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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Euthanasia Gone Wrong
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My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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19 March 2011 - 2:04 pm
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Bob has struggled with how Trouble left us. He carries with him enormous guilt, that this wasn't a happy passing. Be warned, this may be more graphic than some would like.  I support him completely in telling the story.  Only through sharing our experiences do others learn. Only in sharing do we heal.


Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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19 March 2011 - 2:47 pm
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I'm just sorry.  We've talked so you already know my experience.  But I just wanted to say how sorry I am again. 


Comet didn't struggle but she already had the IV in her.  The involuntary contractions of her letting out all of that oxygen from being in an oxygen tank was more than either one of us could take.  It went on for 5 minutes and her mouth was open wide each time.  Thank goodness for the kind vet to help us through it.


I'm just so sorry for you guys.  It breaks my heart. 

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Member Since:
13 July 2009
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19 March 2011 - 3:09 pm
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Oh Shanna

I am so sorry things ended this way. It does give considerable comfort to us for them to leave peacefully and you were deprived of this, to no fault of your own. You couldn't have done anything differently given the chain of events.

The vet who came to Tazzie insisted on deep sedation first, which I thought was unnecessary, since my previous dog passed peacefully and at home without it, but I guess I now understand. The sedation was also by a shot, so who knows if they could have done that with Trouble's veins. I have been fortunate to have two very peaceful experiences with this, but have heard about the variation that is possible.

Again, I am so very sorry. I hope you can put this experience behind you and focus on all the wonderful things you have done for and with Trouble.



Member Since:
10 March 2011
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19 March 2011 - 3:30 pm
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I'm so sorry that it ended this way for ya'll and your baby Trouble.


I am so grateful that my 2 babies who I had to send on across the bridge, went peacefully.

I didn't know anything about it, but my Vet told me that she sedated first, and then administered the final shot so that they just slipped away with no reactions.


So sorry for your loss and for what happened on her passing.


Thank you for sharing this. I am sure it will help others.


Maddie Mae and Mom

Member Since:
13 March 2010
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19 March 2011 - 3:56 pm
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Dear Shanna and Bob,

I too am so sorry to hear that Trouble's passing was so difficult. It is hard enough to let them go peacefully and haunting when it is not. After one horrible experience very similar to yours I have since asked for a strong sedative to be administered before the final shot.

So, I heartily second the final message of Bob's post--when it comes time to let your best friend go, ask your vet to administer a sedative first, preferably by IV. If you meet with any resistance DEMAND it. Although some vets offer this as a matter of course I think it should be standard practice.

A couple of other tips, from experience, if you know the time is coming and you know your dog will stress you can also ask your vet for a small supply of sedatives so you can give one prior to setting out for the vet's office. That takes the edge off to begin with and will help to alleviate any stress brought on by a car ride or vet office visit. Also, if you elect to have your dog pass at home--make sure you have good lighting!

Please, please, please do not feel guilty. How were you to know the experience would be anything other than what your vet told you to expect?

And thank you so much for sharing your experience, letting Trouble teach us one more lesson, and giving the rest of us a chance to chime in on this forum with our experiences. No one wants to talk about these things, it is absolutely heart breaking. But all those who face this difficult decision need to know that the worst can and does happen, that their vets don't always explain all that can potentially happen, and that they have choices they can make to enable a peaceful passing no matter what the circumstances.

All our love to you,

Martha and the Oaktown Pack

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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19 March 2011 - 4:35 pm
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A couple of other tips, from experience, if you know the time is coming
and you know your dog will stress you can also ask your vet for a small
supply of sedatives so you can give one prior to setting out for the
vet's office. That takes the edge off to begin with and will help to
alleviate any stress brought on by a car ride or vet office visit.


We would never have considered this.  Trouble LOVED the vet, in all her years she had never been stressed to go there, but this is an excellent suggestion for a dog known to have anxiety issues.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Member Since:
14 April 2010
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19 March 2011 - 5:00 pm
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Shanna, I am so sorry Trouble and yourselves had this experience. I can't imagine having to go through that when you were at probably one of the worst times of your life already. You have made some great suggestions for other who might have anxiety about this part of the journey. Paws up to you guys, Spirit Gus and Dan 

My buddy Gus had a left front amputation on April 7, 2010 and lived a great life until July 26,2010

Edmonton, Alberta
Member Since:
11 January 2010
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19 March 2011 - 6:29 pm
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Oh Shanna, I am so sorry. Like Dan, I can't imagine what this was like for you. Bad enough the sorrow of parting, let alone such a traumatic heart-wrenching one. Whenever we find ourselves at this part of the journey I will remember yours and Trouble's story and take appreciate measures and make the necessary requests to make sure this doesn't happen. 

Thank you, Shanna and Bob, for sharing.

Again, so so sorry. 


Catie -

Birthday – November 4 2003

Amputation – January 13 2010

Crossed the Bridge – June 2 2011

 Catie Caitlin 

Lucas, Ohio
Member Since:
17 September 2010
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19 March 2011 - 6:30 pm
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Dear Shanna and Bob,

    You have shown incredible strength and grace at this time of almost unbearable pain...please know that what you have shared will profoundly change many of us and how we navigate the inevitable path that lies ahead. Thank-you.  Big cyber-hugs from one of Trouble's many admirers.                                                                                                                                                                   

   This will take time but you both will heal. More pawsitive thoughts coming your way.         Anita, mom to Xena, Spammy angel &

                                                                                                                                                                                         Chloe angel

In your heart, where I belong.
Member Since:
9 February 2011
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19 March 2011 - 6:37 pm
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Dear Shanna and Bob,

I feel your pain, because I have been there. December 2009, our rottie mix Zoot had a similar experience. She had been in declining shape for some time but tanked hard while we were out of town. My dogsitter called me daily to tell me how Zoot was doing, and when we got back home a couple of days later, it was obvious that Zoot was done with this part of her journey. She was similar to Trouble in her physical condition, too, but with 4 legs.She was almost immobile from a degenerative spinal disease. And she had begun to hurt. Since she'd been on an NSAID for awhile, we knew we had nothing else to offer her.

