Cricket was my familiar, my baby, my little soulmate. We chose each other and stuck together like glue.

Adopting a Middle-Aged Dog

When I got Cricket from rat terrier rescue, she was already about six to eight years old. I thought I was in for heartbreak by adopting a middle-aged dog. Well, I was, but not because we got only a couple of years. We got ten years, and I’m so grateful for that. But I was still in for heartbreak because of how much we loved each other and because ten years, or twenty, or thirty would never have been enough.

Cricket as I remember her best: confident and direct. The other dogs disliked her direct gaze.

Cricket was a robust little thing. Only 12 pounds, but sturdy, intense, brave, and frankly, bitchy to other dogs. Even with limited interactions between the two of them, Cricket managed to intimidate my very pushy puppy Clara, who quickly grew to be more than three times Cricket’s size but never even thought of messing with her.

Cricket never had many health problems. The worst thing that happened was that she would repeatedly scratch her cornea when rolling in the grass and had to wear a cone on her head for long periods during the summer. And as she aged, she developed neurological weakness in her hind legs. But that was it, man. Otherwise, she was healthy as a tiny, sturdy horse.

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

So as bad luck would have it, this strong little dog who was aging so well and was so physically strong started to lose her mind instead.

I had some experience with dementia since my mother had Alzheimer’s, but I had no idea dogs could get it until then. I tell the story of Cricket’s diagnosis and how I learned about dementia in my book. But that’s not my focus today. Most of the people who come to this website are already struggling with the thought of euthanizing their dogs. So I am going to skip ahead, over our wonderful years together, and go to the end.

There’s that look again

I have to be honest. I could talk about the tragedy of canine cognitive dysfunction and the pathos of watching a dog’s mind deteriorate. Those things are real and commonly experienced by owners. But in my case, once I learned what was going on, I rolled with it. Goofy and mixed up, she was still my little Cricket. She was still essentially herself. I do realize now that, while I had to deal with some pretty difficult symptoms (like her pooping on the rug and walking around in it almost every day), we had it easier than a lot of others. She actually slept at night. She got quieter instead of barkier, to the great relief of my other dogs.

But this is the hardest thing to explain: I wasn’t really that sad about her dementia. Of course, I wished she had all her marbles. She had been such a sharp little dog. But I could and did accommodate her decline. She lived for two years after her diagnosis. I couldn’t be sad all the time. I loved her fiercely. She was still 100% my little girl.

Starting to Consider the Euthanasia Decision

I started agonizing over the decision of when/whether to euthanize her pretty early in the game. She scratched her cornea again when she was 15 or 16, and since by then she couldn’t cope with the plastic cone, I thought I was going to lose her. Over a scratch in her eye! But I found another kind of device she could wear that prevented her from bothering her eye, and she healed up and was fine. Whew. Thank goodness for the inflatable doughnut.

But from then on, I was always assessing. Was she happy? Were her days mostly positive? Was I being selfish by keeping her with me? Was she miserable because of her declining mental capacities? I checked with trusted friends regularly to make sure I wasn’t unduly biased.

Through observation, I determined that she wasn’t bothered by her decline. She didn’t know about it. This is true of many humans with Alzheimer’s as well. Not all, but many. There is even a name for the syndrome of not knowing you have something wrong with you: anosognosia. It is actually a typical symptom of dementia. And to all appearances, Cricket had the doggie equivalent of that.

What Are the Problems With Common Attitudes To Euthanasia?

I feel confident in reporting about typical attitudes in the U.S., and these may be prevalent in most other English speaking countries as well. People who can afford to give their pets good medical care usually decide to euthanize their pets when they won’t eat and start to waste away. If we feel like we can control the pain of whatever condition they might have, we take “not eating” or sometimes “unable to walk” as the main turning point. But I have come to observe that many pets are already living with pain and a poor quality of life before they refuse food or become too weak to walk.

I started listening to wise people like Blanche Axton and Sue Matthews, who both wrote beautiful pieces about their attitudes towards euthanasia and were kind enough to let me reprint them in my book, Remember Me. I think the chapter where the three of us tell our stories gives more comfort to people than any other.

They—and I—don’t want to squeeze out every last day our pets can handle. We want to help them leave this life before the final decline. The saying, “Better a week too early than a day too late” has become my mantra. I imagine this is shocking to some people. We all need to make our own decisions about this. But I bet also that to some people who are struggling with guilt over a dog with dementia it can be a great comfort.

The Last Months

In 2013, Cricket could no longer go on a real walk (she circled instead). She got trapped behind stuff and paced or circled much of the day. But she still went to work with me most days. She had a good—a great—appetite. And she still knew me. This was pivotal for me, and I don’t think I was being self-centered. She had gone through periods of anxiety early in the onset of dementia but seemed to have passed through them. The medication she was on, selegiline, probably helped. But I feared the day she would forget me. Maybe the anosognosia would help there, too. Maybe she could keep sailing through life just fine without me. But I didn’t want to risk it. So that was one benchmark I was conscious of. I wanted to let her pass out of this world before she forgot me, lest she would become anxious again.

A friend remarked how she always stayed close to me. When I was present, she would toddle up (remember the rear end weakness) until she could sniff my leg to make sure it was me. Then she would stick around with me. She would stay with her head right next to my leg, her nose often touching. This was such a comfort to both of us. And a signal to me of what was important to her.

In the spring of 2013, I observed that she enjoyed our time together outside less. She had lost most intention. She still peed when I took her out, bless her heart. But after that, she would simply walk downhill, wherever that took her. She had little volition. And she was less interested in smells. In late March she forgot how to drink water. She still had an appetite and ate healthily, but she had forgotten how to drink water. I made all of her meals into soup with milk or unsalted broth, or just water in a pinch. She continued to eat with gusto and I kept her hydrated that way. But I knew her quality of life was teetering.

She grew frailer. She had no metabolic or internal problems that I knew of, but her rear end weakness was making it harder to walk. Her balance was poor and when she did walk she had no idea where she was going. I knew the time was coming, and I obsessed about when. I was proud that she was still at her lifetime normal weight of 12 pounds. She was still eating great. When might that change? What else might change before that?

Owning My Decision

People often say that the dog will “tell you when it’s time to go.” My opinion may not be a popular one, but I believe that when we wait for dogs to tell us, we have often waited too long. So many dogs are stoic. The day they lose one more pound and look more emaciated, can’t get up to stand, or look at us pleadingly may well come after they have already suffered. We can’t eliminate all suffering, but we don’t have to force them to go down this road, either because we want their companionship or we feel guilty taking our beloved dog’s life.

So I didn’t wait for a signal from Cricket. She was cognitively impaired, after all. I can be sentimental and romantic, but I won’t do it at my dog’s expense. It’s a romantic thought that the dog will know when it’s time to go and somehow convey that to you. I decided not to count on that.

The day Cricket had a major seizure, I decided to euthanize her. That, to me, was the turning point that indicated we were looking at a downhill slope in her quality of life.

It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I decided to euthanize her immediately. I didn’t try for a sweet last day or night. The weekend was coming up and I didn’t want her to have more seizures. And I had already been trying to make all of her days sweet.

It Wasn’t Her Decision

These are some of the hardest words I’ll ever write, but Cricket didn’t go easily. The vet had to use six times the normal dose of the drugs to euthanize her. There was a point during the process where, if I could have, I might have changed my mind. But I was afraid she would be left with permanent damage if I tried to reverse the process. In the end, I still think my decision was the right one. But when she sat in my lap, alertly looking around, after the first dose—double what should have euthanized her—it was agony.

On the other hand, I had long known that this was the way she would go out of the world. She was tough—terribly, terribly tough—and full of life. She wasn’t going to make it easy for me. That’s who she was.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Is an Illness

It is very, very hard to euthanize a dog who can still walk, will still eat, and has it in her to growl at the vet. I can’t count how many times people have come to this site with a dog who is in very late stage dementia but the person is convinced that they are being selfish for considering euthanasia. These people don’t strike me as selfish. Not at all. I think in some cases, euthanasia is the most unselfish things we can do for our dogs.

Dogs with metastatic cancer or end-stage kidney disease are obviously ill. We can see their suffering. But sometimes, when dogs with advanced dementia still have fairly healthy bodies, we can’t see it. But canine cognitive dysfunction is a progressive, debilitating illness, as serious and impairing as many others.

You folks who come to this website are almost all suffering. You don’t usually get a lot of praise or affirmation from the world for all you are doing. But you are heroes to me because of the amount of thoughtful, endless care you provide for your sweet, ancient, confused dogs. I wish for peace and comfort for all of you and for your dogs.

Tri-color rat terrier standing in front of a bush
Cricket in her prime

 

See more resources regarding euthanasia here

Copyright 2017 Eileen Anderson

655 Responses

  1. I thank you for writing this. It was a little over a year ago I put my Pumpkin to sleep. She was acting the same as Cricket- doing more circling than anything. Eating better than she ever had, but forgetting her favorite people, including me. She probably could have lived longer than her 16 years, but I determined it wasn’t fair to her. There were so many things that she loved and could no longer do or remember. I felt it was better to let her go than keep her here to make me feel better.

    1. Kristyn,
      What a loving and thoughtful decision you made. Obviously, I’m with you all the way. Thank you for sharing about dear Pumpkin.

      1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am agonizing over this decision and can relate to all your emotions. I feel sick with knowing our Amber is close and not knowing when the right time is. I don’t want to rob her of one minute of happiness or life. She is 16+ and though her senior moments can be endearing, her anxiety is painful to watch. Anyway, thank you again. So very much.

        1. I needed to hear this. I’m struggling so bad with my 16 year old Shih tzu, Gracey. She is down from her normal 11 lbs to 7.8 lbs, paces and cries from 4pm until we go to bed (luckily, she sleeps through the night), and has been pottying in the house often, which is not like her. She used to be my travel buddy, always wanting to go bye bye, but now she cries and is so anxious in the car. Going to the groomer is miserable for her, but has to be done. She’s lost most muscle mass in her back end and falls a lot. Finally got my vet to start her on selegiline, but I’m afraid it’s too late. We are moving out of state in a few months and I’m so scared of how this is going to affect her. Am I keeping her around for me or do I let her go? It just hurts my heart to think about it but I only want what’s best for her.

          1. Tracey,
            I’m so sorry you are going through this. I can tell how much you love Gracey. I hope you can feel right about whatever decision you make.
            Eileen

          2. While I’m grateful to all who’ve shared, I’m still struggling – Hana, a border collie x chihuahua, is 16+, clearly suffers from canine dementia (paces all day AND night; poops as she walks and if she pooped on her bed, because her sense of smell has reduced, she will sleep on top of her poop; if she remembers, she pees on her tray otherwise, it is all over the wooden floor), she is blind in her left eye and only see shapes in her right and deaf. She is on selegiline (highest dose) for the past one month but no effect. I can go on. Just ordered melatonin for her so she can sleep at night. She is still highly motivated by food and treats. But my vet said never wait until she stops eating because at that point, it is her body shutting down. Sooo….when…when do I call it ‘quits’? After reading the posts here, I believe it is time. Many thanks again to all who have shared.

          3. Hi Elsie,
            I am so sorry that you are at this decision point. It’s the very hardest one with our dogs, and I think particularly when they have dementia. I’m sure any decision you make will be the right one.

            Take care,
            Eileen

    2. Thank you so much for writing this!!! I put my Peanut down in 2012 who had dementia and it ripped my heart out. But having him look at me with confusion killed me.

      Recently my dog Coco has starting showing sings and we have an appt on Thursday with the vet. But in my heart of heart I know…and I have been struggling with that coice.

      Thank you so much!!!!

  2. Thank you, once again, Eileen for such an accurate description of how it feels to care for a dog with dementia. I especially related to the part where you describe how hard it is to euthenize a dog that can still walk and eat.
    On the morning that my Clyde was going to be euthenized I took him for his last walk. We walked the same trail that we always did every day of his life… a 2 mile walk, through the forest trails. When we arrived home he didn’t want to stop and I allowed him to do anything he wanted. He ran and circled around and played. I cried. I video taped his last walk and I still watch it from time to time.
    His body was still strong. His mind was gone. He sometimes knew me, he was anxious, he couldn’t eat without my help, he peed and pooped in the house daily and circled and cried all night long keeping me awake and with little sleep for almost 2 years.
    It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made to euthenize him, but now as I move forward in my life one year later, I know also that it was the right time and that Clyde wanted it that way.
    Thank you again for your great book which helped me cope, gave me ideas, and explained the unexplainable.

    1. Dear Shona,
      Thank you for your kind words and thank you so much for sharing about Clyde. He was so lucky to have your love and care.

    2. This sounds just like my Bruiser. I have an appointment tomorrow morning for him to be out to sleep. I’m still struggling tonight with my decision

      1. Hello Susan,
        I just came across this article in trying to figure out with my poor little dog, and saw your post about Bruiser. I know it was some time ago, but I imagine that must have been a very long night, indeed. I hope you are ok and am sure Bruiser is on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge waiting for you. Peace to you.

        1. It’s 3 am and I have been up more than in bed tonight as I care for my 16 year old puppy mill rescue Boston terrier. When we got her 10 years ago Terra had been terribly traumatized so her dementia symptoms did not seem too out of the ordinary. She cannot get up on her own so she cries from her bed when she wakes so I will help her up and carry her outside to pee. She is still eating and taking selegeline. She also takes previcox for arthritis pain. I know it is time but just find it difficult to give myself permission to give up on her.

    3. My 17 year old Chihuahua had canine dementia. I started to notice changes in her last summer. She was disoriented, paced, couldn’t figure how to get out of a corner, circled so much she made herself and me dizzy. She would cry for no reason or yelp. She really didn’t know us but I believe her lack of hearing & eyesight added to this. She also had cogestive heart failure for the past 5 years. She did have a good appetite though most of the time. This past Sunday morning while sleeping she had some type of episode with shaking, &yelping . I calmed her down but she was extremely restless, wouldn’t relax and paced and banged into things. A few hours later while laying in her bed she began the yelping again no stop. I tried holding her to calm her but she didn’t stop. We rushed her to the vet. The entire ride & while we were there she never stopped. The doctor gave us a few options but told her she wouldn’t get better. I made a promise to her & myself I wouldn’t put her through any added stress. It wasn’t fair not with her heart issues and her age. I had given her the best care and love her whole life , now it was time to decide. My family and I decided to let her go. It was the hardest thing we had to do . She went quick and peacefullly. I know it was the right thing to do but I still question myself. I just wasn’t really ready for her to leave me. It hurts my heart immensely. I know in time my heart will heal but there will always be a small emptiness.

  3. A really helpful, heartfelt blog. I think many will take solace in your words. Its made me think of how I’m going to tackle the hardest decision…

  4. I went through this earlier this year with my 15 year old Cairn terrier, I loved him so much but he was getting very grumpy and difficult to handle, even trying to get him on a lead he turned agressive and had bitten me a few times,he was on drugs for his pain relief and |I think he was in more pain than we knew, he was regulary seen at the vets, his normal health was good he enjoyed his food and walks in our field as he did not need a lead, but the agression was very bad ,the vet said that we really had to think about things, I did, and one morning we knew it was time to say good bye, it as the hardest thing I have ever had to do, because when the vet came to our home, he got up and greeted her, tail wagging, I am afraid that I left my husband with him and had to leave the room only going back when he was asleep, I have never forgiven myself for this as I feel I let him down, but I do know we had to do it as he could have attacked someone who came to visit, but he was doing all the things Cricket did, hide in corners etc. He is now in his Urn on our mantle shelf in the kitchen with his picture,he will always be loved and never forgotten.

