It's been a while since anyone posted here, but I'm glad to find this thread.
I had to put my Zinnia kitty down last Thursday. she was about 12 years old, but she didn't look old. She had adopted me about 10 years ago and was a dear companion. Her fur was so soft, her nudges so gentle, and ... she did have attitudes.
It was and wasn't sudden. She had had problems in early July, which the vet had taken care of ... but she was never quite right after that. Something essential in her had changed. When I woke up Thursday morning, I just knew ... and I sobbed. By 8:15 another vet, (who was 45 minutes closer and had never seen her), said I could bring her in. John drove us over and the vet confirmed "You are doing the right thing. Please, if you remember nothing else I say, remember that you are doing the right thing. As pet owners, sometimes we have to hurt so they don't have to."
We stayed with her when they gave her the sedative, and I talked to her, loving her, as she got all wobbly and unbalanced. When the vet came in, he said it was time for us to leave. We could wait outside, but it was better for us not to be there when they put her to sleep. We went out. It didn't take long. Soon, we had my Zinnia back, all still and quiet. So soft and so warm yet, and so absolutely limp and still. I am so grateful to the vet for this difficult work that he sometimes has to do and for doing this for Zinnia and me.
We dug her grave, a deep round hole, in a sunny spot near one of the sheds. When I laid her in it, her body naturally curled, her nose resting on her front paws. I placed some of her favorite treats in with her, said a last goodbye, and put the first bit of earth on her. I know the power of earth and I'm glad that she is going back to earth ... and it has been sad, the grief coming in waves, by surprise. There she rests. A little later, I spoke with my animal guides and they said she was with them, resting, and would be for a while. They said she thanked me for the treats (Greenies).
Like many others on this thread, I too have wondered if there was something else I could have done, did I jump the gun, something that I missed? I don't think so. It was her time. It wasn't about my time ... it was about her time. I also realized that part of my grief is for two dogs I had to put down almost 30 years ago, within a few months of each other. I dropped each of them off at the vet and left, didn't stay with them and didn't pick up their remains. I just wasn't able to face it at the time.
So ... today I planted a yellow buddleia (Buddleia x weyeriana 'Honeycomb' (Loganiaceae) over Zinnia -- so there will be butterflies around her grave. I have been taken by surprise at the depth of my grief. I'm just letting it rise as it will, feeling it, and letting it pass. She is worth the grief. She gave me years of companionship, entertainment, quiet, purrs, stillness, presence. She is reaping her harvest of a good life at this midpoint between Lughnasadh and Alban Eiler. I am letting go. We are both aligned with the cycle. This helps somewhat -- and I still miss my girl. I've vacuumed up her hair, put away her bowls, cleaned and put away the folded rug she liked to sleep on. The memories were too raw to keep right there. There may be a time when I wish I hadn't been so hasty, but it feels "right" now.