Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

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catherinec
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Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby catherinec » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:56 pm

I apologize for not keeping up with ODO for a long time but I really need your sage, wise canine advice and experiences.

I don’t know what to do about my beloved Caesar and it’s tearing me up every day, I’m having a tough time even writing this down.

Caesar is now over 13 years old and up to about a year ago has been in relatively great health. Over the past year he’s had progressive hind leg weakness that has gotten steadily worse. He’s still ambulatory but he knuckles over, drags and scissors his legs, and occasionally falls down if he loses his balance. He’s also having increasingly difficulty climbing stairs which I have severely limited but he keeps ‘insisting’ on going upstairs to the bedroom and when I block off the stairs he seems to get really anxious. We have rugs and runners scattered all over the place for him, and I’ve tried variety of booties but no success. We don’t go on any more hikes or even walks around the neighborhood because he’s worn down his nails and he just doesn’t have the strength – fortunately I can still drive him to the park and he ambles around the grassy areas but lately he just plops down on the grass. He’s also started to become incontinent of his bowels, like he suddenly realizes he has to go and can’t get outside fast enough. Still continent of urine. The Vet says he has arthritis but likely degenerative myelopathy. I have not gotten an MRI, but I did send away a saliva sample and it said he was a carrier.

The more concerning issue, outside of the progressive difficulty ambulating, is his behavior. He’s always been an aloof yet goofy dog, but now he’s just acting really withdrawn. He spends some time with us, but more often than not he either goes up to the bedroom to be by himself or goes into the yard into the corner and lays down, facing the corner/fence. He never used to do this and at least wanted to be in our presence – I mean he’d often go up to bed on his own but now he just seems like he wants to be alone all the time. And I don’t know if this is just what happens with seniors or if he’s unhappy, depressed, in pain, confused about his body . . .

He also went through a period of pacing during the day and the middle of the night; I tried a variety of pain meds with no benefit. The Vet suggested steroids if I wanted to try them, but I opted not to since if he does have myelopathy I didn’t want to make it worse. Currently CBD oil 2x/day seems to have curtailed the pacing and anxiousness but he also just seems to want to sleep all day long – and he also is always falling asleep with his head up and jerking himself awake, over and over.

I don’t want to do any further testing unless absolutely necessary (he's become increasingly anxious at the Vet and I don't want him undergoing sedation) or extraneous measures (e.g. use of a walker) but I also want him to be comfortable and happy. And if he’s not, then his quality of life is impaired and I don’t want him to suffer. And I know he’s elderly for a Ridgeback. But man, he’s my best friend and I just can’t fathom letting him go. I want to do what’s right for him, but I don’t want to let him go too soon if he actually is content. I’m just totally conflicted.

Any thoughts or experiences to share?

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby emmas_mom » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:04 pm

Catherine, I'm so sorry. Having adopted and said goodbye to a multitude of geriatric dogs, I have seen a variety of behaviours during their last little time on earth (or, as a friend called it, when they are 'in god's waiting room'). Some that are pretty common are the ones you describe - losing bowel control (it just kinda slips out and they either sleep through it or startle, like "Whaaaaaat?"), spending most of the day sleeping (most of mine were only awake for perhaps an hour a day near the end), choosing places out of the flow of everyday living in which to rest (outside, in the bedroom, behind a piece of furniture), disengaging from interactions though still appreciating the occasional word or gentle touch.
One foster dog, Isaac, had degenerative myelopathy and he was a constant pacer and constantly wanting to just go outside (even in winter) and be by himself. The pacing drove me crazy, and there was no CBD oil available back then, but I think we gave him sedatives at night so at least I could get some sleep - they helped a bit, but not completely. Pacing can, of course, be a sign of pain, but also of anxiety, restlessness, boredom (but without the physical ability to do anything more interesting). But your description of Caesar is very, very much like Isaac was in his last couple of months, in every respect.
I've always fretted about when is the time to call the vet, and while I've been blessed with a couple of dogs who just went in their sleep, most required a decision on my part. And I always prefer to let them go a week too early than an hour too late - I never want any of my dogs to end their life in medical crisis with a mad rush to an unfamiliar emergency vet, and all the stress that adds to the dog's final moments. Choosing to help them pass is the hardest, but often the kindest, thing we can do for them. But somehow, they always let me know when they are tired of living and ready to go, and on the final day, I never ended up doubting that I was doing the right thing. I hope Caesar finds a way to let you know when it is time.
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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby SherriA » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:16 am

Oh Emily, I'm sad to read this. I remember when Oliver was losing muscle in his hind end, to the point the he couldn't stand up long enough to eat his meals, rugs and runners all over the place to help his traction, and the increased sleep.

