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My dad is 92, has dementia but lives at home with a daytime caregiver. He has a dog, 12 yrs old, blind, deaf and is diabetic. He requires 2 shots a day which we pay someone to cover over and administer the shots. The dog wears a dog diaper and also is now constipated. I know, I know, the dog should be put down but it is my dad's joy and reason for living. All he does is love on him. Dad's at the point where he doesn't care if the house smells or he smells. He sobs and sobs (actually wails) when the dog is gone for a couple of hours when he's at the vet. I'm afraid dad will go downhill when the dog is gone but I don't want the dog to suffer anymore. Will dad ask everyday where the dog is and then cry all over again. Its just so awful and sad.

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I'm feeling for the poor dog.

I can stand to see a human 'suffer' as it were, but not an animal. I had to put down my beloved Border Collie and it was the single worst thing I've had to do.

Is dad in Hospice Care? Could there be a new rescue dog brought onto the scene. Is it THIS dog or the joy of something to hold and cuddle that dad loves?

Dad may need some tranquilizers to help him over the passing of his pet, that is going to happen, no matter what you do.

Maybe bring in the 'new pup' (NOT a puppy, but a dog the same breed and temperament) first and get him acquainted. It would be FAR worse for this beloved pet to die in his arms, IMHO.
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Anyone who “knows me” here on AC, knows that I love dogs. I absolutely adore them - wish that more people had more traits similar to those of dogs... the loyalty, the unconditional love, the selflessness, etc.

If more folks were more like dogs - this world would be a better place.

So, it takes a lot for me to agree that
a dog should be euthanized.

If this poor dog is as bad off as you say - it’s time to let him go. He’s done his work here in loving your father and being his faithful companion for 12 years.

If your father were not suffering from dementia - would he want his best friend to be suffering such as this? I’d hope not.

It’s time to do the selfless thing. Yes. It will probably be hard on your father. No doubt about it. But still - allowing this poor creature to continue to suffer is inhuman. Regardless of how it will effect your father - it’s wrong to expect more from an animal in its condition. Let him go - he’s done enough.

Its time for you to be more like a dog.
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gdaughter Jan 2, 2020
God help us if we decide to kill every person who is blind, hearing impaired and has diabetes and incontinence.
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Hello swicklund75,
Oh, your position is unenviable.
While the dog has physical issues, is he actually "suffering"? Does the dog have a reasonable quality of life?
From what you've described, it sounds like the dear creature is old and infirm, but has a few more miles to go, not unlike your poor old dad.
I'm in favor of keeping the two together as long as is humanely possible.
I wish you well,
R27
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gdaughter Jan 2, 2020
EXACTLY!
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As a dog owner, I say ditto to mercy on the dog. Yes, your dad will ask about the dog often and grieve and re-grieve and re-grieve. But even if you kept the dog alive for another 2 years, the dog would eventually pass and you'd be at this juncture no matter what. And the dog would have suffered. For what? Your dad will still pine for him and grieve and re-grieve. Someone's gonna suffer no matter what decision is made. But I vote for helping the dog. If your dad didn't have dementia, what decision do you think he would make in this scenario? Wishing you peace in your heart over this decision.
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gdaughter Jan 2, 2020
If it happens in time, then it does. It does not have to be a forced outcome, and the dog may have some issues and pass in his own time. I think the father and the pup bring comfort to each other and that is enough said.
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You need to have your vet or one he recommends come to your house and speak with your Dad about the suffering of this dog, and the wrongness of letting it go on. You need to let your Dad be present for its passing if he is able and it should be done in the home. It is a very peaceful process. You need to know that your Dad will mourn. I have a houseful of pictures. You need to know that the mourning will stop. Perhaps work with a rescue to do inhome fostering for placement. It's what we do in our late 70s so we have an animal around and then place in good home. Or actually adopt an animal again for Dad to cuddle. So sorry, but this isn't really fair to dog if he is suffering. If he is not, then this problem will take care of itself and Dad will, yes, wail and mourn. Is this beloved creature not WORTH that? When Dad asks about his dog, help him make an album of him to keep, look at, talk about. As I said, my beloved animals are all over my house. I think of them every day.
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Tothill Jan 2, 2020
I agree with Alva and the others.

