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MAArcher

Preparing for euthanasia

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MAArcher

Given that there often seems to be some fellow UJer's hunting partner coming to the end of the road, I thought I'd put some of my thoughts down in a post.  Maybe some others can add their tips or experiences as well so that we might make things easier for those headed into it for the first time.  

 

Its not something we like to think about, but after putting my GSP Annie down a couple weeks ago, I've realized that I wish I had given it some more forethought and that I was more prepared.  Even though I knew it was in our immediate future, I didn't really have the details worked out, at least not for an emergency.  All I did was sort of prepare myself for the loss and I had a plan for one final family walk with the wife and kids to say goodbye,  just before a scheduled appointment with the vet.  It would be as good as it could be, the wife and kids would have a final goodbye and I'd take her to the vet myself as I preferred to go through the very end alone.  

 

As it worked out, I had to euthanize Annie suddenly and there are some things I wish I had know about and researched ahead of time, like that home euthanasia was an option.  I still don't know what that would cost but if it was reasonable, I really would have preferred it to have taken place at home. 

 

I ended up coming to the decision to euthanize Annie when she suddenly lost the use of her back legs.  The last family walk and scheduled vet appointment wasn't an option any longer.  I took her to the closest 24 hour emergency hospital.  At the vet it broke my heart to have to leave Annie, even for just for those few minutes, while I went and paid for the procedure and the vet put the catheter in.  Looking over my shoulder to see her struggle without me (as much as she could in her condition) on a cold steel table, as I left the room, isn't a great memory.  If I could do it over again, I'd have asked to pay over the phone before arrival and requested that the entire procedure be performed in one room with me at the Annie's side the whole time.  I'd also recommend, if you are able, to do it after hours at a 24 hour vet.  Its bad enough fighting back the tears in front of some vet young enough to be your daughter; I'd really wouldn't want to do it in front of a waiting room full of sick cats and dogs and their owners.  I don't know what a regular daytime euthanasia appointment costs, but the 3:00 am appointment at the emergency hospital cost was only $135.  The privacy and individual attention I received is worth the differential I think, so if after hours was an option, you may want to take it.  I don't think it would be as good as a house-call, but better than a busy daytime appointment.

 

So the next time I will have researched my home euthanasia options.  I didn't even know it was an option until I woke my wife up and told her I had to take Annie to a vet and she told me it was a thing.  If affordable, I think that would be the best option.  But again, I'd recommend having that number ahead of time and save yourself from having to Google "home euthanasia" at 2:00 am on Christmas night and not being able to find what you're looking for.  

 

Another thing to consider, though grim, is that if you want the dog buried at home and you think the dog will come to an end, one way or the other, in the winter time, it might make sense to have the hole dug before the ground freezes.   I found digging her grave cathartic, but if someone isn't physically able to dig through frozen ground, I'd recommend either having the hole ready or making arrangements with someone who can do it for you ahead of time so that you aren't left with your dog in a box in your truck while you try and figure out what to do.  Obviously if you're cremating you avoid this.  But I really prefer burial and wanted Annie laid to rest next to our first dog that she was friends with when she was a puppy. 

 

If you're reading this and dealing with the end of your bird dogs life; I hope you both get through it as peacefully as possible.  

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UplandHntr

Our vet has a separate room for this. Large room with furniture and rugs etc, looks and feels just like a family room. Also has a separate exit that locks behind you when you leave.  No stainless steel anywhere. They encourage you to bring blankets and toys etc. i brought a couple of fresh frozen pheasant wings. Not sure the vet cared for it but...

 

sad topic but I hope its a good discussion. Im probably a few months away with my 12 y o Golden. Hes been at the vet so much they all know him like hes their own. This will be a really tough one to go through

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MAArcher

My vet had a room and they spread a blanket on the floor.  I also brought Annie in with a blanket that was hers and asked that they put it in the box with her.  I would have preferred the whole procedure take place in the room but for some reason they had me carry her out back and put her on a metal cart (they did put a towel down first) and then asked me to go do the paper work while they put the catheter in, then they wheeled the cart into the private room so I could put her on the blanket on the floor.  I just wish that in those final moments she didn't even have to spend one moment in an unfamiliar environment without me.  I'm sure that there are many guy thinking its the end, and just a dog; but it bothered me, more so because I wasn't prepared for it. 

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gunsrus

I've had the Vet come to my home and the dog was comfortable in his own bed . I've also drove to the Vet's office and parked out back . The dog was comfortable in his bed and my wife and daughter say their good byes there . They leave and I stay hugging my dog as he slips away . My Vet , the Vet tech and myself all cry ...... it's expected . From there I drive an hour to where I have already called and planned his Cremation . I wait and bring him home and there he sits with those before him waiting for my turn when we will all be released into the wind over one of our favorite Covers . ....... Yes , I have put a lot of thought into this . I am old and death is expected . 

