Advice needed: Do you regret (not) putting your pet down?

  1. The love of my life, my 14 year old Cairn Terrier who was my childhood pet, has heart problems, severe arthritis, breathing problems caused by a recent bone growth in his nose, and diagnosed as of today, aggressive bladder cancer. Despite his many medical problems he has always been a trooper and quite happy just to be alive. With his recent bladder cancer, he has had no bladder control whatsoever and has been peeing blood (in a seemingly painful manner) everywhere, even as he sleeps. He still eats and happily goes on walks but spends the majority of his time laying on his bed breathing heavily. He lives with my parents because they are able to devote alot of time caring for him and he is familiar with their house. A few weeks ago he went to drink out of their pool, fell in and had to be revived by my dad who (thank God) happened to find him in the bottom of the pool (he no longer goes outside unsupervised). I feel like every day after that has been a gift but am questioning whether it's a gift for me alone, if his pain is just too much for him to bear. Whenever I think of putting him down I break down crying thinking I'd be letting him down. He has always had so much will to live. On the other hand, I can't bear to see him suffer so badly. The vet said he'd give us some anti-inflamatory meds that could possibly help with the painful urination, but might offer no relief at all. He gave a very best miracle-case prognosis of a year and worst case being any day. I just don't know what to do and can't stop from crying and thinking that I will fail him no matter what I do. I am going to spend this weekend with him, but could really use some advise from some people who have been in similar situations. Do you regret putting your pet out of their pain? Did you decide to let nature take its course? Why do things have to die? to cry some more:crybaby:
  2. As much as I love my animals and as hard as it is to put a cherished family member down, I would not allow my animals to suffer. A few years ago I put down my beloved cat who was ailing and though it was horribly painful for me and I cried for days, I have never once regretted it.
  3. If they are in pain and are suffering, perhaps the greatest gift we can offer them is the ability to take their pain away.

    I know how hard it is to make this choice - but they will know that you did so out of love and compassion with their best interest in your mind. *hugs*
  4. I've only had to make the decision to put one dog to sleep so far, and that was my poodle. She was about 12.5 years old I think. She was pretty much blind, had diarrhea uncontrollably, barked at things that weren't there, etc. But when she started pawing at her face over and over laying down on the ground I took her to the vet and found out her nerves were becoming exposed and causing her a lot of pain. He said he could do surgery to help it but that she was so old and in failing health and to put her through that would basically be a cruel thing to put her through. We talked for a while, but I ended up making the decision that day to have him put her to sleep. It was a hard decision, but I knew that she was in constant pain. You could just see it in how she'd crouch down and paw at her face all the time. Up until then she seemed comfortable, despite her other problems, but that was just the final thing and I couldn't stand to see her suffer. I cried all the way home but I knew I'd made the right decision.

    I think you'll just have to ask yourself what your dog's quality of life is. That's basically what my vet asked me to consider. Is your dog still enjoying life for the most part or is most of his day filled with pain?
  5. I have had to make the decision 5 times so far in my life and although I cried and hurt every time I do not regret it. If your dog is suffering you are the only one that came make the pain stop. Dogs don't count the days they are alive. They just know how they feel. I know it will be terribly hard but if he has bladder cancer he is probably in a lot of pain and I do believe it is better to go a day too early than to wait a day too long. (((HUGS)))) I know how you feel.
  6. It is a very hard decision. I had a doxie with Cushings and I finally put her down. Then I read something that really struck home: Dogs will tend to act better than they feel as a defense against predators, in other words, they don't want to act sick, it is instinct, so that they don't look like easy prey. This made me realize that I may have waited about 5 months too long to put little Tassie down, she probably felt horrible but was being such a trooper.
  7. I, too, firmly believe in ending suffering. I love all of my pets so much, and have lost several over the years. I always think I will not love a new pet as much, but they all have found a big place in my heart.

