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Thread: When to make the decision :(

  1. #1

    Default When to make the decision :(

    So coming up to 2 weeks ago now, my 14 year old dalmatians lymph nodes swelled up very suddenly and quite large.. he was still quite happy but we took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with lymphoma. We opted not to go down the path of steroids or chemo because he is old enough as it is and the treatment would probably be worse than the cancer itself. He has been on cortisone for 12 days now and the swelling in the lymph nodes has pretty much disappeared. He seemed to be doing very well, but he has lost a fair bit of weight. He has always been slim, as he has gotten older he dropped a few kg's but nothing out of the ordinary but since the lymphoma diagnoses, you can really notice a different. His head even looks like it's lost all muscle/fat (is that possible?), and looks 'hollow' on top

    I feel he has lived a very long and happy life but I just don't know when to make this decision. He still eats very happily and wags his tail but you can tell he is not his happy old self... my family thinks he is fine, but I can't stand to watch him in this way...

    How do you decide when to make the decision to say goodbye to your bestfriend of 14 years? I don't want to see him suffer but I also can't stand the thought of losing him.. I know it's going to come soon enough but.. when... I think the uncertainty is making everything worse :'(

  2. #2


    'dally24' - to the forum. What a sad first post !

    Making the decision is never easy.

    I look at the quality of life aspects - like eating, drinking, toileting and getting around. I also rely very much on my vets advice.

    He is a 14 year old - so regardless will be slowing down. Congratulations on getting him to this age !

    With lymphoma, I would be taking it day by day - but you will know in your heart when it is time.

  3. #3


    Thanks RileyJ... I think i just need some reassurance that saying goodbye is the kindest thing for him... I couldn't live with myself if I left it too long and he was distressed and in a lot of pain...

    *sigh* ... I think I need to make this decision sooner rather than later. Quality of life over quantity right?

    Lets hope this photo of my beautiful boy works. mik.jpg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013


    Your boy looks lovely. I recently went through the same thing. My cavalier had heart disease and it just tore me apart.

    We finally decided it was time, but before we could organise anything she passed away. I then worried that we had left it to late. The problem I had was that one minute she would be running up and down the beach having a great time and the next she would seem uncomfortable.

    Just remember that you know your dog best and follow your heart. I am sure you will make the right decision.
    Good luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011


    That's always such a difficult decision to make. But you know him best so you can probably tell best where he is at. Trust your gut instinct and don't let other people talk you into a decision you don't feel is right.

    My old mare lived to a proud age of 34 - and she did look terrible in the last few years. I got quite a few comments from people that it would be 'cruel' to let her hang on like that. But it was just looks. I knew her since she was 2 years old. I knew she wasn't in pain as I have seen her 'pain face' many times. Of course she slowed down but I knew her absolutely favourite thing in the whole world was food - and as long she enjoyed it that much I wasn't going to put her down - even if she wasn't a pretty sight.

    Earlier this year she went downhill fast and once she stopped eating I knew it was time. I'm glad I waited that long and have no regrets. I'm pretty sure that she was in pain the last couple of days - but what are 2 days. If I had listened to many others I would have put her down already 10 years ago.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Bundaberg QLD


    Sorry to hear about your old boy. Its so unfair they get such short life spans compared to us.

    I guess , like the others said it's a gut feeling you get. You kinda 'just know'.

    If that tails wagging there is life.....and love left in his soul. But once the eating, drinking, toilet control stops then i'd see that as him giving up on himself.

    I wish you guys all the best. Please give the old boy a ear rub from me. Make his last days, weeks, months as special for him as you can. I'm sure you'll spoil him rotten.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    For me when I have a decision to make that involves emotional upheaval I sit in a quiet place, breathe slowly and put one hand on my stomach and listen to myself, my thoughts. For some reason it settles me and helps me think clearer. I can usually find my decision then. Worth trying

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    cortisone is a steroid. It has nasty side effects used long term but for treating symptoms in terminal illnesses, long term badness doesn't matter very much.

    I don't know how you decide it's time. As best I can tell - it's often about a month before you (or your family) thought you should. And in my family's case with one dog - maybe three months earlier.

    I tend to go by is the dog still happy - at least some of the time.

    With one of the family dogs - she was struggling to get up or lie down and would try to get up every time any of us moved from one room to the next. Her hearing was gone, her eyesight was failing and in the end she couldn't even smell out her dinner bowl. She'd run around the house looking for it and crashing into things she couldn't see properly. And she stopped recognising us.

    I was also worried about her sunbaking - that mum would come home and find her fried and dead on the hot pavers. Not the best way to go.

    Seriously way past time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Mid North Coast NSW


    Such sad posts this morning, this is the second time I've had a tear in my eye in 10 mins. I'm not going to try to give advice on when is the time, I just wanted to lend my support at such a heartbreaking time. I fell in love with your boy as soon as I saw his pic - what a lovely dog. Great work getting him to 14! Thinking of you while you make this sad decision

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    I was just thinking the same Dhru. And crying again.
    Dally, i hope you can listen to yourself, and make the decision when the time is right. for you and your dog.
    It is never going to feel 'right' though. And there is always a large part of us that doesnt want to face the truth. Or me anyhow.

    Looking at his pic, and wow, those markings are fantastic on the head shot. So harley indeed!
    take care, take time, take courage, for whenever you decide.

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