September 04, 2008,
S.B. asks from Omaha, NE on September 01, 2008
Euthanizing a Pet
OK, this is going to be a long one! Our dog, Jordan (beagle/lab mix), is now 12+ years old and is experiencing several symptoms of old age. I feel the end is fast approaching. She is our first (and only) dog--we adopted her as a 6 month-old puppy, when we were married just over 1 year. She has been with us for almost 12 years and we love her like crazy!
Since this is the first time we've had to go through something like this, we have lots of questions. First of all, how much does it typically cost to euthanize a dog? Also, what happens if she would pass away at home? (i.e. Where would we take her body to be disposed of?)
Along the same lines, how to we handle the situation with our children?? I doubt that our younger son (almost 6) will be affected at all, but I do expect to be bombarded with questions about death. I am much more concerned about our older son (almost 11). He is very emotional and was extremely upset when our guinea pig died a couple years ago. I cannot even imagine how he's going to react to losing our dog! How should we handle the situation? Do you think it's appropriate or inappropriate for him to accompany us to the vet? (I do NOT want him in the room when Jordan is put down!) ...or should we have him say goodbye to her at home?
I would love to have advice from anyone who's had to deal with this type of situation.
1 mom found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Thank you for all of your very caring and sympathetic responses! (You are all wonderful and very supportive!!) The past 6 weeks have been an extremely difficult time, one that I hope I don't have to go through again anytime soon. My husband and I chose to put our baby girl down on 9/23. The vet was wonderful and assured us that we were doing the most compassionate thing for her. It was very quick and while it was a horrible decision to make, I know in my heart that it was the right one. (She was blind and had lost most of her hearing, in addition to bladder control.)
As I expected, our 6-year-old was pretty unaffected by the whole thing. He came home from school and asked where Jordan was, while he ate snack. We reminded him and he seemed satisfied with the answer. (He has not really said anything else since...) Our 11-year-old was an emotional mess (as were his parents!) the 2 days prior, but has been OK since that day. (He does have her collar and tags hanging on his bedpost :).) I did not want him to accompany us to the vet, but may have changed my mind if he had REALLY wanted to go. Fortunately, he did not. He took a lot of pictures of Jordan the day before and morning of.
I had a stone engraved for her and we plan to plant a tree in our backyard in her memory. (The stone will go underneath.) We miss her terribly, but it's getting better every day. We're planning to get a new dog sometime next spring :).
N.S. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
The cost and type of arrangements depends on your veterinarian, where they put their client's pets to rest, and what they charge (anywhere from $100 and up) This would include cremation. Burial in a pet cemetary and/or if you choose to have your pet placed in an urn, can be similar to that for people. The other option is to have your pet cremated and placed in a mass grave at a pet cemetery.
As for you and your children, losing a pet is just as trying emotionally as losing a human family member. From here on out, begin preparing your children for the loss by reminding them to spend as much time as possible your dog. Tell them that she her time is short, but she'd really appreciate and love her family around her more than ever, and would probably enjoy extra brushings, extra pillows, extra hugs, etc.
Encourage them to take lots of pictures, and maybe even assemble a collage or scrapbook so that when your dog is gone, they will have happy memories and pleasant pictures to look at.
You may want to think about whether or not you want your children to go with you to the vet when and if you have to put your dog to sleep. You know their temperments. If they're extra sensitive, it may not be a good idea...though the vet will not let you see the actual procedure. They usually let the family say their final farewells, and then escort the family from the room.
In case your pet should die at home, keep a quilt handy, and wrap your pet in it. Sometimes, there is a bit of a mess after death, so be prepared for cleanup. Once again, you may not want your children to see this, so have a plan in place. Call you vet to let them know, and they'll more than likely have you bring the pet to them, or wherever they do cremations.
Just like with a human funeral, you may or may not want to plan ahead by picking out urn, whether or not you will purchase a burial site, and what you as a family may do to memorialize your pet.
This is very difficult. But planning ahead may help some. I have lost two dogs over the years, and I still miss them so much. I currently have a very old Lab who I expect doesn't have much time. Don't expect to get over it soon. Just like a loss of a close relative, it's good to tell stories and remember the good times..maybe even some of the bad ones which can be funny in retropect.
