How Do You Know When It's Time to Say Goodbye?

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  • RachelRachel Member
    Letchworth State Park is a beautiful place to be, ive never been there but i knew someone that has and he would show me pics that he took of it.
  • RachelRachel Member
    i like the idea of cremation for pets, all of my pets have been cremated and they give you the ashes back in a box or like for me a plastic black urn that has the ashes in a plastic baggy so that you can get a different urn or what not and put the ashes in. euthanasia at home sounds nice, she will be surrounded by all her family members when she passes and it wont be such an experience for her, most pets dont like the sounds and smells of the vets office. ive never had my pets euthanized at home tho. i would never ever have my pet taxidermied. i love taxidermy for everything else but not my pet lol. its too creepy and sad. i like the idea of putting her ashes under the lilac bush and a grave stone that way u can remove it when and if you move.
  • LyndaKLyndaK Member
    Pepper I think that you have made a kind and thoughtful decision about the short term for her and what lies down the road in the long term.

    There is a fine group of people on here who are very supportive of whatever any of us are going through in our personal lives. Their support and comfort has been invaluable to me over recent weeks as I dealt with the loss of a horse and now the fight to give a new born foal every chance to grow up in spite of being a tiny, tiny surviving twin.

    We are all here for you when you need support and comfort and friendship.

    I hope your girl has a wonderful, healthy and happy summer!

    Enjoy her love, hold her close and tell her everyday how much you love her!
  • Pepper, Your plan for your beloved Tasha is a good one. Even the burial of the ashes in her favorite spot is very nice. Thank you for the kind words and God Bless You & your family as well. Hugs to you too. :) DivasMom aka Wendy
  • We have opted for cremation for each of our pets. Our most recent little dog was too sick to bring home to say goodbye. He crashed suddenly after being treated for chronic bronchitis and I rushed him to the emergency clinic at the vet school here. He was stable in an oxygen cage, but never stabilized enough to get out, or come home. That was the most heart wrenching decision I have ever made. When removed from the oxygen cage, even for short diagnostic procedures, he started turning blue. After nearly a week of this, and no improvement, we said goodbye. All I wanted was to bring him home and love him here, one last time. So I did, after he was gone. We held him, cried over him, brushed him, loved him. Then I took him to our familiar local veterinarian where he was sent off for private cremation. His ashes are home now. I am not sure what we will do with them, or with those of our other pets. Maybe we will have them buried with us, ultimately. I do not know. But for now, he's home. And that brings me peace.
  • Pepper, do you live near Letchworth? I used to live in Rochester. Actually Brockport, and we used to go to Letchworth now and then. I will be thinking of you and Tasha in that beautiful place, and hoping that the "Grand Canyon" of the east will soothe you. Have fun with your friend. Thinking of you Love, Joyce
  • I've always had my pets cremated too. The last one was my precious orange tabby-cat, Baby. He was an indoor cat for all of his life. He was 16 when I had him put down. When I received his ashes, I took them outside to the backyard, and sprinkled his ashes in and around a huge oak tree we had back there, in the hopes that somehow, somewhere, he knew that he was finally free to go outside.
  • Louise Costello, there are several companies that will make crystals or jewelry from your pet's ashes. Perhaps you should investigate this. You could have a lovely pendant made that would always be close to your heart. Just google "jewelry made from pet's ashes" or "cremation jewelry" and see what pops up.
    Lauraj, Thank you for not thinking I'm crazy! I've been afraid to admit to anyone outside of family how obsessive I have been about Buddy's ashes. I am definitely going to look into the jewelry. This sounds wonderful to me. Pepper, I think you are making the right decision. I think your girl is still enjoying life enough to wait. As everyone else has stated, you will know and you will make the right decision, I feel sure. Please let us know if we can help in any way. My heart hurts for you, but I think she will enjoy the summer with all of her family and you can put it out of our mind as much as possible for now. Be happy for her.
  • RachelRachel Member
    i had no idea about this, im going to look it up now o.o that sounds amazing
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    "Our vet does allow family to be present when they give the injections, and they also offer home euthanasia. We don't know if we want to do it at home or at the vet's office, but my sister and I both want to be with her for the first injection. I'm not sure if I could handle being there when her heart stops, but I can be at peace knowing that the last thing she was aware of was that at least two of her humans were with her and that she wasn't alone for the entire process."

