Extreme guilt over whether it's "time"

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  1. I don't usually post in this forum, but I have 2 senior goldens who are my children. I know the time is coming for both of them as both are not well, but my oldest who will be 14 in September has been declining. I have always heard that one will "just know" when it's time or the animal will pretty much let the owner know, but I'm really struggling with determining this and am experiencing extreme guilt over even the thought. I have always said that I would never put my dog down unless there was absolutely no hope, as we don't kill people that have bad hips/ knees or hurt in general so I could never understand doing it to an animal either.

    My oldest (girl) has been whining every time she tries to get up or move over the last day or so. She's always had some trouble getting up due to her age and arthritis, but never really whined or cried about it before, it just took her a few minutes to get up. Now it seems as if she is struggling alot more and I can't really help her that much since she is at least 100lbs! The thing I keep going back to is that she is still a happy dog otherwise. Once she is up on all fours, she can walk, albeit a little limpy and gingerly, she still eats fine, drinks, wags her tail, enjoys people spending time with her and seems happy when she is laying down. I think it would be a lot easier decision to make if she wasn't happy or wasn't eating, etc. at the same time that she was uncomfortable but thats not the case. I give her canine aspirin and cosequin but neither appear to help much if at all. She also has a few large lumps on her that the vet has said that could be cancerous but he never wanted to do biopsies or surgeries because they were in areas that weren't bothering her and he said any invasive procedures would just make it progress faster, combined with her age as it is. My vet is one that believes in letting dogs live out their golden years and being loved rather than putting them through a lot of unnecessary tests, procedures, etc.

    I of course would stay with her during the time that we were to let her go, but I also know that the thought of having to look in her eyes and have her believe that I was doing this to her would not only break my heart due to having to say goodbye but I have a fear that this moment would forever haunt me. I am extremely emotional when it comes to my dogs with this type of stuff and I just know that my mind would get the best of me and I would highly resent myself.

    I've heard all about the "not letting her live this way" and " she wouldn't want to live in pain" or that "she would know you're doing the best for her", all the normal cliches, but I'm afraid it doesn't help much at this moment. I'm just not sure what to do and it's causing an extreme depression in me currently.

    I'm sorry for this being so long, but if you have gotten this far, thanks for reading. If anyone has any additional information, advice, words of support, etc that could help, please let me know. Thanks!
  2. I am so sorry, I have no words but sending you and your babies hugs. Just spend time with them and do things that they love most.
  3. I am so sorry. It is so hard when the decline becomes obvious. I am probably in the minority in that I don't believe in the "better a day too soon than a day too late" adage.
    My situation is different.........a ten pound cat is easier to deal with than a100 pound dog. If you are like me you will probably feel guilty no matter which road you choose.:hugs:
  4. I believe you will, truly, know. I have also always felt that if they are still voluntarily eating, it is not yet time to go. With Diablo, he was steadily declining and then the last day or so he wouldn't eat, so we knew it was time. With Teddy, he threw up five times directly after eating a meal (he was in kidney failure) and it had literally been years since he had vomited. He never got hairballs (even though he was the designated bather for the other two cats) and would eat his meal and every one else's. It wasn't what I had planned when I took him to the vet that morning, but the minute she said it was likely toxins from his kidneys and that he would probably continue to feel bad even on meds, I knew it was time. Previously, I had gone back and forth for close to a year on whether I should let him go.

    Having said that, I have had much success with Adequan for my old dog when she had issues after she tore her cruciate. She is back on it now because her hips are going bad, along with Gabapentin, and I am hoping it will help. You have those options, besides just Rimadyl. Gabapentin works more on nerve pain, and Adequan is given twice a week by injection for a month, then once monthly after that. My vet gave me the vial and syringes so I do it on my own at home. If you are still questioning whether or not to do it, it is probably not the right time.
  5. Also, I feel it is our duty to be with our animals at the end. I don't look at it as me ending their life, but me comforting them with my presence in their final moments. It is a heartbreaking moment, but after doing it three times within the last couple years, there hasn't been a time I have regretted my decision.
  6. So sorry you're at this point OP.

    I remember too clearly dealing with a similar situation a few years ago with my 12 year old 60kg Newfoundland.
    After weeks and weeks of wondering WHEN, we let her go on the day we realised she wouldn't be able to get up in time - if at all - to take herself to toilet by herself. Like most snow dogs she was fastidious and despite bad arthritis and severe muscle degeneration causing pain & weakness she liked to keep herself and her bedding very clean. DH picked her up and carried her when he was around and I did my best to help her up when I knew she wanted to move but there were a few times when she peed on the deck because after struggling to get up she couldn't make it to the lawn in time (which she preferred) and she was SO ashamed... even though we thought she was wonderful and made no fuss about discreetly (to save her from further embarrassment) cleaning up after her.
    At this stage she still had an appetite but was on a high daily dose of vet prescription strong pain relief (can't recall the name of the med) but age and pain and increasing muscle weakness had taken their toll.
    It was definitely the right time for her to go - it just felt like it and we acted on it. In the weeks before I'd hoped & prayed that she would go in her sleep at her own time but ultimately we had to make the decision.

