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Just as a qualification i lost my 13 y/o EPI Heart Dog on Wed night. The circumstances around my having to make the big decision are weighing heavy on me and the event went off like an explosion in my home.



I have gotten hundreds of condolences which I dont discredit but the one that hurts the most is when folks that didnt know her tell me "she is in a better place" and "you made the right decision".



Who are we "humans" to make the decision about what is right for "our dogs"? So many people tell me, well she doesnt have any pain anymore. The one that really hurts is when people say she just didnt want to be here anymore.


Im going to assume dogs, like humans have different thoughts and feelings. I understand there are some humans that have no problem just giving up and want to die at some point. But I also know there are some humans that absolutely want to live no matter. I dont believe dogs are any different in their desires



When my grandfather lost both of his legs, we didnt kill him. Yet I made the decision to kill my best friend because she was losing her hind legs.



She saw all three of my kids born, I truly believed she loved seeing them grow.



Dogs live in the now, and the now was she was in her place she felt comfortable, I took advantage of her trust and led her into the vets office and told them to kill her.



How exactly is this right... Who are we to play god? What dog said this was they wanted?
 

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epd0407, I had to face exactly the same decision with one of my dogs a couple of years ago. This was a dog I'd trained to be my hearing ear service dog. He was my heart dog, the dog that more than likely saved my life one cold winter night when I fell into a hole, and needed his help to get out of it.

But he had a problem with his spine, and his rear legs were going. He was still eating well, but he'd have these episodes where he'd fall down and not be able to get up without help. Then, he'd shake it off, and things would be back to 'normal'. 'Normal' meant he needed help to get up and down the stairs, and he'd spend a good deal of the day sleeping. It also meant he'd often lose control of his bowels when in the house. He was also 14 years old.

I had to be away from home at work for at least 8 or 9 hours a day. Once I came home and found him lying on the floor, unable to get up or even get to his water bowl. The day I made the decision to end his life was a Saturday. He'd spent the entire day unable to get up on his own. When I went to help him, and lifted his rear end, his hind legs were so weak they'd cross over each other.

I slept on the floor beside him that night. The next morning, he got up, walked to his water bowl, then went outside for a pee. He was able to negotiate the two steps to the backyard without my help, though he needed a boost to get back up them. In other words, he was back to 'normal' again. This made the decision to go through with the vet appointment all the harder.

But I knew I had to do it. If I'd been able to have someone at home to help him up when he fell, I might have let it go a little longer. He was still eating and drinking well, and didn't seem to be in pain. (Animals are very good at hiding pain, though...) But it just wasn't fair to him. And I knew things weren't going to get better: he was going to fall again. Animals don't have a human's understanding. I can only imagine how distressing it must have been to him to lose control of his legs, and not be able to get up. I also knew that at 14 years old, he was very near the end of his lifespan. Sure, I could pay big bucks to have someone make a cart to support his hind end. But what would be the point? He wouldn't be able to lie down and get back up again without help when wearing something like that, and it would likely only increase his distress and discomfort. And in the end, he probably only had a very short time to live, anyway.

So, I took him on the final trip to the vet. But it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I know now I did the right thing, but it sure didn't feel that way when I walked out of the 'Quiet Room' knowing I'd just been responsible for his death.
 

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One of my aunts passed away last week, at the age of 96. She was a great dog lover, and she and her husband were responsible for me getting my very first German shepherd many years ago. The dog belonged to their neighbour, who had to go into a nursing home. They had promised to look after her, but she wasn't a good farm dog - she was scared of their dairy cows!

Anyway, while going through her scrapbooks and photo albums, I found the following, which I think might give you some comfort.
 

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I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm sorry for all of us that had to make that decision for a beloved family member.

Sometimes, the cliche words of comfort sting. I get what you mean. I have 2 very disabled little boys and though I know people mean well I cringe when they say God picked you to care for them because you are so capable, or God only gives you what you can handle..etc. I feel like screaming I'd rather be a babbling idiot and have kids that will grow up, pick a career, go to college, fall in love, even understand failure. God, just be able to pick a favorite football team! I'd rather be the biggest loser on the face of the planet with kids that had hope, than be autism warrior mom. So I totally get it.

