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My grandma is 83 and suffers from dementia and Parkinson's disease. She has had her dog Ellie for over 16 years, in human years! So as you would guess, she is very attached to this dog. However, the dog is very old and is no longer able to hold her urine due to old age and I'm guessing some health problems. Every day I am cleaning up urine after the dog and my grandmother. Ellie also has trouble walking and just doesn't look happy anymore. She sleeps all day and frequently falls on her butt while walking and then cries because she can't get up. Long story short, my father and I feel it may be time to let Ellie go to heaven. We have felt this way for the last six months to a year or more but have put it off due to my grandmother and her strong friendship. Ellie sleeps in her room every night and sits by her chair during the day. My question is, what do we do? If we decide to let Ellie go to heaven, how do we explain it to my grandmother? or do we even say anything? It's not like my grandmother wouldnt notice her absence. But I feel like she deserves to know or be involved in making the decision but then again I really don't know what to do and I want to do what's best for her. Please help! Thank you for all of you that are able to respond. I appreciate it

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....to.."gardensrtist.... I received an email from someone calling themselves an "admin from this site, saying someone turned my comments in as "personal attacks"... if this was you, might I suggest you learn to read more correctly... for instance "ferrisone" is an example of a threat and warning type of a comment by her telling poster that unless she listen to her then the poster will suffer the guilt of making the grandmother suffer" etc etc.. those types of words are full of direct and cruel intent. Where-as mine could be seen as a strong and urgent suggestive need of immediate attention being paid from the poster to the situation regarding a living being suffering from pain.
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I agree, don't tell her. Likely she has gotten emotionally attached to her dog and it would hurt her to know that. Besides, she most probably can not make rational decisions at this point.She will forget eventually.
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I think I would tell your grandmother that her sweet dog needs to see the doctor as the dog doesn't seem well. Then, I would take the dog to the Vet and have the doctor evaluate the dog. If the doctor feels it is time for the dog to be put down, do it for the dog's sake but tell grandma that her dog must stay at the vet until it is well. If she asks after the dog, perhaps you can tell her that you called and checked and that the dog must stay a while longer but is doing better. I would keep making reassurances when questioned but I think the questions will eventually stop. My grandmother had dementia. When we took her to live in a care facility, she had to leave the dog she loved very much behind. We found her beloved Carrie another home but we told grandma, when she asked, that Carrie was fine and out in the yard. Grandma only asked for a brief time and then forgot. I also think that giving your grandmother a realistic but stuffed companion is a great idea.
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... Poster, listen .. (and you posted this question over a week ago, perhaps youve already done something) .. anyway, my mom, has dementia and short term memory issues. She had a cat "missy" .. this cat was only receiving love and affection if the cat would jump on my mothers lap for a petting. Other than that i was the only one feeding her, playing with her, checking her health, etc. My mother would say "i love missy with all my heart" or " missy is my girl, etc etc etc" ..yet truth of the matter is "missy is an intelligent affectionate animal who deserved more than an occasional lap petting. She deserved more than to just exist for my mothers state of mind. She needed to be fed, well cared for and respected for the living being she is. ........... I found a new home for her, one full of life and affection and actual physical care. My mother to this day will go 6 days a week never remembering her, then one day she'll start to cry and say "I miss my cat" ...I then sit next to her and explain "mom, missy is fantastic, shes so happy right now,shes not lonely .. you know we talked about her needing to be with a family that played with her, and that could treat her well, and we'll go check up on her some day" ....My mother is satisfied for another week. (So you know, we will not be going to "check up on her, the family is treating missy well, and does not need myself nor mother disturbing their life) ... My point is, and perhaps Ive been rough (to certain people) in previous comments about your situation, but I dont believe I have been, not when a decision clearly needs to be made, and by your not making it is causing the on-going suffering or latent care of your grandmothers pet, the dog. I believe in never allowing the suffering or lack of care of anyone or any-thing, human or animal simply because of a human may think differently, or feel temporarily saddened, ie; my mother, or your grandmother.
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...and if all this "ageing Care.com is about "fluff and prayers" then its not a place for anyone whos really seeking "real help" to go to ... because all these problems that "Real" and "active full time caregivers".. those issues are real and "fluff and prayers" wont do squatt to help them. If theres someone "like this person posting this, whos obviously having a problem making a rash decision, does person need fluff or some straight forward talk ... well, you go ahead and feed the fluff.
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...so, you find my strongly suggesting that the poster make up their mind and quickly, and to make the decision in the benefit of the animal who is in pain ( admitted by the poster) ... So you find my strongly suggesting they do something quickly offensive? yet you dont find "buy a wheel chair for the dog" or "extend its life for the grandmother" or "put diapers on it" .. oddly offensive? ...Listen, when you have someone admitting to pondering the need to put a dog down, a dog, an animal, thats been in pain for no less than 6 months to a year (posters own words) you find my strong suggestions to do something, as criticizing?...but yet you find no other commenters disturbing, then, I would say that your comment to me needs to be put in the place of an individual who has a questionable judgment.
