When Is Your Dog Too Old?

Okay, so I know that pets aren’t people, but as I watch old age making life hard on Shadow, it brings up a very unpleasant subject. I mean she has a little trouble walking, and it’s harder for her to get on and off the sofa and bed than it was even a  year ago. And she’s definitely hard of hearing now.

This was a little over five years ago, shortly before she became a member of the family. Even then she wasn’t especially young, as evidenced by her white beard.

But…putting her ‘to sleep?’ I can’t help it, it makes me wonder if that’s ever the right thing to do. We don’t euthanize the elderly humans in our nation (nor should we ever consider it!).

So what make it okay to do it to our four-legged family members?

Is it really to spare them? Or is it because caring for aged pets makes life too difficult for us? Is it too stressful? Too messy? Too hard?

Why is it okay for us to decide that they’ve lived long enough and….’it’s time?’

Just the thought of driving her to the vet’s office, knowing she trusts us to do what’s best for her…with the intentions of ending her life…is enough to make me cry.

I’ve never had to make a decision like this before, and it’s so much harder than I ever dreamed it would be. I’m not ready to say goodbye. I’m not sure I ever will be.  How am I supposed to know when the time is right? Can anyone tell me that? And how do you make yourself get in the car for that last trip, knowing you’re not going to be bringing her home again?

How do I prepare for that moment when I say, all right, give her the shot? Just asking for some advice is making me fall apart…and they’re only questions. What am I going to do when it’s real?

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