Saying Goodbye to Your Dog: How to Know When It’s Time

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For every person who loves and shares their life with a dog, the dreaded and inevitable day will come.  The day when you question whether or not to intervene in how and when your dog’s life will end. The first time for me was two and a half years ago, when I had to make the decision for my dog, Rex. One day, he was his normal, happy self – a little stiff in the backend as 11 year old German Shepherds can be, but otherwise healthy.  The next day, he was lethargic, not interested in food or water, and barely acknowledging me with a tail wag when I approached him.

At first, I thought maybe he had eaten something that didn’t agree with him.  But the next day, as he lay in the same spot, not eating or drinking, I began to suspect.  And when he continued lying in that spot and soiling himself; I knew.  Rex was leaving us and the only thing I could do was make him as comfortable as possible and watch over him to ensure his passing wasn’t painful.  To say Rex’s sudden deterioration was a surprise would be an understatement.  If I knew then what I know now about the physical manifestations of death, I would have saved myself months of second-guessing and guilt about how I ultimately decided to end his life.  So that you are spared the same anguish, I would like to share with you what I learned.

The signs dogs give us when it’s time to say goodbye.

1.)  Prolonged Lethargy/Disinterest

This is the most common sign that the dying process has begun.  Lying in one spot (oftentimes a quiet spot where they don’t usually lay), not interested in toys or walks, barely acknowledging family members — in other words, just not acting like themselves.  Sometimes dogs can become lethargic due to other health issues, but if you have ruled this out and it lasts more than a day, it may be a sign your dog is ready to say goodbye.

2.)  Stops Eating/Drinking

You know something is wrong when your dog refuses food.  If your dog is at this point, you can offer him the tastiest treat imaginable and he will not eat it.  He will also stop drinking water.  This is due to the beginning of his organs shutting down.  He no longer has the sensation of hunger or thirst.  You can try to keep him hydrated by giving him water in a dropper or turkey baster, but if he won’t swallow it, there’s not a whole lot you can do.  Again, just because a dog stops eating and drinking for a day or so, doesn’t mean he is dying, so rule out other health issues first.

3.)  Loss of Coordination

If your dog does get up and move around, he may be very wobbly or act disoriented.  He may shake or convulse while lying down.  If you can, keep him in a confined, quiet, comfortable area and remove anything he may bump into or knock over.

4.)  Incontinence

A dying dog will lie in one spot and not even move to relieve himself.  He may have diarrhea.  This is another signal that your dog’s internal organs are shutting down.  It is important during this time that you keep him and his bed clean and dry.

5.)  Labored Breathing

Towards the end, many dogs display difficulty breathing.  Their breathing could be uneven, with lengthy gaps between inhaling and exhaling.

6.)  Seeking Comfort

Some dogs will know their time is approaching, and will look to their people for comfort.  Stay with your dog and reassure him with gentle stroking and a soft voice.  As difficult as it is, try not to break down emotionally during this time.  Do everything you can to hold it together so as not to distress your dog.

dog curled up by fireplace

Rex’s Last Days

Not all dogs will exhibit all of these signs, and some dogs will exhibit even more.  While preparing to say goodbye, you are going to have to decide if your dog needs your help crossing over.  If you have a significant other who shares caretaking responsibilities, you are going to have to discuss it and come to an agreement.

When Rex was exhibiting signs 1-4 above, my husband and I initially disagreed on what steps we should take.  He was in grief and denial and wanted to take Rex to the vet to have everything possible done to save him.  I knew in my gut that it wouldn’t make a difference.  I was practically hysterical at the thought of carting Rex to the vet to be put through a battery of uncomfortable procedures only to prolong his life for what I knew would only be a matter of days.  I was adamant that he stay at home, with us, so we could comfort him until he died.

Unfortunately, his passing was not as easy as him just falling asleep one night and not waking again.  As much as I wanted him to stay with us, the point came when I knew we had to intervene.  He was deteriorating, and I could see in his eyes that he wasn’t really there anymore.  I had done some research online by that point and had chosen a vet who would make house calls.  I set an appointment for the next day.

