Know it’s time - tomorrow - and am heartbroken.

(60 Posts)
Baybetterdays Sun 02-Aug-20 18:13:48

My beautiful 11 year old boy is struggling with end stage arthritis. It is heartbreaking. I spoke with my vet twice last week about scheduling in a ‘planned’ euthanasia at home, but he rallied so I decided to give it the weekend. As always happens, on Saturday night he was obviously struggling with his leg, he’s been up and down since and I’ve got a standby appt at emergency vet hospital and am sleeping downstairs with him just in case. Vet hospital said it seems fair enough get him through to tomorrow morning while he’s sleeping well etc, so my vet can come to the house.

He’s eating, drinking, and valiantly barking at the postman today, and has been out for a bimble - but has had a bit of an upset tum which is complicating things. He’s already on a huge cocktail of drugs and we’ve upped the doses to the sort of numbers he couldn’t survive on for long anyway, to keep him calm and comfortable overnight.

It’s just me and him. He’s got me through so much, been around the world with me, and I’m absolutely devastated already - and he’s still here. I’m taking endless photos and checking on him constantly and it just seems unbelievable and incomprehensible that tomorrow he’ll be gone.

But he’s struggling, we’re perilously close to the line where he has no dignity or his QOL is unacceptable, and I really want to avoid an emergency vet dash if he becomes unable to walk at all. So I’ll be calling tomorrow and he’ll be gone this time tomorrow. It’s so unreal. He’s so alive, even though he’s a shadow of the dog he used to be he’s still there. Please tell me in time this gets better - or maybe that there’ll even be some relief that he’s not in pain anymore.

I’m on edge and slept about 2hrs last night and had horrible nightmares about him, unrelated to the euthanasia but still. I know this is the kindest thing and that it is time to love him more than myself, but I’m railing against how unfair it is to die of joint failure when his system is otherwise ok, his mind is still alert etc. I will miss him an indescribable amount and simply cannot imagine an empty house.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Sun 02-Aug-20 18:59:13

So sorry thanks. Hope you both have a settled night.

RunningFromInsanity Sun 02-Aug-20 19:17:42

Better a day early than an hour late.
Dogs are resilient and don’t show much pain. Usually by the time you realise they are in discomfort, it’s been going on a while.

You know it’s time. I think he knows it’s time.

It’s going to be so hard and my heart breaks for you.

I lost a dog suddenly at 11months and it took a while to get over it. Longer than I expected. And then one day I realised I could say his name without tearing up. I could tell stories about him whilst smiling my instead of crying.
It does get better.

Belle1983 Sun 02-Aug-20 19:22:43

@Baybetterdays I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's a heartbreaking situation to be in.
It will be horrible for a while, who knows how long. does get easier with time.

You sound so caring and your beloved pet will know you've done your best. This is the hardest part of loving a dog. Sending virtual love. This is one pain I know so well flowers

Thisfucker Sun 02-Aug-20 19:33:06

It's a terrible time to go through but as pp have said, you'll be doing the right thing by him.
flowers virtual hugs to you.

SierraHotel Sun 02-Aug-20 19:43:59

Oh I'm so sorry, they break your heart don't they. It sounds like you've given him a lovely life but it hurts like hell when they leave us 💙

Baybetterdays Sun 02-Aug-20 19:52:22

Thank you all so much. We’ve just driven to our favourite spot. He used to get round the field a few times, but tonight his leg was shaking due to muscle weakness so after he enjoyed doing his business I tied him to a bench and brought the car round. He still tried to practically run to his ramp - labradors ;)

Sleeping peacefully in the garden and just one more lot of tablets at 10, a hunk of roast chicken and we’ll be settling in for the night before I make the call at 8am.

This is a bit morbid but those of you who have done this at home might have some advice. I have the option of the vet taking him and storing him for cremation, or the pet crematorium people coming to collect once the vet has left. Advantage of the latter is I get more time with him, but it does mean I’ll be alone with his body for an hour or two. I find that idea quite soothing but if it’s not a good one (without going into detail which might upset people), I’d appreciate your advice. I absolutely don’t think I can drive him there myself (to the crematorium) although I’d like to take him right to the end, as it were, I’d have to drive somewhere unfamiliar with him in the boot and that’s not going to be possible.

