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Aster's avatar

Did the gut wrenching act of having your pet put down make you swear off pets?

Asked by Aster (19407points) November 20th, 2016

Two weeks ago I had to have one of our bichons , age ten, put to sleep. I know I’m not alone by any means in feeling tormented by being there and watching this. I have no guilt whatsoever; he could not have been sicker. But the experience and not being able to stop crying in the vet’s office was so horrific that I feel justified in never getting another pet. Am I the only one who feels this way? I see people on Facebook who run out a couple weeks later to try and “replace” their pet with one or three new ones and, to me, you can’t replace your dog. God help me we have one left close in age to Donnie. May I never have another fur baby.

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27 Answers

anniereborn's avatar

I am so very very sorry to hear this Aster. It is indeed gut wrenching. I have been through it many times with both my own pets and my mother’s. For me, as hard as it is, it does not outweigh the many many years of love that I was granted. I never ran out and got another after a death, usually I waited until one found me in some way. (both of my current kitties are strays). You may change your mind about getting another, or you many not. Everyone is different. I know it is beyond heartbreaking. I wish you well.

Cruiser's avatar

Sorry about your loss @Aster. Losing a pet has always been traumatic and hard. The void left behind from that constant companionship is achingly acute and constant. So it is only natural to want to seek out another fur baby. We all know nothing can replace the fur ball we lost and in time the new fur baby is as precious as the previous.

Aster's avatar

Thank you for your sensitivity @anniereborn . @Cruiser , I feel I can settle for the one white bichon I have now who is nagging me to cook lunch if you can imagine.
I have decided to be unnatural and stay away from pet shelters. It was just too much for me with what all I have going on now.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

No. Not anymore than losing friends have caused me not to make new ones. Everything dies and you either keep moving on or you will find that you have stopped moving altogether. Use life, or lose it..

Pachy's avatar

I had to put down (how I hate that expression!) a wonderful Persian cat named Elvira in the late ‘70s. I still feel sad and guilty about that.

Twenty years later I got a part Siamese male when he was 6 weeks old from the ASPCA and what a joy Sy has been these past 17 years. But now he’s showing signs of age and course I fret about the inevitability of losing him.

Happily, though, he’s in fair health, still has a great appetite, and is pretty frisky when he’s not sleeping (which is a LOT). His only med is a once-a-day steroid to help his kidney function.

At the rate my own signs of age are increasing, he may have to put me down before I have to do it do him. ;-)

kritiper's avatar

No, it was that puppy stage where the dog digs, chews, escapes, etc., etc., that threw me off. If and when I get another dog, I will adopt one that is at least 5 years old.

Aster's avatar

@kritiper Thinking back when Donnie was a puppy I recall now the valuable things he trashed. I prefer dogs as puppies but getting them at five years of age is a smart idea.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I would never try to replace an animal companion. Animals are beloved friends and family members, not fungible commodities. It wouldn’t be fair to myself, or to the helpless, innocent animal, to try to find a substitute.

When the time’s right for me to get a new dog or cat, one always falls “magically” into my life. Of course, there’s nothing magic about this at all; it just means that I’m finally ready and receptive to having that love again.

My deepest sympathies on the loss of your doggie. You’ve had your heart ripped out of your body, and the grief must be painful beyond belief.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s a timing thing. You (naturally ) need time to mourn. After you’ve come to grips with the loss, you may decide to get another dog.

Keep in mind that dog shelters are overflowing with perfectly good dogs that could use a great owner. If you want to feel worse,look up how many dogs your local SPCA euthanizes on a monthly basis. The numbers are staggering, and heart breaking.

Like @kritiper said, a dog that’s already pottie trained is a plug and play.

The pain of losing them SUCKS. But it’s a small price to pay for unconditional love.

If enough time goes by, maybe you can rescue a dog. You may find that it rescues you.

My condolences.

Peace n love.

Zaku's avatar

No I didn’t have that reaction, though as much as I love pets, it’s not a simple decision.

