Posted by dvaeg (189 posts) -

For my sad story of putting my 14 year old dog to sleep, see here.
 
I planned on it, but I didn't do it.   I spend the entire day psyching myself up to going home, changing into some jeans and making the 5 mile drive to the vet to put my dog to sleep.  I planned on taking care of it right when I got home, so that when I made it back the kids would still be awake and I could be distracted enough to let things go for a couple of hours.  My wife called on the way home and convinced me to hold off a couple more days.  
 
This will be the first pet our 7 year old will have lost, and although we knew we would have to put the dog down really soon, we haven't done enough to prepare him for losing "his" dog.    When I was a child my mom would put the pets to sleep when I was at school, and I would come home to find them missing and hear the bad news before I had a chance to say goodbye.   My wife's parents did the same to her and her siblings, and after we talked last night we decided to be different kids of parents than our own.   We would give him a couple of days to say goodbye.  
 
So last night I sat down my son and let him know that it was time to start saying goodbye.   He started crying before I even finished explaining why it was time.    Watching my son work through the stages of grief right before my eyes wasn't easy.   He denied that we had to, he tried to bargain how we could get around it, and in the end he ran to his room to give the dog a big hug. 
 
When he came back to the living room a few minutes later we talked about the plan.   We would give her a bath, make her smell nice and clean, feed her table scraps the next couple of days and make sure we gave her lots of attention and told her that she's a good dog.   I let him know that we've taken care of her her whole life, and she needs us to do this one last thing -- make sure she's not in pain, not suffering, and still has dignity.    Laying in her own filth is no way to live, and her old bones shouldn't be left outside this winter.    He started crying again, but he agreed with me, and he said he didn't want her to hurt anymore.   I let him know that she's beating both of us to Heaven, and she'll be waiting for us to join her one day when we're old.   Until then, God will take care of her and she'll have plenty of room to run around.  She'll be happy again, wagging her tail more than she has for the last few months.
 
In the end I think he understood, and he when he went to bed a few minutes later I watched him tuck the dog into her bed and tell her she's a good dog, and that he loves her very much.   We'll probably take her in on Thursday, but until then she'll be treated like a princess.

#1 Posted by dvaeg (189 posts) -

For my sad story of putting my 14 year old dog to sleep, see here.
 
I planned on it, but I didn't do it.   I spend the entire day psyching myself up to going home, changing into some jeans and making the 5 mile drive to the vet to put my dog to sleep.  I planned on taking care of it right when I got home, so that when I made it back the kids would still be awake and I could be distracted enough to let things go for a couple of hours.  My wife called on the way home and convinced me to hold off a couple more days.  
 
This will be the first pet our 7 year old will have lost, and although we knew we would have to put the dog down really soon, we haven't done enough to prepare him for losing "his" dog.    When I was a child my mom would put the pets to sleep when I was at school, and I would come home to find them missing and hear the bad news before I had a chance to say goodbye.   My wife's parents did the same to her and her siblings, and after we talked last night we decided to be different kids of parents than our own.   We would give him a couple of days to say goodbye.  
 
So last night I sat down my son and let him know that it was time to start saying goodbye.   He started crying before I even finished explaining why it was time.    Watching my son work through the stages of grief right before my eyes wasn't easy.   He denied that we had to, he tried to bargain how we could get around it, and in the end he ran to his room to give the dog a big hug. 
 
When he came back to the living room a few minutes later we talked about the plan.   We would give her a bath, make her smell nice and clean, feed her table scraps the next couple of days and make sure we gave her lots of attention and told her that she's a good dog.   I let him know that we've taken care of her her whole life, and she needs us to do this one last thing -- make sure she's not in pain, not suffering, and still has dignity.    Laying in her own filth is no way to live, and her old bones shouldn't be left outside this winter.    He started crying again, but he agreed with me, and he said he didn't want her to hurt anymore.   I let him know that she's beating both of us to Heaven, and she'll be waiting for us to join her one day when we're old.   Until then, God will take care of her and she'll have plenty of room to run around.  She'll be happy again, wagging her tail more than she has for the last few months.
 