Vet is likely to come at 12-ish. I’m going to have to take a days leave. He’s still wagging, a bit forlorn, and limping in when the fridge opens. Even picked up his teddy. But it’s just not enough, and not the life I ever wanted for him.

OP’s posts: |


orangejuicer Sun 02-Aug-20 19:56:04

I'm so sorry OP. I can't help with your question - we left our girl with the vet. We had an appointment booked for the morning but had to do the out of hours route instead. I wouldn't really have been able to cope with her for a few hours after it was done, so think about it.

I hope you have someone you can reach out to after it happens. I'm so sorry.

Feralkidsatthecampsite Sun 02-Aug-20 20:03:12

We chose the date for pts 2 weeks previously.. Hideous fortnight...
Vet gave a dose of sedation as our ddog was aggressive.. Left alone until she was unconscious.. They put the drug in the ivf and left us alone again. They checked for no HB and again left us alone. After we had composed ourselves we left. Ddog was refrigerated for a few days until the crem collected her. Ashes back a week later. Planning on scattering in September on her birthday..
I won't lie I felt like a killer...
Was in Feb and still well up talking about her. A hole that won't be filled despite us having other ddogs.
Making the decision is as hard as following it through ime.

loobylou44 Sun 02-Aug-20 20:09:10

So sorry for you and your boy. It's obvious from your post how much you love him.
I've been there myself with my last lab due to arthritis. It hurt like hell at the time but I knew it was best for her. I left her with the vet as I didn't want my last memory of her to be of time spent with her after she'd passed.
Saying that I was with my dad and his dog when she passed just before lockdown and we stayed with her for about an hour after she went. It was strangely peaceful and I know my dad appreciated the time afterwards to say goodbye.
I hope tomorrow goes as smoothly as possible for you and remember that it is the last act of love for your boy x

Snaleandthewhail Sun 02-Aug-20 20:09:13

You are doing an amazing and brave and wonderful thing for your dog.

And it hurts, oh how it hurts, but it is the most responsible thing you can do.

If I were you I’d let the vet take him away. It won’t be any better after a couple of hours, and it may be physically very hard for you as well as emotionally terrible.

One day I hope you’ll be able to say his name with a smile and kindness, and maybe find space for another set of paws in your life. it will come, but be kind to yourself until that point.

One last thing: I’ve just read Monty Don’s book about his dog Nigel and other dogs. It is a beautiful read about dogs he has loved and lost, and you may well enjoy reading it.

Baybetterdays Sun 02-Aug-20 20:21:35

@loobylou44 thank you.
Can I ask how you KNEW it was time? People have said when they can’t stand unaided, go incontinent or go off food. None of those apply; but he can’t get to the end of the road without lying down, his muscle wastage means his leg shakes, and he does groan these past few days when making his undignified lie down. He also holds the leg off sometimes and his gait is abominable.

Frankly I do know this is not what I want for him, what made my mind up was he’s cried twice over the weekend, holding the leg up and it was the most sickening quiet howl I never want to witness that again. We’ve done all we can under our pain clinic too - hydro/physio/acupuncture but frankly the joints have worn out due to elbow dysplasia. It’s so hard to reconcile his walk with his tail sweeping the floor, and whilst I have no doubt it’s a blessing for him not to get to the stage of total immobility, I do worry a bit my decision is also based on me not being able to watch him go further downhill. But people keep deaf/blind dogs who only go in the garden for years, and I’m doing this whilst he can still lift his leg, bimble up to the fridge etc.

OP’s posts: |
Baybetterdays Sun 02-Aug-20 20:24:36

I suppose once you’re at the point you wish he’d pass in his sleep, it’s time, whatever other people consider QOL for their dog.

Thanks again everyone, not least for being so generous with your memories of losing your own little heart thieves. I’ll check in later.

OP’s posts: |
EdwardCullensBiteOnTheSide Sun 02-Aug-20 20:44:07

You are doing the right thing op, it definitely sounds like it's time. I left my old boy too late and regret it so much. Heartbreaking flowers

Realitybites21 Sun 02-Aug-20 21:23:52

I was posting here under a different name 2 years ago in exactly the same position, Baybetterdays.