    1. That sounds so hard, Jan. But you acted out of love–that is so plain. Be easy on yourself about leaving the room. Your boy knew you loved and cared for him. I’m glad you were able to have him put to sleep at home. The thing that broke your heart so much–that he was happy and animated–has another side to it. He wasn’t scared. It sounds like the way most of us would want to go. Hugs.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing these memories and for creating this blog. It is a wealth of information full of sensible and compassionate advice. My 10-12 year old female dog is in the early stages of CCD and we are seeing a number of the behaviors on your checklist. Most notable and difficult at the moment is pacing/panting/anxiety at night. This night behavior is causing our healthy male dog to growl and try to correct her because she keeps pacing near his head when he is trying to sleep, so we are now separating them at night, but the separation seems to increase our female’s anxiety, since she is used to being near her buddy all the time. Needless to say, none of us are getting a lot of sleep! I have a call into our vet about starting her on selegiline. Could you please share how symptomatic Cricket was when you first started her on selegiline, and how much/what kind of change you noticed in her symptoms? In particular, I’m wondering if it helped with her night behavior? I also plan to ask our vet about a possible anti-anxiety medication to use before bedtime. Thank you so much for all your work in putting this blog together.

    1. I’m so glad the site is helpful! I’m so sorry about your dog and how tough the nights are getting for her and your family. I was very lucky in that Cricket didn’t have many of the night disturbance symptoms, so there was little to see change with the selegiline. What I did see change was less zoning out. She was more responsive and also less anxious. I think you are doing the most important thing by contacting your vet about this.

      If it helps to know, I had three other dogs at the time I had Cricket, and two of them I kept completely away from her. Including that when we all went to bed at night, those two slept in closed crates in the bedroom. I couldn’t trust one of them not to be aggressive (they had a history) and the other was just so much bigger and pushy that I was afraid she would jostle/trample Cricket just in the course of her normal behavior. The crates worked for us because both were crate trained and liked their crates, and especially liked being with me at night, even if it meant being in a crate.

      I hope you can work something out for your situation with your dogs and family. I know how hard it can be.

      1. Thank you so much for writing this. My 14 year old English Bulldog has dementia and bad arthritis. She can hardly walk on her own. She’s really progressed this past year and it’s been hard. I have an appointment to put her to sleep tomorrow morning. I’m dreading it, but reading your article helped calm my doubts about my decision. Thank you.

  6. Through my tears, I thank-you Eileen for sharing. I know I had to be unselfish to send my 19 yr. old boy Rascal to the Bridge. I really think that the key word here for all of us is to not be selfish and to release and let go…..through our tears.

  7. Thank you for sharing. Touched me to the core. My Sammy was doing the same thing her last of 16 years. I knew when it was time to let her go but my husband just couldn’t do it and convinced me that Sammy still had so much life in her and we shouldn’t euthanize her, so she lived an entire year after the day we should have helped her die. Yes, my heart knew otherwise. Our Sammy who never had an accident in the house began doing just that. The circling…the dreaded circling. The walking downhill and getting stuck when she was in the back yard. She didn’t know who we were anymore and tried to bite me (broke my heart) when I’d give her baths, so I didn’t bathe her as often as she needed. It was sad, and we should have euthanized her once she had her first stroke…she had a second one. Sammy, like your baby, also had always been very healthy. Oh my Sammy. I should have helped her move on. Instead she finally died on her own. I knew the time was hours and minutes away so I layed her in some soft clean bedding that I wanted to bundle her in before her body was lifeless. I wanted to bury her cradled in “comfort”. I watched her die as I lay on the ground next to her in our patio one beautiful sunny breezy spring day. It was hard. It was just me and my Sammy. My husband and teenage (at the time) daughter couldn’t emotionally handle being present so they waited in the house. It was hard but beautiful all at the same time. Since then, now 12 or so years later, I wish I had helped her die after her first stroke…an entire year sooner. My Sammy….💗

    1. Teri, you have left me without words. I’m so sorry about your regrets. But Sammy was so lucky to have all of you who loved her so. Hugs to you.

  8. This is a great perspective. I understand that the love people have for their pets can sometimes turn into selfishness without realizing that the suffering is hidden by their stoic furbaby who lived to please. However, in the case of dementia, I ask myself if I would want to exist in that state as a human? Cricket’s seizure informed your decision to let her go. Without being flippant, she inadvertently made your decision an obvious one. Many other pet owners aren’t afforded that opportunity. Quality of life is the standard benchmark that we try to adhere to when deciding when its time. Dementia makes it harder for one to determine that. So, if I was faced with the agonizing decision to euthanize a pet with an obvious level of dementia, I would put myself in my pet’s place and try to imagine if I was happy and comfortable with the way I was feeling. It sounds like you analyzed Cricket’s state of well being as being content and pain-free before her seizure. But at what point would one determine when it really is time to let go had extenuating circumstances not appeared? I agree with you that we are generally not told by our pet when it’s time. It’s always harder on us than it is on them. Perhaps that’s the ultimate price we pay for all those years of unconditional love and companionship. But we’d never give that back ❤️.

    1. (I took the liberty of incorporating the correction that you sent in.)

      Really good points, Tom. Yes, in a way my decision was an obvious one. I think I was looking for an “event.” So because I got one, it was easier than it could have been. But it was also harder than it could have been, since she wasn’t obviously impaired by the seizure. I’ve always focused on that part when thinking about it. But you are correct that I did have something to hang my decision on. I like your empathetic approach to the question.

      Thanks for your comments. You made me think.

      1. Cricket certainly was a sweetie! And it’s hard no matter the circumstances to say good bye to our loved fur babies. I have 2 pugs who gave been joined at the hip since birth. They’re now 10 and healthy so I’m hoping for another 6 or 7 years of their love. After that, I will be devoting my love of pugs to senior rescues. We learn so much. Take care and thanks for your vital take on canine dementia. Cheers!

  9. Thank you so much for this article…. I have a dog that the vet thinks has dementia, and now I realize that she is probably right. This really opened my eyes, and helped to prepare me and also give me more things to discuss with the vet that might help my little aging dog for awhile.

  10. “People often say that the dog will “tell you when it’s time to go.” My opinion may not be a popular one, but I believe that when we wait for dogs to tell us, we have often waited too long.”
    I wholeheartedly agree with it. I waited for the first dog I had to euthanize to tell me that – I waited too long, regretted it and vowed I’d never do it again. Yet ended up doing the same just a few months ago, with one of my all-time favorite dogs, with a similar problem, hoping for just one more day, one more sign that things will get better.
    Now my oldest dog, a 13-year old Dachshund is, I think, showing early signs of CCD, and every day I ponder about if/when I’ll have to euthanize her, and it breaks my heart every day. Yet again I vow not to make the same mistakes I did.
    Thank you so much for writing this!

    1. Oh Carla, thank you. It’s a really, really hard thing to remember, isn’t it? I hope things go as easily as possible with your Doxie–abut first things first—I hope you still have lots of good time with her.

  11. I am struggling with this decision with my whippet. Unlike everyone else here, he is only 4. However, he is pathologically afraid. Of everything. People, novel situations, novel places, everything but other dogs. We got him as a 5 month old rescue. We knew he had anxiety problems, but figured we could work through them. We do sports and know lots of people who have rescued dogs with fear issues and they have blossomed and become “real dogs”. Until Zer0, I had never known of a fearful dog who didn’t eventually come out of his shell. I’ve honestly never met or heard of a dog as fearful as he is. In all my searches on the internet, I’ve never read about someone having to euthanize their dog for fear issues, without fear aggression coming into play. Ever.

    We try to manage his anxiety with medications, but the 10mg of klonopin, 400mg of trazodone, 0.2mg of clonidine, and the 40mg of clonipramine only somewhat take the edge off. He has has two mini strokes this year, and both times he forgot the people he had become accustomed to and we had to start over. Most days at home, he is ok. Sometimes awesome, but mostly just ok. Then there are the days that he can hear something (real or imagined) outside that scares him, and nothing we can do can calm him. Physically, he is completely healthy and active. Eats like a horse, could run for miles (if we could take him somewhere that didn’t scare him to give him the opportunity), can jump on the counter from a standstill, you name it.

    In many ways it is like living with a dog with CCD. At some point, you have to admit to yourself that he isn’t going to get better, only worse. And you have to comprehend that you will have to euthanize a physically healthy dog. Maybe not today, maybe not next week, but there is a point that will come. And that knowledge doesn’t make making the decision easier.

    1. Emily, I am so sorry. You came to a place where somebody understands. I have dealt with three dogs with fears, one moderate, one severe enough for medication, and one feral who didn’t need medication but is an ongoing project at 6 years old. None of them is nearly as severe as your whippet. But since I’m in a community of people with fearful dogs, I have heard of situations as severe as, or perhaps almost as severe as yours. I’m glad you are in the hands of a capable vet who is not afraid to prescribe medications. And I’m sorry that their effects are only slight.

      There are no quick fixes (and I won’t let anybody post any of those type of suggestions) and it’s completely understandable to me that for some dogs there may be no fix. If you want to consult with someone who has dealt with dogs possibly as fearful as yours, you might contact Debbie Jacobs of Fearfuldogs.com . She does phone/videoconferencing consults. She is all about quality of life and wouldn’t judge you for choosing euthanasia–not at all. She possibly might have some suggestions, but if not could be a comfort to talk to. (We are friends but I don’t get a kickback. She is one of the handful of trainers I recommend with no caveats.)

      Again, I am so sorry. Your dog is lucky to be in your hands and I’m sorry for the ongoing and potential heartbreak.

      1. I am very lucky to be working with a vet behaviorist, one of the best in the country. Our regular vet and her behavioral team are completely on board with our decisions regarding his time on Earth. She was very honest with me and told me he has a terrible prognosis and that, sometimes, euth is the kinder option. My husband and I are prepared to make the decision, as hard as it will be. Thank you for your kind words.

        1. I’m so glad you are seeing a vet behaviorist–it kind of sounded to me like you were. And that you have a wonderful support team. Hugs.

    2. Oh man, Emily. That is one of the hardest places to be with a dog. And I think one that many folks don’t readily see as “suffering”.
      I had a dog that had horrible separation anxiety and noise phobias. And while meds worked, ultimately, we also believe CCD had started. We couldn’t stop his Separation Anxiety meds to put him on Anipryl….and ultimately, I called a halt because nothing was effective….his terror was much more prominent than his CCD….and I let him go more due to his fear than his dementia.
      I’ve had to euthanize a few dogs for behavioural issues…and people generally understand when there is aggression, but are not always as understanding about paralyzing fear. And you may have a dog that has neurological impairments that make the meds less effective or ineffective.

      For me, it’s ALWAYS about the suffering. Always. I don’t care what the reason for the suffering is, but my job as the dog’s owner is to mediate or stop the suffering. If I can’t do that in any other way…meds, behaviour modification, changing the environment….then sometimes you are left with the horrible choice….life with suffering or putting an end to the suffering finally.
      My heart goes out to you.

      1. Zer0 is so hard, because he doesn’t have separation anxiety and has never shown evidence of any aggression. Those things, and this isn’t the right word to use at all, are “easier”. More indicative of a problem. This summer, we actually made the appointment and then cancelled it, because after making it he had the best two weeks of his life. At some point though, it isn’t going to be enough.

  12. I put my precious 14 year old Abby (Rat Terrier) to rest on October 30. 2017. I cried my eyes out. It is a week later and I am still choked up. Abby was showing signs of diabetes and had several indications of CCD. She didn’t appear to be suffering, but I could tell she was lacking quality of life. I still feel I betrayed her, but deep down I know I did the right thing. I feel that if I had waited, I would only be delaying the inevitable. This website has helped me very much. Goodbye sweet babygirl.

  13. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am writing this through my tears, as I know it is time for me to make that decision for my precious baby Kero. He will be 15 in December. He has dementia and is currently taking hemp oil. It is no longer helping. He has extreme anxiety, is not sleeping at night and getting lost in his lifelong home. What is making the decision harder, is that his body is physically healthy. I am finding strength in the stories of those pet parents who have made this agonizing decision. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Dear Valerie,

      It is so, so hard when they are physically robust. We are used to their bodies being the main factor in quality of life. It’s hard to see beyond that. But I think it is good to do so. Cognitive dysfunction is an illness, too. I can tell you love Kero so much. Hugs to you in this hard time.

  14. Dear Eileen, My 18 1/2 yr old dachshund, has had CCD for about a year now and of course, as time goes on, it is getting worse. She also has kidney disease. Her bloodwork, last week show her numbers are stable. I’ve talked to my roommate (her other mother) about letting her go, but those conversations go nowhere. This past August, we almost had to make the decision in the emergency room, when she had a severe episode of IBD. To add to this, 2 nights ago, I found my 16 yr old dachshund standing in the corner. He has cushings disease. I can’t believe it is starting with him! I applaud all of you who have been able to give your babies peace.

    1. Dear Donna,
      What a hard situation. And I sure hope CCD isn’t appearing with your younger Doxie as well. I hope you and your roommate can be on the same page about what’s best for your 18 1/2 year old. It’s hard enough even when people are in agreement. I can tell how much you love both your dogs. They are so lucky to have you. Hugs.

  15. I found this site as I sit here listening to the seemingly endless pacing of my 14 year old schnauzer. I’ve been struggling with “the decision” and you nailed it. He still eats. He knows me and we and he have seemed to adjust somewhat to “the new normal” as we call iit. I made some dietary changes after the initial diagnosis and we all seemed to start doing a little better. But I’m seeing a marked decline. If he’s not sleeping, he’s circling. It’s that battle between feeling selfish in keeping him here or feeling selfish about sending him across the bridge. Thank you for your story.

    1. Dear Lori,
      I’m so sorry you are going through this. It’s so very, very hard. You don’t sound selfish to me. You are putting so much thought and care into your dog’s well-being–any dog would be lucky to have you as a caregiver and friend. I hope the decision becomes clear to you, but I know your dog is in good hands whatever you decide.

  16. My mom died in May and I’ve been trying to take the best care I can of her lil’ chizer Millie, since then but I’m coming to the decision that I need to say goodbye again to another loved one only 2 months later as I watch her pace and bang her head into doors tonight. She is on Anypril, for CDS, is on gabapentin because she hurt her eye (she’s mostly blind and deaf too) and showing no sign of settling down tonight. Well, she was asleep until I turned the light off to sleep myself. How do they know? She circles a lot, pees and poops often inside with no awareness of the puppy pads, and I think if I keep her alive much longer I might be the one to lose his mind. I also think she’s in pain because she shakes and nothing seems to help. Pretty sure I’m saying goodbye this week to her. 2018… You win… you h have destroyed mr. Well but done. You can stop now. Anyway, Thank you for allowing comments. It helps to be able to write about it.

    1. Dave, I’m so sorry. That’s too much. I do hope Millie has some more good days. Feel free to write again, but also maybe consider a bereavement or grief counseling group when the time comes? Let me know if you want to and need help finding one. So sorry about the loss of your mother and what’s happening with Millie.

