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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
Dave T
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Unhappy tidbit

housesoiling and destructive chewing are the two most prevalent terminal illnesses in dogs

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 11:22 AM
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I just hack it up to age, but our 16 year old American Eskimo Mix (avatar pic) has no control over her bowel movements for about the last year or so. She can be walking right by me in the kitchen, lift her tail and keep walking by me. Like she doesn't even know she dropped tootsie rolls. She had never done anything like this before. So this past year has been rough. So we kept here corraled to linoleum...no carpet areas for her anymore.

I talked to a friend last night and she was wondering if I was going to have her put down?

I have no idea what to do. I hate the thought of it, I would prefer that she goes to Rainbow Bridge on her own. She is 95% deaf, almost blind, cannot run anymore, has bad arthritis, she hurts/yelps with lifted in the gentilist manner. If she is outside with my husband. I can come home, open the garage door, pull the care up behind her to park, all while she is standing in the garage to get a drink of water...she doesn't even flinch or turn around. She doesn't know I am there. A honk of the horn can still get her to flinch/turn around but only sometimes.

I fear that I am putting her through something that I wouldn't want to go through, yet I hate the idea of taking her life by putting her down. She walks in circle around the house...that is all she does when she is outside....just walks around and walks some more...she won't sit on the grass or lay in the sun like she used to....just a never ending walk. She has even killed some of the grass as it is always the same path.

We do not have a fenced in yard. That is one thing I want to get done before a new dog would come into our family. We wouldn't be able to do our entire yard, but have a fenced in 'area or run' through a dog door.

So I know that this is something I must decide, but I have never had to put one of my own pets down. Has anyone else ran across a senior dog that acted like this...did you let it go until nature took its final tole? Or did you help end her suffereing...how do you know when the suffering is horrible for the dog? I don't believe that she is in constant pain.

She isn't the same dog. I look into her eyes and she looks tired and other times I can look at her and it seems like the dog I had since a puppy isn't their anymore.

post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 11:52 AM
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Oh Kristy I know the pain that you are going through. Nothing is more horrible than to watch our loves grow old. My rule of thumb is quality of life. If they still like to eat, enjoy a belly scratch and aren't in pain or ill, I tend to let them go on. Talk with your vet and see if a pain killer for the arthritis will help. That made a huge difference in one of my seniors. Also a good vet will help you determine when is the right time.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 12:03 PM
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Oh Kristy, I feel for you right now.

This sounds very much like my own recent experience with my beloved great dane, Otto. He had completely lost control of his bowel movements, would cry and squat right in front of me or walk through the kitchen pooping (much bigger than a tootsie roll...!) and had severe arthritis. He was basically paralyzed in the hind quarters and could only utilize his front half to get up from lying down. His back end would buckle and he would fall nearly everyday. It was terrible.

I made the difficult decision this January to euthanize him. It was truly one of the most agonizing of decisions, and I too like you wished he would cross over "on his own."

Ultimately, this decision is yours only and only you can know when the time is right. We kept him loved and comfortable for as long as we could. I remember crying one day after he had fallen while pooping in my kitchen as I ate breakfast, I had to use all my strength to get him up, he was afraid and I was distraught. I finally said through my tears, "I can't do this anymore." No one was around to hear me say this. I knew my heart had spoken and it was time.

It was a surreal experiencing making the vet appointment. The night before, I played with Posh and Otto for about an hour outside in fresh snow (his favorite) he seemed much better and I asked myself if I was doing the right thing. Just as I was asking him for some kind of sign he squatted over his bed and pooped all over while crying. I knew at that moment it was the right decision, he wasn't loving life anymore.

It was a very peaceful moment when we sat and held his head while he passed. I sobbed like crazy, but he looked absolutely beautiful and at peace. I remember how it felt when his spirit left his body. It reminded me that our spirits and the spirits of our beloved animals are too large to be contained in this mortal body for long.

Take care, best wishes. This is such a terrible thing to decide. You'll know when it's time.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Kristy I hope you got my private email. What I was saying was that statistically housesoiling and destructive chewing are the two leading reasons people take their puppies and in your case an older dog , to the shelters where later they are euthenized. In my opinion it is always better to consult with a vet because you do not want to second guess or blame yourself later. Our prayers are with you. Dave , Gwen and Molly.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 12:52 PM
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Kristy I know how you feel....I do not look forward to when my lab starts to show some of these signs..she will be 13 this year. I have always told myself that I will not hold onto my beloved pets because I do not want to be without them. It is a hard decision to make. We had to put down our family pet which was a sheltie a couple of years ago...it was awful but we knew she would be better off not suffering...I will see her sometime when I go to heaven along with all my other animals. Please let us know how things are going and we are thinking about you.

