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31 July 2009


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Leslie K

Christie-more hugs coming your way ! Its so hard to know when to stop trying with an older dog or cat. I do think they try to tell us when they've had enough,maybe we just aren't always listening.I know whatever you decide will be with love and Rebels best interests foremost.Hoping for big improvement for Rebel soon !


Sorry I can't (nor can anyone else unfortunatly) offer you any advice. But I would like to send both of you my best wishes. Yes, sometimes life sucks bigtime.

Rebel could not be in better hands. My Rottie was diagnosed with cystinuria on Monday, so I've joined that particular sisterhood now unfortunately. I've been reading up on your articles on it, and would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the genorous help you offer to people and their pets who you don't even know.

{Big hug to you and Rebel }

Christie Keith

I'm at the vet right now -- oh how I love my laptop connect thingie -- they're changing his antibiotic, giving me something more for the pain plus a sedative to use if he's very stressed out, and we'll get through the weekend until we have test results. They're also x-raying him right now, so maybe I'll know more sooner than that, if they see anything, but he was just ultrasounded and that didn't turn anything up.

Thanks for the Internet hugs and good wishes! More later.


That is such a tough time. Lots of decisions. My elderly Lab got an ear infection. No biggie, right? Nope. It took almost four months and about $2,000 to get it cleared up -- including a rare antibiotic that I could only get from Kaiser. The pharmacy there had the worst time trying to figure out how to dispense to a canine patient. Also an ointment I had to have formulated by a pharmacy that does that sort of work. At it turned out, it was worth it, but at that time I was wondering the same thing: is an ear infection enough to take that final car ride?


Oh Christie. Keeping both of you in my thoughts.


Suzanne Clothier has a beautiful blog tribute to one of her old dogs who just passed:


Liz Palika

Please accept a big internet hug, Christie.

I was just watching my ten year old Riker today. He has severe hip dysplasia and he wasn't putting any weight on his left rear leg. Of course as soon as he saw me watching, he put that foot down! And as soon as my nephew showed up he was jumping off both hind legs to give kisses. sigh......One minute I think he's in horrible pain and the next minute I wonder about his sanity! smile..... With Riker, his good moments and days are certainly more than his bad moments and days.

But making the decision can be a very hard one.

So....big hug....

Christie Keith

He had a very rough night, and we're heading to the vet again this morning.

Can we all have a spirited round of LIFE SUCKS?

Colorado Transplant

Love hurts, life hurts. It really gets rough sometimes.

Then there are the good moments, which I am sure will happen to you in the future.


Ugh. It's a hard place to be. I had an 11 year old dog with a probable brain tumor who then had a tooth root abscess explode into his face. I couldn't put him to sleep for a bad tooth and I couldn't not fix the thing, so he had anesthesia and surgery to extract a big old tooth a few months before he died.

I hope your old man is feeling better soon.

Ark Lady

It is a hard dilemma to live with. When my guy contracted cancer it was excruciating after the surgery because his mobility was impaired and he was sometimes incontinent (due to the location of the tumor and I think loss of sensation after surgery).

The only thing I could do was help him, keep him comfortable, and keep his quality of life.

I wrote about some of the process in Creature of the Divine but it was hard all the way around.

Do your best, listen to your intuition--and your dog. It doesn't make it any easier but it will give you peace of mind.


Enjoy every minute and listen to your dog. He'll tell you when it's time.

Original Lori

Hugs to Rebel...as long as they don't hurt, too.

Colorado Transplant

Terrible place to be, Christie.

Life just doesn't give easy answers sometimes, does it. Either way you choose, you are going to suffer.

I, too, wish you comfort and peace of mind. I feel you will lead yourself, unwittingly, to make the right choice.


I came across this article on the Veterinary Partners website the other day, and found it an interesting (albeit somewhat clinical) approach to this very question which you and so many others have to grapple with in caring for an older pet:


My own guy - 13-1/2 years old - has periodic bouts of intestinal distress. Sometimes diarrhea, sometimes constipation. Not enough to warrant a euthanasia decision, but - especially with the constipation episodes - sometimes causing him SO much pain and discomfort, and I just wish I knew how to help make being old less difficult for him.

But when his gut isn't acting up (and sometimes even when it is!) he's a happy, upbeat guy who's clearly enjoying life, so I know it's not time yet. And of course, I want it never to be.

In general, that old formula about "When the bad days start to outnumber the good ones . . . . . . . . . " is probably as helpful as anything else.

But ultimately, I think it ends up being a gut decision. When they're ready to go, somehow they just let you know.

It's another testament to that human-animal bond that is such a magical part of the life we share with them.

