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How do you know when it's time?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Our old dog Carrie just turned 14 in December and is really going down hill. She has been losing wait recently, has lost 90% of her hearing, doesn't see well, and has frequent accidents. Now she is arthritic and the baby aspirin doesn't help much. She spends most of her days in our heated garage dog door access to a secure side yard but she wants to come in the house less and less... I think because she can't control her bowls and feels really bad about her accidents. Starting at the first of the year, when she does come inside, she won't curl up somewhere like she used to but instead roams from room to room and we find her in random places just staring at the wall.

I know she's getting old but I'm having a hard time coming to terms with how to decide it's time to put her to sleep. She has been a part of our family for almost 14 years. She was here to welcome our children, warm our first house, and keep us safe and happy for all these years. It seems wrong to just get rid of her because she's old or inconvenient. It also is wrong for our good girl to suffer needlessly... I guess I just don't know where that line is.

Does anyone who has BTDT have any advice for me? Even just a hug would be good tonight!

She was always a jumper and could escape any fence we built. We finally securred our side yard with a 10 foot fence with cement blocks all the way around... we call it doggy Alcatraz. I wish I still had that problem to deal with.
post #2 of 13
I know she is 14...what type of dog is she? Have you brought her to the vet? There are many different types of medications out there that can help quality of life or the senior pet Anipryl is a great one that I have seen many senior dogs do well with... http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/dise...rylseniors.htm
The most important thing to remember....quality of life.

I have seen many people have to make this decision and it is personal...if you are not ready...do not feel pressured.
In one case I remember talking with a client with a 19y/o cat in severe renal failure. Everyone (the vets, other techs) were telling her now was the time and it was cruel to prolong her pain. Well....I was the tech who did her weekly fluid treatments and when she asked me I told her not to feel pressured and I let her know I had lost my own senior cat who I refused to put down because her time was almost up due to liver failure...I knew she had weeks at most and my decision was to make sure I had pain meds if needed (to keep her comfortable)and she very peacefully passed away at home while with DH and I and she enjoyed a final take of whipped cream. Well after telling her my own tale she thanked me and brought her cat home. She came in the following week and said she was so happy she talked with me about it because although the poor cat looked horrible and her kidneys were shutting down....she enjoyed life at home....until the end.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonegirl View Post
I know she is 14...what type of dog is she? Have you brought her to the vet?
She's a med sized, pound puppy, mutt. The vet has always said she has some collie. At her ideal weight she was 35# but is now at 22# (we keep close track because of the aspirin). We have had her into the vet recently for her weight loss but I got the feeling that they are kinda writing her off.

Thanks for your words of wisdom. I want to have her with us for as long as possible and I'm SO not objective when it comes to wanting her with us vs. her being ready to go. I feel so bad that she doesn't want to be with us inside anymore and that our other dog spends a lot more time out then usually so they can be together. She doesn't even want to be petted any more...
post #4 of 13
I heard something on another board that I think bears repeating.

Think of you dog's 3 favorite things to do. When they can't do 2 of the 3 things, it's time.

It's never an easy decision, it's probably one of the most difficult to make.
post #5 of 13


I am so sorry. I had to make a similar decision about a year ago. Something that stood out to me is that your dog is distancing herself from you, maybe it's because she can't control her bowels, maybe it's something else. I know that when not contained by a home or whatever, many pets will leave when it's time for them to go. They leave their home and go somewhere to pass. It's really sad to think of that, but I witnessed it with farm pets many times. Maybe that is some of what your dog is wanting to do. Have a talk with your dog and see what kind of feedback/feelings you get from the conversation. If you get the feeling she is ready to go, then you will know.

And if you don't like what kind of care/response you are getting from your vet, you could always consult with another. We get second opinions for human health all the time.

's for you and for your
post #6 of 13
moving to pets
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringRain View Post
Our old dog Carrie just turned 14 in December and is really going down hill. She has been losing wait recently, has lost 90% of her hearing, doesn't see well, and has frequent accidents. Now she is arthritic and the baby aspirin doesn't help much. She spends most of her days in our heated garage dog door access to a secure side yard but she wants to come in the house less and less... I think because she can't control her bowls and feels really bad about her accidents. Starting at the first of the year, when she does come inside, she won't curl up somewhere like she used to but instead roams from room to room and we find her in random places just staring at the wall.

I know she's getting old but I'm having a hard time coming to terms with how to decide it's time to put her to sleep. She has been a part of our family for almost 14 years. She was here to welcome our children, warm our first house, and keep us safe and happy for all these years. It seems wrong to just get rid of her because she's old or inconvenient. It also is wrong for our good girl to suffer needlessly... I guess I just don't know where that line is.