At the vet's office Zoot was given an injection of a sedative, but it didn't seem to matter. It made her pant something fierce and was rather frightening. She was wild-eyed and looked around frantically. I was really baffled because this was not my first dog that I helped leave. My dogsitter went with me (my husband has never been able to do this) because she had been caring so diligently for Zoot. It took both of us to hold Zoot as she thrashed and kicked and bucked. It was an awful experience and I also felt no small amount of guilt. Even with that sedative, Zoot fought hard. I don't feel guilty any longer, but I feel sad. More than anything, I felt like I let Zoot down.

So I understand your feelings completely and I understand how you feel that Trouble was cheated out of the final gift you could give her. I truly do. I wish I could say something to make you feel better, but all I can offer is that time leads to introspection, and introspection leads to understanding, and understanding leads to reconciliation. So with time, I think you will become reconciled to what you could and could not do for Trouble. We cannot control everything. And do remember that intent means so much, and the intentions of all involved were only kindhearted.


From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at

knoxville, tn
Member Since:
12 February 2010
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19 March 2011 - 9:53 pm
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shanna, we are so saddened to read about this.   we always want the best for our tripawd sisters and brothers, protecting them from harm and sheltering them from the evils of the world.  thanks for giving us the power and knowledge to make good choices when our time to do so comes. 


charon & gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends


20 March 2011 - 3:54 am
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I'm sorry you, Bob & Trouble had this experience. I wish someone had intervened & provided her some sedation.

I have had the privilege and burden of being with many animals as they left this world, either my own or those I've fostered in their final days. Each of them received adequate Sub-Q sedation prior to securing IV access & barbiturate overdose. I never really thought about it occurring any other way. On occasion, most recently with my cat, Samantha, I sedated her orally prior to the vet's arrival, when she received additional sedation. I am fortunate that our integrative vet makes house calls, and, as was the case with Samantha, when she was unavailable, there is a palliative care vet who will come out anytime. When I have taken an animal to the vet, the same protocol was used. It's sad to think this isn't a universal happening.

You did your best for Trouble. Try not to let this experience define your life together. You were with her, surrounding her with your love and that is the energy that embraced her as she left this world.


Member Since:
1 January 2010
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20 March 2011 - 8:10 am
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Shanna and Bob,

I'm so sorry to read this.  My heart is going out to both of you.  Thank you so much for sharing this - I had no idea that this final act of love could be anything like this.  This has opened my eyes, and will make me more prepared for that day when it's Holly's turn to join her buddies.  Trouble has indeed given us one last lesson, and a very important one.  I'm sending big hugs to you aross the miles... and remembering all the wonderful Trouble stories you've told - think Holly and Zuzu will get some Trouble beans today for treats in her honor.  She will always be our hero. 


Holly, Zuzu and Susan

Holly joined the world of tripawds on 12/29/2009. She has a big little sister, Zuzu, who idolizes Holly and tries to make all of her toys into tripawds in Holly's honor. And she's enjoying life one hop at a time!

Greater Western Washington area
Member Since:
25 August 2010
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20 March 2011 - 9:18 am
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Bob and Shanna,

My heart breaks reading this.  I also am so sorry that Trouble didn't get the peace she deserved in her final moments.  My rottie Jazz had a collapsed trachea and they thought her decreased oxygen wouldn't allow her to absorb the shot,  so she didn't get the sedation shot.  She sat up when she got the shot that was to end her life, and she tried to walk to me.  She was scared and looking to be in my arms.  I was holding her head but she wanted her whole body in my lap. 

She never made it, she collasped and left this world  struggling to get to me.  They had her laying on the floor with her leg shaved for the injection.  I should've been holding her whole body, but I wanted to have her see me, so I was up by her head petting her and looking into her eyes.  The sense of guilt I had about not holding her all the way and not listening to my heart which told me to do the shot anyway, has bothered me for quite some time.  I now take it as a further reminder to ALWAYS listen to my inner voice.

I hope you know that Trouble will not remember the end, only the love that you have given her.  To me it must be like when we get a proceedure done at the doctors,  it may be awful, but after awhile we are just glad that the "bad" mole is gone, or our teeth are fixed, and we don't really remember all of the moments it took to make it so.  You gave her the gift of not struggling anymore, no more embarrassment, no more pain.  You will love her all the days of your life, then you will have the joy of being together again.  There is no better gift than love.

Prayers, love, and hugs from our family to yours,

Elizabeth, Warren, Sammy, Shy, and Titan

Diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the right front leg 8/23/10,

leg fractured 8/27/10,

leg amputated 8/30/10


I couldn't begin to say how special Sammy is to us.  Living and laughing with and loving this wonderful boy is priceless.

Member Since:
20 May 2009
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20 March 2011 - 11:38 am
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And I thought my heart was already breaking for you.  I am just so sorry that Trouble was not able to pass peacefully.  Thank you for sharing your painful story so those who will someday be facing euthanasia can demand sedation for their pups. Truthfully I didn't know you had to ask for it.  

For all of you that were cheated out a peaceful ending I am so sorry.


Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

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