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Old 12-11-2011, 12:19 PM   #21
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I think one concern over this issue is how we'll feel when someday we're laying in a hospital bed and the family's gathered around to have a conversation about whether or not to put us down: "They're a good parent, and they've had a good life, but I don't know how much longer we can afford this..."
Before Medicare many a parent was discharged to pass at home for just that reason. I suspect even today this happens to those without insurance.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:36 PM   #22
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I am at the confluence of two events - the decline of my dog's health and a desire to reduce housing costs.

I have a yellow lab that will be 10 years old next May. The vet put her on Rimadyl earlier this year (pain killer for dogs) because she was crying out while getting up. The medicine helped, but she is losing her spark a bit more each day.

I am renting the same house where I relocated two years ago, for one reason...to give my dog a fenced yard. The house is getting a bit old, and I am tired of the yardwork. I could move into a decent apt. or condo and save about $350-$400 per month.

See where I am going with this? I will have to put my dog down someday soon...the question is, sooner or later? Would this make me a bad person?
A bit confused. Your dog is 9 which is not terribly old. Recently put one of our schnauzers (11 Years old ) on Deramaxx for arthritic pain. His response is that he felt so much better that he started acting young again. Perhaps your lab has something else going on? The pain meds should work. What makes you think you will have to put him down some time soon? Is he diagnosed with something else other than some arthritic pain?
Perhaps you can find a first floor condo somewhere that has a little yard and easy access to the outside.
Lastly...your question to the forum makes me think you already know the answer. Only you know whether you are contemplating this due to your dogs quality of life or your own. Only you can make that decision.
Best of luck with your decision. At some point, those of us with pets have to make a decision. I try to make it when it seems cruel to keep them alive for the wrong reasons. Meaning...it is not in the best interest of our pet.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:59 PM   #23
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I'm with Nords-my parents better not get to be expensive or a lot of trouble!

I think if the dog is needing pain meds, then he doesn't need a yard. Go ahead and downsize and just take him with you.

My old girl Grace was on pain meds for a while at the end. It wasn't until she couldn't walk that we made the difficult decision to put her down.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:14 PM   #24
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I'm with Nords-my parents better not get to be expensive or a lot of trouble!
Well, considering the alternative, I'll go with troublesome & expensive.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:41 PM   #25
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I agree with the rescue group suggestion.

Not to be callus - not sure if there is any way to say this without sounding callus - it sounds as if your dog would be better off in another home. Your dog may still have some quality years left, even if just one or two. He just doesn't need the stress you're directly or indirectly giving him.

For the last 30 years every one of my dogs have been throw-aways. The previous owners felt it was inconvenient to take care of, or care for, what turned out to be a great member of my family. With the exception of one dog who died one morning of a heart attack, I've had to put every one of them down and it troubles me to this day.

I understand about the money situation. Pets can cost a lot if they have a medical condition or if you have to pay more to rent an apartment or a house. That's just part of being a pet owner.

We got two pups from the local humane society several years ago. One of the pups became critically ill with a disease not normally found in this part of Texas. The local vet saw her weekly and a couple of times a month I'd take her to A&M. The first time she went to A&M she was in intensive care in their emergency room for a week. We almost lost her a few times; however, we decided she deserved a chance. She's been disease free for two years although the disease has left its mark on her lungs. Right now I'm watching her and her litter-mate run and play in the hay meadow. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Yes. Would we do it again? Yes. And A&M was happy to have a new case study for their vet students.

It's hard, however dogs can recover from their separation anxiety if they are placed in a good home. Many years ago an old Chihuahua showed up on my porch one day when I lived in the megacity. I checked newspapers, vets, humane society, etc. and no one was looking for this dog. He was not only old, he was sick. I took him to my vet and he was able to remove the little guy's diseased teeth and stabilize his congestive heart failure. The little guy used to sit on the lower ledge of the front window of the house just wanting to go home - wherever that was. Eventually he began sitting on the ledge waiting for me to come home. The morning his little heart gave out was one of the saddest times for me. He just wanted someone to love him and take care of him. I hope he found both with me.

