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Guys, I really need some support . . .

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Irishgrrrl

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As some of you may already know, my eight-year-old Great Dane, Caesar, is not doing so well.

Eight is pretty old for a Dane, and he has developed some of the more common problems that elderly Danes get. He has very severe arthritis in both knees, and he also has a condition called lumbosacral stenosis (also known as cauda equina syndrome). Basically, this means his lumbar vertebrae are fusing together and his spinal canal is narrowing, which puts pressure on his spinal cord. This causes weakness in his hind legs and a loss of bowel and bladder control.

Due to the hind leg weakness and knee arthritis, it is difficult for him to get up on his own. He can get himself into an almost-sitting position, and then DH and I help him with his hind end by wrapping our arms around his waist and lifting until he''s standing. Once he''s on his feet, he stands there for a couple seconds to stabilize himself, and then he can walk on his own. He CAN still get up on his own, but he very much prefers for one of us to help him. Because it''s so hard for him to get up on his own, he has developed a pressure sore on his right hip from laying in the same position for too long. We have been treating the pressure sore, and it is starting to look better.

Our vet calls from time to time to check on him. She called a couple weeks ago, about a week after his most recent appointment with her. Fortunately, I wasn''t home at the time and DH took the call. It was not an easy conversation, and I''m SURE that I would not have handled it as well as DH did. Basically, the vet told us that we are just acting as a hospice for him at this point.

He is on quite a number of medications:

1. Deramaxx once a day for his arthritis;

2. Proin three times a day to minimize his urinary incontinence;

3. Antibiotics once a day to prevent infection in his pressure sore; and

4. A joint supplement twice a day to help prevent the arthritis from progressing.

He is taking SO many pills that DH and I had to buy a pill organizer for him to help us figure out what to give him when. It has 28 compartments . . . four per day (morning, noon, evening and bedtime) and it holds a week''s worth of pills. I fill his pill organizer once a week, and it always makes me so sad. When I see all those pills, it makes me think of a person who is terminally ill, and I really DO feel like we''re just providing hospice care for him.

The Proin is helping, but he does still have pee accidents from time to time. There is nothing we can do to help with his poop accidents, and those are basically a daily occurrence now. The Deramaxx and/or the joint supplement he''s on do seem to help some, but he still has so much trouble getting up.

This is just breaking my heart. We have two other dogs, but they were both DH''s dogs before we got together and Caesar was mine. I''ve had him since he was ten weeks old and he''s my baby. He and I have been through a lot together, and I just cannot imagine life without him. But, I know it probably won''t be long until we''re at a point where it''s just not humane to keep him alive any longer. I really and truly don''t believe that we''re at that point yet, but I know it''s coming and I''m trying to prepare myself as best I can . . . and I''m failing miserably. I''ve been crying way too much lately. I always go somewhere else in the house so Caesar and DH won''t see me . . . but I especially don''t want Caesar to see me. Is that stupid?

My Mom is a member of a book club and she orders books all the time and gives them to me to read when she''s done. About two months ago, when Caesar really started going downhill, she ordered a book called "The Art of Racing in the Rain." It''s written from the perspective of a dog who is elderly and is about to die. The funny thing is, my Mom is NOT a dog person at all (although she loves my dogs . . . her "grandpuppies"), and she didn''t know about Caesar''s health issues at the time she ordered this book. She doesn''t know why she ordered the book, but she read it and loved it. When she gave it to me to read, she told me she thought it would help me get through this. I started reading it tonight, and I think I made it all the way to page four before I started bawling.

Sorry this got so long . . . I don''t really even know why I started this thread. I guess I just needed to say all of this to someone, and I needed a place to come to and someone to talk to as we go through this process. Thank you all so much for being here.
 

Lauren8211

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IG, I''m so sorry hun. I can''t even imagine how hard that is.

I teared up just from reading your thread.

I know how "animal people" are (I''m one of them... to a fault!!), and watching your furbaby suffer is like watching your own family member suffer. I know this is so hard for you to watch. You''re doing such a great job and being so understanding and helpful as your dog goes through this. He knows how much you care for him!

