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16 year old Golden

Image_thumb By Laurie A. Gormley | January 07, 2014 | Answers (16)

My beautiful 16 year old Golden is obviously up there in age.  She is on 3 different meds for arthritis pain and still wants to walk and follow me around everywhere I go, etc.  How do I know when she's ready to be put down?  I don't want her to be in unnecessary pain and I certainly don't want her to lose her dignity.  She is just amazing.  

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My sweet little Rosie passed away Dec17, 2013. I noticed subtle changes over the last year of her life, she was hiding and avoiding more often, she could no longer climb stairs easily, she was having accidents in the house, and had been under close supervision by our wonderful veterinarian. Rosie's liver enzymes were very high and her kidney function was deteriorating. I new deep in my heart that Rosie had minimal time left with me, and I truly was lost. Rosie did have some quality in her life, she still loved her food, we managed gentle walks together a few times a week, and she still looked at me with those big, brown, beautiful puppy dog eyes with such love and trust. Over the last weeks of Rosie's declining health I would look into her eyes every night , before she went to sleep,...and would ask her,.. to please let me know when she was finished and had enough. My eyes filled with tears and I would hold her gaze until she would slowly fall asleep...I went through this ritual for maybe 3 or 4 weeks, and on each and every one of those nights I would hear my poor girl moan ever so softly. With poor liver and kidney function coupled with some very caring guidance from Rosie's veterinarian the decision was made. I remembered those big, beautiful eyes,... it was the trust she placed in me that I saw those nights and the moaning that I heard,... was the answer that she gave. I loved that little dog with everything that I had, and by far, this was the most difficult decision to make and come to terms with. My heart aches with every pet parent having to make this decision....I wrote a short letter called.."Letter from Rosie"... It's in the Rainbow Bridge section of this forum....read it, ..it may help.
One of the most difficult things for us to do is to think that we have the knowledge of when or if it's time. We always look for the positive signs, Without putting to much pressure on your vet (ultimately it's your choice) he/she can help you decide with a few facts on what it is your baby is going through. If only to ease the burden of the nagging questions afterwards, was I right? was it the right time? When is the right time?? In your heart you will be able to look into your babies eyes and feel the answer, knowing that by doing so you are not only easing their pain and suffering, you are courageously doing the most loving act you can, and that is letting go.
My Golden was 3 months shy of 15 years. My former always asked, "when will we know?" I knew in my gut that I would know. The deteriorating hips and falls we all endured and assisted for sometime along with bringing food and water to his side. One night, the constant 3 barks occurred frequently.....arf arf arf, repeatedly, with no getting up. That was it, his cry for "I am done". The next morning we carried his crackled bone body in. I could still say to him, "gimme a kiss" and he did as I continued to watch the life go from him. Many say they could not watch the event and I say to them, these wonderful creatures have EARNED you being with them to the end. RIP Maxwell Eichelberger 8/24/2006.
I've put down a few over the years, you will know when the time is here, they act differently, eating habits change, disposition may change, and may start doing things you know your dog wouldn't do! I had an 18 hr old Shepard that lost control of his bowels after some other signs, since I know my dog would never go anywhere but outside I knew it was his time! Trust me, watch your dog, you will know!
I can't advise as I've never owned a dog. However, I would imagine that I would just wait for the dog to tell me they were ready to go by losing interest in the things they had loved formerly or if they were in too much pain to continue living.
Sounds like you love her, so you will know. It is hard not to be selfish in these situations,to think of how you'll feel instead of the dogs pain and quality of life. As long as you're putting her first, you'll know. Big hugs.
