Really hard decision..

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sgtrecon212
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Really hard decision..

Post by sgtrecon212 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:38 pm

Guys, I'm in a real tough spot.

I have to make a decision as to when or if to put my dog down. :(
Buddy is 14 years old ,and he is prone to what the vet says is "doggy dementia". Sometimes he just doesn't seem to know where he is. He also does sonething he never did as a younger dog, gets into the trash. To compound that, he has grown increasingly frightened by the weather, and seems to shiver pretty often now. He is also more prone to wetting accidents and just the other day, while I was right here at the computer, my wife witnessed him walk by me, pause and release a bit of, for lack of a better word... poop!
Then walked to the door as if he needed out, and he finished his business.
The hard part is that he doesn't seem to be in any kind of pain, appears very sprightly at times and seems to sleep ok. He has lost weight, but is not a bag of bones.

Buddy has been with us a long time, but to spend a bunch of money on different tests seems to be an exercise in futility. My carpets need constant attention and we just don't know what kind of "presents" or mischief we may find when we get home from work.

Any advice? And if it is time... How am I gonna do it?

Any advice?
Steve
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Go Cubbies

CMur12
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Post by CMur12 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:43 pm

Hi Steve -

That's really a rough one. The short answer I would offer is to wait until you are sure/comfortable with the decision.

It doesn't sound like there is much reason to recur to expensive tests at this point. I think it depends more on the nature of your relationship with your dog now, how much you will miss him when he's gone (more than you may think now), how you will feel about putting him down before he's ready to go (i.e. Your susceptibility to guilt and regret), and your tolerance for cleaning up after him in the meantime.

My cat suffered a stroke last spring and I had her put to sleep three days later after. A lot of agony went into the decision. I was able to get the vet to come to the house, so that she died in my lap at home.

I still wish I had given her more time, as she really wasn't ready to go. She wasn't spinning quite as much as she did before and she was getting so that she could coordinate lying down more easily as well. She would walk along the wall to steady herself as she moved around. She was just eating, sleeping, and using her catbox, but she was still fairly happy to do that.

It's a really hard decision, Steve, and I wish you and your wife the best in making it.

- Murray
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paddy
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Post by paddy » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:38 am

i've owned a fair few dogs and cats over the years. it's always a tough decision, but he is obviously on the way out. i would look to put the dog down sooner rather than later.
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desertbadger
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Post by desertbadger » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:08 am

Very tough Steve, I know, I've been there. If you do decide to put him down, take him to the vet. They administer a shot and it's over very quickly, probably more quickly than you would imagine.
One thing to remind yourself is that your friend of so many years did not suffer and will be in a better place.
Good luck to you and the family.

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David
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kronos9
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Post by kronos9 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:56 am

It's been over seven months since I had to make that decision and I still can not discuss it easily. Here's a link which may help. It may also be painful to read. :cry:
Ed

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jtpca
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Post by jtpca » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:00 am

A very tough decision and one that only you can make with your family. If the dog is not suffering immensely, then it is only material loss from his actions that must be making it more challenging at this point.

If/when you decide to ease his/your suffering - talk to the vet about coming to your home for the 'task'. Keep your dog with his family and comfort of surroundings instead of being agitated and nervous in a strange environment for his final moments.

Best of luck with your decision and yes, it is a tough spot to be in. And best wishes to Buddy.
Jason

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fallingwickets
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Post by fallingwickets » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:30 am

I have a lot of experience with putting dogs down.......my advice is

1. sooner is better
2. get a new puppy asap

clive
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Bargepole
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Post by Bargepole » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:44 am

fallingwickets wrote:I have a lot of experience with putting dogs down.......my advice is

1. sooner is better
2. get a new puppy asap

clive
+1.

Only you can decide, though. It's never easy, you will shed your tears whenever you do it, but if it were my dog and the poor chap was frightened and confused, I'd prefer to draw things to a close. It's one last kindness we can do for them. Yet even thinking about it, my eyes are pricking.
Michael

People say it's never too late. How wrong they are. --Felix Dennis

brothers
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Post by brothers » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:52 am

It's tough, but once the decision is made, it's time to act. It's something I've had to do 3 times in the past few years, a couple of cats with injuries and our little dog, who was losing vision and hearing, finally made my decision the only option, needing to be done as soon as possible, when he lost control of his back legs and his bowels and bladder. I gave him a nice warm bath and spent some time talking to him and holding him just before we got in the car and made that final drive.