Last but not least, if your pet hasn't passed yet, don't act glum around them. They are very intuitive like people and your dog may get frightened or even depressed. Now is the time to treat your dog like the royalty they are, and enjoy them and make their last moments at home wonderful.
1 mom found this helpful
K.H. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
We went through it 2 years ago when my son was 11. Our dog was 14 and in a lot of pain. We talked about how she was in pain and we had to be brave and not make her suffer even though it would be hard on us because we would miss her. When it became time, my son was ready to let her go so she wouldn't be in pain any more. We let him choose at each step - whether he wanted to come, be in the room, stay in the room. Before we went, he said he wanted to come but didn't want to be in the room. Once we got to the vet's he decided he wanted to stay with her until the end. Our vet was wonderful. She explained everything that was going to happen, let our dog stay on the floor on her blanket that we'd brought, and waited until we were ready for her to give the shot. When it was all over she let us know then told us to stay until we were ready to leave. Her ashes are in my son's closet because he wants her there with him. Hope this helps.
1 mom found this helpful
A.S. answers from Sioux Falls on September 04, 2008
This is a little long, but I just got this in an e-mail and immediately thought of your questions. It doesn't answer your questions, but provides some interesting thoughts to perhaps share with your kids...
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, 'I know why.'
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, 'People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?' The Six-year-old continued, 'Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.'
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
1 mom found this helpful
L.G. answers from La Crosse on September 01, 2008
S., I'm so sorry. This is really hard. We had to euthanize our pug last summer. He was only 5 years old and had a horrible, inoperable cancerous tumor. My daughter was 10 at the time, and we had just gone through of season of losing several family members in a short period of time. She is very emotional, like your son, and I was worried about her. We asked her what she wanted to do, and she did not want to be there. She told him goodbye at home, and grandma stayed with her while the rest of us went to the vet. As others have said, request the shot to relax your dog before the actual euthanizing is done. It is very peaceful.
Also, if your vet offers this, we got a paw print in clay of our dog, and we were also offered some of his fur (which we declined, joking that we had enough of it in the furniture to last for years). Expect that the first days and even weeks will be hard. Let your son talk about his memories of the dog, and really just follow his lead for what makes him feel better. Maybe it's looking at pictures, or visiting other dogs, or maybe it's just snuggling with mom. Whatever makes him feel comforted. My daughter had a friend who had been through this, and it helped her a lot to talk about it with her friend.
I have to say, I don't even remember what it cost. We had spent thousands of dollars just in diagnosis, so whatever it was, it seemed like nothing to me. If she passes away at home, call your vet and ask what to do. Many communities have pet cemeteries or offer cremation services. Don't bury your dog in your back yard without first checking local laws. It is illegal in many communities.
I hope this helps. My heart really goes out to your family. It has been just over a year, and we still miss our little guy, even though we have another dog now.
M. answers from Omaha on September 01, 2008
Well, based on my one and only experience with my cat...it is not quite as peaceful as you might expect. If I had it to do over, I would have asked that they put her to sleep before they "put her to sleep". I would have him say goodbye at home. I am sorry to hear about your situation. The loss of a pet is always difficult, but when you have had her 12 years it really is hard to get over that loss. That is just how it was with our cat...got her when we had been married about a year and we had her for almost 14 years...I cried for weeks.
A.P. answers from Omaha on September 02, 2008
In my family growing up we only had one dog for about 17 yrs. He got old started to pee where he shouldn't, ran into things. He was miserable. My mom took him to the vet and they found a heart murmur he was miserable, she couldn't bare to put him down that day when I was with her but did it another day when I was in the hospital with my newborn baby. She did this so I wouldn't be affected but to this day I wish I could have been there. I love my mom to death but I do think she was trying to protect me but she also didn't go in with him I think your son should be told the reasons why you are doing it like he'll be better off he's in pain etc... and then give him the choice to be there or not but I do think someone should be there that the dog knows so he doesn't feel abandoned at that hard time again i'm still upset i wasn't given the choice to go. i think it's around $100 but every vet is different, i would call around. it's just a shot and they pretty much just go to sleep if your dog does die at home you would take him to the vet and they will give you your options. good luck, don't underestimate a 6 yr old either they are pretty dang smart maybe you should involve him and give him a choice also.