If he doesn't seem to be in any pain, I'd spend some time thinking about his "5 best things" - the things that bring him joy in life, whether that's eating, or a walk around the block, or hikes in the woods, or playing with a puzzle, etc - and see how many of them he is still able to enjoy. I use that as a measuring stick for quality of life, and help that guide my decisions.

I'm in Jean's camp in believing that too soon is better than too late. Some dogs have given a clear sign that they're ready to be done, but Jack never did. That little guy would have just kept going forever to be with me, and I regret not letting him go sooner when he was (in hindsight) suffering. Ultimately, you know him best, and any decision you make is filled with love, and he's lucky to have that. If he's not in pain and you can enjoy more time with him, I don't think there's any rush to say good bye. I do hope he makes it clear when he's had enough.
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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby catherinec » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:31 pm

Thank you so much for your responses, it really means a lot. I have to admit it's a little bit of a dagger to the heart to hear that a lot of his "symptoms" are similar to other dogs near the end of their life. I know he's not doing well, it's just so hard for me to tell if he's giving me signs that he wants to go, or he's just really tired but still wants to be here. I still see little signs of the old C, he still wags his tail when he sees me and likes to get butt scratches, he is still food obsessed and likes to watch other dogs walk by. But his enthusiasm for critters, his annoying barking at certain things,his food-stealing . . . all those things that drove me crazy are no longer there. And again, I just don't know ifthese changes are due to his physical limitations or that he's withdrawing for a reason.

I'm trying to be with him as much as possible - giving lots of great treats, sleeping with him downstairs where he seems to like to be, just hanging with him. Today I tried walking around the front yard but even that seemed to be too much as he kept plopping down. And just now, even though the temperature has dropped to a chilly degree, he just went outside to sit under his bush, facing away from the house. He used to hate the cold. :-(

So, he's still got some happy moments but they are limited and I just don't know when is too soon. I admit I have some guilt over April that I let her go too soon, even though I know it was the right decision. So as much as I know that it's worse to let them go when it's too late, I just fear doing it too soon.

Thanks for the supportive ears and the experiences. I know you guys know how hard this is and I admire your ability to keep taking on senior dogs, it's just so heartbreaking.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby connie » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:38 pm

Heartbreaking is what it is, no question. I'm so very sorry you're going through this with Caesar.

All I have to add is another 'I've seen this' -- my mom's Old English Sheepdog, Buddy, at about the same age, had the same physical issues. It was very, very difficult to watch: he couldn't get up without help, and once up, his back paws knuckled under and would actually be scraped raw. His life became so limited ... oh, and he had fecal incontinence, too, so when we did use a towel or sling to get him to his feet, we'd find that he'd soiled his bed. I don't think he could tell when it was happening. He had severe spinal arthritis, being a mill-bred OES -- shoot, he had both ACLs repaired before he was 5 years old, his structure was just awful.

My mom and my sister made the decision to let him go and I went with my sister to the vet. She told Buddy beforehand what was going on, and he seemed perfectly fine with it. (I know that sounds silly, but you really could talk to that dog.) Once we were in the room and saying goodbye to him, I hugged him and said 'Bye, Bud, I hope I see you again some day' and he reared up -- he was lying on the exam table on a blanket -- and looked right at me through all the hair over his eyes, and I felt like he was saying 'you bet you will!' And then he lay back down and he was perfectly calm at the end. It was so, so sad but also, even more than the sadness, we really felt like he was tired of dealing with his broken-down body. He left with a sigh of relief, almost.

If and when you get that feeling from C, you will know he's ready to pack it in. I hope he will let you know.

