Nine-year-old German Shepherd mother (Freddie) must be put down this week for various health reasons. Her 7-year-old daughter (Jazz) has never been separated from her....never. They are so very close, forever cleaning one another's faces and paws, sleeping cuddled up to one another, etc. It's so heartbreaking I have to do this and I know I have been putting it off far too long. I'm worried about how Jazz is going to react. Can anyone give me some idea on the phases Jazz will go through and how I can help her through them? Thank you for any thoughts you will share. Avatar is Jazz.
***Edited By: lovemygirls on 8/28/2007 10:10:27 PM*** Reason: sp
Jazz will probably be very sad, looking for her mother, and there's not a lot you can do about it. You can try washing all the bedding to get the Mom's smell off, and immediately take Jazz out for more activity to keep her busy. You might consider another dog too, when you're ready, It's a very hard thing to deal with, I'm sorry for your impending loss.
If Jazz shows signs of being depressed, the best thing to do is distraction. Try playing all of Jazz's favorite games. Take long walks. Hide some of her favorite treats around the house so she can find them.
If she is vocalizing by whining or barking don't give any treats or cuddling because this is just reinforcement of behavior you don't like. The best distraction is exercise.
I feel so sorry for you and Jazz. It makes me feel sad for you. I wish you and Jazz all the best.
I am so sorry for what you are going through my prayer's go out to you & your family & other dog. I don't think there is every any way to prepare ourselves for the unthinkable. It has been 1 month to this day when I buried my Siberian of 15 years. I feel your pain. When my Rottweiler was grieving I carpet cleaned the area my Husky slept in & removed her bedding but he still knew she slept there & was no longer there. I took some excellent advice from the people on this sight & applied them. I started taking my Rottweiler for walk's and along the way we both met some new friends that we visit with every week now. I give him ALOT of attention ALOT of hug's & Alot of kisses & alwayes tell him " it's going to be ok were going to get through this". We started a new game with a biscuit that he feels I need to go hide it other places & he seeks it & thinks he is all that in a biscuit when he does find it prancing around the house with it in his mouth. As if to say AH - HA I found it. I also 4 Days ago we went together at a rescue shelter & found a buddy he & I thought would be good for us both & we both decided on a Retriever and theses two bonded immediately. They sleep together play together they cant be out of each others sight. I know it will take time for you to get to that point. God bless you & what you are going through now. If you need anything feel free to PM any time my thoughts are with you. Again Im so sorry.
Big Thanks and hugs galore to all of you who have been kind enough to open your hearts again to your pain and share your heartbreaking experiences with me.
Warm and grateful thanks also to all who have expressed their concern, support and sympathies. Bless you all.
Based on your collective advice I will make a plan for Jazz and most of all, keep her busy and get her to invent new games. She came up with one we call, "shoot the ball" where laying down, she catches a thrown tennis ball in her mouth, drops it between her legs and maneuvers her leg and paw to 'shoot' it acrossed the garage at top speed - she's a very strong dog at 85 lbs. She likes to watch it bounce off the far wall. The more physical she is, the happier she is.
Today was to be 'the day' we put Freddie down but when my husband sent her into the bedroom to wake me this morning, she decided she wanted to play and led me to the garage - where there is a supply of 23 tennis balls in her toy box.
This was really b-i-g as she has become less and less interested in playing at all and prefers to lay quietly for 23 of 24 hours. So, I played ball with her and Jazz as we have done the last 7 years and my husband recorded it. It now looks like Thursday will be 'the day' - I couldn't take today away from her when she exhibited the energy and spark that have been missing for months. She has a 'puppy quality' that has never left her and it was a joy to see her so alive and mischievous again.
***Edited By: lovemygirls on 8/16/2007 9:01:04 PM*** Reason: *
I had either read somewhere or saw it on tv, that the remaining dog should say goodbye to their friend. Let them sniff or lay by the dog after it has gone. As humans, we like to see our family member after the death to say goodbye and know that it is real. Maybe this might help for our canine friends too.
