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At what point do you choose to put your dog down?


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#41 of 113 Paul Padilla

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Posted August 22 2006 - 02:34 AM

Quote:
Unfortunately many vets don't have the guts...

That is not their place any more than an MD would tell you to pull the plug on a human. Although I have heard of vets being that blunt...even in cases where there simply were severe behavioral problems and no medical issues which is unprofessional and irresponsible.

When saying goodbye really is the best/only option a good vet will find a way to emphasize the chances of success that treatment may have or the fact that there is suffering taking place. They really have no right to tell someone outright that the time has come. "There is nothing more that we can do..." is really about as far as they should ever go.
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#42 of 113 Philip Hamm

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Posted August 22 2006 - 05:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Padilla
That is not their place any more than an MD would tell you to pull the plug on a human.
I disagree. If it is hopeless and the dog will never have any kind of quality life, the vet should know that, it's their job. As much as we love them, a dog's life does not equal a human life. Don't string me and fido along like you did with Joe Szott above, just mercifully put it to an end. Enjoy the memories, and there are so many healthy loving dogs who need a home!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Padilla
Although I have heard of vets being that blunt...even in cases where there simply were severe behavioral problems and no medical issues which is unprofessional and irresponsible.
Again, I completely and fervently disagree. There are so many dogs being put down in shelters all over the country which do not have "severe behavioral problems" who would be wonderful pets. All they need is a loving owner! It's better to adopt one of these lovable pets like my Newman and put the dog with severe behavioral problems down. And it's exactly the professional responsibility of a vet to make that call.

Both my dogs were adopted. One a simple adoption from a family he didn't work out with and one rescued from a shelter. I love them very much, but if they need to go I would want to know it.
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#43 of 113 Philip Hamm

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Posted August 22 2006 - 05:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Frezon
The relationship between man and canine can be intense. I was reading back through this thread again the other day and came upon the picture I posted back early on Page 1 and started to get emotional.
It's a beautiful picture. Look at the web site I posted above for lots more like it.
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#44 of 113 Paul Padilla

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Posted August 22 2006 - 07:00 AM

On the vet issue, I agree that being strung along is unprofessional and irresponsible. Part of a vet's job certainly is knowing when there is no hope. That's one thing, but I just feel that they should remain neutral while holding nothing back with their prognosis. IMO it's the owner's unpleasant responsibility to be honest with their selves and make the call. I've had to do it more than once in the last couple of years. It ripped me apart, but I knew it was the right call for the circumstances and I'm stronger for not having the decision made for me.

Many vets are animal lovers and have a large heart to do what they do though they are not always the most knowledgable with behavior when it's not illness or injury related. Psychologically, dogs are very simple and behavioral problems that are not medically related are always environmental. They are also frequently exacerbated by naive owners who aren't equipped to deal with it. (I.e. pit/rot attacks) This is not a reason for euthanasia when there are people and organizations who do have the proper experience who can work with the dog. Find an appropriate home for the dog...then procede to find one more to your lifestyle. But putting the dog down in those cases is a cop out. Both of my current dogs are rescues (through petfinder.com by the way) and both had behavioral problems. One was a jumper which is why he ended up at the rescue in the first place...along with some severe wounds from being mauled by what we assume were coyotes. He had tons of issues when we first got him but after a few months of diligence we worked through them and now he's the sweetest most relaxed dog we've ever had. He didn't deserve to be put down just because of the sad fact that shelter dogs without issues were facing their end. Forgive this touch of ire, but it's not a case of, "this apple is bad so I'll toss it out and get a new one." I'm sure nobody in this thread ascribes to that analogy, but I have known people who do.

Same thing with our new dog. She was surrendered because she has some aggression issues and she had gone after a small dog. Aggression problems with a 130lb. Great Dane are not pleasant but I'm certain that in time given the right structure she will be as easy going as our other dog. It's sad that so many shelter dogs will never make it to a loving home but our girl doesn't have to fear being thrown away. I combat the shelter problem by having my dogs fixed and never dealing with breeders.

