If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
Cass is almost 15, purebred German Shepherd. She has myelopathy, and she really loved her wheelchair but then the rash on her belly got too bad, and it was winter, and she didn't want to go outside anyways to use it (it worked very very well for about 6 months). We express her a couple of times per day. We manage to keep her as dry as possible, and try to include her in daily life, and hug her and love her. But the wetting herself, it really bothers her emotionally. I've noticed in the past few days she doesn't seem to want cookies anymore. I can no longer say with confidence that she's happy.
I've never had a pet before. I just don't even know how to make the decision. People say "you just know", but the point seems so arbitrary. I don't know if I'm even asking for advice, i just need to talk to someone. Thanks.
If a mod sees fit to move this- go ahead.
http://www.scoutshouse.com has a quality of life scale you may find helpful.
http://www.scoutshouse.com/wp-content/u ... -Time3.pdf
I know where you are; I had to make that decision for my dog in December.
I"m sorry you're going through this with your girl.
I've had many, many pets and the way I judged when it was time was when my pet no longer seemed to enjoy the things they always loved - going out, walks, treats, etc. Without any joy, there's not much point, IMO.
We're never sure we waited too long, or not long enough, but can only take comfort that we gave our pets a long life and as happy as we could make it. All that's left to give them is a merciful end with someone who loves them right there.
Only you know if your Cass is finding life a burden at this point and whatever decision you make, she'll know you love her.
It's a hard question to ask and even harder to answer. "Patience" was put down March 16th, 2011 and it's been hard ever since. She was at least 15 and started to have kidney issues. This went on for months and hundreds of dollars in vet fees and medication to try and restart her kidneys and eventually just try to make her comfortable. We could barely afford to pay our bills, but at least she was well kept for the remainder of her days. I had to start work and couldn't be there for her. Her quality of life was horrible. Somewhere along the line she went completely blind overnight (from the high blood pressure) and her legs couldn't hold her up anymore. I fought with myself hourly as to when was "the right time". I cried for days after putting her down and I'm crying now writing this.
When she refused her dry dog food, I switched to canned, when she refused that I started cooking for her (via my vets instructions). Eventually, the only thing she would eat was ice cubes. She was starving to death. She couldn't control her pee or poop anymore and I was changing her bed hourly. She still had the energy to lick my face lightly though.
Think about your dogs quality of life. Think about your beliefs of what happens after death. Personally I don't think there is an afterlife so "this is it" and it was hard to end her life prematurely.
In hindsight, it was the right thing to do. She wasn't happy and she was constantly in pain. I will miss her till the end of time. Spoil your dog up until the bitter end and when it's time, be right there talking to him/her.
I had an appointment to put my dog, Jake to sleep today. Jake is a large 120lb, 10 yr old senior dog, blind, deaf, showing signs of cognitive dysfunction and difficulty with his back legs. At times, I don't think he knows who I am anymore. He would howl laying on his side on his bed even when I am in the same room with him. He's not showing any interest in me (although he takes food from my hand gently but he is very food driven), stumbles around a lot, bumping into furniture... he is basically housebound as we live in a house with steep stairs and he has a major phobia of stairs because of his blindness. He has impeccable potty habits still and a really good appetite. Sleeps all day, awake for about 2 hours or so, howls, whines, paces and paces until he's tired and panting. Vet said that he's not getting any better that he is surprised that a dog this size has lived this long. His heart is still strong but according to the vet, he's probably not quite lucid anymore, after noting that Jake just stares into the corner and pants. Long story short, I cancelled 2 hours before the appointment today. Last night I got so sick to my stomach, had panic attacks and just couldn't stop crying. All these talk about you will know when it's time... I don't know what to believe. I thought I knew... but then I didn't. So here I am with a dog that can't be a dog anymore, housebound, blind and deaf. I don't know if he enjoys life as much as he enjoys food. I am just spoiling him rotten now, giving him lots of pettings (although he doesn't quite seem to welcome it anymore) and yummy treats. I know I am being selfish and I have to let go one day...
