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Thread: Saying Goodbye

  1. #1
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    Jul 2005
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    Default Saying Goodbye

    Our 11.5 yo lab is fading. I posted a few weeks ago about how she had been diagnosed with Cushings Disease. Well, we thought we had it managed and I think we do but she has developed other issues. On top of that, she already has severe arthritis. She is on a ton of meds. The last few days she has been completely lethargic, just laying in one place. There are steps from our backdoor to the area she pees and poops. Yesterday she wouldn't go down the stairs and just did it on the flat area. She has also been peeing in the house a ton the last 2 days. Finally, this am, she wouldn't eat her breakfast - a big red flag for a lab.

    I just took her to the vet and they are doing a bunch of tests and rehydrating her as she was dehydrated even though she's been drinking a ton of water. The vet indicated that it might be time to say good bye. She didn't say it definitively that we must do it but that it is time to think about it. She said that we can manage whatever chronic issues she has and she'll have good days and bad days but we have to decide what we want her quality of life to be. I've always said I didn't want her to have a poor quality of life and keep her around just for me but now that we are closing in on that point, I'm having a really hard time effectively playing God.

    I don't exactly know what I'm looking for in this post. DH is traveling and the girls are at camp. I spoke to another friend who has an older dog but I'm guess I'm just looking for experiences with what it's like and what is okay and how you know it's time? I've been crying for a good hour - even before the vet came into the exam room.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2005
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    Oh, I'm so very sorry Bloom. It is never easy to say goodbye. A mentor of mine used to have pet parents think of their pet's 3 favorite activities. Once they could no longer consistently do those 3 things, it was time to strongly consider saying goodbye. They don't understand why they are suffering or ill, just that they are. When treatments only prolong life length, not quality (those 3 favorite things!), ending a very loved pet's suffering is a tremendous, unselfish gift. You may be surprised that in with your grief, you find relief that your loved one is no longer suffering.

    Big huge hugs for you!!

  3. #3
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    I am so sorry bloom.. I seriously think being faced with letting a pet go is one of the most heartbreaking things anybody can experience. I know based on your different posts how much you care for sweet girl and know that you'll find the right answer in your heart. It may feel like playing god, and maybe it is, but I also think caring for one of gods creatures and doing what you think is best for them in terms of maintaining a quality of life free from pain is just what god hoped we would do for those who are unable themselves.

    We said goodbye to our cat about 2 1/2 years ago and honestly I sobbed for months. I'd be anywhere, the store, school, driving and I was overcome with the saddness of losing her and wondering if I had made the right decision. But I was also comforted by her behavior in her final days which inexplicably pointed towards her saying goodbye to me. She was a part of our family for 13 years and I still miss her(tearing up typing this). It's hard. Really hard. Wish I could give you a big hug.

  4. #4
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    Ugh. I am so very sorry. We had to put our 5 year old lab down almost 7 years ago and it was the absolute worst. He had leukemia and lymphoma. Most vets will not tell you what to do. We went for a second opinion to a specialist. It was the best thing we could have done. I knew when we put him in the car that day, he would not be coming home with us. The doctor walked us through all the options and sort of told us in his own way that it was time. He wasn't eating, he couldn't go to the bathroom, he was suffering.

    I think you just have to follow your heart. I knew he was ready to go. It was much harder for DH but getting a second opinion helped.

    Hugs. This is such a hard thing. I still miss Bay. We have another dog (which I swore I would never do) but it isn't the same.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    A&K 05.18.02
    Baby Girl 09.06.05... Angel Baby Oct 2007... Baby Girl 10.21.08
    Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle

  5. #5
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    Jun 2005
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    Southern California
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    Oh Bloom......big, big hugs to you

    My boys are also age 11 and I am well aware that issues will likely start to occur.

    I do not have any experience with dogs and having to make "the decision," but I do with cats.

    My 13 yr kitty developed chronic bladder problems towards the last year of his life (2011).. We did all sorts of things- special diet, meds, I even had to rehydrate him at home (through IV), towards the end. We contemplated surgery which would be major (very extensive and expensive), but we learned he had a heart issue too and the vet didn't think he'd make it through the surgery. We spent several thousands and a few months trying to help him, but it became clear that nothing was really working and he just wasn't himself. We knew the time had come when he wasn't eating well, and I swear, I could see it in his eyes that he was ready to go. So, we made the appointment and DH took him. I spent the whole morning with him, just loving on him and I had the kids say goodbye. They were sad, but this was still a few years ago and I don't think they really understood. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make but I know in my heart it was the right one.

    I also had another cat that I had to put down right after DH and I got married. He had cancer, and we did our best for about a year trying to manage it. The vet said, "You will know when the time has come." And we did. In that situation, he developed breathing problems over night so there was no questioning that the time had come, but with my other kitty, that was harder because I did feel like I was "playing God," in making the call when it was his time to go.

    Again, I am soooo very sorry for you guys. It's the hardest thing ever. I'm crying just thinking about it. The ONLY thing that helps me through these sad times is that I know, without a doubt, that I will see my pets again.

    Take good care and please keep us posted. xoxox
    S+B Est. 11.09.02
    DS1 06.28.06, DD 07.23.08
    DS2 03.07.12

  6. #6
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    Big, big hugs bloom. No advice as I've never really had a pet, just big hugs.

  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone. This is super helpful, even just the hugs. DH thinks we should get a second opinion. My friend with the older dog said we should take the weekend with Sadie and enjoy her and see if we come to any decisions. At the very least, we get to say good bye. I really liked that advice. I will keep you all posted for sure.

  8. #8
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    I'm so sorry. I don't have any advice to add and I think the other girls have given you some good advice. I do like the idea of taking the weekend to decide and possibly saying good bye. Hugs.


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  9. #9
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    I'm so so sorry. I'm tearing up reading this. I had to make that decision a couple years ago with our cat, who was 14 years old. He wasn't eating (even his favorite foods) or drinking. The vet said it was likely kidney failure and we could try some meds to prolong his life, maybe a month or two. He just wasn't his normal happy self and I don't want him to suffer any longer.

    I just spent a lot of time with him on the floor (he was hiding under our bed) and talked to him (and cried) and petted him until it was time to take him to the vets. It is so hard to do, but it was best for him.

    Similarly my mom had a cat that she kept alive long past what probably should have been and she later said she regretted prolonging it so long, that it was more her own selfishness keeping him around as he really didn't have any quality of life.

    Big, big hugs to you.
    K&K 10.5.02
    E 3.8.05
    M 6.24.09

  10. #10
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    I am so sorry you are going through this. I tear up whenever i read about someone having to make this decision - putting down my 13 year old cat 7 years ago was so incredibly hard. I still miss him all the time. I had just found out I was pregnant after having a loss at 13 weeks so was so scared to be overly emotional about it. I had the option of going to the vet after they had down the MRI and diagnosed the cancer and I couldn't do it. I had said my goodbyes when I dropped him off. I got incredibly emotional when I brought my DS home from the hospital and the cat wasn't there to greet me. We have 2 other cats that are 10 years old and while I dread their end-of-life, I don't have the affection for them - all their affection is on their terms - my other cat I had for the full 13 years, 11 of it child-free, 6 of it DH-free, so we were truly best buddies.

    So sorry you are having to do this when the rest of the family is not around.
    J&D - May 2005 *** E - 8/7/06 *** J - 3/17/09

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