No advice, since I don''t have any, and you weren''t looking for advice anyway, but I just wanted to support you and give ((((((((((((((((((((BIG HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))) because I know how much your dog means to you.

We''re all here for you! 24/7!
 

ladypirate

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Emm, I don''t know what to say, but I wanted to give you a big *hug*. Caesar is so lucky to have you taking care of him--what a blessing you have both been for each other.
 

Irishgrrrl

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Date: 3/2/2009 10:24:06 PM
Author: elledizzy5
IG, I''m so sorry hun. I can''t even imagine how hard that is.

I teared up just from reading your thread.

I know how ''animal people'' are (I''m one of them... to a fault!!), and watching your furbaby suffer is like watching your own family member suffer. I know this is so hard for you to watch. You''re doing such a great job and being so understanding and helpful as your dog goes through this. He knows how much you care for him!

No advice, since I don''t have any, and you weren''t looking for advice anyway, but I just wanted to support you and give ((((((((((((((((((((BIG HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))) because I know how much your dog means to you.

We''re all here for you! 24/7!
Elle, thank you so much! You mentioned "animal people" and I think that''s a big part of why I wanted to post about Caesar . . . because I know so many PSers are animal people and would understand.
 

Irishgrrrl

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Date: 3/2/2009 10:24:30 PM
Author: ladypirate
Emm, I don''t know what to say, but I wanted to give you a big *hug*. Caesar is so lucky to have you taking care of him--what a blessing you have both been for each other.
Thanks, LP! He really has been a blessing for me!
 

Amandine

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(((hugs)))

My parents recently had to put down their cocker spaniel, Annie. We had gotten her when I was a junior in high school. I was happy for only one thing...that I wasn''t there. I think that losing a member of the family, your furbaby, is an incredibly difficult thing to do. I can totally understand you not wanting to cry in front of Caesar...just know that we are here for you, feel free to come and talk anytime. I will keep your Caesar in my prayers.
 

Blair138

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Emm I just got teary-eyed reading your post! I am so sorry about what you are going through. About 5 years ago we lost our first family dog and I still cry when I think about losing him. It is next to losing a relative for me. As stupid as that sounds, as a dog person, I am sure you can relate.

I won''t lie, it''s going to suck and it''s going to be really hard, I couldn''t eat string cheese after my dog passed away because I would always share it with him. Let your emotions out and talk it through with your DH, mom, whomever.

I would say that you know what is best. But, our dog had health issues too and he had a seizure which made us put him down. Oddly enough, when we brought him to the vet that day, it was the only time that he was actually calm, so we knew it was the right thing to do. (I am crying as I write this) I am very sorry for what you are going through and I will be praying for you. Try to remember the good times you have had with him and enjoy being with him now. ((HUGS))
 

Gayletmom

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Emm, I am so sorry to hear about your beautiful Ceasar. It''s such a difficult thing to go through. We get sooooo attached to them. Your Ceasar is lucky to have lived such a good, long, happy life with you. Sending you prayers and ((((hugs)))).
 

Miranda

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Oh IG, I''m all teary reading this, too. I am so very sorry. I wish there was something i could say or do to make big Caesar get better.

Just know we are always here for (((big hugs))) if you need it. I''ll keep you guys in my thoughts.
 

DiamanteBlu

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The poor baby. My sister has had a series of Great Danes. They are so sweet and it is so hard to let them go. {{{{{HUGS}}}}}
 

trillionaire

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I lost the best dog in the world 2 yrs ago. I read your post, and I''m crying now just thinking about him, and your situation. I can only say that I understand. And it does get better with time. I never got to say goodbye. Enjoy the precious moments.
 

Dancing Fire

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IG...
 

Deelight

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I lost my puppy (he was nearly 6) about 4 years ago and I still miss him I don''t think you can really prepare yourself for it. All I can say is just to enjoy all the momments you have with him and love him like you have loved him all this time, he is your bud and you are his.

