Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 66 total)
  • Advice for a dog owner. (Kindest decision ?)
  • Premier Icon takisawa2
    Full Member

    My dog, Fatty McTavish, a 16yr old Westie-Jack Russel cross has literally been with me since I helped him into this world on Valentines day 1992. (I owned his mum also). He’s been a loving & faithful little chap, but of late his health has sadly began to fade. Started last summer when a succession of ear infections gradually lost him his hearing, his eyesight has also got worse, he’s lucky if he can see me from 20m now. Also seems to have a few problems in his back legs & has to be helped up the step sometimes. Vet says its just old age catching up with him. I’m pretty sure the little chap is not enjoying life as much these days, walks are out as he can barely get around the block with his back legs failing. (Had to carry him home after Boxing day walk). He’s also taken to constantly barking which is difficult to manage as he obviously cant hear you to tell him to stop. I can only imagine it might be annoying the neighbors also as we are out all day.
    I always imagined I’d just come downstairs one morning & find he’d slipped away, but I guess it doesn’t work that way.

    So, & you’ve probably guessed whats coming next, I think it might be time to look at the kindest option to him. I always thought it would be an easy decision to make, but by god is my conscience turning in knots over this. I’ve kind of decided to take him tomorrow while the Mrs & kids are out. Having to say goodbyes will upset her, probably not so much the little ones (eldest is only 3), but all the same I kind of figure that it might be the best way of going about it. She knows I’m coming to terms with it & it wont surprise her if he’s not here when she gets back from swimming.

    Not quite sure what I’m looking for really, a few words of inspiration perhaps. I just don’t want to go down the road of pumping him full of drugs to keep him alive. Doesn’t seem right, he’s always been such an active little fellow, never quite a mtb trail dog (legs too short…!!!) but a solid reliable little pal for a over a 1/4 of my life. Always imagined I’d rather remember him at his best, not the poor lethargic little chap he is now. I know its been on the cards for a while & I think I’m about ready to let him go now.

    If anyones still reading at this point then thanks.
    Its kind of got some difficult thoughts off my mind & seeing them written before me has helped somewhat.

    ATB
    PT

    Premier Icon pk-ripper
    Free Member

    Not the easiest situation I know, and everyone is different. Personally, if he’s not in pain, then stay with the fella.

    The vet advised us a year or so ago that our cat was pretty much on his last legs (he was 18), had all sorts of problems besides being deaf and retarded, and was completely off his food and shedding weight rapidly. he’s now 19, has to be helped on to the sofa but shuffles around the house to find me to have company. He’s a legend, and had we listened to the vet, then he wouldn’t be here right now.

    Premier Icon colnagokid
    Full Member

    (wipes tears from eyes) had a similar situation with my dog that I grew uo with- collie, we got him when I just started school and saw me through to work!
    Like Fatty, Ben went blind(gradually), deaf(gradually) he always used to lie behind the front door and would jump up to greet you, or bark at strangers, as time wore on you had to push the door, and dog to get in!
    He loved to go out, and would do errands o n his own, but as he got on life became harder and more tiring. His legs got heavier, and hips a bit stiffer, untill he could only make it round the block.
    A quiet trip to the beach-his favourite, and a short walk through the park to the vets, with treats on the way, and we said goodbye after 15 years.
    Im sure you would want to be kept going for someone else’s plesure/lack of guilt.
    Sorry if it sounds a bit twee. Good luck

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Full Member

    As pk says if he’s not in pain then stick with it! The vet is the best advisor ask how fit your dog is. Maybe go for 3 monthly or 6 monthly check-ups rather than annual ones to ensure Fatty doesn’t deteriorate too much. Can I suggest you don’t hide the unpleasant truth from the rest of the family. The 3 year-old won’t understand the concept of death and Mrs T will be a good source of support. Best of luck with your decision and with Fatty’s health.

    Premier Icon colnagokid
    Full Member

    Wiping eyes still, agree with other posters if the little warrior can battle on, or is just a bit poorly, but if he’s come to the end….