There is a company that will make stuffed animals to resemble a beloved pet. I do not know the name of it, but I sure it can be found on google.
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The pup is not necessarily suffering. If they bring comfort and joy to each other, enough said. Leave it alone and don't generate a problem where there is none. You've got care coming in. Lots of pups wear diapers. Ask the vet about a dietary change if appropriate if you believe there is constipation. Is the pup up to any walks, even short ones? That might help.
All I can say is if you took my pup away from me and for the purpose you mention, it would be the death of me. This is said not to engender guilt, just a fact. For many their pets are the true source of love and connection when there are no others.
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rocketjcat Jan 2, 2020
My thoughts too. We were posting at the same time. Our dog was going deaf, had cataracts, and was starting kidney problems but he still had a really good quality of life, and was not suffering, and was happy. He was a little more maintenance, but it was worth it.
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I have to ask is the dog actually “suffering”? I realize it’s blind and deaf, but a dog that has lived in a house for 12 years probably knows it’s way around pretty well. What does the vet say? Is it in pain? That would be the deciding factor for me. If it seems to be pretty happy and comfortable and still has a pretty good life hanging out with your Dad, I would continue on. In fact there may be a hospice vet that your regular vet could recommend. A hospice vet comes to the house, provides palliative care, and works with the family to help make care decisions and then can perform the euthanasia at the house. We just used the services of a hospice vet to help us with our beloved dog. Don’t underestimate the grief your Dad will have. Only you will know the best way to help him through this. Hugs.
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gdaughter Jan 4, 2020
Had to mention that I have a dear friend who is a petsitter. She had been sitting many years for a couple whose pup was having more trouble walking and with incontinence. The husband had no patience for it and they were also planning to downsize as I recall to a place that would be even more challenging for the pup. The gist of it was that if my friend would take him fine, and if not we believed they were going to end his life. She was a good soul and took him in as her own; they covered all of his expenses as they should. I would not ever want to meet these people.
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Have the current dog evaluated by a vet to determine if there IS pain and suffering. I'm guessing the dog is probably arthritic too, which is usually a cause for pain and suffering far more than being blind and deaf. If so, please consider putting it down (and I am a HUGE dog lover saying this to you).

Do NOT get another dog for your dad when this current one is gone.
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gdaughter Jan 4, 2020
There are plenty of resources/medications to deal with pain IF that is the case. Wow...imagine if all the people with arthritis were added to the list of who we're going to do away with as well as the blindness, deafness, incontinence...diabetes...oh we forgot heart disease. What a message to our young people.
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I'm in the minority here - the dog is suffering and can be put down. No, putting down a dog is not the same as euthanizing a human. It is compassionate to put down an animal who is in such bad shape and whose owner is also regressing. The dog won't always be treated well and is not in good enough shape to get away if the patient starts hurting it.

Yes, dad will ask where the dog is, but you can give him a therapeutic fib. "The dog went hunting with one of the grandsons, the dog is at the groomer, the dog's at the vet getting an operation done." Any of them work to placate Dad.
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gdaughter Jan 5, 2020
Clearly not a well thought out response. People with dementia still have an ability to process some thoughts. I'm sure it will be of no comfort to Dad that his pup suddenly needed to undergo surgery. ANd then we can tell him he died during the surgery. Oh Well, sorry dad. Or how about he was killed in a hunting accident....very "therapeutic."....NOT.
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I suggest trying this approach to lighten the pain of impending death of a beloved dog. A true therapy dog is needed here, because Dad cannot tolerate being without the dog for even a few hours.

Get another dog,not too old.1) It will keep the old dog company, perk it up so it may heal a bit.
2) Dad will get used to the new dog, and when the old dog passes, he will be comforted. And maybe forget that he had another dog. You can name them the same name. Same breed and color even.
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If the dog isn't in pain, you might talk to the Vet about the incontinence issue. One of our older dogs needed a hormone shot ever so often. That stopped the incontinence. Then, it could just be old age.

