I am so sorry to read that your basenji is not well and perhaps nearing the end of his life. I've known so many pet owners who, after their pet passed away, said "I waited too long." I had three basenjis; they were all 15-17 years old when they went to the rainbow bridge. I almost didn't get any more dogs after they died because those decisions were so difficult. I think that using eating as the marker is not enough. What I think about first is DIGNITY. Human beings who are nearing the end can think about dignity but our pets can't. I think it is up to us to let our pets go before they are peeing and pooping everywhere or acting confused. Surely something must tell them that this is not their normal behavior.
I have a wonderful article written by Dr.Marc Bekoff, an animal behaviorist, who wrote about how difficult it was to make the decision. Unfortunately I don't have a link; I just have the article. He talks about having to make the decision about his 12-year-old dog. Please forgive me for including so much of what he said in this response, but I couldn't have said it any better, and each time I have had to say goodbye to one of my pets I have turned to this article for comfort and understanding and knowing that I am doing the right thing . I recently had to say goodbye to my 16-year-old cat and it wasn't any easier than the last time but Dr. Bekoff's words comforted me:
Jethro knew I’d do what’s best for him and I came to feel that often he’d look at me and say, “It’s OK. Please take me out of my misery and lessen your burden. Let me have a dignified ending to what was a great life. Neither of us feels better letting me go on like this.” And I feel he told me that the moral dilemma I faced was no predicament at all; that I had done all I could and that his trust in me was not compromised one bit — but, perhaps, strengthened; that I had made the right choice; that I could go on with no remorse or apologies.....Our companions are counting on us to be for them in all situations, to let them go and not to let their lives deteriorate into undignified humiliation while we ponder our own needs in lieu of theirs. We are obliged to do so. We can do no less.
Your basenji will thank you, and you will be at peace, knowing that you made the right decision.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to post a reply to my question. You all had my husband and I in tears reading the messages. It's so nice to know that there are wonderful people in this forum to provide some guidance. We have a vet appointment on Friday, just to have him checked out. He seems to be doing okay now. Still aimlessly wondering around the house and wearing his diapers, but content and still interested in food. Thank you all!
@GriffinsMom......"Some" vets don't know enough about CCD, or not very familiar with it. I hope your vet knows enough to give you some honest (they might hurt) answers to your questions. If you can check out the CCD group on Facebook before you go to your vet appointment, just so you can be armed with "some" knowledge of whats going on. I also forgot to mention that Zak has gotten stuck in places, corners and such. Now that he has had his Animal Essential Heart Health for a couple of days now, he seems to be doing much better.....................still places, circles, gets stuck, but he's moving and looking for food. Then he will get up on the couch and take a long nap. Do some research on your own on CCD before you see the vet. Write down questions that you want answered, or at least would like answered, if possible.
Thank you all for the support. We took Griffin to the vet today. Based on several factors, the vet believes Griffin has a brain tumor. We don’t know for sure bc I’m not doing an MRI, but the seizures and other things seem to indicate a tumor. He doesn’t think Griffin has much time left and suggested it’s best to put him down soon because the seizures may start happening more frequently and become more severe. We absolutely love our vet and he said a lot of things that made sense today. Like everyone said, it’s better to say good bye a little early than too late. We have a big decision to make very soon. I don’t want him to suffer. Thank you all for the support and advice. This forum was my first line of support and I’m so glad I came to you first.
@griffinsmom - It is difficult to know when is the right time.... you need to look at quality of life and that is a reason to say goodbye, been there done that, if eating and sleeping they are mostly OK, IMO.... but I know that it plays on us humans mind and hard to watch if doing things like walking in circles.
@GriffinsMom, my girl Lady had a suspected brain tumour when she had a seizure at 13 years of age. My vet put her on Prednisone, and things improved. She was on and off the drug for the next few years until she really started to get worse at just short of 16 years old. My vet said that for some, Prednisone seems to shrink the tumour. Of course, it would depend on size and location. I don't want to give false hope, but you might inquire about it.