    2. I am grateful beyond measure for your words. I have my darling soulmate dog, Zelda next to me. She is around 13/14 years old, an American Pitbull Terrier that I rescued from the street over a decade ago. She then rescued me in all the ways a dog can. She has had CCD for about 2 1/2 years and has been in decline ever since. But most days have been good and she still has been fairly mobile and interested in life.
      This all changed 3 weeks ago. She got progressively worse quickly, losing significant strength in her back legs. She also lost her appetite and has barely been eating. She is very thin now and struggling to walk. She is head pressing and is confused. Last night she seemed to forget how to drink water, though she is drinking off and on today. I have been agonizing over what to do. I promised her I would not allow her to suffer. I do not think she is in pain but her confusion and lack of will and desire to engage in life is apparent. There are moments of hope, like today when she ate some of her dog food and followed me down in the yard a couple dozen feet. But I feel like I’m grasping for ANY little bit of hope when really 90% of her day is bad. I have been tortured over the past 3 weeks, trying to decide what to do. I feel I have her precious life in my hands and I hate to give up. On the other hand, I know Zelda well and I know where she is happy and doing well, and right now she is not. I took her to the vet when these acute symptoms started 3 weeks ago and he gentle explained that the progression of the illness is apparent. We tried some meds to help her out, but nothing worked well. She is on pain meds to make her comfortable and relaxed. He said “she’s on borrowed time”, which I agree with. He was so kind in explaining that giving her the good life I have may have to be good enough.
      I know I need to let her go. A trusted friend said,” are you prolonging her life or prolonging her death?” I feel like I’m on death watch. I would rather not wait until she gets too bad. But wow, these decisions are heartbreaking. I just put to sleep my beloved 14 year old beagle 9 weeks ago.

  17. Hi
    Dave… I’m so sorry to know about your Millie. I had the same with my sweet Clyde 2 years ago. My father was also sick and I couldn’t go on or be there for my dad. Clyde did all of what you described and more and I hand fed him and lived with him like that for a long time. I’m glad I did. but in the end I had to end it …It was the hardest thing I ever did. But I look back and could remember all the love I gave Clyde and know he knew that in some small way. I hope that you will look back when you think of Millie and understand that you did the very best you could and you gave her the love she deserved right to the end. Good luck Dave. Shona

  18. What an amazing story you gave Cricket an amazing life and that is why he lived as long as he did. Many dogs never the attention that you have given to your dog. I am facing the same dilemma my Boston which I had since 6 months old is now 14 and I have to walk her 5 times from 10 pm to 7 am a night it’s not just walking her but she constantly cries, she doesn’t like to be petted and if I do she runs away because she is in pain she doesn’t want me to see her in pain and I know she is. She was diagnosed 2 years ago with Cushings disease which is prone in senior dogs. This means that she acts like she hasn’t eaten in months after a meal so I cave in I even give her half my steak, half my hamburgers, because I know she has limited time so I give her what she wants. I am not recognizing her anymore she lost all her muscle mass in her legs as she was a stocky strong Boston we had to remove a few masses on her neck and chin which new growths are growing back. She has been my best friend for so many years that my goal is to euthanize her on her 15th birthday in April 2nd 2019 if she makes it that long. This is hard because you want to do what is best for the dog but putting her down so fast is not always fair to the dog but it might be just more convenient for the human but she always cries not knowing if she wants food, in pain or is she just confused? she barks at night for excessive time then I have to lay next to her and comfort her and let her know she is okay. It sucks for everyone the end of the dog’s life is the hardest and when people get puppies they never take that into consideration that your going to outlive that dog unless your a older senior getting a dog etc.

    1. Adam, it sounds like you are giving your Boston an amazing life, too. I’m sorry you are having to face this difficult situation with her. I know you will do right by her, whatever you decide. She’s a lucky girl.

  19. Dear Eileen,
    Thank you so much for writing this. I read it with my 15-year-old Papillon, Buster, in my lap and tears streaming down my face. I have had him since he was 2 months old and he has been in great health until last year when he started displaying all the classic signs of dementia (nighttime agitation, restlessness, barking, pacing, circling, confusion, getting stuck, etc.). Because he has an appetite (though he cant’t find his bowl anymore) and still likes his walks (actually, they have become runs because of the manic energy), I thought we could just live with it until it became clear that his quality of life was just not there. I had put down my other Papillon two years ago, after a year-long battle with kidney failure, and it was obvious that his time had come when he stopped eating and moving. But Buster is very physically active and his bloodwork shows that he’s physically healthy. But we don’t sleep. I’ve tried every holistic supplement, and then Gabapentin (which worked for a while), Trazadone, Xanax, and it’s barely working. Plus now he’s drowsy during the day, which was his only good time.

    Everything you said about feeling shame, fear, and guilt is my experience. I see my dog as “healthy.” So I can’t put my dog down because I am “inconvenienced.” I can’t put him down because he’s “only bad at night.” I can’t put him down because I am “selfish.” I know I will feel incredibly guilty if I feel I am doing it too soon. He is my baby and and I am in agony.

    Thank you so much for letting me know I am not alone. I don’t what I will do. My vets so far keep recommending medications. But reading your story at least helps me feel less like a horrible person for considering this decision.

    1. Dear Tracey,
      It’s very clear you love Buster dearly and are not a horrible person! I remind people that canine cognitive dysfunction is a disease. It affects quality of life just like diabetes, heart trouble, or any other physical condition does. It’s **really** hard to euthanize a dog who can still walk and eat–I think traditionally we assume that as long as they can do those things, they are OK. It’s a hard decision, I know.

      I wouldn’t give up on the meds. If your vet doesn’t have further ideas, you might consider a vet behaviorist. They are the specialists for this condition and sometimes can work wonders.

      You are not alone. Hugs to you, and a treat for Buster.

  20. My wife and I are going through the same thing. Our “Dorkie” is blind and has some small arthritis in her hips but other than that she healthy. Even the vets are amazed by th health of her internal organs and her response to the arthritis medicine. But her Achilles Heal has been CDS. We think she’s had it for 2 years now. Before she would sleep all night and never pooped or peed in the house. She now paces half the day and half the night and if we don’t let her out , she will go to the bath room immediately. But the biggest problem is the pacing and the obsession with food. She will eat a huge dinner and then immediately start searching for more food. The vet has told us that we have to limit her pacing because of her hips but we literally have to be mean to her to stop her from pacing.,we hate doing that. Crating does work, holding or petting her doesn’t work and even treats no longer work. She just seems like she HAS TO MOVE. When we let he do it, it gets worse. She will not respond to us nor acknowledge us. There are days where she’s alert and acknowledges us ,especially my wife, but at most that only happens 1 or 2 times a week. We’re at a lost. It would be so difficult to put her to sleep but then again we know that dogs are living so long now and she’s has lived an amazing 14 to 15 years.

    1. Oh Jamaul, that sounds so hard. I haven’t ever heard of the overeating as a symptom–that’s a new one for me. But so many things can go haywire in their brains; it makes sense. That has got to be hard to deal with, though. Have you talked to your vet about the pacing and agitation? There may be some meds that could help. So sorry you are going through this. Take care.

  21. Eileen, thank you for writing about your experience. After many months of questioning my decision, your article brought me great comfort. My springer spaniel had gotten vertigo at 13.5yrs old. It was temporary, we helped her through it. She seemed like her old self again after just two months. The circling stopped and her head tilting continued to improve until it completely disappeared. A few months later we noticed she was only sleeping a few hours a night. I had her blood work done and everything was normal except for a liver enzyme reading. We put her on Sam-e for that. Then later the pacing at night got worse, we put her on melatonin which helped her fall asleep faster but not stay asleep. Next came trazadone which helped but if she took the full dose it made her so groggy she couldn’t function when she first woke up. As time progressed we tried Selegiline, but after the first round we did not notice any difference. My girl began to sleep less during the night, kept to one room, that was the kitchen unless it was night time then she would pace the entire length of the house. With solid floors that meant lots of pitter patter and less sleep for us. Eventually she started to lose track of where she was. We would find her standing facing the hinged end of the door when we came home from work. We wondered how long she had been there. Several times she would get confused and get stuck in simple places in our living room. Between the wall and tv cabinet or under an end table. All places she should have been able to back out of. A few times she would have trouble standing up after lying down. Her nose began to drip, I think from anxiety. She never had an accident in the house, she always went out to go to the bathroom. But she had to be taken by leash and as time went on, she needed the leash to navigate the familiar pathway back to the kitchen. What made our decision to let he go so difficult was the fact that physically she was beautiful. Her coat a beautiful color except for the fading of her eyebrows and some cheek area. She had no physical ailment, could run across the yard with great speed. But didn’t exactly know where she was headed some times. She had seemed so perfect at times and others she would appear as if she was blind or deaf. Or simply did not really have a thought in her head. She did have cloudy eyes but I knew she could still see and hear. The impairment was a symptom of the disorder that came and went. She didn’t spend time with us outside anymore or have much interest in doing anything. She spent most of the time lying around, eating, drinking or being anxious. It didn’t seem like much of a life. But she still smiled happily and knew our touch. At times she looked at us but didn’t really see us if that makes sense. When asked if it was time to decide, the Vet said we were noticing the signs ourselves that she wasn’t having the same quality of life. The day we decided to say goodbye, we stayed home with her all day, made her favorite meals, walked the yard with her several times, let her dig in her favorite spots and let our other dogs nuzzle her and say goodbye. They even kissed her. It was the most difficult day because I felt like I was taking a dog that was physically fine to her death. She was 14.5. It came at a time when my own mother passed away a few days before. I always felt like my decision was a bit clouded and for months have agonized over whether I did the right thing. Could I have tried more treatments or alternative options? Had I let enough time go by? Was it too soon? Your article helped me to understand that I did the best I could for my friend. Comforting and caring with all my heart. And helping her to avoid the terrible anxiety that lay ahead. I promised her I would be with her until the end. And I was. I never left her side and she will be forever with me in spirit. She was the best.

    1. Dear Jess,
      You did do the best for your friend. And it is the hardest thing, to let them go when they still look “OK.” Or beautiful, as your girl did. And remember: she wasn’t physically fine, although I know exactly what you mean. I have to remind myself of this all the time. CCD makes the brain deteriorate. That is a physical condition, even though we can’t see it. She was SO lucky to have you looking out for her that you were willing to give her the kindest, most unselfish gift. Hugs.

    2. Jess my name is Danielle and i just had to put my dog max down a few days ago. He seemed very similar to your baby. He started only a few months ago though. We tried a lot of meds anipryl trazodone cbd oil senilife etc. the first sign was the sundowners then the being too scared to go outside to go to the bathroom. He had good days and i longed for them. Then last week his anxiety just went crazy. He didn’t sleep much at all for three days and even during the day when he used to be fine he seemed frantic and panting n unable to sit or relax. It killed us to see him like that. We took him to the vet n they said it was our choice we could try something else i just knew it wasn’t fair to bring him home like that. We made the decision but I’m having horrible guilt to thdo point it’s taking over. I can’t get it out of my mind seeing him there and feeling like i gave up on him. He never gave up on me. What if i tried other meds? What if it was a brain tumor n we didn’t check that. I get what ur saying because he was still eating n drinking n coming to me but he was so anxious i couldn’t bear to upset him like he was. Will this ever get better? I miss my friend so bad the pain is killing me

    3. I know it has been several years, but just wanted to say my heart goes out to you. Six months ago I adopted a 16 year old pup with advanced CCD. I’ve agonized over whether it’s time. He still recognizes me most of the time, still eats, and looks physically ok. He can’t go on walks (he just goes in circles), but seems to be alert and looking around when I take him on walks being carried. I’ve never had to make this decision for a pet without a terminal illness (although he does have a number of progressive health issues that could prove fatal at some point). I’m torn between letting him go now when he can still experience brief moments of peace versus waiting until things are even worse. I’m increasingly feeling like letting him go while he isn’t suffering miserably 24/7 would be the right thing to do, but then I picture that needle going into him and ending the life of a dog who would otherwise survive (albeit with around the clock care). I worry I’ll feel like he trusted me and all I did was take his life. But at the same time all he does during his waking hours is anxiously pace in circles endlessly, often until he falls over from dizziness unless I intervene. Nights are terrible. Despite all the medication he’s in such a panicked state. It’s all so heart-wrenching. I hope you’ve come to a place of peace. You were surely such a caring compassionate parent to your pup and she was blessed to share life with you. I so appreciate you sharing your story.

      1. Andrea,
        I have been thinking about my springer these past few days as she loved to spend time in the kitchen while Thanksgiving dinner was being prepared. She knew she would be able to partake in the feast too. I don’t know why but I came looking for this website again and noticed your comment. It has been almost 4 yrs since I said goodbye. And I’ll always miss her. But looking back I’ve come to the conclusion that it was better to say goodbye to her before she had gotten worse. She knew she was loved and that I could never give up on her. I needed to put my own needs ahead of hers. There was never going to be a cure or able to turn back time. Don’t get me wrong it was hard, very hard to take her to the Vet office. While saying goodbye, I played her our song that we shared when we danced together in our dog dancing class or just having fun in the house. For a brief moment she kind of moved as if she recognized the song and she seemed calm and content when she left. She is always with me in my heart and I when I think of her, I only think how beautiful she was and how much she taught me about the important things in life. I hope you are able to still have some precious moments with you dog and that you find strength and wisdom when it time to part ways.

  22. Thank you so much for your story here. I am in pain. I can’t bear the thought of not seeing my Buddy again. He is a 16 1/2 year old lab mix. I have had him for 16 years since he was a pup. We love him so much. He has been declining steadily over the past year. He looks emaciated. He is pacing around in circles. He has dementia. His vertabrae has severe arthritis. It is a struggle for him to lie down. We have had the vet here to the house several times. He has been on Senelife, gabapentin, and now tramidol and meloxican. He is not getting better. He does go outside to pee, but can hardly walk. He pees on his leg which must be so horrible for him because he did everything to avoid stepping in it his whole life. He no longer wags his tail, and falls and bumps in to things. We have done all we can to dog-proof the house from objects that will hurt him. Everyone says it’s time to let him go. My teenage boys and my wife don’t want to see him like this anymore. However, he eats and lets me hug him. The decision is the most difficult one i have ever had to make. He is scheduled to be euthanized tonight in 6 hours. I continue to pray for a miracle and pray that he just doesn’t wake up from his sleep. To have to be the one to decide to do this is unbearable. I don’t know how or if i will ever recover from this. The thought of losing him is just too much to bear. Thank you again for having this forum for us to share our thoughts. Steve W. Burbank, CA.

    1. I’m so sorry, Steve. Know that some of us here understand this kind of pain. I hope Buddy had a peaceful passing and my heart goes out to you in this hard time.

  23. Finally my tears just came in reading your message, Steve. Thank you for your message.
    – And the fact that it was only a few days old is just almost too much for me to take.
    My hear goes out to you, Steve. I’m in the same situation with my Rex. The worst is that he no longer wags his tail – he seems joyless.

    We love them to pieces and it hurts so much and there is nothing we can do or say to make it any better, but thank you for sharing the experience.