That day we spent time saying goodbye, and were as ready as we could be when the vet arrived.  The vet injected Rex with a sedative tranquilizer, which helped him relax.  He was not in any pain.  Then, when we were ready, the vet injected Rex with an overdose of barbiturate, which stops the heart and breathing muscles.  Because Rex had not been drinking water, and had diarrhea, he was too dehydrated to produce a viable vein, so the vet had to inject the drug into his stomach.  This is not the most efficient delivery, and Rex was a big dog, so unfortunately the first dose of barbiturate did not produce death and a second dose was needed a few minutes later.  Rex was sedated and not suffering, but this was quite upsetting to us, as you can imagine.  I only mention this because nothing ever works perfectly, even when you need it to the most, but it can still be ok.  Rex was with us and not in pain, so it was ok.  He passed on very shortly after the second dose.

You should know that during the moment of, and even after death, a dog can vocalize, twitch, and possibly eliminate.  This is all perfectly natural as the muscles and organs of the body release for the last time.  Rex jerked a few times and then let out a big breath, and then his body lost all tension and he was free.

Our house call vet provided the extra service of taking Rex with him and arranging for cremation.  He also took an impression of Rex’s paw and cast it for us as a memento.  I keep the cast in my nightstand and Rex’s ashes live in a redwood box that rests on a shelf behind his picture in the living room.  Maybe it’s weird, but I never wanted to scatter his ashes anywhere – I wanted him to stay with us.

On a pragmatic note, these types of services may need to be financially planned for — the at-home euthanasia, body transport, cremation, and paw cast ended up costing around $600.  It was well worth it for us to have the ability to say goodbye to Rex on our own terms.  We were also extremely lucky in our choice of vet.  He was caring, patient and sympathetic.  He really made us feel like he was there for us and let us set the pace.

I recommend setting aside some time, before your dog is sick or old, and researching services available in your area if you think this is something you’ll want to do when the time comes.  I did my research online but you can also get referrals from your regular vet.

Remember that as difficult as it is to make this decision for your pet, you need to do what is in his best interest (not yours).  If you are having a hard time with this, refer to the Quality of Life Scale to see where your dog’s condition falls.  If the evidence is there, do the loving, humane thing and help your dog out of his discomfort.

young woman cuddling with dog

Rex and I in happier times.

My personal philosophy is this: the reason dogs don’t live as long as we do is so we can help more dogs.  Take your time to do your grieving, but not too much.  As devastating as it was (and still is) to lose Rex, the number one thing that brought me comfort was to adopt another dog who needed me.  After Rex’s passing, I ran across Big Duke’s picture on a shelter website and his resemblance to Rex was uncanny.

german shepherd in the grass

Saying goodbye to Rex allowed me to save Big Duke from a high kill shelter.

I felt like it was Rex’s way of letting me know that it was time to turn my grief towards something positive.  Saying goodbye to Rex allowed me to say hello to Big Duke, and saving a life has helped me to heal.

What, if anything, helped you heal after you had to say goodbye? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Related Links:

Dealing With the Death of Our Pets

What Life Lessons Has Your Pet Taught You?

Cancer in Pets: Prevention, Diagnoses and Treatment

118 Responses

  1. Pug Boy says:

    My 10 year old male pug had been sick (vomiting) for approx. 2 weeks, and we sent him to the vet the next day after his first episode.
    The vet ran blood tests and they told us he has gastro, and a slight infection due to his white blood cells being high. We had him on antibiotics for the last 2 weeks with no improvement. They did x rays and found nothing, meanwhile he was still vomiting, would hardly move and stopped eating to the point he was starting to become skinny!
    We took him to the vet 3 times for IV fluids and antibiotics to kill the infection. He had to go IV because he wouldn’t eat, and impossible to give him tablets.
    Finally they decided to run more tests (they did an ultrasound) and then we find that My boy has cancer in the bowel region/intestines which explains his vomiting and lack of appetite…
    We went from gastro, to the vet calling me and saying we either operate or put him to sleep!!
    WTF!

