Reading this thread, especially that poem that Gator posted and seeing your pictures has brought tears to my eyes. It was 2 years ago (still fresh in my mind) that I was making that same decision for my 1st dog. (Still hurts. I feel like I betrayed him.) I had no idea when and where to do it. He had his good days and he had his bad. I asked everyone: the vets, the vet techs, the oncologist, my friends who had dogs, neighbors with dogs, my family, etc. Everyone I knew. And I still couldn't get the right answer I wanted. But what everyone did say was that 1) it had to be my decision, 2) if there were more bad days than good, then it was maybe time, and 3) it's not just the quality of life for the dog, but also the quality of life for you. If you're getting 2 hours of sleep a night, or your cleaning poop off his long fur outside in the freezing temperatures at 3 in the morning, then your quality of life is...well you get it. His good days: a normal day. Bad days: vomiting, didn't want to go out to poop, pooping while eating/sleeping, loss of appetite, etc. I was told by the oncologist that he had several months...3 to 5 months. I was trying so hard to get him past the new year. But at the end, I made the decision at 2 months (from diagnosis), around X'mas time, something I tried to avoid. Why then? Bad days had become 5 days out of the week. I just picked a random day that my whole family could be there with me. I also decided not to do it at home. I didn't want to remember a lifeless body or that death happened at his favorite spot. I also didn't want to do it at my primary care vet's office either. I knew I was going to get another dog some day and I didn't want to that last image of him to pop up in my mind at the vet's office. So I made the decision to do it at the hospital. Even though it was an unfamiliar place but he was still surrounded by his 5 favorite people.
I'm sorry you're going through this right now. I hope my short story helps even a tiny bit to help you make a decision. Sorry, it's all over the place. I was just writing down my thoughts as they came to mind.
Well, you brought up another piece of it that I didn't really want to say but it probably should be said. I have gotten critically low on sleep in the past few months since this has gotten really bad. I'd say since the summer I've almost not had a single night of uninterrupted sleep. Some nights I would be up with her every night on the hour and could not even get back to sleep in between most times. I'm not a good sleeper anyway. A good night would be I only have to take her out once.
Two weeks ago I finally broke down and had her sleep in my kennel (detached building. Very nice, climate controlled, she is comfortable there). I have in and out runs, and I left her with the door up so she could just take herself to the bathroom when she needed. A dog door in my house won't really work for a lot of reasons not the least of which she has some senility and gets confused at night, can't see well in the dark, and can't be negotiating my porch stairs like that on her own, and she eats dirt like crazy when unsupervised outside. But the run is perfect, she can just step through a flap into a 6x12 outdoor run where she cannot get disoriented or fall and she can toilet and go back to bed without me.
BUT I've never slept apart from her in her life. It took me literally months to get desperate enough to have her sleep up in the kennel. Honestly she did not seem distressed by it, although I don't think she sleeps as well up there as she does in the house. I, however, felt like a new person after a couple nights' sleep. after my husband, my vet and my therapist were all like listen, you can not go on like this. Let her sleep in the kennel, she will be okay.
She really does seem okay up there. but I still hate it. But honestly I was near to the point of considering putting her down because I felt I could not go on.
So, the plot thickens. She's been in the house with me all weekend. I got so emotional after making this post that I decided I couldn't put her up there again one night and then we were full so she had to come back down anyway. She hasn't been too bad. Last night I only had to get up with her once. If it's not poop sometimes she has these episodes where she just paces and whines and I don't think even she knows what she wants or needs. Sometimes I think she has sundowners a little.
And then, like I said, other times she seems so full of life during that day that I think I am losing my mind even considering it. OR like others have said I'm actually going there in my head because I can't go on like this.
If she were truly distressed by sleeping in the kennel that would be a dealbreaker but she really does not seem to be. I have cameras up there and I check on her and she is just sleeping peacefully. If she has to go, she takes herself out. I'm lucky I even have that as an option. And what can I do, the poor girl takes whopping doses of laxatives daily, no wonder she has to poop at 2am.