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16 yr old basset hound and poor quality of life, disagreement with DH and extremely stressful

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

We got 2 basset hounds 8 years ago, one of them passed 2 years ago.  DH is the main caretaker, moreso in recent years after having kids.

Our now 16yo basset has been pooping in the house almost daily for well over a year now.  It was not every single day for a while, but now it is and even sometimes 2-3 times a day.  He doesn't even get up sometimes, just lays there and poops and I think he even poops in his sleep.  Many times his legs are splayed, or I come home and dont' know how long he's been sitting like that.

He can't hear very well and can barely see.  He squats different now when he poops (if he happens to be standing), either his back legs are too weak or they hurt.  Doesn't go for walks, just lays in the house all day and barks when he needs to get up.

About a month and a half ago, he was outside and somehow hurt his back legs or they got really weak.  So now 99% of the time he cannot get up from a laying or sitting position on his own, we have to hoist his back end up.  Even sometimes when I do that, his legs are so weak he flops his bottom back down.   He can hardly get up or down 1-2 stairs.

Now this last week or two he started having a lot more pee accidents in the house in addition to the every day poop.  I've come home and found him in laying in a puddle of his pee, this has happened 4 times now in recent weeks.

I tried what I could for the pooping issue (DH wouldn't do anything about it, so I'm the one that took him to the vet and tried doggie diapers, they didn't work).

50% of what is extremely stressful for me is the constant messes in the house.  I cringe at the unsanitary-ness, and DD is 6mo so she is grabbing and dropping a lot of stuff on the floor now.  The other 50% is I think he is suffering and DH does not think so.

I talked to a vet tech last week and explained the situation and her opinion was that she would basically not let a dog go on like that.  I figured she knows more since she sees sick dogs all the time.  The vet says he has arthritis in his legs, but DH does not believe it and doesn't think he is in pain.  Yes, we talked about it being natural for animals not to show pain but he doesn't think doggie is in pain to begin with.  At his last vet appt, the vet even said she is concerned about his quality of life but it seemed to go in one ear and out the other.  This was 2-3 months ago when he had a short lethargic period we don't know what caused it.

I had to watch our other basset suffer with her back legs paralyzed for 2-3 days and bile coming out of her because DH did not want to take her to the vet to put her down when it started.

I can understand he is attached to the dogs (moreso than I), however I feel he is being selfish by letting this go on and on, it's like his opinion is the only one that matters but we all have to deal with the consequences.  It's like we have to wait for something really bad to happen, like heart attack or paralysis.

I had a very extremely stressful period of my life in late 2009 to April 2010 that was job-related, and this is coming in a close second as far as my stress level daily.

I'm also getting pretty worried about my own quality of life, if I ever got paralyzed and couldn't communicate.  I don't want to end up like Terry Shaivo because he cannot make a decision!!  We are having a will drawn up but the lawyer does not do health care directives.


Any advice please?


Edited by Ophelia - 8/18/11 at 8:53am
post #2 of 38
Tell your dh how painful this is to you. Tell him if he "needs" to keep the dog alive that he will now be responsible for its care. I suspect that because you clean up so well, your dh is not getting a full picture of how badly gone the dog is. After you insist and he struggles with the problems for a while... which is only fair since he's insisting you keep the dog alive... I bet it will dawn on him.

And yes, I get your fear. I moved to a right to die/assisted suicide friendly state on purpose... having seen a grandparent go on and on painfully for years with cancer. Here in my state you can get the doctors signatures and whip yourself up a cocktail and go out at home surrounded by loved ones.
post #3 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  Even though he works full time weekdays and I am home right now, he still does the bulk of the caretaking when he is at home.  Although for a while I was waking him up to clean up early morning poop and then he got mad at me for that.  So he does see this stuff firsthand, and he also carries him up and down the stairs.  He just does.not.get.it and meanwhile my stress level goes up,up and I keep wondering what will happen to our dog that is so horrible that he will finally have to be put down, and I don't want to see him like that like I did with the other basset.

 

I have told him time and time again how I feel, it goes in one ear and out the other.  He just doesn't care what my opinion is, or his opinion is more important than mine.

 

 

I was eventually planning on getting another dog, but absolutely no way now.  I will never own a dog again in my entire life due to this experience :(

post #4 of 38
Darn. Sorry couldn't be more helpful.
post #5 of 38
Thread Starter 

That's OK, he definitely cleans up quite a bit of poop and pee so he knows how much it is and how our dog can't get up by himself anymore.  He sees it and deals with it but thinks it's fine :(

post #6 of 38

I would find a vet to come to the house for euthanasia and then call dh at work to tell him the dog had passed.