    1. Hi Rex’s Mama, Saturday was the most difficult day i ever had. I spent the day hugging Buddy and taking selfies with he and I. The final moment came at 10PM and he went quickly and what seemed to be peacefully. I haven’t stopped thinking about all of the “what-ifs”. He was 16 1/2 but i am just feeling that surely there must have been some doctor out there that could have saved him. However, the truth is that he was suffering. Like your Rex, Buddy no longer wagged his tail. His arthritis was bad. He couldn’t get comfortable and he was losing weight. His dementia took a big toll on his happiness. I probably waited longer than i should have. I just never wanted to let him go, never. That of course was unrealistic. Please know that i feel your pain. You are not alone. I have spent the last few days crying and looking at pictures and videos. Saturday we are laying him to rest in the dog cemetery. I will have a place to go to visit him and talk to him. Please keep us updated on your Rex. My thoughts are with you during this struggle. Do what is best for Rex.

  24. I won’t go into my whole story because it is very much the same as yours and others. I just want you to know reading this article I think has helped me tremendously in my guilt-ridden reluctance to let my little girl go after 2 1/2 yrs in this battle with CCD. I don’t know yet how much longer we will have together but at this point in time I feel it’s very near. Thank you for your thoughts and insight as I’m sure it has and is helping others in the same situation.

  25. All of these comments have blessed me this morning as I fight back my tears to take Trixie to the vet this morning. Trixie is 16…almost 17. She started to display all the symptoms you’ve described…Walking in circles, sleepless nights, lack of appetite, confusion and of course the accidents inside. Since I retired 5 years ago with Parkinsons, Trix has been my constant companion and therapist. Both of us need our routines so we’ve nurtured each other. When I started to understand what was going on with her about 2 years ago, I swore that as long as I saw a smile on her face and a gleam in her eye a little poop/pee would be nothing. Maybe it was me, but I think she would be embarrassed, so I tried to clean up with little fanfare. She has never appeared to be in pain but I sense her anxiety sometimes. On of the things I’ve learned wrestling with my own disability is that we try and hang on to our independence as long as possible. We try and hold on to our dignity. So today Trixie and I will say goodbye with dignity. Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

    Ode to Trixie

    Loyal friend
    Confidant
    Ever present companion
    BFF
    Shares my days
    Watches over me at night
    Bright eyes
    Gremlin ears
    I know your smile
    You know my moods
    From 12 weeks, to 17 years
    Grey hair in your brow
    Not as quick as before
    Snoring softly when you sleep
    Legs moving when you dream
    Your fixed stare
    Your Border Collie instincts
    Always herding us where to go
    You’re older now
    Don’t walk quite as well
    An occasional burst of energy
    As you bound through the house
    Sliding on the bare floor
    You make me laugh
    You make me smile
    So many memories
    You’ll always be my “Good girl”!

    1. Bless you, Victor, and thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute. You have brought tears to my eyes, and your tribute will speak to many others as well. My condolences for your loss.

  26. Victor
    Your love is present in everything that you said. That’s all Trixie could have ever asked for. You gave her your all and your best. I hope that your good friends and family will be there to help comfort you in this greatest of losses. When I had to put to sleep my best friend Clyde my friends and family came to my side. Trixie was certainly blessed to have a person like you. There’s a great book I read right after Clyde died called
    “The Art of Racing in the Rain” … about a dog and the journey it took… don’t miss this great love story. It sounds very much like you and Trixie.
    Shona

  27. Thank you for the article! I’ve had to make the tough decision to let my 15 year old pug go. I was having a really hard time, I had read article online, read through Facebook members of various groups that were trying to decide and was very conflicted. Thankfully I found this article and bought your book, and this article really struck a chord with me. It made sense and the day I read your article, I made the decision to take a week to be with her and create memories and then let her go. I am going to share this with everyone I know, to hopefully help others as well. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!

    1. Dear Taryn,
      I’m so sorry you are having to look at letting your companion go. But I’m very, very glad the article helped. Thank you for getting the book. Take care.

  28. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing such a personal experience, and for writing honestly and so thoughtfully about living and saying goodbye to a dog with dementia. We decided to guide our beloved dog, Boomer, across the bridge 2 weeks ago for the same reason. We made that decision right before I found your page. Every single point you made was something I had considered beforehand and wholeheartedly agreed with. It actually wasn’t a difficult decision for us–we knew it was time because I had made a promise to myself, on behalf of Boomer, that I would protect him from suffering until the end, and it had become clear to us that he was beginning to suffer too much from the anxiety caused by dementia.

    But although I never second guessed our decision, reading your words after the decision was made was still a balm to my aching heart. So thank you. Sometimes it just helps to know that somebody else, even a stranger, has felt what we feel and that we don’t stand alone. May Boomer and Cricket be romping to their hearts’ content across the bridge, alongside their many other new found friends.

    1. Dear Judy,

      I’m sorry for your loss. Bless you for your loving care for Boomer. Thank you for letting me know my words helped.

  29. I am so torn as of what to do. My pug, Bugsley ,has dementia. He paces and paces. He often will go to one place over and over for hours. He still eats well but when it comes time to go out he often stands there like he doesn’t know what to do. I feel I am mean sometimes forcing him to go out because he fights me, but he has gone out and came right back in the house and peed on the floor. He can’t see well and runs into things , one of which is me. I try to watch for him but he will double back. I recently took a bad fall because he did this. I myself have MS and have balance issues.
    He stands with his hips low as if standing is difficult, he has a chronic cough (COPD) according to the doctors that only steroids help. He honks and honks without them. This makes the peeing and the pacing worse, When he walks his tail is always down. He does come when he is called. The list goes on.. I don’t know what to do.. I feel guilty when I get upset but I just don’t know what to do.

    1. This is such a hard thing to go through. My heart goes out to you, Pam. Have you looked at the quality of life scale? It’s linked on the “When to Say Goodbye” page. Whatever you do, please try not to feel guilty. You obviously love Bugsley so much. It’s really really hard to decide on our dogs’ behalf, but sometimes we have to. I hope for some easy pleasant days for the both of you, and peace for you with whatever you decide.

  30. Hi Eileen,

    Thank you for sharing this article. I’m in tears as I read it with my 16 year old Shih Tzu, Button, by my side. I’ve had Button for 16 years now, got him just when he was about 3 months old. He’s always been a tough one and a fighter. Never really liked any other dogs and kept to himself but always loved me. Button has been declining within the last year. He’s always had bad anxiety (scared of thunderstorms, terrified of the vet) so we often opted out of taking him to the vet because it would leave him out of it for days. In April, but had most of his teeth removed and then had to have emergency eye surgery and have one of his eyes removed. He can’t see through the other one or hear, and come to think of it, I don’t know the last time he acknowledged me as if I was reassured he knows I’m me. April was an extremely hard month with the loss of his eye and his crying every night in pain, but he fought through it as he does. Recently, we’ve noticed he’s gotten even more skinny, paces in circles, doesn’t really know where he’s going. We brought him to the vet about a week and a half ago and his blood came back fine, the vet mentioned it could be cancer or dementia. And now I’m thinking it definitely has to be dementia (maybe even cancer). The vet saw how torn I was so said he wouldn’t suggest euthanizing him that day but mentioned we would need to monitor him and decide what’s best for him. I landed on your page because Button was sleeping in my arms and then started crying at the top of his lungs for no reason. It went on and on for about 20 minutes til he feel back asleep. I don’t want to lose my best friend but for this past week and a half I keep wondering what kind of pain he’s in that he can’t tell me about. He eats food and drinks water and my parents say he’ll be fine. But I just can’t help every day but wonder are we being selfish in keeping him alive? Yes we love him, and would do anything to take care of him and keep him alive but are we doing what’s best for him? There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the end and when it will be. I think someone mentioned it before, but I also feel like I’m on “death watch.” I’m just so lost and still feel
    selfish for even thinking about euthanizing him. I know he’s still my best friend but he’s so different from that dog I got when I was 12 years old. His personality is gone and I just wish I knew what was the right choice.

    1. Dear Lisette,
      I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’m so sorry you are going through this with Button. It can be tragic to see them decline. I’m sure that whatever you decide will be the right thing for him. I just wish, as I know you do, that you didn’t have to decide anything. But you have always cared for him and I know he knows that. Hugs.

  31. Thank you for sharing your story. It helped me today. My 14 year old terrier has severe canine cognitive decline, is mostly deaf, almost completely blind and we can no longer treat her teeth, ears or eyes for infections because she can’t be sedated or muzzled (almost died from sedation and had severe respiratory issues when muzzled). She is her sweet self on occasion during the week, but mostly is just not there. She has walked in circles and gotten stuck throughout the house or behind trees in her dog run. For months family members have been saying she should be put down. I hate this decision. She can’t make it herself and it feels wrong to decide for her. But she is no longer there and I don’t want her to be in pain. She gets ear infections a lot, her teeth are mostly gone and I think she is in pain from bad dental health and her eyes are gunky. I needed to hear, once again, that this is okay. I don’t mind cleaning up after her daily messes, but we can’t keep her clean anymore. No one can come near her face to groom it, probably indicating that she is in pain there. So, we have an appointment to euthanize today. I sweat this decision but your website makes me feel better that others share this same journey and that others have also concluded that it is probably time and we just need to do what we don’t want to do. Prayers for you all as you walk through this challenging decision also. It is a hard one to say goodbye to a beloved family member even after they have lived a good life.

    1. Dear NW mom,
      I’m so sorry. I hope you can find peace in that you gave your terrier the ultimate caring gift. I believe that. I know you wouldn’t make the decision lightly. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  32. Hi NW Mom,

    I am very sorry for your loss. I understand exactly what you went through and how hard is was to make your decision to euthanize. I have lost other dogs over time but none like what I have been going through for the past year. Sophie is a 14 year old Lab mix. I love her dearly. She has had dementia for about 18 months now. She is on a zillion medications for all of her ailments, arthritis, valley fever etc. Although she isn’t blind, she has a lot of trouble with her eyes and gets tremors/ticks with a lot of discharge. For the dementia, the prescription drug Selegiline has worked the best along with Senilife which is over the counter. She is currently completely demented. The medication has stopped being effective although it does give her more energy. Of course, she refuses to take any medication so I have had a hard time with getting her to take anything. She does not know me, can be very hostile to me like Alzheimer patients can be. She is completely incontinent and deaf. She wants to go outside every 10 minutes but generally uses the living room for her depository. I can be inside after taking her out ten times and she will go to the bathroom right in front of me. I believe that she doesn’t know any better. One side of the equation that is not discussed frequently is the toll that caring for her has taken on me: physically and mentally. I don’t sleep much because she is up wandering at night, wanting me to do things for her or to potty her. She doesn’t really want to interact with me much at all now and as I mentioned, does not know who I am. Every time I take her to the vet, monthly, she tells me that her vitals are all still OK although her liver enzymes are elevated. she is not in severe pain although her hind legs are very weak and after we go for walks, I usually have to help her get up for awhile. Sometimes she falls into her poop when she attempts to defecate. I know that bothers her a lot. Emotionally, I simply just can’t keep doing this. I have absolutely no life outside of working and then coming home to take care of her. I have to get up at 3:30 in the morning in order to be able to take care of her before getting to work at 7 AM. I spend over $1000/month to have people come in twice day to potty her and interact with her. I feel horribly guilty about this, but I have decided that it is time for her to cross Rainbow Bridge. I cry about it a lot but I know that it is the best thing for her now. She has no quality of life anymore. She is not the girl I knew and loved for many years and hasn’t been for some time. She has no life and just wanders around aimlessly when she is not sleeping which she mainly does most of the time. I tend to keep my dogs alive too long and have made many mistakes toward that end in the past due to my own selfishness with not wanting to be without them and alone. I am not going to do that this time. I see the vet tomorrow and will tell her that it is her time even though I know that she will probably try to convince me otherwise. It is unfair to Sophie to keep this up any longer.

  33. THANK YOU …. for your stories … of pain and love and loss
    I too am in this stage of life with my pups
    yes I call them my pups
    they are still my little babies
    but now they are both 11 years old
    brother and sister
    too sweet
    so hard to see them failing
    but your site has helped me realize .. so much
    and the comments from others suffering as I am … thanks for sharing your love …
    I guess it is time for me to visit the vet …
    and perhaps .. time for a new pair of pups in my house
    I need the love they give to my home
    and now I am losing 11 years of love and laughter
    these two guys I have now .. so much laughter …

    I am tearing up .. now …
    have to go ..
    again thanks
    peace
    brenda and the frankie and frannie

  34. This article and reading these comments were just very helpful to me. I put my baby down a few days ago and I’m not doing well. We had him almost 13 years since he was a puppy. He was my son. My most treasured love ever. He developed sundowners in May and it was an up and down battle ever since filled with good and bad days. Joined the Facebook groups online and with the help of our vet had him on trazodone and senelife omega threes arthritis meds. Then had to add some anipryl as well as cbd oil towards the end. Had to put him in belly bands for nighttime accidents but then had to go in them all day. He was scared to go outside to go the bathroom so would only only occasionally go outside even if we tried to go out with him. Took him for daily walks that he loved but would be scared of noises all though he def had trouble hearing as well. Had good nights and bad. Would stay up n pant and pace or sleep in weird places. Then the anxiety seemed to increase ten fold. Became a day time thing as well. And the last three days he planted all day and night maybe slept an hour for 3 days wouldn’t lay down tried to fight sleep so hard even though u knew he was tired. I just sat there watching him n Gabe him another half trazodone so he would sleep cause it had been a few days n he finally closed his eyes for literally 5 mins n jumped back up again. We went to the vet and they said they think it was just a progression of the disease. They would support us with whatever we wanted to do if we wanted to try different meds. I just couldn’t take him home if he was that anxious and who knows what was happening in his mind. We decided to take his pain away. It’s neen three days n i can’t stop crying. The guilt i feel wondering if i killed him, should’ve tried different meds, or gave it more time is strangling. What if it was a brain tumor n we didn’t investigate it? What if it was from the meds n if we tried different we could have more time? Everyone else on the ccd fb groups had longer with their dogs having it than mine and i feel like i gave up on the one person who never Gabe up on me. I miss him so much and don’t want to go on without him

    1. Danielle,
      I know I’m just one person and you don’t know me. But anyone can read what you wrote and know that your efforts to help your little guy were constant and huge. Please don’t feel guilty. I believe you released him from the effects of this disease and that you did a kindly, loving thing. Every dog is different, so it doesn’t matter that other people’s dogs may have “lasted” longer, except of course that it is unfair to you, who loved your dog so much. I don’t believe you gave up on him. You gave him the ultimate gift. Hugs. You are a marvelous dog owner and guardian. He was so lucky to have you.

      1. Danielle:
        I have the not so fabulous distinction of having had to make this decision more than once….and while it is always painful, I have also come to realize that it is the last great gift I can give my dogs…to release them from their bodies and give them surcease from the disease. They leave HUGE holes in our hearts when they leave, however.

        I am also someone who would rather let my dogs go a day or a week too early than a second too late. I don’t want my dogs to be absolute rags and shadows of themselves when I let them go. Many years ago, I waffled and waffled and waited too long…and it was much worse for me in the aftermath to realize that I had hung on for no reason other than wanting to spare myself the pain.

        This decision takes courage and compassion and a willingness to walk head first into pain. The thing that often is the hardest for me is all the free time I suddenly seem to have. It always leaves me a bit gobsmacked. And feeling a bit guilty.

        Take your grief seriously. Seek help if you need to. The loss of a much loved animal is a serious and substantial loss. Your grief has it’s roots in the deep love and commitment you had to your little guy.

        I know it’s just words from me….but I do know your loss and your feelings as a result.

