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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all, it's been ages since I posted on here. This group was super helpful when I got my first puppy. Sadly I now find myself posting about preparing to say goodbye. Not to that puppy who is now 12, and somehow acts like he's 3 most of the time :) but about my 15.5 year old I inherited from an ex. However Mandi, my 15 yo has been my dog for 12 years too. I'm really struggling right now on the horrible decision.

1.) She has CCD/Dementia. She paces at night, whines, is confused etc. I'll try to tire her out before night, but it just doesn't seem to work. We have pills to help her relax sometime they work, some nights they don't.

2.) Fecal incontinence- at this point I'm lucky if she poops outside at all. It's been 1 year so far dealing with the incontinence. . At least 1 poop a day if not more happens inside. She also poops in her sleep. She has lost all control, when she does go outside she goes like a cow, on a walk it just falls out of her. I tried changing food timing, adding walks, etc.. for example I can let her out at 3 am, 6 am, then still wake up to poop on the rug at 7 am.

3.) Mobility. She loves walks, but can barely make it on a 20 minute slow stroll.

4.) Mobility 2. She gets stuck on the floor about 2 times a week on average.

5.) Weight. She lost 13 pounds from March to Oct. She still seems to eat most days, but is dropping pounds fast anyhow. (18% of her body weight)

Last vet visit was a couple weeks ago. They could not provide much help at all for her dementia/incontinence. For Mobility they offered anti-inflammatory that doesn't seem to do much.

The good- she mostly does eat and drink. Still get excited for pets and walks.

I've already cried over this about 10 times, I don't want to rush it, I don't want her to suffer. Being her hospice nurse and the never ending smell of poop in the house is taking its toll.

Here's a couple pics of my sweet girl Mandi these days. You can see her smiling on the walk, then I stopped for a pic with her and she just looks soooo old and tired 馃槴 Man, just thinkg about this is brutal. Please share your thoughts on her.
 

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Eska von den Roten Vorbergen
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Josh, having been through something similar myself this year, I really feel for you. My 14 year old GSD, which I'd had since she was a 12 week old pup, was slowly going downhill. She, too, would poop in her sleep. She was having trouble with the stairs, but her eyes would still light up when she saw a ball or a squirrel, and she would still chase after them as best she could.

That was one of the things that let me know it wasn't time just yet. Is your dog finding any happiness in her life? Does she still light up when you bring out the leash for a walk?

Losing weight is always a bad sign. And when Star started leaving food in her bowl, I knew the end was getting really close. However, if a dog is losing weight and still eating well, that is a VERY bad sign. It's one of the warning signs of cancer or other serious illness.

You know your dog better than anyone else. Many people would have drawn the line at the pooping in the house, but I decided cleaning up after mine wasn't that much different than picking up after she'd gone outside.

For me it was more 'does she seem to be happy and not in obvious pain?' Okay, we all get some aches and pains as we get older, so I'm talking REAL pain, not just being a bit slower to stand up or go up the stairs.

And another rule of thumb when my dogs get this old - if a vet wants to do hundreds of dollars of tests on them to see what's wrong, well, that's a hard 'no'. Suppose the vet wants to test for cancer - what's the next step? Chemo or surgery on a dog that old?? REALLY? Nope, don't think so! Basic blood panel, maybe, but it would have to be for something that was simple and could easily be made better with medication.

What happened with Star was one day she could no longer walk. It took 2 people to get her down the stairs from the back deck so she could pee. Even then, when she got there, she seemed to have no idea that her bladder was full, though she had leaked urine as we were carrying her.

Doggie wheelchair? Nope, not for a dog that old. Time for that final goodbye... 馃槬

Enjoy what time you have left, and try not to stress over the decision.



(HAH...good luck with that - speaking from experience! )
 

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The good- she mostly does eat and drink. Still get excited for pets and walks.
Above is what would make it hard for me to let her go right now...

But, she is 15, losing weight, mentally confused...
From a very personal view, I think I'd want her with me through the Holidays, give her the best loving pampered holiday break ever, and then think about letting her go...
(For other people I know, there is a day when the dog can't stand up - and that's the Day.)

This is so sad to discuss! We all wind up here with our dogs, sooner or later :oops:
 

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Like many here, been there done that.
My advice, err on the side of caution and compassion for your dog.
When the quality of life crosses a line, what's the point of trying to wring out a few more months at the cost of their comfort and dignity?

When they poop all over themselves and in the house, they're aware of it and it's mentally distressing because they've known all they're lives that that's wrong. They're not sleeping comfortably and they hide pain. I glint in the eye seeing a squirrel doesn't change that.

