[quoteicon author=”LABfan Derek”]My lovely lab Simba is being put to sleep at 14:00, he is 14 and so frail, I feel like the worst person in the world[/quoteicon]

Its a lab thing-rainbow bridge-labrador 1

I have yet to experience the sending of my Labrador to Rainbow Bridge. I can only imagine how hard that decision can be, but I know that there may be a chance that I would have to face it. I am sure LABfan Derek is not the only one that has felt the bite of the guilt bug for making the decision that it was the time.

Thoughts about your Labrador’s Life…

and if it is the time really can depend on you and the state of your Lab. At what point is it to early? Did you try everything that you could? Did you look at all your options?

On the same note, when is too long? Are they clearly suffering? Are You holding on because You are not ready?

Tough Decisions

So what do you do? Again it really depends on the circumstance. My personal opinion is that, if you have done everything humanly possible and the condition has not improved or will improve and you know they are frail and suffering; it might be time to say goodbye so your Labrador does not have to feel pain anymore.

What do you think LABfans? What are your personal experiences? When is it the Right Time?

184 Responses

    • Harry Sutton

      Your’e not “putting them down”, you’re making one more decision to make things better for them. And as they are not around always, they are never “gone”. We had to make this decision for Miss Daisy at age 10, she left us and left behind a treasury of smiles and memories and lots of love. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and sometimes out in public I will see a reminder and get tears in my eyes oe laugh out loud. But, that’s OK cause…it’s a Lab thing.

      • Deborah Antoniades

        You said it so well. Our dogs know when it’s time before we do…

    • Tricia

      We made this decision for our yellow lab Timber a year ago. He was twelve and a half. We were told he had two weeks to live. He lived one more full year for us on medication. Then he began to wander off our property and we would find him curled up in some bushes. The look in his eyes told me he had enough. We probably held onto him a bit longer than we should have, but I couldn’t imagine my life without him. Now I know he needed us to do this for him. A dog’s memory lives in it’s owners heart forever. He will never leave my heart and I believe he knows that. I am greatful for the twelve years of memories he gave us. Those crazy labs…..<3

      • Joel

        Oh man, very well put. My lab is 3 now and is my best friend. Even though i love my wife very much and my children, they do not come running to me no matter what the circumstances are. But Mya lea does, without fail. When i come home she will not leave my side, and i am gone alot at work. I take her hunting with me, when i go outside she comes with me. I have learned through trial and error how to really love, and show love. And the rewards are beautiful. I can’t even hardly think about the day she will go to the rainbow bridge. I get all swelled up and just feel like crying.

      • Bob

        I had to euthanize my 12 year old YellowLab last Friday, September 27, 2013. It was the toughest choice I’ve ever made. Colt had diabetes, arthritis and last month, he lost his vision. I have never experienced hurt like I am over his loss. He was a member of our family, stayed up waiting for our daughters to come home from dates and sat up with them when they had late night college studying. I had spinal surgery two years ago and Colt never left my side.
        It was an honor for me to help him during the final months of his life. He died with dignity and lived with courage, loyalty, love and kindness. It would be a wonderful world if all people had the character of a Lab. I miss him so much..

    • Mileen

      I recently had to help both of my Labs cross over within 6 months of each other at 14, two different situations but each one broke my heart and still does. For both of them, they told me when it was time. I saw it in their eyes and felt it in my heart and respected what they wanted. Jake was just last month and Mindy 5 months ago but a day does not go by when I can still feel them with me they were the loves of my life and feel blessed we had so much time together. It’s never an easy decision but I did what I did for them not for me. So very sorry that it may be time, but someday the void in your heart will fill with many wonderful Lab memories.

      • julie rawlinson

        Hello. Ive just read your post and I myself have had to send my black Labrador Sasha to Rainbow Bridge. She had arthiritis in the back legs and when I took her to the vets I found out there and then that she had cancer of the throat. She was 12yr and 6mths old. I had to make that sudden decision to let her go and it broke my heart. She passed away on 26th Sept 2013. She was my best friend. 2 and a half years ago I had to go through the same ting with my 1st Labrador Ben but called him Billy as he had heart failure. Im not having anymore dogs wich is hard because ive always had them in my life.

    • Sharon

      It was the hardest decision I ever made, but the right one. You just KNOW when its time. I had the vet come to my house because I did not want to stress Licorice out by taking him into an environment which scared him. He was 14, had a great great spoiled life, but I knew he was losing the battle. My vet said he thought he might have cancer, but there was no point in putting him through any testing or surgery. I loved/ and still do him madly. I have my pictures and memories.

    • Chris

      You will just know. My daughters wonderful Black Lab had to go nearly 3 weeks ago. After 2 years medicated to the hilt with his arthritis, then cushings (?) disease. He was a very happy boy until he went downhill rapidly one week. Couldn’t get to the field on his walk. I spent his last night sat or laid near him to help him go to sleep as he was in such discomfort. He walked into the Vets room the next morning wagging his tail but just had to lie down. The Vet was so relieved that we had already made the decision (sorry hard to type when your eyes are misted over) and his 12 year life ended in peace and with a little dignity. Goodbye Matthew Morgoyles Boo. We miss you dreadfully.

  1. Jamie Mutt Webb

    That was me in November…..Ours was going downhill fast, but it was the best thing for him. He will always be in our hearts & thoughts. It’ll be hard at first, but just remember, he’s not suffering anymore. We couldn’t risk him becoming cross with the kids-we didn’t want that to happen & the kids remember him that way. We made the decision, and it was for the best

  2. Penny Mccartney

    Just lost my lab murphy you know he was 8 too young work with your vet but do not push the medicine they sometimes just have enough god bless

  3. Jamie

    That was me in November…..Ours was going downhill fast, but it was the best thing for him. He will always be in our hearts & thoughts. It’ll be hard at first, but just remember, he’s not suffering anymore. We couldn’t risk him becoming cross with the kids-we didn’t want that to happen & the kids remember him that way. We made the decision, and it was for the best. Remember the good times, cherish the pics & videos you have.

  4. Sarah Elliott

    I cant ever think about the day god forbids anything happens to my baby boy woody I cry at the thought of it x I have never had a dog before ever and he is just the best thing in my life x am glad he is only 3 so have many more doggy years left with him x

  5. Brandi Nickchen

    I just had to my 20 yr old down Feb 15 was the hardiest thing I ever had to do but it was for the best sending lots of prayers your way

  6. Maryann Cluff

    Over the past 20 years we have had to face this heart-wrenching decision four times. It is never, never easy. But, in hind sight,, each our labs seemed to say “its time”. The wisdom in there eyes simply gave us the strength, but I cry just thinking of it now.. Peachie, Bodie, Buddy and Pepper each shared 12-15 years each as apart of our family. Yet, they are always with you forever <3

  7. Elizabeth Ann Yancey

    God bless you and your labby, i love them so much and they are the best pets, i cant tell you how sad this makes me, i can only imagine hw sad you will be.

  8. Patty Woodyard ParelliProfessional

    Derek, I have been in your shoes with a few animals/ 4legged friends. All I can say is you will know when it’s the right time. Listen to YOUR heart and that of your dog. Do NOT let vet talk you into something you do not feel %100 about. Sending you and your 4legged prayers and healing energies

  9. Thomas Grobe

    Just had to let go of my 14 year old ‘JellyBean’, and my heart is broken, save for the fact that when it was time, she knew, and she let me know that she was counting on me to love her till the very end. Dont know if my heart could survive another loss like hers…..

  10. Nigel Elliott

    no doubt it will be very hard for you my friend but it is something which has to be done once youbuddy is no longer enjoying his or her life.

  11. Maria Clark

    Maryann is right. We have had to do this twice now, Bosun was 14 and Tilly was 11. They were both showing signs of old age and were finding things harder but they still seemed happy enough, then one day they get a look in their eyes that just seems to tell you they have had enough. It is a horrible thing to have to go through but it is the final kindness that you can show then in return for the years of love and devotion you have shown each other. My thoughts are with Derek and any other owners who are facing the same dilemma.

