I was not sure where to post this but thought it was as well placed here as anywhere.
We found out a couple of weeks ago that our 10 year old Lab has prostate cancer. I now know more than I ever wanted to about this including it being an extremely aggressive cancer in dogs. More common in entire dogs he is unlucky as he has been castarted since he was young.
Anyway we have never had to have a dog euthanised before ( although we have had to with a couple of horses over the years) but it is likely we will have to with Oz. The vet has agreed to come here so we dont have to take him in , as he gets so stressed. He has painkillers etc.
Its now going to be hard on how to make the right decison at the right time~ for him not for us ... any ideas/ experience anyone?
I've heard that as long as a dog is still eating, he can't be too sick. I don't mean that as a joke, and I'm terribly sorry about your situation, lugg.
We had to make "the final trip to the vet" with our 20-year-old cat back in 1999, and it was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. The decision wasn't made any easier by a last-ditch spurt of adrenaline she experienced during the car ride to the vet's, during which she seemed more alert and strong than she had in the 2 weeks preceding "the decision". We were terribly torn over whether we were doing the right thing, and you probably will be, too.
But keep in mind that the outcome will be the same, whether Oz goes peacefully after an injection, or whether he dies "naturally", possibly enduring suffering that he could have been spared. As "owners" of often-stoic animals who can't speak to us of their condition, we can't keep them alive indefinitely, and we have to weigh whether a few more months of life is worth the risk of allowing them to suffer as a result.
When it's time for the vet to come, Oz will be comforted by your presence, and the vet will probably encourage you to hold him while the injection is administered. It doesn't take long, and it is very non-violent, just a sudden relaxation. Our kitty's tongue tip protruded a bit at the very end.
You have to decide what to do with his remains. You can have a pet cremated and receive ashes to scatter, or maybe you want to bury him on your property. If so, I'd advise that the hole be dug before the vet arrives, so you can have the funeral immediately. Our kitty died in January, and we hadn't had the foresight to dig a hole in the fall and fill it with leaves before the ground froze, so cremation was our only option.
Hope this helps, and sorry if it seems morbid. I'll be thinking of you and Oz.
Pets are definitely part of the family, so it is always a hard decision to make. My parents' dog had incurable skin cancer which lead to open wounds that it would be fussing with constantly, but on top of that, apparently there was a foul smell of rot -- and since it was an indoor dog, it was getting pretty unbearable.
Since my mother was about to make a trip to France to see me and her own mother, they made an appointment for the final solution a couple days after my mother was gone -- so that only my father had to face the situation. It made it easier on my mother but definitely harder on my father.
I'm so sorry for you, lugg. Our pets do become like family to us and it is very hard when they become aged and infirm. Our little Scottish Terrier died of prostate cancer, but though he was sick he didn't seem to be too uncomfortable until the very end. He spent a lot of time sprawled on his belly on the back step which was concrete and must have been a cooling spot. For him, the end came fast. He became lethargic and seemed in distress. I rushed him to the vet who said his organs were shutting down and he was dying. The vet suggested an injection to give him pain relief and ease his death. It was just like kimby said, a complete relaxation and then there was no life. I realize I was very lucky that I didn't need to make the decision to euthanize earlier. I can only imagine how hard that is and am pretty sure I will need to face that issue with my aging cat. I wish you well as you deal with your dog's illness.
My heart goes out to you. Having been in this situation 3 times in 15 years I can say they were the most difficult and sorrow ridden decisions I ever had to make. The first dog I had to make "the decision" about, I was so conflicted and distraught as you are now. A very dear friend of mine who had experienced the same, when I asked her ," How do you know when it's time?". Her reply to me was simply, "You will know". She was right. Best wishes and take care.
Lugg, I do agree you will know when it is time to have the Vet come. It is the most difficult decision we have had to make but you seem to come to a point where you know you cannot endure watching your pet in pain any longer because you understand that your pet is feeling that pain, then it just feels to be the right thing to do. The hardest thing to do, but the right thing.
