I think it might be time to say goodbye, Angel

I posted a month or so about our 12 1/2yro sheltie, Angel. She’d had a wicked bout of vomiting and diarrhea that lasted unusually long; while she recovered well enough from it, bloodwork revealed her kidneys were failing. We’d later learn that her condition is the number one disease in elderly dogs.

These last few days, her appetite has waned and she just has a generally depressed demeanor. Getting her in the house after she’s been outside (where she spends most of her time sleeping against the wall) takes tremendous effort as the two shallow steps she must climb are so painfully difficult to manage for her. She now stiffly drags her hind end a bit as her inability to absorb protein means her body is now stealing it from her muscle tissue. She has no energy to do anything, though she still wags her tail eagerly when I reach for a leash.

She’s vomitted once this week, but it was mostly bile, and had a bit of borderline diarrhea on and off during the week. But just last night, she had a disgusting bout of completely non-solid diarrhea in the house, and without getting too gross…we could see blood in it, both bright red and near black.

I step back and look at her life, and think this isn’t fair to her. She has three prescriptions to her name, and the vet was calling in a fourth tomorrow. I feel like we should try giving her the meds more regularly, rather than on an as-needed basis, to try and help…but help what? Postpone the inevitable?

She is not and will not get better. But it seems so wrong to put her down while she still has the strength to follow me into the kitchen and hope for a dropped scrap (though that happens less often now), her tail wagging. Yet, it also seems wrong to keep her around and suffering because I don’t want to have to deal with putting her down.

sigh :frowning:

DeathLlama is going to talk to a buddy who lives near our vet and see if he will watch RuffLlama while we take sweet Angel on her final journey this afternoon. I hate to think about it, and I hate that she will end her days in such a frightening, tail-tucking place. I might get cold feet and back out of this, but DL and I feel more or less the same about this.

I’m planning to spoil her all day. I’m home recovering from surgery, so it will be just the two of us. Lots of treats? A good brushing? A brief walk? Cuddle time on the floor while I watch a movie? All of these things, most likely…and lots of “Good girl, Angel, good girl!” And…“Thank you, good dog, thank you.”

I’m so sorry. I’ve been in your spot much to often lately (3 times in the past 4 years- twice last year), and I know how incredibly difficult it is. However, I do feel a sense of peace when my seriously ill and aged animals have passed - the sense of peace that comes from knowing that they are now free of the pain and suffering they had endured, and free of the medicines that they hated taking.

:frowning: Been there recently myself. It hurts.

I know this same post is in my near future. My heart hurts for you. I’m sorry for you and your good doggie.

“Good girl, Angel, goood girl,” I scritch gently behind your ears.

My dear sweet Maddie went on a diet of smoked salmon and campfire cooked shrimp along with her steroids as I tried to say goodbye. It’s almost funny now how badly her breath stank as I gave her the last kisses. Almost funny.

Oooofff, why does this have to be so hard? When my childhood pet cat needed to be put down, there was no question of the need…she’d had a series of strokes in a short period of time and was virtually (pun unintended) catatonic. She was already gone, though her heart still beat.

Angel is outside right now defending the yard from the viscious onslaught of trash trucks. She manages to muster the energy to bark and trot around the yard, still working to alert the shepherd that there’s a monster among the flock.

Later on this morning I’m going to call the vet and inquire about a service they’d recommended in the past that will travel to your home and euthanize animals in the familiar comfort of home, so they aren’t in distress from being in The Scary Place. Angel is such a good girl; I hate for her end to be in a place that terrifies her so. If the cost isn’t too much greater than the cost of euthanasia at the vet office, it is what we will opt for.

I’m still not sure if we’re going through with this today, but someone told me that they didn’t want their animals to suffer because they didn’t want to grieve; that’s how they knew it was time to put the animals down. I always said I wouldn’t load up my pets with medication to prolong a terminal illness, but suddenly I realize–Angel is on four meds (Pepcid for her sour tummy, an anti-nausea pill, a pain medication, and an anti-diarrhea med), with a prescription for an appetite stimulant awaiting us in the vet’s office. I want to do right by Angel, I really do; I just am not sure what “right” is, or that there even is a true “right” in these situations. sigh

Boscibo and TroubleAgain, thank you for your empathy and sympathy. It is good hearing from people who have been in this place before. I know she’s “just a dog,” but she’s also a long-time member of the family. She was a wonderful companion to my parents for her first 9 years; my mom (decidedly not much of a pet person) said Angel was her only company for those many long weeks Dad was out on business trips. Then as dad’s health took dramatic and tragic turns, Angel was there to lick his fingers and sleep at his feet. She was great company when I went out on early maternity leave, and befriended my cat within days. Even skittish, nutso DeathLlamaKitty finally has come around and, though she doesn’t like Angel per se, tolerates her presence.


Good girl, Angel. Good girl.

Ruffian, I’m so very, very sorry.

I had a cat with kidney failure, and I wish I’d put him through a little less before I let him go. It sounds like you’re making a good decision for Angel. I’m so sorry.