As it happened, with him being my first dog, I wanted every minute with him that I could but that last day went so, so incredibly wrong and if I could re-write history, I would.

I don’t want to break down in tears any more as I’ve had to have a year of counselling because his last few hours were manic and rushed and everything I didn’t want them to be 😢 I can’t write down what happened and I don’t wish to upset you further.

The day before we lost him, he appeared to be absolutely fine. Not a bone in my body told me he wanted to leave me yet we had been in & out of the vets and animal hospital almost daily for two years before this.

Sitting here now, looking at my new dog, I don’t know what I would do but I do know that I wouldn’t want him to be in pain.

What you do need to remember is though is that every tear that falls is a piece of love your beautiful, adorable soulmate received from you & that the vets role is to prioritise the welfare of your gorgeous friend.

So very sorry you’re in this crappy situation xxx

Alonelonelyloner Sun 02-Aug-20 21:57:06

Oh OP, I haven't been in this same position but I just wanted to leave you my love. I'm so sorry for what you are going through. It must be the hardest of things, but please do know that you are doing the right thing. You are. I only hope that one day, if needs be, someone loves me enough to be able to do the same.

Much love to you both. I'll be thinking of you both tomorrow.

RunningFromInsanity Sun 02-Aug-20 23:45:38

If I’m being blunt, from your last post I would judge you if you didn’t pts. It’s definitely the right time. It’s heartbreaking. But it’s the right thing to do.

littlealexhorne Mon 03-Aug-20 00:00:22

I'm so sorry OP, I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. It shines through your post how much you adore him and what an amazing life you'll have given him. He's been so lucky to have you, and I'm sure he'll be grateful that you've made this decision for him, as hard as its been.

Baybetterdays Mon 03-Aug-20 07:03:41

We had a quiet night but he’s just stumbled on his morning toilet walk. Got him back in ok after a rest but he did cry when it happened. I’ve told him I’m so sorry I let that happen to him, that it will never happen again and that from today there will be no more pain. My poor boy shouldn’t have suffered the indignity and pain of falling over even once, but at least it is only once, and there is not a shadow of a doubt that he could have ‘got better’ this time. He’s tired but comfortable on the floor, spreadeagled on his back demanding belly rubs and still, still, wagging when I talk to him.

What a brave, special boy, I hope he forgives me for not doing this last week and that the quiet weekend being fed roast beef and other treats by my family was some consolation. He really has been the most amazing dog and I’ve been so blessed to have him.

OP’s posts: |
RunningFromInsanity Mon 03-Aug-20 09:08:56

Thinking of you today OP. Your boy knows how much you love him and has had a wonderful life.
My Copper and Willow will be up there waiting to great him and show him all the best places to chase squirrels and roll in mud flowers

MsMarvellous Mon 03-Aug-20 12:48:31

Oh OP. I am thinking of you today. He will know how much he is loved. I think you're making the right and bravest choice. A big hug for you xxx

Feralkidsatthecampsite Mon 03-Aug-20 12:55:08

Spoil him op.. Our ddog had a fish and chip lunch on the Monday and The Date was pancake day. She had 3 with Nutella on before we made our last car journey together..

Realitybites21 Mon 03-Aug-20 13:28:49

Thinking of you both today 💕You were both very lucky & privileged to have each other & whilst you will have days when you think he does hate you, he absolutely won’t and gradually over time, no matter how much time that is, you’ll realise that.

All my love & a big hug xx

ladybee28 Mon 03-Aug-20 13:38:15

Sending you both love today – what a special, lucky boy to have an owner who gave him such a good life and considered, love-filled ending.

If only loving them and being responsible about their passing meant it hurt less...

loobylou44 Mon 03-Aug-20 13:52:45

@Baybetterdays similar to your boy, my lab started stumbling on walks and used to sit down when she'd had enough. One morning she looked at me and I knew by her eyes that she'd had enough. I'd heard people say this before but until I saw it myself I didn't believe them.

Hoping today goes peacefully for you both x

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