    Since your dog is happy and still eating at this time I'd be investigating better pain relief and a vet check to see if something new is troubling her.
    If you can't be with her right at the end make sure a person she loves and trusts and who loves her is with her, touching her when she closes her eyes for the last time.

    Thinking of you OP (((hugs)))
  7. You are always going to feel guilty unless they go on their own or unless they are so ill there is no other choice to be made. I have made this decision so many times and almost every time I second guess myself. When they stop eating is the first red flag for me. I will try anything the vet suggests to help them get better but if they won't eat, it's time. My 12 year old mutt was very food motivated. She ate everything in sight. When she turned down bacon I know she was telling me she was done. It's sad and it hurts every single time. If you pup is still eating I would look into pain meds. You can also help her stand up by putting a towel around her middle and lifting. They also sell slings just for that purpose. I hope you still have a lot of time left to enjoy your babies. ((((HUGS))))
    chessmont likes this.
  8. This is always so hard and I think we never feel totally comfortable. I agree you should be with your dog when the time comes. Some people can't do it but I feel better knowing I'm there to maybe comfort them and to see what is done to my pet. I agree with the others that if they aren't eating that's a big indicator. Your dog is still eating and getting some enjoyment out of life so I don't think it's time yet. But of course it's you who must make the decision and you will know.
    So sorry for what you and your dog are going through. It's heartbreaking I know.
  9. I'm so sorry that you and your fur babies are going through this Floridasun! I've been there. Many times.

    Have you tried Rimadyl?

    Years ago I nearly lost a dog to Rimadyl and I swore as God is my witness I would never ever ever EVER give another dog Rimadyl. Recently I found my current elderly fur baby, a 14+ year old hound with back problems, arthritis, and who-knows-what problems, collapsed on the floor. He lay there for days, his breathing hard and heavy, unable to move, refusing to eat, nearly comatose, phlegm and foam coming from his nose and mouth, soiling himself. I told my husband I thought it was time. He said no, wait a bit, he might rally. Dogs often do. My vet had insisted I keep a few Rimadyls on hand, just in case, even though she knew my great scorn for the drug. So desperate I gave him a Rimadyl. Within about 2.5-3 hours the effects were clear. He got up and ate for the first time in days. I took him on a small walk. He seemed happy. Over the next few days he continued to improve. It was clear that Rimadyl was to thank because the improvement was always apparent within 2-3 hours after I gave him a dose. He's now back to normal. Bopping around, enjoying his walks, eating with gusto, playing with his fur-brother. I've tapered him down to a three-quarter daily dose of Rimadyl. I can see him fading when he doesn't get enough. I can see him ecstatic for life when he gets enough. At his age, which is ancient for his breed, any extra time is a godsend, any pain relief is heaven sent as well.

    I've revised my opinion of Rimadyl. I think it can be a miracle drug for some dogs. For some. Lots of cautions. Give it with food. Watch your dog carefully. Especially during the first days on the drug.

    Another thought. I would never make a decision to put a dog down on a Monday or Tuesday. On the days after a weekend our old and ailing dogs are quite spent from all the activities and hubbub of a weekend. They need a few days to rest it off. Sometimes it takes them until the end of the week to recover from the previous weekend. But eventually with enough rest and quiet they do.

    Hugs to you! :heart:
  10. I'm sorry you're facing this. It never is easy, often it's not clear-cut about when it's time. I've always heard *better a day too soon than a day too late*. Looking back on all of our dogs, I waited too long with a couple of them, but in my heart I feel we got it right about all the others. I still cried my heart out afterwards.

    I too would ask the vet about better pain control, if that's possible. You're in my thoughts. I do believe you'll know when it's time.
  11. Thank you everyone for your posts. Im happy to report however that my girl has improved slightly since my last post. I got some Tramadol for her and my boy and it seems to be helping some. She is still very old, I can see the decline in both of them and I know that the time is coming soon for both my dogs but I will certainly cherish every day that I get with them.
    chessmont likes this.
  12. Thanks for the update. I'm glad to hear the good news.
  13. I'm glad to hear you have some more time together. SO happy she is feeling better.
    chessmont likes this.