        Blessed Be.
        Blanche

        1. Blanche thank you so much for your response and kind words. I hope one day i will feel the same. I have reached out to a support group for help thank you

  35. One thing I’ve found helpful…and take it for what it’s worth…I do a lot of journaling about my dogs and I chart a lot of their behaviours. It often gives me a more objective measure of their quality of life.
    BUT I also do a lot of writing about my own feelings and struggles with making the decision to euthanize a dog…and it does help me clear my emotional decks.
    It might be worth doing if you are inclined that way. It’s been helpful for me.

  36. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and helpful story, and thank you to everyone who has shared their thoughts and stories in the comments.

    In three hours I will be sending my beloved 14-year-old Bassador, Daisy, to The Rainbow Bridge. I adopted her at 7 weeks of age, and it was love at first sight. Although it’s only been a few months since I her CDS diagnosis, in hindsight I now believe she’s been showing signs for about a year. Most of her struggles come at night: pacing and anxiety and waking me up to take her out because she’s too afraid to go out by herself via the doggie door. The only way she will settle down after the anxiety kicks in is if I’m physically up and out of bed. I’m exhausted, but I have been putting off making this decision because I’m afraid I’m only doing it to make my life easier. I’ve never had to make a decision like this before; medical emergencies with my previous pets forced me to make immediate decisions regarding euthanizing them. I’m afraid I’m ‘giving up’ too soon, that maybe I should wait awhile longer, but then I realize that waiting too long would be even worse.

    Thanking you for helping me realize how much she is probably suffering, that the situation is only going to get worse, and that I’m not being selfish in making this decision. Hugs to all who have, or soon will have to, make this heart-breaking decision.

    1. Dear Kim,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. I can tell how much you love Daisy. She was lucky to have you as her person. Almost everybody I know of questions themselves, at least initially, about this decision. I feel confident that you are acting out of love and informed reason. Thank you for sharing about Daisy on this hardest of days. Hugs back to you.

  37. Your words of wisdom are of TREMENDOUS support for me. I sent Sophie girl to the Rainbow Bridge Friday, 5 days ago. I nursed her for 5 months with her dementia…CCD…
    I made the decision after her decline, and I cannot stop grieving. I adopted her in 2012, abd she lived till about 16. I wrote a poem for her. She was my 5th “dogter” DOGGIE.

  38. I am so glad to have come across this. My 14 year old baby has been with me almost his whole life. He has always been a loving sweet boy. He’s now totally blind and I risked dental surgery and had almost all his teeth pulled last year. I was told his seperation anxiety, which has grown much worse now and I didn’t think that was possible, was an early stage of dementia 2 years ago. Although physically he seems fine, he no longer wants to go on walks. He’s disoriented to the point of not finding the door when I let him outside. I wish I could chalk it up to his blindness but he’s never had trouble moving around the house until now. Where he used to cuddle with me he now goes off by himself and sleeps. I felt I was being selfish thinking about having him put to sleep, now I’m wondering if I’m the selfish one not having it done. I wish I could know when the right time is , but I’m having a hard time figuing it out. I’ always thought the physical decline would let me know when it was time, I would never allow my old faithful companion to suffer. But now I questoin whether thats exactly what I’m doing now.

    1. It’s so hard to know. Your boy is lucky to have you and I know whatever decision you make–and whenever–it will be out of love. Lots of people here understand what you are going through. Hugs.

      1. Thank you again for putting into words what a lot of dog us lovers never even considered as an end of life issue.

  39. I’m so thankful to have found this article. Our pup had a severe hit on his head several months ago and has developed dementia. He’s also mostly deaf and blind. He’s either asleep or awake in a state of anxiety, pacing and getting trapped in his own home. He rarely recognizes myself or my husband. He’s eating and drinking well, but we have made the decision to put him to rest this weekend. We’ve been crying all week. I just don’t want him to be scared all the time. 😢😭

    1. I’m sorry for your loss, Anna, if you want ahead with your plan. It’s so hard when they are still physically in pretty good shape. Good for you for caring so much about his life and happiness. Hugs.

  40. Thank you for sharing this. It is helping me to have the courage to euthanize my dear, sweet, nearly 17 year old Toby today.
    He had a new onset of seizures about 5 months ago after charging into a wall at full force for no apparent reason. The seizure was long and I held him as his lips and gums began to turn blue. I knew there was nothing I could do so I just stroked him, cradled his head in my lap, and said my goodbyes.
    But then, he miraculously came back to me. However, the lack of oxygen and head trauma left him with deficits. The vet and I waited to see if he would recover at all.
    He now has no teeth, is nearly blind and deaf, and developed cognitive dysfunction that he never recovered from. He too had rear end weakness and muscle wasting and soon was having difficulty walking. He went to the bathroom on the floor, when right by his food or bed, and walked in circles in it
    About a week ago he started bleeding from his nose and developed GI bleeding. When I went to give him a bath to wash off the blood, his hair started coming off in clumps revealing extensive open sores that had been hidden by his fur. The vet was surprised he had missed it too and diagnosed Toby with lupus. We started a trial of steroids but warned me the prognosis was grim.
    I didn’t even know he had been hurting so badly! Toby had never indicated any kind of pain, never gave me any signs. He still ate heartily every meal! I had been looking for those “signs” from him that it was time to say goodbye, like I had gotten from other 2 dogs. But Toby never gave me any of them. In fact, today he’s having a “good” day, which is making the reality of what is to come so much more difficult. I began searching online for some kind of validation that I was doing the right thing and I was led to your article.
    Thank you for helping me and my Toby find our peace.

    1. Dear Kiana,
      I’m sorry for your loss. Some of us find out the hard way that our dogs don’t always “tell us.” Sometimes they do. But sometimes, when their mind is affected, we just have to make the decision on their behalf. I can tell your decision was made completely out of love. And as a friend of mine says–they seem to rally at these times when we have made up our minds. But we just have to keep in mind that it’s just one day or one hour out of many. You gave him such a good life. I hope you can hold onto that. Hugs.

  41. Thank you so much for your wonderful insight. I have a 12 year old rat terrier that looks very similar to Cricket and he and I have been struggling for a year and a half with his dementia. As I type this, he is has been pacing around the room for hours like he does every night until he eventually has an accident. I try my best to keep him calm and relaxed but since his cognitive disfunction started he’s been intensely aggressive with me so I can’t hold him or try to calm him physically with touch. My family has been begging me to put him down but I CANNOT seem to bring myself to do it because when we’re out on walks or getting treats, he is JUST like a normal doggie. No one would ever know by looking at him on a walk that he has dementia. He eats great and loves to run. How can I snuff out his life? I just can’t bring myself to do it. But the endless hours of pacing and getting stuck in corners, having accidents inside and biting me on a daily basis are so out of control. He’s taken over my life but living like this seems easier than marching him to the vets and taking him from this world. I’m so desperate for permission or guidance. Please please help. Thank you <3

    1. KristenLeigh, I am so sorry you are going through this. Believe me, I understand. To me, it would be important to know if he is agitated when he circles. (I guess perhaps the aggression indicates that he is?) Is he miserable or just circling? (After long observation, I decided that Cricket was not distressed when circling. She was just…circling. Have you talked to your vet about a mild sedative? With some dogs, it can make the difference between night and day. But sometimes it takes some trial and error to get the right one. I Can tell how much you love him. I know that whatever you decide will be the right thing for both of you. It’s just terrible to have to make the decision, especially when they are up and around and can function. I don’t know if you have read my book, but I did euthanize Cricket when she was still ambulatory and eating well. Our situation was a little different, but it was still very very difficult. Good luck. I’m so sorry.

  42. Thank you so for this article. My husband and I have two 18 -year-old rat terriers that we have had since they were 8 weeks old; they are litter mates. They both have dementia, but Charlotte’s dementia is much more advanced than Jenny’s. We are struggling now with making “the decision.” My husband says not yet, but I am closer. I don’t think Charlotte has any good days. She never walks with any sense of going anywhere; she just wanders. The only thing I know she enjoys is eating, they both do, but I have to pick them up and put them at the food bowl. They can smell it but they can’t find it. Charlotte can no longer drink water, so I bought her a fountain that I can hold her mouth to and she will drink the flowing water. If she is at a water bowl, she just laps at air. They are both on pain meds as they struggle to walk. They forgot how to use the doggie door what seems like years ago. They both seem to have healthy hearts and lungs (according to their vet). Your article has helped me in terms of making the decision. I’m not there yet, mostly because my husband is not there. When we get there it will be the hardest thing I have ever done.

    1. Dear Debra,

      I hope the article helps a bit. Your girls (especially Charlotte) sounds close to how my little Cricket was near the end. She could find her food bowl but lapped the air at her water dish. I mixed water with her food. Just remember: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is a real disease, just like diabetes or heart problems. I hope your girls have some more good days, or when the time comes, you are clear on your decision and their passing is smooth. Hugs.

  43. I too am approaching this point – when, I don’t know, but I’m afraid it’s closer than I know. My Welsh Terrier, Riley, is 15 years old. He is as stubborn as Terriers come, but I love him tremendously! He has always been such a good dog! Looking back, I’d say Riley has had dementia for about 2 years now. It started mildly but has now progressed to sleeping pretty much all day and pacing, getting lost inside and staring into corners when he is not asleep. It’s only been a few days now that he cannot follow me and his brother, Rusty. an 8 year old hound mix, to the door in the morning to go potty – I now have to pick him up from wherever he has wandered off to and take him to the door, coaxing him to go outside. He struggles more now to find the door to come back in when he is finished outside but eventually does when he’s finally close enough to see me waving my foot out the door to get his attention. I don’t want him to suffer mentally or physically. Physically he is in okay shape – he eats and drinks water on his own and seems to find his food/water okay. He has a few accidents inside from time-to-time but does go potty outside mostly. He gets lost inside a lot, trapped behind furniture and bumping into walls often – especially more so the last few days. He has been distant for quite some time now. I pick him up to cuddle with him and he lets me (he’s not at all aggressive) but he just isn’t there, he’s trapped in that blankness that has swept over him – he seems now to just exist. Like many of you, I am struggling to know how I will know when the right time will be to let him go —– or has that time already come. A few years past we had to let another dog go due to cancer. Although that time too was extremely difficult, we could “tell” when it was time. With Riley, I cannot. Perhaps that’s because it is not yet time, or perhaps it is because, like many of you have experienced with your dogs, he is okay physically. Today is a very tough day for me, fighting back tears all morning – I believe I am coming to the realization that that time is very near. Thank you all for you stories and support.It does provide some comfort in this very difficult time.

    1. Hi Mark,
      Welsh terriers are wonderful dogs! I’m sorry Riley is slipping away. Many of us here understand. And you are exactly right: it’s so much harder to tell when it’s “time” when it’s dementia. Take care.

  44. I have 16 year old whippet who has had cdd for a year,also arthritis , circles like crazy she used to growl at me but seems to be past that.
    in the evening I reflect on how fed up I am with caretaking I believe I have burnt out . I am near to euthanasia but making the decision is
    unbearable. it has affected my life im trapped unable to leave her for more than a few hours, she does not seem miserable, but I am.Ive read so much
    about euthanasia spoke to vet but as they say its an emotional rollercoaster, I really feel stuck, any ideas?

    1. Hi Jeffrey,
      There are a lot of people here who can relate to what you describe. Have you checked out the Quality of Life scale? Sometimes it helps just to step back a little bit. But it’s an awful decision to have to make however you look at it. Good luck.

  45. I am more grateful than I can put into words to find this article.

    My 14 year old Yorkshire Terrier has been diagnosed with ‘doggy dementia’ just a couple of days ago. We thought it was a bit of a joke, always saying it was like she had dementia and not realising that it was actually a thing (she has been to the vet several times over the last year for minor seizures and we have described her symptoms but it was never mentioned to us).

    Reading through these, I can see so many of her behaviours – pacing, her back legs are weak, she regularly loses her balance and sometimes falls off the sofa or onto her back whilst eating/drinking.

    For us, we’ve know something was going on for a while but the diagnosis through to the euthanasia decision/appointment is less than 48 hours. We have it booked for tomorrow and I’ve been at war in my head thinking she’s still eating, drinking, walking around. Her weight hasn’t changed, the vet has said her heart etc. sounds healthy. Sometimes she gets playful and just today I’ve had to stop her from picking up conkers/horse chestnuts to play with around the house. But then last night, she fell off the sofa and banged her head hard and was so disoriented. It’s becoming more and more frequent and I know she’s going to hurt herself soon. I wish she could just tell me how she feels and what she wants so that I don’t feel so awful for making this decision on her behalf. It’s hard to convince myself that it’s not too soon when realistically, it’s been 6+ months of the confusion and general decline in her daily life.

    We haven’t had the need to clean up and when I read some of these stories, I feel so much sympathy for the things people have had to deal with. On one hand, I’m thinking that maybe it’s too soon if we haven’t got to that point yet but on the other hand, I would hate to see her like that. She was my childhood dog – I got her when I was 11 and have as to deal with a grandparent with dementia and although it might seem like a strange comparison, if I could get rid of my own memories of her when she was suffering and remember her as she was, I would in a heartbeat. This is the mentality I am trying to use to convince myself this is the right thing to do.

    I’m going to sleep on it and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to take her or not knowing that I’ve made the right decision. But I just wanted to say that reading all of these stories has been so comforting. Thank you so much.

    1. Dear Lauren,
      Thank you for sharing your experience as well. Most people find reading these stories very helpful. If you care to, let us know about your decision. Thinking of you.

    2. I relate to you, my little dog has many ‘dos’ but always recovers she is very tough.i arranged euthanasia 6 months after she had a seizure
      40 minutes before the vets she came round- the whole thing is heartbreaking.

  46. Thank you for your article. My Lhasa is 16 1/2 years old and has cognitive dysfunction, is blind and deaf, has arthritis, but still loves his food! He starts pacing for a hour or two before mealtimes. I’m not sure he remembers me much anymore, as he doesn’t bond like he used to. He still wanders around the house, though he sleeps a lot. He needs help going down or up our back step and frankly would get lost outside if not on a leash. Over the last month he has had bowel incontinence where he steps in it and tracks it in the house. Most of the time he will pee outside, but I have a wrap on him just in case. How do I determine his quality of life? He doesn’t interact with people or toys, but he loves his food and treats. Is that enough to say he is happy with life? I’m struggling with whether he should be euthanized as our cold hard winters are going to be tough on him. Some days it’s hard to meet his needs, but I don’t want to end his life just because it’s become harder to take care of him. I’ve also heard “your dog will tell you”. What can a confused dog say as I’m getting desperate to know? It would be so much easier if he had a life altering event rather than this decline.

    1. Dear Julie,
      I can really relate to so much you say here. I personally don’t believe the dog tells you. I used to, but I just don’t think they can when they have dementia, and I think even with other illnesses we often wait too long. That’s just my opinion.

      I was “lucky” enough that my little Cricket did have an event of sorts, a seizure. But I do suspect she could have gone on for a few more weeks after that. However you look at it, it’s a tough, tough decision. Have you checked out the Quality of Life Scale? Sometimes it is helpful. Take care.

