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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Boy do I hate that question. I've had to face it too many times, and I will have to face it many more times. But every, single one of us will have to decide when it's time to let our beloved dog go. So, I thought I'd invite everyone's thoughts and experiences on this, as I'm sure people will find something helpful or comforting in the responses.

Personally, I'm pretty aggressive in deciding when it is time to euthanize a dog. I've second guessed myself so many times -- Did I wait too long? Did I do it too soon? -- that I've just come down on one principle that guides me: I'm not going to let the dog suffer just because I'm not ready to let go. So if there is no prognosis for recovery, I will put the dog down before he starts to suffer. I would much rather err on the side of euthanizing a week too soon than be one minute too late. I want his last day to be a good one, not one spent suffering.

This is Chelsea on her last day.

Dog Carnivore Whiskers Fawn Companion dog


Chelsea was a marine rescue dog and had saved lives and been in the news. She was almost 15. Chelsea had osteosarcoma from which she would not recover. When her pain meds stopped effectively controlling her pain, we made the choice to euthanize her. On her last day we gave her every good thing on earth that she wanted to eat. And while she had trouble walking, she loved chewing on sticks and branches, so we gave them to her, without worrying about what it might do to her intestines. We let her eat and chew to her heart's content, and we loved on her like mad, and then the vet came over to the house, and we let her go with me holding her and petting her and telling her what a good dog she was.

And we've done the same with every dog since then.

I tell this story because I want to urge others here to tell their story and give their opinions without fear of judgment. Whatever decision we make, it is the right decision so long as it is informed and well-reasoned. Everyone's decision is their own. But we will ALL face this situation, and I think it might be helpful to others looking for comfort or for support for their own decision to read what other people do and think.

So, without judgment, criticism, or concern, please tell me how you deal with this thing we will all have to go through (and which I went through twice within the last six months).

Thanks.
 

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At 17+ years old , I fear I will be facing this again all too soon with Chumlee. Makes me sick to my stomach and weepy just to type the words.

My last dog Sophie was 15+ years old and had been diagnosed with oral cancer. I know she also had a bit of dementia going on. We made a decision that when we saw that her enjoyment of life had obviously diminished, that would be the day.

I saw a couple of family dogs allowed to linger too long until I felt they had lost their dignity and I swore I would NEVER do that to any dog of mine.

We woke up in the morning and she seemed "off". Within a couple of hours we knew. She didn't grumble at the cat as she did every day. She had absolutely no use for the cat but she never hurt her. On this morning, Sophie allowed the cat to rub her head on her face and then the cat even groomed Sophie a little bit! Next she wouldn't let me out of her sight. She stared at me constantly and kept following me around although she looked so tired. As the final test I offered her some cheese, She never, never refused cheese. But that morning she wouldn't touch it. I made the call and we let her go later that day after spoiling her and loving on her to her last moment on Earth. Strangely, the cat followed her to the Rainbow Bridge a mere 10 days later.

I sometimes second-guessed myself and wondered if I should have decided sooner but honestly Sophie seemed quite happy and content until that day. That's the criteria I use. If life is more of a struggle than a joy for my dog, then it's probably time.

I'm praying that I will be brave when Chumlee's day comes in the likely not-too-distant future.
 

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Kate
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I saw a couple of family dogs allowed to linger too long until I felt they had lost their dignity and I swore I would NEVER do that to any dog of mine.
For me it's not the dignity - it's the quality of life and the dog feeling fear or pain. Or possibly dying in the night by himself and going through the last moments without comfort or love. No emoticons can express the degree of grief and sadness I feel in thinking back to having to make a decision on behalf of my last two. The dogs prior to them were already dying when the decision had to be made to ease their passing. And I had one dog die in his sleep at the vet post surgery. Making the decision is both the kindest and most loving thing you can do.... and it's also the worst.

I was listening to Dr. Laura on the radio the other day and she had somebody call in trying to get a handle on her own emotions vs knowing what had to be done with an old dog. Dr. Laura shared how she came to make the same decision regarding her dog. There was something she said which immediately had me tearing me up and feeling that same pain and recognition - she described the moment after the vet administered the shot, the feeling of panic and horror that goes right through you where you desperately want to take it back.

