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Letting a dog die naturally... - Page 4

post #61 of 74

What a beautiful dog!

post #62 of 74
Thread Starter 

Warning: vent coming.

Here is the crazy logic...  Kenai gets diarrhea, so I told everyone to put him outside all the time.  He gets a little better or my mom would just let him in for a few hours because she says she feels sorry for him.  Then after a few days he has an accident on her carpet (always her room because that's where he's used to.)  So then she gets upset about the diarrhea and says she's tired of it and put him down.  So I say LEAVE him outside.  She says it's too sad for her to see him scratching on the door so she has to let him in.  So she's too sad to see him asking to come in so in her brain that means kill him.  This conversation has been going on for the last month.  Yesterday, I washed my hands of it and said, "I can't be the one to be bringing conflict in this family.  If you want to kill him so bad then kill him."  This morning I found out that she made an appointment for Friday.  I *know* I said that I gave that decision to her.  But I am very disappointed in her decision.  This is the same as it has been for all dogs in her life.  This is her life, her decisions, her karma.  Just like it was my karma to force him to stay outside.  I am so disappointed in her decision, but not surprised.  I am so angry.  I told her to just leave him outside but she kept letting him inside because she was sad to see him looking in the door.  Of *course* he wants to come inside, but he can handle being outside too!  I *know* that whatever vet kills him is going to say something like, "Oh he has lived much longer than most dogs ."  I have to let go too.  I am so disappointed.

post #63 of 74

OK I want everyone to know that pain can be shown in many ways in dogs....not just the obvious http://ivapm.evetsites.net/site/view/121680_Dogs.pml

http://www.aahanet.org/publicdocuments/painmanagementguidelines.pdf These contain the various stages and signs of pain and we have the pain scale posted in our

exam rooms so that it is part of a full physical exam on every pet.

I want to add he is a beautiful boy.  But so that you know if I saw him walk into our hospital I would think "poor old boy looks sore"  The stiff legged gait and slightly hunched back is a sign we look for.


Here is the quality of life scale:


Quality of Life Scale1

Pet caregivers can use this Quality of Life Scale to determine the success of pawspice care. Score patients using a scale of 1 to 10.



H: 0 - 10 HURT - Adequate pain control, including breathing ability, is first and foremost on the scale. Is the pet's pain successfully managed? Is oxygen necessary?
H: 0 - 10 HUNGER - Is the pet eating enough? Does hand feeding help? Does the patient require a feeding tube?
H: 0 - 10 HYDRATION - Is the patient dehydrated? For patients not drinking enough, use subcutaneous fluids once or twice daily to supplement fluid intake.
H: 0 - 10 HYGIENE - The patient should be brushed and cleaned, particularly after elmination. Avoid pressure sores and keep all wounds clean.
H: 0 - 10 HAPPINESS - Does the pet express joy and interest? Is the pet responsive to things around him or her (family, toys, etc.)? Is the pet depressed, lonely, anxious, bored or afraid? Can the pet's bed be close to the family activities and not be isolated?
M: 0 - 10 MOBILITY - Can the patient get up without assistance? Does the pet need human or mechanical help (e.g. a cart)? Does the pet feel like going for a walk? Is the pet having seizures or stumbling? (Some caregivers feel euthanasia is preferable to amputation, yet an animal who has limited mobility but is still alert and responsive can have a good quality of life as long as caregivers are committed to helping the pet.)
M: 0 - 10 MORE GOOD DAYS THAN BAD - When bad days outnumber good days, quality of life might be compromised. When a healthy human-animal bond is no longer possible, the caregiver must be made aware the end is near. The decision needs to be made if the pet is suffering. If death comes peacefully and painlessly, that is okay.
*TOTAL= *A total >35 points is acceptable for a good pawspice


Edited by lonegirl - 4/18/12 at 5:56am
post #64 of 74

Oh and I have to say it.....why the heck will you not get diarrhea treatment?  Maybe he has something simple like a parasite! If you have chronic diarrhea do you not take something to help treat it?  There are even simple pre and probiotics that you can get from the vet....A simple gastro diet may be all that is needed.  Or some meds to help control the issue.  We ocassionally get clients in that I want to grab by the shoulders and shake and tell them to treat the problem fresh air and karma are not the only answers.  Diarrhea can cause dehydration and nutrient loss...the best foods wont help if the nutrients are being properly extracted and kept by the body.

ok rant over

post #65 of 74

OP, I don't really understand why you never sought help/treatment from a vet? Can you go to the vet appt on friday and discuss this with the vet too? Maybe that is what your mother is doing? Maybe there can be some compromise about treatment/making him more comfortable and still dying naturally?

post #66 of 74

Originally Posted by slmommy View Post

OP, I don't really understand why you never sought help/treatment from a vet? Can you go to the vet appt on friday and discuss this with the vet too? Maybe that is what your mother is doing? Maybe there can be some compromise about treatment/making him more comfortable and still dying naturally?