    Usually, the first injection is something we would use to anesthetize her- propofol is one drug we used a lot. That would be immediately followed by the euthanasia solution, so I'm not sure there would be time for you and your sister to leave the room.

    As far as at home euthanasia goes, I think it's the least stressful for the pet, but it can be stressful for the owner because wherever it is done, will always hold that memory for the owner. There's no right or wrong answer, it's just what is best for all of you.

    LindaK- I'm completely in agreement as to not using a vet who won't allow you to be present, but I'm also looking at the logistics of a busy hospital with emergency patients. (My background is emergency/critical care & equine) Also, some owners are not capable of being present. When that happens, there are usually at least 2 people involved in the euthanasia- either the RVT or the Vet and a tech/tech assistant. The assistant will gently hold the animal, while the euthanasia solution is being delivered. Both will talk to the animal, petting it, reassuring it, and basically acting as an owner. I usually tell them to say hi to my animals at the Rainbow Bridge for me. Once it has been determined there's no heartbeat, if the owner is still there and wants to see the pet after, we fix them up a nice fluffy bed, cover them with a blanket and bring the pet into the owner. We always allowed the owner to dictate how long they wanted to visit, then we take the pet back to the treatment area. So, whether an owner chooses to be there for their pet or not, be assured that none of us take euthanasia lightly. We are definitely not in this profession for the money! But, all techs, assistants, and vets have a deep, abiding love for animals, and we have ALL had our own that we've euthanized.
  • I really would have preferred to have mine done at home, but when we took him in the last time, there was still some hope and he was treated. When we realized he could no longer be helped, the vet offered to let us take him home and she would come there. However, he was in so much pain and was a large dog and just getting in and out of the car hurt him, so we chose to stay. They gave us a nice private room with blankets and towels on the floor so we could all be surrounding him and gave us private time with him for as long a we wanted and let me wait for a daughter to get there. They were wonderful! I stayed strong for him so he wouldn't be stressed and managed to hold it together until it was over. I will NEVER forget how much the vet and vet techs went out of their way to help a horrible situation. I know we spent at least a couple of hours with him on the floor in that room before and after and they never made us feel rushed in any way. They also gave us some of his fur and arranged for the cremation and handled all of it for us. I know they were super busy during it all but never made us feel we were in the way. They were just wonderful!
  • @rachel: Letchworth is absolutely beautiful. If you ever go to New York you should put it on your lists of places to visits. They even offer trail rides, which I need to convince my mom to do one of these days.
    And, yes, taxidermy is just too creepy. I know for some pet owners it's the right choice for, but it's not the right one for us despite what my dad says.

    @LyndaK: I've been reading your updates on your foal and have been keeping him in my prayers. If he does end up with a short life, at least it was with people that cared enough to do their best to make it longer. And you're right about this forum; it is full of people that care enough to take their time and effort to offer comforting words, valuable knowledge and advice, and even laughs.

    @DivasMom aka Wendy: Thank you. It only seems right that her resting place is one she loved.

    @Voltige: That must have been heartbreaking to see him go through all of that. At least now he's at peace and with those that loved him.

    @lovehorses: I do. I actually live in Rochester, and my dad used to go to Suny Brockport. And what you did for your cat sounds lovely. Though it might sound crazy I like thinking that our pets know that we're ultimately doing these things for them. I'm sure there are people that will say we're just putting human emotions on these things, but it doesn't hurt anyone to do it every once and awhile.

    @louisecastello: You've all have helped so much, I couldn't ask for more. Being able to talk with other's who've also had to made this decision has really helped. I think you should definitely look into getting the pendant. I know when Tasha goes that I'm taking her name tag and putting it on my charm bracelet so I can wear it.

