Is it time to put her down?

(45 Posts)
ELNino Tue 30-Jul-13 14:33:34

Beautiful GSD, 9 years old with CDRM.

She can still walk a bit but most days her back end just goes and she drags herself along. She can't go out for walks anymore. We have tried a cart but it stresses her out.

She poos in the house but is now sleeping on it, so not moving away from it.

Our garden has lots of steps to the grass so difficult for her to navigate.

It is painless and her mind is still young.

We work full time, me mainly from home and have a toddler, she isn't getting the full time care she needs. This is what I hate about this situation.

topbannana Tue 30-Jul-13 14:41:40

Personally I would decide that it was time but I am firmly in the "sooner rather than later" camp, particularly if there is no hope of improvement.
It's difficult to make that decision if she is not in pain but she cannot enjoy being so helpless or dirty in the house. It does not sound like there is any way you can rearrange your home to make her life easier?

So sorry to hear you are having to think about this.

From what you describe, if she were mine, then yes I would think it it probably time. I think it comes down to quality of life, and a dog wants to play and go for walks, and not defecate where she is laying. How would you rate her quality of life?

It is a heartbreaking decision. I wish you all the best with making it.

ELNino Tue 30-Jul-13 14:48:33

It is incurable and progressive. It will move to her bladder then front legs.

We can bring her into the kitchen at night but poo and a toddler isn't healthy. She sleeps in the utility room.

She spends most days outside, but it steps to the decking the steep steps to the lawn. I put water and snacks outside.

Apparently there are harnesses to help with walking and lifting but I'm starting to wonder if these are more for the owner wanting to do the right thing.

momnipotent Tue 30-Jul-13 14:50:26

If she were mine I would think it is time, yes. I would look at her life and wonder if there is any joy left in it for her, and from what you describe, I would think there was not.

I lost my own dog 3 weeks ago. He had hemangiosarcoma but for the most part seemed OK-ish, he still wanted his walk every morning and that was my measure of his quality of life. One of the tumours ruptured one day and he was then too weak to get up from his mat, he couldn't get outside by himself, our garden also has stairs and he couldn't get up and down by himself, I tried his walk the next morning and he was willing but his body was too weak. I am sure he wasn't in pain but his quallity of life had changed drastically then and I didn't want to watch it get worse so he was pts later that same day.

Hugs to you OP, it is a horrible decision to have to make.

ELNino Tue 30-Jul-13 14:50:39

She use to spend hours in the fields running, jumping, swiming in rivers, hiking in the peak district, now its a hobble to the park, chew a stick there and carry home. It isn't her.

Kormachameleon Tue 30-Jul-13 14:53:35

I'm sorry but yes I would have her put to rest

Read your last post. Her life is nothing compared to what it was- pain isnt the be all and end all of judging quality of life

She is struggling and the kindest thing to do is let her go

I'm sorry x x

ELNino Tue 30-Jul-13 15:12:47

I agree, I think it's time. Just hard when the mind is still willing.

Thanks for your responses.

GemmaTeller Tue 30-Jul-13 15:16:49


I think so.

We had a GSD with CDRM and the vet told us when she loses the dignity of being able to go the toilet then its time to let her go.

We did, however, cancel the appointment three times before we could go through with it.

I stayed with her and held her while the vet did it, DH walked out crying and waited in the carpark.

MissAntithetic Tue 30-Jul-13 15:19:50

Hard call but its time.

I had the same call with my beautiful boy in December. His throat was paralysed. Now looking back I wish I took him sooner. I kept him to alleviate my own guilt. (Dd was 3 months old and I didn't want him to think I was replacing him). In the end he was vomiting everywhere and although he wanted his walks he could barely manage them. It was the right thing to do, the kindest thing to do but it still felt like I was giving up on him.

