Sunday, August 12, 2007

I'm Still Here. And a Wee Bit Cranky.

Well, I’m still here, with computer access. I unplugged the computer yesterday morning to take it to the store for the memory upgrade, and a few minutes later Kellen and Kendrie came running to me, panicking about the computer being “broken”, and the Disney channel online, OHMYGOSH how would they survive without the Disney channel online??? What’s funny is they rarely even play online, but when I told them we would be without a computer for the next three days, you would have thought I had suggested giving away all their toys and moving in with monks, or that I had just sucked all the oxygen out of the house, so great was their distress. So, fine. I said I would take it in Monday while they were at school, and they could play on it this weekend.

But that’s not why I’m cranky.

Last night, after the kids and I watched Ella Enchanted for the third time (Seriously, have you seen it? It was just on Disney the other night and it’s a really cute, sweet movie. Thanks to the power of the DVR, I have no doubt I’ll have every line memorized by Tuesday…. But that’s not why I’m cranky) I went in the bedroom and read another chapter of Ramona Quimby, age 8 with Kendrie. We finished up around 10pm, sort of late for us, and I said to her, “Mommy’s tired. Go tell Daddy I’m just going to go to bed now” and I rolled over and went to sleep, listening to Kellen protest that wasn’t fair, he still wanted to read a chapter of Harry Potter (Yes! I know! Finally, one of my kids has expressed interest in HP!) and how it wasn’t right I read with Kendrie but not him. Great, nothing like a little parental guilt to soothe you right off to sleep. But that’s not why I’m cranky.

For whatever reason, at 2:45 am I woke up, bright eyed and alert. I rarely, and I mean rarely, suffer from insomnia, so the few times it happens, I have very strict rules. I will attempt to go back to sleep for exactly thirty minutes and if I can’t, then I get up and do something. I am NOT wasting precious time lying in bed, staring at the clock, when there are e-mails to be answered and blogs to be read. So I got up at 3:15 and messed around online (What’s up with you Canada ebay people, anyway? Can you not get Nike tennis shoes up there? Is that why so many of you are wondering about shipping?) I give myself exactly one hour, then attempt to go back to sleep.

So at 4:15, back to bed I went, accidentally tripping over the dog on the way. I was very cautious and careful and quiet (well, except for when I tripped over the dog) as I got back in bed, because Blaine DOES have a severe problem with insomnia and I feel terrible if I do something drastic and noisy which wakes him up. Drastic and noisy like putting my head on the pillow, or BREATHING.

I tip-toed back into bed, covered myself up, reapplied lip balm because hello, who can sleep with dry, chapped lips?? I laid there for about four and a half seconds, before realizing Blaine was not in fact suffering from insomnia this evening, but was instead snoring so loud I’m surprised the neighbors twelve miles away hadn’t filed a noise complaint with the local police.

Normally, Blaine sleeps (when he DOES sleep, that is) the sleep of the perfectly still, perfectly silent. I will sometimes put my hand on his chest to make sure he’s still breathing. But occasionally, when he lies on his back, thanks to all the surgeries and reconstruction of his sinus cavity, he’ll get going with a cacophony of snores and grunts and wheezes and moans that make it literally impossible to sleep in the same bed. The same room. The same small country.

BC (before cancer) I would have just punched him in the shoulder and told him to roll over, but now, I’m loathe to wake him because once he’s up, no matter the time, he’s up. Sleeping is such a problem for him that I NEVER wake him if I can help it. So, I did what I’ve done more times than any human should in a happy marriage --- grabbed a pillow and a blanket and headed for the living room, resigned to sleeping the rest of the night on the sofa.

But that’s not why I’m cranky.

I walked into the living room …. And my senses were immediately assaulted -- WTF??? Is that SHIT I smell????

Yep, sure enough, Lager had pooped in the dining room. Good grief, this is NOT what I wanted to clean up at 4:18 in the morning, but I went into the kitchen to get paper towels and rags, and turned on the light ….