    @casey: Thanks for the information on the whole process. It's nice to get the "inside information" so to speak so you know what is involved.
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    It's a hard decision for any pet owner to make. I'm dealing with a similar situation at home- One of my cats, who will be 15 in 6 weeks has been coughing. I've taken her to the vet a few times, she's had bloodwork done, xrays taken, and all her vitals are normal. However, in order to make a definite diagnosis, she'd have to have a bronchoscopy which would require anesthesia, and a tracheal wash. Since she is a higher risk patient, I don't want to anesthetize her and also cats don't always recover well from trach washes. And, since the diagnosis would probably be inflammatory airway disease, the only treatment is steroids. But, she's been diabetic since she was 6 1/2, so she can't have steroids. Right now, I'm trying to weigh if she's ready. She still eats, but doesn't want to walk to the food; she is very accepting of both her insulin injections and her inhalant medications (which requires a special adapter and mask & most cats are NOT good); she's eating okay, not great, and finally, she purrs when you give her attention. But the cough seems to be getting worse, which could mean there is some type of growth irritating her trachea. So, even for someone in the field, it's a tough decision to make.

    Whatever happens, just remember you've given her a wonderful, happy, loving home and that's all she ever wanted.
  • Casey, I'm sorry you are having to go through it too. It's just a hard thing all around, but I'm sure you will know when to make that hard decision. I'm sorry Pepper is having to go through this, but I'm glad she started this post because it really does help hearing other stories and knowing you aren't in it alone.
  • Pepper, my heart goes out to you in this situation. From reading everyone's responses and comments it seems that so many of us have shared and dealt with similar options, and there is a common bond of loving our animals so much. I'm not sure where the original quote came from, but I remember Gretchen Jackson quoting it after Barbaro's euthanasia that grief is the price we pay for loving....or something to that affect. Hope I haven't mangled it, but those are words I try to remember all the time.
  • Pepper, I understand the turmoil you must feel; you want to do what is right for your beloved friend.

    In 1998, I had to put my 14 year old Sheltie to sleep. I paid for the visit 2 weeks in advance, and gave my Sheltie steak and eggs for breakfast every day for that two weeks. I also upped her dose of Rimadyl to high levels, so that she would have a respite from her arthritis in the time left. I did hold her along with a close friend, while she was being put down. I looked into her eyes and told her how much I loved her as she left me. I realized after she was gone that she was like a golden thread that was woven through my life, and I was devastated, but I knew I had done the right thing, because she had been suffering. Veterinary treatments have come a long way since then too.

    It took me 3 years to be able to get another dog, I was so broken up about my Sheltie. I got Heidi in 2001 from Schnauzer Breed Rescue. She is now 14 years old, and in relatively good shape. I am noticing the signs of age in Heidi , and being proactive in dealing with issues.

    Heidi started having trouble holding her urine at night. I took her to the Vet and she checked out fine, she is simply aging. I decided to help Heidi by getting her Dog Diapers. These have been wonderful! Heidi willingly comes to me to get her "pants" on every night before she gets into my bed for sleep. I actually think the diapers have helped her to not wet; she lets me know when she has to go, so diapered butt and all we head down the stairs to get her outside quickly. The diapers at night have helped Heidi to still enjoy her life, so I think it is a win win.

    One of the big things I have noticed is exercise really helps Heidi. A few times a week we go for a walk at the end of the day at Old Friends; Heidi loves to see her friend, Bull inthe Heather. They have a relationship now, Bull sniffs Heidi's face, she sniffs his face, and they hang out with each other for a bit. The walk from the office to see Bull and back again is quite a distance, but it seems to help Heidi a lot.

