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My dog is about to turn 17. He's a Shih Tzu. He has nearsightedness and diminished hearing. Is able mobile. But has in the past year lost a lot of weight. Near skin and bones. But till about a week ago he's had a good appetite. He still drinks a lot of water.

Has he started giving up on life? Past two days he's been refusing even his favourite Greenies treats. Though, he has eaten it a few days ago. Or day before yesterday night.

When he's not sleeping he's alert. He wanders around. When we go for walks he sniffs around. So perhaps he hasn't given up on life yet. Doesn't seem to be in any pain.

I don't think it's his time yet. As he is drinking water. He is pooping normally. Though lately I'm not sure what he's been pooping since he hasn't eaten in 2 days.Could the Greenies treats be too rich for his stomach now and has made him feel full?

Hard to say I know. :) Educated guesses.
 

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Try satin balls. Google several recipes and combine what you like from them (play around to suit your own dog's tastes) and feed them as meals. Most dogs will eat them when they won't eat anything else. I've heard they've saved dogs' lives by putting weight on when nothing else would.
I would do this ASAP as if he's already skin and bones and hasn't eaten in 2 days I fear the end may be near ...I would also take him to the vet just to rule out anything medical.
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Try satin balls. Google several recipes and combine what you like from them (play around to suit your own dog's tastes) and feed them as meals. Most dogs will eat them when they won't eat anything else. I've heard they've saved dogs' lives by putting weight on when nothing else would.
I would do this ASAP as if he's already skin and bones and hasn't eaten in 2 days I fear the end may be near ...I would also take him to the vet just to rule out anything medical.
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Will Google "satin balls". Never heard of it.

Thing is...he's very alert when awake. Drinks a lot of water. Just refusing food.

But when I put a little gravy from his dog food on his lips he laps it up. Enjoys it. So I don't know if he's just being difficult. Pig-headed. Wanting to eat something different. As when dog food manufacturers change one ingredient it turns off our dogs. It's happened before. So I went around frantically trying to find the right dog food he would like. I did. Was fine since.

Though, he's not eating apple. Just tried. He turns his head away as if I was trying to feed him something nasty. He's just maybe "too full" from eating too much Greenies perhaps.

Took him for a walk. He just walked around, if at a slow pace...sniffed around. Walked. This time he didn't want to do much walking. This morning he was fine. Walked home. Good pace for his age. Normal for him. Took him a while but he walked himself home.

He does this from time to time. He'd walk himself home a few days in a row (3-4x a day). Then one day during one walk he'd just walk half way then sit on the grass. Relaxing. Tongue out. Not in any pain. Not tired looking at all.

The vet...might need to eventually. But I have little faith in them. They're just about running a battery of tests. Run up a nice fat bill. And usually tell us nothing (so far)...early this year he had a nasty stomach ache from licking food off my kitchen floor. By the time I caught him it was too late...he'd been liking something dirty (maybe bacteria, chemicals from maybe air freshener spray, perfume...etc.). Was barking for days. I thought it was his time then...was about to make the call. Same night he was okay again. I was within hours of prematurely putting him down. Vet ran a series of test...nice hefty bill...told us nothing. :p

Will try the "satin balls" recipies. Assuming I have the ingredients. Even if it is a lot of what he likes. Though, he's been turning down Greenies treats, apple...never does. I'd put it near his lips...he'd turn his head away. As if this was a tantrum.

I know the end is not near because he is still very alert and himself. Drinks a lot of water...so that part of him is working. Just seems to have an aversion to most foods for now. Will keep you all posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Found the recipe for "satin balls". Will go buy the ingredients tomorrow morning. Does it need to be cooked? (some dogs eat raw meat). Looks to be the same recipe around the internet.

1 pound cheap hamburger (for high fat %)
1 1/3 cups Total cereal
1 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 raw egg
6 tablespoons wheat germ
1 package Knox unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
Pinch of salt

My dog. He's alert when he's awake. Looks so normal. Drinks a lot of water. Is fine outside going for walks (walking at his slow but steady pace...some walks he's faster). Odd time he'd walk half the way...get bored and sit. :) So, it doesn't look like his "end is near".

