Abbey will be 13 at the end of the month. She had double ACL reconstructive surgery in both hind legs 7 years ago. Now, the back legs are pretty arthritic and the muscles have atrophy because we don't make her over exert herself and the only exercise she gets is walking out to the tree lawn to go potty and then walking back to the house (she needs to stop and rest a few times on the way back). She's lumpy and bumpy and gets rimadyl twice a day to keep her comfortable. We took her to the vet last night because she has had a horrible case of diarrhea the past 2 days and found she has lost 10 pounds in 5 months. She still eats, not as normally since her sister crossed the rainbow bridge in July, but enough to keep her going. She doesn't have any accidents in the house. I guess I was wondering how I will know it's time to let her go? Everyone says there is "a look" they give you but how will I know the look? When is it being selfish to keep her around? What are the chances that she might just pass peacefully in her sleep instead of having to schedule her to be put down? My vet said that even though some of the arthritic drugs may cause some organ problems, would I want the other effect of her being in pain the last few months? I guess I just want to make the right decision when it's time and help my husband understand that it is the only choice we have. Thanks for your help.
Last edited by my2labs; 10-11-2012 at 12:43 PM.
I too asked the question, how will I know.
In my case, my heart knew the Saturday a week before, he jumped out of the car at the farmers market
and when he landed, he made a loud groan. My heart sank at the very minute.
I knew he was uncomfortable at that time. I will never forget it.
Jack wasn't old, so I don't know how his / my experience rates with yours but as for knowing when it was time to say, to admit, things where going down hill....
for me it was when my beautiful gentle souled companion of 8 1/2 years was uncomfortable and hurting. My heart hurt knowing he hurt. I couldn't let him hurt.
I did get the "look" later in the week. By then, my mind was in line with my heart, it was time.
Go with your heart, you love Abby, you know your girl, trust your heart to the right thing for her.
It is so Hard!!!! We don't want to let them go. For us we knew Max was slowly starving to death from the stomach cancer and he was getting weaker and weaker. We couldn't stand to watch him suffer and vomit and shake even one more day. He could barely climb into the back of my car to go to the vet, and he was always so strong!
I guess if you look at her and you know she is suffering and not enjoying daily activities then it is time. At the end Max didn't really even want to interact with us very much, he was just too sick. When a Lab doesn't want attention or food, you know they aren't themselves and two of the joys of their lives are gone (family and food).
Thanks. Abbey's weight loss has our regular vet a little concerned so when we take Mo back for his final round of puppy shots in 3 weeks, he wants Abbey to come in as well. if her weight has stabilized, he will just give her some love and do a quick physical but if she has lost more weight, he is going to do some blood work. I guess that will give me a good indication on how she is doing. Thanks for the responses. This forum has helped me through so many situations I've lost count. This is just another one of those bridges to cross.
There is never a time for them to go. They are never here long enough and saying goodbye is the hardest thing we have to do.
People told me Kass would tell me, but she didn't. Maybe I didn't want to see it or she wanted to keep fighting the cancer I don't know. I do think when you start thinking it is time something is telling you. There comes a time we have to think are we keeping them here for them or us.
When Kass was sick I thought it would be so nice for her to go to sleep and not wake up. Then I thought, but I won't be with her so slept with her every night trying to cuddle her so I would be there. In the end the decision was taken out of my hands. I don't think we can plan this. Maybe one day we wake up and our hearts say it is time.
Good thoughts coming. Having an older dog is so hard.
Last edited by kassabella; 10-12-2012 at 07:56 AM.
Lost our 9 year old black lab on August 18, 2012, from a brain tumor. She didn't know us anymore. Could hardly walk, confused. Would walk into the corner of the room and could not cognitively figure out how to turn herself around. She would not chew her food, just swallow it. Worst of all she was having seizures 7-8 times a day with medications on board. This fast decline happened within a month of her first seizure.
I was desperate to know what to do. I read somewhere - identify three things your dog loved to do and if he/she can't do them anymore, it may be time. I guess it makes you look at the quality of their life and forces you to ask if you are keeping them with you so you feel better.
It was the hardest day of our lives. Our vet came to our house, which was a blessing. Can't imagine having to load her in the car and make that drive. I still can't talk about it without crying. MY head understood what needed to be done, for Lexie but my heart still
aches and I'm sure it will ache for a long time.
It's really hard - really, really hard.
My best to you and your family. You will make the right decision when your heart realizes what your head already knows.
Her grave marker reads, "IF love could have saved you, you would have lived forever." I'm sure it's the same with you!!!
Im so sorry that you have to make that decision Especially after losing your Cinder in July.....I'm sure you will know, you have to believe that...don't ever doubt your instincts
Missing you every day Summer
It is tough. I knew it was time for my 12 year old Siberian Husky when she just gave up on everything. She didn't want to get up. She didn't want to eat. My parents had to pick her up to go outside and potty. She was just giving "that look"... it's heartbreaking. I still get upset about it. I was in college when they had taken her to the vet to allow her to go to the RB. It has been 4 years already and not a day goes by that I KNEW, I had a gut feeling when I left for college that year, I knew it was the last time I was going to see her. I gave her a extra big hug and a kiss on the nose and I told her that it was okay and she didn't have to stay strong forever. Then she passed away a month after I left. I guess, just follow your gut feeling. Big hugs! Never easy to do.
“The more people I meet, the more I love my dog.”
Having just had to go through this desicion making process and situation 3 days ago, my only answer is there is no good answer. No matter the decision made you will question it, yourself and the timing. I 'thought' i saw the 'look' but really i dont think i did. I can't tell. Tuesday when we had the process done I was really killing myself with regret and guilt. Wondering did I do it too soon? Wondering did I make the right choice? The fact is I feel we did make the right choice. It would be so easy if we knew that exact moment it should be done or the exact moment the dog will feel pain so then we could time it right down to the last minute... but thats not possible. I know I may have been able to have another week with my girl, maybe. But I keep telling myself what if we waited too long and her spleen ruptured and she bled out and was in agonizing pain for the hour or two before it would take her... that would be far worse for me than doing it perhaps 'too early'. Fact is, our girls situation was not going to go away. It was going to happen. There is no too early. She hadn't eaten for 5 days. She kept trying to go be by herself and hide outside. She couldnt get comfortable laying down and kept moving position every 15 to 20 minutes. She wasn't herself. I know we made the right decision and ensured she never felt anything more than some uncomfortableness.
The entire process just terribly sucks and there is no 'right answer' here. Whatever answer and decision you make is the right one for you. I am sorry you are going through this right now. I wish our dogs could live as long as we do.
You are all in my thoughts.
This thread has me in tears..
The more people I meet, The more I like my dog...