Ruffian, your post made me tear up.

We lost a sweet 15 month old kitten to FIP last May and if we’d only known he had a fatal disease, we would have made sure his remaining time was entirely comfortable, unmarred by shoving pills and liquid food down his little throat.

Yes, my kitties are animals but they bring so much joy to me that when one goes, it’s devastating.

jsgoddess, my heart aches for you as well. You’ve had a rough time with your kitties, and when I read about their health issues, I go find my rascals and pet them extra.

I just called the vet and got some information about costs. The home euthanasia service is $500–youch, a bit steep for us. But our vet will give her a sedative first, so she will feel no more pain and no more anxiety. They offer cremation, but I only want her collar and tags.

The vet said that the blood we’re seeing in the diarrhea likely indicates ulcers in her GI tract, something I remember her saying (or perhaps I read it) that often comes with kidney disease as it progressed. Talking with her, I was surprised that at the end of the conversation, after hearing me describe Angel’s behavior and the quality of her life, that the vet gently agreed that this is the best thing for Angel. She did not believe it would be a decision we would regret. But I’m still sad about it. I don’t want to let her go while she still barks at the trash cans and follows me around the kitchen begging for a snack, but I don’t want her suffering to increase because I don’t want to deal with euthanasia.

Angel’s gotten the yummiest dog food and several Beggin’ Strips today, then got to “chase” the trash trucks in the backyard before coming in for lots of scritches. I’m off to physical therapy, but when I get back, we’re going to lie on the floor and watch TV together. Good girl, Angel.

Ruffian, I can’t even read what else has been posted here, because I know it will make me cry. We lost my boyfriend’s Angel a little over a month ago. But I just wanted to let you know that you’ll be in my thoughts.

In all my years of vet-going, I’ve never had a vet recommend euthanasia lightly. All of the ones I’ve ever talked to take the responsibility very seriously.

I say that not to shove you into a decision but just to say that I really respect the opinions of vets when it comes to “Is it time?”

I’m so sorry, Ruffian.

Good girl, Angel. Good girl.

I’m sure that you’ve done everything you can to make sure that Angel has had the best doggie life possible up until now, and it sounds like you’re more than making sure that it continues to be a great doggie life right up to the very end.

Hugs to you and pats to Angel.

i know what you are going through. spoil her silly, give her hugs and cuddles.

it is so very tough. esp. when you see little signs of normal behaivour. if she likes to chase cats, she will be meeting nod the naughty later on this week.

We just made the appointment for 4:30pm this afternoon. I cried throughout the call to the vet, though I was trying not to. She’s just lying on the floor looking at me, and I feel so guilty looking into those eyes knowing that in four hours, she will be gone.

I feel guilty, period, because we’ve been so busy with our toddler son, our move, and our Masters degrees, and so much else that we haven’t had time to give her much attention. Her shots are up to date, and she had her teeth done in June, and obviously she’s had the medical care she’s needed…but so often she’s just spent the day asleep outside, away from her pack. Inside, she tries to follow us from room to room, but lately has been too weak to do it often.

It’s a right decision, but it SUCKS.

You’re right. It does.

I’m so sorry.

I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. We went through the same thing with Mew, after successfully treating her for her kidney failure for 5 years. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, and literally broke my heart. But the minute I saw her showing visible signs of serious deterioration, I knew I couldn’t bring myself to watch her suffer just for my sake.

I know you know that it really is the right thing to do for Angel, even if it’s killing you inside. And trust me, you don’t want to put her on appetite stimulants anyway – they would make her crazy (though I’m somewhat surprised they didn’t recommend sub-q fluid therapy – maybe that’s just not done for dogs?).

Warm thoughts going your way. She knows how much you’ve loved her and what a great and pampered life you’ve given her. She will rest in peace. Godspeed to you and DeathLlama.

We’re both resting on the floor of my office now. She had an extra helping of here favorite food and lots and lots of petting, with treats snuck in there every so often. She even got some of my lunch.

I wanted to take her for a brief walk, but she’s sleeping next to me. Best to let her rest, then we shall play again. She can’t walk very far any more, but just the sound of the jangling leash still makes her tail wag and ears prick.

I called my mom to let her know, and we cried together. But we celebrated her, too–that tri-color blur that wore a groove in my parents’ backyard as she blazed back and forth, barking her fury at the malevolent trash trucks.

Thank you everyone for your sentiments. I’m sorry not to address you each personally, but I’m already crying enougb as it is. But each of your words are so very helpful and supportive…thank you, thank you, thank you.

I am grateful that I am home recovering from surgery so I can spend more time with her, and on her last day, can give her the extra love, attention, and goodies she deserves.

'Scuse me, I’ve got something in my eye.

Truer words were never spoken. I’m sorry for you, but look at it this way, your dog got all those years of love and caring, the best possible life.

It’s at times like these that I wished glurge like “Rainbow Bridge” was true.