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Karen
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Discussion Starter #1
Merry is my sweetest friend. Actually it’s Merryandrew (one who entertains others by means of comic antics; a clown). My silly little golden puppy is now 15 years old and we’re walking a path that’s not familiar to either of us and it’s confusing, scary, heart breaking.

I have always taken such great care of my pup, but now find myself feeling guilty and unsure. Guilty because I’m keeping her here and then guilty because I’m planning to let her go. In the past several weeks my neighbors have been coming up to me and asking how Merry is because they can see that she is struggling with walking. Yet when I consulted my vets about 1 month ago (yes, I have two different vets-- my regular vet that we have gone to for 15 years and a holistic vet for acupuncture and alternative medications) they both said not yet.

Miss Merry had vestibular disease last Dec. it took a while, but we got through it and all of that time I was OK with pushing through even when she couldn’t stand for many days because her body was very strong. She had some seizures in the spring and a relapse of the vestibular on Memorial Day. Unfortunately, as the summer has gone on, her ability to walk has deteriorated. We have a cabinet full of pain meds, metacam and tramadol are the mix that works for her, with a massage every other week. We have also been to laser therapy, acupuncture, tried gabapentin, pain plus (holistic) but, in the end of the day, I’m not able to stop this change in her physiology. Some days are Ok, but now she needs help standing up. Once we are going, Ok but she occasionally falls because her legs slip out from under her. I have bought rugs to cover the floor, and then different rugs, because we learned that the rugs with texture were better, and multiple types of harnesses, help’em’up (which she hated), considered boots, but again, no matter what I do or buy she’s still struggling. It’s hard for her to do her business, and although I’m sure the meds and other things help, she’s not pain free, unless perhaps she’s sleeping or if I up the medications to levels that basically make her unalert.

It’s been a long time since she has rolled in the grass, trotted with her tail up, stole my slippers, played with her toys. So we are going to the bridge next week. One minute I think I’m doing the right thing and then a few hours later I have doubt. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed that God would take her in her sleep but I don’t think it’s going to happen that way. I know that I have to find peace with this decision inside myself, but I could really use a little encouragement from those that have walked this path.
Karen, Merry’s mom
 

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Karen, I understand what you're saying. I had to make the same decision for our old girl. Come February, it will be 2 years. You have given your pup a rich, rewarding life full of love and Merry returned it with love and devotion. Then comes the time we all dread, when we must give them our last gift and set them free from suffering. I know it's hard. I'm praying for you. May God bless and comfort you.
 

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I'm sorry you are at this point in time. I have walked your path -- 3 times I had to make the decision and it is never an easy decision. It's a very personal decision and everyone is different so you need to decide what is best and what you are most comfortable doing, and you will because you love her. I try to very realistically weigh their quality of life and when the bad days out number the good days I also take into consideration what could happen. It's just me and I am one of those people who rather be a day early than a day late. If something happened and my dog was in distress I'm not sure I would be able to forgive myself. Look in her eyes and look in your heart and you will find the strength whatever your decision is. Keeping you and Merry in my thoughts and prayers.
 

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Karen
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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Kathy, Al, and '1Oldparson I so appreciate your prayers.
 

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Hi Karen,

I'm so sorry you are faced with making this decision. I have found it to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I've been through it too many times and I don't feel it gets any easier each time.

I had to say good bye to my bridge boy almost four years ago, he was 15.5. He was experiencing some of the same problems as Merry is having with walking and falling. He also had cancer, wasn't eating much. I knew it was time to set him free.

Merry will let you know when it's time. I couldn't bear the thought of him not being with me anymore but knowing he was suffering and in pain was even more unbearable for me.

Although I miss him and always will, I am at peace knowing he is no longer suffering. I believe he is whole again and enjoying life as he once did when he was young.

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you make this decision.
 

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Mel & Mimi´s Mom
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Dear Karen,
I have no wise advice to give you but I know for sure that your decision, tough as it may be, is the best for your Merry. Afterall, you brought her up for 15 long golden years, how could it not be the most loving care for her. My thoughts are with you.
 

