • sueharke says:

      This is a difficult decision. I suggest looking deep in your heart and ask what you would want if it were you? Your dog cannot express his wishes. One of my late dogs, Ginger, told me that she was not ready to go yet. Yet six months later, she looked at me and said, “it is time to let me go.” I listened to her and one day I will meet her at the bridge with the same happy wagging tail she had as a puppy, free of pain and discomfort.

    • DOGLOVER says:

      I found this article to be very helpful. My family has had a dog for about 14 years, and I don’t know life without her bouncy, fluffy, tail. She limps everywhere, has a tumor that presses on her bladder so that she is incontinent, and she has gotten so very old. We never expected her to live past 8 years old, but now she is 15 1/2. This is remarkable for a siberian huskey, who was born in a puppy mill.

      • Patti says:

        My Kona, Siberian Husky is 13yrs her birthday is 3.15., She has a Kidney Tumor and they want to remove 1 whole kidney- Appreciate your story, wow 15 1/2…. Did you have the tumor removed from your Husky? Im lost ?, this article is exceptional. Im thankful- but deciding if surgery is best.and searching for the RIGHT answer, thank you and God Bless -patti

  2. Sean says:

    I found this piece yesterday morning as I was grasping in every direction for some guidance about what to do about my injured and suffering german shepherd. She had lost the use of her hind legs almost 2 weeks ago, and had been struggling ever since. I hung on through the period that she was confused, hoping for some sign of improvement to fight through. None had been forthcoming, and in fact she was declining and losing even the desire to go outside with me carrying her back end. For the last day and a half she didn’t even want to be taken out to pee.

    Even with all that, I struggled with whether it was the right time: should I give it just a little longer? Was it just a bad couple of days? Of course, what I was really struggling with was how to say goodbye to my beloved friend. How could it be now already?

    Your piece helped me a great deal, and helped me find the strength to do the right thing. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and every last ounce of resolve was necessary. Thank you for that.

  3. Roger Scott says:

    Thanks for your words and wisdom. Your blog helped me to know that I had to make a decision for my best friend that he couldn’t make for himself.
    Today I woke knowing that one of the hardest things I have ever had to do was waiting for me. My 10 year old boxer Gus had been off his food for over a week now and his once muscular frame had wasted away to practically nothing. I knew what had to be done and just couldn’t find a way to make it right in my mind. The night before I had told my wife and our grown children that I was going to have Gus put down. This was especially hard because today was Christmas Eve. Gus always enjoyed the holidays because the house would be full of family and the grandkids. The decision had to be made and I knew that the pain of watching him suffer for even one more minute was not worth having him with us for the holiday.
    My wife and I took Gus to our vets office about nine o’clock this morning to say goodbye. As I lifted him into the car knowing that he would not be coming home with us I felt what was almost relief. Gus had been the best friend I had for over 10 years and knowing that he would not be in pain in a few minutes was a like lifting a burden from my shoulders. Gus seemed to perk right up as we pulled out of the driveway. This guy loved nothing more than a ride. When he was younger his favorite spot was right behind me in my Jeep with his head stuck out over my left shoulder with his head in the wind.
    The staff at the vets office knew Gus from previous visits and they were very kind and shared what we felt. Their kindness and caring showed and helped carry us through the ordeal. They made a bed for Gus on the exam table and made him feel loved and comfortable. The injection was given and Gus went to sleep in my arms. His snoring stopped after a few minutes and it was done. My friend was gone. After some goodbyes and some tears we went home without our friend.
    Your kind words and understanding were a great help for me and confirmed for me that I had made the right call. When Gus was unable to be a dog he was unable to be Gus. I know that others will have to pass this way and I hope that they can find your blog to help them through a tough decision and the grieving that follows. Tomorrow is Christmas and Gus won’t be with his family here but, the spirit and the love he left behind will be with all of us forever. The day may not be the same without him but then it wouldn’t have been right with him. He waits for me at the bridge.
    Thanks again and bless you.

    • fred harmon says:

      what a great but sad story; I am sitting here with my 17 yr. maltese (Maggie) and tomorrow I have to have her put to sleep. she has been having multiple seizres, only does her business in the house because she no longer wants to go outside. after the sezure she just lays right there shaking and wont move. she just lays there looking at me with those big brown sad watery eyes. I am surely going to miss her every day of my life. I know she will come down from heaven to get me when it’s my time. that is my only consulation.

      thank you for your story.

  4. Susan says:

    Thank you … my friend, Pugsley, is facing those old age issues … and I also. I’m just looking for some comfort. You have helped. Thank you. I’ve lost two friends in the last couple of years and the pain I’ve felt as I held them close and watched them die has nearly destroyed me; not sure how to deal with yet another.

  5. bonnie says:

    having promblems with male chihuahua. not sure how old he is i got him from a dog pound about 8 years ago. he is yhe best chihuahua i ever owned i love him so much. but about a day ago, i noticed some changes in him.he cryed when i picked him up,been crying a lot.hard for him to walk up stairs, cann’t stay still . like every time he sits.or lays he is in pain..he is eating, an drinking,an doing his thing out side.i don’t think i could put him down. but i don;t wait him to suffer. or be in pain.hey do you think god would be bad at me for doing these to his animal pleaes keep in touch. i really need somebody thank you

    • Kelly says:

      bonnie, I too have a much loved chihuahua…i am waiting for the vet to call..found out he has kidney koda has slowed down..he vomits every time he eats..and walks on 3 legs..i am battleing with what to do..i love him enough to put him down..i just don’t no if its time…i am so beside myself..i can’t stop cryin..I hope you see this reply..maybe you can help me…

      • Susan Harke says:

        Maybe a change of diet is in order, depending on the extent of the kidney issues. Visit the website “” where there is a home cooked diet for dogs with kidney disease. Also, join the yahoo group “k9kidneydiet” as there are moderators who will be able to guide to maybe having more time with your dog so you may make a better decision.

        • john says:

          Abby has a non cancer tumor in her gut by her hind leg. She can’t get up the stairs at all. She can hardly get up and when she does, she drags her right leg. It’s been going on for 4 months now. With the snow it makes it difficult for her to go to the bathroom even though I’ve shoveled a spot in the yard. I’ve seen the look in my almost 12 year old retriever, and I know that on no snow days/rain she is better… I just cannot bring myself to do it though. “Just because an animal is injured doesn’t mean they don’t have a purpose.”

          • Sue Harke says:

            I don’t know you budget, but it sounds possibly resolvable by removing the growth. If yes, and you need money try to find a group that helps pay for canine medical care in this type of situation.

            • john says:

              the vet gave me a $750-1000 estimate. what kind of group could do that?

              • Brannon Walker says:

                Yes i would be willing to lose my house or have my children or myself skip a few meals to save my dog. I would do it for any member of my family.

  6. natalie says:

    my dog bella has to be put down and im so so so sad ill always miss her ):

  7. Dave says:

    Sam, my best and most loyal friend, a 13-yr-old English Spring Spaniel, and I will go to his vet in the morning. I will come home alone. Everyone that has ever met Sam has been overwhelmed with his intelligence and kindness. He cares about my wife and I, and has watched our children grow up and welcome two grandchildren into the family.

    Money was never an issue in matters of his health, but last week everything went wrong and now I have to carry him outside to go the bathroom, his water and food have to be brought to his bed, and he is pain. We kept him comfortable over the weekend with pain killers due to his vet not being available and I was not going to have him put down by strangers.

    I do not know what life will be like without Sam. Since my retirement we were seldom apart.

    Thanks for letting me write my feelings here.

    • sueharke says:

      Have you asked Sam if he is ready to leave and allow you to find a new friend who needs a home desperately? All of the pets I have put down have come back to visit me and their message was “I had a great home with you and I know you will give a great home to another pet who needs you.” If you do, the new pet will not be the same as the one you lose, but animals have a way of being themself and allowing you to love them in an individual way. I know this is a hard decision, but what would you want if you were suffering the pain?

    • karen says:

      I too have an english springer spaniel, maddy, she is 11. she is amazing and i love her deeply, i am 43 and have autism, she is my best friend and companion, she has stayed by side through terrible illness, and although i have recovered beyond any expectations, she still is by my side.she is now struggling, she has arthritis, and massive lumps everywhere,they press on her heart, so she gets very tired, she eats well and just snuggles,but, she is in pain, although never complains, she cannot run, climb the stairs and gets distressed when i leave the room, walks are now a ride in the car, i am heartbroken because i know i must let her go soon, i have no idea how i will get by without her, but, i know i love her so much, its no longer about me. she is the most wonderful unique special friend i have ever been blessed to have known, and i feel honoured she chose me. only one maddy. thank you for the information on this page, i now have other pet lovers guide lines and experiences to know when.

  8. Dave says:

    Sam is gone. He died in the hands of my wife and I and we cried. The house is already so different, not hearing the tags on his collar each time I leave the room, as he would always follow me wherever I went.

    I do not write this for pity. I write it out of respect for Sam; my companion, my protector, my friend.

  9. I read somewhere that dogs are way more intelligent than cats

  10. sue says:

    I’ve had the displeasure to put down several pets (dogs and cats) for various reasons. Most were age 17 years and over. In one case it was a 20 year old cat who had a cancerous tumor or the nose. We had let it grow till it affected his ability to eat. If a cat cannot smell its food, then it will not eat and starve to death. Remove the tumor in the early stage and it would not eat and starve to death. Either way, it was the same end. This cat enjoyed 1/ 1/2 years of additional life and even caught some prey that he brought home as a gift to me. When the tumor was causing pain, we let him go. It was hard, but he was a best bud for 15 years, as I had adopted him at age 5.

    This and other older animals has helped me learn when to let go. I generally tend to get a younger pet when I know I am about to lose a special friend due to age or sickness so I may convert my love to a new friend who will have a wonderful home. The friends I have let go to the bridge have come back for a last visit to say “thank you for a wonderful life and I hope your new friend has as good a life as I did.”

  11. Steve & Elaine says:

    This morning we had to say goodbye to our beloved Samson, a 14 1/2 year old yellow lab. It was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make. Even with medication and glucosamine, and more love than we could describe, his health was deteriorating day by day. The arthritis in his back legs took away his ability to enjoy being a dog. He walked in pain, was restless in sleep, limped, panted endlessly at night and couldn’t control his bowels. But he ate voraciously till the end. At the time this was enough for us as we kept putting off the inevitable. He was always there to comfort us during our sorrows and now we had to be there for him. Having just buried my dad yesterday, this was especially painful. Both were old and it was their time. While we will miss Samson, we know we did what was best for him, even if it is so very difficult for us. We believe we will see him when it is our time to go. Anyone else in this position, God bless you. Do the right thing for your pet. Don’t let him/her suffer.

    • Dave says:

      Dear Steve and Elaine,

      I feel your pain at the loss of your dad and Samson. There is still not a day that I do not miss my Sammy, but as you said, we do what we know is best to stop the suffering.

      God bless.

    • Cindy says:

      Though this is an old post, I am now facing what you had faced almost 4 years ago. My 14 year old yellow lab Savannah has been on Tramadol for over 2 years now. She has a degenerative back disease. For 8 months now I have been giving her Adequan shots, which helps lube her bones. She eats, goes to the bathroom on her own and still looks forward to our morning walks; although we don’t go as far anymore. But, she pants all the time, her back legs will lose control and they just go out from underneath her, she also is restless in her sleep. She seems to still be happy, but now that I am reading that they are wired to be in survival mode, is she just doing this to please me? I am very torn at the moment because she is not completely helpless:(

      • mares says:

        I’m in the same boat with you. My boy Lance is a 14 yoa GS with CDRM. Yesterday was the worst day. He stand at all and was trying to walk on his front legs while dragging his behind. He has lost his bowels inside about 5 times and I’ve been using a towel to get him around. He still has an appetite, but pretty much sleeps. I’ve afraid to leave him only because he might fall or get caught in the doggy door if I leave and eventually I will have to go to the store etc. I don’t know if it’s time, but I don’t want to see it get any worst. He’s a heavy dog and I can’t lift him by myself.

    • Heidi says:

      Thank you for those words. I am struggling all night trying to decide if I am making the right decision for today. My yellow lab, Bruno, is 12 1/2, diabetic with arthritis and tumors in his back legs. These past couple weeks his health has deteriorated. He has many similar symptoms to what you just described. This is a hard and it will be harder on my girls but I know he’s in pain and not happy. This is the hardest decision I have ever had to make.

  12. Dwane says:

    We are walking through this similar scenario right now, but with a young dog – only 4 years old. She has a serious leg injury and her muscles are degenerating. She is in pain and it will cost thousands of dollars to get her surgery, and even then I don’t think there are any guarantees. I am her “fun person” – she follows me everywhere. My wife is the mean boss mommy…lol.
    It’s the first dog that I have ever owned that I could truly call my own, and i feel her quality of life has gone downhill in the past months.
    I guess some people have the attitude that no price is too great, and that I’m a terrible pet owner because I am even considering putting a young dog down… but I think these are very personal decisions, and no one else can tell you the “right” thing to do. I know how much she has been doted on and loved. She keeps coming to us as if she wants us to help her make it right, take away the pain. It’s heartbreaking. My wife has grown up around dogs all her life, I haven’t. She’s sad, but at the same time she has journeyed through it before. I know there will be regrets, and I will miss her, but I hate to see Sasha struggling and fading like she is.
    What a crazy dog. She has been hit by a car, kicked by a donkey, almost drowned chasing ducks, and she still made it through. She is a terrible mooch (watch your sandwich…). She is always there when you’re sad. She loves meeting new people and other doggies. She likes to give kisses. She’s a nuisance to walk but then she’s a blast at the same time, just fun to run around and play. She’s a gentle soul – she never hurt anyone or anything on purpose in her life. She never met a squirrel she didn’t want to chase. She warms my side of the bed for me then groans when I make her get down. She loves her rubber peanut, but will always invite you to try and get it away from her.
    I’m hate to say goodbye. I will never forget her.

    • Steve & Elaine says:

      We feel your pain.It is the right thing to do to let your Sasha go.Even though she is only 4,you have great memories and quality is better than quantity.I miss my Sammy everyday but I know he is pain free and that makes me feel better.It was the right thing to do.
      I will see my friend again and so will you see your Sasha.
      Take care.

    • Dave says:

      My vet has a sign in his office with this quote: “Life is not counted by the amount of breaths you take.. but by the times life takes your breath away.”

      When quality of life is gone, and pain is a constant companion, how can we show our love for our canine friends? I know what I had to do. I feel for you and your hurt and your decision.

      • dwane says:

        Well, I wanted to update you all on Sasha. She is thriving and doing great. We put her on glucosamine, kept her from running and jumping for a few months and now she’s doing great. The vet is delighted with her and us. She never had surgery, but she has recovered well. The vet said she’ll eventually have some arthritis and stuff, but just keep the glucosamine and baby aspirin if she’s uncomofrtable, but all in all she’s doing great. The vet also commended us on bringing up such well adjusted and socialized dog. She laid down for her needles and she was very happy to see all her friends at the vet. She’s turning into an awesome adult dog – everyone loves her. She even runs and plays again, and she’s made a great improvement from last summer. Thanks for the moral support and if your pet is sick, do everything you can for it, don;t give up hope. Sometimes their strong zest for life and some simple love and care can bring them through. God bless!

        • Kristalynn says:

          This is wonderful to read!!!! =) I know she’s a few years older since you posted. I hope she’s still doing well.

        • stephanie says:

          I know you posted this a long time ago but I hope it gets to you in time. My golden retriever is 7 and he has not used his back right leg for over two months now. He lost all his muscle in his right back leg and he stumbles and leans a lot on his back left leg. I wanted to know what was wrong with your lab? I have been giving my dog the glucosamine for two months now and we have not seen any results. Our home has stairs and I am wondering if I crated him and kept him on the first floor, if that would help.. I have taken my dog to three different specialists and they all do not know what is wrong with my dog. At first, they thought it was a ruptured cruciate ligament, then bone cancer, but those were ruled out. They did a ct scan and two radiologists did not see anything wrong with the scan…. but a third radiologist found a small mass in his right back leg, but they did not know if that was the reason. They did an ultrasound on his back right leg over the mass and took a liquid sample from the leg to see if it was cancer. They came back with the results and said there was a possibility it was cancer or an inflammatory process going on……. huge difference if you ask me… The vet wants to do more tests and we have already spent around $3,500.. and have not received any good news on what is causing my dog to not use his leg… He has lost his appetite and now he wakes up all through the night because it hurts for him to sit or lay down… The vets want to biopsy the mass to see if it is cancer, which they suspect it is and then they want to cut his leg off. My thing is since he does not walk on three legs without stumbling and falling, what is cutting off his leg that he doesnt even use, do… it seems like they are reaching and I hate putting my dog through all of this… Now we are faced with going through all of these surgeries with uncertain results or putting our beloved golden down….

          • Susan Harke says:

            If it were my pet and I had to make the decision, I would get ALL past medical records from all vets, current vet or not. The next step I would take is to visit a university setting veterinary clinic where medical advances for your dog are being made daily (and take copies of the medical records, but keep a copy for yourself). I would ask if there was an holistic vet on the team of vets who would work on your pet. If the answer to all these questions are “yes!”, then give it one more try (in my area it is the University of Davis school of Veterinary Medicine).

  13. Marcia says:

    My dog Max has ruptured both cruciates in his hind legs. We have spent thousands on surgery with no success. He is in pain. We have him on Meloxicam and Tramadol to help, but I don’t see anything making a difference. I know that the time is near, but my husband thinks that he will be fine. The vet has assured us that euthanization is inevitable, which I thought would help with my husband’s inability to see how much our beloved dog is suffering. He is such an amazing dog and I love him with my heart and soul. He deserves to not be in pain. I want to keep him forever, but keeping him alive in this pain is unfair to him. How can I help my husband see that we are not murdering our dog, but allowing him to be free of pain?

    • sueharke says:

      Have you considered leg supports? There is a company that makes leg supports for various size dogs and location of limbs. It might be enough to give him some support and allow you more time to decide what is right decision?

    • Steve & Elaine says:

      You are right.Max being in pain is unfair.I hated to let go of our Samson.It was unfair to keep him around in pain and discomfort.We also made excuses to avoid the Vet.We also do not regret our decision to finally end his pain.I miss him a lot he will not be forgotten,your Max will one day thank you for allowing him to be free of pain again.Max should come first not our fear of being without our pets.
      Good Luck and god bless both of you and Max.

    • Dave says:

      It is hard for many of us to accept the inevitable. My sympathies.

  14. kathleen says:

    I found this blog and of course this hit home… However, I still don’t know what to do. My dog is just hanging around, sleeping most of the day. When he gets up, he will just pee if I don’t catch him when he’s starting to get up and make him go out. His head is so boney underneath the fluffy hair – he’s a border collie mix and so his coat is like a sheep right now. He sometimes can’t get up as his back legs have become weak or arthritic. I’m not sure of his age as when we got him no one really knew. The vet thought he was four, so that might make him 14? Not sure though.

    I feel like he’s such a burden on me as I am home during the day and take care of him all the time. He sometimes moans for no reason. Not a big moan, but a moan. You can walk right up to him, even touch him and you might think he’s dead.

    Poor guy!

    Help! what do you think I should do?

    • jehingr says:


      I’m so sorry to hear of your troubles. Please know that I am here if you need to “talk.”

      The first piece of advice, if you haven’t done it already, is to get him to the vet. While at 14-years old, it is unlikely – but still possible that it could be something minor that could be helped by medication or diet. We had an Irish Setter named Molly who had Cushing’s Disease and we were told that she had 6-months at most. But the vet suggested that we give her an aspirin each morning. To make the story short, Molly was with us for 6 more pain free years! So get him to the vet and see what the vet has to say.

      At the very least, it will ease your mind if it is time to have that dispassionate third-party opinion.

      It sounds to me like it is time however. Your poor boy has ceased to live a dog’s life. And I know for certain that after 10-years with you he loves you every bit as dearly as you love him. Which means that he would not want to be a burden to you. Remember that dogs are so much smarter than us in many ways, and dogs do not fear death. They understand that it is a natural part of life.

      If he is in pain, if he cannot walk and function the way that he wants to, if he can no longer be a dog – then perhaps it is time to show him how much you love him one last time. Love means so much more than petting and belly rubs and play time and walks. Love means showing him the final kindness as well. It WILL be hard on you, but it is no longer about you. It will be a blessing to him, and at this point it is about him.

      If you haven’t read this Eugene O’Neill piece
      you should. Hopefully it will provide some comfort to you.

      Please feel free to e-mail me if I can be of any further assistance to you.

      • Dorothy says:

        I have a sweet 11mouth old puppy and he been so very sick he has been like this for 3days now he wont eat and he wont drink but very little i dont have money to help him i dont know what to do someone please help him and me!!!!!!!

        • jehingr says:

          Call the vet immediately! Explain the situation. Most likely they will work something out with you to help your puppy. If they won’t, then call your local humane society. They should be able to refer you to a low cost vet, or possibly have him treated by one of their vets.

          DO NOT WASTE TIME! Make the calls NOW. Your pup’s life may be at stake.

    • Rebecca says:

      I am dealng with this very same issue. My Border Collie mix is 15 years old. He is losing control of his hind legs. He can walk but he ofter stumbles. His front legs seem to be doing all the work. He is beginning to “poop” in the house. That is so not our Buddy. His appetite seems to be the same, but the hip and back leg muscles are wastling away. He arches his back most of the time and his tail is usually extended as if he is getting ready to use the bathroom. On occasion, I see a glimpse of the old Buddy but those times are becoming fewer and fewer. I have thought about putting him to sleep but it is such a difficult decision. I put my dauchsund, Okie, down about 9 years ago because of prolonged back problems. At times, I still feel guilty for that. I know this would be no different. To make matters worse, we are getting ready to move to a new home. I don’t want my decision concerning Buddy to be influenced by that fact. As a working mother and wife, I feel as though I don’t have the time needed to give him increased attention he needs due to his failing health. It sounds bad, but it’s how I feel. My husband understands my dilemma and would support whatever decision I make. Of course, my children (9 and 25) dont want it to happen. On a daily basis, I am the one who is acutely aware of Buddy’s decline. I am the one who takes care of and will continue to be responsible for him. Tell me – am I being selfish. Should I let him hang on to life until it is obvious he is miserable all the time. I don’t know what to do! 😥

      • Sue Harke says:

        In the last 6 years I had one dog make the decision for me and passed walking on his favorite path in the backyard. I found him gone in the front yard. He was with me for 16 years.

        I had to make the decision for my second dog in Dec 2013. He was 12.5 years old with diabetes, doggie confusion, he no longer could have any vaccinations for anything (including rabies) and could not be around other dogs for his safety and the safety of other dogs. When he could no longer find his food dish without help (second stage of confusion), I made the decision. I followed the theory of “better one day before than one hour too late.” He came back to visit about a week later and stayed the day with me for the day before returning to the “Rainbow Bridge.” He was happy, not hurting, and said thank you for taking such good care of me. He wanted me to know that he knew how much I loved him and did not want him to hurt.

      • Steve says:

        I went the same thing 5 years ago.Our beloved Samson a 14 year old yellow lab was unable to walk properly,pooped in the house,panted constantly,he was old and not enjoying life anymore.We also were moving house soon and knew the unfamiliarity would cause him even more distress.M y dad was also dying of cancer that summer.We did what we had to do.
        it was depressingly sad but necessary.Time heals the pain. Trust me .Both my dad and Samson have been with me in my thoughts and dreams .Good luck. Steve

        • Sue Harke says:

          Rebecca, if you think you dog still has some time, maybe you can put him on wheels on his back legs. Dogs are amazing at adapting to changes in their life 🙂

        • Rebecca says:

          Thank you Steve, It is good to know I am not alone in this experience and others may have the same feelings in simiiliar circumstances! I still haven’t made a final decision regarding Buddy. The other night my husband was walking him and he had a bad tumble down a steep bank. Jim had to climb down and carry him out.

  15. Steve & Elaine says:

    Kathleen, we went through the same thing in October with our 14 year old lab Samson. He also slept most of the day and had trouble getting up and he would whimper sometimes for no apparent reason. He was tired, his coat was matted and would have bowel movements while laying down. He also panted constantly at night near the end even though he was on various medications. Our Samson was 14, lived a long happy life, but at that point, we couldn’t turn the clock back. Unfortunately, it was his time. We had to accept the inevitable and make an appointment with our vet. It is a very hard thing to do, but it will be the right thing for your dog. You obviously love your dog and don’t want to let him go, but you must think of your pet and allow him to be pain free again. You will be doing him a kindness. One day he will thank you. You will see him one day, so this is just a temporary separation. You are not alone in your feelings. It has almost been 2 months and while we miss him everyday we are glad he is not in pain anymore and we do not regret our decision even though it was one of the hardest ones we have ever made. In time you will feel better.

    Our thoughts are with you. Good luck.

    Steve and Elaine

  16. mandee schuchman says:

    thanks so much for the reasurence. its hard to make this decision on my own. i have a 16 year old heinz 57 i found on the street when she was just 6 months old. not to mention i just lost my sheltie to cancer in july. your words dont make this any easier but i do owe her and will do the right thing for her when the time comes. thank you

  17. Kate says:

    I read this piece with tears streaming down my cheeks. What do I say? Our Border Collie, Alex, been a cardiac patient for a few years. Over the last year he had given up the things he loved so that he could sleep. We had him checked often & the docs were continually amazed & called him a fighter.

    This past Sunday my family went on a planned ski vacation. At the last minute I decided to stay home (wasn’t sure why). The next day Alex went into respiratory distress. I carried him to the vet where he received IV meds and oxygen. Within a few hours he seemed a bit better and I took him home. This has happened a few times in the last year.

    This time was different. The next morning he was struggling again. He just seemed so much worse. He made it to the front porch and laid down, soaking up the California sun. I looked at my baby and called his name. He lifted his head and looked my way but that seemed all he could do.

    That’s when it finally hit me. The vet had said “When trying to decide when it’s time to let him go,think of five things he loved to do when he was healthy. When you reach the time when he’s only doing one or maybe two of these things it is time to thing about this decision.” The only thing Alex could do was get himself to that sunny spot for a few minutes each day and then go and sleep.

    I frantically tried to reach my hubby to no avail. A friend said to me “Sometimes we have to love them enough to let them go”. I didn’t want him to go through any more respiratory emergencies. It made him feel like he was drowning and now his kidneys were becoming damaged from the meds.

    I brought him in and put him down yesterday. I put his head my lap and gave him a kiss from each one of us. I knew this day would come but never dreamed it would be this hard. I am not sure I’ve ever cried so hard.

    I’m beating myself up over whether I should have waited til the kids were home (ages 10 and 12). They know Alex was very sick and was living long past when the vets thought he would. But oh, bad Mommy move. Why couldn’t I have waited til they came home. They still don’t know. My youngest is “student of the week” next week where they get to discuss their family & show their pets. It’s next week! Alex couldn’t have physically gone but at least I wouldn’t have broken my son’s heart. Don’t know if I was right or wrong to do it when I did.

    I found this blog site and it caught my attention. Thank you to whoever listened. I love you, Alex.

    • jehingr says:

      It certainly sounds like you did everything you could for sweet Alex. And it certainly could be a teachable moment with your children that Alex’s needs outweighed their own. Thank you for loving and caring for Alex.

      May the shamrocks fall softly on your sweet lad.

  18. Sue Harke says:

    I have a deaf sixteen year old german Sheppard/Shar=Pei mix. He has been with me since he was 6 months old. I see him having back problems and issues with with back legs at this point. I am also beginning to see some cognizant issues related to food that he has not had before. I now sometimes have to help him get into the car after playtime at the local dog park. I have had most dogs live to 16-17 years of age and he is making himself no exception. Many of the dogs he started visiting with at the dog park have already gone to dog heaven. He just loves being here with me.

    I know I will one day have to make a difficult decision and I know my friend will tell me when it is that time. When he gives me that message, I will listen and do what he asks me to do (as I have done several time with other pets in the past). Animals know how to communicate with us if we just open our minds and hearts and listen.

  19. Paul says:

    I am unsure what to do with my 13year old cross lab as he is my first dog that I had since my late teens and has been my best friend since he was 8 months old. I noticed he was not his usual self and he had starting urinating all over the house and lost his appetite which was 2 weeks ago so took him for a checkup which discovered a high temperature (this was 10 days ago as I thought he was just under the weather). As part of the check up blood and urine samples were taken which the blood came back way abnormal but a 2nd test was done and showed only slightly high red cells, the urine test showed unusually high white cells and the vet has said this could be sign of a tumour so I have today had a 2nd urine test which will be sent to the lab. Until about 2 weeks ago he was fine apart from slighlty stiff legs and a quick rush to get me out so he could do his business when I got in from work. He was playing and going for walks as he had always done and seemed happy in himself. 2 weeks ago he has started urinating all over the house unable to hold it and gone quite unsteady on his feet and seems to have trouble walking and lost his appetite and I can already see weight loss. The vet has perscribed antibotics and painkillers until the results of the 2nd urine test come in. As he hates the vet visits I really don’t want to put him through all kinds of tests and procedures at his age which the vet has confirmed will be needed but also due to how quick this has come on unsure how long to leave him and am hoping he recovers. Ater reading through other comments and info I would say it is very near by looking at him over the past 2 weeks and don’t want to watch him suffer but keep seeing slight improvements.

    Anyone suggest if I should just make this difficult decision or put him through more tests if the result is not good news?

    • jehingr says:

      Unless things take a dramatic turn for the worse, wait to see what the vet says after the results of the second blood panel. It could be something controllable, or easily remedied. Or of course, it could be worse. When you have that information, you can make an informed decision. Until then give him extra love and do what you can to give him the best life possible.

      Please come back and share the results, or e-mail me.

      Best luck,

      • lablover says:

        Though I grew up with dogs and felt the pain of all of their departures, my girl is my first dog of my own. She is only 10 but diagnosed with a rare and highly aggressive anal gland cancer. Although it has not yet spread,the prognosis is not good. Surgery will not cure it, and will leave her incontinent. I have decided against torturing her with surgery and chemo, and instead, waiting until the first signs of suffering. Right now she is still eating,drinking, able to walk,etc. How will I know if she is in pain or suffering? how bad is the rimadyl? She seems to do well with it.

        • jehingr says:

          I am so sorry to hear your bad news.

          I want to thank you for being a loving dog parent and thinking of her needs first.

          We have often used Rimadyl, general for post-operative pain relief. Our dogs (and foster dogs) seem to have tolerated it quite well with no adverse effects and a good degree of pain relief. But please keep in mind that I am not a DVM or even a CVT, so my “medical” advice is almost completely without merit.

          There are two schools of thought regarding “knowing” when your girl is in pain or suffering. The first school says that your dog will let you know, or that you’ll see it in her eyes. I don’t believe that, but many people that I respect do think this way. Hopefully one (or more) of them will reply here to provide information from that perspective.

          I belong to the school that thinks that your dog, just like her wild relations, will do whatever she can to hide her pain and suffering from you. In the wild, a weak dog is a dead dog – so I feel that it is in a dog’s nature to hide any pain and suffering. I believe that you will have to seek out clues and that you will have to own the decision.

          You know your girl better than anyone, and you know what brings joy to her life. It may be running to meet the school bus when the kids return home from school, a daily walk, playing fetch or tug with you, or just squeaking a favorite stuffed toy. Whatever it is, you know where she finds joy in her life. When she can no longer find joy in those things, it may be time.

          Also, I think that you have to look at the things that make a dog a dog. Eating, defecating, running, or simply keeping watch out a window are among the things that often define a dog’s life. When she can no longer participate in these things, when she can no longer do these things for herself – it may be time.

          Please remember that your girl does not fear death as you and I do. Dogs are much wiser than people in this area. They understand that life comes to an end, and nothing – no matter how heroic – can change that.

          It falls to you as the owner to make this decision. The responsibility is yours. But also, please, remember that your girl trusts you. She trusts you with her life, and she trusts you to do what is best for her. She knows in her magnificent canine heart, and her tiny doggie brain, that you love her and will always do what is best for her.

          She has no fear, she has only love and trust.

