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Old 09-04-2012, 09:09 PM   #11
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I tried to write a response to this this morning but I couldn't do it without ending up in tears and I had to get out the door for work with a face intact. Now that I'm home for the day - who cares...

The decision of when to let a best friend go is not an easy one. I had to make the decision only a few weeks ago. MacKenzie had been getting less and less mobile for a long, long time. He went from hiking miles in the bush with me to barely being able to go to the end of the drive and back and that needed assistance over the course of almost 2 years.

Everyone told me that I'd know when it was the right time but I seriously questioned whether or not I WOULD know when the right time came. I certainly didn't want to end his life prematurely but neither did I want him to suffer. Balancing my need to have him in my life against his quality of life caused me many an hour of serious contemplation! And my friends will all tell you that I'm NOT that deep...

Surprisingly enough, I woke one morning (ok, it was the middle of the night), he'd been sick again and had been losing control of his bowels for 3 weeks. I cleaned him and the floor up, sat on the rug beside him, cried and petted him and JUST ABOLUTELY, without a doubt knew that it was time. I phoned the vet as soon as they opened and booked the appointment.

You WILL know when the time is right! As long as you're still questioning it, it's more likely it's not quite time yet - close but not yet!!

As to what you can do for her in the meantime - I got a 'Gingerlead' for MacKenzie to help assist him up and to give him some support when he was walking. GingerLead Dog Sling | Rear Harness to Help Dogs with Knee or Hip Injuries Walk | Dog Support Harness

I'd done some research and settled on this one because it didn't require me to lift his legs to put it on like some of the other harnesses I found. He quickly adapted to me supporting him while we walked and also quickly found out how much easier it was for him to stand back up after he'd fallen if I was steadying him and taking some of his weight. He'd wait for me to come help him back up when we were in the house. His problem was back end weakness to the point where a gentle breeze would knock his back end out from under him. He'd end up sitting and would struggle to get up. Near the end he was wearing it 18 hours a day.

I put mats everywhere - I bought them cheap knowing that they would be tossed when he passed on. I have hardwood and tile throughout. In the beginning it was only the hardwood that he had trouble on and then as he got worse, it was anything that didn't have a carpet.

I put his food bowls where it was easier for him to get to rather than where they'd always been.

Heck, I even dropped the bed (it is a pedestal bed) off of its' base. I looked like a turtle getting up in the morning but it gave me a few more months of him being able to share the bed.

I used a supplement called DGP (Dog Gone Pain) that I found was helpful for pain control because I tend to steer clear of traditional western medication when natural supplements will work.

A lot of people swear by laser treatments for canine mobility - it wasn't something I tried so can't comment on it.

Just know that you WILL know when it's time. No the decision isn't easy and it will weigh on your mind heavily but you WILL know!

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Old 09-04-2012, 10:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenzie'sMom View Post
I tried to write a response to this this morning but I couldn't do it without ending up in tears and I had to get out the door for work with a face intact. Now that I'm home for the day - who cares...

The decision of when to let a best friend go is not an easy one. I had to make the decision only a few weeks ago. MacKenzie had been getting less and less mobile for a long, long time. He went from hiking miles in the bush with me to barely being able to go to the end of the drive and back and that needed assistance over the course of almost 2 years.

Everyone told me that I'd know when it was the right time but I seriously questioned whether or not I WOULD know when the right time came. I certainly didn't want to end his life prematurely but neither did I want him to suffer. Balancing my need to have him in my life against his quality of life caused me many an hour of serious contemplation! And my friends will all tell you that I'm NOT that deep...

Surprisingly enough, I woke one morning (ok, it was the middle of the night), he'd been sick again and had been losing control of his bowels for 3 weeks. I cleaned him and the floor up, sat on the rug beside him, cried and petted him and JUST ABOLUTELY, without a doubt knew that it was time. I phoned the vet as soon as they opened and booked the appointment.

You WILL know when the time is right! As long as you're still questioning it, it's more likely it's not quite time yet - close but not yet!!

As to what you can do for her in the meantime - I got a 'Gingerlead' for MacKenzie to help assist him up and to give him some support when he was walking. GingerLead Dog Sling | Rear Harness to Help Dogs with Knee or Hip Injuries Walk | Dog Support Harness

I'd done some research and settled on this one because it didn't require me to lift his legs to put it on like some of the other harnesses I found. He quickly adapted to me supporting him while we walked and also quickly found out how much easier it was for him to stand back up after he'd fallen if I was steadying him and taking some of his weight. He'd wait for me to come help him back up when we were in the house. His problem was back end weakness to the point where a gentle breeze would knock his back end out from under him. He'd end up sitting and would struggle to get up. Near the end he was wearing it 18 hours a day.

