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I truly believe dogs are the sole proof that it is better to have loved than not at all. We so willingly take them into our lives, knowing what will eventually come and lose ourselves with an incomparable sense of loyalty and love. I can’t think of a better sense of the word love than what we share with dogs.

Dogs share that same feeling with us, perhaps in an even more profound way. Except it comes naturally to them, it is their very essence. They would of course sacrifice any malady to spend time with us or make us happy. Except when even they know the time has come. And they do. You won’t doubt it when she tells you. It is not exactly the same but I have bad knees and although it hurts me and I might not be able to move the next day, I still embark on hikes and participate in races. The pain is worth the joy I receive doing what I do, and we are that to our dogs except ten fold.

I had a horse 30 years old I had for 17 years, since I was six years old. I’ll never have another like him, he was amazing and we were so completely in tune. I decided to put him down not because he was sick, miserable, wasn’t eating, or any of those sorts of health issues. He ate a senior feed and that was it as far as supplemental care to his age. But he had such terrible arthritic calcification in one of his knees that it was three times it size, bowed out and he’d almost fall over and lay down when the farrier would try to lift it for a trim. You could tell it hurt terribly especially in the colder months, and he was always incredibly stoic. He would still run like that with the other horses, I was sincerely worried one day it would snap on him it was so bad. Instead of letting it come to that, I had him put down right as it started to get colder out. I still miss him and it’s been seven years, he even shows up to visit in my dreams every so often.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
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.
 

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I personally will always have my animals put down where they are happiest and most comfortable, at their home. I believe most if not all animals are much more stressed and anxious at vet offices, I know mine are. I want to make their last moments as well as possible. I will also always be there with them, they deserve it. I hear about people leaving their dogs to be euthanized in a cold vet cubicle without them being there and it makes my heart hurt.
 

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I take them to my vet. The vet they know. The vet I know. There are now 3 vets there that they may see. Two have been there for over 20 or 30 years. One is newer.

When I brought Babsy in, she was almost 13. Dr. Curie, who owns the place and who I saw the first time with Princess, when I was 15, 35 years ago. He came in and went down on his knees and hugged Babsy.

The vet techs at my vet clinic always tell me they are not afraid of my dogs. My dogs are not afraid of them. They do not act like they are scared to death there. There may be some anxiety if they are already hurting, but mostly, they are perfectly good at the vet.

When I put Heidi down last month, they brought a blanket in for her to lie on. She fought going to sleep. But we got her to sleep in the end, and then they put her down. It was terribly sad. And I know I will have to think about Babsy and Heidi and Quinnie, and Tori, and Jenna, and Milla and Ninja, and Cujo1 all of which were put down there. Well Cujo died there, before the juice was administered.

The thing is, it's horrible to lose your best friend. It's horrible to lose a young dog. It's horrible to lose an old dog. Most of the time, I watch them pass and feel incredibly sad, but also happy that this ending I can give them is peaceful. They go to sleep. And then shut down. I have time in that little cold room to hold them, to sing to them, to tell them how beautiful and special and good they were their whole life.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Well today was another good day. Kind of makes me feel stupid for starting this thread. She was energetic and asked to go for a walk with the boys so I cut their walk short so she could come.

She did not eat well at all. No breakfast, about 1/2 her dinner. But during the day she seemed happy and alert and playful.

My husband got home and we talked about it. He says he does not think she is there at all....

The log continues. We shall see
 

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She may just be cycling but I thought I'd share a quick update. Since I started this thread she has continued to do well and even improved.

Some things of note: it may be unrelated cycling but I did buy her a bottle of CBD. When it ran out I thought, if anything she is worse so i am not buying more. Her appetite had tanked so bad I had a sack of bacon double cheeseburgers and cans of AD food and if I got her to eat one or the other in a 24hr period it was a win. No appetite. I thought this is it...when we start with the cheeseburgers the end is near

CBD ran out and she perked back up and starting eating again. She is eating her regular food again no problem. She went from 61 at her lowest to 63 back up to 65lb. 65 is a good weight. 61 she was thin. Not a bit to spare if anything went wrong. She looks healthy at 65. I am no longer feeding her rescue food. Right now I think the CBD made her worse, although it could have been a coincidence. But fair warning if you try random supplements! (It was a quality one)

I *think* I have found to magic mixture of her stomach meds and she has been a whopping 3 weeks without an enema. Or maybe the laser on her back is helping...the vet thought it might which is why we are doing it. Orthopedically she is definitely more comfortable.