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Tired wrote: "wiseup here and quickly...". That's really quite harsh advice to someone who's dealing with a very challenging and emotional issue. Perhaps you might want to think about your own response instead of criticizing others.
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Tired, are you always so critical of people who are sincerely trying to help?
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...and then I read someone telling an already full time caregiver to start putting diapers on the 16 year old dog to keep it around longer for the 83 year old grandma?????????????????????? Absolutely Unbelievable.
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... This is getting ridiculous ... I'm reading "get meds to elongate its life, I'm reading replace the dog" (which is a rather stupid idea given the age and mental state of the subject) .., I'm reading put it on meds to stop the symptoms?.. and buy a wheel chair for the dog,?..??? Then I'm reading guilt ridden comments and almost threats of warnings that if you the put the dog down the gramother will "for a fact" decline?????? ..,. Poster writes that her grandmother is in her 80's has dementia etc, and you people think it's best to advise such?? Poster; if the animal is suffering (and I said before if you really don't know then get a damn opinion, one that you respect so you actually listen to their suggestion (and by pro I don't mean anyone on here claiming to be, I suggest a vet (..but you genuinely do know what should be done and you honestly already know what to do about it, so why even ask such a question is beyond me. If an animal is suffering by the pain that it's feeling, if it's life quality has past and it's now just living day in and day out with its age related problems and ailments that is /are causing pain, then don't sit there for 6 months to a year (as you've said you've done) and allow it to go on and on in pain just because you are worried how a human will take it .... ridiculous, and it's cruel no matter what your reasoning. So-what you might have to repeat the story to your grandmother for a couple weeks, what ever story you tell be-it the truth or not, but by god stop the himhawing around and do the humane thing, and all this about letting the dog die at home of a natural death,,,a dog riddled with pain from hip displasia or arthritis or worse, and pain so bad that it whimpers to move,,,that is not going to die a "natural death" it will die a painful one. wiseup here and quickly, do what needs to be done and deal with the aftermath as you need.
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I had a cat that sprayed. She wrecked carpets and furniture. I was cleaning up all the time. Once in tears. I can't imagine having that responsibility and my Mom too. If grandmoms was in an AL she wouldn't be allowed an animal if she couldn't care for it. NH not at all.
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How would u or her handle it if the dog died in its sleep. I would take it to the vet first. He is an old dog. If the back end I going he may be in pain. Maybe the doctor can make him comfortable but this is something that u will eventually have to deal with.
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What I was thinking in light of what someone mentioned about lying about the dog being groomed is the fact that grandma is going to get suspicious when the dog doesn't return from the "groomer", and I don't blame her if she doesn't know the truth and she becomes very suspicious because then you'll really be in for a much bigger fight. There may not be an easy way around this but she deserves to know the truth despite her mental condition. If the dog must be put down then definitely replace the dog with another one for her comfort because the next dog will most likely be somewhat of a therapy dog for her to help her get through the loss of her current dog. Losing a pet is not easy and for some people, having a replacement backed up with another will make the loss much easier to deal with.
A friend of mine has had several dogs in his life, and anytime he's lost an aging dog, he always managed to have another dog help him through his loss. My friend has never been without a dog as far as he's told me. His current one is actually a therapy dog and I think every time he's lost a dog in his life, the next one has always turned out to be a therapy dog especially with his mental condition.
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I can clearly tell you that there's probably not going to be an easy way to tell her. Have you considered getting a special canine wheelchair for the canine so that she can walk better? This is just something to consider if the dog is otherwise doing OK despite a few issues. Another thing you can do is see if there's such a thing as canine diapers. I never thought some of the stuff out there actually exists until I started seeing it online. I was actually surprised and very amazed at the canine wheelchair, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if you Google canine diapers and actually get positive results. Since I don't know the dog personally, these are just some suggestions I'm putting out there.
If the dog must absolutely be put down, I don't think you'll be able to avoid a serious fight over the dog, especially if you're not willing to give her replace her with another dog you'll be able to avoid a serious fight over the dog, especially if you're not willing to replace her with another dog and help cheer up your grandma. Older people often like animals, and just ripping the dog away from her that she's had for so many years will devastate her, which is why I must ask if there's any way to help the dog where help is needed instead of putting her down at least right away.
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Since your grandmother has dementia, it is not fair to expect her to process strong emotions and be a part of such a decision of putting down a beloved pet. With brain damage, it's unlikely she can think this through like she would if she didn't have dementia. Reasoning, using good judgment, etc. is not normally a trait of someone with dementia. Dementia patients have magical thinking, focus on what they want and may use the maturity level of a child, so, I wouldn't put such a burden on her. Plus, she may forget and have no memory of the topic later on....so, I'd seek vet care for the dog and if it isn't possible to help him, kindly put him down. There's nothing to be gained by hurting grandmother with this news.

