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Pet euthanasia; how to decide?

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Steel

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I would really appreciate some advice. Sooner rather than later DH and I will have to try and make the decision to end my beautiful little girl''s life (see avatar), she should be 2 this summer.

I feel like I am in mourning already and my pretty brave girl is right beside me. How do I try to choose when she should die? What if she could recover? What will happen to her? Will she be angry with me for ending her life, if I do it too soon? Will she be cold or lonely or scared? I find it difficult to imagine her not being here, how can I cause it?

Please let me know how you coped?
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Steel-my heart hurts for you. I just had to put my 15 year old dog to sleep in December after almost a year of progressively declining health. At the end he couldn''t keep food down or control himself inside, yet he still wagged his tail and smiled at us when he saw us. People say it''s a quality of life issue and you should do it when their quality of life wanes. But doesn''t a tail wag mean he''s happy? If he''s happy his quality of life is good, right?

It''s never an easy decision and you''ll never stop wondering if you did the right thing. In the end I had to come to realize that NOT doing it was selfish. Putting off the procedure meant I had a few more moments with Piju in my life and I could hide from making the decision, but HE had hours upon hours of being sick and uncomfortable. As his mom I had the choice and the opportunity to ensure that his pain was taken away. I had the ability to let him pass peacefully and with dignity.

I''m not going to get into the details of the procedure, because I''m sure it''s different in different places. FI and I were both present at the time. Our vet gave us as much time as we needed before and after the procedure. Piju was comfortable and he truly went without pain or discomfort. He simply closed his eyes and sighed as he normally did, and went to sleep.

You and Lissy are in my thoughts.
 

elrohwen

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Steel, I read your other thread and I am so sorry about what you have to go through with your kitty


My advice is to let the cat decide when she is ready to go. I have heard to pick your pet's two or three favorite things: maybe it's food, toys, and running to meet you every day. When your pet looses interest in these things, it's time to let them go because they just don't have a good quality of life anymore. If her disease is completely incurable, but you can manage it so that she has a good quality of life, then there's no reason to put her down right away. Just be aware to the signs that she gives you and you will know when it's time.

And I don't think she'll be angry at your or be lonely and scared. When I have had to put down pets, the vet has simply put them to sleep with anesthesia first, so they drifted off peacefully. I believe that our pets are happy that we are able to let them go when they are in a lot of pain and not enjoying life anymore. It's such a hard thing to go through, one of the hardest, and many of us have been through exactly what you're going through. I'm confident that you will make the right decision for your furry baby because you know her and love her.

(((hugs)))
 

AmberGretchen

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Aww...Steel, I haven''t chimed back in on your original thread because this situation is just so incredibly heartbreaking and I ache for you and sweet Lissey - I cry when I think about it, and I''m not a big crier.

Ultimately, its a decision only you can make, but I''ll try to chime in with what has helped me and my loved ones in the past with similar situations. The first and foremost consideration should be quality of life, as well as possibility for recovery. As you noted, there is a possibility that Lissey can recover, or at least recover enough to lead a full life, but I think it will likely involve some changes - for example, she will need to be segregated from other kitties so the FeLV does not get transmitted, and kept inside for the same reason, but she can still snuggle with you, and nap in her favorite spots, and do all kinds of things that kitties love to do.

I think that for now, your best course of action is to do whatever you can, with your vet, to try to improve her immune system and keep your other kitties safe.

Longer term, there will be a tough decision to make, but you will know when that time is near. Lissey will tell you - you will see that she no longer has joy in her life, that the light has gone out of her eyes, I''ve heard it described a thousand different ways, but it boils down to the same thing - she will be suffering.

And when you know that her life is more suffering than not, the best gift you can give her is a peaceful, dignified passing surrounded by those she loves and trusts. She will not be lonely or scared or cold, and she won''t even feel any pain - she will go peacefully to sleep while you and your DH hold her and pet her and tell her you love her.

It will hurt you far more, as you already know, but please comfort yourself as best you can by knowing that Lissey will let you know, in her own way, when the time comes, and that you will be giving her a gift by ensuring that her passing is filled with love and dignity.

HUGE HUGS
 

movie zombie

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she will not be lonely or scared if you stay with her. your presence and reassuring words will help her to pass.

mz
 

Steel

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I don''t have much to say; but I am deeply grateful that you have all taken the time to post. I am still here, reading.
 

