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Posts: 8

I may already know the answer to this… but it would really help if some more dog owners confirmed. OR said no wait… 

Some history.  Sorry this gets long but might be needed.
Ok, my lab/husky/sheppard mix is about 14 now.  Her sister had to be put down last year.
We all thought this one, Little Bear would be the first to go since she's already had a huge growth removed off her back and numerous sebatious cycts taken off here and there over the years.  But she's the trooper here.

Well… she had one of those nasty growths on her head.  Vet didn't want to remove it because of her age but it go really bad, open, ugly, and bugging her.   Also she started having, oh mini strokes, or siezures, not sure which, she would just knock out and a few min later come out of it.  We called off this surgery once because of that. My husband and I decided to try.  Either she would die on the table, not really a bad way to go, or would come home better.

Good news, she came home… and though recovering from anesthesia took looker than usual due to questionable liver function, she made a full recovery.   AND those mini episodes stopped.  That was a year ago.
Another one of those growths was already forming on her side.  Vet didn't want to take it off at the same time because she was already under too long.   So we left it be.

Well it's now really ugly.  Open wound, about a half dollar size around, onstantly draining.  She's licked the fur around it clean off so obviously bugging her.
Still the vet said at her age just leave it.  It's not life threatening.  
She's been steadily losing weight and muscle tone.  Her back legs have shown weakness for awhile.  This is not my first dog so I know that much is just age and arthritis. She's been getting prescription food added to her usual dry since she's been eating less and losing weight.  (She's skin and bones now… at one point she was overweight.)  

About a week before Christmas she got an infected and impacted tooth.  Off to the vet again.  My vet wanted a dental X ray but didn't have the equipment, called one who did but couldn't fit me in till Jan.    Meanwhile I asked about supplements to help with the liver and got some… and asked about getting her on antibiotics.   
By Jan the mouth was much better though still not "fixed."  Still draining white goo.  The vet with the x ray machine still didn't want to put her under but we did a new liver test (previous one was a year old) and her liver had actually improved.  Still he said sometimes antibiotics can resolve an infected tooth… she's done two rounds of them.

Now it's March… she's been off antibiotics for awhile and I can tell her mouth hurts.  She's got swollen jowls and worst of all she doesn't want treats.  VERY unusual for her.

I took her to another vet this week who really wants to remove that growth. Said her liver isn't as bad as I thought and they have the best protocols and blah blah.  (I don't really trust this guy.  longer story there.)  
We decided to go ahead and deal with the teeth. Leave the growth.  Get her mouth feeling better so she can eat, and maybe after putting some weight back on we will deal with the other thing.

BUT…   Now I don't know if it was a day in the car, and two different vets offices that just over stressed her, or the now assortment of meds the second vet gave me.
gabapentin, galavpr??? (I can't read my own notes sorry.) cindamycin (antibiotic) and one more I still have to pick up tomorrow for pain. So she hasn't had that one yet.

Well today I simply cannot get her on her feet.  She doesn't even want to try.  Sometimes a little help, especially in the morning is all it takes.  Wobbly but still eager to "go outside."  not now.  She just looks at me.  
I always said when I don't see the twinkle in her eye it's time.
Well damn, I see the twinkle, but that's all.  I have to put the food and water bowl right under her nose for her to eat and drink.  She can't get up.  Just soils herself in place.

But that darn twinkle.   

I  have had dogs, including her sister, give me the look like come on.  It's time.  It's still hard but it's ok… it's time.

This one is killing me here.  I still see the spark in her eyes but she can't be having much fun and there's no cure for old age.  (Though perhaps the teeth, and maybe the other thing… depending.) 

Last point… she DOES have feeling in her feet. If I just brush her toe hair she will move her leg so it's nothing like nerve damage or anything.   Muscle loss and possibly pain.
Should I give this a few more days?  See if these pain pills and others help some? See if we can get her teeth worked on this Monday as planned?   
Or is this cruel?   Time to let her go, even with the twinkle still in her old eyes?

Anyone been through this chime in.  Husband just says do what I think is best. 
Not really helpful.  



