May 9th, 2005, 09:31 AM
My name is Barb. I have a very difficult situation regarding my dog. I would appreciate some sound advice.
My dog Shanique, a Bichon Frise is very old. She was 16 years old in April. She has many health problems, as most dogs do at this age.
Two years ago I almost lost her. The vet advised me to put her down, but I was not ready to do so, as Shanique swam with me just the day before she became sick.
I was vacationing at a cabin for a week. Shanique was very active during the first 5 days our vacation. She was swimming, running, loving the freedom of not having to be leashed. Little did I know that she was ill, as she showed no signs. On a Thursday, she began vomiting, then blood in the stool. As it was after hours, I had to page the vet and leave my phone#. I was so upset I punched in the wrong phone number. The vet could not contact me but I was unaware of that problem. Many hours later and still not hearing from the vet, Shanique had a major bleed from her bowel. She was definitely dying. I immediately try paging the vet again and this time he returned my call within minutes.
Upon examination of Shanique, it was very clear that she was extremely ill and not far from death. Considering Shanique's age (14 at the time) and her current condition, this is why the vet advised to have her put to sleep. I COULD NOT have this done and asked....CAN YOU SAVE HER? After several days with Shanique in hospital, she was now ready to come home. She was diagnosed as having an enlarged heart, going into kidney failure and an ulcerated bowel. Shanique was put on medication for both her heart and kidneys. My big question was...HOW LONG CAN I EXPECT TO HAVE HER? The vet's answer was 2 WEEKS to 6 MONTHS. That was August, 2003. Now almost 2 years later, her condition has worsen.
She is due for her annual examination, and I am afraid that this could be her last. She also has cataracts, about 90% loss of hearing. She also has moles, warts and cysts. She is also peeing around the house due to her kidney problem.
I do not believe that she is in pain, although she sleeps about 90% of the time. She eats well and now and again wishes to play for a short while. She can still jump on my couch and go up the stairs.
Friends and family has said, it is time to let her go.
Based on the above............can any of you give me some opinions?
May 9th, 2005, 09:46 AM
Dear Barb,you have a very difficult desicion to make,one that probably only you can do,you know and love your dog..
It sounds to me like she has a whole lot of problems,anyone which could kill her.Also animals,unlike people,can hide pain until it becomes unbearable and I am sure you do not want her to suffer.
The kindest thing to do is to help her out before it reaches that point... :sad:
She's had 16 wonderful years with you,loving an animal also means you have to let her go,when life itself becomes nothing but pain and discomfort.
Whatever you decide,I am sure everyone here in this Forum sympathize with you,we've all been through the loss of one or more loved pets.
There is a wonderful poem,one that can help you make thr final desicion,maybe someone else here can post it for you.... :love:
May 9th, 2005, 10:00 AM
FROM FRIEND TO FRIEND
You're giving me a special gift,
So sorrowfully endowed,
And through these last few cherished days,
Your courage makes me proud.
But really, love is knowing
When your best friend is in pain,
And understanding earthly acts
Will only be in vain.
So looking deep into your eyes,
Beyond, into your soul,
I see in you the magic, that will
Once more make me whole.
The strength that you possess,
Is why I look to you today,
To do this thing that must be done,
For it's the only way.
That strength is why I've followed you,
And chose you as my friend,
And why I've loved you all these years...
My partner 'til the end.
Please, understand just what this gift,
You're giving, means to me,
It gives me back the strength I've lost,
And all my dignity.
You take a stand on my behalf,
For that is what friends do.
And know that what you do is right,
For I believe it too.
So one last time, I breathe your scent,
And through your hand I feel,
The courage that's within you,
To now grant me this appeal.
Cut the leash that holds me here,
Dear friend, and let me run,
Once more a strong and steady cat,
My pain and struggle done.
And don't despair my passing,
For I won't be far away,
Forever here, within your heart,
And memory I'll stay.
I'll be there watching over you,
Your ever faithful friend,
And in your memories I'll run,
...a young one once again.
