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Old 07-16-2010, 11:08 AM
 
11 posts, read 14,217 times
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sugarsugar, I am on here alot today, it helps me to hear other peoples life stories, I am terribly sorry for what is to come soon in your life, all of us are here to help support you, like they have been for me, just keep on saying whats on your heart, it helps alot, and may help someone else too. best wishes
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:23 PM
 
501 posts, read 1,189,194 times
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gritsforever - it touched my heart to realize that when the time comes, I don't have to face it alone, thanks for your kind words.

Your post about your last moments with Zorro brought back memories of all the times I've been in that vet's office, and as you said so perfectly, waited with the knowledge of what was about to happen, as I realized that my dear friend had no such awareness. It always felt just horrible to be the one making the decision, while my best friend had no idea that this was the end. I remember thinking that it would be so much easier if they were to pass away on their own, but knowing that we aren't always given that choice.

I had the same thoughts during the last week of my best ever girl's life, as she struggled to survive. We'd been to the vet, and had a slim thread of a hope that we'd found an answer and meds that might resolve her illness, but it was dicey. I hadn't slept for more than a couple of hours at a time that week because she needed quite a bit of care and reassurance, but on the last night, my dh got back home from out of town, and I breathed a sigh of relief. My girl had been getting a bit better, and seemed to have turned the corner for the positive that night. I was still very worried, but thought it would now be safe to get some sleep. I tucked her in, kissed her muzzle, and told her that if for any reason she had to leave, to always remember that I loved her best.

I washed some of her soiled bedding to be ready for her the next day, and laid down to get some sleep around 3am. And woke up just a bit later, with a sense of dread. The house was silent in a way that told me that she wasn't here any more. And to this day, I have a deep regret that I was not with her as she passed from our lives. After believing that being with my dogs when they were euthanized, with the knowledge that I picked the time they would die was the worst thing that could be, I realized that not being there for the dog you love when they are dying could feel worse. And there is no way to know with certainty when it will happen. If my dh hadn't been there to help carry her from the house for her final journey, I don't know if I could have handled the pain of picking up her lifeless body. What I hope is that it was less fearful for her to leave us while at home, than in the vet's office, that would be some consolation. For us, it was simply the saddest thing we've ever experienced on that last truck ride with her - she so loved going for truck rides.

I am so sorry that your Zorro is no longer with you, but what a great thing that you were given the gift of a dog who loved you, and that you gave that gift back to Zorro in return. Not every pet knows what that feels like, and Zorro was blessed that way. As were you. Take care.

Last edited by sugarsugar; 07-16-2010 at 04:32 PM..
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Old 07-16-2010, 06:17 PM
 
15,823 posts, read 28,157,967 times
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My thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved animal or had to make that decision.
As some people might remember, I adopt seniors. So I know they're short-timers, or at least short compared to a lifetime dog.
Tomorrow (July 17) I'm taking George in for his last hurrah. I've had him for six months, he is very old (no one knows how old) and an animal control officer picked him up as a stray in very bad shape and fell in love with him, as I have. (If anyone remembers, his petfinder photo showed a dog with two tusk-like teeth sticking out).
I'm pretty sure he's finished. As I've learned to do, I'm asking myself, "What are you waiting for?" What one more thing would have to happen for me to be more sure?
I must admit, if he could eat the boiled chicken and rice and keep it down, drink water and stand up a few times a day, I'd wait. But he's absolutely unable to keep anything down. I took my last night shift off, figuring he'd die in his sleep, but he hasn't. Having him for these six months has been a real joy. He is so loved.
It helps me to know that other people feel such sadness when losing beloved pets. They are so loved.
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:12 PM
 
501 posts, read 1,189,194 times
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brightdoglover - I remember your posts about adopting senior dogs, and have not forgotten the lessons I learned from reading them. It is hard for me to contemplate losing dogs that I've seen grow fragile as the years pass. Such a wonderful thing that you do in bringing them to a real home despite knowing how short the time left is, so that they can live their last days knowing that someone on this earth loves them very much.

I am so sorry that George's time is near. Is there anything that he can still do in his final day that he loves to do? It sounds like probably just pets and hugs at this point.
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:10 PM
 
15,823 posts, read 28,157,967 times
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Actually, I had very good news about George. The vet did a bunch of X-rays, some lab tests and thinks that he might just be having some stomach acid or something. She gave him shots for that and for vomiting and will call later with more lab results. She doesn't think he's dying or anything! So I should learn to stop diagnosing with my little knowledge.
I realized, if I thought George was younger, I just would have taken him in to see why he couldn't keep anything down, and maybe his increased lethargy was from lack of eating/drinking. He is old (how old?) but it's probably not his time yet. I am so pleased. A lot of people love George and he deserves more good time than he's had. Then again, they ALL deserve a good life.
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Old 07-17-2010, 01:29 PM
 
501 posts, read 1,189,194 times
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And I wish would wouldn't assume so much, or worry about being intrusive by posting my experiences as though others might not have already thought such things through.

