When Your Dog Goes Home

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    Jun 21, 2012 3:49 AM GMT

    I know some members here have recently had to help their dog depart this Earth. I've never had to do that for any of my dogs, but with two 15 year olds, I worry I may be faced with that decision soon. I'm not sure if I can do it or how I will know when it's time. Then I made the mistake of watching this video. icon_cry.gif After watching this, I just don't know if I can do it. Any advice or insights? *Sigh*
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    Jun 21, 2012 3:51 AM GMT
    It's sad, but you will get over it. Dogs are awesome and they love you till the end (unless they become feral).
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    Jun 21, 2012 3:54 AM GMT
    There's no perfect time, so don't over-think it. You'll drive yourself crazy. My dog died at home. My two cats had to be put to sleep. They let me know when it was time. They get a certain look in their eyes, and you know they can't go on any more.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jun 21, 2012 3:57 AM GMT
    You have been there for your dogs all of their life .... how could you ever let them go through the end alone ... with strangers icon_cry.gif

    It really is an act of love that allows you to do it
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    Jun 21, 2012 3:59 AM GMT
    One of the best arguments about dogs not being people is that dogs don't have a say as to whether their suffering should be perpetuated; we can and have to make those decisions for them.
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    Jun 21, 2012 4:00 AM GMT
    Back to my childhood days (yeah another story)...on a farm, in rural Arkansas, so far in the sticks they had to pipe in sunlight.

    Dad shot every single dog I owned for various reasons (got under his feet, chased cows the wrong way, barked when they shouldn't, looked ugly, ate too much, etc). They were all "rescues" (aka: captures that showed up on the farm out of nowhere').

    Now I have a "rescue" from work....my first dog since that hateful fucker died. It's taken months to actually grow attached to her, since I was raised to be accustomed to losing a dog every few months.

    Due to my past experiences, there's no way I could get so attached to a dog that I wouldn't know what to do without it. I already know what I'd do. I'd find another dog to love, and give it the same amount of love as I gave all the ones I had as a child. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 21, 2012 4:00 AM GMT
    Ugh. I didn't want to watch that but something made me. I have two dogs of my own and I dread the day I will have to do that. But I guess it brings me a little comfort knowing that I know they lead a long, happy life and in turn they brought me happiness. I would hope they would be there for me in the end so the best you can do is be there for them.....icon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gif
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    Jun 21, 2012 4:04 AM GMT
    AMoonHawk saidYou have been there for your dogs all of their life .... how could you ever let them go through the end alone ... with strangers icon_cry.gif

    It really is an act of love that allows you to do it



    Oh, I could NEVER just drop my dog off and leave him to have that done! Didn't mean that at all. I asked my vet (he's a good friend) if he could give me a syringe that I could keep in the fridge in case it needed to be done at 3AM. He said "absolutely not" because it's a controlled substance. He did however say he could give me a powerful sedative that would knock the little guy out until I could get him to the emergency vet clinic, so he wouldn't suffer. He has congestive heart failure, so we know how he's probably going to die, but I can't bear the thought of him suffering. icon_cry.gif
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    Jun 21, 2012 4:05 AM GMT
    Putting down my childhood dog 9 years ago was one of the saddest experiences of my life to date. I was 17 at the time, and it was the first time I experienced the loss of a close family member. My dad and I went to the animal hospital the morning of the euthanasia while my mom stayed home (she couldn't bear to go). My dog was super energetic and happy during the ride. I was hoping maybe at the last minute the vet would talk us out of putting my dog down, but everything went according to plan.

    The vet said I had the choice of staying or leaving. I chose to stay with him during his last moments. I was actually pretty amazed at how fast it happened. No sooner than he received the injection, he collapsed to his side and took his last breaths. Within a couple of minutes, the vet confirmed his heart had stopped. All I could do was cry in my dad's arms for a while until we finally went home. Getting out of the car, my mom was waiting outside the garage, saw the tears on my face, and my dog's empty leash and collar. Then all three of us huddled and cried for a while.

    As heartbreaking as it was, I never regretted the decision. He had a peaceful death with me by his side. I got to say goodbye to him. Having that moment of closure I think helped a lot in my grieving process because I was able to go to school the next day without thinking about it too much. I was able to let go and feel grateful for the 14 years of memories he gave me.
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    Jun 21, 2012 4:10 AM GMT
    Ughh. That sounds horrific. icon_neutral.gif
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    Jun 21, 2012 4:10 AM GMT
    I have had SO MANY hairy babies... so many... I grew up on a farm. It will NEVER be easy to make this decision, but as Oden's person said, "It was my childish fear that made Oden wait." As a companion, you owe it to them to be good to them. After all the friends I've sent on their journeys, it isn't any less painful each time; however, they give us everything they've got, and it's the least we can do to make sure they are comfortable. When that's not possible anymore, then it's time to send them gently on their way. The only advice I have is this: Keep mementos. Talismans help to remind you to love when your pals are no longer here to remind you themselves.
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    Jun 21, 2012 4:15 AM GMT
    A Dog's Plea

    "Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

    Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I might lick your hand between blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me learn.

    Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when the sound of your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

    Please keep me inside when it is cold and wet, for I am a domesticated animal, no longer accustomed to bitter elements. I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet besides the hearth.

    Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.

    Feed me clean food that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.

    And my friend, when I am very old and I no longer enjoy good heath, hearing and sight, do not make heroic efforts to keep me going. I am not having any fun. Please see to it that my life is taken gently. I shall leave this earth knowing with the last breath I drew that my fate was always safest in your loving hands…."


    That last paragraph chokes me up every time. icon_cry.gif
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    Jun 21, 2012 4:16 AM GMT

    I just went through losing Spencer. We had the vet come to the house, full of the familiar sights smells and sounds of home. She checked him over. In spite of all his problems, which were fatal (failing liver, kidneys, cancer etc) his heart was still strong. He hadn't eaten anything substantial in a week, although I spent a lot of time going so far as to start making stuff from scratch to tempt him.

    In between this and dealing with his increasing incontinence I kept taking time for RJ as a welcome distraction from watching Time's tide come in while my sandcastle walls of Concern and Care came down with this tide.

    Sad as it seems, I have absolutely no regrets for letting him live as long as he chose to, taking care to measure the amount of pain each day against the the amount of enjoyment of each day.


    I wrote this as tears wouldn't come (not until later)


    Spencer,

    At noon today you took your wings,
    We held you close;
    Thought many things,
    Remembering the way you played,
    Remembering the trees you flayed,
    How you wore Bill's underwear,
    Around your neck,
    While sleeping there,
    How your health declined in spurts,
    How in your eyes you said,
    "It hurts"
    So today we grieve you, love,
    But now you're free,
    Go chase a dove.

    -Doug
    Again, apologies for being so sad or inviting it with this, but in truth I feel a great happiness in that I have no regrets about the fine home he had, and the good care he got.

    Best of all, we can say that the love we got was equal to the love we gave.
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    Jun 21, 2012 4:24 AM GMT
    I have to admit watching this video got me choked up. It's been a long time since I've thought about the day I euthanized my dog. I mean, I remember my dog every year on his birthday (the day my parents brought him home anyway) and spend much of that day looking at pics of him on my computer. But watching this really brought back to life the day I went to the animal hospital and stood beside him on the table as he went down. Even though it was 9 years ago, the memory still feels vivid.
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    Jun 21, 2012 4:32 AM GMT
    pocketnico said

    Even though it was 9 years ago, the memory still feels vivid.


    Which says to me you really loved him well, and for me this is another good thing; that Bill and I grieving as much as we are means we loved well.

  • Musicman91

    Posts: 1529

    Jun 21, 2012 4:33 AM GMT
    Scruffypup saidA Dog's Plea

    "Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

    Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I might lick your hand between blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me learn.

    Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when the sound of your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

    Please keep me inside when it is cold and wet, for I am a domesticated animal, no longer accustomed to bitter elements. I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet besides the hearth.

    Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.

    Feed me clean food that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.

    And my friend, when I am very old and I no longer enjoy good heath, hearing and sight, do not make heroic efforts to keep me going. I am not having any fun. Please see to it that my life is taken gently. I shall leave this earth knowing with the last breath I drew that my fate was always safest in your loving hands…."


    That last paragraph chokes me up every time. icon_cry.gif



    Oh my gosh that is so sweet and sad.

    It was so hard putting down my black lab/German shepard all the way back in 7th grade. He was my best friend growng up he would sleep in my bed with me, I was the only one who would take him for walks. It was just not a good time. They really become apart of the family. Having lost alot of family members it is never easy human or dog or cat or whatever the case may be.

    I have 2 beagles now I can hardly believe they are 7 and 8. Time really does fly. Cherish the moments you spend with them and cherish the memories you have had with them once they are no longer with you. I still keep my dog, Nelson, with me in spirit and all the memories I have of him. And maybe someday I'll see him again icon_smile.gif
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    Jun 21, 2012 12:02 PM GMT
    It never gets easier. We had to make the decision 3 times (a dog and two cats) and then recently one of our cats the decision for us by having a heart attack. (He ran to my partner first). Each time I vowed no more animals because the pain of losing them was just too much but then another one comes along and the joy they bring far outweighs the pain.
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    Jun 21, 2012 12:08 PM GMT
    When I was about 12 we had to put down our black lab. It wasn't even really her time but she had attacked and killed another puppy that we had gotten. Vet suggested we put her down (My parents were fearful that the dog would attack us kids). It was pretty hard to deal with especially having the puppy die one day then put down the only dog you've ever had in your life.

