When is the right time to say goodbye to a much loved pet? 137

Let's Talk


View Profile

It’s one of the downsides of growing older, having to say goodbye to pets that have become an integral and much loved part of your life. It’s inevitable though because humans live a lot longer than domestic animals.

Often, a pet is killed in an accident or simply dies through old age, so life decides for us. In some ways this is kindest, because whether the pet lives or dies is beyond our control and we can grieve for them without guilt.

But it becomes harder and much more complicated when a pet is ill or injured and we are faced with the dilemma of paying for expensive operations and/or treatments or having them put down.

Max, my old mongrel kelpie-cross, illustrates just what a tough dilemma this can be. He broke his leg badly in an accident as a puppy and we paid for an operation which included a pin in the leg.

Our decision to pay for that operation proved the correct one, because he went on to enjoy a great quality of life.

However, 10 years later that came to an abrupt halt when he fell off some steps awkwardly and re-injured the same leg.

He was getting old and we knew in our hearts that we probably shouldn’t put him through another operation, but the vet talked about the option positively, so even though we couldn’t afford it we paid the $2000 for a second operation.

Max survived the operation but never recovered fully and six months later we were forced to make the tough and tearful decision to have him put down.

Our decision to pay for that operation had proven the wrong one, putting our pet through a lot of unnecessary pain when he was already an old dog.

Next time I am faced with this horrible decision I will do my best to remember Max, and decide with my head and not my heart what is in the best interests of my pet.

Let’s talk: What about you? Have you ever been faced with this dilemma and did you make the right or wrong decision with the benefit of hindsight? What guided your decision?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I believe we owe it to our babies to let they go peacfully before they are in unnecessary pain. Most awful, painful days that we simply have to deal with, it is a responsibility of having a pet in your life.

  2. I had to make this decision for my Bailey. He had cancer. Its the worst decision Ive had to make. I felt guilty even though I know he couldn’t go on. I miss him terribly.

  3. I had to say goodbye to my gorgeous Jack, almost 18yr old cat. He couldn’t stand up any more. He purred the whole way to the vet, snuggled in whilst I cried and cried before he was given his needle then just went quietly to sleep. I cried buckets that day and still do.

    5 REPLY
    • Our Ragdoll cat Jack, died yesterday suddenly. He was only one year old. We are absolutely devastated. Will be crying for quite some time…..:(

    • that is so sad, my heart goes out to you Teresa. My 2 raggies are so loving and sweet, I feel your pain.

    • I am sorry, our pets become our family, I lost a cockatiel about 2 years ago, she was hand raised and real little treasure to me, I buried her in the backyard and shed many tears, I planted a rose over her and every time it blooms I think of my little treasure

  4. I know that feeling of guilt, have I done enough for this pet? can I do more? can I afford the thousands of dollars? am I doing this for me or the dog? is he going to be happy? a sad day for all, still miss my gorgeous Boxer boy.

  5. How fortunate are we to have the ability to end our beloved suffering….Holding my ancient cat Billy at his hour of need was heartbreaking. .but so much better than having to watch him suffer.Sadly, the last days & hours of patients l have nursed have left me suffering. .

  6. Yes I have. Oscar, a merle collie and friend for almost 10 years, had to be put down because of cancer. He had enjoyed life, I loved hime and he loved me. The hardest words I have ever uttered were to the Vet. even now I miss him terribly.

    1 REPLY
    • Feel for you. We have the most adorable border collie, nearly 9. Loving-extremely loveable, smart, and much loved in our small [suburb?] area and large country community. Making that decision to let her go appropriately will be very hard. Any advice appreciated. We dread it. Thinking of getting a 2nd bc pup early next year, but not mad about it cos she delights us so much and find it hard to think that we could get one us lovely as her. We are in our late 60’s, but can’t imagine life without a dog. Such love and joy to give and be gained.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *