Laid Back Bo

The Difficult Decision…

This morning I was going to share my Christmas mantel.  But it doesn’t seem important at the moment…

Decisions are not difficult for me to make, but there is one decision I finding hard to make.

I’ve heard people say you will know when it’s the right time.
I remember my Mom saying something very similar to me when I was contemplating a divorce.
She said it will be like a little bird sitting on your shoulder, and you will know.

I thought what a strange thing to say, but it turned out to be turn.
But we are so struggling with this decision.

There are times my head thinks it’s time, then my heart thinks it’s time,
but never both together.  Last Monday when we took our beloved “Laid Back”  Bo to the vets we thought it would be our last time, but it wasn’t.

Just a few hours ago we found Bo at the bottom of five stairs, he must of thought he could make it on his own.  His mind and front legs are so willing, but his back legs just can’t do it anymore.  We now have placed a gate in front of the stairs.

We purchased a body harness about two months ago, this helps us get him up to his feet, and for lifting/carrying Bo down and up 5 stairs needed to go outside and in.  We do this willingly and lovingly.  I am honored to be helping Bo in any way I can.

He sleeps at our feet in the living room as we watch TV.   All our floors are hardwood, and we have rugs everywhere, but he always seems to find the one spot that is bare wood and falls.

If you ask him if he wants to go for a walk his head pops up and his eyes are lite with excitement. We walk him using the harness to keep his back legs up.  He loves his walks even though the distance is 4 houses up and back.

This is Laid Back Bo last December 2011…

Here’s Bo after coming back from the beauty parlor in January 2012.

 My biggest fear is that our decision is what’s best for Bo,  and not selfish on our parts.

So how does one know it’s time?

Isn’t getting older part of life all of us will experience?

Have  you had to face this decision?


  1. says

    Hey Cathy….I have had to face this decision with our beautiful chocolate Lab Molly (Mollasses) couple years ago. She was 13yrs old and slept in her crate (her nest) with the door open always and had access to the doggy door so she could go out anytime to do her business, but couldn’t even be bothered to leave her crate in the night and just did her business in the crate. That’s when we knew, her hips were paining her so badly and affecting her bowels as well as her ability to get up from a lying down position. We felt mean that we had let it go on so long, but in retrospect, she went downhill quickly and it was the hardest pet for us to deal with….Good ‘ole Moll. I wish you all the love you need through this time. xo wendy

  2. says

    I haven’t had to face it yet but it won’t be long, our dear boy Casper is 11.5, pretty old for a Golden/Lab mix. I can’t know what I will do until I’m faced with it. I’ll be praying for you to have wisdom about the right time for dear sweet Bo. Hugs ~ Mary

  3. says

    This is tough, Cathy, and my heart goes out to you and your hubby. We had a lab/shepherd mix that had the back leg problem {from the shepherd side}. This was about 15 years ago ~ I remember going out to get my hair done and when I came home I found her laying in our yard. I thought she was sleeping until I went out to say hi to her. She had died. I was hysterical. She was not in any pain that we were aware of and we did what we had to, to help her in and outside. At any rate, she had passed and it was not pretty. I vowed after that, if we ever got another dog, I would make that trip to the vet to be able to say goodbye in a peaceful manner. Of course, you never know when that time will come, I was not expecting it at all.

  4. Betsy says

    Oh dear…this is my first time visiting your blog. I saw your link on Northern Nesting and knew (even before reading) what this post would be about. So sad. I don’t know much about Bo but he sure is adorable – and I can tell much loved. We had to make this same decision 7 years ago. Our beloved Collie was 12 years 8 months at the time. It sounds as if Bo has gradually declined. There was more of a defining moment with Fribble. One night I woke to her crying and she was sprawled out on the kitchen floor – unable to get up. It was horrible. (and my husband was away on business). I stayed with her the rest of the night and got her to the vet in the morning. They kept her for a couple days and eventually administering steroid shots. She improved enough to come home but had to be hoisted up and I used a scarf to help her walk. Within 1 day she tried to get up on her own and went completely downhill. X rays showed she pulled both hips from the socket and we had to let her go. It was such a horrible time. The vet kind of said it was time although we knew. We haven’t gotten another pet as I can’t bear the thought of having do go through it again. My heart goes out to you.