  12. Lynda Quinn

    I have had to do it a couple of times and its very hard. They never leave you they are always in your thoughts. My thoughts are with you.

  13. Linda Chamberlain

    Remember when it is time, then you do what you and the dog know is the kindest act of love in the world and give your best friend a kiss….until you meet again.

  14. Clive Yvonne Karusseit

    Derek if your precious Lab is in pain or has no quality of life, it is time to send your beloved pet to the Rainbow Bridge. It is hard (been there done that) but you have to think of your pet and his/her comfort and well being. May God comfort you when the time comes. Pray that, when you have grieved, you will find it in your heart to rescue another Lab (or other dog). They will help to ease the sense of loss and ease the pain a bit. We got our Duke 7 months ago and he has done just that for us. Their love is unconditional and so should our love for them be.

  15. Kaos Labby

    We had to make this difficult decision last year, when we asked this same question a close friend told us that she would tell us when it was time and we believe that she did. Its a heart wrenching decision to make, our thoughts are with you.

  16. Sue Bronkhorst Maynard

    I had to make that decision in May last year. It broke my heart and I still cry for him and miss him every day, but he was too tired to fight any more. RIP my gentle giant Clover. You will know when the time comes. God bless.

  17. Bonnie LaClair Bennett

    Have had to do this many times … when their quality of life is gone, it’s time to let them cross the rainbow bridge. I feel better knowing I have ended their suffering than to watch them suffer and not do something to help. Always heart wrenching to do … but they will be in a better place and it is more humane to go quickly and not struggle and suffer.

  18. Carol Poppell Graham


  19. Wendy Kaplan

    My darling, adored first labbie, Shadow, was very ill. She was only 11, and to me, that was way too young. It was only when she started to sit facing the wall and did not recognize my son, with whom she was bonded since we got her at 8 weeks old, that I realized I was keeping her for my own selfish reasons. I was with her, whispering in her ear, as she was sent to the Rainbow Bridge with her head in my arms. I made it to my car and quite literally howled to the heavens. It was one of the worst days of my life.

  20. David Baldwin

    I have made the decision twice in the past several months. I knew it was time for the first one when I came home from work one day and saw that she was isolating herself. The look in her eyes told me that it was time. It just seemed like the life was gone from them and all I could see was pain. It was almost like she was asking me to let her go. Once I gave my permission to leave she let go. I made the appointment to take her to the vet the following day but she passed on her own. It was almost like she wanted it that day. The second time was very different. My dog was showing signs of old age and then she stopped eating. Aside from that she was still very happy and comfortable. I took her to the vet where we found she had a large tumor in her stomach that was the cause of her inability to eat. The vet said that there was nothing to be done. Rather than letting her slowly suffer I elected to say goodbye while she was still happy. Her tail was wagging even as she fell to sleep. It gave me great comfort to know that I was saving her from suffering and that the last thing she saw was my face. The last words she heard were “I love you.” I know it is hard to make the decision you are facing. Just try to keep in mind what is best for your friend. Hope my words have been of some help.

  21. Nigel Elliott

    you must remember that ending there suffering is the ultimate act of love for your dog hard as it is so be brave and do the right thing . they never really leave you . good luck .

  22. Alyson Wonderland

    12 months ago my lovely sage was very poorly – no one expected her to pull through- having her put to sleep was at the forefront of my mind – I thought I mustn’t keep her for the wrong reasons – but something was niggling at me & I said just give her one more chance – a couple more days – 12 months on she’s in her bed next to me snoring her head off – having been running in the fields & jumping in the stream – I have no doubt in my mind Sage will let me know when it’s time to let go xx

    We’re both sending big Labrador love xx

  23. Ron Barr

    I had to put my Chocolate Lab Kaluha down in Jan 2012…she was the best dog an owner could ever have…my heart goes with you…believe me you will know when the best time comes…so will your dog..

  24. Yvette Munoz Miller

    Ugh, I’m crying just reading this and now typing my response. I know someday we’ll have to do the same thing and it breaks my heart. I keep telling myself when they time comes I have to remember to not be selfish and put Knuckles’ feelings first….easy to say now but I know it won’t be so easy then. I pray you find guidance in this decision and know we all share in your pain, sorry, and sadness. Prayers for you, your family, and your lab. <3

  25. Frances Gowing

    Beautifully said linda,i have been there and knew when ollie couldn’t go on any longer. Broke my heart but know he will be waiting at the bridge x

  26. Susan Wagner

    Derek, I had to make that hard decision 5 years ago for my 15 year old girl. When I was asked, what is her quality of life? I knew what I had to do. My heart ached making that choice, but to know she was not suffering anymore helped. Can’t wait to get to the Rainbow Bridge to paly again. Listen to your heart!

  27. Brenda Dostie

    Watch there eyes when you see they are happy to see you but the sparke is replaced with hurt. Its time. We had to let our guy so last spring.

  28. Jennifer King

    Dear Derek,
    I can’t read this since I’m at work and don’t want to tear up. All I can say is, do what you think is right. And know that you will probably question yourself no matter what. Remember that you gave your Lab the best possible life and treasure those memories. Best of luck and big hugs!

  29. Paul Fiore

    very tough decision, wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.reallyheart wrenching been there twice. our thoughts and prayers are with you

  30. Pam Ray

    It was the worst day of my life when I lost my lab Hollie May she was only eight still a baby

  31. Elaine Gelsthorpe

    It’s the hardest thing u will ever do …we had to get our golden lab sasha put to sleep last July..she had a massive tumour and the sparkle had gone from her..I know at the end we were keeping her going for us…it was the kindest thing to do for her.you will know.thoughts are with you…

  32. Our Shirls Crichton

    Please do not deny what this pups is asking you to do, you have to be fair to him. Please give him the space and the love that he needs. I know it is hard and I had to do it for my Snoopy. If you love him and he needs your love let him go. My boy burried at Rossendale pet cemetary xxxx.It’s the hardest thing in the world I know xxxx be strong. Rainbow Bridge xxxxxxxx

  33. Dennis Hanna

    Labradors, like all dogs, only have one fault, they do not live long enough. I’m afraid it is a sad fact that our most loyal companions are only with us for a short time. There comes a time when the light goes from your friend’s eyes and he seeks peace and an end to his pain. That is when your pain begins as you mourn his lost. Farewell old friend, you will always remain in my heart.

  34. Donna Miesiaszek Bilby

    Sent my lab Ally to rainbow bridge on May 17, 2012. The hardest decision I have ever had to make. I loved her so very much it had to be quality over quantity of life!

  35. Louise Parkes

    Its si hard, i have had to make the decision 3 times and once was taking one of my lovely black labs to the bets who died just as i pulled onto the car park. Usually you will know the right time as i did in all but one case when i just could not part with my lovely Dixie and held onto her for longer than i should. Its heartbreaking but my advice is to go out and buy another as soon as you can manage it as otherwise it remains too raw for too long. So sorry.

  36. Karen A. Kukla

    My Petey just turned ten last week, and he just came out of surgery for a malignant spindle cell tumor on his shoulder about two hours ago. He is the light of my life, and every time I pass by him, I love on him – he must feel so smothered by his Mom. I look at him often and cry, anticipating the day when I will have to make the hardest decision of my life because I can’t imagine my life without him. I have already made arrangements with the vet to come to my home when the time comes so Petey is surrounded by peace and love when he crosses over. I can’t begin to imagine your pain right now – but know you are giving him the peace he has dedicated to you all his life. I dread making that decision….but I will always do what’s best for Petey, no matter how many pieces it breaks my heart into.

