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Old 04-26-2011, 11:53 PM
43,012 posts, read 91,989,470 times
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I feel like I'm a hypochondriac via my old lab. There has to be a clinical name for worrying that every new symptom means a dog is going to die.

At 14, he's still doing pretty good. He's mobile now that he takes an anti-inflamatory. He's still alert---food driven---wants affection.

But he's bound to go sooner than later. How to stop worrying?
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:27 AM
Location: El Paso, TX
2,806 posts, read 6,499,485 times
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I know what you mean...it gets so hard not to worry after a certain age. But old dogs are sometimes a whole lot tougher than people think they are, even large dogs can live quite a bit longer and with a good quality life than statistics would have us believe. My BF's 14 yr. old dog (mixed breed, about 75 lbs.) just underwent surgery to have tumors removed, and she did great...I can honestly say I've never seen a dog come out of a major surgery with THAT much energy and happiness going on, her tail was just wagging away! She's never been sick, which is why we felt okay about putting her through it in the first place...she's a tough old girl, and we felt certain she'd pull through. So far, so good...all we can do is love them and do our best, knowing all the while that WE are the lucky ones for having the honor of their unconditional love and companionship in our lives.
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:03 AM
Location: Miami
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I don't think you could ever stop worrying. I put my Lab down last November. He was 13 years/8 months. It was one of the hardest things that I've ever had to do. I miss him everyday. I'm starting to think about getting a new one.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:48 AM
Location: Colorado
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I'm with you. I lost one of my labs to stomach cancer last October, he was only 7. Now any time my other 3 dogs are acting strangely I go on red alert.

Miami Vice, we rescued another black lab after ours passed in October. We figured we would honor Jack's memory by rescuing a big black dog. He has been a blessing and has helped us significantly to heal.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:48 AM
Location: zone 5
7,330 posts, read 13,167,971 times
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I guess the only way not to worry would be to stop loving them and that's not possible.
Our Chow Chow mix's kidneys started failing, slowly, when she was 14. Her hips began to give out and I had to follow behind her on stairs, lifting her hind end for her while she walked with her front legs. Our walks went in slow motion, but she still loved them. There were times when she was sleeping I'd catch myself watching her chest to make sure it was still rising and falling. She was tough as nails and she was 16, quite old for a dog of her mix, when it became obvious it was time to let her go. I'd been expecting that time to come much sooner. As others have said, I still miss her, and my other dogs that have passed on, who went a little quicker than she did. I know what you're going through, just try to keep enjoying him instead of worrying as much as you can.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:01 PM
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We, too, lost a beloved dog to cancer, at almost 13. For the last two years of her life I was on high alert for something that might take her away from us. The thing is, she herself was a happy dog until her final weeks, and even then she had good days. Our vet told us not to seem worried, or to pity her, because that would make her worry! So we learned to see her life through her eyes, not through ours, and we rejoiced with her every day, with every walk, and every snuggle, and every communication. And I also learned that worry actually creates a neural path in one's brain which makes it easier to worry, and worry more often. So if you can try to stop your worry-thoughts in their tracks and distract youself, and think of something else, something positive, you're creating new pathways in your brain, alternative paths to the worry habit--which is pretty useful when it comes to obsessing about other things, too. Of course you still need to be on alert, but not endlessly. Tell yourself that you're doing what you can, and then give yourself permission to relax and be calm, because your dog picks up on your worry. Give your dog the joy of having an owner who isn't worried!
Does that work? Some of the time. Which is better than not at all! Wishing your dog many more years of a good life......
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:20 PM
Location: Durm
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Been there w/my shih tzu. It's like every moment is absolutely gigantic. The worry doesn't go away, but savor everything, take videos, pics. It's a new "normal" and all. They're so in the moment; I was always thankful for that.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:37 PM
Location: "The Sunshine State"
4,334 posts, read 12,197,571 times
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Same here! My oldest rescue, Ginger is 15. I try to stay positive that she will live to 20 or more! She still acts like a puppy and plays with her stuffies. She still even greets me at the door when I come home with a shoe or a stuffy, something she has done since she was 3 months old! I love her and I pray she lives a much longer life than expected.
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:13 PM
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Ditto here too. After losing our Bandit over a year and a half ago, I worry even more about our Gator. He is now over 13 and has really slowed down in the last few months. I have to be so careful about his breathing also because of his laryngeal paralysis issues. Any undue stress on him can trigger an episode that could kill him. I just can't imagine our home without my Gator shadowing me everywhere I go. It will be a very bad day when he leaves us.

I read a quote somewhere about the shortness of a dog's life being its only flaw....ain't that the truth!
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:26 PM
Location: Edmond, OK
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I can really relate to all of these posts.

The time is just too short. Our old girl is an almost 13 year old schnauzer. She's had Cushings for many years, and in the last couple of years has started having arthritis and other joint problems, which has been causing her much pain, but we have been able to manage it successfully. Our sons are both off in college, and I have worried so much that something would happen and I would have to deliver bad news to them about their beloved little Annie.

A couple of weeks ago we were in the vets office and he told me things were starting to wind down for our old girl. Then, this past weekend she started vomiting and stopped eating and drinking. Took her to the vet Tuesday and they ran some tests. They said her kidneys were starting to fail and that she is probably suffering from pancreatitis and that there are masses in the abdomen that are probably cancer. Our only option is to do exploratory surgery to see what's going on, but given her other medical conditions, including a heart murmur, she is not a good candidate, and the odds of finding anything that can be cured is an extreme long shot. So, we have made the decision that we are being selfish, and we must now have her pts.

I just happened to be visiting one of my sons' at school, when we got the word from the vet, so I was there to break the news to him. He is driving home after class tomorrow morning to say his goodbyes to her. Unfortunately, our other son is all the way across the country doing an internship, and will not be able to say goodbye. Timing is horrible, as his internship ends next week.

My heart is breaking right now, both for our loss of our beloved Annie and the fact that she is so ill and doesn't understand what is going on, but also for the pain my sons will have to feel.
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