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Feeling horribly guilty today

(34 Posts)
bsmirched Sun 14-Jul-19 12:46:02

Yesterday, we had our beloved JRT put down. He was a rescue. We got him 11.5 yrs ago. We think he was 1 -2 years old then. So he was 13 ish.
Over the last few weeks, he suddenly got very old. He lost loads of weight. He stopped attempting the stairs or jumping on the sofa, stopped being excited to get up in the morning, instead waiting for me to pick him up. His breathing was faster and more pronounced iykwim. He stopped barking at the postman.
But he was eating normally and was still happy to wander and have a good sniff about outside. When I got home he'd still come and greet me with a little wag.
2 wks ago, I took him to the vet. She said he'd got a significant heart murmur.
The thing was, we are incredibly broke at the moment as I've only recently returned to work after a year off having treatment for breast cancer, 6 months of which were on half pay so we have nothing spare. We had pet insurance but with a large excess.
Consequently we just didn't have the funds for a battery of tests - even a blood test would have been £150. We scraped together enough for some heart tablets and painkillers to try for a fortnight to see if they made any great difference, but the vet said it could well just be that he was an old boy and everything was starting to fail.
The medication didn't really have any effect - he did once climb the stairs during the fortnight and yesterday was a bit excited to get up, but mostly there was no change and since Wednesday he'd been tearing his fur out in massive chunks.
So the decision was made to have him pts yesterday which I had to borrow the money for. He was sweet and trusting to the very end.
I am heartbroken but today feel so horrendously guilty. What if I could have afforded tests and it was something we could have treated that would have given him quality of life for another year or two? He was my sweet boy and he's dead because I was broke, basically. My vaguely sensible head says I actually wouldn't have put him through loads of tests due to the state he was in even if I'd had plenty of money but guilt is eating me up today.

GertrudeCB Sun 14-Jul-19 12:51:53

So sorry love , please dont feel guilty, it's better a month too early than a day too late - dogs are incredibly stoic and are often in a lot more pain than they seem to be flowers

Flurgle Sun 14-Jul-19 12:53:09

Sounds like he had a lovely life with you and was starting to feel really grotty. I don’t think you should feel bad- tests would have taken a while and he probably wouldn’t have regained much quality of life.
If he was happy and loved till the end that is something wonderful flowers

SuperFurryDoggy Sun 14-Jul-19 12:56:52

it's better a month too early than a day too late

This will bells and whistles on.

My parents put one of their dogs through a battery of tests and major surgery only to lose him anyway. He gained an extra couple of months, but with no quality of life. They swore they’d never make the same mistake again.

Be kind to yourself flowers

SuperFurryDoggy Sun 14-Jul-19 13:02:20

Also, don’t blame yourself for not finding the money. I think that sometimes paying for the “battery of tests” is done for our benefit more than the dog’s. We are paying to absolve our conscience and avoid making a decision that deep down we know is inevitable.

Yellowweatherwarning Sun 14-Jul-19 13:02:33

We have just spent about 2k on ddog (cancer).
Then they discovered a heart murmur...
Told them no more tests, she has been through enough.
We are just making each day lovely....
Sounds like your ddog was well loved and well cared for. You did him absolutely no disservice op.
Making decisions for our pets is so very difficult ime.
Your did good op, stop beating yourself up.

userxx Sun 14-Jul-19 13:04:15

Please do not feel guilty, you absolutely did the right thing. Take the money aspect out of it and it was still the right time for him to go.

We chose not to put our greyhound through surgery, he would have had his leg amputated due to bone cancer. We had insurance and could have afforded it but to put him through all that trauma for maybe another couple of years just wouldn't have been fair on him.

SophyStantonLacy Sun 14-Jul-19 13:04:38

It sounds like you did the very best for your little old man.

LittleFairywren Sun 14-Jul-19 13:05:29

He's not dead because you couldn't afford the tests. Realistically, you might have eked out another few months with him but what was the benefit to him? You could have been putting him through more pain and suffering only to have the same outcome.

Dogs have no concept of tomorrow. He doesn't know anything about it. It sounds like he had the sort of end all dogs deserve. Loved, cherished and cared for right up till the very end and being able to let go in the arms of the person who loves him most in the world. You did the right thing for him. It might be hard for you to live with, but the pain will lessen and you'll remember your lovely little dog as the sweet, happy trusting soul he was until the end. If you'd made him carry on - well you might have completely different memories of him. My grandparents let their dog go on way past the point that I think was fair to the dog and after a lifetime of loyal friendship, when she eventually passed away she was an absolute shadow of herself. And she'd been such a proud, noble dog. She deserved a better ending than that. So there are worse things than letting a beloved pet go "earlier" than they could have done if things were different. It's not your fault.

Wolfiefan Sun 14-Jul-19 13:05:31

I’m so sorry for your loss. Don’t feel guilty. You would most likely have been putting him through stressful and invasive tests only to find out that it was age related and incurable. You did the kindest thing. flowers

pigsDOfly Sun 14-Jul-19 13:12:03

I remember when I had my cats pts. Even though it was clearly the right time I still felt guilty; did I do it too soon, could I have waited a bit longer, were they actually as ready to go as I thought. Because like your dog they they were still able to eat and weren't 'falling apart' iukwim.

