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lefty's random dog thread. - Page 210

post #3136 of 3677
Thread Starter 

Thank god. 

 

lefty

post #3137 of 3677
Lefty, it's not a binary decision between "swift dignified end" and "horrible painful death". There's a wide range between a dog being at 100% of what it was and being at 0. No one is saying Teger should wait for 0. It's our job to not wait too long, but it's also our job to not rush it. A tough balancing act to be sure, but I think they deserve our best effort at it.
post #3138 of 3677
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty View Post

It's a difficult decision to kill something you care for so if feeding her foie gras for the next few days makes you feel better, then go for it. That's pretty much for you though. When this death comes it will be drawn out and ugly. I have had a cat die of cancer in my arms and it's not fun for the animal. 

Let me ask you this? What is level of pain and suffering you consider enough to make you act? How are you judging that? How sure are you of your ability to judge the animal's distress?

Put another way, what would the dog "want"? To die with the wind in her face with some ability to be herself or after 24-36 hours of pain and wasting away until there's little left?

What exactly are you holding out for? The dog is dying and will not get better. It sucks, but that's what dogs do. I hate to be callous, but make a schedule for tomorrow: steak breakfast, play ball, belly scratches, one good walk, vet.

lefty

What you're getting at is a question we've struggled with a lot: at what point should we decide to put her down, before she's declined, or after she starts to decline, therefore after she's already suffering (to whatever extent). It would be much easier if she could just die peacefully in her sleep.

I definitely understand, and in many ways agree, with what you're saying. But I also feel that what she wants, beyond not suffering, is not to be dead. And if she has the ability to live a little longer without suffering, then why should I deprive her of that? And you're absolutely right that it's difficult to judge her distress, and that it'll never come down to a checklist of signs. But I am also confident that we know her well enough that we can say 'she's distressed, she's suffering.' She was suffering this morning, and I don't know if her current improvements are temporary, or are more permanent consequence of the the palliative drugs starting to kick in. If this is only a temporary improvement, then we'll say our goodbyes are have her put down. Under no circumstances will I let her die of the cancer itself -- that is a horrible death and I cannot imagine her going through that level of suffering. No matter what she will probably not live out the month (barring some miracle response). But, as mcbrown said, why rush her to her death? By that standard you'd want to put a dog down at the prime of its life, because everything after that is downhill. I want her to die with dignity, but I want her to experience as much of life as she can - and I understand and accept that the price to pay for this balancing act is that she's going to most likely experience a slight amount of suffering for a short period before we put her down.

It's also difficult to quantify 'suffering'. Was she suffering when she went through the two chemo therapy treatments? How about afterwards? I don't think these questions have any easy answers, and I know that no matter what we decide I'm going to feel at least some level of guilty, but I feel that I have to try to at least provide her with the opportunity to enjoy what little time she has left.
post #3139 of 3677
Thread Starter 

I'm not advocating killing a dog because it has a hangnail and appreciate what you guys are saying, but in nearly every case of pet owners waiting until "it's time," they wait too long. I just favour being on this side of that line.

 

Teger, you're a good owner and have done right by the dog, so I'm sure you will make the right decision. My advice is this: wait until it's time. Less a day.

 

lefty 

post #3140 of 3677
Teger, I'm sorry to hear you're going through this.
post #3141 of 3677
When I put down Tessa, who had lymphoma, the vet said, "You'll know when it's time," and indeed I did. I could see her going down, but she still had a good appetite and got around fine. She was snoring increasingly loudly at night. Then one morning it was dead quiet. I cooked up some hamburger for her, and she just looked at it and wagged her tail feebly. I took her down to the vet's and had her euthanized that afternoon. She was only five years and two months old.

Teger, you asked about whether to replace your girl at once or wait awhile. I have mixed feelings about Cesar Milan: A lot of what he says is just good sound basic training doctrine, but there is a fair admixture of self-promoting snake oil. However, one of the wisest things he said in his first book is not to get a dog immediately after you have lost your previous dog. There will be too much "mournful energy" in the household, and the dog or puppy will pick up on this. Give yourselves plenty of time to grieve for her--she certainly is a darling looking little dog, and I know the pain you are and will be feeling all too well. Then, when the passage of time has dulled the bitter edge of your grief, start thinking about getting another dog.

