Struggling with decision to euthanize

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Struggling with decision to euthanize

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Old 12-07-2016, 06:33 PM
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Unhappy Struggling with decision to euthanize

(I'm very sorry in advance for the length.)

Our Kirby is 16 and a half now. She still eats all her supper and gets around reasonably well once she's up on her feet most/some days, even going on our daily walks. She's very slow, of course, so we're careful to take extra time, especially as she sometimes loses us out there because she can't see very well or hear us when we call. Thankfully it hasn't gotten to where she's fallen and can't get up, though she averages a fall at least once every other day or so.


Our main problem revolves around her incontinence. We know there's nothing to be done for it. We've had her in diapers for several months now, full time since mid-September or so. First it was fecal incontinence, but now it's both, though the peeing is intermittent. Some days we can go out there in the morning and she'll pee, but other days I can stand outside with all of them for 15 minutes and she'll sniff and look around and do nothing, but 10 minutes back inside, and she's soiled her diaper. (She still uses the doggy door even, so it's incredibly frustrating to run out there to remove the diaper and she's managed to be startled enough that she doesn't do anything, but once inside again... you get the picture.)

Since winter has moved in, we've had to physically get her up more and more, and it's getting to where we're afraid she won't be able to get up on her own much longer. (She's been on joint supplements for years, but she's just about maxed out on them.) And with the incontinence... it's to the point we feel it wouldn't be right to wait until the day when she can't stay on her feet to go outside anymore. I've got a walking/support harness in that event, but we've got to draw the line somewhere, and it's heartbreaking to admit that I think we've reached it. Additionally, with hubby working extra hours through Christmas, there's not always going to be someone here to help her for the next several weeks.

We're running the washer for the diapers multiple times a day, since we only have 6 of them (and it's intolerable to pile up soiled ones until we can have a full load). Then there's days when she's somehow managed to partially remove her diaper while inside, but we won't talk about those awful times. I should also include that with the constant diaper use and moisture from the incontinence, her belly has developed a mild rash, though it doesnít seem to be bothering her much. We're using some medicated powder which seems to be helping.

Lastly, since she can't (hardly) hear herself, she moans/whines/groans for sometimes hours on end. She'll do it at any time of day, but especially before suppertime, and occasionally wander about like she's looking for something. Other times she's lying down looking around with ears perked up, so we're fairly certain that she's not in pain or distress or anything; we're attributing some of this to dementia. When one of us comes into her limited field of view, or a toy bumps her, she'll stop for a little while. She's had facial tics/head bobbing for a couple of years now, but at least it hasnít gotten any worse.

We've tried very hard to remember that it's a quality of life thing. She seems to be managing just fine with how we've adapted to her infirmities. Her heart is very willing, but her body, not so much. It's our quality of life that seems to be suffering worse than hers, and I feel so selfish saying that. I'm disgusted with myself every time I get frustrated with her, and have been for months now. Logically I'm totally aware that it's not her fault her body is failing; my frustration is a defense mechanism to keep me from crying, I think.

Obviously we're not going to just start keeping her outside, even if we had a doghouse or anything else; she's been an inside dog her whole life. Hubby and I have been delaying this decision for weeks, in hopes that we wouldn't have to decide at all. The OP in this thread really said it best when he wrote:
"Who am I to decide when his last day will be? When his last breath will be drawn? What gives me this right?" The last situation in the world I wanted us to be in is to call our vet and ask her to come; that Kirby is going downhill, but not fast enough? To feel like I've failed when it seems like we're partially doing this for convenience? This is horrible. The date has been set for Monday morning, and I want so badly to think we're doing the right thing.
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Old 12-07-2016, 07:12 PM
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Only you know your limit. If she was in seriously failing health I'd be urging you to set the date and have her put down. For incontinence, it becomes a matter of just how much you can tolerate.

Shadow my elderly dog started having accidents after his stroke due to his being anxious. We overcame that but then he started having them because of dementia. He'd be standing next to me, waiting for dinner or his evening treat, and would just pee, it was almost like he didn't realize it. Eventually I learned to manage that with perfectly timed potty breaks. I figured out that most of the accidents happened around evening meal times, so I learned to take him out to potty, feed him his dinner when we got in, wait around 20 but no more then 30 min, take him back out, and then give him his treat around 10 minutes later. If I miss timed it I'd be cleaning my floor.

What I will say is that she's not going to get better, you may get lucky and learn to manage the peeing like I did, but something else will start to go haywire. If it's dementia it may plateau, or it may do what Shadow's did and slowly get worse till the dog no longer recognizes you. You may be able to have her be more comfortable on Rimadyl but that can cause other problems, I think it contributed to Shadow's loss of appetite. What Shadow taught me is that when they are really elderly, whatever we try only extends there life a little, but that no matter how hard we try nothing really works to stop the aging. He also taught me that sometimes it's better to end their life a little too soon, then to wait a day too long.
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Old 12-07-2016, 07:45 PM
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From what you write, I think you are doing the right thing.

