View Full Version : How do you know it's time?

8th January 2007, 01:12 AM
I went to see my 13 year old Lhasa today at my Mom's. She is not doing well. My Mom said she has been throwing up bile, just a mouth full here and there. She is walking very, very slowly and was limping a little (she has arthritis). She also stumbles a little when she walks. She looks puffy to me as well, almost bloated. She has had a yeast infection in her ears for almost a year. All we can do is treat the symptoms, because the Vet told me about 6 months ago, that it would never be cured because her immune system is gone . She has had severe allergies all her life and the steroids have weakened her immune system. She has had some other serious illnesses over the years, but she always pulled through, thanks to my wonderful Vets, and that she is a little fighter. I asked my Vet about 6 months ago if she was suffering, he told me that I would know when it was time. I just don't know. She still loves to eat, has a wonderful appetite, but she always has. She just looks like the light has gone out of her eyes. She has really gone downhill in the last 3 months or so. I am so torn and don't know what to do. If she could only tell me. My mother (80) worships this dog. But she told me today that she doesn't want her to suffer, and she feels so sorry for her, because she looks so miserable. I just don't know what to do. My Vet will probably tell me, it's my decision. I have asked my husband, and he says the same. I just need some guidance to know what the right thing is. I've had this baby since she was 7 weeks old. Do I continue to try and treat the symptoms or let her go? How do you know when it's time?

8th January 2007, 01:38 AM
Sorry to hear of these difficulties. Did you see the article on this in the Health section of the library?


Many have written privately to me to let me know this article helped them in making this difficult decision. :flwr:

8th January 2007, 01:45 AM
Thanks Karlin....I will read now.

Cathy T
8th January 2007, 02:20 AM
Shay - so sorry you are having to go through this. The article Karlin referred you to is really great. It really helps explain things. Two points have always stuck with me...do the good days surpass the bad and to look at it from the dog's perspective. My cat had lymphoma for a while (she was 13 when she finally passed). She has many more good days than bad right up until her final day. When she was diagnosed with further lymphoma we decided it was time to let her go...for her, not for us. Good luck in your decision and know I'm thinking about you. It's not an easy decision to make.

8th January 2007, 02:56 AM
I'm so sad for you that you are in the position of having to make this decision - especially since it will have an effect on your Mother as well as you.

The article is wonderful and makes a lot of good points. But the bottom line still comes down to you.

I try to look at quality vs quantity. So many people think they are doing the right thing by not euthanizing a very sick animal but they are actually doing it for themselves. This is the time to be as unselfish as you can and put the animal's needs first.

I once had a cat with renal failure. The vet I worked for explained in what I thought was a good way how to make "the decision". The cat would have a bout of illness; I would take her in and we would give her fluids and antibiotics, then she would go back home. She would be better, but not quite as good as she had been before treatment. Then it would hit again and we would administer treatment again. Once more, she would be better but still not as good. When it reached the point that the treatment didn't seem to make her any better I felt sure I had done all I could for her and that it was time.

My thoughts are with you, my new friend. And my tears.

8th January 2007, 03:26 AM
Thank you Cathy and Crittercall. Boy, this is so tough. If she had a terminal illness or something, I think it would be easier. The article Karlin referred me to did help. Her quality of life is just not there. This has always been a highly spirited, very independent dog. She still doesn't like for us to do anything for her. She has to be lifted now for almost everything and she just hates it. She has had a wonderful life and she lived it to the fullest. What you said about giving them treatment and them being better for a while, is so true. This has been going on for a year. When the yeast infection would go away, but kept coming back, I finally asked the Vet if she would ever be cured and that's when he finally told me that she wouldn't because her immune system is gone. Her little ears today were beat red and hot to the touch, and she wouldn't even let me put the medicine in. It was like she was saying "just leave me alone".

You're right about my Mom. That is a major concern, because this dog is her whole life. I think she may even have been down playing some things with Chole. I did feel better today when she acknowledged that Chloe is miserable and she didn't want her to suffer, but she was terribly emotional.

Thanks for the support you guys. So glad we have this forum to discuss things that may be hard for others to understand.

