SARAH'S BLOG OF FUN: When To Say Goodbye

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When To Say Goodbye


All opinions in this post are 100% my own.  I value your opinions, and I welcome them completely (even if they are not the same as mine!!)  What I will not tolerate is name calling or mean comments.  Please do not make them.  

The end of last week was extremely tough on us and I would not wish it on anyone.

Our little girl Sammy is 13 1/2 years old.  For a dog, that is a senior citizen (she would be about 80 in human years)  Most of her life she has had breathing issues.  Chronic bronchitis, and a collapsing trachea.  Over the last couple of years she has also gained an enlarged heart, narcolepsy and nasal cancer.

For the most part Sam is still pretty healthy (I know that sounds wrong) but it's true.  She eats and drinks fine, uses the potty fine, and still acts like a puppy sometimes.



Thursday morning (1:30 am) Sammy woke up coughing.  If you haven't heard a dog cough before, it sounds similar to a goose honking.  She has a hydrocodone cough medicine that we give her when her cough gets bad.  It helps to relax her, which then helps open her airway.

The last time Sammy had an episode, she completely stopped breathing.  We rushed her to the vet.  She was sent to an emergency vet after that, and then sent to Tufts Medical Center.  All they did for her was put her on oxygen, and give her a shot to help open the airway (a shot she has gotten before and then been sent home.)  That day ended up costing us over $2000.



So on Thursday we played the wait and see game.  We kept Sammy as calm as possible, gave her cough syrup through out the day, and called the vet.  They said to try giving her Benedryl.  Nothing seemed to be helping.  Friday morning as I was taking her with me to bring Ben Jr to school, she stopped breathing.  It only lasts for a couple of seconds, but feels like hours.

Even though I knew what was going to be said, I took Sam to the vet.  Before we got there, she started acting more like herself and was coughing a lot less.  The vet suggested x-rays to see what was going on.  The x-rays showed that her trachea was almost completely closed off.  The vet was going to discuss Sam with another vet, and get back to us.  He said that with her age and other health problems, he didn't think there would be much he or anyone could do.  This visit cost us $250.



We went home, and Sam got worse.  You could clearly see she was having a very hard time breathing.  She was coughing again, and her eyes turned very cloudy.  We called the vet back, and after speaking to his colleague, they both agreed that surgery (which was the only option) was not wise because of her age and other health problems.  We were told that the best thing to do would be to say goodbye.

As the day went on, Sam got even worse.  Ben and I thought it was time.  The last thing we wanted to do was have her suffer.  She did not deserve that.  We called each of my family members and they came over to say goodbye.  We were selfish enough to want her with us as long as possible, so we decided that we would take her to the vet the next day to give us more time with her.  She wasn't in pain, and with the cough meds, she was somewhat comfortable.

Saturday morning we woke up from a very fitful night, and just felt down.  Sammy has been our baby for 13 years.  She has done everything with us from working to vacations.  She is not a dog to us, she is our baby.  We just did not want to say goodbye.  

Sammy woke up clearly better then she was the day before.  She was coughing a lot less, and was acting more like herself.  We called my family and they came back over.  We all watched her get better over the next couple hours.  Being a Saturday, we only had until noon to make a decision.  Ben and I decided to wait and see how she was doing over the weekend.  If she got worse again, then we would go back on Monday.



Here it is Tuesday, and Sammy is acting like her old self.  She is eating/drinking/pottying perfectly fine, walking around, and coughs maybe two/three times a day.  Nothing like before.  Her eyes are not cloudy anymore, and she was even playing with her favorite toy again.  I don't want to jinx it, but it seems like she is on the mend.

I am very glad that we did not go back to the vet on Saturday.  To me it would have been a mistake, and we would have lost her much sooner then we should have.  Of course we still live with the day to day fear that we are on borrowed time, but as long as she is herself and not in pain, we are keeping her with us.



