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Old 07-16-2013, 09:05 AM   #1
2Kds2K9
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Dogs and Death

Not a fun day here at home. Just took our elderly Shar Pei into the vet this morning and she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She has a tumor on her shoulder and it has progressed very rapidly.

Needless to say, we are not going to allow her to suffer. We have made an appointment with the vet for tomorrow. I would have done it today, but my kids wanted to spend today loving her and saying goodbye. The vet gave us some pain medication to help her through today and she is getting steak for dinner!

A concern my vet had was my two "puppies". I have two shar pei that are 13 months old and my male is a protector to the elderly one. He watches over her when she goes out and generally makes sure he knows where she is. The vet stated that dogs understand death, but don't understand disappearing. That it would be better for them to see/sniff our dog once she passes and that they would know that finality. If we were to just take her and she not return, they would not understand what happened. This actually makes sense to me since when we had to put down her brother 2 years ago, she left our yard twice looking for him. Actually, that was my theory at the time as she went in the direction that I always took him for a walk, so now it makes sense.

The plan is for my DH and I to be there when she passes, and then bring the pups in to see/sniff her. My DD and DS have opted to not be there this time and I fully respect that. (I don't want to be there either, but as the Mom I know I have to.)

Wanted to know if anyone else has heard of this.

Thanks!
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:23 AM   #2
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I can't offer any advice as to letting the puppies be around your departed pet, but I know what you are going through as do many others on these boards. It is SO difficult to lose one and having them put to sleep can be emotionally draining. But you are doing the right thing for your beloved pet by helping her to Rainbow Bridge. Hugs to your family as you go through this.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:03 AM   #3
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I'm so sorry to hear about your dog.

We had a similar situation when my male passed. My Vet also advised we let our girl be there and see for herself that he was gone. In the end my male passed at home and Maggie was right there with us. She did still look for him before bed each night but she also had an understanding I think of what happened. I think it was very helpful for her.

On another note the same male dog was very close to my FIL. When my FIL passed my husband and I brought him to the funeral parlor in-between services to see him. He absolutely understood.

I like the way your Vet thinks he sounds very sympathetic. Again I am so sorry you are going through this right now and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Kds2K9 View Post
Not a fun day here at home. Just took our elderly Shar Pei into the vet this morning and she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She has a tumor on her shoulder and it has progressed very rapidly.

Needless to say, we are not going to allow her to suffer. We have made an appointment with the vet for tomorrow. I would have done it today, but my kids wanted to spend today loving her and saying goodbye. The vet gave us some pain medication to help her through today and she is getting steak for dinner!

A concern my vet had was my two "puppies". I have two shar pei that are 13 months old and my male is a protector to the elderly one. He watches over her when she goes out and generally makes sure he knows where she is. The vet stated that dogs understand death, but don't understand disappearing. That it would be better for them to see/sniff our dog once she passes and that they would know that finality. If we were to just take her and she not return, they would not understand what happened. This actually makes sense to me since when we had to put down her brother 2 years ago, she left our yard twice looking for him. Actually, that was my theory at the time as she went in the direction that I always took him for a walk, so now it makes sense.

The plan is for my DH and I to be there when she passes, and then bring the pups in to see/sniff her. My DD and DS have opted to not be there this time and I fully respect that. (I don't want to be there either, but as the Mom I know I have to.)

Wanted to know if anyone else has heard of this.

Thanks!
I'm so sorry. It's very tough.

I lost my gorgeous Akita to cancer a few years back. Hardest thing ever. Time will help. But it's helpful to know they won't be hurting any more.



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Old 07-16-2013, 11:17 AM   #5
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Sorry to hear this. One of my dogs died of a bone tumor as well.

We have done it both ways. In a brother/sister pair of dogs we had, the female had to be put to sleep unexpectedly at the vet's and we went home empty handed. The brother seemed to "know" (maybe he sensed it when she was sick?) and wasn't particularly affected by her disappearance. (He went shortly afterward, so maybe he didn't want to know.)

