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 Post subject: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:16 pm 
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As many of you know, I adopted my family's dog Daine about a year and a half ago when they were preparing to move to Florida. He is 15 years old and I don't plan (paws crossed) on him going anytime in the immediate future, but I feel like I need to have some sort of plan in place for when it does happen.

I have spent half of my life with him and have witnessed all of the injuries and sickness he has endured throughout his life (pancreatitis, hit by a car, attacked by other dogs, etc). More recently, last winter and this summer have not been kind to him. He is still in very good spirits, great appetite, wags his tail, and wants to play fetch(but struggles), but I see the decline in his ability to move(laying down and getting up), hearing, go for long walks(he can no longer jog with my bf or I), the struggle that is walking up and down the stairs, his recent bout of "old dog disease" (idiopathic vestibular disease), etc. I worry how bad this winter will be on him and if he has the strength or desire to survive it.

Anytime a family pet's time came, my parents handled it all. Now that Daine has become my sole responsibility (the family obviously still has a say, though), I was asked the question recently by them, what is my plan if something should happen. I laughed and said, "Daineypie will live forever." But he won't and I have to stop pretending like he will. I don't have a forking plan other than hoping I don't have a complete mental breakdown.

That being said, I have started to seriously think about what I will do when his time comes but even thinking about it has made me a weeping mess. I haven't been able to look him in the eye all night for fear of crying more. I tried to google "pet cremation in Boston" and lost my shiitake. The only thing I know for certain is that I want him cremated and his ashes, or at least half of them, spread on the pond we grew up swimming in.

Tell me wise ppk, should I have a plan? Do I call my vet when it happens? Do I call the crematory now to let them know my situation and what I want or do I wait until it happens? How do I decide if and when it is time to put him down(I am so so hopeful that he goes peacefully in his sleep)? Am I thinking too much into this? What have you done when you had a senior dog and you knew the end was closer than it was far away?

I apologize for the rambling, but I am truly at a loss and I am not ready to talk to my family or friends out loud about this yet because typing about it right now is much easier than saying any of it out loud would be.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:20 pm 
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I think you might be overthinking it. I don't have the answers to a lot of your questions, but I just wanted to say that from my past experience with childhood dogs that passed on when I was in college and grad school, you'll know if it's time to help him to the bridge. If he's lost his zest for life, his enthusiasm, his excitement, etc., refuses his favorite foods, then it's time. Until then, if he's not suffering or in pain, then leave him be.


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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:25 pm 
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Yeah, don't think too much about it. if his health declines to the point you are worried, call your vet and talk to them about it. They should have all the info you need about dealing with his remains, and you'll have options.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:29 pm 
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You might want to talk about it with your vet and find out how they handle things if that would make you feel better. Many vets will handle everything through the cremation for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:33 pm 
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Your vet should be able to handle any cremation for you, I think it took us about a week to get Chester's ashes back because obviously they don't do it themselves. Even if he dies at home, you can still call your vet and they'll probably let you drop him off there. I made a face just typing that. :(

Chester made the transition from old man dog behavior to something being seriously and obviously wrong in a matter of days, I also hoped he would die in his sleep so I wouldn't have to make the decision, but that didn't happen. When I previously ran the scenario through my head where I had to choose, I thought we'd find out he had cancer and the choice would be between expensive treatment and putting him down - but he had just had an ultrasound two weeks prior so we knew he didn't have cancer and he was just done with life. He stopped eating his dog food and the day we decided we were going to put him to sleep, he started throwing up and wouldn't even eat his peanut butter for his nightly pills. Obviously I kept second guessing myself when it was over but it was very obviously the right thing to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Yes, talk to your vet - they should have answers for you. And they should be able to give you ideas on how to keep him feeling and getting around better now, maybe including meds for arthritis, which might help him get around better now?

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:49 pm 
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It's a terrible thing to think about, but I like to prepare as well. I did decide what I wanted done with Sable beforehand (private cremation), and had already picked out an urn. It made things a lot easier not having to figure things out last minute when I was grieving. Your vet should have a contract with a pet cemetery/crematory. You can call and ask who they use and what the options are. My vet uses Angel View in Middleboro. Your options are usually private cremation (ashes returned to you), group cremation (ashes spread or buried in their cemetery along with those of other pets), or burial (either in a cemetery or bringing your pet's body home to bury). If your pet is put to sleep at the vet's, you just tell them what you want and they will have the body transported for you. If your pet passes at home, you can either bring them to the vet and they will schedule transport, or contact the cemetery/crematory you want to use and arrange transportation (Angel View will pick up your pet for you, for a cost). If you choose private cremation, the ashes usually come back in a standard wooden box (they are in a bag inside the box, to make it easy to transfer to a different container if you so wish). If you want to keep any with you, and want a different urn, you can usually select one through the crematory's website, or you can find custom ones on different sites, and places like etsy, etc. and transfer the ashes yourself. I'm sorry this is such sad stuff to talk about, but I hope this info helps.

As far as knowing when it's time, you'll know. I know that doesn't seem like helpful advice, but it's all I can give. You'll know. For now, try to enjoy the time you have, and give your puppy all the lovings. I hope you have many days left with him. <3


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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:16 pm 
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You should also know that many vets will come to you if you need at home services in terms of putting your pet to sleep. One of our neighbors did that but I don't know if that is harder or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:58 pm 
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When I had to put my dog down, I opted to have the vet come to my house to do it and it's something I would do again. My sister and b-i-l were there for moral support and I was able to hold him while she did the injections. It was hard but it felt like I had a little bit of control over how he went. Then the vet took him with her for cremation.