Hugs to you both.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby SherriA » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:37 am


... I just don't know when is too soon. ... So as much as I know that it's worse to let them go when it's too late, I just fear doing it too soon.
If you're asking the question, then it's not too soon. Asking the question means that quality of life has diminished enough that you're concerned. That doesn't mean that it's the right time for you and C, of course, but I strongly believe that there should be no guilt associated with doing the most courageous, compassionate thing we are able, despite how much it hurts us to let go.

I don't mean to suggest that getting to the point of asking means that it's time. Just that, if things have progressed to the point that you're asking yourself this, then the answer is never yes, it's too soon. Ask "is it time", and the answer may be not yet, but don't ask yourself "is it too soon".
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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby connie » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:33 pm

Exactly what Sherri said.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby catherinec » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:19 pm

Thanks you guys, it's so very helpful to hear your experiences and thoughts. I can't tell you how much. And I love your thoughts on "too soon", Sherri. I've never thought about it quite that way and it does put me at ease a bit in knowing that I'm doing everything I can for my guy. Especially since I feel torn with other's perceptions of how he's doing . . . my parents think he's "just slowing down a bit" while my boyfriend thinks his quality of life is severely diminished and that he's likely not very happy.

On top of everything, just the other day I noticed a hard mass on his cheekbone and he's sensitive to it and won't let me look in his mouth. I made a Vet appointment for today though I'm not sure what they can tell me since he's refusing to have me look at it. Sigh. Poor guy. Growing old isn't easy :-(

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby emmas_mom » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:30 pm

Yes, what Sherri said.
How did the vet appointment go today? Were they able to get a look in his mouth? I'm guessing an abscess - or hoping that is all it is, rather than anything more scary. They often feel like a hard mass, and can be very painful to the touch. Keep us posted.
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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby connie » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:12 am

Another aspect of life with a dog: we often don't see as clearly the changes that have taken place. What I mean by that:

I had a rescue Sheltie, Rudy, who was the dearest, sweetest boy. He almost starved to death before he was picked up stray, and then I adopted him. He LOOOOVED my home and he was with me for 4 years. Eventually, at about 16, he became so decrepit that I started saying 'Rudy, it's time. It's okay to go, Rudy. We'll see you again. You go meet the other dogs whenever you're ready, they're all at the Bridge.'

Nothing. Rudy's health and physical comfort got worse and he still wouldn't 'let go.'

I said 'Rudy, I'm giving you two weeks to do it on your own and then I'm calling the vet. I love you, buddy, I can't let you go on this way!'

Two weeks passed. 125mg 2x/da of Rimadyl wasn't even touching his pain from joint disease. I called the vet.

The next day the vet arrived with a vet tech -- they do in-home euthanasias -- and as soon as Dr B saw Rudy, lying on his bed in the middle of the living room, he said 'Oh! Um ... Ms Burnet, if you were wondering is it time? IT'S TIME!' Rudy was in really bad shape and I, who saw him every day, was still seeing how he was a few months ago. My vet, who hadn't seen him in nearly a year, took one look and said 'oh my, let this dog go!' -- and we did. I wish Rudy had gone on his own, but Dr B was right, it was time.

So you don't always get it from the dog, but ... the time comes.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby catherinec » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:36 am

The whole vet visit was a traumatic experience for him and I feel horrible even making him go in. He has become progressively anxious over the last few years when visiting the Vet’s Office, and the anxiety plus his difficulty ambulating on their floors (even with booties) created such a problem getting him in the door that I almost had to carry him. I brought a rug with me so he’d settle, which he did lay down eventually, but he was frantically panting the entire time and would not take water or treats.

Fortunately, the Vet was able to check a portion of his mouth and said given what she was seeing and his classic symptoms of an abscess, she suspected abscess. She prescribed some antibiotics and NSAIDs and we decided that we’d run the course of antibiotics to see if it helped take the lump down or improve any of his behaviors, and if it did then we know it’s an abscess and not a tumor. That being said, it’s only a temporary measure as I know once the antibiotics run out the abscess/infection could flare up and he’s not a candidate for any sort of dental procedure (she clearly indicated given his condition that she would not recommend any sort of sedated procedure, which I would not want him to do anyways).

