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Thread: So hard to say Goodbye :( How to make the decision to put your dog down.

  1. #1

    Default So hard to say Goodbye :( How to make the decision to put your dog down.

    I just found out yesterday that my childhood dog (Chester) has a tumour in his belly and needs to be put down. I got him when I was 16 - to help me through my parents divorce. It's so sad. He's lived with my dad and his girlfriend for the last 6 years, as I moved into an apartment when I was 22 and found out the hard way that Jack Russell's don't do well in apartments.

    Anyway. I was so upset yesterday when I found out, I still can't believe how hard it's hit me. He hasn't been "my" dog for at least 6 years, but he was my little baby for the first 7 years of his life, so I shouldn't be surprised that it hurts so much.


    The vet wanted to put him down yesterday when they found the tumour, but my dad's girlfriend wouldn't let them. We can't just put him down in one afternoon. The whole family needs to say goodbye to him! The vet gave him a steroid injection, plus some very strong pain killers to get him through the next week. She said it's hard to say how he'll go - he could live for a week, or 6 months. Nobody knows. But he's in pain.

    It's such a hard decision now - WHEN is the right time? When he is pumped full of pain killers, and laxatives (to help him poo), he seems to be in relatively good spirits. Even chases the possums.. But I spent about 5 hours with him today, and as soon as those pain killers start to wear off he can barely move. Poor little guy is in so much pain, and has a big lump on his back as well. He's just about to turn 13 which is a good age for a Jack Russell.

    I cried for a good 6 hours yesterday - but I guess that's normal. A dog becomes part of the family, so of course it's going to be so hard to say goodbye.

    I'm happy that I'm not the one in the position to have to pick the day when he gets put down. It seems as though it will be up to my dad. I don't think I want to go to the vet with him and watch him pass away though, it would just be too painful. I read a quote yesterday which said "the anticipation of death is more painful than death itself" - and I guess that's true. Trying to 'guess' which day he'll be put down is hard. How long do I grieve for? Whereas if I'd known today that he was just gone, it would be easier. I'll have one more opportunity to say goodbye to him this week, so I better make the most of it.

    I feel like my heart is breaking. Poor Chester.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I usually find - the right time is about a month or so before you can actually bring yourself to do it. When the vet says - is a pretty good indicator - many vets don't like volunteering that kind of information cos it upsets the paying customers.

    The pain killers can actually be a bit of a trap. My horse - was given pain killers for an injured foot - which we also put a special shoe on to hold it together. But with the pain killers - he ran around the paddock like a spring foal and was very very sorry for himself later. So we didn't give him any more because he was supposed to be resting, and the pain forced him to rest.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 03-17-2013 at 10:12 PM. Reason: sometimes I don't type/say what I meant. sigh.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Bundaberg QLD


    Ahhh bugger....I'm so sorry to read this Shonnie.. this is the worst part of owning pets.... but even harder with dogs. They look in your eyes.....

    It's that look know the look...13 years of when he stares into your soul and touches your heart.

    One day he's going to look at you...and then you'll know. It's hard to describe.....bloody impossible really. It's kind of like they give up the fight. He'll tell you when times up...not a vet.

    Make every second count from now on.....everything he shouldnt eat but loves too...give it to him. If he wants to snooze on your new lounge sweet , let him. Spoil the little fella rotten and give him a ear rub from me please.

    13 is one awsome innings ...Chester has done well. One other much as it sucks now...but its a lot easier to think about now, is to decide what you'll do when the time comes. Cremation ? Burial site ? Ashes spread ? type of thing... My last dog died and my brain was scrambled for days. Its very hard to ring a pet cemetery and organise a cremation while your balling your eyes out and me on that one.

    I'm really feeling for you guys right now. I wouldnt wish this on my worst enemy....

    Good luck and dont forget that ear rub for Chester from me please.

    Quote Originally Posted by reyzor View Post
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  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    One day he's going to look at you...and then you'll know. It's hard to describe.....bloody impossible really.
    Having spent pretty much 24/7 with my last dog for just shy of 7 years, I reckon that's pretty much the right advice. Remember to keep youremotions out of the decision as best you can and you will find a point where it will become obvious that the time has arrived. Keep your dogs well being in focus and remember what a great life you provided for it and that after all those good times you are providing the greatest gift of all!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    SE QLD


    Sorry to hear Shonnie Bee Don't have any advice but you are in my thoughts.

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  6. #6


    What a bummer Shonnie
    There is no easy way to get through this. I've been through it many times over the years and it doesn't get easier.
    Sean has expressed it extremely well, and I would also give little Chester a good ear scratch.
    Cry as much as you like ... It shows you love the little bloke, and there's nothing wrong with that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Western Sydney


    I am so sorry for you, but you should think what is best for Chester as he is in pain he should be put to sleep...this is the kindest thing to do as I had to make that terrible decision 17 mths ago when I lost my GSD Tara to cancer and she was only 8 yrs old. As Sean said it's the hardest part of owning a dog.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    I feel for you Shonnie Bee, I had to put my beloved Scrappy down totally unexpectedly. I dont know which is worse, knowing that you have to do it and it is coming, or being told on the same day like I was, and having to do it immediately, its a big shock either way I guess.

