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Old 09-29-2007, 01:20 AM
Location: Connecticut
26,278 posts, read 42,256,997 times
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Okay here is my dilema, How do you know when it is time for you to have your dog put to sleep? Our 13 1/2 year old golden retreiver is such a part of our family that I do not know how I am going to make this decision. He is lying here next to me now as I write this. His health is not great but not bad either. He has bad hips which makes it difficult for him to get up. He needs help to get up if he is lying on hardwood floors. He can't climb stairs any more so he is no longer sleeping in our room which was one of his favorite things to do. He has a hard time climbing the couple of steps out in the back when he goes out to do his business and is now starting to have accidents in the house (last night and just now tonight). He also had some digestive problem that now requires him to be on canned dog food but the vet says he is in good health and would not comment on if it is time yet. He mostly just lies around now, but does come running when someone is eating something he likes (well not running actually). He has some lumps but none appear to be cancerous. He can't hear well and his eye sight is just okay at best.

My kids (12 and 10) are very attached to him, particularly my older one. My wife is a dog lover and says I have to make the decision. I know that I am just putting off a tough decision but is what you have read enough for anyone to know for sure? Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jay
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:31 AM
Location: Miami
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That's a tough one. I'm sorry for you and your family. I have an 11 year old black lab that's starting to slow down himself and I am already feeling some sorrow. I hate to say it, but I think that once a dog is having accidents and can't get up on it's own, it may be time to put him down. I would have a long talk with the kids. Anyway you put it, you guys are going to go through a rough time. There's nothing like the friendship and faithfulness of a dog. Good luck.
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:48 AM
Location: Connecticut
26,278 posts, read 42,256,997 times
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Miami Vice - Thank you for the reply. We have talked with our kids about this happening. When our dog first had digestive problems we were fully prepared for the vet to say it is time, but he didn't say that. We had tests done thinking they would come back wih something, but they didn't. During all this we kept saying to our kids that he would not be around for long but I am not sure they really understood. I think this weekend we will again talk to them about this. Thanks so much and good luck with your lab. Jay
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Old 09-29-2007, 03:00 AM
Location: North Carolina
2,657 posts, read 7,182,716 times
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Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
Okay here is my dilema, How do you know when it is time for you to have your dog put to sleep?
That is a hard decision; not something an animal person really thinks about when a fluffy kitten or boisterous pup comes into their life. The years pass and there comes a time, all too soon in most cases, when they are old and you have to decide whether their quality of life is worth sustaining.

I think each of us will answer according to our own experience. When my beloved Siamese cat, Ghengis, was 16 and in poor health, I would have done anything to keep him by me. On a trip to the vet, the doctor explained to me that his condition was going to be expensive to treat. I replied "hey! this guy was around before my husband! I wouldn't discard him so easily . I feel the same way about Ghengis." However, my view was a selfish one when I tried to put myself in Ghengis' place.

I suppose that all one can suggest is putting yourself inside your pupster's head. How do you think he feels about the decline in his abilities? When he is no longer able to sleep with you, when he has accidents in the house? [We had an old dog who did this. I felt so bad because he seemed to be ashamed that he couldn't go outside to do his business. He'd look at me as I cleaned up the mess - not making one peep about it - then slink off behind the sofa.]

A good site for dealing with this would be The Rainbow Bridge. A moving (yes, and a bit sappy ) eulogy inspired it, but it's also a very caring and comforting place for animal people faced with such a sorrow
Grief Center for Pet Loss at Rainbows Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Author unknown...

[There are also a couple of versions that reference 9/11. Some people substituted dogs for cats and visa-versa, but it still retains the view of how much our animal family means to us
everythinggreyhound -> 9/11 Rainbow Bridge Poem ]
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Old 09-29-2007, 04:19 AM
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We always said that we'd know it was time when our dog stopped begging for food. The last week of our dog's life (Baci was a BEAUTIFUL, SWEET, 11 yr old Lab), she refused treats and pig ears (shocking), and didn't even acknowledge the fact when we were sitting down for dinner. All she could do was drink water. But eventually she couldn't even keep water down, and her breathing became very labored so we knew it was time. We had the vet assess her and do a blood test, just in case, but it turned out that she had severe liver failure and there really wasn't anything that could be done for her.

Letting go of her was the hardest thing I've ever experienced, but at least I know she is not suffering any longer. Next Tuesday will have been her 12th birthday. We're going to release a balloon with a dog treat in it. My son is really looking forward to doing this.

