Help to make that decision I don't want to make......

Discussion in 'Senior Labradors' started by DizzyDaisy, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. DizzyDaisy

    DizzyDaisy Registered Users

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    I signed on to the forum this morning to review a post I wrote last year. Things have changed since then, I am trying to get some clarity on my current situation with my 12 year old yellow lab. My old girl Daisy is getting to a point health wise where I am questioning whether I am keeping her alive for her or for me. I decided to do up a list of the "Good" and the "Bad" and tried to be as honest as I could with myself. Now when I look at my list, the Bad outweighs the Good by a mile, but I am still hesitant or finding excuses to put off what I think is inevitable. I guess I am looking for some advice from those who may be able to provide some much needed help in whether it is time to put Daisy to sleep. :( I am going to include my list to give you an idea of her life as it is today, at age 12. I apologize for the length of the list. Many items on the list (health-wise) have been going on for years and are not new. She has been completely blind since early December of last year.

    Health Problems:
    Blind/glaucoma (Azopt drops 3x/day) (Blind one eye April 2017, Blind other eye Dec 2017)
    Arthritic/Stiff/Hip dysplasia (glucosamine 1x day/Metacam1x day/Gabapentin2x day/Tramadol 2x day) (Hip dysplasia and arthritis in back/hip diagnosed around age 5)
    Stomach issues (Metoclopramide 1x day/Pepcid 2x day) (Her whole life)
    Allergy issues (Apoquel 1x day) (Her whole life)
    Low Thyroid – (Thyrotab 1x day)
    She is full of bumps and lumps on chest/torso/neck/around eyes– a large bump on leg keeps growing slowly. Have to put cream on it or it gets scabby/dry/bleeds

    The Good

    Still eats well and likes her food; drinks her water
    Still tries to come out to kitchen if she knows I have cheese or sandwich meat out
    Still wags her tail although not as much as she used to
    Still loves to greet people and happy to get attention from strangers
    Sometimes wants to go out/walk
    No bathroom issues/no accidents
    Takes her medications always without any trouble (doesn’t like eye drops but doesn’t fight)
    Still plays with her treat ball or most treat toys that have food in it – some not if too hard to get out food will leave

    The Bad
    Whines and cries sometimes/howling issue chronic for last two plus years – day and/nighttime howling wakes everyone up. Have not been able to establish why she does this.
    Sleeps a lot
    Sometimes doesn’t want to go out for walk
    Can’t walk nearly as well as a year ago, very slow and doddery; can only go very slowly for short walks now. Takes forever to “walk” her. Looked at a video of her taken one year ago shows how much speed and flexibility she has lost.
    Won’t play or doesn’t try to play with toys anymore – if I try to engage her with ball, it may last for only a few ball tosses back and forth then she stops.
    Used to love playing/carrying her stuffed animal toys – now she rarely bothers with them
    Doesn’t look at me anymore/acknowledge
    Bumps into things and hits her head all the time; hasn’t figured out how to get around house very well
    Always arthritic and stiff; holds up/takes weight off back leg when standing/back end not super strong anymore
    Not the same dog; personality is much quieter since going blind, I miss her old self
    Worried she is in some level of pain even though I she gets regular daily doses of pain meds
    I worry about her all the time
    Takes a lot of medications at different times during day – schedules need to work around this
    3x a day eye drops hard to remember or make sure I am around to give them to her; scheduling
    Very costly drugs/insurance/high quality food expenses on monthly basis and has been this way for long time
    Have to take her outside every time to do her business
    Have to lead her down hallway in mornings or she won’t come out of her room
    We can’t go very far anymore or be away more than a few hours at a time
    We can’t leave her with anyone for more than a day (only my Mom & Dad can look after her)/no vacations)
    Weight of expense and weight of care starting to feel burdensome
    Hard to watch her bump around the house and run into things and not know where she is
    Worry that something awful will happen (she will fall/hurt herself/have heart attack etc. when she is on her own) or I’m there but not able to help/manage her myself, too heavy to lift
    Don’t think her life is much fun anymore