I completely agree that far too many shelter dogs never make it out. At the same time, there is no gurantee that a dog from a shelter will be problem free. What you see in the kennels is not indicative of how a dog will act in the home and putting a problem dog down in favor of something that appears tamer doesn't eliminate the possibility of ending up in the same situation. What then? One more try?
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What do you know about trigonometry?
I could care less about trigonometry.
Did you know without trigonometry there would be no engineering? Without lamps there'd be no light.

#45 of 113 TonyD

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Posted August 22 2006 - 12:38 PM

phillip thats a great place to find a dog or other animals that need a home.

my wife and i help saveayorkie and the dog we just lost was the first dog we were foster parents for.
we had to nurse her back to health then and we became attached to her so we kept her.

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#46 of 113 Sunshine

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Posted September 10 2009 - 04:30 AM

Hi there,

I am now struggling with this decision as well.  Murray is my 16 year old Border Collie who is as smart as a whip and could have been a fly ball champion back in the day.  I have had him since he was a 6 week old fluff ball.  In the last few months he has really slowed down, lost weight, is going deaf, has the "blue" eyes and has recently started losing his bodily functions.  Doesn't seem to like to be bothered with anyone but me.  He sticks to me like glue.  His last check up with the vet he said for an old guy he is doing very very well.  So now am I being selfish letting him go on like this?  I think so.  Is the losing of his bodily functions being unfair to him. I don't want to let him go, but I also don't want him to suffer...  he's my little man.  I have had to put 2 other dogs down and it just doesn't get any easier.  I had  2 year old Doberman who had bone cancer and  13 year old Malinois who had a tumor on her spine.   

#47 of 113 Marianne

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Posted September 10 2009 - 04:42 AM

Could you confine him to an area of his own where you can put down floor protection, give him a nice bed and access to his food, water, etc. He might feel safer, especially as he can't see, and he would not be able to come into contact with your child.




#48 of 113 Mike Frezon

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Posted September 10 2009 - 04:55 AM

Welcome to the forum, Rachel.  I wish it was under happier circumstances.

You are right.  It doesn't get easier.

You don't say how long it has been since that last vet visit for Murray (who is handsome, by the way).  I would ask the vet if the dog is in pain or discomfort of any sort. 

Marianne makes good suggestions.  If you can keep things manageable, then it's between you and Murray.

It won't ever get easier.  Each relationship you have--whether it be pet or human--takes on a life of its own.  With pets come certain responsibilities for the owner that cannot be denied. 

The best answer I can ever give to the original question of this thread is, "you'll know.  And the dog will help you with the determination." 

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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#49 of 113 Sunshine

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Posted September 10 2009 - 05:43 AM

Thanks for the reply.  Murray was at the vet last summer and all seemd okay except the old age thing.  I feel in my heart that it may be time....just the way he looks at me sometimes or just stnads there staring at me.....as if he is trying to tell me something.  But all the messes he is making I wonder if putting him a kennel now would just stress him out more?  People tell me I'm over reacting sometimes, but a "Mother" just knows sometimes I think.  And yes he he a very handsome man.

#50 of 113 Sunshine

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Posted September 10 2009 - 05:45 AM

He's okay with the kids.  When they come towards him he just moves.  But they keep saying he is going to die soon right?  So they said they want to love him up.....and I wonder if confining him to an area or putting him a kennel will cause him mroe stress.  He has never been in a kennel in his life.  I won't even put him in a kennel if I go away.....I have dog sitters.

#51 of 113 Mike Frezon

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Posted September 10 2009 - 06:55 AM

I didn't read Marianne's suggestions as a crate or kennel...but maybe confining him to the kitchen (or backyard) if he's incontinent--to allow for easier clean-up. 

I would agree that a dog his age who has never been confined to a crate would think he's being punished. 

If it's been a year since a trip to the vet, he must be due for a check-up.  Maybe you could make an appointment for just an overall check-up--stressing that you are starting to have questions about your elder dog's quality of life and that you'd like help determining whether he is currently suffering in any way. 