When I had to put my GSD Alvin down for things that were just not his fault..same things..he is in a better place, he is released from his demons. Sometimes, and maybe only some people feel this way, I just want someone to sit with me, have a drink, be my friend, and just acknowledge/commiserate with me the fact that this just s#$ks and is not fair.

My condolences OP <3
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss. The hardest thing about opening your heart to a dog is losing them. I still grieve for dogs that I lost a decade ago, but I treasure all of the happy memories, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
 

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I think all we can do is what we think is best for the dog. And what we think and what the dog thinks might be different, but it might not.

When I was 15, I suffered from a twisted intestine which was hard to diagnose and left me writhing for hours in excrutiating pain. Maybe 7-8 hours into it, I started to welcome death as relief. I started thinking that I'd rather be dead than continue suffering. When I was finally diagnosed and rushed to surgery, I wasn't even stressed by the risk, I just wanted to be done.

I'm not a depressed or suicidal person otherwise, but the level of pain was unbearable, and there was a sense of calm acceptance- not fear- as my body started to shut down.

So, I do believe that a dog might feel similar- if their level of suffering is high, perhaps death is welcome relief. But, sadly, we can never ask a dog, and very few dogs die in their sleep quietly.

It was certainly kindness to help my GSD Tessa go gently when in end-stage lymphoma and I might have waited a bit too long. She couldn't walk or get up those last few hours... but she still tried and it broke my heart to say goodbye. Anyone who thinks dogs don't have souls, has never loved a dog.
 

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epd0407

Sounds like you made a difficult decision and are still coming to grips with it...

...as far as what your friends say, they're hearts are in the right place and are only trying to comfort you.

I was brought to tears when I lost my Gordon Setter this past 4th of July; what a loving 24/7 companion he was to me. btw he was hospitalized for complications of a tick bite. But life goes on, Buster is buried in his favorite place and almost immediately I started looking for another dog...

...I just can't live without the companionship of a dog.

Thankfully through some miraculous circumstances and serendipity we were able to adopt Saint on the 13th.

bob
 

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It is perfectly normal to feel like we may have done the wrong thing. It is perfectly normal to want to rush back to the vet and say, "I changed my mind. Surely we can have just a little more time..." and then hurt when we realize there is no going back. It is so very normal to doubt our decision and beat ourselves up a bit, or a lot.

Later, when it hurts a little less we can think more clearly.

All I can say is that I've felt all these things with the last dog we put down. My previous dog lay down in a sunny spot in the grass of the back yard and left us peacefully. Both made us cry. My little mix just looked at us with eyes that cried, "fix this for me please". Knowing it was the right thing for her didn't make it any easier.
 

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I am so sorry you lost your dog. I went through this same dilemma many times because I have loved, lived and worked with many of my own dogs. If they are terminal and clearly suffering I don't want to add more miserable time to their lives. I personally have had very bad sciatic pain and felt that if I didn't get better, I would rather die, no cliche here. I envied dogs and really thought that if I were my own dog I would put him down. Finally after the diagnoses, which took months of pain, I was looking forward to the anesthesia to feel nothing and honestly couldn't care if I woke up or not. But I did evidently. This personal experience helped me deal with the grief about my oldies whom I helped transition into the pain free zone of death.
Don't doubt yourself, heal well, things will get better over time when she settles peacefully in your heart.
 

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I have gotten hundreds of condolences which I dont discredit but the one that hurts the most is when folks that didnt know her tell me "she is in a better place" and "you made the right decision".
People say this because it's the "acceptable" thing to say. We heard similar condolences when my brother died

"He's in a better place" What's wrong with this place?

"He's not in any pain" He wasn't in pain to begin with. He died in an accident.

"God has a plan" Really? From where we're standing it's a pretty sorry plan. Perhaps he should hire a professional party planner.

They mean well. They are trying to console you.

Your grief is real. You can be angry. I was angry when I lost my girl in December. I resented every other animal in the house, including my boy, because they were breathing and she wasn't. The most accurate description from my friend who also lost her heart dog "Losses like this are like amputations without anesthesia - almost unendurable pain."
 

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Thanks for all the replies but the original question is still there. Is it possible that everyone is wrong? If the dog is not in pain.. why do we think it's ok to play God? My children, when they came home were just as much Justices as they were my wife and I. I know she enjoyed watching them grow. I played God and took that away because I have been conditioned to think as a human. I really feel like I was wrong and I'll go to my grave with this. In this situation, I really believe that and I hope my soul lives an eternity in purgatory because I did it.