My senses were assaulted again, this time my vision. Remember I had gone to bed early and Blaine, the man who always cleans the kitchen at night, the man who would make a better housewife than me, had done NOTHING the night before. The roast was still in the crockpot on the counter. The cookies I had baked were still sitting on the cookie sheet on top of the stove, not covered. Unwashed dishes were on the counter, in the sink, book bags on the table, shoes and socks on the floor --- My god, Jerry Springer would have a field day with this sort of white trash living.
I admit, because he normally does such a fantastic job cleaning up after dinner, I am a spoiled princess who is accustomed to awaking to a clean kitchen. To have to consider cleaning the kitchen, AFTER cleaning the dog poop??? At 4:20 in the morning??? Uugh.

But that’s not why I’m cranky. Although down on your hands and knees, scrubbing dog poop off the hardwood floor in the middle of the night, doing everything you can to hold back your hair-trigger gag reflex, is certainly enough to make anyone cranky.

No, if I’m being honest, I’m cranky (and extremely sad) because I know its coming.

Blaine and I always said if we ever had a dog that went blind, or couldn’t control his bowels or bladder, we would put him down. Lager *does* have a big nasty tumor on one eye, but he’s not blind. Deaf, yes. And arthritic. But not blind.

And it’s not that he’s **lost control** of his bowels or bladder, as much as he’s either getting too old, or too confused, or too lazy to wake us. He never has accidents during the day when we’re home, but this was the second time this week he’s had problems while we’ve been sleeping. A few night’s ago, I woke to the sound of water running, only to realize he was urinating in the middle of my bathroom rug.

Bless his old heart, I can’t be mad at him. He’s sixteen and a half years old -- how can I be *mad* at him? But by the same token, I am really bothered by these accidents, which, let's be honest, have been happening more and more the past six months or so. Not a LOT .... but still. I mean, it’s gross, and nasty to clean, and stinks to high heaven, and not hygienic. The kicker is, he’s not in any pain, or suffering in any way. Sure, he’s old and tired and sleeps a lot and not as energetic as he used to be. But he still interacts with us every single day, and begs for table scraps, and wags his tail and bounces around the living room and bumps us with his nose to let us know he wants to be petted and loved on.

And loving him? Oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine the reaction of my children when something finally happens to the old boy. They will be crushed, devastated, decimated. And so will Blaine and I, even if we’re grown ups and don’t want to admit it.

So how can I even consider putting down a dog that is old, but otherwise healthy and happy, just because I don’t want to clean up after him? I mean, it sounds so selfish when I say it like that.

Which is worse? To consider putting him to sleep, just because I’m lazy, knowing the emotional trauma that will inflict upon the children who love him, or to hope that I come home one afternoon and find him dead in the living room, passed away peacefully? I don’t wish him dead, for pete’s sake, he’s been a part of our family since 1992!

I’ve always looked at people whose dogs were bumping into the walls because they couldn't see, or having to drag their back legs behind them in little carts, or taking thirty pills or insulin shots or whatever a day, and wondered why didn’t they just put those poor animals out of their misery? Now I get it. When an animal’s NOT miserable --- just old --- the miserable thing is even contemplating it. We don’t put any of our other family members to sleep, just because taking care of them gets to be a hassle, and I consider a pet we've had for fifteen years to be a family member.

Ewww, but poop? In the dining room?

This conundrum, people --- THIS is why I’m cranky.

It's now almost 6am. I've been up since 2:45. Maybe the answer will come to me in a dream, during the NAP I'm so desperately going to need later today.

37 comments:

cakeburnette said...

I'm so sorry. What a rotten way to start your day (I mean the sad conundrum, not the cleaning up of poop--which is awful, too).

Anonymous said...

Kristie -

I feel your pain. Our labrador is almost 13. For a 110 lb. dog, that is old. A member of this family since 1995. She started pooping on the floor about 6 months ago. Luckily, it only happens downstairs on the hardwood since she can't make it up the stairs any more. She can't control it. It generally happens when she's trying to get up.

So, I've told myself I can deal with the occasional poop, but if she loses control of her bladder - well, we'll have to reconsider. She still hasn't, thankfully. But, like you, I struggle with using that as an excuse to end her life. She is arthritic, but her hearing and sight are perfect and she still interacts with us every day. She does sleep a lot.

