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Posts: 92
I found out my beloved dog Arby has late stage kidney disease in December, when doing pre-anesthesia/dental blood work. I don't think I could be more heartbroken over the thought of my beloved friend being so sick, and leaving me one day soon.

The vet said he doesn't 'look' or 'act' as bad as what his lab work shows. He has lost a lot of weight, though and even with the medications, his appetite isn't what it used to be.

I keep a very close eye on him -- watching for signs of pain or nausea... so that I can know which medications to give.

We are also giving subcutaneous fluids 3x/week. Thankful this allows him comfort and some extra time with me... but it is an almost constant reminder that my dog won't be with me much longer...

And that I have to go through the unpleasant aspect of having him get poked with a needle 3x/week just so he can live on....

And he still does have a joy for life. I love this dog so much. I have never faced the loss of a pet before... never euthanized a pet.

The vets said rarely do animals pass away quietly in their sleep. I do wish he would (of course peacefully and painlessly)... because I don't know how I could make the decision to end the life of someone I love so much and have cared for so long.

Please forgive me; I really don't know when to know and how to cope with all of this.


Posts: 34

Hi  Pawprince.  I’m so sorry that you are going  through this with your beloved Arby.

I’ve been where you are a few times.  Once with my Dakota who had Bone Cancer and just last year with my Murphy when he had Liver Cancer.

This is the hardest decision you will ever have to make.  I know from my own experience  that as much as you hate to let them go it’s harder to see them suffer.  And I think that will be the deciding factor—if your baby is in pain and no longer enjoying his life.  You will know when the time comes. 

For now just enjoy the time you have left with him and give him lots of hugs and kisses.


Posts: 234
As I know all too well, this decision is one of the most gut wrenching and hardest we ever have to make, not only in terms of our animals but in life in general.  Of course, each situation is different, and no one knows Arby as well as you do.  Several friends have asked me similar questions as you are posing, and as a general guide I have come to rely on the thoughts of Dr. Andy Roark, a veterinarian in South Carolina.  He mentions the five things test, that is, when an animal can no longer do at least three of five things he/she loves to, it may be time to think about letting him/her go.  There is also HHHHHMM. which are Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Happiness, Hygiene (the ability to keep the pet clean from bodily waste), Mobility and More (as in, more good days than bad).  You grade each category 1 (the lowest) to 10, and if a majority are 5+ it may very well not yet be time.  Dr. Roark has other thoughts as well, and of course there are other sources, but I like these two indicia as they are somewhat quantifiable, at least subjectively. 

Needless to say, in the end all of these things are just guideposts, to be used in conjunction with your knowledge of and love for Arby.  You are unfortunately on a path that too many of us have walked before and it is a time that none of us relish, yet few if any would have missed, if doing so would also mean that beings like Arby would not have graced and enriched our lives.  You will in the end make the best decision for Arby, because that is what we do, sacrifice ourselves on that altar of love for them.  

Posts: 92
Thank you so much champsmom  and smoothspader. So thankful for your kindness -- and that I'm in a place where people understand.

I'm sorry for the losses of your loved ones... my heartfelt sympathy is yours.  


Posts: 838
I sent you 2 e-mails just now. If you do not receive them please let me know. I would like to communicate with you about Arby having had experiences of 2 losses of kitties to renal failure.

Posts: 92
twinkies mom - I sent an email and thank you all who sent kind words. I will be back to write more soon. xoxo

Posts: 60
Pawprince, I am sorry to hear about Arby.  I first came on this site at the end of January.  I had just had my 11-year-old Aussie euthanized.  She was diagnosed with an oral tumor in September, and I was aware from the day I was told the diagnosis that the only humane way for her to die was for me to have her euthanized.  Because of the type of cancer, dying "naturally" would have meant that she would have either starved to death, bled to death, or suffocated and that she would have been in perhaps severe pain.  I spent nearly every day in the five months between the diagnosis and her death thinking about how I would know when it was "time."  It was torture.  But I also had great times with her in her final months. 

A few things that helped make the decision a teeny bit easier:  1) My family's previous dog died naturally.  It was horrible.  She stopped eating and drinking and couldn't walk and so we had to carry her outside to go to the bathroom.  She looked miserable.  I'm sure she felt terrible.  Her final few hours were spent with labored breathing.  The death wasn't peaceful.  I knew I did not want to have another dog go through that.
2) My regular vet strongly encouraged me to do the euthanasia sooner rather than later.  
3) I used the services of a home-euthanasia service.  The vets there were extremely kind.  One of them said to me that letting my dog die with dignity was a good thing.   
4) My dog was still well enough to go on three walks, eat three meals, and take a nap on the day she died.  She didn't have to go to the vet's office.  It wasn't an emergency.  I felt comfortable enough with the home-euthanasia vet to cry in front of her.  (I don't like crying in public.)

I'm willing to discuss this more and answer any questions you might have.  I really do understand how difficult the situation is.

Posts: 8
Pawprince, first, I'm very sorry for what you're dealing with.

Please see my info about kidney disease on another thread and do not procrastinate to act!

Posts: 69
Hello, Pawprince.....we also had to make the horrible decision you are faced with for our boxer, Shira. I wish that at that time I had read the poem “ From friend to friend” featured on the healing poetry page....I feel it might have helped us to come to terms with things a little easier. Sending you hugs and all best wishes,

Susan, fellow dog lover.

Posts: 92
Thank you, Susan. I appreciate your support. It's a beautiful poem. ((hugs))
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