MichelleCarmen

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2nd to AmberGretchen''s comment. . .you''ll find that there is no longer that joy of life in your cat''s eyes.

Dh and I had to put one of our precious kitties to sleep about six years ago. He developed little bumps all over his body and it turned out that he had cancer. We decided to enjoy him for as long as possible and there was a point that we could see he was in pain and that is when we chose to take him in. It was gut wrenging. I''m almost crying here.

I''m so sorry about your kitty and that you''re going through this. . .hugs!
 

FrekeChild

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I don''t know the answer to this either, because my beloved dog decided enough was enough just over a month ago. He didn''t need me to make that decision for him, he did it himself.

However, since he passed we got a new dog and she''s two years old as well, and someday we''ll have to make the same decision. I''m assured that she will make sure and let us know when it''s time for her to go.

But for now I will love her to pieces.
 

Lorelei

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Date: 3/10/2009 5:09:58 PM
Author: Steel
I don't have much to say; but I am deeply grateful that you have all taken the time to post. I am still here, reading.
Sweetheart, I think you just know. It is good to be prepared - as much as we ever can be - but she might do better than you think. Just love her and take good care of her as you are doing and take it a day at a time. As for coping at the time, you just do. It is so terribly difficult, I am still really grieving for my beloved horse, it is almost 2 years since I lost him and it broke my heart. But somehow you carry on.
 

HollyS

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This is a terrible decision to have to make, but if she is suffering in any way, and she cannot recover, then it is the humane thing to do.

If you want, the vet will surely let you be there with her when she receives her shot. My poor dad has had to do this with 2 cats and a dog. And that''s exactly what I will do when it is time for my kitty to depart this world.

I''m sorry; it''s a lousy fact of life that we all face at one time or another, but usually when our pets are older. Pets are, and should be, part of our families; and we mourn them as such. Our hearts are sad with you.
 

Linda W

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Date: 3/10/2009 4:56:15 PM
Author: movie zombie
she will not be lonely or scared if you stay with her. your presence and reassuring words will help her to pass.


mz


I so agree with MZ''s words. We did this with our 3 Lhasa''s when it was their time. We held them and they passed peacefully in our arms.

It is never an easy thing to do and a very hard decision to make.
 

iluvcarats

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I am sorry for your heartbreak steele

We put our black lab Jasper down in July, and it was so hard.
She was my girl.
One thing that helped is that we found a service that came to our house so that she died peacefully in her surroundings and wasn''t nervous.
Ask your vet if they know of anyone who does this.
(((((HUGS))))
 

Linda W

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Date: 3/10/2009 6:24:29 PM
Author: iluvcarats
I am sorry for your heartbreak steele


We put our black lab Jasper down in July, and it was so hard.

She was my girl.

One thing that helped is that we found a service that came to our house so that she died peacefully in her surroundings and wasn''t nervous.

Ask your vet if they know of anyone who does this.

(((((HUGS))))

That is a wonderful idea and one I forgot to mention. Our vet came to our house. Please ask your vet, if he will do that also.
 

Allison D.

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Date: 3/10/2009 4:37:50 PM
Author:Steel
I would really appreciate some advice. Sooner rather than later DH and I will have to try and make the decision to end my beautiful little girl's life (see avatar), she should be 2 this summer.

I feel like I am in mourning already and my pretty brave girl is right beside me. How do I try to choose when she should die? What if she could recover? What will happen to her? Will she be angry with me for ending her life, if I do it too soon? Will she be cold or lonely or scared? I find it difficult to imagine her not being here, how can I cause it?

Please let me know how you coped?
I'm so very sorry, Steel. I know the hurt of losing an animal far too soon....much shorter than you expected to.

When should you act? When she's no longer comfortable. When she's not interested in things that bring her joy now...food, toys, etc. When/if she labors to get around. When these things happen, it's the body's way of saying 'I'm overwhelmed and cannot continue this way.'

What will happen to her? If it runs similar to what occurred with my family dog, she will get a shot that lets her slip away painlessly. You can hold her if you choose to; I did, and I couldn't have chosen not to. I felt it was my responsibility to be with her and stay with her.

She won't be angry, because she won't know that's what's happening. She can't think that way. If you stroke and comfort her, she'll not be cold or lonely or scared.

