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My poor old dog

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JanetS posted 4/24/2013 10:06 AM

I've been considering the inevitable for a good part of a year.

My dog Charlotte is an elderly golden retriever. 12.5 years old. Vet said she's lived longer than most golden retrievers...though there are occasions where they live longer than the odds.

In the last few years she developed hip dysplasia (common for the breed). We've treated with meds and laser treatments, with some good results. Now she is almost deaf (that's okay...she hears when I yell "come great a treat"). She used to run for the treat, now not so much. She lies around all day.

Her health issues are expensive....and although I don't mind paying to a point, it's getting very difficult.

And now she has been defecating and urinating inside (in spite of going out often). Often I'll open the door for her to go out, and sadly she doesn't go out.

Oftentimes this mess happens overnight.

I'll be taking in stool/urine samples to the vet today, to see if she has picked up a worm and/or has a urinary tract infection. If yes, we can treat that. If not then I have a massive decision to make. :(

She doesn't have the quality of life that I would want for her. I know she's old, and expect her to be less's not just that. She doesn't seem excited anymore. Her legs hurt (hard to get up sometimes).

And, it is expensive. And I just replaced an almost new rug (she pooed on it, and it wouldn't clean). I bought another rug, less than 2 months ago. I'm throwing this one out too.

I just spoke to the vet. After the tests, if we eliminate infections or worms, I will decide.

Unfortunately my family will be upset with me. My son just finished dog training school (he'll train people to train their dogs). Loves dogs (as do I). My other two kids are out of may be able to come and visit to say goodbye, other one is across country, in a new job. She won't be able to make it.

A dear relative, husband's cousin, will definitely be upset about this. She said "we have never put any of our pets down". It's part of her belief system.

I understand and respect everybody's position...but ultimately it is up to me.

I'm so sad. I took a stool sample off the carpet. I took her outside to pee so I could get a sample. She just looked at me. She's not the happy girl she used to be. I love her like crazy. She is one of the family.

I lost my mother almost 2 years ago. She lived with me the last few years. SHe lost control as well. Because of this she had a dnr. She did not want to live like that.

And I believe I would feel that way too.

Don't know why I'm sharing this here...just feeling very sad, very scared. My dog's very last breath may be in my hands. What is the humane thing to do?

yewtree posted 4/24/2013 10:11 AM

(((Janet)))No advice, just a hug.

jo2love posted 4/24/2013 10:16 AM


cryingdaily posted 4/24/2013 10:16 AM

Awww, poor old girl.

Hugs to you

Deeply Scared posted 4/24/2013 10:39 AM


It's such a personal and highly emotional decision to make. But your dog is depending on you to help her reach her next journey. She's given you years of endless love and devotion, when the time is right please return the gift of love by letting her go peacefully and with dignity.

I know how hard this are in my thoughts.

JanetS posted 4/24/2013 10:43 AM

Thank you for the replies. I am literally in tears right now.

The hugs are much appreciated.

Deeply Scared, your words are so kind.

I'm contemplating not even getting the fecal/urinary tests. The vet put it this way..."if you eliminate that it is not a fixable issue you can feel more comfortable putting her down". But, even if we fix these things, dear Charlotte is declining anyway. How far should I let it go. While she is still reasonably comfortable seems better, to me, than waiting till she is in pain.

Golden's are prone to cancer. It is entirely possible she has that and we don't know it. If so, she may be in a world of hurt soon.

Her days are numbered at this point in time. I'm getting closer to my decision. It's killing me.

[This message edited by JanetS at 11:41 AM, April 24th (Wednesday)]

stupidwoman posted 4/24/2013 10:44 AM

My baby (16 year old mix) did the same thing. Soiling in the house may be due to pain or canine cognitive dysfunction. Does your pup pace? Whine for no reason? Get stuck in furniture? Probably CCD. My Lokie took anipryl for this for about 6 mos. Her quality of life just slid down hill and she went to the Rainbow Bridge in June. You know your dog best and you will know when their quality of life is just not there. Saying goodbye to your dog when they can not live without pain is the hardest and kindest thing you can do.

