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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I can't decide to stay or not when my precious boy Razzle has to be put to sleep. I feel that will be my decision not his. I know I'm going to be so upset-hysterical beyond belief. I feel I have to be there because he has been there for me for more than 16 years. It's supposed to be my final act of love. I don't know if I can do this. This is really bothering me. I know I will be so upset and that I have read it will affect him from me being so upset but I want to be there for the best cat that has ever owned me. I feel even though I will be so upset that he would want me to be there-someone who has always loved me-to be there for him. I think I would want my family to be there for me when this happens. I guess maybe I have to think of him and not myself dispite how hysterical I will be. I think of the poem "If it should Be" that says please stay with me to the end till my eyes no longer see though this is hard for you. God this is so horrible. One of my fears is that this will be the last memory of him instead of remembering happy times or seeing that he is no longer in pain. Maybe he will understand but then I think that I left him alone to die with strangers. I know some of you will say stay because you feel this way and some will say not because it's so hard. My friend said she will drive me there if I need her. I know he will be given a tranq before the final shot. Will he even know I'm there after that tranq? I know when I have been given a tranq I don't care what's around me. I know it's my final decision. I don't know what I'm asking for? In one way if I'm not there I will feel guilty for not being there for him when he's always been there for me, and in another way if I'm there I will never forget him dying in this way. Such a decision. Oh God I don't want to have to do this, but i feel it will come down to this decision. I guess I need a lot of people telling me their opinions and experiences.

Kathy
 

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Is this process so imminent you need to dwell on it already? I wasn't aware kitty had taken a turn for the worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No he hasn't but has lost 4 ounces and it feels like it will only get worse. I can't help but dwell on it. I can't get it out of my mind. I know some of you will say enjoy him while he's still reasonably well. Don't tell me not to think about it because I can't. That's not what I am asking for. I want people's experiences and opinions. Not don't dwell on this. i want to know now not when it's too late.

Kathy
 

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I was there, don't know why. I'm a 40 year old guy, and I bawled like a baby.

I know that this sounds cold, but do what you feel would be best for YOU. You have to go on, but for the cat, once it's done, it's done, and he's not here to know the difference.

That said, even if it was just regular vet visit, isn't he more comfortable when you're around?

I know I just gave you both sides of the same coin. Sorry, just some things to consider.
 

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You won't know the answer to this until the time comes, no matter what anyone else's experiences are. You can go back and forth in your head and convince yourself to make a certain choice, but when that exact moment arrives is when you make the actual decision.
 

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No he hasn't but has lost 4 ounces and it feels like it will only get worse. I can't help but dwell on it. I can't get it out of my mind. I know some of you will say enjoy him while he's still reasonably well. Don't tell me not to think about it because I can't. That's not what I am asking for. I want people's experiences and opinions. Not don't dwell on this. i want to know now not when it's too late.

Kathy
I hate this part of pet ownership. I think it's the same for a person or a pet. Keep in mind, regardless of what yo may believe comes after, we are mourning OUR missing them. They aren't here to know they're not here. I try to think of it this way... it's not like we left them at home alone for a week and they're sad and missing us.

I truly do appreciate what it's like and don't mean to make light of this. Just giving you some ways to think about it, like you asked.
 

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It was one of the most painful decisions of my life, but I couldn't not be there.
For almost 16 years I've carried the guilt that my previous cat my beloved Meme died alone at home while I was on a business trip.
I had people coming by and I knew her time was short but I couldn't have her put down.
With Samantha it was just a nightmare, I knew she was getting older but she seem fine, then on Friday the 13th 5 days after her 16th birthday I came in and found her lying in the middle of the bedroom floor in great distress.
I rushed her to the vet where $1000 worth of test and scans showed she had cancer, tumors around her spleen and in her intestines.
The option was major surgery with maybe another year of life if everything went well.
I could not bear to put her through that kind of ordeal for a life of pain and discomfort so I made that terrible decision to let her go.
They brought her to me wrapped in a blanket with a catheter in her hind leg, my beautiful baby who had never known hunger or injury her entire life seemed old and feeble, her coat was dull over night.
I held her and told her how much I love her and how honored I was to have been her human, I don't know if she was present or not but the Vet came in and administered the injections and I felt the life leave her small body.
I've made a lot of mistake as a pet owner but being there wasn't one of them.
How could I not be there, for 15 1/2 years when I arrived home from work she was there to greet me, I saw her watching for her Papa from the kitchen window, I heard her cheerful voice when I opened the door.
My dearest wish in this world, is that she's waiting for me on the other side at the Rainbow Bridge.
If I hadn't been there for my dear friend the guilt would have haunted me for the remainder of my life.
It been almost 3 months and I miss her more then life it self, tears fill my eyes as I type.
What I try to dwell on is 1 bad day doesn't cancel out 5849 good days.
I was a good Papa and she lived a good life.
 

