Playing God

snickersAs a pet owner, at what point do you stop letting nature take its natural course and step in to “play God”?

This is a decision that Ray and I have been tackling over these past two weeks. All of a sudden two weeks ago, Snickers was unable to properly use her back legs and when she did manage to stand she would walk with her back curved in such a way that it looked broken. We took her to the vet, who ran some tests and did a few x-rays and found out that some of the disks in her spine have growths on them, her heart is enlarged and her kidneys are starting to fail. In other words – the 15 almost 16 year old dog is deteriorating and from the looks of it pretty quickly.

He sent us home with 3 different medications… it was a battle trying to get her to take them, but I finally found the trick… use meatballs! She hasn’t been quite the same though even with the medication. She can no longer squat down correctly to do either one of her businesses outside… that’s if she’s even able to hold in the pee long enough to get outside.

We have tried making it more comfortable for her… but even so you can see that things just aren’t right. She still walks with an arch in her back and she still loses control over her back legs from time to time. Her once perfectly straight tail now looks like there is a permanent kink in it.

The dog that just over two weeks ago was a wandering, sniffing, food gobbling machine has become a shadow of her former self. Though I noticed that the medication helped somewhat, I have to admit to myself that she is not the same and not doing well at all. Ray has made his peace with it… so why is it so hard for me to?

I called and made an appointment – her last appointment – with the vet a short while ago. Ray and I had talked about doing this last week, but I couldn’t go through with it. I didn’t see that look of pity… that begging look of “I’m miserable” in her eyes. Though there are times now when I still don’t think I see it, I know that it is there and I know that it is time. I don’t know why it is so hard for me… that dog has been nothing but a thorn in my side since the day I met her… and yet, she is family.

Maybe it’s so hard because I see how much Noah adores her… maybe its because when I look at her laying so peacefully, she doesn’t look sick like the way that Sammie did. She hasn’t stopped eating the way that Sammie did… but everything else is starting to fail her and I know it.

Maybe it’s because I just don’t feel right being one of the people to make the decision that her life has been a good one and now it’s time to go. Who am I to decide that? Should I even decide that? Will there one day be repercussions of my helping make that decision… these are the things that are running through my head… and yet… another voice keeps asking me -“Is it okay to keep her locked up when ever you are not in the room, which is often, because her bladder can no longer be trusted?  Is it okay that she is basically confined to one part of the house, because it is the easy clean-up room? Is this the way that you want her to spent her last few days or months?”  The answer to each of those would have to be no.

I can not expect her to take the decision making away from us the way that Sammie had… that day in December of last year, when I had made what was to be her last appointment… and she passed away 2 hours before it was to happen… in my arms.  Snickers in not in the same situation… she doesn’t have the same condition… and that will not happen this time. And so now I must be strong… for my husband and for his dog… and at 2 pm today I stood there at the vet with her just one last time and I played God.

61 thoughts on “Playing God”

  1. This is so very very hard. But Snickers will be better off. She won’t be in pain anymore and will be able to run around, pain free and love on you guys from the clouds.

  2. That is such a tough decision to have to make. We had to make that tough decision last January and to this day, it still breaks my heart. You have to do what we do and tell yourself that she will no longer be in pain and is in doggie heaven running and jumping and playing with the other pets waiting until she can see you again. Prayers go out to you and your family for sure. Our pets our definitely a part of our family and we love them bunches and bunches.


  3. It’s amazing how pets become members of our family. My parents got a puppy the same year my daughter was born, so she’s growing up with him and I know it’s going to be super hard for all of us when that time comes. You did the right thing and now she is pain free.

  4. I have tears in my eyes reading this. I never had pets growing up, so I’ve never lost one. However, we have 2 cats that are about 15 and 17 and have had several health problems. There are times when I think it’s over, but then they bounce back. I know it’s coming and it’s so hard to think about.

    I will keep you and your family in my thoughts during this difficult time.

  5. I am so sorry that you have had to face such a difficult situation. Irnoically enough, my parents and I are facing the same situation with our 15 year old chihuaha Rusty. He is having problems with his bladder and the other bodily functions. Tests show a thinning colon and possible stomach cancer. His vet has prescribed medication which should help make him comfortable….but we know his days are limited. And every day we watch for a sign that he is suffering…because if he is, then we will “play God” although none of us welcome it.

    Hugs to you and yours!

  6. I’m so, so sorry. I’ve had a couple beloved pets put to sleep, and it’s absolutely the hardest decision to make…knowing they’re in pain and miserable, and knowing that it’s the right choice…but it’s still so, so hard.
    .-= Littlesaur´s last blog ..Tinysaur sick again =-.