Could just be a tantrum. Tired of that brand of dog food. Happened a few times before in his 16 years. Manufacturer changes one or two ingredients. Dog picks up on it. Hates it. Refuses to eat for days till I got him something else. After I did...he'd be fine for years. Till that manufacturer changed an ingredient.

Vet? I'd like to avoid it if possible. Because in my experience it's usually been a waste of time. They always insist on a long list of tests. Try to sell you on the benefits...in the end...they find nothing.

Early this year (1st weekend) my dog had found something tasty on the floor by my oven. Likely droplets of sauce or what not (not visible), Fabreeze spray perhaps, perfume, bacteria on those droplets...who knows? By the time I noticed he had been licking the floor...got a nasty stomach ache. I didn't know it was at the time...he was in pain...ran lots of tests. Found ZIP. I was about to take him to the animal hospital to run even more testing...though, figured they'd find nothing...was about to make "the call". Call was never returned thank God. Was within hours of permaturely ending his life. He got better that same afternoon. :)

Put some dog food gravy on his lips. He lapped it up. Liked it. But just won't eat the beef. He will sort of taste food (e.g. gravy). Drink water.

Will buy the ingredients for the "Satin balls" tomorrow morning. See how that goes. Hope you or some one can tell me if it has to be cooked (pan seared).
 

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You need to get him to the vet now, before he gets any worse.

It could be a number of things but I urge you not to wait till he starts to even turn his nose up to home cooked food like I did with my old boy. If he starts doing that it may very well be to late to get him turned around, at least it was for Shadow and he passed away 3 days later.

It could be nearing his time to go, that's what I think it was with Shadow as their was nothing else wrong, besides arthritis and a couple of strokes nearly 2 years before, he was 17 yrs 8 months old when he passed away and had slowly stopped eating over the course of a month or two.

If you have him on medicines it could be one of them causing loss of appetite, I've always wondered if it wasn't the Rimadyl that I had Shadow on that started the whole loss of appetite.

It could be something dental going on.

It could be something medical, there's a couple of things that can cause weight loss and loss of appetite.

I know you don't trust vets but they are not all like that. When Shadow had his strokes my vet told me that he was 99% sure that it was stroke, that he could do the test to confirm but didn't see the point since it would not alter the course of treatment. When Shad turned up positive for heartworm at the age of 17, despite being on preventative, my vet said he didn't see the point in treating him at his age, nor doing more test to see how far it was progressed since treating such an elderly dog was pointless. He had just turned 17 when I took him to the vet because he seemed to be having mouth pain and the vet said he would not do a dental since he'd likely not survive it, but gave me some antibiotics to give him in case any infection was brewing and contributing to the pain. When he stopped eating 3 or 4 months later he again said that he could do blood test and scans to see exactly what was going on but since if it was anything major he would never recommend treatment for such an elderly dog he opted to just give me some medicines to try.

If you do not take him to the vet I can just about guarantee, he will completely stop eating like, Shadow did.
 

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Found the recipe for "satin balls". Will go buy the ingredients tomorrow morning. Does it need to be cooked? (some dogs eat raw meat). Looks to be the same recipe around the internet.

1 pound cheap hamburger (for high fat %)
1 1/3 cups Total cereal
1 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 raw egg
6 tablespoons wheat germ
1 package Knox unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
Pinch of salt

My dog. He's alert when he's awake. Looks so normal. Drinks a lot of water. Is fine outside going for walks (walking at his slow but steady pace...some walks he's faster). Odd time he'd walk half the way...get bored and sit. :) So, it doesn't look like his "end is near".

Could just be a tantrum. Tired of that brand of dog food. Happened a few times before in his 16 years. Manufacturer changes one or two ingredients. Dog picks up on it. Hates it. Refuses to eat for days till I got him something else. After I did...he'd be fine for years. Till that manufacturer changed an ingredient.