In Memory of Asta, Feb. 1997
(c) Karen Clouston
May 9th, 2005, 10:08 AM
Hi Barb.I'm so sorry to hear about your baby.... :sad:
I know this is a VERY hard time you are going through.Something we all have had to go through.I went through it in September with my GSD.And he was only 8 1/2
But I have to agree with chico.Animals do tend to hide pain.And she is haveing many health problems.She has had an amazing 16 years with you.As much as we don't want to loose or say goodbye to our furbabies,there is a time when we have to.And yes it hurts.But we need to do what's best for them.Is she suffering?Probaby.She is a small dog with alot going on inside of her.What would I do in this situation?The same thing I had to do in Sept.I had to say goodbye to my big boy. :sad:
Listen to your heart.
We are here for you.
May 9th, 2005, 10:09 AM
Barb, we all know how hard it is to let go. It's bad enough when it's taken out of our hands, but when we have to make that decision it's agony.
I know you want to keep your old friend forever, but comes a time when we have to do what is best for them and not for us.
You love your old gal so very much, and I know you don't ever want her last days to be filled with only suffering.
I think you know what you have to do. Shanique may not show signs of pain as we would, but kidney failure and the ulcerated bowel are not pleasant, and kidney failure is a terrible way to go.
Letting her go peacefully now can be your last act of love for her.
Please come back and post again. We ALL understand and are thinking of you!
May 9th, 2005, 10:43 AM
This is so heartbreaking...
No advice here, but lots of good thoughts to you both... Or maybe just this one: try to be happy and proud you were able to have her live a long 16 years! That's 112 human years!!! You obviously took amazing good care of her and I am certain you'll continue to do so until the very end... Trust your guts!!! Through all of your ordeal, remember to celebrate her life and not only grieve her passing to a better world... I know, easier said than done...
We wish you tons of courage...
May 9th, 2005, 03:23 PM
It sounds like you have taken wonderful care and you want to do the right thing. Weigh the quality of life against the suffering. When the suffering outweighs the quality of life then ending the suffering is the kindest decision we can make. Signs of pain are restlessness, unable to lay still or comfortabley, hunching, and excessive panting. Spoil your baby rotten and let her go out with dignity. You will know when the time is right.
May 11th, 2005, 12:04 PM
I totally understand and sympathize with what you are going through right now. Only 3 weeks ago, I had my own bichon frise put to sleep at the vet. He was 14 years old and his name was Desia. I had Desia since I was 10 years old, so he had been there through all of my teen years..really all of the most difficult times in my life, I've always had him to turn to, to cuddle with, to make me feel better. He was such a good friend to me.
A few years ago, Desia began to limp slightly and we soon discovered he had developed arthritis. We tried everything we could to improve the condition..I'm a strong believer in alternative/natural medicine, and I did extensive research over the internet on everything and anything I could try to make him better. Soon he was unable to go for walks any longer because he'd be in so much pain, and I had to put the leash on and just take him a few feet in the front yard.
In the months before we had Desia put to sleep, he had lost interest in his toys and in life, so it seemed, and all he ever did was sleep. He basically just tuned us out. He did have several other health problems as well, including painful teeth, which made it difficult to eat.
The night we had to have Desia put to sleep, he was at the point of being in unbearable pain. He couldn't walk or even stand. I held him in a blanket which seemed to comfort him, but he couldn't go on for the rest of his life this way. It just wasn't fair. I had to really step back and ask myself, what would Desia want? If he could talk, what would he say? Would he want to continue this way, or would he choose to be set free? It was the most difficult decisions I've EVER had to make in my life, but I chose to have him put to sleep because it was the kindest thing I could have done for him. If your Shanique has all of those health problems you described and they are only continuing to worsen, you have to ask yourself what is best for Shanique, and not what is best for the people who love her. If her quality of life is good, and she is not in pain, then perhaps it is not her time. But if she is suffering in any way, it may be time to let her go. Do not make your decisions based on what everyone else tells you - only you know your dog, and only you can truly decide what is in her best interest.
A few days after Desia passed away, I had a dream about him. In my dream, he was young again, and I felt his back and the arthritis was gone. He was telling me (telepathically) that his pain was gone, he was ok, and he was in his "perfect body". I see the dream as being Desia's way of communicating with me, so that I know that he is ok. As hard as it was to let him go, I felt a sense of relief for him, knowing that he was no longer suffering. Our animal friends never leave us when they pass on...they will always be there watching over us.
I hope this helps, and if you need someone to talk to please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org