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    1. #1
      Real Retriever
      Moby and Barley's Mom's Avatar
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      Jul 2014
      Napa, California
      Thanked: 214

      So my vet had THE discussion with me yesterday. Now what?

      I knew this day was coming - but of course - one can never be really prepared to hear the vet say that "we need to start thinking of quality of life and end of life at this point for Moby." He has had a host of health issues since he turned 12 1/2 from a mast cell tumor, spindle cell tumor, a bout of vestibular syndrome, lately mastictory muscle myosis. He is on pain meds for arthritis, and now the spindle cell tumor is so large that it is outgrowing its' blood supply and is constantly weeping onto the floor. Yet he still eats, enjoys going to the dog park, etc. The vet - who I absolutely trust suggested a last ditch effort of shrink the tumor with prednisone - as it did before. But then - there were side effects of heavy panting, etc. He turns 14 in three weeks. So - I am trying this - but also trying to be realistic. The biggest fear is that the tumor will bleed out because there is nothing that really can be done for it at this point and I am going to have to make this decision.

      Any experience you would like to share about how you really knew? I had thought that when he stopped eating and enjoying life - it would be the time - but this will most likely not be the case in this situation.

      Secondly - my 15 month old puppy has had Moby all of his life (well, since he was 8 weeks old). How best do I handle this with the puppy?

      My heart is so broken. My sweet boy.
      Forever in my heart - Sweet gentle Moby - lover of belly rubs, bacon, and Barbara 9-10-2001 to 11-2-2015

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      knuthf (03-10-2016)

    3. #2
      Senior Dog
      Snowshoe's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Thanked: 3580
      I'm sorry, this is a hard time. I've had that discussion with a couple of Vets, all of whom I believe were trying to prepare me for the inevitable and were thinking of me as much as of the pet in question. In each case, and there have been several, I told my Vet the critter did not act at home as they did at the Vet's. With one exception I delayed that time.

      The exception was our ESS, Whisper, who the new Vet buying out my old one insisted they could still give a quality of life to even though she was 14 and a half and in kidney and liver failure. When my old Vet found out what they were doing he called me at home and practically begged me to let her go and I agreed, we set the appt. for the following morning. Whisper died before we could get there, all alone, at night at the Vet's. She would not have known me, not on any conscious level anyway, there was nothing I could do. But it will forever haunt me that I let her go through that alone.

      I don't want that to happen again but it did when the OH refused to take Ginger cat to the Vet when I said we should. Ginger did at least die at home and while she simply expired in her sleep the last few days showed signs of laboured breathing, disorientation, inability to move, calling out, not eating, just awful distress which I would have saved her from, if we'd done it my way, peacefully in control at the Vet's.

      I'm probably rambling a bit, it's still distressing. I know I might be thinking more of my own distress but I now favour that saying, "better a day too soon than a day too late."

      Only you can decide this. In my experience it's not true they tell you when they're ready. They don't just look you in the eye and say they're ready to go now. Mine have not, I don't think they have.

      One last note. I like to be with my pet in their final moments. I can keep my stuff together, I fall to pieces after. The OH can't do it. I don't let him come with me any more. I arranged to have Jet PTS when he was away, with his blessing. I'm afraid his upset will upset them and I don't want that. We are all different in that regard, there's no right or wrong, only what's best for the two of you.

      Good thoughts for you and Moby, sad thoughts.

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      OHfemail (08-19-2015)

    5. #3
      Senior Dog
      Maxx&Emma's Avatar
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      May 2014
      SE, PA
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      I am so sorry. Although it is the most selfless gift of love we can give our babies it is never easy. I have had dogs that seemingly died peacefully in their sleep, eating well and happy to the end, one that died suddenly less than an hour after a vet visit and have had to make THE choice several times. Thankfully, (for me), it was obvious it was time and quality of life had diminished. No matter the circumstances it is never easy and because Barley is eating well and seems happy the decision seems harder but I would always rather be a day too soon than a day too late. If there is any possibility Moby could suffer an unpleasant end I would do it now. Keep in mind, Labs are very stoic and you may never see the extent of his suffering, I hope you don't. Most of mine I have made the choice for have let me know they are ready but some do not. I am really rambling here, I am sorry, I wish I could give you a magic answer. It is definitely something to think hard on, pray on and to talk to Moby about. Sending you prayers of comfort and peace. Please give Moby a kiss on his sweet face from me.