Have you ever been faced with a tough decision like this??  How did you come to your decision??  Did money come in to play at all??  For Ben and I that is a huge factor as well.  I sound horrible saying it, but her medical bills are extremely over priced and we just can not afford anymore.  If we had agreed to the surgery, it would have cost over $4000.  For her cancer, they wanted us to give her chemo, and that would have cost us over $10,000.  What is the dollar amount for life though?? 






This post is written by Sarah Coulsey. She is a Wife, and Mother of two boys living in New England. This post may contain affiliate links. Follow on Bloglovin

13 comments :

Danielle Simmons said...

We recently had to remove some tumors from our dog's legs. We were going to get them biopsied until the vet asked if it were cancer would we do chemo. And the answer is no. Sadly it's just not in our budget and with our large breed dog being 12 years old, we just couldn't put him through that. I think you just have to go with your gut and take it one day at a time.

Melissa said...

Our dog is 11 and I worry that we will start having medical bills soon - they are hard decisions!

suburban prep said...

My family had to deal with something like this with the family dog who was 14 almost 15 at the time. It was a very hard decision.

Emily Reviews said...

Decisions like this can be SO incredibly difficult to make. $10k is half of my yearly income though so there is just no way we could possibly afford that for a pets medical bills unfortunately. :(

Mara Shapiro said...

I had to put my sweet dog down when she was only 11. It was one of the hardest thing I ever had to do, but she was sick and it was merciful to let her go. We still love her and miss her. But, she is resting happily now.

The Mommy-Files said...

Oh girl - that is such a hard thing to go though. Thank goodness she is resting and trying to get better. :)

AMBER EDWARDS said...

oh this is such a hard decision. For us I think the money would have come into play. The husband is a full time college student with no job. I work very party time at home. We live in Student loans. There is just no way we could afford medical bills like that.

I'm so glad she got better over the weekend. I hope she continues to stay on the mend so you can enjoy her a while longer.

Mel Outnumbered said...

I'm really sorry that your family is having to face such a tough decision. We had to put our 12 year old dog down in February and it was very hard on everyone :(

Kelly Stilwell said...

Oh, Sarah, this just brings tears to my eyes. We had to make that decision two years ago. Our baby was 18. She was our baby before we had babies! Her name was Trouble, and she was a beautiful Tabby cat. She had cancer, and couldn't even close her mouth in the end. It was the hardest thing we have ever been through. We still have a cat who is much younger, but I am not looking forward to ever having to do that again. Be strong.

A Mom's Take said...

Ah, I hope you get her as long as she can be comfortable!

scottsgal said...

My senior springer girl just turned 12. We have always made the decision with our furry friends that when they don't have quality of life it's time - it's the last final loving act you can do for them to relieve them of their pain. I'm so glad your girl seems on the mend and you have some additional time with her, love her and treasure this time. It's horrible to lose a furry family member.

Gabe and Libby said...

A year ago, I was faced with the same dilemma, only with 2 dogs. Both were seniors, an din declining health. My vet had counseled us that when the bad days outweighed the good days that we should start thinking about euthanasia. I knew that my babies were suffering, but I could not bring myself to make the decision.

My husband sat me down and we had a long long talk. We decided that he would make the call on when, and that he would follow my stipulations and that on THE DAY:

1.That they would "go" together. One of them probably had another couple of months, but they spent their entire lives together, so I felt that it would be best for them to go to Rainbow bridge together.

2.They would be able to sniff and mark every bush, tree and blade of grass at the vet's office.

3. That my favorite vet tech would assist.

4. That the procedure would take place immediately after check in, so that they would not be stressed.

I've second guessed myself time and time again, BUT, I know that they are no longer suffering, and that I gave them years and years of love and happiness.

Doris Calvert said...

We have had to put down our collie, she was 14 and our shih tzu was only 10 but had a tumor in his blood vessel by his heart that turned to cancer and he died while we were trying to get him help. It is a heart wrenching experience and a huge loss and I never ever looked at the money, I wracked up visa's and did everything til all was exhausted for medical tests. You will know when it's time, they have a way of letting you know, do not listen to anyone because you know your little dog best! He is so cute! Sending you hugs :)

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