I'm a new member and have enjoyed reading some of the discussions. This one may already exist,however I was not able to find it.
Our Golden is soon to be 14. In the last year, she developed a tumor on her leg. It has grown to baseball size. It has now outgrown the blood supply and it is starting to bother her. We do not want any surgeries, of course, nor do I want to put the "lampshade" on her to keep from licking the site. I know her days are short lived. She is still very lively, though she has bad hips, she still swims 2-3x a week and plays in interacting games.
The tumor will gradually get to the point of too large for her to walk or it starts to drain. How or is there a way that I can start to prepare myself emotionally for the euthanisia decision? We are enjoying everyday with her. I have many pictures and stories about her and feel there has to be a way to be calming about it now. I already spend days crying when I see her enter another final phase. Any suggestions?
Dear Sashan, My heart goes out to you! Any dog lover can attest to the fact that there is no way to possibly prepare for day you know will come soon. Saying goodbye to our beloved pets is heart wrenching.
My husband and I have had several Golden's, and our most recent girl was eutanized this past June in the driveway of our home. She was also 14 years old, and like yours, never missed a day to enjoy what she loved best. The day she died was a beautiful day and she slept in our driveway as I backed from the garage. I did not see her - she did not see me and I ran over her hind-end and broke her hip. Within 15 minutes our Vet was there. In those 15 minutes she was thankfully without pain and calm. We held her, cried buckets, and said our unexpected good-byes to our family member. It was brutal for us. Later in the day we found a special place for her burial in the woods and held a ceremony. My husband and I still cry for her.
Like you, I knew at 14 that she would not be with us much longer. Knowing this would likely be her last year with us, I spent many quiet moments with her earlier this spring giving her all the love I had. I cried and hugged her and told her how lucky we were to have such a devoted companion. I said prayers to God for bringing her to our lives. When the sad day comes for you; you will find it in yourself to comfort her as she slips away. That is the best you can do.
I don't think you can ever prepare; and there is nothing wrong with letting the tears take over when you can't hold back. I think you will instinctly know when the time will be right. Certainly you will have an intense grieving period, but there will come a time when you can enjoy the pictures, and talk of her memories when it won't be so hard.
If she is otherwise healthy are you absolutely sure you don't want to opt for surgery? If the vet thinks she's a good candidate, the site should be healed in a month. The lampshade is a small price to pay for another couple of years. If she's not a good candidate, you can get some plaster of paris and a little shadow box and make an impression of her paw, and decorate the box. I did that for a friend, and it was really neat looking. This is an agonizing decision, but you are a loving owner to be able to do the right thing for her. It is the worst part of pet ownership. Give the shadowbox a try. It's a nice momento