Monday, January 30, 2012

Tough Decisions

I always said if I became a burden to those around me due to health or an accident I wouldn't want to live. I still feel that way, but how do you transfer that to your pet? We have a dog who is turning 13 this year. That's 91 in dog years. She has arthritis so bad that she is constantly shaking. She is deaf and going blind and has no control of her bladder anymore. She is up all night crying. Not barking - crying. We put a gate on the bathroom door and made a little home for her in the bathroom for the night time, and she hates it. She has never been kenneled, so this is pure torture for her. She doesn't understand why she has to stay in the bathroom all night. We put a gate in the door and leave the door open, I just imagine how scary it would be for her if the door was shut with her in it.  I think about getting her a kennel, but for a dog who has never been in one, I can't imagine that this would be better than the bathroom for her, but I still wonder. We just  can't leave her out at night or when we are not home anymore though, because our carpets, couch, pillows or anywhere else she chooses to lay would be ruined, she really just can't hold it anymore.

We brought her to the vet and after several tests, the best that they can tell us is that she has doggie Alzheimer's, but that it could be diabetes insipidis which would be ridiculously expensive to treat (according the vet) or it could be that she has a brain tumor or injury. Running tests for either of these things would be extremely expensive (again according to the vet - we haven't actually gotten the cost yet but we are going to get it today hopefully). The vet recommended putting her on a certain medication that would rule out one of these things based on whether it works or not. It would take several months before we would know if it works or not. If it doesn't we can move on to the more expensive medicine for the other option. Or we could fork over tons of cash and have test after test run until we figure out what is wrong with her and go from there.

I just don't know what to do. Part of me thinks she has lived a good life and is probably miserable and it is time. But the other part of me thinks of those good days where she seems like her former puppy self. I think that she isn't "sick" that we know of and if it is Diabetes is that a reason to put her down? But at the same time, are Juan and I suppose to stay up all night with her and let her continue waking the kids all night with her crying. Her crying is loud and intermixed with the occasional barking and it is impossible to sleep at night. I feel so dizzy and nauseous from the exhaustion in the mornings. What are we supposed to do?

I guess I am just here putting my feelings in writing, hoping that an answer pops out of all this. But it still isn't any more clear. I'm torn. What is best for her? I wish she could just tell me what she wants.


  1. This entire post has me in tears and reminds me of what my inlaws went through and your furbaby looks exactly like Barkley. They had to put her down. Sometimes that is the best thing to do BUT I would have a hard time making the choice. I pray that you and J figure out what to do, Maria. *HUGS*

  2. Oh Maria, this breaks my heart. I don't have anything to say that will make it better but I know that the loss of a pet is completely devastating. We lost my childhood dog last March and I still cry when I think about lil Elmo.

    I never thought I would be able to make the decision to put a pet down but when it came to seeing my baby suffer, we couldn't take the pain of watching him suffer and there b absolutely nothing we could do about it.

    I hug you and your lil baby and my heart breaks for you. :...-(

  3. *hugs* I know that this is one of the hardest decisions to make. our dog Kody was bitten by a brown recluse this past summer, and we were faced with the decision of whether to treat him or put him down- the bite was that severe. we opted for treatment, but at a huge expense. I don't know if I would have done it differently if I had to do it again, but trying to make that decision was excruciating- it is like trying to decide about one of your children.

    I will keep you and your family in my thoughts while you have to go through this, and know that we all are here.

  4. I'm so sorry Maria, my whole family and I just went through something very similar. Our family dog was also 13 and almost similarly sick. It was a really hard decision for my parents and hard on all my siblings and I. Even though it's hard I know you'll figure it out. Love to you and your family through this <3

  5. So sorry you're going through this Maria. They become part of your family. Whatever you decide to do, I know that you have your dog's best intentions in mind. *hugs*

  6. I'm sorry your going through this! I have an old dog too, and even though he is perfectly healthy, I have a hard time excepting he's getting old.

    Now as far as treatment for diabetes goes, I've worked at a vet clinic for 9 years now, and in my neck of the woods, diabetes isn't a huge expense. There are other diseases that are far more expensive to treat.

    Have you thought about putting a diper on her? Maybe then she can sleep in the room with you guys, and then she won't cry?

    I know everybody says "you'll know when it's time", but no, its not always that simple. This is something I talk all the time about with clients, so if you ever feel the need to talk about it, just send me an email.

  7. Soo sorry you're going through this...

    It's never easy.. people always say "you'll know" I don't know that you do!

    As far as diabetes, that is treatable.. but it sounds like there are bigger issues concerning quality of life. Is she in pain? More bad days than good? Is she getting around OK and the pain managed with the arthritis? There are good pain medications, and I would recommend trying proin for bladder help (very good medication, and cheap.. maybe $20 a month..ask your vet)

    but if you find the quality of can't be maintained longer or just isn't there, that is how you can make the decision but.. it's not an easy one.

    Thoughts to you and your family.

  8. I don't know that anything I say can make it easier. I did have a 14yr old doggie that passed away a few months ago. They sell doggie diapers which may sound weird but they work and then maybe the dog can be out and not put up. Which may help with whining and crying.

    My dogs are not crated either and they panic if they are ever put in a crate and they cannot get to me. I will keep you and your puppy in my prayers!

