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The end of the road

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#1 vickim


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Posted 16 May 2011 - 10:08 AM

Whisper's health is fading fast. I first noticed several months ago that she was slowing down, but I chalked that up to her age--she's about 15 years old, give or take a few years. She's a rescue, so I'll never know for sure. When I got laid off and started spending a lot more quality time with her, I noticed a heck of a lot more going on with her. Like she's eating and drinking more (thus peeing and pooing more). She's lethargic, has hind end weakness, she developed one heck of a pot belly, and excessive panting. Based on some of these symptoms, I can guess she has Cuashing's Syndrome, but as I am laid off and have no money coming in, I can't go get her tested to be sure, at least not for a few weeks. Besides, from what I've read, there is no cure for Cushing's, only treatment. Also, I suspect a stroke, based on the fact she eats only on one side of her food dish and her vision appears to be very funky--she aims for an open door and goest to the right of the door hole. I can work with the vision thing by speaking to her, tapping her food dish to orient her Vision is no big deal.

What is a bigger deal is the fact that her hind end weakness has progressed to the front end, too. Just this past weekend she took a spectacular fall off the steps (and got up and kept going like nothing happend. My sweet girl is nothing if not determined) that would have been funny if she were younger and being a goofy klutz. Because she's older and her motor skills are evaporating, it's heartbreaking.

She does not appear to be in pain. She looks tired, and maybe is uncomfortable, but she is still interested in the world around her, still wants to be with my every moment of her day and still tries so hard to do as I ask and I don't ask her to do anything that she can't do. The time is coming when i am going to have to take her to the vet for her very last appointment. I do not want to go. I want to wave a magic wand and have her youth restored. My heart is breaking.
You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. --Robert Louis Stevenson

#2 Tommy Coyote

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:03 AM

Ah. Poor you. Losing a much loved dog just tears your heart out.

I still would rather go thru that with each dog than to never to have had them at all. They are just such an important part of our lives. We learn so much from them. They give so much to our lives.

Still, its just so hard to lose one. It's like a huge, very important piece of your life is gone.

God Bless.

#3 bc4ever


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Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:12 AM

I'm so sorry. My heart aches for you. There's no way to avoid the pain we feel when they go. As traumatic as it was when we had to put Scooter down in February, I wouldn't have given up those six short years for anything. May you find the courage to do what is best, and the peace to heal and remember the happy times you shared with Whisper.


#4 Tea


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Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:12 AM

hugs to you and a pat for her.

My Old Kipmik my wheeldog, my buddy, and the professor and brakes of my team is going down the road too.

I guess I got to believe we will meet again.

And even tho this is a border collie board.

Hike Home Kipmik!

And good thoughts to all that share their lives with humanity's first friend.

#5 juliepoudrier


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Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:45 AM

Regarding Cushing's, we had some idea that Boy was affected by that before he died. We chose to do nothing about it because one of the side effects of Cushing's can be pain relief from arthritis, and we figured at 15 and barely getting around Boy probably benefitted more than he didn't if Cushing's was in fact an issue.

Even when you see them steadily declining, it's still so hard. But remember that preventing prolonged suffering at the end is the mandate we accept when we bring these wonderful beings into our lives.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.


I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

~Vincent van Gogh

Julie Poudrier
New Kent, VA

Beloved, and living in memory:
Willow (6/1997-5/2014, run free, my heart), Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Farleigh (12/1998-7/2014, RIP), Kat (4/2000-6/2015, I miss you, my sweet, funny little clown), Twist (11/2001-11/2016, you were my once-in-a-lifetime dog and forever my BEST girl), and Phoebe (7/2006-8/2017, gone too soon).

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Lark, Pipit (Pip), Birdie, Kiskadee (Kiss), Rue, Corbie, Kite, Cooper, and little Lonesome Dove!

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#6 WildFlower


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Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:58 AM

My thoughts are with you and Whisper.


Border Collies: Devon, Teak, Jess, & Gus
Kitties: Merry Cat & Mr. Magoo

Chickens and Sheep


Forever in my heart: Daisy 3/6/2008 - 12/20/2015

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#7 Lewis Moon

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:03 PM

This decision is never easy. A while back we had to decide for our sweet dog Bea, my wife's companion through many hardships.