How can you cause it? By knowing that not causing it will likely result in a much less comfortable result for her. For me, that would be harder to live with. My dog died in my arms, relaxed and wagging her tail as I whispered to her and petted her. I know we did the right thing, and I'm grateful that I had the courage to follow through when she most needed me to.

I know you will, too.

ETA: In terms of how you find peace, I can only give two suggestions. First, if it's economically feasible, a second opinion could provide some peace to you in quelling the "what if she could recover/am I acting too soon" questions. The second suggestion: take a day or two (or three) to spend with her. This will give you time to come to acceptance and also to spend with her.
 

princesss

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Steel, honey, I''m so sorry you''re having to face this issue.

While my girl was older and in pain (her liver failed), ultimately, at 15, I was the person who picked the time and place to end things. It came down to the fact that it was hurting her more to live (in physical pain and diminished quality of life) than it would hurt me to have to put her down. She passed with my scratching her favourite spot, and didn''t even twitch. I didn''t know when it happened. The vet let me pet her, and while I was petting my girl, she gave her the shot. Barely any time later, she told me that Brigit had passed.

It still hurts, and I miss her like crazy. It''s been 7 years. But I did the best I could. She won''t be scared or lonely because you''ll be there with her. She''ll feel your love through her very last second.
 

packrat

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I don''t have much to add to what everyone else has said, other than to echo that I''m so incredibly sorry you''re going thru this Steel! I didn''t know there were vets that would come to your house and do it, and I think that''s a wonderful thing to check on. When we found out about Hazel, we took her that same day, but by then she was so sick, there wasn''t much else we could do but make her comfortable and let her go. My heart breaks for you and Lissey!
 

gemgirl

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Date: 3/10/2009 5:09:58 PM
Author: Steel
I don''t have much to say; but I am deeply grateful that you have all taken the time to post. I am still here, reading.
I''m sorry that I can''t add too much to this discussion even though we went through it four years ago. I''m afraid I still can''t talk about it much to anyone. All I can add is - most of what''s to be considered is when you judge that she is ready; but dear Steel, please don''t discount the "when you''re ready" part of this either. I "thought" I was totally ready. My Vet told me I had my Brandy alive (through prescription medication, herbal supplements, homeopathic calmatives etc) for far too long. I just wanted to keep her with us for as long as possible. We finally took her four months after her original appointment and I thought "I can handle this. I''m OK with this. I''m ready and I''m going to be there with her and for her".

I wasn''t ready and I can''t talk about the rest yet.

Spend as much time with her as possible, and you please, talk to people who can help you deal with your feelings.
 

lulu

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I have always hated making that decision, but I guess it''s a major responsibility of being a pet owner. If there is no hope of recovery I think sooner rather than later. I can''t stand to see an animal suffering; they don''t understand it. I think it''s easier for them if you''re there for the injection comforting them. And I truly believe our beloved pets are all together in heaven waiting for us to get there. Hope I don''t disappoint mine. Best Wishes
 

ecf8503

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I''m a veterinarian (cats only) - I hope you don''t mind me commenting here.

Euthanasia is difficult; but when I talk to my clients, I always ask them to look at it as a privilege. Pets have no concept of death, really - all the stress of euthanasia is brought forward by us as humans. It''s the way we are. Animals have no concept of it in a moral sense of the meaning; do animals "know"? Maybe - we see animals go hide before they pass naturally all the time. But there is no moral attachment there for them. No concept of right or wrong, religious ethics, human emotions, etc. All they know is that they don''t feel good.

As for when - well that''s personal. The best I can say is that you''ll know. If you look into their eyes, and they look back with "yes I feel lousy, but I still want to be here" then it isn''t time. When that changes, and they look at you with "help me" in their eyes, that IS the time. You as pet-parent know your animal better than anyone. I''ve been through it with my own animals; I know how hard it is. And sometimes... we have to be strong enough to make that decision before they decline.