E.B. answers from Duluth on September 02, 2008
I don't know anything about a pet, but my grandmother passed away in February and my son, who's now 4 (he was 3 at the time), was and is VERY impacted by her death. We were certainly not distant, but we were not close, either; my son saw her twice in her "sick" state (she had congestive heart failure, among other things). You obviously know your 6 yo better than I do, but I guess what I'm saying is he might be one you need to prepare a lot, too. Through much, much trial and error, and the help of our religious beliefs, we have taught our son that you go to heaven, which is a wonderful place to be with God and our other relatives. You die, most of the time, when you are very old and your body no longer works, because, gee, if we never died, the earth would be super-crowded! That's the condensed version, definitely (we've had many, many, many talks about death), but it seems to work well both for my four year old's mindset and for our beliefs. Anyway--just thought I'd throw that in, since that's about how I'd also handle the death of our dog, as well. Good luck,a nd I'm sorry about Jordan.
W.D. answers from Lincoln on September 02, 2008
I know this is tough, we just had to put our cat down due to health problems. It was the toughest thing I've had to due.. make the fimal decision. Our vet clinic offered creamation so thats the way we went. THe whole procedure was around $80. I was the only one who went to the vet (our cat was there several days). I got to spend time with him and let them know when i was ready. They recommended me NOT to be there as it was going to be really hard on our cat to be preped. I chose to say my goodbys in the exam room. WIthin a matter of minutes the vet came back out and told me he was gone. I found a book called "cat heaven" that has helped with my 4yr old daughter. I was also recommended *When a pet dies* by Mr Rogers ( we got it but haven't read it yet). If you need more specific details about my experience please message me!!!
My cousin works in a vet clinic and they do let the owners sit w/ the dogs as its all being done.. so ask your vet and do what your comfortable with. Sorry for what your dealing with, its nor easy! W.
J.O. answers from Wausau on September 02, 2008
Costs range wildly from vet to vet. As horrible as it is, shop around. (But also ask about things like is it a cremation, group burial, take the ashes home etc?) we had our family cat (approx 18 yrs old!) put down and cremated, then his ashes were buried with a group of others. We felt this was the best course of action for our family. We could have taken his ashes home, but we opted not to.
If she passes away at home, you can still call local vets to make arrangements. If you live somewhere pretty remote you may be able to bury her on your own property- not sure if you'd need a permit for that or not.
You may be surprised to find your 6 year old is affected more than you think. And I really think you need to be talking openly about your dog's age, health problems, mortality etc with your older boy- now, not just after the dog is gone. And although you seem adamant that you don't want him in the room- I STRONGLY feel that he should be allowed to make his own decision on that matter.
In our case, I was 27 yrs old, and I opted to accompany my parents for the euthanasia of our family cat, while my sister (24 yrs old) had said she didn't want to be told anything about the decision to euthanize until AFTER it was already over. She definitely did not want to be there. She has said before that she "cannot handle death in any way, shape, or form." Telling her after it was done, as she requested, was the best way for her to deal with it. I personally would have felt extremely betrayed if I had not been given the option of being there- which is part of what I am concerned about with your older son; feeling betrayed if he is not allowed to be part of this.
Let us know what you decide and how it goes :(
J.L. answers from Omaha on September 02, 2008
We just put our dog down a couple months ago. He was old and not able to hold his bladder or the bowl movements anymore. He also just stayed to himself. We knew we could not let him go through anymore pain. Sometimes he would act dizzy or loose his balance. We took him to a great vet her in Omaha. It cost about $70. We have 4 children from 14mo.s to 8 years old. My husband took him when all the children were playing.
We are Catholic so we told our children he was in pain and it was time for him to go to Heaven. The children did much better than I. Although now I have 3 pet rats. I must admit the rats were cheap they are so easy to care for and will eat anything. They are great pets for the kids because they love people. Well anyway it will be hard but kids are so strong.
We too were concerned about the cost to have him put down I called the vet and they go by the size of the animal. Our dog was around 50lbs.
It is a hard decision but you must ultimatley think of the loyal animal and his quality of life at this time. Meaning is he still happy and want to be around the family. Is he in much pain? Good luck it is a hard decision.
