College of Veterinary Medicine Home Pet Loss Hotline


In the weeks before Buddy passed, I was feeling optimistic. Buddy, our beloved Buddy-Bud was battling canine lymphoma, and I was going to shower him with love, home cooked organic meals, and homeopathic and vitamin therapies to improve his quality of life as much as possible until the inevitable happened, or (hopefully) until he got better. Then, we turned such a drastic corner and there really was no hope, no turning back. I had wanted to boast updates on Bud's condition, but there was no improvement.  

  Things went from bad to worse, and in a couple of weeks I was faced with a difficult decision. What I wanted most for that lovely creature, was peace in the end. What there was, was howling, barking, paralysis and incontinence. Twice I called about having him "put down." The first time was on a Saturday night - to the emergency animal clinic my vet always references on his answering machine. After finding out all the details - including directions on how to get there - I said to the woman at the other end "I'm going to have to call you back..." I really wanted him to go on his own. You know, there would have always been that "Did I do the right thing?" question haunting me.

The second time was on Tuesday, November 28th. Buddy was outside laying on the snow in the front yard. It was a beautiful sunny day, and it was soothing to Buds to be laying on the cold ground. I made sure I had a wool blanket under him and kept checking him to see if his body was too cold. He could no longer move his hind legs to get up and go potty, and I knew he needed to go. He started howling, then barking and I thought "...This is it..." I talked to one of the veterinary assistants at my vets practice, and we made a tentative arrangement for the vet to come to my house that afternoon to put Buddy to sleep.

That afternoon, about a half hour after my husband got home from work, Buddy passed away. I was with him all day and finally, after bringing him back into the house - carrying all 65 pounds of him in the blanket like a sling - I laid down on the floor with him so he could see my face and I just started to talk about his life with us. I started with how he found us, and about how he used to steal little snacks off the kitchen counter (a pint of cream, a loaf of freshly baked bread left out to cool...) Ben and Daddy were in the living room, and oops - something spilled, so I got up to help clean it. Buddy must have turned his head to watch me go because when I came back in to the kitchen he was looking my way and I said "Well hello old friend!" Then I noticed that he wasn't breathing. He wasn't breathing. For nearly three weeks I had listened to him struggling against swollen lymph glands to fill his lungs. It would keep me awake at night. Now, at last, he had found some peace.

I cried, but I was so relieved for him to be free of his suffering, and that I didn't have to be the one to end his life. My husband said he doesn't believe in euthanizing pets. I now understand why. Allowing a creature the honor of living out its own life to its natural end isn't always easy or pretty but I believe that we made the right choice. Buddy waited until his whole family was home, and then let go.

Kyle and Rebecca S.

Revised Jan. 25, 2007     |     Printer Friendly Version