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Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

Posted by wjsmall (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 17:35

I posted here 8 months ago about our old dog - even then, we were aware that she was not in good shape and were beginning to think of putting her down. Fast forward eight months. We still have our girl but know the time is fast approaching when we will have to say goodbye to her.

Our now 17 year old Jack Russell is almost completely deaf, quite blind, and suffering from canine dementia. She poops and pees in the house with abandon, no longer recognizing that she should be doing these outside. Thispooping/peeing in the house has gone on for 2+ years. She can walk but her gait is unsteady, and she can no longer navigate the one step we have going from inside to outside. We have two other dogs who pick on her so she needs to be separated from them. And she barely acknowledges us and rarely allows us to pet her. Her day is pacing, sleeping, eating (which she still loves), drinking, and pooping and peeing in the house.

Both my husband and I know it is time to put her down. We live in the NE and there is no way she could handle another winter. Our floors are being refinished in two weeks and we all have to move out for 24 hours. The two younger dogs can be boarded, but this poor old dog would be traumatized by being sent to the kennel. Two years ago we took her to the Adirondacks and she was traumatized the entire time because it was an unfamiliar environment, even though she used to love it there when she was young and healthy. A kennel stay would do her in.

So we are thinking of putting her down in the next week or two. I am already guilt-ridden and feel as though I am betraying her - what right do I have to choose to end her life? Her life is not a good one - when she was younger she was a dog who truly loved being a dog - there is nothing left of that dog - but I still question whether I have the right to make a life and death decision.

I am obviously struggling and would love input form others who have been there. Thank you.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

I am so sorry you have to go through this, I know how hard it is to make that final decision. It would be so much easier if we could only ask them what they want.


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

Yes, one is going to struggle with this decision, as it is a huge one....and everyone has a different opinion on it. You have provided a great life for this pup, and as you have stated, the quality of life is no longer there. I believe you are truly doing ur friend a favor. Yes it is not a fun decision, nor a fair one, but it is the right one. Especially how traumatized she could be if you have to kennel her. Hang in there, I know its a huge decision..even if it is the correct one.


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

I'm with airforce guy, we had our much loved 16 yr old collie cross put down two years ago and not a day goes by that I don't think of him. It hurt us very much to let him go but it really was the kindest thing to do, he was no longer a happy dog, he would wander outside to do his business and forget why he'd gone outside. We would feed him and he would go back to his bowl 10 minutes later begging for more food, having forgotten he'd already eaten. With the benefit of hindsight, we really should have let him go months earlier but we were selfish and didn't want to let him go and I regret it to this day. I only hope that you find the strength to say goodbye sooner rather than later. Give her a huge hug and let go peacefully.


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

I feel if you're not certain, you shouldn't do it yet. My vet said it is just unmistakeable when it needs to be done and he was right. The pet will tell you. The life literally goes out of their face and you can just tell. This happened with both my dog and my cat and I just knew it was time. It was an awful experience, my heart goes out to you. Put off the floor refinish and try to keep him in a small space with lots of newspapers.


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

I'm so sorry.

'we really should have let him go months earlier but we were selfish and didn't want to let him go and I regret it to this day.'

exactly.

Animals aren't capable of 'telling' us when their lives are more burdensome than joyful;
they just don't have that capacity.

& while we're waiting 'to be sure', our animals, stoic by nature so that they don't give a hint of vulnerability to predators, are suffering.

By the time they 'tell' us, they're so miserable that they just can't mask it any more, & they've been miserable for far too long.

As zqnmegan said, it's far worse to feel guilt & regret because we've let it go on too long than to feel sadness because we did what we signed on to do when we got that pet in the first place.

It's our job;
better to do it than to torture ourselves with indecision & to let our beloved pets linger on in a miserable half-life.

Again, I'm sorry that your dear pet is at the end of her life here, & I wish you strength & grace.


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

Putting down your old down is a hard decision for you to make because you love your Jack Russell so much. He was with you for 17 years and it's not easy to forget all the bondings and the memories that you have shared. I just hope you will make the right decision.


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

I feel it's not so much a right, but a responsibility. Your well-loved pet is counting on you to take care of her - feed her, water her, care for her - and that includes letting her go when her quality of life significantly declines.

I understand feeling guilty about doing it when you believe she can live a few more weeks or months. But with the impending disruption to her life, now is the time. Knowing how miserable she would be away from home, it makes sense to spare her that pain, confusion, and distress. Let her go in peace.

Before we euthanized our 13-yr-old arthritic lab, all I saw was an old, feeble, skinny dog who needed to be carried up and down the stairs. After he was gone, I remembered him as a young, healthy, active dog who could swim for miles, leap into the air to catch a frisbee, and carry his leash in his mouth to take himself for a walk. I suspect you have the same sorts of wonderful memories of your dog.