1MitchellMum Tue 30-Jul-13 15:35:20

I think it's time. Laying in the poo is horrible for her ... when my 10 year old with cancer needed help to go to the toilet I knew it was time (and she died naturally a few hours later). Such a hard thing to do. Nine years ago today I had to make the decision about another of my dogs. I wish you well, it's better when they make the decision for you. x

IfUSeekAmy Tue 30-Jul-13 15:45:46

I think it's time too, it's such a hard decision though. I lost my beloved dog yesterday. She saw the vet about 3 wks ago for something unrelated to age but the vet said that as long as she could walk about ok and wasn't messing herself then leave her be to sleep all day but she really went downhill this weekend and I could see that there was no joy in her life at all. Thoughts are with you at this tough time

Gingersstuff Tue 30-Jul-13 16:21:37

I'm so sorry. Our beloved golden retriever had this, it's a horrible disease so I totally sympathise.
Have you tried steroids for her? Reason I ask is that we went through a stage where we were having That Discussion with the vet but because our boy was still eating and was happy enough in himself and alert, even though his back end was bad, went with superstrength steroids instead. We were warned that they would kill him eventually but gave him a much-improved quality of life in his last few months, he was able to properly walk again and was enjoying life. I'm happy that we tried it. They did for him in the end as we'd been told - his heart failed, it all happened very quickly and our vet came to the house to put him to sleep. He went surrounded by his humans with his head in my lap and me stroking his ears, it was fucking horrible at the time but with hindsight he had the best end a dog could have it was almost 3 years ago and I still cry for him
However if your girl is totally unaware of lying in her own poo then it may have gone further so that treatment won't help. What does your vet say?

Gingersstuff Tue 30-Jul-13 16:22:25

IfU very sorry to hear about your dog. It's so bloody hard sad

IfUSeekAmy Tue 30-Jul-13 16:35:42

Thanks ginger

WhisperingShadow Tue 30-Jul-13 16:48:56

NC to her pedigree name (well part of it)

Yes, sorry for those who have lost their dogs recently. It is amazing the impact they have.

DH was home early, so we took her over to the park, 5 of our neighbours children came over, they love her, and were walking alongside her. She managed to run for 5 minute, then her legs went, and we had to carry her home.

She was enjoying herself, but it is a pale reflection on what she use to do. It isn't fair. I am not sure about the steriods. She is on Loxicom full time because of her front leg joints, I don't think her kidneys will take anymore.

DH says Friday will be the day. So there we have it.

Thanks for your support.

CoolStoryBro Tue 30-Jul-13 16:54:07

I think you've made the right decision. Enjoy every moment you share with her this week.

momnipotent Tue 30-Jul-13 16:55:26

I think that is the right decision, I hate that final countdown though! I hope you enjoy your last few days with her.

WhisperingShadow Thu 01-Aug-13 11:55:57

I'm losing my nerve. She is sat outside enjoying the breeze, eating the bones I fetched from the butchers.

Floralnomad Thu 01-Aug-13 12:02:47

You know what you are doing is the kindest thing for her , but I've never been able to 'plan' these things ,I've always just made the decision and then done it the same day ,even with my horses .to me once the decision is made its too hard to keep looking at them knowing what is coming and you just keep finding reasons to not do it ( like the bones) even though you know deep down it is the right thing . If you think you don't want to do it then cancel and make the decision another day .Best wishes to you .

momnipotent Thu 01-Aug-13 12:10:21

If she is not suffering (ie, in pain) then I think it is OK to cancel it for now. My heart goes out to you, it is an awful decision to have to make, especially if you think they are not in physical pain.

topbannana Thu 01-Aug-13 12:28:22

I'm with floral on this one as I have only ever "known" the night before. I think it takes enormous strength to do what you are doing.
Perhaps cancel but agree with DH that the next really bad day she has will be it? sad

Empress77 Thu 01-Aug-13 13:02:02

I had to make the decision about this last year for my girl, so really feel for you. So hard to know when the suffering has become too much, I was so devastated with it all. She had an incurable tumour and had days to live but was still enjoying taking sausage soup from me and sleeping in my bed - I also changed the vet appointment a few times - and when he did come at the end she got up and was pottering round the garden - seemed impossible to make the right decision for her!.

My boy dog is now terrible with his arthritis and collapses on his back legs so fear this may arise for him in the future - fortunetly not yet as hes super happy in himself and ignores the problem. He cant go for long walks or run for a ball but he still has excellent quality of life as can do other things he loves like delicious treats, snoozing in the sun and taking an old man slowly slowly sedate "sniff everything" kind of walk. Saying that he still revels in his self assigned guard dog role and manages a run when he wants to "protect" me, and is very happy with himself. I think that not being able to do the things you used to be able to do isnt so bad - that happens to us all - as long as there are other fun things in life.