I went through that with both my last two dogs.
 

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What about the mystical idea that your dog will "let you know" when it's time? I hate that notion. More likely than not, it just leads to suffering. We've got to watch our loved little ones closely and with all the care and courage we can summon, see the whole picture (quality of life), and act. As others have said here, rather be a little too soon than a moment too late.

I'd share my stories but they're forever too painful to tell.
 

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This is going to be long since I just had to make the decision for Kaizer and I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what the right thing to do was.

I went back and forth for the past YEAR on when it was time for Kaizer. He kept getting more symptoms, kept getting put on more medication, and we just could not find a cause. I mean I probably would’ve been weirdly happy if someone told me he had cancer because it would’ve given me prognosis and options.

Regardless, that didn’t happen and I kept wondering how much more one dog could take. He had been dealing with pretty bad environmental allergies for the bulk of his life, then was diagnosed with IBD (April 2021), had this episodic inability to urinate issue (June 2021), had his first stroke/TIA event (July 2021), simultaneously diagnosed with lymphoma and then “un-diagnosed” with lymphoma in the same month (August 2021) and had another stroke/TIA event (September 2021). Then he started having possible focal seizures/seizure activity (March 2022), then bloated and required GDV surgery (April 2022). Had another reoccurrence of that urinary issue, was put on meds, + started with back pain (May 2022). In June 2022, he started having this weird Horners-esque eye issue. He became incontinent (July 2022), started having collapse episodes that were potentially more stroke/TIA events + worsening incontinence + diagnosed with reflex dyssynergia (August 2022). By the end of August, I knew our time was running out. His inability to urinate had gotten much worse, his overflow incontinence was bad. The Saturday (September 3) before he passed, we drained 1500mL of urine from his bladder. I let him go the day he could no longer stand, walk, and had no interest in eating.

It sounds like a lot but I can tell you with 98% certainty that he was not suffering up until that last day. He was still happy and interactive and present - the day he bloated, he had legitimately been bloated for hours before I took him in (he did not present like a normal GDV bc he was Kaizer so I had been going back and forth about if he actually needed to go to emergency). When I went to say bye to him before he went into surgery, he was jumping on the door to stand up and watch me. He was happy and wagging his tail (which typically is not how GDV dogs look!). I said I wouldn’t put him through a bloat surgery if it happened due to all his comorbidities, but I could not euthanize a dog who looked like he did that day. The Friday before he passed, incontinent as he was, he demo-dogged with me and was SO happy to do it. He did all his stupid tricks that made people laugh, he wagged his tail. He got his lovings from people. We went to the pet store that night to get his belly bands and he stole himself a buffalo horn (I have it in my car) and stole one of his favorite cookies - I’m so glad I didn’t stop him.

Most of my struggle truthfully was knowing how/when to make a decision for a dog who did not have a diagnosis. We went to UPenn two weeks before he passed, I did a couple thousand in diagnostics. I asked very specifically if they saw any cancer, and I was told no. I was told that I may never get a diagnosis for his various issues and my best chance would be supportive treatment. I didn’t (and truthfully still don’t) know what to do with that lol.

The day before he passed, I knew we were running out of time. Monday night, he started having difficulties standing up. He seemed painful for no apparent reason, started with some mild inappetence. I laid in my car with him for an hour, he couldn’t get up and I knew I’d have to lift him. As crazy as it sounds, as I laid with him, I told him that he’d have to let me know when he was done. I told him that I’d keep trying as long as he kept trying, so if he was done he’d have to stop eating. Told him dinner tonight or breakfast tomorrow. He didn’t eat breakfast the next day.

