First, Teri, so sorry to hear the severity of the diagnosis. If it was I, I would get a second opinion, before I made a decision, and would discuss with them in detail the prognosis. I know there are no guarantees, but I would want a very frank discussion of pros and cons.I was heartbroken when I found out Tilly had SM - you get a cavi and soon realise they become a pivotal part of your family life - shes my little buddy! But then I took a step back and reassessed the situation - why did we get a doggie in the first place - to enrich our family life. I was fretting about Tilly so much it was slowing enveloping me - and my family. Now that I have decided - keep my girl as pain free as possible, give her an awesome life - live it to the full - and one day at a time - we ALL (including Tilly) seem so much more relaxed and are just loving our time together - however long that may be.
Second, I do not disagree with those who make the decision for surgery, but I do think that there is sometimes, in some circumstances, merit to Ruth's approach, and none of us should think those who thoughtfully choose that approach love their dogs any less than those who choose to have them undergo surgery. Very personal decision based on many varied circumstances.
Hugs to all of you who face these decisions. As long as your decision is based on a combination of knowledge and love, it will be the right one for you, your family and your dog.