12 1/2 years ago we adopted a lab mix. He was about 1 1/2 when we got him. We also have 3 kids, 13 yo son, 9 yo & 8 yo daughters. About 18 months ago, I took him to the vet for blood work and to find out why he kept falling down. The vet told me that it was DM and to expect it to progress quickly. He hasn't. All the same symptoms and only 1 new one. He is having trouble controlling his bladder. It is obvious that he is hurting. He has trouble getting up and down, there is a lot of times that we have to go out into the yard and lift his hind so that he can come inside. He never seemed to mind until about a month ago and now he puts his head down and gives me that look. I also carry him up the 4 steps to the porch. There is also a lot of times that if you step too close to him that he will let out a huge yelp like you have hurt him, even if you haven't touched him. I am very defensive about it and tell the kids to WATCH OUT FOR TEDDY!!! The kids all know that it is getting close to time to let him go, but they question how I could have him killed. This decision is so hard for me to make and it is like the whole family expects me to do it on my own. I know that I need to let him go but I am afraid that when I do, the family will blame me for the loss of our boy. I need some support while making the choice, I don't need put down and made feel guilty about making it. How do I do this? I am afraid to. Can anyone give me some words of advice? :'(
It's not my place to second guess your vet, but the pain Teddy is experiencing sounds more like a disc problem than DM and could possibly be corrected surgically, although it would probably be quite expensive. The symptoms are similar but DM is generally not thought to be painful--unless Teddy also has arthritis, which is possible at his age. Also, a dog with DM will rarely survive 18 months. (My dog's hind legs got progressively weaker almost daily and were complete paralyzed within 9 months of diagnosis--and only prednisone kept him going that long.) But if you're really determined to keep Teddy alive it might be worthwhile to get a second opinion.
Regardless of Teddy's problem I know it is a difficult decision to make and I wish you the best. I'm facing a similar decision, now that Soc's front legs are starting to give out too.
Just know you will see it in your dog's eyes when the time is right. Explaining euthenasia (sp) to kids is never easy. I have no advise, wish we showed more humane treatment to your own species.. No flames please.
not so much answering your question about how to tell your kids, and needing support - because I would like to think that they are possibly in denial and don't want to believe it is happening. I'm sure a rationale conversation and everyone in the family can be on the same page.
I'm sorry for what you are going through with your old pup - it's never easy. I went through the EXACT same thing with my wonderful old man Ellis. His hind legs started losing strength, he would have accidents while he was sleeping, i carried him up and down the stairs, and always tried to help lifting his bum up when he was standing up, etc.. but he didn't seem to be in pain, and was generally a pretty happy old dog. I was just never sure if I would know when it was time. I didn't want to wait too long, but I definitely didn't want him to leave too early. I spent many many hours laying on the floor with him, just petting him and talking to him and looking him in the eyes and begging him to give me a sign so I would know when it was time... and thankfully he did. I had him at work one day, and at lunch something just clicked in him... all of a sudden he was uncomfortable - I think it may have been a seizure of sorts... I rushed him to the vet where my wife met me and we said our final goodbyes. It was awful.
Best of luck through this inevitably terrible time - and once again, I think just openly discussing with your family is the only way for everyone to understand what is happening...
My best advice would be for all your family go to the vet together & let him / her explain the situation & the consequences of whatever course of action you decide on. By bringing in a 3rd party, it takes the weight off your shoulders & gives the kids less cause to 'blame it all on you'. Hopefully they will be more understanding & accept the decision a bit easier when the sad day comes. Your vet might even be able to put you on to some counselling services if any of you need it. Is this the 1st time your kids have had to face anything like this?.
It sounds to me like that day isn't very far away. I know exactly what you're going through but I had to make the decision on my own except for the advice of my vet. I'm guessing Teddy is telling you the time is near too. I firmly believe dogs know when their time is up & probably accept their fate a hell of a lot better than us owners.
Hopefully you'll all find the strength to get through this but it will be hard. It will be bloody hard.
I am sorry to hear about your terriable decsion.We just recently had to get all black lab put to sleep.He was telling us though.And i am happyier that skeet is at peace now.
The first time i experienced a dog death i was 17 and if i am honest.It ripped me apart watching her suffer that i ended up telling my dad i couldn't watch her any longer.She didn't give us a look and was still wagging her tail when i said by, but she was just to ill to keep her.
My suggestion is talk to you kids.Its never a easy descion and i dont envy you for doing it.But also try telling them its best for teddy
I am sad to hear about your poor dog
I just had to have my 11-1/2 year old chocolate lab Elliott put down because his lungs filled with fluid and antibiotics didn't help. He was suffering greatly.
My nearly 8 year old daughter and nearly 7 year old son insisted on being in the room. It was very difficult but I think that they learned a lesson on life and death. We were all hugging him as he went to his final sleep. I wanted our family to be the last thing he ever saw.
They've asked a few times why the vet had to "kill" him. We explained that he was hurting and was going to die soon, thee vet just made it feel like he was going to sleep.
5 days later, this morning, they are bugging the hell out of me to get a puppy for Christmas. I'm not ready yet and I already have a 10-1/2 year old female black lab.
I'll bet someone at the local library knows of a good children's book that might address this. It wouldn't surprise me if someone needed it themselves and decided to right one. It's worth a try.. The librarian can help