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I can give you my experience but not sure if it will help much. Instead of dwelling on this however I highly suggest you take the time you have with him and feel blessed. The bad stuff will come when its time. No dwelling or thinking on it will prepare you for that moment.

I had a 14 year old Corgi named Pepper. She had end stage cancer and due to her age the vet's recommendation was to have her put to sleep. Our family did try the steroid treatments but they didn't help. We kept her "drugged" .. I wish I could say medicated but it was drugged plain and simple. She wasn't herself and was a zombie. I knew the time was coming but I did not want to make that choice. I have always felt (up until this point) that God makes those choices and its not for me to question God. Then, as happens with cancer, she started getting lesions on her. The cancer was eating away at her skin in a few areas. These areas were really painful for her. I carefully treated them with medication. They were infections so the vet and I treated it as such. Then late one night before I was going to bed I let her outside. As she got up from her bed, her eardrum basically exploded.

I am NOT going to sugar coat this. It is my experience and I think it is one for anyone to learn from.

It was so horrible, I could not breathe myself. My poor old lady was in so much pain. Nobody told me that cancer could rupture an eardrum like this. I figured God would take her while she was sleeping. She hadn't shown any great pain up until this point... just soreness and grumpy.

My husband and I did a scoop and run to the 24/7 all night Hospital. I knew it wasn't good of course but I still held out hope. After 6 hours (she was put on morphine while waiting testing to come back) we were completely out of any and all options. I so wasn't ready to deal with this and not so soon. Surely we had a few more months with her? Nope, it was only going to get worse.

It was still dark and I went outside and prayed like a mad woman. I am not a fanatic when it comes to religion but I do go to Church and I am a Christian who does live with sin in her life but tries her best not to.
I asked God for answers. I wanted him to take this choice from me. I did not want to be the one to say, "end it".

At this point some things became crystal clear to me. If your a religious type you can say God spoke to me, and if your not you can call it stress.
I thought about all the things my Pepper had taught me over the 14 years we had her. She taught me so many things its impossible to list them all. Then I realize she was here and God had not taken her so I could learn one more extremely important lesson, compassion. Animals are on this Earth to bring something to our lives, we learn from them. that is why God put them here. In a strange way God was speaking through her and I finally understood. I "got it" and God's message.

I took a few deep breaths, and walked back in side. My husband hugged me and held on to me as he knew how much I didn't want to make this choice. I gave the vet permission and he attempted to explain everything to us. I honestly can't remember much of what he said as I was too busy bawling. I was asked if I wanted to be in with her when they "did it".
I got very upset and said there was NO WAY I could be in there. The vet understood and suggested we spend some time with her before hand.
I agreed. They put a cathader in her before greeting us. they brought us in a very nice lounge room. It had a couch, coffee table and lamps. There were no harsh lights or hospital stuff. It looked like a small living room.

When they brought her in, I wiped my tears as I didn't want her upset or for her to see me upset. we called her up on the couch and I petted her and loved on her. She was in so much pain but still happy to be next to me and getting love. I thanked her for everything she had done for my family. I thanked her for being my friend.

After about 20 minutes, I got up to leave the room. My feet were super glued to the floor. I tried to leave but I saw this look of total fear in her eyes. She didn't want me to go. I was her security and every time I tried she would start whining and crying and get really scared. Again, God was speaking to me through her. I needed to learn this life lesson of compassion. I wasn't there for me, I was there for her. I sat back on the couch and gave a short nod to the vet. Pepper then climbed up into my arms and I held her and looked her in the eyes and spoke softly to her how much she was loved and cherished. The vet then injected her and she slowly went to sleep in my arms.

After it was over, I won't lie, I bawled like a baby. I went outside and smacked the wall a few times. I again realized that I had learned my lesson well. Compassion is really easy to say but so much harder to act upon.

