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The euthanasia decision....

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  • #21
    I think it is especially hard whent hey're young. We lost a 3 year old cat that we had raised from a bottle baby. She had kidney failure, and we tried battling it. My guilt lies in that her battle went on too long - to the point I was force feeding her.

    I still mourn her over two years later, and I'm not sure I'm ever going to be entirely over it. I think that's not too uncommon with the young ones - you were supposed to have so many more years after all!

    We all deal with the loss in our own ways, so there's no right or wrong way to feel. You have my sympathy, though.. it is hard....
    Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

    Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


    • Original Poster

      Thank you all so much. I truly appreciate you taking the time to offer your thoughts and experiences. Sometimes it's hard to find others to share these feelings with who are genuinely attached to their pets and truly understand what I'm feeling. She wasn't just "a cat". She was my little friend - furry and four-legged - who shared the joys and sorrows of life with me for 7 years. My poor husband doesn't know what to think - one minute I'm fine and the next minute I'm all teary eyed and flustered after something made me think of her. He's been very supportive even though he doesn't quite get what I'm feeling. Your words and encouragement have helped me a great deal in trying to sort out that rush of emotions. Just being able to put it into writing to read for myself and then have others understand it makes it easier to accept. So for that, I am thankful.
      "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

      Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!


      • #23
        Your cat had a good home and a peaceful end. That's all you can do.

        I had to put two beloved animals to sleep last summer.A week after putting Jasmine to sleep, I got this email. There was a cat at the pound, 7 months in the adoption kennel. Basically a last chance call for the cat's life. I basically burst into tears and made the call and took her in. There was something about that shaggy, sweet cat being PTS simply because she had no home that infuriated me. She's plucky and sweet and I'd like to think that Jasmine sent her my way.

        A few weeks after getting her, our dog Buddy crashed. It was awful. We sobbingly put that dog to sleep, to relieve his pain. I did not realize how depressed my SO was until a month or two ago, against my desire, we got a puppy. Who is the spitting image of Buddy. I'd like to think that Buddy is in his ear, telling him not to chase cats and that its OK to jump the creek.

        I don't know, but I listened to this song by Jack Johnson a lot between Jasmine and Buddy- these lyrics resonate with me. I do indeed miss my old friends. But I take comfort that their loss gave a few more a chance at a good life with a peaceful end.

        "Down the middle drops one more
        grain of sand
        They say that
        new life makes losing life easier to understand
        Words are kind
        they help ease the mind
        I miss my old friend
        And though you gotta go
        we'll keep a piece of your soul
        One goes out
        One comes in"


        • #24
          For whomever asked why we sometimes feel guilty instead of just sorrow....

          I'll tell you why....

          Because I made a promise to myself that I would euth my old man before the bad days outnumbered the good and the sparkle in his eye was gone.

          Since they live in the moment, the moment we choose to end their lives may be a relatively good moment.

          And thus, we might question ourselves--did I snuff out his life too soon? Would another day have been better?

          I still think it's better a few days too soon than a moment too late. But when you've invested a lot of time, energy and money into keeping them going, it's sometimes difficult (and gut wrenching) to make the decision to end it all. You push so hard in one direction and then hit the brakes and that momentum knocks some things around in your head.

          Even now for me...4 years later...I wonder if I had asked my old guy to hang in there for a few more weeks if we could've had a nice summer together. He had bad arthritis....but I moved the horses not long after he died and I think he would've done better at the new place. So yeah. There's guilt. Even if I know I did the right thing given the information I had at the time. Still guilt.
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


          • #25
            I'm going through it right now with my TB that we euthanized on the 15th. We fought and fought and fought those bursting melanomas ... we beat an anaerobic infection ... but ultimately it came to the point that my vet told me point blank his drainage tract and open wound would not heal and we would have to discuss long term antibiotics (for the rest of his life probably) and daily cleaning and flushing - IF the internal bleeding he had going on would stop at all. I feel like I gave up on him after fighting so hard for two and a half months, and even though I know that we were at the end of what we could do and that he wouldn't heal ... I still have the guilt. I feel like maybe I should have stuck it out another few weeks and kept cleaning his wound, done the long-term antibiotics, etc., to see if by some odd chance it DID heal over before fly season got here.