    Premier Icon tails
    Free Member

    I’m sorry to hear your news t2 I remember taking little flashy to the vets i just couldn’t put him to sleep. My only advice is if you as a human were in the same situation what do you think you’d want. enjoy the rest of your time together, i hope it’s longer than you feel currently. regards andy

    Premier Icon stompy
    Free Member

    Fatty sounds like he’s a big part of the family, much the same as my dogs are…… and I know all you want to do is help the little chap out but like others have said if he’s just slowing down but is still happy then stick with him and be the family he knows and loves till he really is ready to go.

    Maybe now is the time to repay a little of the joy and happiness he has brought you over the years by helping him out abit and putting up with some of his old age cranky-ness!!

    Do what, in your heart, you feel is best for the little fella and for the family as a whole……
    All the best

    Premier Icon chewkw
    Free Member

    I would rather let him slip away on its own rather than taking the initiative to ease his pain.

    My collie cross lived up to nearly 18 or 20 years old when it became deaf and blind. We let him slipped away on his own as we did not have the heart to terminate his life.

    Premier Icon Coasting
    Free Member

    Man just been down this path 9 months ago.Its a hell of a thing having to make the hard choises.Remember the good times and the love and great memories shared.At the end of the day u r responsible for the dogs world and im sure u will know when the time comes.We had to make the decision and as hard as it is its all part of your responsibility to a loyal loving friend.

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Free Member

    I was “lucky” when I lost my Onza (my GSD), he slipped away painlessly after a couple of days of being unwell although at nine and a half years, I still feel he was taken early. Dogs are a lot more resiliant than people and tend not to get frustrated with their problems but just get on with life as best they can (some people could learn from that). As others have said, if he’s not in pain and still an active part of the family (cuddles and fuss etc) then there’s no rush.

    Premier Icon TandemJeremy
    Free Member

    I would take a slightly different view to the others here. think of the dog not yourself. Imagine you were the dog – would you want to continue? Is the dog suffering or miserable?

    From the description of how he is if I was in the situation the dog is I would want to be put down. Sometimes the hardest and bravest decision is the right one. Only you can know for sure but think of it as going out as world champion rather than hanging on for comeback after comeback getting slowly more pathetic.

    Put the dog first and make your decision on what the dog is feeling – not you or your family. I have seen people be too soft to have a pet put down and left it suffering for months.

    Premier Icon hora
    Free Member

    I would definitely advise putting him to sleep. Stay with him. My girlfriend had a lovely Yorkshire Terrier (why are they always gay dogs with me?!) that used to walk alongside me with no lead everywhere (and run off from its own owners!). Anyway, his teeth and backlegs started going so it was a no-brainer.

    Sad but it would have been cruel to keep him alive for our feelings.

    When it is Bingo’s turn I wont hesitate either. Worse than not having him by my side is having him suffer. All the best.

    On the flipside I was talking to a woman in the park with a Parsons Terrier who had a pronouced limp. Transpires the dog is only 18months old with a congenital hip problem and already on pain killers. The lovely lady explained to me that shes already planned a set of wheels to enable the dog to get around later when both backlegs fail. I can tell you I had to bite my tongue and walk away.

    Premier Icon hora
    Free Member

    Revise to my post. If hes just lethargic/not much energy then keep him going. Just spoil the bugger to death. If he yelps/limps badly etc or more tellingly(?) shows signs of incontinence then I would consider the option.

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Full Member

    Had the same dilemma with our first Westie “Toby”. He had kidney failure, drugs could have kept him going but in the end we decided to get him put down, we didn’t call it going to sleep as vet advised us said that our young children might be scared of going to bed to “sleep” as they might associate sleeping with Toby never coming back.

    After a six month gap, we now have another Westie Archie. Toby may be gone but not forgoten.

    B

    Premier Icon Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    Qaulity of life, not qauntity.

