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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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I agree with others - tough subject but good conversation and thoughts to have.

My own personal approach is that I will try anything to treat a treatable illness as long as it is not causing my dog to suffer. I will do surgeries and chemo if they are going to prolong a good quality of life. My last dog had cancer at a very healthy 12 years old - she had surgery, she got an infection, we treated the infection, we started the chemo, but it was soon evident the chemo was not working. I actually said to my vets, please tell me if you think it is time to let her go because I'm afraid I won't see it because I don't want to lose her. They said that because I was conscious of that, they believed I would see it. And I did. One day she was okay and then suddenly she was not. She had done a very strange and peaceful act of saying goodbye to our street that evening (I can't actually explain or put it all down in words, but it was something I had never seen her do, and in hindsight, I realized that she probably knew it was the last time she would see what she was looking at), and overnight, I knew she was done. She definitely let me know. I called my vet and said, we need to come now. It was devastating and I didn't know how I was going to live without her, but I knew it was right to let her go. She was not getting better and it was not fair to her. It broke my heart and I definitely panicked that I had given up too soon, but I know it was absolutely the right time.

For Shala, she also had cancer. But she was only 8 years old. And also a very healthy, athletic 8. It was a single small tumour with no spread. She had a surgery and then chemo because it turned out it was an aggressive sarcoma. The chemo was not supposed to make her sick, but it did. She was nauseous and threw up every time. It was hard. I doubted my decision to do it, but she was only 8 years old. I felt like there was so much more potential life to be lived. I might not have made the same decision for a 12-13 year old. I'm not sure. Ultimately, I decided that a few days of feeling sick every three weeks would be worth it if the chemo worked to stave off tumour regrowth. I talked about it constantly with my oncologist and vet. She was not in pain, just felt crummy. And then the chemo was over and she was her sunny, happy self again. She had looked very sick and old during the illness and treatment, but her fur grew back shiny and full, and the grey in her face was gone. I get asked all the time now if my 9 year old is a puppy. Looking back, it was definitely a hard few months, but I am so glad that I made the decision I did. Had she been in pain, the situation would have been different. I will not let a dog suffer in pain. I think each experience informs your next one.

And I will always want to be there at the end to be holding them and telling them I love them and how they made my life better for being in it.
 

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Aww I’m not gonna lie that part you shared about your last dog saying goodbye to your street made me tear up
It was so moving. I knew she was doing something she had never done before, but until she died the next day, I didn't know why she was doing it or what it meant. Animals have definitely demonstrated over time that they know when they are going to die (they go off alone somewhere, for example), and I truly believe she knew. It makes me teary to remember, too.
 

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On my Golden's last trip to the park where we hiked every day, she wanted to stop and just stand still while looking around, in several of her favorite areas, like she was committing them all to memory.
I took Luke, my last Golden, to the end of the street for our last walk. It was as far as I thought he could go. He planted his feet and stared down the road to his favorite place in our neighborhood — a large pond area.
Okay. I said I wouldn't be able to explain what Tesia did, mostly because I didn't think the emotion of it would translate, but it is almost exactly what you both describe. We had been out in front of our house, and it was so perfect because both of her dog neighbour friends came along. She had a gentle interaction with each one, and then she walked into the middle of the grassy crescent on the street and looked up the road with her head slightly up. She just stood there like she was taking it in, then she turned and looked the other way and did the same. But the bigger one was when we got back to my house - we walked up the stairs (I live in a townhouse, so we walk up to a little courtyardy-walkway-thing that runs between our rows of homes) and instead of walking up the row to our house, she very pointedly stopped and turned around, and then walked over to the corner patio of our neighbour (she had never, ever done this) and stood where she could overlook the entire street. (She was off leash so she was going where she wanted to go). Again, she just stood and looked and I felt like she was committing it to memory and saying goodbye. In retrospect, after she died, I realized she probably knew that was the last time she was going to see her street, where she had spent so much of her life. I didn't get it in the moment, but after she died, I just thought, oh my God. This all does really mean so much to them. She wanted to remember and say goodbye. I can only hope that she could smell and hear and feel me in her final moments as I said goodbye to her and she said goodbye to the world.
 
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