This is the last happy picture of him I took - Monday, Sept 5. He was gone 36 hours later.
Dog Wheel Tire Dog breed Road surface
 

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I lost my dog (not a Golden) on Thursday the 15th. He had Cutaneous Lymphoma, a rare malignant cancer which has a poor prognosis even with aggressive treatment. I decided against aggressive treatment to buy him time (he was diagnosed one day after his 13th birthday), due to age, travel time, and his recent blood screening that showed suspicious liver enzymes. He developed the tell tale open sores, and started losing hair. We opted to try palliative type care with some other alternative type treatments, and he went into partial remission over the summer. The sores healed over with healthy skin and his hair grew back in. He was still doing mini backyard agility courses (rather slowly, with low jumps and an A-frame with barely an incline). He was loving his life, engaging with me, and interacting with the other dog and cats. Bright eyed. Happy. Demanding his nightly bully stick or kong (or, as he often got, both.) We were over the moon.
In late August, he began losing weight despite eating 3 large meals a day and snacks. He stopped engaging as much and his gait started to be off. His right rear leg would occasionally stretched straight out behind him and he would lose balance. A few times he fell completely over. He continued to lose weight. Vet looked at him on a Friday. Heart didn't sound good. Fluid in the lungs. Vet noticed his breathing wasn't right. We discussed QOL and I couldn't do anything because he was still eating. I took him home, and he did OK over the weekend but I started taking his RRR. It was high, in the 40's. I monitored him. A few nights later, I checked him at 1:00AM and his breathing looked semi normal so I layed down and dozed on the couch. I woke up 45 minutes later to what I thought was a seizure, but I think now was syncope. He wasn't "out of it" but was struggling to get up, couldn't walk right, was breathing VERY loudly (panting/raspy) and wouldn't settle. I'm really disturbed by the fact there are NO vets who do emergency care around here, so I called my vet (it was almost 2AM, and she's a one person clinic) and she answered on the second ring and talked me through it. He settled and slept soundly all night, and I slept on the floor with him. The next day he wasn't quite right. Breathing was not good, and he wasn't eating as well. The day after that, I hated even taking him outside because I guess I stopped thinking something was going to fall out of the ceiling and cure him and I saw how bad he was. He was so skinny, so frail, and taking 5-6 steps made him stop and his sides were heaving. I heard gurgling in his lungs. He wouldn't drink on his own at all. He refused all food. I called the vet and she came to the house. By the time she arrived, his breathing had worsened and he was rattling and choking. He was drowning in his own fluid and there was no getting around the inevitable. I knew I'd waited too long, and was almost delirious from lack of sleep when the vet walked in and I knew my dog had minutes to live. Minutes seemed like too little time, but in the shape he was in, it seemed like too much. He was, in many ways, the dog I've shared the closest bond with in my entire life. I was a mess.
One one hand, I read once that (on the subject of euthanasia) when you make that decision, you need to realize that the life your pet loved is over and you're only ending the suffering that remains. But again, when he went into partial remission I felt like maybe we were onto something that could help other dogs with this cancer, and people for that matter because it's not well understood. I felt like I'd let my dog down by not being able to help him, and all the others that will unfortunately be diagnosed with this disease down too. I held onto the idea we were going to save him, and help others some day and unfortunately, that didn't happen. My own **** stubbornness played a role.
In the past year I've lost 3 to cancer. I'm so sick of cancer.
 

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This is going to be long since I just had to make the decision for Kaizer and I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what the right thing to do was.

I went back and forth for the past YEAR on when it was time for Kaizer. He kept getting more symptoms, kept getting put on more medication, and we just could not find a cause. I mean I probably would’ve been weirdly happy if someone told me he had cancer because it would’ve given me prognosis and options.

Regardless, that didn’t happen and I kept wondering how much more one dog could take. He had been dealing with pretty bad environmental allergies for the bulk of his life, then was diagnosed with IBD (April 2021), had this episodic inability to urinate issue (June 2021), had his first stroke/TIA event (July 2021), simultaneously diagnosed with lymphoma and then “un-diagnosed” with lymphoma in the same month (August 2021) and had another stroke/TIA event (September 2021). Then he started having possible focal seizures/seizure activity (March 2022), then bloated and required GDV surgery (April 2022). Had another reoccurrence of that urinary issue, was put on meds, + started with back pain (May 2022). In June 2022, he started having this weird Horners-esque eye issue. He became incontinent (July 2022), started having collapse episodes that were potentially more stroke/TIA events + worsening incontinence + diagnosed with reflex dyssynergia (August 2022). By the end of August, I knew our time was running out. His inability to urinate had gotten much worse, his overflow incontinence was bad. The Saturday (September 3) before he passed, we drained 1500mL of urine from his bladder. I let him go the day he could no longer stand, walk, and had no interest in eating.

