Haven't posted in here for a while. I won't make this a cry fest, as now isn't the time. I've discussed this with my father since our first dog, Otto, has been coming up in age. I'll try not to write his life story, and just give a little background information: He's made life pretty hard on himself. His worst and lasting injury was running full speed in to a wrought iron fence, throwing him backwards and damaging his vertebrae.
He's now 12, and has trouble getting up stairs and squatting to shit. He can walk just fine. This past month though, he's started to shit wherever he pleases, and can barely control it. He's starting to lose his dignity, and as my best friend that I've had since I was 6, I don't like seeing him like this to say the least.
Now, I put down another dog myself last year after it killed livestock, both the alpaca and the dog I raised, and it was one of the hardest, most fucked up things I think I'll ever hav
e done. I'm going to let a doctor do this one, but I'm unsure as to when to say "enough is enough."
Other than watching him struggle to take a dump in the yard, he's not apparently suffering, but I hate seeing him like this and will not let him die on his own, looking like a frail, pathetic excuse for a dog. A buddy of mine did that to his dog, which I also loved, and I am not about that at all. It's a shitty thing to have to think about, but I'm not letting this go.
I've surprisingly kept my composure while typing this out. He's the most dear thing in my life, but I know I have to say good bye to him soon. It'll have to be done sometime after the holidays, so I'm making every second I had with him count.
I'm sure many of you men have gone through this before, and hope to get some good food for thought.
For me, we could only make that decision when it was clear that our dog was suffering, and it was kinder to put her down. There is no easy way to know when the time is right though - every situation, dog and family is different.
I don't envy you - it's a hard thing to go through. Best wishes.
First question is, what's your priority? His feelings? Your feelings? Your convenience? Something else?
If it's about him: he's not in pain. His dignity is not suffering; dogs don't have a concept of dignity. Dying alone isn't a cruel aberration for them; supposedly animals will go away from their packs to die alone -- it's natural. If you could consult him somehow, would he say he wants to die sooner rather than later?
But because he's old and getting weak, it won't be that much later. But as you say: you can make every day count. Not just for you, but for him. After all, he's the one that's out of time.
We made the decision when she could barely get up to walk and then stopped eating. She was in constant pain and by not eating she was letting us know it was time. Hardest thing I've had to do in a long time but I was not going to let her suffer. Still brings a tear to my eye to think about making that decision. Good luck to you and Otto. Enjoy every moment. Be strong and remember, its not about you, its about them.
I really feel for you man. I just had to put down my dog in September and making that decision with my dad was terrible. We ended up making the decision when she couldn't climb up or down stairs without significant difficulty or help from one of us. Did we wait too long? Maybe but I don't think I could have done it sooner anyway.
Another indicator is if you're dog has lost his appetite. Ours started losing weight because she wouldn't eat the dog food. We just started throwing raw eggs over the food and she started eating again. Helped to keep her weight up anyway.
If there's one thing I wish I could have changed about the way she died it's that I wish I could have done it somewhere quiet and outside. And I wish my dad or I would have done it. It bothers me that I let the vet stick her with a needle and that she died on top of a table in an office. Doesn't seem right at all.
Bottom line is if you see him suffering then it's time to let him go. If he's just crapping a lot that's actually okay. It means he's still eating even if he doesn't have great control of his bowels. Maybe just get some doggie depends (I think they sell those) or set him up outside if the weather's not too bad where you are.
Terrible thing to read; I've found putting my dog down was the hardest thing I've had to do as an adult. My wife and I came to that decision after she had stopped eating for a few days; we new that was not a good sign and the vet confirmed it.
Our decision was helped by talking to a friend who had had a lot of dogs, and said they rarely go peacefully; it's usually some painful turn, at an inconvenient time when your vet is not open and you have to drive the poor suffering animal a long way to an emergency clinic and there in some strange weird place all stressed out it has to happen.
Get as much information as you can, watch your dog, talk it over with your father. You'll know what to do when the time comes.
So so sorry; this is never ever easy.
If you take him to a vet they can also make a call I had to put my old shepherd down last xmas (just before xmas) he was 12. couldn't walk anymore, couldn't enjoy ANY part of life. and the vet basically said what we all knew (it's about time).
12 is a good long life for a dog. It's never easy man I know but as Liam said if he's suffering it's the right and humane thing to do.
First let me say that I am sorry to hear your dog is not well but there could be hope. Have you taken him to see a Vet about his mobility? My wife is a Vet and we have talked about the decision to put animals down several times. She has told me that some of the deciding factors are the comfort of the animal and their quality of life. She says they sometimes do not express pain the way we would expect and that as long as they are truly enjoying play and not just doing it to please "us" she believes it trying to extend life as long as possible. She has also told me stories about clients who wait and by the time they bring their pet in it has suffered too long. Talk to your Vet and they can help you decide when "enough is enough". Good Luck!
As messed up as this may be, I always have harder times coming to terms with the death of a pet than I do a person. Maybe its because I have never lost anyone terribly close, but I don't know, something about the fleeting life of a dog chokes me up. I think you have already made up your mind and I'll I can say is that we know how you feel and we are here for you, man.
I'm the same way. It's not my first time, and won't be my last, but this dog is definitely the most special to me, so I'm struggling with the decisions and emotions a little more.
Also, thanks to all have answered so far. I may not have replied, but I've read all your comments and have been thinking hard about it with him at my side. I know most guys here have gone through this, and knew I would get thoughtful responses and I appreciate all of them.
From my experience, I would make sure there are no other factors that are bringing about his lack of control. Though are animals are domesticated, they are still animals, and you'd be surprised when something can make them forget that they shouldn't shit in the house.
If he's not in pain, I would move him outside on a permanent basis myself.
About now sounds like a good time.
But go ask the vet. If he's in pain, do it immediately. If not, another six months of poop stained sheets might be anough to give you the closure you need.
He's a very fine-looking dog, by the way.
We put ours down when it was clear she was uncomfortable most of the time. She actually let us know. All of a sudden there was a sort of sadness, for lack of a better term, in her eyes that had never been there before.
We took a couple of weeks to prep the kids and really discuss the situation as a family. We were all there at her side at the vets until she was gone.