I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking for- just writing about this and wondering if others have been through similar experiences and have any advice or encouragement to offer. Although I know there are no right answers, and we will have to do what seems right for us when the time comes.
Our 11 yr old dog has cancer, and has come to the end of the time predicted she would live. She is still happy, eating, and playful, but it's obvious that her symptoms are increasing and it can't be much longer. We have had her since 6 weeks old, long before we had kids.
Our kids are extremely close to her, especially my 7 yr old. He plays with her and brushes her and talks to her all the time. The kids know she is sick, and getting older, and that animals, like people, don't live forever, and there will be a day we won't have her any more. But just imagining HOW we are going to deal with her loss, is just unimaginable to me. It is going to be so hard to deal with our own grief and loss, and be a support to them, explain things to them, and not have them be scared when all this is happening. She is a huge part of our lives and none of us can imagine a house without her here.
We have found a vet who makes house calls so when we make the decision to put her to sleep, it will be here in her own comfortable surroundings, and we won't have to rush her to the vet's office. I just dont' know whether it's appropriate for a young child to be present when we put her to sleep. He is very sensitive, and asks questions about death and has a good understanding for his age. He has been to funerals and seen the body in the casket and been fine with it as we explained things to him honestly. But is it too scary for a child to see the pet actually being put down? Or is it a good thing for him to see her going peacefully to give him closure and see that she is peacefully asleep, and not just be out of the house at the time, and come home and find out she's gone.
It's eating me up every day, not knowing whether we will walk in to find her having seizures or bleeding out or something equally scary, or whether we will come home and find her gone somewhere in the house, and I'm alone with 3 kids most days so will likely have to handle this on my own - at least the initial dealing with it as dh is 45 mins away at work most of the time. I'm just praying that we will be lucky enough to be able to see that she is doing downhill, and be able to make the decision to let her go in peace before something really scary happens in front of the kids and forces the decision.
And I"m so sad that we have to lose our beautiful, sweet puppy in this way, yet grateful for all she's brought to our lives, and grateful to know ahead of time that we are in our final months with her, so we make sure every day counts.
Any thoughts or words of wisdom would be much appreciated.