It sounds like a lot but I can tell you with 98% certainty that he was not suffering up until that last day. He was still happy and interactive and present - the day he bloated, he had legitimately been bloated for hours before I took him in (he did not present like a normal GDV bc he was Kaizer so I had been going back and forth about if he actually needed to go to emergency). When I went to say bye to him before he went into surgery, he was jumping on the door to stand up and watch me. He was happy and wagging his tail (which typically is not how GDV dogs look!). I said I wouldn’t put him through a bloat surgery if it happened due to all his comorbidities, but I could not euthanize a dog who looked like he did that day. The Friday before he passed, incontinent as he was, he demo-dogged with me and was SO happy to do it. He did all his stupid tricks that made people laugh, he wagged his tail. He got his lovings from people. We went to the pet store that night to get his belly bands and he stole himself a buffalo horn (I have it in my car) and stole one of his favorite cookies - I’m so glad I didn’t stop him.

Most of my struggle truthfully was knowing how/when to make a decision for a dog who did not have a diagnosis. We went to UPenn two weeks before he passed, I did a couple thousand in diagnostics. I asked very specifically if they saw any cancer, and I was told no. I was told that I may never get a diagnosis for his various issues and my best chance would be supportive treatment. I didn’t (and truthfully still don’t) know what to do with that lol.

The day before he passed, I knew we were running out of time. Monday night, he started having difficulties standing up. He seemed painful for no apparent reason, started with some mild inappetence. I laid in my car with him for an hour, he couldn’t get up and I knew I’d have to lift him. As crazy as it sounds, as I laid with him, I told him that he’d have to let me know when he was done. I told him that I’d keep trying as long as he kept trying, so if he was done he’d have to stop eating. Told him dinner tonight or breakfast tomorrow. He didn’t eat breakfast the next day.

This is the last happy picture of him I took - Monday, Sept 5. He was gone 36 hours later.
View attachment 896515
What a sweet expression up until the end.
 

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I’m going though that with two dogs right now. (Not goldens)

Roxanne (El Tango De Roxanne) is 10.5 years old. She’s slowing down. Seems to be physically healthy, aside from her accidents. Her mental health is seriously declining though. She has always been scared of thunder. Scared of strangers. But she has gotten to the point to where she’s scared of rain! She used to come running when we called her, now she just lays down when we call.

Emmy is a little dog. No register name. She will be 13 in December. She’s been a resource guarder all her life. I worked with her a lot to get it to a manageable level. She’s occasionally aggressive. We no longer allow her to interact with anyone who doesn’t live in our home.Absolutely forbidden from seeing children. We just don’t know what she’ll do anymore. She went after our kitten for being in the kitchen the other day.

I watch these dogs daily and make mental notes on whether I think they are having good or bad days. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing all the time with them. It’s so hard when the mental health goes first.
 

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We lost our 12 year old Golden, Honey, earlier this month. She had oral melanoma at the base of her tongue, which extended into her soft palate and later into her nose. Her lymph nodes and salivary gland on one side of her neck were very large as well. What had been a dime-sized lymph node in May grew into a softball sized group of tumors by late August. We were running out of time very quickly but she was still enjoying life so the timing didn't feel right to euthanize.

As the tumors grew it made it difficult for her to eat anything except soft food, so I boiled chicken and we would hand-feed her all of her meals. The tumor in her mouth was very vascular, which caused additional problems that were sometimes difficult to deal with in a busy household. I spent a large portion of my day caring for her and keeping her as clean and comfortable as possible. It was a labor of love and I'd do it again. No regrets.

The weekend before she passed away, Honey was playing, tail wagging, bringing us toys and eating everything in sight. On Monday night she put herself to bed early, then never got up again. By Tuesday afternoon it was clear she was done fighting this terrible disease. She couldn't or wouldn't eat or drink anything, wouldn't take her pain meds, had developed labored breathing, and couldn't get up off the floor without us carrying her. We took her in to her vet on Wednesday and she passed away peacefully while eating chocolate chip ice cream. She went downhill so fast that the decision was made for us.
 