  47. I’m struggling right now. Our little 16 year old Marty (toy fox terrier) is showing all of the signs he has dementia & seems to be getting worse the last couple of days!
    He does a lot of circling & pees in the house with no warning. We get him settled in his bed & 10 minutes later he is barking & sitting up Wide awake. He has been known to poop & spread it all over. We have to keep him on a leash or he will fall in our stream because he is mostly blind & deaf. He used to be able to just run free. We have a large property in the country. He had to have all his teeth pulled but still eats well. Doesn’t seem to drink as much lately as he used to. He also has heart issues & eats special food for his kidneys.
    We love him so much but At the same time are so frustrated and are losing sleep ourselves because of his behavior & our lives. are slowly being taken over by his needs. It makes me feel very selfish. We are 70 & 74 & it’s getting more difficult. We had him on a schedule of walking him at 11:15 in the evening & he would do his business & we would bring him in & he would settle down & fall asleep & at midnight we would put him to bed & he would sleep until around 7 am. Now he is having a harder time settling down & waking up 10 min after being put down for the night. Tonight my husband got up with him but was angry & impatient. An hour later I got up & here I am but I have managed to show compassion. My Dad had Alzheimer’s & they just can’t help it. It’s so sad. I don’t want to put him down because I’m being inconvenienced. I feel so selfish. There are times he will let me hold him & rock him like a baby & I feel like it brings him comfort for a few minutes. He sleeps most of the day.
    We are going to be going to Florida for 2 weeks & our neighbors will keep him for us but that’s also a concern with his dementia getting worse. They love him too but I’m not sure it’s the best thing for Marty because of change of routine. I feel like we may need to make a decision soon but I don’t Want to do it for the wrong reasons. My heart is breaking right now. I’m not sure I want to wait until it’s worse.
    Thank you for your post! It has given me some things to think about. I’m going to try to get him to the vet before we leave for an evaluation.

    1. Dear JoAnn,
      I often think the sleep problems are the worst. They affect **everybody** in the household. I can tell you have given him a great life, and in my opinion, there is no shame in preventing suffering or difficulties by helping a dog to pass. But the **when** is so very hard. Good luck. This physical work and impact on daily life indeed get harder as we get older. Please give him a treat for me. Toy fox terriers are one of my favorite breeds.

  48. Hello. My girl, Alexis, is a Dachshund/Jack Russell and reached her 15th birthday this year. She has all of the signs, and like yours, she doesn’t bark. In fact, I was thinking a few weeks ago, that I hadn’t heard her bark in a really long time. Her incontinence has steadily gotten worse. She seems somewhat disconnected from everyone and only gets excited when we follow a routine like morning treats. She drinks water like she’s trying to drown herself. She pees constantly, sometimes squatting and not peeing (bladder infection (UTI) has been ruled out).

    Out of the blue she shakes uncontrollably. Then, she’s fine and relaxed again.

    It’s those flashes of excitement and my sense of obligation to care for her that prevents me from choosing euthanasia. You were right on in that we all want a “sign” or a trigger that will tell us the moment it’s time to make the big decision. So far, it’s been death by a thousand cuts…and I’ve stopped counting.

    1. Dear Josie,
      I’m sorry for my very late response. I lost three messages and yours was one of them. I’m sorry about Alexis. You are spot on in your description: death by a thousand cuts. I hate that but it sure can be true. I wish for you some good days with her and–if the time comes–some clarity. Hugs.

  49. I share your struggles.i found a way to help the night time getting up, I sleep next to her on the floor
    unlike conditions that are obvious to euthanase ,( last week my girl lost use of its front leg, it was clear to end
    her suffering- then she recovered.) this isn’t. its a rollercoaster, its a good day then a bad day
    its ending a life that is not clear cut, probably the most difficult decision im living with, people say you
    know when its time, my vet said pick a condition/behaviour that you see as enough and stick to your decision.
    my thoughts are with you

  50. Dear New Friends,
    Now five weeks after my heartwrenching decision to send Sophie Girl over the Rainbow Bridge, I am still mourning with more pain and sadness that i have ever experienced. My dear friend advised i talk to 🐶,which i have been doing everyday.
    I am getting better and keeping busy and helping others helps. I will wait a year to decide if i will share my heart with a doggie
    Sophie was my 5th rescue and MY having to make the decision to euthanize her has contributed to th guilt i feel. I was sleeping with her for her last 5 months ro help her with her late nite 2 hour pacing, pooping & circling. Sophie was not happy anymore.
    Now she is happy, and my sadness is a bit better. Hang in there, talk to your beloved departed, and it is ok to cry. Other doggy lovers have been very supportive and understanding. My prayers & thoughts are with YOU,
    BEST,
    Roberta

  51. Thankyou, I have been waiting putting off the inevitable. Our Possie (pug) is 15 she is the light of all of our lives, she holds a extremely strong bond with our 22 year old daughter and I think for the most part I haven’t made that dreaded decision because of this bond. But the last few weeks she has deteriorated a lot, she has developed cataracts that weren’t there a month ago, her back legs are weak and can no longer get onto my daughters bed ( her favourite place)she has lost weight and gets lost walking around the house, she then starts to bark constantly until someone goes and shows her how to get out of the room she’s in, she looks at us like she doesn’t know us at sometimes, she seems to have lost her spark and I know I need to make that choice and that she’s not going to tell me when she’s ready. But tonight after 2 days of no interest in food and all of the above I had a long conversation with the rest of the family with lots of tears from everyone we decided we are going to try and treat her with everything she used to love food wise, try and show her all the love she’ll let us show ( she doesn’t have much interest in affection)for the next 2 days and then take away her pain and suffering. I know I’m going to need all the strength in the world to take her to that appointment but I know it isfor the best. Your article has helped me make that decision, I don’t want her to suffer anymore.

    1. Dear Melissa,
      I’m so sorry you are facing this. I’m glad the article helped a bit. Sending warm thoughts to you and your family.

      1. Dear Eileen I’m struggling as you are my Sawyer was diagnosed a week ago and had been struggling with Cushing’s disease also. After my last visit to the vert 3 in a week I decided it was time. I brought him home for Thanksgiving and here are his turkey like it was his last meal. He has every symptom on the list and I don’t want him to suffer. He is losing use if his back legs and had trouble jumping on the couch and bed. I have she’d tons of treats this week but Sawyer has had the best life. He was a rescue and is 12 years old a jack a bee I love him so much but will remember the best times every day. Monday will be the worst day off my life. Thanks for your letter. I read it and cried as I’m going through the same struggles. I realized this it’s there best and I want him to still know me too the end
        My prayers are with you.

        1. Dear Robert,
          I hope he did know you to the end. What a lucky fellow Sawyer was to be your dog. Thinking of you in this hard time.

    2. Hi,

      I hope you don’t mind me commenting but I just wanted to say I was in the same position however my mum let me make the decision. I’m 26 and my Yorkie was my best friend – she had been with me through my late childhood (I got her when I was 11), my parents splitting, the angsty teenage phase, everything and our bond was truly unbreakable. She would always choose me over anyone else in the room, lick my tears if I cried, slept on my bed but she too wasn’t really interested in affection at the end and struggled to get into my bed. I made the decision to have her put to sleep because I didn’t want to see her in pain and although I miss her every day, I know that I made the right decision. My life will never be the same but I have the best memories with her and if I’m honest, I had been missing her for a long time before she physically left us.

      I sympathise because I didn’t have to go through a lot of the deterioration you have described, she was definitely getting there though (the cataracts and confusion especially). I’m sure your daughter wouldn’t want the pet she loves so much to suffer because of the selfishness of wanting to keep them around. This is honestly the struggle I had but I do think that in the end, I made the right choice and it sounds like as a family, you will get that kind of peace too.

      I still wish there was something we could do to keep our friends with us for the rest of our own natural lives but unfortunately we can’t and they rely on us to make the best decisions for them. It won’t be easy but I promise that you’re doing the right thing.

      Thinking of you and your family at this difficult time.

      Lauren

      1. Thanks Lauren, it has taken a while to be able to come back to the page. We made the right decision, I now have her ashes in a beautiful urn in our lounge, for Christmas I brought my daughter a crystal block with her favourite pic of the 2 of them together etched into it. So even when my daughter is not here she still has a price of poss to take wherever she is living.

  52. Dear New Friends,
    Connecting with YOU all after the 41 days since my Sophie Girl has gone over the Rainbow Bridge , has helped me immensely! Today was the very first day that a smile came to me before the tears, when reminiscing about my beloved darling doggie!
    I began to recall some good happy memories of days gone by emwhen Sophie was happy.
    Now, I believe I will hold onto the past good memories.
    The bond that we all fortunately shared with our beloveds will live on
    Best to YOU ALL,
    Roberta

  53. Oh thank you so much for this! Please, if you can, reach out to me. I have stumbled across this article, I’m not sure how, be we are struggling with our 8year old Jack Russell, Emmy. She is only 8 & is in normal decent health. She has a history of seizures and initially we thought this strange behavior was just that. She has been shaking..much like shivering when cold, we thought that was due to some visitors we had over. But none of the symptoms stopped. She paces for hours throughout our house and she will make a pass on her way to go by me, but what was once a very snuggly, plump, dramatic, needy little princess…has become this poor little, skinny, mindless wanderer that cries when we pick her up and yelps at us when we put her down or just out of the blue sometimes she will yelp at us. It’s as if she is saying, “just leave me alone”. & she walks and walks. Many laps, ending in a circle. Sometimes she puts herself in the corner and just stares until she seems so tired, she’ll lay down and sleep. When she’s sleeping the shivers set in and with every breath her muscles contract. I can’t imagine she’s rested. We have been putting off euthanizing her. We keep thinking maybe there is something else we can do for her. Maybe we aren’t doing enough and what if we put her to sleep and we could’ve somehow helped her…after all, she is only 8 years old.
    Please, if you could offer any insight, we would so greatly appreciate it. We have taken her off all medication (I thought the phenobarbital she was on was causing ill effects, even though the vet said her levels were fine). Fortunately, she has not had any seizures in at least a month or more. We miss our baby, but we don’t want her to suffer. We just don’t know what to do.

    1. Misty, I’m so very sorry. Has the vet done tests regarding these new symptoms? There are other conditions that can cause these besides dementia. I’m so sorry you are going through this with a dog so young. I will email you too in case you don’t see this response. Take care.

  54. I have 4 dogs but my oldest rescue is Boomer who is now 16. He is a mixture of many things I think mostly golden and other stuff. He’s always been like a grumpy old man but we have put up with it and love him anyway. He limps a lot when he gets up and will run in the backyard with the other dogs. I feel bad because he is afraid of everything. He will go behind a chair and can’t figure how to get out. He will dig at the floor and there is nothing there. If u move too fast around him he will show teeth and snap at u. Sometimes when I cant find him he is in the dark hiding in laundry room He barks and growls at absolutely nothing out of the clear blue sky.. Is he suffering I don’t know I know mentally he is. Have talked to vet he said we will know when the bad days outweigh the good. My main concern is I don’t want him to suffer mentally or physically when I tell my family I think they think I’m prematurely trying to put him down. Maybe like the vet said I’ll know when🐕❤️😔

    1. Dear Patty,
      It sounds like you have a good sense of things. I know it’s hard with the mental stuff. Have you looked at the Villalobos Quality of Life Scale? It’s linked on the “When to Say Goodbye” page. Some people find it helpful. I hope Boomer has some good times left, and I also hope you don’t have to agonize over the decision. Hugs.

  55. I have read dozens of websites and blogs during my research on making the most informed decision for my almost 16-year-old, Bug (Boston Terrier/Pug) girl Pickle. I have read many articles, all with different suggestions and viewpoints for almost a year now. We had the gut-wrenching experiencing of having to make that decision for my boy Beans last April. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. It took a long time for my husband and me to recover from that day. Even though it was the best decision for our boy..it was still the hardest. Our decision was aided by a tragic and rapid decline in his health. Now, my girl suffers from dementia, a slow and frustrating condition for us all. We have cleaned up three accidents just today. We wake up at 4:30 a.m. every day because she is on a schedule. We no longer have Pickle in our house as she no longer shows any affection. We have hesitated to make the decision because we cling to old Pickle, in foolish hopes that we can get just one more day with her. We also are afraid that we are being selfish and making this decision because of the immense inconvenience this has made for us. Reading the comments and your words help me to know that we are not alone in this gut-wrenching event. It eases my guilt in knowing that the selfish decision is keeping her around to avoid the guilt, the loss, and the pain. My fear of the deafening silence my home will have is not a good enough reason to make her suffer any longer. I have allowed many articles to make me feel like a bad Furry Mommy, but thousands of dollars, many sleepeless nights, and too many tears to count later, my dog deserves the right decision; which is not always the easiest one to make. Thank you.

    1. Dear Misty,
      I am so sorry you are having to go through the torment of this decision. You are right that you are not alone, sadly, a lot of us here have had to go through it. I’m sending my best thoughts that Pickle has some good days, and that you get some clarity on your decision. Just so sorry you are having to make it.

  56. Dear Eileen, thanks for ur thoughts. I know so many people go thru this with our pups. I’m taking it one day at a time with Boomer. Besides knowing he has dementia he also barks continuously at absolutely nothing. Again I find him hiding so again it’s a day by day thing. Thanks to everybody for listening. Patty

  57. For a number of months now, I noticed some changes in my tiny, 4.5 pound Yorkie-Poodle mix, Livingston. I recently discovered he has Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. I did not know anything about this illness until Nov. 10 when I researched his behavior/symptoms on the internet. The first sign probably was what seemed like hearing loss. The second symptom I noticed was he would stand in front of a door or in a corner and not know where to go. I thought he was losing his eyesight and took him to an opthalmologist to have his eyes examined. His eyesight was fine. Then 1-2 months ago, I began to see more signs.

    On Nov. 11, after approximately, a week of him having most or all the symptoms, I did some research and realized that Livingston has CCD. The next day, I picked up a sedative from the veterinarian and CBD oil to help calm him and help him to sleep at night. I thought if I could manage his anxiety that things would be okay. The CBD oil didn’t help and the sedative only helped if I gave extra doses.

    Yesterday, Livingston paced in a circle (his pacing had been back and forth) and that was heartbreaking to see. He looked very lost and I thought to my self that the CCD was getting worse. Then he lost interest in eating turkey. Livingston used to love meat. The worst symptom he has is when he seems scared, fearful and shakes and cries. This is one of the newer symptoms. Because of this, I called the vet today and made an appointment to end Livingston’s pain tomorrow. I am heartbroken and crying but I know I’m doing the right thing. There isn’t anything I can do for him any longer to make him comfortable. There is only one thing left to do. I cannot let him suffer any further.

    Thank you, Eileen, for your information on this illness and providing a place for us, guardians, to express our love for our dogs. Angie

    1. Dear Angie,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s terrible to see our dogs suffer, and you did him the ultimate kindness since he was having spells of fear as you describe. Take care. So sorry about little Livingston.