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Karen, Having made this decision I understand the pain and confusion you are feeling. With Henry I knew that I loved him enough to let him go and that to keep him was selfish of me, there is never a day go by when I don't wish for another hour with him. Yes I felt guilty but less so as the months pass, but in my heart I always knew I had done the right thing at the right time. You as others here have done will feel the right time for you and Merry, it is the hardest decision but it also the decision that shows how much you love her by setting her free from her ties of pain. I wish you strength for the days that come, my thoughts are with you and your beautiful girl.
 

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I'm so sorry for what you're going through right now. I understand.
Something my vet said when I took my very first pet (a cat) and was unsure about the timing was: "It's ok to go on a good day".
I think she meant we don't have to wait until they're in such horrible shape.
It doesn't alleviate the uncertainty ... but when I think what would I want for myself, some dignity and pain free would be better than no dignity and unbearable pain.
Wishing you and Merry peace.
 

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Karen, the decision is never easy and the fact that you are wrestling with it is a sign of how much you love Merry.

There is a sticky in this Senior Forum that has attached the Senior Care Guidelines from the American Veterinary Hospital Association. One of the passages that is most important to me says: "The five freedoms include freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from physical and thermal discomfort; freedom from pain, injury, and disease; freedom from fear and distress; and the freedom to express normal behavior." As I watch my Joker, knowing his time is growing short, I think about these freedoms and promise not to wait too long. I know from sad experience that he will tell me clearly when he has had enough, but I don't have to wait for him to beg.

You will draw strength and courage from your love for Merry and do what is best for her, as you always have.

Wishing you peace...
 

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Dog Lover
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KKaren

KKaren

Here is the Senior Care Guidelines sticky that GoldensGirl was referring, to:

http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/golden-retriever-senior-center/106513-aaha-senior-care-guidelines.html

Ken and I have made this decision four times now. We always promised our dogs that we would not let them suffer. Someone once said, "it's better a week too early, than a day too late," and that's how we feel. Your baby girl, Merry, has lived a wonderful life with you and she's been truly loved! I will be praying
for you both.
 

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Ingrid, Now Mom to Brisby
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Karen, my heart goes out to you and Merry at this difficult time which many of us know so well.

You both have surrounded each other with a very special love for many years....that will endure for eternity. Surround yourself and Merry with that love now in every moment. Your heart and that love will lead you in your decision. Sending you light & peace.

Ingrid
 

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Misty & Holly's Mom :)
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Karen, I am so very sorry for the decision you have to make, that you will make out of your love for Merry. You will know in your heart when it is time. You both are in my prayers.
 

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Karen
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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you so much for the many encouraging notes. Your stickies in the in the senior care with guidelines are what brought me to this forum. I read them and then went back and read them again. That's actually part of why I joined because the information was so good.

I want to share some pics of my girl, so that this thread, also captures her wonderful personality. Today is a bad day which, I guess ironically helps because it makes me feel we're on the right path. So we'll sit a bit on the floor and eat treats and I'll sing her those silly songs that I made up about Merry.
 

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I know so well what you are going through. You have given your dog a fantastic long life and now are giving her release from pain and suffering, the final great thing that you can do for her.
I have done this now 14 times with my own dogs and the dogs I look after here. They are not mine on paper but live with me and I love them as though they were my own.
I am now retired but my boss has given me a post retirement contract (you can do this in France) with lower pay and free house so that I can continue looking after his 2 (nearly 3 year old) dogs. I hope this will continue for the rest of the dog's lives. The dog I had here before these 2 came, lived until 17. If this is the same for these I will be nearly 80!!!
Thinking of you during these difficult times.
 

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I am so very sorry that you have to struggle with this. Your Merry is beautiful and it is evident from your post how much you love her. My husband and I, over the past 30 years, have been down this road 5 times. It is NEVER easy. We learned that the deeper you love the deeper the grief. Our last precious golden, Emmy, is still fresh in my memories even though it has been 2 years. Our breeder did tell us that she always kept this thought in her mind " It is better to let them go free a little early rather than wait a minute too long". It is a gift of freedom we give them - freedom from pain and suffering. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
 
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