Keeping you and Rebel in my thoughts, and sending many {{{hugs!}}}


I'm sorry, Christie, that you're dealing with this, but I do understand. Every time my 13 year old cat gets something "minor" (for a younger, healthier cat) I wonder what to do. (I realize that surgery is not minor but the situation seems similar.) Five weeks ago I had to make the decision about surgery vs no surgery. She had a "mass" in her intestine (which we all assumed would be cancer) and she couldn't go on the way she was. I opted for surgery and it turned out to be multiple adhesions that had badly kinked the intestines, stomach, etc and she was beyond miserable. She's doing well now, but the anesthesia took precious time from us since she has chronic renal failure (thank you Nutro) which will likely progress more rapidly now.

My sense is that as long as my cat(s) continue to fight, then I will do what I can to fight with them. CJ has not lost that fight yet, although she's clearly getting tired. There will be no more surgeries, no more feeding tubes, no more invasive procedures. Am I glad I agreed to the surgery? Absolutely since her quality of life would have been zero without it.

I hope you can find some kind of treatment that will give Rebel some relief, if not healing.

I wish you comfort and peace of mind for whatever decision you make for your dog. I know that whatever you do, it will be done because of your great love for him and he will know that. I really believe that!


It's a hard place to be. My 16 year old sheepie never got even a little sick. She just got slow, and thin, and a bit incontinent. And deaf.

It was so hard to make the decision to put her to sleep based purely on her "being old". But still, to this day, i think we waited too long, and i feel guilty.

Now i know that, perhaps, it's better to let them go a day too soon rather than a day too late.

Good luck

Anne T

I keep trying to find something profound and purposeful to say but can't. With old dogs, there is no small stuff. A simple lesion, a bout of kennel cough, whatever can lead to alarming and disheartening consequences. Virtual hugs to all of you. My time is coming. Again. Two of mine will be 12 on Wed, and both have chronic conditions. Will this stop me from owning dogs? No and it never has, but it reminds me of this poignant poem by Rudyard Kipling.http://www.readprint.com/work-970/The-Power-Of-The-Dog-Rudyard-Kipling

Again, I am sorry for everyone going through this, and everyone who will.

Anne T

I messed up the link. The poem is entitled "The Power of the Dog" and you can easily goggle it if this doesn't work. Be sure you have a kleenex handy.


Gina Spadafori

Ah Deanna ... I know your situation and I am so sorry to read this.

I know you and I know Christie will both make the best decisions for your dogs.

Christie Keith

Well, the "didn't seem to mind" thing is over. Rebel snapped at me for the first time in his life this morning when I just tried to pull up his skin to give the injection, and while I couldn't feel any lump or warm spots, he yelped a couple of times when I prodded the area.

I have a call in to my vet.

Then I'm going to jump off a bridge.

Mary Mary

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that. Poor old man.


Christie, I empathize with you greatly... I'm at the same stage you are with one of my guys. His cancer is back and we could do all the same things we did nearly two years ago when it first appeared — when he recovered so well and lived life to the fullest again. However, all the treatment was clearly traumatic for him and he has made it clear to us that he wants no more trips to the vet, thank you very much. (He's 8 now.)

Regarding the sub-Q shots, you are giving them between the shoulder blades, yes? There's an area where they have very few nerve endings and maybe it's just a matter of being shown again where it is. It's easy to be "off" and poke them where it hurts. (Our old girl requires sub-Q fluids every other day, so I have learned this through experience.)

I don't think it really matters whether the ailment is little or big, or whether the dog is old or young, it's still hard to decide how much treatment to pursue. Especially if the dog in question is one of the extra special ones.

I wish you and Rebel the best. You'll make the right decisions.

Gina Spadafori

I hope you are BOTH doing a lot better this morning!


Thank you for taking the time to let us know. I know it was a long and exhausting day - physically AND emotionally.

I'm glad his kidneys are checking out well. That's HUGE!

And thanks to your family for stepping in and supporting you at a time when just ONE MORE THING can feel like the straw that broke the camel's back. Sending Internet hugs to your SIL as well for being there for you!

Hoping you and Rebel are able to get some much-needed rest.


Glad that you have some treatment alternatives that might help Rebel get past this darn infection. Now to get him feeling better - and for you to be able to get some rest, too. Please keep us posted.


What a long stressful day for you Christie. I looked at the times of your earlier posts. Hoping that today you and Rebel will have a much brighter day. Hugs

Carol V

I can not offer much more than good thoughts and keyboard hugs...

Hope things get easier for you guys...


Butt scratches for Rebel and hugs for Christie.