Because we have a 15 year old 80# dog, who began coughing, and had extreme bad breath, frothy vomit on/off, lack of appetite, some gas and digestion issues starting last October. Local vet did xrays which showed what might be the start of something pushing his esphogas up, either from heart disease or cancer somewhere, & gave him a steroid shot. More vet visits and by February, our dog had quit eating all together, was panting a lot, and at times lethargic. DH called me, believing that the time had come, and upset, as this was his best dog ever (the brother of my deceased BDE). By happenstance, I was out of town with my rescue dog for an appt with a different vet who had just correctly diagnosed what had been called a "harmless bump" per our local vet, as a mast cell tumor, and I stayed to have it removed. I told dh to take our old boy somewhere else, in case his diagnosis was also incorrect - besides the other error, his symptoms never did neatly fit into a single disease.

The new vet couldn't do tests needing anethesia due to his age/prior seizure history, but decided from what tests she could do that it could be IBD, and felt we could lose nothing by treating as such (low chance intestinal/stomach cancer too). The xrays also revealed a motility issue with built up gas - as I recall, what he was trying to digest wasn't going the right way any more. Prescribed prednisone, reglan, flagyl and pepcid. Had to quit the reglan and flagyl when neuro side effects showed up after a few weeks (scary stuff), but the dose up to then had done the trick. Now he is on 5mg of prednisone and a pepcid every am. All symptoms either eliminated or reduced to as best as can be expected for an ancient dog. An occasional cough, dementia moments of pant/pace/restless (may be trying SAM-E for that, or anipryl if necessary) that disappear as suddenly as they came, some punkiness re eating 1st thing if I don't give enough time for the pepcid to take effect before feeding, etc.

Unless he is having a bad day, every morning at 6am he jumps into the jeep for a brief drive around the ranch to a spot where he can sniff something new and is walking so briskly that we have to leash him at times because we can't keep up (he is going deaf, doesn't see well, and it is pretty wild out here). On a bad day, it is very clear that he is living on borrowed time, but the good days are still quality ones. The old guy I thought was a goner has since camped with dh at a lake for a week and gone for a long trip to the beach. Previously, we couldn't even take him to town unless to see a vet. I have sense from some things that we don't have much time left, but for now we've had all those extra days since his almost euthanization in February. Still can't believe it.

When I read your post yesterday, I thought about asking if you'd tried any meds for digestion, motility or acid issues, but figured you'd probably already considered it. Despite the fact that our old vet didn't, and our dog was at the point where it seemed like there was nothing left to do. Our old vet was a nice guy, who did try various things, and is not a dummy; but I see that he came into it thinking, perhaps as we did, that without finding anything obvious, it was likely just that our old guy was just shutting down as old dogs do.

So very happy that George may have some more days left, and that you were able to figure it out.

Last edited by sugarsugar; 07-17-2010 at 01:42 PM..
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Long Beach, California
354 posts, read 642,876 times
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First, let me say I am sorry for your loss. I remember when the first dog I had as an adult, Sasha had to be put down. For days I couldn't look at her toys, her bed, without crying. The house seemed very quiet. I am sure you are going through many emotions right now. I hope that someone is there for you who understands and does not diminish your loss.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:01 AM
 
15,823 posts, read 28,157,967 times
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I hope we can all come to remember our late friends with a smile of memory.
I appreciate sugarsugar's suggestions about George and his stomach disorder. I think I was assuming the worst with my bit of knowledge, the way he'd been acting and failing just like another senior I had who had kidney failure, and my assumption that he was extremely old. I am not going to have any more assumptions! I was glad the vet could redirect me easily. He's been eating balls of rice and chicken and keeping them down, and seems to have returned to his usual level of activity.I'll find out Monday how to proceed with feeding. Thanks to all for the well wishes. I didn't mean to hijack the thread of grieving a diseased friend to my senior's illness.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:07 AM
 
11 posts, read 14,217 times
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HI everyone, I just read the thoughts of everybody who wrote, and I am with you, and thanks for everything you have said towards my ordeal with zorro, you are all wonderful people out there in this old world, keep it up for others, bless all of you!! and, peace be with all the ones who are suffering in someway about their precious pets...
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:48 PM
bjh
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
38,888 posts, read 25,694,532 times
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Every dog has his day. YOu gave yours a good life. That ended as we know it will. Remember the good times and, when you're ready, catch another serious case of puppy love - get another dog!
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