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  #1  
Old 27 July 2017, 03:16 AM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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Default When is it time to say goodbye?

My husband and I have 4 dogs - 3 very senior. Our Golden Retriever and one of our coonhounds have been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

My husband is very against euthanasia. He wants the dogs to enjoy their lives.

However, I am working from home and both dogs are on steroids as a palliative measure- which has changed them from normal family dogs to biters who attack. I've been home this week with both of them and I have scars, scratches, bites. These dogs are no longer the dogs we loved for 15 years.

I am frankly ready to load them up into the car and have them put to sleep, but my husband insists it's not their time. I'm kind of furious at him for overlooking the bites and injuries I've dealt with this week.

Any advice or suggestions? My game plan is to hang out with my mom tomorrow and stay the hell away until we reach a result.
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  #2  
Old 27 July 2017, 03:43 AM
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Darth Credence Darth Credence is offline
 
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I don't think you can go on like it is if they are attacking you. Even if you decided you were willing to put up with it to keep the dogs around, they would still be a danger to others. You certainly don't want to see a neighbor kid get badly hurt.

So the question would be if there are other options for palliative care. Can they be taken off the drugs they are on, and put on something that wouldn't have the same side effects? I have no idea. But asking the vet would both let you answer the question, and get someone else to help talk with your husband. I can't imagine a vet would be comfortable about giving a dog something that causes it to bite.

I'm so sorry for this - it sucks that we outlive them by so much.
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  #3  
Old 27 July 2017, 04:00 AM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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I live in fear of walking them, you are right - I can deal if they treat me badly, but others in the neighborhood, no way.

Husband agreed to wean them off the steroids, but I think I might get better results talking to the vet direct.
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Old 27 July 2017, 04:10 AM
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thorny locust thorny locust is online now
 
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I would definitely talk to the vet. I have had cats on prednisone, and it did not cause character changes. Dogs may be different, of course; but it's possible the vet. was not expecting this effect, and/or may have some ideas as to other palliative care to try.

I tend to go by whether they still seem comfortable and/or to be enjoying significant chunks of their days. It is often difficult to try to judge.
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Old 27 July 2017, 04:27 AM
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Keket Keket is offline
 
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Steroids should not cause aggression. I would be highly suspicious of inadequate pain control. There's definitely other options that may improve their comfort and make them feel like themselves again.

I am very pro-euthanasia when the time is right. I often tell owner "better a month too early than a day too late". I also tell them to list the things their pet enjoys and when they're not doing them anymore, it's probably time. I'd be curious why your husband is against euthanasia if he wants the dogs to enjoy life. We offer euthanasia when the pet is no longer enjoying life. My PM box is open if you or your husband have questions.
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  #6  
Old 27 July 2017, 01:44 PM
overyonder overyonder is online now
 
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I always consider the dogs' quality of life. If they are in severe pain and/or miserable in their day-to-day activities due to sickness, it may be the right time.

My neighbors kept their 15-y old lab until (nearly) the very end, but they had to endure the dog's incontinence. Not much fun.

OY
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  #7  
Old 27 July 2017, 03:12 PM
dfresh dfresh is offline
 
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It sounds like the time is now. The dogs personalities changing like that is not a normal thing. It happened with my friend's dog, but that is because the dog was in constant pain, and so constantly on edge. Again there, the husband didn't want to put the dog to sleep. He said it was for the dog's sake, but it was really that he couldn't accept that it was time. SO, one day we were over there, my wife pet the dog like she always had, it lunged and bit her in the face. Multiple stitches, and a scar that will never go away. Our medical insurance wanted to sue the dog's owner for the full cost, but we blocked it and so had to pay a lot of it ourselves. The dog was put down later that week, but the friendship never really recovered.
SO, do you really want the dogs to be put down after they hurt someone else, by court order, after being seized by animal control?
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  #8  
Old 27 July 2017, 04:04 PM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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I'm waiting on the vet to call me back.

Thanks all, especially Keket, for pointing out my assumption that the steroids were causing behavior changes is not necessarily correct. I'll let the vet do her job in figuring out what they need, sounds like some doggie dope since it seems like they're in pain as that's the only way I can explain the sudden aggression.