It's so hard because you love them, but don't want them to suffer either.

So, anyway, I feel you pain. I too keep hoping that she will pass peacefully in her sleep. Selfish on my part, but the though of having to euthanize her is KILLING me.

Kristin in NC

Renee' said...

Kristie, we had our family dog for 16 years. Mom and Dad got Snoopy the year before I was born so she was more family than I was! We put her to sleep when she started losing control and my dad would have to carry her outside. I'll never forget that day - March 16th - it was like we lost a member of our family. Still brings a tear to my eye but I believe we did her a big favor. I'm sorry, friend. Lager is a gem!

Sherri in NC said...

Kristie,

Been there, done this. We had a lab that had been in our family for 14 years. She was arthritic in her hips, but an aspirin a day helped quite a bit with that. She had fairly good control of her bowels, but we started leaving her in the laundry room at night. Tile is so much easier to clean than carpet you know. She should have been put down but none of us could bear the thought. The problem was unfortunately solved when my daughter (who had just gotten her driver's license) accidently ran her over in our driveway. That was probably the most tramatic event that ever happened to us as a family, and its hard to even write it now, two years later.
My vote for Lager would be find a safe place to keep her at night, by safe I mean "easy to clean." Spread newspapers to make it easier. When you know the dog is suffering, you'll have to put her down, but in the meantime, if she still has good quality of life, I think it would be difficult for you to justify it to yourself, much less to the children. That said, only you know what is right for your family and kids, this is a hard thing to deal with and I wish you much luck.

Anonymous said...

Your blog really hit home with me. Four years ago we had a pug who was about 13 years old and she lost control of her bowels and her bladder. At the time, my granddaughter was only a year and a half old and when she visited,I was constantly washing the floors.
My husband and I debated what to do as we really didn't want to put Bella to sleep. I took her in to our vet to get shots and talked to him about her problems. He looked at me and asked me what my quality of life was. I told him that it literally "stunk" and all day long between my pug and my old dachshund, I was wiping up the floors. I made the decision (as much as it hurt) to put them both down that day. It's been four years and I still miss them terribly. I think that yesterday, I got a sign from above. We were going to yardsales and at the first one someone had a dachshund. At the second, you guessed it, there was a pug who looked exactly like Bella.
Our dogs are our family and it really hurts when you have to put them down but sometimes it's just better and they don't have to hurt
or feel embrassed. Hoping that Lager still has some great quality time to spend with you.

Liz from Maryland

Anonymous said...

Kristie,
When I was where you are right now with the family dog I agonized over "putting him down". I was so certain that my children would be devasted. I waited until poor old "Ted" couldn't make his way outdoors to do his business before we made his final trip to the vet. Truth be told, after some fleeting tears, my children got over his absence pretty quickly. It was me who spent three days in bed sobbing! It was six months before I could even speak of him without tears welling up in my eyes. Like Larger, Ted was our "first child" (we spent many years practicing our parenting skills on him before adding real children to the mix. He was good and neurotic by the time kids came along!) Thinking of you as you face the difficult decisions with Larger.

Anonymous said...

I'd clean up poop and pee forever if I could have my Tiffy, who died 6 weeks ago, back. But, I do understand. It's hard to know when to let go. I'd probably vote for when he can't walk anymore and stops eating. But, that's just me. OK, gotta quit writing, can't see the screen for the tears. I know you will make the right decision Kristie. But it won't be easy. Elaine in Lynnwood

Lisa said...

Hi Kristie

Poor old Lager. I really hope you find a way around this, I think finding an 'easy to clean' area and enclosing him there at night sounds a fine idea. Also I make a point of the very, very last thing I do at night is put Chelsea outside - its like a religious ceremony we absolutely do not go to bed until the dog's been out. We all have to live with the decisions we make - if Lager was suffering I'd have him to the vet in a heartbeat, but he's not, and he's family, he's a friend and he doesn't sound like he's telling you its time to go if he's begging cuddles and wagging. If you can please post another picture of him...he's got a fan base you know :) Hope you can work around this for as long as Lager is happy. Lisa

Pamela Earley said...