I'd give grandmother any explanation to spare her pain. Such as, he's getting groomed, will be returned later.
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I may it have been clear. When I said to ask her if she wanted the animal to suffer, I assumed she would say no. Then, you have the animal put down if there is no other way to alleviate it's suffering. She may forget and will probably decline but you cannot let an animal suffer. My husband is end stage and would still say to not let an animal to suffer.
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skyhigh: So you think a woman's POV is that there IS a reason for animals to suffer? Gosh, I didn't know that -- so my cat Sophie should have been put down as she was suffering? Good grief, man, don't be so offensive.
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Let me amend my "wholeheartedly agree with Ferris1". I forgot the part where she said you can "suffer the guilt of watching your grandmother suffer". Ferris's judgmental nature reared its ugly head again, once again negating her helpful advice and leaving you with a very lingering, hurtful statement. I'm sorry you had to read that…

This forum is NOT for judgement! It is for encouragement. Be encouraged by everything else offered. You will choose what is best. Good luck.
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....and once again commenters such as "ferrisone" as usual directs and instructs without ever reading posters entire words carefully nor thoroughly, For any commenter to turn around and direct any poster on what to do, need I remind you that there is an unspoken duty to first read the subject matter content entirely then respond from a more thorough understanding at least from what the poster is offering, Those who respond to posters without respecting them enough to even start from a well read position are nothing more than soap box glory seekers,
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... when you say "you want her involved in the decision to put it down" .. when dealing with dementia, I guess you can "try it. ... but I agree with a couple guys above, if the pup is suffering, it's more inhumane not to let it go just-because of a fear you have of how a dementia ridden owner may find it difficult to handle. To me, it's not a "difficult decision, its one that needs direct care and respect to the animal, and then the care to your g-ma regarding the wording you choose to use with her. Another on here suggested making a story up about taking it to a farm, I'm not against that either,why? Because it's not like a dementia sufferer lives in reality. Because you even wrote this type of question looking for answers to a seemingly straight up situation, sounds like you need to take the pup to the vet and let another you respect suggest to you on what to do. By belief is; When it comes to "pain and our pets/ animals, decisions need to be made In 100% in respect to the animal, not so much the humans that are around them.
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I agree wholeheartedly with Ferris1. Talk to a vet. There are medications and they work. So do doggie diapers. Ellie is your grandmother's comfort and vice verse. Additionally, any change (especially an emotional jolt, such as removing Ellie) will most likely make your grandmother worse. Alzheimer's/Dementia is mean like that…

As for a replacement dog, personally I don't feel that's a good idea for anyone, including the dog. The dog won't be as attached to your grandmother and as willing to sit with, and sleep by her. It may not even attach to your grandmother. You and your dad will have to care for it, your grandmother will disappear from it's life at some point (I'm sorry to be blunt, but that's the sad reality… either via Assisted Living or Heaven), and a younger dog will require more exercise.

BTW, a no-kill shelter is NOT easy to take an already cared for dog/cat to. Believe me, I've tried! I've now cared for two strays, one cat (fed on my deck until we found an owner), and one dog (kenneled for 9 months - $2500!! - until we found an owner.) Because I was unwilling to leave it on the street for the dogcatcher or the fox to take care of, these were 'cared for pets' and the shelters (and I contacted TEN within a 50 mile radius!!!) were not willing to take them.

KEEP IN MIND… YOU WILL CHOOSE WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR GRANDMA!!! Don't let people here judge or criticize your choice. It may happen. IGNORE THEM!!! (Even me!!)