Find him a good home.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:33 PM   #26
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<snip>
The meds/weekly subcutaneous IVs were not that cheap (30 Euro/week) but not so prohibitively expensive so as to end her life for cost reasons.
Just for future reference: we have been through this with two cats. The vet was selling us a liter of lactated ringers, administration kit and needles for $55 US -- usually lasted about two weeks for every-other-day treatments. We found an online pharmacy where we could get 12 (liters of ringers, admin kits and needles) for $75, bringing the price down to $6.25 per liter. Price included free shipping. 12 liters if ringers is kinda heavy. Shop online.

The RenaGel, we could not find a good deal on, so we bought it from Walgreens. As I recall it was about $95 / fill, with each fill lasting about six weeks.

It is a tough decision. The last time (August 2011) we asked the vet if it was time (not exactly in that way, though), and it was time. After you have done all you can, there is nothing else that you can do.
Do all you can do, then you have to let go. Perhaps the OP can give the pet a little more time.
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:31 PM   #27
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The little guy used to sit on the lower ledge of the front window of the house just wanting to go home - wherever that was. Eventually he began sitting on the ledge waiting for me to come home. The morning his little heart gave out was one of the saddest times for me. He just wanted someone to love him and take care of him. I hope he found both with me.
That's very touching East Texas. Our pets ask for so little and give us so much in return.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:12 AM   #28
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I watched a pet euthanasia video on YouTube last night and it was very upsetting. This will be a difficult decision. I will continue to think about this for several months at least.

Thanks for the advice and comments.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:32 AM   #29
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EastTexas...have to say your post had me choking up a bit. As Major Tom said, very touching.
Rustward...went thru the same thing with my daughters first cat. We injected her with saline for kidney failure for about 2 years when finally it was time. Even then, broke my heart to have to take BooBoo out of her arms and drive her to the vet to be put down. It haunts me to this day when I think about it. I think because I was the one that had to make the decision and my daughter was so upset. Sometimes I wonder if I could have waited but BooBoo had lost all control of her bowels . My daughter had been "hiding" that fact by getting rid of the towels. I just couldn't take the sanitation issue. Gerbil Wheel...when it's the right time or when it's the right thing to do, you will know. Even if that decision is finding him a good home. Good luck to you.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:03 AM   #30
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This is an adult diaper situation... depends.

We once put down a seven year old dog that had bone cancer. We actually had a few good months with him after the terminal prognosis, went and bought a better camera got some nice home movies of him and he downed plenty of steak. When he was suffering more than enjoying things we called the mobile vet to come put him to sleep at home at the foot of the bed he was always laying on.

We just finished four months of chemo for our 14 year old dog. Chemo is expensive and a pain in the ass and one might think it isn't worth it for a 14 year old dog especially since median survivability is only another 6 months or so. We chose to go thru with it because 1) chemo not too much side-effects with dogs 2) 6 months is a lot larger chunk of life percentage-wise for a dog lifespan.

It is really bizarre as she was at death's door in August in such bad shape that vet wasn't even sure she'd survive anesthesia required to properly diagnose her problem, but now four months later she's back to a relatively healthy happy old dog. We know the cancer is likely coming back next year so are cherishing every day with her and spoiling her at meal times as much as we can while maintaining a good weight.

Good luck with your pooch!
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:23 AM   #31
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Many years ago the young 'un graduated from college, married, and moved to a state far, far away. I wouldn't let her take her aged cat because I just didn't think the cat could handle the stress of the move and a new house (we lived in the same house forever). Let me set the baseline for this - the young 'un had that cat since she was in the third grade. She loved that cat. That cat loved her. They were bonded souls. The young 'un would call and say "hi" and "how's my cat?". She was so upset I wouldn't let her take the cat. (In retrospect I should have let the cat go with her).

Several months after the young 'un moved, I had to have the cat put to sleep. This was an awful decision and one I fretted about and... it was a hard decision. The hardest part was how to tell the young 'un what happened.

I put it off as long as I could.... I took a deep breath, picked up the phone, dialed the number, and her husband answered the phone. I said "Oh good, you answered the phone. Tell XXXX I had to put her cat to sleep" and I hung up the phone. He could do the dirty deed.

The phone rings. The young 'un told me her husband said I wanted to talk to her......
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:31 AM   #32
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We just finished four months of chemo for our 14 year old dog. Chemo is expensive and a pain in the ass and one might think it isn't worth it for a 14 year old dog especially since median survivability is only another 6 months or so. We chose to go thru with it because 1) chemo not too much side-effects with dogs 2) 6 months is a lot larger chunk of life percentage-wise for a dog lifespan.