8th January 2007, 03:37 AM
Your post made me cry, but that's ok because it brought back good memories as well. We made the choice to put down our lab in October. I know what your vet means now about knowing when its time. But for a year I didnt. That is because although you dont want to, you see something that tells you they are not enjoying 50% of their day. My dog got up bright as sunshine and did little hops to be fed, was helped out the back door with only 3 steps but at least 1 or 2 x a wk even with my help fell hard. Her back end was all sunk low but her mind, appetite were great. she laid on her bed or moved to the den during the day and wasnt in pain while lying. But the getting out the door and walking just 6' to go the washroom was way too slow. I probably took longer than I should have, but one day I looked at her and she looked back and grunted - I knew, she'd had enough and said so.

I am so excited about my new puppy coming in a few wks but at the same time it doesnt take the pain away from loosing Jessie. I cant replace jessie but I can build new memories with a new pet. Which is why every now and then I still get caught off guard how much I miss her and always will. You'll just know or your Mom will.

8th January 2007, 03:51 AM
I am so sorry Kody...Hope my post didn't upset you. I feel good about knowing that Chloe was so loved by my Mom and me, and we gave her everything a dog could possibly want. She had a great life. I resigned myself a year ago that her time with us was borrowed. Every time I would talk to my Mom, which is several times a day, I would ask how Chloe was. She always said she's fine, she's in her little bed, or she just brought me a toy and tried to play a minute. I would go to see her, and she wouldn't be as fine as my Mother was saying. The last 2 to 3 months she has really gone down. Thanks for sharing your story with me, everyone is really helping by sharing their stories.

Joanne M
8th January 2007, 03:53 AM
Shay, I'm so sorry that you and your mother are faced with this decision. The love you feel is evident in what you are saying. Whatever decision you reach will be the right one.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

8th January 2007, 03:56 AM
Thanks Jo...I will e-mail you in the morning.

8th January 2007, 04:15 AM
You know, Shay, I think everyone who is posting a message to you is crying with you too. We've been there, done that, know how you feel. I don't know anything about you other than the fact that I met you here tonight but the "Mom" in me wants to hold you and let you cry it out then stand beside you while you make this journey. In working with animals I have hugged so many people I didn't know and cried with them, and no one was ever offended, and I don't think you are either.

Please bear in mind that there is a small troup of us with you in heart and agreeing with you when you do the right thing, and that we will all cry and laugh and listen to all of your stories, happy or sad, and share ours with you.

8th January 2007, 05:04 AM
Shay, I feel for you. I remember when we had to make that decision with our family dog. Spotty (yes that's how young we were when we got him,my brother and I got to name him) We got him when I was 3 and he had to be put to sleep when he was 19. So he was basically a part of my life as long as I could remember. He got bad diarrhoea and was on some antibiotics, but at some stage when he was weak, he fell and broke his leg. The vet said the anaesthetic to fix it would be too dangerous for him and if itwasn't fixed his quality of life would be awful. He wasl already getting arthritis and was really slowing down, and 19 years is a fantastic life for a dog. It was hard but we knew it was time. But we all got together that night, had a glass of wine and spent hours reminiscing about the many years of joy he brought us. Even when they are gone, they will always be in our memories.

I know how difficult this is for you. I'm thinking of you during this hard time and I know you'll make the right decision for your family and your dog.

8th January 2007, 10:00 AM
I am so sorry you are having to face such a difficult decision. We want to keep them here for us I think but letting go when it is the right time is a gift to them. Only you will know when it is the right time. Once when I was going through the same decision making process with an older cocker spaniel I had the vet said..."make a list of all the things that bring joy to your dog...cross them off when they are not possible any longer". She then said that the list will help to make an objective decision. Let your heart feel when the time is right..you will know. Take care.

