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Old 03-10-2008, 10:26 AM
1,261 posts, read 5,618,627 times
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I hope I'm in the right forum for my question. My beloved Beagle/Basset Hound Mix, Buster, has not been himself since February 9th. We adopted him from the animal shelter almost 7 years ago. At the time, he was estimated to be 10-12 years old--a senior dog with hypothyroidism and epilepsy, which we were able to manage through medication. He also has early kidney failure.

The vet says it's an arthritis flare-up, but all pain medications, morphine and prednisone have failed to improve his ability to use his hind legs. He just gets up to eat and that's about it. We take him outside because the few steps on our deck are hard for him. Despite this, his accidents in the home are becoming more and more frequent. (He never soiled in the home before now). Given his age (17+) and his medical conditions, the vet does not believe there is more we can do medically.

I haven't heard his bark or seen his tail wag since that date in February and I feel he looks so sad--not the doggie I've always known. I am so heartbroken at the thought of having to make this decision, but I can honestly say that I haven't seen any improvement in a month. For those who had to make that decision, how did you know?
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:35 AM
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Dear mlv311,
My heart breaks for you having to make this decision but I believe if you are asking the question you already know the answer in your heart, good luck and remember our fur babies are always with us in spirit.
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Old 03-11-2008, 08:53 AM
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The decision your faced with is undoubtly one of the hardest, but you know your dog better than anyone, when the tail wagging and the happy your home barks stop, the silence will help you with your decision. I know this is gut wrenching, I just went through this with my Great Dane. When I had finally accepted what needed to be done I had my Vet come to my house and Piper, my Dane, was in her favorite spot under a big oak tree, that was her spot and she loved being in the yard watching over the neighborhood. I did not want her to be tramatized or scared when she took her journey, I knew she felt safe. She is at peace now, no more falls down the back steps. Flowers are in her spot now. The Rainbow Bridge has been a tremendous source of strength for me, so yes, you are in the right place. A big hug for Buster.
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:14 PM
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 16,335,145 times
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mlv, I switched you over to the Dog section because so many people can't even bear to go into Rainbow Bridge...

How do you know? I think that probably the better question is how do you accept what you know? It is one of thsoe things that sometimes you aren't really sure about...and maybe later you second guess yourself and wonder if one more day might have been the turning point. But at some point you actually reach that last day and sometimes that is harder than making the decision one day before, if that makes any sense at all. I've only lost one pet fairly naturally - the others I clung to, hoping for one more day with them...and in the end I wish I had done what I knew in my heart should have been done a little sooner.

You can assure Buster a swift and peaceful passing to the Bridge - that is your honor...not your cross or burden to bear, but it is an honor to know that you can arrange his passing - when you are there and can hold him close and reassure him of everything he meant to you. We should all be so lucky as to pass with someone we love beside us, holding us and telling us their life would have never been the same for had it not been for us, and you can give that last final gift to Buster...the gift of rest. I know it is so hard, but it is worse when their passing comes in the middle of the night and you have no one to turn to to help them slip away.

When his life is uncomfortable - when the quality is gone - when they are no longer what they have been for so many years - then it is time to consider letting them go to the next dimension...and light a candle to speed them on their way - I do believe the soul goes to a better place than anything we can know and I believe that all living creatures have souls. Look in his eyes - there is his soul - and you will know.

Peace to you.
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:22 PM
Location: Ladysmith,Wisconsin
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Wow long life, but yes you know in your heart as your the one who has shown all the love. Signs are there that it is time to let go for the run over the rainbow bridge,but nobody but yourself can decide when.
Say your good-byes and be ready.It is one of the hardest things ever to do but rather put to sleep before suffer to much. This family member feels the love and the heartbreak.
Buster will always be with you ad know decision was best for him.
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:49 PM
Location: McKinleyville, California
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We let Ursa go 1 year ago this coming 23rd of March, it will be 2 years on June 23rd since we let O'shota go. We let Ursa go not knowing if she had a month or months to go, but her heart was failing and we wanted her to go before she had a heart attack. O'shota was diagnosed with spondylosis and was paralyzed in 23 days, we wished we had not waited till she told it was time. It was uncomfortable to watch her descend steadily each day and all we could do was relieve her pain, help her in and out of the house and call the vet when it was time. Heidi died 4 years ago of pancreatitus and it was so sudden that we could not get her to the vet, she went into renal failure and passed away right in front of us and the other three dogs. Ursa and Chelsea immediately knew what happened, O'shota, being a golden retriever mix, took a week to realize that Heidi was gone. Chelsea has seen each one of her friends die over 4 years and now she is the only one left besides the cats.