Vet? I'd like to avoid it if possible. Because in my experience it's usually been a waste of time. They always insist on a long list of tests. Try to sell you on the benefits...in the end...they find nothing.

Early this year (1st weekend) my dog had found something tasty on the floor by my oven. Likely droplets of sauce or what not (not visible), Fabreeze spray perhaps, perfume, bacteria on those droplets...who knows? By the time I noticed he had been licking the floor...got a nasty stomach ache. I didn't know it was at the time...he was in pain...ran lots of tests. Found ZIP. I was about to take him to the animal hospital to run even more testing...though, figured they'd find nothing...was about to make "the call". Call was never returned thank God. Was within hours of permaturely ending his life. He got better that same afternoon. :)

Put some dog food gravy on his lips. He lapped it up. Liked it. But just won't eat the beef. He will sort of taste food (e.g. gravy). Drink water.

Will buy the ingredients for the "Satin balls" tomorrow morning. See how that goes. Hope you or some one can tell me if it has to be cooked (pan seared).

I jumped through hops trying to keep my Shadow eating the last month or so of his life, like your boy he was alert when awake, and still wanted to go on his walks, seemed healthy for such an old man. We started with toppers on his food that I'd home cook, he'd turn his nose up at one so I'd try a different recipe. After awhile he stopped eating that and leaving more then half. So I started just home cooking for him, he'd eat it maybe a week or so then he'd not want it anymore, this was a dog that never could resist a store bought dog treat much less people food. I then went to I'll give him whatever he'll eat, hamburger, hot dog, cheese, fish, egg, canned cat food, you named it I tried it and at the end I was lucky if he ate a couple of bites. Again don't let it get that far.

These are the last three threads about him if you wish to read them.
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-food/half-home-cooked-half-dry-kibble-63514/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-food/sardines-75449/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-health/shadows-back-vet-77050/?highlight=Shadow+Rain
 

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Discussion Starter #7
He's beginning to growl a little. Stretching out once in a while.

Dawned on me just now. He sort of looks like he's having the start of a stomach ache. Which would explain why he suddenly isn't that hungry. But is drinking water. Is alert.

Quite possible. :p He had, days ago farted, so I sprayed some men's cologne near his hind area. Dogs like to clean their fur at night before they sleep. My dog lightly lapped up some men's "eau de toilette". And is starting to make him sick. :p What was I thinking? Or not thinking.

I might be in for some sleepless nights again. :p As he starts barking in pain. Will get over it. Always does.

Right now he's in the "low growl" stage. Mild complaint.

Need to remember to keep human chemicals off his fur. Especially areas he'll be licking to clean himself. :p And off the floor where he'll be walking...get on his paws...which he'll be cleaning at night. :p DUH!

I think this is what's going on. Will keep every one posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
This morning I took him outside. Looked like he did his normal "jobs". Walked some. Weaker. So he didn't walk as much. Hadn't eaten in maybe 3 days but drinks water. Still very alert (far from lifeless).

We returned. Then suddenly he gets into his "poop squat" position. Poops out dark semi-formed semi-liquid black poop.

Last night he complained a little. Spread eagled his front paws.

Stomach ache. Indigestion of some kind. But was mostly quiet.

So, off to the vet this morning. As much as I'm against it having very little faith in their abilities and motives (always about $$$$...suggesting a billion tests..so far finding nothing in almost all visits..usually got better on his own).

The "black poop" did it. Plus when I picked him up and he was still pooping it out he complained. Definite stomach soreness. Somethings going on there for sure.

At least this time I can point the vet in the right direction immediately. Hope I'm not wasting my time and money.

Don't know if he'd eat the "satin balls"...cooked I'm guessing? Pan seared? Not sure if I should bother with the "satin balls".
 

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I'm sorry you have so little faith in the veterinary profession. Maybe you need a new vet. Most vets are not in it for the money. They run tests to make a diagnosis. How else could they determine what might be wrong?