Donald McCaig's "Passports" from his small book "A Useful Dog" is a beautiful piece on this subject that never fails to move me to tears:

"Moose died here, where twelve years ago he was born and he's buried in the graveyard on the hill where I hope to be buried someday...We carried him to his grave on his sheepskin bed and set his letter underneath. My wife, Anne, writes a letter for every one of our dogs and I have never asked her what she writes. She says it's a passport and I like to think of Moose coming to the last river he will ever cross and offering the boatman his letter,
'Oh, yes, I was a very good dog.'

"But it may be, it just may be - all our dogs waiting on the far side of the river that Anne and I must one day cross - those letters may not be dogs' passports. They may be ours."

My apologies to Mr. McCaig for reprinting this here, but his ability with words really threw this moment into sharper focus for me.

#8 PSmitty


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Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:06 PM

Ah. Poor you. Losing a much loved dog just tears your heart out.

I still would rather go thru that with each dog than to never to have had them at all. They are just such an important part of our lives. We learn so much from them. They give so much to our lives.

Still, its just so hard to lose one. It's like a huge, very important piece of your life is gone.

God Bless.

It took me all morning to actually make myself open this thread, that's how hard it is to think about. And reading this would remind me of my own dogs growing older (though God willing we're nowhere near the end of the road). What Tommy Coyote said above really speaks to how I feel, too.

Good thoughts for you and Whisper both. I hope you have some good days still ahead. I know you'll cherish them all.

Lilly, Jack, Alex , Will & Slider

#9 Carson Crazies

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 12:46 PM

I'm particularly feeling this pain with you today after having a very bizarre and scary night last night with my 17 year old Papillon. I think that probably the end of the road is coming closer for the Zipman, and it's heartwrenching. My warmest thoughts go out to you.
Laura Carson
Nick, Linc, June, Pia, and Ginger
RIP Zippy (Jan 11, 1994 - April 9, 2012)

Crooks and Crazies

#10 nancy


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Posted 16 May 2011 - 01:17 PM

If she isn't in pain, you might do what we did with Fergie. We just let her go on her own, at her own pace.

Over a month, we went from taking five 1-mile walks a day, to taking a few shorter ones, to walking out the side of the yard and around the front to come back in the driveway, to going out in the yard, to carrying her out into the yard. The last morning, she couldn't stand up, but picked up her head when we came in the room and snuggled. That evening, on her cushy bed on a carpet remnant in the kitchen, she faded away.

Yes, she had accidents more often as the month went on. But Oxy makes a good carpet cleaner. And tile washes well. The last day, we put newspaper under her hind end, which simplified the few cleanings.

The vet assured us that she was not in pain but did warn of seizures. Thankfully, she had none. If she had, or if she'd been in pain, we have had to act.

She went the way I want to go. But we had options for her that we don't have for ourselves.

#11 aljones


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Posted 16 May 2011 - 01:30 PM

Having just had to make this decision for Johnson last month, I very much feel for you and your breaking heart right now. I wish you and Whisper some more good days and you as much peace as possible as you enjoy your time with her.

Spirit (BC/pyr), Huckleberry (beagle), Ringo (ACD), & Oso (BCx)
in memory: William, Kate, Johnson, Odysseus, & Mildred

#12 bc friend

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 01:54 PM

It's never easy to lose our old ones - just treasure the time she has left. We all pray our old ones will die in their sleep and spare us the decision.

#13 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 02:04 PM

I am so very sorry. I'm now watching my old Jesse, who turned 12 in February, begin the long decline. His hind end is weakening, though he still tries to romp with the young dogs, and sometimes he just loses track of his rear legs and ends up sitting down. With a look of irritated surprise, he pushes himself up square and off he lopes again. Sometimes he will stand and I'll see his hind legs are crossed, as if he just can't feel where those two feet are. He still wants to jump in the truck - my lifting him is SO undignified - but his power is all in his front end, now.

It's hard. One day that stubborn spirit will no longer be able to drive Jesse's old body. I pray that he'll simply go to sleep, one day. So far, we haven't had that luck with our dogs. I'm praying there is still good times ahead, but it hurts to see my good old man showing his age.

So, I feel for you and my heart aches for you.

Peace in knowing you've loved dear Whisper so well.