If you read back through this thread (and I encourage you to do so if you haven't) you will see a recurring theme that it is not the vet's place to make that decision for you...but a good vet will be able to give you the diagnosis/answers that you need to help you with the decision.  But, after that, all responsibility falls to you--the owner--to do what's right for your pet.  I wish you best in that most difficult decision. 

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#52 of 113 Johnny Angell

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Posted September 10 2009 - 06:56 AM

Rachel, this thread is full of good advice.  I'd advise that you take the dog to your vet again and have him assess the dog's condition.  Directly ask about his quality of life.  I have cats so this following advice might not apply.  Ask whether giving your dog subcutaneous fluids on a regular basis would help him.  The most frequent cause of death in older cats is renal failure (which hydration helps) but this may not apply to a dog.  Believe it or not, you can do this yourself at home if you choose to do so.

Also ask about pain medication, there are some things available for dogs.

When the time does come to make that final, difficult decision, here is what I insist on for my cats.  The vet first gives a shot in the rump that puts the pet only too sleep.  There is only a brief injection, no more than a vaccination discomfort.  When the pet is totally unconscious, the vet will than find a vein for the final injection.  This is so much easier on the pet, because searching for that vein can be very painful and frightening.  If the vet is willing, consider a house call so that your dog is in his home at the end.  Most importantly, stay with your dog all the way, talking to him, stroking him,  and telling him how much he is loved.  This can be hard to do, but you will eventually feel better because you know he was with his family all the way.

I hope I'm not out of line in writing about this, please accept it as advice from someone who's said goodbye many times.

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#53 of 113 Sunshine

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Posted September 10 2009 - 07:32 AM

Yes I've had to say goodbye twice and it was very very hard.  The first time the vet let me come when they were closed to try and make it easier.  Even though it wasn't as she was bawling too.  And the second one was around a time when no other appointments were booked.  I will definately be there for him, I would never let an animal go through that alone.

#54 of 113 Johnny Angell

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Posted September 10 2009 - 10:04 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunshine 

The first time the vet let me come when they were closed to try and make it easier.  Even though it wasn't as she was bawling too.
You've got a vet with a heart.  Hang on to her.


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But a family cat is not replaceable like a wornout coat or a set of tires. Each new kitten becomes its own cat, and none is repeated. I am four cats old, measuring out my life in friends that have succeeded but not replaced one another.--Irving Townsend


#55 of 113 PaddiCakes

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Posted December 11 2011 - 01:47 PM

Im glad I found this forum... Im having to contemplate this very thing.. putting my sweet Lucy down.. She is a brittany, 14, cant hear, can really only see peripherally and has dimentia.. She still can jump on the bed and she sleeps most the time now.. The only time she gets excited is mealtimes.. Sometimes when we have gone and have left her outside, when we let her back in she runs around like a little puppy, albeit sliding into the cabinets in the kitchen now because her muscles are not strong anymore and the linoleum makes her legs splay out some... Anyway, lately when she gets off the bed from sleeping and if I dont let her out right away...she pees.... poor little thing, but I understand being an older gal myself that when you gotta pee you gotta pee... At times she just walks around our house.. you can go from living room to den to the hall and back to the living room in a circle..she does this a few times every evening, we say she is doing her exercise... other times she just stands and almost falls..kind of like in a trance (Im thinking dementia) This is such a very hard decision.. she doesnt seem to be in any pain that I can see... in fact when she comes in from outside she runs thru the den then has to go up one step into the living room and many times she misses (depth perception is gone) and splays out .. but gets right back up.. We cringe when she does this but she doesnt even whimper nor limp afterwards... I know at times she has no idea where she is at.. She still is my sweet little girl, but I dont know if she has that "qualtiy of life" that everyone has talked about anymore... Hell just reading the posts in here tears where running down my cheeks.. My husband and I have been going back and forth with this dilemma...should we or shouldnt we.. I thank everyone for their opinions about this decision ....that we all have to make sometime when we own and love our pets!

#56 of 113 Mike Frezon

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Posted December 11 2011 - 02:17 PM

Paddi:


Welcome to the HTF.  I'm sorry you & Lucy are going through this difficult time.


