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Wednesday, 11 August 2021


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Sorry to hear what you're going through with your dog. We put down our 16-year-old Sheltie last month. That always hurts, but it's the inevitable end of a life well lived, and not lost to cars or predators or accidents.

It sound like your dog's time is very near. Dogs have a sense of dignity and pride, I think. They learn the rules- don't mess in the house, don't spill things - and they have an innate instinct to keep themselves clean. When a dog can no longer follow those rules, I imagine that causes them embarrassment and anxiety. That's not a situation that should be prolonged.

Also from my experience- the best way to dull the pain of euthanasia is to get your next puppy first.

I feel your sadness. It's tough when a beloved canine companion's quality of life succumbs to age. My wife and I lost our 11-year old chiweenie, Little Guy, during the early days of the pandemic. ... Several months later, we rescued a rat/jack terrier. He's a fine friend, but we'll always have a special place in our hearts for LG. Peace to you and Lulu.


Having had way too many pets over the years and listening to our vet say "You'll know when it's time" and "If you're thinking about end-of-life for your pet, it's probably not too early to let them go". A trick with helping your dog that has trouble with their rear legs is to help them by taking a bath towel and folding it a time or two width-wise and making a cradle under their stomach. It helps them walk and when they find where they want to go, you just help lower themselves down and back up when they're done. Hope this helps a bit.

I was very sad to read of Lulu's condition, Mike. I know your predicament well; been there twice. Keep in mind that animals instinctively try to hide their ailments as best as they can for fear of becoming prey. So what you see is likely far better than what Lulu's actually experiencing.

The end will come to us all. We should all be lucky enough to have a loved one call the end humanely. Lulu was one very lucky dog to have found you.

Mike, don't put off the decision about Lulu for too long. I've had to go through this three times and it's one of the worst things you'll ever have to do in life. But Lulu will appreciate it. I never cried when my parents died. But I did when my loving dog-children did.

With my last dog, I delayed the inevitable until she was miserable. She would spend her days with her head under a bed because she could not get under any further. She would fall down and could not get up and cry like a human about it. I hope I have the strength to act more quickly with my current dog-child. She doesn't deserve the torture. None of them did. None of them do.

Mike, unfortunately, I also have had to face that decision regarding my Lab. Lucy lived 14+ years and was very much a member of the family. I had finally made that fateful decision but the first time when I got to the vet's office, I couldn't go through with it and brought her home. I knew I was doing it for me and not for her. No one can tell another person when it's time. For weeks, after she was, gone I imagined hearing her or expected to see her when I came home. It's a tough thing to have to do and my heart goes out to you.

Our vet once told us when asked the "When is it time" question, that our kitty, 22 years old at the time, would tell us when she's ready, and damn if she didn't. We just knew it was the time, all of us. Lulu will tell you and you will know. I know how you are feeling. It is hard, but you will have so many wonderful memories of her and your lives lived together.

When our cats have reached the end stage, there is a point where it's obvious that catness has left and misery has replaced it. Will treatments make her a cat again? When the answer is, "Sure", then we proceed with treatment. When the answer is, "Yes, but maybe not for long", we will probably also proceed, if the treatment doesn't involve suffering, or recovery nearly as long as "not for long". But when we hear "she's not going to be a cat again", that's when we make The Decision.

But having figured that out doesn't make it any easier. Most pet owners wait about a month too long, and that is certainly true of me. We need them every bit as much as they need us.

So very sorry to hear that Lulu is struggling. Loving pets have always been a very important part of our family. The decision that you will must make is one we have faced more than a few times. The decision of when is difficult at best, but one in which kindness and love will guide you.

First, I'm sorry to hear you and your beloved pet are going through this. I've been through it myself. But Rick Denney is right: Most pet owners wait too long. If you are already thinking in terms of end of life... then it's probably just about time. Mind you, I'm not saying that it's not going to hurt anyway. I'd say you should base your decision on whether you think Lulu is happy anymore. It certainly doesn't sound like she's just being a dog at this stage. I'm sure, in the end, your love of your canine companbion will inform you.

One day you will look in Lulu’s eyes and you will sense her telling you that it is time and that it will be OK.

Sorry to say Mike, but it's time. Nothing more to say.

So sorry to hear what you are both going through.There is never a time when it feels right, though I do believe Lulu will guide you, when Charlie our toy poodle time came after struggling for a good while he took himself on a walk around the whole perimeter of our garden like a farewell tour.
They never leave you really.

