How Do You Say Goodbye? by da-AL

The good vet kept my little friend warm, wrapped in a special heating pad…

This week I’ve been looking after a friend’s two elderly cats. While one shows her age only by her lack of teeth, the one in this photo was thin and slow.

A couple of nights ago, this little guy was listless. My husband and I massaged him, got him to drink some broth, turned up the room’s thermostat, and made sure he was comfy on his pillow throughout the night.

The next morning he was back to looking awful.

A couple of months earlier he’d appeared to be on the brink of death, yet pulled through. Now, given how he’d perked up somewhat the night before, I took him to the vet optimistic that some intravenous fluids might perk him up.

Unfortunately, the vet affirmed that there was remote hope that the kitty had any more good days allotted to him, probably not a single day left without constant pain and nausea.

Of the few pets I’ve had, I’ve never had to decide whether to euthanize them.

In the case of this sweet boy, my friend decided. I did, however, decide whether to be with the kitty when the final injection was administered. The vet’s caveat was that the cat wouldn’t care either way. Given that, he suggested that if I stayed, I might always remember the cat at his worst.

After considerable deliberation, I opted not to be there.

Have you had to make such a decision? If so, how and what did you choose?

Do’s and don’ts for if your friend has lost a pet.

Here and here are professional links about pet euthanasia.

78 thoughts on “How Do You Say Goodbye? by da-AL”

  1. I’ve never had to decide myself either.
    I remember Tenn’s last goodbye. She was a 14 years old german shepherd.
    She was drifting off right from between my arms at noon, heart beating fast and breathing hard. I panicked, and called at her between sobs. She stirred, came back and licked my nose, and told me everything was fine.
    She spent the afternoon with me, as usual, we had a walk, and in the evening I left for a lacrosse team party. I approached her on her bed, patted her head and kissed her nose. Told her that I’d see her in a few hours and that my mum would be there for her. She stared at me right in the eyes, big eyes, with an expression I had never seen before. Something was different.
    I might have rationalised ex-post, but when my mother called me in tears about 50 minutes later, I understood that was her goodbye. She didn’t want me to see her go. She chose for me, and decided to spare me the pain. My mother told me she walked up to her on the couch, told her she was going, laid down against her and drifted off, with a bit of emotion but otherwise peacefully.
    Sorry for this long comment. That goodbye is a wound I’ll bear with me for my entire life, and it’s sometimes soothing to share it. Or is it maybe that it allows me to go back to those moments, as if I had the chance to choose to stay there by her bed, patting her head for a little longer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bless him, and you, and the owner (who made a responsible decision).
    I’ve had to make such decisions .. the biggest and being my horses. Knowing when that time is right to relieve them permanently of a long-term life altering pain… when they still nuzzle your shoulder for reassuring affection, like any other day.
    Having animals is the most humbling of experiences and yet the unconditional love and happiness they bring to our lives means we, as humans, will continue to yearn for animal company x

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  3. I don’t think I would want to be there, Daal. I saw a movie on TV recently about a man who stayed with his dog till the very end when the vet gave the injection. That’s the terrible thing about having a pet. Their lives are so short Happy New Year to you, Daal.

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  4. What a loving nurse and caregiver you were to Mickey, Daal. You did all you could to help him at home. I have had to euthanize a pet and I never stay to watch it done. I just hand the ill pet over to the vet or assistant, sobbing all the while.

    I nearly cried when I read this post and looked at dear Mickey. I am glad he is out of his misery now. Your mom texted me and told me the sad news. Evidently, Margaret has been comforting Adela for the last couple days and said she would be checking on your mom often!

    Adela and I had our usual 3 hour pizza meal on Wednesday evening at Central Market, a local grocery store with a nice eating area. We enjoy our get togethers! She said you liked my Christmas card and that you sent me good wishes. Thank you!



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  5. I have had tp have horses put down. One was a horse I’d had for several years and it was a heart breaking decision. I was there with him. I felt he needed me to be there. A horse being put down is not like a dog or cat and it is hard to see. But he was in pain and it was a release. The vet left me alone with him. He was on the floor of the riding arena. I went up to him and patted his soft nose and wailed with grief. But I have never regretted my decision.

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  6. I’ve had to go through this twice–with two cats. The first time, I cancelled the vet appointment twice. The third time I went, left the cat with the vet, and ran out in tears. The second time, I held my cat in my arms as he passed on. My daughter was there, too. It was a much nicer experience. I’m sure all the cats look down on us and purr.

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  7. In 2009, we made the difficult decision to euthanize our Long-haired Dachshund, who had been part of our lives for 14 years. We said goodbye to her, at the Humane Society office, and she was taken away for her final injection, which was followed by cremation, a while later. We were not allowed to witness either final event.

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  8. I haven’t ever had to make this decision, but I fear the time is coming when I will have to. My oldest cat is now 15 and she is showing signs of feeling unwell. My heart is breaking as I write this. It is not a decision I ever wanted to make, but having Daisy in my life is a gift I will always cherish.

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  9. Ah! Yes, I have made that decision. I stayed. And I swore after it that I would never do it again. But now, many years later I am not so sure. Sending warm wishes…and a shout out for a New Year full of love and light!

    Liked by 2 people

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