People who keep aging/sick animals alive ...I pit you. ( New Improved Lameness)

There is a mom of a friend who has an 18 year old tea cup poodle named Peanut.

Peanut cannot see, chew, walk, lay down without assistance and has a host of maladies that make a person wince when the Mom lists them.

The dog was ready to give up the ghost when I first met him three years ago, now, Peanut is just being kept alive because Mommie cannot let go. His vet bill alone is higher than my family bill of humans for the doctor. I know, she told me, and I just got over being pretty sick.

And, FTR, the friend (Peanut’s moms daughter) is another one who takes in deranged, physcotic semi-feral cats who hate everyone, everything and every cat that needs buttloads of Vet bills and pocket fulls of mula to keep them from barfing, bleeding, killing everything. But she can’t get rid of them ( to some other house ) because she’s too kind hearted. she’s such a milktoast. Nice, but GAH!!! I won’t let my kids play at her house because the cats all hate kids and my kids love cats.

Please, for the sake of all things humane, we cannot euthanize humans when they are desperately old, a decaying shell of their former selves with nothing left upstairs or in a tremendous amount of incurable, irreversable pain, but you can do this for your pet. It may be hard, but your pet relies on you to have a voice and make sound judgement for their needs and wants. Keeping it alive when it is time for it to go is a selfish, selfish, selfish thing to do. A life toothless, unable to walk, see, poo, sit, or laydown without assistance, with a body riddled with pain is no life at all.

I can only hope that Peanut dies a peaceful death and is reincarnated as the future health care worker who will take care of you in your last long days at Shady Meadows Retirement Gardens.

This is no slam on the health care workers.

I don’t know if the issue is as clear-cut as you make it sound. I have a couple of aging dogs. One is in the early stages of kidney failure. I give her subcutaneous fluids once a week to keep her feeling better. I know she’s getting deaf and arthritic, but she still eats well, and enjoys going outside and watching the world go by. I’ve had a dog with severe epileptic seizures. We spent a lot of money and time finding the right balance of medication to keep her mostly seizure-free. It was worth it – she’d been seizure-free for almost a year when we lost her to cancer.

Lots of folks say the animals will let you know when they’re ready to go. I haven’t had to make the decision to have an animal euthanized yet. I hope I’m wise enough to know when the time is right. But I’m not going to put an animal down just because it gets old. No way.

I don’t think Shirley was suggesting you euthanize an animal just because it gets old. It sounds like poor Peanut is suffering.

You’ve got to consider the quality of the life the animal is leading. If a pet can still get around well, seems happy and relatively pain-free, there’s no reason to put it down, but once they stop enjoying life because of pain, it’s time to let them go.

A friend of ours has a dog like that. Mostly blind, with stiff, painful joints. You can’t pet her because of the tumors on her back that cause her pain when touched. It tears at my heart every time I see this dog because I know she’s miserable. She should have been euathanized a long time ago.

My dog, at eight, is getting older, and I see signs of discomfort in her joints. She still seems happy, and will romp after a squirrel, but if she starts having more bad days than good, I pray for the strength to do the right thing. I love her too much to let her suffer.

I think if an animal is ill, but still has happiness and a zest for life, then by all means, give it all the help you can. But I do agree that a suffering animal that is being more or less forcibly being kept alive is pure selifshness on the part of the owner.

My sister-in-law had a cat who died a couple years ago. A few months before his death it was discovered he had cancer. She couldn’t bear the thought of putting him down, yet she couldn’t afford treatment, so the poor cat suffered with tumors growing bigger and bigger in his mouth by the month. When I saw him about a week before he died, he was painfully thin and could no longer close his mouth due to the size of the growths - when you looked into his eyes it was unmistakable how sad he was. I insisted she take him to be put to sleep - and she finally did, before he had to suffer any more.

