When is it “time?”

In April, 2006, I stood in a sterile examining room, cradling Rocky’s head in my arms and telling him repeatedly that I loved him, as the vet administered a lethal injection that ended his life. Rocky was cancer-stricken. He had been given only three months to live, yet he managed to “fight the good fight” for nearly a year.

Some of you may have noticed that I always wear a dangling earring in my right ear lobe – that is my daily homage to my fallen friend.

I have another Golden Retriever now, Rufus, a wonderful dog that I rescued. I also care for my daughter’s Cocker Spaniel, Cookie.

Cookie has epilepsy. Last New Year’s weekend, she had five Grand Mal seizures in a twelve hour period. She came to live with me temporarily, since she was due to be put down. Miraculously, she stopped having frequent seizures and has been doing well, with few seizures, most of which were mild.

That is, until this past Monday. Cookie had two severe seizures, seven hours apart, and hasn’t fully recovered from the last one. She had been a happy, eight years old pup that loved to be around me and loved it when I said “who deserves a biscuit?!?!” Now she is listless and barely responds when I offer her a milkbone.

It is most likely “time.”

The question goes much deeper than a decision concerning a lovable Cocker Spaniel. What about Grandma and Grandpa? What about a spouse that is looking at the last days of a long life?

Although I knew it was right, it was difficult and  heartbreaking to decide to finally have Rocky put down.

How would I handle such a decision if it were thrust upon me regarding a child or a spouse? Choosing to end life-support has to be the most difficult decisions one will ever face.

There is a great debate raging in our society about “end of life” choices.

Where do you stand?

William Stephenson Clark


Filed under Ethics

94 responses to “When is it “time?”

  1. 6176746f6c6c65

    This is not responsive to the question posed; I don’t know that at this time I can rationally respond.

    What the question Will posed does illustrate is the burden on others tasked to make the decision. A way to relieve the burden is for each adult among us to determine his or her personal desires, and then act accordingly. Such advance directives such as a “living will” and, where the conditions are appropriate, a DNR order allow the patient to make these decisions for him/herself and relieve the likely survivors of the decision.

    There are other advance directives, such as a durable power of attorney for health care decisions, that are necessary and desirable, but as to end of life issues, the two documents I mentioned previously control (if the patient was legally competent, no one has destroyed them, etc.).

  2. tosmarttobegop

    here reaches a point where the concern is not for the well being of the loved one but for those who would be left behind. The thought goes from recover to simply being I do not want to not have them in my life.
    But that point also means that the loved one is no longer that loved one and what made them who they are.

    One I was listening to the radio and they were talking about Roy Rogers and that trigger was stuffed and mounted in his museum. In a interview Roger’s said that Trigger was like a member of the family.
    I suddenly envisioned touring the museum and the guild saying “And now this is Roy’s grandmother…”.

    Those we love are more then simply a shell, once the spirit leaves they are no longer who and what made them “Loved one” but at the time that can be over looked and not thought of.

    When it was the right thing to do for my dad’s dog who he had for over 14 years I took the dog to be put down and then brought the body home and buried him. My dad did not have to do anything concerning it that day.

    He sat silently for over an hour afterwards, then finally said to me “thank you I could not have done it.”.
    I often feel for those who can not understand how the lost of a pet can effect the pet lover.

    To live such a life devoid of sharing such friendship and love how hollow their existence must be.

  3. tosmarttobegop

    A living will is best for the survivors, expressing your desires if the condition get to that point.
    I still remember the heart break in my mother when at three A.M. she came to tell me about Grandma.
    The answer she had to give when asked by the medical staff if she wanted them to do historic effort to try and save her mother. Tore her to pieces every fiber screaming yes!

    But Grandma had already made that decision and expressed it clearly.

    Likewise with my mother-in-law, if not for her having made it clear what she herself wanted to be done.
    To her husband and children, though it was verbally and for several years, they knew it was the right thing to do. Only one of the children did not agree and to this day he still feels that they killed his mother.
    He has came around some and is willing to speak with at least some of his siblings.

    It is a time of high emotions and can flow in every direction.

  4. My Golden Retriever had cancer as well. He only fought it for a couple of months before it became apparent that he quickly dying. One night, we rushed him to an emergency animal hospital, where they told us he had spiked an enormously high fever. They did all they could. The next morning, with the fever still in tact, they told us that we could either keep fighting, or make the decision to put him down. It was a very tough decision, but we knew he was in pain, and knew he didn’t have much longer, regardless of if we fought it or not. When they brought him into a room for us to say goodbye, I couldn’t handle seeing him so distraught and in pain. He looked terrible. I couldn’t hold back the tears as I said goodbye to my furry friend of 10 years.

    Although, in my mind, its right to let someone who is in pain die, I can’t bear to feel guilty about making such a decision. And hence, that is where the controversy with me lies.


    • WSClark

      Andrew, I read somewhere that 60+% of Golden Retrievers die of cancer – a horrible stat.

      Rocky’s cancer started with him merely ripping off a nail on his right front paw. I really didn’t think much of it at the time, but had I known, he could have had part of his paw removed and that could have saved him.

      As it was, the wound festered, I thought it was infected and treated it as such.

      When I finally had it x-rayed, the cancer had spread up his foreleg, and amputation was the only option, and that would have been very hard on him.

      The vet gave him six weeks to three months to live – he lived a pretty good life with me for eleven more months.

      • My golden’s cancer started in his brain, which is probably why he died so quickly. He was stricken with seizure after seizure. We gave him medication to keep the seizures away, but after a month or so, the medicine seemed to stop working, and couldn’t prevent the seizures anymore. That was when we had to rush him to the emergency vet. There was really nothing we could do.

        Aside from that, I also read that this is a prominent issue with Golden Retrievers. Its very sad because they are truly a great breed.

  5. Poor Rocky. You must be devastated.

    I have a Shitzu named China and I can’t imagine making the decision to put her to sleep. When I watched “Marley and Me”, I couldn’t stop crying coz it reminded me of the possible future… the inevitable.

  6. Raul

    I hope to never be put in that position. However, I do know that I would never want to see someone suffer.


  7. daisyjacobs

    It’s not an easy question of course. I too have faced the decision with a pet. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.

    I think it is kind of a strange thing….the government sent Dr. Kevorkian to prison for assisting terminal patients. But as soon as I told people my dog had cancer and was not doing well, they immediately began saying things like ‘you can’t let her suffer.’ So, it is considered cruel to let your dog suffer, but it is considered (by some) sinful to not prolong a human life that is clearly near an end?