~ Gloria
You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~ Emily Dickinson

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera

#14 martySQ


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Posted 16 May 2011 - 04:12 PM

Not a vat or vet assist or anything... but that sound's almost like diabeties also... anyway, My old diabetic cat only eats out of one side of her bowl, so I just turn it for him. His hind end is gradually getting weaker and that is where he shows nurological symptons first when his blood sugar gets all whacked out. I worry he will fall off the bed cause he sits do close to the edge and doesn't seem to realize he isn't as agile as he used to be....
I'm sorry about all of it for you. Hurts to watch them decline.

#15 D'Elle


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Posted 16 May 2011 - 06:29 PM

My heart aches for you............I am so very sorry.
That quote from Mr. McCaig's book brought tears to my eyes.
I cannot even imagine letting go of Jester or Kit even though I know some day I will be in your place, and my heart goes out to you. Please know that I will be thinking of you and sending you warm thoughts and hoping that the final days, whenever they do come, will be full of peace and love for Whisper.
We are all here for you when you need us.


and family.

Left to right: Kit, Jester, Boo, Digger



"You gonna throw that?" --Jester:  2001 - June 24 2016. Remembered with much love.
"I'm grouchier than you are" --Kit

"I love everyone!" -- Boo

(Boing! Boing! Boing!)--Digger

And not pictured, Benjamin the cat, who thinks he is a small border collie with superpowers.




#16 Marionette


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Posted 03 June 2011 - 10:18 AM

That passage from McCaig's book is so emotional.

I'm very sorry that you're having to go through this; it is very difficult, but you must have had a long, good time with her, and I'm sure she's grateful to you for what you've done for her and everything she's gotten to do up to this point. Just remember the good times you've had with her, though I'm sure currently those will be difficult to recall without getting emotional as well.

As for taking her to her last trip, I think it's up to you - if she's not in pain, then it should be fine to let her be as she is now, but I always feel so awful for them whenever they can't use their legs really anymore, it makes everything so uncomfortable...a few years back our quite old dog started to "fade" as well; she lost pretty much all usage of her limbs, and she wouldn't go to the bathroom in the house on newspapers like we wanted because she was so well house-trained. It was absolutely heartbreaking, and I understand your pain completely. We did put her to sleep. It was one of the hardest things to do, but I think it was the best choice in the end, so that she could be free of pain and discomfort and we could remember her as the great dog she was and she didn't have to be hurting.

I'm sorry for the long message. If you need to talk or discuss anything, please, just message me. If you'd like my email, I'm up to offering that, too.

#17 vickim


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 10:02 AM

Thank you all for your kind words. I loved the passage from Don McCaig.

Whisper is still hanging in there. My hubby finally built a ramp that I asked for, and now I have to train her how to use it. I put an old carpet runner on the ramp, something I don't care about if it gets wet when it rains. Now I have to teach her how to use it. The first time (which was yesterday) she was terrified of it and I had to crawl down the ramp with her. Now it's just a matter of teaching her that at the top of the ramp she has to turn left to get into the house. She seems to have problems learning new things at this point, but I just go over it and over it (and really, I'm not teaching her new tricks at all--I just want her to know how to use the ramp and avoid the stairs).
You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. --Robert Louis Stevenson

#18 Lewie'sMom


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 10:24 AM

It's the time that every pet owner dreads above all else. We've all been there multiple times but it never gets any easier. We see it in their bodies, their eyes. We are painfully aware that the time will come no matter how hard we fight against the dragon. Our heads know, and our compassion tells us it's the kindest thing. But when Time comes, our hearts plead with him, "Please, not yet."

You are not alone. We all sypmathize and grieve with you.

A tired dog is a good dog!

"Dogs' lives are too short...their only fault, really."
A.S. Turnbull

"My mantra is "it's never the dog's fault." If my dog has failed, it is because I set him up to fail:..."
Ninso 12/10/08

#19 bcnewe2


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 11:11 AM

We gave to find a way to live with their slow decline. Jazz is 15 and showing her age allot. We make allowances for them and we all do the best we can.
Hope you have some quality time left with Whisper and find ways to help her keep her diginity.

I hope I am that loved when I get that old.
Kristen The world is a magical place...   

#20 burdock


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:17 PM

God Bless all our Loved Pets we have and have lost.

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