Putting Your Dog Down Should You Stay or Leave the Room

When it's time to put your dog down, should you stay with the dog during the process, or leave the room before the dog starts drifting off towards doggie heaven?

When it's time to put your dog down, should you stay with the dog during the process, or leave the room before the dog starts drifting off towards doggie heaven? I have given this some thought, regarding my grand White German Shepherd, and I've made a decision: I'm staying right in the room with him, and I will be the last thing he sees before doggie heaven calls him home.

There's an easy way to make this decision. You do it by fast-forwarding to that most inevitable future, where your beloved dog is ready to be put down. It will be one of the most dreadful days of your life, and you certainly don't want to make any regretful decisions. So, imagine that awful day has arrived to put down your dog. There are one of two outcomes:

#1. Stay with the dog as he is being put to sleep. This will be very trying, as you watch the dog's eyes, which are watching you, slowly start closing. This happens after you witness the vet inject your pet and do whatever else is necessary. You are literally watching your dog dying, and not just dying, but being put to death. To say a pet is put down or put to sleep softens the blow to the master.

When the ordeal is over, you walk out of the room, trembling, because you just witnessed your best friend's last breath. You saw your dog die. Forever in your mind will be that image. The last memory you have of your dog is of it dying, and then being dead. Can you live with that?

#2. Say your last goodbye to the dog while it's still fully conscious. The dog is watching you as you slowly back out of the room. You wonder if the dog knows it'll never see you again. You hurry outside to the parking lot and burst into tears. The last memory of your pet will be when it was alive and watching you. Can you live with that?

Which option is more regrettable? Let's dig deeper. Is this about you, or the dog? It should be about the dog. What would your dog want? Pretend you yourself are dying. What would YOU want? You'd want your loved-ones at your side, holding your hand, seeing you through to your last breath.

This is what your dog would want. If you choose #1, the last memory of your dog will be as it's being put to sleep. However, you will have comfort knowing that right up to the last minute, you were at the dog's side, hand on its head or hand holding its paw. You were there. Your pet felt your protection right up to the end. You helped your best friend make that transition to doggie heaven. You'll never regret that.

If you choose #2, you may initially think this was the best choice, because it won't leave any memories of a dying animal, just an awake, alert dog. But give it a few days; something awful will begin sinking its claws into you: The realization that you were not there. From your dog's point of view, you abandoned him. You left him alone with those people who put him to sleep. You didn't stay at his side. You chickened out. You'll regret that for all time.