    That's my list. I feel like the answer is obvious. But my guilt at my leaning in the direction of putting her to sleep is massive. Curious to know how others made the decision. Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    I don't think you have any reason to feel any guilt at all. Most of us have been in a similar situation or could be in the future.you know her best and have nursed her and spent time with her and are the best judge of her quality of life.
    What I usually do is speak to my vet and do what you do and make a list of good and bad. I'm in the same situation at the moment and like you am managing an ill old dog who is fading. Strangely she was a night howler when she's was on tramadol, shes had to stop taking it at the moment and it's not so bad. We also suspect there is a element of doggy dementia that's making her bark and howl at night. She's completely deaf so there's also a possibility that she hears noises from her ears, which she finds disturbing.
    I think whatever you decide you will have her best interests at heart. You clearly adore her and want to do what's best for her.
    I can't really do much other than offer my support and best wishes for you both.
     
  3. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Longest on the Forum without an actual dog Forum Supporter

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    I'm so sorry you are facing this stage of Daisy's life. The problem with pros and cons list (or bad/good) is that not each item is weighed the same. Yes, your 'bad' list is longer. But I get the impression that is more because you are tired and sad, and with good reason. But it's also clear that you love Daisy. Maybe if it's not clear to you what to do, despite that very long 'bad' list, then it isn't yet time. But if it is, you shouldn't feel guilt either. It's very clear that you'll do what is best for her.

    For both of my boys, I said I would never euthanise them and would fight to the bitter end. One was only five years old. As long as he had some joy out of every day during his illness, I never changed my stance. No big blue needle...ever. People who were older and wiser than myself said, "He'll tell you when it's time." To which I replied, "He can tell me all he wants, but I'm not going to listen.". On the last day of his life, he told me. I listened. And I said goodbye. He would have passed within hours regardless, but I was able to make it easier for him.

    And I can't stress enough - he really did tell me loud and clear. I didn't understand what people meant before his passing, now I do.

    I guess my point is that no one walks in your shoes but you. No one knows Daisy like you know Daisy. If she is telling you, then only you will know how and when to listen.
    :heart:
     
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  4. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    I do agree with Emily they really do tell you.The communication is clear.
     
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  5. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    I just think you 'know' when the time is right. She may howl because she has a little bit of dementia. A difficult place for you to be, would it help if the vet advised one way or the other? I feel for you having had to have my 11 year old Lab put to sleep, but I just knew when the day came x
     
  6. DizzyDaisy

    DizzyDaisy Registered Users

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    Thanks for your advice. Yes one of the vets at the practice thinks it is likely dementia that causes Daisy to howl. She does it out of the blue, and sometimes will do it 2 or 3 nights in a row, and then stop for a week or two. Then start up again. She'll do it in the middle of the day with me there in the next room.

    As far as getting a feeling from her, I feel/see a definite difference in her whole demeanor just about how she approaches life now - so blah about it all. She has had so many issues her whole life and it is just so sad to now see her struggling with the blindness. The vet said to give her time, but she is no better now than she was after the first day she went completely blind in December. I guess I have been waiting to see improvements there, and they are not happening. I was shocked at just how much slower and old lady-ish she has gotten over the past year. Becoming blind has not helped! I didn't realize until I watched a video of her taken Feb 2017 - huge difference. She used to LOVE LOVE LOVE chasing rabbits in the back yard, and now she struggles sometimes to make it up the one step at our door.

    I will definitely take all of your advise and sit on it for a bit. Thanks again.
     
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  7. Rosie

    Rosie Registered Users

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    Thinking of you.
     
  8. edzbird

    edzbird Registered Users

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    It's a really tough period of our dogs lives, when they age & slow. You sound very close to Daisy, you will know when she tells you. You are in my thoughts x
     
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  9. Anne123

    Anne123 Registered Users

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    :hug:
     
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  10. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

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    It's a very difficult time. Just enjoy each day with her, and spend a lot of time cuddling and loving her. Let her sniff around outside - sight and hearing may go, but dogs don't lose their sense of smell. I feel for you, it is very hard...
     
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  11. Chococheer

    Chococheer Registered Users

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    Please don't interpret this as a lack of respect for the love you have for your girl...and the time, money, and energy you lovingly bestow upon her...but if she were mine, I would have her euthanized at this point. I strongly believe that once the quality of life becomes too compromised, then it's time to say good bye. This is just my opinion, and I know you'll do whatever you feel best for Daisy.
     
