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When do you know it's time to let your dog go?

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  • When do you know it's time to let your dog go?

    I have a 17 year old mix terrier breed dog, her name is Tach. She has been the best dog I have ever had, loved to hike, go on road trips and just the best personality. She has had health problems for 7 or so years, heart problems and coughing. With meds she has been as good as can be expected. She still loves to eat, but has not gone on walks for over a year or so, she cant see much her eyes are both cloudy, she pees and poops in the house, but can still walk outside to do her duty, but is often disoriented. Her one love is food. I love her dearly, yet she is a handful. Me and my partner don't get much sleep due to the 2am coughing and needing to go pody. She has become more fragile as the months go by but there is still alot of life in her, or so I think. She sleeps most of the day.

    I just don't know what to do? I don't want to put her down before it's her time but at the same time she isn't going to get any better. She has good days and bad...sometimes she gets so disoriented I have to physically take her outside and bring her in so she doesn't wonder off. Other times she is just fine. I don't want to put my needs before hers, however , the pooping and urinating in the house is becoming much more frequent. I work 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off in a remote location , so my partner has been so wonderful in taking care of her, coming home on her lunch breaks to let her out and clean up after her. Due to her coughing, my partner doesn't get much sleep often getting up at 2am to let her out and then at 4am to feed her. I do the same thing when I am at home.

    I have cried on and off for months now struggline to know when the time is right and wanting to do the right thing and not let my needs play into the picture. ANY ADVISE WOULD BE WELCOMED. Thanks!!!!!

  • #2
    Wow, I really feel for you. I am sort of going through the same thing with my cat, Bootsie, who will be 19 next month.
    The only advice I can give you is to do what feels right in your heart. Only you and your partner know the quality of life she is having, whether the bad days outnumber the good days, and whether she is in pain or not. I think pain would, for me, be one of the biggest deciding factors.
    It sounds like you have given her a wonderful life and you love her dearly. These decisions are always so hard to make and I truly empathize with you.
    owned by 2 Newfies, a cocker spaniel and 3 cats.
    Holistic Dog and Cat Food-APHIS Certified for sale to the European Community

    Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil

    Pet-Safe, Child-Safe-Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products


    • #3
      I am crying as I write this cuz I don't know what is right in my heart...I love her, she has been a part of me for 17 years, more than most of my friends, yet I know her senility will not get better, I know the lack of sleep and constant cleaning up after her weighs on my partner who loves her as much as I do. Tach doesn't seem to be in any kind of pain, but her coughing is a struggle for her...yet after her spells she can settle down and so difficult. At times I feel like I am prepared to let her go and other times I struggle with "well is it for my comfort or hers" don't know if that makes sense...but then I feel guilty for thinking of my or my partners comforts, of sleep, feeling guilty if my partner can't make it home at lunch due to situations at work (she works in a hospital) and so its sometime later in the day, we can't take Tach anywhere because she poops and pees and would be so disoriented due to her inability to see very well she would be uncomfortable...yet I love her and dont want to end her life prematurely...does any of this make sense. I mean this is a hugh delima for me. I really don't know what to do.

      I do appreciate your words of compassion, thanks very helps.


      • #4
        My heart goes out to you. I agree 100% with NewfieGrl's criteria for making a decision. I would only add that there are inevitable hardships to caring for an aging dog that deeply impact our daily routines and responsibilities. I can sense that Tach is as much as family member as any...and as such...I think the hardships are to be endured as long as "the good days" outweigh the bad and she seems to have a will to go on. This is just my opinion, though.

        I think our animal companions will often "tell us" when they are ready. We just need to be open to their energy and spirit, and then trust our instincts insofar as what we receive from them. This can be a day-to-day or even moment-to-moment process. Just take the time each day, quietly and calmly, to sit with her and "receive." I know it's hard when the situation is so overwhelming, but that's exactly when it's best to try to neutralize the emotions and be led by the Spirit of your relationship with Tach.

        No matter what you decide, be confident that Tach will ALWAYS know, based on the enormous amount of love and care you've given her for 17 years, that you are truly doing what you feel is best for her. In this sense, you will cannot go wrong because she trusts that your motivation is 100% love for her. Try to find some peace in the width and depth of the bond between you.

        I'll keep you in my prayers, that you receive the clarity and wisdom you are seeking...

