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Let me start off by saying that this is my first experience with the death of a dog. I am eighteen years old and I cannot remember a time without my fourteen year old German Shepherd Dog Shadow by my side.
Shadow had developed cancer around twelve years of age. But she was still functioning properly. She could still walk, she looked happy, she had an okay sense of hearing. Then all of a sudden at around fourteen... everything went downhill SO fast. I cannot get over how fast everything went downhill. One week she was alright, the next week she would just fall on the floor when trying to walk. She just didn't look happy anymore. She was incontinent.
My mother had talked about putting her down probably every six months since she turned 13 and had started going deaf. I had always told her to stop talking about it.
When Shadow had bloody bowels, couldn't squat to pee, could hardly get up anymore, my mom knew it was time. I guess I did too, but I did not want to accept it. She made an appointment for the next morning.
I lived in denial up until the end. I went out like normal Friday night. I said goodnight to her like normal Friday night. I do not think it hit me until I saw her go limp at the vet's office.
And now I feel so guilty. I feel guilty for not spending extra time with her. I always thought she would just last forever. I do not know how to deal with this.
The biggest thing that bugs me and weirds me out is wondering where her body is. My mom has never liked the idea of animals remains and I was not going to argue about it with her. But I cannot stand the idea of her being cremated and dumped away like she was trash. It just sickens me.
Can anyone share ideas of how to cope with her loss?
 

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You have to give it time. I'm still dealing with the loss of my dog and it's been over a year. Getting another puppy helped me, but did not take the pain of losing my dog away.

Take it one day at a time.
 

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The pain remains long after the fur is vacuumed up. After 2 and 1/2 years I still miss my Pyrate. Raina has been here for me and I love her but Pyrate was my heart dog. You are lucky this is the first time you have had to say goodbye. It never gets any easier. Some keep the ashes of their beloved pets. I never did until Pyrate. Somehow, bringing those ashes home makes me feel like part of him is still with me. I couldn't bear to not have any thing of him, even though I kept his puppy teeth as I found them and I have a tuft of his hair sealed in the box with his puppy teeth. Pyrate was put to sleep because it was better for him and he got to have some dignity in the end. It was my choice that day. I could have waited another day or so but there was no bringing him back to health, the vet only promised another few days. You could make a memory book of your dog with pictures of the two of you from the time you were little. I bet your mom has those around. It would be a nice tribute. :hugs:
 

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I had a necklace engraved with a special to me quote and Riley's name on the back. I wear it all the time. It makes me feel like he is always with me. One day I want to get a tattoo with cherry blossoms and a dog print incorporated into it.
 

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I think we all do what we can to cope when faced with the decision to put a dog down. To you, going about life normally was what you needed to do.

I'm an old crone now, but just recently came across a thought that I think is helpful - hold dear those that you still have. For me, that means the loss of someone or an animal, brings us closer to those with significance to us who are still here. I remember, too, that it was only after I had put down my dog that someone suggested I might have told him how good a dog he was. I hadn't thought of that.

Your dog bares you no ill feelings. She had a good life with you and you with her. I'll bet she knew it.
 

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I am sorry for your loss of Shadow :( Her spirit is with you forever in your heart. Only her worn out body is gone....
 

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I am so very sorry for your loss--the death of a childhood pet can be devastating. I had not seen my adult son cry so hard as he did when he flew back home to be there when his beloved Pandy was PTS. He took Pandy's collar home with him.

Is there some item that you really connect to Shadow that you can retain and hold dear? Where is Shadow? Pieces of her will be in every dog you will ever own in the future. She's with you when you think of a cherished memory. Such a loyal pet does not disappear.
 

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I have lost 4 GSD's over the last 20 years some young some old...Everyone wishes they spent more time and had more time, and it is normal to feel that way! Only time will make you feel better, for now allow yourself to cry it out and miss her. Sorry for your loss! In my opinion the body is just a shell the soul lives on with you in your thoughts and memories. She will be waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge.
 

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Those we love don't go away
They walk beside us every day
Unseen, unheard, but always near
Still loved, still missed, but ever dear

Try to change your way of thinking about it honey:hug:
Say "I was with her at the time"...let that be your forethought
RIP beautiful doggie
 

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I am so sorry for the loss of your Shadow. If it is any help at all, you absolutely did the right thing. From what I read on here, when seniors start going downhill, they always go fast and I am dealing with the same with my old girl. Call your vet and ask to have Shadow's ashes returned to you. It will cost a bit more, but will give you comfort and it is worth it. Please do not feel badly about going about your normal business the night before. Most of us and our dogs don't want a fuss made at the end and I can see that your bond with Shadow is such that she knew why you needed to do that. Take care.
 

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As time goes on, the pain eases and fades. You shared a bond with her for a large portion of your life. To lose that will hurt. I've been through that several times in my life and have been close with others when they've said their goodbyes.

Consider the fact she lived a good life. She wasn't on the street. She wasn't neglected. She had a family who loved her and gave her a home. Take pride and find strength in the plain and obvious that you were someone she loved, someone she was happy to be around, and someone she was no doubt forever grateful to have as her human. To a dog, especially a GSD, that's perfect.
 

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Saying goodbye to a loving pet is never easy. I understand, I too recently watched my sweet GS girl of 15 years, Niki, deteriorate rapidly during the last two years of her life. I know that is a very difficult decision to make and everyone is different so I can only share what my experience has been like and what helped me.
1. I considered that my job was to care for her needs above my own.
2. Then, I asked myself, "Is she uncomfortable and in pain more days than not?"
"Is she psychologically happy in her current state, meaning, does she have her dignity and awareness?"

Towards the end I could see the answers to these questions when I looked into her eyes. She was ready to move on and waiting for me to take care of her by releasing her.