~~Mommy"s Little Angel~~
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 02:36 PM
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Kristy I understand what you are going through. My family had an incredibly sweet and loving lab for 15 years and she never had a health problem until one day and then everything went down hill. It was absolutely heartbreaking for the whole family. She started off with a (what seemed to be) bad cold and then went deaf and soon blind. She developed diabetes after that and that is when we decided we couldn't go on anymore. She would cry when we had to give her her insulin shots and she would fall down stairs and run into trees. We decided that we had to put her to sleep and it was a very hard decision. I do know that it was for the best though and she is smiling down from The Rainbow Bridge.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 02:52 PM
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Buffy, my 17 yr old lab/husky was pretty healthy. Then one day she just started to bleed and she died the next day.

My German Shep was 16 yrs old and had bad hips and addison's disease. I was scheduled to bring him to the vet (on a Monday) to be euthanized. The Saturday before, he went for a walk and when he got home he went to look out the front door. The next thing we knew was he fell down and died.

I know what you are going through. I have had to put several cats down and I thank my dogs every day for not making me have to make that decision. The only thing I can say is talk to your family, and your vet and then listen to your heart. You will make the right choice.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 03:44 PM
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Yup Dave, I miss-understood that. Well either way, it opened me up about questioning the well being of our senior dog.

My husband and I have nearly had it with pooping inside...only a couple pee accidents..but daily poops. She goes crazy being locked up in a crate if we are gone, so that is out of the question, and if we leave her in a small gated section...I don't think that she lays down the whole time we are gone. She is up (ALWAYS) up walking around when I come and open the door. I know she can't hear us come home (almost deaf). Bad thing is that she poops..so the whole time she was walking around while we are gone...she steps through it over and over again.

The only place we can safetly gate a small area is back by our side door that leads into the garage. So when we come home...my husband has to stay outside with the kids while I go let her outside and get on my hands and knees to clean up the 5x5 area that has poop and poop pawprints all over it. Lyseol it and then lay down a rug so we can come in and take off our shoes. I can't leave a rug down...oh my that would be a daily wash machine chore. Yuck.

We are tempted to insulate a kennel/crate (she will go in a crate to lay down, but I cannot lock it shut. She goes crazy with the door is closed) in our garage off the floor and start putting her out there when we are gone. Coat on her, etc depending on weather.

I didn't mention it before, but WE are on our last strings. BUT I don't see her in too much pain, verbally anyways. She doesn't yip or cry when getting up or walking. It takes her sometimes up to 45 seconds before she actually is able to lay down on the ground. Just the way she positions her body, twists, slowly lowers her hind end, legs, etc. just to sit...and then she still has to finish laying down.

It would be easier if she had a incontinence problem with peeing as I could try a diaper of sorts....but pooping in a diaper...I don't want that daily clean up of daipers and butt baths. I think I would have to give her a soap bath everytime in order to get the smell out. I wouldn't want it not soapy clean. I would be so grossed out with her sitting on the floor with a 'wiped off' butt so a full bath on her rear end every day? I don't think so.

I know her quality of life, her enjoyment of life isn't even close to what it was a year ago. I just don't know if I am thinking on her behalf or just frustrated to the point where her old age attributes are taking a toll on us...therefore we can't enjoy her as we used to. I don't know exactly how to say this without sounding/coming off totally heartless...but she is causing us more frustration and inner anger (never taken out on her) that it is hard to enjoy her anymore.

I hope that last thing doesn't sound horrible. I just can't explain it. If we have to put her in the garage when we go places or bad days when she has tons of accidents, is that really a life for her?

So confused, emotional..you name it.
post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 04:02 PM
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Kristy- The decision to put a beloved pet out of its misery is the hardest part of loving a dog. Not too long ago we had to put our beloved Havanese, Panda to sleep. She was dying of liver disease, and I'm sure she would have died on her own within a week. However, she was suffering. She couldn't eat, her belly was swelling, and she stopped doing everything she loved. In fact, I think we waited a day too long, and I feel so bad about that. The night before, she laid on the couch and just stared at me, almost pleading. I told my husband that we had to help her. I was devastated at losing her, but I couldn't imagine letting her suffer, just to keep from having to make the decision myself. There just comes a time when you know what is the most humane thing for your pet. You'll just know when that time is. After the loss of Panda, a good friend sent me this poem, and it really made me realize that our pets are totally dependent on us to help them in their suffering:

If It Should Be....

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep
Then you must do what must be done
For this last battle can`t be won.

You will be sad, I understand,
Don`t let your grief then stay your hand
For this day, more than all the rest
Your love and friendship stands the test.

We`ve had so many happy years
What is to come can hold no fears.
Would you want me to suffer? So
When the time comes, please let me go.

Take me where my needs they`ll tend
Only stay with me until the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see
It is a kindness that you do to me
Although my tail it`s last has waved
From pain and suffering I have been saved

Do not grieve it should be you
Who must decide this thing to do.
We`ve been so close, we two these years
Don`t let your heart, hold any tears.


Jeanne (Mom to Maddie)
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