I am so sorry Emm
, I wish I had something better and more eloquent to say
.
 

lovegem

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IrishGirl, I am so sorry. It is a tough decision to make and I totally understands your feeling. Sometimes I think of "what if my birds were too old and have to leave me"... I tear up.

I am a believer in reincarnation. Modern science tells us that energy just doesn''t disappear. They just appear in another form. Maybe our pets had done so many good deeds in their past life that somehow they should have a very good new next life. However, there can only be so many good life in this world that they have to be on a waiting list. While on this waiting list, our creator (or who ever what watching over the waiting list) thinks that they should do something instead of just plan waiting. So they let these good spirit become pets. When the time comes, and go back and reincarnated to become a happy person and get a happy long life. Our pets don''t just leave us.. we may just know them in another form.
 

mochi

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Thinking of you, Irishgirl! Your baby knows you''re doing the best you can. The become such a big part of our lives and is a family member. From one animal lover to another.... ((((((((HUGS))))))))
 

shimmer

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Irishgirl, I am so sorry you are going through this


Our experiences are so similar right now, I''m going through nearly the same with my baby Buster (I responded in your older thread about the Deramaxx--did you see that?).

I feel so lost, he is my child, my best friend. I am angry that their bodies wear away faster than they should and that I am going to have to make that hard decision one day. I am scared.

Just know that we are here for you...to hear your feelings, your thoughts.
 

E B

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Messages
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Oh, IG, I'm so sorry. Dogs are such wonderful little souls, and I know how much it hurts to see a loved one (human OR furry) in pain. The pugs and I are sending you and Caesar lots of love and support.
 

Diamond*Dana

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Aw, I am so sorry to hear this. I know all too well how it feels to be in this situation. Ceaser is so lucky to have you.
 

iheartscience

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I''m sorry IG. I know what a horrible feeling that is. I''m sure you''ll do what''s best for Caesar when the time is right.
 

Kelli

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I''m so sorry you''re going through this.
As the owner of three dogs, I know I''ll have to face days like these too, and I won''t handle it well. But you are doing everything you can for him and he''s lucky to have you and your husband to love him like you do. It will be such a hard time for you, but you''ll make the right choice when the time is right. I hope you can find some comfort somehow.
 

movie zombie

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11,879
yes, you may be providing hospice right now but having done so with my cats, i am glad i did. treasure the time you have to say the things you want to say and cry.

mz
 

Feralpenchant

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Joined
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Messages
427
Date: 3/2/2009 10:15:09 PM
Author:Irishgrrrl
As some of you may already know, my eight-year-old Great Dane, Caesar, is not doing so well.


Eight is pretty old for a Dane, and he has developed some of the more common problems that elderly Danes get. He has very severe arthritis in both knees, and he also has a condition called lumbosacral stenosis (also known as cauda equina syndrome). Basically, this means his lumbar vertebrae are fusing together and his spinal canal is narrowing, which puts pressure on his spinal cord. This causes weakness in his hind legs and a loss of bowel and bladder control.


Due to the hind leg weakness and knee arthritis, it is difficult for him to get up on his own. He can get himself into an almost-sitting position, and then DH and I help him with his hind end by wrapping our arms around his waist and lifting until he''s standing. Once he''s on his feet, he stands there for a couple seconds to stabilize himself, and then he can walk on his own. He CAN still get up on his own, but he very much prefers for one of us to help him. Because it''s so hard for him to get up on his own, he has developed a pressure sore on his right hip from laying in the same position for too long. We have been treating the pressure sore, and it is starting to look better.


Our vet calls from time to time to check on him. She called a couple weeks ago, about a week after his most recent appointment with her. Fortunately, I wasn''t home at the time and DH took the call. It was not an easy conversation, and I''m SURE that I would not have handled it as well as DH did. Basically, the vet told us that we are just acting as a hospice for him at this point.