I do not envy you on this part of the "long goodbye". ((Hugs))
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Ask the vet if the dog should be euthanized. I had a little rescue dog who was blind and deaf and not very good at going out to potty but still very happy. He became ill after some time and then it was his time. But before that, the vet and I agreed he still had quality of life. If dog does need to be euthanized, you may decide after a time to get him another dog. If so, please consider a senior dog and get one that you will want to take care of after your dad passes.
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For the constipation, get some canned pumpkin and feed it mixed with the regular food, depending on the size of the dog a quarter cup (we fed 2 tablespoons each feeding to my dads 6.5# chihuahua) with a little warm water should get everything regulated. My dads little dog had that problem and she ate pumpkin in her food for the last 2 years of her life. I believe that she got an additional 2 years because of being able to naturally deal with the issue. She was also a happier dog getting her food served warm and soft and full of fiber that kept her feeling full longer.

I firmly believe that we can see if a dog is suffering and that we are responsible to help them not suffer. Could the vet help you understand if the dog is suffering and if there is any medication that could help relieve the suffering without putting the dog down? That would be my 1st step, because your dad is so emotionally attached to this critter. I would exhaust every resource before I euthanized his beloved pet.

All of the issues that you shared are a burden to care for, but nothing that tells me the dog needs to be put down. It doesn't sound like it is suffering.

I have personally never seen or heard of a dog dying in someone's arms unless it is administered death. The dog will likely find a quite, dark place and go to sleep. Could your dad understand the death easier seeing the body and knowing that it just went to sleep? I thoroughly believed that my dad and his beloved best friend would be buried in the same hole. He has recovered and he has adopted 2 middle aged dogs and got a new puppy. Oy vey! But they have given him new life and they are all thriving together.

Unfortunatly dogs have short life spans and we know that we will be dealing with the loss at some point. Finding ways to comfort his heart will be the biggest challenge. Adopting a middle aged dog that is cuddly would be my solution, because they are such faithful companions I think everyone should have one. Even our aged parents, as long as they don't mistreat them.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 3, 2020
You are such a good fur baby momma! I never knew about the pumpkin thing. I will do that for my granddog, when I dog sit for my daughter. He has that issue sometimes. Good tips all around! Thanks.
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So sad. I do not envy you having to make this decision. I like the suggestion to get another dog Dad can get used to. Like getting a Senior dog. I agree, let the Vet evaluate the dog.

This depends on how far Dad is into his Dementia. Get a stuffed dog that looks like the one he has. Its like giving a doll to a woman suffering from Dementia. She thinks its real. My daughter had a stuffed cat that people thought was real till they went to pet it.
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The dementia your dad has might not let him remember the dog for long. My mom loved her dog too and it seemed she lived for the dog, but forgot her within a week after I took her to be put down. The poor dog couldn't walk or control her bladder. The care giver and I felt we were caring for the dog, not my mom. We took her for walks in a wagon. We cleaned the messes in the house daily. We carried her outside 5 times a day and gave her pills. I loved that dog and still cry about what I had to do.
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MargaretMcKen Jan 3, 2020
The whole family thought that MIL would just give up and die when her little dog died. In fact it seemed to make very little impact on her. She was in her mid 90s, no dementia even.
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When my mother-in-law moved in with us, she brought her dog with her. It was very soon apparent that she was unable to care for him. We agonized over the decision, but eventually decided to give him to our local no-kill shelter. I followed up with the shelter and found that they had successfully re-homed him. He was actually rather ill when we dropped him off. The shelter said the vet took a look at him and was able to treat him for all his ailments. He was much happier afterwards, and was re-homed quickly. He is much happier now and after a few weeks, my mother-in-law doesn't even remember that she ever had a dog. Those first few weeks were really hard, but lots of love and a little patience got us through it. Do what you think is best for everyone, the dog included. If you can't care for him anymore, taking him to a humane shelter seems a better option than euthanizing him. Plus, it's probably much cheaper. Good luck!
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disgustedtoo Jan 18, 2020
While there can be happy endings and a new happy home for some pets who need some medical care, this dog is 12, blind, deaf, diabetic and wearing diapers (that last one may be treatable.) If it is a larger dog, it is nearing end of life span anyway, so it is not likely to find a new happy home. In this case, the dog would have a tough time adjusting to a new place, if anyone would even take him. There are so many dogs and cats needing homes that are healthy and younger, so this one would probably be skipped over. Why relegate his remaining time isolated without his "daddy", in a place he won't recognize or be able to get around in?