    2. hi angie I had a very similar situation with my doggie friend I had to let go on 6th November,I couldn’t stand to
      see my friend suffer anyone more. I was literally tormented into making a decision,i decided to suffer for my
      action rather than see my friend suffer more.Each day I now think of our doggie friends and owners who are
      struggling with this awful illness

  58. Thank you so much for writing of your experience with your precious Cricket.
    My 15 year old Shihtzu was diagnosed about 6 months ago and we are now noticing a decline.
    He has had seizures for a few years so was already a high maintenance little mister.
    His routine now is so strict and we are using both conventional medicine and natural therapies to keep him comfortable. He’s just come out of three days heavily drugged after his last seizure and his cognitive function has taken a hit. He’s displaying anxiety and seems unaware of his surroundings. He’s stopping mid play seeming to forget what he’s doing. He eats well, plays on schedule, still toilets outside as he needs to, sleeps through the night -thank goodness and is otherwise healthy. My feelings are it’s close to time to say goodbye but I definitely feel selfish. It’s my life that the routine impacts the most even though my ex and I “share” custody. He’s with me the majority of the time and I’m the one instinctually caring for him. Your post has made me feel so much more at peace with opening thd conversation with my ex and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    1. Dear Lindsay,
      I’m glad to help even a little bit in this hard time. It seems doubly hard when they have seizures and CCD, from what I can tell from talking to people. And I’ve heard of other dogs who didn’t rebound all the way cognitively after a seizure. (I’m just sharing this as a lay person; I’m not a vet.) Sounds like you have excellent vet care which is good. I hope you still have some good times, and that you have peace in your heart if you do have to let him go. Hugs.

  59. Thank you. Sadly, I think my little dog is nearing the end. Her dementia is getting worse and she no longer seems to know me or show any interest in affection. She is often barking or whining, out of pain? Distress? I don’t know. I work from home so fortunately I can be with her all the time.

    She circles all the time, gets lost in my apartment, stands starting at inanimate objects. These are okay, but it”s the barking and whining I fear are signs she’s no longer enjoying life. In the past few days she has started to move her head back and forth, like her eyes are tracking back and forth. I’m taking her to the vet tomorrow to see if there’s anything we can do.

    1. Dear Erin,
      I’m so sorry your dog’s dementia is getting worse. I assume by now you have been to the vet. I hope you got some medical help and/or good counsel. Take care. I know it’s hard.

  60. I’m a 33 y/o man with a little cross bred york-terrier who is almost 17. Her name is Buffy, after the vampire slayer.
    She had a mostly happy life so far, I remember how cute she looked while jumping in excitement for just about anything when she was a young pup.
    I had all of my happiest teenage memories along with her, even most of my best adult memories were shared with her company… same goes for my family, we all shared so much with her.
    But time moved on hard for her little body… and now the poor girl does just about everything you described in your post, except for the part of forgetting how to drink.
    Unfortunately, she also carries the burden of being partly blind, partly deaf and has a kidney failure for the last 2 years that only lets her eat a specific type of food.
    Her legs fail constantly and she trips easily, she sleeps most of the day and the toilet accidents happen all the time.
    The pacing at night is becoming too painful to bare, she doesn’t bark anymore but just keeps walking and crying throughout the house at 3 or 4am and no one knows what to do…
    There are very few things that make me cry, but this situation is already taking the best of me and my family.
    I’m sort of ready to accept the reality but I fear a lot for my mother (she’s 66) and younger sister (26), they are very emotional over this situation and won’t accept that maybe it’s time to let Buffy rest in peace.
    Sorry for such a long comment, I just want to thank you for sharing your experience and opinion on this heart breaking topic.
    Bruno from Portugal

    1. Hi Bruno,
      How wonderful that your little dog has made it to 17 years old. I’m sorry she has so many health problems including dementia and that you are looking at this hard decision. There are a lot of people here who have had to face this decision. It sounds especially hard because of your mother and sister. I can tell how much you care for Buffy and your family and I wish you peace in this sad situation.

  61. Our 15-yr old rescue poodle “Jake” has always been a very odd dog. We have assumed that he was the product of a puppy mill and poor breeding, but, in the end, it doesn’t matter. He has exhibited strange behavior almost from Day 1 — 13 years ago. He has lost his sight and is still adjusting, but it’s his fearfulness and irrational growling and snapping at nothing that is most disconcerting. He was in very bad shape after a dental procedure about a year ago, and literally was chewing paint off the walls and eating rocks and other inedible things. My struggle has been the same as almost everyone’s here: what is quality of life for Jake? Is he “HAPPY?” Yes, he eats – sometimes a great deal. He’s not incontinent. But he is/ has been a “sundowner” and it’s tough to watch. We have tried what seems to be a million things to distract or dissuade him, but none work for very long. We have a large family and they love our rescues (we have four and often foster for our rescue group)….and I can’t escape the feeling that they would judge us harshly for euthanizing a dog who didn’t have cancer, or heart failure, or some other obvious disease. I feel your pain, people…and your guilt….and your remorse….and your uncertainty.

    1. Dear Jean,
      It sounds like you have done an amazing job giving Jake a good quality of life against a lot of odds. I understand about the judgment of others who just don’t understand this disease. (Every once in a while someone who “doesn’t get it” shows up here and we try to educate them as best we can.) My heart goes out to you. It’s one of the hardest decisions to make, even without others who might not understand. Take care. A lot of us here understand all too well about the uncertainty.

  62. I never realised there was a help and support group for this. Our dog Murphy is 12 and has dementia, he was a rescue and when he was young he was scared of his own shadow, we got over this as the trust built between us, he has always been the most loving dog, well mannered and loved cuddles, people and adored children.
    However recently he has become worse with the dementia and snapped at my husband when he was cuddling him. He doesn’t interact with us like he used to. We muzzle him when we go for walks and if anyone comes to the house he doesn’t really know (just in case) the vet said we need to be careful and not get bit, it’s so painful to say but I actually feel I can’t trust him anymore and muzzle him when I trim his coat or anything else I have to do to him.
    Throughout the day he paces and pants, shivers and doesn’t interact with our other dog anymore. He’s forgotten how to play with a ball which was always his favourite game. It’s heartbreaking to see him this way. He doesn’t have any accidents indoors and there’s no barking at night or getting lost in corners but we feel he’s really confused sometimes scared and really not happy. Physically he’s healthy apart from a little arthritis. We have started talking about letting him go while he still remembers us and before he gets too frightened but would it be too soon?

    1. Dear Jill,
      This is such a personal decision. You probably read my own story, in which I did euthanize my dear Cricket before she was completely down and out. The best thing I can tell you is that canine cognitive dysfunction is a real disease, just like diabetes and cancer, and it continues to get worse. Keep in close contact with your vet. Check the Quality of Life scale–that might help a bit. So sorry you are having to go through this with Murphy.

  63. My dear wee boy Bert who is nearly 16 has dementia and is struggling… I have put my big girl pants on and made the tough decision to let him go… My heart is hurting so much but I know it’s the last kindest thing I can do for my gorgeous wee little man… The vet is coming to the house on Wednesday so I will enjoy every last moment with little Bert… Thank you for this page Eileen, it helped me come to terms with my decision and know that I am doing the best thing…

    1. Dear Ruth,
      I’m so sorry you are in this situation with your dear Bert. I wish you peace and strength, and some sweet enjoyment for both of you in his last days.

        1. Ruth, I know how hard this is for you. I have come to this page wondering if it is time for me to make this decision for my beautiful Jack the Wonderdag. I can only say to you that I will be thinking of you on Wednesday and hoping that one day, I will be as brave as you.

          1. Oh Yvonne – it means a lot that you’ll be thinking of me – I’m going to need all the strength I can get… Jack the Wonderdag has a kind and thoughtful guardian – I hope too, that in time, you’ll find the strength… I’m sending you love and hugs… xx

        2. So my little legend Bert has now left this world… The vets came to home (they were amazing) and he went quickly and peacefully… My heart is still hurting but I know that the last gift I could give him was the peace that dementia had stolen from him… I am feeling pretty miserable, I will allow myself to grieve and do some big ugly crying but in time I will heal knowing that wee Bert couldn’t have been loved any more… Thanks once again Eileen for the gift of your experience, knowledge and support… xx

          1. Hugs to you, Ruth. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thinking of sweet Bert and the great life you gave him.

          2. Your words, “know that the last gift I could give him was the peace that dementia had stolen from him…” are exactly what I needed to read right now. I type this through tears as tonight is the last night I hear my girl Pickle snore, the last night she paces the house, the last of many things. Tomorrow we say goodbye. Dementia has taken her from me already but her peace I hope to give back to her. She is all I have known for 15 years and tomorrow I will have a HUGE void where that little dog has been. I am sorry for your loss, but thank you for those words.

          3. Thank you again Eileen… xx
            Oh Misty I am so so sorry about what you’re going through – it is such a sad situation and I totally understand how you are feeling… Happy that I helped in some small way… Goodbye Pickle – sweet dreams little ‘un… And hugs to you Misty… My heart is with you… xx

          4. Please know that I did think of you all day on Wednesday and you gave me strength to make the decision for Jack the Wonderdag and after a trip to the beach on Saturday 8th Dec, I gave him 6 pain killers and he went to sleep in my arms and thats where he was when the vet came out to our car and helped him go to the rainbow bridge. Jack never woke up, so for him, he went to sleep in my arms. It could not have been easier and it could not have been harder.

            It’s still hard and I will miss him every day for the rest of my life but I will see him again, I have loved him many times in many different forms, life after life, forever. He is there and we will find each other again.

          5. Oh Yvonne I am sitting here sobbing for you – and for me and for all the other peeps who have faced or are facing this… It is absolutely heartbreaking and you know that I understand what you are feeling… You so did the right thing for Jack the Wonderdag – he will know that you loved him that much that you were willing to go through all the emotional pain to allow him to slip away… I know we will see our wee boys again and maybe in the meantime Bert and Jack the Wonderdag are playing and running free together… Thank you for your thoughts – know that you are very much in mine… Sending you love and light… xx

  64. My girl is 17 + and i have done nothing but think weather the time is right she can barely stand to eat or drink so i raise her bowls , yet when she goes to the park will run with a smile on her face maybe a tumble or two on the way she also topples when doing her business .She paces for hours every evening staring in corners and getting stuck..She wets in the house most days and wines at night…She is eating like a horse and loves food …Every now and then she growls and snaps at me when I try to help her ..I don’t know what to do ..

    1. Anne, I’m so sorry you are going through this, too. Have you been to your vet about it? Sometimes there are meds that can help. Good luck, and sorry you are going through this with your wonderful senior. (I had to hold my little Cricket up when she pooped for years, so I know about the toppling thing!) Congratulations for caring for a dog who has made it to 17+.

  65. my thoughts go out to you my girl passed on the 6th nov my tears still fall at times
    you have released your friend from an awful illness, I wish you and your friend peace

  66. I stumbled across this site while agonising over what to do. My girl is 16.5 and going through so much of what you did with cricket. I can’t bear to let her go and feel myself falling in to the trap of thinking she’ll tell me or I’ll know when it’s time. She paces and paces, she’s unsteady, lost weight, and she has accidents on occasion and for the first time this week two seizures. I’m trying to come to terms with so much all at once that I’m not sure what’s best. She knows me and is still happy to see me. I feel like we’re maybe at the stage where the pendulum is finely balanced but will tip soon. Or I wonder if I can’t see what’s in front of me. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever had to consider doing and I just can’t bear it.

    1. Dear Jane,
      I understand. I love that she still knows you. I hope you still have some good times left, or, if not, you can make a decision you can accept. It’s so hard.

      1. Thank you – the steroids the vet gave me have helped for now. She’s stronger and settled, less pacing a bit more like the dog I knew. I think we have a bit more time – I know it’s borrowed time but it’s what I need to steady myself for the tough choices to come x

  67. dear jane my girl was 16 years 8 months and more or less had exactly the same symptoms as your girl.I agonised for months over when it was ‘time’ I felt its the love we had for each other that got in the way of clarity.I involved people who were more objective ,they all said it wasn’t time but it wasn’t far off. Sometimes our friends will tell us its time to go,its happened to me twice with dogs ive shared my life with.It doesn’t always happen though, you have to make, what for me was the most heartbreaking decision ive ever experienced. my thoughts go out to you.

    1. Thanks for this reply. I found myself asking the same thing of my friends and family – asking them if I’m blinded by the bond we have. We chose each other that day at the rescue. The dog that hid from everyone didn’t hide from me. She’s settled well this week on what the vet prescribed and gives me maybe a little extra time while she still has a quality of life x

  68. I sit here in tears as I read these stories, our 14 year German Pincher Mickey has been diagnosed with dementia in November. As we look back at all the behaviours we now know this started long ago. My husband and I have taken turns sleeping on the couch with him for the last month as he starts to cry around 3am every single night. He’s hard to settle down at these hours. He sleeps all day, eats well but often has accidents, afraid of stairs (his cataracts don’t help!) and walks into walls. We’ve decided this Friday will be his last day with us. This has truly been the hardest decision of our lives to date. It’s hard to make a decision like this without having the physical diagnosis of some disease. I’m sorry to everyone who has or had to make this choice. I too want to give my Mickey his “peace” back that dementia has taken from him. Thank you all for sharing. This has helped me more than you’ll ever know.

    1. Dear Michelle,
      I’m so sorry the day is coming to let dear Mickey go. It sounds like you and your husband have been taking splendid care of him. So sweet of you to take turns staying with him at night. I’m really sorry that you, too, are having to make this decision. I hope Mickey is able to enjoy some yummy treats this week. Hugs to you.

    2. I feel so sad for you Michelle and my heart goes out to you and your husband – it’s the toughest time… You are doing the kindest most loving thing for Mickey… I will be thinking of you on Friday and sending lots of love, light and virtual hugs… Nunite Mickey… xx

  69. Dear Michelle & NEW FRIENDS
    I am sorry for what YOU are going through.
    It helps to remember OUR BEST FRIENDS at their best and also layer on. Friday will be 90 days that …I sent Sophie Girl to the 🌈BRIDGE after 5 months of severe CCD. My Dear Friend Carol has suggested…I talk to 🐶girl which, of course I do! Strange that dogs whom i am privileged to meet and pet now, seem to know that i am grieving and are overly kind and welcoming to me. Our group has helped me immensely. THANK YOU ALL AND BEST PRAYERS!

  70. Oh my goodness. I know God guided me to your page today. Your story mimics what we’re going through this very day with our beloved Tessa. We’ve been agonizing for weeks…maybe months now…of when is the “right” time to euthanize our sweet girl. She’s had CCD for about a year and 1/2 now, but we’ve seen her steady decline day after day. Today I called our mobile vet and made an appointment for Tessa to cross the Rainbow Bridge tomorrow morning. I’ve gone through every single doubt and question you’ve posted in your story. It wasn’t until I read your story – and I’m going to read it over and over again – that I realized I made the right decision for an appointment tomorrow. It will still be very, very, VERY heartbreaking for me and my husband, but I know in my heart we’re doing the very best thing for our sweet girl. We got her as a rescue 4 years ago in very, very bad shape and she was already 10 years old. We gave her all the medical treatments she needed and all the love…and more…that we knew she needed. Thank you so very, very much for your article and for taking the time to post it so we – those of us at this juncture in the life of our beloved pets all thank you beyond what our words can say. God bless you and your little Cricket. I hope our Tessa meets up with her over the Rainbow Bridge.

    1. Dear Kristy,
      Thank you for writing such kind words in a time of sorrow. I’m so glad my story helped. Tessa was the luckiest girl ever to end up with you for those four wonderful years. Hugs from me and the spirit of Cricket.