          Be strong and be confident in your ability to do what is best for your girl. Trust yourself as she trusts you. Seek advice where you need it, particularly from your vet. Do not fret or stress, the last thing that your girl wants is to be a source of stress for you. Give her love and enjoy every single remaining moment that you have together. Loving and being loved is one of the greatest gifts available to human and dog. Make the absolute most of that gift.

          I know in my heart of hearts that you will do what is best and right for your girl. Please know that in your heart as well.

          And if there is anything that I or the others who post here can do for you, please do not hesitate to post again. And please keep us posted on how you are doing. We do care.


          • Susan loyd says:

            If dogs do not fear death then why do they hide sickness and weakness in the wild? I am struggling to find any answer of comfort in your words here. Struggling with the decision of what to do with a 15 1/2 year old “mutt” that was abandoned in a parking lot. A mutt that has been the constant companion of an only child who has no family of her own and no parents left. A dog that never ask for anything and delighted in even a fresh bowl of water. A dog who willed himself not to eat or drink until I got home from work so he wouldn’t soil the floor. His hearing and eye site long gone, along with his ability to work his way out of a corner. I’m afraid for him and for me. What if there is no soft place for him to lay his head or someone to love him the way I do? I face this decision within a matter of hours and am just heart broken. Just absolutely heart broken.

            • jehingr says:

              I do believe that dogs do not fear death, certainly not the way humans do. But I also believe that they enjoy life & want to preserve theirs.

              I don’t think that I am smart enough, or a good enough writer, to publish words of comfort. Many do believe in an after life for their dogs & find comfort in that. I also want to avoid any theological debate here.

              As I tend to be very pragmatic, I take the most comfort in my father’s cost-benefit analysis – that is the pain of losing a dog is nothing compared to the love of a dog in life. That doesn’t do much for many folks.

              As far as I am concerned, the main point I wanted to make in this blog post was simply that as dog owners we have a responsibility to the very end. If your wonderful sounding dog has reached the point where he can no longer be a dog, then the love you share obligates you to take him to the end. Hold him, love him, and let him slip away secure in your arms.

            • Sue Harke says:

              There is a saying “one day too early, than one hour too late.” We all feel your pain. We have all experience the difficult decision of letting our four footed friends leave us. Do we help them? Do we wait for nature to take its course? I’ve had one dog make the decision to pass in the night walking on this his favorite walking path in his yard at age 17. I’ve had to end the life of elder pets and it was not an easy decision in each case. The question to ask yourself is this the quality of life you want for a special friend? If not, then you have answered your own question as the people who are responding to you question have done.

  20. suzana says:

    what bull shit it is,putting down your pet,virtual murderers.materialistic apes justifying the act of putting down a life…shame on u

    • jehingr says:

      I was certain that the lunatic/PETA fringe would find us. Everybody wave “HI” to the whackjob! HI Whackjob Suzana.

      • dwane says:

        Yeah… don’t feed the Whack job PETA troll. Only a nut would show such a complete lack of empathy. Love animals and hate people…w/e. The people on this board are not puppy milling dog fighting abusers… these are people who loved these animals and have mourned their passing. More compassion on this little forum that all of PETA combined.

    • Susan Harke says:

      I would love to be the person who decides when you may no longer live without pain, even if you disagree with my decision. That way you will be treated like the dogs we are talking about here.

      When you go without pain medication, proper attention, the expectation that you can sill take care of yourself with help, maybe you will understand what is being said here.

      I hope you never find yourself in a pain and expected to live until your body just gives in without any help.

  21. Paul says:

    I have had tests and ultrasounds done on my dog and there are 2 abnormal shots on the ultrasound of my dogs bladder and prostrate. The vet took a sample from his bladder thinking this was infection as he had a temperature and had responded well to antibiotics gaining some weight and less urinating in the house which was positive and lasted for about 7 days and slowly the appetite got less and less and urinating every couple of hours again. I returned to the vet and he thought it was possible he hadn’t got rid of the infection in his previous diagnosis so recommended an ultra sound and he said bladder appears infected from the image so had taken some samples although he said to gain a prostrate sample was a much larger procedure which he advised against. His condition is now much worse then when I first posted on here with his spine and hip bones showing as he has lost an incredible amount of weigt over the past few weeks. The test came back negative to any infection as no bacteria had been found which he said confirms that no antibiotics will help him now. The vet has said he can make him comfortable with Mirtizipan and a painkiller until they no longer work. We are due our family holiday next Saturday which the dog always joins us on so he said I could have 2 weeks supply. Since the Mirtizipan he eats better maybe 1 meal a day and looks bright for about 7 hours and then goes back to a shell that refuses to eat anything other than a couple of meat strip chews which I have to take to him. He is also constantly straining to do both parts of his business and seems to grunt while he is doing his number 2. I can no longer stand to see him this way as there is no quality of life for him left other than to prolong his suffering by giving him a happy pill which make him better for about 7-8hours a day (he has been taken these for 4 days) and in that time you see a glimpse of him without the misery his enduring for a short time each day. I truly now believe he is in pain and suffering otherwise he would be better for 24hours a day with this medication and I wouldn’t even be thinking of ending his. He has also looks very glazed and I do not think it would be fair to drag him on holiday into the countryside for our sake where he wouldn’t enjoy it or leave him to turn into a skeleton sat hardly moving with no interest in aything in his bed. The other option is to not go away and just watch until we don’t even get the 1 meal out of him a day but I feel this is so cruel and unnecessary for him to endure this any longer so I will be booking him in for Friday (vet isn’t avilabe to do a home visit until this day next week) and the family will take the Thursday off work to say there goodbyes to our beloved companion. I will stay downstairs at his side Thursday night and the vet will hopefully be along early to the house on Friday morning to end these past weeks of suffering. I can honestly say this is the hardest decision in my life and part of me even now thinks what if you try more antibiotics and he gets wells for longer like last time or maybe the happy pills need longer to get into his system or what when I noticed he looked a bit off December time and didn’t go to the vet because he appeared alright again a couple of dys later but the reaity is it’s his time and he will either die from the injection from the vet or from exhaustion through starvaton. The truth of it all is I had a feeling it was very serious when I first noticed there was something wrong other than old age as he has never in 13.5 years missed a meal not even for a day and I owe him now to do what is best for him.

    • jehingr says:

      It certainly sounds as if you are doing the best that can possibly be done for your loving companion. It is indeed a hard thing, but measured alongside the joy he has given you in 13.5 years, it is a small thing.

      Thank you so much for loving your boy enough to do what is best for him. He appreciates it and loves you for it.


    • susan says:

      Paul, I suggest trying some vitamins as follows:

      1.D-mannose + P73 oreganol should there be an bladder infection that is not healing and does not show up on tests. Email me if you wish more info on these items. D-mannose prevents bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall and allows the dog to pee it out. P73 oreganol helps the health of the dog.

      2. Slippery elm bark (available at most vitamin stores such as vitamin world). In the gastro-intestinal tract, Slippery Elm acts directly. It can be thought of as a sort of natural “Pepto-Bismol.” (Pepto-Bismol itself should not be used because it contains salicylate, a.k.a. aspirin). Its mucilage content coats, soothes, and lubricates the mucus membranes lining the digestive tract. Slippery Elm is an excellent treatment for ulcers, gastritis, colitis, and other inflammatory bowel problems. It is high in fiber, and so helps normalize intestinal action; it can be used to relieve both diarrhea and constipation. It may also help alleviate nausea and vomiting in pets suffering from non-GI illnesses, such as kidney disease. A syrup made from Slippery Elm Bark can be used to help heal mouth ulcers from all causes (see recipe below).

      Slippery Elm is said to relieve inflammation of virtually any mucus membrane, and has been used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions of the lungs (bronchitis, asthma), kidneys, bladder (cystitis, FLUTD symptoms), throat (tonsillitis), and joints (arthritis).
      Email me privately at for more information if you want it.

      Take 1 teaspoon, put in warm water, roll into a ball and put into some food your dog likes.

      At this point you have nothing to lose but more time with your friend. This holistic approach has worked on my dog and I am happy to have more time with him.

      • susan says:

        Correction dosage for slippery elm for dogs.

        Externally, a soothing paste of Slippery Elm powder (mix the powder with a little cold water) can be used as a poultice for hot spots, insect burns, rashes, scratches, ulcerated areas, or other shallow wounds. Native Americans used Slippery Elm bark to stop bleeding. It forms a natural “bandage” that can be left in place for several hours, if you can convince your dog to leave it alone! Moisten with water to remove it.

        To give internally, mix about 1/4 teaspoon of Slippery Elm bark powder with cold water for every 10 pounds of body weight. For very small dogs, it is fine to use the same 1/4 teaspoon dose. The bulk powder may be very fluffy, so pack it down as much as possible to measure it. Alternatively, use 1/2 capsule (per 10 pounds), opened and the contents mixed with water. Slippery Elm powder will absorb many times its own weight in water, so be sure to add enough to make a moderately thick gruel. This gruel can be given before meals by syringe or eyedropper, or added to baby food, canned food, or a homemade diet. It has a slightly sweet taste and is usually well-tolerated by cats and dogs when mixed with food. Give a dose 5 minutes before meals for sore throat, and before or with meals for digestive tract problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease, until symptoms resolve.

  22. Maggie Bee says:

    I have the “world’s Smartest Dog.” A black and white Border collie. He will be 13 yrs old .
    He has captured the heart of my neighborhood.
    He has trouble with holding his urine and climbing 4 steps into the house.
    There are times, his back legs give out when he enters our car , or when he comes up the stairs.
    We still take our walks,
    . he lags way behind ,of late. Happy to hear me say,Let’s turn around and go home”
    I am elderly and cannot bear to think of what lies ahead- – – I have had Border Collies and they all lived a good life. We will meet on “The Bridge”.

  23. chrissy says:

    I still don’t know what to do after reading everything.
    We have a 14 year old lab. She is almost completely deaf now and I’m pretty sure she is going blind. She has had back hip problems her whole life but now in her old age they are horrible. There are times when she can’t get up. We don’t take her for car rides anymore to drop off or pick up the kids because getting in and out of the car is not an option anymore. We give her aspirin for the pain but I try not to give too much because that will cause a whole other set of problems. Lately she pants a lot and I know that is a sign of pain sometimes. She also just started becoming “restless”. She wonders at night and won’t just lay down and go to bed. I always figured these were signs of the end coming near but here’s my dilemma. She sit eats fine and can go to the bathroom by herself. She still climbs the stairs (very very slowly) to be with us at night. You can also catch her jumping around w a toy in her mouth every once in awhile and likes to wag her tail and be around visitors. I just feel like she would stop doing these things when it was time. But it has been said to us that she is living for us. She is in pain all the time but still bears thru it for us. I don’t think she would be able to do all that if it was really that time but are we being selfish for keeping her around so we can still be w her. I just don’t know anymore if I am being selfish or if people just don’t understand how she still acts so normal sometimes. Help!!!!

    • jehingr says:

      I am so sorry to hear of your difficulties. I wish I had the right answer for, but I don’t.

      I’m of the school that firmly believes that your dog will NOT “let you know when it is time.” In the wild, a dog will do everything possible to hide it’s infirmities, because in the wild a sick dog is a dead dog. I don’t believe that this trait has been bred or trained out of our pets. So I believe that your dog will do everything in it’s power to hide the fact that “it is time” from you. But of course there are others who firmly believe otherwise, and they certainly could be right.

      For me, it has always come down to the single question “Given that you are providing the best possible care, does your dog still enjoy life?” When that answer is a definitive “NO” then IT IT TIME. Of course it is the gray areas that are difficult.

      You also have to ask yourself “Are we doing this for the people who fear the loss, or are we doing this for a dog who does not fear death?” You know in your heart that you have to do what is right for the dog. Put your fears aside – you will suffer and mourn, no matter when the time comes – so don’t make your pain and suffering part of the equation.

      For what it is worth, from your description, it sounds as if your dear girl still enjoys her life. So in my ever so unimportant opinion, it isn’t time yet. Love her the way that she deserves to be loved, care for her as best as possible, and appreciate every moment that you are given together. And when the time inevitably comes, have the strength to do what needs to be done.

      And feel free to post here, or contact me directly, if you want more.

      Here’s to all the best for you and your girl.

  24. MClaudia says:

    This post and all the comments had helped me a lot, I have a 12 year old Golden Retriever that has had arthritis almost all his life, hip dysplasia since he was 10 and a disc hernia. Surgery has never been an option because he´s allergic to anesthesia. A year and half ago I got a puppy to make us company, I really was thinking that Newton wasn’t going to live much longer and I didn´t want to find myself alone at home one day, he was having problems to walk and I was really contemplating putting him down.. That´s when I found out it was a hernia and with some treatment he recovered.

    But as each day pass I still wonder and fear when the time will come, ´cause I don´t want him to suffer. Right now he sometimes have trouble standing, his back legs don´t have enough strength to let him jump or go up stairs anymore, he just sleeps all the time but reading what you´ve written I can see that he still enjoys his life. He cannot play jumping on the beds or on the couch and has given up playing with balls, but he loves laying down and bitting his friends paws (The puppy is a Weimaraner), when we go for our now little walk he rolls on the grass for a lot of time enjoying the sun, he still comes to my side when I open any kind of food bag and barks when I give him nothing, and there even are times when he comes to me with a toy in his mouth. So now I know that the time will be when he cannot longer do all this things..

    (Sorry if I didn´t write something right I´m from South America and english is not my native language)

    • jehingr says:

      You expressed yourself, and your love for your dogs beautifully. Thank you for reading & sharing – all the best to you and yours.

      • MClaudia says:

        Well I don´t believe in coincidences, I think I stumbled into this site almost two weeks ago for a reason. Yesterday I had to let my beloved Newton go. Saturday morning he woke up with a very high fever, and after some tests on monday it was clear that he had prostate cancer and there was nothing left to do ´cause it was already spreading. It all went downhill pretty fast, by tuesday night he wasn´t even opening his eyes. I knew it was time, so I talked to him for a long time and told him that the next day I was going to help him out of his suffering. Wednesday morning he was more alert but still in pain, I think he really was saying good bye he showed me his happy face for one last time and by the time I took him to the vet he wasn´t reacting anymore.. I stood by his side wile he drifted to sleep one last time.. He looked so peaceful I know I did the right thing, but it still hurts.. I’m 24 and had him since I was 12, it´s really hard he was my companion only the two of us until Polo came, I´ll always remember him and all the fun we had together..

        Thanks for everything Newton..

        • jehingr says:

          It’s obvious that you loved Newton very much, and that he knew it. Thank you for loving him enough to care for him all the way to the end.

          His suffering is over, and he had a great life, thanks to you.

          Rest in Peace Newton.

  25. Buster's Mom says:

    I just came inside from feeding my faithful companion, Buster. He’s a “Heinz 57” mix breed. Buster has been with me since he was about 6 weeks old…almost 16 years ago! I always say “he’s the only man I’ve really been able to depend on for 16 years, other than my dad”! LOL
    For the last few months, I’ve watched Buster change alot…this once, bouncy, playful, and loyal little guy’s health is deteriorating right in front of my eyes! I’m pretty sure he can’t see or hear well anymore, and most recently, he seems to be losing the use of his hind legs. He appears to “bounce” across the yard, but I think in reality, he is actually draggging his back legs along. Some days he eats really well, and then some days, he barely eats.

    I’ve discussed the “inevitable” with my husband, who says he’s leaving it up to me. (Buster was part of the “package deal” when we got married 5 years ago).

    After reading the main story here and then skimming across some of the posts, I really am realizing that I need to get my beloved Buster to the vet and have the vet tell me how serious his condition is. I know this is not going to be easy….I’ve dealt with alot of death and tragic loss this year, but I have to do what’s best for my “best guy”, Buster.

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts…..

    • jehingr says:

      Good luck at the vet’s.

      It is obvious from reading your comment that you DO love Buster enough that you’ll do right by him. Please keep us posted on the situation.


    • Dave says:

      It seems like just yesterday that I went through the same experience with Sam. Even though he has been gone a little over a year, I still miss him greatly and I know very well what you mean about Buster being so dependable. I will never find a more faithful friend as Sam. Stay strong for Buster and love him every minute as you show him how much he has meant to you.

      • Buster's Mom says:

        Well, Jim, you asked to keep you posted….

        Today, I made the most difficult decision of my life….I took my beloved Buster to the vet. Just as I suspected, the vet didn’t have really anything positive to say about Buster’s health and quality of life. He explained to me that we could possibly try different medications to help treat some of the symptoms Buster has been having, but he also said that we would only be “buying Buster some quantity of life, and his quality of life wouldn’t really get any better”. As I said earlier, Buster was almost 16 years old and has had a good life….but it was time to let him go. I gave the vet my permission to put my sweet dog to sleep today. I held onto him up until his final moments. As he drifted off to sleep, he stopped panting and breathed a deep sigh, as of relief from pain. I stepped back and let the vet and his assistants administer the last bit of medicine…
        We wrapped Buster up in a red blanket (his and my favorite color). My husband and I brought Buster home to his final resting place. He now sleeps between two towering pine trees in my front yard. Rest in peace, my dearly beloved Buster….I’ll see ya at the bridge!

        Thank you to Jim and the other folks who have shared their heartwarming stories here. You all have helped me be at peace about my decision!

        • jehingr says:

          Thank you for loving Buster so well. He is truly thankful for all that you did for him, and he knows how much love it took for you to do him that final kindness.

          If only all dogs were loved so well.

          Rest in peace Buster, may the shamrocks fall softly on this dear lad.

  26. Dave says:

    This site has left me crying like a baby. I have an eleven year old bichon, the vet has thought she is diabetic. She urnites every 2 – 3 hrs. we put her on insulin but even with increases she has had no change. Unfotunately she has tested low positive for cushings disease the symptoms are the same. Needles to say I am working with very little sleep and the house smells like urine. there is no way we can get her out during the day every few hours. We do confine her to one room daily. My problem is she is happy energetic and still a dog but the toll is extreme. at wwhat point do i say enough the price I am paying is too much. I love her very much and she is my shadow all day long when I am home. She loves to sit in my lap and just be near me. I can not seem to find it in my heart to put her down. But I know althought she is a loved member of our family, she is just a dog. as hard as that is to say. I need help justifying either descision.

  27. Susan Harke says:

    Look deep in your heart and ask yourself, is this how your want to live your life? If the answer is no and the dog tells you somehow that I want freedom for this pain, listen carefully. My last dog saved me the decision and passed on April morning. He came back and told me to select a particular kitten to take his place to be my friend. I did it. Later that day a cat that had passed in the 19990’s came back to make sure the selection was good. He left giving a positive report on the union.

    You have taken good care of your pet and rest assured that if you let him or her go, he or she will take care of you when the time is right.

    Trust your instincts.

    • Dave says:

      Thanx for the help it occurs to me that I need to comtinue getting up twice a night to take her out. Myy vet continues to increase insulin but she still barks ay noises. licks my hand, greets me at the door aand loves to be outside – face in the wind shiffing the air. she tries to run alittle to keep up and take the lead during a short walk. All of these things seem to me that she is still being a dog. Our Daisy has been there for us through all of our tough times faithfull and unconditional. I still feel that I need to return that same uncobitional love the best I can. Who knows maybe I still have much to learn from her. Lessons on aging, humility and even patience. Sometimes learning to give is returned tenfold, and her love still feels tenfold to me.

    • Susan loyd says:

      Please tell me how they come back? Dreams, visions

  28. robert says:

    There is no right answer here. If you do decide yes its time or no not yet they are all correct. I say if your pet is in pain then definately yes because you are going to have to put tem down and it is only a matter of when.

  29. jennifer lundy says:

    My faithful companion is a Golden Retriever named Rose. I got her when she was 6 weeks old. Today she is almost 14 yrs old. She has been having problems getting up and down for sometime now as she has arthritis in her hips. We have dealt with this problem but a month ago she started leaking urine. I took her to the vet and started her on meds for this. After 3 weeks on a certain med she was still leaking urine so my vet gave me another med to add in. I have been giving her this for a week now with no luck. It was soppose to help if it was going to in the first few days. Today i noticed she has a ear hematoma. This in itself is not a big problem as i can take her to the vet and have this taken care of. But i have found myself wondering if it is time to let her go. I have cried for 3 days now trying to figure this out. I believe i have come to the conclusion it is not the right time. I dont know if the urine on her is bothering her or not. I know she is aware of the problem as she hid behind the chair today while i cleaned the urine off the floor. Please make note she has NEVER been scolded for this as i know she can not help it. I am just wondering if i should keep putting her through this. I just think she must be uncomfortable with urine on her all the time. I read ever post on here hopin i would see someone else in the same situation im in. I unfortuanately didnt. She still eats and drinks fine and will go outside just long enough to go to the bathroom the she comes back in and lays down. I just dont know what to do. I dont know if im being selfish keeping her alive. I just wish someone could give me the answer im lookin for. I dont even know if anyone out there will even read this. If you are reading this please give me some words of advice. I had actually made the decision to put her down this comming weekend till my daughter cried and told me It wasnt time yet. I just dont know. I love her will all my heart and im sooooo confused as to what to do. I have talked this over with my vet and im still lost on what to do. Will i really know what it is time? Is it time now? She doesnt go on car rides anymore cause she has too much problems getting in and out of the car. She isnt very active. But every now and then she gets a hyper streak. She has been staring me down all day, as i have been crying most of the day. I guess she is wondering why im so upset. I just want to do what is right by her like i have always done..PLEASE HELP.

  30. Susan Harke says:

    Have you had your dog checked for a bladder infection? If no, I suggest doing that. If she has an e-coli bladder infection I recommend using d-mannose and oil of oreganol to treat it. D-mannose prevents the bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall and oreganol is a healthy herb that help kill bacteria. This is best used with the correct antibiotic determined by a C&S by your vet if there is a infection. Also, not all bladder infections will show up on testing. So, using d-mannose and oreganol won’t hurt if it helps the problem.

  31. Daddy Lee and Daddly Larry says:

    I am sitting here late at night with my old girl, Emma Marie,a mini red Doxie, lying on my feet as I type. Our Emma has Cushings Disease. Emma is about 13 1/2 yr old. We rescued her the day Hurricane Ike was bearing down on Houston. She was brought to us almost hairless, her teeth and gums were infected, she had very bad heartworms , she was nothing but skin and bones and she was so scared she would not come out of her cage.
    . She had been a breeder mom and when she could no longer have pups she was taken to a kill shelter.
    The vet told us she prob would not survive all the treatments….we had to try…well that was sept 13 2008….She not only survived..she flurished. She bacame a beautiful Red Longhaired Doxie Lady. The grandkids call her “kissy face” because she loves and kisses everyone she meets.
    Several months ago she wa diagnosed with Cushings. We have a wonderful vet in Dripping Springs Tx. he has been testing and treating her with Vetroyl. She was doing better, but for the last few weeks she has been losing steam. Sleeping alot, her body has lost its shape and now has a big pot belly. She is still our loving Emma Marie even now. I am sitting here crying knowing that within a matter of weeks we will lose our lovely lady Emma Marie.I know what I will have to do to not let her suffer…but my heart is broken. I do know that for almost three years of her life now, she has been loved and cuddled and kissed everyday. Please keep our Emma Marie in your prayers if you can.
    love to all

    Emma Maries Dads

  32. Susan Harke says:

    Your Emma Marie is a lucky girl to find such a wonderful furever home. I think she was sent to you because you needed her as much as she needed you. Now is the time to talk to her and ask what she wants you to. It is said it is better to let her rest one hour early than one day late. My late girl, Ginger, told me one day when she looked in my eyes and said it was time to let her pass peacefully. I hope you and your friend can make the decision together too.

  33. Jazz's Mom says:

    Hello. My Princess Jazz is 14 years old and we have had her since she was 8 weeks old. Last Friday she was diagnosed as having a large cancerous tumor in her throat next to her larynx. To diagnose her the Vet had to put her in a twilight sleep and then had to tube her because she was afraid Jazz might not be able to breathe on her own under sedation. Apparently there is only a small hole left and as the tumor grows it will close the hole in her throat. There is no hope. By late afternoon, Jazz starts groaning and moaning and making awful noises. She snores terribly through the night which she never used to do. She started having problems in May this year and is going down fast. She was always about 7 lbs and this morning is 5.5. She eats with coaxing. She spends most of her time in her crate when she used to love being my shadow. She doesn’t cry but she appears restless changing positions and locations frequently. So she is eating and she is not messing herself. But she doesn’t play anymore. Also, when you say “who’s here?” she would go crazy running to the door barking all the way … the last time someone came over and I said those words she very slowly got up and walked over with no barking. Now, when she barks it is weak and hoarse so she doesn’t bark much. I am so torn. She is my first pet and will be my only pet. I could not go through this again. I never once thought about her dying. I guess my brain thought we would be together unti be both died together … how silly! Even after reading all of these posts, I still cannot tell when it is time to put her down. I pray every night that she goes to sleep and does not wake up … she is an angel and deserves a good death. 😦

  34. Susan Harke says:

    This is a difficult decision. Last June my 17 year old dog that I had since age 6 months made the decision for me and passed in the night doing what he enjoyed most. I did not have to follow the philosophy of it being better to let him pass one hour too early than one day to late.
    Also, I had a 20 year old cat with a malignant tumor in his nose. With surgery to remove the tumor, he would have stopped eating because he could not smell his food and diet from malnutrition. Let the tumor grow and he would not be able to eat and die from the same cause. I chose to wait and in the 18 months between he caught a large rabbit. When the tumor became too big and he looked at me and said, “it is time to let me go” , I did. He has since revisited me to say hello and thank you for a good life.

  35. booshaeng says:

    I’m in a situation like this, but my dog isn’t old at all. He’s about 4 years old, and I adopted him a year an a half ago from a shelter. He was previously abused quite badly (He has a bullet casing in his chest, for starters), and I’ve worked quite diligently with him since day one. My life situation has required me to move a few times, and our vet(s) have always said that as long as I stay consistent with the behaviour modification program that he’d be fine. This past move has pretty much broken Buddy, and I don’t know what else to do. In the past 1.5 years I’ve spent money on at least 6 different vets, meds, homoeopathic remedies, a behavioural specialist, time doing new behaviour modification protocols, Thundershirts, dog sitters, dog trainers, mental stimulation toys that he showed no interest in and having my parents take care of him when I know I need to work late/travel for work, but Buddy’s anxiety has gotten to the point where he’s destroying my residence and possessions at a rate that I can’t afford to keep up with replacing unless I stop paying for his care. I called the shelter I adopted him from and they said because his anxiety is so severe that they’d likely put him to sleep because he isn’t adoptable at this point. He was also on a fast track to being put to sleep when I adopted him because he just wasn’t being adopted by anyone because he was quiet and shy. My parents suggested I give him to them, but even though I don’t live with them any more I do come over and visit. Generally if I leave their house without him, Buddy gets very confused and upset which isn’t helping the underlying problem. I was also suggested to re-home him, but what would that solve? He’d likely deteriorate more because I abandoned him. He is so needy and so attached to me… I am his life, which is why when I go to work during the day he doesn’t know what to do with himself.

    I have an appointment with a vet next week to see if she has any more suggestions I can try because I don’t want to put him to sleep but I am running out of money and options. He’s not in any physical pain, but is mental pain enough to justify euthanasia? I’m at a real loss here… I have friends that say I am giving up and don’t love him enough. If I didn’t love him I wouldn’t have spent the time and money up until this point, but am I giving up? I don’t know. I just know I’m running out of money and the stress Buddy is causing me is starting to affect me at my job because I am losing sleep.

    • jehingr says:

      This may be the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever heard. I don’t have any useful advice at this point, I’m sorry. I will think about this, and hopefully some of the others will chime in with something useful. My heart & thoughts are with you.

    • Jackie Casey says:

      Your life with Buddy sounds sort of similar to my life with my 15-year-old special-needs Shar Pei, Tori. I love her more than anything in the whole world. I am sure it is not yet time for her to go, but I have always had lots of hard decisions to make. I spend my life attending to her eyes, ears, skin, arthritis, seizures, phobias, lack of bladder/bowel control, bloating, and anxiety. The breeder (her former owner) was going to put her down in 03. At least 3 households tried to keep her but decided that she was too much trouble so I ended up with her. Without 24/7 supervision, she eats the house (literally), so my boyfriend and I have to work alternate hours.

      I have no real vet bills, but due to the 24/7 supervision, she has wreaked havoc on my career and financial situation. For a while I was able to bring her to work with me. I was helping a friend open up her Real Estate office and she was very understanding even though Tori peed on her brand new carpet and bit her dog, Casey. I eventually had to leave that gig as the office got busier and busier, causing her (and me) to stress out. I, then, took a job at Dunkin Donuts since the hours worked out well for Tori. I passed up at least 4 career opportunities because the hours didn’t work for Tori. I was going broke trying to live on $9/hr, though, so I have since returned to work as an exotic dancer, which I did previously. The hours are flexible and I am making enough to keep us alive (barely enough, due to the weak economy). My boyfriend is very helpful, but has a Shar Pei puppy of his own, Jack. Tori was showing signs of being ready to “leave” us but in 08, when we got Jack, she gained a renewed fervor for live. Tori and Jack have a blast together and both are doing extremely well.

      My current dilema is that I have to go away for a month to visit my family in AZ (I live in NH). I know that my boyfriend will do his best to take care of her but will it be enough?

  36. tamara v says:

    Thank you for writing this. I am taking my 14 year old dalmation to meet her fate tomorrow. I can’t even look at her I am riddled with guilt about making this decision, I still think I may chicken out and walk back out with her tomorrow. I weigh this choice every 5 minutes. She cant walk down the stairs anymore without a towel supporting her hind legs, which is terrible to see since we live on the 3rd floor of a walk up and she lost all control of her bowel movements about a year ago. We take walks as much as she can tolerate going up and down the stairs. Diapers helped for a while, but now she wakes up in the middle of the night usually between 1-3am to have an accident or two, problem is the diaper has to be changed and she has to bathed, with her bad hind legs its an hour long ordeal. Sometimes she wakes up and cant move her hind legs at all – she looks at me with her sweet trusting eyes, wags her tails, and to me she’s still my baby girl- She’s got that same beautiful youthful soul as she did 14 years ago. But then her body fails her.She’s got lumps and bumps all over that the vet said they could remove and biospy to ee if its cancer, but honestly, I cant afford the tests let alone te treatment. Ohhhhh.. if I could write the sound of being hunched over and crying from the pain of heartache. If I had the money I’d pay anything to keep her with me just another year. I think that is were the guilt comes from. She’s just the most trusting loyal loving friend a person could ever ask for. I’ve been so blessed and my life has been so full with her in it. I lived alone for many years, just me and my dogs(I had to put my 16 year old pit down 2 years ago but he told me he was ready to go- he looked at me differently than she- I realize how crazy that sounds but this is a forum of dog people right? ) They were there for me every day, to make me smile, to lick my tears away, to keep me warm in the winter, one dog on either side sharing the bed or couch. My girl even jumped in the shower with me. We’d go hiking, swimming, to the beach together, just me and my dogs and whoever wanted to tag along with me and my dogs. I wish I could give her one more trip to the mountain but she’d never make it up the hill. God I love my dog so much this is just killing me. I am rambling and I m so sorry but you dont have to read this and I do need to write it. I had a friend who died recently and he kept journal and we talked daily as i was his primary caretaker, he told me that he was surprised about not having the urge to die no matter how bad his situation was getting.. Life was still sweeter than death to him. I feel like maybe just the breeze on her face and sitting next to me is enough for her to be happy- it was for me many a days, and it was for my friend who has since passed. Then there that quality of life issue- well all shes got is that breeze and my divided attention about 3 hours a day as i no longer live alone and now have a family and full time demanding job. Boy life has changed since she and I first got together, and she’s been my unyielding loyal trusting flexible understanding loving girl every day of it. Well I’m going to go pray on it and again, thank you for your words, its as if you were in my head and I am so grateful to have found this blog.

  37. Sus Harke says:

    I know the feeling. My late girl, Ginger, lived an extra year. Finally, she looked at me when she could not walk, was confused, and having bladder accidents to let her go. I gave her the wish of freedom. She has since come back to let me how much she appreciated it.