    I don’t have the answers…I think it is up to individuals to decide. I believe that if I have terminal cancer and it gets to a point where there is no hope, I should get to have the power to say I want it to end. That being said, could I make that decision for my mom, even if she asked me to? I just don’t know.

  8. WSClark

    A quick update – Cookie is doing better and is back to her old self, so any decision has been postponed, again. At the moment, she has her head resting on my foot while I play computer.

    There is no telling what will happen. The vets tell us that periodic seizures are normal for her condition, but that she is on the downward slope. In other words, just keep giving her her medicine twice a day and hope for the best.

    • pockett1

      Look, I don’t have any animals but have a home based business that I brought from the UK to Australia with me. Its called ‘Forever Living Products’ and we do an amazing aloe vera drinking gel that is widely used for human and animal consumption. I have been drinking it for 3 years and so have the rest of my family. I don’t know if you have looked at alternative medicine for Cookie, but – and I’m not even going to give you my website to look at – but if you google ‘David Urch’ who is a vet in Devon ,England I am sure that there will be plenty of uses for the aloe vera drinking gel in the dog and horse world that you can read about and make an informed decision, to see if it might help in some way. I would urge you to take a look as the drink can have some amazing results.

  9. Seasweetie

    The day before my Mother died, she asked me, if she didn’t die the next day, if I would help her to do so with extra morphine that Hospice had given her, that only I could administer. Her body was so racked with cancer, and she was so tired of living with the pain – ready to get on to whatever was next – and she was perfectly lucid and in good spirits. I am glad I was not forced to make that choice, but I have no doubt that I would have complied with her wishes. My brother didn’t know about this until after she passed, and he pointed out to me what the massive ramifications of such an action would have been, but honestly, at the time, I didn’t care. I would have done anything to help her find peace.

    I have held two of my dogs as they were put down, and while it is an achingly painful thing, I knew it was right. We love our pets – they are part of our family. If we can make this decision for them, why can we not make this decision for a beloved human if they are unable to make it for themselves – and why is it not acceptable for us to help them if they are in hopeless pain, and know what they want?

    I guess you can tell where I stand on the “end of life” issue. Thanks for posting.

  10. ezsrecipes

    Reading this makes me sad. Sad because I have 2 Dachshunds, ages 2 and 3, and this reminds me of the inevitable. I dread it, even now, when they are young, because I love them so incredibly much. I remember as a little girl, we had a Britney Spaniel/Lab Mix named Molly. Molly was getting old, couldn’t control her bladder, and would pee while lying down. My parents made the decision to put her town, me and my sisters gave our tearful good-byes… and then the vet gave my dad medication that helped prolong her life. We were happy, and yet, we had to say good-bye all over again down the road.

    Owning a dog is such a joyful thing but when they get old, it can turn heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing your experience. You gave Cookie more time on this earth that obviously was good and happy time for her. That is the best you can do for her, and any loved one, human or otherwise. Make their time here the best it can be.

  11. Freebird1971

    When my dad was in the end stages of Alzheimers he was not living he was exsisting,the man I knew and loved had long since departed. About 5 days before he died the director of Nursing at Presbyterian Manor called us in and presented us with the facts which were Dad was not going to improve and if they continued the course of treatment he could linger in that bed for an unkown length of time. Dad had made his wishes known before hand that he didn’t want to linger,so we as a family decided to stop treatment other than O2 and comfort care.Even though I knew I had gone in agreement with his wishes it took some time before I shook the feeling that I had put my signature on my Dad’s death warrant. I woul dot wish that experience and feeling on my worst enemy.

  12. Handsome Matt

    It’s a tough decision to make, and it doesn’t help to have messages of youth and vanity airing 24 hours a day either.

    I will say this though: Our desperation to clutch onto the longest possible time on earth, regardless of well being or comfort, smacks of vanity, pride, and fear. Why keep someone alive if they’re only going to suffer needlessly? Or worse, if they’re effectively dead already? Is it in their best interest, or is it driven by selfish desires?

    This is only a surface observation but, cultures who value and honor the elderly don’t seem to have these issues. There is no desperate attempt to prolong life beyond its measure. Our culture seems to fear death, and that plays a serious role in making this decision.

    It is important to distance oneself from emotions in order to make the right decision. Like a commander ordering troops int harms way knowing they will be killed; sometimes that decision must be made.

    Personally though, I’m comfortable with my life ending. Even at 27, I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve accomplished thus far. If I died tomorrow, it wouldn’t bother me. And from a purely practical mindset, it costs too much money. Money that I would prefer be used elsewhere, then on me eking out 6 more months of survival.

  13. Rita

    My female lhaso mix whom ive had since 6 weeks old is now 13 years old . She has been down a couple of times in the last two weeks that i thought was the end. I can not do anything but take care of her until she passes on her own. It is heartbreaking but thats what loving a pet is all about to me.

  14. I’m sorry for your struggles with Cookie. I can understand completely, as my beloved pit/chow is almost 16 and I witness the daily decline, wondering when “the day” will be: when he can no longer stand? When he has seizures regularly (he’s had a couple in the past 4 months)? When he’s too weak to go outside and sniff around? He’s been shrinking in energy and activity for the past few years, more rapidly now. He no longer barks and his once-curly tail is straight. Conserving energy. I guess he’ll let me know when he’s (I’m) ready… we’ve always had that kind of relationship. I realize that when ‘the time’ comes, it’s not just saying good bye to him, but all of the life and love and memory that he’s carried with him over these many years. My constant and reliable love.

    Listen to Cookie, maybe she’ll tell you as well.

  15. My father passed last September, he had been in and out of the hospital quite frequently in the past year. The issue of a DNR came up in the last few months. Dad had an abdominal aneurysm that was in danger of rupturing, but because of his general health, they were unable to operate on it. Because of this, any attempt to revive him would most assuredly cause it to rupture, killing him almost immediately. A DNR was the only reasonable choice. On a September afternoon at St Joseph Hospital my father had just finished singing an old time hymn with his pastor, they prayed and the pastor left, my father peacefully went to sleep, his final sleep. Then in January my aunt collapsed in the lobby of her apartment building. 911 was called and the EMTs came and attempted to revive her. At the hospital she was on life support, non-responsive. All I could think is how she always, adamantly stated that if EVER this happened she wanted to be let go. But she had no obvious DNR or advocate to stop the EMTs. She NEVER would have wanted to lay in the hospital for the few days like she did. Years ago my mother’s younger brother got cancer and toward the end of his life my mother got very upset at what she considered the torture that was done to him by continuing treatment that did nothing but prolong his suffering and rob his, soon to be, widow’s bank account. He did not have a peaceful ending. He had hallucinations of evil out to get him. Not a way to end life. I’m all for peaceful endings. What are added days if they’re filled with terror, pain and suffering?

