My mom and I had to put down my old dog, Charlie in November 2005 and the experience of just that has traumatized us both to this very day. We're both in the same opinion he was somewhat un-lucky in his life which did not help with making this incredibly difficult and sad decision.
I will try to summarize his and our lives quickly so whoever is reading can maybe have a better understandings. I apologize now if it goes on for too long, but warning now if you want to bother reading or not!
We had an AWESOME dog my parents rescued at the SPCA (he was a "mutt" not sure what breeds but VERY intelligent, learned to walk on fences to chase cats- was only about 15pounds a small dog too) Unfortunately, Randy developed terrible arthritis and my dad made the decision to put him down without telling anyone. Randy was 17 and I believe he lived a good life with us. The whole family was angry at my father because we never had a chance to say our goodbyes. I was even more upset that he didn't stay with Randy until his last breath.
Anyways, my parents decided to get another dog and went to look at some puppies making the bad decision (my mom says) in taking my brother and I with them. I was 7 and my brother was 9. There was only one curly fluffball left and we took him (****apoo). I don't have TOO many memories at that age, it's more in my teenage years I recall things. My dad was unfortuntely diagnosed with MS and VERY gradually he was unable to drive standard anymore, had to get a new car-automatic, he was unable to cut the grass, unable to walk without a cane, climb or go down stairs, unable to walk without a walker… you get the jist. He was a very angry man, incredibly short tempered. This of course got worse as time went on. He took this out on the family, especially my mother and I, as well as Charlie. He would SCREAM at Charlie to simply stop looking at him. And then the next min he would be asking him if he wanted a bisquit. From about 12years old to when my parents seperated and he moved out (I was 17) I can easily say I hated him. (On a side note, we have re-built a new relationship and he has remarried) He would theaten constantly to have Charlie put down simply because he was annoying him or was a nuisance. My father was incredibly verbally abusive, and sometimes physically with the dog. I remember running into the backyard to see him kicking Charlie, I still don't know why but I'm sure he was having difficulty cutting the grass and took it out on the dog. Charlie would snap back in defence and my dad would try and kick him again but would fall because of his MS and it was a vicious cycle. I will never EVER forget this terrible moment, and when Charlie saw me he came running and actually hid behind my legs. He hid in the bikeshed for 3days after that, never came out.
I was the main supporter of Charlie and would always go talk, sing, or snuggle with him when he was literally "in the dog house". I told him I would be there no matter what, with his last breath of life.
Charlie had a lot of mental/health problems as well. He was the last puppy I guess for a reason. He NEVER liked being picked up or groomed, anything like that. Even as a puppy he would snap at us. He had chronic ear and skin problems his entire life. And it didn't help having a bi-polar member of the pack (my dad). When I was in highschool we moved to a rancher so my dad didn't have to go up and down stairs, the whole family catered to my dad's needs and Charlie as well. My dad claimed to be allergic to him and Charlie was living in the basement for awhile, not allowed to come up. (it was a rancher with a basement.. my brother and I had our bedrooms down tehre) It was CONSTANTLY walking on eggshells in that house, for years. You never knew if my dad would be whistling having a great day, or ready to tear you a new one.. for nothing. When he finally moved out, it was such a relief and we really noticed a difference in Charlie. I know he had a good last 3years of his life.
Unfortunately, he really started losing his marbles... he was 13 (I was 20) when my mom made the decision. We took him to a clinic and I remember waiting in the waiting room and a lady complimented how adorable he was which I thought was interesting because my mom and I were distressed in tears. I think he might of knew what was happening because he was sitting there so calmly looking up at me while I was petting him. Anyways, we went into the room and I honestly thought that the dog get's 1needle and he passes away peacefully. Nope. He gave him 1 needle to yes I guess technically go to sleep. So he was on the table standing with his head in my armpit slowly slumping, eventually lying down. Then the vet came back in to see if he was "relaxed" enough and we thought that was it. My mom and I backed away and were hugging eachother crying when I made the horrible decision to look over to see what was happening and saw him giving ANOTHER needle basically in his chest and Charlie yelped. That was it. Almost 7years later I've never cried as hard as I did that day.
I don't undertand if the vet didn't wait as long as he should have. But for a poor dog that has had a not so great life, his LAST moment is painful?? His last breath has to hurt him?? I did end up writing a letter to the clinic and they replied saying that it was probably an automatic response to yelp and that he didn't feel much. I sure hope so, but we'll never know. My mom and I stayed with his body for a bit after and say some more goodbyes, I still have his collar.
So that's the best I could summarize it. It was very hard for me to even type this as it's hard to see the screen through my tears. And the thought of it wakes me up at night still. I have a lot of guilt because I wish I could have done more for him. I wish I could of screamed at my dad or found a more fitting home for Charlie. I wish I could of stopped the vet from giving him that 2nd needle and wait longer until Charlie was more asleep. I'm still mad at both of my parents for even getting another dog. They had no right taking on that responsibility and not even doing any research prior.
As traumatizing as it was putting him down, I have no regrets being there with him as I promised. I have sought counselling about this also, which helped a little bit because I can look at the good times we had... and the motivation I got to be the absolute best owner for my future dog and giving them the best life possible. Charlie's life has given me the upmost dedication to provide the best for my dog. I've always been a huge animal lover, with dogs especially... so I don't know if I'm just extra sensitive but I'm having a hard time accepting this past and I don't know if I have moved on really..? It's been over 6 years. I wish I could just tell Charlie that I'm sorry, sorry he was born with chronic health issues and one psychotic owner.
I apologize for this LONG story but it feels good to have written it. I need help in this situation, any suggestions anyone has in moving on is appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this even... an hour later