jen, SO sorry for your loss and the very difficult, but humane, decision that you had to make. I posted this story in another thread, but i thought maybe it would give you some comfort too.
i read a child's story that helps me to understand why our fur babies leave us so soon.
Why Dogs Don't Live As Long
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their ome.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt Shane could learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.
We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."
Startled, we all turned to him.
What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, "Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody and beingnice, right?" The four-year-old continued, "Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."
So sorry your friend is gone. We have a husky girl who is getting worse and may not have much time left. There is really no good answer except to look at what there quality of life is and enjoy them while you still can. Birgit
Just to tie things up, I thought I'd let you know that I did have to put him down on July 6th. Worst thing I have ever had to do, bar none. But he had gotten to the point where he was circling nonstop until he was exhausted and falling down. He no longer was housebroken (something that would have deeply shamed him before) and he would circle in his own filth without even noticing. Still, I kept just treating the messes and issues as they came up. I did make an appointment to talk to the vet about all the problems and how the process would work when it was time.
The night before the appointment, he had two episodes where he was almost screaming for no apparent reason and was really hard to soothe. He had gotten covered in poop during the second one, so I gave him a much needed bath. After a brief spark of energy once he was free of the towel, he fell asleep and wouldn't completely wake up. Not at home, not in the car, not in the vet's office. I suspect he had at least one stroke (the screaming bit). At any rate, he was done and the decision was simple. Brutal, but simple.
Thank you all for the kind words and advice. Give all your fuzzy friends a little extra love from me.
my pup Pookie had dimentia and showed some of the symptoms that your dog seems to be showing. she would get scared by the moving curtains if we hat the windows open or even by the sound that our rocking chair made against the floor. she was also not fond of baths, but she was on pain meds for her joints and we would give her one so she could stand long enough for the bath and it would also help to calm her down for it as well. talk to your vet as there are many different ways to deal with this.
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It's really sad when our babies age, but they can, and do get many of the same problems that some of us get as we age. Dementia is one of them. As someone else said, there are some meds for it and even natural treatments you could use to calm him before a bath, As you know, all may have side effects so it's a benefits vs risks situation.
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I had a Neapolitan Mastiff that showed signs of dementia, she had brain cancer, but we weren't aware of it at the time. She would walk in circles and stand with her head facing the wall. Many times she appeared to not know where she was and who we were. This was a 200lb dog, so that ended up being a big problem. Bacchi had never shown any aggression to anyone or anything ever, but she ended up biting our lab in the leg. The bite was severe enough that it required sutures and an overnight stay at the emergency vet. We decided then we had to put Bacchi down. With her dementia, we just didn't feel safe that she wouldn't bite again and this time with worse consequences. It was a very very hard decision and I still miss that big lumbering slobbering over sized lap dog. She was a true sweety. Wishing you and your pup a better outcome. I agree to try a behaviorist. Good luck. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
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I am so sorry that both you and your pup are having to go through this. Some of our pups as they aged started having issues and when we saw that they just weren't enjoying life any longer and everything just seemed so hard for them we made the difficult decision to put them down. It was never an easy decision.
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Other than the meds that Birgit mentioned, if you need to bathe him can you use some of the shampoos that don't require water? I like the ones that are a foam and you just rub them through the coat. The sprays get sticky.
I thought that my Aussie had dimentia, but he didn't do any of the things like you are describing other than hate baths IF I was the one who did them. The groomer at PetsMart could do whatever he wanted with him. But he would do strange things like stand with his head in the corner or sit down where he had just pottied.
I hope you are able to find something to help him.
Talk to your vet or even have the vet refer you to a veterinary behaviorist. There is meds that help a lot for quite a while. You are right to consider your dog's quality of life. Hopefully with the right medication things improve a lot. From the symptoms you describe this could also be a neurological problem incl. pain, rather than dementia so definitely talk to the vet. Good luck, Birgit
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My little old pom x has been exhibiting signs of doggie dementia (increased confusion, circling, not recognizing me, getting lost in the yard, etc.). Most of this is manageable and he isn't getting aggressive, but it is hard. Especially when he doesn't know who I am or walks away when I'm petting him. The very worst was when I gave him a bath on Saturday. He's never liked baths but this time he panicked. I cut the bath as short as I could yet, by the end, he was nearly screaming (which is a horrific sound). I think he thought he was being drowned. I feel so awful for him.
What I'm wondering is if other people on the team have had to go through this and if you have any advice on how to work with him. He has a few other health issues, but they are under control and I suspect we can keep him going for a couple years. But is it fair? His world is getting darker, quieter, and scarier by the day...
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