Okay, i hate to be the wet blanket here, but why not give it more time ? Maybe her burst of activity was her way of telling you that shes not ready to go yet. I would wait awhile and see how things go. If she is not in pain, and still has times where she wants to play, it just doesnt sound to me like she is ready to cross the bridge yet.
If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater, suggest that he wear a tail.
I wanted to say the same thing as Dusty, but not knowing the health issues, was hesitant to speak up. It does sound though like she has the odd moment of 'spark', or is it so rare; that you really have to put her out of her misery? This must be making the decision even harder, seeing a burst of energy like that. I'm sorry for what you're going through,such a tough decision to make.
Pen2, you are dead on. We have been on this roller coaster of emotion of doing what’s best for Fred knowing she is in constant pain and questioning our own selfishness by not letting her go. That spark is so rare these days and it was so unexpected and a joy to see again that we (me & husband) had to give her more time yesterday. She has done this to us before.
Dusty, you are right – she’s telling us that she needs more time. And, like always, we see the ‘puppy’ we love again. We have been through this several times and always convince ourselves that not maybe she’ll ‘get better’ but that maybe she isn’t in as much pain as we thought and then we get selfish and time goes by because we can’t bear to let her go. Then after a few days, she crashes for months. The pain she is in shows in her walk, we lift her butt to help her up a few stair steps, she trips when walking, her breathing, lack of interest in food, everything including playing. She’ll just walk away from me and lay down somewhere.
I know that without lengthy explanations, situations simply cannot be fully understood.
Let me condense: Freddie has severe hip & elbow dysplasia and perianal fistula. Not only does she suffer with these conditions, there are pain related side effects and side effects from the meds she is on to control the conditions and the pain. Catch 22. She is the only one of her litter with any physical problems and she has enough for all.
The dysplasia became evident after she had her only litter at 21 months. I had her appt for her OFA xrays when she came into heat and was then bred and the xrays had to wait until 8 weeks after the pups were born. She was bred at that time as it was a condition of her purchase. $1500 plus a litter minus we got a pup (Jazz). Freddie is on the small side for a shepherd and carried 10 pups to full term. We could see something was not right with her carriage and the xrays then proved that she would not pass her OFA. Had I had the xrays done prior to being bred, I would have insisted she not be bred for the sake of her health and the integrity of the pups. I also believe the pregnancy worsened her condition. As it turned out, luckily all of her pups were OFA certified because the sire was OFA H/E, an AKC Amer/Canadian champion. She was put on Rimadyl, which she took in increasingly larger doses until she hit her max dose 4 years ago. She has been on Rimadyl for 7 years and has had related health problems. The most recent was a perforated ulcer, she was hospitalized for a week and we nearly lost her.
In 2002 she was diagnosed by a veterinary professor at UC Davis with the beginning of perianal fistula. He put her on brand name Neoral cyclosporine oral solution, not a generic, with a booster of ketoconazole 200 mg tabs to make the Neoral more effective. She has been on this combo for 5 years to keep the fistula restricted to ‘inside’. Both Neoral and ketoconazole are human drugs and have many side effects. Most notably in Freddie’s case, her immune system is extremely compromised and she has unexplained growths - tumors and unfortunately, her gums are overgrown which inhibit her eating and chewing on treats or toys. We have had her gums cut back several times. Tumors removed, eyelid surgery. There is a ‘toe nail’ growing on top of a back foot about 3 inches from the tip of the normal toe and toenail it is perched on. Ouch!
Freddie has conjunctival inflammation and pigmentation of the cornea in her left eye caused by abnormally located eyelashes. Surgery to remove the offending eyelashes. She is on Optimmune and was under the care of an animal ophthalmologist from 1998-2003.