  38. These stories are just so sad im cryin like a baby readin them as i 2 cant decide on what to do for my dog called max, he is now 13 years old we noticed last year his back legs hav started to go from under him, he now drags his left foot and it sometimes bleeds , i no he is in pain but he is still eatin n drinkin n is healty evrwer else he has been my best friend for years n im findin it hard to no what to do,he also cant control his bladder n on a bad day he will just be lying down when he goes to the toliet, we cant walk him as its to painfull even though he will give it his best shot he wont give up n i feel like im givin up on him , he cant do his favourite things anymore like chase the lawmower n cats he jus watchs the world go by with a sad cry,the vet is comin out tomorrow which i no the end result will be in him bein put to sleep the family cant decide what is best n wer torn on what to do 😦 😦 p.s we hav tryed medication but nothin seems to work he has been the healthest dog all his life now all of a sudden i can see him slipping away 😦

  39. Susan Harke says:

    There is a saying to making the decision, “better one hour too early than one day too late.” Spend time with your friend and let him tell you what he wants. Listen with your head and heart. Please do not keep him alive just to make yourself feel better. I know, because I made that mistake once and I will not do it again. Also, ask your friend to send you a new pet that he feels will want a beautiful life, as he had (my last dog I put down sent me a cat).

  40. Tiah says:

    Hi everyone, ….in reading all of these stories, it has made my body shiver and my eyes teary …I too, am going through a process in deciding how and when and why and where ….I have a 12.5 year old yellow labrador retriever – he’s a lovely boy – kind heart, gentle soul and loves everyone in the house unconditionally. He has always been such a good boy and I can’t see my life without him. I sit here in awe, just thinking back to March of this year – where he got his check up and he was deemed healthy as a horse….1.5 months pass ..and all of a sudden, his back legs are giving out…they look like they start to buckle…in June my vet recommended putting him down — I hate that term ..putting him down – so I’ll call it – letting him rest. I was in shock …my heart ached at the sentence. He, at the time and even to this day – is sooo mentally aware …he’s still animated – smiles – loves it when people touch and talk to him, and eats like he always has – if anyone knows, labs are like PIGS in a DOGSUIT…and that’s what my doggie is …a pig. Whenever I’d eat, he’d eat like 3/4 of my meal – of course of things that he COULD eat — b/c we all know, doggies can’t digest what we humans can. In the last 2 weeks or so, he’s gone downhill….his front legs are now starting to buckle ..I’m noticing now more than ever ..his bones are starting to show — he eats still and lays there all day — and yet – no weight gain ..he’s just all belly now with bones…but I can’t fathom a day without him …how do I do this? How do I make this decision to end his life? I know …that the ultimate gift I can give him — is to live the rest of his life ..whether on earth or not, pain free — free of all ailments, free of all things that make your body dysfunctional (can’t think of the word – I’ve been a basketcase these past few weeks)….I know that if he can’t do the doggie things he loves to do …and I can see the pain..the anguish and the embarrassment each time he goes to defecate …he waits til he’s alone before he does the do ..he’s so proud — he has not once had an accident in the house ..he’s proud of that too. I read up on the internet and try & determine if there are signs he’s giving me …and obviously each dog is different — can he eat? YES ….can he walk? NO …does he still enjoy the things that he normally does? PARTIALLY — he enjoys people ..and the surroundings..he barks when he feels its necessary …does he need medications to upkeep his mobility? YES…so every question out there — I have been able to answer — but I end up seeing 50% YES I SHOULD LET HIM GO — and then 50% NO…keep him on…
    At night – he wakes up ..barks, pants heavily and whimpers every so often …I don’t know if this is a sign or not — but he never used to do that before…I’m afraid he’s gotten to that stage where he wakes up…confused…wonders why he can’t move and cries about it …I’m thinking that this Saturday is the day he finally rests ..but I haven’t made that phone call yet — I dread it ..I am soo not wanting this for me…but for him …I’m trying my best not to be selfish …and do it for him ….am I making the right choice? I don’t want to wake up 2 weeks from now and regret….feel guilt….

    • Susan Harke says:

      Try waking up unguilty by remembering the idea of “one day too soon than one hour too late.” Your friend has been there for you through thick and thin. When he looks in your eye and says, I want to rest and see you when it is your time – listen. He will also find you the right friend to take his place if you ask him to. My dog and a prior cat did by sending me a 6 1/2 week old kitten (1 1/2 years ago) because they knew what issues I would be facing and that I could not handle another dog at this time. The dog lived to age 17, the cat to age 20 plus. Let him help you now.

      • Susan loyd says:

        Susan…how do they come back? How do you know the new pets were set?

        • Sue Harke says:

          I listen with my head and my heart to what is going on around me, essentially relax and find your own way to meditate. Keep your mind open to changes around you, even if you don’t believe in what I am saying.

          One day you will be drawn to an animal (dog, cat, whatever) that just seems to talk to you and knows you so well that you want to spend a part of life on this earth with him or her. This is the animal your late pet has sent you when it is time.

  41. Sandesh says:

    As I write ,am struggling with that same one question…When is the time I let my awesome mate Monty go….He has been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus (he is just 6 yrs old)and has stopped eating 2 days ago.The vet says theres 2 percent chance of survival and that Its best I let him go..Biggest frustration being that sitting in a different country,I cant even tell if Monty has himself given up.I have always known him as a fighter and I dont know whether he will give that look,of giving up…..While my parents are struggling to make most of his signs,and I am supposed to fly home end of this month in 3 weeks time,I dont think I should make monty suffer for that long as he has already given up eating.

  42. margaret says:

    My beautiful border collie, Gwinny, is ten years old, she was diagnosed with arthiritis at the age of six but still had a good quality of life until a week ago. She has lost her appetite, cannot walk very far and the strangest thing is she does not want to be in the house anymore but insists on being outside 24/7, I have even been sleeping outside with her to keep her company! I rang my vet today who said she thinks she may have doggy alziemers and thinks it may be time to think about making that ‘decision’. I am heartbroken, Gwyn and I have lived together for the last nine years, she is my best friend and companion, I will do what is best for her as I could not bear for her to suffer but my heart and soul are crying out in pain with the thought of her losing her. I am taking her to the vet next week…

    Finding this site has been of invaluable help…thankyou.


    • jehingr says:

      I’m so sorry to hear of Gwinny’s issues. And I’m so glad that Gwinny and you had nine wonderful years together. She certainly sounds like a special dog, and she deserved the special life that you gave her.

  43. Susan Harke says:

    I’m sorry that your best friend is so ill. While you still have the opportunity, ask her to send you a new friend to take her place. She probably does not want to leave you and I’m guess is afraid for you too. So, let her help you find the best companion for your needs. Keep your mind open to strange events with animals, because we never know when an important message will be sent.

    My late dog, who died in June 2010, said to take one of the kittens at a grocery store. I did not know why at the time, but I did it. I now understand as I have some issue that would make getting another dog at this time hard.

  44. susan says:

    We had to put down our beloved Newfie, Conor, about 6 years ago. It was very hard, but it was time. He lived to the ripe old age of 12! Now his doggie sister, Patty the Poodle, the queen of the roost, is approaching her time. She’s a ripe old age of 18. But she hasn’t been quite herself this past year. I know she won’t make it through another winter, and I’m certain her time is imminent. Just need to call the vet. Not quite ready but will be soon. It is so hard…

    • Susan Harke says:

      Try waking up unguilty by remembering the idea of “one day too soon than one hour too late.” Your friend has been there for you through thick and thin. When he looks in your eye and says, I want to rest and see you when it is your time – listen. He will also find you the right friend to take his place if you ask him to. My dog and a prior cat did by sending me a 6 1/2 week old kitten (1 1/2 years ago) because they knew what issues I would be facing and that I could not handle another dog at this time. The dog lived to age 17, the cat to age 20 plus. Let him help you now.

  45. Michelle says:

    I’m going through this horrible situation as well, however my Sam is only 4 years old. He’s a Maltese, and has fought for me every single day this past year, and I’ve told myself that as long as he’s not in pain, I will fight for him just as hard. It started about a year ago. I left town for a couple weeks, and left Sam (along with 5 other dogs who all know and love him) with my nanny’s friend to take care of him. When I came back to town I noticed immediately that it was hard for him to walk, and when he did it was crooked, and he was vomitting. Needless to say I rushed him to the family vet immediately. They told me he has aspiration pneumonia and that there was nothing I could do, that he would probably pass. He looked so sick, but looked at me like, “mama, I’m sick”, not “mama, I’m dying” so I took him out of there and brought him to 3 more vets until I found one that brought him in, incubated him for week and force fed him. It wasn’t getting any better so I rushed him to Gulf Coast Veterinary Clinic, where they put a feeding tube in him. I was a complete wreck. I didn’t know whether I was playing God or not, but they told me he would die if they didn’t put the tube in, so I did it. They told me that he had developed Addison’s and Megesophogus, and that the aspiration pneumonia was so severe that it created fluid in his brain, which was why he couldn’t walk straight. They gave him steroids and kept him under observation. GCVC clearly saved his life, and within a week he was back home. He had a feeding tube in, but I fed him through it every single day 4 times a day and was determined that we could get him to eat again. He was acting like normal within a month (minus a feeding tube hidden under his little polo shirt) and we developed a schedule that I adapted to and dealt with. He fought his little heart out and never gave up on me. He was running around and back to his old self. It was a miracle when this past January he started randomly eating again!! YES! I immediately brought him back to GCVC and we removed the feeding tube. We couldn’t remove it completely though b/c he has Megesophogus, which means his lungs can’t bring down liquid, so he has a little mushroom/button tube (imagine a little beach ball plastic latch) underneath his belly that I administer water through every day. He’s been eating ice chips and holding them down, so I’ve been really optimistic that pretty soon he’d heal and be able to take the button out too….until two weeks ago. Sam started significantly losing weight, even though he’s been eating canned food twice a day, so I brought him back to the doctor. They told me that they don’t know what’s happening, but he was under ONE pound. He was originally 3.5-4 pounds. He’s eating, so we were all really baffled. I also noticed something on his eye, and mentioned it to the doctor. They kept Sam for three days, and every day I would visit him and the eye looked worse and worse. Then last week they came to me and told me that the eye has developed a corneal ulcer, and I have to remove his EYE!!!! I didn’t know what to do, and almost took him out to take him to a specialist, but they told me he was in pain so I just said, “screw it” and told them to do it. My rule with Sam this entire time has been NO PAIN. I will fight for him as long as he’s not suffering, and the second they told me he was in pain I jumped to my gut reaction and told them to go through the surgery, even though they thought he wouldn’t make it b/c he was so underweight. I don’t love Sam b/c he’s cute or has two eyes- I love him for his strong soul and powerful heart. Well needless to say (b/c he’s the strongest NOW 2.9 pounds in the World) he made it through the surgery. I’ve been crying my eyes out thinking about him with one eye- what am I doing? He now has one eye and a button tube? Is he happy? It’s hard for me to tell b/c he still runs up and down the stairs, eats and has no problems on his puppy pad. I was out of town this past weekend and I picked him up from the vet today and I almost started bawling my eyes out in front of the doctor b/c they took his stitches out and he looks horrible. There was an infection in the socket and there’s a little hole there right now b/c fluid was coming out. WTF?! I asked them if it was going to get better and they said yes, and they told me that he’s not in pain- that it looks bad but he’s feeling good, not bad- I’m just so confused b/c I’m wondering at what point do I stop fighting? If I can get his weight up then I can hopefully have a chubby 4 pound dog with a pirate eye- but that’s the best case scenerio. At what point am I playing God? He seems so happy around me, but I don’t know if that b/c he’s around me, you know? And what next??

    • Sue Harke says:

      There is a saying, “one hour too early than one day too late.” Is Sam trying to tell you in his own way that he loves you very much, but needs to see you later in life? I know you love him. I love my dog who passed in June 2010 for 17 years. He found me at age 6 months. He was ill and did not want to leave, but he passed one night. I found him in the morning at one of his favorite spots in our yard.

      I think he knew what my future would be, so he sent me (directed me to get) a 6 1/2 week old kitten. When I got home the nest day, a cat that had passed in 1990 (who had lived with me since age 5 to age 20 plus) was there making sure it was going well. I think you dog will send you the right friend because he loved you.

      This will hurt at first, but let Sam give back and put a big smile on your face with the mate he chooses for you.

  46. Nancy says:

    i have a 14 1/2 year old male black lab, Ranger. He’s been with us since he was 10 weeks old. I remember the first time I saw him, it was love at first sight. When he was around 1ish, I thought of getting rid of him, he chewed and dug holes and was just plain crazy. (He was our first dog) He was a brat. Well I didn’t get rid of him and within 6 months or so he was out of that stage and I was mad at myself for even thinking of it. He’s been the best dog, a great duck hunter, goose hunter and squirrel chaser too! He loves everyone and they love him. He’s got some pretty bad arthritis in his hind quarters and has been on Rimadyl for it. He also has a partial paralized larynx. The biggest issue is walking. We have a handicap ramp out the back for him which as worked great over the summer but with snow and ice coming I am really concerned. These past few days his legs have been worse. He’s deaf so alot of the time he’s sound asleep when I get home and I have to go over and give him a pat to wake him up. I have started hoping that one of these times he won’t wake up. As awful as that sounds, I know everyone understands what I am saying. I love my boy and I want him to give me a sign. He still eats and wags his tail and loves attention. When my son came home from college last weekend, he lit right up, the biggest wag I have seen in a long time. Please don’t tell me to get a new friend, I have a 6 year old lab and a 15 year old cat. I can’t stand anymore heart break. I know you can’t tell me what I should do, I guess I just had to get this off my chest. I have read all the stories and had to get a box of tissues to be able to write this. I know what I have to do for my boy, but I keep asking God to be kind for my sake and let him pass away in his sleep. I am just going to miss him so much. Also, I am worried about my 6 year old female lab missing him too! I am worried for her, she love’s him as much as I do. Will she be okay? Thanks for listening.

  47. Heather says:


    Im at loss for words. My 8 year old boxer has 4 tumors in his head. During last year, he went through so many sezures, lost his sight on his left eye and pees everywhere in the house.

    Today…I brought him out to do his business. He had seizure for a minute then started to walk off from the house. i found it strange because he usually get confused at first then zonks out. Anyway, I tried to call him back. Finally, I put my hand on his head to let him know it was me, He turned and snapped at me. I ignored his behavior. I reached for him again, snapped again. I brought him back in with the leash.

    He s drinking ALOT and eating normal. He still pees everywhere for like 5 minutes. He sleeps a lot. I know he is not the Rocky I know.

    Is he suffering? The vet once told me last year that he ll be fine on medication. Its been a year. No changes.

    Am I being selfish for keeping him alive? I love that dog and I know he knows it too. When he wanders off.. I often wonder was he trying to find a spot and die peacefully?

    From NJ

    • Sue Harke says:

      Are you keeping him here for you? If you can honestly answer yes, then no there are no further question but it is time to give him peace. I’ve lost several friends that have sent me new friends when they knew it was time to get a new pet. Your Boxer will be there for you when the time comes.

  48. andrea says:

    I feel so depressed. I hastily decided two days ago to put down our adorable staffy Dane. She was 14 years old and had been suffering cushings disease. Her fur had all gone and she was covered in bleeding sores. She could still slowly walk, but her back legs were starting to give way. My husband works away and was going to be home in 2 weeks, but I just couldn’t see Dane deteriorate in that amount of time. Now I feel like I made the wrong decision and feel she should still be here with us. I just wish I had of waited.

    • jehingr says:

      As hard as it can be, it is always better to be a day early than an hour late. I’m so sorry for your loss. May the shamrocks fall softly on sweet Dane.

    • Sue Harke says:

      I’m sorry for your loss, but you made the right move. Better one day too soon, than one hour too late. She is no longer in pain and will repay you all the love you gave her. She will probably do what my late dog and cat did, they sent me a 6 1/2 week old kitten because they knew (I didn’t) what the next few years held for my future. The kitten is now a 1 1/2 year old cat and knows how to be independent and give the love I need. When you are presented with the gift from your girl, take it willingly because she wants you to be happy too.

  49. andrea says:

    I found out too late that there was treatment for this terrible disease, but the vet was reluctant to treat Dane because of her age and the cost of treatment. I wish I had of treated her so that she may still be with us.

    • Sue Harke says:

      Cushing is a terrible disease that eventually takes the life of our canine friends. The cost to treat is high and if you had treated your dog it probably would have been to give you time to say good-bye. There was a dog at our local dog park with a first vet who missed the illness and sent the dog home to die. I was really upset when the dog’s owners told me this. I suggested getting a second opinion from a highly qualified second vet. The second vet found bacterial infections in the feces and urine (which the first vet did not test). The liver was enlarged. Also, the dog was diagnosed with Cushings. The first issues were easily dealt with by antibiotics and herbs to help the liver (milk thistle). Cushing was another matter. The cost was high and there was no assurance of the treatment being effective. The dog lived for another two years and had a grand appetite to eat anything (caused by Cushings). The owners said I could give the dog any treat he wanted as long as he was alive. This dog cam running to me when I entered the dog park. Eventually the disease took the dogs life, but not before he had lots of love from many people (he had been abused in the past).

      Why this story and why did this happen to you? We don’t why it happened to you, but it is a life lesson that is to help you in the future. You have the ability to deal with the issue and are now able to help others. Now your dog will be able to send you people and animals who need the same understanding. She wants you to share and give back to the animal world your new knowledge. I know you are able to do this out of love of your lost friend.

  50. Voula says:

    I sat at my computer today in hopes of finding THE answer and I have. My beautiful friend is 16 a cocker spaniel beagle mix whos energy is no longer there. She has a difficult time supporting her self. Her hind legs often give out. She can not control her bladder when she sleeps and can no longer chase that empty water bottle. I too have been waiting for her to tell me if she is ready…if she has had enough, but she is a fighter and shows no weakness. She still comes to greet me when I come home and tries to wag her little stump. She has a great appetite…she always has. The vet told me she would be in pain if she stopped eating…I don’t think that day will come for Dalmy. She barely has any teeth left yet she still manages. I hear her pitter patter in the kitchen as I type this, behind a veil of tears. Do I do it? Do I hold on? This morning I was told that holding on is selfish and the most loving thing I could do is to let her go. She has brought me many memories and laughs over the years. Not just for me but for all the people in my life. I know it is time to say good bye and I will do it tomorrow with a heavy heart. I will hold her one last time and tell her I will see her on rainbow bridge one day. I know that in the meantime she will meet my brother George there and he will take care of her. He always loved her so much. Now he will have some company. I am blessed to have had Dalmys’ love and friendship all these years. I will miss you my sweet wonderful furry friend. xoxoxo

    • jehingr says:

      What a beautiful testament to a great love. May the shamrocks fall softly on sweet Dalmy.

      • Sue Harke says:

        I know she understands your love for her and will repay you in more ways than you imagine. Keep your mind and psychic feeling open for her to come back and say “thank you for such a wonderful life.” She will reward you with a new best friend that she thinks will fill the void in your heart.

  51. SCrown says:

    I wrote earlier this summer about our little silver toy PattyPoodle. Her time came this week. We saw her health and body deteriorating quite a bit over the summer, and we saw last weekend that it was time. She confirmed it by having a massive seizure Sunday night which was horrific and long-lasting. She DID come out of it, but was anxious and a bit whimpery at times through the night. Poor little gurl. She was brave and strong and had the heart of a lion, and fought to live even while her body wore out. She was the most amazing dog — we rescued her at the age of 1.5, and she ruled the roost with our cat and Newfoundland dog. She and Conor the Newfie patrolled our yard together every day. And she Love to Run lickety-split around the yard. I called her Rin-Tin-Tin poodle then. 🙂 Indoors she would run and leap from one of her beds to another, performing amazing aerial acrobats in her landings… she’d land and grin at us, then take off for another run in the house. We have an acre+ fenced… lots of trees… Sadly, now, all three buddies are at the Rainbow Bridge. Patty would have been 19 on April 1, 2012. They were all awesome and I miss them soooo much. I know they’re better off right now. I know we’ll get another furbaby someday, but I think I need a little time right now. We’ve always had a pet, so this is quite a change of pace. I keep looking for her on our bed where she slept. My husband keeps looking for her on her numerous beds throughout the house… Take good care, little one. You’ll always be with us in our hearts. xoxoxo

  52. Sandi says:

    Thank you for all these posts, they have given me a lot to think about. I have an almost 17 year old lab beagle cross that we rescued when he was 7. I worked in a vet hospital for 5 years, so I should know better. Copper is mostly blind and deaf, and his hips are bad. He can no longer climb stairs and doesn’t go on hikes anymore. He has accidents and if he isn’t on carpet or his bed he can’t get up. but of course he is still eating. He started having seizures about 2 or 3 months ago, and the last week he has been wandering around at night barking, getting himself stuck in corners he can’t get out of. I sleep on the couch. I don’t believe in heroic measures for animals of this age, as I don’t think they would thank us for putting them through testing and hospital stays to buy a few more months they don’t want. I realize what you are saying is true about them not letting us know. Last January we had to put my 11 year old dog down with bone cancer. The only thing he would eat was milk bones and Tracey, my vet said he is eating them to make you happy. I don’t want to put copper through blood tests and treatments. He was an incredible dog who has lived 2 lives. But there is a part of me that still thinks maybe it’s not time. I am so torn. Oh, and he also has interstitial lung disease which he was diagnosed with about 5 years ago. So he loses his breath every once in a while. I wish this were an easier decision. Thanks for your thoughts

    • Sue Harke says:

      I think you have answered your own question if your reread your posting. I wish the best and your dog will bless you for whatever decision you make. He probably will send you another dog to take his place because he wants you to have a friend and another dog to have such a wonderful life with you.

    • Voula says:

      Hi Sandi

      I too have a beagle mix/spaniel and she is 16. A while back I was trying to decide if I should put her down. She cant see very well or hear very well. She has accidents when she sleeps and has given up trying to go upstairs. I sometimes carry her upstairs so she can sleep in our room but I know she is more comfy downstairs near the water dish and where she has more room to roam. She paces a lot and has to turn around in one spot 18 times (I counted) before she sits to get comfy. She has a big growth under her belly the size of a small ball but the vet said it makes no sense to operate. It may be cancer or just a fatty deposit but we can not risk finding out.
      Her appetite is amazing, always has been. I have two more dogs and make them all steamed veggies every day which I mix in with the dog food. Dalmy barely has any teeth left poor thing so she just loves the veggies. She also has problems with her hind legs and often needs a lift when she can not get up. If I would have put her down a few months ago I would have missed out on our special walks and hugs. Today I groomed her so she is more comfy. She looks like a puppy again when she’s shaved. I know her days with me are numbered and I know that if things get worse I will have no choice but to let her go. I watch her carefully of course. It is never an easy decision when we have to make it. Just watch Copper and you will know if and when it is time. Hes your buddy and he understands. They may not let us know because they are trying to stay for us. I hope we both find the courage to do whats best when the time comes. Hang in there, hug Copper every day and tell him you love him.
      hugs and prayers to you both
      Voula and Dalmy xoxo

  53. Sandi says:

    I just want to say thank you again for your thoughts and feelings and comments. Last night we sent copper to the rainbow bridge. I know it was the right thing to do. And my vet, who is a phenomenal person spent an hour with us, talking about what was the right decision for copper. He passed eating cookies, in my arms while he still had some dignity. I have never done one of these blog things before, and I am so glad I found this one. I appreciate the nonjudgemental responses and thank everyone for sharing their stories.
    Copper and sandi

    • Voula says:

      Oh Sandi

      My eyes are filled with tears as I write this and I too know it was best for Copper.
      When I read he passed eating cookies in your arms with dignity I so imagine Dalmy doing that as well. Its so important that they feel close to us. When the day comes you will all be together at Rainbow bridge 🙂 That is the one thought that makes me smile.
      Take care
      Voula and Dalmy

      • Sandi says:

        Thank you Voula. I appreciate that. Please give Dalmy a big hug from me. Love him while you have him, right? Take care. I know I made the right choice. I miss him, but I don’t regret it. You will too.

  54. Voula says:

    Dear Sandi

    Just checking in. Hope you are feeling better.

    Voula n Dalmy

    • Sandi says:

      Thank you Voula, I really appreciate that. I am doing ok. Its awfully quiet without him, even with 2 puppies in the house. I miss him coming to greet me when I get home from work, the way his tail wagged no matter what. But I am ok with it, I know he is in a better place, and he lived alot longer than most people dream of having their puppies for. Hope Dalmy is doing ok.
      Thanks again.

  55. andrea says:

    Three months ago I posted on here about losing our beautiful staffy Dane. Today we had to say goodbye to our other gorgeous girl, Shadow. She had been suffering from tumours in her throat and one behind her eye had caused her to go blind. Although I am overwhelmingly sad today, I know that Dane and Shadow are together once again, and that brings a smile to my face. RIP Shadow, we will love you forever xx

  56. Michelle says:

    My beloved black lab cross was diagnosed with anal cancer August 31st, 2011. She just turned 14. I am struggling with the idea of letting her go. She is having difficulty going to the bathroom. She pants from time to time (indication of pain??) and has difficulty getting comfortable on her cushion. She is still eating and drinking and begging for cookies. I live alone and she has been my constant companion for years. I became her parent after my brother in law died. I know that I need to let her go but I feel like I am killing her. Those trusting eyes sear into my heart. And that is the problem. My head says one thing and my heart says another. I have never been faced with such a hard decision. She is my first dog. I have always said that I would get another rescue dog but now I am not sure that I could go through this again.
    Daisy, I love you so much that I am going to have to let you go. You will be out of pain and be able to frolic with all of the other dogs across the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you for all the love you have unconditionally given to me. I will always love you. Now and forever.

    • Voula says:

      Dear Michelle

      I know you are in pain and it will be a very hard thing to do, but remember that you gave Daisy a wonderful life and she knows that and loves you. She is holding on for you, but it sounds like she is in pain. Ask your vets advice as well. They say if they are still eating and not crying they are fine. Only you know her patterns. You will know when it is time.
      I have gone through this a few times and soon will be going through it again. My 16 yr old girl is holding on…a real fighter but as soon as she shows pain I will let her go as well.
      You will rescue another dog, when the pain is not so strong. Daisy will send you a new friend to love. Hold her close and tell her what she has meant to you, tell her you love her and let her go.
      If you ever need to talk……please do.


      • Michelle says:

        Thanks Voula. I am seeing the vet on Tuesday. He has given her cartrophen vet for her joints so that she is more comfortable. I will talk to him about signs of pain. She seems to be quite comfortable today. Or am I just hoping. I just can’t stop weeping. I love her so. I hope that I can adopt again as Daisy has brought so much joy in to my life and in my heart I know that, out there, is another dog waiting for a good home. Daisy would want me to do this I am sure. Thanks for your words of encouragement. I will keep you updated.

        • Voula says:

          Glad to hear she is comfy…woo hoo Daisy!!!! Try to hold back the tears. They feel it.
          I woke up one morning and found Dalmy my 16 year old sweetie unable to get up. Her hind legs were collapsing. They put her on some kind of steroid but the vet did not recommend I keep her on it long. Now I steam veggies for her every day, give her glucosamine chews and lots of love. she seems better. She does occasionally fall but I give her a nudge and shes ok again. I try to be strong. I keep hoping she will let me know when shes had enough.
          we love them so much. I have 3 dogs and 3 cats…..its a full house and they are all so special.
          Daisy came into your life for a reason and I am sure she is so grateful.
          Yes please keep me posted on her condition and give miss Daisy a hug!

          • Michelle says:

            That is so funny that you call her miss Daisy. My landlords do also. They are quite devastated as well. Daisy just started glucosamine chondrotin and salmon oil capsules. She has been a real cookie monster tonight. Almost ready for bed. We will see what the night brings. Thanks again for your comments. They are very comforting.

  57. Vicki says:

    I’ve been reading everything I can find to help provide support for the decision I made this morning. I had a long phone conversation with the vet a few days ago hoping she would provide me with some insight as to whether this was the time. Although I think I could hold off a little longer, I don’t know what that would prove. My sweet corgi is nearly 15. He now has very little use of his back legs, and he will on occasion attempt a tail wag but most of the time his tail hangs low. He has been peeing in the house for much of the past three months. On the days I have more hours at home, I carry him out often and that limits his accidents. He has limited vision and hearing, and I have to show him where his food is at every meal. He is still eating well. He sleeps most of the time, and has lost a lot of weight. He never complains about anything — I can’t tell if he’s in pain except he stays in one place all day and rarely shows interest in going out.

    I think it’s time. I made an appointment for Wednesday and will be with him as he takes his last breath. I’m so sad. I just hope I’m not jumping the gun.

    • Voula and Dalmy says:

      Dear Vicki

      I am having the same dilemma with my 16 old Dalmy. She is a trooper. Eats like a champ, but yes most of the time I hand feed her. I carry her down the stairs to pee, she gets stuck in corners…..but yesterday it was a beautiful spring day and I decided to attempt a walk. She ran up n down the street three times. I was amazed….she was so happy. Today she has been sleeping all day. I too am considering what the best thing to do is. I dont want to jump the gun. They dont complain they just give love. I think that you already made up your mind. I am waiting until the summer….if she makes it she will run out back and I will be happy for her. Their quality of life is not there and that is what we have to keep in mind. Is it fair to keep them around for us? I send you strength and hugs for your day and know that your dog just wants you there no matter what happens. You gave him a wonderful life I am certain!!!! Hang in there….he will always be close to you. In your heart where it matters.

      • Susan Harke says:

        I agree that all dogs try hard to stay with us as long as possible and not complain. I believe in the philosophy of “letting the dog go one day early, rather than one hour too late.”

        I lost a dog a couple of years ago. He found me when he was 6 months old at a gas station in Texas.

        In the last 3 years of his life I could see he was going having issues. He was deaf, but still could see and chase squirrels in the park.

        In the last 6 months of his life I could see the muscles in his backend losing structure.

        In the last 3 days of his life, he did not want to sleep inside but outside in his dog house. On the third day I found he had passed walking on his favorite path in our fenced yard (at age 16 1/2 – 17 years old). I know he had a great life and has come to let me know what a great home this is for other animals.

  58. Sherri Nute says:

    My 12 year old mini Schnauzer has a large tumor that I waiting to hear back from his vet about. I do not to do anything til I’m sure he is in pain but I don’t know if even then I would be able to but luckily I have family who will help me. My heart is breaking but I’m makiing his last days as perfect as possible even though he gets tired and sleeps alot. My son told me, it wouldn’t hurt so much if we didn’t love them so much, and it’s true. But at the moment it’s hard to do much except cry.

  59. Todd says:

    I just got through the entire blog and am in tears. My 9 year old Border Collie/Lab mix Sundae has suspected Cushings Disease. I have to pick her up because her back legs are so weak. She eats everything, but is extremely bloated and developed a huge open sore on her leg last week. Most of her day is spent laying in our front entry way or the kitchen. The antibiotics are helping the infection in her leg, but I feel like she can’t really be a dog anymore. She tore a ligament in her hind leg 2 years ago and as a result we had to limit her activity. She hasn’t really been the same since then. I just figured she was getting older, but she doesn’t get excited to chase the squirrels in the back yard or get up to greet the kids. My wife thinks she is suffering and we need to let her go, but I can’t come to terms with it. I feel like she may get better…Who am I kidding, she probably won’t get better. Thanks for listening.

  60. Susan Harke says:

    I suggest getting a second opinion from a different vet who understands Eastern medicine, Chinese medicine, and holistic medicine. If there is a way to have some positive good time to say good-bye on both your and her time, do it. Your conscious will be clear if the two of you make a joint decision to meet again at another time and place (after your passing).

  61. Keith says:

    Reading through this entire blog just a few days ago gave me the courage to say farewell this evening to my best friend of 18 years – Livingstone. My heartfelt condolences go out to each and everyone of you that may have to make, what was for me, the hardest decision of my life. My vet assured me that he wasn’t ill, just old, tired and worn out, deaf, half blind and arthritic in his back legs. However for the last few days Livvy has been restless, whining quite a lot and off of his food, which up until a few days ago had not been the case. Today he looked at me as if to say “please let me go”. I feel heartbroken that I have taken my best friends life away from him and really hope that I did the right thing for the right reasons. It’s going to be lonely without him.
    Thank you for being here and thanks for listening.