C.S. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
We had to put our cat down a couple of years ago. My children were 3 and 6. My younger one still talks about the cat that we had. It did affect both of my children even though they were both young. We did tell them that the cat had to go away and wasn't coming back, so we had them say their goodbye the night before and we took pictures of them with the kids. This way if they miss her they can look at their pictures.
J.C. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
Here where I live it only cost $20. We live in the country so we bury all of our animal's out back. Even if it is a bird that the cat's have caught my youngest son alway's want's to bury it. He know's that the animal's will go up to heaven when we bury them and that seem's to almost make it ok for him. I think that the whole cremating thing is to much for a little one to understand. Every now and then he will go put flower's down. So if you have this option it might help your son to beable to visit the grave. Good luck and sorry for your pain. J.
J.Y. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
When we put our dog to sleep it was around $120. It included her cremation and the ashes were returned to us. We morbidly joked that it was least expensive vet bill she ever had. What a booger. It was so difficult to euthanize, but it was the right thing to do for her as she had a pancreatic tumor. She was our first and only dog, too. I don't have any advice for you about your children as my son was only 6 months old, but I wanted you to know that our experience was very peaceful and quick.
I'm sorry for your family. It is very difficult to lose a family pet.
J.F. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
Have you taken your dog to the vet to find out if it needs to be euthanized? If it does I would think about having a vet come to your house. This can easier on the dog and you to be at home. There are some in the cities that will do that. Also get a book to read to the kids ahead of time about a pet passing. I would also be prepared that it will be hard on both your children to loose their dog not just the older one. Also I would have the children come to the vet if they want to. Let it be their decision. Make sure they know that someone will be with the dog when it is euthanized this is important for yourself and the dog.
C.P. answers from Milwaukee on September 02, 2008
we had to euthanize our dog when my son was in 3rd grade. He, too was very emotional about his other pets dying (fish, hamster, etc.). The day that Essie was put down, I let my son take the day off of school. We took Essie for a short walk, took pictures of my son and the dog, and made plaster footprints of the dog. Erik spent lots of time with her, and knew that would be the last he would see of her. My husband took Essie in to the vet that afternoon, but Erik did not go along. There were lots of tears, but also lots of good memories. We still have the pictures and plaster prints, and Erik is now a senior in high school. Good luck to you.
M.F. answers from St. Cloud on September 02, 2008
First of all, it is not any easy decision, but sometimes it has to be done. We have had to have a cat and a dog put down, plus my husband had to put a dog down. The best thing to do is call your vet and see what his prices are, prices vary with area. In fact, we are looking at having to put down our big dog, who will be 16 the first part of October, and it is a horrible thought for me, even at my age (over 60). I do believe when the time comes I will be with him all the way. He has been with me through divorce, pain and a whole new way of life and I will not let him be by himself. He will also be buried on our property in the woods, where he loved to roam so much. Some veterinarians have a burial ground or someone who picks up the dogs for burial. You might ask about that also. As for your son, I believe that explaining that God needs everything and everyone sooner or later, he may understand it more. Also, it might help to let him know that there is a pet heaven. I believe this very much and always told my children that. Good luck, I really don't envy you. God bless and keep your chin up. Sometimes it also helps to let them know that that will not be their last pet, such as a dog or cat.
C.H. answers from Lincoln on September 02, 2008
I'd call your vet. and see what they say. As in the way of euthanization, what to do IF your dog passes away at home, etc. My dog had the best vet. To make a long story short. My dog was really old and suffering from old age too (mulitple health problems). I had her put to sleep, unforutnaetly. She was like 14 or
16 y/o. Anyhow, I took my son w/ me (he was 3 y/o at the time). So he wouldn't be wondering where she was, looking for her all over the house, etc. But also so he could say goodbye to her too. When I had my dog put down. I had her privately creamated (sp?) by herself. Otherwise she would have been creamated w/ other dogs from the pound. I had to pay a little over or about $100. That incl. the private creamation and the euthanization. The vet clinic I take my dog too. They even sent me like 1/2 dozen pink roses and their condolence (sp?). Which I thought was a sweet touch. Anyhow, hope this helps.