Does anyone who has BTDT have any advice for me? Even just a hug would be good tonight!

She was always a jumper and could escape any fence we built. We finally securred our side yard with a 10 foot fence with cement blocks all the way around... we call it doggy Alcatraz. I wish I still had that problem to deal with.


SpringRain, my opinion is that it is time. The points I bolded really indicate that your lovely dog is not enjoying life.
I have BTDT, my DH was very reluctant to make a decision, or commit to a date. My only regret now is that I wish I had done it earlier. My kids have pictures of our amazing dog on their wall, from his last week, and you can see that he wasn't comfortable in his eyes. I know it's SO hard, but it is the last gift you can give your beloved dog.

post #8 of 13
: I came to post a similar question. It's just all happening really quickly - a few weeks ago she seemed fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah W View Post
I heard something on another board that I think bears repeating.

Think of you dog's 3 favorite things to do. When they can't do 2 of the 3 things, it's time.
I haven't thought about it that way before. She might already be at that point by that standard
post #9 of 13
I hate belabouring this point, but it's time. It's not selfish, it's the kindest, most compassionate thing to do.

I waited too long bc my husband couldn't commit to making a decision. In hindsight, I should have gathered my strength and done what was right for my dog, not what was comfortable for my husband, or myself. My dog had a very peaceful death, in our arms. The only part I regret is that I didn't do it earlier, when he was behaving like both of you describe.

I know how hard it is.

post #10 of 13
I'm afraid I have to agree that it is time. We put our beloved girl down on 12/16. So I know how hard this is and it's all very fresh in my mind. When I was trying to figure out what to do someone said to me that a dog measures life in quality not quantity. I also was SO afraid that she would die on her own at home all alone and I really didn't want that for her. Our Lacey died very peacefully surrounded by people who loved her and cared about her. She was no longer rolling in the snow and chasing squirrels and doing the things she loved. She just seemed miserable and not herself and we knew there was no hope that she would get better. So as gut wrenching as it all is I do think we did the right thing.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringRain View Post
she won't curl up somewhere like she used to but instead roams from room to room and we find her in random places just staring at the wall.
I also wondered when I read this if she might be having seizures? Our dog was behaving like that at the end and the vet said it was likely seizures and that the dog can be disoriented up to a few hours after a seizure. I witnessed one seizure but he said it's likely she had others when we weren't around and we didn't know it. They usually lose urine when they have a seizure so the only evidence would be a spot of pee on the floor. So if she's peeing on the floor anyone some of the spots could perhaps be a seizure?
post #12 of 13
I just want to say I am so sorry you are facing this decision. It is so, so, so hard, and everyone is right that it is a decision everyone just has to make for themselves. I am starting to think that in facing these decisions, there are no answers that will feel good.

We ended up deciding to help our dog die December 23rd I think it was, and even today I burst into tears several times thinking about her.

On the day we took her in to "put her down," I went back and forth, back and forth. She was doing miserably that morning but by afternoon was smiling and happy. She even got up, which she hadn't done all morning without being coaxed in a major way...and helped. It was so hard to be responsible for that kind of decision. One thing that helped was that my dad told me that when he faced this decision a couple years ago with his dog, his physician brother shared with him that people (and animals) die in phases. He said that the things I was saying about my dog described an animal that was dying, a little bit here, a little bit there. She was having some good moments, and some really, really bad moments too.

I wanted to let her die naturally. It just didn't feel right to take it into my hands. But her bad moments were clearly filled with agonizing pain. She shook and shook. The pain meds only helped so much, you know?

I ended up choosing to end it for her. I ache still about that decision. She was only 12 (however a big dog), though, and the vet was a little shy about making a definite diagnosis. However, based on the type of cancer he thought she had, there was no hope in the prognosis. It made it especially hard because he was never definite. Still, there are days now when I feel good that I didn't risk her having a terrible, terrible end.

She died without pain in the afternoon with our family there. In the hour before she died, I lay down next to her and hugged and kissed her and talked to her about how much I love her. I took pictures of each of the kids with her. I cried and told her I was sorry.

Writing this now I am crying. I am crying for my sweet dog who I miss terribly...just terribly, and I am crying out of compassion for you as you face the end of your dog's life. Hugs to you.

I think I am going to go snuggle with the box that has my dog's ashes now, as strange as that sounds. Oh, lordy, how I miss her.
post #13 of 13
I'm so sorry

It sounds like you think it might be time.

Dogs don't fear death.
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