I have a fond memory of Scotty trying to run to me, as he always did, but not doing so well with just the front working. It was that moment that I knew exactly what to do, and there was and is no regret.

It's something that's a necessary thing, and it imparts some dignity to an animal who can't understand what's happening. However, our oldest cat (21) was healthy right up to the end, and all he wanted to do was sleep in the sun, and so that's what he did, until the end came quietly to him, and without any assistance from me.

Just do the right thing, according to your own understanding, at the time. Allowing one of them to suffer pain and humiliation through indecision is worse than taking action. Take the animal to the vet, they do this with compassion and skill. There's no more suffering at that point. They'll take good care of you and your pet at this important time.
Gary

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Post by Thalay Sagar » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:34 am

Steve, I'm sorry to hear about it. You're in a truly awful position and with no good option. I've had to do it five times in the past three years (must remember to space out the pet ages better). The ony guidance I can give is to look at your pet and see if he/she is happy. If it isn't, then it's time. And when it is, don't go alone.
Best,
Chris

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SmallTank
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Post by SmallTank » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:54 am

One thing to keep in mind about our beloved animals is..felines/canines..they live IN the moment...missing a leg/paw..they are just as happy as if nothing ever happened...suffering/misery of a loved one is best suited to the one who can decide best when the other is unable to decide..personally I would put your dog out of its misery...im sure they will be up above with any other loved ones as a great companion (you never know)..
I found this out when my pug/Sharpei (Ori-Pei)mix passed away some years ago and also suffered for many years and we never knew it!..
..he keeps my grandfathers great company believe it or not

ST

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Steve-o
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Post by Steve-o » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:05 pm

I've had to have two dogs put down and it was not easy either time, so, Steve, I feel for you. The key for us in deciding was whether the dog's quality of life had deteriorated sufficiently. One dog had such a bad hip she couldn't stay up reliably and could not get up once she fell down. Not being able to get around is not a life for a dog.

In Buddy's case, you may choose to look past the deteriorating bladder/sphincter control and the occasional bouts of fear of bad weather. But getting into the trash and not knowing where he may be at times could be quite dangerous for him and maybe even members of your family. Buddy could find something in the trash which could block or perforate his intestinal passage. He could "forget" he was near stairs or the street. Regardless of Buddy's past history, a frightened dog is prone to snap or bite at anyone. It's not Buddy's fault -- he's just being a dog. But you wouldn't want him in any more pain because he did something "demented" and you certainly wouldn't want anyone else in your family to be hurt because of that.

My prayers are with you, Steve. It's hard to say goodbye to almost-a-family-member and it's hard to make the decision when there are flickers of hope. But it's also hard to look back and say, "I should have done it when...". Just take care of Buddy to the last and the passage won't hurt him.
“Time just seems to get quicker. You look in the mirror in the morning and you think, ‘I’m already shaving again!’” - Terry Jones of Monty Python's Flying Circus

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Post by Milkbone » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:15 pm

Hello Steve, I am sorry for your situation, it is a tough one for everyone involved. Many dogs suffer ailments such as these as they age. I have had quite a few doggies in my time, it's never an easy decision to make.

Does your vet have any recommendations to help the situation? I completely understand not wanting to incur massive vet bills and putting Buddy through anything that will not help him, but there may something simple that can be done (perhaps medication wise or other) that may help him get a long better.

As far as making the decision, I can only offer some of the advice already given above. What is his quality of life and is he suffering? Understanding your situation is placing an additional burden on you and yours looking after him. I would also hate to ever look back to say "if I had only given him more time" or "if I had only tried this".

That being said, only you know the complete situation, if he is suffering and there nothing that can be done to help him, we owe it to them for them not to be in pain . I am sure he loves you very much and I am sure you love him even more, but we have to love them enough to make the decision for them when the time comes if need be.

I realize this doesn't help you too much and I wish I could offer you more help, it's a difficult place to be.

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Bargepole
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Post by Bargepole » Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:37 am

I hope in subsequent projects God, evolution or a combination of the two has managed to come up with a dog whose lifespan matched our own. You'd get your canine friend when you were old enough to look after him -- 10 would be a good age, I suppose -- and he'd be with you for life, and when the time came, off you'd go together.

It's a bad business though. Plenty of smart-arses around who say (a) dogs don't love us, they're just in it for what they can get, and (b) we don't love them, it's just sentimentality and projection.

As usual, the smart-arses are named for what they talk out of.

A few months back I sat with my new dog (a Hungarian Vizsla) on my lap, stroking his head and reduced to silence in the way you are when you see a young animal and all life is in him.