Kristie,

This must be so hard for all of you. :-(. Not sure if this is an option or not, but I have heard that they have little doggie diapers. Have you asked your vet?

I just wish they had something to "catch" ejections from the other end. Our 17 year old cat does not seem to digest his food very well anymore. So it sits in his tummy for a little while, then does a u-turn and comes back out the way it went in. I think he got tired of throwing up, so he decided to just quit eating. Now he looks like something that crawled out of Pet Semetary - very thin, scraggly hair from lack of nutrients, etc. The doc put him on some meds to try & help, including steroids. The immature part of me giggles hysterically at this, because I keep envisioning him meowing with an Arnold type voice.

Anyway, I hope you find a good solution for Lager. Best of luck.

kim said...

Awww, Kristie, I'm so sorry about Lager. I agree with Sherri in NC and Lisa; they even have those poop pads used for training puppies. Since he's still "good" during the day, begs scraps, and still loves his humans, that seems like quality to me. Since he doesn't seem to be in pain...but, these are just my opinions, and you'll know what is right and when it is right, for you and your family. In the meantime, I'd also like to see some more Lager pix.

Brandon said...

Hi Kristie,
Pat from CA here, logging in from my son's computer....hence the "Brandon"!
I'm having the same problems with both my 14 year old dog & 16 year old cat....I found that they will both use a waterproof crib mattress bad & that it works better than the puppy pads. They weren't quite strong enough to hold what Ember had to offer in the urine department...poop was not an issue with it though.....the crib pad (according to the package) holds up to 7 & 1/2 cups of liquid. I have a couple & just wash them when needed. This article hit our local paper right around the time I started to question things; it really hit home for me! (Gary Bogue is our local animal expert & his column appears daily!) Sorry for the length, but since I can't find it online at the moment, I'm adding it via the copy I keep on my fridge! This is the response to a letter about an 18 year old cat who has started to urinate & defecate "where he hadn't ought to," & was walking around howling. They are considering putting him down.

Dear Carla & Hubby,
So Grandpa is getting old & maybe a little incontinent now & then because that sometimes happens when you get very old.
And maybe some of Grandpa's brain cells are tired, and his thinking is a little muddled these days. And he probably doesn't see as well as he used to either, or always hear the mocking sounds of the birds he used to chase.
And maybe some days he just has to tell you how he feels about the sad state of affairs in no uncertain terms.
So all the blood tests and the physical found no obvious diseases or tumors, and for an 18 year old cat (going on 90 or so if you're human) the vet says he's looking pretty good.
What do blood tests know about not being able to make it to the
litter box & having to pee on the rug after 18 years of never making a mistake? Even cats have feelings, you know.
What do those blood tests know about creaky joints or having trouble making your body get up to go eat when you'd rather just sleep all day & night because things aren't working the same way they used to?
So, it's been 18 years, has it? I'll bet there are a lot of great memories that go with all those years.
Do you have any kids? I'll bet they had a lot of fun playing with Bowzer. Remember when he was a kitten? Did they chase each other around the house? I'll bet they used to sneak that cat off to bed & let him sleep under the covers. (I know I did!)
Remember when young Bowzer used to bump against your legs and get tangled up in your feet in the kitchen when you were trying to cook dinner? That probably even made you a little angry, right?
Kittens are always rubbing & bumping into the mom-cats when they're around them. It's kind of a security thing. Just checking, a little bump on the leg, to make sure you're not too far away mom.
The mom-cat; that was you, you know? I bet you still are.
I'll bet your husband spent more than one Sunday afternoon watching football on TV, with Bowzer on his lap and flicking his tail & rooting for the team right along with him.
Hey, remember when he banged his nose on the kitchen window when he tried to catch that jay that used to stand there just on the other side of the glass, daring him to try? But, I digress.
You were asking me what you can to with Grandpa because he's getting a little grouchy & sometimes can't make it to the litterbox. (I don't suppose your husband has ever grumped about anything, or OOPS, missed the toilet bowl maybe once or twice?)
You both should sit down with Grandpa on the couch & reminisce about these things I've just mentioned & I'm sure a whole lot more.
Eighteen years is a long time to care about somebody, even a cat, right? So are we going to put down Grandpa just because he's getting old?