As long as the pooch isn't clearly suffering (in distress, not eating, etc), why not let things be? If he dies, he dies, so same result, but he might have some relatively good time left with dad in the meantime.

While we don't want to have to say goodbye to our faithful little pals, why not give them a little more time, a little more love and let them give you the signal? As for consulting with vet - maybe okay, but some will just automatically go for the euthanasia suggestion, just looking at the medical side, without knowing what quality of life the animal in question might still have. A former vet's office receptionist once suggested euthanasia when I called about a cat who was hiding a bit and not eating well. We had not even determined what his issue was!! Later I wrote a 3 page letter listing all the reasons (this was only one, but clearly the LAST straw for me) why I would not be back with my remaining cat or any future cat or dog who came to live with me!

Vet advice can be digested, but go with some gut instinct as well.
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Due to his dementia, he likely has no insight into the welfare of the dog. My LO was totally devoted to her cat. She loved the cat more than life. She freaked out if the cat was out of her sight for even a few seconds. Of course, this caused the cat a great deal of anxiety. When she had to go into AL, she left the cat in my care and after a few days, she forgot about the cat. Even if I showed her a picture of the cat, she would not remember it was her beloved cat. I was shocked that she forgot about the love of her life that quickly, but, have since read about many other people with dementia who do this. So, I'd discuss it with the vet and if the dog is suffering have him put down. If your dad is past the point of realizing the dog is suffering, then he probably won't be able to process the death. I'd likely come up with a story that would appease him until he forgets. And NOT get another pet.
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This is so sad. I agree to have a vet do an evaluation. Poor little pooch. You don’t want him to suffer.

It’s so sad for your dad. I would not get him another dog though. Animals are a big responsibility. Unless you want a dog and take the dog to visit. There are organizations that have visiting pets too. Does he have that option to participate in one of those programs?

Here they have several people who bring animals to visit with the elderly and some children in hospitals too. The only exception is people with allergies or if they aren’t comfortable around animals.
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 5, 2020
Dog lovers feel like they are missing something vital in their lives without a dog in the home.

When I lost my labrador retriever I felt like my 3rd man was missing. I adopted my girl from death row and she has been a blessing sent from heaven. She rescued us after a very traumatic armed robbery and we rescued her from being euthanized because she was smarter than her previous owners.

Doing research on temperament and daily needs of a dog should always be done before bringing a new family member into the house. They are not all labor intensive, feeding, watering and providing a clean place to go potty. I don't take my dog for walks, she plays fetch and swims, that is her exercise, oh and she goes everywhere with me. Not a lot of work for everything that she gives us.

If people are willing to care for this old dog I am sure that they would be willing to help with one that had less needs. A middle aged docile dog would be a good companion for this man that needs to bestow his love to a warm living creature.
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I don't know....this may seem bizarre.....but if the dog is indeed suffering he should be euthanized, and your vet will give you the best advice for his ailments. If dad is this attached to his companion he may very well be at a loss without him. Is there anyway you might be able to find a clone that is very similar in size, color and temperament? Lots of homeless pups out there that need the love your dad so obviously feels for his best friend (assuming of course care givers are willing). Probably a long shot, but I thought I would throw it out there. Nothing is ever easy when dealing with dementia with our LO's, as much as try to do what's best.
Good Luck!
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Why should the dog be put down? Let's put it this way, the condition you describe the dog being in is much better than many people are. Should those people be put down to keep them from "suffering"?

My parents dog is 17 years old, blind, deaf and toothless. If she would wear a diaper that would be so helpful. She bucks like a bronco with one on though. So I take her to pee every 2 hours day or night. I have to chop up her food into swallowable chunks since she has nothing left to chew with. I've spent more on her medical bills than than has been spent on my parents and grandparents combined. The dog doesn't have insurance. The dental care alone cost about as much as a small car. A nice one. Every day she's still with us is a blessing. Dogs are family.
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gdaughter Jan 4, 2020
BRAVO! and HUGS!
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A replacement dog ? This double care causes you stress and expenses.
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The dog isn't suffering or in pain. (Verify with vet.) The dog definitely wants to be there for your dad, but he continues to need your help and support a little longer. Letting the pup do his job for his human is the kindest thing you can do for both of them right now. best wishes
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Every creature deserves to live.
This beloved dog brings your father comfort and has "taken care of" (vice versa, too) and is his best friend.