        Blessings to you and to Tach.
        Prayers for Pets & People
        Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Ps. 150:6

        Companion of Jonah (English Setter); Grace (Golden Retriever); Gypsy & Gilmore (Rescued DSH Kittens)


        • #5
          Yes, everything you say makes sense. It's a heartwrenching decision and never an easy one to make. For as many years as we have our pets with us, it never seems long enough.
          I guess from the experiences I've had it seemed like I struggled and struggled with the decision, and then there came a time that I just knew. My other cockers lived until 16 and my Patchy(Bootsies sister) lived until 17 1/2, and each decision was so hard. I think it happens that way alot with people, especially from what I read here on the forums.
          I wish I could be more helpful to you.
          owned by 2 Newfies, a cocker spaniel and 3 cats.
          Holistic Dog and Cat Food-APHIS Certified for sale to the European Community

          Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil

          Pet-Safe, Child-Safe-Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products


          • #6
            this is a very hard decission

            I feel for you, this is a difficult decision to make,and the loss for me was much more than I expected. there are diapers for dogs for urinating they velcro on and you insert a panty liner. we were using them on a dog with a bladder problem it was very effective


            • #7
              Thank you all for your wonderful compassion

              Thanks everyone for your thoughts and my partner and I talked it over and we think her quality of life is still pretty good. So we will continue to love her and be open to her little spirit and when she says its time we will make the decision. Thanks again for your understanding and warm comments!!


              • #8
                I can truly relate to what you are going thru. Our husky Tasha had cancer and she was having a very rough time. She couldn't sleep and she was having trouble eating, but at times she would still want to play and go for walks even though she was so tired.
                We had to make a very difficult decison because she was having more bad days than good---but she also let us know it was time.

                If your baby is still having good days and her quality of life is still good, then by all means--keep her with you as long as you can and let enjoy life. She will let you know when the time comes to let her go to the Rainbow Bridge.

                We will keep you and Tach in our thoughts and prayers. Let us know how you are doing.


                • #9
                  devilwoman thank you for sharing this - i can not imagine what it would feel like. Good luck to you, your partner and Tach. Enjoy each precious day with Tach.


                  • #10
                    I'm sorry you are going through this. From my experience, you will know when it is time (based on pain, quality of life etc).

                    Here is a thread I started about this subject that has a really good article:
                    [Our Dogs: Chelsea - Lab/Sharpei - 8 years old
                    Storm - Cane Corso - 6 years old
                    Ezri - Beagle - Age Unknown (recent rescue)
                    Jacob - German Rottie - RIP October 13, 2005
                    Click here for pics:

           a series of dogs. - George Carlin


                    • #11
                      I started reading your posts & then realized the dates had passed by, it's now 2011. When my best buddy, wirehaired Fox Terrier Jake, turned 15 years old, he started the slow descent downhill where his body was just giving out due to age & nothing could be done to help him. We went outside in the sunshine in the fall of that year & sat side by side while I told him how much I loved him, what fun we had from when he was a 6wk old puppy to now. I told him I would miss him the rest of my life. Then I explained euthanasia to him & how I didn't want to do it, but I loved him so much I had to make the decision & make it soon. I told him I wish he could tell me how he felt. At that point we had been out there side by side for well over an hour when Jake suddenly leaned into me, & stared straight into my eyes. I could feel the love & trust & understanding coming from his spirit. I knew he was telling me it was ok, to show him I loved him to the end. When this conversation took place, Jake had been deaf for about 2 years...and yet he seemed to somehow hear everything I said to him that day. Jake was gone the next day. I grieved for a long time & still miss him, but the talk we had made it somewhat more bearable to let him go with some dignity. The vet came to my home, gave him a 1st shot that made him go to sleep immediately. He was snoring softly. The 2nd shot came a few minutes later & stopped his heart within about 2 seconds. After the vet left, I carried him outside, wrapped him in his favorite blanket, gave him a toy & buried him. I put 4 16" slate stones on top of his grave & hung a wind chime in the tree above him. For the longest time if I was ever near his grave that wind chime would move. It was like Jake was saying hi to me. Sometimes there didn't even seem to be enough wind to move it but it still chimed. I miss him every day of my life. Jakey was my boy.


                      • #12
                        We know just how you feel. I'm sure Jakey gave you much love.
                        Max - resting in on his name to read his story...
                        (All shelter adopted or saved from the streets )