A tough decision

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ryanb, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    11,763
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan
    We may soon face the difficult decision of putting our beloved dog down. He’s a miniature dachshund that we’ve had for 14 years and he’s progressively gotten worse over the past six months. He’s increasingly having more heart troubles and developed a cough a few weeks ago. He gets winded very easily.

    This morning we took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and said he has lots of fluid around his heart and would’ve likely passed within a couple weeks if we didn’t take him in this morning. They prescribed some medication to reduce the fluid but as a result, he’ll have to urinate a lot more often and could become somewhat incontinent. We have already decided that we can’t deal with involuntary urination in our house and that could be the deciding factor. The vet gave us some meds and said to re-evaluate in a month.

    He’s had a wonderful life, the best we could’ve given him. He has cataracts, trouble hearing, and now he’s having a hard time getting around - especially with the vet saying no more walks. I’ve had this dog around since I was 10yrs old, so it’s very tough to see him deteriorate and potentially having to put him down. As you can imagine, our morning has been very emotional, and we’re now deciding what the best route to take will be. We have decided so far that we’ll monitor the situation and see if these meds can help his heart condition, but feel like it’s just a short term fix as he will never be able to fully recover from CHF. I never realized how attached I have gotten to an animal until now.

    I know y’all have been through this more than I have, but what was your turning point as to whether it was best to put he or she down or continue trying to help them?
     
    PeterNSteinmetz and NHWannabe like this.
  2. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Messages:
    1,548
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    wayne
    When their quality of life gets too low.

    We put our dog down a year plus ago. When knew it was coming, and it was still hard. She was almost totally deaf, having sight issues, plus she seemed to be getting dementia. She had more and more issues, including walking. She loved walks and then just wanted to just go out enough for the bathroom.

    It was sad, but she wasn't enjoying life at that point.





    Wayne
     
    NHWannabe likes this.
  3. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,105
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DFH65
    Just my .02. Probably the biggest mistake people make is waiting too long. Don't keep the dog around for you. Do what is best for the dog. I have had to do it a few times and it is never easy. Currently have a 14 year old dog ourselves and she is getting to that point I suspect this will be her last year although one never knows.

    Generally you will know when it is time. Sorry it sucks but if dogs weren't so awesome it wouldn't be so hard.
     
    jbarrass, painless and NHWannabe like this.
  4. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2019
    Messages:
    1,331
    Location:
    Central NYS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MuseChaser
    I'm very sorry to hear of your poor dog's situation, Ryan. Having been.through that with three of my best friends ever (three German Shepherds in as many decades) and a few other canine companions, I understand exactly what you're going through; it's awful, and there's not you can do to make it better. I'm still recovering from losing our most recent Shepherd two years ago.

    For what it's worth, our decisions as to when the right time to euthanize a dog were guided, as much as we possibly could, by the dog him/herself. If the creature was still finding some joys in life (and dogs can find joy in almost any circumstance), then we soldiered on. When they no longer could, or were in constant agony, then we knew we had no choice.

    I will say we did not let personal inconvenience influence our decisions. "Tinkle Trousers" helped deal with incontinence. I spent many, MANY hours cleaning feces out of fur, bathing large dogs after particularly nasty bouts of diarrhea, clipping matts, carrying heavy dogs up stairs when they couldn't navigate them but wanted to.. etc. It was tough, but after all the love our dogs gave us, I felt I owed then that. When they were ready to go, or if what was required to keep them going worsened their quality of life, then we said goodbye. Not before.

    I know a very kind loving person who put down an aging dog primarily due to urinary and bowel incontinence (the dog's, not the person's), and they regret it to this day.

    Ask your dog. He or she will let you know. There's a great poem/letter written from a dog's perspective hanging in our vet's office wherein the dog asks the owner not to make any "heroic measures" to extend the dog's life when the time to say goodbye is truly upon him. I still tear up everytime I think about it.

    God Bless.
     
    Brad Z, NHWannabe and Ryanb like this.
  5. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    7,764
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    Pets, especially dogs, give unconditional love. And depend on their owners to take care of them. That's one of the reasons it is so difficult to make the incredibly difficult decision you are faced with. I feel for you Ryan.

    But animals tend to be stoic in pain. They don't cry. So you need to judge when that's happening and make that ever so difficult decision.
     
  6. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Land of Savages
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    steingar
    Shouldn't be a hard decision at all. Would you want to be afflicted with all the stuff affecting your animal? I wouldn't. We are the ones who prevent them from suffering, that's our job as owners.
     