I've dropped her fluids back to every other day and she is doing ok so I feel like quality of life improvement there with less needle jabs

She is still sleeping in the kennel most nights if there is a vacancy. She has climate control indoor run with dog door into a covered outdoor run. She uses her outside run to toilet overnight and I get her first thing. I do a night check late potty for my boarders so that's when I leave her up there and I get her bright and early so we are only apart for the time I am sleeping. She seems totally fine with it. She is happy to see me in the morning but is not distressed when I leave her at night. The kennel is quiet, I don't take nuisance barkers. So she goes to bed with classical music and then takes care of her own needs at night so I can finally get some sleep. My vet was encouraging me to do this and he was so right...I have so much more compassion and energy for her to take better care of her during the day now that I can sleep. And that's exactly what he would lecture me for every time I bring her in...you can't take good care of her if you are stumbling around without sleeping for months.

So things have definitely taken a turn for the better for now.
 

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This is such a wonderful update! :)
 

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I don't know how I missed this thread but what an encouraging update. For now things sound good. That's the best news. For now is what counts.
 

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I don't know how I missed this thread but what an encouraging update. For now things sound good. That's the best news. For now is what counts.
We are still just taking it day by day. She likes to play with me so I try to make time to spend alone with her every day just doing stuff she likes.

We've started taking walks in town after her laster treatments because the mountain trails are a struggle for her now. But she likes to stroll around town and the sidewalks are easy for her

Every day is gravy. We probably don't have that much time left.
 

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I like to just sit and "be" with an old dog. Connect with her and I think there is some level of communication we make without words between us and our dogs. It's so hard not to dwell on the future heartache, but I try to be with them, like they are with me. And it also helps to have no regrets, as I'm sure you do, about the amazing love and adventure filled life you have given her.
 

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I can't add anything meaningful to the wisdom you've already received. We've all been there too many times. It's part of the awful contract we make each time we bring a new life into our homes and hearts. And each time when they go, it's simply heartbreaking. She's a beautiful, well loved girl who clearly loves you back and knows that you will do right by her when the time comes.

Hang in there.
 

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Such difficult days, I'm so sorry you're going through this. For all the joy they bring us, this heartache will always be unbearable.
 

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Such difficult days, I'm so sorry you're going through this. For all the joy they bring us, this heartache will always be unbearable.
Thanks. I feel a little like I am on a rollercoaster. I feel like I have semi come to terms with that not much more can go wrong before I lose her.

Then we have days like today. She marched up the hill and walked a mile with her brothers like it was nothing and now she is out here playing tug like a maniac.

The crazy side eye is for her brother who thought of interrupting to ask me to throw his ball....unacceptable says the queen....

I look at her right now and think no way are you 13 and no way are you dying any time soon.

Then I just feel like I have whiplash. There is nothing to do but be happy she is here and having fun.

We went to a trial this weekend and slept over in the rv. She hasn't slept in bed with me for years and years but she wants to sleep with me in the rv, I don't know why. So my husband and my competition dog hogged one bed and I slept by the door with her so I could take her out and we had a fun slumber party together. It's great that she loves he rv and loves camping and travels well so at least I can take her traveling hospital and her with me and still go do stuff.
 

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The face of an old dog, an elderly man eating alone at a restaurant, things that have me smiling through tears. I picture them the way they were and see how they are.
 

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I know the feeling and dreading to decide for them. If I am in doubt, what has helped me is to ask myself if the dog is served with another few days of misery. I always tear up when I read these posts but also love how we all love our dogs so much. I wish you strength in this difficult time. Never second guess yourself.
 
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