When we discovered our beloved family cat Caliban had lymphoma, we were devastated. I’m so thankful this happened at a time when we actually had enough money to pay for chemotherapy, because it bought us a few more months. She didn’t seem to be in too much pain, but she wasn’t eating well and was getting weak. The chemo turned that around for awhile, but then (as the vet tactfully put it) it came out of remission.

At that point, we knew we had to have her euthanized. It was heartbreaking, and I still miss her because she was a wonderful cat. But there’s no way we would have let her just waste away to nothingness – once we knew there was nothing more we could do, we ended her suffering.

When an animal is suffering that badly, it’s time to let go. I think it’s horrible when people keep suffering animals alive. It’s selfish.

For God sake! I was making these decisions as a child! If my guinea pig was suffering so badly the vet said the best thing was to put him to sleep, then I let him do it!

Lots of folks can be very wrong.
The decision is only an easy one if you have already let your animal suffer too long, and it is obvious that he is suffering. It is quite painful and difficult if you are trying to do the best you can for your pet and prevent them from suffering.

I don’t condone putting down a pet because it is old.
My dog is 9 now, and getting slower due to arthritis. She gets an OTC pill on bad days for it and is raring to go. I dread the day we have to put her down and thought last year that because of a leg problem we were going to have to do it. We gave the kids the speech, said our goodbyes to Murph ( who looked as only a Lab can with big fat brown eyes that just suck at your soul) and decided that since she wasn’t in pain ( as the Vet said) we would take it as it came.

She is still with us, farting up her territory, I am happy to report.

I agree with the OP, and frankly (as awful as it may sound) think that it would be easier for me to let go of the dog than to have to see it struggle through each and every day. Thankfully I’ve never had to watch a human loved one suffer in such a way (so far . . . ), but I think I’d feel the same way.

That said, I do think it’s sometimes hard to draw the line–especially since the dog can’t express his/her wishes verbally–and so understand how some pet owners end up letting it go too far.

And finally, as a slight hijack, I’d like to add to this pitting the people at the OTHER end of the spectrum, who will put a dog down or “get rid of it” because “she kept chewing things up” or “he wouldn’t stop barking.”

I agree with the OP to a point. If you were to look at my 18 year-old cat, you’d probably think I was a terrible pet owner. She weighs 22 lbs, has arthritis, and is miserable. She’s my baby and I hate it that she hurts. She lives with my parents, though, so I don’t have the ability to take her to the vet every time.

Should she be put down? Probably. I’ve been preparing myself for it for several years. She’s told me that it’s time. We communicate, I love her dearly, and I know she’s ready.

Our vet keeps trying more and more treatments on her. He won’t let her go. I know I should say the vet knows best, but in Izzy’s case, he doesn’t see her cry with every step, he doesn’t see her eating less, he doesn’t see what we see. He sees a cat with arthritis and he wants to fix her.

Honestly, I’m at the point where I don’t want to take her in again because I don’t want to put her through more senseless treatments that don’t work. So we look like terrible pet owners because our vet won’t let her go. She is MY cat so my parents won’t take her in to be put down unless I’m there - but if he won’t let her go peacefully, there’s nothing I can do.

It might sound horrible, but I’m hoping she dies peacefully in her sleep soon. Not because I don’t love her, but because I love her so much that I want her to feel better. This cat was my best friend in middle school when I was bullied and teased, and I only want the best for her. I will cry like a baby when she goes (and I tear up just thinking about it), but I want her to be happy.


The owner of the barn where I keep my two horses is facing this decision for two of her beloved equines. Shadow is an elderly mare with a number of health problems, including Cushing’s. Eddie is a pony who’s foundered, and looks aged well beyond his years. He’s only nine or so years old, yet he has the graying of the face you’d see in a 30-year-old horse.

Last winter was terribly hard on both of them. During the coldest months, both could barely hobble, as the chill seeped into their aching joints and feet. The barn owner did all she could to keep them comfortable, and came close to putting them down. Come springtime, and returning warmth, they both recovered to happy paddock-ornament condition.

