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That Decision

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Warning! This is not an upbeat thread. Don't read it if it will make you feel bad, that's not my intention.








So it's getting to be that time in my old dog, Sheba's life. She's a really good girl and has had quite a spoiled life. She was my Grandma's dog, and when she had to go to a nursing home, my family took on Sheba. My grandma has since passed, and we are clinging to Sheba as the last bit of connection. So that is probably biasing our opinion of "the decision", so I thought I'd run it by you guys, see what you thought, or if you had some similar experience or just some good vibes...

Long story short, we know once a dog loses his or her quality of life, it is time to put them down. We just don't know exactly where that line is drawn.

See, Sheba LIVES for her walks. So even if she is blind and deaf, she is still very happy on her walks, so we won't put her down as long as she can enjoy them. However, she is starting to go senile. Honestly, doggy dementia is settling in. And this makes her a danger to herself on the walks, unless we keep her on leash. And when we do, she pouts dramatically and drags behind us.

So, again keeping things very short- she lives for her off-leash walks. We don't feel right leaving her off leash because she is a danger to herself. So what would you do? Let her stay off leash and enjoy her walks because that is what she lives for and if she hurts herself then put her down? Or just put her down because she is too miserable and her quality of life without the walks is practically inhumane? (Yes, her quality of life without her walks is getting very rough. Blind, deaf, can hardly eat, can't lay down comfortably, can't stand up comfortably, etc etc...)

I know you guys can't make the decision for me, and in fact, it's not even just my decision to make. We took her on as a family, and will make this decision as a family. It's just, you guys always have such great insight and experiences. And, we could all use some good vibes... Including Sheba...

Thanks.
post #2 of 11
Well, from your description, the only way Sheba still has quality of life is to have her walks as she has always had them. It's hard to say without being in the situation, but I think if it were me, I might let her have her walks, knowing that there are risks, remembering that life itself is a risky business, and hoping that she stays lucky until she is ready to call it quits. If she gets unlucky, she'll at least have had those however-many-more happy walks.

On the other hand, if the walks are the only time she has quality of life, is that enough? As I said, hard to know without being in the situation.

Tough decision, but I'm sure you'll feel her wishes and do what's best. and lots of
post #3 of 11
This is so hard but I think it may be time .... what ever you decide we will be here for ya sending you major
post #4 of 11
Sending you and prayers... I have been in your shoes a number of times in the last few yrs and it went both ways ... so no advise
post #5 of 11
Its so hard to know what to say. Is there any yard she can go in off leash? How old is she?
post #6 of 11
I've lost a number of dogs over the years. As they age, a lot of things slow down for them and there are a lot of things they love that they give up. My decisions have always been around their level of pain, not around the things they can no longer do. Dogs really live for their masters, not for their own personal pleasures. What is Sheba's relationship with your family?

And I say this with full realization that every situation is different and that your heart will ultimately guide you in your decision. I can't help you more than this.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. Heaing from you all really does make me feel a little better. Your support means a lot!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rapunzel47 View Post
Well, from your description, the only way Sheba still has quality of life is to have her walks as she has always had them. It's hard to say without being in the situation, but I think if it were me, I might let her have her walks, knowing that there are risks, remembering that life itself is a risky business, and hoping that she stays lucky until she is ready to call it quits. If she gets unlucky, she'll at least have had those however-many-more happy walks.

On the other hand, if the walks are the only time she has quality of life, is that enough? As I said, hard to know without being in the situation.

Tough decision, but I'm sure you'll feel her wishes and do what's best. and lots of
Honestly, that's where we are right now, letting her have her walks and just taking the risk that life in general poses. And as you said, is that enough? That's where a lot of my question comes in. At what point does the pro of her walks no longer out weigh the cons of her life in general? My honest answer is that at this point, yes, her quality of life is good enough that between the walks and what is left for her at home that is enough. I don't forsee it being enough even in just a few months, though...

And trust me, I know it's hard to say without being in this situation, but it still isn't easy to know even being in it!

For now, I am doing exactly what you say- listening to her. And of course the wonderful input and support I am getting from my family, friends, and you all!



Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmyfurbabys View Post
This is so hard but I think it may be time .... what ever you decide we will be here for ya sending you major
It may be, indeed. I think she may have a few more months in her, though... Thank you so much for your support! It really means a lot and will help us to make the decision when the time comes.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
Sending you and prayers... I have been in your shoes a number of times in the last few yrs and it went both ways ... so no advise
Thank you from me and from Sheba for your vibes and prayers! We're not yet sure which way this will go... But your good thoughs help us all!



Quote:
Originally Posted by mews2much View Post
Its so hard to know what to say. Is there any yard she can go in off leash? How old is she?
Yes, she is off leash plenty in our backyard, which isn't large by any means but is decent sized. That's not really enough for her, though. As I mentioned, she is quite spoiled. We're not entirely sure how old she is, but she is probably at least 14 years old.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
I've lost a number of dogs over the years. As they age, a lot of things slow down for them and there are a lot of things they love that they give up. My decisions have always been around their level of pain, not around the things they can no longer do. Dogs really live for their masters, not for their own personal pleasures. What is Sheba's relationship with your family?

And I say this with full realization that every situation is different and that your heart will ultimately guide you in your decision. I can't help you more than this.
Hmm... Interesting you mention pain instead of what they can or cannot do anymore. Her level of pain, irregardless of walks, is up there. As I mentioned, she is seldom comfortable anymore. We have her on Rimadyl for arthritis and pain associated with her bad hip (she blew it out a while ago chasing squirrels...). She's in some pain almost constantly, but it doesn't seem too bad yet, just uncomfortable. And she can still go on walks, so the pain isn't too bad... Ah, it's a tough situation...

I'm really hoping she has a few good months left in her, but every time I see her my heart goes out to her... Of course, she is used to a very spoiled life, so maybe this isn't quite as bad as I feel it is. Either way, we are watching her very closely, and if it gets to that point, we will do what's necessary. I really appreciate your guys's insight, because I'm really scared that our attachement to not only her, but her connection to my grandma will bias us some. And the last thing I want is for her to suffer...

So thank you!
post #8 of 11
Quote:
And the last thing I want is for her to suffer...
The most telling line in the thread. You're listening well, so when she tells you, you'll hear. Many to you during this most bittersweet time. Savour every minute you have.
post #9 of 11
What are the dangers she poses to herself? Where do you let her go on her off-leash walks? If it is possible to find an area that poses the least dangers, that could be where you bring her for her walks..
post #10 of 11
Can you entice her more on leash with a treat she loves? I know you said she's deaf and blind, but they can still read you really well, so if you can make her on leash walks 'happy' then she will learn that they are a good thing too.

That said, when it is time, she will let you know. You will 'feel' it too.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rapunzel47 View Post
The most telling line in the thread. You're listening well, so when she tells you, you'll hear. Many to you during this most bittersweet time. Savour every minute you have.
Aw, thank you. We are making the most of every minute!



Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyWukong View Post
What are the dangers she poses to herself? Where do you let her go on her off-leash walks? If it is possible to find an area that poses the least dangers, that could be where you bring her for her walks..
We usually take her to Lake Chabot and the surrounding Anthony Chabot regional park. The only dangers she really faces are herself. Her doggy dementia is getting so bad that she will get these panic attacks. And usually, they cause her to run away from us. Since she's blind and deaf, if she gets too far away, she won't be able to find us again when it passes. Even if we take her somewhere enclosed (like the soccer field across the street, we go there very night!), when she gets her panic attacks she can trip, and she already has bad arthritis and a blown hip. She has tripped before, but as her legs get worse, I'm just worried that one of these days she'll panic and trip and not get back up...




Quote:
Originally Posted by faith's_mom View Post
Can you entice her more on leash with a treat she loves? I know you said she's deaf and blind, but they can still read you really well, so if you can make her on leash walks 'happy' then she will learn that they are a good thing too.

That said, when it is time, she will let you know. You will 'feel' it too.
Yeah, we are trying. Sheba is probably the LEAST food motivated dog I know! We are staying happy and trying to motivate her just from us being happy and making it fun, and with cookies, but it is a slow process to say the least! That's what happens when you were such a spoiled queen before and are now just an old dog...

Thanks again everyone.
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