Jump to content

How Do You Know When It's Time?


Guest bigorangedog
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest bigorangedog

This is our first time with a dog who does not have a serious illness, but rather is just "slowing down" due to age, and we're having trouble knowing when it's getting to be that time...

 

Believe me, I know how to make this decision for a dog. In the past 14 months, we lost our Tanner to osteo, Annie to osteo, Abby Schnauzer to a brain tumor, Sly to a pulmonary embolism, Crisco to a spinal tumor (either hemangio or osteo), and Whitey to osteo. But they all eventually came to a point of no return, as it were.

 

Palu will be 15 on October 1st. There's nothing really wrong with him. We were told about 3 years ago that his kidneys were starting to fail, but they never get any worse than they were at that point, for some reason. When we adopted him at age 5, he had a messed-up back leg from a broken hock that was never set at the track and healed up all funky. That leg has always been weaker than the others, and of course that has gotten worse with age.

 

The two most concerning things are that he has lost most of the muscle tone in his rear end, so will quickly sink whenever he stands. If he keeps moving, he's okay, but can't stand still for any period of time. (Yes, we've tried all the things you try - joint supplements, pain meds, acupuncture, etc) Also, he's almost completely incontinent. He wears a diaper in the house because he can't control his urine at all. With poop, by the time he lets us know he needs to go, it is usually too late, so we clean up poop in the house once or twice every day. The cleaning up and washing diapers is not the issue. I have no problem doing that.

 

But I wonder whether he's starting to come to the point where he is losing his dignity. Sometimes he'll be pooping and fall down into it. Sometimes he'll trip and fall, and need us to get him up again. I worry whenever I leave the house, that he will fall down and not be able to get up until I get home.

 

But he's so stoic and determined, he just keeps on trucking like nothing happened after that. He tries to run in the yard sometimes. He is still interested in checking out guests that come over. If I open a can in the kitchen, he hauls himself to his feet to come see what's up. So he is still engaged and alert.

 

Talked to my vet (a greyhound mom who I trust very much), and she said that with these cases, you always feel like you're letting them go too soon no matter how long you wait, because mentally they are still there.

 

Just not sure what kind of signs we can look for, since it's such a slippery slide downhill. Palu was our very first greyhound, and he has seen many come and go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Wasserbuffel

I'm in your position, only with a duck. My Red is ten years old and has dealt with a bum foot all her life. She's gotten so bad in the past year that she can hardly walk. I have already made the decision, that if she hasn't passed by late fall, I will have to let her go. Making her deal with another winter closed in and hardly able to move would be cruelty. She wouldn't do well in the house without her friends.

 

So, I'm working to make this last summer as good as possible for her. She's getting to play in the yard and eat good things, enjoy the sunshine and the rain and play in the pool. I even let her bite me whenever she wants, she's a cranky old lady and it doesn't hurt me.

 

She's still got a bright spirit and it will be hard to let her go, but for her sake it is the right thing to do.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest 2greygirls

this is so hard.My heart goes out to you...My Leda was similar, although she had some issues..I couldn't handle her back end going, she would fall down, while pottying, and tip over. and be confused, as she couldn't understand why she was falling. Her mind was sharp, she enjoyed things still...I just couln't bear to see her falling, and , like you, worried that she would fall and break something while I was out, she was so skinny...I let her go after she fell on a potty walk, and couldn't get up. I made a promise to her race owner that I wouldn't wait until her dignity was gone..she was really into her pride..It was the hardest thing, but I asked myself, why would I prolong her life? So that I didn't have to grieve? That answer wasn't good enough. I made t he coice when her bad moments outnumbered her good moments. Only you can know when that is..and know that whatever you decide will be right. :grouphug

Edited by 2greygirls
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My Nevada was 15.5 years old when I had to make that decision. For me it was when she was falling quite often & could not get up by herself. She also started to not want to eat. That was the main signal for me. I knew it was coming & just made the decision one morning when she refused to eat & seemed to be in pain. I had promised her "no pain". Hugs to you..

Carol-Glendale, AZ

Trolley (Figsiza Trollyn)

Nevada 1992-2008...always in my heart

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That definitely sounds like the decision we had to make for Josey our Dalmatian who lived to 14.5yrs. It was a very, very hard decision which it always is however in cases like this, you wonder, do they really still like life? We made our decision and questioned it over and over. We knew we could not win this battle and we knew that she would not improve. For me, I think in the end I was thinking is this how I would want to live my final months - no. For DW it was very hard as she has never had to make this decision and she was questioning it right up until she was gone. After, long after, we both realized we did right by her which was the most important thing.

 

Only you know your pup. Palu sounds like he is still there and interested, our Josey lost this in the last few months so that is why we made the decision. I wish you the best with this decision as I know you have been through some very hard times of late.