It is really bizarre as she was at death's door in August in such bad shape that vet wasn't even sure she'd survive anesthesia required to properly diagnose her problem, but now four months later she's back to a relatively healthy happy old dog. We know the cancer is likely coming back next year so are cherishing every day with her and spoiling her at meal times as much as we can while maintaining a good weight.
I saw that with my neighbor's Golden who was 9 at the time. I would definitely opt for trying that with an otherwise healthy dog.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:26 AM   #33
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Taking care of a pet is a great responsibility, and regardless of the decision, you will likely have some degree of regret. Only you can sort things out in such a way that you can live with your decision.

My only advice is to treat your dog like you would a human member of your immediate family. If it were your father, mother, sister, brother, etc... how would you handle things?
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:02 AM   #34
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"...to save money"

IMHO, the OP has already stated their reasoning by the title of the post.
I'm not going to offer my opinion on h/her reasons, but just to reflect upon our personal situation, as being part of a Sheltie rescue group for many years.

We first got involved upon the passing of our second Sheltie, who at the age of 11 developed kidney disease (as many canines do).

At the end, I was giving him IV's (yes, me - not the vet; however I did get instructions on how to place the needle in his "scruff" and hang the bag) for the last 4-6 weeks of his life. He was part of our family for so many years, could I do less?

After his passing, we got a "store bought" Sheltie (the first two were from breeders, but no longer in the business), who was a real challenge. "Our little girl" was a spunky pup, who grew into a spunky adult. We looked for a solution, and for the first time considered a second dog (hoping the other dog would become her "buddy").

However, after having more than a few pups (which are great) and getting older, we started looking for an adult Sheltie who would become her "partner in crime".

It came to pass that we found a Sheltie rescue group and we started to look at their available dogs (on-line). This one guy, a bit older (at 10 years) was constantly being "passed over" due to his age and the fact that he had KD (kidney disease). While he did have some folks show interest, they shied away not due to his age, but rather his KD situation.

After a lot of thought and soul-searching, I (e.g. we) decided to adopt him to try to let him live his remaining life as best we could. I made the commitment that I would not try to extend his life through "extraordinary measures" (as we had done with our previous dog, who I administered IV's), but to make the best of it. My hope is that he would remain alive to see "4 seasons".

As it turned out, he became a "best bud" to our little girl and I was able to uncover some attributes that were unknown to the foster parents. He loved to catch Frisbee, and able to go though the jumps (I have a set of gates for practice). The foster folks were unaware of what he could actually do, and he certainly showed a "lust for life" as he went through his exercises.

My hope for him was met. He came to his end after 10 months (which covered four seasons), and while I had regrets on putting him down, I knew that it was the best for him.

After his passing, we still wanted to get another Sheltie (via rescue) and put our name back on the list.

About two months later, I was called at work from the rescue group with an emergency situation. They were called out on a case in which a Sheltie who had a health problem needed to be rescued ASAP. While they understood that our previous rescue was related to our prior experience with KD, this case was different. The Sheltie had been thrown off an apartment balcony as a pup, and his right rear leg/thigh was shattered. He had received surgery (pins inserted), but he walked with difficulty, and at the time was 9 years of age.

He was currently in a home that had two toddlers that would (for fun) pull on his "bad leg" to make him "growl/snap" (they thought it was fun).

The rescue group was just trying to get a foster family (DW/me) to take him for a short time to get him out of his current situation.

I agreed (DW didn't know of his "disability" at the time, and didn't appreciate my decision when I told her).

Actually, he turned out to be the perfect "partner" for our little girl. He/she loved to play "pull rope" and would chase each other around. With his leg, he was not fast, but our girl let him "catch her" as they ran together.

As it turned out, he had a normal lifespan of fourteen years (normal is 10-15 for a Sheltie) and at the end suffered from aches/pains related to his age, and his long suffering leg/thigh. Yeah, I had tears for all my dogs over the years when they passed, but I had more so for Jessie.

As a follow-up, we adopted our next rescue. Since I had taken two "problem dogs" from the group in the past, I went to the top of the list to see if they could match us with a younger (and healthier) Sheltie.

About six months later, we adopted our current rescue (and our "old girl" is still kicking). We adopted him at three years of age, when his former owner (a widow) had to go into care due to her Alzheimer’s.

He's now age six and our old girl (who started this whole rescue thing) turns 10 in February.

