That dilemma of when your pet grows old

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Tomm Williams, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Afflicted

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    This is my buddy Gizmo, he’s a 14 year old Pug. About two years ago he was diagnosed with diabetes and quickly lost his vision. In the past several months its apparent he’s also become deaf and if he doesn’t have enough to contend with, he's showing all the symptoms of dementia.
    I took him to the vet for a full check up to see if there is anything that can be done to improve his quality of life and the bad news was no. However the good news is he’s actually in astonishingly good condition all things considered.
    I give him Insulin injections for the diabetes, of course nothing can be done for the blindness. It’s the dementia that’s proving a tough one. He wanders around the house sometimes for over an hour getting lost and barking ceaselessly. 14 is quite old for any dog but particularly for a Pug.
    Knowing when it’s time is a rough one here as he is very mobile, still eats, drinks and vacates. He just seems to have lost his mind to a large degree so I don’t know how much longer he will be able to know he needs to do those things.
    As long as he remains mobile I can’t bring myself to taking him in, but I try putting myself in his paws and I’m not so sure I would want to be around dealing with all this.
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  2. telleutelleme

    telleutelleme Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Always a tough choice when you can't fathom the dogs feelings. I guess in the times I've had to make the choice I felt that the dog could no longer function as it was intended and I would rather it go to sleep rather than suffer out. I offer no suggestion because only the people that love the family member can make the decision. I wish you and Gizmo well and its great you've had such a long time together. Sorry you have reached this point, it is hard.
     
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  3. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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    A terrible decision to make - but do what's right for your pet.
     
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  4. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Sad story about Gizmo. I have an old Jack Russel, blind with kidney problems. She wanders, especially at night. She barks when she hears a sound she doesn’t recognize. Maybe Gizmo is just doing what blind dogs do. My girl Sam still has a reasonable quality of life. She enjoys a steak dinner every night. It helps the medicine go down. She needs to be carried around a lot but we’ll just be human wheel chairs for a while longer. It’s tough when they get old.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
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  5. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    You’ll know what to do when it’s time.
    Good on ya’ for being responsible!
     
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  6. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have two, sister and brother. They both went blind a couple years ago. She gets around pretty well, he is always confused. He's pretty lame now. She is amazing, she will track me down out in the yard (2 acres). Follows me everywhere. Their dad had diabetes and we gave him injections. I just keep loving them, spoiling them and helping best I can.
     
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  7. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    You'll know when the time comes. Meanwhile give him all the attention you can. And let the vet keep an eye on him.
     
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  8. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Holic

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    I have a 14 y/o cat who is experiencing kidney failure. She still plays and is very affectionate, so it is difficult to tell if she is suffering. Looks like we both have some soul searching to do.
     
  9. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

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    I hear ya loud and clear. We had two pugs that had health problems. When they came to 14 years old and we were looking at having to use diapers, that was it. It killed me to have to take them in, but I knew it was best. I got in my truck to leave the vet, and my local classic radio station started playing "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You". I lost it.
     
  10. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's

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    I don’t envy you whenever you decide to make that decision. From reading your post your trying to do what is best for the dog. You are thinking the best way.
     
  11. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I had a Boston Terrier named Ralph that lived to be 18. He was blind and deaf for the last 5 years or so. He did pretty well as long as nobody put something new in the room for him to bump into. He got around pretty good till he got to where he couldn't get up a few times. It was really hard to take him down.
     
  12. Rowdyman

    Rowdyman Tele-Meister

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    It's hard. I went through this about 4-5 years ago, Spike was the same age.
    It's not easy,, but,,
    It's like the others are telling you, You will know what to do. Good Luck ,, RM
     
  13. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Meister

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    I've pondered the death of four footed "members of the family" often. And they are members of the family, each with a unique and special personality, or disposition if you'd rather use that word. Their loss is painful.

    Why is it, that the animals that have been closely tied to humans for countless years, are such short lived in comparison to their human caregivers? By extension, why do we have "pets" at all?

    Skirting the rules of this wonderful place on the internet, the more I think about it I think there are some possible reasons...

    First is, a pet, especially one that is acquired in the days of one's youth, teach a whole lot. They teach us responsibility, they teach us about unconditional love.

    They teach us lessons about care giving, when care giving is not something we'd really like to do, but must be done, which is a case we most certainly will encounter with our own children, and our parents in their old age. We learn to unconditionally love from that.

    And they teach us how to deal with inevitable loss. They teach us how to worry, to grieve, and importantly, how to recover from loss. They teach us that no matter how we try, there is no sidestepping death, for them, for our loved ones, or by ourselves, as we are only human beings, capable of tasks that human beings are so endowed to perform.

    Whether this is by design, or just happy coincidence, I shall leave for each individual to decide for themselves.

    Rejoice in the life shared with Gizmo, as it is one that is special beyond mere words.
     