      As for Barley, all dogs are different and their reactions are varied. If possible let Barley be there whatever you decide. I think dogs understand "the end" and deal a bit better if they know. He may mourn, my Emma mourned terribly when Ozzy died, it was awful. Others have looked for their buddy, been sad for a short time and gone on without issues. Keep him busy and occupied, be mindful of his reaction. Do not hesitate to contact your vet if it goes beyond normal grief.

      Again, I am so sorry you are dealing with this, my heart is broken for you. ((((hugs))))
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      Maxx and Emma Jean

      Ozzy - 10/2002 - 06/2011 - Rest well my sweet boy. You are forever remembered, forever missed, forever in my heart.

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      knuthf (03-10-2016), OHfemail (08-19-2015)

    7. #4
      Senior Dog
      POPTOP's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      Thanked: 6141
      So very sorry. Making this decision is the hardest to do.

      Bandit had a tumor on his leg that the oncologist said if we did not remove, he would be gone in 6-8 weeks. He was 13 and I could not put him through the surgery which would definitely not remove all the tumor, need a skin graft, if it would even take, chemo and radiation. I decided not to put him through all that. We did palliative care and he lived another 8 months before he let me know life was too difficult.

      What I can say is it's better a day too soon than a day too late. Bandit did eat like normal. Don't know how to explain, but he told me that it was time and I knew he was in pain.

      My heart goes out to both of you. Hugs and gentle pets being sent.
      Hidden Content
      Kissing Bandit

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      knuthf (03-10-2016)

    9. #5
      Senior Dog
      Blackboy98's Avatar
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      May 2014
      St. Louis, Mo.
      Thanked: 1380
      As I read this, tears are running down my cheeks, nose running. Cracker had osteosarcoma in the late stage when it was detected. But he still enjoyed his walks(slowly) his cancer was in his right rear leg so he could still do things and showed little to no pain most of the time ( he was on three pain relievers). The last checkup before I let him go, his vet looked at him and said 'start thinking about when it is time'. I was blinded to how bad he really was and she said to not wait too long. Two weeks later his leg broke on his last outing for the night and that was it. Sorry, I had to stop for a while-too many memories.

      There are NO words of wisdom anyone can give you. Use your heart, think of all the GOOD times with Moby.

      It has been said on here so many times- a day early is much better than a day late. I wish I would have heeded that wisdom as the guilt I have is over whelming sometimes. It IS SO HARD TO LET GO.

      Sending MOJO for wisdom and strength and prayers to God to send you an angel to stand next to you.
      Last edited by Blackboy98; 08-19-2015 at 02:46 PM.
      Hidden Content

      CRACKER-My Heart Dog FOREVER 6/10/2005-7/9/2011

      Mike and Gabe--GOTCHA 7/25/2011

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      knuthf (03-10-2016)

    11. #6
      Senior Dog
      Annette47's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Central NJ
      Thanked: 1946
      Hmm ... we’ve never had a vet really bring that up with us other than to tell us that time is limited, and what to watch out for.

      With Scully, she stopped eating suddenly. During the 3-4 days it took to accurately diagnose her with advanced kidney failure she became VERY ill, but up until a few days before that she was doing well for a 15 year old.

      Jolie we knew had a (probably benign) tumor on her spleen. She got progressively less interested in eating and when we couldn’t get her to eat even cheeseburgers (which sustained her over the last few weeks) we knew it was time.

      Mulder was hard, because he never lost his appetite or even his spirit. He had developed seizures over the last two years of his life, and we suspect he had a brain tumor. Always before he had bounced back from a seizure episode but the last time, over the course of a week or two he got progressively weaker and weaker. His mind was completely there, he didn’t seem to be in pain but he was pretty much paralyzed (was getting worse) and incontinent. When it became clear he was getting worse and not better, we let him go.

      With all 3 of them, we had to make the decision for them, and we stayed with them while we let them go.

      Incidentally, I don’t know if it’s just because we waited until they were definitely dying, but the dog(s) left behind always did fine - seemed a little down, but didn’t lose their appetite, didn’t look for the missing one, etc. It’s like they knew what had happened. I was most worried about Chloe because she had never been an only (and we lost Mulder about a month before she had the puppies) but she did ok - maybe a little extra clingy for a few days, but not too bad.