  5. says

    Cathy that is such a hard decision.We almost had to make that decision with our last cat Cleo.But I kept praying God would take her and finally he did.I just could not put her down.It happened fairly quick.Keeping you in my prayers.

  6. says

    I am so sorry that you are facing the tough decision of “when” for Bo. He is so handsome and obviously is a very loved doggie. We’ve had to put some of our beloved pets (cats) to sleep in the past, and it is a horrible and painful decision. I hope that you have as much precious time with Bo as possible. {{hugs}}

  7. says

    Oh, Cathy!
    Life is so hard… but Bo loves you and I am sure every moment he is with you is still a joy to him. Nothing in life can matter more than holding Bo and treasuring every moment until God takes him home. My heart and prays are with you, Bo and your family.
    May Gods love hold and protect you all.

    Lisa Rose

  8. nancy turner says

    cathy this is so hard my tigger kitty was 17 and i kept putting it off till i no longer could i loved him so much but i knew it was the time that was 3 years ago .we now have 2 new kittys for the last 1.5 years and love them .there is still that empty spot Nancy

  9. Pat Champagne says

    Dear Cathy, throughout life I have had to make hard decisions also. Now that I work in health care, that decision is a little clearer. When the Vet says my “love” is in ‘end-stage failure’, in shock, or great pain, then I have to put aside my selfish desire to hang on. More than anything, I cannot let my pet suffer. I find peace in the thought that he/she is in a better place, and with God. Pat.

  10. Stacie says

    Cathy, I don’t envy you…my husband had 2 labs when we got married that were bot 12 years old. He had gotten Maggie when she was just 10 weeks old & I had gotten my Oscar when he was the same age. We had always said that when their quality of life got to the point that they had no dignity, we would have them put to sleep. When we had been married for 3 years & our son was almost a year old, our sweet Maggie had a stroke. That was so terribly hard on us both. After a sleepless night of taking turns holding her, we called the vet & took her in. Her ashes have a spot on our mantel next to our favorite picture of her & our son tells her goodnight every night. Just two months after loosing Maggie, my Oscar started declining. To be honest, he was never the same after Maggie was gone. I cried for days before I finally called the vet. While I knew I didn’t want him to suffer anymore, I also struggled with letting him go. It was the HARDEST decision I’ve ever made. But when he was at the vet on the table, he looked at me & his eyes told me he was ready. The last thing he saw & heard was me smiling through tears telling him how much I loved him & what a good friend he had been to me for 15 years. I’m crying as I type this because it is still hard. But, we did not want him to suffer as our Maggie did, and I know it was the best thing for him. He too has a place on our mantel, and even though it’s been more than 3 years, we still cry when we talk about them both. Our hope is that one day we will be reunited & it will be a beautiful day for us all:-) Praying for you, I know first hand how difficult this is.

  11. Sharon Smith says

    Yes, I’ve made that decision twice in my 62 years of living. Recently as of three months ago. I still can’t beleive she is gone. But I just knew it was time. I sat and looked her in the eyes and it seemed OK. But my heart is still aching. I just know I will she my golden retriever and sheltie one day. I JUST KNOW!!!!

  12. Jan says

    Oh Cathy I’m so sorry. I too have had to make such a decision and you’re right it’s so, so, difficult. Look in her eyes she’ll tell you and animals somehow know and welcome the release. You need to give yourself permission to let him go for his sake. You don’t want him to suffer!! That would be cruel. I believe we will see our pets in heaven someday, he’ll wait for you and know you’re doing the right thing and they go very peaceful and painless, they just go to sleep. Good luck to you and I’ll be thinking about you and your family.

  13. says

    Oh Cathy this is the hardest decision to make. In 2008 I had to make that decision for my beloved dog Blizzard. But to be honest I think he is the one who made the decision. When I’d look into the once bright and happy brown eyes of his I just saw his heart saying “I’m tired mommy and not feeling very well. I can’t chase the ball the way I use to or even climb the steps to come up to your room at bedtime. When I fall outside you have to come pick me up and that is not me. I am almost 16 mommy and I have been with you for 15 of those years.” And out of pure love and a broken heart, I made the call. I couldn’t even say the words to the receptionist…she had to say it for me when she heard me weep. I am tearing up as I write this my friend, remembering that time and knowing that you are there now and how terrible it feels. Our pets are little angels who are here for way too short a period of time…when their job is done it’s time for them to be called home where the will wait for us. Their lives mark the end of an era in our lives…and that seems to double the pain of losing them. I am praying for you Cathy and for Bo.
    XO Barbara