As to where to put her down, when the time came for me to put down Dempsey, who was the best dog I ever had, the veterinary clinic offered to do it out on their lawn. So I put him on a down stay, and the vet came out and gave him the needle. I held his head as he growled on feeling the shot. A few moments later his big head dropped. I said, "Goodbye, Dempsey," and left him with his head resting on his paw as if asleep in the bright sunshine of a summer afternoon in Southern California. I might have been able to keep him going for a year or so with a lot of aggressive medical interventions, but I wanted him to leave the world as he lived in it--strong, proud and magnificent.

Teger, if you believe your little girl "will probably not live out the month," why not get it over with? The dog will be at rest, and just watching a dog declining fast is a real downer for all parties concerned, and I am sure the dog will feel the grief as well.
post #3142 of 3677
Thread Starter 

Jan says eloquently what I said somewhat coarsely.

 

lefty

post #3143 of 3677
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty View Post

Teger, you're a good owner and have done right by the dog, so I'm sure you will make the right decision. My advice is this: wait until it's time. Less a day.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLibourel View Post

~ but I wanted him to leave the world as he lived in it--strong, proud and magnificent.

Teger, if you believe your little girl "will probably not live out the month," why not get it over with? The dog will be at rest, and just watching a dog declining fast is a real downer for all parties concerned, and I am sure the dog will feel the grief as well.

 

If I'm on an internet BB it is usually uplandjournal. A bunch of crusty "older" hunters who debate gear, proper shot size and who is king, ruff grouse or phez. But honestly it is all about the dogs. Pretty much everything posted there is about the dog. What I copied above is what most people from UJ that have had a few dogs will tell you too. And I also echo it from experience. 

 

The other day someone posted something on UJ Teger and I thought of you, almost posted it here then but I didn't in hopes things would work out. It is time now.

 

A Dog's Purpose: from a 6-year-old.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The Six-year-old continued,

"Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them;
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride;
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy;
Take naps;
Stretch before rising;
Run, romp, and play daily;
Thrive on attention and let people touch you;
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do;
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass;
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree;
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body;
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk;
Be loyal;
Never pretend to be something you're not;
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it;
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently;

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right.

Think good thoughts for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy.

Falling down is part of LIFE...

Getting back up is LIVING

post #3144 of 3677
JLibourel: My response is that the light hasn't gone out of her eyes yet. It might go out tomorrow, but maybe next week. I'd rather wait until that point, even if doing so means she'll have to suffer a little bit.
post #3145 of 3677
To continue (sorry for so many posts), one of the things that's angered me through this process is the inability (or reluctance) of vets to provide me with informed opinions. I know they can't make the decision when to euthanize - it's a personal situation, and if you've waited so long that a vet absolutely has to do it you're probably not a good pet owner - but I would like them to provide me with information. I'd like to make a decision that is informed by rational observation based on medical opinion. Several times today I've asked them: how do I tell if she's in pain? Clinically, what's the likely point at which the disease will start the downward, terminal spiral? What symptoms can you expect as the cancer reaches and infiltrates the other organs? What symptoms that exist right now are because of the cancer? And after every question they've told me some generic, vague and uninformative answer about how putting your dog down is a 'personal choice' - no shit it's my personal choice, but I'd like you to provide with information so I can make the most appropriate judgement.
post #3146 of 3677
Teger,

My condolences for what you're going through. Don’t worry about making the decision as to when to euthanize your dog. I'm sure you won't delay too long and I think your right, your dog wants to live and there is no need to be in a hurry to end that life. Like Jan said, you'll know when it's time.
post #3147 of 3677

Some gorgeous dogs in this thread! Makes me a little dissatisfied with my lazy ungrateful cats to be honest... (not really I love 'em too)

post #3148 of 3677
I have started every morning with http://dog-shaming.com/ for at least 2 weeks.
post #3149 of 3677
Man, this page was a tough read.
post #3150 of 3677
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrown View Post

Also, depending on your local laws there may be slightly unpleasant rules governing how your dog is handled on the way out of your home, while at the vet's office everything can be done out of your view; for example in New York City the doctor was required to take our dog out in a black garbage bag (he was as sensitive as he could be, but... it didn't make it any less sad to see).

What a crappy law.
I have helped bury 4 dogs at my parents place. There is actually something cathartic about burying an animal ones self. We wrapped each one in the blanket that lined its bed. Always dug the hole before the vet put the dog down, that was the hardest part. The first shovelful of dirt is tough too. Gets easier after that and the physical work actually takes your mind off of the sad task at hand. Sprinkled wildflower seeds on each grave. There really is no way to bury a dog you loved, especially if it lived a glorious life.
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