  37. Elaine Baxter

    Its 5 years since Dylan was put to sleep and i still miss him so much.I sat up with him all night the night before and i am sure he knew his time had come.When the vet arrived he wagged his tail,licked everyones hand and then lay perfectly still while she did what was necessary.It broke my heart but i knew it was the kindest thing as he could no longer walk.RIP Dylan.I look forward to the day i see you again over the rainbow bridge xxxxxxxxx

  38. Jayne Muchler Dick

    My vet has told me that this decision is my final act of love for my fur baby. It is a heart wrenching decision that we’ve made 5 times. You can usually tell by the look in their faces. It is quick, painless (for them-not you) and very peaceful. My heart breaks for you as you make this decision.

  39. Stella Wright-Cannon

    My parents have had 3 labs and over the last 18 yrs have to put an end to there suffering, it doesn’t make it any easier and they morned for months, but as Maryann Cluff posted they seemed to let my mom know when it was time It was extremely hard to reach the decision but we all knew it was time. Allow your self to morn the lost of your best friend, but allow your self to enjoy the love of a pet once again, maybe not now but in the future.

  40. Amy Duran

    I am 61 years old and have had to do this more then once. I believe that just because a dog grows old, blind, deaf etc is not a reason as long as their is still life in their eyes and they are not in pain. However, when there is suffering involved and your pet’s quality of life is no longer..then it is time.. this is such a difficult decision but know in your heart what you are doing is such a selfless act of kindness… It has been my experience, that they give me “the look” and you will instinctively know what that is when you see it..god bless

  41. Darren Newnham

    I had the same awful decision to make back in January. Harley, my beautiful 6 year old black lab very suddenly changed behaviour, eventually not knowing his way around our regular walkies trail. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. We kept him comfortable and well in the life of luxury he was used to. As other have said, he/she will tell you when its time. Harley just lost his spark, his eyes were dull, his appetite went… and yes, I still cry every day for him.

  42. Judy Grimes

    when I put my yellow lab Wyatt to sleep all I had to do was look at his face and eyes and I could clearly see him saying “Mom, fix it” and with a very heavy heart I did…they give such unconditional love right from the very first day that’s it’s the very least we can do for them. BUT the pain and loss NEVER goes away. R.I.P. Wyatt & Zak. <3

  43. Chris Walker

    Have lost 2 old ones in 8 months. Latest, i had said the day he stops wagging, I would know it was time!
    Then realised he was never going to stop wagging 🙂
    A great memory of a very loyal dog RIP Bailey

  44. Landshark Labradors

    When it’s time to let them go with the grace, dignity & love they deserve, you will know. For all they’ve done for you each & every day of their lives, it’s the least you can do.

  45. Tracey Andrews

    I have had to do it twice now it is not an easy decision but you will know when it is time. I had both cremated and they are at home with me forever.

  46. Christine Meiner

    We have had to put our dog to rest (not a lab) but its a tough decision. I was with her and in my heart she was better going to rest than in pain. If it is suffering then the decision must be made. I pray for your family & laby .

  47. Natalie Duarte-Saber

    Toughest decision you ever have to make. We had to put down our lab down three weeks before his twelfth birthday. It was a devastating day for the whole family. I feel the pain it has taken months for us to let go but at times you just wish he was here. Hope everything works out ok.

  48. Stephanie Rice Cauler

    it is the hardest decision u will ever make in your life…over the years I had to put down 2 of my best friends before they died on their own to stop the pain they were suffering…and I cried for weeks afterwards…but they are in a better place without anymore pain and can run free and I know that eventually I will see them again….

  49. Karen Wade

    He will let you know when he is ready to go even tho your not ready to let him. I had to put my first one down and it was like losing a part of my family. It took me a month to pick up his ashes and I sat in front of the vets in my truck crying and telling my husband on my phone where I was, as I did not tell him I was going. I finally got up the nerve to go get them, put him on the front seat, and said “one more ride in the truck with momma big boy”

  50. Daniel Thhing

    Derek, not an easy decision , everybody is right when YOU will know. my heart to you and your furbaby. run free!!!!

  51. Susan Ireland

    Must be a morning of sadness God bless all who are going through losing their furry friends. I know how it feels.

  52. Linda Coyne

    It’s never an easy decision to make. I have to agree that your baby’s quality of life should be the deciding factor. When our male could no longer stand up on his own and couldn’t control his bladder anymore; when he looked at us, we knew it was time because in his eyes he told us that we had to let him go. My thoughts are with you.

  53. Julie Lundberg Bohrer

    I can’t really say anything much different than all these other wonderful people have except that for me) and I have had to make this decision 4 out of 5 dogs now) the fact that we HAVE the ability TO make this decision for our furbabies to end their pain and suffering IS the most comforting thing. Take the time you need to mourn, remember the good times and know that he is playing hard and running pain-free at Rainbow Bridge, waiting for you <3 O:)

  54. Seonaid Parnell

    It is one of the worst times of your life. I did this for my beautiful girl Holly. I know it was right but such pain. I miss her so much.

  55. Donna Sokolov Pedroncelli

    Only you will know. Don’t ever let someone else tell you what to do. I put my to sleep end of August 2012 after doing everything in my power to get her better . I had some pretty rude vets who were crass and cold. I found 2 amazing holistic practicing vets who were very kind and compassionate and tried making my Tara comfortable , she was 12 yrs. liver failed thanks to a vet who made her ill putting her on Meds long term w/o monitoring her blood and if I knew now back last yr she wouldn’t of been on them. My biggest regret. Just be w your baby and comfort her him –they know who loves them. There has never nor will there be an easy way, if it were, then you wouldn’t care or love them like you do.

  56. Daisy Doo

    Your labby will tellyou when his time has come – he will not want to eat or go for walks. Be sure that you are keeping him going for his benefit and not your own. Yet still, you will ask yourself the question have I done the right thing? Keep hold of allyour precious memories and hold on to the knowledge that he was one of the lucky ones to have such a caring owner. xxx

  57. Jackie Harrison

    I’ve had to make decision 4xs in my adult life. All but one had a pretty long happy life. They all seem to give you that “it’s time to go look with their eyes, and their tails stop wagging. They seem to know when it’s time. We, just have to pay attention an be aware and love them always.

  58. Zoe Hynes

    I can’t open the page, but I get the idea of the post from all the stories and support written. I had to make the heart breaking decision 5 years ago when I had to let our family black lab go. He was only 8 when he was diagnosed with bone cancer on his left shoulder. the vet said I would have him for further 6 months.. 18 months on he developed arthritis in his front right paw and was finding it difficult to move. He no longer could manage the stairs. I made the decision that it was time. Two days before I took him to the vet I wrote a little story to our family on Ben’s behalf and the day I took him to the vet and said said goodbye I emailed the story to my family. In one way it made my decision easier and it made my day easier knowing that I felt what he was feeling and put it in writing…. I have Ben’s ashes so he will always be with me… forever 🙂

  59. Julia Moyse

    Had to make the decision on my 15 year old poodle years ago and I knew when the time was right. Dreading the moment with my beautiful lab, but pray that once again, I will know.

  60. Lance Zeglen

    They will let you know when it is time and as much as it hurts you have to do the right thing for your best friend. I did it when my boy was in pain and suffering, I could not let that continue! He will always be in my heart and I have great memories!

  61. Teri Nascimento

    It is a very hard decision to make. I’ve had to do it with 2 horses, 3 dogs and 2 cats. With dogs and cats, when they no longer want to eat and drink and you see the wasting away, you will know it’s time. Some of mine went from very old age and one from cancer. You will have them close to you because they will leave behind memories and they will always be in your heart.

  62. Julie Funfer

    Personally, I think it comes down to quality of life. I had to put down my arthritic lab (14 years ago) when she was basically confined to her bed. As much as it hurt me, it was hurting her more not being able to walk up and down the stairs, go for walks, run….. All the things she loved to do.
    If their quality of life is suffering, then it’s time to let them go.

  63. Leslie Palme

    I have had to do this twice too. They tell you. The really tell you. It is like their souls leave before and the light goes out of their eyes. You will know.

