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Old 06-26-2012, 10:20 PM
 
1,135 posts, read 2,237,107 times
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After 16 years, our dog, Snuggles, has reached the point where we will likely have to euthanize her. She's declined over the past year to the point where she spends most of her time walking aimlessly about and has lost control of her urine. She's also deaf and partially blind. She's not in pain, but her quality of life has greatly diminished, especially since she's confined to a crate during the day to prevent her from peeing all over the place while we're at work and school.

The vet has advised that she will not get better and it's probably a good idea to euthanize her before she's physically uncomfortable.

In some ways it's as if she were our first child. We bought her right after we were married. Our three children, ages 13, 10 and 2 have never known life without her. The oldest two will be very sad when she dies. The baby will wonder where she went, but is too young to fully understand.

If you've been in this situation would you recommend having the vet come to our home to euthanize her so we can all be with her when she dies, or should my husband and I take her to his office and have her euthanized there? The vet will do whatever we prefer.

Also, my 10 year old is very upset by the thought that we will have to put Snuggles to sleep. Does anyone have any ideas about how we can explain that this is the most compassionate option?

Thanks in advance for the advice.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:46 PM
 
6,061 posts, read 14,188,781 times
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Gosh. I am so sorry. This is a very sad moment in the course of any life.

The best way, I think, is always the most direct, honest, and matter-of-fact way. Call a family meeting, sit down, and talk about it. There will be tears, but there's no way around that.

Personally, I would not recommend having the vet come to the home to put the dog to sleep. It attaches that sad memory to the home. But that's just me - you and your family might feel differently. In the past, when we've had pets put to sleep it was hard enough to find their toys or their fur around the house afterwards. I would not want to live with the constant reminder by the place where "it" happened. Too sad. This is why I think it's better to have it done at the vet, so the happy memories stay in the home.

For the ten year old, maybe make a scrapbook with photos, drawings, stories? For the family, Take a last walk or have a last day with the dog and document it - take videos, family photo with the family dog, etc. Make sure you have good photos. In later years those will be very important to the kids.

Once we had to put a cat to sleep who loved ice cream. She was known for trying to steal people's ice cream, and whenever the freezer door would open she would rush into the kitchen and give you the feeling that she just really, really, wanted you to give her some ice cream. It was the craziest thing. So, the morning before we had to put her to sleep, we sat around the kitchen as a family and let her have all the ice cream she wanted. She was so happy, and now it is one of our favorite family memories that we have of her.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:16 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
19,425 posts, read 21,980,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haggardhouseelf View Post
Gosh. I am so sorry. This is a very sad moment in the course of any life.

The best way, I think, is always the most direct, honest, and matter-of-fact way. Call a family meeting, sit down, and talk about it. There will be tears, but there's no way around that.

Personally, I would not recommend having the vet come to the home to put the dog to sleep. It attaches that sad memory to the home. But that's just me - you and your family might feel differently. In the past, when we've had pets put to sleep it was hard enough to find their toys or their fur around the house afterwards. I would not want to live with the constant reminder by the place where "it" happened. Too sad. This is why I think it's better to have it done at the vet, so the happy memories stay in the home.

For the ten year old, maybe make a scrapbook with photos, drawings, stories? For the family, Take a last walk or have a last day with the dog and document it - take videos, family photo with the family dog, etc. Make sure you have good photos. In later years those will be very important to the kids.

Once we had to put a cat to sleep who loved ice cream. She was known for trying to steal people's ice cream, and whenever the freezer door would open she would rush into the kitchen and give you the feeling that she just really, really, wanted you to give her some ice cream. It was the craziest thing. So, the morning before we had to put her to sleep, we sat around the kitchen as a family and let her have all the ice cream she wanted. She was so happy, and now it is one of our favorite family memories that we have of her.
I'm sorry.

When the vet put our cat to sleep, at his office, we were all there patting and talking to him as he died. I agree that it would have been harder on our kids to do it in our house.