On the bright side, her black coat had started to show brindle on top at the age of 2 and the Neoral has blackened her coat beautifully and has even run black down her tan legs. It also has turned her long coat into about a 4-inch long coat so that now she looks like a teddy bear.
(Some men with balding issues may want to investigate the side effects with the growth of longer and darker hair but decide if a compromised immune system and weird growths are worth it.)
While she was hospitalized with the vet for her ulcer, the newspaper had a story of a dog being picked up with a highly contagious respiratory condition (cannot remember the name of it). Guess which vet hospital was chosen to care for that dog. He was quarantined and Freddie was on another floor in a ‘private’ room so her vet could visit her throughout the night. Due to her compromised immune system, she still caught it but no one was aware until after I had brought her home and she gave it to Jazz and Jazz got really sick. Then they both were back in the hospital for a week.
That was the second time she picked up ‘something’, gave it to Jazz and they were both hospitalized. The first ‘something’ she picked up in a motel dog walking area 3 years ago. Both she and Jazz vomited and had diarrhea for 2 solid days. We took them to the vet and it took them 3 more days to stop both. They never figured out what it was but the vomit was consistently orange and along with the diarrhea stained the concrete at the vets. They never did get either stain off the floor. Jazz was there for a week and Freddie was there for 10 days on an IV. Nearly lost Freddie that time, too. It's been 3 years and still, Jazz will occasionally refuse her morning food, throw up the orange liquid and then she’s fine. Apparently, it’s still in their systems – whatever ‘it’ is.
Freddie is like the old timex….just keeps on ticking. She has always compensated for her pain – she ignores it and puts the onus on us to decide when she has had enough. She’s good like that – she only makes the fun decisions. As it stands right now, my husband just walked into the kitchen and said he can’t let her go tomorrow – he looks into her beautiful face and says "she was so alert and playful yesterday" and then says, he’s not ready and needs more time and we have now agreed to see how she is for the next week or so.
By now, you're saying to yourself, "condensed?"
***Edited By: lovemygirls on 8/16/2007 11:40:48 PM*** Reason: *
Lovemygirls, that was a really good explanation of your dog's health problems, and I now see what you're up against.I think you will know when the time has come, and maybe it's best not to set an appointment. These are two of the luckiest dogs I've heard of for a while, to have such wonderful parents - you can be very proud of the care and quality of life you have given this dog, with her health conditions. Many would have given up on her a long time ago. My heart goes out to you in this rotten situation,and I hope you can enjoy a few more happy days with your girl.
I agree with Pen2 I think your girl will tell you when it is time. But for now I don't believe it is, enjoy the time you have left with her. My siberian when she had sever arthritis in her back hips my vet suggested a product called ( Connectin for dogs ) Its a natural herbal joint supplement that restores healthy joints. Its been vet tested & dogs have been showing signs of relief in about 2 weeks. I have researched it on the net & gave my siberian some & it did work, With in 2 week's she was acting as if she was a young adult again and had more energy then normal. Even though it's not a cure it did bring my siberian alot of hip & joint relief & let her enjoy herself a little more until her passing.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened!
To know Freddie is to Love Freddie. She is a one of a kind special dog and we could never give her enough to repay what she has given us.
We don't have an appointment - we have an arrangement with our vet to call ahead before we go over and we can go at any time. As you can see, our problem is getting my husband, me and Freddie to all agree when it's time to make the call.
Skyy - Thanks for the info and I'm glad Connectin gave your husky some relief. Freddie has been on various 'improved' glucosamine, shark cartilage,etc. products since 2000. I tried different products to find the best relief for her and she was on Glycoflex III for years and most recently, Synovi G3 Soft Chews. Jazz is on the G3, too.
lovemygirls, your dogs are absolutely gorgeous. Freddie does'nt even look sick, and what nice eyes she has. How is it going, is she still having the odd spurt of energy? I hope so, and I'm thinking of you all. ((((hugs)))) for everyone, and a big smooch for Freddie and Jazz.