  7. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2019
    Messages:
    1,331
    Location:
    Central NYS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MuseChaser
    You can't prevent suffering. Every living creature, human and other, suffers..it's part of what makes a life. Our job as "owners" is to make the decision as to when the suffering makes continuing life unbearable or cruel. That's different than preventing suffering.
     
  8. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Messages:
    3,973
    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jeff Oslick
    Ryan, very sorry about your pup. I went through this with a cat I had for 13 years that went through a variety of medical issues for over a year before I had to euthanize. He's your dog, and you are his, and you just have to make the "right" decision for you. And it may not feel completely right at the time. You know things aren't really going to improve, and the meds are just keeping him going a little longer. The decision really comes down to, are you keeping him going for you, or for him?
     
    biplanebob and Ryanb like this.
  9. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2017
    Messages:
    1,468
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Stan Cooper
    That sucks, Ryan. Every time I lose a canine buddy there's a period of serious mourning followed by happy thoughts of the adventures we enjoyed together. We're very fortunate to share our planet with these marvelous, loving creatures. They don't care if we're princes or paupers, they give us unconditional love.

     
  10. diabolical

    diabolical Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    SE US
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Rebel Flyer
    It can be a very tough decision as I’ve agonized over it several times. But like others have said, your companion has depended on you to care for them and when it’s that time, they’ll appreciate no longer suffering. It’s not easy but never once have I regretted doing what was best for the animal versus what my own selfish motives may have been in prolonging an uncomfortable life. I reiterate: it’s not an easy decision but I am glad that I could be mature and not be selfish when it came to that decision. I hope that you can have the same solace when it comes to that time when your pet and faithful friend needs help in heading across that “Rainbow Bridge”. ( https://petloss.com/rainbowbridge.htm ). This poem helps many people view the tough loss as a temporary stop in eternity. Another website is https://topdogtips.com/rainbow-bridge/ which has some good points on determining when the time is. Prayers for you and your family and the decision. It does hurt but it’s the right thing to do when it’s time.
     
  11. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    11,763
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan
    Thanks all. We’re going to keep watch and see how he continues to react to the meds. This afternoon he’s very perky and we’re happy about that. At least when the time comes, we’ll know that we did everything possible. Will update soon!
     
    Brad Z likes this.
  12. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    11,965
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    eman1200
    I'm STILL not over the death of the dog I had growing up as a kid so yeah, I know how u feel bruh. sorry.
     
    Ryanb likes this.
  13. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    7,360
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pasta Man
    Sorry to hear this @Ryanb - It's no secret how much I value Autumn's affection for me (someone has to, right?) and that it's part of the reason I support @Ted DuPuis's organization.

    Lisa and I just went through this with Jack. He was a senior rescue Golden. Great buddy to have around, and he and Autumn were fast friends. But we found out he had cancer. We chose to keep him as happy and loved as possible until he seemed to be living for us instead of enjoying his life. Sad day when I had to call and make the appointment.

    Similarly, I had a previous Pomeranian named Haley. She could easily be Autumn's twin sister, although I had them 10 yrs apart. Haley had renal failure and luckily my ex-wife was a med student so she got sub-cutaneous fluids twice a day for a number of months. I traveled so much I couldn't help on a daily basis. One weekend Haley's behavior changed considerably. I took that as her sign to us that she was ready to go. I couldn't let my ex deal with the situation while I was out of town, so I called and made the appointment.

    In both cases we spent a few hours together and individually saying goodbye to our friend.

    Losing a pet is a gut punch. It's hard to make the call. But it's important to understand that ending their pain is the best, loving thing to do. Be keen to their behavior.
     
  14. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    11,763
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan
    Thanks, Rob... gut punch describes it well. It hasn’t happened yet, but I already feel it. As of now, his QOL is good enough that we can’t justify putting him down. Eventually his condition will worsen, it’s inevitable unfortunately, but we’re crossing our fingers that this medication will give him another couple good years. He’s happy, playful and perky this afternoon when my two nephews came over, so I was glad to see that. Time will tell, but this won’t be easy.
     
  15. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    3,149
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dave Theisen
    Sorry to hear Ryan. A tough decision as others have said. When we were deciding when we should put our dog down, I initially thought, “he’ll tell us when it’s time”, I realized that’s not the case, a dog is going to hang in there as long as possible to try to please you. Do what is right for him.

    (I must have some dust in my eyes, because that was 8 years ago)
     
    Brad Z and Ryanb like this.
  16. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    3,302
    Location:
    KLAF
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    455 Bravo Uniform
    Ryan, I have one piece of advice - it’s very unlikely that any decision you make will be perfectly timed. For a chronic condition, it will seem to have been a decision that was made too late or one made too soon.