  12. CamK

    CamK Registered Users

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    This time is not easy for you or for Daisy. It's obvious you love her and want to do the right thing.

    I recently went thru this with my Fudge. My husband was ready before me but let me make the final decision. So after two weeks of cuddles and extra treats and lots of emotions... We said goodbye. And I still questioned whether it was time.

    What set me at peace was some health problems of my own. The pain I was in, the wondering what was going on, the worry.... I think Fudge had those feelings but with limited understanding. So then I was at peace with saying goodbye.
     
  13. Edp

    Edp Registered Users

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    I think you will know...I have had 3 PTS and when the time was right it was not a hard decision. Very sad but not hard, there was no doubt in my mind. I think you will know when.
     
  14. Pilatelover

    Pilatelover Registered Users

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    Sending you big hugs at such a difficult time. I also think that know one knows Daisy like you and reading your post she is blessed with a wonderful owner who has her best interests at heart. After all if you didn’t you wouldn’t be having this conversation. There really are no rights or wrongs in this situation. How could it possibly be a simple and easy decision to make when your dear girl has been such a wonderful companion for many years.

    :hug:
     
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  15. DizzyDaisy

    DizzyDaisy Registered Users

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    I would like to thank you all for your help and kindness. I have in past stopped posting to forums, as I found that often people (some well meaning, some not) would take all opportunities to beat you down if you said something they didn't agree with. I was ready to read some not so pleasant answers, but that has not happened here. NICE.:)

    I took Daisy in to our vets yesterday to get her nails trimmed up - she won't let me do it, and I don't want to hurt her so just easier to have them do it. She loves going to vets (weird but probably because she has been there so much and "the girls" fuss over her so she loves it. She loves the attention, but not the poking/prodding/testing/etc. If I say to Daisy, "want to go visit the girls?" she knows exactly what I'm talking about - tail goes mile a minute. So I took her in, and had a good chat with the 2 vet techs and office manager who have all known Daisy for most of her life. I broached the subject of putting Daisy to sleep and they all understood where I was coming from with Daisy's health/blindness/constant additional care. That helped.

    My husband thinks its best to put her to sleep, as he sees how much of a toll this is on me and how much time I spend as nursemaid to Daisy. He says I need a break.

    At this point, I am going to go day by day, and when I feel time is right, I will make that appointment. What freaks me out, is booking a time, an appointment .....I wish I could just be more spontaneous with that decision.
     
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  16. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I had the vets come to our house so that my dog could go to sleep in his bed, it cost more but it was worth it xx
     
  17. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

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    Me too with Billy; it was very restful and gentle.
     
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  18. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    Ive done it both ways theres a lot to be said for planning you can makes sure everything is perfect it's not rushed and you can be really sure everything is how you want it to be for your friend.
    I've also been in the situation where swift mercy is needed to help a friend in trouble. Neither is good but I was glad when the choice was not really a choice and I had to act without over thinking or worrying that I was making the wrong decision.my dog had a stroke it was a big one and the only thing I could do was send him gently on his way with the help of my vet. I wished I could I spared him the fear though, he was frightened and confused it was hard for him. At least if it's planned you can control this for her she won't be frightened it would be like falling a sleep at home.
    Whatever happens you sound like your vets will be very supportive. They know her and understand your bond. You love her and I don't doubt you will do the best for her xxx
    I agree with the others having the vet come to your home is much nicer for the dog.
     
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  19. Sven

    Sven Registered Users

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    I am sorry to hear about Daisy. Personally I have not been there as Vanilla is our first dog. I do believe though that they will tell you.
    I agree with the others about the Vet coming to your house if possible.
    One thing I did hear by a vet (Fizpatrick) that if he has to do it at his clinic he takes them outside to allow them to smell the air, grass etc and look at the sky. Not sure if that could be a possibility if you have to take her to the Vet.
    You will make the right decision when the time is right.
     
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  20. Granca

    Granca Registered Users

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    It’s never easy. If you can ask the vet to come to your house, then that’s preferable to going to the surgery.

    Try not to worry about the actual process of booking the appointment, but remember that it’s said it’s better a day too early than a day too late. That way, too, you can try to make sure it’s in the best possible circumstances for her.

    Thinking of you.
     
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