Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

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OldDevlin
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Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by OldDevlin » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:08 pm

In febuary of last year, I became a proud dad to my first family of rats. 3 little 6-week olds called Billy, Becker and Ripley. I soon got the bug and ended up with 4 more.
Yesterday morning though I noticed something strange about my little Ripley, she was moving awkwardly all of a sudden and something clearly wasn't right. It was pretty clear that she'd suddenly lost her sight, and must have had some sort of a stroke.
This morning, she was worse. Her head was dipping to one side, and she was more crawling around than walking. She couldn't manage to use the water bottle, so i kept holding her over a dish of water. She'd drink a tiny amount, but she couldn't drink it properly.

I've had the odd scare with a few of the 7 in the past, but nothing really serious before. I took her to the vet this afternoon who said that it was either a brain tumour or a stroke, and because she wasn't really eating and couldn't drink properly, putting her to sleep was the kindest thing to do, even though there was a small possibility she could improve if it was a stroke.
She crawled across the vet's table to me and put her nose to mine, put her paws on my finger and rested her head on my hand. Even the vet filled up and said 'she can't see you, but she know's you're there, and you can see how attatched she is'.

I did what I thought was right. I saw how much she was struggling today compared to yesterday, it was heartbreaking to see her like that considering she wasn't even 2 years old and was fit and happy the day before. But...I can't stop thinking about that 'small possibility' of her making an improvement. What if she'dve been ok??

I've got to admit, I'm in absolute pieces and I've never felt so guilty in my whole life. I'm in my early 30s, and have been through plenty of family pet deaths in the past, but these are the first animals I've had which were my own, and my own responsibility. I can't help but feel like I had the sweetest, softest most innocent little thing killed, and that it wasn't the right thing to do.
I'm going to bury her tomorrow, which I'm dreading, but I couldn't handle not bringing her home.

I just feel like I've done the wrong thing and killed her, when I should have been protecting her.

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Catz
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by Catz » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:18 pm

I'm so sorry you had to make such a hard decision. Its really heartbreaking losing a beloved friend but I can imagin its so much harder when you must help them to the rainbow bridge. Dont feel guilty, you did what you felt was best and from your story it sounds like you did her a kindness. Its ok to cry for her, let it out and grieve for as long as you feel necessary. My thoughts are with you at this hard time xxxx
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HansMischief
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by HansMischief » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:24 pm

I think we have all felt this way following the first pts and even the times after that are shrouded in guilt and second-guessing our judgements... but its normal to wonder if you did the right thing, cos it is a very very big decision.

Be assured that a good vet would never pts an animal that would respond well to medication. There are always questions like was it too soon, but I think (and I know others here will agree) that caring owners will know when the time is right.

Big, big hugs to you my dear, you can always come to FR to talk about it and find empathy and comfort.

Rest in peace little ratty, play hard at the bridge :dumborainbow:
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Templeton
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by Templeton » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:26 pm

It's never easy to know when the right time is, or isn't.. in my view it's one of the toughest things about being a rat keeper, in part because unlike longer lived animals, we are faced with the decision on a much more regular basis. Sorry to say it never gets any easier..

So, positive things - I tend to think that we know our animals best, and as such, as much as anyone is, we're the best people to decide, horrid as that is. You could take the same symptoms in a different rat, and make a different decision, and both decisions might well be the right choice - in either case it's never a decision that's taken lightly and as long as it's done knowing that you're making the decision based on what's best and kindest for the animal you love, rather than what's "best" or "most convenient" for us.. I don't think it can be the wrong decision.

My only advice therefore, is try not to second-guess yourself, or beat yourself up about "what if's".

Also if it helps at all, it sounds like your vet was 100% behind you, so it sounds like the right call to me. Remember the good times and use it as a reminder to make the most of your time with those that are left .. they usually help me through :)

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MissBlackEyeliner
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by MissBlackEyeliner » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:34 pm

I'm in tears reading this, it brings back the memories of the first time I put one of my first ever rats to sleep!
He was a biter and he would bite me really badly, and he did so on numerous occasions! He got PT and he got so so ill, i had a holiday book and so had to go, but my parents looked after him and gave him his medicine while I was away!