I am sorry for you and Lulu.

From Bruce Cockburn's "The Strong One"

Isn't it hard
To be the one who has to give advice?
Isn't it hard
To be the strong one?

You help your sisters, you help your old lovers
You help me but who do you cry to?

'Cause isn't it hard
To be the one who gathers everybody's tears?
Isn't it hard
To be the strong one?

So sorry about the decline of your beloved pet and family member. I am all too aware of what you're feeling and going through right now because we had a German Shepard with similar issues. As for the "decision," I'll never forget the look in her eyes the day she made a "mistake" and, right then I knew it was time. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made, but she was a super proud animal that didn't deserve this daily indignity. She will live on in the hearts of my family forever more.

To personalize this~~
If [or when] I get to the state that Lulu is in now I hope someone does the merciful thing and sends me off for the long sleep.

From what you describe it sounds like you are pretty much there. I think we waited a couple months too long with our dog, and by the time he hobbled into the vet I felt like an abusive owner for the condition he was in. You will feel both sadness and relief, I suspect. Go easy on yourself and your dog.

Can Lulu understand you when you talk to her? If she can, you think it might help if you said to her, "Lulu, you don't have to hang in there for me. I loved you since the day you came into my family. I will understand if you let go and I will never forget you."

Gut-punch to hear about Lulu. Seeing our best friends grow old and incontinent is so painful, and so difficult. They know they are losing their dignity. I have seen that embarrassment in their once-bright eyes. It's hard not to lose patience, and I am ashamed to admit that I have.

To have another species trust us completely with their lives is the most priceless privilege I have ever felt. We have an obligation to them. But it is one of the hardest obligations.

On a different note, a book recommendation:

Denise McCluggage's By Brooks Too Broad For Leaping, a collection of her essays from Autoweek.

So sad Mike, but it’s time and I think you know it is too. We all wait too long to do the right thing for our dogs. She is suffering but she just can tell you it’s time to let me go. You will probably feel worse the longer you wait and guilt is no fun either. It’s the best last thing you can do for your Lulu.

It's always an icredibly tough decision, and I've been there three times now, but it sounds like it's time. Be with her when it happens. It'll be the worst day of your life, and you'll remember it sadly forever, but you need to do it, and you need to be there.


My wife and I have had to make this call many times, because we always seem to have 4-6 Humane Association cats in our house. I am sorry that you are in this hard place. I agree with the comments above that the animal tells us when it is the time. We have a duty as their humans though to be alert for this signal and not to hold on too long. It hurts like hell to lose them, but it is an unavoidable part of having pets in our lives. They give us so much during their lives that more than compensates for having to make this hard call to spare them needless suffering.

Stay strong,

A good friend of mine, who has worked in animal welfare on a daily basis for very many years, told me that in no case did he ever feel that he had chosen the right time to euthanize. He always had the nagging feeling afterwards that he had arranged it too early or too late.
But the most important thing is to realize that a necessary euthanasia is the last labor of love that one can do for one's loved one.

We've gone through it with several cats, one way and another. One tries to see how much of life they still enjoy, and how bad the bad parts are, and then try to guess at a balance. Ours mostly have just slowly lost capability, and eventually seemed to not be enjoying life at all; that's the easy case. If they clearly enjoy some of life but are in bad pain other times, that's harder, and we haven't had that. I think I'd err in terms of not cutting off joy rather than cutting off pain as early as possible, but who knows what's "right", or how accurate our perceptions of their experience are? These little friends get really deep into our hearts and minds.

My dogs are my kids and my best friends. It’s so hard to see them enter their senior years at age 10-12. Right now I have Buddy 3 yo and Molly 2 yo. Very different dogs but best buddies too. I have had a number of dogs live their full days while living with us. In the last 20 years we had Sandra who made it to 16. Titan who only made age 12. Fuji was 16 and Maggie age 14. Austin age 12. Such is life.

We went through this decision last year with my mom’s 17-18 year old dog. We ultimately chose an in-home procedure rather than going to a vet. It was a much more comforting process for both the dog and the surrounding family. The agency we used provided good guidance by phone, and offered the video shown here to help make the tough decision. Maybe you have a similar option in your area.

Always hard and always in your heart. I still often dream of my dogs even though they are long gone. Lately, I've been waking up in the morning ready to walk my last dog only to realise that he died over 20 years ago.

My wife and I, having gone through this more than a half-dozen times, find it never gets any easier, and let it be some consolation to know that you and Lulu had that time together and only time will dull the pain of losing her.

