how does a person prepare for this?

NinapearlNovember 20, 2009

we are reaching the end of this long road. simon, my corgi boy, is almost completely down in the back end now, degenerative myelopathy. even though i wrap his feet whenever we go outside, he is developing more sores from dragging them. for the past few weeks, he has been panting a lot. this disease eventually affects the muscles that make his diaphragm work and i suspect that is beginning to happen.

he seems sad much of the time. his appetite isn't what it used to be. he won't use the cart. he just hangs back at the house most of the time and watches me and pea and ashley, his dane sisters, do chores. he seems confused about why his little body doesn't work any more. i don't see him interacting as much with ashley as he used to. he always gave her a bath, washed her face with his tongue every morning and every evening. i haven't seen him do this but once or twice lately.

i was hoping to be able to get past x-mas but i don't think i can. his dignity is becoming compromised. i talked to my vet this morning, he said he would come out to the house when i need him. it will probably be in the next 2 or 3 weeks.

my heart just aches. simon is my last living connection to to my late husband. he is my heart dog. of all the dogs i have loved and lost, simon is the one who will leave the biggest empty place.

how will i ever get past this one? next to losing gary, this is the hardest thing i have ever had to do.

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Have you thought about a wheel chair? Is it just his back legs dragging or is he having other probelms, because if it is just him draggin his back legs, and he is depressed as a result, a wheel chair can easily remedy that. If there are other things going on and he is truly at the end of his days - there really is no way to prepare yourself.
I would like to know more about your dog tho. How old is it? how long have you had him? etc.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 5:27PM
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Oh Dear, I started crying when I read the subject line. Little Maggie left not long ago to be with her daddy and Flag. I know this will be such another big hole in your heart. Simon misses Maggie I am sure. The 4 of them will all be together. Knowing you , it wont be long before you find another needy soul, you have so much love to give. As your most precious ones leave you find one deserving of a second chance at being a loved pet. Thats just who you are. Gary will be there with open arms for Simon when the day comes. I wish I could give you a big hug right now. Know you are in my prayers.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 5:55PM
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not only have i thought about a cart, i got one several months ago. simon is a corgi, stubborn from the word go. i have tried every which way to get him to use it...everything from clicker training to tough love. he simply will not adjust to it.

his "depression", i believe, comes from the fact that he no longer takes joy in the things he used to love. he cannot go for walks, he cannot run up and down the fence and play with the horses, he has not been able to jump up onto the couch in almost a year. i know i cannot give him human qualities but simon is a proud little dog. these things may seem small to the onlooker or someone who doesn't know him like i do but i see sadness in his eyes.

simon will be 11 on december 1. he came to live with me when he retired from the show ring at age 3. he has been my constant companion and the one dog i have always been able to depend on to climb into my lap, lay his head on my shoulder and cry with me when i am feeling especially sad.

this will sound strange but i thank God that simon was never used as a stud dog even though i had callers up until just a couple of years ago. the thought of passing this horrible disease on to puppies...

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 6:18PM
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lisa, you wonderful woman. your words touch me deeply. yes, simon has been missing maggie, as have i. although he loved gary and gary loved him, he has always been more attached to me. of course, he never knew flag but we used to laugh so much at how similar their mannerisms were to each other! gary used to call him "little flag". :)

i know in my heart that some day we will all be reunited. the wait seems interminable.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 6:24PM
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I don't think anybody can really prepare for it, but we have to do what we have to do;
since our lives are typically so much longer,
it's what we sign up for the day we get a wiggly puppy.

Lisa's words are very kind & very eloquent.

"he no longer takes joy in the things he used to love"

Let him go.

I'm so sorry.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 7:39PM
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Nina...there is no preparing. You just have to do it when you know it is right. And you will know. Its the hardest decision I've ever had to make. I don't relish making it again. but I know what you mean when you said "he's a proud little dog". My little girl let me know when I saw the sadness in her eyes. I knew I could not let her continue to live in pain. I only wish that I had the same option when it gets close to my time. As crazy as it is, when I made the decision, I asked myself if I would want to live in her condition, when I answered was time...and she let me know it was right.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 7:57PM
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thank you, sylvia. i guess maybe i am here to try and validate my decision. i know there are people who would tell me i could manually express his bladder and bowels and that he can still live a "full life" as a paralyzed dog but i do not see where there would be any real quality of life and letting him go with his dignity intact is the most important thing to me.