They phoned me while I was on holiday (the day before I was coming home) and told me he had detoriated really badly, and like your girlie, could not eat or drink by himself anymore, but they were hand feeding him and making sure he had fluids and had his medicine.

The night I got back from holiday I could see he was so so ill, and when he normally used to hate being handled and would bite, he just sat in my lap and let me cuddle him. I rushed him to the vets in the morning and there the vet suggested that the kindest thing to do was to put him to sleep!

I cried and cried and cried and felt so guilty and so horrible for about a month afterwards.
But everyone said it was the right decision and all the lovely people on here reasurred me that I did the right thing

And to cut a long story short - you did do the right thing for you little girl, she was saying goodbye to you in the vets and she'll be on the bridge waiting for you. Its such a hard decision but its the best decision when they are so so ill!

I hope you feel better about it soon and remember all the good times you had with your little girl

RIP Ripley

xxx
From Erin, Dylan, Stanley, Mini, Teddy, Zee, Zackery and Piggy! xxx <3

Play hard on the bridge Brian (02/12/09), Bob (20/01/10), Spoon (13/04/11) Jacob (28/05/11) Polo (08/10/11) and George (22/11/11)xxx

OldDevlin
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by OldDevlin » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:38 pm

Thank you for the supportive messages. They're really valued right now. I have nobody to talk to about all this who wouldn't think me insane for shedding tears over 'just' a rat.
MissBlackEyeliner wrote: And to cut a long story short - you did do the right thing for you little girl, she was saying goodbye to you in the vets and she'll be on the bridge waiting for you. Its such a hard decision but its the best decision when they are so so ill!
That really cut me up. Calling her my little girl is exactly how I feel about her and the loss. She wasn't 'just' anything, she was my little girl, my little Ripley.

That said, I'm really sorry if I opened an old wound MissBlackEyeliner, it certainly wasn't my intention.

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crazyblackwings
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by crazyblackwings » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:42 pm

So sorry for your loss, I'm fighting back tears reading this aswell!!
If your poor little girl couldn't see, she would've obviously been stressed. I feel you did the right thing as heard as it is.
This makes me remember the decision I made when my little Bo had a tumour that became necrotic so fast I hadn't noticed, she seemed perfectly fine but I knew she must've been in agony.
I went to the vet who put her to sleep in my arms and she freaked out screeching at the end this still upsets me after nearly 2 years, but I know I did the right thing!
Have a snuggle with the other ratties as im sure they miss her too and as fidgitty as they are always cheer me up when I'm sad.
xx
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MissBlackEyeliner
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by MissBlackEyeliner » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:06 pm

Oh no don't worry about it, I was just sharing my feelings so you knew that we all go through it at some point and it is really hard!
I've found that no one understands apart from other rat lovers or animals lovers, and its a really sad experience when you lose a ratty!

I always cry! I should read obits at all on here but all of the stories are lovely and make me realize how much people think of their little furry friends!

I hope your ok!

xxx
From Erin, Dylan, Stanley, Mini, Teddy, Zee, Zackery and Piggy! xxx <3

Play hard on the bridge Brian (02/12/09), Bob (20/01/10), Spoon (13/04/11) Jacob (28/05/11) Polo (08/10/11) and George (22/11/11)xxx

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Rootigger
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by Rootigger » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:17 pm

Just wanted to send you hugs, I have recently had two of my girls PTS and it's so hard, especially if you're on your own - which I was for one of them, and I was absolutely heartbroken. Having people to talk to who understand can make a world of difference. It's awful going through this but you will get through it, it's the hardest part of having pets, especially with rats whose lives are so much shorter than I wish they were. But then I remember how happy my rats make me, all the good times I had with them, the times they made me laugh...and it all makes sense. It sounds like you and your girly had a fantastic relationship, I don't think she could've asked for a better owner.