  9. I know how you feel Im in the same spot, almost, my dog will be 16 in March and she has gone deaf but she hasnt lost control of her bladder so I know how you feel in a way, Ive had her since I was 4 years old and am scared for the day that I do lose her and I know how hard it would be to make the decision that youre having to make but maybe it would be best to put her down. If you kept her, the way she does pass may be worse than if you were to put her to sleep peacefully. Its a hard decision to make, a friend of mine had to do that with her dog because he had gotten so sick and I remember crying helping her dig the hole. I send you my best and hope everything turns out for the better.

  10. So sorry you are going through this. I know how you feel though because I've been through it with my cat several years ago. He had a tumor in his throat and wasn't eating. We had it removed and he still wasn't eating, barely meowing, and it was just pure torture for all of us to see him like that. We eventually thought it was best to have him put down because we didn't want him to suffer anymore. It was so hard to come to that decision.

  11. Oh no, this is so rough to deal with. The suggestions above for diapers might me a good solution for you. I've heard some good things about this site, though I've never gotten anything from them -

    Something else that might work better than putting her in the bathroom might be getting an X-pen and making sure you have waterproof bedding under it, so she can be next to your bed at night. Something like this can keep her in a smaller area and you can use a tarp and pee pads -

    Alternately, a doggie playpen might be better, if you have a place near your bed for one like this -

    As far as when it's time to euth, one way that has helped me is to figure out your dog's three favorite things ever, and when she can no longer enjoy two of the three, then it is probably time. No matter how you decide, please know that the lifetime of love you have given her is so wonderful, and nothing can ever take that away. *huge hugs* I'm sorry that you're having to go through this, our pets are such a wonderful thing, and losing them is so awful.

  12. Original_Wacky made some wonderful points. I agree with her on everything. Hugs to you and Juan.

  13. BTDT. We had to put our beloved Basset down last year. He was 14 years old and couldn't get up and down the stairs of our deck to go outside anymore. We had to take him out front, and after awhile he couldn't even walk to the door for that. When it got to where we had to carry him everywhere and he just laid around doing nothing (more than Bassets usually do), we decided it would be better for him to be put down. He wasn't living the life he had lived: he couldn't walk, barely was eating, and just wasn't Clyde anymore. It would have been inhumane to keep him alive. We all cried and were miserable for days, but it was the best choice for Clyde. That's what matters the most. Prayers that you make the best decision and are at peace with it.

  14. Oh Maria, I'm so sorry. I wish I had some advice. I found my first dog on accident a few years ago & I love him so much it hurts my heart.

  15. The hardest thing to do as a pet parent is to make the right decision when you have to do an "adult" responsibility of when we've let them go too far for our own desires or selfish love to have them by our side.

    I have had to make the call on 2 pets in the last 2 years. One of them, looking back now, I should have probably made a decision earlier to put them to rest because they struggled at the end. Is that struggling life really "quality of life" compared to what they had previously? I guess that's what I had to learn, I had to really objectively look at my pets life and decide when their QOL had gone from normal to not-normal and no longer positive for them. It's been hard, but being there at the end was important for me to get through the grieving process. It didn't make it easier to be there at the end, but it did make me feel better to know I had the strength to show my pet support from the beginning to the end and that I was there for them regardless.

  16. Is she crying at night because you've locked her in the bathroom or because she's in pain? I've had my share of doggy illness lately so i can relate. A few years back I lost a dog to cancer, recently lost honey a few months ago she was 13 yrs & 8 months, and then had to deal with sick puppies with parvo. (geez I've really been around the sick dog block). Honey had heart issues and was on 5 different medications which if she wasn't on them she'd be a goner a lot sooner. the whole medication thing is more of a trail by error thing, you try some and then come back in a few weeks and tell them what's going on and you play around with the mix till you get it right, go up or down on doses or add some new ones. anyway honey had lost control of her bladder as well and it was tough, we tried doggie diapers but she always wiggled her way out of them. She slept with us in the bed and so i just put down a doggy training pad under the sheet where she slept and i made her sleep on a blanket that i also put a plastic garbage bag in the middle and i'd wash it every other day and i had a few blankets i used so i could rotate them. as far as the couch I'd have a similar set up she mostly would sit on pillows so i'd just wash them. Honey was only a little 5 lb dog, i dunno how big your girl is. It's tough but honestly it wasn't too much work after i had a system going. The training pee pads helped me out a ton! I wanted to make sure she was as comfortable as i could without making many changes. Also a bissel carpet cleaner has been a lifesaver for the carpets! As long as your pup is still happy and not in pain you should do what you can within reason to making sure she is comfortable. you could always get a second opinion from another vet. I've delt with quite a few vets and there's good ones and bad ones. Best of luck to you and your family, i hope you guys figure out what's going on with your ol'pup. I'll be thinking of you!

  17. Oh man, I'm so sorry Maria. Our oldest dog Luna is going through the same thing right now. She's probably 15 years old now. About a year ago she had the bladder control problem, but it actually went away. It's been a few months since she's had an accident. But she is pretty blind and deaf, we have to spend a lot of time trying to help her find her food. And she also cries all night, she just kind of wanders around the house from door to door. Although since my sister started leaving her bedroom door open for her to sleep on a dog bed in there she's gotten a bit better. So maybe if you could figure out a way for her to sleep near one of you? But she has a hard time getting around the house. We have mostly wood floors and she is always sliding around and falling. My parents haven't decided what to do yet. She still seems happy though and doesn't seem to be in pain really, just really tired and confused.

    I know this isn't any help, but I do understand what you're going through ]: Hugs.