How do you know when the time has come?

  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Aug 24, 2007 6:56 PM GMT
    So, for the past two weeks, a few thousand dollars later, and tons of lost sleep...I am at a 48 hour crossroads of determining whether my 11 year old dog needs to be put down. He's gotten 3 different diagnoses in the past two weeks [Congestive Heart Failure, Pneumonia, and Lung Cancer]...all of which are inconclusive...we are guessing...

    Vet keeps putting euthanasia on the table which I am not in denial about, but its hard to reverse that decision once you go there...

    Thoughts from other doggie parents?

    - David
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    Aug 24, 2007 7:34 PM GMT
    This is something that only you can decide. If you love your dog and he is in pain from any of this, the humane thing to do is put him down. It's not easy to let a companion go, but it might be selfish to prolong the inevitable.
  • ang2serra

    Posts: 15

    Aug 24, 2007 7:35 PM GMT
    I always thought my mom's advice was interesting...

    She says that she will do everything in her power to keep her babies alive as long as she can see the will to live in their eyes...but that once that spark is gone then she knows that they are ready to leave.

    It's entirely subjective to how close you feel to your pets but if you are like me, then you will know when they are ready.

    My condolences on your difficult decision. Your dog is blessed to have you as their father.
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    Aug 24, 2007 7:48 PM GMT
    If the dog is in constant pain, it's time.
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    Aug 24, 2007 7:50 PM GMT
    And I'm real sorry to read about this. I've put down two in my life and it's almost enough to turn me off of pet ownership.
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    Aug 24, 2007 7:50 PM GMT
    I have four dogs. I dread the day that I will have to make this decision for any of them. But I know that I don't want any to suffer because I can't bear to lose them.

    The question to ask the vet at this point, since most of those prognoses are negative, is "Is he in pain?" If so, don't prolong his misery.

    As to his age, it depends on the size of your dog. The larger the breed the shorter the lifespan. If he's a big dog, then he's already lived a full life. If he's a real small dog, he may have several years ahead of him.

    It is a difficult decision. My heart go out to you.
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    Aug 24, 2007 7:59 PM GMT
    David, not only doggie parents, but pet parents.

    I think it's time, David. This is so sad.

    John
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    Aug 24, 2007 8:02 PM GMT
    It's tough being a 'god' isn't it? And I say that as a pet owner myself. They trust you completely - and that includes knowing when to let them go. I think ang2serra's advice is about the best you're going to get. Good luck.
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    Aug 24, 2007 8:07 PM GMT

    The above advice seems like good advice.

    Ask yourself "If it were not your pet, simply an abandoned animal you found lying by the side of the road in pain, what would you do?"

    Why do any less for your pet?

    My deepest sympathies.

    Rob
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    Aug 24, 2007 8:12 PM GMT
    Gosh this is a hard one...I think you just know when the time has come, and just be there for the pet, help reassure them, hold them, thank them, let you be the last person they see and give them a most dignified moment. I mean, a loved one such as that, who has given so much and means SO much deserves nothing less from their, "owner."

    My Keisha (black/white Sheltie) had to be euthanized and it was extremely painful for me. It took quite some time to grieve, but I was determined to make sure that at that time, when she needed me the most, I would not let her down, and held her the whole time and cried, and thanked her and hugged her, and I'm going to stop now, cuz I'm at work, and don't really want to start crying.

    So sorry David, this really breaks my heart.

    NICK
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    Aug 24, 2007 8:21 PM GMT
    My father and stepmonster are keeping their dog alive. They should've put her down a year ago. If you're keeping the dog alive for you then it's time.
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Aug 24, 2007 8:40 PM GMT
    ...thanks for the initial posts...this hasn't been an easy two weeks and the biggest roller coaster in the last few years...

    ...I am certainly not needing to keep Jeff around here for me...I took him in as a rescue...had him for a year...he's an excellent former guide dog...and has probably changed me more than I have changed him...if this is his final weekend, I am saddened he was only able to "play" for a year after his retirement from service...but I will have been happy to have been his owner for the past year and will make certain his last moments are near me and in our home where he is comfortable...

    ...I think what is difficult is that he has been under observation in the hospital more hours than with me...I see a completely different dog at home and in the morning before we go to the vet...which is why I am waffling here...

    ...one vet expects a long, but full recovery...another vet feels like he is not making significant progress...which is why I am torn...

    - David
  • DenveRyk

    Posts: 167

    Aug 24, 2007 9:15 PM GMT
    David--My heart goes out to you at this difficult time. So often these questions have no immediately obvious answer. My housemate and I had to put down one of the dogs last October, and I know what Jerry went through making the decision.

    Sadly, it is you who must make the final decision. You and Jeff have obviously given each other so much in the time you have had together. He loves you for it, and you "love" him in return. No matter what your decision, as long as you are there with and for him, and are acting in his best interests, and comfort him, your heart will find some peace.

    All the best,

    ryk
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    Aug 24, 2007 9:19 PM GMT
    Whew, I'm really sorry you're going through this. It's odd that the two vet's are giving you such different diagnosis. It certainly doesn't make things easier.

    The one cool thing you can take some comfort in knowing is that you've given your dog such a good life. There are a lot of animals out there that are not so fortunate.

    You've got some great advice here. Whatever happens just know we are here for you.

    Take care. - Jorel
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Aug 24, 2007 9:26 PM GMT
    More than pain our rule was always, "Are they happy?"