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gunsrus
1 minute ago, MAArcher said:

My vet had a room and they spread a blanket on the floor.  I also brought Annie in with a blanket that was hers and asked that they put it in the box with her.  I would have preferred the whole procedure take place in the room but for some reason they had me carry her out back and put her on a metal cart (they did put a towel down first) and then asked me to go do the paper work while they put the catheter in, then they wheeled the cart into the private room so I could put her on the blanket on the floor.  I just wish that in those final moments she didn't even have to spend one moment in an unfamiliar environment without me.  I'm sure that there are many guy thinking its the end, and just a dog; but it bothered me, more so because I wasn't prepared for it. 

I know it's not your regular Vet and a 24 hour place but What the Hell , they didn't think you'd pay the bill . Isn't anything sacred anymore ? I'd tell the world about that place !!

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salmontogue
1 minute ago, gunsrus said:

I know it's not your regular Vet and a 24 hour place but What the Hell , they didn't think you'd pay the bill . Isn't anything sacred anymore ? I'd tell the world about that place !!

 

We live in a world where increasingly more of the population does not give a damn about each other.  Polite and caring behavior is viewed as weakness.  We are sinking in a sea of malevolence.

 

Perk

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salmontogue

There is no realistic way to prepare for the loss of a dog (or a horse) that doesn't rip your guts out.  Every time I promise myself it won't happen but, of course, it does.  All my departed dogs are cremated and in individual urns.  They will be interred with me when my time arrives.

 

Perk

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UplandHntr

many years ago after putting down one of mine upon leaving the girl at the desk smiled and said - Have a nice day!  I hope she figured out why I gave her the look I did.

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salmontogue
Just now, UplandHntr said:

many years ago after putting down one of mine upon leaving the girl at the desk smiled and said - Have a nice day!  I hope she figured out why I gave her the look I did.

 

How many times have you been at the funeral home and someone says of the deceased, "doesn't he/she look wonderful?"

 

Perk

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MAArcher
40 minutes ago, gunsrus said:

I know it's not your regular Vet and a 24 hour place but What the Hell , they didn't think you'd pay the bill . Isn't anything sacred anymore ? I'd tell the world about that place !!

I didn't get that sense at all.  It was just that they were all young.  And I'm sure there are those who would not want to be in the same room when the dog gets the catheter.  

 

My post is really about just thinking ahead so the an unpleasant experience is the best that it can be and happens the way you'd want it too given the situation.  

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salmontogue
1 minute ago, MAArcher said:

I didn't get that sense at all.  It was just that they were all young.  And I'm sure there a those who would not want to be in the same room when the dog gets the catheter.  

 

My post is really about just thinking ahead so the an unpleasant experience is the best that it can be and happens the way you'd want it too given the situation.  

 

Why not think about the good times, the hunts, the rides in the truck and the love exchanged in unconditional ways.  Think of Ecclesiastes, think of The Road to Tinkhamtown and consider the writings of Gene Hill, particularly Old Man, while remembering your departed canine partner.  These thoughts put the beginning and the end in a more comfortable context.

 

Perk

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Grifish

No good way. Always tough.

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grouse28

Very sad time. No good way to prepare emotionally. As mentioned previously, my ashes will be spread with the canine companions.

Tears and hugs are always part of the equation. Even now if i let myself go there would be tears.

My vet does have a separate room and if possible does the procedure at or near the end of the day. They light a candle in the waiting room to let others know what is happening.

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NVChukarChaser

Last time I had to do it we had a full meal of Chukar before we went in and I held her in my arms for the procedure. Then I went and finished the season by shooting 5 birds over her 7 month old replacement. Leaving one shy of my limits and one for her. I also named a favorite hunting spot after her. Everyone knows where Halles Hill is. 

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RDG

We really didn't plan for our golden in 2016.  I didn't grow up with dogs. She was my first dog when my wife  bought our first home together. I didn't know what to expect. 

 

We knew it was coming though.. she had cancer, had pretty much stopped eating, was losing weight and not being herself. One day I came home and had to push the door open cause she couldn't get up on the other side. I knew it was time. 

 

I will admit the Vet was pretty good.. they knew we were coming. Had a room with some blankets all ready. Let us sit with her for while. They made a clay impresssion of her paw and gave us plenty of space. After it was done, I offered to go out front and pay, they said no need today... we'll send you something or you can stop by another day. Then they lead us out a door in the back. I though that was pretty good of them. 

 

Worst part was my son.. he was only 5 at the time.  We didn't tell where we were going, he stayed home with my father in law. I didnt think he or my 2 year old daughter needed to know what was about to happen before hand. When we got home that day, he took one look at us and said " Where's my dog." About broke my heart. 

 

We had her cremated as we were in the process of buying a new house and didn't want to bury her at the old house. She's on our nightstand.... with us....where she belongs. 

 

Its getting a little dusty in here now.  

 

There's no good way to prepare for it... it sucks. Plan and simple. 

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