    • Voula H says:

      Dear Keith
      I am so sorry for your loss. I am certain that he had the best life and was very loved.
      I too am facing the same decision. My dog is 17 this summer, can not always get up without help, very tired but has a great apetite. Last week I was certain I was putting her down and let my close friends know. some have passed by to say goodbye and yet here I am a week later and I can not do it. I know she does not have the life she deserves. She can not play or run…..why do we feel we need that sign from them? I believe I am waiting for her to let me know the was Livingstone told you. I know you miss your friend, but he will always be in your heart. Sometimes I wish we did not have these decisions to make. I wish she would go peacefully in her sleep……..I love her so much.
      I send you strength in this difficult time.


      • Susan Harke says:

        My 17 year old dog made the decision for me by passing in the night. He was walking around his back yard and his time came when he was in one of his favorite spots in the front yard. He too had back end issues, was deaf, but I know he wanted to stay. I would have continued to help him get in and out of the car as long as he wanted to stay.

      • Keith says:

        Dear Voula,

        My thoughts are with you from across the miles.

        I really hope that I am not too late with my reply. I too made THE decision and told close friends and family as much, but also did not go through with it. In hindsight I realize that it was me trying to put-off the pain of loss. Like your dog, your friend, my Livvy no longer ran, played or showed much sign of interest when I came home after being out. His disorientation, confusion and stumbling about were also a great sadness for me to watch toward the end. I too wished he would slip over in his sleep.

        The best thing that I can say to you, as I say from hindsight, is that I KNEW when it was time. I just KNEW. It was not a happy decision for me but the kind, the humane, decision for him…and for me, small though this is, it is a comfort.

        I have seen people write of the rainbow bridge which brings to mind for me a quote from author Richard Bach: “There is no such place as far away on the bridge across forever”. I really hope that somewhere not too far away our friends can run and play and hear and see and have fun like they did when they were young.

        Go gently Voula…my thoughts are with you.


        • Voula says:

          Thank you so much for the kind thoughts. Dalmy is sleeping now, as she does most of the time.
          She has been falling more needing my help frequently, but never complaining. I have been giving her wonderful things to eat like sausages and vegetables. Peanut butter on my morning toast. Just a few things to make these days even more special for her. I cried as I watched her yesterday and knew we have to go this coming week. Shes a fighter.At least she got to see the spring come and gets to smell the grass just a little while longer 🙂

  62. GEIW says:

    Thank you, my dog Jim is due o be put down tomorrow I have had him for 15 years since I was five, im normally a strong bloke who doesn’t let things upset him and have been for years but I’m in floods of tears now reading this. I’m not a particularly religious man, or atleast I wasn’t. You have put a smile (and tears) on my face for the first time in a week, in the thought that I may be able to be with my beloved Jim again. So sincerely, thank you!

  63. NKHE says:

    I thank everyone for sharing their stories. I am crying reading all of the journeys people and their dogs have endured.

    I too face a difficult decision. I have a 9 yr old faithful friend who may need to be put down soon.

    My dog is amazing. She has seen me through so much. She survived being shocked by stray electric voltage in downtown Boston when she was just 4. Her agility as a Vizsla helped her clear the area (a puddle on the sidewalk which was touching a live manhole cover). She was here before my husband, or my 2 kids. She is my everything.

    My girl Crumb has developed bladder cancer. It is hard for her to use the toilet, and she strains for long periods of time and she senses there is something else in her bladder to elminate, which of course she cannot. Her muscular and sometimes plump frame is now skin and bone. She once weigned 40 lbs. and now she is barely 30 lbs now.

    She has accidents everyday. The vet has prescibed metacam for the pain. I cannot see how removing a portion of her bladder could make her life better, so I opted out of the surgery. It made me feel so guilty, but everyone including her breeder and former co-owner said she was just too old, and one surgery will lead to another…

    Yet she can still act like a puppy. Playful and loving. But most days she sits in her kennel, with the door open. Looking sad. I know I may make the mistake of holding on too long. I hate tknowing this, and I hate what this decision is making me feel like.

  64. Voula says:

    We all have to go down that very difficult road. I wrote about my beloved Dalmy on this blog a few months ago thinking it was time, but the old girl was not ready to go. She has given me some more beautiful time together. We went on a nice walk early spring. She had the energy to go around the block. The sun was shinning and she seemed so happy. Since then she has had good days as well as bad. A few nights ago I woke up to the sound of her struggling to get up. Her hind legs have been giving her trouble. I am often lifting her and helping her get up but she falls again within seconds. At times she stands facing the corner for what seems an eternity. She does not see or hear well but boy what an appetite. She eats her food and then tries to eat everyone else’s. I share my peanut butter toast with her every morning and give her as many treats as she wants. Today she woke up and had zero strength in her hind legs for a good part of the morning. She was ok outside but inside has a tougher time. I give her glucosamine and its helped but its no miracle cure and she is 17 this August. our birthdays are about 15 days apart. She is my best friend. She has given me much love and laughter over the years and I know I have given her a wonderful life.
    Tonight I say farewell to my old and dear friend. 7:10 is my appointment. I feel guilty for doing this but feel selfish holding on. I keep waiting for this magical sign. Well she has not stopped eating nor has she tried to hide, like most animals do when they know they end is near, so this is what makes my decision so very hard. It is just that the light has left her eyes and I am sure she is not feeling great. I think she is holding on for me. I rocked her in my arms the other night and cried. She is such a trooper. So when she reaches rainbow bridge tonight she will be with my brother and together they will play in the sunshine. They will both be healthy again. I know she will be in good hands. Goodbye my sweet friend. Dalmy I will hold you in my heart forever xoxooxo

  65. Voula H says:

    I sent Dalmy on her Journey and it was so so difficult. All the way there she sat on my lap facing me, a paw on either side of my neck and her head resting against my neck. It was if she was hugging me and it was so calming. She stayed that way the entire way and when I sat her down on the grass she sniffed it with such passion. That is when I felt guilty. I thought ” she does not want to go…look at her sniffing the grass!” but I knew in my heart it was time to say goodbye. The vet was so nice and they made an imprint of her paw and placed it in a frame. I held her close as she slipped away into the most peaceful sleep ever. The next morning was really tough. I expected to hear her pitter patter walking around and I heard nothing. I went to her spot and it was empty and that’s when the flood of tears came. My day was horrible. It gets better but I have my moments. I still feel her spirit close as I sit here typing. She will always be in my heart, and I will always carry her memory of all the wonderful years she gave me. Rest in peace my old friend, and see you at rainbow bridge one day xoxoxo

    • Keith says:

      Dear Voula,

      I know that a strangers words are of small consolation in the face of your loss but I am so sorry to hear that the time eventually came for you to make that hardest of decisions and part with your beloved Dalmy.
      That final trip must have been so very emotional for you. Thinking of Dalmy giving you a last hug made me feel quite tearful yet I guess for you and her on that last journey it was the only thing that mattered.
      How nice that you have an imprint of her paw. I never thought of that but I have many photos, of many good memories, to look at, as I guess you may have to.

      And now all those empty spaces, missing the (as you say) pitter-patter of paws and words that are now pointless in uttering cause there is no one there to hear them. I am living with these things and feel so sad that you now must too. It’s been a month now since I sent Livvy on his way, yet not a day goes by when I have to stop myself from now and then talking to him, or wondering why I’m buying dog food in the local supermarket. I guess that these things are OK though.

      I will think of and wish the best for you and Dalmy each year on Livvy’s anniversary, if that’s OK with you?

      Go gently Voula


  66. A.P. says:

    Thank you for taking the time to give your lifes experience. Today is looking like the day we are going to have our beautiful Abbey put down and I wanted to read one thing, before making this final decision-I found your thoughts and stories of dogs with us in heaven. Thank you for the hope! It reminded me when I was grieving one day about our animals and what happens to us all after this life and I opened a Bible to Revelations Chapter 21 verse 4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.”
    Thank you God for creating such beautiful beings and for our special dear Abbey!!!!!
    -Here’s wishing hope for all of us! And a heaven full of eternal kisses and walks with our doggy and other companions! Thank you Abbey girl for all of your love!!! We will never forget you!!! Our love is with you eternally!!!-Mommy

    • Voula H says:

      oh Keith thank you so much for the kind message. I hope that Dalmy has found Livvy and they are running in the sunshine chasing butterflies……or plastic water bottles in Dalmys case 🙂
      I miss her so much. I have 3 cats and two dogs at home and sometimes when Mocha walks I think it is Dalmy. Mocha has a light step as well. They others keep me busy during the day but when night falls and all is quiet my thoughts turn to my Dalmy. My sweetest of all angels.
      Thank you again for the kind message. I am so grateful for this site.

  67. Louise says:

    I just put my first dog to sleep. I am 15 years old and she was 13. Her name was Maggie and she was a black and tan mini dachshund. I love her so much and now I can’t stop crying and I feel like I can’t breathe. The vet said there was nothing we could do and that she was in pain. I feel extremely guilty but I know it was best for her. I have lost other dogs but none that literally belonged to me…….the guilt is overwhelming, when does it go away??? I just love her so much my first memory was when we got her and now I just don’t know what to do…and have see people have their dogs in senior photos (something I wanted to do) and I know it’s selfish but I just wish she could’ve been here with me for just a few more years……I can’t imagine what my life will be without her….now I’ve lost my appetite and I can’t even be home without getting upset….any advice on coping???

    • Voula says:

      Dear Louise

      I know you are sad and feel like a part of your heart is missing. I put my 17 year old best friend to sleep a month ago and I still miss her so very much. Time does heal. All that helped me is knowing that she was at peace and no longer in pain. She will always be a part of you so that way she lives forever in your heart. Try making a scrap book of your time together. Pictures, things she loved to do. Words that describe her…anything fun. It will help you heal and every time you want to remember her all you have to do is open the book. She is at rainbow bridge, healthy and happy once again playing with all the other animals. When I close my eyes and concentrate I can still remember how my dog Dalmy smelled or how soft she was to hug. We never forget, its just tough right now but you have to allow yourself time to heal. I hope you feel better soon and if you ever need to talk please do… helps to speak of them often.

      • Louise says:

        Dear Voula thank you so much for your kind words and advice. I am very sorry that you lost your Dalmy and I can tell that you love her very much. I am more afraid of anything to forget Maggie and the little things she did when she was alive and healthy. It’s been one day, and this is the first time i remember her not being here. I am going to try some of your ideas ( they seem very helpful). I have also written her a letter and that helped me too. I just have a hard time thinking of life without her as she has been with me since I was 2. I have half of her favorite blanket (she is buried with the other half) and I’m going to frame it with a picture of her. Thank you again for your kind words of advice. Dalmy is waiting for you at the rainbow bridge as well, and I’m sure she misses you just as much as you miss her! I know you loved her and gave her the best life possible and helped her when she needed it. You’ve helped me bunches, and I hope your doing well.

        • Voula says:

          awwww Im so happy I helped if even just a little. Yes writing a letter is a wonderful thing.
          I wanted to bury Dalmy in the backyard but we couldn’t. I will have my own little ceremony where I willl bury her leash a letter and a small plastic water bottle. Her favorite toy ever! I am glad you kept a piece of the blanket. It will always be a special reminder. I send you hugs and strength. Hang in there. It never goes away, but it hurts less. write down all the wonderful things about Maggie that made you smile. Funny stories…anything. It will keep her close.

          • Louise says:

            Thank you once again for your kind words. I’m glad that you can have a service for Dalmy, it definitely helps a little. Maggie never liked playing with toys ( it sounds a little weird but that was just her) but she LOVED clothes… She used to try to snuggle up in jacket sleeves and we would have to cut up our jackets to get her out hahaha. We still have her puppy, who is about 8 years old now, and misses her. I am glad that you will write a letter to Dalmy! I hope you can keep something of hers too. The thought of still having a belonging gives a little bit of comfort. I hope you are doing okay and thanks for the hugs and strength; I send you the same!

  68. Mary Ann says:

    My husband and I decided to put our bichon baby girl Cuddles down. She was 14 1/2. She had been diagnosed with kidney failure in February and was given two weeks. The vet said to feed her whatever she wants since she had limited time. We started her on a daily dose of 150cc’s of IV. She spang back to life – and we enjoyed her last months with daily romps, ice cream, boneless ribs, fortune cookies and whatever rmade her happy. She was so precious. Over the 4 months she did develop the shivers. In the last two weeks she had a tracheal cough, passed out on a small walk, seemed to have a couple of seizures where her front paws just stiffened up near her face, she could hardly walk more than a few steps without needing to sit down, hardly ate anything and was vomiting unless we gave her anti-nauseau pills. Even though we decided to put her down and she seemed to have a lot of issues…the day we went to the vet we brought her to her old stomping grounds and she skipped at the first stop and at the second she ran two steps…she even ate some of her ice cream and drank some water (we were resorting to feeding her with a syringe and pedialyte).
    The final decision which made me call the vet was when she started vomiting and could hardly stand to do that. But because she perked up at the end and her mind was still working – I feel like I should have at least taken her for a physical before putting her down and that is my biggest regret. Maybe we could have kept her alive another week or months. Also – it seems to be getting harder each day – missing her presence in the house. We buried her in the yard with her favorite teddy and are making a garden around her spot. One more hug…

    • Susan Harke says:

      Kidney disease is a terrible disorder. At some time during the disease the dog will pass naturally or the owner will put the dog to sleep. Remember, she will greet you at the Rainbow Bridge when it is you time and she will show you around your new surroundings together.

  69. Paula says:

    My 16 year old boy, Zuni, was put to sleep a few days ago. He came into my life fifteen years ago. And, from that moment on he never let me forget he was my dog. He was unwanted but was a perfect pet for me: we found each other. I lost a 12 year old dog before where I found him in his doghouse dying, and was unable to pull him out (with him being over 100 pounds). All I could do was crawl into the dog house with him until I got help: by the time help came, he was gone. It was horrible and I told myself I would never let that happen again: that I would do everything in my power to have a future pet go to sleep humanely.

    Approxmately 2 years ago Zuni started to slow down. He was starting to lose his sight and hearing, and was panting more often with an occasional cough. He did not want to go to other places as much as he did prior, and preferred to stay in the car if we went to an outing.

    One morning approximately 8 mos ago he was unsteady on his feet and did not want to attempt the 7 steps to go outside. The vet determined he had an arthritic spine in the lumbar area, and prescribed Rimadyl, and Tramadol as needed if he looked like he was in pain. My boy’s bloodwork came back fine. And, the Rimadyl seemed to work.

    Lately, he appeared more confused at times in and out of the house. He would purposely walk or trot in another direction when called as if he was being punished. I had to go to him and lead him to the right direction. Occasionally he lost his bowel movement in the house: sometimes right after he came in from outside, and then he would hide in a corner after the accident until he knew from me it was okay. He was becoming more of a picky eater with his dog food, but always was enthusiastic for other treats, such as cooked chicken. He had an episode last week where he threw up yellow vomit and became wobbly after that, but then regained his strength shortly afterwards. He still enjoyed running up and down the yard a few times until he got tired.

    On that day I had made an appointment for his annually summer “buzzed” haircut. He hesitated getting into the back seat (which was not unusual) and willingly jumped down from the car’s back seat and walked to the vet’s office to get a vaccine. He then walked to the groomer’s room of the vet’s facility. When I picked him up from the groomer’s, my boy could not stand. He stood with help for a few minutes, was able to take some steps with a wobbly, lateral gait, and then fell to the floor over and over again. It was heartbreaking to watch. Took him back to the vet’s office where he was diagnosed with a possible herniated lumbar disc. When the vet picked up his hind end, my boy could not put his paws flat on the floor: his paws were curled with tips of toes and toenails touching the floor instead. My boy did not appear to be in pain. The vet asked if I wanted to give him a second chance with a cortizone injection/IV, but advised that he had to be quiet until he could stand on his own to pee or poop. That would mean carrying him everywhere, keeping him in a crate, and holding him while he did his business: which I wouldn’t have minded but did not know if I would prolong the problem or if he would get better. The vet said in some exceptional cases, it took months before some dogs were able to maneuver on their own, and there was no guarantee. I did not want my boy to suffer like my other dog.

    I made the decision to put my boy to sleep. I cradled his head in my hand and stroked his head. My boy was trembling until the first injection and then he looked up at me until he quietly left me. This is the hardest decision. I thank God that we have the means to put our loved pets to sleep instead of having them suffer. But, I am riddled with guilt. It happened so quickly. I miss him dearly, and pray that I did not betray the love and companionship he devotedly gave me. This article and all of the replies did help comfort me. But still, part of me says that I should have gone that extra mile for him, and another part of me says it was best not to prolong his suffering. I hope someday I am more at rest with this. Thank you. I’m glad I’m not alone.

    • Susan Harke says:

      About 2 years ago I lost a special 16.5 -17 year old German Shepard-Sharpei friend. For the last 3 days of his life he did not want to sleep inside, but outside in his dog house. On the third day, he was not in his dog house, he had passed in the night walking his favorite path around the yard. At the time of his passing he had rear end issues and I had to help him get in the car. He had been deaf for several years. But his passing was due to some unknown medical condition (the vet suspected a cancer). He passed doing what he enjoyed most and I am happy I did not have to make the decision.

      • Voula says:

        oh Susan

        That is so beautiful that he passed doing what he so loved. Be grateful that it happened this way.
        You are both lucky. I had to make the decision with my 17 yr old friend and knowing very well
        it was the best thing to do for her it still makes me sad that she is not here with me today, but at least she felt the summer sun. She closed her beautiful eyes May 17th.

        • Paula says:

          It was beautiful he was able to pass at home in familar surroundings in the path that he loved so.

          • Susan Harke says:

            Thank you for your comment. Animals (not only dogs) who live in homes where he or she is loved give back while he or she is alive or after passing to the next world to wait for us.

  70. For Zeena says:

    To anyone who will listen, I am searching the internet for some support…My german shep mix is roughly 14 -15 years old. I rescued her when she was about 5-6 She was a ball fanatic and my constant shadow. She still tries to be my shadow but her legs wont let her. She sleeps most of the day and has been having bowel movements in the house the last month. I have to help her up the stairs to our bedroom in the loft or have my husband carry her so that we dont risk her falling… I cannot leave her downstairs as she will literally walk a hole in the floor pacing for me. She HAS to be near me. She would lay still all day I am sure if that drive she has to be with me wasnt so strong.. She gets up and down constantly to come see where I am and each time I cringe as her back end is soo weak and she has a limp.. she is arthritic in her hind quarters and even advil cant help no more. Just because she isnt whinning I assume she isnt in pain…her head is very alert and her mind wants to go go go but her body wont let her. I cant even go upstairs in the daytime because I fear she will come up the stairs after me..they are not carpeted and she has fallen before..simply because she doesnt have the strength in her backend anymore. She will come outside for a piddle and then look for a way back in the house. She has no interest in being outdoors at all I let her sleep on her blankey all day and night. For years it was me and her and I have just recently had my first child whom is now 3 months old. I feel HORRIBLE for even thinking it is time to put her down… I feel like she will think its because of the baby and that I dont love her anymore.. omg I am struggling with this I cant even finish my thoughts..

    • Paula says:

      Since my last Reply, I have talked to an ASPCA pet grief counselor on the phone. The guilt I felt to end my boy’s life was terrible. I also have a second dog who is 13 yrs old and has only lived with Zuni, and she has become more clingy since Zuni was euthanized. The counselor addressed my feelings and did a wonderful job explaining a dog’s journey in life, which was different from what I was thinking. She made a lot of sense. She did not hurry me or make me feel I had only so many minutes to talk. A lot of my guilty feelings were addressed and, although I miss my boy dearly, I am able to come to terms with the decision I made. I got the ASPCA’s phone number from googling the internet. Zeena, I hope and pray you and your girl find comfort and help.

  71. Tim says:

    My heart aches. My best friend, Biscuit, is possibly facing a diagnosis of anal sac cancer. I had him at the vet on Monday and they did blood work, took x-rays and took a sample of the tumor. A diagnosis is expected tomorrow, Thursday.

    I cannot imagine life without him. He’s my shadow and follows me everywhere I go. I cannot imagine going on a drive without him on the seat next to me.

    All of the good times are flashing through my mind each and every day.

    Who will lay on the patio when I’m mowing the lawn? Who will lay across my feet while I’m at the computer? Who will lay on the floor next to me when I’m in bed? Who will lick my face when the alarm goes off in the morning? Who will jump up on me and then roll around on the floor when I get home from work?

    Biscuit’s nearly 7 years old – we’ve had him since he was 4 months old – and we’ve grown closer over the years. I cannot imagine life without him. He’s my wife’s and my third child. He and the kids have a ball playing tug-o-war, running outside, taking walks and just sitting watching TV.

    My prayers and thoughts go out to those who have lost their four-legged loved ones. I’m sorry for the pain you are experiencing.

    • Tim says:

      The diagnosis was confirmed today (Thursday, July 5). Biscuit has anal sac adenocarcinoma. My heart fell to the floor and was stomped on and crushed. This cannot be happening. Just one month ago all was fine.

      What happened in a few weeks time to turn our world upside down? The doctor first wants to do an abdominal ultrasound to see if it has spread to his abdomen. Appointment is not until July 10.

      The agony of the next few days will be unbearable.

      He’s too precious to leave me and my family. We want to fight this, but at the same time, we don’t want to see him suffer through all the treatment.

      I’m trying to think positive and wait for the doctor’s recommendations, but July 10 seems like a century away.

      God works in wonderous ways and my family and I will be praying for a miracle.

      • Voula says:

        I am sending you all positive thoughts and energy! Things happen for reasons we may never understand and when a pet gets sick we have to do what is best for them no matter how difficult. I hope that you get some news that will brighten your day!
        Voula and the furry gang.

        • Michelle says:

          My precious Daisy was diagnosed with anal sac cancer on August 31, 2011. I too was devastated and cried for days. She is going to be 15 in August of this year and is still doing fine. Her tumour is large but she is still doing all the things she used to do. The vet is amazed. He said she may outlive both of us!! She is on Metacam for inflammation and pain. She does not seem to be in any pain. She has given me many more days with her than I anticipated. Each day is a gift. I wish you the very best with Biscuit. I will be praying for you on the 10th.

          • rose says:

            My 7 year old Rotti/Boxer cross just got diagnosed with heart cancer. He went to the vet on Thursday for scheduled xrays for his back leg that he had hurt one month before. I received a call from the vet saying there is a problem with his heart racing real fast, they tried a medication but it didnt slow it down. I picked him up and took him to the vet hospital. He is still there. After tests they determined heart cancer. If they can get his heart to beat somewhat normal there is a chance that he could live – weeks, months, the studies show not longer than 3 mths. Prior to this he has slowly stopped eating, even his favorite treats, he doesnt want to play, he stopped greeting me at the door the last few days (i thought all this was due to his leg). I cant affort chemo treatments. I dont think i could stand to have him live longer if he doesnt want to run, play and eat. But I dont know how to put him down and say goodbye.

            • Voula says:

              Hi Rose
              I too had to make that tough decision in May when I put my dog Dalmy down. She could no longer run or play. Her life consisted of eating and sleeping. When they have no quality of life it is time to let them go with dignity. It is our way of saying thank you for all the wonderful years you gave me and now I am giving you this gift of a pain free life. No it is not an easy thing to do but prolonging it a few weeks is just selfish. Dalmy would greet me at the door but then would collapse and I would have to help her up. I didn’t mind getting up a few times a night or cleaning up after her and sometimes I feel guilty for putting her down but I know that she had a wonderful life while she was with me. Take comfort in that. You have done your best. I send you both strength.

              • Paula says:

                Some weeks ago I had my beautiful boy put to sleep, and, oh, how I loved that dog. He was declining. He did not play anymore, was starting to lose bowel control, He was panting more often and had an occasional cough. He started not coming to me when called, and would walk the other way which he never did before. He started having trouble walking, and one day could not stand. He no longer had feeling in his back legs. The vet offered a cortizone shot, but if it worked, for how long and how well? My boy was 16 and surgery was out of the question. Oh, how I did not want him to go, but deep in my heart I did not want him to suffer either. I was able to cradle his head, and stroke him, and tell him what a good boy he was when he was put to sleep. Gratefully, he went to sleep peacefully. He was an unwanted dog; no one wanted him. I guess that was because God had made him special for me. Only you know whether the options the vet offers will improve his life: because you love him so much, you would make the very best decision for him. Your dog knows you would only do the very best thing for him: he feels your love. I did feel guilty afterwards and did talk to a pet grieving counselor (ASPCA) who wonderfully put things in a much better perspective for me. I still miss him very much. Although it is not biblical, I do believe God keeps his beautiful creatures with him. I do believe my beautiful boy, Zuni, is with God now, and is receiving more love than I could ever give him here on earth. God bless you and your beautiful boy, and give you the comfort, strength, and wisdom in this very difficult time.

                • Sue Harke says:

                  He will meet you at Rainbow Bridge when it is time to see him again.

                • rose says:

                  Thank you all for your comments. I made the decision and put Oscar (rotti/boxer) down on Sunday. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I have been a mess since. He was so young. I can only hope that it was the right thing and that God is caring for him and that there is a Rainbow Bridge. I am trying to be strong for my 9 year old Lab who I’m not sure if she understands that Oscar is not coming home. She has stopped wanting to go for walks – i only hope this is temporary.

                • Sue Harke says:

                  I know the pain is still there, but I think Oscar would want another dog to have a good life.

                  I suggest fostering a dog in cooperation with a rescue group. It would give another dog a chance for a good home if people see it as a happy, well adjusted dog. Also, your nine year old lab might accept the new playmate. There is also the possibility that you could fail as a foster parent by keeping the dog because your lab wanted that particular dog as a friend .

  72. Paula says:

    Dear Rose,
    Even though I knew deep in my heart it was the best decision for Zuni, emotionally I still questioned my decision of having Zuni put to sleep because it was hard to face the fact that, for Zuni, his chances of being able to have a dog’s life or to be able to feel his back end again just were not there. You want that little bit of hope, that miracle, that your dog is going to be okay again, but then you have to weigh the options to realize your dog will not get better and may continue to suffer. It is the hardest thing to do and you are a mess, but it was a kind and loving decision that you made for Oscar. You did everything you could and weighed all of the options. Several people have told me that dogs understand and accept death: that they are not afraid of death. They are, however, afraid of pain and suffering. I believe this. There is a reason for everything: Oscar was so fortunate to be given a loving and caring person who did the very best for him, gave him a wonderful home, and stayed with him, and made that very difficult decision that he could not do on his own. Not every dog has that. Oscar is in God’s care now. God loves his creations, and I cannot imagine heaven without our pets, for our pets are a little bit of heaven for us on earth. I’m sorry to hear about your Lab. I hope she is better soon and starts taking her walks again.

  73. Leslie Feland says:

    Our Lucy is about 12 or 13. She has been a diabetic for 2 years now and is starting to show her age. She developed cataracts shortly after her diagnosis and is now completely blind. I have been successful in keeping her going with insulin prescribed by the Vet but I can see her slipping. She does not seem to be in pain and does enjoy a good treat when given and going for a car ride. She also enjoys visiting Grandma and Grandpa. She is becomming incontinent when her sugars get too high but since she hates needles I dont test her glucose. I have made the decision to keep up with her meds as necessary with the aproval of the Vet and will make the decision when she looses her joi de vivre. I cried reading most of the posts knowing how much it costs to be a pet owner and making the right decisions. Bless you all for doing the right and courageous thing in the end.

    • Sue Harke says:

      My dog has been diabetic for over 4 years. He lost his left eye to glaucoma, that comes along with the diabetic diagnosis – so keep a close eye on her vision. As to diet, I suggest getting a second opinion on how to treat her diabetes from another vet. A would also join the yahoo diabetic dog group as they have a lot of combined years of experience in living with diabetic dogs. She may have more years than you can imagine if you hear the right advise that works for you.

      Also, diabetic dogs tend to urinary tract infections (UTI’s). I suggest reading about d-mannose as a product to use for UTI. This product prevents the bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall, thus allowing it to be peed out. If your dog is taking antibiotics, it allows the bacteria to be killed and peed out. D-mannose may be purchased at VitaminShoppe stores and online, also and swanns(sP).com are a good source for this product.

      Don’t give up yet because I don’t think she has given up on you 🙂

      • Thank you for your advice. Dont get me wrongI havent given up on her. She seems to be quite stable at this time. Her vision is all gone due to the cataracts but she copes well. Better than most humans would. Her sugars are usually very good when tested at the Vets and he has told me we are managing extremely well. She becomes incontinent of urine if she gets into some thing that she shouldnt like extra treats. We tried all sorts of special diets but she became a very picky eater so I feed her dried kibble of good quality and this works well. I havent become fanatical about times for feeding and insulin as this hasnt worked very well…We both became crazy and she still would only eat on her own time. She gets fed in the morning with insulin and then at supper time also with insulin and this works well…The other vets suggested we should consider putting her down as she was no longer as active as she should be and was old. We did not take that advice. I dont test her sugar as this requires more pain and needles and she would not have any different treatment any way. I just know that if she becomes worse and that she developes pancreatitis again…the cause of her diabetes…that she will be put to sleep as a kindness because we love her too much to let her suffer again.,

        • sue Harke says:

          Both of us love our pets enough to do what is necessary when the time comes. They trust us to help and remove their pain. I will be there when the time comes.

  74. jen says:

    Just trying to find my sanity. On Wednesday I had to put my beloved dog down. He was 12 years old. On Saturday afternoon, he had what appeared to be a stroke or seizure. He never recovered movement of any of his legs. The vet and neurologist said he may have a tumor, blood clot, or just a stroke, either way all sorts of testing was needed and I opted not to put him through that. I ended up bringing him home. He panted heavily all night, he was restless, and I had to have help lifting his 90lb body in and out so that he could relieve himself. I was told to give him a few days. I did and he never improved. I made the decision to put him to sleep and now I’m struggling with my decision. Someone said if he could not do the basic things a dog does, he would not want to live like that. Any comments or thoughts on if this is true or if what did was right for him? I am heartbroken and SAD and pray he did not suffer and that he knew I loved him dearly.

    • jehingr says:

      I fully believe that you did the right thing. When a dog can no longer be a dog, he is no longer happy & living the life he should. Also, remember that dogs do their very best to hide any pain or weakness that they are feeling. So he was in worse shape than you knew, because he tried to hide it from you.

      I personally believe that our dogs trust us fully and count on our love & strength to do what is right for them. They don’t fear death the way that humans do. So I’m certain that your dog felt the strength of your love as you relieved his pain and sent him on to the Bridge.

    • Sue Harke says:

      You did right by your buddy. It is said that giving your pal peace “one day early than one hour too late” is giving love. He will meet you at Rainbow Bridge one day or be there to guide you if you need help. Just look for his spirit when you are in need of a friend.

  75. rose says:

    Jen, its been a month since I had to put my almost 7 year old Oscar down. I stuggle with my decison every day- did i do the right thing? Maybe he would have gotten better? The only comfort I give myself is that what if he didnt get better and I just prolonged the agony he was going through-i could not have bared to do that to him.It is not an easy decsion to make and i cry each day. However, I keep believing that like everyone else in my life who comes and goes, he was here for a reason. The love i have for Ocsar is undescribeable.His character traits are one of a kind and i smile each time i think of them. I will treasure my memories of him forever. I am so glad he chose to come into my life, if even for a short time. I pray that there is a rainbow bridge and I will be reunited with him at that time. Keep your happy memories of your dog alive each day, and keep faith that someday you will meet him again.

  76. ric says:

    I’m sitting here reading this with tears streaming down my face, the sobbing has come and gone, I’ve hugged my boy and I’m still crying at these stories. I have a 10.5 year old Dalmatian. 6 months ago he was still running round like a puppy and as happy as could be. But the arthritis has come suddenly.

    He struggles to get up at times, on the tiles I occassionally have to help him, sometimes can’t make it outside to go number 2 (number 1 is fine) – he tries but sometimes he’s a little too slow to make it. I don’t mind having to clean that up, I don’t have to carry him outside and he never defecates in his bed.

