When is it time? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-13-2009, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Greenville area / SC
Posts: 13,165
• Horses: 3
When is it time?

A few years ago I had to have my Chocolate Lab, Max put to sleep. He was my constant companion for over 13 years but in the last few years of his life he fought tumors and arthritis. It was painful to see a very vibrant friend deteriorate. He still ate like a horse but his movements were getting slower and finally he was very hesitant to move at all. His tail still wagged when he saw me and he would try to come to me when I came home. It was time. He was being kept alive because I could not make the decision to end his life but it needed to be done. I was with him and cried like a baby when he fell asleep for the last time. He is now in a Cherrywood box in the family room with a little plaque that has his name engraved on it.

There is another thread on the forum that asks what to do about a very very elderly horse that is loosing weight and having trouble eating hay. Rather then respond to that thread I decided to start one that may have an answer to other members that are, or will be facing that decission.

When is it time to say to yourself that your friend has had a long and wonderful life with you but is kept alive because of the difficulty in making that final choice?

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-13-2009, 08:23 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Indiana
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For me, the time comes when the animal (be it horse, dog, cat, whatever - have had to make this choice for all three) has reached the point that their life is no longer enjoyable for them. When they are alive for my benefit rather than their's, it is time. I really can't pinpoint anything more specific than to say that in each instance, I just knew that it was time. I loved them so very much that the best thing I could do for them was to let them go on.
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-13-2009, 09:12 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Michigan
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I don't have trouble making the decision to put an animal down because I can't stand to see them suffer and it's selfish to keep a pet alive simply because it's too hard to say goodbye. I'll probably get flogged for this, but there have been times when we've had to do the deed ourselves. Our most recent loss was our husky mix, Bear, this past March. It was 11:30 at night, no vets are open then, and he was clearly in pain and having trouble breathing. He was on his way out but we felt the kindest thing to do would be to end his life swiftly so my husband did just that. Then we both buried him while sobbing like babies the whole time.

Stella - sweet, timid, elegant, lovely, lively, amazing
Luna - large, unattractive, naughty, adored
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-13-2009, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
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We had a 13 year old black lab that was the same way (arthritic mostly, but he had several of the fatty tumors that labs get as well as congestive heart failure). One morning he was out to potty and wouldn't get up in the back yard. My mom took him to the vet and he told her "you have to take yourself out of the situation and do what is best for your dog". I think that those words were great. We truly had to look out for his best interest and quality of life to put him down but I know that we all made the best decision.

That was in 2007 and I'm still about to tear up thinking about him. Shiloh was the best dog.
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-13-2009, 02:15 PM
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Location: USA
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I had a german shephard that was a rescue. I'd had her for about 2 years. She had skin issues and hyperthyroidism, arthritis and a cancerous tumor. I loved that dog more then you could ever imagine. Her tumor spread and grew to the size of a football and then it split and leaked an oozie horrific smelling mix of blood and puss. Still that dog wagged her tail and loved me. I made the decision to put her down. I took her to the vet and I held her and I cried. Everyday I think, I should have paid the $1700 to try to save her. (She was 10 years old). I won't ever be able to make that decision again. My husband has promised that he will decide for our animals in the future. I'm not capable.

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-13-2009, 04:32 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Maine
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I've christened myself the "angel of death" at my house because I am the one that has to make and carry out the decision. Yes, my husband supports the decision but he is to tender hearted to actually follow through.

So recently our kitty of I think 17 years was losing ground with her hyperthyroidism that we had her on meds for over a year. She was very frail and was vomiting often. I took a good look at her, not through eyes that saw the "kitten" in her (you know what I mean) and saw a very elderly and suffering kitty. I stayed with her and brought her back to bury next to the Great Dane she so loved many years ago.

Both our dogs faced the end with me holding them. It was the final act of a loving and caring owner (hate that word) could do for them. Our great dane Merlin went very peacefully, he had been ready for at least 5 months. Our newfie/retriever mix Bear was another story. Although in great pain and probably riddled with cancer (didn't bother test, according to the symptoms and advanced age vet said it was probably that), he fought to live. Tore me apart, but it was the right thing to do. Once I got his attention and cradled him in my lap, he gave in and stopped fighting. So typical of retrievers, puppies till the end.

I will have to face this decision with my horses, T is 20 and losing sight, but I will watch her closely and if she is always tense and nervous, losing weight, and without any zest in her life, I'll know we've reached that part of our journey together.

We can't be selfish and keep them going for only our sakes. Medically we can keep them going for longer than nature has deemed proper. Tough, yes, but they and what's best for them should always win out in the decision making.
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-13-2009, 04:54 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: NE ohio
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i have two labradors and tears fill my eyes when i think about the time when our oldest will need to be put down. she's 10 right now and had double ACL surgery on her back legs and i didn't bat an eye at the price. my husband and i don't have children so we will do anything for our girls. when abbey starts to have problems getting around and she looks like she's in pain, the decision will be made to let her go. i can't be selfish enough to keep her around when she's suffering. it will crush all of us including our younger lab who absolutely loves abbey and is lost without her when we just take her to the vet for her shots. i don't think it has anything to do with age but quality of life. if it's poor, it's best to let them cross the rainbow bridge and wait for you on the other side.

Jackie's Sonny Daze
Haflinger Gelding
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