Jakity, of course we don't want to let a beloved friend go. Who would? I too got sick and had a panic attack when I had to let my last dog go, and she was only 6. I know I'll be devastated when I have to do it for my present dog and that won't be very far in the future.
We all wish our pets could just curl up and go on their own peacefully when the time comes so WE wouldn't have to make that terrible decision. But I've never had that happen, so I had to do it. There's really nothing to make it any easier to do but what forced me to act was thinking of my cats and dogs being in a miserable existance that is not life, just so I wouldn't have to lose them. We look for any sign that it's not time, such as "He still enjoys his food", but I don't believe that's necessarily a sign of enjoyment of life. Elderly animals often have voracious appetites but it doesn't mean much. My last girl still wanted to eat when she was hours from dying of cancer.
The fact that your Jake has lived this long considering his size is a testament to your loving care of him. You know him best, and you know if he is getting any pleasure from life or not. From what you say, I think the answer is "no". I know nothing I say can give you any comfort or help to make your decision but just wanted to let you know there are many people who understand exactly how you feel and sympathize greatly.
I had to let Pippin go when her body was still strong but her mind at 16 was going, and I never regretted the decision. She wasn't herself and could not enjoy life anymore, even though her heart was strong.
Jake passed peacefully today. I can't help but feel so guilty and that I have betrayed him. He was a goofy gentle giant and we will miss him so much. I am already missing his fuzzy face and ears. I'd give anything to hear his nails on the floor again.
I"m so sorry for the loss of Jake, but please don't feel you betrayed him in any way. He was loved, cherished and spoiled his whole life (I'm sure!) and had a peaceful and gentle passing with those loved near. It's easy to say "Don't feel guilty" because I always do for one reason or another but guilt is a most useless emotion and certainly not warranted when someone cares as much as you do and did your very best for your old friend. Don't worry - Jake is still around you. You might even catch a glimpse of him going around a corner or hear his tags jingle.
I find it somewhat comforting to think of my bygone pets being reunited with old friends, all young and healthy again, happy forever.
Thanks for the kind words abbydog2010. I really needed it. It's funny how our lives are so intertwined with our pets and when they are gone, we seemed kinda lost. My husband and I had lost 3 pets (2 cats and 1 dog) over the course of 1 1/2 years. It never gets any easier. From a household of 5 furry family members we are now down to 2. It's really hard with dogs when they have a set routine with you. I keep looking at the time thinking I need to let Jake out soon. House is deathly quiet and I missed his howl, whine, snoring and clickaty-klack of his nails against the floor. I would like to think that Jake will be reincarnated again and this time he will have a much easier and joyful life. He was a rescue that had been returned twice to the humane society and had bad separation anxiety issues.
I wish there was a way you could avoid feeling any regrets. It sounds like his life was a victory. He lived his full lifespan, a long time for such a large dog. He had love and security and a home and someone who really cared about him, everything a dog could want, right up to the end. He went peacefully at the end of a long life. Bless his heart, it's hard but I hope someday you'll be able to look back and see so much to feel satisfied about when you think of him and the life you were able to give him. I'm sorry for your loss of a longtime friend.
Look at that face. So full of character! Just think what would have happened to him had he not come to you. Very large mixed breed adult dogs are extremely difficult to adopt out, so it's wondrous that you found each other!
As CarolC says, Jake had a long life, much love and a home of his own. So many dogs live and die never knowing any of that, or even knowing a kind touch. I hope you can take comfort in thinking of all that.
does anyone know if a fatal sign of DM is when the dog stops eating? my dog has DM, and has not eaten all day today and part of yesterday. he is only drinking water & refusing pieces of turkey & chicken. We are so scared... what is everyone's experience & advice? what kind of food should we feed him to make him eat?
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