JanetS posted 4/24/2013 10:47 AM

Stupidwoman (change your sound smart) :)

Yes, Charlotte does pace. And she yelps out (not like pain, just like she wants out the door to pee...but I open the door and she does not go out).

She'll do this in the middle of the night too. Also, her night vision is bad (going blind I believe). She won't come up the stairs without the lights on....and often she doesn't come upstairs anymore. She always used to come up and sleep in my room.

I haven't seen her stuck between furniture yet.

I don't know if Charlotte is in great physical pain yet. She was some month's back, but laser treatment helped a lot with that. To me, it's knowing that she will get in pain, probably soon, and I don't want to see her get to that point. And dignity. Dogs do not like having accidents. Maybe they remember that when they were puppies they were praised for doing it outside. They learned they don't do this inside. If I had to go out for a whole day Charlotte would hold it. Once I opened the door she would go outside and do her business. They know the difference.

And he is a big dog to wash, and the only shower I could wash her in is under construction.


[This message edited by JanetS at 10:51 AM, April 24th (Wednesday)]

Newlease posted 4/24/2013 10:48 AM

I personally think it is the humane thing to let her go quietly and peacefully. In fact, I think sometimes we treat our animal family better than our human family.

I held one of my cats as she went on to the next journey. She had been sick for a long time and I kept nursing her back, but she wasn't having any quality to her life.

First the Dr. gave her a shot to make her sleep. She drifted off peacefully. Then he gave her the shot to end her life. She just slowly stopped breathing. It was sad, but also very peaceful.

At the end she suffered from dehydration, dizziness (she would walk in circles), loss of hearing, and just a general malaise. I had her spend the night at the vet's a few times on an IV to get her rehydrated. She was on a couple of medications that were hell to get her to swallow.

I cried my eyes out, but I know I gave her a good life and a dignified death.

Sending strength and peace.


Tred posted 4/24/2013 10:58 AM


I understand how you feel. We had a lab mix (our first dog together) who was getting old, and started having back problems. She lost the use of her back legs for the most part, and we had to walk her outside with a towel as a sling so she could stand. Paid a couple of grand for surgery, and she was good for about a month. Then she regressed, and the vet believed that they must of missed some impingement further up her spine. We decided to put her down. We held her and looked in her eyes during the procedure. I can't describe it any more without breaking down right now, but as we were leaving, the vet assistant ran out with tears in her eyes and handed our check back to us that we paid for putting her down. They were pretty heartbroken too. It was sad, but it was time. Her quality of life was gone, but she lived a good long life and was always loved. Cedar was our first dog together, we raised her from a puppy. We called her Cedar because the day we picked her up the bedding they used was cedar chips, and she smelled like it the whole way home. It never is an easy decision, and it's a very personal one for you. I think one of the hardest parts of owning pets is outliving them.

Deeply Scared posted 4/24/2013 11:01 AM


Everything that Newlease shared about the experience is exactly how it happens. It's very peaceful and calm...there is no pain, they just shut their eyes and drift off.

I've never not stayed in the room and held our pets during this process. I always want my voice to be the last thing they hear.

Charlotte sounds like a wonderful girl

lost_in_toronto posted 4/24/2013 11:28 AM

I have looked into my cat's eyes as we said goodbye, and held my dog as he took his last breath.

They were terribly sad moments, but also incredibly beautiful. I was with them in their last moments. I personally feel that making this decision for a pet is one of the heaviest responsibilities of sharing our life with an animal. Heartbreaking, but you know when the time is right.

Talk to your children now, so they can be prepared when the time comes.

Also - it is none of your cousin's business. I can think of a few things to say about someone who would never put an animal down, no matter the circumstances, but I will hold my tongue. As should she!

