Pet euthanasia

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2008
Pet euthanasia
7
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 6:29pm

I deal with this all the time from the other side of things in my profession. However, today we had to euthanize our dog who was only 7 but had a congenital disorder that we knew from the get go would shorten his life. I have had to do this before. We actually had to euthanize our cat last fall due to liver cancer. At that time DS did very well and gave him a kiss then went back to playing. He seemed to understand without words (which he didn't really have at the time) what was going on and was very sweet to DH and me.

I have been away from home for 2 days at my very stressful new job. Last night DH called to tell me that Merlin was doing very poorly and that we needed to euthanize him today. I got home close to midnight. So, we didn't have much time to prep him which is what the article recommended.

Today we tried to prepare DS that Merlin would not be coming back with us because he was very sick. Of our 6 pets this one is probably the one DS was least attached to. He was very much my DH's dog and was so delicate that we were always careful when DS and he were around each other even though DS is unbelievably gentle with the pets most of the time. 

We explained that Merlin had died and went to Heaven to be with Zig (our cat from last year and he did actually remeber I think). We wanted to be gentle but straight forward with DS. We really tried to avoid unclear statements like "put to sleep", "passed away", etc. DS is generally very intelligent and understands in most cases more than I expect him to. I read an article that basically said to explain everything to him even though he would not understand it. So, knowing DS who while sensitive is generally very steady and sure of himself and us, we went with that. He tends to make sure that he understands things. In fact when we had a brief talk about strangers, he went back to playing after talking then came back to me after a few minutes and said he wanted to talk with me (like I had with him) and reviewed all that we went over a couple of times to be sure he had it straight. So, he likes to make sure he understands things. Also, I don't want any fears of sleeping or going bye-bye to develop from this!

So, he responded pretty well. However, it has been extra difficult on us because throughout the day DS has asked us to repeat where Merlin is. He also asked about Merlin coming home and when we said he can't come home with us any more he would say "But he has to come home with us!" It is killing us thoiugh DS seems to be doing fine. I don't know if this will continue (if it was his kitten or our other dog or even the lizard I think it would have been much worse for him), but any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Also, I am repeatedly leaving for days at a time this month while we make the transistion to moving out of the area until DH and DS join me in our new location next month...So, though overall so far (you know 2 days) he has done fine with me being away, I am worried that this may change and I am worried about anxiety about the move developing.

Thanks!

Siggie
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2008
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 6:33pm

Also, I hope I get to check this soon but so far with this new format and stuff I can't see replys on my phone which is generally the main way I was checking this previously. 

The next time I leave is tomorrow night after bedtime and it is going to be for over a week though DS and DH will visit one day during that time and hopefully we will be able to take possession of our new rental house.

Siggie
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2001
Mon, 11-05-2012 - 10:01am

Kristy,   oh my--  I can't believe you have this on your plate, too.  I think that you and DH did an EXCELLENT job in talking about Merlin and just keep explaining hte same thing when he asks... at his age, I don't think it will much longer... maybe a few days.   There's an excellent book I would suggest that would be a nice thing that DS and he can read .. it's called DOG HEAVEN by Cynthia Rylant.  Last year we had to put my 12 year Persian down....  it still makes me sad to think about it.... but the Cat Heaven book was amazing-- Ava has memorized it and we changed some of the words to personalize it to the Princess... plus, I added pictures of her in the book.... making it more of a memory book.


Good luck with the transitional month !!  It will be by before you know it !!   Just make sure you are also taking care of YOU in all of this, too.



and... I don't know about why you don't see stuff on the mobile...  I'll see what IT is doing, I know that there's been a bunch of snafus in the transition.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2008
Mon, 11-05-2012 - 6:37pm
Thanks for the info. He hasn't actually asked about it today so far but Merlin was rarely home when DH was at work cause he went with him. Will see how things go this week with DH and if he is asking more, I will order that book. I just hope DH is ok. That is really my biggest concern at this point :(. I haven't brought it up which I figure is ok ... you think? Thanks again!
Siggie
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2001
Tue, 11-06-2012 - 4:35pm

Men are definitely from Venus   (or is the other way around, LOL)... so he processes things so much differently than us.  If and when he wants to talk to you, he will.   Wait until you have  moment of alone time, face to face and give him a hug about Merlin and see how he is.  If it were over the phone, I think he would just say he's fine and then you'll hear crickets.  (hugs)

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Avatar for cmlisab
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
Wed, 11-07-2012 - 2:29pm

First and foremost, I'm SO sorry about Merlin ( love his name, btw). I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet.Cry

I totally agree with Wendi in that you did an excellent job explaining it to your DS. All the advice I've ever read has said to be stratightforword, avoid potentially confusing phrases like "went to sleep", etc which is exactly what you did. I think it's totally normal how he's reacting with him repeatedly asking about Merlin. My DS did something similar at the age when his great-grandmother died.

-Lisa  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2008
Thu, 11-08-2012 - 7:38pm

Thanks for the support. The interesting thing about how he responded I thought is we said so version of:

Me - "Merlin is very sick. He will not be able to come home with us today."

DS - "Where is he going?"

Me - "He is going to Heaven."

DS - "Can I go too?"

Me - "No. Not for a very long time."

DS - "But why?"

Me - "Becuase you are not very, very sick. Merlin is going to die. Then he will be with Zig. (Our cat we had to euthanize a year ago. Logan was present for the euthanasia)."

He then put his head down and slowly walked away from me across the treatment area and kept taking peeks back at me. I think he was processing. It kind of makes me think he knows what the word die means which I wasn't sure about. I let him walk away and waited for him to come back.

I wasn't planning to have him in the room when we were doing it but he got very interested in one of the techs running a urinalysis and she was explaining it to him step by step. I was carrying him so he could see what she was doing and I was trying to keep his back to Merlin. However, he did manage to get a look at Merlin laying there after before they covered him up. That definitely seemed to upset him. My other concern in general with this is that DH said we were bringing Merlin to the doctor that day and I wish he hadn't used that terminology. DS latched onto that. "We took Merlin to the doctor? And he's not coming home?" Prior to this he has been very pro doctor. In fact when his dcp wasnt feeling well one day, he said, "Auntie, you should go to the doctor."

Anyway, that is the rest of it. I guess things have been ok on that front since I have been gone again. 

Of course as I am away this week, the cat managed to get into ribbon and puke that up! Linear foreign bodies are a bad thing!!! I swear, all hell breaks loose when I leave!

Siggie
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2008
Thu, 11-08-2012 - 7:40pm

As for DH, I am more worried about him handling his own emotions if DS asks. The day we did it almost every time he asked I had to answer cause DH would fall apart! :(

Siggie