My beloved girl... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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My beloved girl...

I put my beloved girl to sleep this weekend. Her heart stopped working properly, and she was in pain, and I was faced with a choice of a lot of surgeries with very little hope of improvement, or the worst decision I've ever had to make.

She was almost nine years old. Earlier this month, she had surgery to remove a super-scary lump on her femur that turned out to be a not-scary lipoma, and Friday was the first day she went without the Cone of Happiness (as I call it, because she always thought that the Cone of Shame was a hilarious tool with which to run into people).

During the lipoma removal surgery, my vet ran some cardio diagnostics because he detected an extreme heart murmur, but it was a "wait-and-see" sort of heart thing, because the heartbeat apparently normalized. The shape of her heart was apparently a bit off, as well--a little too large, a little too flat in places where it should've been round, a little too asymmetrical. I was told to keep an eye out in the future for typical doggy heart problems, i.e. the coughing, lethargy, and fainting that manifests when the heart isn't working right.

Some might jump in here and say that the vet should have done something about it right away, but I'll say now that he's been her vet since she was little, and I've always had immense respect for him and her decisions. He got her through some scary surgeries in the past, and is very much of the old-school "wait and see" type rather than the over-medicate and over-analyze type. We discussed the potential for heart medication in the future should she ever manifest symptoms, but as she's been full of her usual energy and joy, it didn't seem necessary at the time.

On Saturday, on my way home from work, my friend (well, ex-boyfriend, with whom we've been staying while my doggie recovered from her surgery, as there are lots of dogs where I usually live) called to say that something was definitely wrong with my dear girl. He's her dog-dad, and he knows her well enough to recognize when she's not right. I guess he'd let her outside, and she sprinted after some feral cats, and got pretty excited/agitated. She came inside normally, and suddenly went into this trance-like state, and then just laid down.

I was rounding the corner to the house when he called, and she was almost non-responsive when I walked in the door. Her pupils were fully dilated, and her breathing was shallow, and her heartbeat was faint and irregular. She didn't wag her tail at all. She didn't want carrots (her favorite thing). She responded a little bit to cuddles, nuzzling into my hands as usual, albeit faintly.

And so we went to the emergency clinic. They had to take her out of the car on a stretcher. They put her on oxygen and did ultrasounds and tried to keep her heart going.

The emergency vet came in and told me she could spend the night sticking needles into the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart) to drain it, and then send her to a different hospital for more scans and surgery in the morning. She suspected that there was a tumor of some sort on the heart. She didn't know if the beautiful beast who's been my best friend for nine years would make it through the night, but she knew that there would likely be a lot of surgeries to go through to rectify what she saw in her scans, and she didn't know if my girl would make it through them.

The options were few, and none of them were good, and none of them seemed to lead to a path that would lead to a healthy dog. I had to make a decision far too quickly. I didn't want her last days or weeks or months to be filled with doctors and needles and being alone in cages and on operating tables.

So I picked the worst possible option for me, and what seemed like the kindest option for her, and I hugged her and gave her all my love as she was put to sleep. She was the best dog ever. She was my very best friend in the whole world, and quite honestly the best thing in my life.

Right now I wish I'd opted for all of the surgeries because she might still be here, but another part of me says I made the right choice. And another part of me screams that I killed my dog. I've killed four animals in my life: a squirrel, a chipmunk, and a kangaroo rat with my car, and my best friend, my little big-foot, my baby, my good good girl. And I'm heartbroken and raw and it hurts so very much. I haven't slept without her by my side since I brought her home from the pound when she was eight months old.

Her last day was good. She woke up and got cuddles from two of her favorite people. She got to go for a ride in the car with the windows down. We went for a walk. She ate carrots and dog-snacks. She wasn't alone at all, and she wasn't alone at the end, and I managed not to sob while I was saying goodbye, because I didn't want to worry her. The vet agreed with my choice, but I have a feeling that they agree with whatever choice you pick.