    His operation was 2 days ago and they were able to operate and removed 3 lumps. He is still in the hospital.
    They told us he will have a good quality of life for 3 months before the inevitable :(
    I have been so distraught, my kids have never seen their Dad cry, but I just cant stop…he is my best mate, and he was a Daddy’s boy.. wherever I go he would follow. I miss him not being next to me.
    Lets hope he comes home from the hospital and we will be able to cherish these last few months with him.

  2. Laurie Timmons says:

    I’m hoping that I am making the right decision of letting my Maggie of 16 years pass away at home naturally. She is so frail, stopped eating, drinking and does not seem to be in pain. She seems so at peace, just resting like she has always done. Riley who is 9 years is her “adopted son” wont leave her side and I’m worried about him, hence my main reason for letting her go at home. He cannot be without her and gets upset if she shows signs of illness. I’m making her as comfortable as possible and she seems to understand…hope I’m doing the right thing.

  3. Ethan says:

    It seems like she is getting better!:):):) i think she will make it. But still got to hope she wont go back to the state she was in.

  4. Ethan says:

    My dog Chloe was fine just a day ago. She is now laying on her side breathing heavily with a very fast heartbeat. She has something wrong with her blood cells and we gave her some type of medicine. We dont think she is going to make it. She is 6 years old.

  5. Jane says:

    We were amazed that she was still alive in the morning, but she continued to have a look in her eyes that seemed to say, “What is happening to my body?” Her breathing was normal, her eyes were clear and alert, except for that look of being in deep thought. She could barely move. But was this a crisis that would have resolved in another 24 hours, and would she still be with us, and doing well. The care had gone on for a year, and it did take a toll. The decision was made to euthanize her that morning. I have no doubt that she knew the decision had been made, and she, being her, accepted it. But another 12 to 24 hours might have given a different story, and she might have recovered, no matter what any vet said. As it was, she was “supposed” to have died a year ago. I think we just couldn’t or wouldn’t cope any longer.

  6. Maleaha says:

    I need tips my dog isn’t drinking or eating or she isn’t really responsive to me when I call her so plz give me tips

  7. Missy says:

    Thank you for your story. I am going through this exactly with my 10.5 year old German Shepherd, Noodles, at this moment. It seemed as though she ate something that didn’t agree and went down hill from there. She has now been planted in an area in our house that she rarely spent time in and has not moved for two days. We were going to take her to the vet over the weekend to help her along but we canceled the appointment–she literally gave us this look like she wanted to be home with us when it is time. It is so painful to watch what was once a high energy bundle of love reduced to a barely moving lost soul. But she will know to the end that we love her and that she brought our family so many great memories.

  8. lena says:

    I am sorry for what happened to all your dogs. :(
    Mine is getting put down in a week or so because my dog is in extreme pain and is old. (13 years old)
    I am really sad about this. My dog, Rudi has been always my favorite pet (I have 1 mouse and two cats) But I have been spending a lot of my time with Rudi, to make her feel better in the last days of her life. :)

  9. Patrick says:

    My Sister’s 16 year old Bichon Frise has been experiencing 4 of the 6 symptoms listed. The only two not being experienced are labored breathing and incontinence. We had the difficult discussion today of helping Harley cross before he suffers further. Your article was extremely helpful in helping us make this decision and resolving us of the guilt associated with it. We have made an appointment for Monday to help Harley let go. We are leaning to a backyard burial and I’m collecting his favorite toys and comfort items to send with him. Harley has been a blessing to our family and has an honorable place in our history. Our lives would have been less joyous without him. I am happy to have the opportunity to lessen his suffering in this end. God bless you and your’s for giving your pets a happy home and loving life.

