Dogs really ARE Miracles with Paws!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Struggling....





As you know, my dogs are my life!! I am struggling right now....big time.

Most of you are well aware that Zippo has been aging gracefully, but has now reached the tender age of 11. Which is...in dog years...77!!

I adopted him when he was only 12 weeks old from the Humane Society. He was my constant companion with my daughter....carpooling her all over the place....I'd have 6 teenagers in the car, but they had to make room for Zip!! He loved, loved, loved going for car rides. Wherever I went in the car, he went with me and he liked it....every single second of it! It used to break his heart when it was too hot for him to go with me. I can even remember a time when he went to New Jersey with us for a wedding and he hung out in the car while we were in the reception...my husband and I took turns going out to check on him. He stayed in all kinds of hotels with us...as we always took him on our weekend excursions. Zip was a very spoiled pet...and a big dog...weighing in at a hundred pounds.

When he was five years old, I decided it might be time for him to have a friend. That's when I brought Chloe into our household...she was an eight week old bichon frise puppy. I think Zip thought she was a cat....or a rabbit...or something! We went through several weeks of jealous behavior. REALLY jealous behavior. But, then they became friends. True, REAL friends. They would do anything for each other. And they started doing everything together!! They would run and play and just have the best time. I thought I made the right decision to bring another dog into our family.

Well....as Zippo aged and time went on, he started slowing down. It wasn't so easy to get him in the car anymore. It was not easy for him to go on walks .... at least not very long ones. Then, he slipped on the Pergo floor here at the cottage and ruptured his ACL. The surgery was VERY expensive and at his age, my husband and I decided to treat him the best we could with prescription meds and we bought some ramps for the house and the car. We covered the Pergo flooring with foam mats...LOTS of them!!

We have endured a couple of years of this, but it is to the point now where I keep asking myself...how does one know when it is time to take that last car ride ... to the vet. I am upset...very upset....crushed. I hate to see my boy in pain. He has been eating pretty well, and he takes his meds wrapped in cheese. I've added fish oil capsules, as well as glucosamine to his diet. But today....his legs are just collapsing under him.

I've doubled his meds. When I had him at the vet a couple of weeks ago, she agreed with me...that this is a very difficult time. But, that I will know when to make the call. It is not like I haven't been through this before. I have. But, for different reasons. My rescue mix that I had before I got married stayed with my parents as the apartment we were moving to didnt' allow dogs...so she was happy staying with my folks.

When we got divorced, my lab and one cat stayed with my ex. One cat went to my new home. When my boyfriend's son left the area, he asked us to care for his Rottweiler mix...which we did...happily! Until she got cancer. I had to take her to the vet for that last shot. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do...my daughter and my stepdaughter were both with me. Very difficult. Then we adopted a German Shepherd puppy that was about three months old. She was a handful! I was working full time then and she was always getting into things. I can remember one time having to call and get new drywall put up because she chewed a giant freakin' hole in the wall!! She ate one half of a couch....went through countless toys, shoes, pillows....you name it. We had had her for a couple of years, when she chased a rabbit right out in front of my driveway and was hit by a car. Again...it was terrible taking her to the vet.

Well, then we adopted Zippo and he has just been my very best boy! I swear he understands every word I say. Seriously....he is amazing...very intuitive.

So, now when he looks at me with his sad eyes....I know that I'll have to make that last trip. I KNOW that. I keep telling myself. As I carried his water bowl to him several times today when I knew he needed a drink and he couldn't get up to get it for himself....well, he COULD, but it was painful. So, I gave him a couple more aspirin and he is sleeping soundly...snoring away at ear-splitting levels. He is comfortable. For now.

This is just upsetting. So very hard.

Does anyone have any advice at all?

13 comments:

faye said...

I am so sorry to hear about Zip ....
my heart breaks for you. Twelve years
ago I had to make that decision for my Sweet Baby ALex, my miniature
schnauzer .I still think of her and
cry. But it was the right decision for her at the right time.
You have to do what is best for
Zippo. It is never easy.
hugs
faye

Karen said...