In the end I think he understood, and he when he went to bed a few minutes later I watched him tuck the dog into her bed and tell her she's a good dog, and that he loves her very much.   We'll probably take her in on Thursday, but until then she'll be treated like a princess.

#2 Posted by lilburtonboy7489 (1948 posts) -

I feel for ya. I put down my 14 year old yellow lab last summer. Never cried so hard. Hardest thing I ever had to do. But I did not have to explain it to any kids, so I was lucky...

#3 Posted by Arbie (1449 posts) -

I just read the previous blog about your reasons and why it has to be done. I'm so very sorry to hear you have to do this. 
 
I'm glad that you are giving your son the chance to say goodbye and also an insight into death and what it means. It's a confusing time for all children, especially in a manner such as this. I remember finding my mom holding onto our cat Kitty as she died, I kissed our moggy goodbye and let my mom spend her last moments alone with her. From this I always took death as a personal thing, something that affects us all in different ways. Kids learn early, I'm glad your son will be able to look at death as something that just is, and at times although hard is necessary. 
 
I hope though, that you may find the courage to be there in the room with her as she goes.

#4 Posted by Gamer_152 (14051 posts) -

I'm really sure what to say but that it was very sad to hear that, I wish you and your son the best in getting through this.

Moderator
#5 Posted by crusader8463 (14411 posts) -
I just went through it recently myself with my cat and it's certainly not an easy thing to go through. You just got to remember that you are doing the right thing for the animal. As much as it hurts, don't be selfish and make the animal suffer any more then it already has.
 
Good luck.
#6 Posted by dvaeg (189 posts) -
@lilburtonboy7489: @Erzs: @Gamer_152: @crusader8463: 
Thank you all for your kind words.   It helps to know that there are people who know how I'm feeling, because it helps me explain to my son that it isn't just a flaw in our genes, but very common to feel this way.    I'm not going to let him go with me to the vet, but I know I will have to drive her there alone.
 
The hardest part so far is wondering if I can be there for her at the very end.   When I called the vet yesterday I started crying on the phone just talking about it, and I told them I knew I couldn't be there when they put her down.   This wasn't a pet, this was a member of our family.   Add to it that I feel a lot of guilt for treating her like a dog these last few years.   She's gotten progressively less attention since we had our second child, and the baby (now 18 months) scares her.   I hope that by knowing in advance that we've had a few extra days together I can be there for her and stay in the room when they put her to sleep.   I'm sure the vets will understand when I start to sob, and I hope that I can come to terms with the fact that this really is for the best.   She's going downhill faster, though she's not in pain all the time, she's just trying to make do with old bones, almost no bladder control, and a desire to sleep 22 hours a day.   It's hard on me to see her facing a wall and just standing there, because she has no clue where she is at the moment.
 
I haven't mentioned it here yet but I have another dog too, one from the very next litter.   She turns 14 in spring, and she's never known a time when her big sister wasn't at her side.   I promise that I'll spend more time with her, and I hope she understands why we're taking her sister away.
#7 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8698 posts) -

Sorry to hear all this.
You're doing a good thing in treating her like that, and make sure you give the second dog attention too, it can suddenly be almost over...
Good luck, I feel for you and your family!

#8 Posted by Kyelb22 (297 posts) -

Man, I feel for you. I had to but my 13 year old dog down this last March, so I know how you feel. It's not easy giving up on a dog you've had for as long as you remember.

#9 Posted by zegolf (224 posts) -
@dvaeg: I don't know how close your two dogs are, but if you've never put a pet down while another pet lived, allow me to offer a bit of advice/words of wisdom.  As much as people might not think they know, "brothers and sisters" always know when something is wrong.  When we put our oldest family dog down 4 years ago, she was in bad shape, and our younger one knew something wasn't right.  My mother and I left town because my Mom couldn't be there when it happened.  My father planned on bringing her back after it had been done, and had dug a spot for her in the family backyard, made a beautiful coffin for her and everything.  I went with my Mom because...well to be honest, I probably couldn't have been there when he brought her back either (and have no idea how I'm going to do it when mine goes on to the rainbow bridge).
 
