Euthanasia, putting your dog to sleep, it is time

One of the most difficult and heart-wrenching decisions many pet owners must face. . . How do you know when it is time for putting your dog to sleep?

For over a year now you have seen a rapid decrease in Rover’s strength. He is not eating well, either. He’s a good boy, but now he has even puddled in the house a couple of times. And he is sure having to concentrate more to stand up. He has trouble going outside, too, stumbles a lot, and has difficulty squatting. It seems as though he is doing it with great effort and mostly just to please you.

Not to mention the poor old guy’s eyesight. It is pretty well gone. He now seems a little disoriented even in familiar territory, and needs to take his time to figure out where he is. He mostly just sleeps a lot.

The hardest part for you, the owner, is. . . Rover has been more affectionate than ever. He is close to you all the time, and seems to be trying to reassure you. You feel guilty, but you just are not ready to let Rover go.

Then the time you have been dreading comes. Rover collapses when you try to take him out to relieve himself. You cannot stop yourself from crying – and you don’t even want to.

The call you place to your vet is one of the hardest you have ever made. He is patient and sympathetic, and tells you to bring Rover in. You are a bundle of emotions, but at least the agony of the decision and dreaded call are over.

It is a painful struggle for Rover to get in the car. You and he both strain as you tearfully try to help him in. He seems a little confused, because this never used to be hard for him when he was young.

You reach your destination and help Rover out of the car. He has a hard time getting out, and seems to appreciate your help. Then he follows you obediently up the steps, even though each one is huge for him and he falters some. He is still watching you with the same intense love and trust as he did when his training was completed.

You ask the vet for some private time with Rover. For a while you talk to him and stroke him. You tell him how wonderful he has been to you over the years, and how much you love him.

Rover is nearly asleep with his head in your lap. You sense his awareness and acceptance of what needs to be done. He is happy and comforted that you are there.

The vet looks in and you nod to him that you are ready. He injects Rover with the necessary drug. It takes effect in seconds, and your faithful friend passes on. You showed your love by doing the right thing.

Rover was with his master, the way any dog would want to be. He was a true friend to the end.