    Premier Icon hora
    Free Member

    Pictures of Archie please (again)

    ..and of Taffy

    Premier Icon tinker-belle
    Free Member

    Really feel for you, it’s one of the hardest choices to make. And I know I still wonder if some of the ones I chose to put to sleep really where at the end.

    As others have said look at his quality of life, if he’s still able to get about mainly on his own, then just spoil him rotten and let nature take it’s course. If he’s obviously in pain, then it’s time to bite the bullet.

    As said above as well, don’t keep it from the family, they’ll be a fantastic source of support.

    My thoughts are with you, probably the biggest down side to pets is when it comes to this choice.

    Premier Icon Del
    Full Member

    do what you think is best. it’s what you’ve done for his entire life.
    all the best.

    Premier Icon TooTall
    Free Member

    He has had a great run – you’ve given him quality of life for quite some quantity for a dog. Why is he always barking? If he wasn’t a barky dog before, then something that isn’t good is making him do it now. He is not getting the quality of life he was – not even close. You know what is best and you should feel no guilt – only pride that you’ve seen him right through.

    Premier Icon emac65
    Free Member

    We had a similar thing with our last Boxer who was 14,she lost control of her bowels movements in the end & we decided it was time to have her put to sleep.Wife took her to the vets as she knew I’d find an excuse & end up bringing her back home again,she said it was an awful experience.We found out later that for a few quid more you can have the vet come to the house & do it there rather than queue up in the vets waitng to have it done.Next time that’s what we’ll do……

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Full Member


    Archie

    Premier Icon hora
    Free Member

    emac65, thanks for that. We’ll do that when the time comes.

    Premier Icon coffeeking
    Free Member

    I’m not one for putting animals down just because they have gotten old and a bit infirm, its not fair, just as you wouldnt put your parents down because they’d gone deaf and have leg problems and dont have the life they did when they were 18. Our usual tipping point is when they a) start to suffer from some illness that they’re clearly never going to come out of or b) if they seem in pain all the time or finally c) if they are clearly going downhill and lose their appetite. Just because its deaf, has arthur itis, gets tired easily and barks causing annoyance isnt a good enough reason IMO. Unless the barking is due to him being in pain. Obviously not an easy choice to make though, and only the owner can do it in the end. I just know of a few animals who’ve been put down that really had plenty of go left in them, but it was too much effort for the owner – thats tainted my views a bit! Only you know, only you have to live with it. I’m sure if you love him so much then you’ll make the right choice and not regret it, whatever it is.

    Premier Icon TooTall
    Free Member

    “its not fair, just as you wouldnt put your parents down because they’d gone deaf and have leg problems and dont have the life they did when they were 18”

    Don’t humanise the dog. It is a dog. More problems are caused through humanising dogs than most anything.

    Premier Icon coffeeking
    Free Member

    Don’t humanise the dog. It is a dog. More problems are caused through humanising dogs than most anything.

    I dont believe dogs have any less of a right to old age than people do. If “animals arent worth as much as people” is your attitude then thats your opinion, not mine, but its not “humanising”. Once you accept a pet into your home as a pet, its crossed the line from being “just an animal”, yes there are ways they need to be treated to be controlled correctly but you can no longer just say “its just a dog, its a bit old, kill it”.

    I’d hasten to add more (and more unpleasant) problems arise from people treating animals badly because they’re “just animals”.

    Premier Icon TooTall
    Free Member

    Most of your post makes sense – but comparing a dog to your parents is humanising it.

    Regardless of it being a pet, it is still a dog. You deal with dogs differently to humans and you have to be consistent with that. I’m not saying you should treat the life with disregard, but you need to apply different rules to those of your parents.

    Premier Icon hora
    Free Member

    Humanise? Jeez my missus is in trouble. She holds it like a baby and dresses it in ridiculous jumpers saying ‘its cold/he might suffer’ (FFS). Bin a jumper and a new one springs up out of nowhere..FFS (again!)