    Oh and walks like he’s tap dancing,still smiling, still wagging the tail. The back legs are weak and I think the front one are trying to do all the work. HIs appetitie is great, he’s still happily wagging his tail for everyone and loves going out in the car. We still play with his toys but not as much as we used to. If the doorbell rings, he’s down the hall in an instant (sometimes to fast for the back legs and tumbles when the front ones brake at the door, tail wagging he gets back up to greet the visitors) He still follows me everywhere and according to his vet has the heart and lungs and general health of a dog half his age.

    Apart from the occassional need to help and the low energy life he leads, he’s still the same boy.

    We are 3 weeks into the arthritis injections and there has been some improvement. Of course, some days are worse than others but with luck and love he has some time left. I am trying all the supplements and massage hoping to keep him out of pain more than anything. I don’t think we’ve reached the point of having to send him to the bridge. The vet still speaks of what we do in a few months if these injections don’t work. Other treatments as this is the ‘first option’.

    But I know the inevtiable is not far away. Our time is short. We have our little mantra – Love, time and treatment until there is only love left. I live alone, I’ve had my Kevvie boy since he was 8 weeks old and he’s the love of my life so far.

    My question is how do I prepare for life after his? I won’t let him suffer but I’ll do everything in my power until there is no more that can be done and then I’ll send him to wait for me. I just can’t stand the thought that one day it will just be me in the house. How do I even come home that day?

    It’s so incredibly hard to see the change and the grief starts so early, even before they are gone – I never expected that.

    I also feel extreme guilt because I don’t think I can be there at the end, I can’t bare the thought of being in that room when it happens, is that wrong?

    • jehingr says:

      No it is not wrong – and don’t allow anybody else to tell you what is right or wrong for the two of you. I’ve always wanted them in my arms when they drift off to sleep that final time – but that’s me, not you.

      My late father always told me that the pain was so strong only because the love was even stronger. Being a very pragmatic guy, Dad always told me that when you accept a dog into your life, you are not only accepting the love, play, companionship, etc. but you are also accepting that you’ll have responsibilities. Not only feed & water, regular vet checks, etc. but also the responsibility to care for the dog at the end. And as much as it hurts, the pain is nothing compared to the love you’ve had with the dog.

      I wish I could tell you that it gets easier, but it doesn’t. I can tell you that the love your boy gave you will provide all the strength you need if you let it.

    • Voula says:

      I agree with jehingr….love will help you through it, and whatever you decide to do is your choice and yours alone. Have you also tried glucosamine treats? My baby Dalmy loved them and they helped. She was 17 when I had to send her on her journey and I too felt some guilt because I wondered if I should have just left her live on as she was with me picking her up n carrying her. She too had an awesome appetite and considering her eyesight and hearing was almost gone, for some reason when I walked in through the door she always came to greet me.
      I realized that this was not the quality of life she deserved and although she managed it wasn’t fair to her for me to keep her going. She knew it and I remember the last week together I spent time with ONLY her…I have 5 more pets at home. I gave her as many treats as she wanted as well as shared my peanut butter toast with her every morning. Do what you both enjoy together, spoil him like crazy. Treat him like the angel he is. He knows you love him.
      Remember your mantra and just be there for him. Sending you strength…..

    • Steve Greenhorn says:

      People deal with grief in their own way,so you should feel no guilt whatever you do.
      I had to let my dear Samson go almost 3 years ago after 14 great years. He was a big loveable lab.
      I was there at the end and am glad I was.I miss him tons. The pain gets number with the passing of time.
      Give it time ,this is normal and you are not alone in your grief.
      I believe we will see each other one day,that helps.

    • Stacey says:

      I feel your heartache, deeply. My dog lived in a similar situation, due to a back injury, he was unable to walk on his back legs. A beautiful american eskimo, age 13, you would think he was old but he was very healthy and no one was able to tell his age. He still looked like a puppy. The vet said his x-rays looked like a 7 year old dog.. Too old to have an operation without horrible recovery and those operations are risky and 10k plus. Sad fact is, they lose muscle mass fast, and hard to gain back in an older animal. I have a long story but I hope it will help someone, and me, to cope with devistating grief.

      I couldn’t put my friend to sleep when he was so healthy and not ready to give up on life. My vet had experience with helping dogs like ours use a doggie cart with wheels in the back. I’m a stay-at-home mom and had the time to devote to trying. I went through alot of information and tried two different carts. The company called Walkin Wheels sold the best one that seemed the easiest to work with. It is very picey at $400 but it is as awesome as they say to work with. There are used ones for sale too, so dont let price deter you if you are willing to try. They are in demand used, so you can resell later. It took a couple of weeks for Macleod to get the hang of it, but he did. The day he figured it out was when a dog was walked nearby and he just went tearing after it! LOL didn’t even realize he was pulling a cart 🙂 Dogs stop with front legs, not pull, so there IS a learning curve. Treats are great for training..ours loved beggin strips in the BIG yellow bag. He got excited to see that bag everytime.
      Sidenote: cheap walmart rubber back olefin rugs are great for dogs on slippery spots and not ugly to look at..we made runways for him so he wouldnt slip on our hardwood. Easy to wash when there is a mess too.

      Our family managed to get 6 more wonderful months with our little guy before two things happened (It could have been soo much more if things didn’t change). My back went out (long history of back problems) and due to his back injury deteriorating he had trouble holding back on body functions. He didn’t get as much exercise as he needed which hurt the situation due to my injury. My husband, typical guy, just thought he’d keep picking him up when I wasnt’ there to do it my way…and then he hurt his back. With Macleod also having weakness in his front legs developing we just got overwhealmed. We were moving slow and he’d piddle cause we couldn’t move fast enough. I have to tell you he was devistated to have accidents..the dogs know that means they are bad and even though we never got mad at him, he was so unhappy with himself. We had hope he could rehab in the cart and have some recovery….our vet had proven success with some dogs. He warned us that lack of bowel control that is irreversable with some back injuries should indicate his quality of life is lacking. That is where a dog can’t act like a dog. We did the doggie diaper thing, but our dog hated it and no matter how hard you try you can’t keep the fur clean enough that way without constant baths. While our vet never said time to put to sleep at that point, he said its definately time to think on it. Thats the best opinion he could ethically give us while respecting our decision, and it was a good one. Things only go downhill from here on many levels.

      So here our family did everything we could think of and we threw our backs into it, My little buddy was worth every bit . We learned so much, couldn’t believe and old dog could learn new habits but unfortunately his body was giving out…and ours. I will make sure to help as many dogs as I can with what I’ve learned. Yesterday I said goodbye to him and even for all we did, was the hardest goodbye to a pet I’ve ever had (I’ve had over 20 dogs and cats total). So darn hard. I didn’t think I could be in the room, it would be too hard cause he was perfectly alert and his usual happy self. Every animal I put to sleep was visably suffering with death as immediate outcome. This was different and harder somehow. But, for me, decided my feelings were not as important as his well being, no cure and things getting worse. So I sat there feeding him treats until the vet came and gave the first injection to sedate him. Mac ate treats and didn’t even notice as his back legs had little feeling. He kept eating treats until meds kicked in, and quickly the vet did the other injection. He felt nothing and fell asleep thinking of treats and hugs.

      I have been crying for two days, heartbroken. While I can’t stop thinking of his last moments, now that it is done I know for sure I would have regretted not being the one to hug him and give him treats till he went. This dog followed me EVERYWHERE for over 13 years with me home all day every day of his life. He was the most loyal and devoted friend, I KNOW he wanted me in his final moments. If your dog is as attached to you, think on it. If I can share a humble opinion.. .you’re gonna cry and be heartbroken anyways…why not with the memory of being a friend to your pal in his time of need?’ I couldn’t stand the thought of him shaking and scared in his final minutes, which he started to do up until treats were free flowin. He really went a happy dog. Harder for me, oh god yes, on him? No.

      If anyone has a dog that has trouble walking like ours did, respond to this and it should email me. My vet in IL taught us so much, if I can help a pet in need it is well worth my time. I wish all the best to those dealing with a loss, if we didn’t hurt so much then we didn’t love so much. It is a true honor to have the trust and love of a devoted friend. When my family heals we will open our hearts and home to a dog in need…there are so darn many

      • Ric says:

        Thank you all for your kind words and support. Since I posted the original message, my darling Kevvie’s condition progressed. He struggled to get up and walk but still managed to do so. We moved through different treatments and my goodness there was a lot of love we shared.

        After 2 years of non stop work I had 3 weeks vacation booked. The first week was dedicated Kevvie time, the second dedicated Ric needs to get away time and the third (this current week) was to be whatever came our way. While I went away for a much needed break my beautiful boy went to his usual kennel. He struggled but the care and love they gave him was amazing. They insisted I have my holiday and not worry.

        I went and collected him on Monday this week and I knew he’d gotten worse. I took him home and he was so happy to see me, ride in the car and be in his home, on his bed with his treats and toys. We had a wonderful 24 hours together but it was time. He could no longer stand without help and really struggled to walk. He’d given up even trying to go outside for comfort breaks and whilst I cleaned the mess without batting an eyelid I knew my boy wasn’t happy and his time had come. Although he still wanted to eat everything I put in front of him 🙂

        So, unable to make the phone call I sent a text to my vet (clearly stating I couldn’t make the call – lol). He replied by text and came to the house on Tuesday afternoon. My mum (Kevvie’s grandma) and sister were with me. We gave him an enormous amount of love and treats. The vet came and gave him an initial sedative. After a few minutes I lay down on the floor and wrapped my beautiful boy in my arms and held him tight. I could feel his heart beat, he was calm, he looked at me with his beautiful eyes and we gave him more treats until Dr Anthony gave him the final dose. I wrapped him as tightly as I could in my arms and told him how much I loved him. I thanked him for being the most wonderful friend I have ever had and he peacefully went to sleep in my arms.

        Although my heart is shattered into a million pieces, I can barely be inside this big empty house and I have no idea how my life will be from now on, I cannot imagine how I thought I couldn’t be with him until the end. He gave me 10.5 years of absolute joy and love and I could only return that gift by holding him tight and loving him as I sent him to the bridge. I know we will meet again one day.

        On a lighter note, that dog went out with so many treats in his belly, he was snoring as the medication took hold and my goodness the wind. He was always known to clear a room after too many treats and he certainly kept that trait up until the end.

        So again, thank you for your words. This site has certainly helped me and I am sure many others who will one day face the pain of saying goodbye to their best friend.

        • Voula says:

          Im am so glad that Kevvie went while you held him close. What a wonderful option that he was at home surrounded by love. It is a huge adjustment and although my Dalmy went a few months ago she is in my thoughts every single day. I have been dreaming of her these past two nights and in my dreams she is young and healthy as all dogs are when they are at rainbow bridge. I even remember telling her that even though I know she is not really here with me I am glad to be with her in my dreams. It felt so real. Kevvie’s presence will be there for a while and he will comfort you and give you strength. Hang in there.

  77. Heidi says:

    Our yellow lab turned 13 earlier this month. We’ve had him since he was a 6 week old puppy. He grew up with our two girls (now both married and families of their own). He loves children and adults alike. He used to be quite the thief, stealing any shoe, etc., he could! He’d go next door and bring back our neighbor’s shoes left by their door. I’d sneak back over and put it back! He loved being at our lake cabin, running down to the water to retrieve sticks. We haven’t been able to bring him to the lake this year. I wish I could post pictures of him throughout all the years.

    What a great day earlier this month as we all celebrated the fact he finally got to be a teenager! But in reality he’s an elderly, frail dog, who has lost muscle and fat and is down to his last few days of even being able to use his hind legs, and can only use of one front leg. Tears welled up all night last night and this morning as I read through these numerous posts, so many of the lab stories similar to our dog. Reading here has helped me realize he’s just NOT going to tell me when “it’s time” to “go”. Others had written about hoping to find that their dog had actually died in the night. I felt bad when I thought that, but I realize that’s an okay thought, but probably now it’s wishful thinking. Our lab refused to sleep in his bed anymore and never would come inside, he only sleeps outside in the front of our home (on 5 acres) looking out into a beautiful valley. Our cat sleeps with him and has been his faithful animal companion. But the nights are beginning to get cold. I didn’t think he’d make it through last winter (I had to bring him by force inside every night!), but can’t let him go through another winter. He gets up enough to pee, then eat and drink water, then back to sleep. He has only defecated while laying down for months. He’s lost all hearing. He’s been so faithful and so gentle. But it’s time. I will call and have the vet come here, where’s he happy and at home, and let him rest in peace.

    • Voula says:

      Dear Heidi

      That was so beautiful and I know that he will be happy to stay home and be held by you as he drifts off to sleep. He has had a wonderful and full life. It is so sweet that your cat is his buddy. They know and sense that they need one another. They come into our lives with this unconditional love that we cherish so much. He is lucky to have you. Hang in there and know you are doing the right thing. Your love is what keeps him going.sending you strength.

  78. Kuma and Joann says:

    Yes your rambling has been helpful! I need to know I will be reunited with my loving dog someday!

  79. […] How do I know when it is time to put my dog down?. This is beautiful and a must read for anyone that has an Ill pet and you are waiting for some sign that you know it is your time to say good bye Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. | Tags: bridge, dog | Leave a comment […]

  80. Ces says:

    I found your blog today and it has been very helpful for me. We had to put our beloved German Pointer down this morning when it was beyond obvious that he was going to lay down and no longer get up for himself, that he could no longer stand, that he could no longer go potty on his own … how I wished he could have fallen asleep but the fighter that he is probably didn’t want to leave us. When he started to moan and shake later this morning, we knew we had to step in and thankfully we got a vet to make a house call. I told him he could let go now and we love him. I adopted this sweet angel when he was 4 months old and he just turned 14 two weeks ago, I’ll never forget this beautiful boy and he has left a void in our life. I see by what you said and everyone has commented that the decision was the right one to make. Reading about other stories most definitely helps in coming to terms. Thank you.

  81. Rayma says:

    It helped me to read this article and the posts of others facing this difficult decision. I took my Sophie, a 141/2 yr ok Bassett Hound, in this morning to be put to sleep. I saw her really struggling to breath the other night and realized that her congestive heart failure was getting worse. She has withdrawn from the rest of our pack ( me and two other dogs) and obviously was not getting any enjoyment out of life any more. I feel at peace with my choice for her and feel like a great burden has been lifted now that I am no longer worrying about her. Good bye sweet Sophie! I love you.

  82. JoJo says:

    I, too, have been struggling with the decision on what to do. Our beloved Pomeranian was diagnosed with stage four mast cell cancer in March. Because of his age, just over 15, we elected not to do chemo and he was treated with prednisone. What a difference! The large tumors shrunk almost to nothing in just several days. That victory was short-lived however and the tumors returned with a vengeance in late July. There are four of them, large and weepy on his right side. He has to wear a doggie sweatshirt 24/7 or he would lick them to a bloody mess. Today when I changed his sweatshirt, I could see that one tumor is infected. The antibiotics are no longer working. The prednisone also is no longer effective and quite frankly his vet is surprised he’s lasted this long. He’s always been a feisty little fighter, but no more. He’s probably 80 percent blind and deaf as well. I can’t stand it anymore that he looks so sad. I can’t stand the thought of him dying home alone while we’re at work. He’s almost 16, he’s not going to get better. He deserves to die in the arms of the one he loved the most. Tonight my husband finally agreed it will be the right thing to do and in two days he will say goodbye to best friend. Please say a prayer for us that we will be strong enough to actually go through with it.

    • Voula says:

      You know in your heart that you are doing the right thing. You gave him a wonderful loving life and he in return is trying to hold on because of your love. My 17 year old beagle spaniel mix Dalmy was doing the same. Age won the battle and I could no longer see her falling or walking into things. I gave her as many treats as she wanted and went for walks just us two, in the car ride to the vet I held her in my arms and knew it was the right thing to do. I still miss her terribly but she is in a better place. Remember that when you dream of your little guy he will be healthy and running because when they get to rainbow bridge they are healthy and happy again. You will meet again one day and he knows that you love him. Hang in there Jo Jo, you have done everything possible.
      Sending you strength and prayers and give your little guy a kiss. Tell him he has a friend waiting to play ball with him when he gets to rainbow bridge. He wont be alone 🙂

  83. Paula says:

    I’m sending you my prayers also. I think what helped me was in realizing my dog wasn’t going to get any better. I also believe dogs understand and accept death, but not pain or suffering. We make this very difficult decision, and try the best we can to be strong for them because they cannot. He is very fortunate to have you there for him. I also believe that our pets are just a little piece of heaven on earth for us. I cannot imagine heaven without them.

    • JoJo says:

      Thank you for your kind words. That’s was our breakthrough realization – he simply wasn’t going to get better. Waiting until he got worse would be cruel. My husband is with him at the vet right now, he wanted to be alone with his best buddy during his final moments. And when he comes back we will bury our little shadow in his favorite place in the woodsy part of our property where the chipmunks tormented him and the deer tolerated him, with his favorite night-night and the tears will flow as they are now. Rest now in pain free peace Pippin. We will see you again someday at the rainbow bridge.

      • Ces says:

        My German Pointer had just turned 14 and apparently he was in a lot more pain than we had thought; we probably kept him longer than we should but he came to a point where he needed to lay down and no longer wanted to get up. We knew at that moment it was time… that was 2 weeks ago and it’s painful, but I read Rainbow Bridge and it brings a smile to my face somehow. I also light a candle for him each week and that makes me feel good.
        Sending love and peace to your sweet Pippin. Keeping him near you on your property will be a nice place for you to visit when you are able to do so.
        So sorry for your loss.

  84. Nicola says:

    Ive been thinking about this for a little while now, confiding in my friends and family for advice about my baby girl Shona and they are all saying the same thing….if shes suffering, you need to let her go. My Shona is a red setter cross german sheapard and nearly 14, ive had her her whole life and most of mine. Shes the most loyal, loving and affectionate dog ive ever known.
    I put the question into google for a 50th opinion and came across this one in my search and havnt cried so much in a long time, there are alot of good points answers to some other questions I had.
    I read this while looking at her looking back at me with her twinkling eyes as if she knew what I was thinking. That may sound daft but that was the moment. I kept on reading and questioning my question as I realise that shes not near her end yet….she can runand walk fine, not as much as she used to be able to but shes old, very meal time she jumps like a kangaroo in excitement, she has no problem going toilet herself, although has recently been doing a wee now and again in the house but has been drinking alot more water than usual so not sure whats thats about. Shes always excited and happy to see me when ive entered my house even if ive just been taking the rubbish outside….still so happy.
    I did take her to the vets about a month ago as she lost weight and went through phases of biting and licking the botom of her back so much that there was no hair left and was raw. But thats all good now thanks to antihistamine jag and medicated shampoo. The vet also gave me a few shocks as pointing out she has a heart murmer and a few small tumours! And that he cant opperate on them because of the murmer and age of her. about 2 weeks ago I came across more produding lumps on her while bathing her and for the first time, she yelped while bathing her and I dont know what caused it. She does have a bad hip thanks to the german sheapard in her, she has a bad limp when walked or ran too much I dont walk her too far anymore. And when shes just relaxed in her bed she often whines which leads me to believe shes in pain and its breaks my heart to think shes suffering and theres nothing I can do to help her exept from the topic of discussion.
    if shes in pain is there any other option the help her? Shes such a happy and lively dog and i would hate to have to put her down when theres so much love and life in her, im sure she wouldnt want her life cut short and neither do I 😦
    any comments or answers are well appreciated, thanks

    • Voula says:


      Shona sounds like she still wants to hold on. What does your vet say to do? Does he suggest something for her pain? My vet told me that when they stop eating it is a sign they are in pain and have given up. My girl was almost 17 when I put her to sleep. She could not get up all the time and had accidents in the house all the time but I did not care. I wanted her with me. she would always eat even if she did not have great teeth. I would hold the food in my hand and she would eat from my hand. I miss her very very much but I did the right thing. You have to ask and see if she is suffering. If not then enjoy every day. Give her anything she wants and all the love she deserves.

      • Nicola says:

        Im sorry for your loss 😦 the vet didnt mention anything about the pain in that session, ive been to scared to take her back about it but looks like Im going to have to, she eats all her meals fine, never had a problem with food, I think her eyesite and hearing are going as shes not as responsive to me calling her, ive had to start clapping now to call her back to me. She struggles to get up sometimes and when she goes to lie down she sometime just flops to the floor. I dont want to lose her, I know its got to happen sometime but hopefully not too soon 😦

  85. Ric says:

    It’s been 5 weeks today since my beautiful Kevvie went to the bridge and I still find myself coming back to this page whenever I see a new post. It really helps to know that I’m not alone in my pain and I hope everyone else feels that as well.

    I still miss my boy so very much, my heart is still broken and I still shed many tears. I think of him constantly and see him in every corner of the house – well the memories of him there are what I see. They creep up and I remember his face at the window when I came home from work, his tail wagging in his sleep and hitting the carpet, that curious face that peered at me when I least expected it; in the shower or bathroom or when I thought he was outside or asleep and he came looking for me. These memories are what I treasure but they are still so painful. I know in time the memories will bring smiles instead of tears but oh how much does it hurt.

    I knew I would miss him and that it would take time to heal but the most overwhelming thought I’ve had the whole time is that simply he SHOULD still be here. He’s meant to be here with me. We were meant to continue this journey forever. Of course, in reality, from the day I got him I knew his forever would be a different to mine. His journey is over but mine continues, and facing that without him is so hard. In time, I will get back to normal, my busy life will resume as it once was. I won’t suddently think I’ve forgotten to fill his water bowl. I won’t open the door carefully expecting him to be close on the other side waiting for me. I won’t leave doors open for him to come in and out when he likes and I’ll get used to leaving the house without worrying about giving him a treat. I want automatically go to the dog food aisle at the supermarket. I’ll pick up the crumbs I drop without thinking he’ll be under my feet in an instant for a quick snack.

    These are the things that take adjustment. I still have his day bed on the deck, his toys are still there and I’m comfortable with that. In time I will put them away. But for now, I need to feel him close to me. Some days I wake thinking he’ll come back but then reality strikes and I know he won’t.

    Over the weeks, I’ve felt guilty, was it too soon? Did I do enough? etc. The answers I know are that I did more than a lot of people would have, it was the right time and I did the right thing. There is no way my boy could have stayed a day longer. It was his time, I gave him the most precious gift I could and let him go.

    I’ve also thought about getting another dog. I know for some, it’s best to do that right away but for me, I am simply not ready. I’ve been to the shelters, I’ve researched the puppies for sale, I’ve even made calls to people selling dogs but, not yet. In time I will let another beautiful pooch share my life but for now, I need to grieve for my Kevvie.

    I am not sure why I have written this post. Maybe I needed to let me thoughts out to people who understand. Maybe I am hoping someone else who feels these things to know they are not alone and their thoughts and emotions are ok.

    Thank you all for sharing your stories, you’ve certainly helped me through this difficult time. If anyone would like to share more or simply tell their story, I know I’ll be here to listen.

    • Voula says:

      Hi Ric

      I too feel your pain. My dalmy left me back in May and she is in my thoughts every day. I have been dreaming of her a lot these days and she is healthy and happy and that is what brings me peace. The dreams did not start right away. I guess she knows when I need her most.
      Same thing will happen for you with Kevvie. They are such a huge part of who we are. They have gone through so many stages of our lives and that is why we miss them so. Their love is unconditional. I have 2 more dogs and 2 cats. One of my cats died while I was away one weekend and that was so difficult. It never gets easier. Even with all the chaos in this home, my Dalmys presence is missed. She was my baby. Kevvie is by your side as well.

      I would like to do something for you just because I want to. Send me your favorite photo of kevvie and a list of things he loved or anything special that you shared.
      send to
      That is if you want to.

      Hang in there 🙂

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Ric,
      I responded to this website last autumn after I received the terrible diagnosis that my precious dog, Daisy, had cancer. The vet gave her 2 months at the most. She lived for 15 months more. I knew the end had come when she had trouble “pooping”. She was pacing and panting at night. Daisy gave me such pleasure and loyal companionship. I loved her dearly. But she no longer enjoyed the things that she had enjoyed. She still ate well and drank well but her gait was slower and she had more trouble getting up. She was 15 years old – quite old for a larger dog. I still hear her toenails on the laminate flooring. I still expect her to follow me to the kitchen for any scraps leftover from what I was making for supper. I am still trying to be quiet in my chair so I don’t disturb her. I feel funny eating a whole sandwich or plate of food without giving her the last little bit. I also feel funny leaving the house without taking her with me. And yes, I still question whether I made the decision too soon. However, my vet was very good and did all he could to continue her life. When he told me that I should start thinking about letting her go, I had to seriously take his words to heart. This was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. In my head I knew it was time. My heart said otherwise. It has been 3 weeks since Daisy left me. I had her cremated and brought her ashes home. I want her buried with me eventually.

      I have had so many face book comments and cards from friends. I know that I am truly blessed. I also know that Daisy has no more pain. But it does not keep me from weeping from time to time. One more hug, one more walk, one more cookie, one more snuggle – anything. I miss her. I love her. I will never forget her. One day I will get another dog. I have lots to offer. But not yet. I need to just be….. And so do you.

      Take care. It is comforting to know that I am not alone.


      • Sue Harke says:

        Daisy had a wonderful home during her life. She was loved and was able to love back. I believe she will still be loving back in ways you will never believe. My dog, who passed more than 2 years ago, recognized my need for another pet and seemed to know what personal issues I would be facing in the next 3 years. He told me to pick a kitten from someone giving them away at a food store. I listened to him. Both he and a cat that I had for 15 years came back to visit and make sure the kitten understand that she was in a great home. Maybe is you listen with your heart, you may get a similar message to meet your personal needs. I suggest not saying “no” out of pain, because Daisy may be trying to make your pain go away or be less. I know you are blessed from all the good people who were there for you after Daisy passed. Now it is time to let Daisy help you.

  86. Paula says:

    I lost my Zuni this past June. I have another older dog, and she also missed Zuni and his companionship, but I couldn’t bring myself into looking for another pet. About 4 weeks ago I found a little calico cat in my garden: she evenually made her home in my 3-season’s room. None of my neighbors knew who owned this cat. They had seen her a few weeks prior, and saw her being chased by a dog, and in garbage. One of the little girls in the neighborhood said the cat would hide under my bushes and meow. I didn’t find anything in the lost and found. I finally took her to the vet . There was no microchip on her, and other than homing some parasites and being matted, she was healthy. Well, she’s an inside cat now. She and my dog get along fine! And, my dog has never been with a cat! She is a very proper young kitty that purrs, snuggles, and uses her litter box. Right now she is on my lap as I type with my dog at my feet. I keep thinking about your words of your lost animals guiding you to other pets. I have to say I’m still not convinced Zuni sent her to me, but this definitely was Providence. I feel this kitty is helping our grief, and I am also helping her as well. It is amazing how she is fitting so well into our household. I’m not sure I would have been as opened to keeping her if not for your postings. Thanks!

    • Sue Harke says:

      I am happy to have been of help and to find a kitty a great home. Now it is your turn to pass it forward to the next person who has the same experience 🙂 The more sharing on the loss of a pet and how the pet will come back to help their mom or dad over their grief will make more people open to the idea.

  87. Jessi says:

    Thank you for this. I can’t express how much it is helping me at this moment. Tomorrow is the day, and all of the second guessing and crying I am doing has been lessened just a bit by this post. Bosco is a 14 year old chocolate. He was my dads dog who passed away 3 years ago. That makes it even harder. At least they will be able to cross the bridge together now.

    • Michelle says:

      It has been 5 weeks today since I put Daisy down. She was a 15 year old black lab cross. She was the best companion ever. She actually was the family dog but when I moved here 8 years ago, she became mine. It was hard to know if it was actually the right time. She was diagnosed with anal cancer in August of 2011. I thought she had very little time then. She gave me 13 more wonderful months. She began panting and pacing more and more. She moaned when she tried to “poo”. I loved her too much to let her go on like this. I think of her everyday. I miss her so much. I am by myself and the house seems so empty. I had her cremated and brought her cremains home in a beautiful pink urn. Many friends have been so supportive but I still feel so lonely. I want to get another rescue dog but my family says not yet. I read all the letters and cry each time. I miss Daisy’s footsteps, her begging for the last bit of toast or sandwich and especially her breathing at night. I even miss her smell. I have cleaned my suite of all of her “things”. I have even taken a trip knowing that I don’t have to worry about her. But I would give anything for one last cuddle or one last pet. People say that it will get easier with time. I am not so sure of this.

      • Sue Harke says:

        Your family may be wrong about when you get another dog or pet. Daisy may decide it is time for your get another friend and send you the right pet. It may be a dog or cat. My late friend Gilligan (passed at age 17) sent me a 6 1/2 week old kitten (some one giving kittens away at a food store) about 2 1/2 years ago. When I got home with the kitten, the next day a cat that passed at age 20 came by to make sure it was all going well. Gilligan knew what my life would be like when he selected the kitten for me and it has turned out to be the best choice I would have made too (if I had a crystal ball and could see the future).

        Be sure to keep and open mind and heart when your new friend arrives and don’t listen to family who will probably not understand the message.

        • Michelle says:

          Thanks for your comments. I feel that I will find another pet friend one of these days. I pray that Daisy will send one my way. I am open to that. I have searched the SPCA and found a few possibilities. I am somewhat afraid of what my family will say and/or do. I agree that family, with all of their needs and activities, find it hard to understand the single person in their life. I am willing to give up a lot to enjoy the companionship of another rescue pet. I am keeping an open mind and heart to this possibility. I will keep you posted.

          • Sue Harke says:

            I suggest listening only to your heart and your head when listening for the message for the dog or pet that needs a loving home – with you. I also suggest volunteering with a rescue group or SPCA and find a way to give your love to animals that need love. Also, how about becoming a foster home for a rescue group/SPCA? If you fail foster “101,” don’t feel bad because you fell in love with the animal and could not let him or her leave your side.

            Please let me know when and if you share these ideas with others in the future 🙂

            • Michelle says:

              Sue, Funny but I have thought of volunteering with the SPCA. I am afraid that I will fall in love with every animal that I foster or volunteer with. However, I think that you have an excellent idea. I will give this a lot of thought. Thanks for the suggestion.
              I do substitute teach and am, hopefully, ready to start back. Walking dogs at the SPCA will fit in quite nicely.

              By the way, Daisy was a “she”. Beautiful!!

              • Sue Harke says:

                How about emailing back in about six months and let me know your status. I think you have a lot of love to share with both people and animals.

                • Michelle says:

                  I will email you back and let you know how I am doing. Thanks for the caring thoughts, Sue. I appreciate your support and affirmation.

    • Laura says:

      Reading your post just stopped me cold. I am reading this thread because our 12/13 year old chocolate lab Bosco is having a hard time getting around as of late. I was looking for answers on what to look for when it is his time. He has been with us for 10 years. I just don’t want him to suffer. He deserves better then that.

  88. Sue says:

    My girl, Luna, has just turned 15 this month. She is my heart and my soul. It’s probably not good to define yourself by the qualities of your animal but nonetheless it is what it is. She is deaf. She is mostly blind. She had ACL surgery 8 years ago after an injury and although they told me she would resume her normal activity after time, she never really did. She never jumped and ran and was as playful as she used to be.

    She has been with me through my 30s. She has been with me through my 40s — although I’m not all the way through my 40s yet. She has been through my bad decisions, my illness, my insecurities. I was never alone as I always had Luna with me. While going through chemo treatments, Luna is what got me through them. I would be in the bathroom horribly, horribly ill and Luna would be next to me licking the back of my neck.

    Luna has been on Tramadol for over 3 years. She has taken one a day. We’ve recently decided to up it to 2 a day. I guess the sheer fact that I am looking at this website tells me and everyone else that I am considering what must eventually be done. My mother told me that when she had to put her 17 year old cat down right after burying her mother that she cried more over losing her cat than her mother. I believe that. Luna is always there — forever at my side.

    The vet does tell me that her quality of life is good. She doesn’t move very fast. She can’t see well or hear very well. I have to help her into the car when we go to the pond to go swimming but as soon as we get to the pond, I see the young, vibrant girl that I knew long ago. She’s just shrouded in gray. She loves to swim.

