How do You KNOW?

there’s something that has been plagging as of late. …other than the usual, and that’s the situation with my greyhound Greta.  i know i’ve mentioned her in previous blogs along with one solely dedicated to her, but this is something that has come to the forefront again and i’m writing this to get your opinion.  i’m at a crossroads, and am unsure as to what to do.

Greta's last successful outing summer of '10

soon Greta will be 13 which is considered by some, actually alot, to be very old for a greyhound.  (i’ve heard of one here and there that have lived to be 15 or 16 but i think that’s pretty rare).  my vet refers to Greta at her advanced age to be “older than dirt”, and no that reference doesn’t offend me, but gives me an idea of the significance of her age, but then the doc always goes on to remind me that at her advanced age, it’s like she’s around a 100 or so. 

since late last summer, Greta has had her issues on and off.  things like seizures of a kind, and then later the arthritis getting worse in her legs.  the picture above was the last time she was able to go out into the country with the rest of us (us meaning me and the other 3 dogs) without having issues such as falling, another suspected seizure, etc.  she loves the outdoors and has always enjoyed even just going in the car with the rest of us.  however, something occurred the other day, sunday, that has made me wonder.  it was a beautiful day, and i was going to meet a friend of mine for coffee.  being warm enuff, i thought it would be good to bring Greta along so she could sunbathe in the car-a favorite of hers-while i visited with said friend.  i intended only to put her in the car with Avé the oldest of the other dogs and the only one responsible enuff to allow her to fully stretch out and enjoy herself as Avé usually curls up on the front seat after I’ve left.  Greta was not interested at all in going for a ride, and she even went so far as to turn around and head back to the front house to after her potty break.  i was really surprised!  i have never seen her done this before and it really made me wonder. 

Greta in younger days dressed up for halloween...she was such a good sport! lol

today and incident occurred which once again, made me pause and think.  Greta is still able to get up and let me know, for the mostpart, when she needs to go potty, or when she wants water, and she always pops up when it’s dinnertime.  She will also get up at times, to adjust herself to be more confortable on her bed.  Her bed used to be a simple large dog pillow, but with the replacement of the floor from carpet to vinyl, and the deterioration of her hind legs to arthritis, it has now become necessary to have several pillows and some blankets as well so she has something more cushioning for her arthritis, comfort, and ability to get up when she needs to.  today tho, it was necessary to have some of her bedding washed as it’s become fairly common for her to loose her bowels while pushing herself up on her weakened legs in order to reposition herself for comfort, etc.  loosing her bowels happens several times a week, but today was an especially painful episode due to the fact that some of her bedding was in the process of being washed and so it was harder for her to get up.  not only was it more difficult but she also had a fall in the middle of the floor once she stepped away from her bed and had to push sooo hard to get back up, that she pooped.  (my poor baby girl!) 😦

those eyes! they were the first thing i noticed when i went to meet her for the first time to adopt her!

this with the combination of what occurred sunday, i can’t help but wonder…”is it time to let her go?  and how do u KNOW  when it IS time?  with her old companion and my beloved dog Keehta, it was obvious.  Keehta has intestinal cancer, and it reached a point where her suffering was very palpable, and that’s now i knew.  it was literally a relief to see her suffering end as she peacefully drifted away.  Greta is different tho.  it isn’t black and white, but the fact that she wouldn’t even get in the car on such a warm sunny day to enjoy sunbathing, and then the extra harsh fall of today, really got me wondering. 

the hardest part is that she is still very sharp when it comes to her mind.  alert and ever present.  the vet has explained that she does have alot of discomfort tho due to the arthritis and because her teeth have gotten so bad and she’s so old that it would do more injury than harm to try and remedy her bad teeth situation; that during any proceedure, she may not come out from the anisthesia, and especially since “knocking her out” for the proceedure is even more tricky when it comes to greyhounds in general.  this doc isn’t the first to say no to any oral proceedures, but the second. 

so here in lies my question.  how do u know when the suffering is more than her value of continuing to live?  when is it the right time?  is letting her just continue to go on and see if she deteriorates any further humane or cruel?  what do YOU readers think?

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One thought on “How do You KNOW?

  1. I’ve had greyhounds and cats and it isn’t easy under any conditions. However, I must say that for greyhounds, dignity is very important. Being unable to get to your feet and having an accident while doing so probably doesn’t have the emotional impact to them as it does to us. However, she can’t help but sense, even though you love her that something is just not right. My Duncan had stenosis of the spine. I worked with him, gave him shots, walked him with a towel, and tried whatever I could to keep him going. But there came a day when I realized I wasn’t doing it for Duncan, I was doing it for myself so I would feel better when the “time” came. I took him to the vet that day. I cried for day afterward and had doubts but at one month short of 13 years, Duncan had lived a full life, surrounded by loving care and a better life than if he had continued as a racing dog. I have another greyhound now who shares my day and walks and at four, I’ll get to love him for a long time. And I know that when I go to cross the rainbow bridge, I’ll be surrounded by loving animals that have brought light to my life.

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