We've had six Shelties during our 40+ years of marriage and even though things were (financially) tough - especially during the early years, we would never put down a part of our "family", due to financial necessity. There are other ways (via rescue) and other families/individuals who are willing to take dogs (or any animal) who needs end of life care. I can't believe I/we are the only ones.

Just my opinion on the question at hand...
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:27 AM   #35
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I watched a pet euthanasia video on YouTube last night and it was very upsetting. This will be a difficult decision. I will continue to think about this for several months at least.

Thanks for the advice and comments.
I had to put down my old golden retriever a couple of years ago due to a swallowing disease that eventually led to pneumonia. When I took her to the vet, I thought the vet could just come out to my SUV and give her the shot as she lay in the back. But they said that wasn't a good idea as there can be bowl movement problems and they preferred taking her inside. When they took her in there, I just froze. I couldn't make myself go in and be with her as I should have. I was just a weak chicken shat. Even though my vet is very caring lady and I know she comforted my dog, I still regret my actions to this day.

So when the time comes for your dog to go, be sure to be there. I know I won't make that mistake again.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:53 AM   #36
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My second Sheltie was recently diagnosed with Cushing's Disease. The vet said his meds would cost approx $250-300 per month. This kind of money could sure shore up my retirement plan. Also, I've spent approx $1K in blood tests, etc in the last 3 or 4 months on this fellow. There is no question that I'll continue with his treatment until he is suffering even if it's years. That was part of the bargain I made when I brought him home to live with us.

Our girl sheltie was put down 9 years ago. She was suffering from liver failure. The vet said that it was time, but we needed one more weekend with her. We took her home and our son (he was about 14 yo then) sat up with her the entire weekend, carried her in and out etc. On the following Monday, we gave her up; it was one of the worst things we've experienced. Thank God we were with her and she wasn't alone when the time came. Nine years later, and I'm teary eyed writing about it.

Please don't put a pet down due to $. I can't believe you wouldn't regret your decision later. Please call a rescue group as others have suggested.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:24 AM   #37
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I had to put down my old golden retriever a couple of years ago due to a swallowing disease that eventually led to pneumonia. When I took her to the vet, I thought the vet could just come out to my SUV and give her the shot as she lay in the back. But they said that wasn't a good idea as there can be bowl movement problems and they preferred taking her inside. When they took her in there, I just froze. I couldn't make myself go in and be with her as I should have. I was just a weak chicken shat. Even though my vet is very caring lady and I know she comforted my dog, I still regret my actions to this day.

So when the time comes for your dog to go, be sure to be there. I know I won't make that mistake again.
Dawg, my DH struggled with being there for the first of our pets, but I encouraged him to be there with him and he was surprised at how peaceful it was. We've been together too many times since then with our pets as they passed and appreciated that final connection and the chance to give them "a good end".

As a longtime member of a rescue group, like rescueme, I can say that older ill dogs are not at the top of anyone's list for adoption, either through a shelter or a rescue group. We don't have any better solutions than you do, and have a hard enough time finding good homes for animals that aren't expensively ill. However, I cried more over the loss of my Anna foster dog, who only had 3 years with us, than I did over my Grace dog, who I had from age 4 months to her 15th year.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:06 AM   #38
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We definitely thought it was right decision having mobile vet come out to the house to put him to sleep, as just the act of going to the vet used to stress the dog out. Vet did an initial jab of a tranq to calm him down, then he gave us a few more minutes in privacy with him in the bedroom and we got to thank him for spending seven years with us etc. then final shot to sleep.

Only weird thing was the eyes, I had been led to believe from movies you could just shut 'em but that didn't work.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:11 AM   #39
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Many years ago an old Chihuahua showed up on my porch one day when I lived in the megacity. I checked newspapers, vets, humane society, etc. and no one was looking for this dog. He was not only old, he was sick. I took him to my vet and he was able to remove the little guy's diseased teeth and stabilize his congestive heart failure. The little guy used to sit on the lower ledge of the front window of the house just wanting to go home - wherever that was. Eventually he began sitting on the ledge waiting for me to come home. The morning his little heart gave out was one of the saddest times for me. He just wanted someone to love him and take care of him. I hope he found both with me.

Find him a good home.
You're great East Texas. All of our dogs have been different, but no matter how much we may have spent on caring for them, it was a bargain without question...
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:46 AM   #40
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