    Premier Icon Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    the correct term is anthropomorphise (sp?) 😉

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Full Member

    “its not fair, just as you wouldnt put your parents down because they’d gone deaf and have leg problems and dont have the life they did when they were 18”

    Don’t humanise the dog. It is a dog. More problems are caused through humanising dogs than most anything.

    I can agree with both of these statements. Unfortunately, the fact of having a dog as a pet (and one who has lived for 16 years – a lot longer than any dog my parents have owned) means that a bond is necessarily developed. At the same time there is a tendency to humanise animals too much – I see it in my mother, who kept her last dog alive much longer than I would have done, and so I thought it suffered too much before she put it down. In spite of my mother’s gentleness and care of all the animals she has had over my lifetime, she is also the reason why I would never have a pet.

    I’d say that Fatty isn’t quite ready for the bullet, but when the day comes that he can no longer get up the step without aid, that’s the day you need to say goodbye.

    Premier Icon Woody
    Free Member

    Good advice above, particularly Coffeking and PK

    Having had to take 2 dogs and 2 cats ‘down to the vets’ over the past 5 years it is a heartbreaking decision (I still get upset when I come across pics or threads like this ) 😥 but one which only the owner who has cared for and knows the dog can ultimately make. Your dogs eyesight failings and inanbility to get round the block are just old age but the criteria I use to make any decision are –

    Are they in pain or suffering ?
    Is their quality of life such that they are depressed/miserable/aggressive ?
    Take the vets advice as to what is best for the dog not you.

    Whatever you decide, you can take comfort in the fact your ‘litte mate’ has had a wonderful life with you.

    Premier Icon bigsi
    Free Member

    God i can hardly see the screen through the tears 😥

    If it were me in your situation and one day it quite possibly will be (i get upset just thniking about it) i hope that i will be able to do what is right for the dog which is what you must do. If he’s just a bit slower and struggles with the stairs etc but doesn’t seem to be in pain (dogs have a much higher pain threshold than humans) then let him keep going, our oldest is quite deaf and losing her sight but still loves to go for walks and play fetch. If however he is losing control of his body or is i constant pain then it could be time.

    Only you know what’s right to do for Fatty as you’ve lived with him for so long and I’m sure you will make the right decision.

    Premier Icon coffeeking
    Free Member

    Most of your post makes sense – but comparing a dog to your parents is humanising it.

    Regardless of it being a pet, it is still a dog. You deal with dogs differently to humans and you have to be consistent with that. I’m not saying you should treat the life with disregard, but you need to apply different rules to those of your parents.

    I’m not comparing it to my parents, I’m simply setting out criteria by which its life should end and pointing out that those criteria dont need to change just because it is an animal. Assuming you have a relationship with it, it isnt food, you should want to keep it alive as long as it isnt suffering. Getting old isnt suffering. Even being blind and deaf isnt suffering, unless it is causng anxiety and distress (which it probably isnt from my experience) to the animal. I dont see why the criteria are different for an animal? Naturally it doesnt have dependants to worry about, or responsibilities to other people as humans do, but in every other respect it should have the same basic rights.

    Treating it too much like its a human (with respect to this, ignoring handling problems)is only a problem if the animal is suffering. I have two pets, both diagnosed with the same problem. One died very early from the problem, in an abrupt, totally unpredictable, and painful manner. The second is still alive and perfectly happy. It may too die in a painful manner, but it has so far had twice the fun lifespan that the other had. Where do you draw the line in this case?

    Premier Icon hora
    Free Member

    bigsi, you should visit the Manchester Dogs home. I’m a grown lad and I was fighting back emotion walking around there last weekend- some of the dogs (4-6 per cage) were fighting each other and all the staff could do was kick the cages really hard to stop them. The sight of humans provoked differing reactions from each dog- some went to the back, others jumped trying to escape- others bit to get them out of the way etc etc.

    Premier Icon fbk
    Free Member

    As others have said, it’s quality not quantity of life that’s important. For many of the symptoms you’ve described, there are potential treatments available (arthritis, senile changes with the barking etc etc) but by the sounds of it you’ve discussed them with your own vet already.

