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How to deal with a dying pet? - January 6th 2015, 04:11 AM

I've had one dog, Max, since I was two years old. He's been an amazing playmate, friend, companion, and I could honestly have never asked for a better dog.

He's dying. He has cancer, and none of us can stand to have him euthanized. He's like a member of the family to us, especially to my parents and I. I can't help him, and it's killing me. The poor dear's hips are barely workable. It takes him so much effort just to stand, much less walk. He keeps crawling into inaccessible places and whining because he can't get himself back out again. We bring him food and water, and lay blankets over him, and pet him - just on the head though, because that's the only place he can really bear to be touched.

The other day, he just laid his head against my leg and didn't move for the longest time. Sunday he got stuck under our front porch, and I sat near him, reassuring him that I was there until I had to leave. It hurts me so much to see him hurting this badly. I don't know how to handle it. Max used to walk with me everywhere on our farm, and babysit me every step of the way. Now he can barely move.

To have him euthanized feels like it would be betraying him in his last hour, something that none of us can stand to do. There's really nothing I could do beyond what I'm doing besides that. We're just waiting for the cancer to take him now. I feel utterly helpless.

"The most notorious ill-fortune must, in the end, yield to the untiring courage of philosophy - as the most stubborn city to the ceaseless vigilance of the enemy." - Edgar Allan Poe

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Re: How to deal with a dying pet? - January 6th 2015, 06:31 AM


I understand what you mean with the euthanasia bit. It does feel like betrayal. However, I just want to say that in the end you will honestly be doing right by him. You will be helping him to end his suffering so that he doesn't have to be in pain anymore, or sad anymore. I know that I didn't want to euthanize my dog either, but my mom basically put it like this. Our dogs are there for us. They love us and care for us and offer us the best years in the world. Sometimes we have to be there for them. I know you don't want him to die, but he is suffering and sometimes it is for the best to end the pain before it gets any worse. You don't want to see him hurting. I know that when my dog got put down my father and brother in law told me that she seemed very at peace with it all. She was very calm and seemed accepting of it, as if she knew it was her time. Perhaps the same can be said for Max.

You're right that there's nothing more you can really do. That being said though, try and spend time with him. Show him that you care and love him, and that everything will be okay. Sometimes dogs need reassurance of those things, just like people do. Perhaps you can make a scrapbook of memories of him, something that you can hold onto in your heart, because you will ALWAYS have those good memories.

Get support from family. This is a tough time on all of you, after all. None of you deserve to go through this alone and you can all serve as a support for one another, shoulders to cry on. You can all help yourself through the grieving process.

Try and find ways to express your emotions. Given some other posts I've seen of yours I know that you are great at writing, so that can be one way to go about it, but you can express yourself through any other art form as well.

Take the time you need to breathe. It's okay if you need to step back sometimes and just focus on you and your well-being. It's okay to cry. Do what you need to do to get those emotions out and to keep yourself safe.

If you want to talk about this, you can PM me. I am so sorry that you are going through this.


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Re: How to deal with a dying pet? - January 7th 2015, 02:52 AM

Hey there.

I went through something similar with my cat several years ago, so I hope I can be of assistance. In my case I'd known the cat literally all my life, and he had been so fantastic, even when we were kids and still learning how to behave around animals. So I think I get how you feel, and I hope I can use my experience to help you a little bit.

Like Dez said, you've reached a point where there isn't really much you can do, so it's understandable to feel frustrated, helpless, or even angry. But remember all the ways you've done right by him - all the times you've been there for him, played with him, taken him to the vet, fed him, given everything he needed to have a happy life. I'm sure he had a wonderful life with you, and it can help to remind yourself of that.

I can totally understand why it hurts to see your pet like this. With my cat, it got to the point where he could hardly walk, had to be spoonfed, and started to lose control of his bodily functions. It wasn't pretty, and it was heartbreaking to watch. What we did with him was just spent as much time as possible with him, taking turns holding him, talking to him, gently patting him. That seems to be what you're doing with your dog, and that's about all you can do. Trust me, I'm sure he appreciates the company, and I commend you for standing by him even when it hurts to see him this way.

Maybe if you think outside the box you could come up with some special ways to kind of cheer him up? Like if he has a favourite meal, or a certain place he loves to sleep, or something that he was never allowed to have or do (such as get on a certain piece of furniture or eat a certain treat), maybe you could see if that was feasible. Do whatever you can to make his last bit of time as comfortable and pain-free as possible.

Finally, I'm going to agree with Dez - sometimes it really is best to take that step and have your pet put to sleep. I know it's not an easy choice and should definitely not be taken lightly, but if he's only going to deteriorate then it might be the kindest option. It wouldn't be betraying him in the slightest - it would simply be ending his pain. It sounds like he was a fairly active dog, so him not being able to move much is probably hurting him as well as you. I would recommend talking about this with your family and with your dog's vet so that you can make an informed decision.

My sympathies are with you, and I hope this helped a little.

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until midnight, and we'll be howling,
we'll be howling at the moon.
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