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Agonising decision - hugs needed, please

(54 Posts)
doglover Tue 26-Jul-11 19:39:13

I posted a week or so ago about our senile, incontinent dog - knowing that his time was probably close. We've been keeping him going and he's generally ok in spirits. However, we're going on holiday on 6th August and I'm desperately worried that he'll not be here on our return. Our 2 dogs are staying with friends and it seems such a big 'ask' to expect them to cope with all his health ailments and possible demise. Our vet is completely fab - she's supportive of our dilemma - but wants us to be aware of our other dog's feelings, too. She's suggested that if we do decide to have him pts then it should be this week to give Maggie time to adjust to his absence before leaving her to go away. God, what an awful dilemma. Any views welcome - I fully understand that there are no easy answers.

bumpybecky Tue 26-Jul-11 20:15:16

I'm so sorry you're facing this decision sad

I've not had two dogs, so can't offer any advice on what's best for the surviving dog. Not much help, but lots of sympathy sad

MotherJack Tue 26-Jul-11 20:17:04

I'm so sorry, Doglover.
I don't have an answer for you, but (((hugs))) to you at this horrible time sad and whatever decision you make it will undoubtedly be the right one.

doglover Tue 26-Jul-11 20:29:26

Thanks, ladies. It's reassuring to read your views - I feel so alone because my dh is loath to discuss it and any ramifications. I realise that it's painful for him but his reluctance is terribly difficult.

chickchickchicken Tue 26-Jul-11 20:47:34

i am so sorry sad

did you see scuttle's link re things to think about when deciding to pts? i can have a look for it if you didnt. i found it very helpful.

doglover Tue 26-Jul-11 20:53:41

Yes, she sent it to me - an excellent resource. I suppose it's because we've know that there's limited time left and realise that we probably need to make this decision in the next couple of days. Thanks for your support. x

orienteerer Tue 26-Jul-11 20:55:47

I think you should make the right decision for your dog and family which is to take your vets advice & pts before the holiday. It may be stressful but try to remember the good times you've had with your dog. Imagine the stress if your friends who are dog sitting end up having to do the deed whilst you are away, or even worse deal with your dog dying naturally whilst in their care. I suspect you need to take a decision on behalf of your Dh.

Scuttlebutter Tue 26-Jul-11 21:02:37

Here it is again link.

I think one way to look at this is to ask yourself, perhaps by using the scale as an aid, is to consider if your dear pet should be PTS this week (irrespective of future plans).

I can completely understand what your vet is saying, and would also add that when the time comes please consider having PTS at home - this can make such a difference, in ensuring a peaceful parting and allowing all family members (including other pets) to say goodbye. From what your vet seems to be hinting, it could well be his time. Do you think this is what your vet is trying to say to you? This is undoubtedly the hardest (and the bravest) thing you will have to do for your dear friend and it's his interests that should come first above everything else in this dilemma.

I am so, so sorry. It does sound as though his time is passing - being there for him when he goes is the last act of love we can give them.

Sending you very best wishes. sad

doglover Tue 26-Jul-11 21:09:01

I think you're quite right, Orienteer. My dh seems unable to cope with it all and I'm starting to realise that I'll need to take the lead. It's way too much responsibility to expect friends to cope with such an emotional rollercoaster. We've given both of our (rescue) dogs 7 happy, fun-filled years and this final decision will be made with all our love, too.

doglover Tue 26-Jul-11 21:17:42

Oh, thanks so much, Scuttlebutter; it's lovely to read your words of wisdom. It all helps to make me feel strong enough to make the call. We've had to have other dogs put down over the years but they've been 'easier' in a way ie. cancer etc. As you say, it's the hardest but greatest act of love and compassion that we can offer our beloved pets.

orienteerer Tue 26-Jul-11 21:20:56


flakemum Tue 26-Jul-11 21:36:49

We have a dog who is only 4 but I would like to think that we would be strong enough to go with vet advice which sounds like the kindest way. All the best to u and your family.

doglover Tue 26-Jul-11 21:38:14

Thanks for responding, FM. I really do appreciate everyone taking time to reply.

DogsBestFriend Tue 26-Jul-11 21:45:35

How odd, I posted but it isn't showing up.

All I wanted to say is that I'm normally the resident big-mouth but here I have few words, just sadness for you.

You're being so brave and so compassionate, no pet could ask for more.