He is on quite a number of medications:


1. Deramaxx once a day for his arthritis;


2. Proin three times a day to minimize his urinary incontinence;


3. Antibiotics once a day to prevent infection in his pressure sore; and


4. A joint supplement twice a day to help prevent the arthritis from progressing.


He is taking SO many pills that DH and I had to buy a pill organizer for him to help us figure out what to give him when. It has 28 compartments . . . four per day (morning, noon, evening and bedtime) and it holds a week''s worth of pills. I fill his pill organizer once a week, and it always makes me so sad. When I see all those pills, it makes me think of a person who is terminally ill, and I really DO feel like we''re just providing hospice care for him.


The Proin is helping, but he does still have pee accidents from time to time. There is nothing we can do to help with his poop accidents, and those are basically a daily occurrence now. The Deramaxx and/or the joint supplement he''s on do seem to help some, but he still has so much trouble getting up.


This is just breaking my heart. We have two other dogs, but they were both DH''s dogs before we got together and Caesar was mine. I''ve had him since he was ten weeks old and he''s my baby. He and I have been through a lot together, and I just cannot imagine life without him. But, I know it probably won''t be long until we''re at a point where it''s just not humane to keep him alive any longer. I really and truly don''t believe that we''re at that point yet, but I know it''s coming and I''m trying to prepare myself as best I can . . . and I''m failing miserably. I''ve been crying way too much lately. I always go somewhere else in the house so Caesar and DH won''t see me . . . but I especially don''t want Caesar to see me. Is that stupid?


My Mom is a member of a book club and she orders books all the time and gives them to me to read when she''s done. About two months ago, when Caesar really started going downhill, she ordered a book called ''The Art of Racing in the Rain.'' It''s written from the perspective of a dog who is elderly and is about to die. The funny thing is, my Mom is NOT a dog person at all (although she loves my dogs . . . her ''grandpuppies''), and she didn''t know about Caesar''s health issues at the time she ordered this book. She doesn''t know why she ordered the book, but she read it and loved it. When she gave it to me to read, she told me she thought it would help me get through this. I started reading it tonight, and I think I made it all the way to page four before I started bawling.


Sorry this got so long . . . I don''t really even know why I started this thread. I guess I just needed to say all of this to someone, and I needed a place to come to and someone to talk to as we go through this process. Thank you all so much for being here.
Finally something I can contribute to! I don''t know squat about diamonds, which is why I joined this forum haha, but I DO know about animals! Well, I would hope so, or my 5 years as a vet tech have gotten me nowhere!

I am sad to hear about your doggie.
8 years is quite the long life for a great dane though, and I''m sure its due to your being a great mom for him :)

I read that you have him on Deramaxx, if it seems to be working for you then that''s good to hear! I didn''t recognize Deramaxx at first, but it sounded familiar, so I looked it up and it''s another name for Rimadyl, so at least I know what you''re talking about now.
Cosequin is another joint option, as well as Adequan, which is an injectable. I''ve seen wonderful improvements in animals on Adequan who weren''t responding as well to the Rimadyl. Not sure if it''s right for your pup''s case, but might be worth asking about.

Do you have him on any pain management medication?

At this point, he''s very old for his breed, and the most you can do is to keep him comfortable and happy. I lost my cat last year and I thought I''d have to be institutionalized, that''s how distraught I was. I feel for you and your situation and I hope he improves and you have lots more time with him.

However, and as hard as this is to say, I know it''s harder to hear.. His quality of life is what is most important. There comes a time when the best thing you can do is the hardest thing to do. I wish that no one ever had or will have to go through this, it makes me cry to even think about it.

My thoughts are with you, and good luck with everything!
 

Lorelei

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Here for you and my heart goes out to you.
 

Irishgrrrl

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Everyone, thank you so much for your kind words! My monitor keeps getting all blurry for some reason!


Amandine ~ I''m so sorry to hear about Annie! I bet she was a sweetie, and I''m sure it was very hard to lose her. Thank you for the prayers!

Blair ~ I know exactly how you feel! It really is like losing a family member. I think our pets become family members for a lot of us. DH and I don''t have any human children, so our three dogs and our horse are our babies. And I know what you mean about the string cheese . . . I think I''m going to have a hard time eating apple slices for quite a while.

