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Man! The hits keep coming . . . not cycling related (sorry)(23 posts)

Man! The hits keep coming . . . not cycling related (sorry)morrison
Aug 5, 2002 5:20 PM
Just found out my dog has cancer. In the brain, too. The doctor says it will take $2500 to operate, and then chemo and poss'y radiation. No estimate on cost; effectiveness impossible to guage. (what the f--- does that mean?)

Dog good but I don't want to cause more pain. Doctor says survival 20% at best. Have to decide now what to do. Thinking of putting her down. Wife out of town, how tell kids? (they're 4 and 2 . . . any advice here seriously helps!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

G
re: Man! The hits keep coming . . . not cycling related (sorry)GregJ
Aug 5, 2002 5:28 PM
I am not sure I would even put myself through that.
Tough call with pets...but..TommyRides
Aug 6, 2002 6:41 AM
In my opinion, we don't have the right to put the animal through that. If you've ever known someone that has gone through chemo, it's not pretty..the nausea, exhaustion, etc.. is extremely draining not only on the patient, but on friends and family.

Most pet owners will instinctually know what to do so I won't make the call for you..do what's in your heart..but do it for the right reasons..your kids will recover..and you'll know what's right if you think about it..

Is the animal young?

Good luck..my heart goes out to you.
I have a lot of love for dogs but I thinkLazywriter
Aug 5, 2002 5:35 PM
you already know the answer to what you need to do. $$$$ is not an issue really, it is the 20% at best chance of surviving which should be your guide. To put the poor thing through all the tests and treatment which will probably be futile. For what?
I work in geriatrics (as well as with kids), and I have people completing advance directives every day. When it is time to go and people are tired of the pain, they know when to throw in the towel with a surprisingly amount of peace. A dog cannot make that decision obviously, but you should be able to sense it.
Sorry
lazy, sometimes you surprise metarwheel
Aug 6, 2002 4:17 AM
Why can't you be thoughtful like this all the time?

I have to agree with lazy on this one. Although it's hard to let go, sometimes that's the best thing to do. Your children will have to face the issue of mortality some time, and losing a pet is perhaps the best way to do this. Just enjoy the time you have left with your dog and make it special for him (or her). I once had a cat that I got in college and found out his kidneys had completely stopped functioning at 14 years age. I brought him home from the vet and treated him royally for several days before he was put to sleep. He seemed to know that his time had come and was very affectionate those last few days. It was hard having him put to sleep but he was obviously in a lot of pain and I felt it was the right thing to do.
I wouldn't normally respond to non-cycling issues like this...MXL02
Aug 5, 2002 5:40 PM
but, man, you sound soooo bad. I am a physician so take my advice with that grain of salt. At the risk of sounding inhumane, spending $2500 on a pet with little chance of survival is doing a disservice to your family, not to mention the pet. There are many pets out there awaiting adoption. After the grieving, adopt a new pet. Kids are resilient and smart. It is a learning experience about life and death. My son actually saw his pet cat die when it fell out of a tree...he was only about 5...when we buried the cat, I told him the God must really love the cat because he wanted him in heaven so bad. He accepted this and moved on to another kitty adopted a week later without further incident.

Good luck with whatever you decide..and remember to take care of yourself...go for a long ride to help clear your head. Let us know what happens.
I agreeWalter
Aug 5, 2002 5:46 PM
I had to have my 14 year old Lab put down awhile back and it sucked, alot more than I thought it would. You're not supposed to cry over dogs.....

Your kids esp. the 4 year old will cry but they'll be OK. A puppy somewhere down the line will be their best friend. This will hurt you more than anyone else unfortunately but from what you describe it's time.

Sad day.
Right, moreover, if the Vet is right, then undertakingdjg
Aug 6, 2002 6:37 AM
treatment means a sure chance that your dog will go through some measure of misery (the treatment itself, the point of which the dog cannot understand), with an 80% chance that the miserable and debilitating (not to mention, from your point of view, stressful and expensive) treatment will be for naught.

It's sad, to be sure, but as MXL02 points out, there are lots of animals out there in need of a good home, and you dog is probably better off if spared the pain.
Who would you be doing it for?Len J
Aug 5, 2002 6:09 PM
If for you then let the dog go peacably in as little pain as possible.

If for the dog then by all means do it.

Don't let the difficulty of doing what you know is best disuade you from it.

Kids (even 4 & 2) understand more than you think, just explain it to them in terms they will understand. If you do it for the right reasons and speak from the heart, they will understand.

Just be with her while she dies, she's earned that & you will be able to say goodbye.

My prayers are with you.