Gary

PS Target has the crib pads for $9.99; I just cut off the fabric that attached it to the mattress so it would lay flat! Works like a charm!

Natalie said...

Oh dear, that's so hard. We went through this in 2004 with Kirby. He was 15 1/2 and had also started to lose control. It was a hard, hard decision, and we actually talked to our vet about it because it was to the point that Kirby's quality of life wasn't very good anymore. We didn't want to do it, but we did. We wanted to remember him with some dignity and he was rapidly losing that.

I'll never forget something my Dad told me when our first family dog was in the same situation. He said something like, "Our pets are our responsibility their whole lives. And just like it has been our responsibility to feed him and care for him, unfortunately we also have to make the hard decisions at the end."

For our dogs, it was always very clear when it was time.

I posted the following on Finn's site the night before we took Kirby to the vet for the last time--Aug. 5, 2004. I've had it since 1993 when we made the same journey with Raisin. It still makes me tear up after all this time, but I know we did the right thing. This originally ran as an Ann Landers column:

A Dog's Plea - Author Unknown
Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me learn.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

Please take me inside when it is cold and wet, for I am a domesticated animal, no longer accustomed to bitter elements. I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.

Feed me clean food that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.

And, my friend, when I am very old, and I no longer enjoy good health, hearing and sight, do not make heroic efforts to keep me going. I am not having any fun. Please see that my trusting life is taken gently. I shall leave this earth knowing with the last breath I draw that my fate was always safest in your hand.

Anonymous said...

I so feel your pain. I lost both of my 16 year old dogs three weeks apart at the end of 2006. It was very traumatic. My experience has been that they will let you know - the key is you have to be willing to listen.

Our beloved Raleigh had been totally housebroken for years. He was old and arthritic - having problems getting up and down. The afternoon I came home and found him laying in his own feces I knew he'd had enough of this world and I helped him peacefully cross the Rainbow Bridge.

Three weeks later almost to the day I came home and found our other dog laying in her own urine in our kitchen floor unable to stand on her own. It was then I knew that it was time to let her go as well.

The great thing about pets and kids is that there are some great life lessons that can be learned. It will be a sad day for all of you when Lager has to leave you.

God Bless.

Simply Jenn said...

Oh Kristie-
That's so sad. I don't even know what to say. We had to put my first German Shepherd down because although she was a wonderful dog to my and my family she wanted to eat anyone who came within a block of our house. We put her down and it was heartbreaking.

I'm really, really sorry that was no help at all. I do know how you feel though, it was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make.

Anonymous said...

Guilty~
Yep, I gave insulin shots twice a day to our dear old Sugar. Man, I miss that gal. She was my husbands first love. I took her in like a good step-mother. I never understood the dog thing either until the day, seven years into our marriage, when they told me our gal had diabetes. We got another 6 months due to those shots, and they were SO worth it.
~Shannon F.
www.caringbridge.org/tx/ethantf

Melissa said...

I don't envy you this decision. We had a dog growing up, a little black mutt, that lived to be 15. Towards the end, I'm pretty sure she was blind or close to blind, because she would often walk into things. Her black coat had turned almost solid white. She never lost control of her bladder or bowels when she was awake, but would often wet her bed when she slept. One day my brother came home and found her dead on the kitchen floor, she'd passed away before we had to make any kind of decision. I have two cats now, one of which is getting elderly, and hate to think of something happening to her. Keep us posted on Lager, and our thoughts are with you!

Marsha said...

I guess old age with all it's indignities and ultimately death are speeding trains that even wonder dogs like Lager can't stop.

I'm sorry you are facing such a difficult decision. It's obvious that he is a treasured member of your family and only you and Blaine can determine when or if the time has come to let him go.

I have no doubt that Lager feels perfectly safe in your hands. (see A Dog's Plea in the earlier post by Natalie)

The Running Girl said...

Your post today hit home with me. Our rotweiler is 14. He's not blind or deaf, but like Lager is starting to really show his age. We also have a 16 year old cat who is now confined to a certain area because he can't control his bladder. It's very frustrating, but they are part of the family.