My son is 2 1/2. When I was pregnant with him, one of my cats started showing signs of having "something bad inside" of her abdomen. I knew it; I could palpate the mass. But I also knew I wouldn''t do surgery or chemo on her, so I just loved her as much as I could. I knew she was getting sicker. Well my son was born by c-section, and I was in the hospital for 4 days. When I got home I took one look at her and saw how horrid she looked compared to a few days before. Dehydrated, etc. My DH took her to the clinic I used to work at for bloodwork, x-rays, some fluids, etc. But I wanted her home. I used to work there; so my ex-boss sent home a syringe of euthanasia solution... just in case, he said. She felt better the next day, but declined rapidly, and by Fri night I knew her time was almost up. My DD''s friend was having a birthday party on the Saturday my DS turned 8 days old. We didn''t have a gift yet, so we went to Target that morning and came home to wrap the present. My DH put the kids back in the car to go to the party, but I had to go find Jezebel. She was hiding in a strange spot, and she looked at me with absolute panic in her eyes - I knew. I even asked her to tell me if it was time, and she did a weird neurologic jerk. So my DH pulled the kids out of the car, then he held her head and talked to her while I put her to sleep on my own kitchen island. It was... easier than I thought to be honest. Because I knew it was the right thing to do. Then I wiped my tears the best I could and went to a toddler birthday party with my 8-day old son attached to an apnea monitor. OMG do I miss her, though. ((sniff))

I''ve been there - on both sides of the table. It isn''t an easy decision; but just remember all it is is literally an overdose of an anesthetic agent... they go to sleep. They don''t know that they will never wake up. The don''t think that you are "murdering" them. Do NOT feel guilty about euthanasia as an owner - ever. It is a wonderful privilege we have to be able to prevent suffering. We would never let our pets go through what we make our fellow humans endure; my MIL died of lung cancer the day before Thanksgiving - and she was a huge animal lover and would never allow her (or anyone else''s) animals to suffer; she said more than once what a wonderful thing animals are entitled to.

FWIW, I hope this helped.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Ecf-thank you for posting.
 

October2008bride

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Steel you have received some really great advice - I hope that you are doing okay.

I went through this in the summer, and I had tried to hold out as long as I could because I was so worried I was making the decision too early. Eventually, seeing her unable to walk or eat just got to be too much, and I found myself feeling that she was suffering and I don''t know what came over me but I promised her that I would take her to the vet the next day. I knew it was coming but I wasn''t ready - eventually it was my Muffin that told me she was.

It really is a peaceful process for the cat - much better than suffering any longer. I just held on to her and she went to sleep.

I''ll be honest - it was SO difficult. But I''m happy that she wasn''t suffering any longer. She didn''t want to live like that I''m sure.

I''m sorry you are going through this - it really is hard but you will know when it is right.
 

Italiahaircolor

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It is my belief that the animal let''s you know when the time is right. Maybe they stop eatting or go off their water...maybe the stop moving around or show signs of real physical pain...the message that ''it''s time'' can come in many different ways, but you''ll know it when you see it because your sweet girl won''t be herself anymore.

And as far as her feelings towards moving on...please look up the poem Rainbow Bridge. I would link you to it but I am typing this message via my phone. She will not be angry or sad...she will know, as her mommy, that you made the toughest decision in the world for her out of complete love. She will understand.

(big hugs and endless support) I am so sorry that you''re going thru this
 

Diamond*Dana

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Aw, I am so very sorry that you and your baby are going through this
.
I had to make this decision with my cat...he was 15 years old, and I had had him for 15 years. I just knew that it was time...he was no longer able to care for himself (clean the litter from between his toes) and he could not jump up on the couch anymore. I knew in my heart that he would not want to live this way. He was losing weight...
I took him to the vet, and I stayed with him as he went to sleep...I did not want him to die alone. I had my kitty for half my life, since I was 15 years old. It was a very difficult decision, but I know that it was the right one.
 

dragonfly411

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Steel
Losing a pet is always hard, and it is always sad. They become a part of your family. I definitely agree with others in that you will know when the time is right, she''ll have a look. We had several horses who had cancer and they went from perky to looking sad. I have lost two puppies to parvo and it was the same thing, they just look sad, and they no longer look like they want to keep going. That is the time to let them go. They won''t be mad, or angry because they know unconditional love, and they don''t think of it in terms of you sending them away. You are letting them have peace, and if you are there with her, and loving her, she''ll feel your love to the very end. Now I''m going to go cry for a bit, because it is sad and hard, but be strong for her... she loves you and feels your love more than anything.
 