I will never again put a pet through what Pepper did because I couldn't be brave enough to act as their protector. I will never again take the chicken way out and continue to drug an animal that is terminal.

I am glad I ended up being there for her at the end. I NEVER thought I would or could do it but the strength you gain in that MOMENT ... that one moment when your baby is looking at you and saying with its eyes, "Don't leave me alone. I am scared." That strength can't be planned, it can't be prepared for. Its in those final moment you make your choice and it may or may not be the same choice I made but no use spending the last days/weeks/months worrying over it. Spend the time loving your baby instead.
 

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Parline, God bless you, I lost my mom and several childhood friends to the scourge of cancer.
I saw that surgery especially on the elderly just make the end worse.
We at least offer mercy to our animal friends.
When it was all over I saw this as the fine print on the moral contract we make as pet owners.
Our pets provide us with unconditional love, but it's not free, there's a price to be paid and that price is in their hour of greatest need we have to be strong for them and make the decision that they can't make for themselves even though it tears our hearts apart.
When Samantha died in my arms part of me died also and there's a void in my heart were her brite spirit used to dwell.
 

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... that one moment when your baby is looking at you and saying with its eyes, "Don't leave me alone. I am scared." That strength can't be planned, it can't be prepared for. Its in those final moment you make your choice and it may or may not be the same choice I made but no use spending the last days/weeks/months worrying over it. Spend the time loving your baby instead.
Yes to everything she wrote, but to this most especially yes. Sometimes feeling like we are more well informed is just one more way in which we try to control or feel in control of something that has spun so wildly horribly out of our control. Knowing in your head and knowing in your heart just aren't the same. Listen to your heart listen to your boy Razzle - take your cues from him as he will be taking his from you.

Everything Praline said about the moment is right spot on - agonizing about it may or may not need to be a part of your process. Unfortunately agonizing and wallowing are how I work through things so I get that but they don't really help - listening and acting from the heart, it does help in the moment anyway.
Nora
 

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But see Bob that is where things are different for me. A part of me didn't die, I did not morn her death. I gained an extremely powerful strength that she gave me in those last moments.
Instead I celebrate her life. The fun and crazy times she had with us. Corgi's are little spitfires and she was 100% our "Marley" dog LOL
She was forever on the go, hopping and jumping and bouncing on our heads.
She is a part of me and I smile even now when I think of her. There is nothing to morn about the death of a pet. It should be a celebration of life and joy of love. I feel the act of mourning does their memory injustice. My pepper couldn't stand for me to be sad so why should I do that in her memory?

My oldest son made me laugh so hard over a comment he made while our family was working through this trauma. He was younger but said, "Mama, you can't be sad. Pepper is up in heaven right now bouncing on all the angels' heads. Jesus is probably petting her on the head and asking himself 'How the heck did we end up with you?!?!"

It cracked me up. That was our pepper girl and to turn her into a maytr she wasn't would not do her memory justice. WE loved her every day for her life, not her death as that was only 5 minutes of the 14 years she gave us.
 

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My beloved Pumpkin Patch was 16 when I put her to sleep. She had Kideney disease which was treated for a couple of years until she could no longer eat, drink water, walk correctly. I noticed that she was having difficulty walking, her legs would do a split as she walked. She couldn't use the litter box well either. After a week of hesitation, I called my vet and told them I think I need to put my cat to sleep. They told me to come in whenever I was ready.

My SO and I said our goodbyes at home and then at the vet. I had researched euthanasia in cats and felt like I knew what to expect. The vet was very patient and agreed that it was her time. The vet asked me if I want to cremate and I said yes. They did the paperwork for cremation before the event so that I wouldn't have to deal with it afterwards. I opted not to be in the room when she was sedated and put to sleep, however, I did request to see her after it was over. The vet gave me time to say my final goodbyes to her and then when I was ready, I let them know and they took her into the procedure room. About five-ten minutes later, the vet brought back my Pumpkin Patch wrapped in a blanket. She was still warm and looked like she was sleeping. My poor baby was gone but I knew she was no longer suffering and she would always be in my heart. My boyfriend was crying but I felt relieved. I no longer had to worry that I would walk into my house and find her gone or see her pass away like I did with my other cat who died of a heart attack at age 14. This was the best decision I could have made and I now have her urn which was custom made on my living room mantel. You need to do what is best for your cat.
 