    We will go on for the time being. I love her enough to do the right thing and let her go when she/I are ready to. I appreciate the experiences folks have posted. They have actually reinforced in me that it is not her time. She does not soil herself. She loves to eat. She loves to swim. She loves to sleep. She still will occasionally play with a toy.

    At her last visit, our vet (the same vet she has had all her life) told me frankly that she has lived longer than most dogs her size and that I had taken excellent care of her and she was still alive today because of the care I have given her and that at her age, every day is a blessing. I remember that every day. My pain is her pain. Her pain is my pain. I will do the right thing when the time is right and I know that I will feel intense pain but I will also know that she is not feeling that pain. She will be free and we will be together again one day. But today, I’m going to take the old girl out for a walk. It’s a little too cold to go swimming but a nice, slow walk together is in order.

    There will most assuredly be other pets but there will never be another Luna in my heart or in my life. She showed me that I was capable of love. I will love her to the end of time. She is my heart. She is my soul and I will feel blessed each and every day that I spend with her.

    Thanks for giving me an outlet to share my feelings.

    • Sue Harke says:

      This was posted in a blind dog group forum. Maybe you can use this idea to allow your dog to swim,,,

      Wow! Thanks! Now why didn’t I think of this simple method? Puppy is certainly small enough for this to work, and I also have one of those shower jets on the long hose!

      BTW, Spanky woke up in her crate dry and clean! This is fourth night it’s happened, so I do believe she’s on her way to full house breaking!


      — In XYZ group was posted [edit for privacy reasons]
      > >
      > > I wish there were a pool I could put her in and allow her to swim. I think the exercise might help with her rear legs, although it doesn’t seem to impede her fun in any way shape or form.
      > >
      > >
      > Bathtub. Fill it with water until just before her butt starts to float. Have her walk up and down the tub in the water. Cheerios float, they are great to put in the water, “incentive” for them to walk.
      > I also have a massage shower head on a long hose. I fill the tub as above, and then submerge the shower head on the pulse setting. This is like a doggie jaccuzi. The moving water forces the dog to continually adjust their stance to balance. This flexes/strengthens the leg muscles and reinforces the neuro pathways between the brain and the back end.
      > Blind I am new to, paralized/handicapped dachshunds, old paw 😉

    • Steve says:

      I too had to put my 14 year old lab Samson down the day after I buries my Dad.I know the pain.That was 3 years ago.I still my dad and my pet he was my best friend and loyal companion.Time does help.

  89. Lee Anne says:

    I am getting ready to take my male Shih Tsu Sam to the vet at 6:00. He has Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia. This disease can kill in no time. Now my boy has a cough and they are worried about heart failure. Today is his Birthday and he is 10. I do not know if I will be bringing him back home and how I will be in our house alone. My heart just breaks looking at him with his beautiful brown eyes. He does not feel good. I do believe I will see him again someday that is the only thing that makes this bearable. Thanks everyone for your stories and God Bless! You are not alone in your pain and grief.

    • Lee Anne says:

      Well Sammi is out of his pain and I am in so much. I was not prepared for how they put him to sleep. I had heard from others that they give them something to calm them and then administer the final dose when you are ready. My vet just gives one dose and it happened so quickly. That really broke my heart as I had my boy in my arms. His little head dropped suddenly and he was gone. I just had to hold him and be there for him. I always dreaded that day and miss him so so much. I just hope he knows how much he was loved and that this decision was made from love.
      Lee Anne

      • Voula says:

        so sorry for your loss Lee Anne……Sammi was very lucky to have you there and to be in your arms as he drifted off to sleep. He loved you very much I am certain of that. Cherish the memories, speak of him often and his spirit will live on. I put my darling Dalmy down in May. she was almost 17 and a fighter. I felt guilty but knew it was the best choice for her. We can not be selfish we have to think of their pain. It will get easier but you will never forget.

  90. Lizelle says:

    I had to put my 12.5 year old Boxer Ludwig down yesterday. It was and still is the hardest thing I have ever had to do! I know that I did the right thing, but I am missing my “Superman” tremendously! I have been crying now for 2 days and even while I am writing this, the tears are rolling! He was my everything! I come home from work and I don’t have my “bear” with me to hug him and ask him how his day was.

    People dissapoint me, but my animals never! It is true what they say:” The more people I meet the more I love my dog!”.

    R.I.P my superman, I will ALWAYS love you! 😦

    • Voula says:

      Lizelle…..take it one day at a time and you will heal. You will never forget Ludwig and he will always be by your side. You will feel him close. It is not an easy road we take and such a hard decision to make but we love them so much and need to do what is best for them.

  91. Amy says:

    That was such a great story. We have to put our dog down this week and our other dog passed in June. So I’ve read Rainbow Bridge which is a heartbreaking poem. So I skipped that part and read on. I really love the story your dad told. That is so comforting. I know I’ll see my dogs again in heaven. Thank you for sharing that.

  92. Angie says:

    My dog ruby is only 3years old she has chronic pyoderma and for the last 18 months has been getting treatment for it none of which has worked last week we took her to a specialist surgeon who then sent us to a dermatoligist specialist who took a culture and has said there are 3different bacterias one which is non resistant she has prescribed new antibiotics my problem is it has now appeared on her other back leg the vets had discussed taking her leg of if the antibiotics don’t work but now that its on both back legs this will no longer be an option I am now thinking if this doesn’t work should I have her put to sleep as she is constantly in a muzzle and lamp shade to stop her self harming she can’t drink when she wants she’s not to be walked and is constantly in pain and getting depressed what should I do it’s not about money as I already have paid four and a half thousand pounds in the last year and a bit and would continue to do so if it was to fix her what should i do

    • Voula says:

      Oh Angie I am so sorry to hear this sad news. Poor you…Poor Ruby.what does the vet say or suggest? That is not the quality of life Ruby deserves. If she is in pain and not happy then you have to set her on her journey where she will be pain free. Not an easy decision but you must see what the options are. She loves you and knows you are doing what is best for her. Good luck and follow your heart….

    • Sue Harke says:

      Have you looked into “manuka Honey” to treat the bacteria? I don’t know if this will help, but it does help with MRSA. Have you talked to an holistic vet for an alternative approach?

  93. Mike says:

    I am sitting here agonizing over what to do. My beloved Luci, 11 year old Rottie was diagnosed with both bone and lung cancer in November. Things have gotten tough for her especially the last two weeks. She hasn’t eaten for three days, drinking some water but has been vomiting mostly bile since yesterday. I know the time has come but I cant bring myself to put her in the car and make the drive. I know I should but I feel like I am taking her somewhere to kill her. I should have done it yesterday. She threw up last night and she didn’t even move even though some was on her, thats not like her. She has been panting like crazy which I know is not good. Her breathing is labored. I feel like dying myself.

    • jehingr says:

      Stop waiting. You know what needs to be done. Luci is counting on you to spare her from the suffering. Show her the love she that she deserves, and hold her as she goes to the Bridge.

      • Mike says:

        I just came back from the vet. She is gone now.

        • Michelle says:

          It has been just over 3 months since I had to let my Daisy go. I still weep for her but it has become less often. Mike, you did the right thing and never doubt your decision. Having a pet and knowing that it is dependent on you for everything is the hardest thing you will ever have to do. Luci depended on you to know when it was time. You did not kill her. You allowed her to finish her time here on earth in a dignified manner. What greater love is there. She is now your special angel. Take comfort knowing that others are feeling your physical pain but also know that it will get better. I am thinking of you and Luci in a special way today.

          • Mike says:

            Thank you Michelle. I don’t have kids and I work from home a couple days per week. She was always my greatest source of companionship. It snowed today, she loved the snow but could not enjoy it today. I cant believe she’s not by my side as I write this.

            • Michelle says:

              Hi Mike. I am single and so I really feel the loss of Daisy. My family, who have many activities to keep them occupied, do not understand the loneliness. You will feel Luci by your side many times, or hear her footsteps or breathing at night. This will lessen. You will make it through the pain. Weeping is healing. Good Luck. You are not alone.

        • jehingr says:

          I am so sorry for your loss.

          Sent from my iPad

        • Sue Harke says:

          I know it was hard, but you did the right by allowing her to go peacefully into the night. She will be back to thank you. for freeing her from pain. In the future watch for a message from her saying which pet SHE has selected for you to be a friend to take her place. A late dog and cat got together and selected a 6 1/2 week old kitten from someone trying to place her in front of a grocery store. In the next two days, both the dog and cat came back to make sure I had the kitten.

          Another option once your pain lessens is to foster a dog for the local shelter or a rescue group. This will allow you to share your love with an animal that desperately needs love. Maybe your late friend will like the match and cause you to fail “foster 101” and say to keep your new buddie 🙂

    • Ric says:

      Mike, you have done the right thing. Your Luci is running free now and she knows that you gave her the ultimate gift. The toys, treats, pats, walks and cuddles you shared were nothing compared to what you did for her today. I lost my Kevvie 4 months ago tomorrow. I still cry for him, I still miss him with every ounce of my being and I talk to him like he is still there but I had to let him go to the bridge when his time came. I too am a single man, he was my best friend and companion for nearly 11 years, it was the most heart breaking, gut wrenching day of my life but when I felt him go to sleep in my arms I knew it was right. He couldn’t be the dog he was any more and Luci was the same. She is playing with my Kev and all the other furry children who have gone before her now. They would have welcomed her with a sniff and a tail wag. Just remember she is still with you, she is watching over you to make sure you are ok and she wants nothing more than for you to remember her with an immense amount of love and smile for the time you had together. The pain will come and go and soon you will chuckle at the things you remember rather than weep. I still feel the bed shift during the night and I know Kev has laid down beside it and thumped against it as he did for years. He is there and your Luci is there too.

      Take the time you need to heal. Cry. Laugh. Take some time for yourself to do something you love to do. I know the worst feeling I had in the days that followed was that he SHOULD still be there, he was meant to be there, he should be by my side as I work or eat or sleep but it will pass. Remember that Luci still is there, you just can’t see her. Much love to you and Luci.

      • Mike says:

        Thanks Ric. Waking up this morning without her was brutal. She always sat next to me to have her single cheerio, it was a morning ritual for 11 years.

  94. Heath says:

    I have read through every post on this page and am still struggling internally over what to do…My shepherd mix was diagnosed with an aggressive, advanced anal sac adenocarcinoma in July. It was too big to operate on and had already spred to his lymph nodes. The first specialist we saw basically told us there was no hope and that we could bring him in the next day to euthanize him since he was completely unable to go to the bathroom. This was very hard to believe, as Buddy still seemed like his usual happy self. After doing tons of research online, I decided not to take “no” for an answer and took him to another specialist, who was so nice and supportive. We knew that the cancer was not curable because the only change of cure is to surgically remove the tumor and infected lymph nodes, but we decided to undergo palliative chemo and radiation. Buddy responded great with no side effects, and enjoyed a great quality of life for almost 6 months!

    Here is the dilemma I now face: the tumor has again grown and his sublumbar lymph nodes are hugely enlarged, so we know his time is coming, The oncologyst put him on a stool softener last Monday and said if it didn’t help that we should bring him in on Wednesday to be put down. We have always planned to bring Buddy to my family’s farm to “say goodbye” so we have been here since last Wednesday (a full week now)…Buddy is enjoying being spoiled with lots of delicious fresh meat and treats, spending time with his people, and going for a good 4-5 walks a day with plenty of interesting things to sniff and deer bones to haul home:) 98% of the time i am certain that he is still enjoying his life and is not ready to leave….BUT he howls in pain at least once a day when he tries to defecate, even on the stool softener. I cannot bear the thought of him being in excruciating pain, but then less than 2 minutes later, he is trotting down the road….If things were getting worse at all, or he stopped eating or stopped seeming to enjoy his walks and ski trips though the woods, I know my decision would be clear….or maybe it should already be clear? I just don’t know…

  95. vic says:

    Four years ago my son who was 18 yrs old at a time was on the verge of depression and going thru some rough time.We, as a parent would do anything to help him .He suggested that maybe we should get pet dog to keep his mind busy .i immediately search for this dog and found star a shihtzu…Shes been a blessing to us all and always been a great companion .This past week shes been diagnosed with spinal problem and cannot move her hind legs .its heart breaking to see her this way..since shes always been perky and playfull . The other day we spoke to our son and told him her condition that she might not be able to walk again and expect the worse..He didnt say anything but quietly sob when she saw her.Now we are doing our best to make her comfortable we are willing to give her what shes given us in our time despair .The doctor recommended surgery but will cost us a substantial amount of money .$7,000.00 dollars plus other expenses which we dont have..So here we are wanting to help but could not do a thing.The last thing in our mind is to put her down shes only 4 yrs old.All we could do is to take of her the best we could and pray..But deep down we know the time is gonna come and we have to make the right decision for her …hope there is some other way we love her so much.

    • Voula says:

      so sorry to hear this sad news. Such a young dog. She was there for you and gave you love and now, no matter how difficult you have to give her the same respect. If she is in pain it would be the kindest thing to do. Let her go peacefully in your arms. The money is always a problem we as pet lovers face. We can not always spend the money needed. sometimes even if we do there is no guarantee. Be happy that you gave her love and she gave you love for the time she has been with you. You know in your heart there is no other choice Sending you strength.

  96. Frank says:

    The pain,the pain of holding your best friend from the animal world /as he syes his last breath/vet says lay him on the blanket/he lays from your command/he sleeps forever/and you cry/you knew his pain for too long /and held the guilt cause you couldn’t let him go/you were the best thing he ever knew/ya loved your boog and that was true and he loved ya too

  97. vic says:

    thanks so much ..its hard but i think its the right thing to do..we will miss her

  98. Jeanene says:

    Our dog Shadow is 14 years old. He has cataracts, can’t see well, can’t hear, constant hacking cough like he’s trying to cough up something (nothing ever comes out)constant boogers from his nose, his nose is dry. He is skinny and bony, he eats ok but does skip meals, constantly thirsty. He has trouble pooping and today he had bloody mucous running poop. We know he is miserable and suffering BUT how bad is he REALLY suffering? My son said he still eats so don’t put him down. Well this is true but he also skips meals. Do we put him down and end his suffering. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks

    • jehingr says:

      If you had to count on your brother to do the things for you that you do for Shadow, would you want it to continue?

    • Dfinch says:

      Just because the dog can eat, doesn’t mean he has a good quality of life. Is the dog happy? If he’s miserable, it’s OK to say that “it’s time”. You’re not a bad person for putting him down. In fact, you are putting him out of his misery.

  99. Dfinch says:

    For the most part, I think my 14-year old black lab, Jack, is still a happy dog. On the surface that should mean that it isn’t time to consider putting him down. However, I’m really struggling with this topic.

    A synopsis of his situation: can’t do stairs (I built him a handicapped ramp so he can go outside); very little range of motion in his back legs due to massive arthritis; his back right leg bows out when he walks (this is brand new so it hasn’t been diagnosed by a vet); bad allergies cause him to lick and bite at himself (we can usually manage this with medication); mostly deaf and somewhat blind. That’s all bad, but his spirits are generally good. He likes to go for short walks and to be around people. He’ll play with a ball for a few minutes and is good with our kids.

    Here’s the problem. Due to nerve damage, the vet says that Jack doesn’t know when he is defecating. He can’t feel it. So, Jack is pooping in the house around 5 days a week, even though we are letting him outside more than twice as often as we used to.

    Here’s my dilemma. If I put him down, I feel like I am being irresponsible to the dog because he is still a pretty happy dog. If I continue the way things are, am I being irresponsible to my family? The constant defecating in the house has to be causing an unclean situation. Ultimately, the defecation situation is not going to get better.

    This is our first family dog, so I would appreciate any feedback you experienced owners can provide.

    • jehingr says:

      How big an issue is the pooping issue for you & your family? How big an issue is it for Jack? I know that Jack wants to please you (he’s a dog, after all). If it is a problem for either Jack or the rest of your family, it may be time. If it is a manageable issue for all, then what is the question?

    • Sue Harke says:

      Why not sit down, pet your dog and ask him what he wants? He may try to communicate in some unusual way to tell you when it is time to let him go. I know at least two of my dogs did and I listened and ended their pain at their request. One dog did not want to leave, but one morning I found him passed away while walking his favorite path in his yard (I don’t think he want to go then, but his illness was too great). At least he passed doing what he enjoyed most.

    • Voula says:

      I put my beloved Dalmy down after 17 wonderful years together. Imiss her every day but she too had problems walking and seeing and peeing wherever, BUT I hand fed her, washed her each time she peed and got her out of corners. When I saw her struggling to lify herself up I no longer could put her through it. I recently changed the way I feed my other two dogs. I have put them on a raw food diet. Frozen meat. They poop less, have energy and allergies are under control. It may not make a world of difference but you never know….it may help. If in your heart you feel you have tried everything then no matter how difficult you know what the answer is….. sending strength your way.


  100. Michelle says:

    This will be the hardest decision you will ever have to make. I put down my beloved Daisy on Oct. 1, 2012. As I write this, I am weeping. I miss her every day. However, I know that she was ready. She was 15 and had cancer. My heart told me differently but my head said that I had to let her go. She was in too much pain. I question my decision all the time but I shake my head and tell myself that it was the right thing to do. Love them, cuddle them, tell them how much you love them and always will. Then let him go. Good luck. I will say an extra prayer for all of you.

  101. Laura says:

    As I sit here typing this my 12 or 13 year old chocolate lab is laying amongst my 4 year olds toys napping. That’s a lot of what he does lately. He sleeps on the floor and on his couch…can’t seem to sleep in one place for too long. Yesterday he started limping pretty badly. He’s deaf and has bad cataracts. On the plus side, he’s happy and eats like a champ. He’s not had any accidents in the house at this point. I don’t want him to suffer, he deserves better then that. He pants a lot and I give him aspirin 2x a day. I don’t think he will tell me when he’s ready, I know he loves our son and probably doesn’t want to leave us. (He gets nervous when I come home without the boy) I knew this was part of the deal when we rescued him….but I don’t want to let him go if its not time yet.

    • Sue Harke says:

      Are you keeping him alive for you? It is a hard decision that i’ve had to make many times to let a pet go peacefully to end their paid.

  102. Amanda says:

    I just found this blog, and let me tell you, your article is wonderful! I’m struggling right now, my first dog, Holly, was just diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia, which is very aggressive, typically a month life expectancy after diagnosis. My oncologist told me that her white blood cell count is one of the highest she’s ever seen, and that dogs are typically very ill at this point. Holly doesn’t seem this way at all. She eats heartily, she plays with her toys (though not as much or as long as she used to), she’s drinking, and letting me know when she needs to go to the bathroom. She is currently on prednisone and having “urine leaking issues” from the excessive water intake associated with pred, but otherwise, she seems happy. She does sleep a lot, but she has always been a lazy dog, but I have definitely noticed it is more then usual. She has received one round of chemo, on the day I received the diagnosis, and I’m now wondering if it is best to continue with this, for an average remission rate of 4 months, or if I should just keep her on the prednisone and allow her to live out her life without multiple vet visits, being stabbed with needles, and generally stress. Any information or help you could give me would be awesome!

    • jehingr says:

      I think my answer would depend on how much a vet visit stresses her out. To me, at this point it would be much more about quality rather than quantity. But only you know what’s right for your girl.

    • Sue Harke says:

      Chemo is very expensive and depending and your income and budget determine if you can afford it. I am allowing my dog, who is diabetic with other health issues (has arthritis and back issues), to live a good life. At this point I am will to give insulin, eye drops, and pain medication, and heart worm medications as needed. Also, he is confused and has other issues. I do not plan doing any extra ordinary medical treatments and the vet has wondered how he has lived so long with his health issues. He is not currently in pain, but if that should change, I will give him peace.

  103. Missy says:

    I have a Great Dane who turned 13 last Tuesday. Let me first say I am very aware how lucky I am to have a healthy Dane at this age. No disease of any kind… she has been perfect. However, she has been battling mild arthritis for several years but we have always been able to keep her comfortable. Her muscles have slowly atrophied over the years and in the last few weeks she has needed help getting her hind end up. She is now at the place where she needs help getting up, walking and going potty. She has also fallen down. While laying in her bed she is alert, silly, hungry, thirsty and happy to see me. She still sucks on her stuffed animals like she did as a pup. But trying to walk is stressful for us all. She weighs more than me so I struggle helping her.
    I feel confused. We lost her best friend a few years ago, a 13 yr old Rottie, but he made it clear when it was time. This is not clear, as she seems normal except for the fact that her legs won’t work. My mobile vet who treats her will be coming soon to look at her. My heart and head are battling this out.
    Any support or advice is helpful.

    • Voula says:

      you are sooooooo lucky to still have her. my best friend was laid to rest last may. she was 16. She too had a great appetite and although blind managed to find her food as well as me, every time I came home. She would greet me at the door. She started to have the same issues with her hind legs and I would help her up but she was small so it was easy. I can only imagine your pain. She too did not seem ready because she enjoyed everything else even with her obstacles. What helped me make the painful decision was her quality of life. How fair was it to her? she couldnt run and play any more. Her love of food was not a reason to keep her here. see what the vet says but think about her…..sending you strength

    • DFinch says:

      This situation is very similar to what we just went through. If you haven’t tried to manage the pain with medication, then I highly recommend doing so. We had our dog on pain medication for his arthritis and he lived a good life for an extra year or so.
      Everybody says that the dog will tell you when it’s time, but ours didn’t. He was a 14 year-old black lab who just wanted to love others and be loved. He still greeted me at the door with his tail wagging. But, his arthritis had gotten so bad that he had trouble getting up; fell down several times per week; vomited in the house about 4-5 times per week and, due to nerve damage, would poop in the house almost daily. Sometimes, several times per day. It wasn’t his fault. He didn’t even know he was doing it.
      In the end, we decided that we had to look at his quality of life and ours. Our vet pointed out that he was never going to get any better and that when his final decline happened, it would progress very quickly. So, we spoiled him for a week and took lots of pictures, then put him down. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, because I know he could have lasted another day… week… month…? Who knows? Honestly, I still feel a lot of guilt over it, but I’m dealing with it. The good news is that your friends and family will support you, no matter what decision you make.

  104. Susan Harke says:

    When it is a question of the rear legs not working well due to arthritis, have you considered putting the dog on wheels….I know these devices may not be cheap, but it will give you more time with your dog.

  105. Missy says:

    Thank you for the replies. We have had her on every pain reliever there is, western and Chinese, and it has all worked well. We thought about wheels but she is a Dane and her front end is now showing weakness as well. My vet comes tomorrow with the understanding that if we decide her quality of life is diminished I will let her go then, on her own bed. The simple fact is that I love her as my own child and would never let her suffer for a single second. It has taken every ounce of strength and courage in me to get to this place but as I keep telling myself, it is about her, not me.
    Thank you again…

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  107. Rania says:

    I have a adorable 3 year old mini poodle who suddenly developed paralysis in his hind legs. When people ask me how many kids i have i always say i have 3 boys( 2 are my sone and the theird is my little Tai) It breaks my heart to see him dragging himself to try and follow me around, it breaks my heart to see that he needs to wear a pamper, it breaks my heart when i have to express his pee but most of all it breaks my heart that my hyper active poodle who was always jumping and running is so restricted. His favourite thing in the world was going for a walk and now he can can just go in the garden and see people pass him. He is not in any pain but i feel that he has no quality of life. Im so scared ill have to put him to sleep 😦

    • Susan Harke says:

      Are you willing to try something before putting the dog down? If yes, put the dog in a bathtub of warm water put water in the tub slowly until the dogs back end lifts out up and the rear legs are slighly elevated. Next move the dogs legs slowly in the warm water. Essentially water therapy. Or get a showed head that goes down into the tub and do essentially the same and see if this helps in the same way. Don’t drown the dog, but just enough water to slightly float. Next you move the dogs legs slowwwwly.

      Finally, put the dog on wheels and try the home physical therapy. Also, try chiropractic by an experienced vet – it works for my dog when his back bothers him. There is also lasik pain treatment for dogs by qualified vets. Both help relieve back pain.

      I say this because one time my dog did the same on a Friday night (I didn’t want to go to the emergency vet). I gave the dog a muscle relaxant, applied warm heat to his back and did massage on his back. After about an hour he was walking again. I took him to the vet on Monday for chiropractic treatment. It has not happened since, but I do keep the correct muscle relaxant and pain medications at home (that I got from the vet) should he have more back issues. The vet said I did the right treatment under the circumstances.

  108. Rania says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you so much for taking time out to reply to me. We are no where ready to put him to sleep, still trying everything that we can. We have had x rays done and shown them to 3 vets but his back seems fine. The bloodwork has shown an infection and he is getting meds for that. I live in pakistan and unfortunately we dont have animal chiropactors here. Will definetely try the water therapy at home.He does have some pain sensation in his legs as he flexses them if pinched. Desperately want him to get better. We are going to wait and do everything we can to help him recover.Putting him to sleep is a last resort

    • Susan Harke says:

      Next step if no veterinarian who does chiropractic is to go to YouTube and look at videos of massage therapy for animals. If you do learn how to do animal massage therapy, then try to get some Methacarbonal (also called Roboxin) from the vet (not sure of the spelling of the drugs). This is the best muscle relaxant for a dog. Process:

      Give Roboxin first, second apply MOIST heat (not dry) to the animals back (to increase the blood supply to the area you want to treat), third gently do massage on dogs back. In addition to improvised water therapy, Fourth, give lots of love and treats during the process so the dog does not think he did something wrong,

      This is the same approach I would use on my dog in the USA. It is the same approach used for humans (my spouse had a bad back in the middle of the night and I refused to take him to the emergency room as this is what they would tell him to do – the doctor agreed with my approach when he took him there).

  109. Rania says:

    susan went to my vet today and discussed the techniques you mentioned, he told me that they sound great and ill be starting them asap. Tai is better today and im praying hard that he is able to make a recovery. Pls pray for him

    • Susan Harke says:

      Thank you. If this approach works for your dog, please share it with others where your live. Also, please give your dog a nice hug and dog biscuit from me. One final request, please let me know how it works, I love feedback.

  110. Rania says:

    Hi susan! we are still at it. Before i started his water physio i saw that he was managing to use one of his hind legs for a bit. i was so excited however today he is refusing to hobble at all. still perservering with physio and hoping for a miracle. Pls pray for my baby and ill keep youi posted

    • Susan Harke says:

      Is it possible to put a towel or other device under his bottom and lift him up a bit to make him try to walk with your supporting him?

  111. Rania says:

    doing that but he does not like it at all, he is able to stand unsupported on his feet for 2-3 secs if i prop up his feet and balance them first. He is also very anxious about the bathtub now and does a lot of jerky movements so i have stopped that and now use a strong showerhead to give him a long shower. I read that the tall walls of the bathtub might be making him anxious so im planning on getting a kiddie pool and see how he does there. He is eating well but is not interested in anything, not even his fav chew toys. will keep you posted, thank you so much for ur help. Hope tomorrow is a better day

    • Susan Harke says:

      Your dog is sounding like anyone with a physical problem — resisting anything that hurts. Many years ago when I hurt my neck in a car accident I was sent to a physical therapist (PT). The PT told me her job was to put me through pain to make the pain go away. Is this any different for an animal, except you can’t explain it to him.

      Swimming pool great idea.

      When all else fails put the dog on wheel on his back end. I’d look at YouTube or Goggle to see the various types of designs that are out there. Once you have an idea of what you want, find a craftsman near you to make it. This may be used while you are putting him through this process of rehab.

      You sound a lot like me as I do not give up when trying to find new way to help my dog as he ages.

  112. Rania says:

    As always susan reading your comments gives me so much hope. Have i mentioned that his pain response is good and today when i was massaging his legs he was trying to pull it from me:) Also ive been reading that its best that if they have a slip disk(which im not sure he has due to lak of mri equipment here) that i should keep his movement restricted. What do you feel? Also his blood tests showed an infection so i feel that the slip disk should be ruled out but not sure. Pls let me know your opinion as well.Im paranoid so i take him to the vet everyday, headed there now. will post updates.

    • Susan Harke says:

      Small dogs are prone to back problems. So, this is not surprising. Since it has shown itself, we just have to find a solution.

      I would try to find out what kind and where the infection is. I would get a culture and sensitivity (C&S) on a sample of the infected tissue to determine the best antibiotic for treatment. If you have access to a standard x-ray machine, get an x-ray (better than no approach). Find a chiropractor who is will to try to treat your dog. Several chiropractors in the US treat dogs, but are not vets. Be sure to put a muzzle on the dog so he will not bite.

      Take classes in massage (humans in your family will love it too) or study the process on Youtube. Remember in massage the movement are slow and not fast. Visit “”, the website of Cesar Milan and see if he has any ideas on this subject. Or email and ask for advise. He is known world wide for working with dogs and their issues.

      Again put your dog on a wheel chair on his rear end while you are trying to determine the medical issue. It is important to keep him moving. Yes, swimming is great exercise for him. The pool sounds like a great idea. If you can find a pool where you and the dog can both use, then put him on a lead and let him move in the water close to you. Yes, keep up the pain medications. There are a lot of dogs with back issues who live their lives very well on these devices. Is it possible someone may be trying to sell such a device as their dog not longer needs it or has passed on? I would look at Youtube for designs of these products and have a friend or craftsman in your country make one for the dog. In this country they cost about $400 and I don’t know what it would cost there.

      Email back as I enjoy talking to you.

      • Rania says:

        Hi Susan! Have had a bit more progress with Tai 🙂 I have seen him stretching his legs on his own now and i he has also tried to hoist himself on his hind legs. Very wobbly and incordinated but i feel its good progress. Think he also knows now when he wants to go pee cos he gets really restless and tries to make his way to the bathroom. Im hoping that these are all good signs. Would love to know what you think? Also ive noticed that even if he does manage to get up or if i gently lift him he fails the proprioception test 😦 im hoping that that will come later with time. Pls do share your thoughts.

        • Susan Harke says:

          Whoo-Hoo small signs of progress 🙂 I had to lookup what a “proprioception test” was. Yes, I like what I hear. It means you are taking the right direction to give the dog the chance to fight back. If he does have a bad disc, you can’t do anything about that yourself.

          Before we had these great MRI machines doctors and veterinarians used a common sense approach to diagnosing problems. X-rays, stethoscopes, muscle relaxation and heat to improve blood supply to an injured part of the body, massage — all of which you are doing (vets used eyes, ears, and touch to diagnose disease).

          Stretching and exercise (swimming in your dogs case). Try to find a larger swimming pool that both you and your dog may use. Cesar Milan may have some hints on how to teach your dog to swim as he did shows on it. Swimming helps strengthen the muscles that support the back and maybe the disc that has issues.

          Love the positive reports and I want to hear more. One day you will be the person saying our very conversation to another concerned dog owner 🙂

  113. Rania says:

    Hey! more progress, Tai’s pampers are off and he is now going outside for his pees and poos. Since we dont really have very good pet supplies stores i saw some pics and have had a crate made for him. He has started walking like a little drunk man now:) im hoping that with time he can regain complete control of his legs. Its now 12 days since he became paralysed and there is drastic improvement. Pls let me know what you think about crating him and how long you think i should do it for?

    • Susan Harke says:

      If it makes the dog feel better, go for it. The more independence he can create for himself, the more he starts healing himself (with your help and encouragement of course). Looks like old time conservative treatment works for Tai. Also, I have an article I’d like to send you, please email directly at “”.

  114. […] Shepherd dog named Tyler. (For anyone facing a similar situation, I highly recommend reading this blog post on how to make the most difficult and loving decision we are called to make for the animals who […]

  115. Lisa Musgrave says:

    Myth you say about your dog telling you it’s had enough. Well it happened to me and I won’t let anyone tell me different. Maybe a one off but its true.
    I knew my dog had a cancerous growth in his mouth and the vet told me if he operated it would come back twice as fast. So made the most of the time I had left with him. One day I got up and the lump started to bleed so rushed him back to the vets. He said I think its time. So he went out to get what he had to and when he was gone I asked my dog JET please baby give me a sign so I know im doing the right thing. With that Jet was sick and it was black so I knew then the cancer was all in his body. To me it was his way of telling me to let him go there and then. Ive never explained this before and am crying writing this as means so much to me an through this made me cope. Kniwing that time was the right time as he told me.
    Ive now got another dog who is almost 16 only half her heart is working. She is going blind and deaff. Her legs are weak and she has seizers now and again. I know her time is soon but id like to think will I also be lucky that she too gives me a sign or am I on my own with this one.

