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 Post subject: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:11 pm 
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Hip Goiter
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Hi everyone,
I've never posted in the yard before and I hate that this is my first post. So, I have a dog who is 13 years old. He is half Maltese half Yorkie, so he's probably the cutest living being in the entire history of the world. I love him more than anything/anyone/ever. All my friends have said they have never met anyone as obsessed with their dog as I am :) He's my first pet, and since it has been 13 years, I grew up with him. He's our baby, and treated like the 3rd child.
So because he was a breeder dog, and a small one, and he's 13, he has many health issues. He's had congestive heart failure at some level for a few years, so he has been coughing a lot, more and more over the past 2 years or 3. This past year has gotten worse. We try to calm him down so he doesn't cough as much but he still thinks he's a puppy, so he acts like one (so adorable), jumping and barking and running around, not realizing that he is old and in poor health. Because his coughing got worse recently, and because more and more he wouldn't want to take long walks, my parents brought him to the vet a few days ago. They found a tumor in his lung and the doctor thinks it is cancer. He will take an MRI or an ultrasound in the near future to get a better idea, but still. I am devastated. I knew he didn't have that much time left, but this is like...really terrible. I just don't want him to be in pain. I'm trying to treat him and the situation like nothing has changed, because I want to keep him feeling normal, and I need to keep myself sane because if I think about life without him (like this post is making me), I can't breathe from sobbing. So, I don't know what I want, I guess advice...like when have you decided to put a pet to sleep? Does the vet tell you when is the right time? Does anyone have anything that would help, like what to do for him? I don't even know what I'm asking but thanks if you read this.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:16 pm 
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Semen Strong
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(((((Hugs)))))) Is that the pup on your FB profile? He looks like the sweetest little guy.

I would say love on him as much as you can and gather information for right now. When his enjoyment of life seems to be impaired, you will have plenty of support in deciding what to do, but for right now, try and relax and enjoy him as much as you can. I know its easier said than done, but think of how lucky you are to have each other, give him hugs and pets and tell him he's a good boy and let him give you a thousand licky kisses, instead of what might be coming down the road.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:23 pm 
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Smuggling Raisins
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I'm so sorry, RandiJM.

Making a decision to put a pet down is never easy. You can ask your vet for advice as to what they suggest. But ultimately it is up to you. I am in a similar situation with my cat, Ty. He was diagnosed with an intestial tumor about a month ago. My bf and are were so devastated. We decided against putting him through surgery because he is a senior cat and we didn't want to put him throught the pain of healing from abdominal surgery.
Right now (and the best advice I can think to give to you), we are just monitoring his quality of life as best as we can. Ty is still interesting in eating and is obsessed with treats. He is still be social and loves cuddles. When it gets to the point that we can tell his quality of life is not what it should be, we will decide to make the decision to put him down.
Our vet gave him an anti-inflammitory drug which we give him everyday and that seems to help.
Maybe your vet can prescribe something for your pooch to make him more comfortable?

In the meantime, just spoil the heck out of him. Let him eat as many treats as he wants. Give him lots of love and cuddles.
He knows he is loved.

Good luck, dear. You are in my thoughts.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Hip Goiter
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Thanks Tofulish. That made me cry. But you are right, and that's what I want to do, to enjoy this time and treat him like always except better. I think the big thing right now for me is to try to act/be normal in everything else, because if I start letting my grief affect me starting now I will be a mess, unable to function. I think maybe trying to accept what is happening slowly, so I can still keep the rest of my life the same. I am easily susceptible to becoming a big sobbing bed-ridden mess, so I think this is the best approach. It's so hard not to dwell on it though. But I need to enjoy the time with him now and know that we'll take care of him as best we can. And yes he's my facebook picture; I love that picture bc he's smiling! :)

Thanks RRG. I'm so sorry about your cat. Your handling of the situation seems as smart and sane as you can be, so thank you for sharing.

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Last edited by RandiJM on Wed May 18, 2011 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Lactose Intolerant...Literally
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When his quality of life and happiness are an issue, then you can make a decision about what's best......right now, just love him for as long as he's still "normal"!!


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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Smuggling Raisins
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Tofulish gives excellent advice :)

I also do what you were saying, I try not to talk him Ty like he is sick. I try to be positive and sing him songs and tell him how much I love him and what a wonderfuk good boy he is.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:28 pm 
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Chard Martyr
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Hugs! I remember when my pup Molly was sick with cancer. We did everything we could and...to make a long story much shorter, she started slowing down and during her last few days, we just hung out, and I gave her peanut butter and cookies and cried a lot and hugged her and gave her more foods she loved and took her on car rides. And one day, I just knew. She was just in too much pain, despite trying to perk up for me. It still makes me sad.

But yes, what Tofulish and Rats said: enjoy the shiitake out of him! He's happy and bouncy and wonderful.
You and your little guy will be in my thoughts. If you need to chat, I'm here for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:32 pm 
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Randi, so sorry you are going through this. I would say just educate yourself as much as you can and trust yourself to make good decisions as necessary down the line, whatever those are. Give your pup a kiss for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:18 pm 
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Exactly what Tofulish said. You will know when the time is right because you have your puppy's best interests at heart. I'm sorry this is happening and hope that what time he as left is spent getting hugs from you.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 12:50 pm 
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Oh, I'm so sorry. I hope your doggie still has lots of happy time in the future! I think it's true that "you just know" when it's time. I've had to put quite a few animals to sleep, and each time they had reached a point where I knew that if I let them continue on, they would just be suffering. So even though it's a terrible, heart-wrenching decision, you always know that at least you were able to release them from suffering, and really it's the purest act of love to let them go. Right now, he's still with you, so love him and enjoy him and have as many fun adventures as you can, because old dogs are the best dogs!