I wonder about for your concern over the pooing - have you thought about using dog nappies/pants maybe? and disposable incontinence pads to go on the bed to help keep it and her clean?. they will draw the wet away from her. Or a washable vetbed that does the same thing? If you havent tried them already they can be got online/through the vets. both would go nicely over a cheap comfy duvet for her bed?

I also wonder if the vet would try changing his meds to something you havent tried, or to add to them? - for example my dog has loxicam and tramodol. And if he gets worse the plan is to try steroids. Hes lucky that his kidneys are ok but if hes without pain from the pain relief then Im happy even though I know it wont be good for them - i want him to have a comfortable life over a long one.

you also mention harnesses - have you tried using a towel/sheet rolled up and put under her back legs to help her with steps? Kind of like a sling hoist thing - hard to explain - sorry! Thats what we do at the vets to help dogs out to the garden.

Im sorry for you and your lovely girl, I guess theres no easy way to decide atall. Shes very very lucky to have a mum who cares so muchxxx

momnipotent Fri 02-Aug-13 11:01:06

How are you doing today OP?

IfUSeekAmy Fri 02-Aug-13 11:10:05

Hi mom hope you are ok today. I came on to see how op is too, how is dog today shadow?

WhisperingShadow Fri 02-Aug-13 11:12:30

Hi. We are doing it today at 1600. We need to let her go.

GemmaTeller Fri 02-Aug-13 11:14:53

Have a really big (((((hug)))))) and give your precious GSD one as well.

She's had the best possible life with you.

IfUSeekAmy Fri 02-Aug-13 11:58:25

So sorry, it's going to be such a hard day for you. Just remember you are doing it for the right reasons and you have given her a lovely home and she knows she is loved by you.

1MitchellMum Fri 02-Aug-13 12:23:40

So sorry. The last act of kindness ... enjoy some cuddles with her, and over the weekend maybe write down some memories of her - habits, little things she's done over the years. This will make you smile in years to come when you read it back and maybe think of things you'd forgotten about. Big hugs. x

momnipotent Fri 02-Aug-13 12:54:26

A great big hug for you OP. It really is the kindest thing to do for her although it will be hard for you. xx

WhisperingShadow Fri 02-Aug-13 14:43:16

Just waiting for DH to come home. I feel far to calm.

I think there is something more than cdrm going on. She has wanted to be inside in her bed today and yesterday evening, is panting heavy, and was crying. This is the right decision. I think it will hit me later.

I have bought a candle to light later and a bottle of champagne to sit down with tonight, and talk about all the funny things she did, with DH. Tomorrow we will go and walk alongside the river she loved.

momnipotent Fri 02-Aug-13 15:03:57

I was remarkably calm on the day I took my old boy in. I amazed myself to be honest. I had been dreading it for years and had shed many tears over him eventually leaving for years before we even had the diagnosis but on the actual day I barely cried at all. I miss him terribly but I am in much better shape than I expected to be, I think because I knew it was time, I had done everything that I could and there was no other option.

It sounds the same for you and she sounds ready. It sounds like a nice evening for you to remember her. On the day my old boy died we had pizza and chocolate volcano cake for dinner in memory of him, because it would be kind of meal he would really appreciate.

Take care of yourself OP.

1MitchellMum Fri 02-Aug-13 16:42:06

I think it's shock. After we'd had our two dogs put to sleep (separate years) I had no tears immediately afterwards. With the second one (nine years and three days ago) I drove myself home as OH and I had met at the vet, and phoned my Mum and my friend on the way home, perfectly calmly. But in the weeks that followed I howled every day. We also had fizz in the evening to celebrate their lives. Two other dogs we had both died naturally. But it does sound very much like her time has come ... better really that you're sure. x


MissMarplesBloomers Fri 02-Aug-13 22:01:47

Oh OP I feel for you it's an awful thing to decide on, but it is the last loving thing (oddly) you can do to let her go peacefully.

I hope it all went OK & you are swapping silly stories about her and toasting her memory.

Come & tell us some of them if it would help ...hugs from another doggy house too.

momnipotent Sat 03-Aug-13 14:31:32

I hope everything was peaceful yesterday and you are doing OK today OP.

WhisperingShadow Sun 04-Aug-13 18:32:19

Well she's gone. Just starting to hit me. Keep looking at her place on the patio. We go down in the morning and open the back door just because we use to.

It feels autumnal here but we have no one to take to the woods and stroll through the fields.