8th January 2007, 10:38 AM
This isn't the same kind of reply everyone is giving but it may help and that's all I want to do. I once had a pet rat called Kruger. He was a sweet little fella and I loved him dearly. Well rats have a tendancy to get cancer and this rat got it in his foot. The vet wouldn't treat him, looking back I don't know why. Anyway, I didn't have him put to sleep and he died weeks later and probably in discomfort. I regret doing that to this day. I know it must be very hard for you and your mum right. We are here to support you. :hug: :hug: :hug:

matties mum
8th January 2007, 11:00 AM
I know how you must be feeling I had to make the same decisionin March last year and it is so hard but when they are not enjoying life you do what is best for the dog or pet My vet say when they stop wanting to go for walks or eating it is nearly time ----Aileen

8th January 2007, 11:52 AM
I am so sorry you have to go through this Shay. We lost 3 of our family dogs all in the same year in 2005. Jake was 11years and just peacefully went over night. Holly (my first dog that lived with mum and Jake) we had pts at the grand age of 17. I was staying with mum for a holiday when this happened so at least I got to say goodbye to her. She was such a brilliant dog. Won many trial trophies with her. She died 3 weeks after Jake. Then we lost my old Rhana. She was 10 and lived with me. She was the hardest because Her back went and she couldnt move her legs. The vet said she wasnt in any pain and that she may or may not get better. I was pregnant at the time and she was too big for me to lift to take her to the toilet :( . There was nothing I could do for her but to let her go. I still think if only with her but I know she would have had no quality of life. Both Holly and Rhana visit me in spirit. I know if I am thinking of them that they are around and I take great comfort in the fact that for me there is life after death. So just think on all the happy times your baby brought you over the years and in some way she will be there with you.
Hugs to you and your mum. :flwr:

8th January 2007, 01:27 PM

Ditto what everyone else has said. Me and the boys send you big :hug: over the water to you.

Barbara Nixon
8th January 2007, 01:37 PM
This is very sad and a very difficult decision to make. I , too, am going to have to make such, in the not too distant future; there's no getting away from it.

The main indicator for me, unless the decision is out of my hands, would be the eyes. I thought I would lose Izzy at the end of the summer and went to the vets, partly expecting not to take him home, but what heartened me was the fact that his eyes were sparkling and he was interested in his surroundings. Thankfully, an increase in medication restored him, but this won't happen every time.

8th January 2007, 02:54 PM
Thanks everyone. I am going to call my Vet today and discuss with him. She still enjoys her food so much, but that is the only pleasure that I can see she still has. I can't tell you how much you all have helped me. Just know that it means so much. This is Chloe last spring. She doesn't even look like the same dog now. It's amazing how much she's gone down hill since this pic was taken, but she is still a beautiful girl.


cavalier mad woman
8th January 2007, 03:04 PM
hi ya shay,
i am so sorry to here wat your going through, i no its no conserlation but my sister is going through the same thing she has a shihtzu who is nearly 14 and he`s going off his legs he had an operation about 3 years ago for gall stones, and he pulled through but the other shihtzu which was his brother did`nt make it he had the same, but jerry who`s nearly 14 still eats and drinks but some days looks so unhappy it makes you unhappy too to see him then the next day he seems a bit brighter so like you say your torn, but if your vets thinks she`s not suffering and she`s still eating and drinking i would spend as much time with her as i possibly could. hopefully if gods kind she will go to the rainbow bridge in her sleep when she is ready. i no it must be very hard for you and my heart goes out to you, chloe and your mom, god bless you all xxx :xfngr:

8th January 2007, 05:48 PM
Shay, I'm so sorry that you're having to make this decision.

We had to make the decision last July for our beloved Charley, so I know how hard it is...... I took a "cold, hard look" at Charley and asked myself if we were being fair to Charley.

In spite of all the meds, our incredible love for him and his willpower to stay with us, Charley was failing badly.

When I tried to look at him objectively, if one can, the answer was obvious.

It was very hard....my daughter and I both held him in our arms as he passed away. The room was full of tears, including the vet.

Since then, I've wished that I had been brave enough to do it a bit earlier for Charleys' sake.

Thinking of you as you struggle to find the answer. :flwr: :flwr:

8th January 2007, 06:32 PM
Oh Shay,

I am so sorry and I too am sitting here with tears running down my face, reading all these stories. I think that we all adore our furry babies as much as if we'd given birth to them ourselves - I know I do.

I think if it were me having to make this decision, I would ask my Vet what they would do if it were their pet. I have actually already had this discussion both with James, my Vet and Tom, the Vet who owns the practice. I have known Tom since he joined the practice as a newly qualified Vet almost 20 years ago so my relationship with them both is extremely good.

