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    1. #1
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      How do you know when it's "time?"

      Hey guys! Been a member for a while but haven't posted since back when technology got the best of the board. You all have been so good with advice in the past, and have so much experience that I thought I would pop on here and ask for help. This isn't about my lab, but one of my other rescues. Buster is a GSD mix, approaching 13 yrs old. Sadly his hips were never good, and he was likely born with bad hips and battled that issue for a long time. He can no longer control his bowels or urine. At times (very rarely)he goes to the door, but other times he is sound asleep and doesn't even realize he is going potty. When he is laying down, he can usually get up on his own as long as it's carpeting - laminate or tile floor- not usually. He really doesn't have much stability in his hind legs so he can't stand for long periods of time, and times when he is walking his legs give out. There are times he seems disoriented, and others he is sharp as a tack. I know what you all are thinking...but the flip side, he still has a healthy appetite and gets quite excited about meal time. He also still loves his ball and walking around with it come play time with the other dogs. He has never been a fetcher, just likes walking around with his ball. I am really struggling with the decision. I still see a glimmer of life in him, but I also don't want him suffering. DH and I have completely and willingly revamped our lives for Buster. i.e - only being gone for 2-3 hours at a time on errands, eliminating stairs as much as possible for Buster by me keeping Buster with me during the day and DH staying in the den downstairs and hanging with Buster in evenings while I sit upstairs, we wash sheets and towels every day due to the "potty fouls", have him on his pain meds and supplements. I don't want any rude comments, just looking for some guidance. I've never had to send a dog to rainbow bridge before so I am really struggling on what to do. I've prayed that I wouldn't have to make this decision, but it's becoming reality. In my mind if he still has some life in him, I feel like I would be killing him, but I also know I don't want to be selfish and hang on for my own heart. :-(

    2. #2
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      When it was time to let Hudler go, we thought about his favorite three things. Going to the park, playing with toys, going on car rides. He couldn't really walk well, so no park. He didn't play with toys anymore. And he hated the car in his old age. He spent the day laying on his dog bed. He'd pee and poop on his bed while I was at work. Poop was his ultimate pet peeve, hated being near it, now couldn't get away from it. I had to hand feed him by spoon because he couldn't stand long enough, but he was always ready for his meal. We washed tons of potty pads and towels. It's almost as if what you wrote was what we were writing three years ago. In my opinion, better to help them cross when you can still celebrate their life with him. We got Hudler lots of McDonalds burgers. We also had a vet come to the house and help him cross with all of his other dogs around him.
      Jen & Tickle!
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      MontananDakota (11-07-2017), niknak (11-07-2017)

    4. #3
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      Thank you for the response! I've been told to think of his 3 favorite things too. 1. He loves to eat. He couldn't stand so we got an elevated bowl, so now he can sit at the bowl and eat...just the right height. 2. He loves that ball - and still walks around with it at play time, but fatigues after a few minutes, so sits with the ball in his mouth. That ball is the only thing that gets him to willingly head down the stairs "with help" We can't avoid steps completely in our house as we have a split level 3. Protecting me. Even in his frail stage he still does his best to "patrol" and stand between me and anything he feels might be "danger". We bought a set of cheap sheets to put over his bed, put a towel over that so we are always washing sheets and towels. However last night I bought incontinence pads made for beds for kids. Adhesive back on it, so it sticks to his bed, then we can dispose of them if needed rather than washing sheets and towels. I should have invested in stock of Nature's Miracle, Odo Ban, Clorox Wipes, and laundry soap ..LOL
      We have some upcoming trips we need to make, and him being boarded in his stage isn't the best for him. We can't take him with due to the fact he hates change, always has, and his incontinence issues. My mom is very sick in the hospital so not going on the trips to see her is not an option. God, why is this so hard? I can't stop crying, I don't sleep at night.

    5. #4
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      no advice. I know many say "the dog will tell you" but just as many seem to say that wasn't the case for them I think you have to balance their overall quality of life as well as yours. But I haven't had to make the decision (I suspect that time is coming, actually surprised by boy has made it to 13!) but have been asking this question for a year or so now, reading about it and talking to others about it. There is some discussion in the senior section as well (but not sure if there are actually threads just on that).

      Good luck, sending you strenght.