    We had a (wonderful amazing) dog once who we had to put to sleep because she (at the ripe old age of 19) lost the ability to move the back half of her body. Which also meant she lost bladder control. She had always been one of those super good dogs, would wait for you no leash outside stores, never chewed anything, etc. We didn't mind cleaning up after her, but it was clear she was ashamed. She would drag herself over to the couch and hide her head under it, punishing herself (something she'd done all her life if she thought she'd done somethign wrong, even if she hadn't). Finally, we had to accept that it was time. It was hard, very very hard. But it was hte right thing.
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    Aug 24, 2007 10:18 PM GMT
    My heart goes out to you David,,, Been there done that and will need to do it again,,, I have 2 aging dogs and know that the inevatible will be the needle. I have a rule that I have developed, " If you can make the animal comfortable and let it sleep, let it live." I'm not sure who euthanasia hurts the most the owner left behind or the pet, I have always tried my best to do the right thing by my pets at this time in their existance but it's bloody hard, whatever decision you make, (and your the only one to make that can make it), your dog will understand. Sorry I can't be of more help, but by your description of your pets' condition, his time is almost gone.

    They never seem to leave you, as even as I write this message I can rememebr all the pets I have had euthanased and while I still remember them they still live on.

    Your right in saying once done cannot be undone but you have to find the strength to have it done. A bloody hard day's work that is. Talk to me if you need to let it out.

    Take care.

    In Symapthy Jeff.
  • maximumrisk

    Posts: 799

    Aug 24, 2007 10:27 PM GMT
    I know how you must feel man. We had to put one of our Dogs to sleep last month too. I still have not accepted it. It is always hard to let go of an friend/pet (the same to me). I dont think that any of us has the right to tell you to put him asleep or not. Thats your decision. You will know when the time is right.

    When its Time, its best that you make it at home and stay with him in his last moments. I know its hard, but you make your Dog a big favour with that.

    Wish you all the best and hope you can enjoy the time with your dog.
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    Aug 25, 2007 12:00 AM GMT
    We had something similar, our cat, the Queen of the outback (right up until the last week, she was bringing in hares, twice the size of her), as independant as they come, but yet still the first pet family member.

    Within one week she developed Luekemia and went downhill fast, i remember finding her in a box in the garage curled up and bleeding and knew that it was time. Her cries where silent, but you could feel it. Even my dog, who used to chase her but never touched her, started to let her sleep beside him, and he knew.

    Its a very difficuly decision to make and its a horrible one to make, but for there comfort you have to make it.

    Will it end their suffering and let them free? If so it is the humane decision to make.
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    Aug 25, 2007 3:19 AM GMT
    I made this decision last winter.
    I had two girls and the both had grown up together since they were pups and inseparable.
    On a routine checkup, it was found she had cancer in her stomach and she was also having problems walking with her hind legs. They could have operated and done chemotherapy but that would have only bought a short amount of time, and she would be in pain. I did not want that so I made the decision to put her down. It was much harder than I thought it was going to be. Within a month or so (the week before Christmas)my other girl stopped eating completely and she had to be put down as well. Both were 14 and lived long lives but it left a big hole. They were cremated so at least I will have that and the memories. I have since welcomed two new kids- a Stafforshire Terrier/Bulldog mix and a Boxer. They get along fine and keep each other company.
    It is a very hard decision to make, but you must always think of the dog first and foremost.
    Ric
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    Aug 25, 2007 3:38 AM GMT
    So sorry for what you're going through. Been there, it's really tough.
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    Aug 25, 2007 3:38 AM GMT
    So sorry for what you're going through. Been there, it's really tough.
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    Aug 25, 2007 4:25 AM GMT
    If you can sense pain then it is time. I'm so sorry.
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    Aug 25, 2007 4:36 AM GMT
    I'm going to take back a bit of what I said before. If Jeff is eating again, and even one vet thinks he might be OK, and pull through...clearly, he is not in pain, and probably loves the care you are giving him, David.

    I know I'd do that for Matilda (my cat)... I think Jeff knows you won't let him suffer. Clearly, you love him and have his best interests at heart, and not your own.

    It's nice to see the RJers sending you good wishes. You know I do.

    John
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    Aug 25, 2007 12:52 PM GMT
    We treat our dogs sometimes with more respect than we do people...
    Yes - it's very humane to put a dog down if they are suffering
    I wish that sometimes we had that option

    I had to put down one of my dogs because of a case of canine epilepsy...which is fatal
    if a dog has lost his or her quality of life and there is little chance of recovery the only reason the dog is living is because of the owners needs not the dogs

    ...There was a vet show on one of the cable stations one time
    and a vet told an old man that he had to put his very old Lab down because he was very ill
    The old man asked if he could say good bye...
    The next 5 mins was just him petting the dog and him telling the dog how much he was gonna miss him
    and what a good dog he had been .... WaaH!!!
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    Aug 25, 2007 1:07 PM GMT
    I like what ang2serra said...well, what his mom said.

    I was in a similar situation a few years ago, but it was threefold...simutaneously. My partner at the time and I had a sick cat, as well as two sick ferrets. We did everything we could to keep them as healthy & comfortable as possible (at one point I was dispensing 15 doses of medicine a day between the three of them), but it was very hard to determine if they were "happy" overall.

    David - No one needs to tell you how hard of a decision it is to make. I wish you the best.

    -joe