My father never talks about actually being there while it happened, but I know he can't talk about it without getting choked up.  When he finally brought her home, he had her wrapped in her favorite blanket that he eventually buried her in.  He put her in her bed and let the younger dog see her.  She walked up to her, very quietly and softly, and just sniffed everything around.  Then, she crawled in the bed with her and laid down.  Probably the most heart-breaking thing I've ever heard.  But the important part was that she got to cope with the death as well.  Your obvious first concern is with your son, but keep in mind the other members of your family, as well.
 
That's probably the only advice I can offer, because it's breaking my heart reading your story, so obviously I'm no expert in this.  Everyone copes differently, but you're an amazing father for allowing your son to have the time that he's had her and for helping him through this process.  
 
Good luck with everything, and know that you're not alone. My family has never been emotional, but the death of a loved pet, a loved family member, can bring even the strongest man to tears.
#10 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -

I'm terribly sorry to hear this.  I have three dogs of my own, the oldest only being five, and I am not looking forward to the day the first of them passes.  
 
As a fellow parent, I have the utmost respect for other parents who treat their children with a certain level of maturity and don't try to lie to them or hide things from them.  I'm totally behind how you're approaching this with your son.

#11 Posted by LackingSaint (1764 posts) -

I had to get my dog put down in my arms after it had a brain tumor, and honestly the mental trauma of knowing the dog is gone was so much worse than just the act of seeing it put down. My heart goes out to you and your family, and I hope you'll get through this okay.

#12 Posted by Arbie (1449 posts) -
@dvaeg:  By no means will it be easy. But she will most likely be frightened in a strange place with strange people handling her. Having you there and at least hearing your voice before she goes will most likely comfort and calm her. There is no shame in being upset at the loss of a pet. I once took a stray cat, who often visited by our house, to the vet after it appeared with a broken paw. The next day I called to see how he was, and they had put him down. I hate that I hadn't been there. We never want anyone to die alone, so I think being able to prevent that is a fortunate thing.
#13 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

I've had to put many pets down. The last one hurt the most. She was only 10 years old. Cancer had eaten away the jaw bone. I was there talking to her as she feel asleep and then took her last breath. She was my little girl. I miss her, but she had a good life, loved to play ball. My wife found her in a Food Lion parking lot begging for food.
Stay strong my heart goes out to you and your family.
 

#14 Posted by dudeglove (7684 posts) -

The dog I grew up with had to be put down at about the age of 16. He was the only one of his litter that survived (there was a fire) and one of his many notable achievements was managing to pull the goddamn chain out of the wall more than once to chase after the oilman. He ate like a horse and would devour anything you threw in his dish. But the final days of his life were absolutely heartbreaking, and I was there the day he was put down. He had gone from being a big dumb hairy mongrel (sort of wolfhound mix) with a heart of gold that would tear up and down the garden barking at the next field to a hunched miserable beast that could barely lift its own leg to climb into bed. Needless to say he was ridden with tumours, and I'm slightly ashamed of the fact that we didn't put him down slightly sooner. It may sound cruel, but seeing that look in his tired eyes and his decrepit frame was even more crushing.
 
I still remember the first day I saw him come skating into our kitchen after he had been neutered at the vet when I was about five years old. He looked ridiculously adorable with his oversized paws and couldn't stand up straight on his back legs.

#15 Posted by Centimani (550 posts) -

I'm in a similar situation, my family has an old Border Collie that we got from a farm the week he was born. He's been with me since elementary school, and hes the best dog Ive ever seen. Smart enough to understand anything, and loyal enough to do anything you tell him regardless of his own feelings. He once jumped into my younger brothers crib and layed down with him, then jumped back out and didn't leave so much as a scratch on the boy (He was a fully grown dog at this point too). Right now he can't even leave our hallway due to an injured back leg, no bladder control, and just generally being very old. He's never in any pain, but he's never known any other life than with us, and I can't imagine what its going to be like with him gone. I'm pretty scared of the day that I have to go through the same thing your going through now, but I admire the way your handling it. Your at least a lot stronger than I am.

