Dog euthanasia is difficult for any pet owner to endure. You’ve spent all those great times together, bonded, and suddenly you see it coming to an abrupt end. Of course you are sad and upset.
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When my first dog Nikki had to be put down, I couldn’t do it. My partner did it for me. I couldn’t even be there because it would have been far too painful. I’d spent 16+ great years with him. I didn’t ever want it to end. But here we were, facing the end of his life and I couldn’t be there for him.
This made it all the more painful for me today, because he was always there for me, through my divorce, mental distress and job loss – and a whole lot more. He was my child. Our bond was strong. After his death, I couldn’t get the vision out of my mind – even today. My partner had lifted him off the floor and as he carried him to the door for the last time, Nikki looked at me, I’d swear knowingly.
It’s a look I’ll never forget. Neither will I forget the pain of that time.
Dog euthanasia is a good thing, despite your pain
About 15 years later, when my next dog Cindy developed cancer and was extremely weak, it was obvious she wasn’t going to make it. As I transported her between the vet, the hospital and back to the vet over a few days, I knew. Moments after we got back to the vet and put her on the table, she began to fade. Her eyes were rolling up into her head.
The vet said she was going to give Cindy something so that she would be “more comfortable”. I immediately asked what, and that’s when she told me that she would put her to sleep. Of course I cried as I petted Cindy and assured her she would be okay, everything will be fine, just relax. I don’t know if she was aware of me or what I was saying. She just lay there.
The vet gave her the shot and seconds later, Cindy’s eyes glazed over. It was that fast.
But it was very peaceful. I had expected something horrible to happen to her as her body began to shut down… but it didn’t. She simply went to sleep. It was so easy that I couldn’t even tell she had passed. The vet assured me that she was gone.
A year later, it was Kobe’s turn. He was in severe distress because his organs were shutting down due to kidney failure. Well, he was 15, so he was reaching the end of his life, too.
When I saw how much he was panting and struggling to survive, I knew it was time. He lay on the floor of the cage. I sat on a cushion beside him and stroked him, calmly telling him to relax, it’s okay. Good boy, Kobe. He seemed to understand and in that moment, our complicated relationship changed to one of support and compassion. When he looked at me, it was as if he were letting me know that he understood.
The vet said we should let him go, because he was struggling and there really was no hope. I nodded in agreement. While waiting for her to return with the shot, I continued to pet Kobe. My respect for him changed drastically.
When she gave him the shot, like Cindy he just calmly stopped panting and rested his head on the blanket and quietly fell asleep. The vet listened for a few moments and is was merely seconds later, she confirmed that he was gone.
Now that I’ve experienced this twice, I only wish I’d been there for Nikki.
Dog euthanasia is not a horrible as you might think. It’s a very peaceful event. And if you watch the dog’s expression, you will see that he or she is finally at rest, free of the pain, anxiety and distress of disease.
It’s a matter of putting it into perspective. Your dog does not suffer. In fact, it will ease suffering when used to alleviate the distress of a sick and dying dog.
The important thing is to think not about yourself, but about your dog. Will he or she be better off? Will the pain and suffering stop? Will your dog be at peace, finally?
You will grieve, but knowing that your dog is in a better place and that you provided an easy way for him to get there will make the loss less painful for you.
Don’t Wait until the end to plan for it. Start now. Here’s how.
I’ve just published a report on this very issue. It gives you advice on telling your children about your plans for your dog. It also provides you with lots of ideas for celebrating his or her life, building a memorial, sharing with your dog’s friends. You can read more about it by clicking here! If you love your dog, you’ll want to start collecting memories now. The report gives ideas on how you can do that.