Our first dog, an Alaskan Malamute named Juneau was only two when we had to put him down. He had some type of skin cancer that was on his head and we think spread to his brain. In our grief, we did not think of what to with his remains and my husband left him with the Vet. Days afterwards we were sad we had done that and wished we had brought him home to bury on our property.
Our second dog, Jacob, we adopted when he was 5. When he was nine he developed a cancerous tumor on his leg. We had the Vet remove it twice through surgery and the third time, the Vet said it had spread to far. For about a year we tried to keep his leg bandaged but each morning it would be chewed off and he would be running down to the lake wanting to jump off the dock, right up to the day we put him down. That was why it was so hard, he kept eating and wanting to play, but we also saw he was in pain constantly. We buried him at home.
We now have Jebidiah and he will be our last dog and he is now 7 1/2, I hope he dies naturally and does not get cancer.
Take lots of pictures, give him all his favorite treats and lots of hugs and kisses and then do what is best for him.
I think the anguish we experience at our pets' decline and death serves a purpose, which is to prepare us mentally and emotionally for the greater anguish we will experience as our parents descend toward their own demise... You are getting lots of good advice here, lugg. Wishing you strength, and some final happy memories with Oz.
Lugg, I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. In my adult life, I have had to have 3 cats put down, plus one dying unexpectedly while I was away one weekend. I am always devastated.
My mother said my stepfather cried like a child when their dog had to be put down, but not at all when his father died. She found this bewildering and, I think, a little annoying. But I understand that - we feel our pets love us unconditionally - whether we're successful or failures, overweight, or what have you. Human love isn't unconditional - we can't help that, it's the way we're built.
I currently have a 16 going on 17 year old cat who has been taking medication for his arthritis for about 3 or 4 years. This spring he was just diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid so now he has medication for that. We think he has another year, maybe two in him. He still enjoys life and food and moves well enough. But when it comes to it, we'll have him put down when it's time. And it's true, you do know when it's time.
We have three other cats - a 13 year old boy and two 9 year old girls - so we won't exactly be catless when Loki goes. My DH keeps saying we're not getting any other cats. This from the man who is responsible for bring the last 3 in. Plus, I've been living with cats continuously since I was 18 and I'm 58 now. It's not stopping.
Thank you all for your good advice, support and the sharing your own experiences, how you coped and made decisions - you are all really lovely people. ( That is probably why I enjoy this forum so much , it really is unique in the consideration its members offer to all, partic when they are new )
I think that he is / we are prepared and I am following Mich in this
Take lots of pictures, give him all his favorite treats and lots of hugs and kisses and then do what is best for him
Lugg, what a good photo of your Oz! So sorry it had to be done, soon your tears will end and you will smile when you remember the funny things he used to do and on how much joy and happiness his life brought to your family.
Dear Lugg, I've been there too. Our last little dog lived to the very ripe old age of 25. In the end he couldn't hear, could hardly see, couldn't lift his leg to pee and when I saw he had difficulty finding his food dish I knew - it's time to give this wonderful little dog, who had had an amazing and energetic life, a good send off in a most humane way possible.
I think the decision came more easily for me as our other two little dogs had died awful deaths. One got run over by a car on a stormy night, and the other drowned in our swimming pool after she had lost the use of he back legs.
We are extra lucky that the vet is a personal friend and he came to our house to gently put Sugar to sleep. I was so grateful.
You will never forget him, especially if your next dog is a different breed. (If you keep getting the same breed, one dog tends to blend into another in your memory.)
You will be reminded of him often, I'm guessing when a you catch a glimpse of a dark object or shadow out of the corner of your eye and mistake it for Oz. (I still have this reaction, 12 years after losing our black kitty, Boodles.)
Let your memories warm your heart. Put a photo of Oz on your refrigerator so you can salute him daily. When you are ready, welcome another dog into your life.
Does everybody here remember their first pet tragedy?