Connie F-G said...

I am sorry to hear of the huge decisions that you are facing. Talk to your vet and take what he/she says and follow your heart. You need to do what's right for you, your family and Lager.

Hugs and prayers to your family.

Donna said...

Lager sounds like such a sweetie, so sorry you had to get up and face that mess. We had a German shepherd mix that started pooping in the house when we got pregnant the first time. We tried to deal with it, but both of our furry babies ended up becoming outside doggies at night because of it. They spent so much time out during the day that I think we never got them house trained completely.

We had to make the decision to put the Shepherd down about 4 years ago when it was all he could do to get up to eat. We had the vet come out to our house to put him down to spare him the indignity of being hoisted into the dog kennel for a bumpy 20-minute drive over gravel roads. We cried for weeks. Unfortunately good vet care when they are young and healthy seems to make dying more complicated. Our animals have never had the decency to expire on us--they insist on withering away.

It's a horribly sad decision to face, but you guys will get through it--now or six months from now.

Anonymous said...

Kristie,
I am so sorry. I have been preparing myself for about 1 year and I can't say it has helped much. I had to put my dog, Shadow, down on August 2 and I'm still crying about it.

She started pooping in the house about 6 months ago and I said "well, it is mostly on the hardwood - if she starts pooping on the carpet, I'll do something about it." When she started pooping on the carpet, I said "well, it really isn't hard to clean up and I know she can't control it (I could tell she wasn't even getting up to poop, it was just coming out) so if it gets soft and hard to clean up, I'll do something about it." When it got soft, but still clean-up-able, I said "if she starts peeing in the house, I'll do something about it." Talk about denial. Well, I knew I had to do something about it when I had to hold up the ol' girl's rear so she could pee, period.

My point...you will know. She will stop eating or drinking or won't be able to get up on her own or you will have to hold her rear when she pees. I promise, you will know.

FYI--all the advise given to me was to NOT take the kids (10 and 8)when I finally had to put her down and I'm glad I didn't. 1) I was such a basket case, I'm glad my kids didn't have to see that and there is NO WAY I could have held myself together "for" them (it was hard enough to hold it together while they said their goodbyes. 2)I have the image of my baby when she was gone, but my girls final image is of their beautiful, happy, loving pet kissing their face and allowing them to hug her neck....that's the best final image for them to have.
Good luck and bless you.
Mary Rieke, Cincinnati, OH

loriedunn said...

Hi - I've been a bit of a lurker but I really enjoy your blog. I did a bit of volunteer work with various children's cancer programs and found your link through that. We have so much in common - fertility issues, trips to Alaska (even though I didn't enjoy it due to 50degrees and raining the whole time!) and a beloved geriatric dog. Our Katie is a 14yo Springer Spaniel who can one day dig out from under the backyard fence like a puppy and then the next not be able to get out of her bed. I've had your exact thoughts that it would be better for her if she just passed quietly away before it gets really bad and it's also frightening that it could get worse! Waking up or coming home to accidents is no fun!

BTW - my favorite "starter" salmon recipe:
Seatle Salmon
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar

Marinate for a couple of hours or overnight and grill it.

Not the lowest in calories - but good for "nonfish" eaters.

Lorie Dunn

Mrs. Who said...

So sorry about your dog, but others have expressed similar sentiments and my comment is about the SNORING! Oh, My God. Until you have lived with it, you can't imagine the sleepless nights. You would think one would eventually fall asleep if one is exhausted enough, but no, you just lie there and listen to it for hour after hour. It's torture. I finally gave up several years ago and moved into my own own bedroom. We adore each other (30 years and counting) but we both sleep so much better now and I found I really like having my own bedroom to decorate. When we travel together, I take Ambien. Snoring problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kristie,
It's so sad I know, we had to have our dog put to sleep finally, but it wasn't planned, I just looked at her one morning and said to my family that we couldn't let her suffer any longer, it was too cruel. So we had to put our selfish feelings aside and part with her. We had the vet come to the house, after the deed both my daughter and I burst into tears, the poor vet did'nt know what to do. We miss her, it was 5 years a couple of days ago actually. She was 14, she had had cancer and I had to carry her outside the poop the last few days.
Good luck with your dog, you will know when the time has come to put him down. Maybe he will stop having accidents again for a while anyway, I hope so.
Take care,
Love Angela

Anonymous said...