      Cookie (Jamrah’s Legally Blonde, BN) 6/4/2015
      Sassy (Jamrah’s Blonde Ambition, BN) 6/4/2015

      Chloe (HIT HC Windsong’s Femme Fatale, UDX4, OM5) 6/7/2009

      Scully (Coventry's Truth Is Out There, UD, RN) 4/4/1996 - 6/30/2011
      Our foster Jolie (UCh Windsong’s Genuine Risk, CDX, WC) 5/26/1999 - 3/2/2014
      and Mulder (Coventry’s I Want to Believe, UD, VER, WC, RN) 5/26/1999 - 4/20/2015

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    12. #7
      Chief Pooper Scooper
      JenC's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Thanked: 2421
      We never waited for the vets. We were able to tell with ours due to illnesses and restricted abilities that prolonging their lives was only us being selfish for not wanting them to go. We went by recounting the 3 most favorite things of each dog. Neither could do any of those things anymore or had any interest, it was time. We didn't want to let go, but it was time.

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      daisylubob (08-25-2015)

    14. #8
      Senior Dog
      Labradorks's Avatar
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      Jun 2014
      Thanked: 2072
      It's hard, but I think you know. And, in this case, you have to be ready.

      I'm sorry to say that if your dog, especially a Lab, stops eating or wagging his tail, you may have waited too long, especially if the dog is not ill. With Labs the body goes before the mind, and especially the heart. Both of the dogs I put to sleep who were not ill, just old, were joyfully eating and wagging their tails as they passed away. One was nearly 18 and the other was nearly 17. Neither was ill, just unable to get around or hold their bowels. They fell a lot and I feared they would fall while I was at work. One would get stuck and scramble because he was scared and I could not bear that happening when I was not home to help him.

      End of life planning is essential so that you make it the best experience for both of you, under such awful conditions. I ended up doing an at-home euthanasia which I cannot recommend enough, especially for a large dog. I prefer to cry on my own without strangers around, so I felt it was better for me, too. I will admit that with both of these dogs, I made and cancelled appointments several times. I think that is pretty common though. The dog has a bad week and you think it's time, you call, then the dog rebounds, so you cancel. Eventually, the bad weeks get worse and the good weeks are few and far between.

      As far as the younger dog, I have been told that you should let him see/sniff the dog that has passed so they understand they have died and are not coming back. With one dog, there did not seem to be a relationship so I didn't worry about it. However, the other dog was confused and crying the first couple of weeks and to this day gets excited when he sees a dog that looks like him. With the second one and that same dog, I did let him sniff and see the dog that passed (at home) and while it made him anxious (he sniffed him then stressed-up), I did not have the same response. So, in this case, I feel like it worked and it was the right thing to do.

      It's a highly personal decision and you should trust your gut. Sorry to hear you're dealing with this. It's the price we pay for having these wonderful dogs in our lives.

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      Moby and Barley's Mom (11-02-2015)

    16. #9
      Senior Dog
      Snowshoe's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Thanked: 3580
      Yes, I would let Barley be part of whatever turn your path takes with Moby. I have had pets go searching for the missing one for weeks, calling out, acting out, acting strange. Even, in the case of one cat, leaving. Now we hold a viewing, same as for people. I swear, it helps the ones who are left.

    17. #10
      Best Friend Retriever
      outrag's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 2015
      Mass and NH
      Thanked: 324
      I am in the camp of a day early vs. a day late. My experience is pretty raw as I had to put my beautiful black lab (12 yrs 7 mos) down on June 25th. He had many things going on at the end. For 3 mos leading up to it he had enhanced rear end polyneuropathy from the Lar Par along with increased heavy breathing. I catered to him around the clock during these days with harnesses, therapy, medication, numerous Vet consults, tests, etc. Everything started to go it seemed the last couple weeks of his life, with more bad days than good, especially episodes in the middle of the night. I was hand feeding the last couple weeks because he was losing interest. His coat looked bad, he lost weight, and had profuse diahrea off and on. Sometimes they fight to go on just for our benefit. Taking a step back and looking at my situation back then, I can say it was time for him. The Vet offered up Prednisone for a little more time, but with everything going on with him, I chose to end it.

      I had the Vet come to my home after a particularly bad night. He was alert, wagging his tail and lying down peacefully on the living room rug. The Vet said this behavior is what we like to see when euthanizing (vs. a dog incapacitated and in pain). I kept my 8 year old lab in the room, which I think was a good idea. He sniffed his body at the end and put some closure to the situation for him.

      I'm sorry for what you are going through. Many of us here can totally relate. Also, I found myself more business like and "task" oriented during the euthanasia. I grieved quite a bit in the weeks and months leading up to it, and I certainly have grieved and still do after the event. During it however, I wanted it to be as peaceful for him as possible and I wanted to be as strong for him as I could. It was the only way I could handle it; to be more business like and get it done.

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