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Put my beautiful dog to sleep and overwhelmed with guilt about the final years of her life

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by GolyC, Feb 11, 2019.


  1. GolyC

    GolyC PetForums Newbie

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    I never post on forums but I'm hoping someone can help with the guilt that I’m feeling. I put my 16 year old border collie/springer spaniel (my best friend and first baby) to sleep yesterday. It was the right time for her to go. She was doubly incontinent, on a lot of tablets and we tried everything to stop the inevitable progression of old age and the hardship it brings with it. Yesterday I was focused on being there for her on her final journey and being with her until the end. Today I am overwhelmed with guilt-not with for putting her to sleep. I know it was the right decision before the real suffering set in but I'm feeling guilty about her final few years. We’ve had two babies in the last 4 years and I feel she was completely demoted in our lives. Sleep deprivation, the stresses of rearing small kids and a small living space meant that I would sometimes get frustrated with her and give out or put her out in the garden. Also, because she was ageing she had a habit of standing in front of us leading to more shouting etc. She was the most most gentle soul and always took the shouting or giving out so gracefully. Also, she wasn’t brought with us to as many places as she would have been before we had the kids and walks weren’t as frequent as before as she was slowing down and trying to contend with a baby and toddler and a dog sometimes got the better of me. I am completely guilt-ridden over how the last years of her life were and I felt she deserved so much more. She was the centre of my world until 4 years ago and I swore I would never be that person that would give their dogs less time once kids came along. Unfortunately I underestimated how chaotic and exhausting life becomes when children comes along. My own mum has been very ill for the past few years so this has also being my focus. I feel she slipped down my list of priorities and while I know that she was getting old also and not being able to do as much as she would have as a younger dog, I think I should have been there for her more. I’m just wondering if any one else out there felt a similar way after they put their dog to sleep? The heartbreak of losing my best friend is awful but the guilt of not giving her what she deserved in her final years is so much harder to deal with. Thanks for reading this.
     
  2. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Oh my goodness, yes. A thousand times, yes. First of all, I am sorry to hear about your dog. The story of my first dog has much in common. 16 yrs old too and 'demoted' once kids came along.
    It's all so recent for you; my dog was pts in 1995. Like any feeling that is difficult to deal with, it never goes away. It just gets easier to deal with.

    Having babies is a big deal - when all goes as it should, nature really makes it difficult to focus on anything else but the new arrival, and that's how it should be. And all the time they take up, of course that time had to be taken from somewhere. The main thing to focus on is not what you didn't do for your dog, but what you did. All the happy times you shared together. And also bear in mind, even when you were rushing about the house dealing with the kids, you were there. And sometimes that is enough.

    Feeling guilty is a very human emotion, normal and natural. Your dog is at peace now. She is not suffering. You will likely go through a range of different emotions as you work through your feelings but you are definitely not alone in feeling you didn't do enough.
    Why not have your kids help you make a little scrapbook of photos and memories of the happy times you shared. If they are old enough. Sometimes, when grieving, feelings can get out of perspective a little and this kind of activity could benefit you and your children.

    HTH a little and you start to feel better very soon.
     
  3. Rott lover

    Rott lover once you go black and tan you never come back

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    As hard as it is to admit yes I have felt the same way almost every time.It is much easier to dole out the advice than it is to take it. We find guilt in everything at times like this. I know I sure did. Its been several years and I still do. All I can say is try to take it easy on yourself and don't beat your self up. You gave him the best life you could. He was loved and well taken care of.
     
  4. GolyC

    GolyC PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you very much for taking the time out to reply-it's good to know that I'm not the only one that feels like this (as selfish as that sounds!) I suppose it's so raw still. Thank you for offering your lovely idea of the scrapbook. I've been going through years of pictures all day. She was the most amazing companion and we had so many lovely times together that I know in time will help when remembering her gentle soul. x
     
  5. GolyC

    GolyC PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for taking the time to reply and support. You're right- it is easy to find guilt in things at a time like this. It's still so raw - hopefully in time, the many good years that we had together will outweigh the guilty thoughts. Thanks again for response, much appreciated.
     
  6. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    She had the same home for 16 years a warm bed good and vet care you were with her until the end. Do not feel guilty it is still raw and you are grieving. I know so many people who have re homes their dog once they have had children it is hard and of course dynamics change. Remember the good times.
     