Posts: 10

Hello ArtMaker, I'm really really sorry for this situation you have to go through. I can only say that I understand you, something similar happened to my dog, he was weak and could not stand up by himself, we had to bring him his food and water to his face, he had an ugly wound that I managed to keep clean and to almost cure. So I did not know if it was okay to let him go because he ate with joy and tried to get up. But in my case, my dog could no longer stand up (there was no cure for this) and he looked in pain and tired (he could not sleep well). So we ended it all. In your case, since you see your girl with this spark and there are things that can be fixed.. You can try and fix these things that are bothering her, see if that helps. Talking about meds for a second, the vet told me some meds help cure something, but end up destroying another thing. Have this in mind, she can be okay now but end up badly the other day and it's not your fault and it can't be fixed. It's just how this works, and more with old dogs...

Do all you have to do, if you see there are things you can fix and they can help improve her quality of life, then go for it! But if her quality of life just gets worse or stays in this state even with these extra cares... I don't know if it is going to be worth it. I hope that whichever decision you take, you don't blame yourself and you accept that it was the best you could do for her.


I hope to read more of you soon, and see how you are d
oing. Goodnight!


Posts: 580
Dear Artmaker,
I understand where you are with your baby's care. My Termy was just over 16 when he started that down hill spiral that comes with old age. He was still mobile but very weak and often stumbled, couldn't jump up on the chair or bed for a few months. He to still had a spark in his eyes but his body was tired. When he refused to eat anything, especially his favorite (cheese) for a few days and then refused to drink I knew it was his time to leave me. I made that heart breaking decision to let him go. He wore pee wraps for months and always seemed tired. There comes a time when we have to think of their quality of life when old age catches up with them. Only you will know when it's time to say good bye. do what ever your heart tells you to do and listen to Little Bear, she will tell you when her time has come. It will be a look, no words spoken. You will be there for her. For now trust your heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you. It's hard and I am sending you my support and love.
Love and doggie hugs
Termy's mom

Posts: 8
Last night was just heartbreaking. She could not stand, didn't even want to try and really looked for the first time in pain when I tried to help her. (Animals sure do try to hide pain don't they?)  We had a long conversation about how we could put an end to this any time.  (It's spooky how some dogs seem to understand every word.  You dog owners know what I mean.)
So I put some paper towels by her leaky end and just let her sleep on the kitchen floor.

(Sideline, we have two tiny houses side by side.  She's in the main one which needs a TON of work, including the floors. So I don't really care about it being soiled. I've been spending most of my time nextdoor and go back and forth all day.)

Anyway, I go over there this morning honestly hoping to find her naturally passed.  But… she had gotten up and moved herself to the living room.  Picked up her head when I came in with twinkle fully lit.  So OHHH KAYYYY you got up, then you CAN get up.  I helped her up onto her wobbly back legs, she seemed to know she needs to take a wider stance to not fall over, and slowly we went outside.  She did OK.  Had her morning pooping just fine, (tried to eat some tootsie rolls… she's always been real gross about that.)
Sniffed the grass and air like she always loves to do, and actually, slowly got herself up the three steps in back without any help.   I took an old chair pillow off and laid that down as a bed.  She really never would use beds… Anytime I bought or made one she just pushes it off into a ball and lays on the floor.  I put her on it but I'd bet later she moves off.

So vet was out of the pain meds they wanted to give me, got them in now, I'm going to pick them up and give her some "drugs." lol. 
Guess we're back to planning for Monday's teeth cleaning/extraction, what ever they need to do.  
Taking it day by day.


Posts: 10
I'm glad to hear she got a littler better! If she can stand up, eat well, pee and poop alone and she can walk then her quality of life is not that bad. When she stops being able to do that, even if she has the spark, that's going to be the point of no return, since I think it would be even more frustrating for her to be unable to do all the things she wants to do. Sometimes pets hide the pain and keep living mostly for us. But since she is okay now, enjoy her and shower her with lots of kisses. I'm happy to see you are well and that your baby is still good. I hope to see more of you in the future, remember, if you need anything we are here for you.

Posts: 8

Got her pain pills from the vet, just gave her one.
Also found out after reviewing her case more (different vet has been working with her.)  He decided against doing her teeth.  

So hoping antibiotics does the trick yet again and gets the infected tooth under control.   She CAN still eat… just doesn't want crunchy or even softer chewy treats anymore.

So it's day by day.   But Jacqui I think your right.  If she can't stand or go out to poop, I think it's time.  

Oh by the way, as I kind of expected, she got OFF the bed.  Never did like dog beds of any kind.  Cat was happy to take it over though.  


