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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.
 

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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
 

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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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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.
 

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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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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.
 

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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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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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I think committing suicide is a whole other issue on that topic but I have, and most recently with a family member who had stage 4 cancer tell us he was done and couldn't do it anymore..
 

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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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Ouch...younger AND stupider...

I'm not talking about offing myself as soon as I lose the ability to walk or the first time I shat my britches. I'm just saying there comes a point when the quality of life is not there. I've never had to make that decision so I'm certainly not claiming to know all the answers.

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I think committing suicide is a whole other issue on that topic but I have, and most recently with a family member who had stage 4 cancer tell us he was done and couldn't do it anymore..

It's not. It's related. People don't say that I'm choosing to put my dog down because he's a burden at this point, they say that they're doing it because a dog wouldn't want to live in this condition. Since dogs can't tell us I think it's OK to use people as an example. Same survival instinct we are going against.


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When I was a child about 11, both of my grandmothers dogs should have been pts a long time before they were. I promised myself I would never let my dogs suffer. Over the years I've had to make that decision more times than I'd care too. Apache and Kiya aren't there yet but I pay attention to the little things we often take for granted. I don't mind helping them get up, cleaning up an accident or whatever else. They still go for walks short ones and they still get all excited.
Stinks getting old.
 

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Ouch...younger AND stupider...

I'm not talking about offing myself as soon as I lose the ability to walk or the first time I shat my britches. I'm just saying there comes a point when the quality of life is not there. I've never had to make that decision so I'm certainly not claiming to know all the answers.

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Lol yep. Pretty stupid still and will remain that way))))) it's actually fun. The more you know the more you actually do want to off yourself.
But back to the subject. I agree with the quality of life, it's just very hard for us to actually decide to kill ourselves. Or let someone euthanize us. I'm assuming it's the same for dogs.


I'm not knocking anyone for euthanizing, please don't take it that way. I put my cat down myself.

I can stop writing here all together. It's a sensitive topic and I don't want to offend anyone


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I think committing suicide is a whole other issue on that topic but I have, and most recently with a family member who had stage 4 cancer tell us he was done and couldn't do it anymore..
That's really so sad, my husband is stage 4 he has been on chemo for about a year and a half and I see it taking it's toll on him.
 

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When I was a child about 11, both of my grandmothers dogs should have been pts a long time before they were. I promised myself I would never let my dogs suffer. Over the years I've had to make that decision more times than I'd care too. Apache and Kiya aren't there yet but I pay attention to the little things we often take for granted. I don't mind helping them get up, cleaning up an accident or whatever else. They still go for walks short ones and they still get all excited.
Stinks getting old.

Yep, lots that happens in childhood makes us who we are. Maybe if I had your experiences I wouldn't be saying what I'm saying.

It's a sensitive subject. But I like talking about diff things and getting diff opinions. I'm not trying to offend or judge anyone.


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I guess I don't consider a dog having dignity. Yes, they may feel worried when they potty in the house, and we have to just clean it up, not saying it is ok, not punishing the dog, just taking it as a matter of course. But I do not know that, that would be the deciding factor in when to euthanize.

For me it is a quality of life thing. If the dog is in pain, and is depressed -- does not want to get up, does not want to eat, etc. It is probably time. We can help dogs go to the bridge, so they do not need to suffer through the process of dying.

On that note, Babs had a major loose stool episode waiting for me when I woke up this morning. I put her outside and started cleaning. And cleaning. She had walked in it, so I had to scrub the floor in my bedroom, the hall, and the bathroom where she planted it. She did not seem embarrassed at all. It was storming and wet out there last night that I let her out in the front and she peed, but I didn't maybe give her the opportunity to poop. So it was probably my fault. I also gave her raw eggs that I had dipped the floured chicken into, maybe that did not go over well. Can't tell. Only she did not feel it any loss of dignity.

When I let her in, I crated her for a while. So I could feed the puppies and let the big guy out in the house for a while, and when I finally did let her back in, she immediately took up her post on my newly made bed of fresh bedding, not in the least bit disturbed about the horror story I had to clean up. And I did not give her any trouble about it, because, it was loose, when that stuff wants out, it comes out, like it or not.
 

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Lol yep. Pretty stupid still and will remain that way))))) it's actually fun. The more you know the more you actually do want to off yourself.
But back to the subject. I agree with the quality of life, it's just very hard for us to actually decide to kill ourselves. Or let someone euthanize us. I'm assuming it's the same for dogs.


I'm not knocking anyone for euthanizing, please don't take it that way. I put my cat down myself.

I can stop writing here all together. It's a sensitive topic and I don't want to offend anyone


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Just read my response and it sounds like I'm calling you stupid! I'm not!

I understand what you're getting at. It's a very personal decision and one that I don't look forward to ever having to make.

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Just read my response and it sounds like I'm calling you stupid! I'm not!

I understand what you're getting at. It's a very personal decision and one that I don't look forward to ever having to make.

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Lol I called myself stupid. Younger and stupider. Trying to say that I still have lots to learn

Yep))))) I've said many things that I was forced to eat at some point. You don't know what you will do until it happens to you.


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