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Someone sent a poem to me a long while back about how to make that choice. I didn't care for some of it but other parts I liked. I have no idea who wrote the original but it was strange and I didn't like it. I rewrote much of it to fit how I felt. Most of it was changed but there are still a few lines from the original poem. I really think it helps a person in making that choice. I wrote it while my dog, China, was at the end of her life.

I always knew this day would come,
From the very instant our eyes first met.
How I loved you then! How I love you now!
I made a promise then, and I keep that promise now...
You will not suffer from a pain that will not heal;
You will not know fear or loneliness in your heart.


Dear China girl the battle is almost lost.
This is a battle we cannot win.
It is for me alone to make this decision,
The price for the gentle joy and love
You brought me during the time we shared.
I am the only one who can decide when it is time.
When my hope dies, and my fears ride high,
Just when I need you most, I must let you go.

It is for you alone to tell me when you are ready
For without your guidance, I will not know
When to lay my grief, my guilt, my anger,
My sorrow and my selfish heart aside
And give you this last gift, this greatest gift.
Your eyes will speak to mine, and I will know.

The pain of this moment is excruciating.
Tears stream down my face in a river of sorrow.
And my heart drowns in a pool of grief.
For you have spoken and I have listened,
And unlike other decisions I have made
This one brings no relief...no comfort...no peace.

For if there's one thing you've taught me,
If there's only one thing I've learned...
Unconditional love has a condition after all,
I must be willing to let you go, when you speak to me
I must be willing to help you go, if you cannot go alone.
And I must accept my pain so you can be free of yours.
 

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Cooncatbob, your post made me weep. What a good Papa you were to your little angel! And what a wonderful perspective you articulated on being there for her.
 

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I can't decide to stay or not when my precious boy Razzle has to be put to sleep. I feel that will be my decision not his. I know I'm going to be so upset-hysterical beyond belief. I feel I have to be there because he has been there for me for more than 16 years. It's supposed to be my final act of love. I don't know if I can do this.
Hi Kathy,

I will add to the posts my experience with putting my cat down. I held her, talked to her, and stroked her as the Vet gave the first needle, and I feel that she was soothed by my presence. The euthanasia was very quick and peaceful, as she was very weak (she was 16 and had hyperthyroidism) and I feel that being there with her was the best gift I could have given myself, as well as her. If I hadn't been there I think I would have always imagined if she was frightened or if she was wondering where I was. It also gave me the opportunity to be with her afterwards ~ to give her a last kiss, and to say goodbye. The Vet left my friend and I in the office to have as much time with her as we wanted. I felt a sense of relief that she had gone so peacefully, and I didn't cry so much then as I did in the days following, just because I missed her so much.

Since you are already agonizing over it, and can't get it out of your mind, ask yourself how you will feel if you don't stay with her. If you think you will be okay with not being there in her last moments, then do that. It's not like you will be abandoning her for a long period of time. When you decide it's time for her to be put down, the necessary steps you will have to take will go quickly. I think it's good that you are thinking it over now so that when it must be done, you will be comfortable with whatever decision you decide to make. Don't be hard on yourself if you decide not to stay with her, I have heard people say they couldn't stay and I have heard people say they wouldn't have it any other way. Do whatever is best for you and be at peace with it. Everyone is different, there is no right and wrong here...
 

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I have not had to put an animal down in awhile. My last dog, Bob, should have been, but my husband wanted me to be there and I was working that Saturday when he went to the vet. The dog was not hurting much, but couldn't stand and Mark had to hold him up to pee/poo. We both decided that we would take him in Monday and let him be free. Sunday night, we had my birthday dinner celebration at my mom's house. I truly believe Bob was waiting for us to be gone, as he was gone when we returned - sleeping by the back door. Despite city ordinances, and the fact that even with only 3 legs he was over 50 pounds, we buried him the backyard. I know we will be facing this in a few years with our 1-eyed, 15 year-old chiweenie mix as he is aging rapidly. :(

But - I was with my mother when she had Guinness set free. Mom was with her and it kept Guinness calm. The dog was scared - she associated the vet with pain by that point. I held her when they gave her the sedative and she immediately relaxed. But I think if we tried to leave, it would have scared her, so we stayed. You could really see the pain leaving her body, her relaxing into sleep, then passing peacefully over the bridge - she did gasp a few times after her heart stopped beating, but the vet had warned us of that. It was a lot less stressful than I imagined it would be - even though she wasn't my dog, it hurt, but I felt we owed it to her to be there.
 