  10. Angela says:

    Thank you Estelle for sharing you experience. Years later you are still making a difference in a dog lover’s life. I hope there weren’t any more insensitive comments or questioning of what you shared as you knew what was best for Rex. I am in the stages of realizing Chacha is not going to be with me forever as I always felt growing up. She has been with me since I was 16 and I’m now 31 which puts her at 15+ years. She is a little Corgi/Pomeranian mix that still has spunk as a senior dog. I feel it is extra difficult for me accepting this being that she is my first companion. Chacha has been through everything important in my life that has made me the person I am today. I want to thank you because your exeperience and blog has helped me accept where Chacha is in life. I feel that part of the grieving for me has begun now so that I can be in a better place to make sure my friend will remain as comfortable as she can before her time comes to move on to heaven. She will always be my little angel.

  11. Rich Grosso says:

    I just wanted everyone who commented to know it does get better. Cooper was put down on 12/20/2014. The process at the vets office went as smooth as possible. He was given a sedative and he just relaxed, then the final injection. It took me a couple of months before I stopped crying. I truly missed my guy. Six or seven months I still felt the sting of his passing, and now that is it a year later, reading my comments brings me to tears but am peaceful in my decision about taking Cooper to the vet.
    It gets betters and there are less and less moments of sadness.
    Our love for them never really leaves.

    • lena says:

      I understand truly your sadness. My dog is getting put down soon. Its really sad, but I know its the good decision. My dog was in pain and old. I will miss her, but she is always with me, even if she dies. She is always in my heart. <3

  12. Michael says:

    Thanks for this, it helped

  13. Ashley &Matt Wallar says:

    Thank you letting us know what you and spouse went through. My spouse and I are going through the same thing. Our dog has/had lymphoma we wanted to wait til after Christmas before we helped him to the rainbow bridge.

  14. veda low says:

    I rescued a miniature Australian Shepherd that I renamed Jekyll as his behavior was so unpredictable. I lost my precious Australian Shepherd Ziggy to renal failure which we fought for three years. When he began to go downhill it occurred rapidly and if I could do anything differently I would not aggressively fight the decline by forcing medications on him. I made his last days miserable as he hated the drugs… I did feed him whatever he wanted at the end until he would no longer eat. Then I had to put him to sleep. The little guy I saved has begun to follow me about as Ziggy once did.

  15. Susan says:

    I love the compassion you showed for Rex. I have had pets all my life, and although I love them all, I’ve I had a few that hold dear to my heart. I too had a Maltese pass away a couple of years ago, and I still think of her often because she was my baby, my sweet Mollie. I brought her home shortly after my Maltipoo, April, that I had for 15 years passed away, she went everywhere with me, so I felt as if my whole world had crumbled down. When Mollie came to me, all 9 ounces of her bundle of energy, my little puff of cotton with the button eyes and charcoal nose, I felt alive again. We brought her sister Lacey home a year and half later (true sisters) and Mollie was with us for 13 years and passed 2 days after the anniversary of April’s death. Their lives were so intertwined because they were born on the the same day and passed on almost the same day and both of them died in my arms in bed knowing they were loved by there mommy. Lacey is now approaching her 14th birthday and she is showing signs of age, but she is a fighter and not ready to cross that Rainbow Bridge, yet, she will stay with us for awhile longer, we pray.

  16. Kim says:

    When we adopted our dog. 9 years ago, our finances were fine & we always got him good healthcare. Then. 4 years ago, we lost our jobs & all we had in the Wall Street Meltdown-Great Recession. Although we were wiped out, we still managed to provide him with good & proper veterinary care. Last week, he suddenly began losing weight & was clearly very ill. He seemed fine til this happened. We got him to the vet (with our last bit of money for this month) & learned he has cancer & he is now already dying. It has all happened so quickly with no warning we are stunned. We can’t afford the $350 to euthanize & cremate him @ the vet’s as we have always done in the past with other pets, so we can wait nearly 3 more days til we can take him to the Humane Society to euthanize him @ no charge & let them keep his body. He now won’t eat but he is still drinking water & moving about some, sleeping with us, seems to still want to be petted. We are carrying him outside where he is still urinating alright so far. We don’t have a car anymore, so if we take him to the Humane Society now we’d have to drag him out in very cold rainy weather & ride 4 very rough-riding, noisy buses to get him there which we feel would be too traumatic & scary for him. Or we can wait 2 & 1-2 more days with him dwindling & not eating food (but apparently not in pain so far), stay close to him 24-7 doing shifts to pet & calm & soothe him, then on our pay day in 2 & 1-2 days hire a cab to take him for his last ride in peace & comfort (if he lasts that long). Would you do the latter or would you take him on the rough & cold bus ride right now to have him euthanized now?

