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Posts: 2
I'm finally seeing the signs in my 15 year old shih tzu. I don't think it's immediate, but I know it's going to be this year, and my heart is breaking. She is really incontinent now - today she had two accidents, and yesterday I came home to find she'd peed in her bed and was lying in it. She still eats like a champ, she runs in the apartment, but her hips are very bad and she loses her footing outside. She still has life in her eyes and seems to be a happy little dog despite her limitations. She is going blind and sometimes runs into the wall. She is deaf now too. A pet psychic told me recently that I will have to decide, and that she is very spirited but eventually parts of her will just break down.

I genuinely don't know how I will do it. I can't imagine life without her. I got her from the SPCA when she was three - she had been there for a month, a long time for a small dog. She was very fearful and ran away when anyone came up to the kennel to see her. I knew I could win her over so I brought her home. She immediately ran under the bed and hid. I coaxed her out and she was my buddy at that moment.

She is my first dog and like my child. I don't like to leave her now because I know the end is near. It's probably not healthy but I'd really just rather spend time with my dog on weekends.

I guess I'll know when the light goes out of her eyes. But I think it might be the worst moment of my life. I honestly believe she was given to me and I to her. I guess then if that is true, she will have to go and that will be fated as well. But coming home and not having her there ... I just don't think I'm going to be able to handle it...


Posts: 86
Hi Holly,
I don't come here often anymore but I have been missing my babies so much lately that I wanted to come in and see what others have posted.  I had two Shiztuz's, Tipps and Candy that I lost both in 07. Candy died in May from congestive heart failure (at least that is what I think it was, I don't think the vet even knew) and two weeks before he turned 15 we let Tipps go to the bridge.  We knew the time had  come to let him go.  He was almost totally blind and deaf and he didn't even bother going outside to use the bathroom, he would just go on the floor.  He developed something that I guess was a collapsed trakea and I would give him prednizone every morning, and that helped, but we were just so afraid of what might happen if we didn't do something.  It was the hardest thing I've ever done to have to take him to the vet that last time, but we loved him too much to let him keep going.  His quality of life had just gone out and it was just so sad to see him going down more everyday.  That is one of the main reasons I'm not going to get another dog, their lives are just so short and the pain of losing them is just more than I can take again. Losing my babies was the worst pain I have ever had to go through.
When you decide the time is right, just remember that you love your baby so much and that is why you are doing something that is going to cause you so much pain.
It's just part of loving something that much.

Posts: 5,100
I am so sorry you little girl is beginning to suffer from incontinence, blindness and deafness.  But, I have to tell you that my little minpin, Ralph, has been slowly going blind, deaf, has some arthritis, and has had periods of incontinence for the past couple of years and he is still going strong!   My vet thought he was going to pass four months ago from a severe bout of diarrhea but he rallied and recovered.   He is now 16 years and 8 months old.

Yes, it is clear she is aging.  But, you say she is still running in the apartment and has light in her eyes.  As we say in medicine, "Don't start hanging the crepe yet."  In other words, don't assume the worst, don't assume it's over.   Live each moment as fully as you can with her.   Play up her strengths.   Carry her around and sing silly little ditties to her.   Ask the vet why she may suddenly be incontinent.   Is it true incontinence, or is she simply having trouble making it to her piddle pad (or out the doggie door)?  Does she have a urinary tract infection?

I had to put my beloved little 16 year old terrier, Betsy, to sleep 4 months ago after a long battle with dementia and muscle weakness.  WooWooWoo, my member name, is a tribute to her joyful little yodel, which the dementia eventually silenced.   Saying farewell to her was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.   As time went on, I just knew we were getting closer and closer to the end.  In her last days, she could still eat if I hand fed her, but she had difficulty standing unassisted.  I just knew she was tired.  Her little eyes were almost blank, but she still gazed deeply into mine each time I held her.   Saying goodbye will break your heart, but in the end I knew I had to put her needs above my own.  I had to let her go with the angels.  I have no children, so she was a doggie daughter to me.

Have you asked your vet for his or her input?  Sometimes they can provide guidance, but it will always ultimately be your decision.

Please keep me posted.  I know just what you are going through and can provide some support for you.

Betsy's forever mom

         My Beloved Betsy Noodle
           Forever in My Heart
           Always On My Mind

Posts: 1,604
There are many of us here, I'm sure, who've felt that way; I know that I did, when my Merlin (cat) was diagnosed with kidney failure.  He was my special one; how could life possibly be without him?? 
 Merlin moved on to the Bridge a few months later, and I cried every single day for months - but I survived. I even felt great relief at one point, when I was visiting my aged parents and a tornado went through somewhere between their house and mine (miles apart).  I knew relief because it suddenly occurre to me that Merlin is safe!  Had the tornado struck my house, he was safe!  No matter what happens on Earth (and there can be much, as we see in the news each day) Merlin and my others are safe!  What peace lies in that knowledge!

And so it will be for you when your friend moves on to Eternity, where she'll be whole again, happy, and safe.  Your heart will hurt beyond belief - but that will pass.  And it will be your pain alone, none of it hers.

It's incredibly difficult; healing takes time - but it does occur.  For now, tell her each day how much she means to you; tell her that you'll always be together (for you will be); tell her that, at the Bridge, she'll be young again, and whole and happy.  Tell her everything you want her to know; we are not always granted the blessing of time to say what's in our hearts.

May the Creator of All bless you with faith and strength and peace.

Posts: 1,328
Holly--I can relate to your post. I lost my gorgeous calico, Puffy, in January to kidney failure. I have 3 others with chronic problems. They are slowly going down hill, each one.
The youngest is going on 14.
I bought "cat paper" --trade name-- (it's for dogs/cats) from a company in Brooklyn. It absorbs amazingly well and without odor. Maybe put pieces (you can buy it in a roll or pieces) around the house--the areas she might go. I used to put it around the litter box to catch pees outside the box. It absorbs alot of urine.
My Puffy was partially deaf, my husky is (it's getting more pronounced) and my little diabetic is blind in the one eye.
I guess you have to take it one day at a time,as the old adage says. Don't look too far ahead, that creates more anxiety and worry. You are a good mom to her and I'm sure she knows how much you love her.Take care.


Posts: 282

I remember quite awhile ago someone had posted something that I still go by.

Pick out 3 things that your baby likes to do and when they stop doing those it might be time to let them go.

It still sounds like your baby is overall happy and still fighting. Give her as much love as you can. She might surprise you. Shih Tzus are small but sturdy dogs.


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