  64. Carys Christie

    my shanna …..my tru and loyal pal…..when i grow old and the time comes to say farewell hold me gently in your arms and i will go without a whimper, for with you i am safe and secure…..a beautiful big fluffy black lab who gave love and received it with a grateful heart.

  65. Lore VanHouten

    It all comes down to quality of life. My Lab, Quincy, is 14. He survived cancer surgery last year. He has disc disease and arthritis. He has mostly good days, although sometimes he struggles. He is still happy, is not in pain, eats well, and still has the forever wagging labby tail. I know that soon I will have to make that decision. My prayers are with you. I think you will know in your heart when it’s time.

  66. Cajsa Lindgårdh

    Our lab got cancer. We operated once. Second time was coming up. But then we realized we did it for us, not her. She was 11 when we put her sleep. It was a quiet, sad, but still ok moment. We knew we did the right thing for her. Still miss her 5 years later…

  67. Annette Hamilton

    My heart breaks 4 u i had 2 make this decision w/my lil sheltie bk n Feb.He was 14 1/2 yrs old it’s a tough decision & u hate 2 do it but u don’t have no choice..I was hopin my lil boy would go n his sleep but unfortunately it didn’t happen that way..He was n bad shape i cried & cried it’s the hardest thing i had 2 do..It was my 1st & i hope & pray it will b my last w/the other 3 dogs & 1 cat i’ve got..My cat & him where best friends she misses him so bad,they grew up 2gether..My heart goes out 2 u & u’re dog.. <3 🙁

  68. Mary Madole

    I’m so sorry that you have to make this heart-wrenching decision. When the time comes, services such as At Home Vet can make the last hours much less traumatic for your beloved four-legged family member. They were a blessing for my 12 year old chocolate lab Hershey. He spent his last moments in the familiarity of his home, surrounded by the love his family.

  69. Jean

    My very first Lab, Spike, was the picture of health. He was eating normally, playing normally etc…one night he was on the floor with me watching tv, as usual, and he went to get up and collapsed. My dad called the vet and he told us to meet him at his office. Long story short, he had cancer throughout his body and his lungs had filled with blood, the vet told us he would call in the am and give us any more info. He called and asked us what we wanted to do. My mom said she didn’t want him to suffer so we put him down….it broke our hearts, but we know it was the right thing to do and none of us regretted it.

  70. Donna Soboleski

    It’s a very hard decision to make but sometimes necessary. Our pets don’t want to leave us just as much as we don’t want them leaving us. We’ve had to do that a few times & it doesn’t get any easier. Our black lab died on his own(he had a heart attack). It happened so fast, we were so devasted. We still cry, love & miss all of them everyday. We have all their ashes too. I don’t believe in letting our pets suffer & i honestly believe they were ok with us making the decision for them. When you see that pain in their eyes or they can’t live life to the fullest then it’s time. My heart truly goes out to you & Good bless

  71. JoAnn Buehler

    Dear Derek:
    We lost our yellow Lab named Jammer in April 2012 at 9 years old. He had a cancerous growth on his side that just fed off of him until he was skin and bones. He let us know that it was his time the day he died as he tried to walk over to my husband and fell over from weakness. You are so lucky to have had your Simba for so long; you will have many good memories of him to recall. They never truly leave you as I still feel Jammer’s presence around me, especially when I’m saddened.
    Take care and know that you have given so much love to Simba and he has rewarded you with the same affection. God bless you and Simba, JoAnn Buehler.

  72. Laurie Swistak Coombs

    I’ve had to send 3 of my labs across the Rainbow Bridge in the past 13 yrs. I could see it in their eyes. They tried not to show it but their eyes were the give away. It’s so very hard. What helped me and them I think, was to make the arrangements and give us a day to completely enjoy the things we always loved doing together, even if they could no longer do those things we attempted it. I also would give them their favorite treats, and for me… after we did these things together but before they had to go away, I would sit down and write everything we did that last day together. It doesn’t make the grieving process any easier but in some small way, it helps. Good Luck in your decision, it’s such a difficult one. Try not to be selfish and keep him here for you if you know he’s suffering. They depend on us to do right by them. I’m thinking of you.

  73. Douglas Gusten

    When it time you will know. Please go with a vet that comes to your house. I used Lap of Love they are great. Moby is out of pain and that’s what you have to put first their quality of life. Prayers to you…

  74. Larry Halliday

    I have had to put down 5 of my dogs in my lifetime. It gets harder as I grow older. I have been known to cry like a baby when I did this. When their quality of life is no longer there because of health issues you will know it is time. My last dog we knew it was time, it was not any easier. I was with him the whole time when my vet put him to sleep. He was blind and old and was my baby. It was time, we knew it but just could not accept it it till it was time. Though we have other dogs he was just part of our lives and our every day routine. We will always miss those dogs but we also have pictures of the good times.

  75. Lori Cummings

    It is the very hardest decision to make, I have had to make it several times, but you have to decide what is best for your best buddy, not what is best for you. You can’t keep being selfish trying to keep them with you, you have to let them tell you when it’s time to go to that Rainbow Bridge, and know it’s the very best thing to do for them. They will always be in your heart, I miss my Holly, General and Haley every day, but I know they are not in pain, they are healthy and happy waiting for me on that Bridge.

  76. Christine Luck

    i had to have my Lab Sam put to rest 30 nov 2011 always worried that i wouldnt know when the time was right but the look on his face and no wagging tail told me that it was time took comfort from the fact i did what was best for him still miss him the vet came to the house and that was the best thing for him and me you will make the right decision when the time is right.xx

  77. Ginnie

    This was the hardest decision I think I have ever had to make. My Spencer was diagnosed with cancer. Was told I could run tests and see how far along, etc. I chose not to. Didn’t want to put him through it. The doctor told me he had about 3 to 6 months left. Of course I cried. And cried. I watched him very carefully from that day on. He made it to his 11th birthday. I gave him a chocolate cake. He loved chocolate. He started to move a little slower, couldn’t jump into the car anymore. He just went down hill. One day, he wouldn’t take his medicine or pain killers. I tried with peanut butter, treats, even tried putting it in chocolate cake. Nothing. He didn’t eat his food that night. I knew it was time. The next day he wouldn’t go out to do his business. I had to actually pick him up to get him up off the floor (he weighed 107 pounds). He walked outside, did his business and rested on the lawn. I then again picked him up to get back in the house. I told my husband I thought it was time. He was in denial. The next day he still wouldn’t eat or drink. Asked my husband to pick him up to let him go out. Meanwhile I called the doctor. We went to her office. I was still asking her if there was anything else we could do or if it was really time. It was time and we were saying goodbye to our precious Spencer. One of the worst feelings in the world. I held him and kept petting him and telling him I loved him. I cried for hours that day (before going to the doctor and after). When I realized this was really the best thing for him, I stopped a lot of the crying. It has been 1 1/2 years now. I still cry. I miss him terribly. You might think me crazy, but I still talk to him. But then again, I know I will see him again at Rainbow Bridge. I still love and miss my Spencer boy. <3

