Stages of Having to Euthanize Your Pet

On October 16th, I had to have my dog euthanized. It would have been ten years since we got her this November. However, even though it was an extremely difficult decision and there was so much I still wanted to do, ultimately it was the best decision for her. In the 24 hours between when we were given the option and writing this, I experienced the stages of emotions felt when you have to euthanize your pet (well, I’m still a bit stuck on realization).

Stages of Having to Euthanize Your Pet


Surprise: What? Why?

Doubt: Are you sure? There’s nothing we can do? I’m sure there is. How did this happen? Why? But it’s so soon. Are you sure this is the best and there’s nothing else that we can do for her?

Denial: No this isn’t happening I’m sure she’ll be better by tomorrow watch. We don’t have to do this. She’s fine. Just look, she’s fine.

Affection: Shower her with love and special attention. Just cuddle with her and give her the best meal of her life. She isn’t going tomorrow.

Acceptance (a): This is the best decision for her. I don’t want her to suffer just because I can’t let her go. Think of what she are going through. It’s going to be okay. It’s humane.

Confusion: This is really happening. It won’t just last tomorrow or the rest of the week but the week after that and the week after that and forever after that. What am I going to do? What is happening right now? Is this really happening? This can’t be real. What was she thinking? Was she confused or relieved or angry? How am I supposed to make this decision that she trusted me with? I can’t believe she’s gone.

Realization: Oh God. I’m never going to see her again. It’s done.

Disbelief: I keep thinking she’s coming back. I’ll turn the corner and she’ll be lying there like she always is. But she isn’t. I can’t believe she’s gone.

Guilt: How can I just make that kind of decision for another life? What gives us the power over them? What if I made the wrong choice?

Regret: There’s still so much to do. I wanted to take you to the park next weekend. I never got to open that bag of snacks. I wanted to take you to Big Bear this year. Who will bark at 2 am and wake me up at 4 to go to the bathroom? I’m sorry I yelled so many times and closed the door in your face and laughed when you tried to open it by butting it with your head. Who will pick up my good when I drop it on the ground? There’s still water in your bowl.

Acceptance (b): She is in a better place. She is out of her suffering and is at peace.This was the right decision. I love you and miss you forever, buddy.

Moving on: I cry for what seems like forever. But it’s okay. It was her time and she’s doing much better now. You’ll be okay too.

Optional: Fill that new hole in your heart with another furry friend to love.

I love you, Ella (unknown-10/16/14). Miss you buddy.

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