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I guess I just need to get my thoughts out, as I have no one to talk to about this and am going through it alone. Tuna (turned 14 in November) continues to decline, but I still have not gotten that definitive "sign" from her that it's time to let her go.

 

My days revolve around taking care of Tuna. I lost my job 6 months ago and I spend the majority of my time home with her, except I do volunteer work 2 or 3 mornings a week and one Saturday a month. One weekend a month I visit my mother overnight, and the petsitter comes then. As much as I love Tuna, I have to admit it is kind of a relief to get a 30 hour break in taking care of her. I feel guilty about that. By the way, I have 3 other dogs (ages 17, 8 and 6), and a cat (age 10).

 

I stay up until midnight every night, because she has to go out to the bathroom at 12 am in order to make it through the night until 6 am without having an accident. When she wakes up, I have to get her outside immediately before she has a pee accident. Last night she somehow managed to slide off her dog bed and her back end was half on the dog bed, half on the floor and her head was under my bed. She did not get up at 6 am like she normally does, instead it was 6:30 am when I woke to discover her like that, and she had an accident laying down. I had to pull her front end out from under the bed. She had on pajamas and had a blanket over her which were soaked through on the back end, as well as the dog bed and floor. Having something like this happen makes me feel she is losing her dignity and quality of life and that has me wonder if that's the sign? I expected the sign would be her falling down and not being able to get up (she has DM), or refusing to eat, or ... something.

 

As far as eating goes, she has a healthy appetite and eats 3 meals a day, but despite this she has that emaciated look going on. I spend more money a week feeding her than I do myself. She has LP and is a picky eater, so it's taken some time to figure out what she will eat and how much. I just fed her breakfast (scrambled eggs plus a few slices of fresh turkey plus one pancake plus 3/4 of a packet of Moist and Meaty's Rise & Shine) and she ate it with the usual gusto. Lunch is a 12.5 oz can of high-calorie Blue or Merrick canned dog food (over $2 per can), dinner is a 22 oz can of Pedigree Chunky Chicken dog food plus a "meatloaf" I make for her (made of ground beef, crushed dry dog food, eggs and peanut butter) plus whatever else I have that night (could be mashed potatoes and gravy, could be a slice of pizza, etc.). She eats breakfast and lunch laying down, because with the DM causing hind-end weakness she cannot stand up long enough to finish a meal. Dinner she refuses to eat laying down for some reason, so it takes several hours for her to finish since she gets up, eats a few bites until she can no longer stand up, goes and lays down for a bit, then repeat.

 

Last night I discovered that she no longer realizes when her back feet knuckle under, she does not correct it until she starts to lose her balance. Another concern ...

 

She still enjoys spending time outside in her sandbox but the majority of her day is spent sleeping (either inside on a dog bed or outside in the sandbox). She has to use a ramp to get in and out the house, with my holding her up by her harness. I am going away for 2 nights this weekend, and the petsitter will come over 4 times a day and stay for at least one hour each visit. I hope she does alright with me being gone 2 nights in a row, and does not boycott eating or have a fall or something.

 

So I continue on with her ...

 

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Tuna :wub:

 

Just hugs.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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<sigh> I know what you're going through... sounds about like Cody the last month or so, except Cody was very picky, then stopped eating altogether.

 

Stay strong... everyone says you'll know when it's time and I waited & waited, then DID know when it was time. She'll tell you when she's too tired to go on...

 

Hugs...

Jeannine with Merlin, the crazed tabby cat and his sister, Jasmine, the brat-cat

With GTsiggieFromJenn.jpgAngel Cody(Roving Gemini), and Weenie the tortie waiting at the Bridge

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i know exactly how you feel. maybe you can try to get out of the house a little more just to give yourself a wee break every once in a while. take a deep breath, take one day at a time, and find joy and satisfaction that you're doing all you can for both of you. :grouphug

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Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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Guest mcsheltie

My twenty yr old cat is the same. But maybe even thinner. She still has an incredible appetite and is always screaming for food. I too know how you feel.

 

Roo has rolled off her dog bed twice and gotten stuck under my bed. And she is only 3! It was only her head and shoulders and I still don't understand why she couldn't get out of there by herself.

 

You will not have any doubts about it when it is time. So don't beat yourself up wondering now. Live like she is... in the now.

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As much as some of you may hate me for saying so--I personally feel better a day too soon than a day too late.

 

Have you the ability to physically carry her to the car if you let her get to the point she cannot walk? I didn't with my dog. I knew that I had to make the choice before we got to the point that he couldn't walk.

 

Good luck, and I know we all understand how hard it is.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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I recently lost two dogs that needed extra care. My Pearl had heart disease and hypertension, ended up with cancer. Dima became a tripod from cancer. They were a lot of work and very expensive.