If you have a reasonable vet you should be able to take them in, describe the symptoms and they will give you options/prognosis/expected outcomes.  Is money the factor?  


I personally feel like I'm my cats guardians while I'm here.  If they are clearly unhappy and pain and it cannot be remedied reasonably with medical care I don't see any 'spiritual issues' with having the vet send them painlessly to Heaven.  I see more of an issue personally with letting them suffer and not doing anything about it.  Pets only know what they are feeling in the here and know.  If they're living with pain that is suffering and it should be remedied somehow.  That is just my opinion.  


I recently had a cat, who is older, who suffered an eye injury.  The cornea ulcerated, about as badly as it could without going through the lowest layer.  The cat has underlying kidney issues and the vet did not want to put her under anesthesia.  For over 2 months I've been putting in drops 4x a day.  For a while there he thought she would blow the eye even....it got really nasty looking.  He played it conservative, and since I was willing and able to do all the drops we continued.  Finally, phew she's looking nearly healed up.  Sure, the eye is hazy/white from scarring, but she's frisky, happy and jumping around like a kitten.  I can tell she's feeling great.  


I do think though, when you have something that needs to be treated aggressively and it's on an older pet it's reasonable to consider their overall health in making decisions.  A while back I knew someone who was pushed into amputation for an older dog who had bone cancer.  They probably spent 5k or so in vet bills, and in their case, had the surgery and then two months after they found the cancer had spread anyhow and they had to euthanize.  Their vet I think was a bit "too agressive"...and I think some are.  My vet doesn't seem to take that sort of stance.  He'll talk about options and then talk about what's really reasonable for that particular pet.  I'm glad I have him, before I found him, the last elderly cat I had, when she got ill for the last time I took her in and they wanted to do all this agressive stuff for her.  Then, after they tell me everything they wanted to do I asked them her prognosis.  Even with all the medical care they wanted to give it would likely only give her another 1-3 months.  Having her poked, prodded in an unfamiliar location and kept away from her comfortably home life for a few months at best did not sound like a good tradeoff to me.  Her going through all of that just to delay my grief a few months did not make sense.  But I think, some vets think 'death' is the enemy.




post #67 of 74
Thread Starter 

He does not have chronic diarrhea... he has sporadic diarrhea.  for example, he does not have diarrhea today *at all*!  totally normal poop.  and now we have a puppy and so there is a routine of going outside for pottying and everything.  he can still walk.  this is simply a case of family members (my mom) not being able to handle looking at an old dog!  simply that!  sometimes people get it in their brain that it is time to kill a dog--this is what has happened.  I tried to fight it, but my mom and dad have been buying the food for him for the last half of his life.  so he is also their dog.

here is a video i took today.  i am keeping the 7yo home tomorrow, per his request.  we will all be here.  Kenai is just one of thousands of dogs that will die tomorrow.  i will be there for him and for my family and do my best to be strong--it is SO hard!

thank you for all the kind words you have given me and if i have helped you at all then i am grateful for that opportunity.  if i have made you angry then i celebrate in you the place where we are one, because you can bet that i am angry too.  this is a painful time for me, but it will pass and I will understand and i hope i can provide others with comfort when they go through their own journeys with death.


post #68 of 74

Just wanted to say that I watched your videos, and Kenai is such a beautiful boy. We have a shepherd/husky too, and it was hard to not personalize this.


I wish you peace in the coming days, weeks, months without your lovely friend. xo

post #69 of 74
Thread Starter 

Thank you Alphaghetti!  After some *very* heated discussion (i said some very mean things to my mom--but the apology felt good), we are really going to wait.  My husband told my mom that we would take over all the feeding and keep him on our side of the house.  I feel like why didn't I do this long ago?  I have cohabited with my parents for four years and they've been paying for Kenai's food all this time.  How selfish of me!  I think a small miracle happened tonight.  My husband and dad talked to my mom for a long time while I cried outside and the kids tried to calm me.  Over and over I kept feeling so foolish for how I yelled at my mom.  but then after i called the vet to tell her to please not come tomorrow I apologized--deeply-- and felt better.  i sort of feel like my mom had a weight lifted too.  i also feel ashamed for acting dramatic online--(i posted those videos on my fb), but it's so difficult to navigate the terrain of death!!!