My heart goes out to you, Jeanne, I've been there too..really you have to do what is best for the dog. You will know when he is suffering too much and not enjoying life anymore. If he can't get to his water bowl, I'de say it's time to consider his pain level.

Right now we are treating our Westie-poo Bailey for cancer, and I can only hope she will pull through, but the odds are not good. She is only 3.5 years old!

My husband always asks me, "Is it worth the heartache??" and the answer is always YES.

willowtree said...

Ok, you know I'm not a mean person and that I love cats and dogs, so I'm not saying this to be insulting...but, he looks like he could lose quite a bit of weight.

I only mention this as it may help his walking, after all 11 isn't all that bad (two of my guys are 10 and they still act like pups). However, some of the weight may be due to the medication (not to mention the fact that he's a Lab), so that would make the task very difficult.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours, and seeing as how you've done it before you should know there's no pain involved (with the euthanasia), so it's a choice between his quality of life and your (genuine, and understandable) desire to keep him with you.

Obviously, more weighting has to be given to Zip's well-being. It's a tough call either way.

Nora Johnson said...

I know exactly how you feel - your post brought tears to my eyes since it reminded me of the loss of my first dog over 30 years ago whom I'll never forget!

Sorry - don't have any advice except that you know you've done everything possible for Zipp & that he's had the most marvellous life with you. (Judging by the number of rescue pets around here, not a lot of dogs can "say" that!)

But as Faye above rightly says, you have to do what's right for Zipp and that's never easy.

btw Thank you so much for all yr lovely comments over at my place -
am unfortunately very busy with travel, assignments & deadlines just now so won't be able to leave comments on yr lovely blog for a little while. Sorry! :o(

Wishing you all the best

XOXO LOLA:)

Hayden said...

Such grief. I'm so sorry. Easing this passing is the last important act of love we can share with our companions.

All of us with animal companions understand how very hard this is. I wonder if you have visiting vets in your area who will help with this? I was surprised to find that there were several in the bay area when I reached that point with my cat 4 years ago. It made those last moments less painful for her to be at home. But then - since Zip loves cars, maybe not the same.

For me, I know I never make the decision as soon as I should, always hoping for a remission. Peace to you, Jeanne, you've loved Zippo well.

Mommy, I'm Home said...

I'm so sorry, Jeanne. I wish I had some magic words to make it easier, but I think your vet is right -- you will just know when it's time. I wish we lived closer so I could give you a big hug!

Donna said...

That Glucosamin stuff for dogs worked for another blogger buddys dog last year and now her dog is doing great...It's Joan of Its Always Something on my blogroll. Go ask her!!! I think she might be able to help!
My Corkey is 126 in dog years...blind and deaf. No pain that I can tell...so I'll just keep carrying him everywhere...I just Can't do the shot thing.
Bless your heart...
(((((HUG)))))

Sandy said...

I know it's hard but WT has a point. My best girl is 12 and VERY arthritic. We cut back on her food so that she would lose weight (and yes, she looked at us like we were killing her) and then we changed her food to Beneful. She's getting up on the couch under her own power again! If nothing helps, though, know that my prayers and tears are with you.

Robin said...

(((hug)))

silvieon4 said...

My heart goes out to you. I have been there. I know how it feels. Be near him, love him, comfort him. Let him guide you. He will tell you when and you will know. Hang in there. Silvie

Pamela said...

reading this about Zippo is so similar to my dog Karl. But, he was so big I couldn't lift him to take him out to do his duty.

I'm just going to pray that Zippo falls asleep one night soon, and finds his rest. And your don't have to go through any decision making process that hurts.

Tricia said...

My little cat is twenty, and every day I realise that decision is coming closer - for her sake.
My lovely vet has said she will visit, which eases my mind a great deal. It is the last loving thing I can do for my Suscipe.

Katya said...

Oh Jeanne, I am so sorry. I had a wire-haired terrier several years ago that I finally had to take for her last ride. She was 13 and took to "hiding" behind the toilet in the bathroom. The vet said she was "looking for a place..."

This is one of those decisions we all dread but must make at some point. May you find peace in your heart when the time comes, knowing that you gave Zippo so much love and care! Know that you gave him the best life and if he could speak, I'm sure he'd tell you just that!