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How did you know it was time?

Discussion in 'Diseases & Illnesses' started by shelee, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. shelee

    shelee Forums Regular

    Jan 31, 2017
    Very depressing question, esp at this time of year. I previously had a Sheltie with a liver shunt and it was obvious when life was no longer worth living. I currently have a almost 12 yr old Sheltie with advance elbow arthritis and panic attacks. My husband and I are just beginning to discuss this. I was wondering if anyone could share how they knew their Sheltie was no longer enjoying life and was ready? Thank you.
    Hanne, KarenCurtis and Piper's mom like this.
  2. Shelby's mom

    Shelby's mom Forums Enthusiast

    Jan 4, 2012
    I am sorry you are going through this. I know how difficult it is.

    For us it felt as if Hollie told us it was time. She was sick with a gallbladder mucocele and was too sick for surgery. We were trying to treat it with medications. We could just tell by looking in her eyes that she was just “done”. I don’t know how to explain it. She was no longer interested in eating, had no desire to play or really do anything other than just lay down. She wouldn’t even bark - and she was a barker. She just didn’t have the will to continue and she lost that sparkle in her eyes. That’s how we knew it was time to let her pass peacefully.
    RikyR, Ann, Piper's mom and 1 other person like this.
  3. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    The hardest decision ever. When they stop eating (all of my dogs are big chow hounds) is a big clue. What Shelby's mom described above is what we've experienced, although we had a very sudden unexpected passing as well. My little Ally had both pancreatitis and kidney failure. She had stopped eating and we knew time was near, but when she had a sudden big seizure, that was the sign the time was right then. You know your dog well I'm sure, so I think it will be obvious. I'm so sorry. This is the toughest thing about being a loving pet parent. I hope your girl has a bit more quality time left. :hugs
    Hanne, Ann and Piper's mom like this.
  4. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Moderator

    Jun 26, 2015
    I'm so sorry your having to have this discussion. I asked my vet that same question when Riley had cancer of the spine...her answer was when he's not able to do the things he's always enjoyed...
    Of course there's more to it than that, I had a hard time deciding with my last Cocker. I think you just know.
    Hanne, Sharon7 and Ann like this.
  5. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    I am so sorry you are having to discuss this topic as I know how difficult it is to make the decision. As others have said, you can just tell in their eyes when they no longer can go on. There are some tools that may help.


    I hope this helps. It is such a personal decision. Take care... hugs!

    2020-11-30_7-02-17.jpg 2020-11-30_7-02-40.jpg 2020-11-30_7-03-02.jpg
    tofu pup, Shelby's mom, RikyR and 4 others like this.
  6. trini

    trini Premium Member

    Nov 13, 2013
    There is no easy answer when we are faced with what is one of the most heartbreaking decisions we will ever be called on to make. And each dog has their own way of letting us know when that time has come. Although I find the signals different with each precious soul we have had to let go, there are some common symptoms that I have seen in most: a once happy tail that seldom wags anymore, not wanting to get up and do the things that used to bring excited barks and a happy face, eyes that seem dull without any joy in them, trouble settling comfortably to sleep through the night, retreating into corners of a room as if trying to hide from life, some not wanting to eat but I have found that this can really differ as I have had some who ate right up until the end, and finally panting and pacing as indications of pain.

    I always ask myself if my little one could make a choice, would he/she want to go on because there is still enough comfort in living or has life become nothing but struggle and pain and there is literally no joy or comfort left...only the stoic attempt to get through each day no matter how awful.

    I am so sorry you are going through this decision making process...it hurts more than words can say and my heart goes out to you and your husband...and to your beloved little Sheltie.

    Hanne, tofu pup, KarenCurtis and 5 others like this.
  7. shelee

    shelee Forums Regular

    Jan 31, 2017
    Thank you. You mentioned two things, one Missy still loves to eat and I believe she always will if there is anyway possible. Second, the panting and pacing. This is Missy every single day, mostly in the evenings. My vet thinks this pacing and panting is nervousness and part of her anxiety issues. I think it is pain. She can't get comfortable lying down. She tries, gets up, repositions several times, over and over, eventually she finds a comfortable position for a bit. However when I go to bed and put her up on the bed she finds a position fairly easily and is there all night. It so hard to see her in pain, I can't imagine myself wanting to live if I were her, yet......
    ghggp, Ann, Sharon7 and 1 other person like this.
  8. shelee

    shelee Forums Regular

    Jan 31, 2017

    Thank you for this. I am going to print it out. It may help clarify.
    ghggp, Sharon7 and Piper's mom like this.
  9. Elei

    Elei Premium Member

    Jul 10, 2019
    I am so sorry to hear your sweet Missy isn’t doing well.

    Others have given you good advice. I don’t think I’m any good at this kind of decision.

    My first Sheltie, Noel, was 15.5 years old, and she was the kind of dog who would eat no matter what. She was mostly deaf with very poor eyesight. She spent most of her time sleeping, and also started acting confused, maybe dementia. She would walk into a corner, then freak out if I tried to help her. Stuff like that. I was telling a close friend (who knew Noel) about this, describing how Noel no longer could figure out how to go into her crate to get her dinner like she’d done all her life. If I tried to gently guide or lure her to her food bowl she would panic. My friend said, “well maybe it’s time.” I was quite shocked because I thought Noel was doing fine. I guess because she’d declined so slowly I just got used to it. And I thought I could help Noel through any issues. Anyway I kind of brushed off that comment but less than a week later Noel died. Of course I wonder if maybe I let her live too long, but I don’t think she was suffering and the panicking behavior really only started in the last weeks.
    Piper's mom and Sharon7 like this.
  10. shelee

    shelee Forums Regular

    Jan 31, 2017
    The vet Missy has seen her whole life told us in his experience he sadly had nothing else to offer Missy, he had referred us to another who specializes in in ortho and has underwater treadmills, laser treatments etc. We did see this person and the laser did nothing, acupuncture also did nothing, he suggested stem cell, we opted due to Missys age, what she has already gone through and her panic attacks not to do that. Soooo, I went back to a old "country" vet we used when we were still crop farming. She picked up on what she thinks might be the beginnings of sundowners dementia. I had never heard of this, researched it a bit and many things do fit. This vet is also the one that suggested we increase the Gabapentin and don't hesitate to give Xanax if she is having a anxiety attack. But she told me if she is going to treat Missy and prescribe these meds I can't be going to other vets. Yet, she is having issues getting the drugs Missy is on, mainly the Amantadine and the price I am paying for Xanax and Dasaquin is almost double what our regular vet was charging. Than you for telling me your experience with Noel.
    Piper's mom and Sharon7 like this.

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