  7. Okay, now I’m crying. This is just so sad and brought back memories of when my first cat died and how I had to play God for my three dad’s cats 4 months after he died. Poor Snickers, it’s so sad to see them deteriorating but you are right, what kind of life would that be stuck in one room all the time and uncomfortable. You did the right thing but it’s very hard to do, believe I know! That’s such a cute picture of Snickers!

    Congrats on your SITS day!
    .-= Karen author of “My Funny Dad, Harry”´s last blog ..My Last Birthday Present From Dad =-.

  8. I really can empathize with you. I think making the decision to euthanize is never easy, but we do it with love. I had to make that choice last year with my beloved ‘Frank’…aka the Best Kitty in the Whole World…I was distraught for days. I’d wondered if I’d done the right thing and maybe it would’ve been better to let nature take it’s course…etc. It’s hard to accept.
    I think it’s because we can’t communicate in words to our pets and have them communicate back to us, it’s the not knowing if they understand we love them and don’t want them to suffer. That’s the hardest part.
    I wish you peace and reassurance that you’ve made the right choice. Snickers is resting.
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Why it sucks to be a Snowperson* =-.

  9. 🙁

    I can’t imagine when my dogs pass away. I’m going to be a total wreck.
    .-= Yaya´s last blog ..SOLD! ‘We Did It’ D-Vlog! =-.

  10. A few years ago, my sister and I had to take one of our family pets to be laid to rest. He was physically healthy, but psychologically and emotionally he was not. We opted to walk to the vet’s, because Buddy loved going for walks, and we felt he should do his favorite thing on his last day with us. We stayed him him in the “family room” until the very end. It was REALLY hard for us, but we stayed for him.

    It’s always difficult to say goodbye to a pet. It’s especially difficult to be in a position of determining whether now is the time to say goodbye. It’s a decision that cannot be undone, making it even more agonizing.
    .-= WannabeMomErin´s last blog ..It’s all in the name =-.

  11. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is. It’s because even though our pets are our pets, they’re also our family. They love unconditionally, they’re excited just when you walk through a door. I think you made the right decision. It’s always been odd for me though, what we’re willing to do for pets but not willing to do for people.
    .-= Brandi´s last blog ..A Flood of Light =-.

  12. So terribly sorry…we just had to put one of our pets to sleep and it was harder on me than it was on my kids by far! Would it help to tell yourself you’re not playing God but handing her over to a place with no more pain? And is it because, as women, we’re used to nurturing everyone we love and this goes against that sentiment? In any case, you did the right thing.
    .-= Tara´s last blog ..Christmas in Long Branch… =-.

  13. My mom just went through this with her cat, and it is such a hard thing to do. One of her cats got sick suddenly and passed away in her sleep last year. Her other cat had been deteriorating for the past year and could barely walk, but she was hanging on. Eventually my mom made the heart-wrenching decision to “play God” because Sable’s quality of life was just not good anymore.

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that. The loss of a pet is so difficult because they really do become part of the family.

  14. I’m so sorry about your dog. 🙁

    We almost had to make the decision in October with our dog. We had actually set up the appointment, but he died in our arms the night before we were supposed to take him in. In a way it was a relief. Just thinking about playing God makes me feel sick to my stomach and I think I might have become physically ill if I had to take him in and have it done.

    I’m really sorry for your loss.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..You Like Me, You Really Like Me!! 🙂 =-.

  15. Luckily, I’ve never had to make that decision, but it would be a hard one to make. Our pets become just like our family. My daughter had a pet rat (I know, but the rat was so cute once you got used to her) that she got when the rat was a baby. It acted just like a dog or cat. When we let her out of her cage, and you called her, she would come to you squeaking all the way. But the life span of a rat is 3 years, and when she died I couldn’t believe how sad I was.

    Happy SITS Day!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..TEEN TRENDS: "HOOKING UP" =-.

  16. Oh I think I’m going to cry a bit (and at work, that really isn’t good). How very, very sad! I am so sorry you had to make that decision. You can take solace in the fact Snickers led a good life and was deeply loved. Good for you for being so brave!
    .-= Jenn´s last blog ..Review: At The Firefly Gate =-.

  17. It is so hard to lose a pet…they are part of your family. I’m so sorry you had to make that decision. I am dreading having to make that one with my little Yorkie.
    .-= Tonya´s last blog ..Secret Santa =-.

  18. So sorry for your loss. It’s not easy, but I don’t doubt it was the right thing. It’s not the hardest things I’ve done as a pet owner though, because when a pet is suffering you want to ease it. The hardest thing I’ve had to do is take my two cats to the {no-kill} animal shelter and leave them there. They were attacking my daughter. But *I* miss them and *I* wish they were still in my life. It hurts knowing they’re still out there, and that I don’t get to enjoy their company anymore. And it hurts feeling like I abandoned them.