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  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Dammit I'm having a rough day, the moon is full, and this just made me really sad.

    I suffer with physical pain all day every day but look forward to doing stuff all the time.

    I took care of my Mother in her last years and she suffered through six cancers, chemo and radiation at the same time, and would point out that gettin' old aint for sissies.

    But what she took the hardest by far, what seemed to bring her the most suffering, was the dementia.
    The confusion included fear that she was no longer among friends and loved ones, and anger toward the loved ones she came to fear.

    I don't know what or how you should proceed and you have my condolences.
    That's just my impression of how a loved one you've known for decades experiences dementia.

    Aside from that we have a large pet cemetery in the back yard, over a dozen plots and we still love them all...
     
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  15. Stubee

    Stubee Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    That is difficult. It’s always been a mild surprise to me when my dogs show the first signs of aging; time slips by so quickly with them and then “suddenly” they are getting old! At least at my age now it takes a dog quite a few years to catch up to my own creakiness.

    Like others have said, you’ll know when. I realize that doesn’t make it any easier. My best to you.
     
  16. Greggorios

    Greggorios Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Maybe give his mental health a bit more time. Am not so sure it's necessarily senility. We have a 16 and half year old Maltese who is nearly blind and deaf. I think her sense of smell is fading a bit too. She exhibited similar confusion as Gizmo. It eventually subsided and she appears to now have a pretty decent quality of life. She stumbles a bit and needs some help with steps but all in all she's dramatically better than she was. I suspect that much of what we initially thought was senility was more like confusion and panic attacks as a result of her world being turned upside down. As our vet predicted she adapted.

    I know the reality is that we'll have to put her to sleep in the not too far distant future but we and she are enjoying life one day at a time in the meantime.

    Work closely with your vet and when it's Gizmos time you'll be there for him.

    Best thoughts and prayers for you and Gizmo Tomm. :)
     
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  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    When my bulldog Stewart was dying of congestive heart failure, I walked that line for six weeks. I didn't want to keep him alive for one minute, just for my sake. Neither did I want his last thoughts to be surprise, betrayal, abandonment, and that he wasn't ready.

    The six weeks felt like an eternity. The stress of hurting SO bad (me, not him), and knowing the hardest part, and the eventual healing process, had yet to begin. He lost the ability to walk, and he was on a diuretic (without which his lungs would fill with fluid in hours). So I carried him (70 lbs) outside to go potty, at least 15 times a day. I put those disposable 'potty pads' all over the floor - essentially carpeted the rooms with them. But he never once went on one. He thought they were special to me, so if he absolutely had to go in the house, it would be right alongside one of those pads. Love you, Stewart! :)

    When he couldn't walk, I thought seriously about calling it. But I watched him when I took him outside. Standing there, legs shivering with the strain, going to the bathroom, he was still interested in life. He would listen to all the tree frogs (August) at night, and look at the scenery. He was the only dog I've ever known who enjoyed scenery like a person might.

    Then one morning I woke, and he'd wet his bed, and had been laying in it for hours, unable to move. OK, he's ready. I scheduled the final vet visit for tomorrow morning.

    Then, thinking I'd give the poor guy a break, I stopped the diuretic. At least he wouldn't be having to pee constantly. Little did I know how fast-acting it was. Within two hours, he was in severe distress, unable to breathe. I had to take him to an all-night emergency clinic at 4:30 am.

    I felt SO bad for having stopped the diuretic. But at the same time, his final suffering helped me a lot. I have no lingering doubts about whether he was ready or not.

    The vet was wonderful. I laid him right on the floor, and she hooked him up, and pushed just the initial sedative. She said, "he can still hear you, but he's not in distress. Take your time, and you tell me when. I won't push the remainder until you say." So I got to say all my goodbyes.

    Hard day. Right up there with my mom passing. He was a great friend.


    My point isn't to make all you tough guys blubber, but to say that when the time comes, it might come very quickly, and in retrospect you may feel you waited just a bit too long. Just keep thinking about what the dog would want - at the same time realizing that you're his whole world, and he can't imagine any other choice but to stay with you forever. You're the alpha in his little dog pack, and thus the hard choices fall to you. He knows you'll do right by him.


    Stewie portrait standing - 5x7.jpg
     
  18. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr TDPRI Member

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    It's always sad to lose an old friend. When the time comes, make sure you are there when it happens. You are his world and should be the last person he sees. My best to you and Gizmo
     
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  19. idjster

    idjster VERY grateful member Silver Supporter

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    It's so sad to see this. We had a wonderful Lab/Setter cross who lived to 14 1/2 and we were so sad when it came time. I still think of her all the time. It's good that you're such a compassionate friend to Gizmo, but that only makes decisions harder. Take care!
     
  20. Rjelecaster

    Rjelecaster Tele-Meister

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    if Gizmo is in pain..
     
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