Worst day of my life, I had to put my Lab down


New Member
Hello everybody.
If you chose to read this you know whats coming. A little about myself. I am 42 and was a member of the QDMA forum for while before it shut down. In looking to get this out I found this forum and decided to sign up. Prior USAF for 4 yrs I am currently an 18yr veteran police officer for a local police department in WNY. I have a wife, twin 10yr old boys and a real nice 40 acre piece of land we hunt and fish on regularly. I lost my best friend on Sunday, 9/25. My chocolate lab, Captain, was 11.5 yrs old. I got him as a puppy and had him for just over a year when my twins were born. He was the greatest dog and best friend a man could have. So often due to my crazy work schedule hunting camp on a Monday or Tuesday was just him and I. We did everything together. In all his life he was never boarded or crated or anything. If he couldnt go, I didnt go. He absolutely loved being out at the land. He knew every woodchuck hole on the property. He would run and swim all day. He never ran off further than I could yell for him to come back. As he got older, like all of us he slowed down a bit but never lost his spirit. Our runs turned to walks and naps got longer and more frequent. A couple weeks ago his right leg started giving out. We took him to the vet and they gave us a bunch of pain killers and said hopefully he just hurt his back or worst slipped a disc. He did have a small mass they were concerned about near his spine, but we crossed our fingers. Well three weeks later my wife called me in a panic. I rushed home from work and she said both legs have given out and he cant get up. I walked outside and there he was. His head was high, but he just couldn't get up. We knew it was his time, I just couldnt believe it. He was such a proud dog I would never allow him to lose his faculties and his dignity. I carried him to the truck and we went to the vet. The vet was wonderful, they came right out to my truck. I was able to hold him and tell him how much I loved him as he slipped away. I am now a lost soul. I cry every couple hours, especially every time there is a "first." The first time I walked by his bed and hes not there, the first time I picked up his leash and I didnt hear him come running. I havent even been out to camp yet, I dont even know how I will be able to enjoy it anymore. If you made it to the end I thank you just for listening. If you have any advice please feel free to share. He was the only dog Ive ever had so I have never been through this before.
Thank you,
Chocolate labs are awesome dogs. I bought a male in 2002. My ex wife took mine in 2012 during our divorce, he was 10 at the time. I knew she would take great care of him and I would avoid the heartache of putting him down. She emailed me earlier this year saying she had put him down. He was a few months shy of his 13th birthday. Still yanked my heart out, I loved that dog even though I hadn't seen him in a couple years.

My sincere condolences......

There are a few veterinarians on this forum, including me. Unfortunately we deal with sad stories like this all the time. I put a beloved lab to sleep yesterday, and I put my dad's lab down a couple of weeks ago. I cried like a baby as my dad held his head. My black lab is currently right next to me as I write this post.

Don't be a lost soul. Think of all the great times you had with your friend. Be thankful that you could end his suffering and preserve his dignity. If he could thank you, he would. He's currently checking out woodchuck holes waiting patiently for you to join him. You will see him again.
For any dog owner its an incredibly hard thing to do, watching your best friend pass on. A few years ago I had to put down my best hunting dog, I grew up with her and learned to bird hunt with her, had some of my most memorable hunts with her and when she died it was weeks before pheasant opening. Truly heartbreaking, however it felt really good a few weeks later going out bird hunting on opening morning knowing this is where she would want me to be, it was kinda closure for me. It always takes some time heal after any loss, keep your head up
I was in your position 3 years ago with our yellow lab, Bailey. We still talk of him often, so it seems he's still here sometimes. I feel your pain.
Sorry for your loss Savannah. I went through it with my golden a few years ago and she was only 3.5yrs old. I laid on the floor with her and looked into her eyes as the vet gave her the shot. I was a mess and said no more dogs.....I now have two goldens. Remember the good times you had with your Captain and don't hesitate to get another. I got another golden pup two weeks after our golden went to the rainbow bridge. It really helped to get life back into the house and then added another golden pup about a year later.
If you love your dog then there is always the downside of parting ways when that time comes, always way too soon. Sorry for your loss. I know this sometimes sounds a bit harsh, but the fastest cure for a broken heart when it comes to the loss of a dog is to start looking for a puppy.
Last year I lost my dog while tracking deer in Kansas, and it was devastating! I envisioned Elkie being killed and eaten my coyotes, which was so likely that locals told she probably wouldn't make it through the night! Elkie is a Wirehaired Dachshund and she was dragging a 16 foot tracking leash. The following afternoon I departed Kansas without Elkie. My wife and I were devastated and I was exploring getting another dog, when the phone rang and a lady in Kansas said that she thought she had my dog. Elkie had been missing for three days and two nights on the Kansas prairie and was still alive!

The lady had a Lab, that usually came in the house at night, but the Lab refused to go inside for two nights, and on the 3rd day the Lab coaxed the lady to follow and lead her to where Elkie was tangled around a fence post. That Lab protected Elkie, saved her life, and we got Elkie back! Labs are great dogs, when you're ready, buying a new puppy helps to fill the void. Thank God that a Lab found Elkie.
I know what you mean I already dread the day and my lab is only 4.She has had to have surgery on both front knees.My buddies all say when they die they want to come back as my dog because of the way she gets treated.I know I would be out looking for a puppy.It will all work out
Sorry for your loss Jesse. Grieving is part of the process. Hopefully sharing your memories of Captain will bring some comfort. I imagine most of us on this site are dog people. I have a Lab and Boston Terrier. They bring so much joy to our family and my kids love them so much. Be thankful you had a loyal friend for 11 years who loved you unconditionally and brought joy to your life.
The night my black lab, Cutter, died i was a mess. I remember asking my wife, "what am i going to do?".
That dog was my first child in a sense. I absolutely didnt know how i could walk the woods again without him plunging into a waterhole or wrestling a stick out of a logjam.
I am teary eyed typing this, because i remember how painful it was. We laugh about Cutter's antics now and remember him with great joy.
I am sorry your old friend is gone.
From another veterinarian who happens to live with 5 dogs and 3 of them being labs I understand your loss and pain. I couldn't have written a better tribute then you just did for your 4 legged buddy. I am like you---if I go duck hunting I have my lab next to me. If she doesn't get invited then I don't go either. We will just go toss out a dozen decoys and kill a few ducks on my ponds.

I promise you time will help ease the pain but the great memories will be a lifetime.

Welcome to the forum--hope you stick around!

Savannah, Captain had the best of lives and I guarantee that his spirit will be with you always even fifty years from now. The times you shared will be remembered with great joy and memories of him will come often. Hopefully you will raise other dogs which of course will never replace Captain but will give you and those dogs great joy. Your thread is a great tribute to your old friend.
Only time helps. I lost my 2 Jack Russells about 2.5yrs ago(both within a couple of months). They were 17yo and quite honestly I probably waited too long on my second one. They were AWESOME dogs and I have many, many memories of them both. It took over a year before I could bring myself to get another dog but honestly it was the best thing. I miss Harley and Chase still, but our new "child" is busy making new memories with us.
Even though it hurts to lose them, for us who love dogs, we owe it to them to give them a wonderful life while they are with us. Take time to heal, but definitely get another dog.