Satin balls are not what I'd feed a dog who was refusing food for an unknown reason and especially an elderly dog. . Dogs don't throw tantrums about food. There are many reasons a dog might refuse to eat.

Hope everything works out ok for your dog.
 

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I hope your dog is ok.

I would not feed greenies. There is definite controversy over their safety.

As to food, just cooked chicken or hamburger and rice til he seems alright.
 

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Hello everyone,

Just came from the vet. Did some blood work. Waiting for the test results...which i obviously dread. Will get it tomorrow.

New vet said he might have enemia and possible kidney problems. That if it's shrunk to 75% of it's size or less there's nothing that can be done...and I'd have to make that decision. :p Eventually...

He is responding to being forced fed (via seringe) liquid dog food and also a kind of "honey" that is supposed to help his weight...which is low...only weighs about 6 pounds now. Was around 8-10 pounds at the start of this year.

And while his kidney could be failing...he is still very alert. He's there. Not totally withdrawn. Hasn't given up on life. Just looking around. Drank some water when we came back.

Vet had "force fed" him 5 seringes of liquid warmed dog food and the "honey" (in a tube). He does respond to it. Doesn't vomit it back up. So he can take water and food. Just not very motivated recently.

I don't think I will make "the decision" till he's obviously "done" (e.g. virtually no life). Hopefully the results will tell me he still has "enough" kidney function to give him some more time.

But, really, he hasn't been living much of a life since early last year. Stopped playing with his toys. Just goes for walks, eats, does his business and naps most of the time. What else was (is) there for dogs to do once they get bored of toys? :) Bit sad. But that is a dog's (or cat's) life at the later stages.

Will keep every one posted. Won't give up on him ever.
 

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Thanks for keeping us updated.
Hope he's okay. FWIW someone on another forum I'm on recently had good luck w the satin balls w their old dog who was starting to go off food and was losing weight.
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thanks for keeping us updated.
Hope he's okay. FWIW someone on another forum I'm on recently had good luck w the satin balls w their old dog who was starting to go off food and was losing weight.
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Well. I'm not sure my 17 year old (in a few days) is up for raw meatballs yet. I've just begun "force feeding" him today as he's still resistant to getting something to eat himself. It's a battle. A lot of the time he locks his jaws as tight as he can. Sometimes I need to catch him when he opens his mouth.

No one likes having to do this. Even if it is for their own good.

I hope he's okay too. But, something tells me the news I get tomorrow will most likely not be what I want to hear. From the blood work. But anything can happen so I haven't given up. Even if he is exhibiting a lot of the symptoms of kidney failure.

If he does have kidney issues...I don't think it's failed yet. Or the signs would be drastic. But he could be heading down that road. The vet said if his kidney's are less than 75% of their usual size there wouldn't be anything that can be done. Don't think most of the other options are open (e.g. transplant...too serious for a 17 year old and expensive).

He's not really "living" anymore. Just "existing". Not really much of a life. Since last year when he began not playing with his toys. Just slept, went for walks (not particularly long), ate his dinner and snacks. And did his business. And took a lot of naps. When we weren't going for walks...trying to get him outside in time. :) The usual routine. Trying to pickup on his signals.

Will post again tomorrow. Good or bad. :p
 

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^ poor boy, not really living but existing. It sounds like he's lived a great long life w you though. I'm sure you know that animals have no concept of death or the future past a little while, they just know what's happening now. At least it sounds like his end won't be painful if this is his time. My thoughts are headed your way. Best of luck w your little dog.
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^ poor boy, not really living but existing. It sounds like he's lived a great long life w you though. I'm sure you know that animals have no concept of death or the future past a little while, they just know what's happening now. At least it sounds like his end won't be painful if this is his time. My thoughts are headed your way. Best of luck w your little dog.
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Thanks for your kind word. Just got "the call" from the vet for the blood work. Said it's mainly Anemia. Nothing can be done. Said something about the bone marrow not producing enough something...white blood cells? That is low. Less than half. That his kidneys have shut down. Though he also said it's not really the kidneys? Shrug.