  78. Mandy

    Having had the honour of being the fur parent to 2 wonderful yellow labs in my life for nearly 14 years. I know the pain and sorrow of making that awful decision to say goodbye. Cheyenne was first to cross the bridge just shy of her 14th birthday, I had cancelled twice because we thought dealing with the loss of mobility in her hind quarters and the diminished weight loss and slow lack of appetite finally we could deal with it and change things but it wasn’t right. If this was torture and painful to her we didn’t feel we were doing her any good and prolonging the vet to avoid dealing with her loss was wrong. So we took the next step and finally called our vet for the last time for her. I can only tell you from my personality as an animal lover of all kinds the feeling of letting your most valued friend and companion pass before your eyes is devastating you cry uncontrollably holding them and stroking them and when that last breath is taken you utterly lose it and fall to pieces. I tried to recover the loss because I still had 2 more dogs at home my other lab Cody and our rescue Aussie Shepherd/X Hound Montana but my girl took a great deal to get over she was my girl and we shared so many memories in those 14 years that I would need to write a book on our adventures. However, the months passed and then we were faced with another decision this time for Cody now 14 but slowing down and painfully struggling on two blown out knee joints as well as hearing loss and numerous infections near the end, like his sister we couldn’t tell if this was his time or were we delaying the inevitable again we called our vet and had him advise if we were being selfish because that’s what you do, you think your being lazy and selfish and don’t want the burden or responsibility to care for an older animal but are you really doing your beloved pet any good by watching them struggle day after day? You can only beat yourself up if you never tried anything to comfort them or spend time with them when they really needed you, and you constantly seem to give all your time to other unimportant matters or in material things and neglect the only thing that loved you “unconditionally”. I know we made our boy’s choice shared our last moment with him and watched as he slipped quietly and peacefully out of our lives that day. Neither of our dogs have left from our hearts we keep them close and remember them often. We got over the “did we make the right decision at the right time” conversation and know they too realized we had to make it for them. I have one dog left and spend as much time as I can with him, I hug him constantly and kiss him we walk and talk and sharing my time with him is so very important to me that every moment he will know that my love is as unconditional as his and I will help him when his time comes and we will part knowing we will meet someday at the bridge with his brother and sister.

  79. Susan Booth

    I too have had to make this dreadful decision so many times in the past forty years, of owning many Labs, several of them at a time, it does not get any easier. I have just lost my dear old lottie, she was fifteen years one week and one day. she was ten generations of my breeding on both sides of her breeding, her mum and her dad were fifteen when I lost them, I still have her daughter here with me aged elleven. Due to our age and my disability she wil be our last. I brought many into the world and saw them go out of it. life is very sad. the eyes will tell you when they want to go, and you must be strong for them.you owe it to them. hard as it will be

  80. Virginia Clark

    I just had our beloved yellow rescue labrador Sable put to sleep 10 days ago. She was just 2 weeks short of 11 years old and we had 9 wonderful years with her. What helps me is to thank her again and again for all the joy and boundless love she gave us, to have memories of her running so freely and happily in Valley Forge Park, and to know I will see her again in Heaven along with Middie, Topaz, Posie , and the other labs we have had. Peace to you.

  81. Teri

    Dear Derek,
    I just had to make this decision this morning for my 14 1/2 year old boy Clark. Actually he told me he was ready. He hadn’t wagged his tail in a week. So sorry. It is so hard. I know he is free now. Running and playing again.

  82. Cheryl

    I know this has to be so hard. I dread the day I have to put my two -Maggie 7 and Moses 5 down. I can say that I think you have to look at their quality of life. Do they still eat, way their tail, acknowlege you when you are near, etc. I know this is breaking your heart but remember they will no longer be suffering or in pain.

  83. Megan

    Dear Lab Buddy,

    I still am greaving the loss of my yellow lab Cody and it has been 7 years. I was with him through it all and the 10 years he gave me were the most precious moments. I try not to remember the diagnosis of diabetes at the age of 8 and the years it stole from my friend, but dispite all he was happy and the one thing that makes the saddness go away is knowing that I will see him again…I too cradled his head in my arms and whispered “I will be right be hind you, go on ahead….I LOVE YOU”. My thoughts and prayers are with all those people who know true love and loss! You are the forever home and family ever dog deserves. Prayers always!

  84. Terry Rains

    so am i judy-my black lab will be 14 on april 21, and i just wonder if i’m keeping him alive til then for his benefit, or mine..best of luck judy ; (

  85. Jan Tucker Mulligan

    Our chocolate Lab, Keeper, was 13. In the last 2 years she had Lyme twice. This most recent experience wiped her out; she couldn’t lift her head, or wag her tail or support her own weight, or walk without us helping her. Refused food and water – which, for a Lab, is so meaningful. We had already talked things over with the vet; all the possibilities, all the choices – I mean, veterinary science is incredible. So, we brought her back to the vet for another exam, and the vet offered Keeper a biscuit, and Keeper literally turned her head away. I did the same, and got the same response. That’s when we knew.

  86. Cindy Kalista Pieplow

    I find that the end is determined by two very important things..1. My dogs have distanced themselves from me when they are ready to leave..and 2. When medically there is no reasonable options left. My dogs have lived to be 12-14 years old and I OWED each one of them a mutual love as well as the highest degree of respect at the end of life..

  87. Kristen Darman

    I lost my first ever lab, Tara to throat cancer. It developed so quickly that we didnt even realise until we took her to the vet. She also had arthritis which made it hard for us to watch her not being able to eat, drink or walk. One day we saw that she was struggling so hard that we knew she couldn’t bear it anymore. It was a very hard decision to make but in the end we knew that she wasn’t in pain and the suffering had ended when she crossed the rainbow bridge. I will always love her just like I love my other Lab Max, who has a retina disease which has caused him to go blind. Labs have a way of saying ‘please just let me go’ with thier eyes.

  88. Andrew Mills

    You’ll know when it’s time. My first lab was 13 when she had to leave us, even the vet who looked after her from a puppy couldn’t do it – he had to get someone else to do it for him he was so upset.

    My last pup left me not long before she was 10, not young, but still before her time. I didn’t have to make the choice, but it was still painful to watch her pass before me.

    My current lab is nearly 5, and hopefully I will have at least another 5 years with her.

    I don’t think people who do not have dogs realise how much of you they become. A friend, confidant, a member of the family. In some cases, even a life saver. This is perhaps one of the hardest decisions a dog “owner” (I don’t feel owner is the right word) will have to make.

  89. Lindsay Smyth

    We’ve had to make this decision over the years with our cats. We always knew the right time. Each day I’d wake up and say today isn’t the day. Then suddenly it was. As hard as it will be for you, you have to do this last good thing for them. Even the day I took my lovely boy to the vet he still gave me comfort. I miss him still.

  90. Sherin

    I am so sorry for you. Recently my 8 yr. old lab began to fall. His back legs crossed and front paw skimmed the ground until it bled. He didn’t seem to be in pain but very confused and distraught. Our vet said it was most likely a inoperable spinal type brain tumor and sent us to a neurologist. When she examined him, she to thought the same. $3500.00 later. The MRI said it was a disk in his cervical spine. They wanted to do surgery, right then and there. We were out of town, unprepared and they didn’t even mention cost until I asked. By the time all expenses (surgery, assist. surgeon. anesth., hospital stay and rehab, etc.) we were looking at $15,000. We said we had to think about all of this knowing that there is no guarantee that it will not reoccur even with surgery and he would be so depressed to be crated so long after. We went home feeling guilty but called a retired Vet friend who told us to try prednisone first. He improved greatly and although prednisone is not great, neither is surgery. He’s off the prednisone and does have a little nerve damage. They say it may take 6 months for that to heal or it may never heal. He still may have his disk flare up but so does mine. Sometimes the extreme measures we take for our dogs can become selfish. They don’t understand when we keep them suffering for our own selfishness. I have had to put two down in they’re “Golden” years, both 15+ yrs. It was the hardest decisions I have ever made. I am so close to this boy and God willing he will be with me for years to come. He has had a lot of “purebred” problems. 🙁 God Bless you. You are doing what is right.

  91. Lis247

    Dear Derek, the last loving kindness to Simba is the hardest gift for us that we can give our beloved chums. I cried and cried but was with my boy and his last sight was of me with kind words and kind hand stroking. I sat that night and gazed upto the Dog Star and wished and knew he was free, running and out of pain, it helped, a bit that night. Hold your memories, pictures and things in your heart. I had to wait 10 years for my next Lab, and hugged a lot and dog sat many others too and when I was able we rescued a 7 year old pair of sisters, it was the best thing ever, they have a forever home and I have my girls. Isuspect one may go before the other as they are now 10 and have wonky bits galore including soinal arthritis.. so I know I will go to Lab Rescue and ask for a Golden Oldie chum (10 year olds plus) to give a forever home to one who needs love and company and to keep the lonely sister company I hope, my sadness will be tempered by joy of helping a new chum by giving them a home and love. Cry for your loved one and perhaps plant a tree for Simba as remembranc, the hurt is for now, not forever, hugs.