Losing that much weight is a sign, the timing is up to you for that beautiful dog but think reasonably not emotionally as best you can.

Not trying to be harsh but like I said, been there done that. The last thing you want to happen is to wait a few hours too late and have your dog in serious distress, rushing to an emerg vet. No way I'll be that selfish, I owe my dogs so much more than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts. This is so tough. Hearing prior experiences and your thoughts helps give me something to compare with and an objective viewpoint.
 
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Sad but sounds like a tough decision is inevitable. You exactly described my, now passed on, Whippet at 14 years old when I decided to end his misery. My vet let me give the dog a strong Valium (I picked it up a the vet and gave it to him at home) a few hours before coming to my home. By then the dog was sound asleep when the vet came and never had to face him in his final moments.
 

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It's one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make. Sometimes the dog makes it for you, others you have to accept that it's time. We have been where you are one time. We finally decided it was time, he was suffering greatly (he had arthritis among other things) he was almost 16, in pain and struggling just to stand. I would recommend you make the vet appointment for late in the day then spend that day with your dog just being together. You can, of course, change your mind if it doesn't feel right and take her in another day when it does. She's had a very good and long life and you gave that to her so no regrets there. Now you can make the decision that is best for her and she can't make herself. She depends on you.
I'm so sorry you find yourself in this place, it is difficult beyond words.
 

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I'm lucky that we have property and a vet who was a good friend (since retired unfortunately)
We were able to choose a day and I spent the morning with her in the woods, just being.
My vet met me at the back of the property by the woods and I was able to see her go off to sleep with no stress of a traumatic end struggle or the vet office. She still sleeps buried there and I get to walk by her 3-4X a day.

Someone posts on here who used to work in a vet's office and said they wished more people would make the humane decision earlier. A week early is so much better than a day too late.
 

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Hi all, it's been ages since I posted on here. This group was super helpful when I got my first puppy. Sadly I now find myself posting about preparing to say goodbye. Not to that puppy who is now 12, and somehow acts like he's 3 most of the time :) but about my 15.5 year old I inherited from an ex. However Mandi, my 15 yo has been my dog for 12 years too. I'm really struggling right now on the horrible decision.

1.) She has CCD/Dementia. She paces at night, whines, is confused etc. I'll try to tire her out before night, but it just doesn't seem to work. We have pills to help her relax sometime they work, some nights they don't.

2.) Fecal incontinence- at this point I'm lucky if she poops outside at all. It's been 1 year so far dealing with the incontinence. . At least 1 poop a day if not more happens inside. She also poops in her sleep. She has lost all control, when she does go outside she goes like a cow, on a walk it just falls out of her. I tried changing food timing, adding walks, etc.. for example I can let her out at 3 am, 6 am, then still wake up to poop on the rug at 7 am.

3.) Mobility. She loves walks, but can barely make it on a 20 minute slow stroll.

4.) Mobility 2. She gets stuck on the floor about 2 times a week on average.

5.) Weight. She lost 13 pounds from March to Oct. She still seems to eat most days, but is dropping pounds fast anyhow.

Last vet visit was a couple weeks ago. They could not provide much help at all for her dementia/incontinence. For Mobility they offered anti-inflammatory that doesn't seem to do much.

The good- she mostly does eat and drink. Still get excited for pets and walks.

I've already cried over this about 10 times, I don't want to rush it, I don't want her to suffer. Being her hospice nurse and the never ending smell of poop in the house is taking its toll.

Here's a couple pics of my sweet girl Mandi these days. You can see her smiling on the walk, then I stopped for a pic with her and she just looks soooo old and tired 馃槴 Man, just thinkg about this is brutal. Please share your thoughts on her.
Hey Josh~

My upfront condolences for this hard time in your life. We just put our 11.5 year GSD, Ellie, down in May 2021. It was gut wrenching but her cancer came back after a 3 year remission. We did not want her to suffer one bit because she was the most awesome dog. We asked the vet when it was "time" to put her down--she put us in touch with Laps of Love, which is a vet service that will come to your home to do this service. They have a lot of information on their website--but essentially what we learned: do not wait for your dog to show obvious signs of pain because that most likely means they are in extraordinary pain. Dogs, like other animals, instinctively know that if they show signs of illness that they can become prey and therefore will hide it. Additionally, they are so devoted to their owner and will do anything to please them, so they hide their pain. They actually advocated that you find a "good day" for your pet and it will be much more less stressful. I would strongly suggest to see if they have the service in their area and consult with them Home | Lap of Love We know that our Ellie had the easiest passing and it really eased our minds. We could then spend as much time with her as we needed. They took a paw print and sent us her ashes, which we keep on our mantle...for now. Good luck with your decision....big hugs to you during this time.
 