His body is shutting down. He might just pass away in his sleep.

Rather that than have to put him down if to buy a little more time with him. Though, he's probably suffering. Knowing a lot of his systems are not working. Or something is very odd.

When he's awake he still seems more less "there". Looks around his "blurry world" (eye problem...maybe due to the kidney failure...problem).

Odd thing in all this is...this just "arrived" roughly 5 days ago. Before that he was eating his dinner. Was walking up the street during most of our walks.

Maybe I am being selfish in not just putting him down now. Immediately. It's just hard when he is awake and still aware. :p But it is his time.

Vet set this could drag on for weeks or even a month. He might not immediately pass in his sleep and would be suffering. Not being able to really eat...began vomiting up either the dog food or the "honey like syrup" to help him with his weight...which at this point...was probably pointless.

Do I let him just pass on his own? If just to be around me more? Or let him go "soon". As I said. He was never really "living" most of last year and this year. Just "existing". Going through the motions. Routine. Just that he's had a good appetite till recently. Funny how abruptly organ failure can show up in an old dog. Might not make it to 17...another 3 days.

Odd thing. He's a lot more comfortable sleeping in the backseat of my car. :) Fairly quiet. Hardly complaining when i'm there with him. But when he's back in my condo suite...soon he begins complaining. Odd. Maybe his bones are sore too...and doesn't like being on flat ground. A lot more comfortable on the car seat.
 

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I'm sorry the outlook is so bleak. As hard as it is to say goodbye, he is suffering and isn't enjoying living. Let him go.

A very dear friend is having to make this very same decision. I love her old dog as if she were mine. We spent 30 minutes talking and crying last night. Terrible decision to make. She'll do the right thing though it's breaking her heart.

Hugs
 

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I'm sorry the outlook is so bleak. As hard as it is to say goodbye, he is suffering and isn't enjoying living. Let him go.

A very dear friend is having to make this very same decision. I love her old dog as if she were mine. We spent 30 minutes talking and crying last night. Terrible decision to make. She'll do the right thing though it's breaking her heart.

Hugs
As for any dog owner it is hard to do so. Even if we are doing the right thing in setting them free.

I just checked on him. He was sleeping comfortably on my car's rear seat. No complaints. Took him outside. He stood and peed. Took several steps and then stopped. He found and has the strength still to "exist" a little while longer. So, while things are that grim...it's not exactly his time yet. Close. But not exactly there yet.

When we got back to my condo suite he got up and had some water. Walked around some even. Started walking towards his usual spot by the window. And is relaxing again. Looking around.

On his way he left a small healthy poop on the floor. :) Normally I'd be miffed but being in the state he is...no big deal. Actually happy to see many of his other major organs are functioning still as they have been.

Sorry to hear one of your friends is going through the same thing and is at the same stage of her dog's life. But for me I do believe they will be headed to Heaven any how. Best place any one or animal could be. No more pain or suffering. Never to be sick again.

Some believe that. Some don't. To each his/her own. :)

While my dog still has life in him and isn't really suffering (obviously so) I'm not going to rush to pull the plug or give up on him. Even if his time is near.
 

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Thanks for your kind word. Just got "the call" from the vet for the blood work. Said it's mainly Anemia. Nothing can be done. Said something about the bone marrow not producing enough something...white blood cells? That is low. Less than half. That his kidneys have shut down. Though he also said it's not really the kidneys? Shrug.

His body is shutting down. He might just pass away in his sleep.

Rather that than have to put him down if to buy a little more time with him. Though, he's probably suffering. Knowing a lot of his systems are not working. Or something is very odd.

When he's awake he still seems more less "there". Looks around his "blurry world" (eye problem...maybe due to the kidney failure...problem).

Odd thing in all this is...this just "arrived" roughly 5 days ago. Before that he was eating his dinner. Was walking up the street during most of our walks.