Sounds strange maybe, but we have teddy bear hamsters that are a big part of our family, and our dog loves them too. When each of two hamsters died, the dog sniffed them and walked away. She knew they were gone and no longer wanted to be near them. Normally, she loved watching them. I'm sure part of it was the scent of death, and maybe the other part was that what the dog likes is watching their activity, and with no activity they were no longer interesting, I don't know. But I doubt it, I think there's a little bond there, too.

If there are no objections by anyone, I think it won't hurt to let your dogs see the elder dog passed. They'll know he's gone. And if that doesn't happen, it will be ok, too.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:29 PM   #6
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I am sorry you are facing this. It is never easy, and you are so caring to think of how your other dogs will fare during this time. I do believe it will help them to understand the loss of their other "sibling".

If I may add, cats also feel a sense of loss, which many people might find unbelievable (since cats are supposed to be so aloof), but they do. You see, 4 years ago this Christmas our dog at that time passed away. This dog was very, very close to one of our cats (she didn't really care about the other cats, but this one cat napped with her, ate with her, and played with her - so cute to see a huge German Shepherd with a little cat!).

One day to the next, our dog took ill. The vet made her diagnosis, and suggested we take our dog home and let her pass at home in peace as long as she was not in pain, as surgery would not offer a recovery and instead cause her more pain and possible death from complications. I love my vet for putting my dog's comfort first.

So, we brought my dog home. We figured we had a couple of days, and my eldest came home from college to say good-bye. We had added extra blankets to our dog's bed so she would be comfortable, and one by one, each of our 3 cats came over throughout the next two days to see what was happening.

My dog's kitty buddy spent quite a bit of time curled up with her dog, until one morning, she came back after her dinner, sniffed the dog very deeply, and went upstairs and stayed there. Our dog passed early the next morning. Somehow, the cat knew that her dog was passing, said her goodbye in her own kitty way, and went to mourn (and mourn she did, not leaving my daughter's room for almost a week except to visit the littler box).

One month later, we had a new dog, and I thought that this cat would be thrilled to have a new playmate. Oddly enough, she wants nothing to do with this dog, and over 3 years later, still ignores this dog. Her actions convinced me that cats grieve too, even for a dog. We had never thought to let our pets say goodbye when one was ill, but now we understand that they have attachments to each other, too.

Don't let anyone tell you differently, for that person has never loved a pet as we do. May your other dogs bring you some comfort as you face this.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:31 PM   #7
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I've heard that and have been thinking about doing that when one of my boy cats has to go before the other. They are totally bonded and if they can't find each other in the house they will walk around and cry until they find the other one. The rest of my animals aren't as attached as those two.


OP, I'm sorry about your baby.
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:00 PM   #8
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I'm so sorry you are loosing your furbaby. We have never had more than one dog at a time so haven't had this experience but it makes a lot of sense to me. I would allow your other dogs to see her. I think our pets have a lot more emotions than they are given by the 'experts'.

I will keep you in my thoughts tomorrow.
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:51 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the good thoughts. It's been a rough day and will be more so tomorrow. The "pups" know something is up and are not leaving her side for long. Mulan, my elderly Shar Pei, has been sleeping all day by the door. The pups go and check on her then come to see me. Her brother was Mushu!

Mulan normally sleeps in our room, but I'll sleep with her where ever she decides to sleep tonight. I don't think she will venture too far from where she is now.

I really think that letting them say goodbye tomorrow will be a good thing for them. And I'm sure they will want to give Mommy and Daddy a lot of kisses and comfort throughout the day.

Thanks.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Kds2K9 View Post
Thanks for all the good thoughts. It's been a rough day and will be more so tomorrow. The "pups" know something is up and are not leaving her side for long. Mulan, my elderly Shar Pei, has been sleeping all day by the door. The pups go and check on her then come to see me. Her brother was Mushu!

Mulan normally sleeps in our room, but I'll sleep with her where ever she decides to sleep tonight. I don't think she will venture too far from where she is now.

I really think that letting them say goodbye tomorrow will be a good thing for them. And I'm sure they will want to give Mommy and Daddy a lot of kisses and comfort throughout the day.

Thanks.
I hope she enjoys the steak dinner. We did the same.
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:16 PM   #11
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I hope she enjoys the steak dinner. We did the same.
So did we. We also gave Zelda lots of peanut butter in her favorite Kong. She loved it! Our vet was kind enough to come to the house and our other dog was right there when we put Zelda to sleep. Jett never seemed to mourn very badly. Although I noticed recently that she won't sleep on Zelda's pillow, it's still in my son's room. She'll lay anywhere but there.