  16. I was on my parents a few years ago to make out Living Wills and to make sure I had a copy. It is not as if they are in bad health, just getting older. After reading everything here, I think I am going to get back on them about that. I know how my mother wants to go but I need it in writing so when the time comes, I can confidentally tells the doctors what she would want.

  17. Very thought provoking!
    Our 13- year old German shorthair pointer often lays on his bed and just whines.
    He doesn’t have to go out, he’s got food and water…so what’s wrong?
    Perhaps he’s just not feeling well, truth is – we’ll never know. We are watching him closely, but have already decided, collectively as a family, we we will not let him suffer for our own selfish purposes.
    We continue to ask “When is it “time?” Hopefully, we’ll just all know when that dreaded time arrives.
    Check me out http://www.katiewalters.wordpress.com
    Leave a comment or two.

  18. itolduso

    “But she had no obvious DNR or advocate to stop the EMTs.”

    Just so you know, whether or not there is an “advocate”, absent a presentable DNR or perhaps a Living Will, most ems services WIll BE REQUIRED by their own protocals, to rescusitate.

    Not arguing, I just want you all to be aware of the facts. Advanced Directives, DNRs, etc, should not only be filled out, but be made available to caregivers and family members for presentation to medical personnel (including ems)

  19. I don’t know how to feel about it, and I fear that our time is approaching very soon. My best friend for the last 15 (16 in August) years is drawing in on the “tougher” years of her life. Misty, my solid white, beauty queen kitty.

    Misty developed a thyroid problem some years back and we were able to maintain it for a time period, however going out of town and leaving another family member to handle medicine, didn’t work out well. Now, I wonder if her lazy lazy days are normal, or if she is suffering.

    Yeah, cats DO lay around what 23-23.8 hours a day :-), however it’s changed. She’s a lot less energized, she eats pretty well still, but only when we are near. I THINK her water intake is alright, but not certain. It’s just that feeling, y’all know it. If it’s not now, it is soon.

    My spirit is sad over this.

  20. Good point, itolduso! It isn’t enough to just complete the papers, they must be immediately accessible.

    My dear friend Gaye lost her husband in 2002 to cancer. He was able to die at home as he wished and all the papers were in order. When death came Gaye was told by hospice to call 911. When they arrived they had to see the DNR and explained they were required to attempt resuscitation if it wasn’t presented immediately.

  21. 6176746f6c6c65

    Very good point, itoldyouso. EMS personnel have told me that it is recommended that the DNR be kept on the refrigerator door, as that is where the folks will look for it if no one else is there to hand it to them. Otherwise, resuscitation will be attempted.

  22. Jim

    Concerning Rocky, been there and done that many times over. The latest was Lucy. You can read her story here.


  23. I’ve made the decision to euthanize pets a few times when, basically, they asked me to. You do know in your heart when this is right, and you do with beloved family members as well. The problem is everyone else who may have ulterior motives. But my father, physically and mentally wrought by Parkinson’s and with his lung cancer growing back and slowly closing off his trachea, unable to swallow and slowly strangling, would have thanked me if I could have made that decision for him.

    Eight years ago my mother went into a semi-comatose state after lung cancer surgery for several months, slowly losing brain and physical capacity, a condition from which few emerge. Something told me to hold on; one day she woke up, and is still alive today, for most of these years with a very good quality of life until just recently. You really have to look in your heart.

  24. Shady

    Glad Cookie is hanging in there!

  25. WSClark

    The Terri Shiavo “incident” thrust this issue into the nation’s consciousness and it can be an uncomfortable topic.

    My a-father refused to recognize my a-mother’s wishes when she was terminally ill, even though she had a “Living Will” and a DNR. Even when the doctors refused to continue painful treatments, he insisted and at one point was forcibly escorted out of the hospital. He was 90 years old at the time.

    He resisted having her moved to Hospice for over a week, only consenting at the last minute.

    She died less than forty-five minutes after arriving at Hospice.

    It is a difficult subject, but one I hope you address with your families before it is “time.”

  26. I lost my 55 year old father to Cancer this past February and he suffered a horrible death, I know that he was in so much pain that he wanted to die already and I couldnt stand seeing him in that agony – If it were me I would want to die too. Is not about the quantity but the quality of life that really matters.

    I know he is finally resting with no pain and that gives me great compfort. I dedicated my blog to him.

  27. Freebird1971

    I have made sure I have both a living will and advanced directives so there is no doubt about my wishes and both of my children have copies.

  28. Kristina

    How coincidental(?) that this post turns up today. I just wrote a post/eulogy last night about my 14-year-old beagle that died (twice) yesterday.

    It was one of the saddest days of my life and it continues to be difficult keeping it together during work and not bursting out into tears at any given time.

    I also thought about human loved ones yesterday and, if I was having this much trouble over my furry friend, how could I ever make a “pull the plug” decision on my spouse, mother, sister?

    I agree with tosmartobegop, the living will/trust is the best thing for everyone at a time when emotions are high. All we can hope for is knowing exactly what they would want and peace with carrying out THEIR decision. I guess time will do the rest.

    My best to you and Cookie!

  29. itolduso

    “My a-father refused to recognize my a-mother’s wishes when she was terminally ill, even though she had a “Living Will” and a DNR. Even when the doctors refused to continue painful treatments, he insisted and at one point was forcibly escorted out of the hospital. He was 90 years old at the time.”

    I don’t know about the dynamics there, but sometimes it IS difficult. Especially the older we get. We were once called to a nursing home by a family member. The patient indeed had a DNR, and a living will, indicating their wishes. But the family member, in their grief, wanted us to DO SOMETHING as it was so painful to her to watch her husband of a lifetime go thru the death cycle. We persuaded her otherwise, including showing her her signature on the DNR as a witness, supporting her husband’s decision. She became our patient, and fortunately, we were able to stay there until the rest of the family in the area was able to come in and comfort her far better than we could.