The bulk of our visit was discussing his overall health and she was able to do some additional clinical neurological assessment on him – she’s actually a Vet I have not seen before in my normal clinic, the other two that I typically see were dealing with emergencies. She was very empathetic but also very realistic and clearly values quality of life. She said that despite his overwhelming anxiety that day, she said she clearly could tell that he was not doing well and given all my examples of his behavior she said it sounded like his QOL was significantly impacted but obviously said she couldn’t tell me what to do. She was very open and honest about how she decided when to euthanize her own senior dogs, so that was helpful. She was a little stumped about some of his behavior (sitting under the bush facing the fence) but said it could be because overall he’s feeling very poorly or perhaps the abscess is causing extra discomfort . . . . she said she’s more than happy to continue prescribing antibiotics or NSAIDS or any other sort of palliative medication over the phone in the future to minimize any further Vet trips for Caesar, which was greatly appreciated. She also encouraged continuing with the CBD oil if it seems like it’s helping him sleep through the night.

The visit was sort of what Connie mentioned . . . I know he’s not doing well but having a new set of eyes on him by a new Vet was a little heartbreaking because I could then sort of see what she was seeing in a new light.

I decided I will let the antibiotics run its course and just see if helps with the lump and his overall mood/behavior so that when I do let him go he’s at least a little more comfortable.

That being said, he’s been on the antibiotics for a day and a half and last night was a horrible night – he was pacing and whining intermittently throughout the night and then eventually let himself out into the backyard and laid down under the bush at around 2 in the morning :-( I know I have to make a decision, and it’s killing me that he may be very sad and uncomfortable and in pain, I just am having SUCH a hard time with it. I’m going to give the antibiotics a few more days just to see if helps minimize his discomfort, but I think I have to let him go soon.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby connie » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:58 am

It's so tied up with our feelings, our history with them -- it can be absolutely gut-wrenching. You certainly have my best wishes and sympathy at this difficult time.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby SherriA » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:06 am

Just checking in to see how you're both doing....I've been thinking about you a lot
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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby Amanda » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:35 pm

Hoping you are doing ok. This is such a hard thing to go through.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby catherinec » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:23 am

Thanks for checking in :-) We are hanging in there, taking it one day at a time. I vacillate daily between how I think C is doing. He's done with his antibiotics and the bump has reduced in size but still present, he doesn't seem too annoyed with it other than occasionally pawing at his face which makes me think that it actually is still bothering him and wondering if more antibiotics would even be helpful.

He's sleeping through the night more which is good, but still hanging out by himself an awfully lot during the day both when I am at home and when I'm at work (we have a camera in the house and backyard to keep an eye on him). If he's not eating he's either sleeping or looks like he's falling asleep but trying not to as his head bobs constantly. I've tried taking him to the park a few more times in the car, but he barely wants to walk and just plops down and hangs out. I'm assuming it's just exhausting for him.

I'm still just all over the place . . . I don't think he's in distress but I don't know if he's actually happy. I think subconsciously I'm still waiting for *something* to happen that will trigger me to call the in-home palliative vet care service, but at the same time I know that if I wait until that point then I may just be prolonging his unhappiness (if he is unhappy).

He just seems really exhausted and sleepy all the time, except when he's eating which he still loves to do. I've been giving him all sorts of yummy goodies and treats given this is the one thing he still really loves.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby emmas_mom » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:02 pm

Thanks for the update. With my dogs, I've often found it was "one step forward, two steps back" near the end - Just as I say to myself 'it is time' , they will have a burst of energy, or show their silly happy side, or clearly be content with life even if their body isn't working for them. A healthy appetite (or simply a love of food and treats) is a good thing. For you, this might be the marker that tells you "it is time" - when his interest in food diminishes. (But then again, I've known dogs who are probably still gobbling down everything in sight at the Bridge!). It's good that he is sleeping more and that the bump has gone down in size. I've often found my older dogs needed extra rounds of antibiotics when there was an infection - their immune systems just aren't working as well and it is harder to fight the infection. I'd probably talk to the vet about another round, and see if that helps reduce the bump further and stop of face pawing. Thinking of you - please keep us posted.
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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby MaisyPancakes » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:02 pm