How do you deal with this? How do you not go crazy with the "what-ifs"?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 01:43 PM
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Oh, I am so sorry to hear this. It really tugs at my heart when our beloved furbabies are in pain. I hope you find comfort soon, I know it will take a while. I wish I had some advice to give, but I have only ever lost one dog as of yet, and she went on her own. (without us knowing and we found her.) I think there will always be what-if's, but if knowing my pet's last day was spent as a great one in her eyes, I will be happy knowing she went happy(hopefully) and peacefully. Again, I hope you find some peace soon! Your furbaby sure seemed lucky to have you as her fur-mom, loving her so greatly.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 02:22 PM
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Very sorry for your loss The second guessing and guilt is common but from what you describe, I believe you made the right call for your little girl.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-11-2013, 12:00 AM
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My beloved girl...

I'm so sorry for your loss but considering the circumstances I think you made the right choice. She isn't in pain anymore.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-11-2013, 12:07 AM
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So sorry for your loss.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-11-2013, 12:18 AM
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I always tell people who have had to PTS their pets...a long, long, long, LONG time from now she wi tell you herself that you did the right thing for her. She is happy, healthy, pain free and running with the rest of our beloved pets in a better place. Please don't beat yourself up. Bless you for giving her such a loved life...

We are here for you...
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-11-2013, 12:23 AM
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All I can say is that I'm sorry for your loss. I know it's not much. I recently had to have one of my dogs put to sleep. Physically he was healthy. Mentally, we were losing him quickly. It's never an easy choice to make but one that sometimes has to be made. He was 8 when I let him go. It's definitely a difficult decision. Time will help. Given the information, you did what was best for her. She wasnt alone when she went. THATS whats important. She had a good life with you filled with love and I'm sure spoiling and she left for the rainbow bridge knowing she was loved.

I'm a firm believer that the ones who leave us, always pick our next furry family member be it tomorrow or days, weeks, or months down the road.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-13-2013, 12:51 AM
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She's not gone. She's just up ahead a little way. Just around the corner where you can't quite see her from where you are at.

She's waiting for you to catch up so you can both continue on your walk. She'll come over to your side and nuzzle her head in your hand as soon as you come around the corner.

Then, you'll both go up the lane together. A warm bright sun on your shoulders, under an azure sky with a few passing pillows of fluffy white clouds-----past hillsides filled with blossoming redbuds and dogwoods, meadows filled with wildflowers of every description and hue, urged on by a warm gentle breeze that careeses your cheek as it passes you by. She'll bound off to wade in the clear, cold creek flowing by----and you'll laugh at her trying to catch a small fish darting in and out among the rocks.

In a land that knows no parting............just up yonder.

She will be young and strong again, and never grow old, weak or sick. You will happy and content, sorrow and sadness will be long gone and forgotten.

Maybe I might even meet you on the path with my pack. They will show her the best places to find rabbits and squirells.

"I'd better go with you Huck, civilization can be dangerous."-------Tom Sawyer(Mark Twain)
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-13-2013, 12:58 AM
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So very sorry for your loss...

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-13-2013, 04:22 AM
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Don't think for a minute you did the wrong thing for took the hard road, and did the most humane thing for HER. I too have been down this road, and as a vet tech, have had a lot of experience with this issue. You gave her a peaceful, dignified, loving exit from what would have been absolute misery for her. Had you gone on to do all of the surgeries, and she had suffered, you would feel even worse...although I know that right now that's hard to believe. You DID NOT kill your dog.

The choices we sometimes have to make for our dogs are so VERY difficult, and yes, painful beyond what any words can begin to describe, but know that if she could thank you...she would.

I have seen people hang onto dogs that are SO sick...that have no quality of life, are constantly at the vet, because they demand that the dog be saved by whatever means necessary. They refuse to even consider what the dog is going through, let alone humane euthanasia, and I have seen dogs (and cats) that have been forced to endure a lot of pain when they have no chance of ever improving.

You did the most selfless, loving thing you could for your Girl...and although it hurts like **** and then some, know in your heart that she is at peace, not suffering, scared, or in pain, and that she will be waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge. I lost my 16 1/2 year old boy a year ago October 25th, and I thought I was literally going to die...he was not only my best friend, but my SD. I still miss him and always will...but now I can look back, and know I too did the right thing when I had to make the same decision you just did. Know that you are far from alone regarding the pain you feel...and give yourself time-and permission to grieve.

Last edited by NietzschesMomma; 03-13-2013 at 04:25 AM.
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