    Some times they “tell” you, other times you’ll just have to make the decision. We’ve had to do this 5 times and it gets tougher each time, not easier.

    We’ve had 2 with CHF. One lived 3-4 years with the condition and showed improvement and good quality of life. The other lived 1 year, and one afternoon suddenly just had a struggle to breathe that was inhumane.

    The blindness and deafness was a tough deal for one of ours. He just paced and could not get comfortable as he aged.

    The house soiling can change, it can be condition-specific, and may be a function of the medication as they try to pass fluid through their system. Lots of trips to go out, 3a included.

    I hope your pup “tells” you, buddy. Feel for ya. I started Pilots & Paws flights after our last loss July 24, 2019, been about 12 pups saved since last July. Still hurts, even after new pup...Mrs. 455BU was going through pics last weekend and had a good cry. He was our longest, 14 yr boy.
     
    Ryanb likes this.
  17. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,527
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ and Ensenada, Mexico
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rgbeard
    Ryan:

    The choice to help our pets at their end-of-life is the task of a God, given, unfairly, to a mortal.

    As you know, I've got a few years on you, and I have more than a few of these experiences behind me, now. That's not meant to be a brag, but instead a credential to my next statement:

    • When the time is right, you simply know it. I don't know how. But you do.

    Knowing it's right makes it no less painful. It hurts. I mean it REALLY hurts. You'd voluntarily slam your hand in a car door to make this other pain stop.

    Once the time comes, the pain doesn't ever fully go away, but it gets slowly better over time.

    Thinking of you and your family, little bro.
     
  18. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    5,303
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Half Fast
    Sorry you're going through this, Ryan. I've been there several times myself with dogs, cats, and horses. It's never easy, but the decision is based on the animal's quality of life, and whether the animal is suffering.

    Pet ownership has lots of responsibilities. Ending the pet's life is the greatest of those, but it's part of what we accept when we decide to own the animal. Try to think of it as a responsibility you owe to the dog. A responsibility to give it a merciful and painless release from life is something you owe your dog for all the years of loyalty and affection it's given you.

    I know that doesn't make it hurt less. Nothing does.
     
    Ryanb and PeterNSteinmetz like this.
  19. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2015
    Messages:
    1,637
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PeterNSteinmetz
    Having seen this situation with many pets and families, I think this approach is the one which the people feel happiest with afterwards.
     
    Brad Z likes this.
  20. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Messages:
    3,997
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mtns2Skies
    Me too and that was 7 years ago. Very, very sorry to hear Ryan. I wouldn't wish that upon anyone.:frown:
     
    Ryanb likes this.
  21. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2019
    Messages:
    64
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    TrueCourse
    It’s tough when they get old with health problems. Ours was 15 years old when we made the decision. He had various issues in the last few years, the worse of which included Atypical Cushing’s and dimentia. There were times where we had hope followed by disappointment all in one week. The medication or supplements (we tried everything) helped but he was probably suffering more than we realized. The vet tried as gently as possible to convince us. Eventually he advised us a little more, then we finally realized he was right. After the fact, as much of a loss as it was, my wife said perhaps she should have done it earlier. We waited two years before picking up another pup.
     
    Ryanb likes this.
  22. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Messages:
    1,211
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Huckster79
    I feel for you brother.

    i know in my area i’ve located an “animal hospice” vet for when the time comes.... they are willing to come to the house and as awful as it'll be, I’d rather have my best friend slip these bonds of life here and where he's comfortable. You may find one in your area and for me it doesn't make me think it'll be any easier, but I'm just more at peace with it that way...

    half choked up writing this to ya, i truly feel for you...
     
    Ryanb likes this.
  23. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    17,846
    Location:
    west Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dave Taylor
  24. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    17,846
    Location:
    west Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dave Taylor
    One item not on the Quality of life scale I posted above above is a thing I might refer to as Dignity, although there could well be a better term. It addresses the issue you mention of excessive urination and urinary or fecal incontinence.
    Most animals have lived a life of tidiness and control; they are stressed out when they ‘can’t make it outside time’ or find they have ‘gone’ in the house. We might try to reassure them that it is tolerable for us, but for many pets it is against their nature, against their years of routine, and the training we’ve given them. Also, pets usually do not like the odor of urine or feces on their coat if they have lived a life of cleanliness. We can bathe them, but there is always a delay. So add Dignity to the math. Finally, I see nothing wrong with including your aggravation or stress in the equation, and without guilt, too. Pets are here for us to enjoy. If a pet is struggling with life, and the owner experiences only frustration, what kind of an existence is that?
     