Oh Emily!!!!! I'm so sorry to see this; I don't know how I missed your post for so long. *tears* I am guessing your vet(s) showed you some QoL scoring charts that might be helpful as a general guideline; there are a few around, and I did one every week for MP with my rehab vet. It sucks, but it's sometimes good to see it in plain numbers—and it's super helpful to have other family members and friends of C do them, too, especially when there's disagreements re: QoL. Here is one that I found that seems like a good one. https://vet.osu.edu/vmc/sites/default/f ... owWhen.pdf

You've had lots and lots of great input about knowing when type stuff already, so I'll just talk about the stuff I did to try to accommodate/adapt to "new normals" so that you have more good days than bad days. :)

MP steadily lost mobility until the very end, when she couldn't get up on her own. With lots of help from my rehab and regular vets and ODOers, I realized that loss of mobility doesn't always have to be the end of good things, and there's lots you can still do. :) One of the things that became indispensable (for all of us!!) is this harness called the Help-Em-Up (https://helpemup.com/). It's made so that they can keep it on 24/7 if they have to, and that's pretty much how MP used it towards the end. Before getting the Help-Em-Up, when she started to knuckle one of her rear feet under, we used this elastic rear foot brace type thing that helped to flip her foot upward. (Very much like this one, but hers was shorter/smaller: https://www.handicappedpets.com/no-knuc ... ning-sock/) If C likes to explore beyond walkable distances, then a cart or a wagon or a stroller might be a worthwhile investment. Walking and going to parks was a super big deal to MP, so after we started to run out of very short-and-easy-but-fun trails, I got her a stroller called the Doggyride—and it really helped to keep our world opened up for us. Literally a life/spirit-saver for both of us! Car rides are great, too, if he likes those! MP also liked to do tricks for me, but most of them were too hard/physically demanding for a gimpy/unstable dog, so we did a lot of variations that were very face-oriented (touch, kisses, look at me, push a ball with nose, etc.) and didn't require moving owie legs.

All in all, I just kept experimenting with new things she liked. I probably annoyed her quite a bit in the trial & error process, but I was desperate to make things not suck! I found out that she suddenly really likes ice cubes, so I got a big thermos filled with ice that I carried everywhere, and I froze lots of things like fruits and other foods. If C likes that bush spot in the yard, and if he suddenly likes cooler temps, that's OK! Anything he shows you that he likes, that means you could let him do more of, or replicate elsewhere (make house cooler; get cooling mat; ice cube snacks; ice packs on bump). I think seeking the cold might be an old dog thing, too—I know several old dogs who would insist on being out in the MN winter cold! :) Last summer, my house was *freezing* with AC blasting and fans on full speed.

I think it is really great that he loves food still. <3

MP ended up on some hardcore abx (Orbax) that seemed to help her feel better for whatever reason—my regular vet thought there were probably things that were festering and inflaming and it was knocking it down.

Re: CBD products—the only capsules that seemed to work for MP was Canna Companion brand. It was a world of difference compared to Canna-Pet that I was using at the beginning, although it could very well be that she was simply not getting enough Canna-Pet. Both companies had very helpful vets and techs who gave me individualized hand-holding re: dosage, etc. For oils (faster acting, less amount to take), I liked the Endoca brand. MP ended up needing a much, much higher dose that what's on the packaging and for general use.

You are doing great, Emily! It is the *worst*! I cried the whole time I was reading and tying here; I hope what I wrote makes some sense because I can't go back and proofread it. Sending you all the good everythings. We are here for you! <3

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby catherinec » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:11 am

Emma’s mom: yes I feel like some days I’m like “he’s not doing so bad” and then other days “I have no idea what to do”. I have a feeling C will never lose his enthusiasm for food, though I could be mistaken. Is it good that he’s sleeping more? I thought that was a sign of not doing well, although I guess if he was in (more) pain then his sleeping would be more disrupted. And the Vet did give me an extra round of antibiotics so I started that yesterday . . .

Nana – thanks so much for all your insight and ideas and experiences with MP. May I ask how what you were using the CBD for with MP – was it pain, anxiety, both? I only ask because I’m providing the recommended dosage (sometimes a bit more after talking to my vet) and he hasn’t been pacing at night so I’m attributing it to the CBD and that it’s working. But if I increase the dose I’m not sure what else it could help with? He’s already sleeping a ton, or looks as if he wants to sleep but then won’t put his head down, so I don’t want to make him even more groggy.