    No matter what you decide to do, your dog knows you love him.
  8. I was just going to say this Irish. W/ my last beloved dog, the vet said she had probably been covering up the severity of her illness for days b/c it's instinctive for them to do so. Truly I had not idea that she was deathly ill until the afternoon that I had to put her down (and I'm truly a very attentive pet owner). I think that sometimes we love something so much, we understandably are selfish about holding on to whatever life they have left. It's very hard though.

  9. Oh, goodness. Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I really hope he's not covering up his pain, but fear that might be the case. I guess everyone is right that ending their pain is the most humane thing to do. I just can't bear the thought of putting him down though. It's just so final, like I walk in with him and then he's gone forever.:crybaby: I have never had to deal with the death of a pet before (luckily) and I guess this is just hitting me really hard and keeping me from being selfless. If he really is in pain, the only one it's benefiting by keeping him alive is me.
  10. It's hard to put your pet down, but on the other hand, you don't want them to suffer. My aunt put her cat down last week. She waited weeks and weeks before she did it because she just couldn't do it, but she finally made the decision to do it because Tabby was in so much pain. Best wishes to you.
  11. I have read that too, about dogs hiding when they are in pain.

    I have to ask myself if I'm keeping my dog alive for me or if he/she really has some decent quality of life. One of them, I know I waited too long, looking back on it. The dog after that, though only 6, had cancer and I feel we timed it about right and she didn't suffer needlessly because I couldn't let her go. I could share more stories, but it's each person's decision when it's right. It's a brave thing to do for the animals who love us so much.

    Best wishes to you and your little guy, whatever comes.
  12. Dear Echo, I have nothing to say as I have never had to put my dog down.
    Please be strong and whatever you decide to do, I am sure he knows that it is for his own good.
  13. First of all, big hugs to you Echo.
    This is the part of owning a pet that hurts. It's never easy and it's always sad but we have to do the right thing. I would rather say goodbye to my pet a day too soon than a day too late. If your dogs bad days outnumber his good days, then in my opinion, the time has come.
    I remember years ago my sister's old dog got to the stage where he was suffering terribly, he couldn't walk properly, he couldn't control his bowels and he would whine in pain, but she would not end his suffering because she said she "loved him too much". He was in agony and finally, died alone in the laundry room...not only was this lovely, faithful old boy alone but he had been thrashing around and had vomited and his rear end was covered in faeces. He had suffered a terrible death... all in the name of love.
    Be brave hon and make the decision that your dear old pal cannot.
  14. First of all, big {{{hugs}}}to you and your dog. I know how hard you are struggling, I just had my cat Mathilda put to sleep last Friday and I am still grieving. My grief is just because I'm missing her, though---I don't regret doing it although right up til the last minute I was torn. But as you pointed out, keeping her alive would've been for my benefit, not hers. She's not suffering anymore and that is the best outcome of all.

    Whatever you decide to do, my thoughts are with you.

    To answer your question---do I regret not putting a pet down---I had a cat many years ago who was dying of feline leukemia and I did not, in my opinion now, do the right thing; I let him struggle on for hours and hours when I should have had him put to sleep that morning. It was a terrible thing to watch and I do regret it, very much. In fact he died in my arms on the way to the vet's after I had finally decided I couldn't take his suffering anymore. I selfishly couldn't bear to let him go and as a result he did not have a peaceful death. It's been almost 20 years and I still wish I had done things differently.
  15. Thanks everyone for the support and hugs. It really means alot! I can't sleep right now because I can't stop thinking about him. I really don't want him to pass away like described above. I want to be with him and holding him so he knows he isn't alone and will always be loved. I always wanted him to pass away at the foot of my bed quietly at night because that was his favorite place. I think we'll try the medicine for a few days and see if there's any relief. If not, I need to come to terms with doing the humane thing. You're right, I'd much rather him die in a loving environment then by himself in pain. Thanks again for all the support and advice.