By in Animals

When To Say Goodbye

I have been an animal lover my entire life. My cat and dogs would climb onto my bed at night, and I would sleep happily surrounded by my best friends.

I was devastated when my first cat died. I was 13, and I spent her final days nursing her, spooning broth into her tired body, not ready to say goodbye. She took her final breath in my arms, and I cried for days.

Now I'm all grown up, and I still love animals, but I have so many other obligations. Our aging dog is having more and more problems, none of which are his fault, but all of which make me wonder if the aging process is supposed to make the caretakers so exhausted that when death finally comes it's a relief. It's hard to not get frustrated with the sudden onset of accidents, cleaning dog pee out of every surface. Ruined shoes, stained carpets. "It's not his fault," I think as I clean up another puddle. "It's not his fault," as I was my son's bedding, again. Finally got him past the stage of wetting his bed, and the dog takes over. He seems confused. He has forgotten all his years of training. He steals food at every opportunity, despite having never done it before.

It is so hard to watch him deteriorate and wonder when the end will come. How the end will come. If being the caretaker for a slowly deteriorating animal will ruin my desire to have pets, ever again.

When is the right time to say goodbye?

When he no longer enjoys a good belly rub.

When he stops wanting to play.

When he's in too much pain to enjoy life.

When he stops eating or drinking.

Now is not that time. No matter how many carpets he stains or how many times a night he needs to go out. No matter how many sandwiches I turn around to find missing.

We will all grow old someday. It's not his fault.

He still enjoys basking in the spring sunshine. He still enjoys a good bone. He may not want to run and fetch, but he's always up for following a good scent trail.

When that day comes, it will be hard to finally say goodbye and let him go. It will be hard to want to open our hearts and home to another animal. But we will.

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LeaPea2417 wrote on March 23, 2015, 12:11 PM

My Mother told me that one of the hardest things she ever had to do was take our precious 13 year old poodle and leave him at the Vet to be put to sleep. But, he was old and had kidney failure among other things. The Vet said there was no more they could do for him. ( I was in college when this happened and when I came home on a break, it was so sad to hear her tell the story). I still miss that dog to this day and that was 30 years ago.

Alexandoy wrote on March 23, 2015, 7:23 PM

Our first dog Jedi was hit by renal failure. With the evident pain she was suffering from, we decided on euthanasia. The vet injected something that snapped the life of our beloved dog. With the overwhelming grief, I was able to write a song for our dog. Here is the link to the MTV in youtube -

wolfgirl569 wrote on March 23, 2015, 11:10 PM

You will know when it is time. But that still will not make it any easier. But as long as he is happy that is what matters at this time.

paigea wrote on March 23, 2015, 11:46 PM

I remember wondering when it would be time to let my dog go as well. As long as he seemed content, I wanted to let him be. It's very hard. Take care

crowntower wrote on March 27, 2015, 11:52 AM

I understand,, there is no right time to say good bye but when it is really time to go. When our aging cat (he passed away last year) do a lot of peeing inside but can't really pee a lot, my mom's heart and the rest of the family went to him, that is why it does not matter if he smells funky sometimes, I still hug him and carry him. God bless.