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Bridget 06-19-2014 11:41 AM

What is dignity?
 
I wanted to post this question in the weekly discussion area, but only a moderator can do that. I have a quality of life scale thingy that I look at often these days, and one of the statements is that a dog would not want to live without dignity. But what, in your opinion, is dignity? Clearly, it is difficult to describe, yet we know it when we see it. I would love to hear people's thoughts and give examples too.

The definition that I am beginning to formulate is being a real dog and doing the things that dogs do. And I think a dog can have help/accommodations to do these things, such as help getting outside, without a loss of dignity. But if the help has run its course, then maybe it could be a loss of dignity issue. Please share with me your thoughts about dignity.

my boy diesel 06-19-2014 11:46 AM

for instance a dog that is unable to contain its bowel and bladder
and that dog is ashamed of itself as it perceives itself to be making messes in the house
that is a loss of dignity imo

lalachka 06-19-2014 11:54 AM

I don't think dogs can be ashamed.

I also think, dignity or not, if yu asked a dog if he wants to live, most of the time he'd say yes. Just as people. They want to live in any condition.

I'm not saying I won't put my dog down when I feel it's time, I might and I might not. Just sharing my thoughts


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kiya 06-19-2014 12:30 PM

This is a subject close to my heart right now.
Apache is 11-1/2 dispite him getting all jammed up by his hind quarters he still acts like he's rearing to go. He was diagnosed with Bells Palsey a few months ago which left him wich partial paralisis on his left side. He can't get up the small step on the deck unless he's facing it from his right side. When he gets jammed up he will keep trying, I see his frustration building, he might give out a whine but he doesn't give up. If I take the sling and try to help him he gets growly but eventually stops his protest. So for him I do think because he's such a proud out going dog he has the need to do for himself. Sometimes he gets jammed up on the ramp too but again he knows he has to start at the bottom and not the middle of the ramp. He will keep positioning himself till he has it right.
Kiya, 10yrs old, she has a hard time getting up and of course rather than lay on the rug she lays on the bare floor. I think she's become more dependent (not sure if that's really the word) if I see her having a hard time I'll tell her "wait I'll help you" and I push up on her butt. The new problem is sometimes when I get her up theres poop. of course I don't scold her but she looks at me with those eyes and I can't help but wonder.
I pray for peacefully in their sleep but we know how that goes.
I do believe dogs do have a sense of dignity and as long as they show some effort I'm ok with that.

Anubis_Star 06-19-2014 12:34 PM

People get too focused on not giving their animals feelings and emotions. But really, a 13 year old house trained dog knows not to potty inside. When they do because now they're old and have lost sphincter control, they are going to be upset. I know I've seen this in zeke when he's had giardia, couldn't hold it, and had diarrhea in the basement. He was hiding in my room when I came home.

If dogs could comprehend life and death and make that choice, it would be different. But they can't. A sick animal can't comprehend why they're sick or if they're dying or nor. They only live in the moment, and if that moment is not comfortable they should not be forced to endure it, IMHO

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wyoung2153 06-19-2014 12:57 PM

Not that I am close to the time to think like that (I hope) but I do believe dignity in that sense means not able to function the way they want to. Not like slowing down, but things as diesel said.. not being able to hold going potty, not being able to eat properly, not being able to be with you.. those kinds of things. Things they know they used to know how to do and just can't anymore.

I have 2 examples, one is actually with Titan, even though he is only 4. A few months ago I had to keep the dog door shut for some work that was being done in my back yard. I had taken him out to potty prior and then shut the door. He apparently ate something at some point, and had diarrhea.. he ended up goingon the floor in the dining room by the window leading to the yard. He completely destroyed the blinds on the back door tryingto get out, then went for the blinds to the only other window leading to the yard and went there when he couldn't get outside. He was so ashamed.. he didn't greet me. He sat next to the back door with his head and ears down. Even after I said "it's ok" and pet him he moped around for the longest time.

The second example would be my neighbors chi's. She had 2. They were both 20 years old. The were both blind and deaf and had no teeth. They had to be kept in the laundry room with news paper. No water could be left out because if they went to drink it, they couldn't always pull their head out. When I watched them for a week I had to hold them above their food so they didn't fall into it, I had to hold them above their water. The male would usually jsut lay down somewhere, but the female would walk in circles on the paper for ever until she hit a wall and then she would start all over again. They peed and pooped all over themselves and I had to clean them up every time I went over. This to me was living without dignity. I was young at the time, so I told my parents to talk with them, but the neighbors didn't want to let them go yet. Selfish and sad, but they did pass within a year from that.

lalachka 06-19-2014 01:07 PM

What is dignity?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anubis_Star (Post 5663921)
People get too focused on not giving their animals feelings and emotions. But really, a 13 year old house trained dog knows not to potty inside. When they do because now they're old and have lost sphincter control, they are going to be upset. I know I've seen this in zeke when he's had giardia, couldn't hold it, and had diarrhea in the basement. He was hiding in my room when I came home.

If dogs could comprehend life and death and make that choice, it would be different. But they can't. A sick animal can't comprehend why they're sick or if they're dying or nor. They only live in the moment, and if that moment is not comfortable they should not be forced to endure it, IMHO

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My dog had diarrhea in the house many times. He never hides from me. Every time he went in the house I came up to him and told him that it was OK. I never want him to try to suffer through it and hold it.

So when he does have diarrhea in the house he acts normal.

I don't pretend to know what's in an animal's head. Just sharing my observations. I do think that a sense of dignity is something that dogs can't have.

ETA I probably humanize my dog more than most. So I don't go out of my way to not grant him the ability to have emotions.


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lalachka 06-19-2014 01:09 PM

Also, about dogs being able to make the choice of life and death. That's why I gave that example. People can. How many choose to not live?


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ZoeD1217 06-19-2014 01:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lalachka (Post 5664145)
Also, about dogs being able to make the choice of life and death. That's why I gave that example. People can. How many choose to not live?


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Almost everyone I know intimately enough to have these conversations with would not want to live in constant pain and with no ability to care for themself.

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lalachka 06-19-2014 01:31 PM

What is dignity?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ZoeD1217 (Post 5664153)
Almost everyone I know intimately enough to have these conversations with would not want to live in constant pain and with no ability to care for themself.

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Yeah, I know. I've said it myself when I was younger and stupider.

While I wouldn't want to live in a wheelchair or in pain, chances are that if/when it happens I won't kill myself.

People are very adaptable. They can and do adapt to A LOT.

I'd be interested to know how many sick people committed suicide once they became sick just because they didn't want to live sick or disabled. I'd think it's a tiny %.


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