    I did not get the extra time with Scrappy that I would have loved to have had, mind you no one could have loved him more than I did during his life, so as people have said above me in this thread, spend every second you can with your lovely dog, make the most of it, be thankful that you have this little bit of extra time, but when you think it has become to much for him to go on, thats the time, and he will 'tell' you, you will know........ my thoughts are with you xx

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Taringa, Brisbane


    So sorry to hear of what your family and Chester are going through.

    When i had to say goodbye to my girl in December last year we knew it was coming, she had cancer for two years and it had spread into her brain. She developed dementia, although she was very happy despite it. So we had plenty of time to prepare, it was just a matter of when and how. The time came when life was all just too much for her. Toileting was hard (we had to hold her to help her so she didn't fall over in the process), she found it hard to grasp food and swallow, even drinking without inhaling some was hard for her. Her little body was tired and old, she was sore and getting worse by the day. We knew that life was no longer enjoyable for her, even if she did enjoy moments in her day with us, her life was no longer what would be considered a life. Finally she could no longer even sleep through the night without waking and pacing, getting lost in the house and having night terrors due to the dementia. I made the arrangements to have her cremated in advance as i knew it would not be long until she was gone, and i wouldnt be able to to make those decisions afterwards due to my grief. But i thought we would have her until Christmas, not the end of the week. We tried giving her sedatives and pre-anaesthetic drugs to help her rest through the night but they only made her anxiety worse. Then we knew it was time. She managed very well up until that last day when she constantly needed our help to walk, toilet, eat, drink, etc. So we called the vet and said our final goodbyes in one last day with her.

    For months we knew it was coming, but it all really happened in one quick day that was gone all too fast. But i am so thankful for that last day. You have been given time to say your goodbyes and make your peace with what must happen, make the most of it. I took a paw impression in playdoh which i had cast into a bronze relief of her paw, we also dipped her paws in silver paint and did some painting with her. But most importantly, which i didn't think much of at the time, i held her the way i always used to with her head tucked under my chin. A lot. I held her little face up to mind to feel the way the bridge of my nose fit the stop of her muzzle, we fit together like jigsaw pieces. I made sure i remembered exactly what the soft fur of her ears felt like against my cheeks and i let her kiss my nose as much as she liked even though her breath wasn't spring fresh. I held her paws in my hands to feel the warmth and weight and shape of them and ran my fingers through her coat. I could never measure the countless hours i spent grooming her, i knew the exact shape of her body under all her masses of fur. Focusing on those things that day, knowing it was our last one together in this life, has tattooed those memories in my heart. I have never had a good visual or tactical memory but i don't even have to close my eyes to bring back the exact way she felt and smelt that day, or to hear the little breathy noses she made when she licked my nose, or the colour of her fur in the shade, in the sun, in my hands. So use your time wisely with your Chester to help you remember the important things. Don't spend your time with him dwelling on what will happen, or how things will be when he's gone. Make sure you spend every second you have loving him in every way you can.

    As for your question of 'when'? Well. When you are at the stage where you are only fending off the inevitable for another day or two, but aren't able to provide quality of life up until the point of passing, what's the point? I could have hand fed my girl, and toileted her, and held her through her night terrors for many more months i'm sure. But i knew there was no more quality of life left for her. It is only forcing them to hold on a little bit longer for our sakes, so that we can be truly ready to let them go even if the time for that passed long ago. Painkillers and laxatives are thankfully easing Chester's discomfort so at least he is not lingering poorly. And as you have said, it is a mercy that you aren't responsible for making the decision of when. So enjoy what time you have left. My last piece of advice? Roast chicken, and lots of it. Give the little man a belly rub for me.

    In case it interests you, here is the website regarding taking paw impressions - Pet-Paws Impression Process

    Oh in regards to you not wanting to be at the vet when he passes. Don't feel bad. A lot of owners make this decision for the sake of the pet if they feel that they will be too distraught, that it would only upset the pet more. As a vet nurse, the best euthanasias i have helped perform have been the ones where the owner is present, and calm. The worst? When the owner is present and inconsolable. We can never be sure that they are truly ready, and consenting, and their poor animal is distressed. If you feel that you can't handle being there, then don't be, perhaps stay in the waiting room, or hold a little vigil at home at the time you know his last appointment will be. Just do something, anything, to help you mark the moment without feeling like you did nothing. Thoughts are with you x

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Shonnie Bee View Post
    I don't think I want to go to the vet with him and watch him pass away though, it would just be too painful. I read a quote yesterday which said "the anticipation of death is more painful than death itself" - and I guess that's true.(
    I missed this part of your post originally.

    For Jack, I arranged for a vet to come to my house to give him his wings. For me, being able to cuddle him while he passed was a great way to send off my best little mate - a memory i'll always treasure. While he knew something was up, being in his own home environment meant he was pretty chilled and happy to let the vet do as he pleased, so when the injection was given he was just getting a cuddle and peacefully went to sleep.

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