  92. John Collins

    In my opinion, too many people keep their dogs alive for themselves. You must think about the quality of life that your best friend will have. It’s got to be the most heart wrenching thing I’ve had to do in the past, because they bring so much Joy to our everyday lives. Especially Labs, due to the bond they seem to make which is stronger in my opinion than any other breed.
    Too bad they don’t have a longer life span, but it is what it is and sometimes you have to do the right thing, no matter how hard it mite seem at the time.

  93. Maureen Rudden

    I am so sorry but this is a topic that my heart can not handle. I know I am not being realistic but I really am unable to do it…Sorry & Love!

  94. Nan Hendon

    It is such a hard thing to do but do not be selffesh. Do not let them suffer any longer. It is so hard on you too and I truely know what you are going thru.. Prayer to you…

  95. Jan Tucker Mulligan

    And the low-level of whimpering; how could anyone hear it and not be moved to tears? Maybe a couple of years from now there will be even better treatments.

  96. Ginni Wright Rutherford

    I’ve had to do this twice since 1993 with Lady and Prince (both yellow labs). The look in their sad eyes told me it was time for each of them to go to Rainbow Bridge. They are pain free romping around with their other four-legged buddies. I will always have wonderful memories of them.

  97. Peggy Moran

    I made a vow when I looked into my pups eyes at 12 weeks that this would never be about me. I looked him in the eye and said Chip you are going to have to let me know when it is time. He is now 10 and I know this will be a reality for me someday.

  98. Bob Glover

    My wife and I had two black Labs, Moose & Maggie, who came to live with us in Dallas in 1989. They were the most joyous and wonderful companions anyone could possibly want. They accompanied us to the snows of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and to the Mojave Desert in Nevada. These wonderful dogs live a good, happy and long life, of nearly 15 years. It came time to make the decision for Maggie when she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a common cancer in dogs. When life became a burden and further medical care would have been only torment we called a veterinarian who operated a mobile service. She came to our home and gave Maggie the injections that took her life while we held her in our arms. Moose was so infirm with dementia by this time that I’m not sure he even realized that his sister was gone. Moose joined his sister about a year later; and was ushered out of this life with as much love, as much tenderness and as much regard as we could muster. We still have their ashes. We’d planned to scatter them in a creek in Colorado, one of their favorite places to run. I just cannot let them go yet. I hope that when my time comes and life is a burden someone will have the same regard for me as we have had for our dogs.

  99. Carrie Fletcher Guilbault

    I didn’t know when with my first Lab…so I followed nature’s lead: when a dog goes off on their own to curl up and hide, and can’t come to you when you call, it is to wait for death. We can never know, but they probably would thank us for cutting the pain short on that wait, as it can take days or weeks. So sorry 🙁

  100. Bruce Zeller

    I could never tell you how to feel, but I have always said some time we keep them with us so we feel better. remember they are your best friend and we do right by them. they know but the signs are not always easy to see,they don’t know how to show it always. I have been thru this with Kelle Abbe Jackie Tank and Haley. Still missing them all. Hugging my Maddie while I am typing this.

  101. Dawn Fritz

    I faced that exact thing back in April of last year. My 15 year old black lab BUDDY was suffering from neuropathy in his throat and was having a difficult time. Back in 2004 he was diagnosed with Valley Fever which was in his brain after having 2 very violent seizures. He recovered from that horrific episode but was left with some paralysis in his throat and was just getting very hard for him to get up and down and exert himself. On the day that I put him to rest it was the hardest day i have ever experienced in my entire life. I had taken him to his vet for her to look and see if there was anything she could give him for his throat and she said that there was nothing she could do and that he was not really suffering but eventually it would get to a point that his throat would close up and he would be suffering and unable to breathe. We sat there for it seems like hours and i decided i did not want him to suffer he has given me such joy and love for all of these years. His vet went and got a huge jar of peanut butter because he loved his peanut butter and we sat there and fed him most of the jar and he layed there and wagged his tail and looked into my eyes as if to say its ok mom i will be ok. I held him in my arms and looked into his eyes as he drifted off to eternal sleep. I know he is at peace and that he did not suffer but to not have him around anymore is still the hardest thing ever. I hear him at times and I have him sitting on my dresser so that i can talk to him everyday and he is always with me.

    My heart goes out to anyone having to make that final decision. Just look in their eyes and they will tell you the story.


  102. Lorri Huntley

    can only agree with the above, they all let you know, my sisters dog insisted on going for an evening walk, come rain or shine, she survived being hit by a transit van, although if you had seen the front of it, it was hard to believe, she got kicked in the head chasing horses and a horse shoe shape mark on head for years after and had bells palsy towards the end, looked at her coming home and thought she really looked like a bad rspca case, but she just kept going, then one day my sister rang in tears, Jess didn’t want to get off her bed, after a couple of days of this and the dog not wanting to eat, I said it was time to make the decision, her pictures are around the house but more that she remains in our heart with the other dogs that have come and gone

  103. Barbara Fellows Dodge

    I have had to make the decision twice both with labs. As long as you have the best in mind for the dog and not for you, you will know when it is time. Not able to get up on their own, not eating, accidents while laying down all were signs for me. Fortunately, I have an incredible vet that was able to come to my home to put him to sleep – I would never do it any other way now. See if your vet will do that for you – it is so much easier on the pet.

  104. Lori Roberts Boulais

    I am shedding a tear with you, in memory of Felix, Buck and Bailey. 3 of the best dogs I have ever known. 2 of which were labs. It is such a difficult time when you have to say goodbye to such a good friend. Just know that he is in a better place with no fences or collars. and lots and lots of frisbees and water puddles. In time you will feel better, but will never forget. I will love them always.

  105. Samantha Jenkins

    You just know 🙁 when its time and it is one of the most distressing times I have ever been through I curled up in a ball on my bed and cried myself to sleep for a long time before and after I lost my jody , there’s not a day goes by when I don’t think of her and get sad all over again I miss her so much but it’s out of love for your dog that you cannot bear to see them suffer even though you know a part of you goes with them. Be strong and be there for him/her when it’s their time and know that you’ve given your dog the best life he/she could ever wish for :), all the best to you my thoughts are with you .

  106. Melvita Montegrande Jensma

    I’m very sorry for you lost 🙁 you did the best thing for him 🙁 at least now you know he is not suffering anymore. Please don’t feel bad because he knows that you love him and gave him the best home! He lived his life the fullest. He will always Forever be in your heart. I know it so hard to let them but when you know it’s the time then it is 🙁 stay strong and this one of the broken heart that will never be forgotten! We are all thinking about you…:( **hugs**

  107. Karen Todd-Greenburg

    my golda mae told me. she was sick, but she didn’t act sick. the day we lost her, she came in the bathroom while i was getting ready for work. she never did that unless it was ‘shower’ day. she put her head in my lap and looked up at me. i knew she was tired and was starting to feel the pain. it was so so hard for us to do. we loved her so much. her little sister misses her, and so do we. God Bless you and i’m so sorry.

  108. Mike Scardino

    Crying for you. Been there twice. My vet told me ” you will know”. Its true. You will see it in your friends eyes. Always remembered and always loved. No words to take the pain away, but good memories will lighten your heavy heart.

    Funny, as much crazy, naughty or damage as labs sometimes do, we only remember the good stuff! A lot to be said for that.

  109. Jackie Young

    From one labby owner to another, like everyone else said, they will let you know. I had to put both my girls down last year within months of each other. The hardest decision ever and i kept questioning myself about it afterwards but the vet said that it is humane that we can end their suffering. They are both together across the rainbow bridge and I know I am going to see both of them again because they will wait for me. Our new lab pup must have inherited part of our black lab girls spirit because he does things just like she did. I’m glad she is still keeping an “eye” on us through Mo.