  30. Hello, I understand what you mean. 3 and a half years ago, I had to put Rubio, my German Shepherd down. He could not longer live suffering from his illness. I will never forget him. Rubio was a loyal dog and my best friend. Eugenia Renskoff

  31. Pingback: When is it “time?” (via PrairiePopulistsAndProgressives.net) « Freshly Pressed!

  32. I actually worked in the Humane Society of Greater Miami and I have witnessed a few dogs that needed to be euthanized and it is an incredibly painful experience to see the life of such an innocent animal end forever. they bring us so much love and joy and their life seems so short compared to ours. I can’t even imagine the day I have to endure that situation with with of my dogs. It kills me to even think about it!

  33. Our animals do reach in and hold our hearts in their paws! They love us unconditionally. I appreciated and was humbled by the comments that said pets let you know when it is time. That seems comforting to know. I can understand it too because we do learn to communicate very well with them.

  34. I believe that it is “time” once one’s life is more of a burden than a pleasure. By this I mean that when one must deal with more pain than not, and that pain is not temporary, it is more of a benefit to that person/animal to be put out of their misery.

    As far as life support goes, it depends on the situation. I entirely disagree with Gary Coleman’s ex-wife’s decision to pull the plug one day after he was placed on life support. I would wait at least a few weeks for somebody to come back. Also, I would allow more time for a younger person than an elderly person.

    • Freebird1971

      Don’t know if this was the case or not but if he had no brain function keeping him or anyone else on life support in that situation is only delaying the outcome.

  35. Cindy Welch

    So sorry about your Rocky but glad Cookie is doing better. Last year after going downhill slowly for about six months my sweet 13 year old kitty Noelle had a bad 24 hour period. I knew it was time to let her go. I called the vets and we made an appointment for early the next morning. All night long I held her and thanked her for everything she had done for me (seeing me through my dad’s death in 98 and then my mom’s in 03) and for all the unconditional love she had given me. I just sat up all night and whispered to me and stroked her head like she enjoyed. I must have slipped off to sleep at some point and when I awoke she was gone. Still in my arms. As usual, she knew I wasn’t strong enough, so she spared me having to take her to the vets and watch her go. I now have two new girls, Coco age 6 and Sophie, eight months. Noelle still has a special place in my heart though and I tell “my girls” about their sister all the time. The only thing is, now that I have two new girls, and knowing how attached to them I am already, I’m already thinking about how horrible it will be to lose them. Is it wrong not to have pets for fear they will leave you? I don’t know. I can’t imagine my life without them, but I can’t fathom losing them either. Thanks for listening.

  36. As some here know, my late wife made the decision for herself. Rationally, it was the correct one; a part of me wishes that there could have been an correct “alternative” choice available, regardless of its rationality, that could have been made.

    Like the loved ones of others who have posted, she suffered from cancer, and all the pain and discomfort that brings. First morphine, then methadone to provide comfort through some relief from the pain. Eventually, she purposely stopped eating, then refused hydration. The last few days she did not appear to suffer, but who am I to say.

    She and I had often discussed our respective attitudes towards matters such as this, and when the “final prognosis” was given, she deliberated a short while, then executed the DNR. I would have done the same; but going through the experience as an observer, I would withhold delivery of it for a while. While Hospice did its job well, and she received a good level of care from the staff of the facility those two plus weeks, the level of care the staff provided did change once the DNR was ‘signed, sealed and delivered’, at least in my perception. That is the only regret I have; that we showed our ‘hole card’ a bit too soon.

  37. William,

    I came across your blog entry via WordPress. Although we probably couldn’t agree on a single political issue, we can certainly agree on the importance of our K9 family members and the terrible choices that must at times be made regarding them and our human family members.

    I know the loss you feel as we had to make the same decision about Sammy, our elderly Daschund last year. The pain each member of the family felt was just as deep and just as sharp as if it had been one of our human members.

    Just as bad, my wife’s parents are now to the age that these decisions may be upon us soon, and unfortunately both refuse to make their wishes known–even after they themselves just went through the same issues with my wife’s 97 year old grandmother.

    When my wife must deal with her parents in their last days, it won’t be arguing Obamacare or the oil spill or carbon tax credits or economic stimulus. These will be the most real, the most daunting decisions we will ever make. These truly are life and death decisions—enormously difficult if we must make them for a stranger; heartstoppingly difficult when dealing with our own parents or children—and then having to live with the “what if’s” that will inevitably come.

    I feel for the pain of your lost friend—and hope that you—and my wife—never have to make those decisions about our human loved ones.

    • WSClark

      “Although we probably couldn’t agree on a single political issue………………..”

      Perhaps (!) we wouldn’t or couldn’t but life is larger than politics and political debate. The one common denominator is that we are all human and we all feel the pain when we lose a loved one, be it a cherished pet, a family member or close friend.

      Pop Blog was the brainchild of Steven E. Davis. We lost Steven at the age of 56 on May 2nd this year. On Saturday, we held a celebratory picnic in his honor. We had a wonderful time, great food, great friends.

      The event was attended by liberals, moderates, semi-conservatives and a few that were apolitical.

      Love knows no politics.

  38. “What about Grandma and Grandpa?” Dumb question. My Love, and i have already taken in our children’s Grandma. We administerd to her well being for over 8 years. I took her to Mass (i’m know catholic, but believe in the Universal Truth). We took her on vacation too; we made sure she had no REASON to complain – but she still did. We did not blame her. We knew there was a REASON for her bitterness, and it was not us. When it came time for her to die, we let it happen as nature intended.
    It was unfortunate for her that she lingered in the hospital for a weak, week. I could see the bittterness still in her eyes, but she could not say a word. How sad for her. But as with us all, she passed away.
    Love & I have an open invitation for our children’s other Grandparents. They can join us to live out the remainder of their lives, if they so wish it.
    How ’bout you all? What solution do you have?

    “What about a spouse that is looking at the last days of a long life?” I hope that what my LOVE sees, is a reflection of herself and the wonderful being she has been for me. She has fulfilled me in every way. My only HOPE is that after she dies, my memory of her will never CHANGE.
    I know that she is a reflection of me, and a reflection of us all – and we all must die.
    Let us all HOPE that when we look at that “long life” we can reflect on what TRULY happened, and not some imagination gone wild.

    “Although I knew it was right”, Of course you knew it was right, it was just a doG. We had a doG, that lived a long life, and we let it die as nature intended. We now have 2 doGz, a bitch, we call Lady, and feisty male we call Boxer, because the TRUTH to the REALITY, is that he is a Boxer. If a REASON came up that was good, then he would be put to sleep. He’s just a doG, not a person or a God.
    Come to think of it, none of us are God’s. Do you actually think that a man can be a God? He might as well try being a doG! you silly people.

