A Personal Account of Making a Decision to Euthanize My Beloved Dog

In the last couple months I weight that decision back and forward in my mind. Last Friday, I made the difficult decision to end my 16 year old dog’s life and have her euthanized. I was praying through her emotional suffering, that she would just die naturally and was hoping that one day she would just slip away peacefully. But that didn’t happen.

Questions I had before I Made My Decision to Put My Dog to Sleep

What does quality of Life for a Dog Mean?

When does the quality of Life for A Dog Declines?

Is my dog still happy?

Is my dog still drinking or eating?

Does she still have a healthy appetite?

Is my dog still enjoying life?

Is my dog still feisty?

What I am capable of doing to ensure that my dog has a quality life in her old age?

Are there any Health Risk associated for me and my family because of my ailing dog?

Do I want to put her to sleep because it’s more convenient for me or do I think of the dog when making the decision?

What can the Vet do for her?

What can I do financially for her and is it worth it?

If I was a dog what would I want?

Do Dogs have a Soul?

She is a family member. How can I do that to her?

The Decision to Have My Dog Euthanized

Ardimes quality of life was declining slowly. Unable to move both of her back legs for the last several months, she was confined to a rug in the front room near the kitchen. She also lost total control of her bowl functions. A lot of times my dog went to the bathroom and then tracked herself through her own mess spreading it all over the house. Her scooting through the house through carpets and floors gave her carpet burns and she would bleed without feeling the sores. Though having a healthy appetite she got thinner and thinner. At times she didn’t remember where her food bowls and water bowl was. Her fur looked dim and she barely waved her tail anymore.

I feared for my children’s health with dog poop in the house on a regular basis. Though we always cleaned and hosed down carpets, I was afraid of bacteria looming somewhere where the Lysol didn’t get it. Sometimes cleaning after the dog caused a lot of arguments and disharmony in our household. Neither the children, I or my husband were eager to constantly pick up the mess Ardimes was able to smear in the house, but to my amazement we managed to stay on top of it ,but not without troubles. I realized that we couldn’t do it much longer.

Only my husband and I were able to take her outside since we had to lift both of her back legs in order for her to walk. It was a strengths for our shoulders and muscles. Tests to see what is causing her loss of senses and strengths at her age were running between 500 and 1200 dollars with one vet pushing it more then another vet. But both vets seemed to agree that even with possible surgery there would be little hope, since Ardimes was almost 16 years old, four years older then the average dog of her kind. One Vet has suggested that sometimes tests would give peace of mind knowing that nothing can be done. But I trusted the vet.

If I was a dog I would hate dragging myself through my own poop, not being able to chase the ball anymore, have my owners argue who cleans after me and having to cry for help every time when I would have to make a turn. I would be embarrassed having a sheet put around my waste, in order to walk outside and feel the grass on my front paws.

All things considered I think I made the right decision for a fury family member.

Questions I Raised After Making the Decision To Euthanize My Dog

When is it Time?

Do I make an Appointment?

How much does it cost?

Do I take the Kids?

To I tell the Kids?

Am I am able to back out?

Will I be able to be with her?

What other options beside the Vet do I have?

The Day My Dog Was Euthanized

A Veterinarian here just opened a clinic. He is an extraordinary human being and is a man still full of ideology, kindness and gentleness. He put a lot of thought in his clinic and when I took my other dog there, I could tell that he loves dogs and wants to do what is right for them and their owners. This was the place I chose. He is open for walk ins as well as appointment. I couldn’t make an appointment mentally. I wanted to be able to take my dog to the Vet when I am ready and when I have the strengths to do so. As a matter of fact, I didn’t really know that morning ,that I was going to do it. So naturally I did not tell my children. I have thought of it before but I figured if I take Ardimes to the Vet and come back home with her because I couldn’t do it that would create more mistrust and confusion. My children and I have talked it over in the past couple months knowing that this was most likely the best option for Ardimes and the family. I have told them that one day I will go to the Vet and might not come back home with her. In the past week that talk had increased and the children were ready to let Ardimes go. I did not want them to go to School thinking their dog will die any minute at a certain day. My youngest said : “Good Bye” to Ardimes probably two days before I made the decision to take her. Friday morning my dog was whining and frustrated because she couldn’t reach the water bowl. It broke my heart. I checked my funds and knew this was the day. I procrastinated then came Lunch time. I carried out my dog’s blanket to the car when my husband arrived. He immediately knew and told me he would go with me. Ardimes was aided for a last walk around the house, put in the car and driven to the clinic.