My heart is shattered and I don't know what to do with myself now that I don't have special girls to take care of. I have three at home now. Easy. Plop food in bowls, walk away. Very little meds. My old lady of 14 eats laying down. I just put her food bowl on her bed.

 

I keep looking around for something to do. That I'm missing something. But I'm not.

 

I do remember thinking "I'll never have to cook liver again when Pearl's gone". Well, I'll trade cooking tons of liver if I could only get her back.

 

It's a hard decision. And it's hard taking care of them.

 

Good luck.

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I just want to say that I truly understand what you're going through and to offer my support. My Shadow (a non-grey lab mix) was 18 when I finally set her free, but for the last few years of her life I had to provide almost around the clock care for her. I was alone at the time and rarely slept more than one hour at a stretch for well over a year. I have the summers off, but during the school year, it was especially rough. I also attended grad school in the evenings and worried about her every moment I was away from the house. Even though Shadow lost much of her mobility and was incontinent much of the time, she enjoyed her food and didn't ever seem to want to let go, even after her vision went. She would become confused at night and wander around the house banging into furniture so I had to keep her contained to one area of the living room. Eventually, no matter how much she ate, I could not keep the weight on her. I had to use a home-made harness to allow her to go outside and made diapers for her. I finally realized that eating was really her only pleasure in life. My mom and a friend came to help me the day I decided to let her go. Shadow wanted to eat before we left for the vets! My sister snapped a photo of her that day, and it was months before I could look at it. When I finally did, I was shocked to see how emaciated and sickly she looked. I just didn't see her that way when I was taking care of her. My love for her wouldn't let me see the obvious.

 

The day will come when you will know that it is time. You have been a wonderful friend to Tuna and you should be proud of yourself for the undying love you have shown for her. You will miss her when she is gone, but you will be comforted in knowing that you loved her unconditionally and gave her a wonderful life. Bless you for caring for her the way you have.

 

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:grouphug

Kristin in Moline, IL USA with Ozzie (MRL Crusin Clem), Clarice (Clarice McBones), Latte and Sage the IGs, and the kitties: Violet and Rose
Lovingly Remembered: Sutra (Fliowa Sutra) 12/02/97-10/12/10, Pinky (Pick Me) 04/20/03-11/19/12, Fritz (Fritz Fire) 02/05/01 - 05/20/13, Ace (Fantastic Ace) 02/05/01 - 07/05/13, and Carrie (Takin the Crumbs) 05/08/99 - 09/04/13.

A cure for cancer can't come soon enough.--

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First off, Tuna is absolutely beautiful. She defintely reminds me of my Baby Jo (Dally) who passed on at 14.5yrs. We had to make the decision and like many it was very hard. We had similar issues you are having with Tuna and it was fulltime care for her, luckily DW was home to do this. Would we pass up that last 1.5yrs of her declining, no way. She was sweet as can be, she was not in pain, she had an appetite and she still liked her walks even though they were short and very slow (she was blind by the end). In the end we saw that her quality of life was degrading ever so slowly, she probably could have made 15yrs but she started to lose use of one of her legs...it was time. Do we regret? No. We gave her a fantastic life and she gave us a fantastic life. We love her dearly still and will always miss her. I wish you as many happy days with Tuna as possible.

 

Whenever your decision, know that she loves you for giving her a greyt life.

Kyle with Stewie ('Super C Ledoux, Super C Sampson x Sing It Blondie) and forever missing my three angels, Jack ('Roy Jack', Greys Flambeau x Miss Cobblepot) and Charlie ('CTR Midas Touch', Leo's Midas x Hallo Argentina) and Shelby ('Shari's Hooty', Flying Viper x Shari Carusi) running free across the bridge.

Gus an coinnich sinn a'rithist my boys and little girl.

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Thank you for the words of support and your own personal stories. I should mention that Tuna is not in pain, and she does not have cancer (as far as any xray scans can show). She does have DM (degenerative myelopathy) and LP (laryngeal paralysis) and a stubborn streak! I beat myself up a lot about the "day too soon / day too late" thing but I just don't feel I have received that clear cut sign from her yet. Yes, I can carry her and have had to before (in and out of the house before the ramp was put in). I know that I am not alone in that I have the support of people like you, but I am going through it alone in that I have no one physically here to lean on for support or to help me out with her at home. The thought of taking her to the vet to have her put to sleep, by myself, and then having to drive home afterward ... I don't even want to think about that yet but I know it's going to get to that point eventually.

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Guest Energy11

Tuna is a very beautiful girl, and I love those pix in her sandbox. Caring for an aging hound OR aging or sick human is VERY hard. I know! I took care of a dying husband, and I only left the house to grocery shop ... leaving Bob with a sitter.