    You ask where i stand. I stand for TRUTH, REALITY, FREEDOM, and REASON. If you Love me for it, fine – but i don’t need your lovin’
    I’ve got mine!!!
    Check out my blogs if you don’t understand. Have a nice day!!

  39. Heather

    My stance on the issue presented here: Do everything medically possible to prolong life and promote recovery!

    • Freebird1971

      When there is no hope of recovery as in the case of my Dad,prolonging his life would have been the ultimate act of selfishness.

  40. Usually when we want to prolong another person’s or pet’s life, it is to have them back as they were not how they have become. That alone however is a hope of a future in faith.

  41. brilliantmindbrokenbody

    I dread the passing of Hudson, my service dog.

    A service dog is closer to their partner than a pet can be. Oh, I get all of the antics and silliness and joy of having a pet, but I get more. I have my dependable dog who helps me live a normal life. I have a 24-hour a day companion who is never more than a few feet away from me. I have someone who works through his fears because of his desire to help me.

    When he retires, I will lose many of the abilities he makes possible. I will have to accept doing less or get a successor dog to help me. When he dies…just typing those words makes my chest hurt and my eyes tear. When he dies, I will lose a part of my life forever. It is more than losing a pet, especially if you lose your service dog before a successor is ready. If I have to make the decision to put my sweet, funny boy to sleep, it will rip me up as badly as if I had to make the same choice for my mother.

    People…it’s harder. My grandmothers had Alzheimer’s, and by the time she died, there was little left of the loving, generous, soft-spoken woman I knew. The disease made her cruel, and it also hurt her terribly. For her, the death of her husband – almost 3 years before her own – was a raw, new wound every day, as fresh as if he’d died just the day before. When she died, it was almost a relief, because she was finally not suffering physically or emotionally.

    My boyfriend holds my advanced directive, and has instructions on what I do and don’t want. I have a genetic condition that makes sudden death or brain hemmorhage and resulting damage significantly more likely, and 2 of my relatives died from brain hemmorhages. We both know that the odds are against me living a long life, much as it pains us to acknowledge that. It’s scary to have that kind of…awareness…that your fate is out of your hands. You eventually get a little numb to it, I guess, but the first few months of knowing that are quite devastating.


    • WSClark

      God be with you, Kali, and thank God that Hudson is there for you.

      I will keep you in my prayers.

      • brilliantmindbrokenbody

        And also with you.

        My Hudson is a joy and a treasure, a partner and a friend. I am thankful every day that he’s with me, even the days where he decides to be a turkey and be scared of everything.


  42. Our animals live, and die, with such grace, courage and humility, they leave us in their wake. By the time we realise they are sick, they are often very sick. By the time we realise now is “the time”, it is often beyond the time.

    Anyone who has a pet has heartache up ahead. We know that. I know that. And I know, that when that time comes, the last gift I can give my beloved dog or cat is to end their suffering and allow them to leave this world with the same courage and grace that they have lived in it, as I hold them close to my heart one last time.

  43. drvivc

    Ironic, one of my clients just asked me to post an article I had written on just this topic (I’m a vet)

    sorry for your difficult time, hope this helps…


  44. stillroom

    I did what had to be done on more than a couple of occasions. It is beyond painful emotionally well in advance of the actual doing.
    With my last dog, my husband and son were out of town and Oggie took a bad turn. I new this was coming because she was 14. (Missed her 15th by three weeks). I carried my sweet 50 pound puppy down to the back porch. She sat there and watched me prepare the hatch back of the car with her basket and blanket. She wagged her tail ever so slightly because she thought we were going for a ride in the car. We split a Klondike bar. I loaded her into her basket and we made the twenty minute ride to the vet. I held her until she took her last breath, all the while telling her thankyou for all that she brought to me. I drove home with the most throbbing headache of my life crying until I thought my head would explode. The next day brought sunshine and sweet relief and the sadness was not so bad because I knew she was in a better place. I went back to the vet a week later to pick up her ashes, they are in a pretty container with flowers on top. I sat in the car with a few less tears and could not help but give the ashes a shake. To my amusement, it sounded like a morrocca. (I am sure that is not spelled right). After 14 years of listening to all kinds of music with August at my side, it is fitting that she sounds like a musical instrument now. I keep her in the curio and every now and then, I give her a little shake…and I smile.

    • WSClark

      That’s a sweet story. I have a little sealed bottle of Rocky’s fur. It sits on my dresser and when I look at it, I can’t help but smile.

  45. This is a very interesting post. Personally, I have always been bothered by the fact that we allow our animals to die with more dignity than many humans have a right to.

    12 years ago my elderly mutt Buddy had stomach cancer and was at a point where his suffering seemed intolerable. I remember sitting with him his last evening with us. He sat and looked at me in a way that conveyed his wishes very clearly. The next morning we took him to the vet where he walked in with more dignity than ever before. We stayed with him through the end and while incredibly upsetting it was also the peaceful end he deserved.

    A few years prior to that my grandmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She had very little time with us after that diagnosis and much of it was quite painful. In her last days her pain was so great that we requested that her morphine be increased. We were told that while it would make her more comfortable they couldn’t do so because it would slow her heartbeat. At this point she was clearly dying, it was her wish to die and she only had days to live. How was this a humane and rational decision? While I was there for her passing and I know it was peaceful I still struggle with the fact that in many ways my dog was allowed a better ending to a well lived life.

  46. We had to put our dog to sleep a long time ago. Her lungs kept filling up with fluid – she couldn’t breathe and couldn’t even lay down. It still brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. In fact, I’m bawling now. I was the only one who stayed with her, my parents (I was in my 30’s) couldn’t do it. I held her and said good-bye and told her how much I/we loved her. I caught her as she fell over and was finally out of pain. Recently my dad apologized to me for not having enough courage and making me go through it by myself. It’s a sad memory but I’m glad I was with her at the end.
    Five years ago I lost my mother to her 24 year battle with cancer. When she went into the hospital it wasn’t long before she lost consciousness. It was her wish to NOT to get a feeding tube and if my dad wasn’t there to honor her wish, I don’t think that I could have. I’m sure I was being selfish because I didn’t want to lose her.
    I wanted her to have a feeding tube but my dad stood up to me.
    Needless to say, we were all there with her and I told her that I loved her and it was ok to go and she did. She squeezed my hand, opened her eyes and started to leave us. The doctor ran in to see why her heart slowed and I told him what I said to her. He told me that it was the best thing I could have done.
    It was hard to say it but you can’t watch someone suffer for so long.
    I couldn’t have watched my mom deteriorate any more – she was so young and the life was drained out of her.
    I’m sorry for your loss. Always cherish the memories. Good luck.