Anyway, both of them have assured me that when the time comes, they will take the decision out of my hands. I think that a good Vet who knows the animal will always tell you when it's time - they know from experience that when our babies get old or sick, our judgement becomes clouded with emotion and sometimes grief too.

If the Vet says that they think it's time then at least you will be able to say your goodbyes and have plenty of hugs and cuddles before you give her her wings :flwr:

Sometimes we're not as 'lucky' as to be able to do this (I'm not say9ing that you are in any way lucky mind you, I just can't think of another word that describes it). When my darling GSD went to the Vet with a bad leg - she slipped as she got up and seemed a bit wobbly. I fully expected her to come home again, after all, she was only 5 and was healthy in every other way.

My hubby came back with just a collar and lead though :( Her hips had gone and had pulled out of the sockets, taking all the muscles with them - she was haemmorhaging internally and there was nothing the Vets could do for her - I didn't even get to say goodbye and it still breaks my heart 12 years later :(

So, if it was me I would ask the Vet to make the decision for me and then if it's to give your baby her wings, treasure every memory you have of her.

I'll be thinking of you Shay and sending you positive thoughts and virtual :hug:s (wish I could give you a real one as I know how much you adore that baby). Take care xxxxx

8th January 2007, 06:47 PM
I'm keeping you and your mom in my prayers Shay. I know the "spirit" that these little fierce Lhasas have and so when you say her bright light seems to have gone out, I totally understand. They definitely don't like to be dependent on anyone....

I guess out-weighing the good days vs. bad days is probably the key. I remember when my daughter was scheduled to have her brain surgery and I kept thinking of the good days she had, but also knowing the bad days would increase and return. No easy decision.

Chloe' is in our prayers.


8th January 2007, 06:54 PM
What a hard thing to decide - am sitting here crying looking at my furbabies sleeping all with me - hoping that when the time comes they trust in me 100% to make it a happy ending with no more pain for them. There will be immense pain in my heart though.

8th January 2007, 07:22 PM
I've been wondering this also for our very elderly springer Sally who is at least 16 years old. She's gotten very arthritic lately and is often incontinent - she's totally deaf and her eyesight has gotten very bad also, and I see her struggling sometimes to get to her feet. We can't take her on walks anymore because she's just not able to walk very far at all.

But then at other times I see her barking at the other two as they play around her and i see how they interact with her and she still loves her foods and her treats and just loves a rub behind the ears - she loves to be bathed, which is difficult to do to the old girl - she loves to be blow dried and she likes to be around everyone also.

Just before Christmas I considered taking her to the vet to see what he thought. She seem 'depressed' somehow and I was beginning to think that this was it - but within a day or so - she was lively or as lively as she could be and today she barked her head off at bran and max as they were playing around the floor and she seemd happy!

So a little while longer for her and I think, at least I hope I will know when it's time - but for sure the time's coming.

Good luck with your decision, I think you will make the right one.

8th January 2007, 07:36 PM
Donna....Thanks for thinking of me especially after I just read your post about Charlie, which I responded to on that thread. My Mom said she didn't throw up last night. She seems to think that some doggie cookies I gave her for Christmas don't agree with her. She has stopped giving them to her to see if that is the problem. It is getting increasingly hard for my Mom to care for her. I could bring her here but that would be cruel. She doesn't like Lily, is very jealous and Lily jumps on her back which hurts with the arthritis. Plus, I have many steps and stairs in my home, which she could not maneuver at all. I had to make this decision for my Old English many years ago when she was 14. It was a little easier, because her back legs went out and she could no longer walk at all. That was 20 years ago, but I still miss her, but with her I knew I made the right decision, really the only decision.

Sheri...I know you understand the independence thing with Chloe since we have pm'd many times anout our Lhasas. Thanks for the kind words.

All..... you will never know how much I appreciate all the heartfelt stories, and loving thoughts and prayers. You are a great group of people.

8th January 2007, 09:09 PM
Dear Shay, :flwr:

I wanted to reply so much but have found the words hard to put down in the way I want them to read, sound and mean....

I lost four Cavaliers within the past two years. Three with severe SM and Honey-Bee with Cushings. All had to be PTS.

I had doubts, many doubts, 100's of doubts, sleepless nights and restless days before and after their final day.

