I had to put my heart dog Jethro down last September due to lung cancer. He had started coughing, and we thought it was from all the fires out here on the left coast. I mean the smoke was so bad we had to wear masks just to leave the house! As the coughing got worse, we took him to the vet. A fast growing lung cancer. There really wasn't anything else that could be done, other than take him home and make him comfortable.
That is the hard part; making them comfortable. Just what does that mean? How will I know it's time? Will I wait too long? Will I do it too soon? I have struggled with this with each dog and each cat. I have 4 dog urns and 4 cat urns, and it is a struggle each time. I finally made the call when he was lying next to me on the couch asleep, then struggled to sit up and gasp for air. This had happened a couple of times, and he had a WTF look in his eyes. His loss was almost as bad as the loss of my mom a couple years ago.
Yesterday someone posted a link on the book of faces, and as soon as I read it, I felt some relief. I hope it helps those of you facing the same struggles. Where we ask "How will I know" or "When is it time", the author asks "What are you waiting for?" Then he goes into those questions and how tricky they are. After reading the article, I feel that I've made the right calls on all my fur babies. I hope it helps those of you facing the same struggle.
Side note: Something extraordinary happened a couple nights after we helped Jethro cross The Rainbow Bridge. He had a way of letting me know when he thought it was bedtime. He'd stand in the hall and stare. You know the stare: it raises the hair on your arms and the back of the neck. Then he'd climb into the bathtub. He loved to sleep in the bathtub. He liked the cool porcelain in the summer, and hubby would put a thick bath rug down in the tub in the winter. Anyway, I was changing to go to bed, and I heard him climbing into the bathtub. I called out "Night, Jethro", then froze. I heard the distinct click-click of first the front feet, then the back feet clearing the tub side, then the "thud" of his hind end landing. Maybe it was an auditory hallucination, maybe it was Jethro come back to make me feel a bit better. I like to think the latter.