Pet Loss Library
Euthanasia guilt and your pet
by Kitty Walker, LMSW-ACP
How do we work through the guilt of putting down our 10-year-old rottie, even though she was fully aware and mentally sharp but arthritis had made her back legs useless?
A and T
I am sorry that you had to go through this experience with your rottie. Making the euthanasia decision for a beloved pet has to be one of the most agonizing crossroads a human can confront in life. Obviously, you made the decision based on seeing her struggle with a poor quality of life, and now you are left with the pangs of guilt that are common to all who travel in your shoes.
In terms of "working through" the feeling of guilt, I would recommend that you first of all see them as an inevitable part of the grief process---especially for those who are forced into the decision regarding euthanasia. One works through the feelings by first of all allowing them, then talking about them and perhaps writing about them. When you feel bogged down by guilt feelings, it might be helpful to consider the memory of your healthy, mobile rottie and the loss of her quality of life when arthritis took away the use of her legs. You could not give her back her legs, which I am sure you would have done if you could, but you could ease her pain and suffering in a way that she could not do for herself.
My heart goes out to the two of you at this time. May your healing be deep, and may you find comfort in both your memories and the knowledge that you did the best you could when confronted with the most painful dilemma a pet owner has to face.
"Everyone is very friendly when we arrive with our dogs. We have had a few emergencies with our dogs and I always feel very confident that my dogs' health is the highest priority. The follow up from the office when my dog was in the emergency room overnight was extremely appreciated. I felt that the practice cared just as much for my pets as I did. This type of attentiveness is exactly why I would never go to another practice."
"Everything is great. The staff (both drs & reception) are amazing which is why we keep coming back. Miriam is extremely knowledgable and helpful for whatever we need. Our pups love going to the vet!"
"Everyone is always so great towards me and Bella. I'm so happy I have such a great vet office, keep up the good work :)"
"The staff is always so friendly and you can tell that they love their jobs. Every pet is greeted with enthusiasm and compassion."
""Value" is a tough thing - veterinary care is expensive. The line-item receipt really helps me understand all of the components of a visit and a checkup. There's never getting around the 'gulp factor' when it's time to pay...but I feel that my pets are getting excellent, and not excessive, care."
"Your "front of the house" people are great. Miriam and the rest are efficient and courteous, and clearly know and love our dogs. Can't buy that."
"Dr. Schnoor has treated our dogs since weaning, 9 years ago. She is professional, knowledgeable and compassionate. She helped save my female dog's life a few years ago, for which I will always be grateful. Dr. Ross has been a great addition. He is also conscientious and well informed. Human hospitals could learn a lesson."
"Dr. Ross is very thorough and professional. He takes time with clients to review pet status and healthcare planning. The support staff is great with the animals."
"I really appreciated the follow up email I received from the doctor asking if I had any additional questions"
"Something I really appreciated about this office is that the woman who made my reservation for Dylan actually remembered him (and loved him) from his stay while with Feline Friends. It's nice to know that the staff are not just veterinary professionals, but also animal lovers."