    I have also taken Heidi to a Chiropractor for adjustments; she fell off my bed accidentally a few years back and hurt herself. Between adjustments, and one Laser treatment, Heidi is doing very well, and sometimes has to take a baby aspirin, but not continually. She is a happy little girl. Have you tried Chiropractic, or Laser Treatments? Heidi literally was having a hard time with her back end until I took her for treatment, so you may want to look into it.

    In any event, I believe your beloved dog will tell you when it is time. Having had an older dog before, they do sleep a lot when they are older, and they also sleep more deeply, and can be startled waking up; this is normal.

    I for one believe love never dies. I think those that we love take our Love with them, and, should you have to send your Friend across the Bridge, your love will go with her.

  • kathleen95634kathleen95634 Member
    edited June 2013
    My senior stallion, the horse that I watched being born, that I trained, showed, stood at stud, and shared all my secrets with told me one morninging in his 32nd year that he was done. I called the vet, and spent my last day with him grooming and loving on him. In the afternoon, before the vet was due, I started to reconsider my decision. Shortly there after, he laid down and had a seizure. In his infinite wisdom, he knew that I was second guessing myself and he put an end to it. When the vet got there, I went into his stall and put his halter on him. He then did something that he never once did in his whole 32 years, he put his star over my heart for a few minutes, just holding his forehead against me. He was saying goodbye, I love you, I will be waiting for you at the bridge. I led him out and stayed with him until the end. It is such a hard thing to do, but your dog will let you know when she is ready.
  • You know what I find odd.... Is that I find, not the animals that have been euthanized, tragic.... But the animals that were forced to live on in agony. Let me tell you guys about a particular dog I knew; named Baby.

    When I was very young, my grandpa owned this giant, albino Great Dane named "Hoss"..... Hoss was a HUGE dog, he was so big, that my grandpa would sometimes prop me up on his back and hold me by the waist.... Letting me ride this giant dog; when Hoss would put his paws on my grandpa's 6'5" shoulders..... Hoss stood taller than he. Hoss was the first animal I can really say I clicked with, I loved that dog more than anything during that time..... So it was to my great despair that he was euthanized at the young (but not in Great Dane years) age of 8.

    A few years later, my aunt dropped off his sister from the same litter at my grandparents house.... Her name was Baby. I was so delighted! She looked SO much like him, my last link to my big boy, Hoss. However, she was ancient for a Great Dane, at 11 years of age..... And it showed.
    Her discomfort was blatantly apparent; within a week, my grandpa's concrete porch was soaked in her blood, from the numerous tumors all over her body that would painfully burst if they reached beyond a certain size. She wouldn't leave the concrete porch, she couldn't.... Her big long legs were so terribly arthritic that she was extremely negligent to move at all, and very lethargic. She couldn't see, she had cataracts in both eyes... And she could barely hear, for she was nearly deaf.

    But on paper, she was still owned by my aunt.... Who believed Euthanasia was cruel. So she wouldn't put poor Baby to sleep.

    When I would visit, I would sit on the porch, with Baby's big head in my lap.... And sing and talk to her.... Hoping I could offer some comfort as a pillow. I told her that she shouldn't worry, sometime (hopefully soon) her pain will go away; and when that time comes, she will be reunited with her brothers and sisters. I would brush and groom her as well.... Taking great care not to touch the tumors that riddled her body.

    Eventually, Baby died.... A slow, painful death.

    It's because of her, that I fully support euthanasia.... NO animal should have to suffer like that. But hopefully Pepper, you can find a way for your girl to live without pain.
  • Thanks to all of you too. As I said, we have been through this before with cats and horses. All of ours, so far, have been buried. I have a beloved ocicat named Tarot that was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma almost 3 years ago. We decided to try treating him with chemotherapy after being assured that we could stop if he was not tolerating it well, etc. November 4, 2012 completed his 2 years of chemo, he just looked at me as I was typing. I know that it could come back at any time so I enjoy each day that he is here. He will be my first cremation and I will save some of his ashes to be mixed with my own.
  • Pepper9873Pepper9873 Member
    edited July 2013
    Sorry I haven't kept up with this post, schooling got in the way and I lost track of it.