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So many stories, but all with the same thread. Inevitably the decision will in all likelihood have to be made at some point. Our very first dog many years ago didn't give us an option. He had a severe stroke at the age of 13. Forward to more recently and we had 2 goldies. The first was 10 when he was diagnosed with liver cancer and we gave him everything he wanted until the day he gave up. A year later the second, who was now 8.5 stopped eating. We were told that he had advanced stomach cancer which had spread to his lungs. How he had carried on without showing any symptoms is a mystery, but we decided then and there to let him go without waking him up from the sedation. The natural instinct was to second guess the ' what if' route, but common sense prevailed and we grieved without feeling guilt.

Now, Charlie has reached the age of that older dog and we watch her like a hawk. Every extra year she lives will be a bonus.
 

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I found out my sweet Luke had an aggressive cancer the day after Easter in 2019. He was eight years old. They said the longest he would probably live was a year, but the average life expectancy was two to four months. Luke lived four months. I opted for chemo as long as it didn’t make him sick (it didn’t) and as long as I thought he was still happy to be here & eating his food well. These photos are from vacation in the mountains of North Carolina a month before he passed and the swimming photos were in our pool on August 22, 2019 — he died on August 28, 2019. He was as well loved as a dog could be and loved us back a hundredfold.

It’s a very difficult and heartbreaking time. I’m fortunate in that I wouldn’t change anything in how we handled Luke’s illness and he left this world very peacefully in our home. It could have been different and I feel some was careful decision making and some was just being lucky.

Dog Carnivore Dog breed Fawn Companion dog


Dog Carnivore Dog breed Collar Plant


Dog Carnivore Dog breed Companion dog Fang


Water Dog Plant Carnivore Fawn


Water Dog Carnivore Plant Dog breed


Water Dog Carnivore Tree Swimming pool
 

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My wife and I have lost 3 over the years so far. Rusty was our first golden. I got him for my 24th birthday...best gift ever. He was 8 when we got married. He was 14 when he was diagnosed with a nasal tumor. We didn't want to do anything aggressive treatment wise at that age so we were going along day to day. One evening he was acting strangely and wanted to go out at 11PM. I went out with him and realized he was trying to poop but couldn't. We took him to an emergency vet in Richmond immediately and were told his stomach had torsioned. We knew there was no point to surgery and chose to let him go. I probably would've waited too long so I guess it was a blessing in disguise that he went suddenly. Spencer was the 2nd dog. We got him not long after Rusty. He was 2 when my daughter was born. We had a travel trailer and he went camping(ok, glamping) with us. The summer he was 12 we went to NY for a week in June. He was fine all week but started acting strangely as soon as we got home. We took him to the emergency vet because it was after hours for our regular vet. His stomach had torsioned as well. We were devastated. We chose to let him go instead of doing the surgery as well. I felt guilty for years because I thought we had to be doing something wrong for this to happen to both dogs like that. We got Charley from a local breeder next. About 2.5 yrs later we went back and got Lola. Same parents. The breeder had several instances of cancer in the three litters from that pairing and has since stopped breeding. Charley had what we now know was a seizure in Jan. '21. Vet had no clear answers for us at that time but thought it could be neurological. So we took him home and watched him closely. Next day he seemed fine. About a month later he had a seizure around 8PM or so and continued having them throughout the night. We were in the midst of a mid-February snow and ice storm....not too common in VA but we get them sometimes. We waited until 6AM to try to get him to the emergency vet so it would at least be light enough outside to be able to see which ice patch or snow bank I was getting ready to hit. I carried him out to the car because he couldn't use his back legs and when we got to the vet they came out with a stretcher. He had a seizure while they were bringing him inside. They said he was in rough shape and thought he probably had a brain tumor. They couldn't do an MRI or Cat scan at that location to be certain. We would have to load him back up and take him to their other location on the other side of Richmond.....in an ice storm. Who does a Cat scan on a dog ayway? We felt that it was best to let him go. He was 3 months shy of his 10th birthday. We've watched Lo very closely ever since knowing the cancer history there. She'll be 9 on Dec. 26th.....we say a little prayer and hope for the best every day. We fell into an opportunity to get Murphy about 3.5 months later.
I wonder if people who know me think I have a matter of fact attitude about losing a dog and then just going out to get another one. I suppose after having the experience multiple times....all situations where we felt like we didn't have time to mull it over but instead had to decide immediately... we've accepted the inevitability that we will lose each one some day. Knowing this however does NOT spare a person the emotional devastation or those same guilt feelings that everyone else who has posted here feels. IT HURTS.....plain and simple. It doesn't matter how many times you go through it either. We continue to go out and get another golden because we love all of these dogs and the gifts they give us. They teach the joy of living in the moment and they give unconditional love. Once experienced, how can anyone live without that? We can't......
 