Len
re: Man! The hits keep coming . . . not cycling related (sorry)rtyszko
Aug 5, 2002 8:20 PM
G. I guess that you can tell by the number of threads that have appeared that you have our sympathies and prayers (they are real and they help one and all!!!) This is very close to me as I've had to do such things in the past and bye-the-way the thread that mentioned that your not supposed to cry is wrong.

First of all, get another opinion on the amount of pain and discomfort that you'll cause by doing this. Believe it or not, most chemo for dogs is well tolerated. The radiation, I'm not so sure of. Second, do it if your heart tells you to. A 20% chance is actually pretty good in many respects assuming that the dog (what's her name?) has a good quality of life afterward. YOu never, and I mean NEVER want to wonder "What if I had done it and it worked?" Dogs, like humans, will let you know if it was worth it, and f**k the money. That's renewable. Most vets I've known can put you on a payment plan. If you seriously need more help 2 guys that I used to ride with in Tucson are the most compassionate and competant vets I've ever known and they would be willing to speak with you or at least correspond by e-mail. (I'm not kidding on this) I went through this about 2 years ago with one of my dogs as did one of the vets that I mentioned. Do this for the dog and not for you. Most of the time you'll be too close to the situation to make a grounded decision so rely on the advice of other professionals as well as your own gut. Get another opinion and remember that if she is in pain or isn't pulling through then the greatest gift that you can give her is comfort and peace. I often thought that it's exceedingly arrogant to have control over life like that, but it isn't. When used at the right time, it's a great gift.

Let me know what else you may need.

Bob Tyszko
eyebob@hotmail.com
re: Man! The hits keep coming . . . not cycling related (sorry)cp123
Aug 5, 2002 11:01 PM
I don't envy you on this one at all. I've never had dogs, but cats and other animals and I've been there, done that and bawled my eyes out afterwards.

Perhaps if your dog is not showing any outward signs now, you need not make an urgent decision. If she is still happy with life you don't need to end it yet. Only you can make the treatment and/or money decisions, but you will know when it is time. I believe that they can actually tell you when it all starts to become too much. You will just know.

I am going through this same issue with my father currently. Given that we're on earth for 80 odd years, bad things will happen to both animals and people that we love. God didn't make dogs and cats and horses to last 80 years. Remember that she has had a wonderful happy life and loved you immensely with every thing she had.

It will be sad for you, but remember that you will help her go to a better place. And she will not hurt there. In time you may have another dog. Maybe not soon, but it will happen. You will be sad and you will never forget her, but there are other dogs out there that will need you too.

Good luck and I'm sorry to not be able to offer anything more.
*Hug*...
I can only say I sympathizeweiwentg
Aug 6, 2002 5:15 AM
I have little useful advice to offer, save this.
most cats in Singapore aren't confined to the household. mine was no different ... and she ate rat poison. she never had a chance. if, after a second opinion, you figure it's worth it to give her a second chance, and you can afford it, then I'd say go ahead and good luck.
you truly have my sympathies. see, this even brings out the best in Lazywriter.
tough.colker
Aug 6, 2002 5:27 AM
i've heard a story of a dog surviving cancer but a brain cancer... wnat about the recovering? i don't know. f$^&* hell! that's terrible.
clone?DougSloan
Aug 6, 2002 6:20 AM
Can you go get a dog that looks just like this one? At that age, the kids may not know the difference. If the real goal is to spare their feelings, that might do it. Otherwise, it's time for a tough lesson, it seems.