    My advice would be, as an obviously caring and concerned owner, you know your animal better than anyone else (vet, friends, STW members!!). You know how he usually behaves and you’re the best judge of whether he’s still enjoying life. Whilst that judgement is often clouded by emotion and guilt, deep down YOU are the best person to make that decision….and from what you’ve said in your OP, I think you’ve already decided.

    As for “Letting them pass away over night”. I’d much rather they passed away in a controlled environment, with the owner present than watch an animal get worse and worse, then die alone over night…. but every case is different.

    All the best whatever you decide.

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Full Member

    Thanks all.
    I’ve booked him in to see the Vet this afternoon.
    I mentioned that I’m prepared to let him to go if that’s the advice, so they have booked a double slot just in case.
    He actually seemed a bit sprightly this morning. It’s going to be hard but I’m going to go with the advice of the vet.
    A work colleague pointed out that he is effectively trapped in his own little world, he cant hear us, he cant see too far & is it really fair to keep him if that’s his reality…
    On the other hand, he isn’t obviously in any pain, albeit for the odd yelp when he scratches his ears.
    I’ll see what the vet has to say.
    Thanks again.
    PT

    Premier Icon Stu_N
    Full Member

    I’m mostly in agreement with coffeeking on this (though a bit less of the anthropomorphising the hound). If dog’s happy in himself and not in pain or any suffering, or has no signs of imminent demise I’d keep him until he gets to that point. That might be now, or might be when his eyesight goes to the extent he can’t navigate round things, or when legs go to the point he can’t get around the house or go for a big steaming poo in the garden.

    Only you can tell when that time comes. Then you can be glad he’s a dog and not a person so can be put out of a miserable existence with a bit of help.

    If you think that the time is now then you know what to do, but I’d seriously reconsider doing it without discussing it with the missus. It’s upsetting to say goodbye, but gives a sort of finality which makes it easier to come to terms with the demise of the pet. It’s not the sort of thing you can undo, and might help you decide what to do. When the time came for “our” dog (very different circumstances so as easy as those decisions get), even though it was really my gf’s dog (and the dog thought that too!) and she’d had the dog longer than I’d been about we made the decision together – I’d have been gutted if she’d gone it alone.

    Premier Icon goon
    Free Member

    I see you’ve already booked to see a vet, but remember that if you do choose to let him go, the vet can do a home visit. Our Ali was terrified of the vet, and I was terrified of the last thing he felt being stress and fear. When his time came the vet came out to us and he died in his bed with Sarah and I at his side.

    It was one of the hardest things I had to do, and I nearly told the vet we had changed our mind when he turned up. I quickly reminded myself who we were doing this for, and that it was the last and greatest act of kindness we could do for Ali.

    Such a hard decision, but I always said I’d rather he went a week too early than a day too late.

    However it turns out, I can only sympathise with you and hope things get easier.

    Premier Icon Macca
    Free Member

    Feel for you fella.

    If its any help, I have a Grandmother who’s 96, cant walk, cant see well, is confined to a home where she is slowly slipping into another world, and given the choice would turn the lights out,(She’s told me).

    I look at her and think would I ever want to get like that ?

    I also watched another very dear Aunt slide awfully for many years when all she wanted was out.

    I think we can get closer to our pets than a lot of humans, the major difference is they cant talk and tell you how they feel, but I guess his incessant barking should give you a good idea of where he’s at, and how he feels.

    Dont cop out by waiting for the vet to make the decision, he’s had a great run, and been a pal for all this time.

    Time for you to be his pal now, you know what to do.

    Premier Icon hora
    Free Member

    goon ours has always hated the vets. He hyperventilates as soon as he gets in there. Wont stay still, twists/turns ignores all commands.

    takisawa2, all the best.

    Premier Icon stratobiker
    Free Member

    Bon Courage takisawa2
    Bon Chance Fatty

    Dogs are great, except the bit where you have to say goodbye. 😥

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 66 total)

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