It's been a while since I've been on this website, but I've always valued the info I have found here.
Dante is nearly 11. His hips have slowly gotten worse over the years, from about age 5 he started walking funny, but over the last year his back legs have become weaker. He cannot run anymore. When he tries to turn he stumbles. On our walks, he occasionally sits and needs coaxing or physical help to right himself. I tried rimadyl (stopped because it bumped his creatinine), chiropractic adjustment (marginal improvement), and now he is on prednisone (this helped tremendously, but the effect has worn off completely after 4 weeks).
The mobility issues I was dealing with, but he started having accidents in the house, and quickly eating them to hide the evidence. It was clear he wasn't doing it intentionally, he would poop sometimes in his sleep, or when he was just lying there. He has had increased difficulty maintaining his position to poop outside. This got better when I started prednisone (vet thinks it's neurologic from his spine). But last weekend he had a bout of diarrhea, and it was a total disaster in my house. He felt so guilty it was heartbreaking.
His labs have been abnormal, his creatinine and LFTs are all elevated, he is on a prescription diet for this, but I imagine it is a chronic issue that will not get any better.
The problem, as many of you have written about, is that he is still full of life. He seems happy and wants to eat, play, and is very engaging. There are moments I look at him and I think how could I possibly put this dog down, and there are others when I feel like I have to because today is likely the best day of the days to come.
He hasn't "told me it's time" is what I am driving at, at least not overall. But when he was having diarrhea everywhere I finally made an appointment for this Sunday for his last visit to the vet, and have been watching him until then to decide whether to take him in, or cancel it and give him some more time.
I don't think he is going to get any better from a mobility standpoint. I can't keep him on high doses of steroids. And I don't want to drag out the end of his life. As a physician who treats humans I often see terrible end of life conditions, and I don't want him to be in pain at the end of his days, but when he looks at me, most of the time, he is still the same puppy I raised from 8 weeks old. I think I am ready, I have known the day was coming...2 years ago he had bloat and needed emergency surgery and survived, I promised to treat every day after that as a gift and I have done my best. I guess I'm just not wanting to say goodbye to my boy.
I've been hoping sometimes to come home and find him unable to walk, or that he would stop eating, or at the very least just lay there and look at me with a miserable face that will tell me what to do. But that day has not come, and I can't decide if I should wait for that day or take him now while he still has some dignity.
Sunday is fast approaching and I still am unsure, help me decide if I'm being selfish and cruel or if I should still give him some time to be with me