            It's so hard to "give up" ... that's why we have our rational sides too. I can rationalize it away and know I did the right thing and that I gave him a dignified end, not a horribly traumatic end (his internal tumors were breaking off and migrating and we were very likely facing a very bad end - severing of the femoral artery or vein, or crushing the ciatic nerve) ...

            We do the best we can, and then we grieve. We question if there was more we could do because we care so much.
            If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
            ~ Maya Angelou


            • #26
              I understand your feelings, too.

              When I put my 9 yr old Dobie down last year, I knew it was the right decision at the time - BUT, I still felt (feel) guilty because I had started the whole mess by choosing to have her surgery done. If I hadn't elected for her to have the surgery, she never would have had the complications which forced my decision.

              I'm not sure I'll ever feel at peace about that whole situation. I still miss her and feel just awful on a regular basis.

              When I had to make that horrid decision, I read this on a support group board and it made my decision SO much easier to bear:

              "I am the human, the one with the opposable thumbs here. I made you a promise that I would make sure your life was a 'good life,' you were cared for in the best possible manner that I could, attending to not only your physical, but emotional needs. And for that, I got to share with you many moments with another sentient organism, that by interacting with me on their own terms, provided me with not only companionship, but devotion and protection, and I provided the same back. And that when the time comes, that you are stricken with the ravages of old age or unrecoverable pain/disease/suffering, I would do my very best to make sure you were comfortable and safe, and did not have to suffer at my hand in order to placate my own emotional needs."


              • #27
                Originally posted by arabhorse2 View Post
                Vacation, I didn't feel any sense of guilt after I had Conny put down. Sorrow, absolutely. Guilt? Not at all. I don't understand why people feel guilty when they're knowingly releasing an animal from pain and suffering. Loss, unhappiness, grief, all of these are understandable; even anger. But guilt, I just don't get. I'm not criticizing, and I know that grief takes many forms. The concept of guilt though, has me truly puzzled.
                I think the guilt doesn't have to be specifically about the actual 'it's today' decision - the guilt can be over pretty much everything related to the animal's death and life. Why didn't I catch it earlier? What if I'd taken him to a better vet? Why didn't I spend more time with him/her? It just crystalizes around the euthanasia, as if all our perceived failures are summed up in our helplessness to save them.

                Also, you know, some people just excel at guilt. I'm a Catholic of Irish-Hungarian-Polish descent, so you know I've got talent.


                • #28
                  My condolences on the loss of your cat. Being in your shoes many many times, it never gets easier.

                  Please don't doubt yourself. Being a compassionate pet caretaker involves some very tough decisions. Euthanasia being the toughest. You did all you could do to help your kitty and the fact that you helped her pass in peace and not in pain, shows what a wonderful caring owner you are.

                  As many of us say, rather too soon than too late.

                  A great compassionate site I've relied on in the past is www.petloss.com
                  They have a wonderful monitored message board with people coping with the loss of a pet.

                  God Bless.
                  MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

                  Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
                    Also, you know, some people just excel at guilt. I'm a Catholic of Irish-Hungarian-Polish descent, so you know I've got talent.
                    I have similar ethnicity, except that you need to to throw in some German with the Irish and Hungarian, instead of Polish.

                    I was born and raised a Catholic, so I understand all about Catholic guilt. Especially Irish Catholic guilt!

                    I'm a recovering Catholic now, and have switched to Pentecostal. Those folks might talk about the Rapture like it's going to happen any day, but my, aren't they happy!

                    BuddyRoo, I understand the concept of guilt and have myself been plagued by "what ifs" many times. However, in Conny's case his decline was so sudden, and it was so obvious that it was his time to go, that guilt never entered into the equation. He was fine in the morning, and that evening he was having seizures, and had broken his pelvis. It was pretty clear cut that I needed to let him go, and let him go quickly.

                    As I stated in my previous post, maybe when it's time to put another of my beloved animals down I'll feel guilty for not having done enough for them, or wondering if I'm doing the right thing. I won't know until it's their time. Each situation is different.
                    Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.