Posts: 8

She's gone.   And what a gut wrenching experience.  And I'm going to post this now mostly for the benefit of people going through the same thing. Stuff to avoid.

First this wouldn't have been so hard if I would have gotten the look I have been given with previous pets when it's really time.  But not her.
The twinkle was in her eyes today.  Husband got home, she actually got up and went out with him for walkies.  We got snow last night in April, but she loved snow.  Got a few last licks.  I really feel like I killed her prematurely.  Then again there was no quality of life.  Big open would no vet wanted to remove and now impacted tooth again no vet wanted to risk putting her under for so kept her on round after round of antibiotics.   It was not good.  This week I started to see real signs of pain, something animals are good at hiding. She'd lay her head on the floor and just quiver.  And there was almost no muscle tone left.  IF she could get up at all her back legs would just give out. Sometimes her front too.  And sometimes she wouldn't even try.  A few good days in between but mostly not.  And at 14 it's about as old as one can expect from a fairly large breed. Can't fix that.
So I know it was time to call this quits.  SO hard to do when she's trotting off to the car.  For some reason she's always loved going to "the vet."  I feel like I somehow betrayed her.

Then top it off with a totally incompetent vet.  OMG!!!! 
This hospital I have been going to for years.  Many dogs ago when we moved here back in 91 started going there.  The Butts brothers, both vets ran the place and one was absolutely the best.  
But they retired, sold the place to this new guy and he's just not the same.
I started taking her to another vet when this guy made mistakes with her last surgery. (Like not knowing when she's walking on her knee that the mass removal on her upper front leg might have damaged the nerves.  Five min on the internet and I could find that.  He couldn't?)

Found a new vet in another town I like.  When he couldn't heal the wound from surgery, she did with three treatments with a cold laser.  So started going to her.
But the new vet is over booked and you have to make a reservation to put a pet down.   Not possible with my trucker husband to know when he can be home.  And how do you make a reservation to die?  
So I went back to the one I thought I'd never use again.  At least we don't have to make a reservation.  Hard enough as it is to gather up the nerve to do this then take a number and wait?
Thank GOD I insisted in two shots.  One to knock her out then do the last one.
I had read up on euthanasia and how it can go horribly wrong.
Basically your giving a drug that will parralize muscles.  So in essence your causing a heart attack and suffocating at the same time.
So to anyone reading this, always insist that your pet be knocked out first.  THEN give the last shot.   Any discomfort they won't be aware of at all.
I asked if this doctor does it this way and was told not usually so I had to insist.

Now when her sister was put down about a year ago at vet # 2, the new one I found put in an IV.  Gave the first shot, knocked her out, then right away gave the second.  
Checked vitals, and that was that.  About as quick and easy as it can be.  Anyone about to do this, make sure 
1.  An IV is inserted and 
2. GET the extra shot to knock them out first.  
I wish I would have known the first part today.

NO IV.   He didn't even want her up on the table.  After he made us all sit in this dinky exam room forever (they always do.)  She laid down in the corner.   He came in with a needle and I asked should I put her up on the table?   No it's ok.  You want her knocked out don't you?   (Hard to type his tone here… rather condescending.)  
Gave her a shot and said this will relax her and I'll be back in a few.  I had to ask, "relax" her?  IT will knock her out right?   "yes."  
This did NOT "knock her out" right away.   She just got slowly drowsy and eventually fell asleep.  BUT would wake up if I petted her.  Took awhile but ok, finally out.
Again it took him forever to come back and when he did he had a big syringe of phenobarbital.  Put the rubber strap around her front leg and started looking for a vein.  Had a hard time finding one.  Stuck her repeatedly.  Gave up, tried the other leg.  Same thing.   Tried the neck… I watched him draw blood, gave her the shot and said by girl.
BUT… she kept right on breathing.  He checked the heart and said there is a bad murmur.  He went in and out of her neck many more times searching for a vein.   Then they tried a back leg.  same thing, could not find a vein.  Back to the neck, this time he asked his assistant to get clippers so he could see a vein better without all the fur.   My GOD I am SO glad she was knocked out through all this.  
There's enough holes in her neck and legs by this time if she were conscious it would have been most uncomfortable.  Finally he found a good vein and she took her last few gasps and was gone.   
I am NEVER going to this guy for anything again!  Certainly nothing critical.   Simple heartworm tests maybe, buy pills there, only vet around where no appointment is needed but he's clearly incompetent.
WHY didn't he put in an IV in the first place?   Didn't he KNOW that knocking her out would collapse her veins?  Two hours we were in there.  Just horrendous. 