I have gotten hundreds of condolences which I dont discredit but the one that hurts the most is when folks that didnt know her tell me "she is in a better place" and "you made the right decision".
People say this because it's the "acceptable" thing to say. We heard similar condolences when my brother died

"He's in a better place" What's wrong with this place?

"He's not in any pain" He wasn't in pain to begin with. He died in an accident.

"God has a plan" Really? From where we're standing it's a pretty sorry plan. Perhaps he should hire a professional party planner.

They mean well. They are trying to console you.

Your grief is real. You can be angry. I was angry when I lost my girl in December. I resented every other animal in the house, including my boy, because they were breathing and she wasn't. The most accurate description from my friend who also lost her heart dog "Losses like this are like amputations without anesthesia - almost unendurable pain."
 

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One of my aunts passed away last week, at the age of 96. She was a great dog lover, and she and her husband were responsible for me getting my very first German shepherd many years ago. The dog belonged to their neighbour, who had to go into a nursing home. They had promised to look after her, but she wasn't a good farm dog - she was scared of their dairy cows!

Anyway, while going through her scrapbooks and photo albums, I found the following, which I think might give you some comfort.

Wow. One of the best I have ever read. Almost crying that was so beautiful
Thank you for posting
 

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I feel your pain. I have been in your position. It's never easy.

Maybe it's because, in my profession, I deal with people euthanizing their beloved pets regularly, but I have learned to see things a bit different.

Dogs do not contemplate their life. They do not have the capability to think about the meaning and purpose of their life.

They are not capable of it. Comparing their end of life to that of humans does a disservice to both.

I know you are questioning your decision. I know you want just one more day and that you wish you is not have to make the decision you did. Again, I have been there. I question it almost every time. And I vant say that it gets easier. It really doesn't.

I am very sorry for your loss. I wish you peace.
 

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I have had to put two of my beloved dogs to sleep and so I, like most of us, have been where you are now. I don't know that I can answer your question about "how do we know" because so many times we don't know. I mean, not for sure. it's not like the dog can come to us and tell us they are ready to go. We just have to look for signs. They may look sad, they may lose interest in things that they used to love, they may quit eating and so on. Dogs can be pretty stoic and we can't always tell if they are in pain or not. All we can do is to gather the information we have and try to make the best decision we can based on that information. It's not easy to make the decision and it shouldn't be

When I had my first dog put to sleep, it was the first time I had ever been in a position to be responsible for taking a life. Max was a yellow Lab who was almost 14 when I had him put to sleep. He was very frail, was falling a lot, arthritic and so struggled when he tried to get up or lay down and becoming incontinent. My husband kept talking to me about how I wasn't being fair keeping him alive, that he was suffering, and so after much agonizing, I had him put to sleep. I had always said I would know it was time when Max stopped eating because he loved to eat, but he ate his last meal with the same gusto that he always did. I still wonder sometimes if I did the right thing having him put to sleep, but then I also sometimes wonder if my husband was right and I should have had it done before I did.

My second dog had metastatic cancer and there was no fixing it. He would eat for a couple of days like he was ravenous and then throw all this undigested food back up again. He lost maybe 25 pounds and would have starved to death if I had let him. It broke my heart to let him go, but he was my responsibility. He could not help himself so I had to make the decision for him.

I am so sorry for the loss you have suffered. It's normal to second guess our decisions in our grief, but just because you are second guessing doesn't mean that you were wrong. Be gentle with yourself. You made your decision out of love and that is all any of us can do.
 

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I've euthanized a dog and felt much like you do now. and I've lost a dog to a natural, horrible, death. I absolutely believe in the right to a dignified death for all living beings. Look up Hugh Gale and Dr. Kevorkian. Hugh was my uncle.

After watching my dog experience a death like she had, I'll just say that we owe these magnificent creatures a better death than that. She deserved to go peacefully and without fear. She did not get that partly because of my guilt over my previous dog and partly because of my denial that I was losing her. I thought I had more time to make that decision.

Everyone will feel differently and nobody can tell someone else how to feel about it.
 

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There's often a "what if" - what if I had waited more; why did I wait so long? how does my dog view this?