 

OP, you can write up a living will and have it witnessed and it should be legally binding.  Make sure you name a surrogate or two that you truly trust to pull the plug and have two totally different people sign as witnesses.

post #7 of 38

One of my parents Samoyeds went this way.  It was horrible.  About a week after it started we went for vacation and since it was the last dog that my parents had while my sister and i lived at home I convinced her it was ok and went with her.  The pup had been full of life before that and was miserable lying in his own filth.  It was such a tough decision but it was the right one.  I'm sorry you and the pup are going through this.

post #8 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post

I would find a vet to come to the house for euthanasia and then call dh at work to tell him the dog had passed.

 

OP, you can write up a living will and have it witnessed and it should be legally binding.  Make sure you name a surrogate or two that you truly trust to pull the plug and have two totally different people sign as witnesses.



I just can't do that, I would have to keep that lie in the rest of my life :(

 

Oh, and he was laying in his pee yet again yesterday and had to have another bath.  Then about 1 1/2 hours later DS and I came home from the park and he was laying there with poop behind him.  I dont' know what else to do and it's so stressful.

post #9 of 38

Five years ago, did this dog make messes in the house? I'm guessing the answer is Never. I assure you that the poor old guy doesn't like it any more than you do. 16 is an old Bassett, and it sounds like you've given him a wonderful life. I completely agree that your DH is being totally selfish about this - he is NOT doing the dog any favors by prolonging his life.

 

I've never had a bassett, but my 13-yr-old Lab was in a similar situation (though not nearly as bad, because we didn't let it go on that long). He didn't show outward signs of pain, but I could tell he was unhappy. My biggest fear was that I would come home from work on day and find that he had fallen and hurt himself, and would have suffered. We brought him in before it got to that point. We felt (and our twin boys were 8 at the time, and even they could understand) that it was better for Jack to go before he had a painful accident.

 

Here's the cool thing: when Jack was old and sick, that was the image I carried in my head. But when he was gone, I started thinking a lot more about young, healthy Jack - the dog who could leap up and catch a frisbee, or jump into the lake after a tennis ball, or play with our kids. There was such a huge difference between strong, active Jack and the dog we brought to the vet that last time. He might have lived the same way he was got a few more weeks or even months, but I don't regret for a moment bringing him in when we did, because his quality of life had deteriorated to the point where he was not very happy.

 

Even with big droopy bassett eyes, you can tell if he's happy. Maybe you can find a picture of him in his prime, with a cheerful face, and ask DH how long it's been since he's seen that face on the dog.

 

It bothers me that your DH is not taking your feelings and stresses into account here. I hope for your sake that your big old bassett goes peacefully in his sleep this week. Hugs to you.

post #10 of 38

First, I want to say how sorry I am that both you and your DH are going through this.  I just had to put my kitty to sleep, so I know how hard it can be to make that decision and say goodbye.  I'm also sorry that your DH is making this even more stressful for both you and your dog.

 

I'm not sure how badly this would harm your relationship with your DH, but in your situation I would seriously consider taking the dog to be euthanized on my own.  Maybe just have a sit-down conversation with him and show him some information about animal quality of life (google "when to euthanize dog") and point out to him all the ways in which your dog is no longer able to enjoy his life.  If he still denies the dog is unhappy, then I think I would have to put the needs of the suffering animal above my DH's denial.  I'd let DH know I had made an appointment, then ask if he wanted to go with me.  I wouldn't go behind his back or anything, but I couldn't bear to watch my dog go through that for too long.  

 

I hope this doesn't sound too harsh, but I'm just trying to imagine what I would do if faced with something similar.  You're in a very difficult situation...  I'm not sure there's a good compromise, you know?  Hugs and good luck to you.  hug2.gif

post #11 of 38

im sorry about your dog, i hate watching them get older :(

 

Have you thought about getting diapers for him as a temporary solution while you work with DH?

post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:

Five years ago, did this dog make messes in the house? 

Both dogs actually made quite a bit of messes in the house - when we moved in there was new carpet upstairs and in the basement.  They ruined every inch of it and I've lived with the stink for years.  The carpet upstairs was recently pulled out, the basement still needs to be pulled and we basically don't have the cash to replace it.

However, it was inconsistent as they could go quite a while w/o making a mess.

 

 

Quote:

 Maybe you can find a picture of him in his prime, with a cheerful face, and ask DH how long it's been since he's seen that face on the dog.

Good idea!

 

Well, this is certainly not the first time he's not taken my feelings into consideration on many things.  I wouldn't exactly say he's controlling directly, but he tries to in a roundabout way (blaming, threats, guilt).  I even used to get blamed for the dog pooping in the house.

 

I think it IS harder to 'pick a day' when there isn't something obviously seriously wrong, like our paralyzed first basset.  That I don't even know how to do.  He definitely does not seem to enjoy life.  Basically he sleeps, then barks for someone to get him up.  Even our neighbor who only saw him once recently said right off the bat he looks like he's suffering.