But now fall is upon us. The barn owner and I have talked about the difficult days ahead. I believe this fall she’ll have Shadow put down, to spare her the rigors of another winter the old girl might not survive in any case. Eddie? My friend can’t handle the thought of losing both of them together, and she’s still wrestling with what she shoudl do in his case.

I for damned sure don’t envy her. But I know she’ll do what’s right for both of them.

Yes there is. You can go to another vet.

Ava, any chance of getting another vet (I hope that didn’t sound snarky, because it wasn’t meant to be)?

My mom’s vet did the same thing with her dog, who was old and clinging fiercely to her last nerve. It used to be that she’d throw up when she got the least bit agitated, but then it got to the point where she would (TMI! TMI! TMI!) start bleeding rectally and making a mess all over the place! The vet just kept giving her more and more and more tranquilizers, to the point where she couldn’t walk, or even wake up (at a couple of points we thought she was dead), and recommended a diet of hamburger and rice.

Nothing seemed to work (and I missed several days of work in the process of “trying”), but the vet wouldn’t give up, so finally my mother went to the other vet in the practice and just yelled until they agreed to put the dog down.

This summer, my cat got cancer. He was fifteen years old and had already had cancer once before (skin cancer which was successfully removed years earlier), so we knew that he was going to go down hill.

For as long as he seemed to enjoy his life, running around, playing, eating like a champ, we left him alone. When he started to slow down, play less, eat less, and spend more time sleeping than usual, we figured he knew he was ill. We decided to keep a close watch and if he made an indication that he was in pain, we’d have him put down.

He died on his own, in his house, before he ever seemed to cry or meow or indicate that he was feeling pain, so hopefully he wasn’t feeling pain.

The other cat is also fifteen years old, and has mild arthritis. He stands up like an old man, stretches and pops his joints, and then he goes on about his merry business of bugging for food, laying around outside, chasing stuff, and being the happy if not odd cat that he’s always been. Yes, he’s old, and yes, he has arthritis, but if these conditions don’t bother him, I see no reason to put him down now. If he was incapable of living a relatively normal cat life, then I could see it. As it is, he’s a happy cat whose favorite activity in life is to chase bugs under the front porch.

If he enjoys his life, why would I end it?

It didn’t sound snarky. I guess we haven’t gone to another vet because he’s been her vet (and our vet) for over 20 years - he was the vet for all of our cats. We’re supposed to be able to trust him. He’s like our own family doctor. And it’s not like he’s doing it out of spite for her - I think he genuinely thinks he will find something to help her.

I’m visiting my parents in a couple of weeks. I’ll call them this week and see if we can take her to another vet when I’m home.


avabeth, with such a long relationship with this vet, could you try this? Tell him: “We’ve relied on you for over 20 years to take care of our pets, and you’ve done a wonderful job. We know you love them too. But you don’t see them every day, as we do, and you don’t see, as we do, how much Izzy is suffering. Please, I know how much you want to help Izzy, but the only thing that will help her now is a peaceful release from suffering. I don’t want to have to take her to another vet, but if you won’t give her this final gift, I’ll be forced to do it, for Izzy’s sake.”

Actually, that’s probably something for my dad to do - he’s good at things like that. I know he’s got to take our younger cat to the vet for his check-up, so maybe he can discuss it with him there.

What’s hard is that even people who’ve only seen her a couple of times wonder why we haven’t done it yet. My husband met her for the first time over a year ago, and he immediately asked me why she was in such pain. If they can see it, why can’t he?

Being 8 hours away from her really sucks - but if it comes right down to it, I’ll get in the car and drive to be with her in the end - the one thing my parents did promise is that they would never do it without my permission or presence. And I’d get there within 24 hours if I had to in order to prevent her from suffering any longer.


[hijack] What do you give her? I’ll ask my vet if it’s an option for my dog. I don’t think her discomfort is severe enough for a more powerful prescritption drug.


You can get a coated, low-dosage aspirin product made for dogs. That’s what I use for mine.

Any possibility of Eddie being sent somewhere warmer?