    Ryanb likes this.
  25. jimhorner

    jimhorner Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    618
    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim Horner
    The hardest thing about owning a pet is getting to this point. Their lives are shorter than ours, and it is extremely difficult to make the decision when to help ease their suffering. You have my deepest sympathies. My wife and I had our first dog for 13 wonderful years, and it was devastating when she developed cancer of the spleen and we had to let her go. She was our baby and our first child. She was a friend to our son and helped raise the orphan kitten we found who was one day old. it was the right thing to do when we made the decison, but it’s never easy. When you do finally have to do it, know that you are performing a service for them to end their pain. Allow yourself to grieve knowing that the grief will ease as you remember all the love and fun you had together.

    We waited a year to get a new dog, whom we have had , so far, for 16 years. She’s blind and deaf now, but still enjoys life. It’s hard to think about, but my advice is to not wait to long before getting a new pup. As I told my sister when she went through the same issues a year or so after we did, you’ll never replace the pet who is gone, but you will fill the dog shaped hole in your life with another wonderful creature and again you will have a friend whose love is unconditional.
     
    Ryanb and Crashnburn like this.
  26. JCranford

    JCranford En-Route

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2015
    Messages:
    2,520
    Location:
    North TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    JCranford
    Sorry about your pup. We went thru that a couple months ago with my old pittie. Only 'up' side was it was the easiest decision we've had to make regarding a pet. She was 14+ and apparently had some sort of stroke (maybe). She would walk in circles and get fixed up against a wall. She would stand at her bowl and forget to eat. The biggest thing for me was when I took her out in the yard she would stand in the middle of the yard with this look of confusion on her face (yeah, I know, humanizing her, but still). Its hard, but dont wait too long.
     
    Ryanb likes this.
  27. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,984
    Location:
    El Paso, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    danhagan
    Ryan, you're about my son's age and we went through this last June. This isn't a dog when you grow up with them like you have, it's like a little brother or sister. The hurt is HUGE ... my wife wants another dog, but doesn't want to go through what we did last year. Ours went on every vacation that had dog friendly hotels and was never treated as a dog. She was well behaved, well trained and the smartest dog I've ever been around. My son drove all night to get home to be with her as she was leaving us ... it was as if she knew he was on the way as she held on until he arrived, he held her for an hour and then she let go. She was in pretty good shape, but I believe suffered a partial stroke. Friend of mine is a vet and predicted a fast event. She removed our constant worry about "when that time arrives" by staying in great shape for 16 and a half years and removing "that decision" from us. Hang in there Ryan ...:frown:
     
  28. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    16,410
    Location:
    kojc, kixd, k34
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Matthew
    We've had to make that decision a couple times. The first time was hardest - I think we were thinking more of how much it was going to hurt us than how much pain it was going to save the pet.
     
  29. bradg33

    bradg33 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,640
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Esquire99
    We are going through this right now with our 10yr old English Mastiff. She's been on a pretty rapid decline in the last 90 days or so, and recently had an ultrasound that showed multiple masses in her spleen and live, along with significantly impaired heart function. She's an exceptionally sweet and gentle dog that we rescued around 8.5 years ago, and it's just killing us having to make this decision. She's still mentally with it, but her quality of life is definitely declining very quickly. Most of the time, she can't stand up on her own, her back legs are very wobbly when she does get up, even a short walk into the back yard leaves her exhausted, breathing is labored, and she has very little appetite. Her eyes tell us that she's not in a good place. It's excruciating to deal with.
     
  30. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2018
    Messages:
    1,980
    Location:
    Copperas Cove, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    LNXGUY
    From painful personal experience I'll suggest this: Do it as soon as you think about it. Don't wait.

    I want to remember my departed doggies as they were and never have to regret prolonging their suffering.

    It's hard no matter what, so don't delay.
     
  31. Skywalker

    Skywalker Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Messages:
    1,008
    Location:
    Novi, MI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skywalker
    We had to put our cat to sleep exactly a year ago today... :( It’s not an easy choice to make and you might ask yourself if it was too early. It’s usually not. Once your dog stops eating, make the appointment ASAP.
     
  32. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    11,763
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan
    Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and input, I’ve read each of your replies and appreciate the time spent to contribute.

    Thankfully, he seems to be responding well to the meds so far. His breathing seems noticeably better, as he doesn’t appear to be laboring quite as hard with each breath and his cough hasn’t been as prominent today either. We’re continuing to keep an eye on him and take one day at a time.