Doug
It won't workms
Aug 6, 2002 11:00 AM
Kids are smarter than you think. And they are a lot tougher, too. The only result from a "clone" will be a lack of trust and respect. Your suggestion reminds me of one of my late father's infamous capers. He wrecked his car but didn't want my mother to know. He said that he had a minor accident and that the car would be back from the shop in a few days. He bought a used car in the same model and year -- he had the car painted exactly like the old one. One problem: the wrecked car had leather seats and the replacement had cloth seats. You can guess the end result: my mother uncovered the entire scam and there was hell to pay (even more than if she had been told the truth up front).
I can only share my experienceMel Erickson
Aug 6, 2002 7:18 AM
14 years ago we had a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who died while we were on vacation. Our kids were 6 and 9. Her death was sudden but she was old (14). We all cried and it was hard for a time. We had a funeral which helped the kids alot. We waited about a year before we got another dog and the kids bounced right back. Now our Lab is 13 and the kids are 20 and 23 and gone. It's likely in the next year or two we'll face a similar decision. About 4 years ago we got a second Lab. Having pets that overlap in age can be a way to soften the blow of losing one but it's probably not a good idea to get another pet at this time. You'll need to consider the likelihood of success of treatment, which doesn't sound too good, and the cost to your family (financially and especially emotionally) of a protracted illness. Kids the age of yours are particularly resilient. I think kids this age can handle a decision to put a pet down better than a long illness and possible later death of the pet. They understand simple and less complicated situations better than protracted, complex ones.
Sorry, but no waycory
Aug 6, 2002 7:27 AM
We lost our two old dogs (one nearly 20) in the last year, so I sympathize...but no way I could justify either the expense or putting the dog through the suffering. A few things to consider:
--the dog doesn't (far as we know) have any fear of death or sense of mortality. It doesn't realize it's undergoing fear and pain in hope of saving its life. It just knows the fear and pain. Not worth it, IMO, even if the odds were better, and certainly not worth it for 20 percent.
--How much life are you "saving?" If it's an older dog, you may be putting it through months of suffering to give it an extra year or two of poor-quality life.
--You may be overestimating the kids' reaction. I know that's hard, though. When my kids were about that age, I had to shoot a dog within earshot of them (it was badly hurt too far from veterinary care to make that even a remote possibility). They accepted my explanation pretty readily and have no horrible memories of it 15 years later.
--Putting a purely financial face on it, that's a LOT of money for a pretty small chance of success. If I got a vote, I'd say it's time for the dog to go.
re: Kidscyclopathic
Aug 6, 2002 10:31 AM
tell them that dog went to haven (Italy, to guard Tour de France, Texas, etc).. just make sure they don't see/know him taken to vet and vet would take care of all. Sorry for your dog this is not easy decision.
I learned a lot about kids when watching The Lion King with mybill
Aug 6, 2002 10:45 AM
daughter, who was about 4 at the time. She asked what happened to Mustafa (who is crushed in a stampede, if you don't know; sorry to ruin the movie for you all). I was thinking about the proper, sensitive response, when she blurted, "He died, right? He died."
But of course he did. I had no idea that she knew anything about death, but she did, and she knew it when she saw it.
Now, when death comes up, I strictly adhere to honesty and forthrightness. We have lost numerous fish, a cat, a couple of great aunts, and, most tragically (two weeks ago, actually), my brother's 41 y/o wife. Tell the kids the truth, keep it simple and forthright, be honest about your feelings (which helps to validate theirs), and you'll be surprised. They'll be comforting you. Kids are miraculous that way.
To Doug Sloan: Please tell me that the clone thing is a joke. Please, Doug? I love you, man, but you have to learn that absolutely the one thing that you never, never ever, never can do to a kid is lie about something like that. They already know that Santa is a lie, I've got no problems with that, but life and death you have to play straight.
it works in sitcoms, doesn't it? :-) nmDougSloan
Aug 7, 2002 5:04 AM
think of 3 things your dog likes most, when she is no longercurtybirdychopper
Aug 6, 2002 2:42 PM
able to enjoy all three of them, it may be your dog's time.

don't know if you'll try treatment, but if you don't, maybe the above will work for you. i heard it once on animal planet rescue vets or something and thought it was good advice as far as when to take older or suffering pets into the vet.
Quality of life, not quantitySkip
Aug 6, 2002 3:14 PM
Keep her as comfortable as you can, by whatever means, for as long as you can, but when the quality of life starts to deteriorate, then prepare to humanely put her to sleep. Look into her eyes, she'll tell you when it's time.

D.V.M.
Time for dignityStarliner
Aug 6, 2002 5:09 PM
Well, you asked for advice. I would vote to put her down sometime in the future, given the diagnosis and skimpy chances for survival. Definitely bring the kids into the discussion right away, and fill them in on the situation in a way that they can understand. It sounds like a good opportunity to teach them about death being a part of life that all living things must go through... I don't know you but maybe this is also a good opportunity for yourself to look at how well you face up to death.... that we are body and spirit, and there comes a time in all our lives when spirit leaves the body behind for good and moves on into another realm .... now here's where you might not follow my message because we're going into the area of faith.

The bottom line is that death is as much a part of life as birth, and we might as well accept it.

What I did with my kids when our cats began dying of old age was to prep them by talking about death. When the first one died, we had a little ceremony, during which we forgave the cat for such transgressions such as barfing on the bedspread, and a few other things which almost seemed comical. Each of us then thought of something good we remembered, and gave thanks for these memories. Finally, we updated our "contracts" with the departed pet to the present moment, and gave permission for its spirit to move on its way. And then we had a little party.

I think its important to be able to let go, and probably the best advice is to find for yourself and your loved ones a positive way to do it.