• Our Rocco is 16 1/2 years old. He is on anti seizure medication. He doesn’t see very well and doesn’t hear. He is losing all of his muscle tone. We have to carry him outside so he can relieve himself which he does without any problems. He eats very well, but we have to take him to his food. His vet said that his blood work is very good for a dog his age and that he is in no pain. He sleeps most of the day. When he is up he can’t get around very well. He doesn’t have much of a life, but he is alive. I’m having a very tough time deciding what to do for him. He is only going to get worse, if I wait too long to do the inevitable he may suffer. We love him and will miss him terribly, but I don’t think that should enter into this decision. I would appreciate any insight and comments.

    Thank you.

  • @davcoz
    OMG! I feel for you and completely understand your circumstances. My brother who also had basenji who lived to 17 years (also is related to my basenji) had the exact situation but his B would also sometime wonder @ night and walk into the walls - then he’d be great the next few days. He even bought a doggie stroller to walk his dog around the neighborhood - this was a dog that one time ran free daily through the woods. He didn’t know what to do - it was a tough decision - you have the weigh the quality of life and what’s best for your basenji. Eventually he made the hard decision of putting his B down - oh what a very sad day - but the basenji lived a fabulous life and that’s what you have to hold onto - the fact you’ve provided your basenji the best possible life it could live. My thoughts are with you.

  • With animals I have always gone with whether they are interested in food. Obviously in a short term sickness they may lose their appetite, but with a chronically ill or aged animal, refusing food is the signal for me that the time has come. I hasten to add, not a one time refusal, but when things progress to where the dog has to be coaxed to eat, or will only eat a very restricted diet that isn't adequate, then it's likely time to make that call. I have left it too late on occasion because it is always so hard to let them go, but when even food is no longer enjoyable there isn't much left in life for an old timer that doesn't have anything else to brighten his day. Spend time with him if you can, feed him special treats, and let him tell you when he has had enough.

  • My insight is that you'll know it's time months after it's time. Obviously totally a individual decision. At some point you'll know. IMO in retrospect you realize you've delayed the inevitable past the time when it would be better for the dog not to have delayed.

    Let's fact it, it's a horrible decision. I think Zande has given some great advice in this area based on a lot of experience. But again, it's always going to be up to you. Playing God turns out not to be much fun.

    Not a lot more I can offer other than my heartfelt empathy.

  • @davcoz I agree with the others, it is always a tough decision.

    Interest in food is good. In your position I would continue to do what I could for him for so long as he is not in pain or suffering. It is hard to understand and seems odd, but as others have said, you just know when it is time. It is also possible that he may pass peacefully in his sleep and you will not be forced to make the decision.

  • It doesn't matter when or how, your world is going to crash around you. I know none of us envy your situation and all of us would be there with hugs if we could be. We will be here for you.

  • ![alt text](0_1595470398034_B2677864-9ECC-42CE-ADD7-52BEBBD18E4B.jpeg image url)

    Thanks for all your insight. All of your comments are greatly appreciated. One thing that helps is that Rocco has had a fantastic life. He had lots of freedom, went everywhere with us and was never away from us for one day. He is still our buddy! He was able to run in his fenced in yard whenever he wanted too, He ate the best food, lots of venison, and was always in good health. For us he is the perfect dog. I will watch him closely.

  • Thank you so much for asking this question! I have struggled with the quilt of this very question for at least 12 years now. I hear the comment "you will know when the time comes" numerous times. Like you I had to carry my dog down stairs and outside to potty. She had a hard time walking but wanted to go for walks. I don't remember what her appetite was like but I think I was OK. I do remember neighbors commenting on how they thought she was suffering too much when she walked. She was a Dalmatian and my first dog. I knew hardly anything about the medications she could have received for the prevention of arthritis and pain. She became incontinent and there are meds and I didn't know that. It was the incontinence that caused me to make my decision. She was always a elegant and proud dog. I felt that peeing in her bed was a real quality of life issue for her. I didn't mind cleaning up, but I think she have felt bad. I know I did NOT want to let her go but I am still struggling with the idea that I was influenced by outsiders and it not being the right time. I have a healthy 12 year old basenji who is getting very grey. I am really thankful for this discussion I want to be better prepared this time with appropriate medications and knowledge.

