Quality of life

We've had the discussion many times and sadly more often these days.  Quality of life; just what does that mean?  For us it means our happiness right?  Depending on the person and that persons specific "things" that are important to them in life.  But what about our dogs?  How do know when the quality of life is gone for a dog.  It is a tough call; how bad is bad?  What is important in a dogs life?   I don't know how many times people have said to me "don't you think it's time?"  How do you know when it's time?

For starters, eating is a biggy for me.  If a dog is not eating and they are typically a fabulous eater then it can be a huge sign.  Of course not if they are just sick and stopped eating; I'm talking about the end of life not eating.  Do they enjoy at least a fraction of their day?  Do they really enjoy it?  It truly is a horrible thing that we guardians are most often forced to do; make a decision on life.  But as a dog owner it is our duty and the more care that we give our dogs the longer they live making it more imperative for us to decide.

I always say that I would be very happy if my very old dogs just slept away; I think most dog owners would like this.  No decisions to be made, life just slips away when it is time.  If our dogs were in the wild they would be long gone far before we ever even start considering that it might be time.  Our dogs lives are literally in our hands; and that my friends can be a very sad thing.  Taking the best of care that we can through their short lives is our pride and joy.  Taking it away at the end is one of the most difficult things we will ever be faced with.

I think when you reach a point when the thought crosses your mind, it is our worst nightmare.  We brush it away as a "what am I thinking?" moment.


  1. I totally agree with you. a heart wrenching decision. I had to face this last July, with my 16 1/2 year old Scarlett. watching her fade away was killing me. when there was no more quality of life, no eating or drinking, I knew what I had to do. I did it out of the immense love I had for her. she gave me so much in those 16 1/2 years and I couldn't bear to see her suffer. I still cry over my girl, but I know I gave her the last act of kindness I could give her. she was too important to me to see her suffer. it broke my heart, but it is part of the responsibility of caring for my beloved baby. this was like a terrible nightmare for me. everyone who truly loves their pets know how it is. I would rather have the pain of my decision, than have her have the pain she had at the end of her life.

  2. I have had to make this decision way too many times, dogs, cats, horse. It is easier when they just slip quietly away, however, more often that is not the case. Never easy, always guilt comes with it, was it the right choice? Should I have waited a little longer, did I let it go too long? I keep promising myself I will not put myself through it again, no more critters, however, I cannot imagine my life without them!

  3. Sherri, Sue Romaniuk here, just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. I'm not a dog owner, but I love animals and wish that every pet owner was as responsible and compassionate as you. I too have had to make that heartbreaking decision, but figure it's the kindest final gift you can give to a much-loved pet - you take on pain so you can release them from theirs. And I'm sorry about Jessie.


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