    Dogs are part of the family, at least in my family.
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    Jun 21, 2012 12:19 PM GMT
    Mine stopped eating. That's how I knew it was time.

    Looking back, I realized I probably held on longer than I should have. The last 2 years of his life I carried him up and down the stairs to the bedroom every day because he suffered hip displasia and didn't walk so well.

    When I knew it was time, I made an appointment with the vet. I took the day before off work and spent the entire day with my dog. I highly recommend this. I'm glad I took that day to say goodbye. I also snipped a lock of his hair which is sitting on a picture frame in front of me right now with several photos of him.

    BTW, many vets do house calls these days and will do the process for you in your home. I imagine it's a bit more expensive but worth it for the familiar environment.
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    Jun 21, 2012 1:02 PM GMT
    Absolutely the worst day of my life was the last day of Tankie's life. He was almost 11 years old, and had developed pancreatic cancer. We probably kept him a week longer than we really should have, but we were ignorant to his suffering, and wanted him around just a little longer.

    The previous night, he went into seizure five times, and we knew it was time. We called the vet that morning, and made an appointment for just after they closed at 5pm, so we could deal with the loss after all the other customers had gone home. Both of us took the day off work, and called our relatives to come say goodbye to him, which they did. We offered him hamburger and some ice cream-- his favorites-- but he would only nibble at them. So, we brought his bed into the living room, put a comforter on it to make it softer, and let him lie in the soft January sunshine while we doted and petted and loved on him.

    The vet was incredibly sensitive. My husband's mom drove us, so we could both hold him in the back seat. When we got there, my husband stood behind Tankie, his mom at his side, while I held his head and told him I loved him. He gave me kisses on my face while the vet did her thing, and before you know it, he was gone. I closed his eyes and let go of his head. I've never cried so hard in my life. I'm crying as I type this.

    Tankie was my boy. He was my guardian angel. We had him cremated, and put his ashes in a beautiful inlaid wood jewelry box with a dogwood pattern on it.

    20110124-IMG_0982.JPG?w=bf154362&dl=1
    Tankie on the last day of his life.
  • Tony123

    Posts: 30

    Jun 21, 2012 1:06 PM GMT
    Geez, rough topic that seems all too familiar. I wish my Dog could have told me..."I'm Ready", but I knew it was time. The hardest part is knowing that it is your decision to end the life of your trusted buddy. Totally sucks.

    I look at it now as that I set him free.

    If you haven't read or heard of the book (soon to be a major motion picture - ;) "The Art of Racing in the Rain. I would absolutely suggest.
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    Jun 21, 2012 2:31 PM GMT
    Oh God. I've only had my puppy for just under four months and I already get completely emotional thinking about having to do this in the future. I've only ever had hamsters and guinea pigs as pets before and although I was sad when they died it didn't rip me up like I think it will when he goes.

    I'll just have to make the most of him while he's here and put it to the back of my mind - I can only imagine how difficult it is.
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    Jun 21, 2012 2:32 PM GMT
    Like most people, I've had to go through losing pets over and over again. It is never easy to say good bye (for now, cause we'll see them in Eternity, I believe). Our pets know we love them, and they know they have to go before us - since we have longer lives than they do (generally).

    What helps me every time I lose a pet is to give that empty space in my house to another loving pet fairly soon. There are so many pets out there who would love a warm place to call "home" and I'm sure my passing pets would approve of my helping out another pet.
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    Jun 21, 2012 2:43 PM GMT
    Those beautiful, BEAUTIFUL animals who go before us, it's so tough.

    If I have the capability to go with them to make sure they get there, I would and probably not come back.
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    Jun 21, 2012 3:04 PM GMT
    One thing that helped me the most was the relationship I had with my vet. He had been with us through a lot and he understood the bond we shared. When the time came he gave me the options but I told him we were ready and he agreed. He was just so gentle and compassionate that I cannot imagine what it would have been like with a stranger.

    Having moved, I now use Banfield at PetSmart for my three boys and it seems that everytime we go in, there is a new vet. This topic has got me thinking that I need to find a vet clinic and vet that we can build a relationship with. Hopefully, I have a few years before I have to face it again but you never know.