  110. Skip Grimes

    A few years ago, I sat in the Vet examining room with 13.5 year-old Marley my black Lab (pre-book), and my ex, sharing what has become a more and more frequent ritual. We silently waited for the tests to come back, not speaking what was running through our minds—was the cancer back, were the hips going too quickly, are the meds working? what can be done to help the pain? Every so often one of the Vet assistants, Margo or Kristyy, popped in and checked on their “Marley Mon” and popped him a few biscuits, directly ignoring vet orders.

    Marley loves coming to the Vet’s…In fact, he loves virtually everything about it: the attention, the biscuits, the fawning over him, the smells of every other dog that’s visited that week leaving him their personal message in the grass outside. Aside from the blood test and the anal probe poop sampling, it’s a Labrador’s dream. And he’s almost as big a celebrity here as his namesake in Jamaica or the book. Okay, I exaggerate just a little.

    Finally Dr. Klein returned. “It looks like our boy is doing fine for an 84-year old…” he says in that slightly effeminate, loving, man-mother, he’s-part-of-my-family-too tone. Like overprotective parents, we pelted him with our usual questions, and he listened patiently before responding with a knowing grin. “Basically I think our boy just needs to lose some weight to help his hips, and keep him swimming vs. walking on pavement…Aside from that, you know, he’s really not supposed to be here.”

    Statements like that tend to give you some perspective.

    He has a right to say this of course. Over the past 12 1/2 years, he had personally saved Marley’s life at least once, caught and corrected other Vets’ misdiagnosises several times, and patched him up on numerous other occasions. Indeed, I imagine there may have been a time where the talk at the Vet’s was whether we really should be entrusted with the care of an animal…”And thank God they didn’t have children …bless their hearts…”

    It is true that when it comes to cheating the Doggy God of Early Exit From This Planet, Marley has few competitors. In these 13 years of living on a lake, running through fields and neighbors’ yards and generally raising hound hell, he has gone through his share of lives
    (not necessarily in chronological order):

    -Ran headlong into the front bumper of a giant Lincoln Continental going 30 MPH…

    –Jumping out of a moving car at 30MPH

    -Attacked and snagged a striper-sized fishing lure that hooked together his nose, paw and lip that had to be extricated under anesthesia… (at 3am in the morning of course)…

    -Jumped from our boat traveling 35MPH while I was waterskiing and while he was attached to his leash which was fixed to a windshield support (can you say Lab body skiing?)…

    -Ate a wrapper from a 6-foot Quizno’s sub sandwich which kept him from eating or relieving himself for 9 days (until that fateful Sunday when it made a reappearance…resembling what I thought was a tapeworm or a mysterious Clingon…I stepped on it and as he slowly walked away, the plastic, invisible-to-X—rays wrapper made a slow and highly relieving exit)…

    -Overdosed on leftover bar-be-que and nearly died from pancreatitis…

    -Had a sudden seizure while swimming and had to be scooped from the lake, given doggy CPR and rushed to the emergency animal hospital (yes there is such a thing in America)…

    -Swam in the lake until fatigue set in, I noticed him submerging and had to play lifeguard before he drowned…

    -Contracted Canine Lymphoma and had to have a football-sized tumor removed with his spleen…

    And that doesn’t include the time he got locked in full swing with a visiting stray female Chow on the front lawn and proceeded to howl like he was being skinned alive (arousing the attention of early Sunday morning church goers throughout the neighborhood…)

    And I’m sure I’ve probably forgotten a few others.

    Yes, each near-death experience is a chapter, no a story, unto itself. All part of the truly amazing journey that has been sharing life, albeit on borrowed time, with Marley the Labrador.

    We wouldn’t trade a moment.

    So how did I finally decide and deal with the end? At some point, Marley was losing control of his hips, so I fashioned a back-to-back harness contraption so I could lift him up and get him outside when he needed. When he had trouble walking the neighborhood he ruled for so long, I got a golf cart and drove him around so he could see all his buddies and smell all the smells. I drove him to the lake for regular swimming therapy when it was warm enough. When my wife and I separated, I swear that dog stayed alive to keep me sane.

    Yes, I went beyond what would be considered “normal” care for a an aging animal. But I had been through this before. In my head and soul, I drew the line that if he couldn’t live with dignity and without pain, then that was the time.

    For me, that was either when he was wallowing in his own pee and poop and/or when he reacted angrily to us. That would be him telling us it was time.

    Then one day, after returning from a convention in Chicago, I found him laying in his piss and shit and not being able to get up. When I tried to help him, he growled at me for the first time in our nearly 14 years. Then, even though I had probably gone beyond “normal”, it was time.

    The next day I gave him a short walk, a prime rib dinner, and I had the vet come out to the house to do what had to be done. It still brings tears to write this, even 4 years later. There’s nothing like the love of a Labrador. And he is still here in spirit even with my new Labs. (The new one had surgery for swallowing a toy this Easter weekend btw.)

    So I guess I’m saying, hopefully they will tell you when it’s time. But you should have an idea of what dying with dignity and respect means in your world and live with it. It’s hard, but it’s the right thing to do. Know that their spirit of undying, unconditional love will live with you and your future dogs forever. Because that’s what you gave to them and let them give to you.

    Afterwards, I recommend having this done by a compassionate vet or pet hospice at your home or location of your choice vs. at the vet. It’s very traumatic personally in the clinical environment. I decided to do the cremation and keep or spread the ashes as Marley was a very special dog. There are all sorts of other options now.

    Anyway, I hope this helps in some way and I wish you the best path to pet’s passage to the other side….Skip

  111. Carol A. Smith Stefanik

    Just like Maryann said, being a senior citizen we have faced that time 5 times. It is NEVER EVER easy, but they do kind of tell you…..stop eating, stop wagging, you will know. 🙁 It doesn’t get easier.

  112. Barbara Young

    I only expected to see a few comments and I just scrolled and scrolled and was overwhelmed. I too have had to help one of our labs cross over. Symphony was just shy of her 15th birthday last Oct. and she let us know it was time. We had had her since she was a small chocolate bundle of fur. She had been thru cancerous tumors operations and had a degenerative spinal disease which made her a bit wobbly when she walked but without pain. When we took her to the vet the day she passed her liver and kidneys were shutting down and she was tired. We did not want her to suffer. It is uncanny how they know when it’s time to go. It’s worse for us than for them. We need to let them go, as many of you have said and do it with grace because they have given us so much of themselves. We still have our rescue yellow Tanner. He’ll be 11 the end of the month. Bless you and may God comfort you and your family.

  113. Madeline Osolinsky Nuzum

    We lost our yellow lab Koby when he was only 8 years old. He had lymphoma and went thru chemo and steroid treatment and for a year he seemed to be doing ok. When they stop doing the things they love like a favorite toy or a swim or won’t eat they are telling you that it’s time. On Koby’s last day he would only drink and layed on the front porch and would not move. He looked at us and we “knew” he had fought all he could and it was time <3

  114. Becky White

    The people’s comments were so touching to read. I have owned five labs in my life.Our two yellows now are almost nine and fourteen.We had a chocolate and black one too.The biggest gift we can give our treasured canines is a respectful peaceful end.
    Knowing when can be heart wrenching…I do agree that dogs lose a brightness in their eyes when it is near the end.I think when they no longer show joy when you enter a room with a tail wag or when they lose a desire to eat or drink they are signs.When a dog can no longer stand or walk comfortably this is another sign that they are ready to go.
    I like to think I will be reunited with canine friends in another life and this brings comfort. Treasured memories are held dear for a lifetime, with each dog taking a special spot in my heart.I donate to the Lions Club Foundation of Canada Guide Dogs in memory of dogs no longer here.It is a nice tribute and helps out with future Labs as guide dogs.

