A Dog's Life


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Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Jun 15, 2013 - 10:02am PT
Apogee, I really love dogs, and just said a prayer for Maddie.

It's time to let her go. I do not say that lightly. I can tell you know what to do but you love your friend. We all do. I wept like a child when I had to pet my last dog as she was injected.

Spend a good day with her, wear her out, feed her well, and take her home to doggie-heaven.

It's really hard. They use muscle relaxants nowadays to numb the dog before they issue the lethal injection. It's somewhat "humane".

Sorry to be harsh, but it sounds like Maddie needs to go to the doggie playground of the Gods.

God bless!

Social climber
Jun 15, 2013 - 10:04am PT
Sorry to hear that, Apogee. Is radiation an option?

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jun 15, 2013 - 10:25am PT
Not realistically, no. She's 13, and when she was diagnosed last fall, chemo/radiation was an option, though not expected to have a good outcome, and would have been very traumatizing at her age. I opted against this, and the two surgeries she's had thusfar have simply de-bulked the tumor to make her more comfortable (esp. eating).

Aside from the impacts on eating, as the tumor grows, it sheds tissue that becomes necrotic & literally rots in her mouth- thus the ungodly drool & smell.

I haven't run her latest condition by the vet yet, but I'm guessing he'll tell me something similar: surgery might buy her a couple more months, but it's also possible she'll bleed uncontrollably, and have to be put down in the middle of the procedure. I think we'll probably give it a try again, though this time I feel a bit more ready to make the hard decision.

Or perhaps it's just plain time to make the hard decision.

The Granite State.
Jun 15, 2013 - 10:29am PT
I haven't been in that situation yet, but as my older dog slows down, I see it coming in the next few years.

Sorry to hear that you're in this situation again. Dogs are pretty special.

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Jun 15, 2013 - 11:14am PT

Apoogee, damn, i'm so sorry...

give Maddie an extra hug and kiss for me..

Take care...


Trad climber
Jun 16, 2013 - 12:44am PT
Credit: FRUMY

Trad climber
Nederland, CO
Jun 16, 2013 - 01:20am PT
Why is it okay to put a dog down when there's such a fervor over putting a human down? Seems like apples to apples to me.

I don't live much differently than my lovely pups.
Lily and Bob.
Lily and Bob.
Credit: SavageMarmot

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jun 16, 2013 - 02:00am PT
Those are truly great names.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jun 16, 2013 - 11:34pm PT
Last Friday, things were on a downhill trajectory...not eating, lots of malaise, staying in bed...

Then she started eating a bit more over the weekend, and though the malaise is still present, she jumped up to see me when I got home today, and did her excited belly-drag across the carpet.

While the tumor grows, her energy & appetite goes up & down, no doubt paralleling the affects of the associated infection. This is the crux of the matter for me...the hard decision would be much clearer if her condition was consistently negative, and she was obviously suffering most of the time. But that's just not the case.

Ironically, it's the damn medications (antibiotics & anti-inflammatorys) that fight back the infection that are probably creating a more stable condition, and less apparent degradation of quality of life, and therefore, a less clear decision.

That doesn't make any sense, does it?

I'm going to take her to the vet tomorrow- hopefully he's got time for her. I just don't think I can make the decision to put her down when she excitedly did a belly-drag to greet me the day before. Another debulking surgery will carry the risk of uncontrollable bleeding (requiring immediate euthanasia), but I can deal with that decision- at least I tried to improve her quality of life. I'm comfortable with doing my due diligence & providing every reasonable opportunity, and the possibility it may not work out for her. I'm not comfortable making a death decision without even giving her the chance.
Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
Jun 16, 2013 - 11:43pm PT
Very few experiences in life crush the heart as much as having one's puppymutt pass away from your life. My freeway rescue Aussie mix Nellie was put down two days before Christmas after Mast Cell cancer kicked her to the curb of life.

A year and a half later and I still miss that goof every day.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 17, 2013 - 01:48am PT
The face that launched a thousand ships...

Yeah, she's Goldie, aka The Golden Girl.
Yeah, she's Goldie, aka The Golden Girl.
Credit: Reilly

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jun 17, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Maddie has an appointment with the vet late this morning.

There are definitely conflicting views on how best to handle her at this moment- while all are generally supportive of the difficulty, some lean towards providing every chance at life, while others (including family that I am very close to) seem to feel that she's already well past the line of due diligence, and it's time to put her down.

While I tend to lean towards the former, there are the practical realities that she has had two surgeries thusfar costing over $1000, and has been on medications since December that cost about $100/month. She requires these meds 2-3 times a day, and they have to be hand-fed to her. When the condition worsens, her bedding has to be washed 2-3 times per week.

I feel full responsibility for this animal from start to finish, so I try not to let these practical realities skew my judgement- but they are real, and others who were in a similar situation probably wouldn't have gone this far with it.

I'd definitely fall into the latter camp if she was suffering more than enjoying life. But today, she's sitting in the sun smiling, wagging her tail at me, wondering when she gets to eat again. If I put her down today, I'll always remember & question that.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jun 17, 2013 - 01:54pm PT
If I put her down today, I'll always remember & question that.

It doesn't need to be done today. I remember my vet saying "she will tell you and you will know when it is time". I was truly skeptical but she was right. There seemed to be an awakening of when I was just facing futile heroics to simply prolong an expensive "life" that was not living. The look in my girl's eyes told me everything I needed to know when it was time. There truly wasn't joy there anymore; there was no joy in basking in the sun.

Warm thoughts headed out to you and Maddie....


Jun 17, 2013 - 03:39pm PT
(This is being passed around the internet for a very good reason.)

A Dog's Purpose? (from a 6-year-old).

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer.

I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their homeAs we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belkerís family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said; "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The Six-year-old continued;"Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jun 17, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
I've made the decision to have Maddie put down today.

The vet examined her, and his feeling was that the tumor has likely extended well into the hard & soft palate of her mouth- it is again extending across her tongue, making eating difficult. Debulking surgery could be done, but his feeling is that the recovery time would be far more traumatic than last time, due to the fact that the palate would likely be involved in the removal process. Given that, at best, this might give her another month or so, and that much of this time would be spent just painfully recovering from the surgery....well, this just doesn't make sense any longer.

I've been preparing to make this decision today, either via mid-surgery, or straight out, depending on the perspective of the vet. She is scheduled for 4:20 today, so I brought her back home for the afternoon so I can spend one last walk with her in the park, and bring her to see a couple of family members.

I just had lunch with my brother- I saved her a piece of bacon from my BLT. My brother agreed it is time, which is comforting. I really thought that this decision would be clearer when the time came, but it just hasn't worked out that way. Still, I think it's the best call for her.

I'm going to go walk my dog.

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 17, 2013 - 05:15pm PT
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go wherever they went."

Will Rogers

Peace to you today, Ap.

Social climber
Jun 17, 2013 - 05:16pm PT
God speed, Apogee.....& Maddie....

May she awaken in the Meadow of Infinite Rabbits & Permanent Dew.....

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jun 17, 2013 - 05:41pm PT
What every one has said....

Maddie has some incredible buds to meet up with...


The Granite State.
Jun 17, 2013 - 07:09pm PT
So sorry, man.

My dogs have made me a better person and I'm sure yours have for you also.

Bad Climber

Jun 17, 2013 - 08:45pm PT
Damn, Apogee, we feel for you. I'll toast to a fine friend. They leave us too soon.

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