Kristie: I hate to hear of your situation. My dog, Furbie, made the decision for me and it was the last gift she gave me. She died very suddenly after having a seizure. I was expecting to bring her home from the animal hospital the following day and never had the opportunity to have a final goodbye. I guess the "see you tomorrow" we left her with was easier but it still breaks my heart that I wasn't with her when she passed on. As my sister, Mary, posted earlier today, Lager will let you know when it's time.
Diane Pursinger
Cincinnati, OH

Anonymous said...

Kristie,
My dog died 15 days ago, in the kitchen, naturally. She had been having some accidents and I had been cleaning them up. I did not want a lot of last ditch medical intervention or to have to put her to sleep, so I more or less just decided to let nature take its course and I put a pile of bath towels nearby so it was easy to clean up.
I believe that I did the right thing. I have hardwood floors and they are easily cleaned. My dog passed peacefully.
I know that your house is probably much cleaner than mine, but this was my solution. Very hard.

Mrs. N said...

I realize I'm goign to sound cranky when I say this, but I H-A-T-E the movie Ella Enchanted. The book is totally amazing and they just ruined it with that movie.

Lisa said...

Ok -I posted earlier but have just returned to see what other peoples thoughts were... I can't actually read any more of the comments so many lovely people have left - I haven't got any tissues left!!! A Dogs Plea...that was a sobbing fit on its own - and please, no one post the Rainbow Bridge poem!!! Kristie, don't choke on your diet Dr Pepper when you sob through this lot of comments - we, your followers are obviously a soft hearted bunch. Sending up prayers for Lager!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is breaking my heart. And actually I'm surprised (but a bit relieved) to have read what you wrote and what so many posters have posted because I thought it was just me who kept saying, "Well, it's okay as long as he doesn't [fill in the blank with bathroom accidents and inability to walk and inability to see or your name it]." Kristie, I'm so sorry. I think we've all come to love Lager through your pictures and knowing how much you love that sweet dog.

My kitty turned 15 at the beginning of July and had been seriously ill for a long time. She went from 12 pounds down to 5 pounds because of an overactive thyroid even though I was giving her medication. Everyone said I should euthanize her but I just could not do it. She wasn't complaining. She was just having bathroom issues and couldn't walk. Like many others, I did what I needed to do in cleaning up messes. Two weeks ago she started "crying" frequently and I finally knew it was time. I made the dreaded appointment with the veterinarian. It absolutely broke my heart to do that. And after all this time (well over a year) of being sick, she died on her own an hour and a half before I took her to the vet. I'm still so sad. It gave me a lot of time to love on her and to tell her how happy I was that she was MY kitty.

So go love on Lager some more. I'm so, so sorry.

Claire in Indiana

Eloise said...

There are few decisions as heart wrenching as putting a beloved pet to sleep. If it's not obvious to you that it's Lager's time, then it's probably not just yet. We had our sweet dog Sam sleep in a kennel crate the last year of his life. He didn't mind, and it prevented the nighttime accidents which were never an issue until he was about 15. Keep us posted. We're all concerned about you and Lager.

Anonymous said...

Kristie-
I keep trying to write a comment, but can't (just too emotional today, I guess.) I know how wrenching this can be.
so much for grammar,
Debbie E.
Peachtree City, GA

Anonymous said...

First, about the Canadian Ebayers, don't know about the Nike's. But if they're popular in the States, we probably can't get them here, or if we can it's double the cost.
We lost our Rosie one month to the day our daughter was born. It happened very quickly beginning at 9pm, we lost her at 2:35 in the morning. She went on her own, peacefully??No, she fought for every breath, she wasn't ready to leave. It was heartwrenching to watch and hold her for the hours she was slipping away.
I used baby diapers on her during the night...they worked well.
LM
Canada

Grandma J said...