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I think I waited too long with my first dog. I let her go a little over a year ago, she was 14 and a half. I've had dogs growing up but Amelie was my first dog I owned. It was very gradual with her. She had mobility issues and it got to the point where nothing seemed to work to help her anymore. I had her on a lot of pain pills. She was never a complainer so it was hard to know if she was in pain or just had a hard time using her muscles. I think it's easier to be more objective when it's not your dog. I remember thinking years before that a friend was waiting too long to put her dog down. It is so much harder when it was me who had to make that decision. My mom, who has had to make that decision before tried very carefully to let me know it was time to start thinking about letting her go. I did finally agree and set a date, but I set it for a week away to give me time (selfish). Well, the next day, Amelie actually gave up and refused to put any weight on her back legs at all. No idea what happened that she wouldn't even try. So I moved the day up. Since Amelie was terrified of the vet because of surgeries she's had in the past, there was no way I would let her final moments be at the vet. I had someone come to my home and it was actually a pleasant experience. The guy who came was very patient and kind. He gave her the shot and backed off so I could lay with her and hold her. He never rushed me and let me take as much time as I needed. After she was gone, he was still very gentle with her and put her in a van in a cushion of pillows. She looked so peaceful!

As exhausting (mentally and physically) as it was to help Amelie with her mobility near the end, I would have kept doing it if I was thinking about me and not her. But that was no life for a dog. I still think about her all the time and miss her so much.
Dog Eye Dog breed Carnivore Plant
 

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I found out my sweet Luke had an aggressive cancer the day after Easter in 2019. He was eight years old. They said the longest he would probably live was a year, but the average life expectancy was two to four months. Luke lived four months. I opted for chemo as long as it didn’t make him sick (it didn’t) and as long as I thought he was still happy to be here & eating his food well. These photos are from vacation in the mountains of North Carolina a month before he passed and the swimming photos were in our pool on August 22, 2019 — he died on August 28, 2019. He was as well loved as a dog could be and loved us back a hundredfold.

It’s a very difficult and heartbreaking time. I’m fortunate in that I wouldn’t change anything in how we handled Luke’s illness and he left this world very peacefully in our home. It could have been different and I feel some was careful decision making and some was just being lucky.

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Photographic proof that Old Gold is really the best Gold.
I'm so sorry for your loss, he looked like such a sweet heart.
 

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This thread is godsent as I am contemplating about euthanasia now for my 16+ year old Lab.

He has his fair share of issues which have developed over the last few years (arthritis, some dementia, an enlarged heart and failing kidneys). He is also almost completely deaf. He had three strokes/vestibular episodes the last three months which he recovered from in no time. He also gets bouts of diarrhoea from time to time. He is on multiple meds for his arthritis, dementia, heart and kidneys. He does have occasional accidents inside and is sleeping on diapers. However, he still eats like a typical Lab and he still goes for a slow stroll in the park and enjoys sniffing the grass and lying in the sun, watching people and dogs go by.

The other members of the family are not for putting him down, and I tend to agree for now, but if he becomes unable to walk at some point and his life comes down to lying on diapers and just eating and breathing, I'd tend to make the decision to let go. He is a heavy dog that has to be lifted on the stairs (he can't go up since his back legs are becoming weaker and weaker) and the trips to the park are becoming more of a struggle. And there is the issue that all household members have to agree on making the decision.