I photographed many, many, wonderful dogs over ten years, and now I share the pain, via social media, of their owners as these wonderful companions are now slipping away.

Our vet has been very helpful for us, and we were with every dog at the very end. It may be a cliche that your dog will let you know, but I believe it is true.

My heart is with you and LuLu, Mike. I have been in that situation more times than I like to speak of. One thing I reflect back on from time to time is when one of my Shepards who was on heart meds suddenly died of a heart attack while I was in the next room. I never got to say goodbye to her, and she was obviously trying to get to me from where she fell. It breaks my heart I could not hold her as she passed as I have done with so many others. So for me, when "life is too hard" outweighs "life is okay" for one of my animal friends, I make a veterinarian appointment for a week ahead, and as the week progresses, I evaluate and spend every moment I can with them. It is never what we hope for, but not being able to say goodbye added salt to my wound. She knew she was loved, but still, it hurts.

Cooper, a Yorkie, a friend thru 14 rough years for the most part, was a tremendous blessing to me. Developed cancer. Was about the hardest thing I've ever had to do. But it was the right thing to do for him, not for me. I still miss him. Probably always will.

Is she enjoying her life? That can be a yes/no question if you think hard enough on it.

If it's yes and you can bear it, stay the course. Otherwise, give her peace. True love never tires. Nor will she ever really leave you.

I'm blessed to have a 9 year old choc lab Jazz. So my heart goes out to you and Lulu from across the globe.

I'm very sorry to hear about Lulu's condition. I know it's incredibly hard. I hope you can remind yourself of all the good times you and her had together and be comforted that she led a good dog-life with you.

Dammit, Mike. End of life for a pet is so hard on all involved. Sorry you and Lulu have to go through it.

We’ve had to put down two beloved Toy Poodles, who travelled to Japan with us, grew up with our kids, and captured our hearts: probably waited too long, but don’t think of it a death, more a blessed release for them - we could see that they didn’t want to be the way they had become.

It pains me to read that Lulu is nearing the end. A dog really is a man's best friend. I hope you can find peace soon after this is over.

I’m sad to hear about Lulu. No one can really advise you but I will say that sometimes I feel I’ve left the inevitable decision too long and never felt it was too soon, as I think others have hinted.

Best advice is to get the vet to come to the house. Less stressful for you and your dog is in familiar surroundings.

It's time, is all there needs to be said. If she can't get through the day without significant help, you're just prolonging it for you. Not for her.

But you will never feel good about making that call. It is one of the shittiest decisions you have to make in your life.

Do you have an advance directive? What would you imagine that Lulu would say if she could write one?

Being present with your pet as the vet administers the compassionate drugs can be a comforting experience. I placed my hand on our beloved Leonard's side, felt his heart beat, felt it slow, and then in a moment, cease. My sense of loss was replaced by a sense of peace.

When it's my turn, I hope that I can go the same way

It's hard Mike, I know. We lost 2 cats and two dogs last year in the middle of the pandemic. Both dogs from old age, and both cats from unexpected illnesses (fast growing tumor and kidney failure).

My advice is that whatever you do, make sure you stay with her to the very end, she's going to be scared and confused, and she will also sense the sadness in you as well. Just make sure you are there to comfort her and tell her everything will be alright.

The process itself is quite painless for the dog and over very quickly. It will simply look like she fell asleep.

As for when is the right time, I think it's now. She is probably in a lot of pain, but is trying not to show it because of her pack mentality. But talk to you vet, any reputable vet will tell you if it's time or not.


Please look into having a vet come to your house. We've euthanized our last two dogs this way and it is a world of difference for them, passing away on a favorite bed in their house versus the strange confines of a room at the vet's office.

Cost was about the same and the vet will make arrangements to take the dog away for cremation if that is your preference.

So sorry.

I'm a believer of the idea that a pet will let you know when it's time. That certainly was the case with my beloved Bandit, a stand-offish cat we had. In her last days, more than once she curled up alongside me when we went to bed and slept with me the whole night. The only times she ever did that. She was aged, and living with pancreatitis. I held her paw at the vet's when we said goodbye. She was not anxious in the least, and when it's my turn, I hope to have no anxiety either.


Wait, since she's from a metric country, shouldn't she have had to shoot 300,000 photos of really fast-moving things to be notable? (Finally realized why 186,000 was bothering me; should be 186,282 of course!)

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