M.K. answers from Sheboygan on September 02, 2008
Ask the vet about what to do if the dog passes away at home. My brother was a teenager when the family dog had to be put down. As much as that dog annoyed us (a beagle that we basically had a love/hate relationship with!), it was still hard for everyone. The vet offerred that the dog could be cremated and the ashes put in a special container. My parents ran it by my brother (my 2 sisters and I had already moved out of the house and were on our own or in college). At first he said "no", but at the last minute he changed his mind. I'm not sure if he still has the container, but he kept it in his room for quite some time and that seemed to help. Our dog is going on 6 years old and we are already thinking ahead (he's perfectly healthy, but our daughter will be around the same age as your son when things are likely to "go south"). Good Luck!
T.V. answers from Lincoln on September 02, 2008
I'm sorry to hear about your dog. Our vet clinic will dispose of pets for you if they die at home, maybe yours will too. I think I would let my son go to the clinic with me, but not in the room. I would also try to explain to him that sometimes when pets get old it gets hard for them to walk and eat and it's better to have them humanely put to sleep than to watch them suffer. It's always hard to try to explain something like that. Good luck to you.
K.H. answers from Des Moines on September 02, 2008
Hi S.! We went through this with our family dog about a year ago. One thing our vet offered that may be worthwhile (IF you think your kids could handle it) was that they came to our house to do it. I know it sounds odd, but it helped everyone feel better about it and helped the dog stay calm. They came and let us pet Devy and tell her goodbye and give hugs. Then they actually had a split heart charm - one side went on her collar and the other they gave us to keep. After that, they laid her on a stretcher covered with a blanket and gave her the shot. They then left the room for us to be with her until the end. After it was over (very, very peaceful) they came back in (once we asked for them to) and took her with them. I don't know if many vets offer this kind of service but I know it meant the world to my mom!
A. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
I'm so sorry you have to go through this. It's horrible.
As recommended by others, look into having a vet come to your home. It'll make things easier for Jordan and for you.
For your children, just be upfront with them. They certainly can see that Jordan is getting older and maybe even is in pain. You can explain that animals are different from people and that it's our job to take care of our animals and never let them suffer. They'll probably want to know a lot of the specifics - what the vet will do, what the different medicines do, etc.
Make sure to give them a chance to say goodbye, and let them be involved in deciding how that's done. Maybe you'll make a special meal for Jordan (grill a big steak, etc.), or take some photos, or make a scrapbook. Maybe they'd like to write a prayer for Jordan, or make a list of their favorite memories with the dog.
I think your 11 year old is probably old enough to decide if he wants to be with you when everything happens. Let him think about it a few days and make the decision.
D.R. answers from Des Moines on September 01, 2008
We had a 10 year old german shepherd we raised from a baby. He seemed fine and one day he would not come in from outside, he would not even move. I had to get to work and it looked like it was going to rain so I called my mother and father to come over and see if they could get him in. They had to put him on a sled and pull him to the car and take him to the vet. They called me and I left work went to the vet and he said he had no red blood cells left in his body that he had cancer. So we had him put to sleep. It was very sad for me, but I knew it was o.k. he just kind of went to sleep. I told my kids when I got them from school that he had died of cancer. My oldest is 13 he was sad but did not really cry or anything my baby who is 11 cried and cried and I cried with him, I told him it was o.k. to be sad and cry. That everything that comes into this world has to leave it at sometime and that it was our dogs time. I think it was two days and they were both fine. I on the other hand was sad alot longer. I definately would not let your kids go to the vet with you. It is hard to do but it is because you love your animal so much and you don't want it to suffer. Hope this helped a little.
N.G. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
I truly sympathize with what you're going thru. I went thru that twice. The first time was 18 years ago and the second time was 2 1/2 years ago. The first dog was 11 years old and the second one was only 1 1/2 years. She still is on my mind. Both times I was with the vet. My first dog I had taken to be eunthanized but he passed away just as I got him there. She took $25 to take care of the body. That was in 1990. Also because I had little money so she took what I had.
My second dog cost us $1000 the day she was put down. Because she was so young I had to try to save her. Becase she had x-rays and ultra sound done is where a lot of expense was. The vet sent me to the U of M with her and they confirmed what my vet suspected and the decision was made to put her down. I'm not for sure but I think the cost for euthanizing was $100.