I refer to those QOL scales constantly! He’s not really interested in squirrels or bunnies like he used to be, even when he sees them run close by. I have been trying all sorts of games and activities with him that rely on minimal activity – if they are food related then he’s interested so I keep doing those with him. Car rides (except a short ride to the park) are no longer an option, he’s gotten increasingly anxious in the car, which he used to love. Really outside of his mobility the other physical issues haven’t been a problem . . . it’s his personality and change in behavior and wanting to be alone that have me so concerned.

Regarding the assistive devices - to be honest, and I feel like a horrible dog parent admitting this, but I have waffled back and forth so much on use of a wheelchair or stroller/wagon with my boy that I’m driving myself crazy. I always told myself that when he can no longer ambulate and urinate on his own that I would not pursue extending his life. I don’t know how to explain it other than I don’t think that he would enjoy them and I just don't know if I can handle seeing him like that. He absolutely hates it when we try to pick him up, and even if I try to assist him when he’s going to the bathroom and looks like he might fall over he appears annoyed and moves away from me.

I also think my experiences with my boyfriend's dog and her decline and use of assistive devices has colored my thoughts on everything. We went through both a wheelchair and now a wagon for my boyfriend’s dog – she’s essentially tetraplegic and can not do anything for herself anymore. To be honest, having to help her with all her bodily functions and carry her everywhere and help prop her up . . . I just don’t think her quality of life is great despite everyone going above and beyond with her (she has multiple sets of people taking care of her, including her being in daycare throughout the week so she's not alone). I just don’t think I want that for Caesar. I know that it’s a personal decision, and I feel like the odd woman out since it seems like everyone on various DM sites/groups go to all lengths for their dogs, and I so very much respect those that do. But, and I know this may just me being selfish, I just don’t know if I can handle seeing C that incapacitated.

That, and the fact that we work full time and he’s alone during the day (daycare isn't an option for him) . . . I just don’t know if pursuing extensive assistive devices is what I want for him. But maybe I should give them a chance? I just don’t know.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby MaisyPancakes » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:02 pm

You're not being selfish at all; you have C's best interests in your heart and you know him best! Everyone is different and if you think he'd hate assistive stuff, then he probably would! In our very specific case, MP ended surprising me re: what she'd want/like as she lost mobility. I didn't expect her to like the help-em-up harness or the stroller, but she loved both of them. :) I think she liked the harness because it helped me lift/help her far better than I could without it. (I didn't realize how badly I was doing it until I got the harness.)

Re: CBD, if the dosage is working well for you, then that sounds great! MP was using it for pain and seizures—and the seizures got worse towards the end—so she needed more than a regular recommended dosage. With the gabapentin that also can make you sleepy, she slept quite a bit, too.

I had selfish motivations for Doing It All for MP. I'm hardwired to beat up on myself for mistakes (which all seem preventable in hindsight!) and Not Doing It All; I just couldn't fathom how I would be able to forgive myself if I didn't. Luckily, MP was an eternal good sport, up for anything and liked almost everything—but I know it was a lot of trial and error that she endured as I kept trying and trying. Still have lots of regrets and should've/shouldn't'ves *anyway*, but I can usually climb out of the hole by remembering she'd be upset it if she knew I felt bad. :) You know what C likes and doesn't/won't like, and what's best for him. :)

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby SherriA » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:09 am

You're not the odd woman out regarding going to any length. It depends on the dog and the situation, of course, but I don't see myself ever going to the lengths your bf does with his dog. That wouldn't be practical for me and for most dogs I've had over my life I don't think it would make them happy to prolong things that way. As Nana said, you know C, and you know what's best for him and how he would likely react to things.