  115. Matt

    I had my Xena put to sleep in 2009 and I still miss her every day, but when the bad times/days outnumber the good times/days it might be time to let go. It’s not an easy decision, and no one can make it for you, but deep inside you will know when it is time.

  116. Jodie

    I am sitting here reading all these stories and crying my eyes out. Labrador’s are the most amazing animals and make life so complete. We have two chocolates 2.5 and 5 and we love them so much. We lost a puppy chocolate at 20 months due to a freak of nature stomach failure. I still cry for our beautiful boy. I don’t even want to think about the day we have to make that sort of decision and by reading all these beautiful stories it has made me realise that they will let us know when their time is here. I am off now to give our boys a big cuddle.

  117. Maria Craig

    You just know it in your heart and they let you know. On the way to put my beloved Charlie down, I read , “you are not doing it to them, you are doing it for them”. God bless

  118. Jan Leo Plet

    If you ask us humans, there is never a right time for it – But I know the feelings. On March 9th this year, it was 2 years ago My husbond and I took Qerro to the vet for the last time.
    He was a bit unlucky in life – at the age of only 5½, he got diabetes and this of course meant that he had to have regular meals as weel as we have to inject him with insulin every day. He took it without complaining and he had a nice life together with us. After about 1½ years, he got a minor brain haemorrhage, which he got over though.
    But during the last weeks of his (to short) life, we noticed that he began to “leak” inside the house, as well as having some days when he did not even bother to come greet us at the door when we got home. We knew in our hearts that even though he was only 7 years and 8 months old, it was no longer a life of dignity for him.
    When I got home from work on Friday, we had a chat and agreed that it was time to let him go to the rainbow bridge.DAMN it was the hardest ever, since he was our first dog together (actually crying now while writing this).
    We arranged for the vet on Wednesday, so we could have some days with him. I took time off work and we had a great time. His last hours was spent in our small garden with the biggest bone I could find. No doubt it was a VERY tough time for the next weeks, but we know we did it FOR HIM!!!! – If our new (almost 2 yo) Maro should have trouble in some way that makes his life to be not dignified, I would without a doubt do it all over again.
    I have unfortunately seen too many examples on dogs, who should have had the privilege to be put to sleep, but where the owner is to selfish (or a “coward”) to do the right thing.
    So to make it short – YOU TAKE IN AN ANIMAL – YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE THAT HE/SHE DOES NOT SUFFER AND LEAD A DIGNIFIED LIFE!! Feel free to mail me or visit or our website to know more. Site is so far only in Danish, but I am working on finishing the English part of it. If you wanna mail me, feel free to do so at: hund@plets.dk.

  119. louise perkins

    In July 2012 my 12 year old yellow lab, Sammy, was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left shoulder, the vet said the shoulder was very brittle and could break easily he was given a morphine-like med for pain. Of course i was in shock and not sure what I should do, but I did know that animals have a way of letting you know when it’s time. I was so afraid that his shoulder would break and he would be crying out in pain. So we went to the dog park and said goodbye to Sammy’s friends and for 10 days we went on gentle walks and had lots of cuddle time.I am very grateful that we had this time of hospice care. Each day it seemed that Sammy had more of a struggle to walk, he would get so tired. He stopped eating on Mon, except for treats which I showered on him. He developed a large lump on one hind leg and the other hind leg began dragging. On Wed morning during our walk he just stopped and looked up at me and I knew it was time. Getting him in the car to take him to the vet was so hard I kept wanting to delay it. At the vet’s I sat on the floor and held his head in my lap, his tail wagged til the end I repeated “I love you, Sammy: until he feel asleep for good. I held him for a while and the vet was very comforting. A few days later an envelope arrived from the vet’s office with a card and a clay paw print of Sammy’s paw. This provided me with great comfort for me to be able to touch his paw print.For the next few months I cried several times a day and still every once in a while the pain will come over me like a wave. I truly believe that Sammy and I will meet again in some other place. I needed these months to grieve and now I am planning to adopt another lab, a rescue this spring.

  120. Richard Lynch

    My little Molly made it to 15 years old. She let me know it was time. Although I did not want to believe it, it was for the best. Although she put on a brave face for me and my wife, I knew she was in pain. Toughest decision I have ever made. I know my Molly and I will meet again…

  121. Susan Ryan

    Trust your own judgement. You will know when it is time. And like many others have said, when the tail is no longer wagging and your sweet old friend is no longer having fun you will know the time has come. It is tough at the time but your wonderful memories will carry you forward. And then you will know when its time to perhaps consider a knew little furry friend to fill the void.

  122. Amanda

    I lost my dear Harley boy July 1st, and I still cry every day. I can still picture him laying on the floor at my feet. Labs are extra special dogs. In his last few weeks I came to realize I was being selfish keeping him around when his back legs were losing strength every day. His soulful eyes had been trying to tell me it was his time to go. He lead a great life and it was time for him to go while he still had some dignity.

  123. Lisa Belanger

    Our beloved Black Lab Elvis went to Rainbow Bridge on September 22, 2011. We rescued Elvis whe he was 16 mos old.. We first took him in for “hospice care” he had been abandoned in the woods…he was unable to walk more than 4 steps before he would fall, could not run,wag his tail, lift his leg to pee and could not stand for more than 5 minutes before his legs would go out…he was like Bambi on ice…he weighed 57 lbs. From the moment he came into our home, I did not believe he was dying …you could see his magnificence in his dark brown eyes…I disagreed with the fate the caring rescue people assumed for him and we adopted him officially 2
    weeks later. He was now family. We only made minor changes to our apartment to accommodate his difficulties but we fell in love totally and completely with this gift from God… He was supposed to be in our care for 3 months to experience having a family…I talked with him the day we adopted him and told him he could stay for 3 months or 100 years but he would never suffer ever again…he grew strong and healthy….he walked,ran,galloped,gave high-5 and “said” I love you like Scooby Doo! He grew tall and sturdy 115lbs of muscle…he actually looked very much like Louie of Visions of Louis….Elvis is a legend to all who new him, he was his family’s treasure and was kind and wise ….after 12 YEARS of happiness his decline was swift and on that day in September we held him in our arms while he laid on his own bed, we said a prayer and our Vet gave him rest….my heart broke but I had kept my word. Elvis will remain part of me and my family for ever ..I still tear up now and then. It is never easy to let go but it is the most loving and selfless thing you can do for your beloved Dog…. We adopted a Yellow Lab puppy in June 2012..a little girl…her name is Murphy and she is beautiful and SUCH A LAB! I know Elvis watches us with joy as he waits for us to meet again.

  124. Bob

    I had to euthanize my 12 year old YellowLab last Friday, September 27, 2013. It was the toughest choice I’ve ever made. Colt had diabetes, arthritis and last month, he lost his vision. I have never experienced hurt like I am over his loss. He was a member of our family, stayed up waiting for our daughters to come home from dates and sat up with them when they had late night college studying. I had spinal surgery two years ago and Colt never left my side.
    It was an honor for me to help him during the final months of his life. He died with dignity and lived with courage, loyalty, love and kindness. It would be a wonderful world if all people had the character of a Lab. I miss him so much..

  125. Tessa

    I’m sitting here with Max right now trying to decide what to do. He is 11 and has been slowly losing weight over the last couple months. Suddenly his appetite decreased, and he is now so thin it makes me sad. The past couple days he has refused food, drinking water only. He is shaky and his breathing is labored. We costed the vet today and he thinks we are nearing the end. I asked him if he was suffering, and he said yes. We opted to try a couple more days before making the decision, but sitting with him now is breaking my heart. Nothing can tempt him to take even one bite. I was hoping to have more time, but he is so tired. Like everyone, I’m struggling with “am I keeping him here for me?” and of course the moral part of choosing to end a life. I realize it is more humane, but he is just almost a person, and if a member of my family was dying, I’d keep them here and try to make them comfortable.

    • Antonio Rodriguez

      I can only imagine what you are going through. All I can say is go with what your heart says.