The Vet Visit and Procedure of Putting My Dog to Sleep

This visit was my second visit to the clinic. Last week I took my other dog to a Routine Check Up. They made pictures of him, weighted in and stuffed him with healthy treats. This time I brought Ardimes. Nobody asked any questions. They didn’t make a picture of her for her records. The Vet and the receptionist knew. A rug was placed in the room. And they said: “You are here, because of her old age.” I nodded. The Doctor examined her quickly, assuring me that my dog doesn’t feel neither pain nor pressure in her back legs, thinking this could be either caused by a tumor or a neurological disorder. He also mentioned how thin she was and pointed out her lack of muscle mass in the back. Straight forward he told us, that he doesn’t think anything can be done for he,r whether he is doing a couple tests or not. Surgery and rehabilitation were out of question for a dog her age. He told us, that he is surprised that we took care of her that long and totally understands, if we want to try to do it longer. He assured us that she will not get better but worse and that many dog owners come to this point in Ardimes condition. He explained the cost of Euthanizing. We could chose between single cremation and my dog ashes back or just cremation with the former the more expensive option. Then he gave us the option to stay with the dog or leave during the process. I chose to stay understanding that it may take 30 minutes to put her to sleep, that she might bark, whine, shake, pee or poop during the procedure. He also added, that some dogs twitch after there are dead. He asked us to step outside so they can insert the catheter. He didn’t want Ardimes to associate that with us. Then I checked out, and went back into the treating room. Ardimes didn’t want to lay down. So my husband was holding and hugging her and I was petting her head while the Vet inserted a pinkish looking fluid. Before I knew the dog, I called my friend was gone. My husband and the Vet laid her carefully down and she looked like she was sleeping with open eyes. I tried to close them but I couldn’t. I was offered to stay with her as long as I want to. So I stayed for ten minutes or so petting her and complimenting my dog on her comradeship over the years. My husband came back in and helped me to cover her. He also ensured that he had her collar. Then we left the office alone without the dog.

The Memorial and Explaining The Children

When my oldest came home from Middle School I explained to her that Ardimes was not alive anymore. She understood and made face book memorial page for her. But there weren’t any questions asked because she was prepared as good as me. “Where is the dog” my youngest one asked once she opened the door with her sister. I explained to them that I had taken her to the vet and that she is dead now. My youngest cried with me on a chair sitting outside. But she told me: “Mom, I knew you were going to take her because you have told me so.” We hugged and I complimented her on taking good care of the dog for many years. My husband made a little dog tag: It reads: “Ardimes 1994-2011, Protector and Friend, Loved And Missed”. He held a little ceremony at my house that night. And we hung the collar and the tag on the outside pavilion where Ardimes used to enjoy the sun. Now we are talking about the fun times we had with Ardimes and we smile again.

Other Options

If your dog is near his/her end and you know you don’t have the money to take him/her to the Vet to have the dog euthanized, my mother in law has also explained me that you could take a dog to the local animal shelter and for a small fee they would take care of the process for you. I am not sure if you can do it in your state, but you could check into it.

Furthermore, I was very grateful that I had the option to be with my dog until the very end but I understand that some people may not want to see their dog taking the last breath. I was given both options. Hopefully your Veterinarian can give you the option too. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t stay with your dog during the process. It is important to make the decision on what is best for you, your family and your dog.

Sometimes at some Veterinarian Clinics dog owners are quilted in agreeing to unnecessary tests as one clinic tried with my husband six months ago. Find a Vet what understands you, your budget, and your dog and encourages you to make the best decision for all of you. However as my Veterinarian said, sometimes tests will give you peace of mind for a decision you are about to make. If you are not comfortable with your decision and you want tests and your Vet just pushes for Euthanizing then perhaps you have to find a different Vet. The Vet I found rather gave me his professional opinion then pushing for her being euthanized or unnecessary tests. I had the sense that he had a very reasonable approach. He even told me, that I could take her back home with me if I wasn’t ready.

In the end if you recently had to put your pet to sleep I extend you my deepest condolences as I know now how it feels to lose a fury family friend.