 

 

Quote:

Have you thought about getting diapers for him as a temporary solution while you work with DH?

Yes, I tried two different sizes of what the pet store sells, neither one stayed on his bum for more than 20 seconds :(

post #13 of 38

maybe you can look online for some different brands? You might be able to find a basset forum and ask for advice there. You can also use baby diapers and just cut a tail hole.

post #14 of 38

I think you need to back off on the euthenizing part. He has a caretaker who is providing for him and you do not want that kind of resentment against you for the rest of your life.Heck it could lead to divorce. The dog will die sooner than later anyway.

 

I would ask him to get a baby gate so that the dog could only be in certain areas of the house. Doggy diapers won't work because they are designed to let poop out and pee in. Use children's diapers and cut a hole to fit properly. I would advise him gently to give a quarter part of aspirin (whatever it is that the vet recommends) and that it will not hurt but help the dog and to give it a try just in case he needs it and see if he improves.

 

I do think it would be too rough to have a baby crawling around that. The fences at babies r us are on sale often for pretty cheap and you can just prop something up against it or get a fancy one with a door. Like my kitchen dining area and living area are all connected so I got the coral fence thing and just strung it across and weighted it down.

 

Your husband isn't stupid. He knows the option of putting the dog down and he has made a choice, for now, not to go that route and I think it would be best to respect that.

 

As a matter of fact, my husband told me he thought my cat should be put down just yesterday. I told him to gtfo and never walk into my house again. Yes, the thought crossed my mind already of course. I'm not stupid but that's not what I'm ready for yet. But if I had to live with someone who threatened me like that.. it won't go down well and he just lost a TON of faith/trust from me. I was dead serious and he did apologize and has felt horrible about it. I'm sure he still feels the same about it but knows now that's not what you insist on around me. I have no problem dumping him after 12 years for a pet. *shrug*. I'd rather be alone than with someone I can't trust to support me.

post #15 of 38
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:

He has a caretaker who is providing for him 

Maybe it would be different if DH was at home all the time like I was, he works 40 hours a week plus running miscellaneous errands and things.  I am caretaker during the times he is not here, and also in the morning before he wakes up if the dog is downstairs and not in his bedroom.

 

The dog is getting rimadyl for the arthritis that DH claims in nonexistent.

 

 

Quote:

He knows the option of putting the dog down and he has made a choice, for now, not to go that route and I think it would be best to respect that. 

So I need to respect his feelings, I get that and I am trying very hard.  It's been well over a YEAR now.  Why is it OK though for him not to reciprocate and respect my feelings on the matter or take them into consideration?  As mentioned above, I'm actually home with the dog a lot more than he is so I have to watch him live poor quality of life that many more hours per day.

We have talked about it a few times recently, he says he knows it's going to be 'soon'.  I haven't threatened him that I was going to take him to the vet, I said we need to think about it because of all the issues going on now and I said I do not want to watch him suffer like our other basset.  Quite the opposite, I'm the one that gets threatened by him (and now 5yo DS threatens me because he sees DH doing it).  That said, I appreciate where you are coming from on the matter since you also just had a conflict about the same issue.

post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post

As a matter of fact, my husband told me he thought my cat should be put down just yesterday. I told him to gtfo and never walk into my house again. Yes, the thought crossed my mind already of course. I'm not stupid but that's not what I'm ready for yet. But if I had to live with someone who threatened me like that.. it won't go down well and he just lost a TON of faith/trust from me. I was dead serious and he did apologize and has felt horrible about it. I'm sure he still feels the same about it but knows now that's not what you insist on around me. I have no problem dumping him after 12 years for a pet. *shrug*. I'd rather be alone than with someone I can't trust to support me.


Am I reading this correctly? This is confusing to me.

 

post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post

Am I reading this correctly? This is confusing to me.

 


I think she is trying to say that she felt her husband was threatening her when he brought up that the cat may need to be euthanized soon.  And because of that, she feels he doesn't support her decisions/judgement.  At least that's what I got out of it.  Please correct me if I'm wrong, because then I'm confused too...

 

Personally, I trust my husband to give me his honest opinions.  I didn't marry him to unconditionally support everything I do/think.  If he didn't challenge me sometimes sometimes (in a polite way, of course, not criticizing or demeaning me), I might not have the courage to change and grow.  I don't want a man who isn't my partner and equal, though we certainly have different strengths.  But everyone's relationship needs are different.  I have friends and family who are happy in relationships I couldn't imagine even tolerating!  ((And I'm saying this all in a completely non-snarky tone.  Everyone is different, and everyone's needs are different))

post #18 of 38

Because this is a deal breaker, life versus death decision. It's not whether your next car should be red or blue.  It's a deep seated emotional attachment to a living being, not his favorite tshirt even. I didn't know you had to care for him 50 hours a week. I do think your needs should be met then. If he's such a burden I really do think he should be kept in a room where your husband can clean up his messes himself when he gets home. And no way would I want those messes where the baby hangs out! The dog could have a perfectly nice bed in the bathroom or somewhere where there is tile and easy to sanitize.

