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How Do You Know When It's Time For Goodbye?


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Magic is almost 13.5 and has hind-end weakness which has been diagnosed as degenerative neuromyelopathy. Don't get me wrong. Magic is doing OK. His back end goes down when he stands too long such as when he's eating. I have never witnessed his falling when he's pooping or peeing so I don't know that he has. He falls quite often in the house but it appears to be more slipping on the floors and carpets than actually falling. Many times when he lays down, his back legs will wind up behind him like a frog. Usually he gets them on one side but sometimes I have to help him. He doesn't appear to be in pain and most of the time he acts normal.

 

Knowing all this, my question is: How do I know when it's time to send him to the Bridge? People have often said that their hound has told them when it's time. My Bridge cat had tumors in his mouth and the day I sent him to the Bridge he could barely stand so I knew. I'm not sure I'll know with Magic.

 

Thanks.


Carol, missing Magic (1/5/01 - 4/15/15) but welcoming Fuzzy's Joy Behar (Joy) into my life on 5/31/15.

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Honestly, I had just typed out a few paragraphs of my thoughts but then deleted them because ya know....there's just no way of knowing until you're in that moment. Every dog is different, every situation is different. I tried to describe a few guidelines or feelers, but even those aren't always applicable. It's a highly individual decision specific to a unique circumstance. I do feel, however, that one day too soon is far better than one day too late.

~Amanda

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I just went through this exact scenario with my Shilo. When she could no longer get herself up and was clearly in a panic because of it, I took her to the vet. (She had been in weekly for accupunture treatments, so they knew her problem.) One foot kept knuckling under and they thought she might have had a stroke. They tried for two days to help her get over it, but it became obvious that she needed to be set free. I was able to sit with her for a while at the end, but I'm not certain she knew I was there. Maybe.

 

Edited to add, that's Shilo, in my avatar photo.

Edited by PattyHasThree
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Firstly I want to say that I am sorry that you are at the stage when you need to be thinking of saying goodbye, it is so sad.

 

Last year when I had to make that decision for my Sadi it was a case an accumulation of things starting to drag her down. She had arthritis in her spine which did not really cause her pain but made her hind end weak, she dealt with this quite stoically but when she started to not want to eat much (probably because she didn't move around much) it was sad because she always had such a good appetite and I always said that the day she didn't want to eat was the day she was really ill, that day never actually came but she started to get infections and have digestive problems and as moving around became harder for her I could not bear to see her suffer. The hardest thing of all was that her spirit was still strong but her poor old body was worn out.

 

I'm not sure we ever know what the right time is, every dog is different and even when you have made the decision feeling you have got it right you will question yourself. I always think that dogs lives are about quality not quantity.

 

Enjoy your time with Magic. Hugs to you both.

<p>"One day I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am"Sadi's Pet Pages Sadi's Greyhound Data PageMulder1/9/95-21/3/04 Scully1/9/95-16/2/05Sadi 7/4/99 - 23/6/13 CroftviewRGT

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I've always been told to pick three things that they really love to do. When they no longer take pleasure in or find it hard to do these things, then it might be time. You also need to consider their overall health and whether further pain medication or some other treatment could help. With seniors it often seems like they *should* be feeling bad, when in actuality, they are, if not fine, at least maintaining a good quality of life. It's just a smaller life than they had before.

 

You know Magic. You'll know when life has become too much for him. {{{{{HUGS}}}}}

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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My first greyhound, Charlie (in my avatar picture), had DM. He did pretty well with it for 3 years but there came a day when he couldn't stand and that was when I said goodbye - he was 12 years and 7 months. Magic sounds like he's doing OK. Hugs to you both.

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When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship. ~ W Scott Lineberry

Always Greyhounds Home Boarding and Greyhounds With Love House Sitting

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No right answer to that question. You just have to rely on your gut and vet(s) you trust to help give you insight. With Buddy and his aggressive fast moving lymphoma I probably chose the "day to early" approach because once the nodes in his neck got so big he was having trouble eating, drinking and breathing I opted to let him go. We were fighting a losing battle.