Nancy Freedman-Smith CPDT

I read your post first thing this AM and couldn't stop thinking about it, you and Rebel. Been there done that.

People are always quick to tell you that you will know when it is time, and my last 2 with euthanasias, no, I didn't know and to this day I still don't know if I picked the right day. Dina maybe could have gone on longer, but her body could not handle another winter, so I chose I warm November day. Brewster lingered and lingered and rallied and rallied. With both dogs I obsessed about how much pain they were in. sigh- I don't envy you . That really sucks.

Christie Keith

Just got home... Rebel crashed hard from the fracking SEDATIVE they used to do the x-ray... I could just scream. They almost admitted him to the hospital, but they let us go at around 7 pm after an afternoon and evening of IV fluids and being on an EKG. Fortunately there was an empty exam room and they let me set up his big soft bed and hang out with him in there, all the lights off... it was very quiet and peaceful even though the hospital was jammed and there were two emergencies other than Rebel!

One good thing about being there that late is that we got his labwork back from the blood and urine they took this morning, and it looked really good. They saw no bacteria or WBCs in his urine, which means his antibiotic was probably working, and his urine specific gravity was fine, so overall we think his kidneys are doing well -- that was our big worry.

My vet is currently thinking his symptoms were all a reaction to the antibiotic, so we're now on an injectable antibiotic that the extended sensitivity test indicated would work on his infection. It's given sub-q so it's not too bad... I've given it twice now and he didn't even seem to notice I was doing it. And it's actually cheaper than the Clavamox. Imagine that!

I'm sounding upbeat but seriously, even if this hasn't taken months off his life, I think it's taken them off mine. I'm just so grateful my sister in law was able to step in and take care of my mom today. I don't know what I would have done without her!

Now I'm going to snuggle Rebel and then crawl into bed and assume the fetal position for a few hours. Just wanted to let everyone know what happened.

Colorado Transplant

Well, Christie, if you are considering using homeopathic medicine, I do not think Dr. Becker would say, in this case, that you would have to take water after the medicine as he usually advises. The homeopathic medicine is 99.9% water, anyway.

Hugs to you, Christie, Rebel, and your mom. I know it is heartbreaking for you, but you are a very tenacious person, and will get through it all.

Christie Keith

Thanks, Kim. We've tried him on cranberry in the past -- upsets his stomach and causes him to become incontinent. :(


Hugs to Christie, Rebel, and Christie's mom.

It's hard enough to deal with these situations on a good day - it's an entirely different story when you're dealing with a family illness at the same time.

So sorry to hear about Rebel's snapping reaction - even when you completely understand the cause (and sympathize) it's still heartbreaking when your baby feels the need to defend himself against your actions. Been there... not good.

I know your stance on UTIs, but in this particular case, especially since the blood/urine results are positive, have you considered finishing him up with a round of cranberry and some homeopathics? Not ideal, I know... but certainly a considerable option when treating such a sensitive soul.

My heart goes out to you on so many levels Christie...


Christie, with antibiotics that have a real sting, we have been fortunate in the past to have vets or pharmacies who could/would add a small amount of painkiller to the injection.

An ice pack on the site before and after seems to help too.

I hope that you and Rebel can put this behind him, fast.

Will keep you both in my thoughts


BTW, no such a thing as an extra special pet. They all are extra special.

Janis Joplin's piece of my heart is my theme song, played very loud when faced with the loss of an extra special pet.

I hate death!!!


Oh, Christie.

I do very much sympathize with you.

I think it so unfair that larger dogs has such a relative short life span.

Appears they are cheated out of a very deserved longer life in the grand scheme of things.

When a loved one( animal or human) is near the end of life, a hermit existence seems very attractive. No more mental pain.

Not being a religious person, rainbow and heaven does not cut if for me. I do envy sometimes a religious person though with their unshaken beliefs in after lives..

However, living things do procreate, therefor they really never die, they just regenerate as long as the earth exists. After all we all are a highly complex computer program in the language of DNA that produces a 3 dimensional form. That does provide me some comfort when facing the eminent loss of a loved one.

In the end the decision will not be entirely yours. Rebel and your vet will guide you.

It will still hurt terrible though.

Been there but not a hermit (yet).


Rebel certainly is a sensitive boy.... :O(

I'm not sure if you can get it where you are, but we've had really good results with Cranimals Very Berry - a mix of organic cranberry, blueberry and raspberry. Less strain on digestion, I've found.

Wish I had something else to offer, Christie... I know what it's like to be in these rock vs. hard place situations. Every option offers a potential cure and a potential disaster all at the same time.

All I can say is that we're thinking about all of you - keep us posted when you can. {{{hugs}}}

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