Sorry OP I know it's very stressful and sad. I was very grateful that our Vet would come to the house rather than going in to his clinic. Zelda never liked to go there and it was much easier on us to do it here at home.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:51 AM   #12
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Ahhh, I'm so sorry to hear this.

I think you're correct with your plans. Pets can definitely sense something is up and our cat was listless and "mourned" for days after we left the house and did not return with his friend, no matter how much cuddling/distraction we gave him.

As BriarfoxinWA mentioned, our vet offered to come to our house on his way home to euthanize our Millie, but unfortunately we didn't have the ability for home burial (we had her cremated).

I believe from others' stories that an animal's acute sense of smell allows a closure for them that is foreign to us humans.

I'll be thinking about you tomorrow.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:25 AM   #13
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hmmm..I think I have to disagree with this.. not saying it is right or wrong... we just put our old dog down...and I don't think the other 3 dogs even noticed he is gone.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:25 AM   #14
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{{{HUGS}}} I am sorry for you and your furbaby.

We had our golden put to sleep on 6/21 from cancer. Our house has been out of sync ever since with the other two dogs. I never realized Carmel was the pack leader. Chloe, our other golden and her constant playmate has been lost. I did notice a week or so before Carmel was euthanized, that Chloe would smell her mouth on the side where the tumor had been. I don't know if Chloe could smell the cancer from her breath or what.


Our shih-tzu is a bigger mess. He is our dog who really does not like to be outside, but now goes and sits in our driveway or under a tree in the evenings. If you try to bring him in the house, he will crawl under our car and refuses to come out. (so we open the car door and he will come out and hop in and then we grab him ) I am assuming he is waiting for her to return. When we came back from the vet the day we put her down, he came up to me and wanted me to pick him up. He was trembling. As Carmel became sicker, she would go downstairs and lay in the basement. Our shih-tzu went down there for about a week and stayed down there after she was gone. It has really been something to experience. I understand the whole "pack" dynamic now that I have experienced it first hand.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:24 AM   #15
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OP here. UGH, hate days like that.

Mulan had her steak dinner on Tuesday and enjoyed it. We had pain pills for her that really knocked her out. So much so that we had to drag her out of bed the next morning to let her out.

Got to the vet with all 3 dogs. My DS opted not to come and help us, which I respected. The pups had playtime with the Vet and the Vet Techs and were fine. I was not overjoyed with the Vet who did the procedure and then remembered my DH had had an issue with her before. ARGH. The Vet had a problem getting the catheter into the "good" leg and kept trying causing undo stress to Mulan. Once we told her it was okay to use the "bad" leg, things went smoothly, but we could see our dog was stressed. My DH stayed with her through the passing, but I left the room with the pups. Unfortunately, he was more upset this time as he said it did not seem as peaceful as with our prior dogs. I went back in with the pups and they looked around for more attention and then went to sniff Mulan and then just looked at us like everything was fine.

Once we got home, the male, Hicks, decided that he would take over Mulan's spot on the couch. He has never done that before. Other than that, it's been normal behavior for them.

Kacaju, just wanted to mention that when we put Mulan's brother, Mushu, down two years ago, we had no initial reaction from her either. However, about six weeks later, she left the yard. She had NEVER done that before. Since we stopped putting on her collar for the electronic fence, we thought she caught the scent of an animal and was tracking it. Not until she did the exact thing again with the collar on, and went in the exact same direction, did we theorize that she was looking for Mushu as she went in the direction that I took him for walks. After that, no reaction from her again. That was also the time we realized that she was completely deaf and then decided that we would no longer use the collar since she could not hear the audible warning. We just kept and eye on her when we let her out.

Now it's time to adjust to a new normal. So glad I have the pups to ease the pain as I really hate not having a dog around. I know that the pain of losing her will pass and all the good memories will take over. I'm so glad we had her for as long as we did and are so thankful for the joy she brought us. Makes it all worthwhile.

Thanks for all the good thoughts.
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