Someone once told me a line which I always remembered on the hardest days, the days when I didn't know which way to turn or what I was really meant to do for the best, it was "Better a day to early rather than a day to late" and the more I thought about it the more it made sense.

My girls were such loyal and loving companions, such special girls, and I couldn't bear or begin to thing about seeing them suffer, I couldn't watch them in any further pain or in great upset, I knew I owed it to them to free them from that.
It was the last thing that I could ever give to them...and that was their peace along with all of my love for their crossing.

Yes it is the hardest thing to do, to say goodbye and never hold them in your arms again, it took me a long while to be able to accept what had happened. You seem to go numb and the world goes on around you. You just feel so lonely without your little friend.

I just have my memories now, and funnily enough the love doesn't stop for them just because they are not here with me. I still have a quiet cry and also a smile when things slowly come back to me....it takes time and thats natural as well.

Many people say you will know when it's time to say goodbye, I think it's true, from somewhere you hear it and you peacefully and quietly set them free....

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

8th January 2007, 09:43 PM
{{{{{{{{Shay}}}}}}}} nothing really to add, just hoping you are OK. If you need a shoulder then feel free to PM me anytime. at least I know what I'm up against with Charlie and I think he's going to have a few years yet :flwr:

{{{{{{{{Ali}}}}}}}} for what it's worth and knowing Annie-Belle and Hunnybunnybuns as I did, I think you most definitely made the best decisions for your babies. They are still with you anyway, we know that as we were chatting about it earlier. I honestly think that little AnnieBS had a hand in getting Charlie to Chestergates today too.

Big hugs to you both :hug: and I wish that everyone could have a best mate like I have in Alison :lotsaluv: :hug: xxxxx

9th January 2007, 12:11 AM
Alison and Donna...You two ladies really have been through it with your babies. My heart goes out to you both. I knew this time was coming with my Chloe, but you just don't want to face it. I know I need to do what's best for her, not what's best for me. I just know that my poor Mom, is going to grieve herself to death. Her whole life is Chloe. She won't even go out for longer than 2 or 3 hours, because Chloe cries. If my Mom wasn't in the mix, I think it would be easier. But I can't keep Chloe here just for my Mom. I asked her yesterday if she would like another dog, and she was horrified. I didn't mean a puppy, but older dog, as she would never be able to train a puppy. She said NO MORE DOGS.

Anyway....Thanks to you both, I really appreciate your kind words.

9th January 2007, 05:23 AM
The hardest thing for most "outsiders" (non-pet people) is to realize how we do grieve for our furry babies, and in my studies on pet owner's dealing with death all the books say that we must give ourselves time to grieve. (I know that not everyone reads "the books" or goes by them, but sometimes they do have good things to say.)

The first animal I had to give up on was a cat, and I had made arrangements to have him cremated then was going to take him back to GA to put his ashes in the lake behind our house there where he had loved to fish so much. So many people made fun of me that I ended up keeping his ashes in the trunk of my car for so long. I couldn't bear to pick up the box, but it was okay knowing he was there with me.

Other so-called friends have teased me because I have become an emotional wreck over losing a pet, but I have learned to pity them for never having known the love of an animal as I have.

Shay, I hope we aren't all driving you crazy with our stories and snippets of advice. You'll do the right thing. I only mention the above because my mother is a couple of years younger than yours, and I know that she couldn't understand the grief I went through. Maybe you could somehow bring this up to your Mom and let her know that the feeling of grief we have for our animals is no less than some of us have for humans.


9th January 2007, 08:18 AM
It’s never an easy decision to make, I always thought working at a vet clinic would help me when it came time to say goodbye to jake, like chloe we knew he was on borrowed time and that someday (sooner rather than later) we would be forced to make that decision.
I tried to make up 10,000 reasons as to why we shouldn’t let him go but in the end my Mum said to me “If Jake was a clients dog at work what would you say”, I thought about it and I knew then that if he couldn’t enjoy at least 3 things that made him happy then it was not worth letting him suffer…
He wouldn’t eat even his favourite food chicken
He didn’t wag his tail when we came home anymore
He couldn’t even sleep comfortably
In the end if must be your decision no one elses, but when the time does come, remember you will offer her an end that comes free from pain and still with dignity.
Hope you and your mother are hanging in there.