As for knowing when, I think you just know. You may second guess yourself and I think that's probably normal, but your old guy trusts you to do what's best for him. <3

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:17 pm 
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yeah, I think it's really nice to have the vet come to your house if you are putting your pet "to sleep." Because that way they can be feeling safe in their favorite places. Also, you know how when you feel super miserable, you only want to be at home? I imagine that it is a lot of work and energy for an old pet to get schlepped to the vet... plus, all the anxious feelings there.

They will cremate your pet for you, and then you can do something special with the ashes if you want.

Also, when I had to put my childhood dog to sleep, I was so afraid of the intensity of the emotions I would feel. But, to my total surprise, I was totally able to handle it. I really devoted myself to caring for me in his last days, so I had a very clear conscience, and I knew we were doing the right thing. We had a really nice day together, and then the vet came to our house. Of course, it was very very very sad, but I still woke up the next day and the next day and so on. You will be sad and you will also be alright.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:49 am 
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I thought I might have been thinking too much into it, but I kind of panicked and wasn't sure what to do. Hopefully it won't come to having to have the vet do it, but if it does, I will bring him the vet on the south shore that our family used for 14 years rather than the vet I have here up in the city because they will do it outside under a big tree in the field behind their office rather than in a stressful exam room. I've decided on private cremation, likely at Angel View or Nevins Farm

Thank you all for sharing your experiences with me, it has helped a lot. I'm going to try to not stress or think about it too much and just enjoy the time we have together <3 <3 <3

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:32 am 
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VeganFoodRocks wrote:
I'm going to try to not stress or think about it too much and just enjoy the time we have together <3 <3 <3


I think that's the wise thing. My experience has been that you know when it's time. I've had to put 3 cats to sleep in my life and all 3 times they made me sign a waiver before the procedure and I indicated on the waiver what I would like done with the body (e.g., ashes returned, etc.). It's very lovely that the one vet office will go outside under a tree. I found the examination room very harsh and it's certainly not a room I would want to die in.

Best wishes for you and Daine!

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:19 am 
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I was going to type something, but let's just go with Daine will live forever! When his time comes, it will all work out. There isn't really that much to handle in terms of logistics (esp since you want him cremated) and the vets are well versed in helping people through it.

We had some of our childhood pets buried in pet cemeteries (the large dogs) and even that required almost no advance planning. My mom is very against cremation so all pets were buried... cats in our backyards in UT and IA, smaller dog in my grandparent's backyard, large dogs in pet cemeteries in IL and UT. We got them headstones and everything, but it's kind of weird to think that I'll likely never go visit them (they aren't in towns I see myself visiting).


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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:54 pm 
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The idea of burying a pet seems kind of odd to me but then again, I am not too keen on burial in general (both my husband and I will be cremated if possible).

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:56 pm 
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It doesn't hurt to know what services are available to you, and it sounds like you've thought through how you would like it handled. Though I would look in to the mobile vets in your area in case it gets to a point where having him travel to a clinic isn't feasible/too stressful/whatever.

Hugs to you and your sweet old man.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:47 am 
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My little brother had to make the decision about our dog (the dog he'd had nearly his entire life) because he came home to find her (I am not typing out the details, they still make me shudder) to a horrific scene. She'd had lupus her whole life. He rushed her to the vet, but...he couldn't do anything but put her down. So he called me and told me and I stayed on speaker with him (our dad was out of town) while he bawled his eyes out as the vet put down his beloved first dog.

I honestly don't know what he's going to do when his best friend (his lab mix, Charlotte) dies. She's got a good ten years left, but she is honest to God his best friend in the world. Those two have separation anxiety. Any time one of us visits him down at college, we have to bring her or he won't let us in his apartment. The second she hears his footsteps, she races to the door, tail wagging, huge lab smile on her face, and gives him a hug.

tl;dr...I am reading this thread for him, too. and because my cat is getting older.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:46 am 
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Most of you probably already saw on fb, but on Tuesday I put Daine to rest. He stopped being able to get up or down the stairs on his own, could barely get up from laying down, would stumble and fall over/into things, and very recently was having bowel movements in his sleep. Monday night the other pups and I slept on my yoga mat on the floor with him and when I woke up Tuesday morning, I knew it was time. Thankfully, my father was still in town and he made the call for me. Even though he stumbled the whole way, I took him to the park one last time so he could (try) to run free in the grass, just the two of us, while we waited for my dad to pick us up.

We had it done underneath a tree in the yard at my vet's, he was in my lap and my father and I held him the whole time. I have been an emotional wreck and burst into hysterics at the drop of a dime. Everyone says to think of the good times, but that is what hurts the most right now, I know I made the right decision though. He is no longer in pain.

Thank you for all the advice, love and support, ppk.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:55 am 
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Oh I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like he had a wonderful life and was exceptionally loved.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:02 pm 
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I'm so sorry. It's really hard not to be emotional the first few days or while or however long you need afterwards so just let yourself be. Do what you need to do and feel what you feel and know you gave him a wonderful life full of love. <3 <3 <3

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:14 pm 
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My heart is breaking for you - so hard to say goodbye to a beloved companion. Xx

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:03 am 
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I'm really sorry for your loss. :(

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:49 pm 
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I already sent a hug-o-gram but, *hugs*

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:37 am 
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i'm so sorry, VeganFoodRocks. take comfort in knowing Daine had an amazing life with you and your family, and be gentle and kind to yourself. it's going to hurt for a while and it's okay to feel how you feel. allow yourself to grieve and create some space for yourself as well. both you and your family will be in my thoughts. many, many hugs (and love and light) are coming your way. <3


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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about planning for the inevitable
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:11 pm 
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I am so sorry. It is so hard. I know how you feel. Lots of comforting thoughts.

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