Wilbur had been poorly but stable for some time. He had been eating well and starting to get stronger until 2 days ago when he suddenly started vomiting blood. This could have been due to numerous factors - some very serious and some not so serious and very treatable. You can read about Wilbur's rescue and treatment here.
We took him straight to the vet and started the process of numerous tests to identify the cause. At this point we had a lot of comments to put him to sleep, but without knowing the cause, we were not willing to end his life if it was due to something treatable. We always want to give a dog a chance to live a life of love and care, most likely for the first time ever.
He was not in a great degree of pain - dogs will signal pain in various ways if it gets too much to handle. Wilbur was calm and his hear rate was normal. He was also on pain meds. However, at around 4pm yesterday he started showing signs of pain and further tests showed he was going into multiple organ failure. We knew then that it was time to let him go, so at 4:30 pm we put him to sleep.
Whether to take their life or not is a decision that is never taken lightly. The decision is based on test results, prognosis, vets recommendation, chance of recovery and quality of life. Every decision to end a life has been very carefully and painfully considered. The obvious concern is whether the dog is suffering, but EVERY dog we rescue is suffering to some degree - that is why we rescue them.
And every time that decision is made, it takes a little part of your soul.
We have witnessed many amazing recoveries in dogs that were recommended euthanasia - Shaun, Max and Matty are examples of these. It's never a clear cut, black or white decision - but one with multiple considerations as many pet owners have likely experienced. It is a decision we face on a daily basis. We are heartbroken that we couldn't save Wilbur and see him live a life that he deserved to live, but we are comforted by the knowledge we made the right decision to put him to sleep at the right time. Rest in peace Wilbur - we are so sorry we couldn't save you.