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Kim: My heart goes out to you – this is a very tough situation. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get additional help with veterinary fees either directly from a vet’s office, or at a local shelter intervention program. You may want to call a few of these places and inquire. Only you can decide what is best for you and your dog. No matter what you decide, thank you for being there with him in his last days and hours. I know this makes all the difference to his comfort and your peace of mind.

  17. Su says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. My heart is very heavy. Today it was confirmed my little yorkie Sargeant , 8 years old, has prostrate cancer. I know the reality – there is no cure. He is sleeping next to me. The signs are starting. Not wanting to eat and drink much, but he still enjoys his walk. Still wagging his tail when visitors come over. I can’t stop the tears,. Praying for peace for both of us.

  18. Alexandria M. says:

    Hello everyone. I lost my 13 year old Jack Russell baby two days ago on 11/17. Sunday she was her hyper normal self. Monday morning I noticed when I woke her up she looked like she didnt feel good. I let her outside with my beagle, and unlike her normal self she was wandering around in the backyard aimlessly. I went to get her brought her in thought maybe it was something she ate. I ended up going to work and went in the laundry room where we usually keep her because she couldnt quite hold her bladder anymore, and found her under a stand we have a safe on, which I thought was odd. Still just thinking maybe she didn’t feel well. Let her out to use the restroom and when I put her down she couldnt quite stand up. She sat for a couple of minutes and started walking around, but at this point it was pouring down raining and she hadn’t come back to the door and barked to let me know she was ready to come in like she has always done in the past. I ran outside to get her, and wrapped her up in a towel and put her in her dog bed in my room. She got up and just stood at the water and food bowl and never did eat anything. I got up, and wrapped her back up in her blanket and laid her back in the dog bed. She never really acknowledged me, she just had a blank stare, but again I was just thinking she didn’t feel well. Before I went to sleep, I put her back in the laundry room as I had always done, and caressed and kissed her promising I would take her to the vet in the morning, hoping she would feel well, and at this point she had only been like this from earlier in the day. I woke up the next morning and she was dead. I feel guilty for not knowing she was dying, and putting her in the laundry room that night. I just feel guilty for not knowing the signs and waiting. Has anyone experienced this with their dog? I just keep wondering if I had taken her would she been able to have been saved? Please…does anyone know….I am truly hurting behind the loss of my baby.

  19. Linda says:

    Thank you for being humane to your pet!!! Your post helped

  20. Tim says:

    I just had to put my dog down on Monday. He was 15 years old. I rescued him when he was 10. He started peeing in the house last week, 3 times in one day. He woke me at 4am peeing right next to our bed and I spanked him in his butt and ran him out the back door of the house. By Friday he was not eating. I feel pretty bad now because at that point I was keeping him outside for a few days so he did not pee everywhere over the house, little did I know he would be ready to pass on a few days later. I feel a little grateful that on Friday I washed his bed that was outside in the shed and let him in the mud room in our house. I put some plywood up to keep him from coming inside and peeing on the carpet. He was trying to ram the plywood down to lay by our bed like he usually did. By Saturday he was losing control of his back legs and falling down when outside, so I had to start carrying him out to pee Saturday and Sunday. Sunday I decided probably we should take him to the vet to have him checked and helped. We let him back in the rest of the house Saturday and Sunday because I saw he may be deteriorating and I did not care if he peed in the house at that point. Sunday night he was panting alot of the night laying next to the bed and I got up at 6 am to prepare to call the vet. He could not get up, he could not move. At this point he could not really drink water although I put a small bowl under his head and he drank a little, so I got out a medicine dropper and just kept giving him water through the side of his mouth. His mouth was full of slimy saliva. My wife and I decided that we had to put him down, he literally had no ability to move. Moving him made him yelp in pain, so I got a snow sled out of the garage and put a towel on it and we took him on his last car ride. He had spurts of trying to move during the ride and kind of howling in pain when he did. We brought him into the vet and put him to sleep and stayed by him when he took his last breath. I feel pretty terrible that I spanked him now, I did not know he was actually not able to help it. My advice to anyone is at the end of life, your dog may become a little tough to handle and cause some stressful situations like incontinence, please keep your patience with them during this time as it may be shortly after that they will pass. Also don’t forget to not let life get so busy to spend time with your dog in the final years so you don’t regret it later after you cannot spend time with them. The end of life for a pet can be very stressful on both the pet and the owner, so just remember to take a deep breath when you go through this. My dog went from fine to totally incapacitated in 4 days.