#16 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5797 posts) -

I'm really sorry to hear what happened to your dog, I can't imagine what it would be like to have to go through something like this. And I hope I don't have to anytime soon :(
 
But, anything is better than watching her suffer I imagine.

#17 Posted by Tireyo (6408 posts) -

......... = - (

#18 Posted by foggel (2763 posts) -

I think you did the right thing. I'm sure your son will thank you when he grows up :)

#19 Posted by Aetheldod (3495 posts) -

Wow , honestly that the finest life lesson you can give a children .... tho I cant pet that dog of yours give it one from my part , she deserves it and god speed my friend .... 

#20 Edited by Bobby_The_Great (1002 posts) -
@dvaeg:
 I remember when I had to take my dog and put him down a few years ago. He was 16 years old and I had him since I was six, so that made me roughly 22 when I had to put him down. I'd been with him all of those 16 years, and it was seriously like having to decide on letting a child go, it hurt me so much. 
 
I remember having to force myself to do it and psyching myself out that I was just checking him in for a routine check-up, but I broke down in the parking lot when I was trying to get him out of the car. My dog had reached the point where he was practically blind, couldn't stand anymore, had severe arthritis, was peeing on himself because he couldn't get up and I still had trouble doing it, even though I knew I couldn't let him suffer anymore. 
 
I finally did, and the doctors wrapped him in a blanket after it was done for me to see him, and it just looked like he was peacefully sleeping. They left me alone with him and I broke down for about 30 minutes there and just wouldn't let him go. Finally, I managed to gain enough composure to go, and for a good two or three days I felt miserable.  
 
I tell you all this, because I've been there. And it's one of the worst things people who really care for their animals has to go through, but you're not alone.  And it's never easy. Ever. 
 
Since then, I've owned 4 more dogs. Two of them are strays, and one was a small dog that dug out of my back yard and got hit by a car. I broke down just as hard. 
 
The other three are okay and fine, but one of them is a 10-year-old golden retriever, and I fear the day when I have to put her down. But, the joy I get out of owning them far outweighs the fear of me one day having to put them down.
#21 Posted by zegolf (224 posts) -
@HitmanAgent47: imagine you need to be let outside to go to the bathroom because your parents never trained you to use a toilet.   Imagine that, God bless them, your parents were nice enough to put a small door that you could push through to go outside instead of waiting around to have someone leave you outside.  Imagine that the alternative is to fend for yourself in the wild that no longer accepts you because centuries of society have domesticated you so much that you depend on other people to watch after you, feed you, etc.  You'd more than likely just blindly wander in front of an oncoming car because, now, you're blind and incontinence is starting to set in.  With old age, you can no longer hold it as long as you could.  You're more than likely getting so old that osteoporosis, arthritis and various other (more than likely) issues are arising in your body. 
 
You could die a painful death, agonizing far longer than you probably should, causing more pain and suffering to those that care about you, mainly because they have to see you suffer just to stand up, or you could be put down humanely, harmlessly, into something that merely seems as though you're going to sleep. 
 
You tell me which is the better option.  Personally? As a human being, I'd be happy to take the humane, pain-free way that causes people a little bit of grief up front, but in the long run, people realize that it's better for me.  I watched my dog suffer longer than she had to, simply because I was too selfish to make my parents wait for me to get home from school.  This dog has had an amazing life, and is lucky that her owner DOESN'T just take her out back and "send her to the farm" or "accidentally leave the fence gate open." 
 
Have a little heart.   
 
OP - my heart is with you.  I came home and hugged my dog because reading your story really broke my heart.  You're a strong man, and a great father, and your son is a lucky kid.
#22 Posted by Chirag4 (585 posts) -

Good luck to you, I went through something similar 2 months ago with our cat. It is very tough but you and your son will get through it. Think of it as a good life lesson for him.

#23 Posted by DAFTPUNK (1213 posts) -

I feel for ya i wish your family for the best:)

#24 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

it's sad to put a pet down. i was sad when i found my cat got eaten by Kyoto couple of years ago. we berried her in the back yard, in one of her places that she liked to go.