    We said goodbye to Tasha yesterday, July 25th at roughly 2:30pm. We would have preferred to wait longer, but she was getting worse and we knew we had to let her go.

    I stayed home from school so I could spend more time with her, and my sister and I took her over to the park and let her take us wherever she wanted. We were lucky enough to get a beautiful day where it wasn't too hot to enjoy the long walk, and we were able to get some nice pictures and video of Tasha that I'm going to put together in a memorial video later.

    Tasha also lead us right to an elderly lady that was walking alone in the park. She was surprised when we told her that Tasha brought us over to her and not the other way around, but you could tell that she was happy that she did. We spent several minutes with her, Tasha let the woman pet her while she asked us questions about her. And we walked a bit with the woman until finally parting ways.

    When we got to the vet's office they lead us right into the room. We went through some final paperwork and everyone was very accommodating of what we wanted. Everything that needed to be done was done when we were ready and no one pressured us. All the techs that helped us kept telling us how beautiful Tasha was, and they explained everything that they were coming to do and what we should expect before they did it. Once Tasha had the catheter inserted we thought the techs were going to get the vet, but they were waiting for us to come get her.

    Tasha licked my face before the vet came in. It felt like she was saying that it was okay and she was making sure I knew that she still loved us. The vet came in alone, and she went through what was going to happen as the drugs took effect. She made sure that everyone was where they wanted to be before she did anything. My sister held Tasha and I stroked her head while the vet administered the drugs. Before she gave Tasha the sedative, she let my sister know what she was going to feel as it took effect. Then she gave Tasha a dose of saline to make sure that the catheter wasn't blocked, and Tasha gave her a small lick on the face. As she gave Tasha the sedative, she talked soothingly to her and helped my sister ease Tasha to the floor as it took effect. She even stroked Tasha while she finally gave her the drug that would stop her heart.

    Two techs came to help us put Tasha into the car. They gave us a large quilt to cover her in because the blanket we brought wasn't big enough, but they put it over her so it was between Tasha and the quilt. We then took Tasha to a local pet cemetery where she's being cremated. The man that met us there kept saying how beautiful she was and was very respectful of her body. We all got one last chance to say goodbye, and I placed one last kiss on Tasha's head before we left.

    We get to bring her home today. We bought her a nice urn to place her ashes in, and although it won't be her final resting place, her favorite spot is going to be her memorial garden. It still hurts knowing she's gone, but I feel better knowing that she's with God, she's not in pain, she was never miserable, and she'll always be with us.
  • Thank you for sharing this last heart felt experience with your beloved Tasha. Glad she's no longer in pain and running around in heaven with the angels! She was very fortunate to have a family who loved and cared for her as you did.
  • slewpyslewpy Member
    RIP Tasha. So very sorry for your loss, Pepper9873. Your memories of Tasha will last forever in your heart.
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    Tasha had a wonderful last day, and you have wonderful memories of her. I'm sorry for your loss, but I know that you know it was time. I said goodbye to my little Amanda Jane on the 4th. She purred as she went.
  • Pepper9873, I knew as soon as I saw there were new entries on this discussion, that the news wouldn't be good, but reading your loving description of Tasha's last day, I realized that the news was good. She's out of pain now and she crossed over knowing she was dearly loved. It's harder for you and your sister, but you can both be comforted by your fond memories of her, and making the memorial garden and album will be a great catharsis. It's a beautiful idea. My heartfelt sympathy to you and your sister.
  • I started to respond earlier, but I couldn't quit crying. I am so sorry that you had to go through this and that you weren't able to at least have the summer. You did the right thing and she knew how much she was loved and got to have a great life with her people who cared for her so well. It will be a hard time for a little while, I know, but that horrible pain you feel when you wonder every day if she's feeling good will now get better. The last months of my Buddy's life were filled with dread every single day that something was going to happen with him and the worry was just mind boggling. I think it's a wonderful idea to do the album and garden. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
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