  47. david B

    I am having DNR tattooed on my forehead tomorrow.

  48. Nicolette

    Ugh. This hit home like a punch in the heart – my dog was put down this morning at 8:20 and I willed myself to watch the entire thing. He was there for us when we were sad, excited, angry, and mean – therefore, I told myself to be there for my pet even in his final, undignified and painful moments. Someone had to do it and the rest of my family was faring worse than I.

    The bottom line was he had cancer – a rare, aggressive strain of cancer that sapped him of everything that made him happy and well. Strength, eyesight, awareness of surroundings, it was all snatched away by a cancer which killed him in three weeks. He was only five. Still, as selfishly determined I was to believe he would live . . . it simply doesn’t work in that way. He was suffering in a manner beyond the comprehension of someone who has not experienced it. Of course you are in pain, too – it’s difficult to watch. Be it human or pet, however, I cannot find an ethical reason to force a person or pet to endure more pain than they must, pain that is so undeserved.

    The loved ones surrounding them are obviously going to need time to grieve – others are luck and receive that time, particularly with people. With our dog, we did not receive that luxury out of the necessity to end his pain. To end the tumors pressing on his internal organs and his declining energy, the wheezing he incurred when he managed to pull himself to his feet. No creature deserves to be subjected to a long-suffering illness or pain.

    Non-religious I may be, but from a spiritual, otherworldly perspective . . . I felt him dying. I felt that it was time. I do believe you truly know when that abstract, flightly concept of “the time” arrives.

  49. First of all my sympathies for your fallen friend Rocky and Cookie’s poor health. I have a 6 year old beagle that I love and don’t even want to think about the day when I will have to make that decision for her. My husband had to make the choice with his dog and it was very painful for him.

    Before I had kids I worked as a PSW in long term care facilities, looking after elderly and severely disabled people. Your question is a good one. I watched many people die during my career and at no time did that become easier. Death is not a pretty thing. It has been greatly romanticized in our media and few people truly understand how messy and final it really is. Despite this, living is not always pretty either and sometimes death is the kindest and most humane gift a person suffering can be given. This may seem cold to some, but I have seen what it means to be alive but unable to live, and I personally would not want that for myself or my loved ones.

  50. Hi There! I can not imagine how it would be to loose one of those precious companions. So many things to keep. I did realize this subjet before, but I had come to walk close when it comes to family members. In one of the cases we had one Doc in the family and he patiently watch the case very close and decide that the best was to let go. And the second case it was against what the Doc said, This was another doc and he recomend that we should let God take care of it. The uncles and ants did not want to do it, until finally the infection become so obvious and they have to agree with the doc and sign those horrible but necesary papers. Is not like a formula, because all cases have the surprising effect of love, miracles, hope, God, whatever you want to call. We saw those ppl that were believed to have die or so and then “smile to the camera”. I do not have a general opinion, just to love them the best, and Pray for a Miracle every time. At the end we can not said: God, if it is your will. Not, because God’s will if Life, and whatever the outcome there is always grater the plans that he have. We don’t have to thrown our brain away to get that. Just faith. That’s all. “) God knows.
    ~Great Love to you,
    Mirian from peelingtheorange.

  51. That is a subject to be spoken of with your loved ones before the fallout (when it comes to humans anyways). That said, I have yet to forget the images of a once healthy man left paralyzed. In the hospital bed, after a long fight, he had enough mobility to create the form of a gun with his hand and point it to his head. His only message was a suicidal one. Or perhaps one that begged mercy. I believe that speaks novels.

  52. I believe Living Wills are a must have! Though your relatives can override it, it would still be best to know your feelings.

    I personally hope if one of my cats has to die, that he may do it in his sleep, so we don’t have to choose.

    Once again,
    Congrats on making Freshly Pressed!

  53. Every pet my family has had since I was born (with the exception of 1) has had to be put down. Its never easy. We tell ourselves its the humane thing to do. They gave us warmth and friendship, and they don’t deserve to suffer.
    Last March I went on a 6 hour trip with my roommate to see her father who was in ICU after suffering a heart arrthymia. His heart stopped and it took them 40 mins to get it going again. Needless to say he was brain dead and his heart was barely holding on. As she was an only child, she alone had to make the decision to take him off life support and put him into hospice care.
    She had just gone through the same thing 13 months earlier with her mother. A 23 year old should never have to make these decisions. In the end the only reason I could give her to ensure her that this was the right thing to do was the fact that it was the only humane thing to do. There was no sense in prolonging a life that had no quality to it.
    Through the tough decisions she had to make with it helped me to have this conversation with my parents as to how they want their final days to be handled. Its not going to be easy to tell the hospital and doctors that they don’t want to be on life support, but in the end thats what they want; to die with dignity. If we can’t give our pets that much, how can we do so for our human loved ones.
    I encourage everyone to discuss this ugly business with your loved ones. It will help you in the end.

  54. The most difficult moment in life is when you need to make a choice…
    …but the worst moment is when you need to make a choice for somebody who is very close to you – whether to live or to die…
    thanks God I didn’t make such decisions yet, hope I would never had a chance to decide.

  55. I think we have to be careful not to jump the gun on putting our animals down. Just because they go through an illness and don’t bounce back right away doesn’t mean they wont. We wouldn’t put down a human friend who got sick and was depressed for a few months afterwards. We would try to help them recoup and hold out some hope.

  56. Songbird

    It is always heartbreaking, having to make that desicion, but the way I always look at it is this: Am I protecting myself from the grief? Or am I actually significantly adding to the quality of life of my pet? It may be a time to let Cookie go. I would consult the vet and go with their recommendation. They are the experts.
    I wish you strength.

  57. Pingback: When is it “time?” « Realidad Alternativa

  58. It seems we treat animals better than we treat each other or ourselves. I think it might be my time.

  59. You raise quite a valid point, and one I had to think about not too long ago. My mother had a severe stroke a few years ago at age 57 that took away most of her speech and almost all movement on her right side. After a year of various kinds of therapy she was allowed to come home (where she continues her therapy).

