How do you get past the guilt?

Whether a dog dies, is lost or stolen, or must be placed in a new home, this is the place to gather together to give and receive love and support when you experience the loss of a beloved dog.


Member Since
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 12:52pm PST 
On February 2, 2001 I went to pick out a six week old Labrador pup from an ad in the paper. Instead, amid the chaos of puppies barking, rolling, and chasing each other – one sweet little pup left the others behind and came and sat at my feet as if there was nowhere else in the world he’d rather be. It was that way for both of us for more than 11 years.

Last Friday, I had to make the hardest decision of my life to take my best friend for one last walk, one last ride in the truck with his nose out the window and have him put down by our vet. Jack was diagnosed with an inoperable liposarcoma in the gum just above his canine tooth in early September. The tumor grew to a massive size on his muzzle along with his neck lymph nodes being the size of baseballs at the end. The last two weeks of his life, the tumor, which had the appearance of a horrible burn on his muzzle that my hand couldn't cover as the skin just couldn't stretch anymore was raw, oozing, and looked so painful, but typical of my sweet lab, he was still living life to the fullest during the day. Labs are happy creatures and Jack was all lab in that respect. Our nights were different - hard time getting comfortable, pawing at the tumor even with the morphine we'd switched him to the last nine days - it was obvious how much it hurt then.

I'd known in my heart for at least 24 hours that it was time - the tumor was bleeding more and more, but how do you put down a dog that's still waggy and happy to be by your side? The vet had said it would come to this - that we'd have to make the call because of the tumor and not because of Jack being ready - so I knew that was our fate . . . but it's so hard!

The last morning, Jack had blood in his mouth after his dogfood soup as the tumor must have finally broken through the roof of his mouth. I know I made the 'right' decision, but he so wasn't ready . . he trusted me when we walked into that room . . . he didn't want to lie down on the mat, but he did - because it was me asking . . and as I held him and they injected the medicine - he struggled to get up. That's my last interaction with this dog I loved so much. I betrayed him. I made the right call but he trusted me and I betrayed him. I miss his presence so much it is almost unbearable, but it is nothing compared to the grief/guilt I feel knowing 'he' wasn't ready (I wasn't either - but it had to be done at that point)to go. I honestly don't think he ever would have been - that was just Jack but knowing that doesn't make it easier.

Is there anyone else out there that has had to go through putting down a beloved friend that was still happy and not ready? I would never have wished him the kind of pain and suffering that would have made my role easier - but I would love to know how to get past the guilt (even knowing in my head I did the right thing) of replaying those last moments over and over. My heart is broken and I feel so responsible. I don't know what I could have done differently - I just wish it WAS different. Thank you to anyone out there that can identify with what I'm saying and any advice you can give me to help me get through these dark days.

I love sitting- in laps
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 4:09pm PST 
Don't beat yourself up. You did the right thing and sometimes the way it goes down isn't how we want it to go.

I had to put my cat down a year and a half ago. I'm a dog person, but this cat was my animal soul mate.
Like your dog he had a massive tumor on the side of his head and I probably waited too long to make the decision, but that particular day it became very clear that he couldn't do this anymore.

When I got in the exam room and held him in my lap, he wasn't facing me. I didn't even think about it at the time.
Well, as it turns out, the very last thing he saw wasn't me. It was the vet. Who is a wonderfully kind, compassionate person who had just the perfect energy for me to have this done.
But, still it wasn't me who was his last vision. I beat myself up about this for a while. I even posted a question on here similar to yours trying to get some peace of mind, but I still beat myself up over it for a while.

With time, I have just accepted it. It wasn't at all like I had wanted, but it was what it was and I can't change it.
In my heart, that cat knew I loved him so, so much and I held him as tight as I could and loved on him and talked to him until the end.

I think I knew it was alright because a few nights later (I didn't sleep in my bed right away. I had never slept in that bed without him so I decided to give it a few days until I went back to it) as I'm settling in bed, I feel him jump up on the bed. In the exact spot he always did.
At first I forgot he wasn't actually there, then the more I thought about it, I figured it was his spirit coming to comfort me.
That's exactly what he always did when I was sick or down. He'd just come hang with me on the bed and wouldn't get up off that bed until I did.
So, my handsome boy was with me. I'm sure your baby is ok with everything and knows exactly how much you loved him and wants you to be ok, 'cause he is now.

It gets easier. Give it time.hug
Turner - Gone Too- Soon

Hi I'm Turner- Wanna Smell My- Butt?
Barked: Tue Feb 14, '12 10:12am PST 
Baby had cancer in her mouth/throat. It was horrible. We feel like we waited too long. After she passed they looked down her throat, the tumor was actually strangling her. Imaging that guilt. She was happy go-lucky until the end. We loved her with all of our hearts and miss her to this day. But we didn't let her continue to suffer - she didn't deserve that. Look back on the fun times and remember all of the good things that you're pup brought you!

hughug's to you and your family...

Member Since
Barked: Wed Feb 15, '12 12:00pm PST 
Thank you to both of you for writing. It does help to read other people's stories. I'm in the middle of the dark days now I guess. Every good memory brings tears of what I miss so much about him and guilt at knowing it was my choice to end it. I see him waggy and then I see him in those last moments. Sigh frown I know time heals and hopefully, it will be the good memories (and I have so, so many) that outweigh the pain of not only losing Jack and missing his constant companaionship, but also having to be the one to make that call to take that precious life away. Even knowing it was the right time, it's was so incredibly hard with him still happy. Thank you so much for the kind words and the honesty. It touches my heart just to read them. Thank you.
Angel Annie

Love my treats,- oh yeah!
Barked: Wed Feb 15, '12 12:06pm PST 
My heart aches for you! hug

Shake it baby!
Barked: Wed Feb 15, '12 4:42pm PST 
I am so very, very sorry for your loss.hughughug

I've stayed with all of my animals when it was time to let them go. One cat that I had, she was suffering from intestinal cancer and had wasted away to a mere 3 pounds (normally 7) but walked around purring, wanting to be held, etc. It became apparant the disease had progressed but she wasn't acting "sick". I knew I couldn't allow her to just waste away and suffer a slow, painful death.
When the day came that I made the decision to end her suffering, she did not pass quickly and quietly and I tortured myself with the same thoughts you are having right now.

I now work for a vet and understand that sometimes what appears to be an animal "resisting" the effects of the euthesol is often times just a response to the way it makes them feel as they suddenly relax.

Please take comfort in the fact that your Jack knew you loved him. He felt the loyalty you had to him and you stayed by his side as you released him from his suffering. It is never an easy decision to make but a decision you made out of pure love.

Keep your happy memories close to your heart and know Jack loves you.rainbow

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Wed Feb 15, '12 5:34pm PST 
I am so sorry for your loss. Please let the guilt go. As happy as Jack appeared to be he was certainly suffering from the effects of that tumor and you did was was best for him even though you feel so badly. Remember the good times and be glad that you were with him to the end. You did the right thing. Someday when you think of him there will be a smile through the tears and you won't hurt as much as you do now. He knows you loved him and he loved you. You gave him the selfless gift of ending his suffering or sparing him from as much as possible.hughughughughughugto you and know that you are not alone and know too,that your boy is with you as well,in your heart.