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How Do You Know When It Is Time To Let Them Go?


Guest Dinabird
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Guest Dinabird

Once I was a chaplain in a hospital and many times I saw a loved one who would struggle to live just to please their family when it would have been more comfortable to just go to the light - they really needed permission to go from the family.

 

Maybe these dogs do too sometimes - but how would I know when my need to keep my dear dog was selfish and what I really needed to do for her was to let her go? This is such a hard topic I have hesitated to ask this question but I think I should ask now before something does come up and I am too emotional to think straight. It seems as I get older that the questions surrounding death - which happens to all living things - just begin to come up and I realize that in our culture we really avoid dealing with it as long as we can. But that is probably not so good because once it is staring us in the face we are not in the best position to think rationally - so I want to think about this now.

 

I was raised on a dairy farm where animals died and there was little emotion. It was just what happened. But now I have this wonderful dog who is an entirely different relationship, but still an animal who relies on me to make medical decisions for her that are reasonable for her and not based on my needs.

 

How have you made these decisions? How do you know when to let go?

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Guest greybookends

It is a difficult and very personnel decision . Some like to wait just as long as is possible others like to let them go early on the belief that it is better to let them go to soon rather than to late. Look at your baby and determine their quality of life and go from there. The determining factors are different for everyone. I have made the decision to many times and it is never easy.

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Guest outofsighthound

My experience has been to work in unison with my vet. If it comes to the point where nothing further can be done and the quality of life is deteriorating then it is time.

 

 

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My PAXX was diagnosed with osteo last year. She was only 5 years old.

After the diagnosis, it was a world-win. Time goes so fast. Vets diagnose, they make suggestions. Refer you to specialists, they make their recommendations. You feel unsure, confused. What do I do? Amputation, drugs?

My decision to let PAXX go to the bridge was when she could not get comfortable one night. The following day I laid down with her on her bed, stayed with her all day, petted, talked and told her how much I loved her and how she changed our lives. I just new she would not be a candidate for amputation.

Like my previous dogs, I make the commitment to be their at the time of the bridge. She went peacefully and is now in a better place.

Everyone has a different story.

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Working in a Vets office, I can say..that for most people..the decision is still tough..even when the procedure is almost done.

 

there is no easy answer..

we just pray and hope that our decisions were right somehow.

 


In loving Memory of: 

Chip, Wendell, Tessa, Moose, Moody, Noble Storm, Thunder, Gracie, Duke

 

 

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I've always heard ( and tried to follow) the suggestion that you make a list of 5 things your dog loves to do. When your dog can't do some or none of them anymore then it's time to let go.

I am tearing up as I write this because last night my DH and I wrote up Oliver's list.............

 

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Guest Tenderhearts

It is such a difficult decision to make, and I have no easy pat answers.

 

Some say the pet will let you know, but this isn't always the case.

 

I had a geriatric kitty who had a cancerous mass in front of her kidney. Because of her age, I oped not to put her through any treatments, but palliative care only.

 

She was still loving, jumping up into my lap, rubbing on my legs when I made the decision to help her cross over. The cancer was just eating away at her and she was rail thin and getting thinner by the day. I don't think she ever would have 'let me know'. :cry1 I had to keep in mind what I had heard here so many times; better one day too early than one day too late.

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Guest TBSFlame

The last night Hawk was with us was terrible. He followed me around, panting and in pain. About 3 a.m. I looked him in the eye and told him I would let him go the next day when the vet opened. He then lay down and rested. I think I waited 2 days too long. The next day I let him go. He was the best, and eventhough it was years ago the memory of waiting those 2 days too long brings tears to me.

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I used to say, the animal will let you know, but, as Devon said, this is not always the case. Sometimes, you will have to make that choice for them. My cat Richard lived for three and a half years with chronic renal failure, most of that time you couldn't tell he was sick. At the end, he didn't give any indication that he was "ready", but his kidneys failed completely, and I do believe (having done both) that a day to soon is better than a day to late. Each time will be different, but no easier.

 

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You do sound very compassionate, and attuned to your dog, so it is likely that you will know when it is time. I know there will be times that we have to make that most difficult of decisions because they don't always give us a clear sign for various reasons---sometimes that they want nothing more than to just be with us. Sometimes (often, it seems, with Greys) they are so stoic that we can only guess at the pain that they are enduring. If you realize even now that it can be selfish to keep them with us longer than we should, I think you will be very aware of that when the time comes. We need to do what we feel in our hearts is right, and then be at peace with our decision. Remember that they live in the moment, and don't agonize over the future like we humans do. They only know that they are safe and very much loved TODAY. We need to be present for them always, and not let thoughts of the future steal the precious days together away from us.

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Guest VelvetEars

We've talked about this many times --- most recently with Jane's major neurological issues. I was on the fence several times in the past week, because we just didn't know if she'd recover, because no one could tell us what was causing her problems. The thing that I kept coming back to was that she was eating and drinking with no problems. She may be blind, partially paralyzed, and unable to move a great deal w/o help, but she could eat, and she would wait to potty until we got her outside.

 

I asked her over and over again if it was time, and didn't get a yes back from her. So I told her if she was still fighting, I would fight for her too. But if she wanted to give up, I understood. She has continued to fight, so we will continue to care for her and keep her as comfortable as possible. -----ok, maybe not as comfortable as she'd like to be. We do make her try to walk so she doesn't waste away, because we want her to be able to be mobile again. But otherwise, we're keeping her in the style to which she has become accustomed. :)

 

When we neared the end with my dad's golden, I think we kept him too long. He quit eating and drinking, couldn't control his bladder, and wouldn't move. My dad needed a week to make the decision. I would never tell him that I think he waited too long, because it wasn't my decision to make. I was just glad that he let my brother and I come over and say goodbye and go with him for that final car ride.

 

Remember - nothing in life is 100% guaranteed, other than every living thing dies eventually. We can't say if today is the right day or if yesterday would have been better. You just have to trust in your heart that you are making the best decision at that moment with the information you have right then. That's all they ask of us, and it's all we should ask of ourselves.

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Often we say "when it is time to let her/him go you will know". I think the eyes are a gauge of what is going on inside, that and when the bad days/hours outnumber the good days/hours it is time. Although this is a tremendously difficult subject, you are wise to be thinking of it ahead of time. Although we never want to be faced with this, it is the price we pay for love. I would rather be one day too early then one day too late.

Greyhound angels at the bridge- Casey, Charlie, Maggie, Molly, Renie, Lucy & Teddy. Beagle angels Peanut and Charlie. And to all the 4 legged Bridge souls who have touched my heart, thank you. When a greyhound looks into you eyes it seems they touch your very soul.

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more then he loves himself". Josh Billings

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our saullie as osto so we have to make that decision.

when our chester was sick with mass cell we for selfish reasons didn't let him go soon enough

we promised saullie not to let him suffer. so when we see signs he is in pain and discomfort we will let him go

it will be unbearable but somehow we will do it.

right now he is comfortable but since he wants go jump on the couch when we go out we put him in a crate which he hates

 

Iris

www.ligc.org

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