But when my pets have died I have been sad and upset and grieved but I think I always realize that I gave them a great enjoyable life and that death is just something that happens to everyone, and to most pets, after not all that long.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Perfect answer. Next to being born a free, or wild animal, their existence with a good owner is of greater quality (when domesticated ) than living in the wild and having to hunt or starve, and have fleas, and intestinal parasites.

Most dogs that have good owners, to me, won a lottery. Their quality of life is usually better than 99% of other lifeforms on this planet.

They (dogs) will be one of the last animals to go extinct. Because they are tied to the dominant species on Earth.

An interesting relationship. Dogs and humans.

I’ve heard several really old tales from different countries where the story basically means that dogs sold out every other animal, by committing to be our helpers.

They (dogs) will alert (narc on) other animals.

They will help us smell the other animals, to hunt them down.

They are fearless in their trained /intended goals. They will give their life to protect someone they love. (Some people would give their life for their dog,it’s happened. )

They are an invaluable asset in regards to security, and a companion as well.

They can be trained to specific tasks,and most have a desire to have a purpose.

The relationship between man and canine is one that nay be tough to match in the universe.

Aster's avatar

It would have been a little easier had I found him passed away when I woke up. But seeing him on that stainless steel table then watching the vet put that thick needle into his little leg , pushing the plunger then seeing his head fall over to the side was just too much to handle. But I could not just have left him there. Then the vet uses his stethoscope to hear if his heart is still beating . And all these patrons in other rooms talking and laughing. I don’t ever want to go through that again. I kept kissing him on his head before and afterwards. And I know that One Million dogs are euthanized each day!

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Aster . I worked an at an Emergency Veterinarian Hospital for 9 yrs.

I know it’s a terrible experience.

I never liked being the one to place the IV catheter, for administration of the euthanizing agent. Didn’t like being around when it was used, or any part of it.

But, in most cases, it was an act of love. It took away SO much suffering. To call it the lesser of two evils doesn’t fully explain it.

At some point, it’s the only option. And it was not usually the owners fault that the decision was required.

Most actually outlive their life expectancy. But the sad fact, is they have a shorter lifetime than us

George Carlin always said “getting a pet is like getting a small family tragedy.”

I hope you move on ,in time ,and give another great animal a good life.

What a power, to be able to give an animal such a great existence. And our lives are certainly richer for providing it for them.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Aster, I feel your pain acutely since I went through this on Friday. I’ll come back soon and answer properly. However, check with your vet if they do home visits. I knew Ollie was going to die. He was very old and unwell. I spoke to them about them coming to my home. They came to our house and we sat on the floor, him half on his bed, with his head and upper half in my arms, and he peacefully went to sleep. I still feel bereft at him going, but his passing was peaceful and it felt right. See if they’ll come out to your home for when the time comes for your other dog. I think it helps.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Euthosal , or other common narcotics used for euthanasia are a controlled substance. And it may be unlawful in some places for a doctor to transport the drug to a home, or anywhere other than the hospital /clinic.

Laws ,of course vary greatly ,state by state .

But yes. If your vet offers the home service for euthanasia, it’s probably the best option.

Most agents used are kind of like an overdose of pain meds. So (if you take any comfort from this) the last moment of their lives are finally pain free,and euphoric.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I am so moved by what I have read from everybody here. I just want to bury my head in the sand and not even think of what is to come for my friend. @Aster, all I can say is I am so sorry you had to go through that. Close your eyes and your beloved friend will be there to bid you farewell and say a huge THANK YOU for letting him be in your life. And what a lovely, lucky life it was.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@Aster You’ve literally brought me to tears. Anyone who loves animals, and who has had them as dear companions, knows the horror of that stainless-steel table.

Thank you for having the courage to be there at the end. You were a loving comfort during your dog’s final moments.