Also, we were told not to use the term "put to sleep" as that can sometimes cause sleeping problems in children. Although, I'm not sure what term is a better one to use. The vet probably has some information that would describe what to tell your kids.

Good luck.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:25 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,502 posts, read 49,770,170 times
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I would think the two older ones have some concept of death by now. They should know that everything on earth has a life cycle. And death is part of it. you might talk about life cycles with them and make a poster with pictures of the dog's life cycle. You can explain that she has reached the end now and it is natural and isn't it wonderful that we don't have to watch her suffer and we can help her finish her life in a compassionate and loving way. Tell them her death is not something which can be avoided. It is inevitable and you are simply trying to make her death peaceful.

You can also talk about purpose in life and that she had a very important work to do and how well she did it.

I have elected to hold my pets in my arms when they are PTS. It was peaceful and dignified but very heartbreaking. Perhaps your children are too young to be present for this but you should tell them how quiet and painless it is. Too often all kids know of death is drama or violence they have seen on TV.

If you frame it as a gift you can give your precious dog they might understand better. Good luck. and my sympathies.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:38 AM
 
1,463 posts, read 3,058,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaMc46 View Post
After 16 years, our dog, Snuggles, has reached the point where we will likely have to euthanize her. She's declined over the past year to the point where she spends most of her time walking aimlessly about and has lost control of her urine. She's also deaf and partially blind. She's not in pain, but her quality of life has greatly diminished, especially since she's confined to a crate during the day to prevent her from peeing all over the place while we're at work and school.
The vet has advised that she will not get better and it's probably a good idea to euthanize her before she's physically uncomfortable.
In some ways it's as if she were our first child. We bought her right after we were married. Our three children, ages 13, 10 and 2 have never known life without her. The oldest two will be very sad when she dies. The baby will wonder where she went, but is too young to fully understand.
If you've been in this situation would you recommend having the vet come to our home to euthanize her so we can all be with her when she dies, or should my husband and I take her to his office and have her euthanized there? The vet will do whatever we prefer.
Also, my 10 year old is very upset by the thought that we will have to put Snuggles to sleep. Does anyone have any ideas about how we can explain that this is the most compassionate option?
Thanks in advance for the advice.
There is no easy way to go thru this. My husband and I adopted an older dog a few years back; one that nobody wanted, so I took her. She was 7 when we got her so I went into it knowing she was old, kinda in rough shape but I loved her. We had her for 5 years..Cheech was her name a rough, gnarly old street dog who barked incessently but loved us back with all her feeble body. We decided to let her pass at home naturally and I wish to this day we had taken her to the Vet. it was the hardest thing we ever could do for her and for us. She died in her cage and we buried her at home with all her toys and blanket. We went right out looking for another adoptee the next day and rescued an abused Pit Bull who has turned out to be an absolute wonder. My husband has never had animals before and we also have had cats. He has become an avid pet owner but can't quite understand the whole putting them down at the vet thing. What I tell him is this:
God gives us our pets for a very short time for a reason. They come into our lives and fill our hearts with joy, so much so that we absolutely burst with love for them. When you are a pet owner, you have to understand that animals don't live for very long and love them with YOUR whole heart for as long as they do have. Don't spend each day with a pet thinking about their last day because you miss all the fun stuff in between. When you have to lose a pet, perhaps it is meant for you to go to a shelter and find a new pet, one that someone has thrown away.
Take your dog to the Vet to have it put down. If you want to spend that last moment with her, then do so. My son had a Springer Spaniel/Border Collie mix who was 18 when we put her down. I will not ever forget her looking at me from the kitchen and her blanket where she could not get up from and begging me to take her to be put to rest.
Good Luck with this...there is no way to make it easy for the kids except to be truthful.
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:25 AM
 
Location: 500 miles from home
33,964 posts, read 20,395,786 times
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I started talking about Casper's quality of life issues and the possibility of him passing - months before I ever put him to sleep. I didn't yet mention that I was considering having him euthanized.