So my two cents worth… and then some! Good luck, whatever you decide!!
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I agree with everything said. Take the dog to the vet for any possible treatment. If there is any way to comfortably extend the dogs life, that is the thing to do. Grandma and dog are very dependent upon each other. If nothing can be done, tell grandma the dog is suffering and cannot be helped. Ask if she wants to end the dogs suffering. My husband has Parkinson's and dementia but can still express his desires. I agree that if you put the dog down, grandma will probably decline.
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Prolonging the dog's life for even a few months is a long time in dog time. She probably has arthritis, which is very painful. One of my dogs was on the "pee pee pills" but she was a young dog and responded well to the medication. If the doctor can treat her symptoms with medications, great. If not, I would not delay the inevitable.
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I'd get something from the vet (who no doubt deals with this every day). Let the dog quietly die at home, rather than in the sterility of an exam room. That may just be too much for grandma. My brother has mother living with him and he has "put down" several dogs by this method. First he begins talking to mom about how old and sick "so and so" is, and then they kind of decide on a date to "take the dog to the vet". Amazingly, the dog never quite makes it to the vet. Then grandma can grieve and be sad, before you have the remains removed. I say this with tears in my eyes as I had to take my beloved Border Collie in and have her put down. I've never cried so hard in my life. I hated that she died in her least favorite place on earth.....
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We had an old dog who started leaking pee, we took her to the vet and she had a hormone deficiency, a pill a day stopped the leaking. If you have wooden floors get a cheap carpet from store or ask a carpet store for a remnant. I would try that before putting her down. Also, for the sake of the dog, please don't take her to the pound. She will die scared, confused, and alone. I always stay and hold or pet my animals when they have to be put down. They have brought joy into my life and I owe them that much to see they leave this life as happy and calm as possible.
Speaking of that, reminds me of a sheep we had. She was 12 years old. All her teeth were loose and she was having problems getting up and down. She had been my daughter's FFA project. Said daughter had left home and had no room for the sheep, so she stayed with me. I loved her immensely, anyway, I took her to the vet for a shot. I just couldn't shoot her in case she didn't die quick. One butcher would slit her throat, and we could feed her to the dogs. Couldn't do that either. So, I took her to the Vet. As he shaved her neck and administered the dose, I fed her chocolate chip cookies. You can't do much better than to go to sleep eating chocolate chip cookies.
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The name of the "No Pee Pee pills:
Phenylpropanolamine is used in dogs for the treatment of urinary incontinence ( urine leakage). It tightens the bladder sphincter muscle. Foster's Smith has them ranging from 22-28 cents each, under the brand name Proin. :-)
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Meghannp23. You have a good kind Heart, and I know from Your Post You do Love Your Grandma very much. Can You imagine Your Grandma was only 67 years young when She got Ellie as a young pup. 16 years is an incredible age for a dog, and it's testament to how well Your Grandma cared for Her best friend Ellie. Since Grandma has Demensia and Parkinson's disease She's got more than enough to deal with, so I would not upset Her. I'd advise to consult Your Local Vet, and if He says it would be better to have Ellie put down, as the Vet to put Ellie down, and tell Your Grandma Ellie died during the night of old age. This way You are being kind to Your Grandma, and to Ellie.
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As Ferris said. We had an older dog that had that issue, the Vet said her sphincster-sp? just was not as tight due to age, causing the leaking. The fix was easy and inexpensive, we gave her what we dubbed her "No Pee Pee" pills daily, for years. Complete fix, around $20 a month. You probably already know the other possible simple reason, if they have a UTI, a perfectly trained dog will lose control where they wouldn't otherwise. Also an easy fix, take a sterile jar, catch some pee, drop off at Vet's office to be tested for infection.

The "falling", sometimes it's that tile and wood floors are slick, keeping nails short and tossing down a few rugs at key places has given a few of ours more years when we were afraid they were in trouble.

I think if it were me, I'd have her owner in on all the decisions, at least as much as possible. Like tell her "OK, I collected some urine to be dropped at the Vet's". Then when they call, "OK, test results said..." That way she'll know an expert is in on it, and that you did all you could, even if it is only in the back of her mind, and on some days. The loss will be hard enough, you don't want it compounded with the awful thought that all considerations were not given by her, and you.

16 is pushing it, but my GMA had a collie mix live to 18, you never know. You say she doesn't look like she feels good, and that may mean it is her time, (underlying organ failure, etc.). Or could simply be not feeling well from the Urinary Tract Infection. Investigate, keep GMA posted, often times the dog "let's you know" when it is their time by these clues, looking unhappy and sick is usually one of the clues.
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From a man's point of view, There is no need for animals to suffer, it is the only human thing to do. It is your house. I would tell her you are taking the animal to the Vet, have the animal put out of its misery. Tell your Mom you had to leave the pet with the Vet because that the animal is really sick. I would not say anything after that, just let it ride. If she has dementia she'll soon forget.
If she needs a companion animal there are plenty at your local animal shelters. If she asks where her dog or cat is, tell her they passed away peacefully, there is no need to tell her they were put down.
I know this sound hardhearted but they would not allow animals in rest homes or assisted living unless they are service animals.
I hated putting down my beloved Golden but she was suffering from cancer. Do what needs doing.
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First, take Ellie to the vet. There are pills to control incontinence in a dog just like humans, doggie diapers. Plus remove any carpeting. If you euthanize the dog, your grandmother will not only notice, she will suffer from the loss. Find out the medical causes of the dog's problems. It might be a UTI, or she needs her anal glands expressed. Unless this dog has cancer and is suffering, let her live out her natural days. Otherwise, you can suffer the guilt of watching your grandmother suffer. This dog's presence is in her long term memory and keeping her going.
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