  • Hi to all of u B owners! They r the most wonderful creatures in the dog world! I lost my 18 year old girl a few years ago, it was so sad for me, she was a brindle and so beautiful! I rescued my boy, who is going to be 13 this year..he has his aging issues but people say he looks so young. I know there will come a time for him to cross over to puppy heaven...but we all love our B’s so much! I wish the best for all those who whom r helping our B’s as they age.

  • I have walked this path many times over the past years. It is never an easy decision. Mostly though, they have come and told me, its my time, please help.

    The main thing is not to prolong any suffering to avoid saying goodbye and causing yourself grief. We have to let these amazing animals go with dignity and without suffering.

    While he is eating well you may be OK for a little while longer, especially as he seems to be able to tolerate the indignity of being carried out to 'go'. Basenjis hate to be dirty and you are not letting this happen.

    I think I prefer to make the decision sometimes a tad too early than just once too late - saying goodbye is the last chance you get to express your deep love for the Basenji in question.

    Good luck - I am sure you will do the right thing when the time comes.

  • I lost 2 earlier this year, 15 and 16,
    Now we are dealing with a 15 yr old and every night we ask each other "Is he in pain?" No
    "Does he enjoy part of his day" Yes.

    The first girl, we waited a bit too long. I knew this, but forgot - the vet told us her brain was shutting down. She had seizures (for the last 8 mos) and was losing the ability to control her rear legs. He said if all else is healthy, they start at the rear of the body, and gradually lose control of the body, working up to the brain.

    So, we are letting the boy enjoy what he can. He sleeps a lot, but he did always like his pillow. When I show him where his food is, he enjoys eating it. Today he was just circling in a small circle. He has a bit of 'dementia' so my husband just grabbed him to sit with him for a bit.

    Like Zande said, dignity with no suffering. You just evaluate on a dog by dog basis. The second girl was 16 and the vet said "You just know."

    Give yourself permission to decide, and know you've loved him all these years, You just know.
    We let her cross the rainbow bridge.

  • When your heart is broken
    In a million pieces
    And you have no tears left to cry
    You lay your hand
    Upon his head
    And whisper in his ear
    Of times and fun gone by
    The pain is over whelming
    As you do what must be done
    Remember as he lies so still
    That his last race is won.

  • As our old basenji was getting up there in years, she lost a significant amount of hearing and sight, but still seemed good with eating, walking. She'd sleep so soundly at time we thought she had died in her sleep.

    All this to say we knew we were on the downward slope. One evening we went to the movies and when we came home,we found her entangled in the legs of a stool and she hadn't been able to free herself. She was exhausted and scared and we knew it was time. This was a proud and dominant little girl who I thought would fight us to the end, but she went very peacefully. Looking back, we did wait a couple of months too long.

  • @b5004ever said in Making The Tough Decision:

    Looking back, we did wait a couple of months too long.

    Something which is only too easy to do. But you did the right thing in the end - and can take comfort from that -

  • This morning we let our beloved Rocco go. It was his time. In two months he would have been 17. We are totally crushed!!! The vet tried to help and she was very understanding. The only comfort that I have was that I wrapped him in his favorite blanket and hugged him until he was gone. He lived a marvelous long life. We will miss him for a very long time. At the end he loved to sleep. He looked very peaceful when he was sleeping. Now he’s sleeping and in peace forever. Thanks for your support.

  • @davcoz tears welling up I'm so sorry that you have had to say goodbye to your pal. Keep him close by through your memories and the love you shared.

  • This is always the hardest time. Cry, grieve, do what you need to do. You loved him and did your best for him, and memories of the happiest times will stay with you when the grief is not so sharp.

  • Take comfort in the fact you gave him a good life and did the right thing by him at the end. Its never easy

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  • @davcoz
    So sorry for your loss - we never can keep them long enough. Please find peace and comfort in knowing you gave Rocco a fabulous life and cherish the wonderful memories you shared.🐾❤

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