The pain will eventually fade to happy memories of all those wonderful years together. For now, though, I’m so saddened by your loss.

canidmajor's avatar

I never replace a beloved pet, but I bring another into my home. I am so sorry for your loss, I know how painful it is. The many many years of joy and companionship outweighs for me the pain that comes when we have to make that final decision. I have had many dogs and cats, each one different from the others, each special in his/her own way.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Aster, to answer your question, like you, the last thing I can think of right now is getting another dog. The grief is too raw. However, when Ollie was sick, I thought about whether I would get another dog. He was such a joy to be with. He made my life better. He was fun, he was a comfort, he was my unfailing companion during the day. The pain of losing him, in no way outweighs the joy during the time I spent with him. So in time, I feel sure I will get another dog. Not to replace him. That will never happen. Just to share my life with. It won’t happen for a long time. I’m sure of that, but I won’t discount the possibility.

There’s a quote that is attributed to A. A. Milne (although there is doubt about whether he wrote it). “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Regardless of who wrote it, the sentiment works. We had beautiful furry friends that made our lives happier while they were with us. I hope your pain (and mine) fades soon.

ucme's avatar

It’s been 3yrs this xmas since our Penny died, the tragedy being that she wasn’t afforded the time to be put to sleep, she died suddenly aged 4 only an hour before an emergency vets appointment.
We’d love another dog & thought maybe after a full calendar year had passed the time would be ripe, it wasn’t & still isn’t. I adored that dog & for the time being, the wait goes on.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Oh @ucme. I know you’ve described how she died and how awful, truly awful, that was for you all. I can quite see why you would hold off having another. When the time is right, you’ll know. It may be circumstances take over and you’re presented with a situation where you can’t say no. Life sometimes works that way.

ucme's avatar

Yeah, I know @Earthbound_Misfit & thanks lovely lady.
I think it’s a combination of just making that leap but feeling it would be unfair on another pooch if it were to be compared to Penny, which I fear might be the case, but you’re right though, it will sort itself out i’m sure.

Seek's avatar

My husband has kept dogs his whole life, and I grew up with cats.

The home seems incomplete without them, so we always manage to attract some homeless mongrel. I think the longest we’ve gone without a fur-kid of some kind was a few months.

They’re all different. We didn’t replace Bub, we just gave him a younger brother he never met.

gondwanalon's avatar

Give yourself some time. Then adopt another dog.

Death is part of life. I’m 65 and have had 2 elderly cat euthanized in the last 20 years. I was in the room when their suffering ended. It was so surreal and sad. It really shook me and took a couple weeks to recover. I gave them a good life and they gave me absolute genuine love.

Sadly I’m going through the downward death spiral of my 16 year old cat (Sheba) now. Sheba has had digestion problems since last January. She’s been to the veterinary hospital 5 times and the last time they kept her for 6 days. Vet bills >$1,500. All lab tests were normal. Vet can only guess what is wrong. It’s likely colon cancer. And surgery, chemo and radiation are not options. She lost a lot of weight but holding steady at about 6½ pounds. Vet wants me to force feed her and I do if she skips more than one meal (I feed her 6 small meals a day). Oddly she seems to enjoy being forced fed as she purrs when I do it. She can’t control her bowls so she poops everywhere she goes including her bed. She pees wherever she wants. I have to isolate her in one room (there are 2 litter boxes in her room). I mop up her room with soap and 10% bleach solution twice a day. Once a week I give her a warm bath to clean off all the dried feces on her hind quarters and tail. She also seems to enjoy her bath and drying off with a towel.

A reasonable person would say that it’s time to euthanize Sheba. But she doesn’t seem to be in a lot of pain (except when she poops). She’s a real fighter and seems enjoy all the attention I give her.

With the other two cats the I euthanized, there was absolutely no mistake that it was tome to say good bye. Haven’t reach that point yet with my 16 year old Sheba.

Aster's avatar

@gondwanalon I can assure you that you are an exceptional cat mommy. I don’t think most cat owners would go through what you are and I applaud your determination and love for Sheba. We cat and dog owners all have to make our own decision of when it’s time.

Mariah's avatar

Lost my best friend Chloe (cat) some four years ago, only recently feeling ready for a cat again.

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