Irishgrrrl

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Steel, I am so sorry. I''m not much help because I''m going through something similar right now with my dog, but I just wanted to give you ((((HUGS)))).
 

basil

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Date: 3/10/2009 4:37:50 PM
Author:Steel
I would really appreciate some advice. Sooner rather than later DH and I will have to try and make the decision to end my beautiful little girl's life (see avatar), she should be 2 this summer.


I feel like I am in mourning already and my pretty brave girl is right beside me. How do I try to choose when she should die? What if she could recover? What will happen to her? Will she be angry with me for ending her life, if I do it too soon? Will she be cold or lonely or scared? I find it difficult to imagine her not being here, how can I cause it?


Please let me know how you coped?
I didn't read the replies cause it's pretty hard for me to talk about still.

My beautiful dog Pepper had to go to sleep this summer, Friday before Labor Day weekend. She had a genetic heart condition which she had bravely fought for 1.5 years, which was 1 year longer than her expected lifespan at the time she was diagnosed.

The night before, she had a really bad night. She was up all night short of breath and wheezing, couldn't get comfortable, and she had a lot of diarrhea. By the morning she seemed to be feeling better but we took her to the vet. She even dozed off a little bit in the car. When we got to the vet, they did some tests and determined that all her organs were swollen from her heart failure and there was no fluid that they could drain manually. They offered more medications, but she was already on big doses of Lasix and other heart medications.

The important questions that our wonderful wonderful vet asked us was "What does Pepper like to do lately?" Just a month earlier she had been wandering off down the beach by herself, slower than she used to be, but still enjoying things. But lately it had been a struggle to get her to eat enough to get her pills down. She didn't care about toys or treats. She still loved us and she loved our attention always, but she could never get comfortable enough to sit on our laps or cuddle with us which was something she normally loved to do.

The vet told us that she was not suffering right at that moment, but that she couldn't say what would happen the next week or the next month.

We knew that we could not let her go through another night like the previous one, especially because she had become so uncomfortable that it was affecting her enjoyment of things that she loved.

As far as the procedure itself, it was done very well. They took Pepper to another room and put in an IV and brought her back wrapped in a blanket. They gave us a chance to say goodbye. We gave her a Burts Bees chapstick to lick because she loved that taste and I had gotten so mad at her multiple times for stealing them from my purse. I would definitely recommend when the time comes to take something with you to give her at that time, just so she is comforted and knows that you love her. It was very peaceful and she drifted off to sleep. The vet gave us some time with her alone to say goodbye and then they wrapped her up in the blanket. We decided to have her cremated and we put her ashes on the beach.

I'm a blubbering mess writing this, but as with anything, life goes on. I still miss her. But I know that she is in a better place and she is not suffering anymore. She is not suffering and she had a good life and we made sure that she did not suffer and she was a happy dog until the last day.
 

bee*

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Sorry to hear about your kitty Steel. I was reading a book in work today about euthanasia and the two main things that they said to ask owners were do the good days (times) outweigh the bad or is it the other way round, and is your kitty still being themselves. Personally I''ve always known when it was time for my babies to go to doggie/kitty heaven-I could just see it. I think that it''s giving your pet dignity in their final moment. Hope that you''re ok.
 

Steel

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I will come back to respond to each of you soon.
I am very grateful that you have all replied; your perspective is helping me to understand that Lissey does not understand.
I posted a pic of Lissey''s eye on my other thread so you can see what I mean; it is not great.

As I said, DH and I saw Marley & Me today and we almost walked out; what a mistake under our circumstances
. I wish the review/blurb had been more detailed.
 

gemgirl

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Steel, let us know how you''re doing sweetie. I think about you and Lissy every day.
 

CJ2008

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Date: 3/12/2009 5:22:45 PM
Author: Steel
I will come back to respond to each of you soon.
I am very grateful that you have all replied; your perspective is helping me to understand that Lissey does not understand.
I posted a pic of Lissey''s eye on my other thread so you can see what I mean; it is not great.

As I said, DH and I saw Marley & Me today and we almost walked out; what a mistake under our circumstances
. I wish the review/blurb had been more detailed.
Steel - I am so sorry for what you''re going through. I''m going to look for your other thread to see a picture of your beautiful kitty. She knows you love her Steel.

There were no detailed reviews of that movie. We took my niece, thinking it would be a cute/funny movie and came out crying - we were not prepared for the story it turned out to be. I was kind of angry about it.
 
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