This week I had to make the hardest decision any pet owner will make; to have my dog put to sleep. Morgan was a 12-year-old Red and White Setter who I’ve had since he was an 8-week-old puppy. This is my first dog I’ve had from pup to old age. We had just come home from a walking holiday in Wales where we spent the week running around beaches and having the most amazing time. He had an upset stomach on the last day of the holiday, but I wasn’t worried about that, as we were coming home so gave him a quiet weekend and he was bright and back to his usual self the next day. However, 2 days later, New Year’s Eve, he became unwell again, nothing specific, but you know your dog and he was certainly not himself. By New Years Day he was much worse, so we took him to the Vets. They did blood tests and an ultra sound and found fluid in his stomach. He was given medication and sent home to return the next day for another ultra sound. This time they found a large tumour on his spleen.
He must have had it for some time, but it had only just ruptured hence the fluid. The Vet confirmed it would happen again and that would probably not be recoverable from. So, our choices: operate to remove the tumour or let him go. The operation although possible would be a big operation and if they found anything else or the tumour was attached to any organs, they said he wouldn’t wake him back up. So, my husband and I had the weekend to decide.
How do you make this decision? It’s too big! Of course, I would do anything to keep him around for longer, but is that fair? The surgery is a big operation, which he might not come out from. The recovery period would be long with a very restricted lifestyle during that time. And what would we gain – another year maybe? He was 12 and a large breed, so he had already done well. He had lots of other lumps and bumps on his body, and he was mentally struggling with more anxiety over the last 8 months. Was I considering surgery just for my own desire to not let him go?
So, after changing our minds hundreds of times over that weekend, we decided the best thing to do was to put him to sleep. We had the vet come to the house and actually it was very peaceful, he just fell asleep on his bed. Thanks so much to Hayley from Deane vets for your kindness.
I cannot tell you if he would have survived the surgery and everyone must make the decision that feels right for them. I personally don’t like putting my dogs through unnecessary surgery and my heart told me that they would find other complications when they opened him up and I didn’t want him to die on the operating table. Owning a dog or any pet gives us the responsibility of making decisions on their behalf, as hard as those decisions are.
I have so many wonderful and precious memories of my boy Morgan. There is a very large gap in our home, and the other 2 dogs are definitely confused as to where their big brother is. All I ask is that you give your dog an extra big cuddle today, because they are definitely not here for long enough, so enjoy them while you can.