every dog in my life has been and will be loved with a passion and that will never change but there will never be another dog like my little simon.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 8:03PM
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you can't. But no matter what the cost in pain to your heart you can't let a much loved pet linger in pain and with no dignity left in life either. All you can do is treasure each and every moment that is left for you. Even now, over three years after loosing my Doberman I still miss her deeply, still cry at times when I think of her, but I can smile when I think of her now. And you know what, as heartbroken as her death left me, I wouldn't have missed a minute of the ten years we spent together and all the lessons that she taught me.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 3:39PM
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Think about the time you had with him not the time that you won't have him. Be grateful for that, and do what is best for him even though it isn't what's best for you. That's the last generous gift, being able to take the pain away from him and carry it yourself. I'm so very sorry.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 11:56AM
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thank you, everyone, for your kind words. what makes this even harder is the fact that DM is a painless disease. even the sores on his feet, though they bleed, do not cause him any discomfort. in fact, i can handle his back feet when he is sound asleep and he is totally unaware.

simon's first symptoms appeared one year ago. i knew then that this time would come but even though i have had all this time to think about it, i still cannot wrap my brain around him being gone.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 3:46PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I just read your first message, and don't you want us to encourage you to make the decision you hate? I made those decisions.

The loss hurts, but you are working with sores on the feet, sadness, and a loss of appetite.

Even though I agree with others here who say to Let him go, what does your Vet say?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 12:11PM
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Hi Nina,
I was just about to post about the heartbreak we are feeling when I saw your post. Simon sounds like he is in pain. Our dog was given 2-8 months cause of bone cancer.

On 11/4, which would have been 3 months from the time of diagnosis, we put him to sleep.

Nina, if Simom is in pain, I think it's time.

It was up to us to make the decision between keeping our sweet, big, beautiful boy OR relieving him of pain. We loved him so much that we didn't want to be without him, but but loved him enough to take away his pain.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 2:21PM
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I was just passing conversation with my mom today about the dogs we've had over the years and how hard it was to let them them go. We both agreed it was the hardest thing we ever had to do.

So the answer to your question is, you can't prepare. I can tell you, you'll know when it's time.

Bless you both.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 10:49PM
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sammy, my vet has told me that this will have to be my decision. i understand that and he has guided me through this disease. we know it is fatal, the "right time" is a matter of simon's comfort and happiness level. both are very much compromised.

trisha, i followed your posts about your boy and was so saddened when you lost him. i know this is a kindness only we can give but no, it does not make the decision any easier.

i will spend the next few days spoiling simon even more than he already is. today marks exactly 2 years since my husband's death. simon will go with me to the cemetery and then we'll go for ice cream. i'm only working one day this week, tomorrow, so i will be able to spend lots of time with him.

thank you all for your kind words.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 7:36AM
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I let go of my Eirn last April. I snuck him into our local church and we had some alone time with God. It was a beautiful time we spent together that I will never forget. He comforted me more than ever did him.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:56PM
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I, too lost my little MinPin to the same sad disease....

I went for a long time with her progressively losing her moblity and ability to control herself and she wore a little diaper at the end. You are right about them not feeling anything... that is what the nerve degeneration does. Cinnamon was able to die at home, only because it came to be her "time" on the weekend and I couldn't take her to the vet. I held her and loved on her all I could, hoping she would let herself go while I held her, but she waited until I stepped away while she was sleeping. I will say this... If I ever have to watch my sweet pets dwindle away inch by inch, I won't wait so long... I did it for me, not her and it would have been more loving to let her go sooner.

You will know when to let your Simon go, don't let anyone else hurry you. Just love on him and spoil him all you can for these last few days. My heart goes out to you.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 12:43AM
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my vet will be here at noon today. simon and i have been getting lots of cuddle time in over the past few days, i have explained to him what will happen today and i like to think he understands me. he will get a whole hershey bar all to himself and then i will give him a calming sedative an hour before dr. B arrives.

when i look into simon's eyes, i see nothing but sadness. although i do not think he is in pain, he is sad and has been this way for several weeks. he no longer even tries to participate in the things he so loved to do...walking down to burn the trash, going out to feed the horses. he simply lays up by the deck and watches. the little sparkle in his sweet eyes is gone.

this is not a decision i have reached lightly. i have agonized over it for week after endless week. in the end, i know it is the right one for both simon and for me. the emotional toll it has taken on me is indescribable, my feelings are much the same as i sat by my husband's bedside during his last hours.

i take comfort in the knowledge that soon, simon will be running, on all four feet, right into gary's arms. they will watch over me and save me a place.

my heart is in a million pieces. :(

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 6:48AM
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Ninapearl, I am so sorry.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 9:14AM
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I'm so sorry, Nina.

You're doing exactly the right thing.

holding you & Simon in my thoughts & in my heart.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 1:54PM
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