Tell Me About It: Dog’s pending death causes owner anxiety

Published April 13 2018

My 12-year-old Lab is nearing the point where we will have to put him down. Heís still enjoying his life but is quickly losing function in his hind legs due to degenerative myelopathy. He is a wonderful, wonderful dog who has been my best friend for 12 years.

We could still have months with him ó but I find myself constantly crying, thinking about what it will be like to have him put to sleep, what the house will be like without him there, etc. These thoughts are intrusive and are ruining the time we have left.

Iíve had other pets euthanized in the past, but the anticipation of this one is just killing me. Any tips for how to enjoy the time we have left and get past this anxiety? I do struggle with anxiety generally, and this situation seems to have exacerbated it.

Dread Losing My Dog

A: Why donít you just treat the anxiety like the medical condition it is? Instead of beating yourself up for not being able to push against it on the strength of your will alone.

You are facing the death of a loved one. Itís awful. Youíll get through it, but thereís nothing wrong with accepting that you could use some help with it, too. Treatment might help you enjoy the time you have left with him, too.

Went Back In: Iíve had problems with depression off and on over the years and after my cat died, it reared its ugly head again. Itís just how my body tends to respond to emotional upheaval. So I went back in for some therapy. Itís routine maintenance.

Carolyn: Well said, thanks.

Anonymous: Be your dog. Seriously. Dogs live in the moment. Take your cue from your dog. Who, by the way, will be happier when he feels your zen.

Carolyn: I want that on a shirt.

Be your dog.

Thank you.