In a sense, my dogs have made it "easy" (it is never easy) for me:
first dog went into a comma
second dog had cancer that was undiagnosed for too long (no symptoms). I insisted on trying with the operation. I took him home for the night and I should not have.
next euthanized dog was clearly out of it. poor vision, worse hearing, kidney failure and pacing
then there was the pound guy who had every internal and external parasite available to dogs. We worked to get him healthy enough to treat the HW. Maybe all of a week before the HW killed him, he vomitted a pile of round worms that looked like a plate of chef boyarday living spaghetti. So he still had other parasites to deal with.

then one had her second bleed on hemangio, the cancer had spread everywhere, there was no point in reviving her from anesthesia
after that, I had expected to bring the dog home from the vet. She unexpectedly took a turn for the worse and died before I could get there.
next dog had bone cancer that had spread to the brain and was giving him seizures - I waited to confirm the diagnosis as not-tick-borne-disease and unfortunately that came later than it should have. yes, I should have euthanized him sooner but I needed confirmation that it was beyond hope


Who knows what will take the current two? Will my choice be perfect? Probably not.


You do your best - and that's the best you can do. If I knew then what I knew before I waited to long, sure I would have made a different choice. It just doesn't work that way. You do your best with what you know at the time, with what you feel at the time.
 

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I'm very sorry for your loss... I can't imagine my life without my girl, and I've had many losses in my own personal life.

But it's important to remember that no one is playing God when deciding what the right choice is for an animal suffering. Regardless of which decision we make, when the time comes, the dog will pass. Whether that death is painless or excruciating is not always predictable, and as Jax says, we owe it to them to go to the other side without fear or suffering if we know that their time is already limited. My best friend watched her 14 year old dog go horribly on the floor beside her bed. They were going to put her down the next morning as she was terminal, but decided to wait one more day to hold on because they loved her so much. Sadly the results were worse, and she watched her dog struggle to breathe and slowly asphyxiate on her own blood. When it came time for her own dog to be put down 7 years later, she had three decisions: undergo surgery at the age of 14, and likely result in death; let the dog continue to live and hope for the best; or humanely end the dog's life while providing him love and comfort.

It's an interesting perspective, but I think it can be very limiting to say that ending life is akin to acting like a god. If we could make decisions and act like God, I'm quite sure we would provide our dogs with exceptional health and a longevity to match our own rather than decide to end them and remove them from our lives.
 

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I (like everyone else here) know what you're going through. My dog was put down just before X'mas this past year. (My X'mases are forever scarred.) He was almost 12 years old and also had EPI like yours. In October he was diagnosed with liver cancer and had spread to other adjacent organs. He probably had it for half a year before that. He was given a few months to live. He was my first GSD and first dog. I wrestled for weeks with the decision of when to put him down. I didn't want to and I didn't know if I was doing the right thing. He had his good days...eating his 2 meals, pooping at his regular schedule, staying by my side, playing a little, etc. Then he had his bad days, where he couldn't control his bowels and pooped in the house and immediately ate it before I could get to him because he knew he did wrong, pooped while sleeping and he rolled over it and I had to wash him at 3 in the morning, pooped while eating, loss of appetite, vomited, etc. I asked everyone who had dogs, vets, friends, family, etc. No one would tell me when to do it. I literally had 3 hours (if that) of sleep every single night those last few months. The thought of making that decision made me sick and I cried every day. The consensus was...if the dog was having more bad days than good, that's when you do it. The other thing everyone was saying was..."quality of life," your dog's AND yours. It's hard to make that choice especially when it's your first dog...a family member....something/someone who's followed you around for 12 years like a shadow. You may not be the one who injects the cocktail in your dog, but you might as well have since it was your decision to do it. Half a year later, I still feel guilty having made that decision. It's traumatic for someone to make that decision. I'm fortunate now that I have a naughty rambunctious 6 month old adolescent pup to keep my mind occupied. He's a handful. However, there isn't a day that I don't think about the last image I had of my old guy laying there with his pleading eyes staring back at me. I can't shake that image out of my head. Anyway, I'm tired and I'm rambling on, probably making no sense. What I'm trying to say is...we get it. No amount of words can make you feel better about that decision. This is cliché...it's not what they say; but the thought behind it. They mean well.
 

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We are human, we make decisions based on incomplete information, sometimes very hard decisions. Unfortunately our dogs cannot talk to us. We can only guess at what they want, know or feel. I hope you can find peace and forgiveness.
 
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