post #70 of 74

I don't blame you for a thing. At least you apologized. I am not looking forward to navigating this with our dog (turning 10 this year, and he's our first, and we're totally in love with him). I'll remember this thread when the time comes.

post #71 of 74

Oh that's such great news, Olive. Go easy on yourself! As mothers, we know our kids will lash out. We always forgive them. I am pleased to hear that your mom seems to be exhibiting signs of relief as well. :)


Thought a lot about you and Kenai last night. I got down on the floor with Ecko for a good long while and just held and loved him. I realize that your situation will be ours someday. I can't imagine losing him right now. He's only six, but dog lives go by so tragically fast...

post #72 of 74

My dog had diarrhea problems off and on for a long time. (I'm embarrassed how long.) I finally talked to the vet about it and he said to switch dog foods. He said it might take 3 or 4 tries to find the right one and we'd have to try each food a few weeks to see if it worked. He gave me a list of foods. The first one stopped her diarrhea in days. She was diarrhea-free for the rest of her life. 

post #73 of 74
Thread Starter 

SundayCrepes, his diarrhea cleared up almost completely for his final six weeks.  I switched foods and started adding Effective Microorganisms to his food.  His final six weeks he pooped relatively normally.  The final days he drank water normally, licked his food but did not eat it, and could still walk on his own.


The time had come. I called the vet to come out last night but she could not because she was in the process of moving. So we scheduled for today at 6pm. Kenai had been sleeping every night in my parents' bathroom but because his colon could no longer hold anything they put him outside. And I'm glad they did because when I visited him in the bathroom earlier I felt like outside it would be easer for him to let go.


He lay in the kitchen last night until I was ready to go to bed around 11, but he had already just gotten up on his own and had a look like "I need to go out now." He walked on his own outside and was breathing heavily, deeply. Funny how the other times I thought he was going to die was when he had extremely shallow breathing. Now he was taking deep breaths. He walked outside and lay down, collapsed really, close to the door. He collapsed, but he always sort of collapsed down to lay down for the last couple of weeks. The funny thing to me is that whenever he collapsed he would lay his chin down so peacefully like, "This is a perfect spot to take a rest." So he did that last night. And I don't think I even said Good Night or I Love You. Which is ok, because I had already had nights where I did that kind of thing thinking he was going to die. Letting go can be so simple and peaceful as just walking away and nothing feels different.


This morning I went to look for him under the mesquite tree that he always slept under and he wasn't there so I just assumed my parents had let him into their room early in the morning. But then as I began to peek in on the garden fairies before they flew off for the day, there he was. Under the lemon tree in utter bliss. Perfectly composed--not curled up, but layed out like he just got the best rub-down of his life, completely relaxed. That golden ribbon came down and he just sailed on down it, twirling and fluttering and the rest. What a beautiful night to release. That Sonoran Desert sky, milky with stars, warm like a blanket.


I felt so light, like it had happened just like I imagined except I never considered the lemon tree.  My mother came out crying and she hugged me but I told her that I was not sad.  I asked her why she was sad, "Was it because he had to die outside alone?"


"No," she said.  "I am sad because he had to suffer for so long and I wish we could have put him down weeks ago and spared him all that pain."

"I didn't think he was suffering at all in the last weeks--" I started, as my husband stepped in, "Enough you two!  It's over!"


Of course he was right and we both let go, but her words troubled me.  By my own vision coming true it caused suffering to her.  I did not detect any suffering in Kenai in the days leading up--no crying or aggressive/fearful behavior.  In my mind there is a difference between senescing and suffering.  The bodily experience of dying is unavoidable, just like the pains of labor are unavoidable--but where is the suffering in labor?  Does not the suffering in labor often come from unwanted influence--people not respecting your space?  In my mind, passing into death is smoothed somewhat by defending a space for the person passing.  In my mind I have to differentiate between the unavoidable suffering of life and avoidable suffering--poverty, abuse, violence.


I talked to my dad about it and he said that maybe mom just has an increased empathy in her heart and understands suffering in a way that I cannot currently.  I like that because that means that we can come together and understand each other down the road.  I don't think my mom will hold onto this, I know she won't.  I know that she is relieved for him.  And we will both grow from this as we move forward and begin to help her own mother find her own way toward *her* final passing.

post #74 of 74

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know you said you're not sad, but he'll be missed, as he obviously was so loved.

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