  14. Deb C says

    I totally understand your pain. Our fur babies become such a big part of our lives. I couldn’t put one of my babies to sleep just because they were getting old. Age is a part of life. If he is in pain, that is another story. Even when my Bella was sick I couldn’t think of anything but what I could do to make her better. But we knew that when she kept going out into to the woods and wouldn’t come back that she was telling us it was her ,her illness had won. She hurt to even stand up and it hurt her for us to pick her up. I am still devasted and miss her terribly, but would not want her to suffer. It is a hard decision and your mother was right you will know when it is right because he will let you know. My prayers and thoughts are will you.

  15. leslie says

    My heart aches for you, Cathy. And reading about your sweet, beloved Bo just makes me cry because I have been through this and it’s just such an awful decision no matter when it comes. It’s like it is hanging over our heads. Our pets add so much to our lives, love without any question or judgement…true unconditional love. We have a lot to learn, especially from the examples dogs give us. Please know I’m praying for God’s comfort for you and dear, dear Bo.

  16. Frani says

    My heart goes out to you.
    It was a difficult decision to make, but it as you said in your article, we knew it was time. It is so hard to say goodbye to such an important family member, but it was easier to accept knowing he was in pain and it was the last thing we could do for him.
    He came to us sixteen years ago, a homeless, homely, bald (scabies), bundle of joy, who who quickly stole our hearts. In no time at all, he had us wrapped around his gangly paws. Even though it has been months and we have a wonderful new dog, I still can’t think of him without my chest constricting with the pain. I often imagine I can hear his tags rattling as he roams through the house.
    He was loyal, loved everybody and everything (including the baby ducks). He was so glad to see company coming because he loved everybody. He was always ready to play. He was everything that a good dog should be and we loved him as much as he loved us.
    We wished that we could keep him with us, but doesn’t work that way, and we knew it was time for him to go. We loved every minute that he was a part of our family and we would not trade even one of those minutes to be rid of the pain we feel now. We will always remember him with love.
    My prayers and thoughts will be with you and your family.
    Hugs, Frani

  17. says

    Cathy, my heart breaks for you. I have had to make this decision more than once, and it is heart wrenching and agonizing. I made the decision with my vet. As long as my beloved pets were not in pain, I cared for them and loved them and cherished each moment. When the time came they were in pain, or obviously in distress and no longer appeared to want to continue on, then I eased them from this life. But, oh, how I hated it!!! Only you can know what to do, keeping in mind that the decision is not only what is best for your beloved furbaby, but also that you must do this in a way that minimizes the pain for you, as well. Know that I care, deeply, and I am so sorry you must face this. Gentle hugs.

  18. says

    Hi Cathy. I just wanted to thank you for your kind comments to me and didn’t know that I would find this post. I feel so bad for you and your family and Bo. What a beautiful guy he is and we have had to put our dog down a few years ago because of a brain tumor. I knew it was time when he couldn’t tell where the treat was in my hand. I look at our darling Buddy now, he is about 10 years old and his little face is getting so white and he has arthritis in his back end and it is getting harder for him to get up, but once he does he seems to be able to go along pretty well, But the thoughts are there and it won’t be easy for any of us when the time comes. I guess you just keep him as comfortable as possible and love him as much as he loves you..Judy

  19. says

    Your Bo is so beautiful and it sounds like you have given him and him you, a beautiful life together. We too have had to make this decision and it is heart wrenching. They give us such unconditional love, joy and happiness, there is no selfishness on their part, they hold nothing back from us when it comes to love, they share everything they have with us, we are their world…period. As long as you make the decision from your heart, you will make the right decision, in the right time. Our time with them is so short, celebrate that he picked you to spend his life and love with. Bo will love you no matter what the decision and there is nothing you can do that will ever change that…

  20. says

    We had to face the same decision recently as well. Our 17 year old black lab just couldn’t even get up to go to the bathroom. We were carrying her outside and it was just too hard. Everything was just beginning to stop functioning so we had her put to sleep. It’s so hard, but we felt it was what was best for her. It’s hard to see your pet suffer. (((hugs)))

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