Laurie, I signed up for DogHeirs just so I could answer your question. Last year I had to put my sweet boy Riley to sleep at only 12. He had been at the vet on and off for a week and seemed to be doing ok. The vet told me to bring him home and as soon as I did I knew, he let me know. They just don't act the same. He was my second Goldie I had to lovingly send to Rainbow Bridge. You are so very lucky to have had this sweet girl for 16 years! Cherish each and every day with her. When the time does come just know this is one of the many loving things we can do for our dogs (too bad not for people). And know that your sweet girl will want you to share your love and your home with another deserving dog. I rescued my 3rd Goldie for Nor Cal Goldie Rescue and we are both so glad we found each other. I know my Riley is happy to have another dog in his house and he is missed every day. <3
When my Toby started to sleep a lot, wasn't interested in eating and started having accidents in the house I started to prepare myself. One day I could see he was just miserable and not able to enjoy his life by chasing birds, running in the fields and even just climbing the stairs up to bed. That was when I realized the he needed to keep his dignity and I made the decision. The hardest thing I have ever done, but I loved him too much to see him suffer any longer. I know I will see him again one day and that is something that gives me comfort. God bless you and your baby. From this message board, your baby will have many friends over Rainbow Bridge.
It's hard to watch them age and know what is best. But I have to agree with the others, she seems like the quality of her life is still quiet good. We have a 14 yr old Pom that has several health issues but has no pain at all. One vet asked 3 yrs ago why we didn't go ahead and put her down. She actually asked if we just wanted to find her dead one morning. One of the partner vets saw her the next year and was like, she's doing okay and when I mentioned what the first one said, her response was, "that's the way I want to go-in my sleep." As long as your baby is comfortable and keeps eating...enjoy the time you get with her.
Without any doubt you will know. She will tell you.
Lou Ann is right she will let you know, and she is not right yet, when she doesnt want to walk anymore or wake up anymore or get up anymore ..you will know my Jack Russell passed away 2 days before i came back from UK i left her with my husband, she didnt want anymore ... ;-( GOOD LUCK its soooo hard .... ;-(
I wouldn't put her down until you know that is the kindest decision you can make for her. In the meantime, you may want to give her a supplement called Protandim. I have my dogs on it and they are acting like pups again. Myndogs are 10-11 years old. If you go to YouTube.com and type in 'Cassie the dog Protandim' and 'Zamora the horse Protandim,' you can see what I mean. I'm not trying to sell you the product, but I take it and so do my dogs. I order it and haven't shipped to my house every other month. I break them in half and give my dogs tiny little pieces of them because my dogs are only 10-12 pounds each. It kills free radicals which almost stops the aging process or at least slows it way down. I hope this helps. My dogs are like kids to me. I can have kids so they are all I got. Be blessed!
For several months I asked the very same question about my 15 year old Yorkie, Romy. Everyone told me the same thing. That I would know. They were right. On New Year's Eve, he let me know. I miss him terribly and there isn't a day that has gone by that I haven't cried. He would have been 16 on January 28th. It doesn't sound like your furry girl is ready yet. But trust me, you will know.
I meant to say she is not ready! She will let you know when she is......
I just had to put my 17 year old golden to sleep. He was on a lot of meds and was doing ok , then he just started acting funny. He paced around and around. He no longer followed my everywhere. Loud noises really upset him to the point he would just shake and no amount of loving on him helped. He really disliked the going to the vet, so I asked my vet to come to my house and put him to sleep on his couch with his head on his very own pillow. It was the best thing I could have ever done for him...it was extremely hard on me, since I raised him from an eight week old pup. Now that I am on this side, I know I did the right thing. You will know when it's time. If your doggie is still acting like herself and tolerating the meds and eating, going for walks, even though they are shorter, then I would not say she is ready. She will let you know with her actions.
You will know, really know, when it is time. When his quality of life has deteriorated to the point where he cannot function, when he cannot or will not get up because of the pain and doesn't want to eat. We all get old and have aches and pains but that doesn't mean that we are finished. As long as the medications are doing their job it is all good. You will know, been through it, it is hard. On another note, I do recommend giving him at least a tablespoon of a probiotic yogurt (Activia) each day. The medications are hard on their stomachs and it really, really helps.
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