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  1. #1
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    Default Am I being heartless

    My head space is fried and I’m not sure I’m making a rationale decision. I honestly feel that if I spoke it aloud to my friends or family they would think terribly of me so I thought I’d ask here anonymously.

    We have a beautiful dog, she is 16 years old. I’ve had her since she was a puppy and I was still technically a teenager! For the most part, she has been healthy and happy. She is a working dog breed so always loved to go for walk and throw the ball at park. She has adjusted well to two kids. In the evenings, even with her arthritis, she climbs up onto the couch for cuddles and pats with me. She still follows me around the house, just liking to be close by.

    About two years ago she developed arthritis which has previously been managed through diet and more recently, injections. She has been deaf for a 3 (maybe 4?) years. With the progression of her arthritis she can no longer tolerate going for walks, she will just sit down 5mins down the road. I can’t pop her in the car and take her to the park and throw the ball because she hear hence won’t come back to my calls.

    She has a doggy door to go outside but will no longer use it. Previously she would wait at the door for us to open it for her to go to the toilet. For the past few months she has been urinating and defecating inside whilst we are out. We have blocked off the carpeted areas so it can only be on the floorboards (or sometimes the couch if we are unlucky. Today I literally just let her out, she come back in and she has defecated all through the kitchen. To which I have then stood on and absolutely cracked it - yelling obscenities left, right and centre.

    I am thinking of having her euthanised 😢
    She doesn’t wag her tail like she used to, she can’t go for walks BUT she loves her cuddles on the couch (and so do I).

    If we were to euthanise her, there is no ‘acute’ reason for doing so. We have two significant stressors going on within the family (nothing to do with the dog) so I feel like these thoughts are me just wanting to make my life easier by discarding a member of the family!

    What would you do in this situation?

  2. #2
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    I would take into account her quality of life.

    I mean this in the most gentle way possible, but I wonder if the other stress you mentioned is maybe (understandably with stress) impacting on your decision making here? You sound like you love your dog immensely, and throughout most of your post, that's the impression I get.

    Her quality of life sounds like it has decreased recently. This is only a decision only you can make though.

    I am a firm believer in we do know *when* the right time is. My border collie, was 13 when we made the decision to put her to sleep. When she was about 10, she had what the vets said was a bladder infection. Well, it got worse that day, and that night she went in AH for emergency care. They took fluid from her bladder to relieve her a bit and found abnormal cells. We were told she may not make the night and given the option to put her to sleep, take her elsewhere or have them see what was up (then possibly make a decision) if she survived the night. We chose surgery... I felt like I was giving up on her if we didn't at least see what was going on...
    She ended up having 50 bladder stones, some bigger than a large cherry!! The vet of 40 years was in amazement. One had blocked her urethra so badly they had to *blast* it through. She survived and besides some bladder incontinence that improved she was great for another 2.5 years. We noticed something was off again. Our local vet couldn't find anything, we took her to the city vet hospital who did all sorts of checks and basically gave us the all clear, saying she was very healthy for 12.5 years old.... we were just awaiting 2 results. The next day they said she had liver cancer. We chose to keep her comfortable at home because although she was sick she still had sparkle in her eye and enjoyed brief fetch games still, and loved walks etc....one day, about 2 months afterwards, I came home from work at lunch, and I just knew... when I left for work she was seemingly fine, still able to go outside herself but hadn't eaten much, by lunch she couldn't move her rear legs. After work that night we took her to the vets.... we just knew it was time.

    If the other stress wasn't around, would you feel differently?

    At 16 though, with health issues etc, your dog probably doesn't have long left with you at this point anyway. Not many dogs live to 16!

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  4. #3
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    I don't think you're being heartless, if you have major stressors in your life I'm sure this can feel even harder, so your capacity to deal with it will be reduced.

    Having said that though, if you're looking for honest opinions, I don't think this is about your dog's quality of life, it's about yours. Taken in isolation, for me that wouldn't be a morally ok reason to euthanize her. She sounds happy enough, her needs are just different to what they were when she was younger. It doesn't sound like she's suffering. She's just old, and losing control of her bodily functions, and so needs a much higher level of love and care in what are undoubtedly her final days.

    But life is complex, and you have to make decisions in the wider context, even if those are hard decisions you wouldn't make if your circumstances were different. So I get that you're not making this decision in isolation or in a vacuum, and because you have children you also have a moral - arguably higher - responsibility to function well for them.

    People's views on this vary hugely, and it's not easy or straightforward. Only you know whether you can cope with giving your dog what she needs at this stage of her life, whilst looking after yourself and your family in the way that you need to as well.

    It sounds very hard xo
    Last edited by Kalina; 24-03-2021 at 13:49.

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    To me it just sounds like time. I wouldn't feel guilty about it.

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    I agree, to me it sounds like her life is painful and stressful and if you decide to euthanize that's a very legitimate choice. But only you know best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalina View Post
    But life is complex, and you have to make decisions in the wider context, even if those are hard decisions you wouldn't make if your circumstances were different.
    100% this. It needs to be your decision based on the big picture.

    I'm going through extreme stress at the moment and I'm ready to get rid of all my pets. I just can't deal.

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  12. #7
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    We recently put our dog down due to significant behaviourally issues and we were unable to rehome her. It was pretty sad. It was overall a very difficult time due to other issues as well and I won’t lie that it was heartbreaking. But it was 100% the right choice and in hindsight we should have done this earlier. She was miserable. We were miserable.

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    I don’t think you are heartless. Our dog was diagnosed with cancer last year and we decided to euthanise her. Treatment was an option but it was going to be a complicated long treatment and we just couldn’t do it.

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    Thank you everyone for your replies. To those that shared their struggles and grief, my thoughts are with you.

    Oddly, I’ve always been a quality over quantity type person. But with the decision remaining squarely with me to decide at what point has that balance been tipped for her, I’m unable to make that decision.

    As she currently rests her head on the legs, I am comforted. These cuddles make me feel better. So maybe I have been keeping her for selfish reasons.

    We have an appointment with the vet tomorrow. Just to chat, to hopefully get some perspective and acknowledge my biases present in choosing either option.

    Thank you again. Gosh these pets of ours!

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    I would base my decision on her quality of life. Maybe book her in for a vet check up as there could be an issue underlying her accidents. It sounds like it is almost time as her quality of life has been decreasing recently.

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