xxx
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annc
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by annc » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:31 pm

Rootigger wrote:Just wanted to send you hugs, I have recently had two of my girls PTS and it's so hard, especially if you're on your own - which I was for one of them, and I was absolutely heartbroken. Having people to talk to who understand can make a world of difference. It's awful going through this but you will get through it, it's the hardest part of having pets, especially with rats whose lives are so much shorter than I wish they were. But then I remember how happy my rats make me, all the good times I had with them, the times they made me laugh...and it all makes sense. It sounds like you and your girly had a fantastic relationship, I don't think she could've asked for a better owner.

xxx
I'm so sorry, but if she was unable to drink and move and generally 'be a rat' I'm sure you made the right decision, but however many rats we have taken on that final journey it remains a really hard decision.
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by lazylover » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:40 pm

I'm also in tears reading this. Its so hard when you have to make that decision, but like the other members on here have said you did do the right thing.

*hugs* :hearts:
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izzerie
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by izzerie » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:34 am

I'm so sorry for your loss. I has something very similar at the end of July. Rupert was fine one night, by the morning he couldn't use his front paws and by the next afternoon he couldn't move, eat, drink and he just leaked salvia, poo, wee, stuff from his eyes and nose. He was a total wreck and couldn't do a thing. It was so sudden and such a shock because he was a strong rat who had never had a health problem and this completely took all his dignity and strength. The vet said to me that we could try steroids but they had less than a 50% chance of working and he was already visibly suffering so much I chose to have him PTS. This still haunts me, I wonder if I should have given him the chance but even the vet said it was probably much kinder to let him go.

I know exactly how you feel- I don't have children so these little furry things are my children and I love them more than anything and would do anything for them. I felt like I signed the life away of one of my children and I felt like the most awful person in the world. I couldn't look at the cage he had lived in with the other boys- I avoided that cage as much as I could and I especially avoided his cage mate who he had come to me with. That was probably the worst thing I could have done- he had just lost his lifetime companion and there I was rejecting him. Luckily he had other mates but they weren't the same. I would strongly advise you, as hard as it may be, not to do that- my poor Sidney has only in the last week or so stopped being depressed and started behaving normally again. I will always feel guilty for that and I now tell him every day that I love him and I'm sorry.

A month on from Roo it is easier. I still miss him and the cage looks emptier but it is easier. I know he isn't suffering and that one day all my boys will be able to go and see him again :) and now Henry (the first boy I lost) has someone to play with at the bridge :)
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by Campion Stud » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:00 pm

OldDevlin wrote: I can't help but feel like I had the sweetest, softest most innocent little thing killed, and that it wasn't the right thing to do.
.......

I just feel like I've done the wrong thing and killed her, when I should have been protecting her.
Ive had rats for years, and every time I have one PTS thats exactly how I feel. Even though its the kindest (and only) thing to do, it still feels like you are washing your hands of them.

So sorry for your loss.
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OldDevlin
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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by OldDevlin » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:56 am

Thank you for all the replies. You've all helped put my mind at ease a little, and it's been so nice to know that there are plenty of other people who understand why I'm finding this so tough.
I've become super protective over my other babies. I'm forever promising that I'll let them have longer out of the cage 'soon', but 'soon' never seems to arrive and I don't want to lose another of my babies, knowing that they could have had an even happier life. Fortunately the cage is absolutely huge for the 6 of them and Ripley never wanted to spend much time outside of the cage, she always took herself back in after a short while, but I want to put in the extra effort to make them as happy as possible and give them even more time to free roam.

I haven't buried her yet. She's still in the rat carrier, wrapped in her comfy bedding fleece. I'm finding it so hard letting her go.

At times like this, I really wish I had a religion. Things would be so much easier if I could believe that she was still around somewhere, safe and happy.

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Re: Did I do the right thing having her put to sleep??

Post by lynnep » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:09 pm

So sorry for your loss, you did the right thing for your little girl, she is at rest now, sending hugs to you.
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