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AIBU to insist that DP faces up to this re our family pet (long ish sorry)?

(90 Posts)
QueenofallIsee Fri 03-Jul-15 13:34:41

DP and I have an elderly labrador dog, she was in very good health aged 11 when old age noticeably set in. DP and I were advised last year of her breast cancer (aged 13) but elected not to operate as it was unlikely to prelong her life.

She has developed a sore on her face related to the cancer. She can't walk far and continence is becoming an issue, she also has a hacking sort of cough that brings up clear bile. DP adores her, she is 'his dog'. He is flatly refusing to take her to the vet again on the basis that she is 'ok in herself'. Admittedly she doesn't seem to be in pain all the time. He is clearly afraid that they will advise putting her to sleep and really got angry with me, saying I wanted her to be put down and we were caring for her adequately, she should be loved and cared for in her old age by us, not put down which is me taking an easy option. Yes, I am a bit tired of the smell and i do feel that he is making me complicit in prolonging her life for his sake not hers but I don't want her to die! I just think we have to face facts. I have tried to bring it up again but he shuts me down each time.

WWYD, do you think IABU? I think at nearly 14 she is likely to go naturally this year but I hate seeing, smelling and hearing her like she is...

ApocalypseThen Fri 03-Jul-15 13:38:58

I would say that prolonging the dog's suffering us not for her sake and is a bit selfish.

Toughasoldboots Fri 03-Jul-15 13:40:09

It's cruel- tell him that it's not about him and he has a responsibility to not see her suffer any more.

QueenofallIsee Fri 03-Jul-15 13:41:55

Thanks both, I feel cruel when I see her limping about. DP is not a cruel man and he is right in that I don't love her as much as he does, but I really think he has to man up and deal with it.

AmarettoSour Fri 03-Jul-15 13:42:19

I don't understand how people can say they love their pets while simultaneously watching them suffer like this. Take ddog to the vets with or without your DP's agreement. He sounds cruel.

cjt110 Fri 03-Jul-15 13:42:48

I can see both sides. My DParents had a dog (who was at home when I lived at home too) who on turning 14 began to detriorate and her back legs got very wobbly and her continence also became an issue. They were advised that her kidneys were failing and were given the otpion then and there but chose to bring her home for a week. They took her on nice walks and treated her with all the good stuff she shoulnt really have. The day of her appointment then came and my Mum had to stay with her as my Dad couldn't handle it. I was absolutely heartbroken as she was my childhood dog and it took a while for us all to get over it. She had one cat pass away at home (he was 20) so it was expected as he had gone downhill. My Parents recently totally out of the blue, had to have their 3 year old cat put to sleep. I was sad for her but not sad like I was about my dog as she had been mine and the cat was theirs.

It is not fair to prolong the dog's life for our own benefit, however, as she wasn't yours (I read it as it was his dog prior to your relationship) you may have a different bond?

It is a very hard one to call and I hope whatever you decide, you decide whats best for you all flowers

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Fri 03-Jul-15 13:42:50

I am with you. A previously continent, able dog is not going to enjoy being incontinent and with the new sore on her face I would want to see a vet for advice. We lost our very much loved 14 year old Lab last June, we had 4 days with him after his cancer diagnosis and we had hoped for a few more days with him but on the day we had to make that awful decision to put him to sleep you could see the pain etched on his face. He did his best to be his usual happy self but wasn't and when his painkillers didn't touch the sides I knew it was time.

Deciding to put to sleep in NOT the easy decision. It was the hardest decision I have ever made. My son said at the time though that it was better to make that decision one day too early than do it a day too late. It is the hardest, bravest decision we can make for our loving pets but it isn't ever easy.

DirectorFury Fri 03-Jul-15 13:43:30

Letting her go without suffering is the last loving thing he can do for your dog. PTS is never easy when you love an animal but watching her deteriorate and suffer further is not fair.

QueenofallIsee Fri 03-Jul-15 13:44:02

He doesn't mean to be cruel, I know that. He kids himself that he generally happy demeanour and what not is more telling than the health things we can see, but she is a dog! how can he know for sure what she feels (is my position anyway)

dexter73 Fri 03-Jul-15 13:44:04

It is a bit selfish but I have been in that position before and it is very hard to make the decision to have a pet PTS. I kept our dog for longer than I should have as I didn't want to lose him and also be the one responsible for his death. When a few years later it was the cat's turn to be old and sick I realised I had to make the decision sooner than I had done for the dog. I'm not sure what you can do if he shuts you down each time though.

GobblersKnob Fri 03-Jul-15 13:44:47

If she were mine I would want her seen by a vet, but would be looking to make sure I was doing everything I could to make her comfortable, not particularly looking at pts.

Old dogs (like old people) often are slow and incontinent doesn't mean they are necessarily at the end, does she still enjoy food and fuss?

Toughasoldboots Fri 03-Jul-15 13:45:24

I think that dogs do put up with a lot without showing that they are in pain too.

helenahandbag Fri 03-Jul-15 13:45:26

I agree, it is cruel to keep her going just because he can't accept that it's her time.

My friend's dad has an old spaniel who is now deaf, almost blind, arthritic and incontinent but they point blank refuse to have her PTS, it's bloody horrible to see.

QueenofallIsee Fri 03-Jul-15 13:46:26

and yes, she pre dates me by 12mths so is our family pet but more his than mine. Thanks for being kind in your responses, he is a good guy but head in the sand here. I have just cleaned up after her agaim and I think another talk is in order when he gets home. He does the majority of care, so its not that I am burdened, i just think he is wrong

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Fri 03-Jul-15 13:46:37

If she is in pain, even if it isn't all the time, you need to take her to the vet and see if she is suffering.

