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How do you cope with having to put an animal down?

My dog had cancer and yesterday morning I had to make the decision to put her down. We had the vet come to our house and take care of it. I know that it was time and that I didn't want her to suffer with the cancer but I am having a very hard time dealing with the guilt of that decision. How do you deal with that? I have always believed in not having the animal suffer and that putting them down is humane but I have never had to do it until now. It is so much harder than I ever imagined. I feel like I took her life from her and that is just so hard.

Answer Question

Asked by sue118 at 1:50 PM on Nov. 29, 2010 in Pets

Level 17 (4,318 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • Just take comfort in the fact that you were able to end their suffering instead of letting it continue and end in a more painful death. We should all be so lucky...

    Answer by Shanna84 at 1:55 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • You did what was best for your furry friend, regardless of how you feel ~ and that is the best thing any of us can do.

    It is never easy. Even after years of sharing your home with pets it doesn't become easy. It is always hard, always heartbreaking, and you almost always second guess yourself. The sad fact is that our cats and dogs have very different lifespans than we do, and the goodbyes come far too soon. I've had pets for more than 30 years, sometimes many at a time since I take in rescues. I've said a lot of goodbyes ~ too many goodbyes.

    The only thing I can tell you is that doing what is best for them, when it is best for them is hard ~ but it is an act of love and the one final thing you can do. Hugs.

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 3:02 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • i had to take the same decision twice this year and it was horrible. I know what you've been going through but believe me you did the right thing for your dog. it would have been worse if you hadn't done anything.

    Answer by yianna671 at 3:23 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • Just know that you eased her pain. If she could talk, she probably would have begged you to help her make the pain go away, so you did the only thing you could, and it was the RIGHT thing. It feels awful, but in time you will feel better.

    Answer by CarriePM at 3:46 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • You grieve just as you would for anyone and thank God you had the strength to end any suffering.

    Answer by tasches at 5:38 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • I am so sorry for your loss! I know how hard that had to be for you. I have been in your shoes many times and I wish I could say that it gets easier but saying good bye never is. Know that you did the right for your friend. Let your self grieve and take one day at a time.

    Answer by KyliesMom5 at 6:13 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • It's just like losing one of your human companions! Take the time to grieve. It is hard when you have spent their lifetime with you!! Sorry for your loss.

    Answer by shanny35 at 6:45 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • i am so sorry for your loss. It really is like losing a family member. We had to have our dog put down in June, she had congestive heart failure and epilepsy. I had been preparing myself for it for a long time, 10 months. When she was first diagnosed, I started preparing myself, sure didn't make it any easier though! Just let yourself grieve. Go through the stages at your own pace. We got another puppy right away, it didn't take the pain away, but it did help.

    Answer by tracy0812 at 5:55 AM on Nov. 30, 2010

  • ((HUGS))- it is hard! I can remember having to put one of my animals put down... I was a wreck so my dh went to sign the consent forms, and I said no, that I had to be the one to sign them. I had to take ownership of the decision so I didn't end up feeling that 'dh killed my pet.' Yes, I had guilt...I've had to have two pets put down and I had guilt both times. But at the same time I knew that I acted out of compassion, that I was only doing it out of love, and that I spared them hours or days of pain and suffering even though it broke my heart to do it. Many ((HUGS))... let yourself grieve, and remember that you are hurting now because you put your pet's wellbeing ahead of your own, which is a real expression of love.

    Answer by Freela at 6:34 PM on Nov. 30, 2010

  • I'm sorry for your loss; we had to unexpectedly put down one of our cats 2 weeks ago...we'd had her for 14 years. I was in shock for several days. After I moved on from the shock, I was able to just start dealing with my sadness. I feel terrible that I didn't know she was going to have to be put down when my husband rushed her to the emergency vet clinic, so I didn't even have a chance to tell her goodbye. Still, I know we did the right thing for her as there was no hope for recovery for her and she was in pain. It's the only terrible part of having pets. I will always love and miss her, but I know we made the right choice at that time. Hugs to you in your time of sadness.

    Answer by vicesix at 8:29 AM on Dec. 1, 2010

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