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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 1:18 pm 
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I'm so sorry hun :[ I agree with what everyone else says. Talk to your vet and see what treatments may be available and what to expect. A good vet will tell you when it's time and you'll know it in your heart. Meanwhile, spoil him rotten, take lovely photos & just enjoy having him here today <3


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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 1:29 pm 
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I have not had to say goodbye to any pets yet, but I think about this a lot because the grief -- however distant -- already seems like it will be impossible to survive. I have a dog that I consider my baby, the love of my life, my lifeline to the rest of the world, and the idea of letting him go is incomprehensible, so please know that I will be thinking of you over the coming days/weeks/months, and I empathize greatly. You are such a good mom for wanting to go into this process prepared instead of not accepting the inevitable and panicking at the last moment... I don't know if I will be able to be as strong as you are being, when I am in your position.

Take lots of photos and videos. If there are any little quirks or habits that your pup has, catch them on camera! These moments will be priceless. Take a few days off of work and just hang out with your little man. Let him lay in the sun, roll around in the grass, eat his favorite treats just a bit more often than you normally would -- it's great that you're keeping his routine the same, because then he won't feel scared or weirded out ("why is mom giving me so many treats?!"). Carve out hours and hours to nap and snuggle with him. Tell him that you love him and that he's such a good boy even more than you already do. Whisper it in his ear while he's napping. Have someone take lots of photos of the two of you together -- not just somber/family photo-style ones, but fun ones, too, where he's showering you with puppy kisses or jumping up in your face to say hello.

Some Metafilter posts that might help:
http://ask.metafilter.com/179094/Help-me-throw-one-hell-of-a-going-away-party-for-mans-best-friend (this one especially)
http://ask.metafilter.com/84783/Help-me-grieve-for-my-pug
http://ask.metafilter.com/31901/I-need-advice-on-pet-euthanasia

I'm so sorry that this is happening. Good luck, and much love to you and yours.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 1:48 pm 
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Tofulish is wise. I experienced a similar thing with my dog of 15 years. She was sick for a while, but when she wouldn't even eat her favorite foods and wouldn't move from one spot, we knew it was time. She died while we were on the phone with the vet to ask what the procedure was for putting her to sleep. I still cry thinking about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 7:27 pm 
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Thank you all so, so much for caring. You guys are amazing. You who have been through this are incredibly strong. Thank you all for the suggestions. I definitely want to spend a whole day laying in the sun :) He loves that. Also, thank you stephanie for mentioning video! I've taken tons of pictures and can't wait to take more, but I definitely should videotape him. Especially when, oh it's the best/cutest, when you go to put his harness on to go out, he plays hide & seek in the furniture for like 7 minutes to mess with you. He goes the same route through the chairs and under the sofas too, it's amazing. So smart. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 8:49 pm 
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I'm so sorry your pup is sick :( From my experience with my own animals, when it is time to let them go, you just know. You don't have to ask if you're doing the right thing, because you know you are. I had a cat die of lung cancer, and he was on prednisone, and as the vet described it, he'll do great for a while then it will just stop working, and that's basically what happened. He was really comfortable up until the last night, then he was weak and having trouble breathing. I gave him fluids at home to make him more comfortable, and had him put to sleep the next morning.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:51 pm 
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I'm very sorry. I know what it's like to lose a much loved pet. You wonder how you would ever live without them but you do.

This dog is yours and you are the one who loves them. There is nothing wrong with letting them die naturally as long as they are not in severe pain. Enjoy whatever time you have together. Long or short. Your vet can guide you, I agree. However many many trips to the vet to prolong. That is up to you. I work in the medical field and I'm grateful I can use that knowledge also for my animals. I have stood up to the vet when it came to testing with "absolutely no!" Not because of the money but because it was best for them.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 10:19 pm 
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I am so, so sorry. My Dolly was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago so we're going through the same thing here--she's coming up on 12 and we've had her since she was a puppy. She's on painkillers to keep her comfortable, and so far there have been good days and bad days. I expect that when she has several bad and worse days in a row, we'll know. For now, I'm just spoiling the living hell out of her.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 7:00 am 
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Hip Goiter
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Ugh KT I'm so sorry you are going through this too. Feel free to email me whenever you want ok? I'm serious. I hope Dolly's good days outnumber the not good. We brought Buffe to the vet yesterday for new meds bc his weren't working anymore to help his cough. I was home on Sunday and he was coughing worse than normal and he doesn't know why so he kept looking at us with a face that no joke clearly said 'why am I coughing so much? This is weird!' So hopefully the new meds will help.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 9:32 am 
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I'm so sorry. I'm in a similar boat, my little dog (toy mix from a breeder as well) is my first animal friend of my own. He's been my best friend for what will be 15 years in a few days. He's still so happy right now but the lumps and tumors are getting bigger and all his senses have deteriorated. Just to echo everything, just being happy and loved is the best thing a dog can ask for. Since he's obviously loved, keeping him happy is the main thing. As soon as that stops happening it's probably time. I can't even bear to imagine that with Scruffy, so I can empathize completely.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help/advice - sick and old pet
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 10:49 am 
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Oh Catalina I'm so sorry. It does sound incredibly similar. And their names rhyme :) I want Scruffy and Buffe to be happy and playful and hopefully not in too much pain. That's my main concern; I realize that things are bad but I just don't want him to suffer.

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