You will choose which ever way to let Butch go and still feel that there could have been more that you could have done, or that your dog may have lived longer. It is natural to feel remorse, it is part of the price we pay for having them in our lives. They don't hold anything against us for doing the last thing we can do for them that they cannot do for them selves.
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:57 PM
Location: McKinleyville, California
6,413 posts, read 9,135,559 times
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I'm sorry, I said Butch and meant Buster.

We took O'shota to the vet and had her let go while in the back of the subaru that she loved to ride in. She knew that this was her last ride.
We had the vet come to the house to let Ursa go, she hated going to the vets, she would evacuate her bladder and bowels when ever she went in to the office. We did not want her to be traumatized and a home visit seemed the best way. The vet gave her a shot to make her sleepy and Ursa walked around the yard till she felt groggy and we took her to her bed on the porch and the euthanasea drug was delivered. She fell asleep before the drug was administered. If Buster likes going to the vet, then that may be the way to go, but if he hates it then have the vet come to your house.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:16 AM
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I just came back from the vet, having had a semi-neurotic fear that I'd put my dear old Ezra down "too soon" last week. He was 17! And his mental abilities were fading, then he was very confused and had copious vomiting/diarrhea for two days, and I took him in. The vet said, first of all, she wouldn't have performed the euthanasia if she thought it inappropriate. She also said that whatever was causing his distress was likely serious and unlikely to be treatable at that age. But the main thing she said was, "When people say their dog is no longer the dog they knew, that's time." Of course, we all accept aging and changes thereof. But when a dog is frantic because he's having an accident, or looks like a fearful old lady because he keeps falling, or keeps standing in the corner yowling because he can't figure out how to turn around... add in unable to eat without the sickness I described. I told the vet he'd lost his "Ezra-ness," and she said that's how most people know.
If there's no reasonable chance of a reasonable recovery, either due to the severity of illness/injury and/or age, it's time.
I have put three dogs down in the past two years (my personality flaw of adopting seniors...) Ezra was 14 when I got him, 17 when he died last week, and still I worried that I jumped the gun.
For me, the hardest part is deciding, watching your friend deteriorate, but he's alive, and knowing that he might not be tomorrow or the day after. The day of the euthanasia, I feel like I've been beaten with a bat. The next day, the real grieving begins, and takes many forms and varying times.
I dearly miss Ezra (and Kiko and Powell) but making the decision and carrying it out was more painful than the missing part.
It's the last best way we take care of them.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:21 AM
Location: Ostend,Belgium....
8,820 posts, read 6,369,817 times
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I think, it's harder on us than the pet. But for your pet, it's about quality of life and when they're no longer enjoying things or even reacting to things they enjoyed, I'd say it's time. It's a shame you have to make decisions like that really but there's no way around it. It'll be hard to get used to it and the grief is terrible. Letting them go with dignity is all you can do for your pet. I think in the end it's about them isn't it?
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Old 03-12-2008, 06:34 PM
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I cannot agree more with the statement about the pet's quality of life. I have said in previous posts that we sometimes have clients come in that just keep their pets going even if they can't walk and are in pain. This is the hardest and most selfless decision a pet owner has to make, but it does have to be made. If you have a good vet that you trust, they should give you an honest opinion. The fact that your dog has had such a long life, and that you made the last 10 or more years the very best that you could is what's most important...your dog has trusted you all that time, and will trust you to make the right decision for HIM if the time has come. I think you do need to be sure though, so an opinion from the vet would be a good idea.

My heart and thoughts are with you, do your best to prepare yourself to let your friend go with dignity and love.
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