I don’t know what to do – and it’s killing me.

I’m naturally a decisive person. I listen to the information, choose a course of action and go with it.

It’s not always a good thing. Sometimes I make up my mind too quickly and it can take me a long time to realise I was wrong or hadn’t thought things through for long enough. Unfortunately, although I am fully aware of my own confirmation bias, it still affects me. I try to listen to all sides, but I often give more credence to the stuff that agrees with me.

Even with ambiguous arguments that realistically could go both ways, I generally choose a position that I feel most aligned with and use that as the basis for my decision. Simple.

I like to research. I like to understand. Bur sometimes that just doesn’t help.

I’m in a situation where I just don’t know what to do. I have a sick dog. She’s the closest thing I will ever have to a child. Let me be very clear about this, she is not a replacement for a child – I chose not to have kids – but she has been like a child to me. I’ve had her since she was seven weeks old, taught her, worried about her, been frustrated by her but more than anything else loved her with my whole heart.

She’ll be 10 at the end of this month which is pretty old for a Leonberger. She has difficulty standing on her own as she has arthritis in her hips, she has an interdigital  cyst on her foot which is swollen and sore at the moment and she has had some recent breathing difficulties which she is on steroids for (and thankfully seems to be working). Because of these issues she’s not really into going out for a walk – actually that’s not quite true. She’s really like’s the idea of going out and will pester me to take her, but within half a dozen steps she’s ready to turn around and go home. In fact the only thing that seems to give her real pleasure is eating, and I can’t let her eat too much or it will make all of her symptoms worse.

So what can I do for her? She seems to want to be on her own (she’ll go into the kitchen or garden) but then she’ll whine until I go and sit with her and try to comfort her. I’m more than willing to do that, but I can’t spend my life sat on the kitchen floor (normally in a puddle of water – if you know Leo’s you’ll know they seem to be happiest when splashing in water).

I don’t believe it’s time to say goodbye to her yet, though I also know it won’t be too far away. I’m doing what I can for her but it doesn’t feel like enough.

I don’t know what to do – and it’s killing me.

It makes me feel sad, helpless and useless. These are not feeling I like.

I wish someone would just tell me what to do. More than that though I wish I could make her better, and I can’t.

I know I need to learn to accept this – and that will probably make me feel better – but I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to accept that I can’t make my little girl feel good.

As with all crappy experiences, it does give me more empathy though. I know what I’m feeling is bad, but I can’t imagine what this feeling is like for people who are taking care of sick or dying relatives, be they partners, parents or children. The idea of this feeling being magnified seems like pure torture to me.

All I can do is what I can. I will continue to love her, be with her, comfort her and help her in any way I can think of. It may not always make things better, but it’s all I’ve got.

I wish I had more.

 

 

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12 Comments

Filed under Mental Health, Stress, support

12 responses to “I don’t know what to do – and it’s killing me.

  1. Human Interest

    Me and my family experienced a lot of health issues with our Labrador retriever and unfortunately we had to put her down. We loved her dearly and that is why we had to do that especially since keeping her alive any longer was just too painful for her. Not putting her down at the time would have been selfish of us, you know?

    • I totally get that, and in a way I think it would be easier if that was the decision I was able to make, but she’s just not there yet. I’ve had other dogs that have been put to sleep when it was their time and I think it’s one of the most loving and humane decisions when done for the right reasons.

      • Human Interest

        I understand that. The decision is solely yours. Our dog unfortunately was there at the time. We couldn’t see her suffer anymore so it was the best decision for all of us at the time.

  2. Hugs. It’s so hard. I’ve been told that they’ll let you know when they’re ready, and have heard several instances where that seems to hold true.

    • Thanks. I’ve heard the same thing. The Vet thinks she’s still doing OK but it breaks my heart to see her in pain. I might just be a big wimp and am projecting my fear of pain onto her, but I think it’s because I feel like I’m letter her down in some way by not being able to make it stop.

  3. I can’t tell you what to do. No one can. When my lab became infested with cancer, I didn’t know what to do. I was devastated. I was so torn. He would have great days and the next, he wouldn’t move. Everyone gave me advice. One day, I looked at him, and I knew exactly what I needed to do. He looked at me, and even though people think I’m crazy, it was in his eyes that he didn’t want to go on any further. I had to accept it. You will know. It won’t be easy, but you will know. The only comfort is that you will both know together. I hope you can find peace in it when the time comes.

  4. We understand what you are going through. Our last dog told us it was time to go he stopped eating and would not move no matter what. On the way to the vets he tried to put on a brave face by sitting up right (his most favorite place in the world) in the back seat but it did not last as drove along he slowly sank down and needed to be carried from the car when we reached the vets. One of the longest walks I have had to make on one of the worst day of the year.

    That was many years ago now and it is still difficult to remember.

  5. I am sorry to hear about your dog. My previous dog, Lucky, was the best friend I could ever have. We went everywhere together and looked after each other. I was with him right until the end.

    All I can say is this. Dogs are blessed in that they don’t really understand about the future, or their physical deterioration. If she is not in pain and still able to do some things she enjoys, it is OK. When the time comes, you will know, and although it is a painful choice it won’t be a hard one.

    Until then, rather than think about the future, it is best to stay focused in the moment, appreciate her for what she is and enjoy what time you have left.

    How lucky we are to be able to have such special bonds with another living thing.

    • You are absolutely right. I feel blessed every day I have with her. I spoke to the Vet today and we’re upping her steroids and putting her on an anti histamine to see if that helps. We both agreed we’re in the realms of palliative care now and it’s just a matter of time, but we want to keep her as comfortable as possible until then. I’m trying not to waste the now with worry about the future, and if she’s happy that becomes much easier 🙂

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