Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dogs Don't Live Long Enough

Thunder is very old. He's 13, which is ... old for a German Shepherd. He's very, very arthritic and he has a very hard time moving. He falls - a LOT. Cries to get up, cries to lay down, has to be carried up/down steps and in/out of the car.

He can't walk very far and he limps badly. His rear end just isn't cooperating with him.

But even through it all, he has such a good attitude, which is the problem.

He seems like he hurts so much, but at the same time, he still wags his tail to see us, gives kisses, talks all the time, harasses the cat, and tries to chase people along the fence in his slow, clumsy way.

He has rimadyl and tramadol for pain but they don't seem to be helping him any, as well as a glucosamine supplement twice a day.

He's so old that I don't think there is a lot we can do for him. You can't fix being old. You don't give a hip replacement to a 13 year old dog of his breed - emotionally, sure I'd love to just fix what's broken, but it doesn't seem the right move. That's a hell of a lot to put a dog through at this age.

Basically, I think I'm seeing the end of the tunnel coming up for him. I just don't know what I should do:

Leave him be, since he still seems in good spirits, and hope he passes in his sleep one day, all the while knowing it will slowly get worse and the pain will increase?

Or, do I put a stop to it while he's still happy and before it gets worse?

I don't know if he can hold one a few months or another year. The life span of a GSD is approximately 7-10 years. Hip and elbow displaysia is super common. He's completely deaf.

It seems so unfair to see him hurting, but I hate making that choice for him.

I think that relatively soonish, I'll take him in to the vet anyway to get some x-rays and talk to the vet about it and maybe get an extra opinion. It's just frustrating trying to decide what is right for him, when he can't tell me himself.