Incontinence is normal and can be dealt with.  Vision & hearing problems can also be dealt with by dogs who can continue to lead a good life.


You want to make sure Lucy is not in any difficult pain.  This is where your vet comes in.  I read where you write that she sometimes has difficulty with steps, etc.  But that can also be normal.  My 52-year-old knees aren't what they used to on certain days either!  Posted Image  Your vet should be able to guide you with how Lucy is feeling day-to-day. 


And it's not unusual for older lethargic dogs to sort of forget who they are for a moment and start running like a puppy.  It sure is nice to see those signs of life at certain times, right?


My wife and I have one rule of thumb which goes to whether the dog still lifts its head with signs of acknowledgment when you walk into the room.  Dogs are quite stoic when it comes to pain.  Some of them really don't let on when they are hurting.  If only they could/would tell us!  That's why it's important to bring your vet into the loop as you start to ponder this decision.


One thing that is for certain is that it is up to us as the dog's owner to be certain to do what's right.  Unfortunately, the dog cannot do this on his/her own.  It is an important obligation we have as pet owners.

You and your family and Lucy will be included in prayers.


There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#57 of 113 PaddiCakes

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Posted December 11 2011 - 03:29 PM

Ahh thanx Mike for the nice welcome and the helpful comments!! :)

#58 of 113 BrianW

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Posted December 11 2011 - 04:01 PM

It sounds to me like Lucy still has a lot of joy in her life. She doesn't need to see or hear for that. All she needs is lots of love. Keep giving her that, and manage her pain, and as far as she's concerned, her quality of life couldn't be better. Dogs are funny (and terrific) that way. Welcome to the HTF.
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#59 of 113 sasha2smom

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Posted December 29 2011 - 09:41 AM

my black lab/husky will be 16 yrs old january 15th., unfortunately this sat. the 31st i have to put her down. i cannot do anything but cry. i even left work early today (taking my scheduled vacation 1/2 day early). the pain is so unbearable i cannot stand it. i have had her since she was 6 wks old. watched her have puppies when she was 10 months old (oops)..what a great mom she was too. she has even outlived her puppies!! but again the pain is unbearable. i cannot begin to imagine my life without her. leaving the vets office alone. but it has to be done. i keep thinking i murdering her, but i am not. she has cushings, she pees when she sleeps, stands looking out the front door, eating (when she eats which is rarely). she doesn't have normal poo anymore, its ALWAYS diareahha. my poor old lady girl. she has gotten so thin that she looks sway back, which my husband pointed out last nite. she doesn't hear. her eyes are going. but my heart still sees the 6 wk old puppy i brought home in march 1996. if the lump in my throat were any larger, i would suffocate. i keep thinking who am i to decide when she needs to go? but, i think my friends/family have finally shown me, its time. she does not have a good quality of life. i even thought today i will take her for a walk one last time, but wait....she can't walk very good, her back legs are going out...she can barely lay down.... so she has let me know, though she doesn't know it..that its time. well, here i go again...crying....my love for her is just too strong....everyone that has seen us in the last 16 yrs., have commented that they have never seen a dog so attached to their owner like my sasha girl...because my love for her has always been strong from day 1. rest my darling sasha....see you later your mom

#60 of 113 Greg_S_H

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Posted December 29 2011 - 10:55 AM

You have to make the decision and promise yourself never to second guess it. It's not easy, but that's what I had to do with my dog. Before that, my cat died in agony when the vet was closed. I didn't ever want my dog to get to that point. It isn't easy to say goodbye, and while it certainly gets a little easier over time, I won't lie and say you'll be completely fine a month from now. I buried my dog back in August and I still visit her grave most weeks, and I still think about her and miss her all the time. But, like yours, my girl lived to be 16 even though she was a breed that is estimated between something like 10 and 12 years. So, I got more time with her than I had a right to expect. Again, that doesn't make it easier. Nor does saying that I know what you're going through. But, I'm definitely convinced you're making the right decision. She is more than likely hanging on for your sake, and now it's time to let her rest.


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