Today was one of the worst days of my entire life. At 11am my 18-year old dog, Sweet Pea, who I have had for 16 years was put to sleep. I had Sweet Pea longer than my husband and two kids – combined! She traveled the world with me: She lived in Hollywood, Prague and Germany. She accompanied me on movie sets, band practice and jogs around the lake. She definitely lived an adventurous, full life.
About 2 years ago she starting going down hill. She lost her hearing, she started having frequent accidents inside the house and when we went walking she starting losing her bearings. I took her to the vet about 6 months ago to get some feedback if it “was time”. The vet said “You will know in the bottom of your gut when it is time.” That day I didn’t have that strong feeling that it was time for Sweet Pea to go. I was secretly hoping that things would “take it’s natural course” and Sweet Pea would pass away peacefully in the middle of the night or she would have a heart attack. I was dreading having to make the decision on my own. Well, last week I came home and Sweet Pea was sprawled on our tile floors. She couldn’t stand up by herself. A few days later we were outside and the slightest incline in our backyard made her fall over. This is when I knew it “was time”.
On Thursday morning I called my vet and scheduled her appointment. I had 3 days to plan her departure and say our goodbyes. Friday night I grilled Sweet Pea a giant T-bone steak. I asked a neighbor to babysit my kids while my husband and I went to the vet alone. Looking back, I am so glad I made the decision to have her euthanasia planned. Nothing traumatic happened in front of the kids, in the middle of the night or while I was alone. I had my husband by my side during the procedure and this devastating experience was carried out as peacefully and professional as it possible could have.
After Sweet Pea was euthanized, the adorable veterinarian, Dr. Taylor, bawled along with me and gave me a huge hug. It’s the first time I have seen my husband (the tough guy) cry as well. Since being home, I have packed up Sweet Pea’s food, dog bed, leash and food bowls and I plan to donate it to the animal shelter where I adopted her 16 years ago.
If you are having to decide whether to put your family pet to sleep, I would take my vet’s advice: You will know in the pit of your gut when it’s time. When you are ready to make that phone call, schedule your appointment a few days out so you can give your pet the best few days of life you possibly can.
RIP Sweet Pea!