Thursday 2 August 2012

When to say goodbye?

Today's post is very personal and nothing to do with writing. Our beloved  dog, Zoe, now 14 1/2, is nearing the end of her life. Three times in the last months we've got ready to ring the vet and arrange  for her to be put down. Each time we've left it until the next day and she's picked up again and staggered on.
She's still eating, going for a very short walk, and enjoys playing with her ball in the evening for a few minutes – how can we say goodbye to her when she's obviously still having a good quality of life? She smiles up at us, wagging her tail, and I know she's still happy.
The vet has set that as long as her quality of life is good then the decision is up to us. She has occasional bouts of incontinence that these only happens every other day. It's relatively easy to keep the floor washed but I'm very aware the house doesn't smell quite as pleasant as it should.
Her being here is now impinging on our quality of life – we can't have guests, we can't  go out at the same time and certainly can't go on holiday. At what point do we decide to say goodbye?
If someone else would make the decision for me I'd find it so much easier. Every day is a challenge and so stressful. sometimes I think it would be easy if we made the decision and then it would be over.
Friends of ours were in the same position and finally made the decision to have the dog put down - that said he could give the dog palliative care and he might live for another couple of weeks. Our friends decided Jamie's time had come and went ahead. They'd spent, like us, several weeks trying to make the difficult decision and just couldn't face taking him home and having to go through it all over again.
What would you do? Do you agree this their decision?


  1. Dear Fennella,
    This is such a hard decision but your lovely pet will go on as long as he can - and I understand you not wanting to part with him. However by the time I read this you may already have made your decision. We regret not taking that decision sooner for our beloved labrador. It is only a matter of days and you don't want to be forced into it when the dog is suffering.We cannot tell how much pain they can bear or what it feels like for them. The general opinion of a lot of vets is that people leave it too long. So, you have time to thank your pet. Our vet came to our home and Pepper laid his head on my knee and it was over in seconds. Not very nice but so much better than letting him suffer more pain. (I do feel he wondered why I was hurting him at the end as he looked at me with such a soulful gaze. But it had to be done. We can't let them die slowly and maybe in agony. Lots of blessings on your decision.
    Best wishes,

  2. I am sorry I didn't remember that she is Zoe. She is lovely. What a hard choice to make. In the end you will know it was the right time.

  3. Brenda
    amazingly Zoe has rallied, started eating again and her 'lapses' are every four or five days. When these happen every day we will have the vet out. As you say, we will know when it's the right time.

  4. A friend once told me, the animal will show you when the time is right. I tend to agree. My old & beloved black lab was only 13 when he died. He had a few problems and wasn't well for a while, gradually getting worse. It happened suddenly. He just seemed to give up. We couldn't budge him from his bed and he wouldn't move and was simply urinating there. The vet came and said his heart was bad and it was time to do the right thing. But, in his own way, Ben had decided that this was his ending, and so it was. Sounds as though you're right, your dog still has some quality of life. If not, she wouldn't be tackling even a short walk or wagging her tail. But I do appreciate how hard it is. After Ben died, we lost his brother 2.5 years later.
    Best wishes to you.