You have lots of ODO love surrounding you as you go through this, Emily. I hope you can feel that. I think of you and C often, hoping that he's having a good day and that you're able to enjoy it with him for a little longer, but also that you're not tearing yourself up with guilt. I don't think our beloved four legged family members would want us to suffer like that on their behalf; they love it best when we're happy and content.
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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby JudyL » Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:55 am

I'm sorry to hear that Caesar is ailing and causing so much concern. I won't repeat what others have said so well already, and the only thing I'd elaborate on is dogs withdrawing. I've noticed that some ailing or older dogs will withdraw or remove themselves from the fray of household activities when they have physical limitations or are hurting but will still remain engaged mentally by showing interest by trying to engage, perking up, eyes brightening, etc. The opposite that would be much more concerning to me is when the dog appears dull, disinterested, and disengaged in things that used to draw attention and interest, whether by choice or as a result of some ailment. :frown:

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby yintzy » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:40 am

Catherine, I'm sorry that you are going through thjs. I don't really have anything to add since this is a deeply personal decision and one only you and C can make. I almost let Whisper go a year ago when her kidneys crashed. I couldn't get her to eat for weeks and struggling with giving her fluids was no fun for anyone. The day, I went to make the appointment, she bounced back. I don't k is why it now. I've been on the rollercoaster of chronic kidney failure for the past year. While I am grateful she is doing well, I would not have regretted letting her go then. Now I'm just trying to enjoy her. She will not be going to the vet for anything and it's going to be what it will be. I just made the decision that she's not getting HW preventative anymore because the vet wants to see her. Shoes almost 15, I think we are done with that.

Anyway, you guys have my thoughts. Hugs.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby Aubergine » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:30 pm

I'm so sorry to read this, especially so late. It's so hard to see them decline like this, and I'm dreading the decisions I know I will have to make in the (near?) future with my guys. I'm sure you have Caesar's best interests at heart, and you are clearly very perceptive of his behaviour and moods. We are going through similar things with Nutmeg at the moment - pacing, loss of interest in things. It varies a lot, day-to-day. It's so hard. I don't have much to add, other than I'm thinking of you and Mr. C.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby catherinec » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:34 pm

Thanks, Aubergine - sorry just now responding.

We said goodbye to C yesterday. His legs and incontinence were getting worse, he barely wanted to get off of his bed and when he did it was to go sit outside by himself, often in the dark. I feared that he would get dramatically worse quickly and I wanted his last days to be as happy as they could be. The Vet came to the house and it was as peaceful as it could be.

Of course now I’m a mess and regret my decision and I know it will get better over time but right now the sadness is crushing. My first dog ever and we went through so much together and now he’s gone after almost 14 years. I know he had a great life, it just is gut-wrenching right now. Thanks to everyone for all you advice and support, I really appreciate it.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby maxs_mommy » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:06 pm

I'm so sorry for your loss, he was a great dog and that makes it no less painful. I hope your memories bring comfort.
Max "the ninja"-American Cocker Spaniel G-day 3/2009
Charlie "the middle child"- Orange Tabby G-day 7/2005
Sadie - Grey Tabby 9/1996-8/4/2012 RIP

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby catherinec » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:51 pm

Thanks Max's Mommy. I was finally able to look through lots of pictures today and laugh at some of his antics.

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby SherriA » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:42 am

So many hugs for you, Emily. It's never easy, but with some dogs it's just so difficult. Thank you for sharing him with us; I'm so glad that I got to know him a little through your stories and photos. He was so clearly a special companion.
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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby catherinec » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:18 pm

Thanks so much Sherri. And thanks for letting me share with you guys, in fact thanks to ODO way back when I was asking all sorts of questions about raising my first two dogs! You guys helped me out tremendously. The days are getting a bit better, I'm starting to think of the good times and his funny behaviors. I still feel really guilty but I hope one day I will think that I made the right decision for him at the time. Hugs to all your dogs!

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby MaisyPancakes » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:42 pm

I'm so sorry, Emily. C was the perfect combo of silly and regal! Sending you lots of hugs and love. We know that you did everything right for C, and hope you can feel as sure as we do, soon. xoxox

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Re: Not sure what to do - ailing best friend

Postby emmas_mom » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:52 am

Emily, I am so sorry for your loss. I'm thankful Caesar's passing was peaceful for him, and that he was so loved for his fourteen years on earth. May you find comfort and even laughter in your memories of him.
Mom to Maggie, Emma and Allie, and occasional foster mom. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie and Mitzi.
My blog: http://www.mylifewiththecritters.blogspot.com


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