Poodle does fall fairly often and in breaks my heart, but it doesn't seem to bother him. Both vets have told me, in the exact same words, that they "can't fix old". However, he eats fine, wants to go for walks and plays with Barkley so It's not time in my book. He did have a big setback in December and I thought it was time. Dr. Josh came to my house in an ice storm on his day off and said he wasn't ready to give up on him. I needed another pair of eyes.

Big hugs to you. I know the falling is probably tougher on you than on him.

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I am so sorry you are at this point. It seems with all of mine...except Jonelle who passed away suddenly one morning with no warning or symptoms...it was when they stopped eating. But, I have never had one that had trouble getting around so I can't really speak to that. That is a whole other dynamic I am not familiar with. I always knew with mine...I can just read something in their face that says..."I'm done and I'm ready".

 

I'm sure you will make the very best decision for Magic when the time comes.

 

I wanted to ask is your Magic the Magic that was attacked by another dog several years back? He looks like the one but there have been several "Magics" on GT...I even had a cow girl named Magic.

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I am so sorry you are at this point. It seems with all of mine...except Jonelle who passed away suddenly one morning with no warning or symptoms...it was when they stopped eating. But, I have never had one that had trouble getting around so I can't really speak to that. That is a whole other dynamic I am not familiar with. I always knew with mine...I can just read something in their face that says..."I'm done and I'm ready".

 

I'm sure you will make the very best decision for Magic when the time comes.

 

I wanted to ask is your Magic the Magic that was attacked by another dog several years back? He looks like the one but there have been several "Magics" on GT...I even had a cow girl named Magic.

 

Yep, it's that the Magic that was attacked. Most of Magic's issues are with the leg that had the worst of his injuries and the vet attributes part of his issues to the fact that there was quite a bit of muscle that was debrided at the time and as he puts it "the follies of his youth".


Carol, missing Magic (1/5/01 - 4/15/15) but welcoming Fuzzy's Joy Behar (Joy) into my life on 5/31/15.

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Sam had spinal arthritis, wobbly back legs, and probably early-stage LP. He was taking steady doses of methocarbamol, gabapentin, and tramadol. (And thyroxine and Prevacid and other stuff).

 

But he had a bad night: he laid and panted all night long, until he finally drifted off to sleep for a few minutes about 5 am. He was completely maxed out on the meds, and he still couldn't get comfortable. I took him to the vet in the morning and we put him to sleep. The vet agreed that it was time; he said Sam didn't smell right, so we possibly were looking at kidney failure on top of Sam's other problems.

 

Sam was still willing to eat (he ate two sausage/egg biscuits in the vet's parking lot that morning). He had trouble getting to his feet, and he couldn't stay on his feet for long. (We'd tried a steroid shot which had helped only for a day or so.) Sam was eating four meals a day because he needed meds with food frequently, and because he couldn't stay on his feet to eat a big meal. But what decided it for me was a night spent with a panting, uncomfortable dog that I couldn't make comfortable, no matter what I did. Yes, Sam might have "lucked into" better days after that, but I'd never be able to make him feel better than he felt that sleepless night, and there undoubtedly would be worse days ahead. I wasn't willing to make Sam face those worse days, on the off chance a better one would come along.

 

9466391684_bd38d144ae.jpg Sam and his biscuits.

But I'd have kept giving him pills forever, as long as they kept him feeling good. He was never groggy or dopey, he enjoyed his food and his naps. He hated car rides, but he was happy to stay home, even by himself. I had a lot of worry about falls; when he pulled a Bambi, he needed help to get back up. But I worked from home, and I think when I left the house he was careful to stay safely on his bed. When I let him go last August, though, the trouble with his legs and back was getting worse. If he hadn't had the night spent panting, I think there'd have been something else very soon. The knowledge that all the meds he could take wasn't enough to make him comfortable was the deciding factor.

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Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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With our first dog, a mutt, we waited too long. My husband couldn't bear to let her go. He has since never questioned me when I said it's time.

 

For the next 11 dogs I think I let them go at just the right time.

 

Until Pudge, a mutt. We knew her kidneys were failing, we knew the end was coming, I was just taking her in for another test. This dog would have dragged her body over hot coals to stay with me. I was in denial that it was time. The vet said soon, very soon.