That is what I would say to dh. The vet may be able to prescribe stronger painkillers, and if she can be pain free there is no reason to pts. If she can't be pain free, having her pts is the kindest and best thing he can do for her.

It is not an easy thing to face, and I'm sorry for you and your dh, but the dog depends on you to make this decision, she can't do it herself, and she doesn't deserve to be left in pain because your dh doesn't want to say goodbye.

QueefOfTheSporned Fri 03-Jul-15 13:47:39

"Better a week too soon than a day too late".

I have made that decision twice recently and, while its a fucking hard thing to do, it's a privilege to be able to spare their suffering and let them go with dignity.

FenellaFellorick Fri 03-Jul-15 13:48:24

If he thinks she isn't suffering, he is a fool. Cancer? Sores? Incontinent? struggles to walk? If that's not suffering, what does he think suffering is? What does he want to see as evidence of suffering?

At what point does he plan to relieve this dog's suffering? What is it he is looking for that he thinks will tell him this dog he says he loves so much can take no more? Does he want to wait until she is in agony with the cancer eating her from the inside out? Will she have pain relief or just suffer the pain? You often cannot tell when an animal is in pain anyway. They don't weep like humans. She is being eaten alive by it and she is suffering and he is cruel. And selfish.

emms1981 Fri 03-Jul-15 13:48:52

I understand how hard it is to let go of a loved family pet. I've been there sad my Westie had to be pts when she was 14 but she became ill very quickly. Stopped eating on the Friday and was clearly in a bad state Sat night and was pts by the emergency vet. My dad was devastated as she had been his companion for years. I had moved out but still saw her every weekend and she had been around my children etc we had her since she was 3 months.
Your DH will have to face up that he's doing her no favours and really has to let her go.

buttonmoonboots Fri 03-Jul-15 13:49:16

It sounds like he is very much in denial. I think the anger is the dead giveaway here. There is a difference between saying: "No, I don't think she needs to go to the vet," and flying off the handle. Yes, he's upset, but it's actually cruel to refuse to take her to the vet. He is losing sight of that because he loves her, but he is not doing right by her as a result.

I would make the following points to him:

1. Taking the dog to the vet does not mean she will be PTS. Vets do not impose this. It is your choice. If they suggest it, all they will do (in my experience with various elderly and ill pets) is talk you through all the options, clearly and kindly, so you can make a decision. She cannot be PTS without her owners' consent. I would encourage him to just get her looked at.

2. Right now he is denying her medical care. He is doing this because he loves her dearly and does not wish to lose her, but the result is that he is actually being cruel. The Animal Welfare Act requires dogs to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. The vet needs to have a look at her to see what, if anything, can be done. It's possible they could ease her suffering somehow, or otherwise improve things for her so she could be more comfortable.

3. Animals often appear okay in themselves when they are anything but. It is a survival mechanism because appearing ill or weak puts them at risk. Seeming 'okay in herself' when you know she's really ill could actually be a negative sign (maybe, maybe not, it's hard to tell which is why a vet needs to check).

4. You can only make the best decision available at the time. Is your DH feeling bad about not operating on the cancer and could that be where some of his anger is coming from? Just a thought.

MuzunguMusings Fri 03-Jul-15 13:49:24

It might be an idea to ask the vet to put your dog to sleep at home, then your dog is in the loving, comforting environment she knows with the people who love her, your DH can talk to her and stroke her until she goes. That's what we did when our dog was to Ill to carry on, it was very peaceful. flowers

Toughasoldboots Fri 03-Jul-15 13:49:41

Queen , I was just going to post the same thing. It is a privilege to end an animal's suffering.

QueenofallIsee Fri 03-Jul-15 13:50:15

I am going to try again, maybe rope his mother in to assist as she loves her as much as him but is more pragmatic...hopefully between us we can make he see past his own grief.

MagpieCursedTea Fri 03-Jul-15 13:54:16

I really feel for all of you! I always said I'd never allow my beautiful JRT to be PTS. However at the age of 18 she had become senile and was a shell of her former self. Our vet said that as her heart was still strong she was unlikely to go naturally and it would be kinder to PTS. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make. I held her as she slipped away and could feel her whole body relax. I'll never get over the loss of my best friend but knowing that I could do the kindest thing for her in the end gives me comfort.
Unmumsnetty hugs to you and your family.

Wotsitsareafterme Fri 03-Jul-15 13:54:48

This is very black and white for me. Part of taking on the responsibility of a pet is letting it die painlessly before there's unnecessary suffering. That's part of love too. We have had loads of cats and dogs since I was a child and having them pts will never be like shelling peas but it doesn't upset me much anymore i find it a relief I can take the pain and fatigue away and let them go gently.
Op you are in the right and your feelings that the dog needs to slip away now is a strong indicator of how much you love the dog.
Hope your animal
Finds some peace very soon

isupposeitsverynice Fri 03-Jul-15 13:54:50

Aw I sympathise. We had this at the arse end of last year when dp's beloved gsd got very unwell with canine dementia and bad back/hips. the vet told us that dogs are extremely adept at disguising their pain - we had no idea our dog was in pain in his back legs but she reckoned it was pretty agonising. still, dp was all for just plodding on with the metacam and 'seeing what happened'. i had to really bang on and on about the dogs quality of life and how miserable he must be before he started to face up to it. as awful as it will be, i would be very blunt and i would say (and did!) 'DP. You are being selfish. The dog is in pain and she has had enough. You are prolonging her misery because you don't want to let go and it is not fair on her.' it feels horrendous to do this, btw, but there's nothing untrue there and certainly for my dp, I think reframing it with a focus on the dogs needs rather than his wants gave him the ability to make the decision to get the vet out.

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