A picture of rocco in better days, 1/27/2010-10/19/2023

As many of you know now, our precious Rocco passed away 10/19/2023. We were and are devastated by his loss. He was with us for almost 14 years, but greedily, we all want more time with him. About a week before his death, he let us know he was ready to go.

This is my first experience euthanizing my own pet. I wanted to make it clear to those struggling, that what everyone says about pets telling you its time is true. Rocco stopped eating, stopped stomping up and down the hall with his toys, and took no interest in any of his usual daily shenanigans.

If we had not euthanized him, he would have died on his own likely a few days later, but with so many hours of suffering added to his life. We may have shortened his days by a handful, but surely not ones he would have missed.

If you think it may be time and are struggling, this quality of life calculator can help give you an idea of what their quality of life is. A happy dog scores around 80. Rocco was about a 12 when he passed and dropping fast.

Why In-Home Euthanasia

We had time to realize that Rocco would need some kind of care plan. March 30th, Rocco was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, a terminal illness. He was not expected to survive the weekend, but he did and we got 6 great months with him.

Because we had this time though, we started thinking ahead to his wants and needs. Would Rocco want to cling to life until his last, ragged breath? Would he want his last memory to be of the vet’s office? Probably not, to both.

We chose in-home euthanasia because it meant he could die in his own bed, surrounded by the people and dog friends he loved. It was the right choice, and one we will use with our other pets if we have the time (non-emergency) and they need help crossing.

The Process

First of all, I’d like to say that Dr. David was the kindest and most compassionate vet I have ever met in my entire life. I’ve met a lot of really great veterinarians in my life. He was simply amazing. I don’t know how he is able to emotionally deal with this job but hats off to him for being such an amazing person.

By the time Rocco’s appointment came, he had deteriorated significantly from when we first made the appointment. I am very glad that I made the appointment when it was evident he was not bouncing back, instead of waiting longer.

He could still lift his head and look around, but he had to be carried to the water bowl and to the bathroom. He often vomited the water and was leaking urine in between visits to the outside. He could not take more than a step or two on his own.

The vet asked us questions about his health, which I really liked. I felt like if Rocco just needed a magic pill or some fluids or something, he would have covered it. However, with Rocco’s poor kidney values and heart failure, there really wasn’t anything to be done.

Dr. David spent time with Rocco, getting to know him, loving him, and agreeing that sadly, this was probably the best thing for the poor little guy.

He walked us through the process of euthanasia, which is two steps. A single shot to take away their pain, relax them and help them sleep. A second shot that would stop his heart.

He explained everything that could happen, from post-death twitching to the fact that it may take longer or shorter depending on how badly off he was.

Rocco reacted to the first shot by making a threat motion at Dr. David (out of character for him. Sorry Dr. David!) but that was all. Dr. David left us alone for the 5 minutes it took for Rocco to drift off to sleep.

The shot made all the pain lines ease from Rocco’s face. He went to sleep peacefully, clearly feeling better than he had all week. We petted him and talked to him and yes, cried a whole lot.

When Dr. David came back he was frankly, Jesus himself come to take all the pups to heaven. He was so kind telling Rocco to run free, and even kissed his little head. He administered the final shot, which Rocco clearly did not feel, and in just a few seconds Rocco was gone.

It was very peaceful, and something I would feel comfortable doing again if another dog were suffering the same way. It was a good end for a good dog, who deserved to go in comfort, on his own bed, with the people he loved. I will miss him forever.

If you know it is close to time for your pup, I encourage you to reach out to an in-home euthanasia service and find out if it is right for you. Your dog deserves a peaceful ending, and for you to be there with him when it’s time.

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

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