    • Estelle W. says:

      Hi Tim: Your story mirrors very closely my experience with Rex in how quickly it happened. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and for urging patience with pets whose behaviors change suddenly. I’m glad you were able to be with him during his last minutes – I am sure that was a comfort to both him and you. One thing my pet’s passing taught me is exactly what you said – don’t get so busy you take your pet for granted. Their time here is short – enjoy and cherish them while they’re here. Thank you for rescuing your dog and for sharing your story. Wishing you peace in this difficult time.

  21. Mary says:

    My Seamore (14yr lab mix) was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor in February and knew we would have to say goodbye, but he was a fighter and had puppy days until the end. The last 4 months he would go into seizures due to low blood sugar, so for the 1st time in his life pop tarts and cookies made the way into his diet (per vet.) We put him down peacefully 2 days ago and I’ve been crying non-stop feeling guilty for pulling the trigger early. One day he was jumping in the back of my SUV – a few days later he refused to eat, drink, was hiding in rooms never visited, labored slow & extra speedy breathing, chewing his foot, blank look in his eyes, difficulty getting up and shaky walking & then finally spasms in his stomach and pancreas area, so I realized he had to be in pain. Until the spasms – I perceived this like taking care of my elderly loved ones and enjoyed our last minutes. After researching, I now realize dogs hide pain for dog reasons and it was probably the right time. I share these symptoms in case your furry friend has similar and regardless of what research says…I’ll always hope and wonder if we made the right decision at the right time. My heart hurts and miss him so…

  22. Dena says:

    Estelle, thank you for sharing your story about Rex. I’m so sorry you lost him I’m but am thrilled to hear you have Big Duke!! My almost 14yr old border collie Meadow has a brain tumor. She’s in bad shape today and my husband and I are hysterical about making this decision. Your blog helpedm ore Thanks you know. I’m going to research as vet that makes house calls. This is horrible but needs to be done. I can’t stand seeing her suffer

  23. Carla says:

    I’m a animal lover and dearly love my babies. I now have a wiener dog, Bitty bit which I rescued and we are unseperable and a boxer mix, Carson which I also rescued from a shelter at 7 weeks old and we are also unseperable. I love them so much and treat them like my children. It’s hard to think of life without them. However, I also had two pugs that I lost one of old age and one of some sort of quick onset illness and I tried everything to keep her alive. She spent a week in the vet hospital and I would go as well as family members that she knew to visit her everyday. Finally was told that she needed to be put down. I just couldn’t do it, so I brought her home to let her die there around familiar people and surroundings. I cried for days when she took her last breath in my arms. That was in 2003 and I still get emotional. That was Harley and Allie Mae passed of old age….she was 14. My wiener dog, Twinkie was my soulmate and he had liver disease that was undetected. And he passed a month away from my Allie Mae. It almost killed me when that happened and I am still very emotional. That was in 2014. We had a funeral for him in the back yard with the bishop of our church attending. They were worried about me and it was a very hard time for me but you just go on. I pray for all the little animals in the world that are sick or being mistreated or abused by scum that call themselves pet owners to have a better life. Thanks for letting me tell my story. It is like therapy.