My husband's attitude about euthanasia is a little upsetting to me because I agree with the sentiment that when they're unhappy, you let them go. We're already managing the incontinence. When I first met him, he had a 22ish year old dog that was basically just a rug that peed and pooped in the kitchen. Jake was deaf, blind and his diabetes had diabetes. He finally died while we had left him with a pet sitter. I really don't want our girls to get to that point, but they are "his" dogs (he owned them before we got married) so it's a little delicate.

I like the idea of making a list of the things they love and making the case that it's time once they no longer can enjoy them. They still love walks and butt scritches, so maybe it's not quite time yet? I hope that the vet can come up with some pain meds that make them back into their normal selves, but if not, I'm hoping my husband while home tomorrow sees some of what I've been dealing with.
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  #9  
Old 27 July 2017, 06:54 PM
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DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
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If you have to ask that question, you know.

I wish you strength in this difficult time.


Grief is the price we pay for love ~Gretchen Jackson, owner of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro
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  #10  
Old 27 July 2017, 08:08 PM
Ellestar Ellestar is offline
 
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I've been where you and your husband are and I know how hard it is.

My dog had malignant bone cancer in his paw and he was too old to consider amputation when the cancer would probably just show up in another area soon. It felt like an impossible task to know when was the right time. He was in pain, but where did that pain tip the scales into too much pain where it was better to let him go? There are a lot of days that I feel like I was too early and only decided to put him down when I did because of outside circumstances, and I still feel guilty.

But we let him go before he became a dog we didn't recognize. And, for sure, I never feared him. I think it's probably time for your pups. Definitely talk to the vet.

Having dogs means that you have the responsibility to not let them suffer more than they have to. It sounds like your husband doesn't want to hurt (and it will hurt to put them down) and believe his pets, who are in obvious pain, are still happy. That's not fair to your dogs. It sounds like they've had a good life and a loving home and that's something for you two to be proud of.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this.
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Old 28 July 2017, 12:12 AM
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Sylvanz Sylvanz is offline
 
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A few weeks ago we put down our 13 year old hound/lab/heinz 57 dog. He had a tumor that he'd had for years. It got bigger and bigger, but didn't seem to bother him. Fleas, however, he was very sensitive to. He practically denuded himself of the fur on his backside, and the tumor developed little tumors. I pushed for a year to have him euthanized, but my son (it was his dog) paid to euthanize and privately cremate my 20 year old cat and DH insisted we wait until we could afford to do the same for my son's dog, Irving.

Irving wasn't aggressive to people, but he and one of our other dogs (they used to be best buds) could no longer be in the same room together, and anyone in the way could have gotten hurt. The other dog, Jaygo, is part Chi and (I suspect) Boston Terrier so he was out weighed by about 50 lbs. Finally, my son and I took Irving to the vet, had him humanely euthanized, and transported him to a pet cemetery/crematorium for a "semi private" cremation. We received a nice paw print with "Irvdog" written in gold letters, and a tin urn that looked like it belonged in my Grandma's spice cabinet. It was much less expensive than private cremation, and I found a lovely "urn" at Goodwill that is much more dignified.

TLDR: He was not happy. He was suffering, half blind, almost deaf, and more than ready to go. It was tough on my son, but it was the right thing to do. I hope your DH realizes that making them linger isn't fair to them. I'm so sorry.
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  #12  
Old 28 July 2017, 03:42 AM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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My husband has decided to fight.


I told him I'd leave him if he chose not to believe me, and into the fight he goes.

He does. not. want. to. put. any dogs. down. Despite proof they bit me (I was asking for it, by being a bitch).


The vet promised us meds tomorrow, but I dont think that is going to repair our marriage, unfortunatelty.
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  #13  
Old 28 July 2017, 04:11 AM
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LadyLockeout LadyLockeout is offline
 
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I would suggest a grief counselor, at this point. I'm not sure if you think he would go, but personal convictions against euthanasia aside, it sounds like he is in the denial/anger stage of grief. Watching your pets die when there is nothing you can do is one of the few truly soul shattering experiences I know of. We had to do it three weeks ago for our little Butterdog, and will need to do it again soon with our Hobbes Doggy. A grief counselor has helped us enormously, both with dealing with the shock of sudden loss (Butter) and helping us prepare for the inevitably soon loss of Hobbes.