Well it's finally over.  She's finally free of that aging broken body.  I'll get her ashes back, and lay them under my "dogwood" tree "side by side" just like I use to walk them both.
They came into this world side by side.  It's only fitting their remains lay side by side.   And maybe even become part of the tree.  
yea that's silly I know.  The spirit is free… the remains really don't matter much.   She's gone.  RIP.  

Of course when we got home and I see her paw prints all over the snow I just lost it.  


Posts: 580
Dearest Artmaker,
I am so very sorry that you had to say goodbye to your loved one especially with a vet who doesn't love animals and only seems to be in for the money. No heart and no soul. I know you tried hard to give her the best of care and love. When old age catches up with them there aren't many options left. You did the bravest and best thing for her. You loved her and cared for her with all your heart and soul. You were what we all are truly loving and kind parents. Take heart that she is with her sister and will be waiting for you at the Bridge.
I am sorry your heart is in pain and the emptiness surrounds you. Hold all the memories that you made in this journey close in your heart and remember the love.
Love and doggie hugs
Termy's mom

Posts: 8
Thanks.   The worst is over.  Ill remember them for when they were young.  
Here, one of the last pictures I have of them together is on flickr.

That's little bear in front.  (I think, sometimes they were hard to tell apart.)  "Side by side" back when she was still a somewhat fat and husky girl.  They both LOVED the snow.  Kinda neat actually that there was snow on the ground her last day on Earth.
And in April no less. 

Well aside from still thinking "I haven't walked her in awhile she's due to go out" then remembering, no.  It's ok.  I know it was just time.  One vet has a more accurate dog age chart than I ever saw, she figured to be about 98 in human years.  Can't expect much more than that.  

Posts: 10


Hello Artmaker, i'm really sorry to be this late, I really wanted to be here as soon as I could when you posted a message. But this thrusday my father passed away (a week after my dog Tom) and I have been really out of everything. I'm really sorry. Coming back to the topic... I'm really sorry for your loss. I knew how important you baby was and how much you were struggling. I'm glad you did everything you could to help her, but finally decided to let her go when her quality of life was gone. I'm really really sorry and I'll send you all my love and strenght. I hope to read of you soon, to know how you are doing. I hope to see you in the Candle Ceremonies too, they are really helpful and beautiful.



Posts: 8
Oh my, you lost your dog AND your dad?  Ouch…. So sorry.  

I'm ok.  I know it was just time.  Hard to make the decision while she's looking at me but actually my husband told me later "if this was one of her good days you did the right thing."  
I just have to get it out of my head I don't need to go for walkies any more.   I keep thinking… it's been a few hours time to take out my girl… oh… nope.  That's been such a daily thing, it's going to be awhile to get it out of my head no more walkies.
I told my daughter I wonder if we shouldn't leash up the cat and go for walkies?   She cracked up.   Cat would NOT like it one bit.

If I ever get her ashes back I'll have my own ceremony here.  Saved her sisters so they can be "side by side" again.  But actually, I bet they are.

Hope this idiot vet doesn't lose her ashes.   It would not surprise me one bit if he doesn't clean out his fireplace and give me that after charging me a few hundred bucks for cremation.   I'll never trust this guy again. Ever. 

Posts: 10
Yes, in such a short time i lost half my family... Now is my mom and I. We have the support of friends, co-workers and family, but it's so painful... I'm really sorry I was out so long, but I just managed to come back to reality.
I'm glad to hear you are fine. Of course, getting used to not having your dog around is gonna take time, my mom sometimes hears her cat making noise at night and she tells Tom to stop. But it will get easier with time. I'm sure (and I hope) you'll get her ashes. I'm sorry you had to deal with an incompetent vet. It is already so hard to deal with this loss and he made you have a bad time. In my case the euthanasia was done in 20 minutes, and it was really peaceful, my vet knew what he was doing. For what you tell me this vet didn't really know how to deal with this. And I imagine how painful it must have been, if I felt hopeless in 20 minutes, I don't want to think about how you felt in 2 hours.
Well I hope you keep doing okay and you get her ashes soon. Your baby is now in a better place, and I know she is grateful for all you did for her and how you cared for her.
I'll see you soon, around this page. Good day!
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