If a dog, or any other animal, is obviousl sufferring, the kindest thing to do is have them put down. Of course, we do get attached to our pets, we've had a dog for about 10 weeks and he's totally part of our family, but when the time comes, many years away I hope, we certainly won't allow him to suffer.
When do you put a dog down?
Katie - It sounds as if this poor dog has caudal equina disease in which the bottom of the dogs spine virtually disintigrates causing PAIN! - and loss of leg, bowel and bladder control This poor animal should have been put to sleep almost as soon as the condition started. Perhaps your father's wife needs a severe dose of terrible unbearable pain to make her understand what this poor animal is suffering. Why has the vet not insisted on putting this dog to sleep?
Perhaps the RSPCA needs to be consulted to advise this lady who should NEVER be allowed to own an animal again. Putting an animal to sleep when it is in this kind of condition is part of the responsibility of having a pet.
I don't for one moment consider you to be 'Katie the Dog Slayer!' Try to talk some common sense into these silly people!
From what you've described it need to go for the long sleep, however that's your Dad's decision.
My brother made a very similar decision about our Dad's dog, in the absence of any consultation, and it royally p*ssed off the whole family. It didn't help that the dog still had quite a reasonable quality of life and would probably have had another year or so.
In your own case it seems obvious that the time has come, but it's still not your dog.
If It Should Be
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
An pain should keep me from my sleep
Then you must do what must be done
For this, the last battle, cannot be won.
You will be sad, I understand
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship stand the test.
We've had so many happy years
What is to come can hold no fears
Would not want me to suffer so
When the time comes please let me go.
Take me where my needs they'll tend
Only, stay with me to the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will see
It is a kindness you do to me
Although my tail its last has waved
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don't grieve it should be you
Who has to decide this thing to do
We've been so close we two these years
Don't let your heart hold any tears.
So I am glad, not that she's gone
But that this earth she roamed and lived upon
Was my earth, too, that I had closely known
And loved her and that my love I'd shown.
Tears over her departure?
Nay - a smile
That I had walked with her a little while.
Author - unknown
This is the second time today that I've had to agree with looking_glass:
Take it to the vet and see what the vet says.
People tend to have more respect for the vet so if he/she says it should be put to sleep they probably will have it done.
Trouble is, and I'm as guilty as anyone, we tend to anthropomorphasise our pets, viewing them as humans and refusing to accept that they may well be at the end of their lifespan (which is usually considerably shorter than ours). Put another way, if dogs were allowed to run wild like their ancestor, the wolf, they would have to fend for themselves and their lifespan would be less than that for a domesticated dog. We humans have increased the lifespans of our pets - but not always for the better!
I had a glorious German Shepherd Dog that developed a tumour and had to be put to sleep. I was heartbroken in the vets surgery and quickly insisted that they put him down there and then. I looked into his eyes while the drug too effect. It was all over in seconds.
How I got home heaven knows. It was like losing a child. Our house was silent for days.
Sounds like your step-mum's dog is ready for the vet!
What if the dog were to die while your folks were on holiday?
I was actually terrified that this might happen, because I knew my step mum would think it had something to do with me, either that I caused it or that I didnt look after her properly.
Fortunately they are back today and the dog is still eating and shitting.
I did think maybe I should slip it an overdose of tablets, but then I agree with LittleToe, its not my place to make that decision, and I really wouldnt be able to live with myself. Plus I would doubt my motives - would I have killed it merely because im not a dog lover and have got fed up of mopping n' hosing?
I think what needs to happen is that my step mum does some of the mopping n' hosing in the middle of the night. I think that might knock some of the sentimentality out of her.
Last night the dog cried and I had to get up at 10pm, 11pm, 12:05pm 1am 1:20am and 2:10am I forced her to go outside each time in order to avoid the triple shit situation of the night before. Once I was satisfied she wasnt going to crap or piss in the house I stopped getting up, and she just wimpered for the rest of the night.
I am totally knackered this morning.
(plus - my step mums mum lives here at my dads house and shes 93. Shes doesnt sleep much and gets up a lot in the night. A couple of nights ago she fell over the dog in the middle of the night. I was in a total panic and called 911. As it turned out she was OK, except for a cut elbow and a head bump, but I was then also terrified that she was going to die while they were away too!)
The dog is clearly past its 'Sell By Date'' - Dad's wife is quite happy to let others take responsibility for cleaning up after it - maybe she doesn't want ANY responsibility, like making decision to have it put down - guilt etc.
Perhaps the dog's whimpering is a plea to be put out of its misery. He can't talk. He's a shell of his former dog-self. When we allow an animal to be spared obvious suffering, we call the behaviour "humane". When we choose to keep an obviously suffering animal in its suffering state, that behaviour is called "cruelty". Keeping an animal alive when it is serving as a kind of martyrdom trophy for your step-mum's self-image instead of doing what is in the animal's best interests is not just cruel, it's awfully selfish.
I agree with Midwich Cuckoo regarding your step-mum's non-involvement in the dog's maintenance and care. It's as though she wants no responsibility for doing right by the animal. It's easy to say that you "love" a dog (or a cat or any pet for that matter), but when you let other people do the dirty work associated with responsible pet ownership, then it's not pet ownership, it's nothing more than a possession. Ownership implies responsibility, and your step-mum has sloughed that off on others while she gets to lavish praise on herself for "loving" her dog.
It's a tough decision. We had to have our old basset put to sleep a couple of years ago and it was HARD. But in his eyes you could see the pain and when he refused his regular Saturday morning donut, we knew it was time. It was our responsibility to help him through the last part of his life. Chris and I were there with him at the vet's and patted him as he went off to his final nap.
Damn, I still miss him. He was our first kid.
The best approach is to have a veterinarian perform an examination of the animal and to offer an experienced opinion of the animal's quality of life along with possible treatment options and likely results. Sometimes the treatment regime can be very expensive and an owner has to be prepared for either this or a much cheaper euthanization. A tough choice, indeed.
For my Smokey Cat this past week, I decided to go for the treatment plan. He's home now and managed to eat nearly a whole can of cat food so far. He's getting around by himself and I think he has a decent chance of recovery. But if he has a relapse it may be best just to let him go.
The standard Catholic teaching discourages the thought that residents in heaven will be reunited with their lost pets. Yet there is a minority voice among Catholics saying that whatever we need for happiness will be there for us, so our beloved departed cats and dogs (and horses, parrakeets, etc.) will be waiting for us.
For pet owners: if you haven't already heard of it, do a Google search for "Rainbow Bridge" and see if that doesn't bring a tear to your eye.