    Kim Watcham, Bugsys grandma and GolyC like this.
  7. Rott lover

    Rott lover once you go black and tan you never come back

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  8. Rott lover

    Rott lover once you go black and tan you never come back

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    My escape was actually poetry I wrote lots of them for him lol
     
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  9. ttaylor45

    ttaylor45 PetForums Member

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    I lost both my toy poodles last year Rusty in May and Pepe in November and still find myself thinking especially about Pepe about the last 2 years being ill with anaemia then cataracts in both eyes last year which led to glaucoma and left him virtually blind if not totally blind at the end. He also suffered with kidney disease. I visited the vets many times and also specialist vets for the anaemia and the eye problems. He was only 12 and 4 months but I wish I could have done more. Rusty was only poorly for a few days before we lost him at 13 and a half so although I miss him just as much as Pepe I don’t feel as bad as he didn’t have the illnesses Pepe had. You gave your dog a very happy life so please don’t feel guilty you did your best many dogs are not nearly so lucky as yours. I miss my two very much but hope in time I will just think of the good times we had together.
     
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  10. Happy Paws

    Happy Paws PetForums VIP

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    I'm so sorry for your loss, I feel the pain you are going though, we had to say Good Bye to our my beautiful Dillon last Thursday he was only just 9 years old, he has left a very big hole in our lives and it hurts like hell (so to speak) we miss him so much.

    We are trying to remember the happy times and are talking about him which in some ways is helping us.
     
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  11. GolyC

    GolyC PetForums Newbie

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    I'm so sorry to hear about Dillon. It's just so tough isn't it. Nothing can prepare us for the pain - It's a testament of how special he was and how great an owner that you were that makes it as hard as it is. I He looks like such a happy and gorgeous little fella. xx
     
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  12. Rott lover

    Rott lover once you go black and tan you never come back

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    the fact that you feel the way you do shows how cared for and loved he was. Weather you believe it or not it always shows through and they feel that love and that bond. I don't think you have anything to feel guilty about and as others have said and I will put it in my own way is you will mourn, nothing will stop that but don't stay there as with mourning you have to celebrate what was there. All the happy times and all the good memories and all the love and all the crazy habits have got to be celebrated as well.
     
  13. GolyC

    GolyC PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. It has meant so much. Yes you’re right. It is very raw and hopefully in time I’ll gain perspective. We had amazing times together and she’s been my rock. I rehomed her when she was 2 and I feel she always appreciated that. Thank you again.
     
  14. GolyC

    GolyC PetForums Newbie

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    By rehomed her I meant that I took her from someone
     
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  15. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    Yes I got that bless her she sounds lovely I lost my girl to a heart attack before Christmas she was only 3 I blame myself constantly I'm trying not to guilt doesn't bring them back we can only try our best x
     
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  16. tantrumbean

    tantrumbean PetForums Senior

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    I felt similar when I lost my Irish Terrier unexpectedly aged 6. He was only ill for a couple of weeks and even the vet didn't expect it to be anything terminal. But the specialists found prostate cancer, so they never woke him up. Now, I don't have kids, but Elliot used to be an only dog till I adopted a 7 months old rescue collie about 9 months before he died. Elliot could be reactive and wasn't overly keen on his new brother, so I did a lot of stuff with them separately and he got a lot less 1-2-1 attention than he used to. Also, when it came to training tricks, he had very much the attitude of "I've done this 3 times now, I'm bored!", whereas his new brother was always up for more, which meant again he got more attention than Elliot. So when Elliot died, I really beat myself up about having neglected him and focussing too much on the newbie. I think the fact we didn't know we were going to lose him made it worse, because I felt that I should have made an effort to make his last couple of weeks extra special - fed him donuts, taken him to the beach, etc. I couldn't have known and he wasn't neglected - he just wasn't an only dog anymore, but I still feel really bad that somehow I let him down and he died thinking I loved his brother more than him. I know it's stupid, but I still get upset by it.
     
  17. ttaylor45

    ttaylor45 PetForums Member

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    I also got a second poodle when Rusty was about 20 months old and at first Rusty didn’t like him but fortunately after about 24 hours he accepted Pepe and they lived happily together until I lost them both last year Rusty aged 13 and a half in May 2018 and Pepe aged 12 and 4 months in November 2018. I miss them so much but I think they knew I loved them equally so I am sure your dog would realise how much you loved him.
     
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  18. GolyC

    GolyC PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your kind words
     
  19. GolyC

    GolyC PetForums Newbie

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    thank you - yes I guess it's all part of the grieving process.
     
  20. GolyC

    GolyC PetForums Newbie

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    I am so sorry for your loss. I'm also reading it thinking, 'wow, Elliot was a lucky dog with such a caring owner' It's a strange thing that I'm reading your post objectively thinking to myself, 'no, you can't beat yourself - you weren't to know. How on earth were you to do things differently? (If anything, I'm sure your getting the rescue collie was also so that Elliot would have a buddie and someone to play with) yet I'm unable to see my situation for what it maybe really was - a growing family that was taking every ounce of energy from me. I guess that's grieving - feeling guilty so that we have something to blame for the void that is in our lives. Thank you for posting. Much appreciated.
     
    tantrumbean likes this.
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