However, when I read on here sometimes that a poster's dog is incontinent and not eating, can go for walks and they're still not having the dog pts I do wonder why they're putting their dog through that sort of existence.

It's an awful decision to have to make and it never feels like the right time. And tbh sometimes it will be a bit earlier than absolutely necessary, but imo it's far better to be a little bit early than late.

Your dog was old and his quality of life wasn't good. Would it really have been a good idea to put him through loads of tests rather than let him go?

You tried with the heart tablets, but as your vet said perhaps he was just old and ready to go. Why drag it out? Dogs don't understand that the tests and the stress of having to endure the tests is possibly going to prolong their life by a few months and they're not going to think, 'yay a few more months'.

Dogs live in the moment. You rescued him, you gave him a good life and now you've given him a peaceful death. That's pretty much all a dog wants.

At the moment you're grieving for him and so you will feel very emotional, but you've got absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. flowers

pigsDOfly Sun 14-Jul-19 13:12:56

*can't go for walks, that should be

LaurieFairyCake Sun 14-Jul-19 13:15:43

You definitely didn't put him down because of lack of money - you tried the heart medication and it didn't work.

The last 3 animals I've put down had 18 tumours (cost £800 to find that out), cancer in the toe (chopped a toe off - didn't work - chopped a foot off - cancer then spread within the month and dead), cancer again - put down (£300 to find that out after blood tests)

None of the above were treatable and chopping bits of my cats leg off remains the most stupid thing I've ever done - the above investigations, operations cost over 4000.

All completely pointless

I will never do the above again.

You 100% did the right thing and when my absolutely adored terrier gets over 10 I will not put it through anything apart from
a quick death while being fed bits of sausage and kisses. thanksthanksthanks

I have never found money/insurance does anything apart from fixing an injury or infection in a young animal - once they get heart failure, kidney failure, cancer it's all over - it rampages round the body and money can't stop it.

bsmirched Sun 14-Jul-19 13:28:09

Thank you all so very much for your kindness. He did have a lovely final morning involving chicken, bacon and proper human chocolate as well as lots of cuddles.

pigsDOfly Sun 14-Jul-19 14:18:36

Good memories for you to keep and for him to take with him.

AnnabelleBronstein Sun 14-Jul-19 16:41:51

Remember that NO vet would agree to put a dog down unless they thought it was in the animal’s best interests. So the fact that your vet did so shows that in his/her professional opinion probably tests/treatments wouldn’t have done anything to extend or improve your dog’s life.

I’m sorry for your loss, he looks like he was a really good boy.

BiteyShark Sun 14-Jul-19 17:43:10

You are just grieving and looking for all those 'what ifs' and the money thing is the one you are beating yourself up about because you can.

At that age I wouldn't be putting my dog through a battery of tests even with insurance. I would have done the same as you and tried the simple non invasive treatment just to see if it improved things. You did your best and sometimes even with your best it's not enough to fix them and you have to let them go thanks

UrsulaPandress Sun 14-Jul-19 17:47:07

Be kind to yourself.

You loved him for all of his life. (Well most of it)
And will remember him for the rest of yours.

RubbingHimSourly Sun 14-Jul-19 17:52:58

Don't feel guilty.at all..

My Auntie.let.her poor.old. poodle suffer far.too long, he looked like he was.rotting towards the.end. It was awful. It's.much kinder to put them to bed early, before the.misery.and.pain sets in.

He's had.a.good, long.life and has.had.a.good death. Surrounded by love. Which is how.it should be.

JudgeFlounceRedRugBlah Sun 14-Jul-19 17:55:51

Having the ability to do something doesnt mean it's the right thing to do. You gave him a grand life and he lived to a good age, loved and comfortable. No dog would ask for more. Be kind to yourself and don't let misplaced guilt taint the memory of your last day with him. flowers

labazsisgoingmad Sun 14-Jul-19 18:00:05

if you had put him through tests it would just have made him miserable and upset then probably would not have been of any benefit to him. he was happy he was loved he enjoyed his life you rescued him and gave him the best you could. please dont feel guilty enjoy the memories he gave you

bsmirched Sun 14-Jul-19 18:16:24

Thank you all so much. He was such a good boy.

NotEnoughTime Mon 15-Jul-19 11:25:21

What a beautiful dog.

For what it's worth I think you did the right thing too. It is so very hard I know. Be kind to yourself flowers

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Mon 15-Jul-19 15:14:51

IME once an elderly dog starts to require lots of tests and meds, it's not going to be around for long. It's about to start a couple of months of discomfort, frequent vet visits, needles, operations, painkillers... and it still ends in the same way, just that the dog had a horrible time towards the end rather than a peaceful one.

Don't crucify yourself over this. You loved your dog and gave him a good life. And all the best with your own health, too.

Arsenicinthesugarbowl Mon 15-Jul-19 21:57:23

I’m so sorry. You posted on my thread recently as I’m in the same situation with my dog. I won’t hijack your thread but I agree with pp you did the right thing. I think I’ve left it too late for my boy if I’m completely honest. He has his appointment on Wednesday but he’s having a bad evening tonight-it might be sooner. Sending unmumsnetty hugs flowers

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