Gayle ~ Thank you. He really IS a beautiful boy! I''ll try to dig up some pics to post later.

Miranda ~ Thanks for the hugs . . . I''m going to be needing a lot of those, I''m sure!

Diamante ~ Danes really are amazing dogs. To me, they seem so human . . . not just because of their size, but they have the most expressive faces I''ve ever seen! I absolutely love the breed and I had always wanted a Dane, which is why I got Caesar. I don''t think I''ll ever be able to have another one.

Trill ~ ((((HUGS)))) I''m so sorry about your pup.

DF ~ Thanks for the hug!

Dee ~ I think you''re right . . . there''s really no way to prepare for this. I''m just trying to make the most of whatever time we have left.

LoveGem ~ It''s so funny you should say that about reincarnation! The book I''m reading now (the one my Mom gave me about the dog) has a lot to do with reincarnation. The dog in the book (Enzo) is SURE that he''s going to come back as a human, and he''ll meet his dad again in his next life. (He''s very excited about the idea of finally having opposable thumbs and being able to talk! LOL!) I really like that idea.

Mochi ~ Thank you . . . he really is a member of our family.

Shimmer ~ I did see your reply in my earlier thread. I''m SO glad the Deramaxx has worked so well for your Buster boy! And I know how you feel . . . I''m scared too. Caesar is my baby and I really do feel like I''m losing a child.

Bree ~ Thank you! Hug your pugs for me!

Dana ~ Thank you . . . I think I''m pretty lucky to have him too.

Thing ~ Thanks . . . I hope you''re right.

Kelli ~ There''s never a dull moment in a three-dog household, is there??? And I think just posting here has been comforting to me. It''s so nice to know that you guys are here at 3:00 a.m. when I can''t sleep and I need someone to talk to!

MZ ~ Thank you . . . I have to say, in a way I''m almost glad that we KNOW it''s coming. It''s not like we can prepare for it really, but at least it''s not going to be some out-of-the-blue thing, if that makes sense?

Feral ~ Thank you for checking in! It''s always good to hear from someone who''s in the veterinary field. The Deramaxx does seem to help him, but I''ll definitely ask about the Adequan injections. I think Caesar''s problem is more stiffness than pain really . . . he doesn''t whimper or act like he''s in pain, but his joints are creaky. I think I understand how you must have felt when you lost your cat . . . I''m afraid I might have to be institutionalized too!

Lorelei ~ Thank you. ((((HUGS))))
 

tlh

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4,511
Irish... just wanted to give you some support. I think when Ceaser is ready... to cross
bridge ... he''ll let you know. Just enjoy the time you have together for now.

(((HUGE HUGS!!!!)))
 

Italiahaircolor

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Messages
5,184
Emm I am so sorry to hear about Ceaser and about all the pain you''re living with right now. I am so so sorry. When I look at my Chihuahuas just the thought that someday they may not be with me is enough to move me to tears...so I cannot imagine really being on the brink of that. My heart just aches for you right now. Dogs really do become our best friends and in many, many ways, our children.

I think it''s okay to want Caeser with you now...and I firmly believe that when the time does come for an animal to leave us, THEY let US know.

I am going to keep you in my prayers and thoughts.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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My thoughts are with you...
 

Loves Vintage

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IG,

I just went through something similar with one of my greyhounds who had bone cancer. I helped him cross the bridge last month, and I am glad that I could help him. He is now free of pain.

You will know when the time is right to help Caesar. And, when it is time, everything will be ok. It can be a very peaceful process, and it is the final give of love that you can give to your special boy.

For now, spend quiet time with him. Sit with him and stroke his head. Tell him that he will be ok, that you won''t let anything bad happen to him and that you will always be there with him to take care of him.

It will be okay.
 

dani13

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6,183
Oh gosh, Irish, Im so sorry. I will keep Caesar and the rest of the family in my thoughts and prayers...
 
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