A question of mortality. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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A question of mortality.

Its been a very long time since I posted to these forums however I really feel the need at this point to post. Many years ago I credit this board with saving My Justice's life as she was slowly being eaten away by her diagnosed EPI.

Her entire life she has been fed only the best food, been given the best medical care, I swear a wing of our vet was dedicated to us (not really) however we spent enough. She has had a 12 year life that has seen all the major changes of my life. I sit here now watching her body giving way to old age feeling more and more depressed. I cant help but think were things done "right"?. You see, im trying to think like a dog, As a human we seem to forget that they think differently than us as we assign human emotions to them.

So I have been mulling over, have I made the correct choices for her? She was never supposed to live this long, I was told that. But, I cheated death. With the help of the people on this board her EPI was diagnosed, I learned everything I could about dog nutrition and to this day her insides are healthy. The problem is, her body clearly was not meant to last this long. She wants to be with us, but the stairs are difficult. I cant help but think, maybe I should have been more lax on her and just let her be happy and let her pass at a younger age rather than be so controlling over what she ate to keep her alive in hopes of stretching her life out as long as possible.

Not sure im looking for a response and im not certainly looking for responses in human thought.


See Justice at Dogster!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 10:48 AM
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I'm going to respond.
Human nature took over and you did the best you could. It seems that justice lived the fullest life possible. Many dogs are overcome at younger ages. Many 12 year old dogs cannot do stairs.
For you to dedicate the time and money, she spent the time with her family.
It's akin to a dog losing a limb. They survive. Adapt, and thrive to the best of their ability.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 11:41 AM
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Dogs live in the here and now is what I have been told. Does she wag her tail and come to meet you? Does she want to be with you and family member? GSDs were bred to work and be with their owners. As a breed they crave human companionship , Sounds like Justice has always had that. Your Justice experienced love ,belonging and a family. It is so hard to see our pups grow old. I have lost 3 dogs in the last 2 years. I second guessed a lot with my Lucky who was euthanized due to pain and immobility. I'm not canine but I think your precautions spared Justice pain and discomfort and allowed her to enjoy playing ,cuddling and just living.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 11:44 AM
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12 years old is a good age even for a dog without EPI. Many of us have lost them to cancer before they even reached 12 -- or experienced DM or severe HD take their mobility before 12. What you describe is the natural progression of old age in a breed that gets old much too quickly.

So...you've given her a normal lifespan, with a long, happy, loved life. lf you were to ask her, you know that she would be grateful for all those extra years. Forgive yourself for not being able to keep her young forever. Allow yourself to experience some gratitude to her for sharing her wonderful life with you. Focus on how wonderful those years were, not on the end. The agonizing thing that's coming can't be stopped, but be gentle with yourself as it approaches.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 12:17 PM
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You should celebrate the fact Justice has lived so long with all your loving, thoughtful care between vets and good food to ensure a long healthy life. I think it would be much more devastating had you fed cheapo crap dog food that ended up causing a multitude of health problems resulting in a much earlier death than 12 years old. I really hope you don't feel bad because 'she lived too long'. Be happy she's still around! Bravo to you for loving your dog, not giving up and really taking care of her!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 01:00 PM
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You made the right choice. You are seeing normal effects of aging. Some dogs are still going strong at age 12, others are showing their ages. Can your vet treat the arthritis or the condition that is causing stairs to be difficult?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 01:49 PM
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She's just getting old. Stairs can be hard for old dogs. She may or may not have arthritis. She might just be suffering from lost muscle mass (this is the case with my mother's dog--she just doesn't have the physical strength to go up the stairs anymore).

Time to start treating her a little like grandma.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. She does have arthritis in her hind legs but I am seeing some worry some signs when she walks at times. She doesnt get up much anymore but she still wants to be with the family. This is what makes me not want to get another, I know I signed up for this but it doesnt make it any easier.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 09:02 PM
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I think sometimes we do heroically over-treat dogs. Should we make a dog suffer through painful treatments or surgeries when the prognosis for a normal life is very slim?

However, providing medicine or enzymes for a condition that, with proper management, will allow a dog to live a relatively normal life, and thus prolonging their life, there is nothing wrong with that.

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