#25 Posted by Chirag4 (585 posts) -
@HitmanAgent47: Google is your friend. There was really no need to be cold and calculating in your attempt to glean information from this guy who's obviously going through a tough time right now.
#26 Posted by Ryax (4630 posts) -

good, get a cat now.

#27 Posted by YetiAntics (1489 posts) -

Trolls be running all up in dis thread!
 
Anyway, ... Man, i dread the day i have to put down my small chihuahua. She's such a funny dog and brought me joy in all the hard times i had growing up as a teenager.
 
It'll be only a couple of more years... I'll have to these her best.

#28 Posted by RiotBananas (3600 posts) -

And this is why I don't get pets.

#29 Posted by hunkaburningluv (568 posts) -

there are a good few ignorant fuckers in here.  
 
OP, ignore the obvious socially awkward fuckwits - it's quite clear they have no concept of how to behave. 
 
 
I feel sorry for your loss mate. Don't go rushing into replacing your dog anytime soon. 

#30 Posted by Zimbo (875 posts) -

That sucks man. I remember coming back from school and finding out one of the dogs we had for years had been put down. I'm not ashamed to say I still miss her. Ignore the trolls. You are most likely doing the right thing and at least you are letting your kid say his goodbyes.

#31 Posted by Spoonman671 (4528 posts) -

I feel for you, man.  I had to put my dog down last December and it was rough.  It was the first pet I had to have put to sleep.
 

 Jackson Caruso
#32 Posted by TheJohn (553 posts) -
Dear @dvaeg: 
 
 For what it's worth, I think you're doing the right thing regarding your son. Death is a scary concept, and learning how to deal with it at a young age, with caring parents there to hold your hand is imo the best way. In my family, death was something "we don't talk about", and as a kid I was never able to share my grief with the ones close to me. Now I have a seven year old nephew, and my sister have decided to take a different approach. When our grandmother passed last spring we let him take part in our conversations and the preparations. He was sad, cause he missed his great-grandma, but he understood. 
After the casket was lowered, him and I stayed behind and took some photos of her grave (I'm a photographer, this is how I deal with shit), watched the caretakers fill in her grave and just hung out. Many of my relatives were not happy, because this was "not how we do it", but my young friend had a nice time, and whenever death pops up in a conversation, he has a pretty mature outlook on it. He's not afraid of it, and it's not a mystery. It just is.
As opposed to my sister and I, who were scared shitless when our grandfather passed when we were young. We were worried about what it was like being buried, if he'd get dirt in his eyes, if he missed us... You know, stuff that kids think of when there's no grown ups around to help them cope.
 
My thoughts go out to you and your family. Let the tears flow, and remember the good times.
#33 Posted by damnboyadvance (4059 posts) -

I recently had to put my cat down. The doctor put the drugs into her, and I was allowed to hold her until she went to sleep. It was a little creepy when she finally did sleep; it was like a dead body. Her eyes were open, she didn't wake up, and she wouldn't resist me moving her around. But she still sneezed and stuff. They took her after that, and put her down.
 
It was different, and still is kind of. If I shut the door without her inside my room, she would meow and rub on the door until I let her in. That doesn't happen anymore. She'd sleep in between my legs. She doesn't anymore. Not only that, but there won't be a pet waiting downstairs for me to come anymore, or to follow me from the kitchen to bed at night.
 
It's for the best, though. She died a peaceful death. My family was there, and she didn't calm down until I held her. I guess you could say that she trusted me, and I'm sure she's glad that she spent her last moments in my arms.
 
R.I.P. Patches - September, 2010

#34 Posted by SSully (4118 posts) -

This thread is bringing me to tears. I got my first dog when i was about 13 or 14 and he is still alive and healthy with my parents. He is my best friend, every time i visit home from school he runs to me and follows me around the whole day.  
He is the most loving dog i have ever met, he greets everyone with such excitement and joy, and he makes my mom so happy. Just picturing him out of my life is making me want to cry.  
 
I think you are handling the situation with your son perfectly, i honestly cannot think of a better way to do it then how you already are. Your son is lucky that you are treating this with such care, death is not an easy thing for children, especially pets that they love.  
I wish you the best of luck.