Sometimes I wish pets could just talk.
 

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For us it's about quality of life. As soon as it's obvious they are suffering and quality of life is going downhill, it's time.

All of our Goldens we've had since 1997 have died from some sort of cancer.

Nellie (1st Golden) made it to 14, had GRPU and had one eye killed by injection so there would be no pain, and nasal cancer set in. She was blind and started to suffer. It was time.

Henry (2nd Golden & 1/2 brother to Nellie) was 7 or 8. We noticed early summer a limp. Bone cancer in front leg. Amputated and started chemo. Was doing great as a tripod. By late summer cancer spread to lungs before chemo was complete. Quality of life went down hill fast. It was time.

Giggles (3rd Golden) was 6 or 7. Halft sister to Henry. Diagnosed with some sort of lymphoma early in the week. Died at my feet later in the week while we were watching t.v. That was awful.

Barkley (5th) started coughing one day. Diagnosed with chemodectoma (sp?) - an untreatable heart tumor. He lived a few months. Slept on the floor with him his last night. He was going downhill, it was time.

Sandy (6th) currently has lymphoma. Late Spring I felt the swollen lymph nodes and knew what it was right away. Vet confirmed B cell. That week her eye swelled up. Vet said 30% of cases the lymphoma goes to the eye or eyes. Had to have it removed. Horrible week. She is doing CHOP chemo, is in remission, and doing great. Has 5 more treatments. The cancer will come back at some point. Could be tomorrow or months from now. When she starts to go downhill or shows any suffering it will be time.

Pebbles (4th Golden and Sandy's mom) is 10. 11 in February. She has been dealing with digestive problems this summer. She is getting scoped tomorrow. Both ends. Vet suspects IBD. Not sure what to expect with this.

Pearl (7th) is about 2-1/2 years old. Doing fine. She is out of Sandy.

Mr B (8th) is 7. No issues at all except one ugly hot spot recently. Oh, and when I leave the house to go to work he howls and whimpers for an hour.

I think my next Golden will be a Goldfish...
 

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For us it's about quality of life. As soon as it's obvious they are suffering and quality of life is going downhill, it's time.

All of our Goldens we've had since 1997 have died from some sort of cancer.

Nellie (1st Golden) made it to 14, had GRPU and had one eye killed by injection so there would be no pain, and nasal cancer set in. She was blind and started to suffer. It was time.

Henry (2nd Golden & 1/2 brother to Nellie) was 7 or 8. We noticed early summer a limp. Bone cancer in front leg. Amputated and started chemo. Was doing great as a tripod. By late summer cancer spread to lungs before chemo was complete. Quality of life went down hill fast. It was time.

Giggles (3rd Golden) was 6 or 7. Halft sister to Henry. Diagnosed with some sort of lymphoma early in the week. Died at my feet later in the week while we were watching t.v. That was awful.

Barkley (5th) started coughing one day. Diagnosed with chemodectoma (sp?) - an untreatable heart tumor. He lived a few months. Slept on the floor with him his last night. He was going downhill, it was time.

Sandy (6th) currently has lymphoma. Late Spring I felt the swollen lymph nodes and knew what it was right away. Vet confirmed B cell. That week her eye swelled up. Vet said 30% of cases the lymphoma goes to the eye or eyes. Had to have it removed. Horrible week. She is doing CHOP chemo, is in remission, and doing great. Has 5 more treatments. The cancer will come back at some point. Could be tomorrow or months from now. When she starts to go downhill or shows any suffering it will be time.

Pebbles (4th Golden and Sandy's mom) is 10. 11 in February. She has been dealing with digestive problems this summer. She is getting scoped tomorrow. Both ends. Vet suspects IBD. Not sure what to expect with this.

Pearl (7th) is about 2-1/2 years old. Doing fine. She is out of Sandy.

Mr B (8th) is 7. No issues at all except one ugly hot spot recently. Oh, and when I leave the house to go to work he howls and whimpers for an hour.

I think my next Golden will be a Goldfish...
I laughed a little at this....We've tried goldfish as well. Unfortunately they have very short lifespans at our house. My wife does currently have a yellow glow fish in her classroom at school named Fishstick....he seems to be pretty hardy.....
 