I keep putting off commenting on your heart wretching post about sweet Lager.
My 18 yr old cockerpoo was arthritic, blind and deaf but still had control of all bodily functions and still worshiped the ground I walked on. The vet let me know when it was time. I had to periodically take Charlie to the vet for teeth cleaning because he would compulsivly scrape his fur with his teeth causing a build up of hair. At one routine visit the vet called me in to say Charlie had lost half his body weight in 5 weeks. i couldn't see it but the scale didn't lie. As he pet my dog he told me it was probably time. I guess I knew i wouldn't come back if I didn't do it right then and there. I was a coward and left because I was sobbing so bad.

The one thing I did that was very theraputic was make a memorial box with his things. I also did a little scrapbook and used his double sided feeder/water dish as a planter. I know, I'm not normal but it was good therapy. Maybe the kids could memorialize Lager in a similar fashion. It may help them.

In any event, you are all in my prayers and God bless that sweet puppy Lager.
(andrew's grandma)

Marcia said...

A couple of years ago we went through the same thing with our 15 year old baby. I asked the same questions. I mean, I have children who have severe special needs, eat through tubes, etc. How could I justify putting down my dog because she was using the house as her toilet?? I mentioned to someone that she wasn't in any pain, and they sent me a picture that was labeled something like, "this is what a dog looks like when in pain". The dog looked perfectly fine, and was just lying on the floor like any other dog. It said something about dogs not showing their pain, because they don't want to appear vulnerable. That really hit me pretty hard. I talked to the kids a lot about how old she was getting and that one day soon she would probably die. We had just lots a child, and one of my kids asked why we would have to lose a sister and then a pet within a few months. That broke my heart so much that I chose not to put the dog down for many months. She went downhill so far that we couldn't keep her alive any longer. It was such a hard decision, but one that we had to make.
All of this to say I feel your pain, and I'm sorry you're facing the same decision.

Anonymous said...

Well I am finally going to try to post. I kept praying that I wouldn't have to make the decision to put our two babies to sleep as they got sicker or at least give me a clear sign that it was time. They both died at 14 (two years apart). Taking care of them both got harder because of the issues with their health but like so many others it was doable (is that a word?) Anyway I never had to make that decision, one was pacing around the house (she normally laid around most of the time) very dissatified one night and my husband got her into his lap and was petting her and telling her how much we loved her and what she meant to us, then he told her that we understood if she was tired and it was okay to go on. She closed her eyes took a couple of deep breaths and she was gone, so peaceful. Our other baby died in her sleep one night. That was the best gift both of them ever gave me, not having to make the decision to have them put to sleep, because I am not sure I would have been strong enough to do it. The one thing I have done is had them both cremated and I have little doghouse urns with their pictures on the front of them sitting in my house. I just could not stand the thought of putting them into the ground after all the love and happiness they had given us. That may be something you would want to check into. I guess all this to say, you will know when the time comes and you will be at peace with it because it will be very clear that it is the right decision for your family.

Bubbles in NC

Kim said...

Kristie;

I have been here. The most wonderful dog, Stan - The Wonder Dog, was our Lager. He had been with my hubby & I before we were even married. He welcomed each of my 5 children into our family. So when he got tongue cancer and nothing could be done, we took him home for the 6 weeks they told us he had (which incidentally turned into 6 months), to be loved, spoiled and generally hugged into heaven.

Well, this dog stunk, horribly. He drooled constantly, and rotting flesh is disgusting. But hey, he was happy. And ate. And bounded with excitement. So how do you put down a dog that stinks?

As silly as this is going to sound...I've buried both my parents, but this was harder. God made the decision for my parents, I had to make the decision for this beautiful animal. It hurt for a long time, but my kids were the ones who helped me heal. I watched their joyful rememberances and knew I was going to be okay.

Hugs to you and everyone. I'll say a little prayer for Lager too.

Hugs,

Kim

Grandma J said...

I can only imagine the emotional trauma you are going through over sweet Lager. Know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers. I have lost several close relatives but I wailed for days when I had to put my dog to sleep.
Cyber {{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}