    Shortly after that my family’s dog (really he was my mother’s dog) of twelve years had a stroke as well. He leaned to the side when he walked, could barely manage to drink water, and had no interest in food. He usually slept at the foot of my parents’ bed, but when he was placed there he walked right off of it and fell on the floor after the lights were turned off. Another couple days showed no improvement, and the vet’s only advice was to give him children’s aspirin.

    My father took the next day off from work and brought our dog in to be put down. I was furious that the poor dog was not allowed more time to make a better recovery, since our family has always been so understanding and encouraging about mom’s recovery. I’m sure my mother was concerned on some level that she would be abandoned to a nursing home or similar (a fate she stated back when I was small that she would rather die than enter into) due to her own stroke.

    Families help their pets in the way they think best, since often we can’t understand what they’re trying to tell us. I suppose in a way we’re lucky that people can create a living will so that the burden of the decision is lifted from the loved ones.

    I’m sorry for the hardships your family has gone through with your dogs. They’re very lucky to have such caring owners. Thank you for sharing your story. It seems that a lot of the comments here are cathartic for all the other pet owners who know what you’re going through.

  60. It’s such a depressing and painful decision to make, but every time I hear stories like these I always tell myself, “It’s okay. These doggies are going to a place where there is no pain.” It’s the same thing I tell myself, in the midst of painful tears and wails, when someone in the family dies due to severe diseases and illnesses. Sometimes it eases the pain, sometimes I just ignore and cry myself to sleep.

    All my pets died because of old age actually, but I had a Japanese Spitz who died because of an attack by a neighbor’s Doberman. Before the doctor could even decide on what to do with him, he died.

  61. It difficult to choose,between to keep it alive until dead or decided to let die without torture.

  62. mariajubee

    It’s really difficult to make a choice. especially when the issue is about life.. whichever choice we choose, there’s always the other side of it… but one thing good about choosing is that all are great but there is only one best…

  63. We are going through this issue right now. Our shihtzu is going to be 16 years old this year and has been really ailing of late. He has no severe illness that we know of, but has arthritis, is almost blind and is losing bladder control. Some days he gets as excited as a puppy and other days he moves so slow it’s really sad to watch him like that. So, when your animal gets to this stage of their life … when there is no illness, just old age, when is the right time?

  64. Dog saves life. Midnight, we were asleep. Browny barks loudly because a fire ignites in our stove.

    “Thanks, Browny for saving our lives,” I exclaimed.

  65. 249be35thst

    It has been my experience with DNR’s, that it really doesn’t matter if you have one or not. If you wind up in the emergency room, the doctors there are going to bring you back with or without a DNR. Why? Because they can’t possibly be expected to keep track of whether or not you have such a document on file with the hospital. Their job IS to bring you back and that is what they’ll do. I watched my sister go through this several times. The last time they brought her back, she clearly wasn’t the same and she had had a standing DNR AND a DNI (do not intibate [sp?]). The unfortunate thing was that she hadn’t given someone durable power of attorney. This is a simple thing to do and you may be able to download the papers for free from your states commerse website. Then all you need to do is sign & notarize them.

    It might be a comfort to know that you have a piece of paper that should inform the doctors of your wishes to discontinue life support, but in the end, don’t be surprised if they don’t comply with those wishes.

  66. Ryan McGivern

    I am sorry for your loss. I too have had to put a beloved family dog to sleep.
    I like that you are posing end of life questions–but I would suggest a minor change to the question.
    It is always helpful to family and friends when the answer to when ‘its time’ is given in writing and in legally supported language by the individual themselves.
    I encourage everyone no matter their age or health to create with their family and loved ones just such documentation.
    The next step is for everyone who is interested in dignity and autonomy in end of life decisions to contact their state political leaders to let them know that euthanasia is a choice that should be protected throughout the US.

  67. Michelle Brown

    I am so sorry you had to go through that. I’ll never forget the pain of putting my childhood dog down, and my heart goes out to you.

    On the human side, I’ll never forget the pain on my father’s face as he had to make the decision to take my grandfather off life support. I agree it is helpful to have a living will. But when we make that decision (based off what we think or what we know the individual wants) we are still left behind with not only the sorrow of our loss, but the guilt. My dad knew it was the right thing to do, but it really tore him apart to have to be the one to make that decision.

  68. Gerry Ashley

    Sometimes, it’s not just knowing “when” but also the “how” that troubles my mind.

    Raised as a Christian, I know it goes against both Man’s law and God’s to take your own life. But in the case of someone who is terminally ill, I believe the choice has already been made by God. The only remaining question is “when?” And I believe that a good and merciful lord would understand someone wanting to have some input at that point.

    As for me, here’s how I think it should be done for humans: If a person is terminally ill, as I mentioned, the decision has been made by God that it’s your time.

    I believe that a compassionate society should allow what I refer to as a “Goodnight Pill” for those who are terminal. And they should be allowed to take it, if they so choose, at a time of their choice, i.e. before the pain becomes unbearable or to the point where such strong medication has to be given you that you no longer feel the pain… or act as you were. Just give folks the choice.

    If I then found myself in that position, I’d would send out invitations to my closest friends and family and say:

    “I’m having a going away party. If you receive this invitation, it’s because you were an important part of my life and I want so very much to see you one last time. Please come, prepared to laugh and enjoy old memories one last time together. And at the end of the evening, let’s just give each other a meaningful hug or handshake. And instead of saying ‘goodnight’ we can say our ‘goodbye’ with dignity… and no regrets. R.S.V.P.”

    And when the guests leave, those family members (and, perhaps several friends who choose to do so) could say a few words to comfort me on my journey, then I would take the goodnight pill with a glass of water (or my favorite drink), and simply fade off to sleep on last time, in the glow of some fine memories. What better way to go?

  69. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer here.

    I still haven’t gotten over the loss of my Golden Retriever 5 years ago. In fact, I can’t think about that awful day — her final day. I’ve compartmentalized the experience and refuse to allow it to enter. I know, this is arguably unhealthy but, it’s how I cope.

    Today, my 14 year old Lab is dealing with all the challenges of advanced canine years: arthritis, meds to manage the pain and inflammation of arthritis, more trips to the vet, the acupuncturist, special diets, and so forth.

    But my Lab is happy, has a great appetite and spends her senior years smiling and a vital member of the family. A part of me thinks I should prepare for the “day,” but I can’t go there. What I try to do is just embrace each day as a gift and hope there are many more days ahead.