For the youngest child - they do not recommend using the words 'put to sleep' because supposedly it makes them not want to go to sleep.

Everyone has to handle this differently. It would be fine to have your vet come to your house - IF your children are not there.

I will tell you that it is hard to watch your dog die and I would have second thoughts about allowing even my oldest to be present at that procedure. Most often, it is peaceful; but on rare occasion - things can happen. Even a peacful death - the child will see his beloved pet fall over and go limp; I was a grown adult AND had been present at the passing of two family members - but it was still hard to see Casper fall and me catch him with my hands and - boom - it was over that quick.

Every family has to make their own decision about what will work and how their kids will handle it.

Instead of being present at the moment of death - perhaps the entire family could take a day and spend it doing your dog's favorite things (whatever is still possible). Going to the park and having a family picnic; lots of attention and treats . . . that kind of thing. Make it a special day and give your kids a chance to say good-bye at that time.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Swisshelm Park, Pittsburgh, PA
356 posts, read 850,215 times
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So sorry you are having to go through this. We had to put down our 17 year old dog in December and it was tough. I got some good advice here (particularly from ParrallelJJCAT) on how to handle it.

//www.city-data.com/forum/paren...n-young-3.html

I would do it at the Vet's and give your older children the choice of whether they want to be there. Our 8 year old did not want to accompany us to the vet and a family member was kind enough to watch the kids so my husband and I could go together with the dog.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
19,425 posts, read 21,980,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringo1 View Post
I started talking about Casper's quality of life issues and the possibility of him passing - months before I ever put him to sleep. I didn't yet mention that I was considering having him euthanized.

For the youngest child - they do not recommend using the words 'put to sleep' because supposedly it makes them not want to go to sleep.

Everyone has to handle this differently. It would be fine to have your vet come to your house - IF your children are not there.

I will tell you that it is hard to watch your dog die and I would have second thoughts about allowing even my oldest to be present at that procedure. Most often, it is peaceful; but on rare occasion - things can happen. Even a peacful death - the child will see his beloved pet fall over and go limp; I was a grown adult AND had been present at the passing of two family members - but it was still hard to see Casper fall and me catch him with my hands and - boom - it was over that quick.

Every family has to make their own decision about what will work and how their kids will handle it.

Instead of being present at the moment of death - perhaps the entire family could take a day and spend it doing your dog's favorite things (whatever is still possible). Going to the park and having a family picnic; lots of attention and treats . . . that kind of thing. Make it a special day and give your kids a chance to say good-bye at that time.


Excellent ideas.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:25 PM
 
Location: IL
2,992 posts, read 4,863,930 times
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I remember is 8th grade the dog I grew up with was put to sleep, it was so sad. My dad and older brother took him to the vet, I'm glad it wasn't done at our house. I have vivid memories of Chris trying to walk in the yard and basically collapsing on the grass because it was too diffiuclt for him to walk, I would have remmebered the vet and I think it would have been worse. I vaguely remember my dad telling me they were taking Chris to the vet and he would die there. I think just discussing with the older kids is the best way to handle it, explain it will be sad, and that it is okay to be sad. Explain it will be better for the dog and that he/she is in pain. There is definitely no easy way to do it.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:33 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
1,287 posts, read 3,590,103 times
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We are experiencing the same thing right now. I have a 7 year old Golden Retriever that was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago. He's losing weight and on steroids but his quality of life hasn't degenerated so far that we need to euthanize him. Although I would love to keep him forever we will not allow him to suffer. I have a 15 and 12 year old. We delayed telling them the prognosis as I had quite some difficulty getting my head around it myself (part of that was my also having to deal with my Dad's diagnosis of terminal cancer at the same time).

After a few weeks we came right out and told both of them. When the time comes I gave them the option of staying home or going with me to the Vet, my son has opted to stay home, and my daughter will go to the Vet.

My Vet told me that now is the time to spend what time you can with them, take pictures, etc. We still take him on very short walks (he loves that), and monitor him closely.
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