  24. John B. says:

    This is a great and relevant (but sad) story about “that time”. I had to go through this with Bobby, a 10.5 year old Scottish Terrier that was formerly my late Mom’s dog and had been in my care for the last four months. The experience happened in the last two weeks. One day (last Tuesday), Bobby seemed happy and his ‘ol normal self and the next, he started vomiting after a flare-up of pancreatitis. He couldn’t hold food and water down and that sent his body into a state of renal failure from already diseased kidneys. All the symptoms that are described above were experienced in the last 5-6 days of his life, the latter 3 being spent at the animal hospital.

    The vets cautioned me that his kidney number were off the charts and subtly hinted that the chances of recovery were slim.. or that the problems could be complicated, overlapping each other. I do have to say that Bobby was no longer a dog I even recognized. He was confused, weak, and refused food or water. He didn’t care about his surroundings and didn’t even seem to know that he was @ the vet….one of his least favorite places to be!!!

    By Monday evening, I heeded the vets’ coaxing and prepared myself mentally for the following afternoon. On 10/6/2015 @ 3:51PM, I walked with Bobby to the Scottie Rainbow Bridge , where my Mom was waiting for him on the other side. I was in a state of shock over how only a few weeks ago, we were galavanting through the park together…no signs of any illness and he was as happy as could be.. When Tuesday came, Bobby’s breathing was very labored and eyes barely open, a shell of a once lively, happy and healthy dog…..always with an appetite three times the size of his body…..

    In all things, we give thanks, for it is the will of God, through Christ Jesus… In living we die, and in dying, we are born to eternal life. Listen to the words of Jesus:

    ~John 17:1 ~ “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to Heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.…”

  25. Raghuvinder singh says:

    Today on 9th of october-15 around 1 pm my 13 years old pet left us.his name was “dumdum”.we all the family members loves him so much.

  26. Jill says:

    This is a great read for someone going through the same thing. We’re experiencing this with our dog, Olive, at the moment. She looks very similar to Rex. :) Seems like we just adopted her from the shelter not too long ago. Time flies. 13 years later… Thank you for writing this.

  27. THM says:

    Just have to say – my dog is dying, but we nearly ended it too early because he was displaying all sorts of cognitive problems, could barely see, crashing into things. The anti-biotics for an injury cleared a brain infection, and he was his old self again. He is still soon to go, but I got a little more time with him. Please try this first XXXXX

  28. Contessa says:

    I needed to read this today. We lost our boy Einstein on September 9 of this year after 7 amazing years with him. My husband and I went to the local shelter. Me with ideals of getting a puppy and he with the want to get a rottweiler. When we get to a kennel with a quiet, skinny, undernourished dog with a blocky head and sad eyes, we stop. My husband goes up to the gate of the kennel and sticks his hand by it. The dog walks up to the gate, my husband starts to pet his head through the spaces in the gate. The dog pushes the whole side of his body against the gate for my husband to pet him and my husband was smitten. He announced then and there that that was the dog he wanted. I tried to persuade him to get another dog as this dog was heartworm positive and we would have to spend money immediately upon getting him, but nope, we left the shelter as dog parents. That was one of the best decisions I ever let my husband make. Though I was terrified of Einstein for about a week as he was labeled a “pitbull,” Einstein was patient with me and he sneaked into my heart and made a permanent and lasting place there. Einstein was the calm through the storm that was our life from newlyweds to expectant parents, to dealing with loss from miscarriages to finally becoming parents to two rambunctious girls. He was the “good” one when we adopted another dog. The one who always listened the first time we told him to do something, was gentle with and loved our kids, was funny, yet stoic in his pain. He battled mast cell tumors 3 times, lost an eye, and finally succumbed to what we believed was liver failure due to cancer. I miss him every day. I miss his whip of a tale and his calming nature, his sweet kisses, and the fact that he always knew how to make you happy. I miss his charming personality and my snuggle buddy–he was nearly 75 lbs of handsome (bully) boy yet he thought he was a 5 lb lap dog. Our house doesn’t seem quite the same and our family doesn’t seem quite as complete without him. We made the decision to humanely euthanize him on a Wednesday after he got sick on the Saturday afternoon before. He had stopped eating, started vomiting, and kept deteriorating even though we took him to the vet and treated him with medication and fluids, ran labs, etc. All his lab work came back clear, and I was quite shocked and saddened by his rapid deterioration. When he developed ascites and was having trouble breathing, becoming incontinent, and not wanting to leave my side almost as though he sensed something happening–we knew he wasn’t who he used to be anymore and he was suffering. Saying goodbye to Einstein was the hardest decision I’ve ever helped make and one I still struggle with selfishly thinking we could have saved him with more money and more medicine, treatments, etc. I know he’s not hurting anymore and that makes me smile because such a sweet boy like him shouldn’t have to feel pain, but every day I feel hurt in my heart for the loss of my friend, and the anger of feeling like his beautiful soul was stuck in a body that failed him. I thank you for sharing your story so that others like me can feel even a bit better. I’m so sorry for your loss and I’m glad that you have found another dog who needs you! We know we will find another dog–someday, when the pain of loss isn’t so fresh and raw, because I believe that will be a great tribute to Einstein’s memory.