Maybe I am being selfish in not just putting him down now. Immediately. It's just hard when he is awake and still aware. :p But it is his time.

Vet set this could drag on for weeks or even a month. He might not immediately pass in his sleep and would be suffering. Not being able to really eat...began vomiting up either the dog food or the "honey like syrup" to help him with his weight...which at this point...was probably pointless.

Do I let him just pass on his own? If just to be around me more? Or let him go "soon". As I said. He was never really "living" most of last year and this year. Just "existing". Going through the motions. Routine. Just that he's had a good appetite till recently. Funny how abruptly organ failure can show up in an old dog. Might not make it to 17...another 3 days.

Odd thing. He's a lot more comfortable sleeping in the backseat of my car. :) Fairly quiet. Hardly complaining when i'm there with him. But when he's back in my condo suite...soon he begins complaining. Odd. Maybe his bones are sore too...and doesn't like being on flat ground. A lot more comfortable on the car seat.

If you read the last link I gave you on your other post you'll see why I don't advise just letting him pass away on his own. Not because I think your boy will be in pain, because I don't think that at least my boy didn't seem to be up until the very end, but because it will save YOU the heartache of watching your boy slowly fade away. If you do decide to let him pass away at home I advise you to buy some puppy pads, they will help with the hunger pukes and the diarrhea, at least they did with Shadow's at the end he was having very watery diarrhea and couldn't always get out on time. Also a good enzyme cleaner will help with any accidents off the pads, and baby wipes will help keep him clean. Also he may or may not pass away in his sleep, I was hoping that Shadow would, that was the image I had in my head, but he didn't he passed away in my arms as I was carrying him in form what I though was a needed potty break.

If you wish to wait as long as possible, then the best advice I can give is when he stops wanting to go for a walk, and when he stops responding to your voice, take him in, he'll likely not have anymore "good" days after that.

My heart is breaking for you, and I am so sorry that you are going through this, I know the pain of it all to well. I was really hoping for better news from the vet for y'all.
 

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If you read the last link I gave you on your other post you'll see why I don't advise just letting him pass away on his own. Not because I think your boy will be in pain, because I don't think that at least my boy didn't seem to be up until the very end, but because it will save YOU the heartache of watching your boy slowly fade away. If you do decide to let him pass away at home I advise you to buy some puppy pads, they will help with the hunger pukes and the diarrhea, at least they did with Shadow's at the end he was having very watery diarrhea and couldn't always get out on time. Also a good enzyme cleaner will help with any accidents off the pads, and baby wipes will help keep him clean. Also he may or may not pass away in his sleep, I was hoping that Shadow would, that was the image I had in my head, but he didn't he passed away in my arms as I was carrying him in form what I though was a needed potty break.

If you wish to wait as long as possible, then the best advice I can give is when he stops wanting to go for a walk, and when he stops responding to your voice, take him in, he'll likely not have anymore "good" days after that.

My heart is breaking for you, and I am so sorry that you are going through this, I know the pain of it all to well. I was really hoping for better news from the vet for y'all.
Hello Rain,

Thanks for your advice. Always have appreciated it.

Having your dog pass in your arms is still IMHO better than having to actually make the call. Or possibly rush into taking him to the vet and have the vet help him pass then and there. Which isn't to say I won't do that for him. But only, as you mention, there is pretty much zero life in him.

As I said. He is still producing "regular healthy poop". Though, he did one on my floor earlier.

He has peed on me twice. :) When I was carrying him out for a walk or just to put him on the grass to pee. Couldn't hold it I guess. Which is also very understandable being in the state he is.

Thanks again Rain.

Maybe in time my posts will be more positive again. Might one day consider buying another dog. Or not. Hard to say at this point. Loosing our first dog I think is the hardest. As we've never gone through it. As i said...my dog as of last year was never really "living" but more "existing". So really...I sort of lost him then in a way. Though, I of course still enjoyed and still do, his company. Just to have him in my life still.
 
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