Posted by: kateraidt | May 29, 2010

Putting the Family Dog to Sleep

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!



  1. Im so sorry for your loss. My moms dog of 10 years passed away 2 years ago and it was very tough on her. She had to take her in with the vets recommendation as well since she had heart problems.
    My dog right now is 9 and Im dreading the day I have to do the same. My moms dog gave birth to him and he’s been with me every since day 1. He was the runt and almost didnt make it but I fed him with a little bottle and took care of him.
    Please do share any helpful hints you have so others can use when in this situation as well. Thanks and again sorry for your loss.

  2. I appreciated your heartfelt journey and the impact that planning had on your being able to say goodbye in the most peaceful way possible. What a great idea to “recycle” Sweet Pea’s items by donating them to the place where you adopted her.

    May you continue to enjoy the beautiful memories that you made with Sweet Pea!

    • Thank you for your kind words!

  3. WOW! so sad, I also have a dog, Sweet pea, she is a wee poo, cute as a boot and so amazingly joyful.

    Sometimes I look at her knowing the day will come when she won’t be in my life, I don’t kow if I will cope, I hope your doing okay, now.

  4. Yesterday I put my beloved bichon Riley down. It was teh hardest thing I have ever had to do but I did not want him to suffer after all the years of love and joy he brought to me. I feel devastated, the house feels so empty without his clicking pawa and his soft snores… I can’t stop crying….how did you get through this? I had Riley before hubby and child too

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