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home : columns : dear harriette October 23, 2020

8/17/2020 8:17:00 AM
Pet owner regrets putting dog to sleep

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently had to euthanize my dog. He was about 13 years old — very old for a dog. When I would get home from work, he laid in the same spot and didn’t move. He stopped eating and was soiling himself. I tried to get him to stand up, but he would nip at me and cry out in pain.

My family and I managed to get him cleaned up and moved into our van to take him to the vet. The vet said he had lost a majority of muscle mass in his legs and recommended putting him to sleep rather than spending thousands of dollars in surgery to try to repair the little muscle left. We decided to put him to sleep, but now all I feel is guilt and regret, like I gave up on him. How do you come to terms with having made a decision for your family pet like this? — We Miss Him

DEAR WE MISS HIM: Saying goodbye to a family pet can feel like saying goodbye to a family member, especially when the pet has been part of the family for so long. It is natural for you to feel a range of emotions. Because these days there are so many options to keep pets alive, it is understandable that you might think that you should have done more to extend your pet’s life. But the reality is that sometimes you have to let your pet go. Trust that your vet would not have suggested that it was time to euthanize your dog unless he was certain that there were no other viable options.

Now is the time for you to mourn your loss and to be grateful for the time you shared together.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My brother and I are super close; he is my best friend. We want to get our own place together 200 miles away from home. We never had arguments or issues growing up. He is not messy, he works hard, he always does what he has to do and I know that I can always count on him. He is just as eager to move as I am.

Now that we are house hunting, it seems that I am doing all the work and he is dragging his feet with applications. I know that he and his girlfriend are discussing whether she will be coming with us, but I have a feeling he’s getting cold feet about moving because of her. I have everything ready to go, and I found the perfect place, but I need to know if he is living with me. Should I wait to see what he plans to do or just decide to find a different place fit for myself and move without him? — Packed and Ready

DEAR PACKED AND READY: Consider your brother’s behavior to be a blessing in advance. If his level of interest is waning because of the distraction of his girlfriend, you want to know that in advance. Sit down with your brother and have a heart-to-heart discussion. Ask him what he wants to do now. Point out that you need to know if he is committed to sharing an apartment with you. You also want to know if he intends for his girlfriend to move in. If so, she should accept some of the financial responsibility for the apartment. Get crystal-clear about the plan with him. You may need to move on. Let your frank conversation with him guide you to next steps.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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