In my circumstance, I had her privately cremated and don't think it's unreasonable that I keep her remains (ashes) which are in a sealed container engraved with her name and the dates. I also planted a small garden with a figurine that had Niki's same smile.
But like I said, my way of healing might be different than what works for you.

But no matter what you decide just know that you are not alone and you will always have wonderful memories of your time with her and eventually, when you are ready, and have given yourself time to heal, another GSD will probably steal your heart again.
 

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WOW... I came to this forum, tonight, to share my loss of Hooch. Your title caught my attention so I read your post. First, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I lost my Hooch, yesterday, from similar circumstances. Hooch did not get diagnosed years ago but he was running three miles just 8 weeks ago. He was pulling us on walks in the neighborhood. He was getting in my face, insisting on being fed at 6:45am each morning. Then, he didn't get up when I came home one afternoon. With some encouragement, he did, and he was fine. But I took him to see the vet. "Arthritis, most likely," they said. They got him a 'scrip for Rimadyl and sent us home. Six weeks later, I board him over the weekend. The exertion is too much and I got a call from the boarder that he 'looked pretty bad'. I was pretty sure he'd bounce back with some rest and then some good, long, easy walks. X-rays showed sever hip dysplasia. "His hips are a mess!," was the new diagnosis. We added pain meds and supplements. Waiting for him to bounce back... He's not bouncing back. This time the vet can't figure it out. She admits its very inconsistent with hip pain but his cruciate ligament it rock solid. His legs are like sherman tanks but he's not bearing weight on his right rear at all. We up the pain meds and make an appointment at the acupuncturist. I fill out a 12 page nutrition and health history questionnaire and carry Hooch into the specialist office. She examines him and that's when I saw the face. She left to go see his X-rays.

When she returned, she had bad news. There was no sacrum visible in the X-ray because Hooch had a massive, bone tumor on his spine at his hips. There was no curing this. The best we could hope for was pain management between now and a month or few from now.

Hooch had just, as best we know, turned 13. He was an Akita/Lab mutt from the ghettos of Atlanta. He had a scar on his nose and a deformed, broken tail from his days pre-adoption. My best guess is they put him out because he was tough as a two-dollar steak but refused to fight. Until his later days, he would always run straight into the middle of any scuffle that broke out in a public dog park, and get between the dogs causing the commotion. His neck was so thick, no mouth could get around it. Eventually, the other dogs would grow disinterested and the fight was over. He was the great mediator and he was a saint. No stranger EVER stood between Hooch and my young son or daughter. He trained my other two dogs to be good, never chew my stuff, never mess in the house, and only dig when you won't get caught. He was an old soul.

I learned on Monday that Hooch had cancer. By Thursday, he had three new tumors visible on his back. Yesterday, Friday, he passed in the front yard, over-looking the park where he ran and drank from the stream and did his business. He'd commando crawled himself out there, dragging on three legs, howling in pain, half doped up on pain medication, when I opened the door to get the kids to school. It was time. He told me as clearly as if he'd snatched a pen an scrawled it on the floor in plain english. I am so grateful that I had the last two weeks to spend with him. I stayed up all night, Thursday night, and played guitar for him. On Wednesday, he'd had a dream. It was the first time, in two weeks, that I saw that lame right leg moving. He'd slept at my feet, while I played guitar, for ten years.

I miss him. My son is sad. He picked Hooch when he was 18 months old, or Hooch picked him. Regardless, we had no intention of getting a dog that day, but were introduced to Hooch and the rest is history. My son doesn't have a memory without him. I'm sure you understand that.

It was time. It sucked. It sucks. My wife says we're kinder to our pets than our people. She's right. Letting them go eased their suffering. It, unfortunately, doesn't do a bit of good for us.
 

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What a beautiful dedication to your pal Hooch. I'm sorry for (both) of your loss... Our dogs are so faithful and truly ask for so little compared to what they give. There loss is often devastating and it is felt long after one would ever expect.. My sympathy
 

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Its normal to feel awful after losing such a close family friend.
You did the right thing and that was actually the best thing you could have done for
Shadow. He's in heaven now and there are animals in heaven. I'm a Christian and
know this is true.

I had to put down one of the greatest German Shepherds I ever had; King lived to be 12 and was a prior police K-9. He was actually rescued by me because a police friend of mine called me one night and said King failed his K-9 certification for the 2nd time and his Captain said he had to be destroyed. I drove a couple of hours on a Sunday night to sneek him into my SUV and took him home. He was in bad shape because his handler had beat him up a lot. He had the sweetest personality I have ever seen a GSD have. He was also super smart and would protect my family with his utmost when I deployed while I was in the military.

He was the sire of three beautiful litters and he lived with us for only 7 years.
He had arthritis and was pretty slow in his last couple of years.
He had developed kidney failure and one day he could not get up and was wetting himself. I was so upset about it, but I knew in my heart this was goodbye...

I took him to the vet and the doc said he was not going to make it; so I agreed to let him go and remember him slowly putting his head into my hands and slip away peacefully. I felt like you do now and I know its so very painful.
After a few days, the vet sent me a card and Dr. Taylor said that in all his 27 years in practice he'd never seen a GSD with such a wonderful personality and disposition like King's. He also loved going to the vet and greeting the tech's in the office. He was cremated and I could not bear bringing his ashes home; it just hurt too much.

I would recommend that you wait awhile before getting another dog/puppy, and in the meantime take a look at the Forum where its titled: (GSD Rescue Information) and look at "Rescue Stories and where they are now." Look at my post of "My name is Maxwell, and I'm a rescue GSD. Also read the story on the rescue GSD "my new guy".

When you are ready, maybe you can rescue a dog and give them a happy and loving home, just like the one you gave Shadow.
 
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