I put mats everywhere - I bought them cheap knowing that they would be tossed when he passed on. I have hardwood and tile throughout. In the beginning it was only the hardwood that he had trouble on and then as he got worse, it was anything that didn't have a carpet.

I put his food bowls where it was easier for him to get to rather than where they'd always been.

Heck, I even dropped the bed (it is a pedestal bed) off of its' base. I looked like a turtle getting up in the morning but it gave me a few more months of him being able to share the bed.

I used a supplement called DGP (Dog Gone Pain) that I found was helpful for pain control because I tend to steer clear of traditional western medication when natural supplements will work.

A lot of people swear by laser treatments for canine mobility - it wasn't something I tried so can't comment on it.

Just know that you WILL know when it's time. No the decision isn't easy and it will weigh on your mind heavily but you WILL know!
Oh my... I am in tears again. I know how much you did for Kenzie, and it just breaks my heart to see your post. What a horrible year for all of us on the forum.....

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Old 09-05-2012, 03:12 AM   #13
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Great post Kenzie'smom. I love the look of those Ginger Leaders. I was just looking at getting a new harness for Arny the other week at an agility show (infact the international one at Rockingham Castle). I never seen any like that though!

I'm not sure Arny is quite ready for one, he doesn't fall very often, but does struggle to get up, sometimes more than others

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Old 09-06-2012, 03:09 AM   #14
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Thanks Kenzie'sMom for the experience, and I am sorry that this has opened up the memories but I am sure its the good times you had that bring the tears.

Stella is on a similar path. I'll look at the slings. She's falling about once a walk now (and they are short walks) and really only uses 3 legs but that said she is still eating and drinking and even coming in to the family room sometimes. Overall, I am most concerned about the issues that will develop when the weather changes. I think all of us in her life are kind of saying a long goodbye.

But as the sun was shining, the sky was blue and today was a good day (until I tried to get her inside on her bed, that could of gone better) we'll keep on keeping on.

As for the bowls etc. yep I switched food bowls, water dishes all over and placed where she is at the time, all the rugs we have out, and so forth.

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Old 09-06-2012, 03:14 AM   #15
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Just looked at the slings and its geared to the rear legs, which are the longer standing problem with Stella but its the front left leg that she will not walk on and there seem to not be many products for front legs (though I suppose I'd have to try it to see if it could be adapted).

I did find some other front leg designs that I'll look into after a quick google search.

Actually, on closer look it looks like a customer of mine that does custom pet doors sells them. I'll talk to him this week.

Last edited by gfacer; 09-06-2012 at 03:29 AM..

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Old 09-06-2012, 03:19 AM   #16
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Some owners of dogs with front leg issues or front leg amputees recommend the ruffwear harness:

Ruffwear Dog Harnesses
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:36 AM   #17
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Back for the last update. I just wanted to leave this as I know others might find this as they struggle with their decision.

I was originally thinking a few weeks ago it was time. But then we had a friend who is a sort of dog medium do a reading on her (actually it was the medium's idea or maybe my sister in law). Pretty interesting even if you are not a big believer in that sort of stuff. She hit a lot of nails on the head.

Long story short, we had another 2 weeks of love and attention for Stella but when I began to hear her whimpering while lying down, and having trouble trying to lie down, we knew it was time.

We had a vet come on a house call and it was extremely peaceful. The vet was great and she was happily munching away on some sort of super treat he brought right up until the moment she passed.

When we went through old pictures it was both sad and enlightening. It really helped us realize how many things she used to do and hadn't done in years.

I also wanted to mention the 'look in the eyes' others have mentioned. I saw a look once when she was in distress (she had laid on her bad leg somehow and could not get up easily) that was very much a panic/help me look and one of my wife's friends said that she had the same look her dog had just before they made their decision.

The toughest thing is that no amount of advice or knowledge of the experience of others can change the fact that everyone needs to make their own hard decision about the pet they love. My thoughts are with you all that have to, and most pet owners do have to at some point.

Thanks, G

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Old 09-23-2012, 11:57 AM   #18
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gfacer Thank you for the update it must be hard to even write one when it's like this. Unfortunatley it's going to come to all dog owners one day. Take care in the knowledge you did the right thing for Stella who now is at peace and running free again Do stick around as this forum is so supportive in times of need And always remember those great memories that you had together! Take care gfacer xxxx
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:56 PM   #19
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gfacer, so sorry for your loss. I'm with Bigboy. Please stick around the forum. May Stella run free at the rainbow bridge.

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Old 09-23-2012, 01:44 PM   #20
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Let me say too that I am sorry for the loss of Stella. I hope she is running pain free on the other side of the rainbow bridge.
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