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mcbealer's avatar

Dog owners: how do you say goodbye?

Asked by mcbealer (10209points) February 22nd, 2009

How do I say goodbye to a great friend, my dog Tilly, 13 years old? She is getting worse day by day, and yet continues to hang in there. The past year has been very tough for her, and in the past 48 hours she has relapsed with vestibular dog syndrome.

I realize that in humans, people sometimes hang in there, beyond any medical explanation, to say that final goodbye, or reunite with that estranged loved one. In fact, sometimes doctors encourage family members to tell their loved one that’s it’s ok to die.

So I guess my question is, how do I let her know it’s ok to die—and as a dog owner, has this happened to you?

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29 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Just love her. I’m sorry you are going through this. {hugs}

Mr_M's avatar

Hold her and talk to her and tell her you love her. She’ll understand somehow. I feel for you.

Dog's avatar

I am so sorry you are going through this with your companion.

I had a dog with vestibular dog syndrome and finally determined that the most loving act I could do was to have him humanely euthanized- while he- a big black lab- lay across my lap. The disease had robbed his quality of life and he was in circling mode. It was hard but I do not regret it.

He knew I loved him.

90s_kid's avatar

I am sorry about this!
Well, what my friend did I creamate the dog, and then keep ashes in the house so that the dog is really always with us. If you do not want to creamate him (like me), then maybe take some fur or something.

greylady's avatar

@mcbealer, what you describe is the Hospice way of end of life care. There should be (or maybe there is) a kind of Hospice care for animals. Mr M is right. She will understand you if you talk to her and tell her how you feel and that it is ok for her to go when she is ready.
– You will eventually be glad that you did this for her, and she will love you for it.

Snoopy's avatar

@mcbealer I feel for you. We had a shepherd/collie mix that was the best dog ever. She was about 13 and suddenly started walking like she was drunk and vomiting. We think that she had vestibular syndrome.

We tried everything and ulitmately resigned ourselves to just making her comfortable. When it became clear that she was miserable (weight loss, had to be carried down stairs, spent majority of day immobile, not eating, etc.) we made the agonizing decision to schedule her for euthanasia on a particular Fri.

On the Wed. nite she started vomiting a bunch of bright red blood. It was awful. She was almost pleading w/ us to help her. We took her to the emergency vet clinic that night to have her euthanized. We weren’t willing to wait 2 days (our vet is closed on Th).

I am not going to pretend it was easy. It was horrible. It really sucked. Even my husband (a tough guy) cried. We consoled ourselves that she was no longer suffering. In case you have never seen this done (I hadn’t), they simply injected her w/ the medication. She quickly stopped breathing, relaxed and was gone.

The clinic had her sent to an animal crematorium and we spread her ashes in our flower garden.

I am very sorry that you and your dog are going through this….I know you will continue to take good care of her as you help her through this final phase of life.

laureth's avatar

“Euthanasia is the last great kindness. That time when you take their pain and trade it for your own.”
—Author Unknown

Snoopy's avatar

@laureth That is a great quote…..and extremely accurate.

cookieman's avatar

I’ve had to do this twice in the past five years. It is so hard.

I’m truly sorry you have to deal with this. Best of luck.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

A dog is the only creature that loves you more than it loves itself. I don’t know who said it, but it is so true. I had to put my Catahoula Leopard Dog down back in 2000, and it still hurts to think about it. Do what is best for the dog, because he/she would do the same for you. You have my deepest sympathies.

chyna's avatar

I did this last summer. I had only minutes to make the decision. If I had known it was her last day on earth, I would’ve spent the day with her and not gone to work.
“Lord help me be half the person my dog thinks I am.”

A_Beaverhausen's avatar

think of a great way to make a monument to your pet, whether it be a look alike lawn ornament that you see everyday in the lawn, or a great framed picture. that way you can remember them forever.

its ok to let them go, its for the better. best wishes.

chyna's avatar

@A_Beaverhausen I have a small statue of a boxer in my garden and cement paw with a place for a picture that I am going to take to her gravesite. Doing these things brings me comfort.

steve6's avatar

Say a few words at the burial.

tennesseejac's avatar

I had a black chow for about 3 years before he got hit by a car, his name was Marco Esquandolis… so, fittingly I said “Adios”.

jackley's avatar

I am getting worked up just thinking about when we put my dog Chuck down after 13 years. I am very sorry.

cdwccrn's avatar

You say goodbye to a beloved pet the same way as you say goodbye to friends and family: through tenderness and tears. Sorry for your impending loss.

susanc's avatar

It seems like your question is how to communicate to Tilly that this “goodbye” means
she’s free to go. I’m guessing she can understand you after 13 years. Can you trust that?

cak's avatar

I’m so sorry you are going through this, but it’s been said all above me. Through love, tears and heart-felt conversations. My heart goes out to you.

loser's avatar

With lots of tears and hugs.
I’m so sorry. Hang in there!

TitsMcGhee's avatar

Did you see the Mickey Rourke interview during the Oscars preshow? That’s canine lover for sure.

mcbealer's avatar

@ everyone ~ thanks for all of your kind support!
Right now her symptoms are mostly balance-related, and she still has a good appetite which is encouraging. I’m very fortunate to have the next fews days off work, so I’m
going to make it a point to give her some extra TLC.

If any of you guys want to see a picture of Tilly here is a picture taken when she first became ill.

augustlan's avatar

She’s a beauty!

chyna's avatar

She is very cute.

cak's avatar

OH! Thank you for sharing her picture. She’s adorable! There’s a twinkle in her eyes, too. :)

forestGeek's avatar

She is very adorable!! I know it can be one of the most difficult things we face in life, and I’m soo sorry you have to go through it!!

DragonFace's avatar

We had to put my dog of 12 years down 3 years ago. His name was Einstein. He probably was the smartest dog i knew. I grew up with him threw high school and college. He was so energetic as if he never really aged. He had some kind of cancer and i was supposed to go with my mother at some point to put him down. I couldnt really say goodbye I couldnt believe how weak he had become after a few weeks of finding out what was wrong with him. My sister called and told me our mother took Einstein. She was crying and I was having lunch. I just walked to my car and began to cry. My grandmother passed away just 2 months before my dog was put down. It was a rough year for me. I didnt have a chance to spend time alone with Einstein on his last days. I miss him and my grandmother soo much. I wish i could see them again. Show your dog all the love you can give. You are all the family she has.

chyna's avatar

I’m glad this thread came up again. I needed it.

laureth's avatar

Yeah, me too. Our dog can barely walk, and my husband keeps hoping he’s well enough to still enjoy life as he writhes around trying to get to the water bowl. I suspect that Mr. Laureth will bring food to the dog bed and clean up the resulting crap for as many years as it takes Digger to die naturally, but man it’s hard to see. Dog can’t even go potty without landing in it.

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