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      niknak (11-07-2017)

    7. #5
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      Having just gone through this I used the advice above-the 3 favorite things. That is when I knew. That being said, there is a lot of merit in seeing that spark in their eyes that says it is not time just yet. Honestly there is no one defining moment sometimes. Love and light to you.

    8. The Following User Says Thank You to MontananDakota For This Useful Post:

      niknak (11-07-2017)

    9. #6
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      Charlotte K.'s Avatar
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      I appreciate how hard this is. For stability, a vet recommended Toe Grips. ToeGrips | Non slip toe grips give dogs traction to stop slipping on floors
      We did not get to use them as our Justice developed more serious issues. They might help with sliding on slick floors.

      As for visits, can you train a trusted pet sitter to stay with him? Maybe a vet assistant from the hospital you use would know someone or a team of helpers willing to work as a doggie hospice caretaker while you are gone. I did it for a 14 year old dog over Thanksgiving years ago. He was not ready to go, and he had a few more good months before he just did not want to eat, no matter what the owner and her vets tried.

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      niknak (11-08-2017)

    11. #7
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      He is a lot of work to take care of and I don't know that I trust any sitter to care for him the way we do. I worry someone trying to help him up may hurt him, not intentionally of course, plus I am kind of weird with people in my house I don't know (I live out of state away from family, etc). I've seen those toe grips too and read about them - just had seen mixed reviews and to be honest never purchased because I have been battling with the "how long will he be here with me" debate. He started noticeably going down hill about a year ago but keeps hanging in there. I'm even buying his pain meds 15 days at a time instead of a month at a time - guess I feel like I am being non committal. DH feels it's time but I am just not feeling it. Hope my heart isn't getting in the way of what is right for him.

    12. #8
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      Something I've learned is to watch how the dog is when you are not with him. Hard to do, but a visitor or doggy care giver maybe can tell you. I have found our pets seem much better with us near them. Just as people in hospital rally with visitors, our pets rally with us around them. Then, how much of the time is the dog with you?

      I'm sorry you are at this time.
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    13. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Snowshoe For This Useful Post:

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    14. #9
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      annkie's Avatar
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      This is very tough decision. I had to make it last December. Jules also started with the bad hips (arthritis). He was on meds, etc. Was also losing his stools but not urine. He would get a waggy tail around us but that was just his nature really. The only time he wasn't happy was when he was EXTREMELY ill and we took him to emergency for stomach issues. So unfortunately that is not a good indicator of how much pain they can be in. What sealed the decision for me was eliminating some meds to see how he really was. Because with meds he seemed a bit blah. Not lively like himself. But without meds he cried when trying to stand. Then I looked at his life. He spent most of it laying down on the rug. He'd go outside to sniff around for a few minutes and that's about it. He couldn't go on walks anymore. He had oozing sores on his elbows from laying around so much that never could heal. So, pain + lifestyle just did it for me. It was awful. I'm not gonna sugar coat it. He was my first dog and that decision is incredibly difficult to make. I still think about him every day. You do what you can for them. And when it's time to say good bye you do it because that's what's best for them. And you stay with them to the end and tell them it's ok.

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    16. #10
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      Thank you all for taking your time to give me some guidance. I am sorry for all your losses and understand just how difficult this decision is. We initially were intending on making "the appointment" this weekend, but I just don't feel it's time yet. Snowshoe - you asked how he is around other people and how much time we are with him - to kind of see. I work from home so I am home with him all day, and other than quick errands, we are with him 24/7. One wonderful moment is while my mom was here visiting in late August/Early September, she had the onset of her being gravely ill. Of course we had no idea how sick she was but my old Buster did. He did NOT leave her side/would not leave her side. He normally lays in my office with me all day, but when my mom was here, the other pups would lay in my office, while he stayed in the living room with my mom. She is not a dog person by any means, so I would "escort" Buster to my office, and he immediately would turn around, hobble down the hall back into the living room by my mom. When she got up, he got up. When she was sitting in the recliner, he was under her. Even in his frail state he was still so protective of her. She tells this story to all her medical professionals. Maybe there's still hope for her becoming a dog person :-)

    17. The Following User Says Thank You to niknak For This Useful Post:

      SunDance (11-10-2017)

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