We have since gotten a new puppy, he's the reason why I'm up and on the computer at this crazy early hour on a Saturday. He'll never replace Baci, but since he is so different from her, we can't help but laugh at his goofiness. He really has brought laughter back in our life that was missing since Baci left us to cross the Rainbow Bridge.

I hope you are able to make the right decision, at the right time. I know it's not easy.

Last edited by mikenbacismama; 09-29-2007 at 04:21 AM.. Reason: grammar
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Old 09-29-2007, 05:38 AM
Location: NY in body, Mayberry in spirit.
2,692 posts, read 1,768,645 times
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I guess the saying "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved before" really applies to our pets. I've always had dogs and cats in my life and while suffering the passing of each one, would not trade the years of love and friendship for anything.
My thoughts are with you and your family, Jayct. The only opinion I'll pass on is to try to be with your dog when he passes on. I've always been with my pets at that time. I feel they deserve to see their family at the end. It's very hard to hold your pet as he dies, but you'll never regret doing it.
Peace Brother.Just enjoy every minute with your boy for now.
BTW, what's his name? Good Luck.
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Old 09-29-2007, 07:48 AM
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I am so sorry for your boy and your family. It is a difficult decision to have to make. Rugby, our 12 year old english bulldog, had arthritises for sometime. He had been on metacam for over a year. He was having a hard time getting around, he would also when he had to go up or down the stairs. So we knew he was in pain and that the metacam was not working anymore. We dicided to go ahead and have him pts. We were also getting ready to move and knew the trip would be hard on him. We had talked to our vet and she agreed with our decision, she had been Rugby's vet for 11 years. Did we make the right decision? I think we did, he was in pain and the meds weren't helping and I certainly didn't want him to suffer anymore then he was.

We had Rugs pts in March, and like I said it wasn't an easy or quick decision. We just knew it was time. Good thoughts and prayers for all of you.
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Old 09-29-2007, 09:43 AM
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I put one dog to sleep, when she no longer could eat, she was very ill, and life became no fun for her. my other one, died in my arms at 14. she stopped eating one night, and the next morning did not want food. she made the decision for me, but it was not easy.

I feel your pain, and sorrow.
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Old 09-29-2007, 10:26 AM
Location: Southeast Idaho
4,657 posts, read 15,771,582 times
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It's each person's own choice which is why your vet won't tell you it's time. For me, it will be when I know Cleo isn't Cleo any longer. If she weren't able to jump on the bed and sleep with us, well then I'll be sleeping with her on the floor.

Had a client last week that had to put her 11 year old Golden to sleep as she had been diagnosed a few weeks earlier with liver cancer, that's quite the rapid cancer and chemo would not have been any help. She told me on Tuesday evening when she pick up from daycare that Sadie was seeming to slow down to keep an extra careful eye on her. Well, my sister who helps out at the kennel where I work called me at home as I was off that day to tell me that Sadie had gone further downhill and she was going to be put to sleep that day. I went into work and sat with her for over an hour with her head on my lap, saying my own good-byes. Her owner did not want her to suffer and for Sadie to lay still and not want to play or not want her pig ear, she was suffering in her own right. As much as it hurt the lot of us, she'd been coming to daycare for 10 years, I commend her choice.

I have a dear friend, who've I have told to slap me in to reality if need be as I don't ever want my dogs to suffer through years or months of medications just so I can have them longer, I can't be selfish about it after all, they've not been selfish with their love for our family.

Having said that, it still won't make it any easier when the time comes. I send the best of comfort I can to your and your family right now.
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Old 09-29-2007, 11:28 AM
Location: Land of 10000 Lakes + some
2,885 posts, read 1,510,876 times
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My personal feelings on this (having gone through it) is we have no way of knowing really how the dog feels. We can only see how he's behaving. It is soooo hard parting with a loved pet but I think of the quality of life. If the dog isn't enjoying his life because of maladies and pain, then I personally would put him down as I myself had to do. She was 16 then, and the vet reminded me that she had exceeded her breed's lifespan by three years so he helped me along with this. I never wanted not to be there with her when she died, so I chose to have her put down instead of finding she had been alone at her time of death. I spent three days crying....but then little by little you adjust. I even waited 3 years before getting another. However, if you have kids, you might want to get one right away.
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