It was very difficult but we knew that it was the humane thing to do as the vet said she would suffer the rest of her life with treatment. I would check with a vet as far as suggesting if your son should go with you or not. If your pet passes away at home I'm sure the vet could help you there too.
Both of my dogs knew it was their time as their behavior was so out of the ordinary. They both lied down in a place where they never laid to rest before. I knew what was happening to my younger one when she behaved so peculiar I got her to the vet and spent all day working on her. I felt so bad because all she wanted to do was be left alone. It's so hard to know how your boys will react. My boys were 16 & 5 when our first pet died. I can't say it took too long for them to accept the death of their pet because of the age factor. but it's still very hard to deal with and it takes whatever time it takes for each individual. Good luck and God bless you.
D.G. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
S. - I can only talk from personal experience. We have put down 2 dogs in the past 7 years plus one rabbit. Our first dog was a Yorkie and we had him for 16 1/2 years. Our children were 12 and 9 at the time. We talked about it with the children and gave them the option of being with us. All 4 of us went to the vet together (2 kids, me and my husband). Because the dog was mine and my children weren't terribly attached it wasn't too difficult on them. My daughter the older child was upset for the rest of the day but we spent a lot of time together and went for a long drive the next day. Personally, I couldn't be in the house without the dog. We had the dog cremated and everyone knows that the ashes get buried with me.
The rabbit was my son's pet and when we put him down both kids accompanied me to the vets office. My son was probably 12 at the time. It was hard on him and we carried the bunny home in a box and buried him close to us.
After we put our Yorkie down, God brought the sweetest black lab into our lives. She was already 6 or 7 years old and needed us as much as we needed her. She helped us heal from the lose of our beloved Yorkie and she had been abused and was rescued off the streets. So we had a great relationship but she was already old when she came to us. It was painful to watch her age and not be able to enjoy the things she loved when she was younger like walking and sleeping in my son's bed. So we had to put her down in January of this year (still brings tears to my eyes to think about her). My daughter came home from college and my son was 15 at the time. Again it was the 4 of us in the vet's office. Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way. We all experienced the love and the loss together. My children loved me thru the loss and I loved them thru their pain.
I would talk to the boys and let them know what is going to happen and see what their response is. They'll have thoughts, questions, ideas. Of course it's going to hurt, but loosing someone you love always hurts.
All my best to you.
D. - still grieving after 8 1/2 months!
C.K. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
If the dog dies at home, you can still take the body to the vet, and they can arrange for him to be cremated and have the ashes returned to you.
I had my cat euthanized about 5 years ago at an "emergency vet" hospital that was open over the Thanksgiving weekend. It was like $150. I opted not to get his ashes back, so he was cremated with a group of animals and his ashes were not returned to me. To have his ashes returned to me in a simple box was in the $75 range; there were also very elaborate boxes and urns to choose from.
Before my cat was euthanized, I asked for some time alone with him. They let me have as long as I wanted. I held him when they gave him the shot; it was very peaceful.
I would recommend, however, NOT bringing your kids to the vet. I think it's too much for kids to handle, and even some adults. My mom has worked in hospice care and has seen countless people die, however, when she witnessed her toy poodle being euthanized it was too much for her.
Mr. Roger's has a book out called "When a Pet Dies". It's really good. You could also "break the ice" with the kids by telling them that your dog is getting old, he won't live forever, and he's starting to get sick. Share with them your beliefs on what happens to pets after they die: Do you believe in doggy heaven? Will they be with relatives who have died?; etc.
K.V. answers from Madison on September 02, 2008
2 years ago we had to put down our 16 year old dog after he was so sick that the vet said there was nothing more that we could do for him. It is incredibly hard and emotional. I would not advise taking you child to the vets office. You will be a basket case and that will upset your child even more.
Here is how we handled it. We talked a lot about "the circle of life", we got a few books from the library and we did everything we could to make our dogs last days comfortable. The day before our pets "appointment" we took turns sitting on the floor with him all day, petting him and loving him. The love in our dogs' eyes was amazing and it gave us a long time to say goodbye. No matter what you do or how you prepare it will be an awful day. I am so sorry for you and your family.
G.H. answers from Duluth on September 02, 2008
It costs about $50 where we live, and a little more if you want his ashes.
If she dies ay home you can call your vet to see if they can still cremate her.