For yourself, if you have someone you can stay with, I would pack my things and leave for a few days. Space is needed between the two of you (imho) and obviously staying where you are being bitten and clawed at by large dogs is not a good situation.

However it works out, I'm sorry you are going through this.
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Old 28 July 2017, 12:38 PM
dfresh dfresh is offline
 
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Plurabelle, I'm sorry that between this and the pregnancy post, it appears that there are much bigger things going on between you and your husband. Good luck with your choices.
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  #15  
Old 28 July 2017, 01:54 PM
overyonder overyonder is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plurabelle View Post
My husband has decided to fight.


I told him I'd leave him if he chose not to believe me, and into the fight he goes.

He does. not. want. to. put. any dogs. down. Despite proof they bit me (I was asking for it, by being a bitch).
I noticed that you're from Ann Harbor but in Belgium. Are you both from the same area originally? The reason I ask is because sometimes people from different countries tend to value "life at all cost" differently.

OY
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  #16  
Old 28 July 2017, 02:07 PM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overyonder View Post
I noticed that you're from Ann Harbor but in Belgium. Are you both from the same area originally? The reason I ask is because sometimes people from different countries tend to value "life at all cost" differently.

OY
I work in Belgium for long stints, usually 3 months at a time, but we live in Ann Arbor, MI. My husband is from the Netherlands, but grew up mostly in Canada, in the GTA. I'm US born and bred, but have worked in a lot of European countries.

My husband came down from his craziness this morning and agreed that I was dealing with 2 insane dogs (it only took about a half hour for him, dealing with them), agreed to listen to the vet about pain meds. and when it's time to let go, and agreed to go to counseling with me. I see my therapist on Saturdays so our first joint appointment is tomorrow.

He's still adamant that I don't load up the car and have them put to sleep, but he's willing to listen about giving them additional pain meds and perhaps not waiting until they get to Jake's state. The vet is our trusted third party and he agreed to treat her as such and listen to her, about quality of life and all those things he doesn't want to hear.

It'll probably still be a process with him, but I'm glad we made a little bit of progress.
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  #17  
Old 29 July 2017, 04:44 PM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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Our vet gave us a 4 day supply of pain meds largely because we have a huge drug problem locally and I guess people steal animal medications and use them to get high. She said she'd give us refills every 4 days if they seem to be helping.

I'm a little insulted as we've been seeing this vet for 3 years now but I don't know what her office insurance requires her to do with regards to dispensing pain medication. And she's only 3 minutes from us so it's not a huge hardship to stop by and pick up meds every few days.

Amber is back to her old self. Sweet and loving, typical Golden Retriever. Columbine is a little more testy, but she was never a very affectionate dog to begin with. But she hasn't growled at me all day and that's a victory in itself. She's primarily enjoying sleeping in the living room. And neither have been aggressive at all today, even in the presence of food.

Thank you so much everyone for your advice and insight. As long as they are still up for walks and butt scritches, I think they are happy on this earth. Once they cannot go for walks, it's time to say goodbye. That will probably be a bit of a battle but I am very persuasive and generally win arguments in this household, in the end.
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Old 29 July 2017, 10:20 PM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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Our first joint counselling session went well. It didn't create any miracles, but he is a little bit more understanding about why I'm so upset at being bitten by our dogs that I've taken care of for years. Honestly it sounds a little childish, but it hurts my feelings above all. I've taken care of these dogs for years and they turn around and bite me.

It's not a miracle, nothing is, but the dialogue is open. He's quite a bit older than me (26 years) and generational conflicts can pop up that blindside both of us. But we're both pretty rational; he gets hot headed at first and then cools down and I am a pretty cool headed person. I've never felt unsafe around him, and I know from unsafe partners, so no worries anyone.
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