 

Returning home Pudge collapsed in the car. Come in the house, rest, you'll be OK. She looked at me, turned around and put her paw on the car. I hear you now Pudge.

I drove back to the vet and let her go.

 

I thought I could really sense when it was time, but I couldn't.

 

Magic may have told you but you didn't hear him. Don't analyze every move he makes. Sit quietly and tell him you love him. I hope he will let you know when he's ready. :grouphug

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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As others have said, it really depends on the pup in question.

 

I'll tell you my situation. Mandy was going downhill, I watched her age rapidly over the last several months of her life. I did everything possible with medication, acupuncture, physical therapy, and love. I knew the time was coming, she was getting weaker, but her back end just completely went out one night. I carried/dragged her up the stairs, and realized she couldn't live that way. There was a look in her eyes. It was 11PM, and since she wasn't in acute pain, I decided to wait until the morning when her regular vet would be available. I called my mom, who came over, and we laid on the floor with her all night, talking and giving her treats. She fell asleep, and I cried when I saw that her front paws were moving, but her back paws were still. We carried her downstairs in the morning as she couldn't stand at all. At that point, keeping her alive would have been selfish, and I promised her I wouldn't let her suffer or lose her dignity.

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Beverly. Missing my happy toy-flinging boy Sammy (Where's Mandrill), (8/12/2009-9/30-2021) Desperately missing my angel Mandy (BB's Luv) [7/1/2000 - 9/18/2012]. Always missing Meg the Dalmatian and Ralph Malph the Pekeapoo.

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I've always been told to pick three things that they really love to do. When they no longer take pleasure in or find it hard to do these things, then it might be time. You also need to consider their overall health and whether further pain medication or some other treatment could help. With seniors it often seems like they *should* be feeling bad, when in actuality, they are, if not fine, at least maintaining a good quality of life. It's just a smaller life than they had before.

 

You know Magic. You'll know when life has become too much for him. {{{{{HUGS}}}}}

It's so personal, to you, to your dog, to their long term prognosis and short-term symptoms. But this is really good advice, both the three things part and the idea of a smaller but still good life.

 

I would add, better a day to soon than a day to late.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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:(

 

I have no advice to give, Carol, as I've never been through that particular ordeal yet... but I hope you still have a lot of quality time left with Magic.

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Kerry with Pippin (Paid Vacation), adopted 4/15/2017
Missing the best wizard in the world, Merlin (PA's Paris), the biggest Love I've ever known, and my sweet 80lb limpet, Sagan (Leon B) :brokenheart :brokenheart, every single day.

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Greyt advice here Carol. I have been through making the decision so many times, and yet it has been different with each one.

 

:grouphug to you and know we are always thinking of you and Magic.

Deb, and da Croo
In my heart always, my Bridge Angels - Macavity, Tila the wannabe, Dexter, CDN Cold Snap (Candy), PC Herode Boy, WZ Moody, Poco Zinny, EM's Scully, Lonsome Billy, Lucas, Hurry Hannah, Daisy (Apache Blitz), Sadie (Kickapoo Kara), USS Maxi, Sam's Attaboy, Crystal Souza, Gifted Suzy, Zena, and Jetlag who never made it home.

http://www.northernskygreyhounds.com

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All I can add is this: I've never regretted letting one go a day too early,,,, but I do beat myself up over the day too late!

 

Only one of mine "TOLD" me it was time. it came into my brain like thunder and we went for a drive.

Others have had progressions and I've chosen the time and it was always the right thing to do.

I was only hours late with one, and I wish I had listened to my inner voice.

 

Such an personal/individual dog thing.

I'm sorry you are having to think about this,, but it only proves how much you love your baby and are thinking the very best

for them,,, giving them the final gift of goodbye is never easy

lorinda, mom to the ever revolving door of Foster greyhounds

Always in my heart: Teala (LC Sweet Dream) , Pepton, Darbee-Do (Hey Barb) , Rascal (Abitta Rascal), Power (Beyond the Power), and the miracle boy LAZER (2/21/14), Spirit (Bitter Almonds) 8/14

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Magic may have told you but you didn't hear him. Don't analyze every move he makes. Sit quietly and tell him you love him. I hope he will let you know when he's ready. :grouphug

 

Man... I could have written the OP myself. These last few days have been rough but this ^ that made me choke up because I felt like I did that yesterday.