Keeping you and yours in my heart. xx

Selks Tue 26-Jul-11 21:50:36

I haven't got any words of wisdom but just wanted to say I know how you are feeling right now as I had to go through this with my cat who had cancer. It's the hardest decision - agonising. But you have to remember that your dog will have had the best years of his life with you, and you are now acting out of love for him and his best interests, no matter how much it might not feel like that. ((hugs))

MotherOfGirls Tue 26-Jul-11 21:50:49

Crying as I read your post and the replies. We were in a similar position 4 years ago and made the decision to let our wonderful dog go. Like yours, my DH found the whole thing too difficult and so I took the lead. Still miss him lots but we have just got a rescue puppy and we're looking forward to many happy years with him. Big hugs to you and your family. X

doglover Tue 26-Jul-11 21:51:42

I'm trying very hard to be brave but am feeling decidedly 'wobbly'! I do know, however, that Harley's best interests will always be uppermost in our hearts - he's brought so much love and laughter to our lives and we'll do all we can for him and his sister ....... she'll need us so much when her beloved brother has gone. xx

coccyx Tue 26-Jul-11 21:58:29

Me, I would go with the difficult decision of having dear dog PTS before the holiday. I would never settle wondering how he was coping in a strange environment, i would also worry he might pass without me being there.
I don't think for one moment you are considering it because you have a holiday booked, you acknowledge he is senile, incontinent.
Its a horrid thing but brave decision to make. Its sometimes the kindest thing you can do for your much loved furry friend.
I second others who say have the vet come to your home.
Thinking of you

doglover Tue 26-Jul-11 22:11:09

Thank you, Coccyx. It breaks my heart thinking of Harley in an unfamiliar environment and not coping with different people / routines........ he's not coping with life here where we love and understand his every need. He does have moments of lucidity when he gets upset by his double incontinence but he's basically unaware of his problems. How cruel life can be. xx

twojues Tue 26-Jul-11 22:15:59

I know how you are feeling.
It's such a hard decision to make.
I had to make this decision at the end of May. Our 14 year old golden retriever was pooing in the house, mainly because it was painful for him to stand up and he couldn't get up in time to go outside. He was deaf and going blind. I was having to help him get up and at 38kg it was hurting my back. He was going senile too, barking for no reason and waking us up during the night.

We also have a 7 year old lab who loved the retriever to bits. He was miserable after Harvey had gone. He would curl up in a ball on his bed and not join us in the lounge.

I agree with coccyx and your vet, by saying goodbye this week will give Maggie time to get used to your other dog not being around.

I made the decision based on the fact I didn't want to have to make that decision when he was really bad. My vet said to say goodbye while he still had a bit of Harvey left in him.

Big hugs to you all. It is a hard decision to make and only you can make it.

twentyten Tue 26-Jul-11 22:19:32

Sending you hugs at this really difficult time. Choosing to have Harley pts in a way that you can be with him at home is the kindest thing .We had to make the same decision about our dog Jade just before a holiday- and although we grieved we knew afterwards we had done the right thing and gave her the best kind of ending.Thinking of you

MackerelOfFact Wed 27-Jul-11 18:37:48

Hugs for you. My parents had our 14-year-old lab PTS yesterday, they had no choice really (he was very worse for wear following a fit) but it was well-timed as they go on holiday tomorrow. It's a horrible decision but it would be more horrible to have to make that decision miles away from home, or trust someone else to make that decision for you. Coincidentally his name was Marley (not quite the same as Harley but nearly)!

I know I would be worried sick if I had to leave an elderly dog with deteriorating health with anyone else... but at the same time, I know it's so hard to say enough is enough, especially if you think Harley still has something left.

I can't possibly advise either way but I hope you have the strength to make a decision you are at peace with. Sending love x

QuietTiger Wed 27-Jul-11 18:48:05

I'm thinking of you, as this is always a truly hard and difficult decision and I am in no way telling you what to do, as I am not in your situation.

If it helps, I was looking after a very elderly cat for a good friend of mine a few weeks ago. Dusty was in the same position as your Harley. Not well, vet had suggested that his time was close. His owner (with my agreement) asked me to petsit for him for a long weekend - 4 days. On the friday, before his owner was due home on the saturday, Dusty collapsed and I had to take him to the vet as an emergency. Fortunately, Dustys dad was able to speak to the vet in person and she was very compassionate but she had to explain that the result of Dustys collapse was that he was very ill and would be unlikely to make a recovery. My friend made the decision to PTS Dusty, as it would have been unfair to keep him going just for a few more days.

There was absolutely NO question that I would stay there for Dusty so he wasn't alone as he made his journey, as I would for my own pet. But his owner was distraught, more so, as he had to make a massive decision, over the phone in an emergency and he didn't get to say good-bye and be there for his friend at the end.

doglover Wed 27-Jul-11 19:04:17

I'm so grateful to you all. I never expected such a plethora of replies. I've finished school today and can really address the issue tomorrow ............ thank you form the bottom of my heart.

MotherJack Wed 27-Jul-11 20:42:30

I couldn't add any detail in my first response, DL, and won't, but I just wanted to say as response to your DH not wanting to make a decision (or be part of one) that when my darling boy had to be put to sleep last year he had a matter of hours to live, out of the blue.... and yet my DP was never able to say "yes". I had to do it. Your DH sounds a bit like my DP.

Now you can relax from work, you will find the answer you know is right, and as Mackerel says, be at peace with. I am at peace with mine... even though I still miss the little blighter. It's a hard decision because you love him.

((more hugs))

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