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Pet Lovers

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23 Oct 2008
Hello everyone,

I came across your forum while researching the topic of coping with the death of a pet. It's a topic I've been trying to familiarize myself with for quite some time now, as our doberman, Deuce, has been afflicted with a number of maladies over the past couple of years: Addison's Disease, a heart condition... and most recently, a neurological disorder that has caused him to lose the reflexes in his hind legs. Sadly, at his age (approximately 9-10) and with his other problems, he's not a candidate for any additional surgeries or intense treatments; and after taking a turn for the worse this week, we've accepted that it's time to let him go. Deuce is being put to sleep tomorrow at 5:45. sad.gif

Naturally, I'd always been wary of making this decision. I didn't want to make it too soon, while he may still have had some enjoyable time left; nor did I want to wait too long and reach the point where he was simply being kept alive without truly LIVING. Friends and vets alike had told me that "he'll let you know when it's time." I honestly feel like he's done just that. This week, he's been unable to stand on his own. He's clearly in pain, and he snapped at me last night when I tried to help him up--the first time he's ever snapped at anyone. I've had to carry him up and down the stairs, (not an easy chore with an 80 lb. dog, and he never liked being lifted even when he was healthy) and he just whines whenever he's left alone for more than a few moments at a time. He's not himself at all, and I see things only getting worse if we wait any longer.

We thought we were losing him 3 weeks ago, when he first showed signs of collapsing. I took him to his vet, who suspected that he was experiencing a heart problem and ordered overnight observation at an emergency facility. We feared that he wouldn't make it out of that facility. Instead, the next day, he showed considerable improvement! He was back home, eating, and even playing with toys. However, that was when we accepted that his long-term prognosis wasn't good at all, nor would it likely BE very long. Whatever was causing his loss of mobility was likely a spinal or brain condition, which would require a barrage of MRIs and risky surgery simply to diagnose--and we just can't subject him to that, let alone afford it. After conferring with Deuce's vet, we basically decided that we'd just try to make him as comfortable as possible in the coming days/weeks--and the next time he took a turn for the worse, we'd likely have to put him down. That's where we are now.

We're dreading what's about to be done in less than 24 hours, but anxious to get it over with at the same time.

We have 3 other dogs, besides Deuce. Ironically, he's not even the oldest. But I suppose being the biggest, and being a pure bred, he's just been prone to more problems. He's always faced them with the utmost stoicism, too. His vets were always amazed at how stoic he's been throughout it all. But needless to say, despite all the preparation I've tried to do for tomorrow, it's going to hit me like a ton of bricks when he's actually gone.

To this point, I've actually held up pretty well. I've accepted that it's the right decision at the right time. That became clear to me when I realized that hearing Deuce's crying and knowing that we could no longer do anything to help him was harder than the thought of losing him. I keep telling myself that this needs to be done; that this is the best thing I can do for my friend to ease his suffering. Those thoughts seem to help; but then I'll see something as simple as a favorite squeaky toy and realize that he'll never play with that again--and that's when I feel overcome with emotion.

I guess I just wanted to write in the hopes of hearing from those who've been through this experience before. Reading some of your stories throughout this forum has already helped a great deal.

It has also been a tremendously tough month on us. In addition to Deuce's problems, we learned that a close family friend committed suicide 2 weeks ago (a week after her 21st birthday), and on the very same day, another friend suffered a miscarriage. I almost feel like Deuce was somehow preparing us for both that grief as well as what we're about to go through tomorrow. After spending that night at the emergency vet, we were given this opportunity to spend more time with him and to prepare as much as possible for the inevitable. As difficult as it is, I have to think it's much easier this way--as opposed to losing a pet unexpectedly.

Any positive vibes you can send will be much appreciated... especially tomorrow around 5:45, as it certainly won't be much of a "happy hour." sad.gif

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