Hugs to your pup and your family.


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

No matter how much it hurts, it sounds like it is time to let go.


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

Thank you for all your thoughtful replies. This morning my husband found her sleeping on her bed which was urine-soaked - she had gotten up, peed next to the bed, the bed absorbed all the pee, and she was sleeping in it. This is the second time in a week or so this has occurred. This is no way for a once vibrant dog to live. We have decided to put her to sleep next week - to let her go before things become so bad that she is in true pain/distress. :-(


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

Only you can judge if she still is enjoying life (overall) vs just enjoying eating.
I remember putting down the first dog I ever had that lived long enough to need to be put down (farm life can be hard), it was a traumatic experience, but there was no doubt in my mind that life was terribly hard on him, when it took 3 or 4 tries to get up and get down again, with falling in between. I cried every time I thought of the dog for months. To top it off, my mother fell terminally ill shortly thereafter, and probably sometimes I didn't know who I was crying for.

I also (personally) believe that you shouldn't let it go on so long that you're regretting the dog (which I would be after 2 years of poop and pee). You should let go while you still love and respect the animal...not try to keep it beyond that point (again, that's a personal evaluation).


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

It's time. You look her square into the eye while the euthanasia is being administered and hold her hand. It's peaceful for your dog and for you.

Your vet will give you all the time you need to stay with her and my advice is to tuck her tongue back into her mouth and take as many minutes as necessary to be with her.

You're doing the humane thing. When a dog doesn't recognize you and cannot control its bowel movements and won't go outside, she's telling you that it's time.

All my blessings to your family.

Dax


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

i'm so very sorry you are facing this decision. without a doubt, it is one of the hardest things we will do in our lifetime.

when the time comes, hold her in your arms and as she drifts off to sleep, let the love in yours eyes be the last thing she sees.

(((hugs))) i have been through this too many times to count and i often ask myself why i continue to bring new dogs into the fold. i know it is because i treasure them, no matter how long or short of a time they are with me, and to not have them is to not experience the love, companionship and sheer joy they bring to my life.

wishing your girl a peaceful journey. you will see her again some day.


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

wjsmall, I understand your suffering, I'm the one writing about my cat having seizures since Wed. and I'm already considering euthanasia, partially because the vet brought it up... I guess I'm wondering why we are responsible for this, as we keep people alive at all costs, so why is it with animals we have to be the one to pull the plug, it doesn't seem fair... I wish they could just peacefully die in their sleep before it gets too bad.... my last dog had several seizures in a day, we found cancer had metastized in his lungs, it was all very quick and we put him down. I only realize now how that was a blessing because it was quick, hard as it was at the time. good luck with your dog... you'll do the right thing


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 19:52

Belladom, having lost my mother last year to COPD and related complications, and having her in such bad shape that she couldn't eat for a month, drink for more than 2 weeks, and talk for three weeks. In which case she broke her leg trying to get out of bed (no idea why...since she couldn't talk)...it was a relief for us (and no doubt for her if she could have understood) when she finally passed.

I wish our country allowed MORE of 'I'm ready to die now, vs continued suffering' for people. Of course, I wish pets could understand and tell us it was their time too.

It's a horrific thought to think about...but the flipside is also pretty horrific.

This post was edited by dbarron on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 19:54


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

barron... My mother was diagnosed at 85 with cancer and died at 86, my dad had congested heart failure at 91 Both were relatively healthy till the last months... I'm glad I didn't have to make the decision for them... but had it gone on for years that would be different... It was a relief when they passed because they weren't who they once were but I think a little time of aging is normal, even healthy and helps us let go too ... there's a fine balance... Back to animals I think if they are in pain or unable to function then it's time... but often it's this in between phase that is painful and uncomfortable .... it usually doesn't last long with animals but seems like it does...


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

my husband fought a valiant and painful battle with kidney cancer for 21 months before he died. while home with hospice, i had enough morphine on hand to kill a herd of elephants. i am thankful that he never asked me to do "it" because i'm not sure i could have said no.

when it comes to my animals, i always make a list of the things they really enjoy doing...car rides for ice cream, going for walks, taking the trash to the dumpster (don't ask me why but every dog i've ever had relished that!), climbing up onto the couch or jumping up into bed with me...when i have to cross these things off the list, i know it's time. that is the only way i can make peace with myself when i say good-bye to them. *sigh*


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RE: Putting my old dog down - Need wisdom

I am so sorry to hear your story. Our current dog is only a year and a half old and I'm already dreading that day. You should not feel guilty or feel like you are betraying her.

Pets don't have the option to make these decisions for themselves. They fully rely on us to decide what food is healthiest for them, to give them their medications, to protect them.

You are doing this out of love so that she is not in pain anymore.

Will be thinking of you guys.

Michaela


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