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest TeddysMom

I am going through this right now with my elderly great Pyr, he no longer can control his poops or urine and is now beginning to loose weight. He also falls down a lot and gets sores on his foot from dragging it. I have talked with the vet and will be taking him in on Wednesday to say goodbye. I just can't watch him go down any farther, I think he is unhappy. I am spoiling him as much as I can for the next couple of days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your post really speaks to me, too. My Sheila (a shiba inu/chow mix) is 14 years 8 months old and I've had her for 14 years. Sevaral months ago I didn't know if she would still be here. She was "off" and started urinating in the house. Turned out she had a UTI, we treated it and she got better. She is stiff and slow, has arthritis in her back, but the vet recently checked her out and said that she still has very good muscle tone for a girl her age. The vet doesn't feel like the arthritis is painful, based on the way she moves, uncomfortable (like mine is!), but not so painful that we need to give her pain medication. She's been blind for the last 3.5 years and has some hearing loss, some of that is convenient hearing, too. She has accidents in the house about once a week, sometimes seems forgetful and moves slowly walks with both back legs spread out like she just got off of a horse.

 

Outside of some clear medical issue, I wonder when it is time, too. I've decided, that for me, so long as I see evidence of that "spark" of happiness or joie de vivre, I know she's telling me she's not ready to go. Yesterday she stuck her head in the toy basket and pulled out a bone to chew on, then picked up a tennis ball to chew on. She fell asleep with both in her paws. That spoke volumes to me.

 

Sheila with her pack

IMG_1325.jpg

 

ETS strikes all breeds:

IMG_1373.jpg

 

My girl much younger, quite the hunter in her dug out lair:

Sheilainherlair3.jpg

Edited by ckruzan

Sunsands Doodles: Doodles aka Claire, Bella Run Softly: Softy aka Bowie (the Diamond Dog)

Missing my beautiful boy Sunsands Carl 2.25.2003 - 4.1.2014

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We went through this last September with Mimi at 15. It's really hard to make the decision to let them go when there isn't really anything wrong with them. Mimi was really alert, still eating, etc. But she was having trouble walking, peeing & pooping in the house all the time and kept getting herself stuck places when we were at work, no matter how we tried to contain her. It was hard right up until the end, and I think if either of us had waivered the other would have caved and put it off. But, as hard as it was I still find I'm at peace with our decision. I didn't want to come home and find she'd broken a leg being stuck somewhere. PM or email me if you want to talk about it.

sig%20march%2015_zpsgicdhakq.jpg
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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is such a personal call to make but from what you have said it does not seem like it is time. I certainly can understand the weak hind legs, muscle gone in the back legs, poops falling out and sometimes the falling down as my Brandi does this too. I may be too close to my own situation with Brandi to give advice but I think your dog still has the spirit to go on just like my Brandi has the spirit to go on. I don't think the dignity is in question yet. Like I said I might be too close to the situation to see clearly. I know you will get some good direction from the GT folks who are clearly seeing the picture.

gallery_19161_3282_5037.jpg

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest kydie

It is so hard to seperate your heart from your head, is the dignity

of an animal as important to them as dignity is to a human? I think so, you will know when it is time, your post already shows

your thoughts :grouphug to you and your pup

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest TeddysMom

Right after I wrote my first message concerning Cody, my pyr, I noticed that he seems to be doing better today and is actually standing at the table while DH is making meatloaf. Last night he couldn't even stand up without help. Now I am torn again, I have been going through this since December. Maybe he is not ready yet. Bigorangedog, I feel what your going through, I really don't know what to do. Maybe one of these messages will give us both some direction. I don't want to let him go if he is not ready but I don't want to wait until he is really down and can't get up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember since when I joined GT, someone posted pics of a grey that had somehow made it to 21 years of age, IIRC. The hound was still alert and happy; they would take him or her on walks in a red cart, from what I remember.

 

I just built a support chair- a wheel chair for the hind end- of a greyhound that is 12-1/2, something like 10 years post-amp for osteo- so she could go on walks in the neighborhood. Her hind end sags a bit when she's been standing, but she's mentally and physically "still there," ready to go.

 

Wish I had some more intelligent advice, but- barring any unmanageable pain, I honestly don't know. The "three rules" might apply here: so long as there's three things the hound is happy to do, it's too soon.

Coco (Maze Cocodrillo)

Minerva (Kid's Snipper)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:grouphug to all who are dealing with this right now. I've been there and it's so hard.

Cynthia, & Cristiano, galgo
Always in my heart: Frostman
Newdawn Frost, Keno Jet Action & Chloe (NGA racing name unknown), Irys (galgo), Hannah (weim), Cruz (galgo), & Carly CW Your Charming

Princess http://www.greyhound-data.com/d?i=1018857

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." -- Unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I completely understand where you are coming from. I had to make the decision for Murphy at 13 1/2 years old, it was time. He was overall healthy, but had been losing so much weight, not interested in eating (I hand-fed him :rolleyes:), although he was never a good eater. He also could not stand on his own without his hind end sinking. He was incontinent, but learned to go on wee wee pads if I was at work. It was when I came home one night and he had fallen in the kitchen, laying is his poop, and I don't know how long he was there; it was heartbreaking :( At that point and after a few slips outside, I knew he would not get through a New England winter and I could've never lived with myself if he had fallen an broken a leg or something. It was time. The vet came to the house and he went so peacefully in his favorite bed. I miss him to pieces but do not regret my decision.

Jen 
Forever in my heart: my girl Raspberry & my boys Quiet Man, Murphy, Ducky & Wylie
www.greyhoundadventures.org & www.greyhoundamberalert.org & www.duckypaws.com

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...