    I’m sorry for your loss. I understand your pain very well and I hope it gets better for you and one day you find peace.

  70. Pingback: When is it “time?” (via PrairiePopulistsAndProgressives.net) « Atika's

  71. wawooo
    its not just u think like this

  72. I went through this with my family a couple of weeks ago. Even though my dad didn’t want extraordinary measures taken it was still one of the most difficult times in our lives. Mom made the final decision herself, it was the right decision, but it was still horrible for her, and us, to go through.

  73. This post really resonated with me, as we had to have one of our dog’s put down last week, and the other two months ago. We had to take the decision upon ourselves- it’s painful, but not as painful as allowing them to suffer. They become a member of the family, and parting with them is a terrible decision to make. I’m sorry for your loss.

  74. Its really not an easy decition, I think it should be allowed for oneself to decide or co-decide somehow. I havent figured it out jet. I mean if its me and I am there laying in bed as a vegetable and will never recover to a life in consiousness, I would really want people to end it and maybe use my liver, heart and stuff to save life if its possible.
    But to decide for someone else, its horrible to do that.

  75. I am a practicing RN in the ICU as well as have a dog sanctuary at my home, specializing in adult, senior and special needs Beagles and hounds. We children were blessed with parents who made it abundantly clear to us that they did NOT want heroic measures taken at the end of their lives; in both their deaths, I called the death and notified the hospital staff. My mom died of metastatic lung cancer; one of the last things she told my sister was “If I had know I was going so fast, I would not have ordered those oh, so good for you, dang carrots.” We had many family members around her hospital based hospice bed; I gave her permission to leave us, that my brother and his family were on their way from England…we each then said our goodbyes, and told stories, both funny and poignant. I had my hand on her dorsalis pedis pulse (top of her foot), my 2nd sister was at her head. She was surrounded by love and knew it. When she stopped breathing, my sister looked at me and within a few seconds, I had no more pulse. She was home.
    My father died of complications of a hip fracture and then suffered more due to an arrogant physician. The physician caring for him in the compassionate care wing of the VA hospital had consulted an internist, who then took him off his morphine and moved him to a ward where he was going to cure his pneumonia. I listened to him scream over my cell phone as I consulted w/my sister on my way back home – I told her to get him back to hospice and get his morphine back on – “curing” the pneumonia was not going to give us back our father. The staff, wonderful people, made sure he was kept comfortable by giving him morphine every hour till the next morning when he was moved back and placed on a pump. My sister asked the resident if curing the pneumonia would give us back our father and he said no. Well. good grief – consider the whole person! All our family made it home to be with him before he died. After I got home, I consulted w/his primary physician, who explained he felt he had needed to consult but did not expect the consulted physician to move him. When my sister confronted the consulted physician, he made a comment about “euthanasia, compassionate care, hospice – it’s all the same.” That shook her up and she confided in the VA chaplain, who asked permission to address this attitude w/the physician and his superior – she gave it gladly. After I got home, I made sure his morphine met his needs. He died in the night. At this VA and I am sure many others, bodies are not disguised. An American flag is draped over the body of the fallen soldier; as we went through the halls to the morgue, anyone present and able stepped back and saluted.
    With my dog sanctuary and my older dogs, I have more boxes of ashes than I would ever want and yet, last week, I had to let a young, not even year old dog go to heaven when she did not respond to surgery and treatment for a severe ileus. It is never easy. Making sure your wishes are known is utterly important. We children were blessed to be of one mind – if this is what our parents or one of us want, we go by their wishes. When I counsel family about DNR orders, I remind them they are not making the decision – they are respecting the decision their loved one has already indicated either in writing or in discussion. Sorry this is so long but end of life is so crucial in our society where we think we can fix everything; we can do a lot (I especially appreciate the comment about listening to his heart and how, because he did, his mom lived more years than expected) but we also need to know and be aware that we are not in charge. Thank you for this post and God bless in your grief and healing.

  76. I’ve had to decide it was “time” twice, and with both dogs it broke my heart to have to make that decision. The deciding factor for me was when I asked the vet if the dog was in pain. Both times he assured me that although they could live a few months longer, they were suffering constantly with pain, and it would get worse before they died.

    I couldn’t bear making them suffer to have a few more weeks with them, and knowing they would no longer suffer made the decision easier. It didn’t make me miss them any less though.

    I have mixed feelings about ending life support on a loved one. I was faced with that decision several years ago, and could not do it. In that case the medical diagnosis was that there was no known suffering, but also no hope of recovery.

    I did not want to let go of hope, and the injury was the result of an auto accident, so everything happened very quickly. Within a few hours time I had been called to the hospital, and after rushing to get there, was immediately confronted with the decision to end life support. It was not like on T.V., where they get several hours or days to make up their mind!

    As it turned out, the decision was taken out of my hands a few minutes later, and God took the little one to heaven to be with Him.

    I think if a person who is of sound mind has a DNR it should be honored, although it would still be very difficult for me to make that decision. But if their wishes are not specifically and definitively known, life support should be maintained as long as it’s medically feasible. People have awakened from a coma years after it seemed possible. We never know what God’s plan is, and nothing is impossible for Him.


  77. P.S. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!!


  78. Pingback: When is it “Time”? « Undercover Kitty

  79. I can understand the gravity you all went through.
    Visit my site and listen to my music on a free music site…

  80. Having just made “the decision” for my lab last week, I understand how difficult it was for you with Rocky and how hard it will be for you if it is “time” for Cookie. While I miss my dog more than I could have possibly imagined, I am glad that she went peacefully and didn’t suffer. I would wish the same for any person at the point where they will never enjoy the quality of life that they were accustomed to in good health and there is no hope that their condition could be cured or improve. I’ve asked my husband to let me go if my “time” comes, but he says that he won’t do it. I’ve told him that I think it would be wrong to ignore my quality of life and to keep me alive just because he couldn’t part with me. Which is pretty much why I said goodbye to my dog. I actually wrote a post about my experience with her, too: http://bighappynothing.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/pawprints/
    Thinking of you.

  81. This is a DIFFICULT decision. I think my labrador is getting old and nearing this time. I can’t even begin to think of how hard of a decision this would be. My previous lab died naturally… only showing old age really, never any serious issues.

    My current one has some problems with ear infections that we treat all of the time… he was a rescue also. Not sure how old he is really but we think 8 or 9. Hope I never have to make this decision.

  82. I obviously can’t relate to your feelings but I know for sure that It wasn’t easy to let go…