For me, it was Tippy, our springer spaniel, when I was about 6 years old. At that age I didn't understand things like dogs having one master and the other people just being part of the pack. I was completely perplexed that my mother could approach Tippy's bowl and even take it away with absolutely no protest, but if I walked anywhere near the bowl while Tippy was eating, I would get an extremely threatening growl.
Anyway, Tippy was part of the family and played with me and my brother all the time. Ticks were a big problem where we lived, and I also remember our grooming sessions where we would yank the ticks out, but Tippy would accept this, even though he would yelp when there was a really big one that hurt when it was pulled off. I suppose this is a bit like the mutual grooming of chimpanzees. Tippy would have have pulled the ticks off us if he had been able to, and yes, we did get ticks from time to time.
One day Tippy was clearly sick and completely bloated. It looked like his stomach would explode. It was the well known condition of dropsy, where the ventral area fills with fluid to the bursting point. The vet quickly diagnosed the problem as being heart worms, a common problem at that time in the Deep South. There was an extremely effective visual aid in his office -- a dog's heart preserved in formaldehyde. Out of every vein and aorta, dozens of little vermicelli-like things emerged. It was absolutely horrifying. Even at age 6, I understood that there was no hope of a cure. On that particular visit, the vet drained all of the liquid but said that it would come back. I don't know if he offered to do the deed right then or if it was agreed that "the kids" needed a couple of days to get used to the idea. Within 2 days, Tippy was ready to pop again. I was the first person back from school, and Tippy was lying on the little rug next to my mother's side of the bed. This was the place he always went when he was feeling sick. The only thing that moved was his little nub of a tail, wagging as fast as it could when he saw me. It seemed so inappropriate that I put my hand on his tail to stop it.
I don't know if it was that same evening or the next day that Tippy was taken to have his final shot. I don't remember crying or if anybody in the family cried, but I do remember that it was a major tragedy and we did not get another dog.
About six or seven years later, my parents let me get a cat, the kind you get for free, much to the relief of neighbors down the street who are trying to get rid of the litter. He was an excellent family member, even though he would bite and scratch me because I was not yet old enough to know when to leave him alone. When my grandmother came from France for a few months, they became best friends. However, Grisou also went out into the wild and brought back some awful disease (I think the vet called it "cat anemia".). The choice was for the cat to get an expensive shot once a week for the rest of his life or to just get one shot and be done with it. I am a pragmatic person; I did not oppose the parental decision.
That's a very sad story about Tippy, Kerouac. We always fought heart worms with our dogs when i was a kid, too.
I also had a dog named Tippy. He was a mixed breed rat terrier/chiuaua that I inherited from a family friend who thought we needed one more animal to add to our farm menagerie.
Three years later, when I was getting ready to leave for college, the big question was "who is going to take care of Tippy." Tippy, who fell madly in love with our current Labrador, solved the problem by escaping the house one day and chasing the Lab off into the woods. I guess he was a little dog with a very big ego. Anyway, the Lab returned, but we never saw Tippy again. I just hope he died happy.
Thanks guys - and for posting about your own pets, sorry to hear about those that died too young and great to hear about those that lived to old age
The pet tragedy that I remember as my first was the " death " of my sisters hamster, one extremely cold winter ( this was before central heating etc ) We found him cold and stiff one am . My Mum said that we did not have time to bury him before school but that we would on our return. ..... Roll on 7 hours we ran home to bury the hamster but he had recovered and was merrily trundling in his wheel . We learnt during that winter that we just needed to allow him to warm up near the gas fire and he would resurrect ad infinitum
..............probably accounts for my skewed view of life now ;D
My Renzo, a half-Siamese black tomcat, is sixteen years old and is obviously starting to fail - kidneys, most likely, but he has become very livelied up again in the summer heat and has actually spent some nights outside in the (walled) back garden).
I really dread his inevitable demise,
Tod, it is most unusual for dogs, even small ones, to live to 25!