Knowing When It's Time To Say Goodbye To A Pet

Soon, we may have to let our senior Shiba go.  

There, I've said it, or at least typed the words.. it's something we've been dreading even THINKING about, but this past week has forced us to face the reality.. 

Our little old man JoJo is just that.. a little old man who has been having some issues.

He was ten when we rescued him, and we thought 'we'll give him a few good years at least' 

Well, it's been SEVEN years, so he's at least 17, although we wonder if he was even older than the 10 years his previous owners told us.  They were not the most responsible pet owners, let's just say..

JoJo came to us unaltered (we had to have him neutered) and he had Cataracts and bad teeth.  He was aggressive and not friendly towards other dogs, humans, or anything else for that matter!

Wow the work we put in to give him the life he didn't have for the first 10 years or so of his life..

But we did it and he blossomed..

He was able to co-exist and even enjoy our other two Shibas, he learned how to play, and little by little his silly quirky personality came out.

He's been aging somewhat gracefully, although I look at the above picture of him with my husband's sneakers, and realize he hasn't done that in a very long time..

And that's one thing our vet talked to us about, think about the things your pet does on a regular basis, the things that are 'fun' like playing with a favorite toy, going for a walk, etc.. 

When they stop doing the things on 'the list' it's time to consider how their 'quality of life' is..

We know he doesn't see or hear much anymore, and he has Dementia.  It's very similar to what a human goes through when they get older, he gets extremely agitated with any change to his routine or his familiar surroundings, so we take great care to give him his 'safe space' and not to disrupt his day to day mealtimes, outside time, nap time, etc...

We had a scare last weekend, he got sick a few times and seemed to be in distress, so we rushed him to the emergency vet at 1 in the morning..

That car ride was stressful for all of us, to say the least.. he cried and just wanted OUT of the car.

We haven't been taking him on car rides for the last year or so because he just doesn't enjoy them, and the Dementia has made him fearful of anything outside his comfort zone.

After 4 hours and and an x-ray to see if there could be a blockage, we all went home exhausted.

He seemed to be improving, but then Sunday night we had another nerve-wracking drive to the vet..

This time we came home with some pain and stomach meds, and slowly but surely over the last 5 days he's returned to his 'normal' senior self.

So now we are taking it literally One Day At A Time, and enjoying every second we have with him.

But we've agreed.. we will not let him suffer, or be in pain, in order to make it easier for us..

If you're facing a similar decision, I found some good information from the American Humane Society, just click HERE 


Below are some videos of our JoJo and some with our other two Shibas who passed suddenly, sparing us from making 'the decision' I guess.  

It's these memories that I cherish, and I wouldn't change anything we've experienced with adopting a senior dog.

It hasn't always been easy, but it's worth every minute..

Also I'm realizing that watching these videos and remembering JoJo before the Dementia started does help me to see him better now, and will make it easier when the time comes to say goodbye to him, at least I hope anyway.



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