Missing my bridge greys Opal and Eden and cat Bailey. Mom to Missy the Super Mutt and recent foster failure of Miley to mini-mutt.

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Greyt advice here Carol. I have been through making the decision so many times, and yet it has been different with each one.

 

:grouphug to you and know we are always thinking of you and Magic.

 

 

:nod

 

Every dog is different.

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) Nigel (Nigel), and especially little Mario, waiting at the Bridge.

 

 

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I just went through almost this exact scenario with my rattie. He had hind end degeneration, so he couldn't use his back legs much, and he had started falling and rolling down his ramp. I thought he'd make it through the summer but one morning I went in and he just seemed...tired. He took his treats, but he didn't seem like himself. I knew. Mom made the appointment for me since I could hardly talk through the tears and we brought him in and I said goodbye. While I was giving him his final snuggles, he made the happy rat noises that I hadn't heard him made in weeks. I'm convinced he knew and was telling me it was alright.

 

I doubted that I would know the right moment, but I did. From your post, it sounds like he's still doing pretty well, despite his wobbly back end. Listen to Magic and trust what he's telling you and you'll know when it's time. :nod

Edited by Roo

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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Magic :beatheart

 

I think the best way to answer that question is to ask yourself if he is still going for you or for him. I've been there so many times, and it is always so difficult. As others have said, I've never regretted letting an animal go a day too early, but have always regretted letting them go a day too late.

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Xavi the galgo and Peter 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, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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Listen and love. You'll know.

 

I'm sure you already know the obvious signs regarding eating and pottying and even your ability to manage any pain. Your vet can help you assess those aspects of quality-of-life with you.

 

But you are the best person in the entire world to listen to your companion and 'hear' them when they tell you that they're ready. <I personally believe that when I start asking these questions, my hounds have already sending me signals to help me to prepare to say goodbye.>

 

Gentle hugs.

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I can only echo what others have already said... every dog is different. You'll know. I can't tell you how, but you will. With Nadia, her eyes said "I've had enough." (She had been battling cancer). With Cleo, who was suffering with kidney failure, it was a lack of interest in the one food she always enjoyed (strawberry yogurt). You know Magic better than anyone else.

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Marc and Myun plus Starbuck (the cat)
Pinky my AWOL girl, wherever you are, I miss you.
Angels Honey (6/30/99-11/3/11) Nadia (5/11/99-6/4/12) Kara (6/5/99-7/17/12) Cleo (4/13/2000-4/19/2014)

Antnee (12/1/2002=2/20/17)

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Thanks everyone for the advice.

 

Magic is doing well. He's only on gabapentin and novox as well as soloxine for his thyroid. He's eating normally. He's had pooping accidents in the house but most, if not all, are my fault anyway. We have 3 steps to get in the house from the yard and most of the time they don't give him trouble. When he does have trouble, it's usually because the bricks get slippery when wet.

 

Chris mentioned Magic's 3 favorite things. He hasn't lost interest in eating or his cookies. I haven't taken him places lately because he has trouble getting in the car. On nice days he pesters to go out constantly. At supper time, he's his usual noisy self. Also, when I bring his bowl from the kitchen to the living room, he jumps around like normal.

 

Magic has been doing well on the gabapentin. His back end still goes down when he stands for any length of time but he is able to pull himself back up; and when his back legs slip as he's laying down, he usually gets himself into a more comfortable position on his own.

 

He doesn't appear to have much, if any, pain. He rarely groans when he's laying down or getting up. Most of the time, he gets up slowly and stiffly but every now and then he gets up like a shot.

 

I appreciate all the comments and insight. I'm sure I will know when it's time. Right now, I really don't believe it is.

Edited by brindlehound


Carol, missing Magic (1/5/01 - 4/15/15) but welcoming Fuzzy's Joy Behar (Joy) into my life on 5/31/15.

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