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My wife does currently have a yellow glow fish in her classroom at school named Fishstick....
Best. Name. Ever.

Sorry for the momentary sidetrack. I've been reading and thinking a lot about this thread. I haven't had time to put down all of my own thoughts, but have appreciated reading everyone's contributions to it.
 

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Otter - I actually read about chemodectomas a few years ago, when my Fisher got pericardial mesothelioma. Only three types of heart tumors and besides hemangio, those are it.
My first golden had very acute hemangio. Perfectly fine in the morning, by night time couldn't walk. I had no idea what was happening. Took him to the vet the next morning, euthanized on the table when they opened him up and found golf-ball sized tumors all over his liver and spleen. I saw them with my own eyes. It was absolutely devastating and a complete shock. 10 yrs old.
Fisher has his own thread on GRF, if you search mesothelioma you can read the fine print, but I had 10 months to prepare for the inevitable. He was completely happy and did all the things he liked to do up until the very end. He would get weird symptoms that I would say "we can deal with this." When he stopped eating it was sudden and I knew that was it. Peaceful euthanasia at the vet. I cried because I missed my very good dog but he lead a full and active life of 12 1/2 years. "I could not ask for more."
Now I have Slater (Fisher's son) who is 13 1/2 and besides some old dog stuff, completely happy and healthy and doing very well. He has lar par, can't hear, only has one eye, can barely see, eats every meal and treat with gusto, snuggles with his toys, chews on nylabones, can play a short game of fetch, swims in the pool, rolls on his back in the yard, sunbathes, and keeps up with the young dogs on our daily walks on our 10 acres. He's happy as a clam.
 

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Kate
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Otter - I actually read about chemodectomas a few years ago, when my Fisher got pericardial mesothelioma. Only three types of heart tumors and besides hemangio, those are it.
My first golden had very acute hemangio. Perfectly fine in the morning, by night time couldn't walk. I had no idea what was happening. Took him to the vet the next morning, euthanized on the table when they opened him up and found golf-ball sized tumors all over his liver and spleen. I saw them with my own eyes. It was absolutely devastating and a complete shock. 10 yrs old.
Fisher has his own thread on GRF, if you search mesothelioma you can read the fine print, but I had 10 months to prepare for the inevitable. He was completely happy and did all the things he liked to do up until the very end. He would get weird symptoms that I would say "we can deal with this." When he stopped eating it was sudden and I knew that was it. Peaceful euthanasia at the vet. I cried because I missed my very good dog but he lead a full and active life of 12 1/2 years. "I could not ask for more."
Now I have Slater (Fisher's son) who is 13 1/2 and besides some old dog stuff, completely happy and healthy and doing very well. He has lar par, can't hear, only has one eye, can barely see, eats every meal and treat with gusto, snuggles with his toys, chews on nylabones, can play a short game of fetch, swims in the pool, rolls on his back in the yard, sunbathes, and keeps up with the young dogs on our daily walks on our 10 acres. He's happy as a clam.
Every time those random mesothelioma commercials come on the radio or whatnot, I think of Fisher.... :(

With cancer - I think the very small blessing is typically with hemangio, by the time you know - you basically have very limited options and it's a case where you could legit tell yourself the dog had not suffered until the last day. With my Danny being "young" enough (young 12, had just barely started going white by the time he was 9-10 years old, was still a happy little old man right through that last day and wasn't even throwing up or showing any of the other symptoms other than being very restless and refusing to eat, being unable to lay down for longer than a few seconds) to try to remove the spleen - that was us trying, but he never woke up after surgery.

Vet told us that there was a very high likelihood of it being cancer with a very poor outcome with or without surgery. She pushed us to let him go, but I remember looking at him while he was getting the ultrasound during dx and seeing him nosing and snuggling with the tech who was holding him in her lap and wagging his tail the whole time.... I don't know if they would do this still, but for ultrasounds they let me be there with him so I could literally see what they were looking at. I do not regret giving him a good chance because he still had that bright light in his eyes. A dog who is failing and has a very bad outcome ahead of him is so different.
 
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