Please do NOT put him to sleep.
He brings your father companionship, love, and care in life.
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We had a similar situation with my mother's dog. Her bichon was her reason to get up every day. When he died, she was a mess, calling the humane society numerous times a day, saying her dog was missing. My sister and I took her to the shelter to find another companion, and there was an older white poodle that she bonded with immediately. Mom would get confused and call the new dog by the old dog's name (Pu), so we officially named him "Poo Too". At times, she would know that Poo Too was a different dog, but said she loved him just as much. He was her constant companion for the last year or so of her life (even after she went to assisted living), and he gave her the love and comfort she needed. He came to live with me after she died, and he passed away in my arms a couple of years later from a seizure disorder. As far as your dad's dog, if he is happy and not in pain, I personally would let him live out his life with your dad, and assess Dad's needs once the dog dies. My heart is with you.
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I agree letting the dog live out it's natural life, if not in pain. While the dog is still alive get another! Personal experience. It helps easing the pain of losing a beloved pet when you know the newer pet has known him...ate with him, slept, played, whatever. It helps.
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It is very unfortunate the situation that your father is in but you should do what is best for the dog. The dog is a living creature, not an object. The dog's well-being comes first.

If it made your father happy to go to his home and stand on your head for 8 hours, would you do it?
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Please don't euthanize the dog. Sadly, it sounds like both only have so much time left. My mom passed last March. She was in/out of it at Hospice where I stayed holding vigil at her side. She woke up briefly a couple days before passing and, out of the blue, asked me if 'the doggies and kitties were okay.' When I affirmed they were, she went back to sleep satisfied.
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That would also kill your dad. Is this what you want?
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 5, 2020
Your answer is crummy. Did you not read the post? If the OP didn't care they wouldn't be asking for help with a truly no win situation.
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I was care giver for 96 year old father & 18 year old dog. I figured that was dual role and I couldn't cheat the dog out of a single day of it's life, just as father was going to pass in his sleep eventually. So I took care of the dog just as I did father, she was blind, diabetic, COPD & whatever else. When it got to the point that the dog no longer could eat baby food and lost weight, I had to make the call to put her down. 21 days to the day later, Dad passed away. I really think they were both hanging on for each other at a certain point, trying to wait the other out or outlast the other and both would join Mom who had passed 5 years earlier. Dad dropped from 152 lbs to under 120, he was declining, the Dog dropped from 10.5 lbs to 6.8 lbs. I knew that once the dog had passed, Dad was not far behind. My promise to Dad was that Chloe would be buried with Mom and once that was accomplished, I think he knew that I would make their shared plot & burials right. 2 days after Chloe's cremains was buried, Dad went to the ICU for 5 days, they got him stable enough to go home and into hospice. 4 days later he expired in his sleep. I visit at least once a year and ensure their shared forever home is tidy of weeds, overgrown grass & debris.
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You might be worried about the quality of your dads life, but the dog deserves dignity and quality of life too. The vet should be able to guide you where the dog is concerned. He must say what needs to be said, not what you or anyone else wants to hear
No matter whether it is sooner or a bit later, inevitably the time is looming when that awful decision has to be made for the sake of the dog, I am sure your father, in his previous wellness, would not have wanted his beloved friend to suffer, either.
Engage your vet in a solution, he or she might have good ideas too. Perha, see if he or she is aware of someone who needs to relinquish their own beloved companion due to ill health and would welcome a rehoming situation, perhaps with visiting rights. If your father knows he is looking after someone elses best friend it might give him a sense of purpose, and when his own dog has to be let go he will have something to hold on to and care about. And remember, people with dementia still want something meaningful in their life, they want to make a contribution, they need a sense of purpose.
There is a reason I did not suggest a rescue dog from a dogs home. By engaging the vet in the process you will have more success finding just the right dog from a situation which will optimise the chances of your fathers acceptance and adoption of a second best friend.
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