    I really think you did the right thing.
    .-= Holly @ Domestic Dork´s last blog ..BALLOONS! =-.

  19. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had to go through losing such a special member of your family. The subject is a topical one for me, since my mom’s pet-sitter and I had to make the same decision about my mom’s dog last week. My mom is in Thailand on a 3-week trip, and her dog has been battling Cancer for about a year. My own little dog, Spencer, who has been with us since our pre-kid days, is starting to get old, crotchity, and has already had one massive surgery. I’m dreading what I know is in the near future.
    .-= Jenn Erickson/Rook No. 17´s last blog ..COUTURE CANDY DIY, PART II ~ Chocolate Transfer Sheets for you to try =-.

  20. Oh I’m so sorry. Our dog is 9, almost 10, but as a bigger dog I know we’re starting to get towards the tail end of things and I don’t even want to think about it. He was my husband’s dog before I met him and I think they kind of “grew up” together (well, he was 23 when they met, but still). It’s always hard – they are family.

    Happy SITS day.
    .-= My Baby Sweetness´s last blog ..Mold! =-.

  21. I am so sorry. My parents’ dog is getting up there in age, and I just dread the day when we have to weigh this decision…I have no words for you, I am just so sorry. *big hug*
    .-= Kristin´s last blog ..Blargh =-.

  22. Oh my goodness, she looks just like our Nick–which MH had to make the same decision quite a few years ago. It was very hard and we still talk about him from time to time.
    .-= Lorri Jeanne´s last blog ..Buttoned Up Review & Giveaway =-.

  23. have you seen Marley and Me? That movie makes me cry harder than any other..I don’t want to give away the movie but the last scene totally reminds me of this post. It’s amazing how dogs become family. I don’ tknow what I’d do without my Tinkerbell. I told her she’s never allowed to leave…so I won’t even think about that day!
    .-= Jen@ After The Alter´s last blog ..Christmas Traditions =-.

  24. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this. I can’t imagine how hard this must be. I have a lab/shepherd mix named Henry. He’s a year and half. Pets bring so much comfort, joy and laughter into our lives.

  25. You did the right thing…and not by playing God or by any other means than being what you are. A loving, caring person who saw what had to be done to help out a furry family member who couldn’t make the decision. My heart is with you…I have had to make that decision two times myself and I know that I might be faced with it in the future because I will always have one or two of those furry babies in the family.

    .-= regina moore´s last blog ..It’s a Mini Santa!!! =-.

  26. Making the decision to take you pet in is so tough. They become part of your family before you know it. My husband made a comment the other day that he couldn’t believe what a “dog person” he had become after meeting me as I have two beagles. Snickers is in a better place and lived a wonderful life.
    .-= Allison´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – What’s Out There? =-.

  27. This brought tears to my eyes. I have had pets my whole life and recently my parents pug, Jesse – 12 years old – passed away. He was fine, then over the course of 2 days his life changed, he couldn’t breath easy and he ended up passing away in my dad’s arms at 5:45 am. After a long day before at the ER, a cardiologist and having to have an oxygen mask. We love our pets. I have a pug and a pot bellied pig. Being in the position you were in is the hardest. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

  28. I’m so sorry about Snickers. I’m about to have to do the same thing with my dog. He’s 10 but that is the top of his life span for a dog his breed and size. He’s regressing to puppylike behavior, and not the good kind, chewing, accidents, etc. It’s terrible, the kids, who never play with him, I know will be devastated. He is such a great dog, he was my first baby! I feel for you and your family and hope I have your strength!

    Alex aka Ma What’s For Dinner
    .-= Alex aka Ma Whats For Dinner´s last blog ..Our First Press! =-.

  29. I’m so sorry for the decision you had to make. We made the same one about 2 1/2 years for my boyfriend’s dog. It was awful, but we knew it was the right decision.

    I got a puppy last year at this time and even now I cry for the day when I will have to let her go.

    My deepest sympathy. Hugs.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..I need a man……to take out the garbage. =-.

  30. First, congratulations on your recent SITS day. I am new, and you are my first visit. I am quite glad to have joined!
    More importantly, I am so sorry for the loss of your dog. I, also, stepped in and played God to my sweet Shih Tzu Buddy about a year ago. It was one of the hardest decisions to make. I ache for your loss, as I remember mine. I hope that now, a few weeks later, you are feeling peace that you made the right decision. Thank you, thank you, for sharing your story.

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