[This message edited by lost_in_toronto at 11:29 AM, April 24th (Wednesday)]

JanetS posted 4/24/2013 11:40 AM

The cousin is a wonderful kind person....I truly love her. She has a right to her opinion, as I do mine. My opinion is in line with the kind replies I've received here.

I just spoke (cried) to my husband on the phone (we have a long distance marriage...he's in another country) He visits often.

He had a suggestion. That we get a dog house, and leave her outside quite a bit during the summer. We have a lovely fenced area. She can bark at the squirrels and birds. If she messes, it won't be on a carpet. I'll set up a chair out there and read so she'll have company. My son's dogs will be on the other side of the fence...visible but they won't get in her space.

From her space I can open the door to the pool. we have stairs, and she likes to walk in, take a lap or two around it and get out. That way, even in hot weather, she will be able to cool herself down.

But personally if I see her in pain, or witness a decline I have to quickly make a decision about her life.

I love this dog to pieces.

[This message edited by JanetS at 11:41 AM, April 24th (Wednesday)]

JanetS posted 4/24/2013 11:50 AM

I'm getting attitude about this at home. My son/fiancee just came in. I told them about what was going on (asked son to help me move furniture off the carpet so I could toss it).

I said that vet was going to check the samples. I mentioned that vet had stated that Charlotte has lived longer than most golden retrievers. She said "yes but she is doing amazing". There will be strife if I do this...but I will do the backyard thing first.

lost_in_toronto posted 4/24/2013 12:26 PM

Sorry! I didn't mean to sound so harsh about your cousin; i was trying to get across that it is your decision. We all have strong opinions on this issue because we all love our pets. It is hard not to let your family sway you! I know they love her, but you are living with her and know her better than anyone. You will know when the time is right.

PippaPeach6 posted 4/24/2013 12:37 PM

It's such a personal and highly emotional decision to make. But your dog is depending on you to help her reach her next journey. She's given you years of endless love and devotion, when the time is right please return the gift of love by letting her go peacefully and with dignity.


We have had to sadly say goodbye to several pets. There is a time when you will know, and you will be at peace knowing they are beyond pain. To my great sadness, I have been selfish enough to ignore the time when I knew. We had a wonderful dog that had bad days and then good days. I ignored the fact that there were really no "good" days. She started suffering one night, there were no vets available. I spent many painful hours at her side until she passed. I would have done anything,anything to alleviate her suffering. It would have been much kinder to have let her go peacefully in my arms a few days earlier. . .

You have my prayers

JanetS posted 4/24/2013 12:38 PM

I'm going to monitor like crazy.

JustAShadow posted 4/24/2013 12:48 PM


It is such a hard decision and I do think that you will know when the time is right for you and Charlotte (which may be now or later).

Personally, I believe that quality of life is extremely important (for all of us) and that sometimes putting down a little early is better than putting down a little late but that is just an opinion. And gauging when that point is...a challenge?

I feel your pain though - it is so hard to make that choice. I recently had to put down my best horse who had been with me for 33 years (longer than my kitties and doggies).

Know that your years of loving Charlotte and daily affections are all known to her and, when the time is right, to have you near her when she passes is a gift.

Keep watching and you'll know.

Now she is almost deaf (that's okay...she hears when I yell "come great a treat").

I LOVE that the call for treats comes through still!!

JanetS posted 4/24/2013 12:53 PM

Now, some call that selective hearing. I think it's God's way to make sure she still gets her treaties. :)

woundedwidow posted 4/24/2013 12:57 PM

JanetS, I'm going through the very same thing right now with a 17-yr old cat who I know has cancer in her foot. It is sometimes so difficult to tell when our fur babies need to be let go. I have always stayed with my kitties when they had to be euthanized due to illness (six so far, and one dog), and it was VERY hard, but I never wanted them to make that last journey alone. YOU are the only one who should be making this decision, and not getting any grief for it either, as it is obvious that you are very compassionate and loving toward her. My prayers are with you and Charlotte.

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