They have pamphlets about pet los at the funeral homes and the vets office or I'm sure you could find something online.
I wouldn't bring the children at the vets with you and your dog, it is going to be hard enough on you and your husband as it is!!
I feel sooo bad for you, it is to this day one of the hardest things to do, saying goodbye to a pet is like losing a human family member, or even worse than that-I don't mean to sound like that, but it's true!!
I wish you and your family the best, it's going to be one tough road for what lies ahead-I'm so sorry!!
T.S. answers from Eau Claire on September 01, 2008
We just had our chocolate lab put down earlier this month, she had cancer and my husband and I have had her since she was three days old. She was 10. My children are 5 and 2. The vet came to our house to put her down because I was so upset (I had made the appointment four days in advance something I would not recommend, it gave me way too much time to dwell on what was going to happen.) and he gave Callie a shot to literally make her fall a sleep. Then he gave her another shot in a vein, to stop her heart. It was very peaceful. My children were not home at the time. I had talked to my son a few times about Callie having cancer and being sick and soon might go to Heaven. We told him she got really sick while he was gone and went to Heaven. I also gave him the option to see her before we buried her. He did want to see her and helped us bury her. Then to him it was business as usual. My 2 year old is now asking us where Callie is and it has been a month. I am not sure on the cost(haven't received that bill yet, but was told around $150 since the vet came to our house). Hope this helps.
P.K. answers from Appleton on September 02, 2008
I had to make the decision on my own to euthanize my cat 2 1/2 years ago, as my husband was deployed and I had no way to contact him for support. I had tons of guilt and tons of questions, so I called and talked to our vet and he answered all my questions that I had. Our cat suffered for a year with kidney failure (he was 18 years old), so the kids (ages 4, 6, 9) knew his time with us was limited. One day Smooch (our cat) just stopped eating and I knew it was time to make the call to the vet. The vet came out to our house a few days later, while the kids were away and put Smooch down while I held him in my arms. (The vet gave him a shot of something first to make him sleepy and I held him while the vet did this). It was very peaceful for our cat, and the right thing to do for him. In the few days we had, after calling the vet, I took pictures of the cat with each of the kids, we made paw prints in a stepping stone of cement and also paw prints on a piece of paper with ink, so we could always remember him. We also made a scrapbook with all the pictures I’ve ever taken with him in it. After 2 ½ years the kids still pull out the scrapbook and look at his pictures. On another note, I couldn’t bear the thought of our cat being buried in our yard, so I made the decision to have him cremated. I have his ashes by his scrapbook and by the cement stepping stone of his paw prints, name and year. We might eventually bury his ashes, and put the stepping-stone over it to mark the area, but we haven’t made that decision yet. I think if you talk to your kids and let them know what’s going on with your dog, and having them do some special things with the dog before he’s gone will really help them cope later on. Take lots of pictures! I would not suggest having your older son go with you to the vet; it will be too hard on him. As far as cost, I’m sure there is a difference between dogs and cats, but I didn’t mind paying the extra to have a vet come to my house. Look in your local phone book for vets that do house calls, its well with it, especially if your pet is really ill and unable to travel. There are also some really neat poems (and grief support) on the internet that we included in our scrapbooks. Here is a link: www.petloss.com
My heart goes out to you and your family.
H.T. answers from Minneapolis on September 02, 2008
I am so sorry about Jordan, my deepest symphaties(sp).
We've had 2 cats put down after our daughter was born. She was a lot younger, but is asking questions now.
I have explained that animals age faster than people and that both cats were older than Gramma and were both sick. I also told her about the Rainbow Bridge (see petloss.com).
We had both cats done at the vet and the vet clinic took care of the cremation. We asked for the ashes and we keep them in a box. The ashes came to us in a small cardboard box.
I would think that the vet would be able to perform a cremation if a pet dies at home.
We did not have our daughter in the room when the cats were out down. She was too young and I just didn't think she should be in there. She is 6 now, and is very close to our other 2 cats, and I don't know if she will be in the room when they are put down. Part of me thinks she should, but then I don't know.
I think it depends on the child. At age 11, the kid should decide. The vet will explain the process before they do it, so there is time to back out of watching the procedure.
Best of luck to you!!