 

When I very first met dh we lived with his mom who had 7 dogs who were all on their last legs and I was the only one home all day. Most stayed in the utility room where they COULD go outside but usually pooped there. I didn't clean that up but I did clean up the messes inside which were daily. Not all but a lot. While his mom loved them dearly I was the one bathing and brushing and petting them. She was never home and when she was she only took the chihuahuas to her room at night. These dogs were blind and def and no one loved them.. I mean they did.. but just didn't have the time for them. BUT I was young and bored and jobless and I only did want I wanted to. I did NOT have a tiny baby! No way in hell would I let a child into that house. It was repulsive. All but 1 of the dogs died within I'd say 2-3 years and the last one a few years later. And she already has new dogs. It was rough. So I do understand somewhat.

My husband does not help in any way with "my" pets. When I could walk again after giving birth there was poop everywhere!!! I don't think he cleaned their boxes once. I mean ALL over the floor everywhere. I wanted to vomit. But then again my husband is pretty lazy and reality and his brain dobn't coincide together well. He would happily live in a house on hoarders and honestly never notice. So you are going above and beyond anything my spouse would do for my pets! and I hope he at the very least appreciates that!

post #19 of 38

We had a similar DH-with-blinders issue with our one cat.  It was so frustrating to be the realist while DH acted like she was going to get better any day now. 

 

I agree with confining doggy to one area.

 

I will share how our situation played out and maybe you can use some of it to help your situation - What happened with us is I had gone to the vet and the vet told me we needed to seriously consider how we wanted C. to live out her final days.  She was very blunt about how C. was probably in extreme pain and so on.  My DH should have been at this appointment.  Can you get your DH to see the vet for a serious talk?

 

The vet gave me a great handout that had a bunch of questions about quality of life, eating and elimination habits, the pet's interaction with owners, etc.  Maybe you could ask your vet for something similar?  Let your DH look at it on his own.  I really wish I still had it but DH threw it out in a emotion fit.  Our final straw was when C. fell face first into her water bowel.  I saw it happen and immediately called the vet and made the appointment.  I then called DH and asked him if there was any reason why we should not do it.  He came home and finally "saw" just how bad she was.  After some time passed, he admitted that I needed to force him to do it, that he never would have done it on his own. 

 

Could you talk to your vet about pain medications you could give the dog at home?  Something along the lines of morphine or end of life drugs to make him comfortable until he passes?  You wouldn't need to shove the reasons for the meds down your DH's throat, just tell him the dog needs it to make him more comfortable.

 

I have no doubt it is EXTREMELY stressful for you.  I have a friend with a simliar DH/dog problem and she said looking back on it, she is still, years later, very angry that it (the whole stressful, energy-sucking work, the hours put into clean up, etc) robbed them of over a year of a peaceful family life.

post #20 of 38
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately, I can't confine him to one small area, it wouldn't really do any good.  If he pees, he will just lay in it, and if he poops well first it will completely stink up the house horrible like it always does, and he will also lay/step in it and then he'll get it all over his fur like he has done before.  He didn't poop this morning at first, so I left him out on the deck while I pumped.  Yep, then he pooped and walked in it so I had to hose the deck AND his feet off.  Then I brought DS to school, when I got back his back legs were flopped on the deck and he peed, so I had to hose him off AGAIN.  What kind of life, really?!?

 

He is definitely losing bladder control in addition to bowel.  I got him up this morning and tried to get him out the front door as quick as possible and he still ended up peeing on the way out.  Oh, and when I did go downstairs this morning he was laying there with his legs splayed :(

 

The handouts you mentioned, I did send a site with that very information to him.   He didn't mention it specifically but we started to get into a conflict about the dog on Saturday morning and he said I wanted to kill the dog :( (he's trying to guilt trip)

 

He has also fallen into his water bowl, not face first though.

 

He's already on Rimadyl for pain.  I should maybe mention to DH why are we giving it to him if he doesn't think he is in pain??

 

I feel exactly how your friend felt, I'm sure :(  it is emotionally draining.  I swear we have spent more on paper towels and cleaner spray in the last year than on all the vet bills combined.  I haven't even bothered mopping the floor for a while, it just gets peed and pooped on daily anyways :(

 

The only thing i can think of is to ask DH at what point will HE think it's bad enough to take him to the vet.  I mentioned quality of life on Sat. and he thinks his quality of life is fine :(

 

 

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