    • Estelle W. says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. Einstein sounds like a wonderful boy and I am so happy that you took a chance on him. It takes a long time to heal from a loss like yours but it will happen. I’m almost 4 years removed from Rex’s death, and I can now reminisce about him with a smile instead of welling tears. There are still times it sneaks up on me though, like the other week when I happened to drive down a street in our old neighborhood where I always took him for walks, and next thing I know I’m bawling in my car. But those moments are fewer and further between. One thing I will say about having this experience is that I appreciate the time I have with my dogs now much more. My dogs are all seniors now at 12 1/2, 10 and 8, and so I realize I’ll be going through loss and heartache every few years that could start at any time. So I enjoy the time I do have, and never pass up an opportunity to show them love. I know that when you’re ready you will find the dog that needs you and your heart will be full again. In the meantime, I hope you can find comfort in the knowledge that you gave Einstein a loving home and did everything you could to keep him from suffering. Wishing you and your family peace.

  29. Michael L. Hays says:

    My dogs usually come to me and tell me that they are dying, probably because they whisper back. Here is a story not quite on point, but close to it.

    Why Dogs Live Shorter Lives than People Do

    Being a veterinarian, I was called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, Lisa, and their six-year-old son Shane were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle to cure their very ill pet.

    I examined Belker and found that he was dying of cancer. I told the family that there was nothing which I or they could do for him. But I offered to euthanize the old dog in his home with his family.

    As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for Shane to be present. They thought that he might learn something from the experience.

    The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm petting the old dog for the last time that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

    Shane seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or distress. Sitting together for a while after his death, we wondered aloud about the sad fact that dogs’ lives are shorter than peoples’ lives.

    Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

    Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth stunned me. I had never heard a more comforting and wiser explanation, one which has changed the way I try to live.

    He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life, like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right? Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

  30. Elaine Huber says:

    This really helped me. Made me cry but helped. My angel is 14 or 15 we think. We take her to the vet every 6 months for senior exams etc and lately more often. I feel in my heart she is going to be leaving me soon. She has been refusing food allot and last night she’s hardly drank water, this morning none. That is not normal for her she has 3 water bowls in the house and everytime before she goes out she goes to each one for a little bit of water. My heart is breaking.. I call on the vet but we’ll now it’s just a matter of keeping her comfortable she said. Her name is Candy. I love her so much, She was in the shelter for the third time and was about to be put down when we found each other. I am calling this pet cremation place in my town Monday to discuss arrangements. It is run by two local vets. I hope you can read this as I am crying so hard as I write. Thank you for sharing your story much love Elaine and Candy ❤❤