How do you know when it's time to let them go?

here's a quality of life scale that may help:

http://virtuavet.wordpress.com/petqualityoflife/qualityoflifescale/

and this book might be helpful:
http://www.amazon.com/Good-Old-Dog-Keeping-Comfortable/dp/0547662416

Hopefully you will know and can find peace with this very difficult descision.

Thanks to everyone for your responses! Senji doesn't seem like he wants to die yet. He still drinks lots of water and can jump up on the couch. He wasn't eating very much, though. His breathing seemed labored, and then I discovered why. His nostrils were completely occluded with hard snot plugs! I tried using a warm wash cloth to remove them, but it didn't work. So I did what any respectable basenji owner would do. I picked my dog's nose! He was able to breathe a lot better after that. He also ate a little bit more. I guess he couldn't smell his food. We've been trying to wait until my brother and his family (his original owners) came back from vacation to see him one last time. His allergies are still very bad, and he keeps having asthma attacks. He managed a benadryl pill this morning. I think he knows it helps him. He lost a lot of weight these past few weeks, but he was overweight to begin with. The weather is oppressively hot, and it's very difficult for him to breathe outside.
In the meantime, I called around to various vet offices to ask about the euthanasia. Most of them don't want to take you unless you are already a client. I was hoping to take him to someone besides his own vet, because he gets so stressed out going to the vet's office.

@elena86:

In the meantime, I called around to various vet offices to ask about the euthanasia. Most of them don't want to take you unless you are already a client. I was hoping to take him to someone besides his own vet, because he gets so stressed out going to the vet's office.

Have you checked to see whether there is a mobile vet in your area? We have one near here who will come out to your home, which is the best possible way to do it. If that isn't possible, can your vet give you something to calm him for the trip? It is a shame to have to stress them at such a time…...

Here is an interesting story…. My Mickii would always be distressed as an older girl going to the Vet... when the day came that we decided that it was time to let her cross over the bridge I put her in the car and there was not a peep out of her... she laid quietly for the short ride... She for sure confirmed our decision that it was the right time

I've always found that I could see it in their eyes when they decided "No more, Mum". Generally while they are still eating and drinking I find that they aren't ready. I always insist that my vet comes to our home for the final injections so that there is no stress.

One of my Basenjis just asked to go out and walked straight down to the brook and laid herself down beside it. She was the one who couldn't resist a swim when water was available so I guess that was appropriate.

Senji is still alive. My brother and his family stopped over Sunday night to say their goodbyes. He's still drinking water, but only ate about 2 little bites of fish yesterday. He ate 2 little bites of chicken the day before. He can still jump up on the couch. All he wants to do is go outside and lay on the pad on the patio. It's been in the 90's all week. I try not to let him stay out there more than a few minutes at a time. Not sure how much longer he can live like this. He's skin and bones practically. The pet hospital at Petsmart is open on the 4th of July, if he needs it. I've been advised by several people not to go to the local emergency pet hospital. My brother's wife and kids don't want him to be "put down." They want him to die a "natural" death. They don't know what we're going through. My mom is especially stressed out, watching him waste away.

Have you tried giving him 1/2 a pepcid? If his tummy is upset/unsettled eating will no appeal to him and the pepcid will help. I might be worth a try.

He actually ate today! He had some pasta with meat sauce. And he was actually interested in a piece of one of his doggie treats. He just finished grooming himself a little. That's a good sign, right? I'm wondering if he might've gotten stung in his mouth by a bee. We'll have to see if he perks up some more, or if this is his last hurrah.

@elena86:

My brother's wife and kids don't want him to be "put down." They want him to die a "natural" death. They don't know what we're going through. My mom is especially stressed out, watching him waste away.

It would be easiest for us if our old dogs would simply pass away in their sleep, but it doesn't usually happen that way. I have had old dogs euthanized – a friend of mine uses the term "eased" -- and some were allowed to die "naturally"... either way it is not easy. It's as hard to watch them linger as it is to make a decision, I know what you're going through. But there is no cure for old, sometimes we have to be brave enough to make that dreaded decision... it is the last gift we can give our old dogs. My heart goes out to you.

@elena86:

He actually ate today! He had some pasta with meat sauce. And he was actually interested in a piece of one of his doggie treats. He just finished grooming himself a little. That's a good sign, right? I'm wondering if he might've gotten stung in his mouth by a bee. We'll have to see if he perks up some more, or if this is his last hurrah.

I am glad he is feeling better today and that he has ate a little and was interested in his treats. I hope this is the beginning of his getting better.

As for the "they want him to die a natural death", people don't understand until it they have had to go through it themselves. I never ever thought I would be able to put an animal to sleep. But until you are the one around them and see them go through so much in the end it is easier to let them go than to watch them suffer.

Watch Senji's good days and bad days and in the end you will know in your heart the right thing to do.

RIP, my dear, sweet Senji! My brother came over today and we took him to the Banfield Animal Hospital at Petsmart. They were open today. It was a good time, because they weren't too busy, being the 4th of July and all. Senji seemed to know that it was time too. The vet was very nice and gentle, and everything went very quickly. He was 16 1/2 years old. He's had a good life, and I didn't want him to suffer. With his previous liver disease, the vet felt that he was probably full of lung cancer too. He was having a lot of difficulty breathing. She said that we did the right thing, and that he probably wouldn't have died a peaceful "natural" death. We'll miss him dearly! The house will feel so empty without him. I'm sure that many of you know how it feels. Thank you for all your kindness and prayers!

I'm sorry for your loss. Even when you know it is the right thing, it is just so hard to let go. I have been down that road too many times, and I feel for you. Spend your time grieving. It helps.

Sorry to hear about Senji, it really is an unselfish decision and it's nice that you can remember him on the fourth of July every year….I hope that you and your family can find peace with his passing.

I am so sorry. I was hoping you'd have a little more time together.
RIP baby boy.

I'm sorry to hear the news about Senji. He had a wonderful full life with lots of love. RIP good buddy, Flame will show you the way over the Rainbow Bridge.

I am very sorry for your loss. It is so HARD to let them go, but you did right by Senji… and he thanks you for that. Dogs bring so much happiness to our lives, but such sadness when they leave us. Senji will wait for you, and he won't wait alone, many have recently arrived at the bridge, including my Billy. Peace

Sorry to hear this. It is so hard to say goodbye. He lived a long life and is now at the Rainbow Bridge running with many of his kind. I'm sure my sweet Tia was there to welcome him.

I am sorry for your loss. He is now free of any pain.

Jennifer

I'm very sorry to hear about Senji. It's so sad when they go. He lived to a grand old age, and I'm sure he had a wonderful life. It's so hard to let them go– you were both courageous and compassionate to release him. Run free, Senji!

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