  116. Terri says:

    Thank you so very much to everyone who posted here. My husband and I just returned from the vet without our 12 year old lab-mix “Rosie”. Her passing was peaceful and dignified. If not for all of the wisdom and compassion written on this blog, I would have delayed my decision in the hopes that a miracle would have occurred. I would have prolonged the inevitable. Instead our sweet old girl lived her last two days with lots of love, dignity and minimal suffering. Words cannot express my gratitude to all dog lovers here. Your stories of grief and pain gave me the strength I needed.

    I believe that our pets are on loan to us, borrowed for a short time. They teach us lessons of compassion and patience, trust, loyalty and in the end, grief. See you at the bridge Rosie-bud!!

    • Michelle says:

      Thank you Terri for your beautiful thoughts. I, too, had a dog on loan. Her name was Daisy Mae and she taught me a lot about commitment. loyalty and unconditional love. She was the family dog and I had her for half of her life. She was my best buddy but had to be put down in October, 2012. I did not think that I would have another pet but low and behold, I have a 4 month old LabX named Charlo. She brings me a lot of joy and excitement. She is a very good dog and I love her. People told me that I would know when the time was right and I did. I hope to have Charlo for many years to come.

  117. Susan Harke says:

    We look forward to your future posts to help the next person facing the same decision. Your help will be wonderful in helping him or her make a difficult decision.

  118. Carol says:

    Your words were both lovely and comforting. My dear dog Laya is almost 14 years old, she was born on the 4th of July.
    She is struggling with severe arthritis and she has good days and bad days.
    She also is on a restricted diet.
    My days with my sweet best friend are numbered and I will cherish every single day.
    I will be ready to let her go when it’s time.
    Thank you.

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  120. Christine says:

    My lovely 9 year old golden retriever hasn’t been able to walk for 2 months. He was prescribed with double the dosage of medication he could handle at a hospital that lead to an irreversible complete immune system breakdown. His glands are unable to regulate his glucose metabolism and his heart is very weak, therefore he’s only surviving from the proper medication prescribed to him every week. My 50 year old self have been taking care of him everyday and carrying his 30kg body down to the gardens everyday for him to get a bit of sun; the rest of the time I’d have to stay home 24/7 incase he needs to defecate.
    My goldie seems to still be quite happy and enjoying the company of people and still overly excited with anything related to food. However, I don’t know whether it is right for me to put him down, as he is still sentiently living; the quality of life is definitely incomparable to before as he cannot walk, run around, bark or defecate on his own. The doctor did advise us that putting him down is the best way to go because he is no longer enjoying the quality of life… But I am very torn because it seems as though I am putting him down for my own convenience to some degree? Also, I feel like it is unfair to him because it was the previous medication that led him to be like this, not because of natural causes, therefore it is unethical to let him just go like this?

    I did a bit of research online and realized my goldie’s symptoms match Addison’s disease, although the doctor didn’t verify, he did say what he’s experiencing is very rare, disregard of the cause…

    I would appreciate if I could get some advice on whether it is ethical to put him down!

    Thank you.

    • Voula says:

      Dear Christine
      As soon as I saw this I knew I had to reply. I put my 16 yr old down last May. she was blind her hind legs had given out on her and all she enjoyed was eating. I cleaned up after her, and picked her up, I steered her in the right direction. she would often wake in a pool of her pee. I kept holding on thinking like you do, but at the end of the day it is zero quality of life. Letting them go is the best gift we can give them. I am sure everyone will agree with me when I say you have to let go and do what is best for Goldie. It is our love for them that keeps them holding on but I am sure Goldie is ready to run and play in the sunshine over rainbow bridge. Show him the respect he deserves. He will always be by your side and in your heart as Dalmy is in mine.

    • Cindy says:

      In my personal opinion, when a dog can no longer continue being a dog that is when you put him/her down. Your dog even though he is excited about eating and being around people, he is not having a quality and dignified life at all. Golden’s, Labs and most retrievers are a human pleasing breed. They want to please you even if they are in pain and discomfort. I know in my heart of hearts you need to put him down. Just be there for him and let him look at your eyes and scratch him at his favorite place while the doctor injects him first to go to sleep. This is the most compassionate thing you can do for him. I am going to have to do the same thing very soon to my 14 year old yellow lab, and her being my very fist dog that I have owned. I am crying now as I type this because I know I will have to do the very same thing in the next few months. I am praying that you will do the right thing for him.

  121. Susan says:

    We put a dog with advancing jaw cancer down last week (dear Gracie, terrier mix, 12) and this week we put our 15+ year old to sleep (sweet Larry, lab, 15+ !!)…..the deciding is the worst. Sadly, it came down to the same time for our furry friends and while our hearts were breaking there was a recent “click” in my brain—-it is mine to mourn later but it something I must do now for them—-I love this quote from a movie—-“We can’t have the happiness of yesterday without the pain of today. That’s the deal.” We made a deal with our pets when we got them…..and sadly, “That’s the Deal.” My best all of you in this journey….my best to my best buddies on their new journey

    • Susan Harke says:

      You made the right decision. Your answer will come when the pets you sent to the Rainbow Bridge some back and send a new pet to your. Pets know when he or she had a great home and see how many pets need a great fur ever home. Listen carefully the next time you visit and see a rescue group or someone giving dogs away at a grocery store as your dog may guide you to one of those animals. I know my dog who passed in 2009 said to get a particular kitten from people trying to place kittens. That was 3 years ago and that cat is very special and loving to me. I thin she knows why I picked her.

  122. teacy beaver says:

    My dog Spider . A Dalmation mix is almost 18 years old she has arthritis in her rear it has been hard for me because I tell myself that I wouldn’t want to be put down just because of that reason. But she just can’t get a round very good at all anymore. Meds aren’t working 😦 sucks. But this blog has helped she has been a great dog and it is time for me to let her go to the rainbow. So thank you!!! I know I’ll see her again some day. Had a priest one time tell me dogs don’t go to heaven. He did it in a very not so nice way. Like it didn’t really matter. Been struggling with that so called fact for a really long time. That not something you say to a person that is grieving over a lost companion. So again thank you!!!!!!!

    • Susan Harke says:

      Many years ago I lost a dog (had to put her down) to sever arthritis (before we had the medications of today). I still miss her. I know I will see her again one day.

  123. Helen says:

    Thank you so much! Been crying off and on, because I have to do the right thing by my baby. Thank you for this article.

  124. freddie says:

    My 11yr old Zoey (Pitmix) is not doing so well…I am so conflicted on what to do…she’s been bleeding from her nose for about a month now, and we’ve put her on all kinds of meds, but her appetite has nearly gone, she’s is drinking water, but really no food, and I have to force her remaining meds.

    She’s withering away in front of us…she’s able to go outside and defecate, but she just sounds like she’s suffocating…I don’t know what to do…I know in my heart her time is coming, and I feel as if I’m selfishly keeping her around.

    • Susan Harke says:

      Has the vet checked for a tumor in Zoey’s nose? If it is it may be cancer. I think you have a very difficult decision to make.

      • freddie says:

        Yes, after several visits to the vet, that was their best assessment, especially since it’s been happening for a few weeks (bleeding from her nose). We are consulting with another veterinarian tonight. I agree, never been in this position…very, very difficult.

        • Susan Harke says:

          Nasal cancer is a painful, fast spreading cancer. It affects the ability to eat, breath, or get nutrition. I agree that you dog is suffering and the other poster was correct as to your dogs quality of life.

    • Voula says:

      However difficult the decision is to make you know in your heart that Zoey is suffering.
      what quality of life is that? If I was in pain I would not want to keep going on like that. Do the right thing and give her peace. she will always be in your heart. I know it is not easy. I have had to make this decision many times. Never gets easier 😦 sending hugs and energy your way and a bright pink light to heal zoeys pain xo

      • freddie says:

        True, our Zoey will always be a part of our family, and always in our hearts. Much appreciated for the comments and nice words, definitely means a lot.

  125. freddie says:

    Thanks all for your responses…it truly helped. Our Zoey went to the bridge today, no more suffering for her. She passed in my arms, it was the least I could do for her.

    • Michelle says:

      You will hurt for a long time but that is OK. I had to put down my beloved Daisy on Oct. 1, 2012. I cried for days. I still get weepy from time to time. I know it is because I loved her so much and she loved me. She also trusted that I would always do what I knew in my heart was best for her. She suffered towards the end. She was 15 and had cancer. She was my first dog. I never thought I would have another dog. Guess what!! On May 1, 2013, I adopted a brand new puppy. She is now 6 months old and I love her very much. She will never be Daisy but she has brought me a renewed energy and joy. I wish you lots of positive thoughts and perhaps one day, when the time is right, you, too will enjoy another buddy. RIP Zoey! Give your owner the strength to love another dog …….. some day.

  126. Tricia says:

    My 10 year old dog maltese Maxie was put to sleep yesterday. The pain of losing him this morning is intense. I know it was time to stop the suffering when he stopped eating and this article and comments have helped me a lot. Especially the comment rather one day too early than one hour too late and that my doggie would not have gotten better. We only became aware of his severe diabetis state more than a week ago and he was already in a bad keteocidosi state. Both my husband and I decided not to go the insulin route because of his age as advised by the vet. I struggle with our decision and will keep coming back here to try to get peace

    • Susan Harke says:

      I know how hard it is to make the decision to help a friend to the Rainbow Bridge. I have had to to do it more than once. My current dog is a diabetic too. He has glaucoma in his existing eye. He lost his other to glaucoma (which comes quickly with diabetes in dogs). He still tells me he wants to stay and keep me safe as long as he is able.

      Your dog will be there to help you if you ask. Watch for a message for the right time and dog to find a new friend. Maxie will probably pickout the dog and send him or her to you. One day you may find a traveler who needs a fur ever home and Maxie wants you to give him or her the same great life he had.

  127. Uma says:

    Susan Harke, I understand your good intentions to help a new pet find a home when an old one moves on, but to say every animal you have has come back to tell you to get a new pet is dubious. Let people grieve and if and when they feel ready let them bring home another pet. Only because they are ready and not because they believe that’s what their deceased pet wanted them to do. And to the writer of the original article, yes of course animals in the wild are hard-wired to hide weakness. Domestic dogs however are not “animals in the wild”. They are utterly dependent on their owners for care. They won’t go out hunting if you don’t feed them and they will not hide their pain from you if the pain they are in is debilitating. Dogs do have a higher threshold for pain then human beings and if they are not showing signs of pain it is wrong to assume they are in great pain. Several times through his life my dog showed the ‘classical symptoms’ of a dog ‘ready to die’. He wouldn’t eat, he wouldn’t play, he’d vomit, he was breathing harder, he was losing weight. His blood work came back all good. Instead of “putting him out of his misery” I had an MRI done for him. And with the MRI I found out that he’d eaten something he shouldn’t have that was causing intestinal blockage. I got it removed. He lived 6 years after that completely healthy till he got cancer. The vet said to put him down. Instead I got him treated him with low dose chemo and cryotherapy for any lesions that came up. He lived another 2 years happy and healthy. One day he suddenly couldn’t walk any more. The next morning, he didn’t want to eat. I took him to the vet who said it was his time and we should put him down. Instead of doing that I took him home with pain meds. Sat next to him and spoke to him as he drifted in and out of sleep. He passed later that evening with me by his side – he stretched his legs, sighed and was gone. Moral of the story: When dogs die they die of something. It could be their kidneys, liver, old age, heart anything. Many times when you find out which organ is failing, you can save your dog or at the very least give him a fighting chance. He’s your best-friend and he deserves that. To simply put a pet down without finding the cause of his discomfort because he looks like he wants to die is not the first thing you should do. It is the very last, if at all. As a final note to the author of this article – in the wild when an animal’s body can’t support them any more, they die. If they aren’t dead leave possibility for the chance that they need medication, support, oxygen or an iv drip. Not a lethal injection to end their lives.

  128. Susan Harke says:

    I don’t know why you are so angry. I don’t understand why you can’t accept the idea that of dogs/cat/other pets returning to say thank you giving me a great home. I suggest opening your mind to new ideas and accept the beliefs of other people, whether or not you agree.

    I firmly believe in getting more than one medical opinion for humans and pets for illness. In one key situation, people at the dog park told me the vet said there was nothing to be done for dog and sent Simon home to die. I suggested the people get a second opinion and gave the name of the better vet. It turned out the dog has an enlarged liver, guardia (spelling?),and another infection that were all treatable. The dogs got better until he was diagnosed with Cushing. Because of Cushing, the dog had a big appetite and was hungry all the time. The owners gave me permission to give as many dog treats as I was willing to give. Because of this every time I went to the dog park and Simon was there, he ran over to me for attention and his dog treats. He has since passed, but boy was that a happy 3-4 years of a good home, great attention, and a lot of love from a lot of people.

    I have had to put down several dogs/cats that were 17-21 years old. The last dog found me at 6 months of age, with ticks and tags or collar. He never went to the shelter and lived with me his whole life, He passed at age 17 on his terms – sleeping outside, walking on his chosen walking path in the fenced yard. I found him passed in the front yard. His ashes are still here with me.

    My current dog is a male Lasha-Apso who is diabetic, has glaucoma (left eye has been removed, and maybe partial vision in the right eye), back issues, and forms calcium oxalate stones. He has a stubborn urinary bladder infection that will not go away. There is no bacteria in any of the tests on his urine. We are now using Chinese veterinary techniques to try to resolve this issue. If I use antibiotics, they will be ineffective when the antibiotics are really needed. What would you do it this were your dog? Would you allow him to suffer or try to find an alternative method to treat the bladder infection?

    As far as animals coming back to say thank you for a good home, the 17 year old did that. He had me get a 6 1/2 week old kitten from people giving them away at a food store. I was directed to pick a certain kitten, I did. That was years ago and now I know why I directed to the kitten as I am unable to handle another dog at this time. Also, my spouse has health issues. Hence, the cat is the right animal to make me feel better when I need love from an animal. Lets add, a cat who had to be put down at age 20 from a cancerous tumor in his nose and mouth who was unable to eat anymore. The cat also came back to see if the new cat and I were good together.

    Many people may not believe anything I have written, but this is clearly a case of it makes me feel better to believe this and to move on after the loss of a pet. Hopefully, other people have had this same experience and felt better after.

    • Voula says:

      great reply Susan. I agree on getting a sign from a pet that has recently passed. My baby Dalmy age 16 had to be put down because her quality of life had deteriorated so much. I had such a tough time but after a few months a new puppy needed a home and walked right up to me and into my arms and heart. He is now 2 and what a big boy. The most loving dog ever. I thank Dalmy as he gives me the love and comfort I need when I am down. He is my buddy and I know she sent him to fill that void. I still miss her dearly and she will always be my baby but it was her time.
      When we take in a new furry friend we take with it the responsibility and promise to take care of them. Not always easy but so rewarding!

      • Michelle says:

        I agree with Susan and Voula. I received a lot of comfort from this blog. Both Susan and Voula gave such powerful advice. My beloved Daisy had to be put down on Oct. 1st, 2012. I did not think I could ever have another pet. I loved Daisy too much. I felt I would be trying to replace her. Low and behold, Charlo came in to my life on May 1st, 2013. I was at peace that she was the one that Daisy had sent. I have Daisy’s ashes beside her picture and I know that she loves Charlo as much as I do. It is a big responsibility to have a pet but it is also very rewarding. I cherish Susan’s and Voula’s words of wisdom. I also appreciate all the other letters of support on this blog. Keep up the good work!

      • Susan Harke says:

        Thank you for your support and I hope it helps other people make a good decision for himself or herself.

        • Paula says:

          I have watched one of my dogs struggle for each breath when I found him dying in his dog house and was unable to get him out. It was not peaceful nor comforting. A pet cat lived to be 21. She was under a vet’s care. She was a skeleton of a cat with unkempt fur, deaf and blind from several strokes, but she still ate and found her litter box. She was not healthy nor happy. I know from these blogs and from friends who have pets, that they will give wahtever money and time that it will take to give their best friends the best life possible. Having your pet put to sleep is not a decision taken lightly by loving pet owners. It is a heartbreaking decision that is made because we do not want a horrible death for our pets nor have them suffer needlessly.

          • Susan Harke says:

            I know how hard that is. The first dog from a puppy lived to age 17 and at that time was hard of hearing, blind, heart condition, arthritis, and could still find his food and water dish. I thought that was enough until one day he wandered off the property and luckily two kids founds him and took me to him. I decided at that time it was time to let him have peace. It was very hard. It was the first time to understand what the term “quality of life” meant. I apply that term very carefully now where I did not for the first dog.

  129. Paula says:

    Susan, your blogs helped me keep an open mind on what I call Providence (Devine care and guidance over the creatures of the earth). After I lost my dog, I found a stray cat in my garden. No one knew who owned her. Eventually I took her in, and she became a wonderful companion for me and my other dog. She is perfect. No doubt about it. This cat was sent to me.

  130. Angela says:

    very touching. my old girl is 17 and not brilliant health wise . shes my best friend and its heartbreaking trying to make a final decision ….

    • Susan Harke says:

      I had a special girl dog, Ginger, who was 17 was severe health issues. I sat down with her one day and told her to let me know when it was her time. By this I meant that she was tired and wanted to go the Rainbow Bridge to be free of pain (arthritis, bladder stones, sight issues, and lack of appetite, and other). May I suggest you do the same and listen carefully to how your dog communicates to you. When it is time and she is tired of the pain, let her go. It will hurt (I know I did)! But the philosophy of quality of life by “one day too soon rather than one hour too late” is what needs to considered.

      Until that day, spend time with her, talk to her, rub her belly or favorite spots, take her for walks in a wagon if she is unable to walk. Anything to make the best of the time you have together. This will ease the pain as you did all you could while she is with you.

      In time your pain will decrease (not necessary heal totally because you will always remember her in your heart) and she will send another special friend (not necessarily a dog) to fill your heart with happiness while giving another animal a great home like she had all these years.

  131. Mary green says:

    I am so sad. My daughter asked us to take in her beautiful border collie Muppet 3 mos ago. He was 7.5 mos old and she nursed him thru distemper. He got ill a lot but then recovered,a cycle. We got him in July. He was so much fun-then he would become listless for 7-10 days. He got thru it and ran,and played ball agin. We fell in love with him immediately.Then he got sick with HGE,intestinal hemorraged and we hospitalized him. He made a miraculous recovery! for a few weeks he was a normal loving pup. Then he became listless the last 10-12 days,got pneumonia. It was awful. We had to put him down. I am so terribly sad. He was really the greatest pup. I have always had poodles but never knew how smart and lively border collies are. I feel really sick that we put him down but he was so sick and the vet said it would be best. We wanted to give hhim fluids etc. I am feeling really angry now at this vet. I have a toy poodle 9 yrs old. I do not want to go back to this vet ever again. We are heartbroken at the loss of our Muppet.

    • Voula says:

      you may have done the best thing as it sounds like he was suffering. You gave him love and did the best you could. The vet did not give you false hope. He was being realistic. He could have just kept taking your money and telling you the dog would be ok but it seems that Muppet has many health issues. I am certain he came into your lives for a reason. Think of the fact that you gave him the best care while he was with you…..

  132. Ramona says:

    Hi. Read ur blog. My dog Lexie has been diagnosised with diabetes two months ago. The thought of losing her and I cant stop crying. Its hard to face decisions to put ur beloved pet down. But u r right. They are counting in us to do what is right for them. Luckily we r coping with Lexies diabetes. However I worry about her vision. I have read both peoms. They r heartwrenching and comforting all at the same time. Thanks for ur thoughts.

    • Susan Harke says:

      My dog, 12.5 years of age, has diabetes and had his left eye removed (it was 2x the normal size and he was in pain) due to glaucoma. He has glaucoma and a cataract in his right eye. I suggest taking your dog to a veterinary eye specialist as glaucoma comes quickly once a diagnosis of diabetes. Also, join the yahoo blind dog group and learn how to prepare your home for a blind dog. We blind dog downers love to teach new blind dog owners.

      There is a great book called “Living With Blind Dogs” that will help you make both you and your dogs life easier.

  133. Susan Drew says:

    My dog is an English Springer Spaniel who has been losing weight for quite a while. I brought him to the vet a month ago and he tested positive for Lymes Disease. They said to bring him back in 2 weeks if he wasn’t doing any better. Two weeks went by and he still wasn’t eating. They told me to leave him for tests. When I returned to pick him up, they told me he had cancer and would only make it two weeks. I was devastated. I couldn’t stop myself from crying. They told me to bring him back for an ultrasound to make sure it was cancer. So I took him back again. They then proceeded to tell me it wasn’t cancer but a parathyroid calcium problem and to continue to try to feed him. I listened and wasn’t sure what he had but knew he was getting worse by not eating and getting weaker.
    Within 3 or 4 days he could barely get up. He would fall down several times before he could walk. He was very depressed. He would only eat a little and that was only if we hand fed him. I called the vet again. They told me to start thinking about putting him down. Again, I couldn’t bring myself to do this so I brought him back to the vet. While I was there, I took him out to go the bathroom and he had diarrhea and fell in it. I couldn’t stop myself from crying seeing how weak he was. We went back in and they didn’t do anymore tests. They said his kidneys would eventually go and he would need surgery and there was no guarantee he would make it.
    I put him down 3 days ago and still miss him terribly. I still wonder if I did the right thing but he was so thin from malnutrition I could feel his ribs when I picked him up.
    They also told me he had cancer but they couldn’t find it. Could someone please tell me if I did the right thing.

    • jehingr says:

      Only you can know if you did the right thing. Nobody else’s opinion matters. Did you make the decision out of love, thinking only of his needs and not your own? Then let your heart rest easy, knowing that he is healthy & happy at the Bridge.

    • Sue says:

      I recently had to put my 16 year old dog, Luna, down. I was heartbroken but I had known that every day I had her with me as a gift at that point. Luckily, she never suffered. She went swimming a week before she died and her final days were not pain filled. Her death was surprising even for her age. Tragically, her friend and my other dog, Sassy, who was thirteen passed with assistance shortly after. I was devastated. It had not even been 6 weeks since Luna had passed. Sassy was 13. I couldn’t get a clear definition of what had happened to her but when I looked her in the eyes, I knew she was already gone but making the decision to put her down was so much more difficult than with Luna. I was unsure. I was uncertain. It has been three months and I still question it but whenever it creeps into my mind, I push it out. I would torment myself with that question. I know deep down that I did the right thing for my friend. I’m still very, very angry about her loss. Please know you did the right thing for your friend. You gave your friend peace.

    • Voula says:

      In your heart you know you did everything you could. They do not have a voice, and it is up to us to give them the comfort and peace they need when it is time. Holding on is selfish. I held on while my 16 yr old best friend could no longer hold herself up. I believed as long as she was eating she was ok. I then realized that it was not the quality of life she deserved, so with a heavy heart I laid her to rest. We do what we can, and we love them with every fiber in our bodies. The best gift we can give them is to let them go. They live on in our hearts….you did the right thing.

    • Susan Harke says:

      On Dec 26, 2013 I put down a 12.5 year old Lasha Apso that I’ve had since age 1.5. years old. He was diabetic, lost his left eye to glaucoma. Had glaucoma and cataracts in his right eye. He formed calcium oxalate stones. He was a “velcro dog” that stayed very close to me due top vision issues. He was still learning to use his sense of smell to replace sight. He also had UTI’s that would not heal. We were beginning to make headway on his UTI’s when his confusion issue (this one started 1.5 years ago) started getting worse. We tried various medication (Eastern and Western medicine) to help his confusion. He was standing in corners – and I didn’t care how long he did that if it made him happy. When he started needing help to find his food dish, it was time. I had two other dogs that I let the confusion issue go too far and I was not going to let this guy go through the same issues just to make me happy.

      I know I did the right for this dog as he came back about a week later and spent the day with me in the house, going for a car ride, visiting the dog park he could not long visit due to his health issues. When he left that day, his tail was wagging so fast and he was happy. No more pain and he came back to tell me.

      We are adopting another dog. All the past dogs and cats I have had were here to teach me a special lesson. The dog we are adopting is a breed that tends to forming calcium oxalate stones and I am well prepared to start the dog on the right diet to prevent them – all because of the dog who just left me.

      What lesson did this dog teach you that may help you heal and maybe adopt another pet who desperately needs a good home? How much love did you have for this dog that you can share that spirit with a dog that is sent to you, maybe by that dog, because he wants you to be happy. Accept any gift you are given in the spirit offered. You late friend will always be with you in your heart and you will meet each other again one day.

  134. Dave says:

    I have a 7 year old chessie. diagnosed with diabetes 3 months ago. I started him on the right(and very expensive) foods. I give him his insulin shots every day. Last week, within 4 days he went completely blind. Everything I’ve read says blindness that quickly only happens when the diabetes goes uncontrolled. I acted on it as soon as I noticed the symptoms. Now, to get him on human insulin, which is much cheaper, I have to pay for more blood work. Then, a friend tells me of a Vet Hospital with experts on internal medicine for pets. So, one way it’s another $200 and I don’t know how long he has. The other way, it’s $300, and they may, or may not have a different answer. He’s still blind. I still have to take him outside 4 times a night to urinate. I still have to watch him bump into walls and fence posts. I get sick watching him stumble around. He is only 7, so I get to play the monster if I even suggest having him humanly put down.

    I have huge medical bills of my own coming due, and thousands more on the way. So, I still look selfish.
    How do I get out of this.


    • sue harke says:

      I recently lost a 12.5 year old dog with diabetes. Glaucoma and cataracts tend to come quickly due to the increase in sugar in the eye. He had to have his left eye removed due to glaucoma. I gave him eye drops in his right eye, as prescribed by a veterinary eye specialist. I suggest joining both the yahoo blind dog group and yahoo diabetic dog group for great suggestions on how to help you help you dog. I learned a lot that allowed my dog to have independence, even with all his issues.

      On the subject of insulin and needles. Walmart sells insulin and needles at a reasonable price. Ask your vet for a prescription for both if it will work for your dog.

  135. Abner says:

    After ten wonderful years, my black lab Zero developed cancer, it took him really fast, just a couple weeks ago he was running around barking, now he barely eats. I was hoping that he would peacefully just go to sleep, but he is still hanging on, he has a certain look in his eyes as if telling me that he has done what he came to do and understands what I have to do. I never thought that it would be this hard. My heart is literally breaking.

    • Sue Harke says:

      All of us who post here understand how you feel . We have all had to make the same hard decision. It is clear Zero knows how hard this will be for you and will do the best he can to help you once he goes to the Rainbow Bridge. Keep your eyes and ears open for when he comes back to help you and listen to Zero’s advise on when it is time to heal your pain and give another dog a loving home.

      • Abner says:

        Thank you, it helps to know that I am not alone during this hard time. Others have traveled this path and survived.

        • Abner says:

          I woke up this morning, prepared to make that horrible trip the the vets office, but realized that my dog wasn’t going to wake up. I carried him outside and sat with him for a bit, my other dogs came to greet him but soon realized that he was no longer with us. I’m thankful that I didn’t have to put him to sleep, my heart is still broken, and that fact doesn’t make things any easier, my friend is gone.

  136. Voula says:

    Oh Abner….so sad to hear this, but I hope it gives you peace knowing that he died peacefully in his sleep. The dogs said their goodbyes. It is the sweetest way to go. At home surrounded by love and comfort. It is best this way. Zero is on his way to rainbow bridge where he will be happy and healthy. He will always be in your heart and by your side. Sending you love and light.

    • Abner Goodbear says:

      The hardest things to get used to are the smallest things that we don’t take time to notice, like the way Zero would nudge my hand when I walked through the yard. He also used to climb up into my children’s playhouse giving him a huge vantage point where he could see everything. I think that those are the things I will miss the most. Godspeed Zero

  137. Denise Moffat says:

    I have a beautiful heinz 57 variety dog called Mutley. She is 16 1/2 yrs old, lately she has lost weight as her collar is now on the tightest and i can still put my hand under it. She does eat but prefers human food. She has stopped wagging her tail and sleeps for 12 hrs or more. She is deaf and almost blind and lately emptying her bowels on the hard floor surfaces in the home. She used to enjoy a good walk up until about a month to 6 weeks ago, now its an effort to go around the little block. Like other people on this site my husband thinks she is still ok but I try and imagine myself not hearing and seeing anything and having my bones aching and I know I would not be happy. Can anyone help me decide what is right please. She is my best friend but I feel like i am murdering her to have her put down.

    • Sue Harke says:

      First, take her to the vet and see if there are any medical issues that can be resolved. If the vet wants to do an ultrasound, go with it as this is better than x-ray. Once you understand any medical issues that you did not know about, then consider the ultimate decision. As you said, would you enjoy her quality of life if it were you?

    • Voula says:

      Denise….sounds like the symptoms my darling Dalmy had. She was 15. She ate like a champ and although could not see me, she would know when I was home or close by. Walks were tough and she slept all the time. She would wake up in a pool of pee and I was always washing her beautiful white fur. I wanted her to stay beautiful. I knew that her quality of life was not what she deserved. The day I decided to take her to the vet she was full of energy. They say dogs as well as people suddenly seem healthier the day they pass on. I felt terrible but knew it was for the best. I did it for love and because she deserved a pain free life. You know in your heart what she deserves as well…god speed. Hugs and strength coming to you. xoxoxo

    • Stu says:

      I just had to make the same decision with my poodle and everything you said was happening to our stuart. I finally made that dreaded decision and i my self am having a hard time with the decision to let him go but i did it and i know it was the best thing for him but i do so wish i had my buddy back with me. Its not murder its letting her go before she gets worse and being able to hold her while she goes to sleep and will never suffer again. Trust me i just made this decision this week and i would gibe anything to have him back in the way that he was 2 years ago but not the way he was when i had to say goodbye.

  138. Abner says:

    Thank you for your kind words. I guess not everybody sees their dogs as family members like we do. its hard knowing that they wont live as long as we do, and its extremely hard to say goodbye, but its worth having someone around who will love you unconditionally. I’m so glad I found this site, it has helped me during this horrible time. I built a coffin for my dog Zero, I dug a grave under the tree where he liked to hang out. After I buried him, I cried uncontrollably for about ten minutes. I now am at peace with the situation, my dog lived a wonderful life, full of adventures, and full of love, and if he could have spoken, I believe he would tell you that he was greatly loved. I realize now, that’s all our dogs really ask for, its what they live for, to be loved, and if you show your dog love, you as a pet owner, have done your job. All of you pet owners, if you’ve shown your pal love, then you have done all that they expect from you.

  139. Gary says:

    My deepest sympathies to all above who have lost their dog. My heart goes out to you, because I know how you feel.

    We had to put our Daisy to sleep on Tuesday. It is a very difficult time.

    Daisy was a 10 year old orange Pomeranian with a wonderful disposition – loyal, loving, and playful. She went through life with exuberance and a quiet excitement that made sharing our lives with her a joy. What a wonderful companion she was.

    Two weeks ago, we noticed that Daisy was having a bit of pain, we thought it was her ribs. We took her to our vet, he did an x-ray, and said she had degenerative disc disease. He put her on an inflammatory medicine and said that many dogs respond well to that. After a few days, Daisy was steadily getting worse. She was losing the use of her back legs and in pain. We got an appointment with a specialist who did an MRI. The specialist discovered that Daisy had a cancerous tumor around her spinal cord that was incurable.

    That afternoon, we picked Daisy up and brought her home because we could not bear having her spend the last night of her life alone in a strange place. She just needed to be at home. The vet gave us pain medicine to ease her discomfort.

    That evening, we spent a few hours with her in her favorite places in our yard. We did what we could to make her comfortable. We fed her some bits of chicken and did everything we could to let her know she was were she belonged.

    Daisy slept almost every night of her life in bed with us, and her last night on this earth was no different. She was restless and in some pain, but she did have a few moments of peace where she would drift off to sleep. My wife Vicki, our daughter, Krista, and I hardly slept at all. Every moment was precious due to what we knew was coming in the morning.

    We fed her breakfast, although she only took a few nibbles. Then it was time for her suffering to end.