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I was there when my dog Ella passed on. I held her face in my hands and looked her in the eyes as she went to sleep. It was never a question for me, because I knew I had to deal with what I feared. Ella passed away from cancer at a time when my father had throat cancer and my aunt was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that has only been recorded 8 times in US medical history. I had to face this, and I had to be there for my baby.

It was hard. My voice was not steady, but Ella was stronger than me.

I wailed when it was over, my dad holding me like I was still five years old as I held on and couldn't stop crying.

Heck right now tears are coming down talking about it, a year later. It's hard. But... After the tears come smiles and laughter for her memories an all the stories we had to tell. After her death came strength, slowly, but there. I find myself being less fickle hearted, more in-tune with grief and how to deal with it in myself and others. I learned it was ok to downright wail and lose yourself for a moment to heal. I learned duty from being by her side at the moment it was toughest for me.

We live in a culture that dodges and denies death, that no longer picnics ingraveyards or has a number of your family dying before you become even a teen. Much different from the old days. In some ways I have become more at peace with death because of Ella.

God gave me Ella to teach me and to have a great friend in a tough time of my life. I couldn't ask for more.

And I expect she is having a grand old time bossing around the Angels and any spirit that comes her way, telling them exactly how to pet her.

(sorry for any awkward wording, typing this from my iPod.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you all who responded. I learned much from ech of you. I feel if I an not there for him at the end I will feel guilty forever. As Cooncatbob said, " This one bad day doesn't cancel 16 years of good days." I'll remember that to help me through this. I also learned that I am there for him not for me. I will be his security at the vet's when this day happens. In his hour of greatest need I will be there for him. What I worried about was being so hysterical that I don't know what I will do at that time, but that's ok to be that way. That's what happens when we lose someone we love. These things are normal. I have to be strong for him. As was mentioned I have loved him for over 16 years, not his death as it is only 5 minutes compared to the 16 years he has given me. Praline I can understand some of what you said about not mouring his death but I also bellive it's normal and healthy for people to mourn a loss of anyone. It shows our love. As it has been siad, "To love someone is to eventually lose someone." I loved your poem Praline especially when the time comes when he has spoken that it is time and I will listen. Yes unconditional love has a condition after all. To love someone-person or animal-is to know you will lose that someday. As AnnieHall siad, "If I'm not there for him I would imagine him firghtened or wondering where I am.". The greatest gift I can give him is to be there at the end. Yes everyone must decide this question when the time come. I have realized I must be there for him when the times comes. There is no right or wrong decision. I guess what I fear deals with the fear of losing him. It's ok to become downright hysterical and lose myself. It is him I will think about not me.

Kathy
 

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I wouldn't have put my Sophie to sleep anywhere but laying on my lap.
She was always there for me.

It happened at a VCA hospital. They have a "visitation room" with a couch and tables and a rug so it's like a little living room. Sophie was snoozing on my lap for about 40 min before the vet came in and we discussed what to do and I made my decision. Sophie did know I was there. Even though she was drugged up she turned her head and looked at me and then put her head back down. The vet let me hold Sophie for about another 10 or so minutes - they really let me have as much time as I needed and then she came back and did the injections.

And then I had to drive in to work. I did grieve for Sophie & went through all the grief stages. What I term "ground-hog day" where you relive it & second guess yourself, denial (you think you can pretend she's just off sleeping somewhere so it doesn't hurt as much), anger - at the emergency vet, my own vet, myself. Acceptance.

My inlaws always had cats. Once my father in law told me that once he dropped off and left one of their cats (at the vet's), who had to be put to sleep. He felt guilty about it for years that he didn't go in to be with the cat at the time.
 

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Kathy, I am sure the Vet and staff are used to having people break down at this saddest of times. If you get hysterical, they, of all people will understand. You are more apt to feel relief afterwards, and then perhaps cry your eyes out when you get home, where you are more comfortable in expressing your emotions. Either way, there is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of...we all deal with grief in different ways. I hope that when it happens you will feel the strength of the supporters you have on this board...it will surely help you.
 
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