And I thought: twelve years or so from now, I'll be stroking his head as the vet puts him to sleep, and I'll be remembering how he lay on my lap when he was little and new.

Not too proud to admit it was a silly train of thought, nor too proud to admit I shed a few tears at it anyway.
Michael

People say it's never too late. How wrong they are. --Felix Dennis

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Blue As A Jewel
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Post by Blue As A Jewel » Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:02 am

Bargepole wrote:I hope in subsequent projects God, evolution or a combination of the two has managed to come up with a dog whose lifespan matched our own. You'd get your canine friend when you were old enough to look after him -- 10 would be a good age, I suppose -- and he'd be with you for life, and when the time came, off you'd go together.

It's a bad business though. Plenty of smart-arses around who say (a) dogs don't love us, they're just in it for what they can get, and (b) we don't love them, it's just sentimentality and projection.

As usual, the smart-arses are named for what they talk out of.

A few months back I sat with my new dog (a Hungarian Vizsla) on my lap, stroking his head and reduced to silence in the way you are when you see a young animal and all life is in him.

And I thought: twelve years or so from now, I'll be stroking his head as the vet puts him to sleep, and I'll be remembering how he lay on my lap when he was little and new.

Not too proud to admit it was a silly train of thought, nor too proud to admit I shed a few tears at it anyway.
We got an English Golden Retriever 8-months ago and he makes us laugh and smile everyday. I was thinking the exact same thing as you and wondering how I would do... so no, your thoughts aren't silly or overly sentimental at all...
- Ravi -

You can mistrust me less than you can mistrust him. Trust me.

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Squire
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Post by Squire » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:50 pm

One of my exes took the furry children but granted me extensive visitation. As a parting gift she presented me with a puppy who I took to the office in a bassinet. She grew up there becoming a great favorite around the complex where she technically wasn't allowed but the management chose to bend the rules rather than start a fight with me. A cheerful baby so long as she could hear my voice but when I went into the conference room behind closed doors she would cry until she could hear my voice again.

Lost her to an accident beyond my control and haven't had the heart to replace her.

Damn that was hard to type.
Regards,
Squire

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Pauldog
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Post by Pauldog » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:11 am

Today is the day we're losing our dog, whose picture you've seen next to my name for many years. She's almost 16, and was ailing in a (mostly) manageable way for quite a while, but this morning she's gotten noticeably worse.

She's a dear friend, and I'll miss her tremendous cheerfulness.

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Post by Bobwhite » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:00 am

It's a though decision I spend 3 hours per day training my dogs. From 7 weeks to about 10 years old. I have had to choose the day and the hour at least a half dozen times.

Your dog will not tell you that it is time. You have made all of the decisions for this dog all if its life. Don't stop now. If you wait too long, your dog will become a shell of what it once was, then pass on it's own. Then you will still have to deal with the loss. For me, when the anguish reaches a certain point, I make the decision.

How to do it: Everybody deals with it differently. To me going to the vet. in front of other people in the waiting room and receptionists, sounds like hell. Putting the veterinarian through it ruins their day too! When it is early I preplan it with the vet. I sign the release form and prepay if needed. When the time comes I visit personally with my dog, then leave it on the porch for them to pick up and return afterwards. I call them, and they call me when they are done. You can leave the dog with the vet. but I find it therapeutic to dig the hole beforehand, even with the dog watching. It may seem odd, but it brings closure like nothing else.

I've done it many times and never regretted making the final decision for my dog.

God Bless you and your dog,

Joe

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jtpca
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Post by jtpca » Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:18 am

Pauldog wrote:Today is the day we're losing our dog, whose picture you've seen next to my name for many years. She's almost 16, and was ailing in a (mostly) manageable way for quite a while, but this morning she's gotten noticeably worse.

She's a dear friend, and I'll miss her tremendous cheerfulness.
Very sorry to read this - be strong.
Jason

There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know. - Truman

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jww
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Post by jww » Fri Apr 29, 2011 11:34 am

It is never a happy moment when one looses a family pet.

I grew up with dogs in our family as a child and teen. We had 3 German Shepherds (Alsatians). Our first died of poisoning which we could never pin on anyone (but we had a good idea). The other two had to be put down -- both had the degenerating hip problem which can plague German Shepherds --- it was always sad loosing a dog - especially as they become such an important part of the family. In married life, we have never had the space for a dog. Big dogs need space, and we were never able to provide sufficient space in my reckoning.
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