DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently had to euthanize my dog. He was about 13 years old -- very old for a dog. When I would get home from work, he laid in the same spot and didn’t move. He stopped eating and was soiling himself. I tried to get him to stand up, but he would nip at me and cry out in pain.
My family and I managed to get him cleaned up and moved into our van to take him to the vet. The vet said he had lost a majority of muscle mass in his legs and recommended putting him to sleep rather than spending thousands of dollars in surgery to try to repair the little muscle left. We decided to put him to sleep, but now all I feel is guilt and regret, like I gave up on him. How do you come to terms with having made a decision for your family pet like this? -- We Miss Him
DEAR WE MISS HIM: Saying goodbye to a family pet can feel like saying goodbye to a family member, especially when the pet has been part of the family for so long. It is natural for you to feel a range of emotions. Because these days there are so many options to keep pets alive, it is understandable that you might think that you should have done more to extend your pet’s life. But the reality is that sometimes you have to let your pet go. Trust that your vet would not have suggested that it was time to euthanize your dog unless he was certain that there were no other viable options.
Now is the time for you to mourn your loss and to be grateful for the time you shared together.