WhisperingShadow Sun 04-Aug-13 18:34:11

How are you both doing IfU and Mom?

momnipotent Sun 04-Aug-13 22:55:56

Oh Shadow, hugs to you. It is so damn hard.

I am doing OK. I've actually had a good doggy weekend. I volunteer at our local humane society and there had been an older dog in there that has not dealt very well with being incarcerated. She was taken from her family (her and two other dogs and three kids) and the other two dogs were much younger than her so they were adopted right away. To begin with she was just very nervous but when I went in yesterday they weren't allowing any volunteers near her because she had snarled at a couple of people. Meanwhile, I had shared her information on FB and my friend was driving 4 hours just to meet that dog! It took 5 hours and some persuading but eventually they allowed my friend to not only meet the dog but adopt her and take her home the same day (usually there is a couple of days' lag while they check references). I KNEW this dog was a great family dog, she just couldn't cope with the kennel. My friend said she was much more relaxed once they were away from the shelter and when they got home they introduced her to their 8yo DS and the dog calmed right down, lay down next to him and then slept on his bed. I think she just needed someone to look after. So, that was a happy day.

And then today I picked up a new foster dog! I'm not sure if I mentioned, but in the same week that my old boy died we also had to send our foster dog that we had had for 6 months away. It was the worst week. I realized yesterday that I am not ready to adopt a new dog right now, it feels too much like trying to replace my old boy, but I am OK with fostering. The new foster is a 1 year old shepherd cross, she was rescued with two other dogs, they were left tied up at a house when the owner moved away. She is a bit skinny and scared of everything. It has given me something to focus on. I realized this morning that last night was the first Saturday night when I haven't done the "_ weeks ago at this time I had both my boys with me still" thing. Not to say that I don'y miss my boy but the intensity of the grief is less now. I am relieved about that.

Capitola Sun 04-Aug-13 23:04:36

Really tearful reading this.

It's exactly 2 years since we had our dog pts.

She was 14, had a litany of serious problems including the bloody awful anal furunculosis. Her back legs didn't work, she was doubly incontinent, had a chronic skin condition and neurological disease.

On the vet's advice we made that awful decision. I (too my shame) was too sad/scared to go in with her and left all the really awful bits to my fantastic dh.

It was the right thing to do, and a relief, despite the huge sadness.

So sorry for anyone going through this. I still have a little cry when I think about her.

IfUSeekAmy Mon 05-Aug-13 09:17:48

I'm ok thanks shadow, hope you are too. That's such lovely news mom you are doing a really nice thing by fostering. My mums Labradoodle is still staying with us and she's really helping keep my Labrador on his toes! I've applied to Labrador Rescue so hopefully we can give a dog a forever home. I keep thinking this time last week my dog was still here but I have to remind myself that she was laid out in her bed because she couldn't stand up, couldn't go to the toilet and she was unhappy and that helps me remember it was the right decision. My MIL and FIL babysat for us on Saturday and didn't mention the dog once which has really annoyed me for some reason, like she didn't exist. Not even a 'sorry to hear about dog'. And they are dog people themselves.

IfUSeekAmy Mon 05-Aug-13 09:20:36

Hi catipola sorry for your loss too

WhisperingShadow Mon 05-Aug-13 10:35:49

We took Shadows items to the RSPCA Sunday, where we rescued her from. We had a look round. Sad to see all the Staffies there. Over half. I am not a fan but still sad.

IfUSeekAmy Mon 05-Aug-13 12:56:19

I know, they are full of them aren't they. I had a staff x lab for a few months end of last year but he had a fight with my old dog (the one who I lost last week) so I couldn't keep him because they would have fought again and she was no match for him. No rescue place wanted him and the RSPCA said they would put him down if I gave him to them as they have so many needing a home. Luckily my friend I got him from took him back again but I would have had to have him pts probably if she hadn't had wanted him back. He was nuts though! He escaped from my garden 3 times just by running at the fence until he had smashed big holes in it! I couldn't let him in the garden without supervising him in the end. But they do get a bad press. I looked at RSPCA and dogs trust but with owning a dog already and having 3 young children there are no dogs which match our requirements.

dogsagoodun Mon 05-Aug-13 22:41:27

So sorry to hear your news Whispering Shadow. We are just over a week from losing our boy and it's tough. Hope you're holding up ok.

And mom, congrats on the foster dog. That's lovely news.

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