    Vicki cradled our baby in her arms on the drive to the vet. We were present with her to the end, and we brought her back home and buried her in one of her favorite spots by the garden in the shade of an oak tree.

    She was such a good dog. Her life was our life and our life was her life. The house is very empty now, and she will be missed tremendously. Many tears have been shed and many more are to come.

    Grieving is a process that takes time and is part of the price we humans owe for the privilege of sharing the all too brief years of pure joy that our beloved friends bring. I am trying to replace the sadness with the many happy memories that Daisy shared with us. As I think about our baby, I am certain she would not want us to be sad at her passing – instead – all she would ask is that we keep a warm place in our hearts for her. And we most certainly will be doing that for the rest of our lives.

    There is nothing else in this world like the companionship of a good dog. For those of you who have the wisdom to understand that, and who have allowed a dog to capture your hearts and souls, please know that the pain of your pup’s passing, while seemingly unbearable, is a small price to pay for the treasures that we were given. And while your special friend is alive, realize that every moment is precious, and act accordingly.

    Regardless of our belief systems, it is a fact that ultimately, we will end up in the exact same place that our dogs have moved on to. I hope that will be of comfort.

    • Michelle says:

      It has been a year and a half since I had to put down my precious Black Lab named Daisy. After reading your letter today, I shed tears again. I know what it is like to lose a pet who is a loving companion. I could not have asked for anything better. I miss her everyday. I brought home her ashes in a beautiful pink alabaster urn. They have a place of honour in my home
      About 14 months ago, I adopted a new Lab named Charlo. I have fallen in love with her. However, I will always have a special place in my heart for Daisy. Thank you Strouz family for your wonderful reminder of a life of gifts willingly given.

      • Gary says:

        Thank you for the response, Michelle. I am certain that your Daisy was the best dog ever just like our Daisy was. I’m glad I was able to bring back some memories for you, even if there were some tears. A good cry has a way of cleansing the soul. And it is good that your Daisy is with you in her place of honour in your home.

        It is way too soon right now for us to consider a new pup, and nothing will ever replace the Daisys that you and we have known. But what Charlo is to you is a new chapter in your life’s journey. I sincerely hope that you and Charlo live long and prosper, and that the two of you will share many warm, magical moments together. We too will be starting a new chapter at some point.

        It may sound strange, but I hope that many many years from now when the time comes for you and Charlo to finally part, that hearts will be broken. Because what that means is you and Charlo deeply shared in the glory of the human/canine relationship.

        Here’s to broken hearts…

  140. Lucas says:

    I think that this is the right place for me to express myself. Chocolata was suffering from lung cancer or something similar and arthritis for last month. She had overcome cancer several times before but this time there was nothing to do to save her. We adopted her 6 years ago when she was 8 years. Her past owner weren’t good people since they left her and a girl that rescue dogs found her to give it on adoption, also Chocolata was always scared of brooms possibly because she was hit with them. I have never seen someone or something so grateful in life(chocolata), my brother found her and I wasn’t happy with the idea at first but god she won my heart for real.

    Since the begging she behave very well always doing her business outside the house and following every instruction but she was scared. With time and much love she lost fear but never lost behavior, also she was very loving. I won´t continue to make it long. Chocolata is a chocolate lab, I’m 20 years old and she was with me all along with puberty. Some bad days I would just lay quite with her, feeling her company and energy would always made me feel better. We put Chocolata down today and I miss her a lot already. I swear that dog is an angel, always loving everyone she met and never been aggressive in her entire life, something hard to find in any living being. But as I am writing this I realize that this is the life circle, this past 6 years were beautiful by her side but this is life and I prefer her resting in eternal peace rather than one more minute of suffering.

    Today I lost a very dear friend who taught me a love for dogs and many other things. I am not willing to replace her and I would carry her memory all of my life, this is beautiful with dogs since all the memories that she gave me are good. Rest in peace Chocolata and I hope someday we will find us in that bridge together. Sorry if my english isn´t clear but thats not my natal language. Anyway all of you who are sad remember that you are giving your dog nothing but true peace, so take consideration of this before making any decision.

  141. Stu says:

    This has helped me with the decision that i made a few days ago about letting my 13 yr old poodle go. Stuart went completely blind about six months ago ans also went almost completely deaf around the same time. He had started to lose alot of weight. We took him Monday and had him put to sleep. This was the hardest thing that i have had to do. He was my buddy for 13 yrs and i know i did the right thing by him. My wife and i could not have children so we had put all of our time and love into Stuart. He had filled that void in our life until we were finally able to adopt our son. So with this being said i know i made the right decision for him and i would have continued to help him as long as i had to but i truely knew that he did not live the quality life that he once lived and as i held him in my arms after he was gone i know that that we had made the right decision and he was no longer suffering. Thanks for the posts… our animals are like our best friends.

  142. Fiona says:

    We had our black Labrador/retriever put down on Tuesday 12th August 2014. It weren’t really my decision my mom chose it because her tumour just kept getting worse and she weren’t her old self not so lively, sleeping all the time. Couldn’t get on the sofa for cuddles cos her back legs would go 😦 we had her for 13years would be 14 in December.. I was 9 when we had her I remember the first day we got her and now I’m going to remember the day she went 😦 my mom and sister wouldn’t stay with her so I had to. They didn’t lift her onto the table they did it on my lap with me holding her head looking into her eyes telling her how I will take her to the sea (we chose cremation and she loved the sea) and that I loved her. She didn’t even struggle 😦 just looked at me then she was gone. I cried all day. Never cried so much in my life 😦 I miss her soo much the house is soo quiet cos she used to fill the silences with the sound of her tag jingling on her collar and snoring when she slept. I feel like something’s missing in my chest it aches 😦 she hasn’t even visited me in my sleep. I just hope she doesn’t resent us for taking her away that it was what she wanted. I think it was. Sorry just needed to get this out

    • Sue Harke says:

      The last dog I had to put down fought leaving. It took 2x the medication to stop his heart. He really wanted to stay with me despite all his health issues. I think he realized why I let him go because a week later he came back and spent the day with me. He was happy, not hurting anymore, we visited the places he liked to go to. At the end of his stay, he was happily wagging his tail and saying “thank you for such a good life. I will be waiting for you when your time comes.”

  143. Voula says:

    Hi Fiona….I really feel your pain. You know in your heart that it was the right thing to do and she loves you more for it. She was not living right now, she was just there. Holding on for your sake. 13 years is a long time for a big dog even though we never feel it is long enough. I am glad that she lay in your arms where she felt safe and that your face is the last thing she saw. I am happy for you that you decided to cremate her and take her to the sea. I was not so lucky. My sweet girl was 15 and I did not have the money to do that. She visits me in my dreams but it took a long time before she did so. She has things to do so be patient she will visit. Maybe she has many bones to bury lol and she has to run on the beach in the sunshine. When the time is right you will see her. When you wake up you will feel energized because you did actually visit with her. Remember the snoring and the jingle of her tag 🙂 Keep her close in your heart and she will always be watching over you. You did the right thing. I send you hugs and doggy kisses from my gang . One day at a time. You know what you can do to feel better? Create a scrap book in her memory. All the pictures, things she loved. whatever makes you think of her. She will be sitting by your side wagging her tail….

  144. jo says:

    hello,it is a very sad moment for our family…our miniature dachshund lost control on her back legs…we don’t have money to do the surgery which even may not help…we love her so much and we can’t believe we are loosing her.We are struggling with making a decision.We hear different opinions.Like-it is selfish to keep dog when the dog can not live normal life,when the dog suffer.If my dog suffer and I do not take her for the last visit to vet-I am selfish…You would say I am only thinking about myself about my own feelings.which would be right enough.I can not imagine life without her,I can not imagine her gone,I can not imagine taking her for the last visit to vets,seeing her leaving us…we talk about it all the time,we change our minds 10 times per day and we can not find solution..But I also do not want her to suffer.I can not understand where is the line between suffering and still being able to enjoy the life…If she would be in pain I would not think twice.But she has no pains at the moment,she is getting steroids every day and we keep her in a cage to avoid movements just to give a last chance.sometimes miracles happen…when we take her outside-she is still able to walk a little.and at this point it does not look right to do something.we decided to wait and see.but if she gets worse-what to do then?if she will not be able to walk but will have no pains-will she suffer if we get a little wheelchair for her?…I understand her life will be limited and she would need much more care than normally…But I was watching all those videos about dogs in a wheels and they look happy running about.I was thinking if we would give a try…maybe she would still be happy,living life,would feel our care and love? I know you would not compare human and animal -but we see a lot of people with limited abilities and they would still chose life-does not matter how difficult it is.A lot depends on how much attention we would give.But some people will still think we are cruel keep a dog like this.But I can picture her running with wheelchair,I can picture us curled up on the sofa under warm blanket,what she always used to enjoy.She is a lovely girl,she deserved to be treated right.the last bit can be done at any time and there is no way back.but before this-maybe it is worth to try…While she has no pains and does not suffer…It would be great to hear an opinion from the ones who love these little things…

    • jehingr says:

      Have you checked ? These folks perform miracles!

      • sue harke says:

        Much earlier I had an exchange with a gal in India who had a dog with a similar problem. I suggest reading this from the beginning. We wrote about using a conservative approach using moist heat, muscle relaxants, the home bath tub as a therapy pool, a swimming pool for the dog to swim in. One of my comments were that this was how doctor and vets treated patients before MRI or CT macines. These ideas may work for you.

        • jo says:

          tank you Sue Harke,I was reading the stories,not all yet,but will read this all through.still searching to hear similar stories with a good end so I could keep my hope alive…

          • sue harke says:

            Thank you to all who read my post and may be able to help their dogs because Skipper (passed 12/2013) taught me how to help him.

      • jo says:

        Thank you for response Jehingr.Yes I have looked thorough it and I do believe it would help.I live in UK and was searching for different companies that are making similar things and I think I am going to try…

  145. Amy says:

    My heart is so broken, I am so angry and frustrated. About 2 months ago one of my 8 yr old boxers had a seizure. It only lasted 3 or 4 minutes but was enough to scare me allot. We went to the vets Ofcorse where they said ” she must have eaten something” although I was not convinced that was what happened I brought her home, threw out every plant, walked the property constantly and watched her constantly… No more seizures! Two months later, ( 5am today) she began to seize, and it didn’t stop. She is at the vets again, 105 temp, the vet says her brain is gone and I should let her go… She can’t stop seizing… He gave her some anesthesia and she calmed down a little, but has still not come out of the seizure.. my heart is broken, her twin brother is walking around crying for her, they have never been apart just as I have never left there sides.. How do I put her down? Why does it feel like murder?

    • jehingr says:

      I can’t address why it feels the way it does for you. How you feel is how you feel.

      The Question that you have to ask is does she want to be like this? Would she want to give you all of this anxiety and guilt? Put your feelings aside and do what is best for her.

      So sorry that you have to go through this.

    • Susan Harke says:

      I’ve had to put other pets down, but not under the circumstances you state. Based on my experience I would make a decision that is best for the dog, not me. The first dog I ever put down was one that found me in a pet store at 3 months old and live to age 18. It was a tough decision for me, but when he could not see, was confused, had arthritis, and could not find his food dish, I knew it was time to let him go. I have not let other dogs ever get to that extreme condition and I know all the animals I have had will be there to greet me at the rainbow bridge one day.

  146. Abner says:

    It helps to educate yourself with the fact that our best friends derived from wild wolves, although they have been tamed and are extremely charming, they have their own way of life, but they consider you as part of their pack. They also mourn, but they don’t quite have the same emotions toward death as us humans. they don’t desire to live and suffer at the same time, and they don’t put blame on us for letting them go peacefully. In the wild, they would just be left alone to face the elements, which seams kind of harsh in our eyes, but that is their way. we don’t leave our loved ones to die in the wild, and we are willing to suffer and keep on living to a certain extent. Im not trying to sound heartless, as I have had my own share of sadness in loosing my best friend earlier this year, its not fair to make them suffer for our own pleasure of having their company, just as we are not expected to live for 300 years so our family and friends wont have to say goodbye. Time will make this easier for you, saying goodbye will be hard, but worth the good memories.

    • Susan Harke says:

      It took me 3 months of mourning to get a rescue dog after the passing of my friend for 12.5 years. I rescued a black lab that was 80 pounds who had lost his prior owner to death. We are both very happy with each other today.

  147. Jen Haup says:

    This blog was so very helpful. Thank you.

  148. Abner says:

    Well, its been almost a year since I said goodbye to my black lab Zero. it wasn’t easy, but it was worth giving him a happy home. Last night, my great dane Baby Girl, breathed her last. you would think that having four dogs would make this easier but it doesn’t. I love my dogs and they share love back with me and my family of 7. I know that when its my time to go, I want it to be like my dogs, surrounded by love after spending a lifetime surrounded by people who share love. Our best friends are hard to say goodbye to, and I have to remember that they wont live as long as we do, but its worth being with them for the short time that they share with us. Lord heal my broken heart, and thank you for sending me such loving creatures.

  149. jehingr says:

    So sorry for your loss Abner.

  150. Andrew Parsons says:

    My old girl Bailey is such a sweet heart and she’s not feeling good ,when ever she stands up she screams and cries of the pain she feels and I can’t Evan touch her with out her crying .I feel terrible about her and end up crying at night when I her cry from not being able to eat from the pain .I’ve tried to feed her by hand but she can’t even chew or drink with out giving her medicine . I what to do it but if it makes the pain go away then it’s best my dad puts her down . That story made me very happy to think that she will be in a better place that’s happier and where she feels better

    • Susan Harke says:

      It is a very hard decision to make. Their is saying “better one hour too soon, than one day too late.” If it means giving your friend peace and freedom from pain it is better to do is sooner. Your friend will reward you with you, when you’re ready, by sending a special pet to take her place (listen carefully and don’t say no when the message is sent). This achieves two goals – she rewards you for giving her such a wonderful life and another dog or cat (my dog sent a cat in my case) gets the great home and love she had.

  151. Maria Macias says:

    I had to put my 6 year old dog ‘Chico’ to sleep early yesterday morning and needless to say I am devastated and heartbroken. Everything happened so fast and unexpectedly, so many emotions and doubts~ did I make the right decision, was this the right thing for him, should I continue trying. Now after reading your post I am at ease that I made the right decision for him and know that he will be waiting for me at Rainbow Bridge when my time comes.

  152. Joy says:

    We just put our dog down today….so sad… But it was time…THANK YOU…THANK YOU…THANK YOU for sharing!!! Yes, your beautiful rambling did help somebody somewhere 🙂

  153. I keep saying, just one more day to Marley, my 12 year old Labrador. When she looks at me and wags that tail I say, Just one more day! Her faithful company just cheers me so much but when I see her fall from eliminating herself or my husband and I rescue her with a gurney I know this must be the time to say good bye. Even though she eats and drinks on her own, getting up from a down is the issue we must face and address. I so love the story of the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ because for some reason I feel comfort knowing she will be lying without pain just waiting for me. I try to focus in my mind seeing her ears up and eyes so full of excitement that the time has come to say, see you later! Thank you for these comforting words.

  154. Derek Denton says:

    In any good relationship between humans and their pets we know, don’t we, that it is a two-way deal. I heard an interview on the BBC in England about two years ago that illustrates this perfectly, and with a touch of heart warming humour. The interview went more or less as follows.

    An elderly Catholic priest was asked if he honestly believed in heaven. ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘as a priest you would expect me to say yes, wouldn’t you? But I’ll tell you this. if my dog Paddy isn’t up there waiting for me when I get there, I’ll not be stopping.’

    That is love for you, between a man and his dog. And maybe God has set it up to be that way for all of us.

    The people writing on this remarkable site show, by their loving care for their pets, just how important animals, both pets and wild, are in this world of ours. It is our duty as humans to show all creatures respect. Alas, we humans in general still have a long way to go. And killing for the fun of it will always be shameful.

  155. Roger Bauer says:

    I have a 12 yr old black lab that started vomiting and will not drink or eat for 3 days .I am thinking he has cancer. Is putting him to sleep the right thing to do

  156. Milt says:

    I just wanted to say thank you, I have had many dogs and have had to make these decisions to many times, but I would never change it, for the love and companionship my dogs have given me is beyond measure. It has never been an easy task and you have hit the nail on the head alot in your post. It’s not easy but for your pet,best friend, companion it is necessary. I made this choice today and grieve as I write this, but I will have to make this decision another 4 times, my dogs Are my kids, they are here for me always including when I have to make the decision. I have had many dogs and I can’t wait to see them all at the bridge, and for any old codger that don’t let us sit, rest, and drink, it is your loss because a dog is the most spectacular, loving, caring pet, friend, and companion you could ever have.

  157. Arlene says:

    I feel as I am living under the shadow of death with our old border collie Jack,he seemed like a teenager dog, full of life, loved long walks, would be barking with excitement at the window when we came home at any time. He seemed to go downhill after our other dog died a couple of years ago. He is blind, seems like an old dog now. His back legs keep collapsing, he can’t go upstairs and won’t even wander around the garden. It is difficult to get him to go outside to go to the toilet and he has many accidents, I can’t be cross as he has always been such a good dog. We have cats who have had kittens and he is so gentle with them.

    I couldn’t get him up, so my son came home, lifted him and we took him to the vet, a young chap who made me feel like a murderer when I said I wondered if it was his time, he has been on painkillers since, and said we should walk him twice a day to build his muscles, but he gets so distressed and we have to carry him outside, it seems cruel. He has a ramp to help him get outside. He seems sad and I am so worried he will collapse when we are at work and I have great difficulty lifting him up and he growls when doing so, I told the vet I am worried if it happens when we are out and he can’t get up. He trembles until he is up. He is still enjoying his food though can’t always find it, I suppose because he cannot see it very well. He doesn’t come rushing to the kitchen for titbits anymore and just seems weary. I can cope with the accidents though it happens every day, our house smells inspite of constant disinfectants. I am sad because he seems sad. I wish he would go in his sleep, our other dog saw a different vet in the same practice and she said we should think of putting him to sleep, I said no as long as he was enjoying his food and seemed happy. His back legs were going, but not as bad as Jack, he collapsed while getting in the car, the vet came out to see him and she said it was time for him. Jack seems worse and sad, but that young man made me feel bad, so I don’t know what to do. I would say, I never liked dogs as a child and was afraid of them. We ended up with two dogs, I can now see why people love their dogs, they really show their love and I was surprised that you can hear them breathing like humans, I love our cats but dogs really do love you back in a special way, I feel so sad.

  158. B says:

    I would like to hear what people have to say about my situation.
    I have a 12 year old Newfoundlander who I have had since he was a puppy. However, he is OLD and very slow. He has very bad back hips and after a 30 min walk can barely climb stairs and is very stiff in the joints. He is losing his hair at an incredible rate. I have changed his food several times (Gluten and Grain free) but it still occurs. His stool is very soft most of the time. He doesn’t seem like he is in pain, but he is not the happy go lucky dog he used to be. He has to use the bathroom often.. very often.

    Big question is… is it almost time or is it time to just let him go?


  159. Celia says:

    You helped..thanks

  160. Sue Harke says:

    I hope your dog is happy and free of pain.

  161. Sally says:

    I think it is time for my 14 year old poodle mix, Budfy, who has been my best friend and companion. She has been with me through a divorce, empty nest syndrome, move to a different city for a better job and everything between. She had a sudden turn of events over the past couple of weeks but now cannot walk on her own, won’t leave her bed and has no “life” in her eyes. She was my first “real” dog I ever owned and I had no idea how bonded we would become. I dread the next 12 hours. Thx for letting me just put my feelings into words. Actually, I’m a little numb and can’t adequately put how I feel into words. I’m sure you all know what I mean. Love you, sweet Buffy.

  162. Wow, that’s such a very moving story and very heart wrenching overall.
    My old boy is 17,”that’s 112 in dog years and as hard as it is going to be, I will most likely have to make a big decision very soon.
    I pray that he e goes peacefully in his sleep, though what we mostly wish for our pets in such sad and heartbreaking situations like this, does not usually go the way you so dearly wisheit for it to go & are left with the ultimate decision that will weigh heavy on one’s heart & mind until the grieving process slowly winds down and our beloved pet is then becomes a beautiful memory that is forever embedded in our hearts and minds forever.
    Time can only tell as we are all different.

  163. raheela says:

    My 12 yr and 8 month old Springer Spaniel had to be put down on the 10th of June. I can not stop crying for him. He had Arthritis in his back and hip due to an accident 3yrs ago. He was unable to lift himself up and had to have a special harness to lift him. He could not poo without falling into it. He had stopped eating his food which as a Springer he used to gulp down before. He had started to developed Cataracts in both eyes. He was on Tramadol twice a day and Metacom once a day. He developed loose stools followed by diarrhoea and whimpered during the night to be shifted . We his family made him as comfortable as we could. He still enjoyed his walks although we had to lift him atleast 10-30 times during these short walks. I know it was time to let go but it has been so painful to come down in the morning and not see him there. How long will this grieving process last. I am devastated and just want him back.

    • jehingr says:

      As with the loss of any beloved family member, the grieving process is different for everybody. It will take as long as it takes for you. And it requires different things from different people. The hardest part sometimes is giving yourself permission to do what YOU need to do. And please remember that some days it is OK if all you do is breathe.

  164. Karen Diehl says:

    Thank you for the old man story and your view on when it time to put down my beautiful, loving collie. This is so hard for me to do!

  165. Diane says:

    It was a relief to find this blog. Some of the experiences are uncannily similar to our own and help tremendously with the feelings of guilt and sadness. So, I’d like to share our story.

    Our beautiful airedale, Teddy, was put to sleep on Wednesday morning (24th August 2016) after ‘telling us’ it was time. He was in his 14th year and we are not sure if it was only old age and arthritis or something more sinister. But, in the last 12 months our beautiful boy had become progressively quite deaf, blind and lame. And, more recently he lost complete bowel control, which meant he pooped from time to time in the house and this seemed to totally mortify him! Yet, while no longer a bouncing ball of energy, he was seemingly content as he was still happy to go on long, albeit very slow, walks, ate well and was greedy for more food, and still loved to lie in the winter sun on his mat. But, the turning point came suddenly.

    On Tuesday evening, Teddy went to my son and ‘asked’ to go outside, which as an act in itself had become rare. My son took him out and watched him do his business, but came back inside when Teddy decided to have a little night-time wander in the garden. After a short time, my son went back out to get him only to find him lying in the garden disinterested in moving. So, he picked him up and carried him inside. We managed to get him into bed, but he looked miserable. The next morning we were a little surprised to see he had not moved all night, and he did not respond to any of the usual morning routines: he just could not get up. It was then we knew it was time: his eyes were so sad and pleading, he looked so desperately tired.

    We, his family – my husband, son and I – took him to his vet and my son cradled his head and looked into his eyes as he left us. We then bought his body home to be buried in his favourite spot in the backyard. And now, as much as we feel heartbroken beyond words, we also find great comfort in knowing Teddy lived a good and happy life: he was dearly, dearly loved and he gave us a whole lifetime of joy. We will miss him terribly.

    • Gary S. says:

      Hi Dianne,

      There were tears in my eyes when I read your words. You and your family have my deepest condolences. I know what you are going through. Two years after the passing of our Daisy, I still have tears when I think of her.

      I hope your grief is being replaced by warm feelings in your heart for your Teddy. Thank you for adding your story. It certainly helps to share with others who understand.

      I don’t know if you have seen this before, but it is a poem by the British poet Lord Byron. It was written in 1808 in honor of his Newfoundland dog, Boatswain, who had passed. The poem is inscribed on Boatswain’s tomb. It is quite poignant.

      Near this Spot
      are deposited the Remains of one
      who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
      Strength without Insolence,
      Courage without Ferocity,
      and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

      This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
      if inscribed over human Ashes,
      is but a just tribute to the Memory of
      Boatswain, a Dog
      who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
      and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

      When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
      Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
      The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
      And storied urns record who rests below.
      When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
      Not what he was, but what he should have been.

      But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
      The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
      Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
      Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
      Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
      Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
      While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
      And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

      Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
      Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
      Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
      Degraded mass of animated dust!
      Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
      Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
      By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
      Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.

      Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,
      Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
      To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
      I never knew but one — and here he lies.

  166. Diane says:

    It was a relief to find this blog. Some of the experiences are uncannily similar to our own and help tremendously with the feelings of guilt and sadness. So, I’d like to share our story.

    Our beautiful airedale, Teddy, was put to sleep on Wednesday morning (24th August 2016) after ‘telling us’ it was time. He was in his 14th year and we are not sure if it was only old age and arthritis or something more sinister. But, in the last 12 months our beautiful boy had become progressively quite deaf, blind and lame. And, more recently he lost complete bowel control, which meant he pooped from time to time in the house and this seemed to totally mortify him! Yet, while no longer a bouncing ball of energy, he was seemingly content as he was still happy to go on long, albeit very slow, walks, ate well and was greedy for more food, and still loved to lie in the winter sun on his mat. But, the turning point came suddenly.

    On Tuesday evening, Teddy went to my son and ‘asked’ to go outside, which as an act in itself had become rare. My son took him out and watched him do his business, but came back inside when Teddy decided to have a little night-time wander in the garden. After a short time, my son went back out to get him only to find him lying in the garden disinterested in moving. So, he picked him up and carried him inside. We managed to get him into bed, but he looked miserable. The next morning we were a little surprised to see he had not moved all night, and he did not respond to any of the usual morning routines: he just could not get up. It was then we knew it was time: his eyes were so sad and pleading, he looked so desperately tired.

    We, his family – my husband, son and I – took him to his vet and my son cradled his head and looked into his eyes as he left us. We then brought his body home to be buried in his favourite spot in the backyard. And now, as much as we feel heartbroken beyond words, we also find great comfort in knowing Teddy lived a good and happy life: he was dearly, dearly loved and he gave us a whole lifetime of joy. We will miss him terribly.

  167. Kenny says:

    Thankyou because I really needed to hear this. I might face the death of my best friend on monday. I hope there is,a cure tgat the vet can give her, if not then I’m going to have to make the hardest decision that I ever would make.
    Thankyou for you’re great words.

  168. Castilleja Dan says:

    Have to put down my best four legged friend and companion tomorrow and your story and explanation is a big help. This is the third time I have had to make this decision in the past 25 years. Never gets easier and the hardest part is those trusting eyes as you take your buddy for that last ride.
    Thanks for the comforting words.

  169. Stacey says:

    This really helped, thank you! ❤️

  170. Patrick Ashcraft says:

    Thanks for the reassurance and energy it has brought me. I choose to believe that the ole Dad was right. I’m gonna have to make sure I keep the slate clean since my old sidekick will certainly be there waiting for me. We love good cool well water.

  171. John Wu says:

    I really needed to hear this. Thank you. My dog already a myriad of problems when I adopted her two years ago. I have a soft spot for senior dogs in shelters thinking that they may never get adopted. For the past couple of weeks she has had trouble walking and standing, particularly her back legs. She’s also quickly losing weight. Since I live on the second floor, I now have to carry her up and down the stairs. I’ll wait to hear back from the vet about recent test results and broach the subject with her since she’s already hinted to me that her time may soon be up.

  172. Michael says:

    Thank you so much for having this entry up. Based on the comments and my own experience this past Friday with our beloved little dog, you have brought immeasurable comfort and peace of mind to dog owners everywhere wrestling with the idea of putting their cherished pets down. We finally ended her suffering and surrounded our beautiful dog with the love of the family she worked so very hard her whole life to protect. And now she can finally rest.

    When I’m old and gray and ready for my transition, I will look forward to seeing my baby waiting for me at the bridge.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  173. Ck says:

    Great story – thanks for sharing with me and my 12 year old lab

  174. Kathy says:

    Thank you so much. We go tomorrow to have Hero put down. He has been with us for 16 years.
    Tonight will be difficult.
    I have asked for God’s help.

    • Josh says:

      My big petey leaves us in a day or two. I’m just waiting on them to say a time. I know your pain and your not alone. I’ve asked the good lord for help I never thought it would be this hard but about 18 years with anything much less him being with me through everything is difficult to let go of and say goodbye.

  175. Josh says:

    Almost 10 years later it has still be read. I have to put big Pete down shortly. He can’t stand on his own anymore and I can tell in his eyes he knows. Thank you for this to read. I’ve had to bury several animals and put some down myself due to suffering and no one was around to help in the middle of the night. He’s about 18 years old, he’s lived a good life and are everything from crab to steak and everything in between hell hes even ate a few strawberries and apples. Thank you for your kind words 10 years later it’s still appreciated and is very difficult as he was my first boy I got before I got married to my ex wife and he’s been loved by everyone and my son use to ride him as a horse. I’m full of regrets not doing more with him over the years I thought he’d live longer than me. My sons now 11 I’ve been divorced 8 years and he’s been with me every step of the way from my sleepless nights to deepest secrets to my anger from the divorce he’s always loved me and never left. I thought about putting him down myself but I’d like him to just go to sleep and wake up in heaven peacefully. I owe him that much. I just hope I can see them all again one day and tell him and the rest of them thank you and I love them very much and how much joy he’s brought me even when I was busy he still waited for me to come home to just show him love and tell him hello.

  176. Thank you for adding the story about the old man and his dog. It made me feel much calmer in my heart. I just lost my 23 year old Blue & Gold Macaw, picture of health, beautiful and robust. Spent all of her time on outside of cage perches. Now my Bull Terrier Eddie is losing his muscle tone in back legs and I’m falling apart from old broken back and deteriorating bone condition and can’t remember when I really slept. I feed him from a fork so he quit getting canned food up his nose and aspiration pneumonia. I can’t preplan it or schedule a home visit unless they come when I call. I’ve tried until I’m dysfunctional with even basic calling in bills, keeping the lights down to night lights. I know I showed have walked him more to keep his muscles from wasting. Being a pet parent that is letting my physical pain rule my activities. Feeling so guilty that I’m not young and robust in my health. It’s not the number it’s the constant bone and joint pain. I’m just taking it a day at a time, really a stretch of the day now. It just turned ugly so quickly and crying about the bird. My personal Angel. I’m so tired and not sure how things will go. I’m emotionally drained. Next I have a 16 year old rescued Persian still kicking and sleeping on the pillow next to me. He was so abused his right hind leg had to be amputated! He was born on 9-11. Mr. Justice is doing very well for a senior. The last fur baby is 5 and thinks the dog, Eddie is his Daddymom. Eddie did Mother him and clean him and spoil him. Simon will be the last rescue. I’m too broken down. He too has been patient with me and my bone pain. The dog is so polite that he will stand and wait for his cat baby to move or not unless I intervene and tell Eddie “ Eddie, you are so polite, too polite. Make him move!” Simon head rubs his Daddymom as if to say “ I’m sorry I didn’t know you wanted the bed back.” They’ve all been my family and fur kids for many years. Thank you for letting me talk about my crazy household and sweet pets. God bless you all.

  177. Kate Kohl says:

    This is an incredible comfort, especially the sentence about dogs hiding their pain. A vet had told me about hat years ago, but didn’t relate it “back to the pack “. It is so poignant !

    My girl of over 14 years went down yesterday and cannot rise. I’ve never heard her actually cry indoors, but she is when I leave her and she is scared and bewildered. She is drinking and eating, so I will try the pain and anti inflammatory drugs…BUT I cannot move her or take her outside.

    • jehingr says:

      It is time! Find a vet who makes house calls! DO IT NOW,

      • ftscott3579 says:

        You brought so much comfort to my aching heart. I tell everyone about you! I was thrilled to see this tonight. My 23 y/o Blue & Gold Macaw died 3 weeks prior & I heard someone wrote a comforting piece about that. If you know of it, would you please guide me? Your piece is outstanding. I have a photograph of my friends Dad with back to viewer but he’s walking down a country road. It’s a perfect match for your writing. I will send it to you and I have his permission to use the picture of his Dad. Sincerely,Theresa

        Sent from my iPhone


  178. Theresa Myers says:

    I loved all that I’ve read of Jim’s! It helped me a great deal and the time did come when he could no longer stand once I helped him up.
    Someone referred me to a writing about the death of my Macaw/parrot but I was so sad losing 2 family members 3 weeks apart, I forgot the article I was referred to in
    Can anyone help me, please? I need to be consoled in some way and these writings are it!
    Sincerely, Theresa💔

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