 

At this point, I'd take this day by day with Tuna, if she were mine. I'd try to get someone into sit with her, so you can get out more, too. That will help greatly. Maybe you should talk to your vet about coming to the house "when it is time ...?" This would make it easier on you both.

 

The decision to let them go is never easy, but for ME, as long as they have a good quality of life, ... they stay on earth. When they no longer have that, they leave for another life, over The Bridge.

 

Sending love, hugs and lot of prayers to you both! Dee

 

 

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Your sweet Tuna is beautiful. Your story nearly echoes my story with our Angel Battle. He too had DM and LP (which we did the tieback for) and sarcoma on his ribcage (which was the evil he couldn't fight). He lost a lot of the use of his back legs as he got older. He used a cart, but spent most of his time lounging. Unfortunately with DM, the knuckling and lack of sensation is only going to progress. Thankfully it never appeared painful.

Battle, up until the moment he was ready, never indicated it was time. He lived in the now and that helped us a lot. We spent the days working on his chewies (he liked it if you held them) and the nights playing fun bed games or just snuggling. We did a lot of pee clean up and some poo here and there too. Our lives revolved around going out at certain times to help keep the accidents at bay.

I always said to myself and DH and i would say "He'll let us know when, we won't wait til it's too late. " In true Battle fashion, he did tell us when, just not how we wanted to hear it.

The morning of his final day, he wouldn't eat breakfast and barely sniffed his dinner the night before. So, I made a visit with the vet to see how to increase his appetite since he hadn't been eating well and the goodies weren't working.

This was the first time ever that Battle actually laid down for a vet visit. He stumbled to his blanket and settled down.

Talking to the vet letting her know he won't eat. Not toast with PB, not meatloaf, not fluff, nothing is appetizing. The vet examined him, talked to him and looked at me and said, "I can give you something to increase his appetite, but he might be telling you it's time" The first words out of my mouth were: "I'm not ready yet." It was then that I realized, it's not about me, it's about him and his life with us.

 

I'm not telling you this to make you sad. I want you to know that this a journey and when you come to the next bend in the road, you'll know when you are there. Until then, enjoy the journey and all that it brings.

 

Wishing you and Tuna much peace.

 

(Kerri posting under Mark's ID)

Edited by DofSweetPotatos
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Thank you for the words of support and your own personal stories. I should mention that Tuna is not in pain, and she does not have cancer (as far as any xray scans can show). She does have DM (degenerative myelopathy) and LP (laryngeal paralysis) and a stubborn streak! I beat myself up a lot about the "day too soon / day too late" thing but I just don't feel I have received that clear cut sign from her yet. Yes, I can carry her and have had to before (in and out of the house before the ramp was put in). I know that I am not alone in that I have the support of people like you, but I am going through it alone in that I have no one physically here to lean on for support or to help me out with her at home. The thought of taking her to the vet to have her put to sleep, by myself, and then having to drive home afterward ... I don't even want to think about that yet but I know it's going to get to that point eventually.

 

Can your vet come to your house? Mine did for Pearl. (we were at the vets getting Diamond xray'd. So since she was diagnosed there I let her go there)

 

Also, I got tired of driving home an hour alone after losing my first two babies. I found a friend that was with me for Pearl at home.

Unfortunately, I was alone with Diamond at the vets. :weep

 

Where do you live?

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I totally feel your pain. We went through the same thing with Mimi last year. We finally let her go in Sept at age 15. The last year we had her was REALLY hard. She was wobbly, kept getting stuck places while we were at work, couldn't do the stairs, would keep me up all night doing this annoying breathing thing that I'm pretty sure she did on purpose :rolleyes:

She was still eating and alert. We decided to let her go. It was a HORRIBLE decision, but we were afraid she was really going to hurt herself while we weren't home. It sucks when you're basically having to decide if they're just too old. She was pretty much healthy, so it wasn't like she was sick. We had our vet come to the house, so that made it easier. PM me if you want to talk about it. Kelly (Mimi was my heart dog, so it was REALLY hard to let her go)

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Wingnut (DC Wingnut), Voo Doo (Voo Doo von Bonz), Barb (Myokie Barb) & Romey (Nose Stradamus)
at the bridge Molly (CM Blondie) 9/8/14, Maddy (Reuniting) 10/17/13, Rocky (Ranco Popeye) 1/7/12, Mimi (Flying Ringneck) 8/13/09 and RJ (RJ What For) 5/3/05

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I do know what you are going through, I am it as far as my babies go as well!

 

It is stressful to have to do so much, but I believe she will tell you when life is no longer fun for her. I agree about trying to get out more, do something for yourself :) A break will help relieve the stress.

 

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