For those hoping for a chat on something that this old dog has learned in her later life, sorry, but this post is actually about our literal dog who is both ancient and quite insane.  She’s only 11, which should only make her about 77 years old in dog years, yet she totters around the house like a 110 year old woman with her lipstick askew.

We are trying to figure out if she should be put down or not, and it’s a horrible decision that I’ve never had to make for a pet before.  I didn’t grow up having dogs, and cats, in my experience, don’t seem to have long lives.  All of our cats have died outside, and our one completely indoor cat (who I figured would live to be 25) died of a bladder infection two years ago at the tender age of 2.

Our dog has very bad arthritis and it’s painful to watch her get up and lie down.  We have to carry her up and down the steps into our home or else she usually falls.  She needs to stop and rest on her walks with us and sometimes she spontaneously sits and won’t budge and I have to call my husband to carry her inside (she weighs over 90 lbs.  I cannot carry her on my own).  She’s on arthritis medication, but it honestly doesn’t seem to be helping her much anymore.

She has very little control over her bowels these days, and she has lots of accidents.  A lot of them happen while she is sleeping.  I think she is confused about why she goes out for walks (she seems confused about everything these days).  She doesn’t see or hear well and, though she is still very loving, she often seems like she has dementia.  This is hard because she was always a very smart dog who seemed to understand everything you said to her and could even seem to spell a few choice words like w-a-l-k and o-u-t and b-a-l-l.  She wanders around aimlessly getting in your way when you walk and not even noticing. 

We know she isn’t long for this world and my children are distraught.  She is older than some of my kids and we got her when one of my kids was a baby.  She’s just always been here and her gray muzzle is a reminder that she won’t always be.

Here is our dilemma.  She is not sick.  Doesn’t have cancer.  She’s just very old and she’s in pain.  She has a very loving family and she’s a happy old dog.  I am inclined to let her live until she dies on her own of old age (which I suspect will be sometime in the next six months or so.  Though coming upon her lifeless body in the house will be extremely traumatic for all of us, I suspect).  My husband thinks it’s cruel to keep her alive when she is clearly suffering (her arthritis is BAD).  But, he can’t bear to take her in to the vets to watch her die and so that falls on me, and I don’t want to do it either, but I will if the time ever comes because I could never let her die on her own at the vets.  She was a shelter puppy, and even today, being at the vets stresses her out something fierce.

Whether we have to put her down or she dies on her own, we are looking at a horrible loss pretty soon.  She’s been a wonderful friend and I will really miss her.

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My kids keep asking if dogs go to heaven and, though I dont’ think the Bible says what happens to animals, I believe they do.  At least I hope they do, because I have at least a dozen old friends that I’d love to see again someday.

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