I agree with the above comment, I'd rather go a week or month too early for a pet than a day too late. I made that mistake once and I will never make it again. Believe me, you can have a lot of regrets that way too.

I wish you peace in whatever you decide for your dog, you sound like you love her greatly
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Old 12-07-2016, 07:45 PM
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I lost my dog in October. He was on a very high dose of diuretics and he also had to wear diapers. I woke up several times each night to take him out, and to clean him up. I know it's hard and it's exhausting. I didn't get a full night's sleep for a proper 7 months. He was still eating and he was happy. Then one day his heart was too tired.

This is a difficult and heartbreaking situation. I know it's also tiring. You have to weigh his quality of life into the equation. Everyone always told me leading up to my dog's passing that he would let me know when it was time.

You know your dog better than anyone else. If he is happy and hungry and not in terrible pain, it may not be time. But if he is genuinely suffering and not acting like himself, then I think you will be sure in your decision.
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Old 12-07-2016, 07:51 PM
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Kirby is a very lucky girl. She has a family who truly loves her. It is never an easy decision to make. My Misty was in diapers for a year so I understand how difficult and frustrating it is. Giving her the last gift of dignity and freedom is a final act of love. Hugs to you and your family.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:46 PM
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mhop,

Nobody can counter your decision as you know your Kirby better than anyone in the entire world.

This much I do know; with all the thought you have put into this really tough situation, you undoubtedly will make the best decision.

Something you seem to be torturing yourself with "Who am I to decide when his last day will be? When his last breath will be drawn? What gives me this right?". With all due respect, you know who you are, we all know who we are, we are our dog's steward and accepted that position and responsibility from day one. You've done so wonderfully for your Kirby over the years with all your love and care and now the most difficult chapter must be dealt with in the same fashion you have so generously given to Kirby over the 16 years.

For me, once I put all of my selfish reasons aside for prolonging my dogs' lives, it made the decision so much more obvious as to what needed to be done. It is our love of a dog why we end up in this sad and difficult situation. If there ever was a time to be selfless with our best buds, this is the moment.

If I posted anything which could be interpreted as insensitive, I apologize as my thoughts for you, a person I have never known, are only of the kindest intent. We don't all need to know each other, for all of us understand the hardship you are going through, it is a common bond.

I wish you strength going forward dealing with Kirby.
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:28 AM
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Drivedog your comment made me cry. you are so right and put it so beautifully.
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:36 AM
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Thank you all for your words of support. Especially to @Rain who has ever been like a Godmother to these forums; no matter how long I may wander away from it, you have always been here.

I've got to go to work shortly, so I'm trying to keep the crying to a minimum, but I will post again soon.

Thanks again so much to you all.
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Old 12-08-2016, 09:54 AM
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I just recently had to put my Bernese cross down. She was 11 years but had been having trouble getting up and down and moving around. She would get up and just walk a little ways and lie down again. She always was a good eater so no problems there and she never had messed in the house since she was a puppy and still did not. I had her on several different pills but gradually they did not help.

One day, she had been trying to get up to move onto her bed and just couldn't so lay there with her head resting on it. She looked so sad and tired that I decided it was time. My sister came down and helped me load her into the back of her Van and took her up to the Vet. He came out, gave her a shot of tranqulizer, waited a while and came back and gave her the final shot. She just peacefully went to her final sleep. We took her down to my niece's and buried her. Miss her every day but once she could not do the things that she loved, liked chasing the deer on the other side of the fence or going for rides in the Van or going for walks knew it was not fair to her to wait any longer.
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Old 12-08-2016, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyllobernese View Post
I just recently had to put my Bernese cross down. She was 11 years but had been having trouble getting up and down and moving around. She would get up and just walk a little ways and lie down again. She always was a good eater so no problems there and she never had messed in the house since she was a puppy and still did not. I had her on several different pills but gradually they did not help.

One day, she had been trying to get up to move onto her bed and just couldn't so lay there with her head resting on it. She looked so sad and tired that I decided it was time. My sister came down and helped me load her into the back of her Van and took her up to the Vet. He came out, gave her a shot of tranqulizer, waited a while and came back and gave her the final shot. She just peacefully went to her final sleep. We took her down to my niece's and buried her. Miss her every day but once she could not do the things that she loved, liked chasing the deer on the other side of the fence or going for rides in the Van or going for walks knew it was not fair to her to wait any longer.
My heart aches for you. I hope knowing that she had a peaceful passing brings you some comfort.
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