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Josh, we're so very sorry, the many of us know what you're going through. My personal preference is to put my dog down a week or two early, when I can 'control' the emotions, circumstances and the environment. I want my dog's end to be peaceful, not rushed, panicked or traumatic. My deepest sympathies .....
 

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Thanks so much to the new posters. I start to cry every time I check this post. Reality sure is hitting. Laura, I Definitely want to do it at home. Thanks for the recommendation on laps of love.... I'm crushed already and she's still laying right beside me.
 

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Thanks so much to the new posters. I start to cry every time I check this post. Reality sure is hitting. Laura, I Definitely want to do it at home. Thanks for the recommendation on laps of love.... I'm crushed already and she's still laying right beside me.
Josh, I know. When the vet called us in May and said the cancer was back--we went through all the stages of grief--denial, anger, bargaining, etc. We talked for days and days about it....and then when we watched the one video, we knew what we had to do. We dreaded that day but the vet was so wonderful and compassionate--but it really did feel like our heart ripped out. :-( Take lots of pictures and videos now. It helps.
 

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It is two years since I lost that boy. I was at a Christmas concert this evening and started crying just thinking about the love I shared with that dog. Thank goodness it was dark in the audience. Dogs can affect us in powerful ways.
 

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anticipating the final day is heart wrenching. Watching you dog continue to decline is heart wrenching. Watching that spark of joy fade is heart wrenching. we can only imagine how hard it is for our dogs who can't tell us much but love us. I know that either way this will be a tough holiday for you.
 

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Josh, my heart bleeds for you as well. We lost both of our dogs this year to cancer and each time had to make the end call. We have had to put other beloved pets down as well. I have often heard the 'better two weeks early than a day (or week - depending on who says the quote) late. But that is so much easier said than done. When is 'two weeks' early the right time?
Three of our dogs were very obvious, no questions asked, it was time. Heartbreaking but without the 'am I making the right decision?' conflict. Our last dog, on Dec 1, was gut-wrenching in that we DID make that 'better two weeks early than a day/week late' call. He was perky a lot of the times, no incontinence, eating and drinking and a cuddle-bum. But the pain factor. He did his best, was already compensating for the cancer in his left front leg by mostly walking on 3 legs. But the licking, the inability to lay on that side, the excessive panting, night pacing trying to find a comfortable spot to sleep were getting worse and worse. We made the call. We had only gotten the confirmed diagnosis two weeks prior and this seemed impossibly fast. He was 15 yrs, 9 months.
But the vet confirmed it was the right decision when she examined him prior to administering the dose and we knew in our hearts it was. But oh man, I don't know of any rougher decision we have to make with our beloved pets than this one. With your description of her condition, I encourage you along with many, to make the call for her if you haven't already.
 

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Josh, my heart bleeds for you as well. We lost both of our dogs this year to cancer and each time had to make the end call. We have had to put other beloved pets down as well. I have often heard the 'better two weeks early than a day (or week - depending on who says the quote) late. But that is so much easier said than done. When is 'two weeks' early the right time?
Three of our dogs were very obvious, no questions asked, it was time. Heartbreaking but without the 'am I making the right decision?' conflict. Our last dog, on Dec 1, was gut-wrenching in that we DID make that 'better two weeks early than a day/week late' call. He was perky a lot of the times, no incontinence, eating and drinking and a cuddle-bum. But the pain factor. He did his best, was already compensating for the cancer in his left front leg by mostly walking on 3 legs. But the licking, the inability to lay on that side, the excessive panting, night pacing trying to find a comfortable spot to sleep were getting worse and worse. We made the call. We had only gotten the confirmed diagnosis two weeks prior and this seemed impossibly fast. He was 15 yrs, 9 months.
But the vet confirmed it was the right decision when she examined him prior to administering the dose and we knew in our hearts it was. But oh man, I don't know of any rougher decision we have to make with our beloved pets than this one. With your description of her condition, I encourage you along with many, to make the call for her if you haven't already.

So sorry to hear about your doggies too! This is unbelievably painful, but I did make the call literally in tears. My sweet girl will be crossing over on Saturday. She is being spoiled all week. I took a couple days off to spend more time with her. I'll likely be updating and cleaning this up a bit, but if you want a good cry..... The Life of Mandi Anderson rough draft at least is live. I know I'll take some more pics and update but wanted to get a good start on this.
 

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I'm so sorry, I'm sitting here crying with you! She looked so very loved and I'm glad you made the best decision for her, as hard as it is. When you've had them that long, life is never the same after their gone, but someday you'll be able to look back and smile, I'm almost getting there myself, time heals all, I'm sending lots of love! <3
 
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