  71. When came back from Vacation after 8 days then my Boston 14 years & 9 months acted differently she didn’t recognize me at first she lost her vision I believe when she finally recognized me she seemed so weak that I put her in my arms and she stared into my eyes she left me clean her ears then I took her on the bed as she cuddled with me for 1/2 hour she normally doesn’t allow this because of her arthritis then after she started to throw up & pee blood. I was going to take her to the vet and made an appt for the next day. Then it was 11 pm and she seemed very weak so we put her on a pad and watched her for a 1/2 hour she seemed okay. Then she tried to stand up couldn’t then threw up again and swallowed her throwup and this is when things turned for the worse she died because of the throw up got into her lungs and she was aspirating. At this point there was nothing we can do. I should of never left her side I should of been there the entire time we had given her surgery a year ago and saved her from a mass on her neck. Yet she at 640 she took her last breath as her tongue hit the ground and it was over. I am heart broken my best friend left this earth. I feel like a lousy owner I angry at myself that I made her suffer I didn’t have her back when I was sick a few years back my dog never left my side stayed with me for hours. I didn’t have her back. Bad Karma for me she deserved better I should of been there for her I could of had maybe 6 months longer to enjoy her.

    1. Adam, I understand your regrets since we all have them, but you are not a lousy owner. Your Boston was so lucky to have you. We can’t prevent all the bad things. My little Cricket aspirated too, and I was right there and couldn’t stop it. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you can think more about the good times and all the ways you helped and loved your dog.

  72. I too had my dog oscar of sixteen and a half years old euthanized due to dementia on Dec.8.I miss him so much.He was my life.I feel so guilty because I picked the day and time but he just wasn’t himself,the playing stopped,the long walks we had together got shorter and shorter,he would sleep alot and would be up alnight.He would stair at the wall or go into a corner and sit.I cry and think of him all the time.The last 8 months of his life is when I really started to noticed changes in him,the groomer had a hard time cutting his hair,I really think he didn’t know who I was.We had a good time together,I sure hope i did the right thing.I’m so sad right now.

    1. Dear Joe,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. Letting Oscar go was an act of love. I hope you can let your doubts go by the wayside. We do the best we can with these hard, hard decisions. Take care.

  73. dear adam its so easy to feel bad about ourselves when we do something wrong,especially with your old friend,
    if only I had done this or that………… on the last night before my old friend was booked in to pass on,she tried
    to get on my bed twice,i refused her and put her back in her bed.for days after I felt so bad,the truth was I was trying to distance
    myself emotionally,with hindsight, I would now have held her so tight.we do the best we can at the time with the
    resources we have,think of all the devoted care you gave to your friend dealing with this totally time and emotionally
    demanding illness

  74. It has been two weeks today I said good by to my best friend oscar,I miss everything about you.This is the first holiday season without you and it hurts bad,I cry for you all the time.I can hear him at night,his bark to go outside.I sure do miss you Oscar i miss you so much.I can’t stop crying.I have so much guilt inside of me but you just wasn’t yourself anymore.Sixteen and a half years together,I MISS YOU SO MUCH.😭😭😭😭

  75. Joe, know this your more than decade and a half with Oscar was reciprocally a blessing for you both. Please remember how much happiness you both expri
    ced. Sadness, grief and poignancy are all part of the “PARTNERSHIP”.Yesterday was 90 days since my Sophie Girl went to heaven. I still cry when I least expect it! God Bless YOU!

  76. It is Christmas day and I am agonizing about what to do for Princess, my 19 year old teacup poodle. She is in the advanced stages of dementia and constantly circles around. After x-rays and blood tests, the vet said she has a heart condition that makes her cough constantly, but did not advise putting her down. She eats and drinks, but has lost control of her toileting. She is deaf and does not seem to recognize anyone. She will not let us hold her. I guess I can see the writing on the wall, but that does not make it any less painful.

    1. I’m so sorry you are facing this, Carol. There are many here who know this particular, dreadful pain. Take care. I know you will choose right for Princess, whatever you do.

    2. I’m sorry to read about princess.Stay strong and always remember her.I also just went through cognitive dysfunction with my oscar,I miss him everyday but could not see him suffer any more.

  77. Thank you so much for writing this and for your website, it is incredibly comforting and helpful. Our little girl Alex who has just turned 17 sounds almost identical to Cricket in every way. I am agonising about making the decision but this post brought me a lot of relief and peace and as you said, a week too early is better than a day too late. Thank you ❤

      1. Thank you Eileen. We had her put to sleep yesterday and my heart aches for her. Love and hugs to everyone on here and thank you again ❤
        Leigh-ann

  78. I found this page while looking for help in making my decision on whether or not to put my boy, Cornelius, down.

    He turned 18 this month and has been displaying dementia symptoms for over a year but I found out two weeks ago that his vision is also failing and he already has lost most of his hearing. He paces, gets stuck in corners, and has been having accidents inside the house. The only time I see him happy at all is when I get home from work, so I know he still recognizes me but I guess I’ve come to terms with the fact that he needs more than that.

    I admit, I’ve been slow in making my decision, not just because I love him dearly, but because he is the last member of my little family to be here with me and I really don’t know how to fully let that go. My wife died unexpectedly from cancer a little over 2 years ago and last December, our little furry girl, Samantha had to be put to sleep. She was also 18 and had arthritis of the back and respiratory issues compounded by a collapsed trachea. So, all I have left is Cornelius, and that’s why I’m having such a difficult time with the idea of letting him go.

    But I know it’s time. I wish there was a mobile vet who could do this at home for me, as some of you have mentioned. Either way, it will be done either today or tomorrow. I can’t keep watching him pace and get lost in his own home, anymore.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and for giving us a place to share ours. My thoughts and prayers are with all of us having to deal with this pain.

    1. Dear Monica,
      I’m so sorry about Cornelius. How difficult that must be to have all those losses. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for telling us about him and about your decision as well. Your love for him shines through.

  79. My 16 yr old Bruce has dementia also. In the last yr he has really gone downhill. No reaction to anything. We are awakened 10 times a night but have dealt with that. He still eats and drinks. Very wobbly. Walks and lays in his poop. Gets baths nearly everyday. But I do it…whats causing the dreaded decision is he cannot get up 80% of the time. He is by himself with our other dogs during the workweek and we are decided that the issue is causing suffering. If I did not work I would continue on. Today lap of love is coming to aid in letting Bruce go to heaven. We are very upset but it’s best for him at this point. Everyone ate hamburgers last night for dinner and we are trying to enjoy our last moments with him. Most likely we are the ones suffering and he doesnt even know…

    1. Dear Kris,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. I do think that often the humans suffer more, since dogs live in the moment. Bruce was so lucky to have you. Take care.

  80. We lost our Lhasa Opso Buddy on December 11th this year to Dementia. He was almost 16 and our whole lives had revolved around him since he was a puppy. It was so hard to make the decision but he was no longer enjoying anything. He would eat a little but slept 20 hours a day and wandered when he was up. He still knew us but you could just tell he was miserable.The house is so quiet and empty without him but we are having fewer “cry’s” and more good memories.We have his ashes and memorial displayed and know for Buddy we did the right thing.We miss you Buddy Boy.

    1. Dear George,
      I’m so sorry for the lost of Buddy. I can tell what an important and loved member of your family he was. I’m sure you did the right thing, too. How lovely to have a little memorial for him.

        1. George,Iam sure you do hear buddy.Sometimes during the night i can still hear my oscar.I miss him so much,life is not the same.It was a bad weakend.

  81. It has been three weeks since I said goodbye to my best friend Oscar of over 16 years of great friendship together,I don’t sleep much,sometimes I can still hear his bark.I still go for my morning walks at 5:25 am like I did with him and tell him how much I love him,I can’t believe my buddy is gone.I miss him so much but I’m trying to understand why I had him euthanized was the right thing to do,he just couldn’t go on the way he was.

    1. Im due to have my dog of 18 years euthanized and wonder if the time is right family and friends say yes as she has no life quality but some days she perks up other days shes incontinent falls over and has started snapping its so hard .

  82. Dear Eileen, Joe ,Carol & All my new “Counselor Friends,
    Today NY has the second snow of the winter sans Sophie Girl Ninety- nine days since my best friend went over the 🌈 bridge. 🐶 was my 5th BF and fst with CCD.
    Sorrow is in my heart , but I walk her walk and play her Simon & Garfunkle songs as I do. Time is helping a bit, and I want YOU ALL to recall the loyalty, happiness & UNCONDITIONAL LOVE of our BEST FRIENDS. DOGS DO NOT CHEAT, UNCONDITIONALLY LOVE US, DEFEND US!!
    On a lighter note please remember that they do steal food!
    Happy New Year 2019 !

    The only fault is they do steal food!!!

    🐶🐕 do steal!!

    1. I’m smiling. Yes, they do steal food! But we even love them for that (most of the time, grin). Thank you for your sweet, uplifting post. There are folks around here who definitely need it.

  83. Thanks for he kind words, Roberta. We made plans to euthanize Princess on Thursday. However, yesterday my Dad passed away unexpectedly. Just one sadness after another. Princess will cross the rainbow bridge and see her grandpa who always slipped her treats.

    1. Carol,I’m so sorry to read about your father’s passing.In a little while I will be taking a walk where Oscar and I would go and promise to pray for you.

    1. George,thank you for your kind words.Hope everything is going okay for you and your wife.I will always remember the time I had with oscar,he was the biggest part of my life we did everything together.

  84. My Gucci is 18 he was in great shape a year a go physically. Full of life & energy. He is a poodle Mix since last year dimentia took the best of him. He is blind, paces all over, spins around gets stuck in corners. He never lifts his head. Hardly gets any sleep at night and we don’t either. Been giving him Grey Muzzle Brain’s best friend treats to help but not so much. Always has accidents around the house we always clean after him. He needs a bath twice a week. He has appetite and drinks. Has heart failure and breathing issues. Give him 4 differend pills every day twice a day. I know he is not happy. He does not recognise us nor he is aware of antyhing anymore. I feel like it is definetly time to send him to heaven. He has been an amzing dog to all of us but it is so painful to see what he is goig through. A week early than a day late. “

    1. Hi Jinev Anac,
      I’m sorry about Gucci. I know how hard his condition must be on all of you. Many of us here have had to make a similar choice. Take care.

    2. Jinev,Iam sorry to hear about Gucci.I understand your sadness and pain,my Oscar went through the exact same problems your explaining and on Dec.8 2018 made the decision to let him be free of all his hurt and pain.I know he is in a better place now and picture him playing pain free,how i miss him so much.

  85. hi jinev
    its heartbreaking to see you friend suffer,i was in a similar situation ,I let my friend pass to a better place,the heartbeak
    for me was consuming for weeks after.I still miss my friend, but I don’t miss watching the suffering she endured.
    lots here understand your situation

  86. Hi Ginev. Our 19 year old poodle has the same exact symptoms that you described with Gucci. Finally this morning with the help of comments from family, friends, and people on this forum, we let the vet help Princess cross the rainbow bridge. Surprisingly I was more at peace and happy for her than sad for myself. She has had a long, brave struggle and now my sweet girl is at peace. She can reunite with her grandpa who just passed last week. He always slipped her treats. Rest easy, my precious girl.

  87. It’s been four weeks today Dec 8 when we said are goodbyes Oscar,I still cry and think about you everyday,man i miss you so much little buddy.life will never be the same.I can remember the day I brought you home that beautiful day in June of 2002 you were so full of life and gave me one to.I miss and love you so much.

    1. Ive taken my dog Jess 18 years old twice to the vet to be put to rest each time I broke down and couldn’t go through with it I am in pieces …she has dementia constantly incontinent and snappy when I fuss her People say I will know when time is right Im torn between mopping urine and faeces and her snapping at me and her enjoying her run in the park Can anyone advise me .Vet says I need her put down before she gets worse

      1. Anne,my Princess was in the same predicament. It was heartbreaking to watch. This site gave me the courage I needed to help her get peace. Even that final day st the vet she was pacing and restless. My vet put her on a comfy blanket and let us snuggle awhile. The first injection sedated her, and she gave an audible sigh of relief as she began to relax. After the final injection I knew that I had done the right thing. I miss her but she is at peace now.

      2. Ann,listen to you vet,it’s not fair to jes s to keep living like this.Not going to lie to you putting my dog oscar to rest was the hardest decision i ever had to make it hurts bad but it has to be done for the good of both of you.Jess doesn’t understand what is napping either.Talk to your get about giving jess a additive before hand,I wish I would have done this for oscar.Never forget the good times they mean so much to have them.He strong.

      3. Well another week and still have Jess with me ..when I made a final decision to go ahead with putting her to sleep she seemed to perk up and hadn’t been incontinent for a few days so again i’m agonising weather its the right thing ..I spend every day assessing her behaviour and weather I have the right to end her life its getting a bit obsessional as my life is on hold I cant leave her for long and cant take her out far and no holidays as she needs nursing
        care..Today she has wet in the house again after being let out and pacing this goes on a few days then a bit of the old Jess comes back its sole destroying .. She has good and bad days ,she eats anything and any food lying about she steals which is out of character ..

  88. Joe, my beautiful Jack the Wonderdag went to the Rainbow Bridge on the same day as your Oscar. While you and I spend the rest of our lives, missing them beyond reason, I hope they are chasing each other, romping and playing while they wait for us to get there. Hugs to you friend, I cant take your pain away but I can let you know that you are not alone xx

    1. Yvonne,thank for such kind words and I’am so sorry to hear about Jack.I can only hope and pray Jack and Oscar found each other.It was a bad night for sleeping and also a bad day.Went for a walk to the lake where Oscar and I would spend time together.Just can’t believe he’s gone.HUGS ALSO TO YOU MY FRIEND I’AM ALWAYS HERE.

    2. Thank you Joe and Carol for your supportive comments It would be easy for me when shes having bad days but on those few good days she looks near to her old self so so hard

      1. Anne,Oscar was the same way the bad days out numbered the good days.The walks got shorter the playing stopped towards the end i think he didn’t even know who I was,it broke my heart in a big way,I lost my best friend and the biggest part of my life.I started to cry about back in July because I knew what the out come was going to be i spent as much time as I could with him missed a lot of work but was well worth it in the end.Always here for you.Like I said I have meet a lot of new friends here so it is proof Oscar keeps giving of himself ,I love you little buddy.

        1. I can tell you are still hurting badly Joe I guess I will be the same …I still cant seem to let her go yet Family and friends say cos i’m with her every day I don’t see her like they do in the fact to them shes finished to me she is a grumpy old girl who i’m nursing….I don’t think after 2 attempts I will be able to go into the vets while shes put to sleep I think I will ask my daughter-in -law and wait out-side it really will will destroy me to watch her die .But vet did say sooner rather than later …

          1. Anne,I had felt the same way about having someone else to take Oscar to vet ,but personally I felt I should be there for him,I just wished I would have gave him a seditive before we left home.I didn’t want any of his ashes i have plenty of pictures just haven’t been able to look at.sure it’s going to hurt i still hurt and think of him everyday ,sometimes I think I still hear him.I miss him so much.ia m always here.

  89. 112days 16weeks 4months YESTERDAY!
    🐶rainbowbridge.
    I find solace in song lyrics.
    “Crying Over You”, Roy Orbison.
    Thought I was healing. Today went to a local store. A neighbor asked…” Do you stil use our veterinarian, Doc Terri. Told him my loss. Walking home, I was bawling…””Crying Over 🐶”.
    🐶 & I rescued each other after I lost my Corgette, and Sophie needed a home.
    Loyal family pets are soooo special. Lucky I had her, eh?
    Best to ALL MY NEW FAMILY here!
    Best New Year,
    Roberta

    1. It’s okay to cry Roberta were all trying to heal,and we are all family here I guess are loved do keep on giving even after there gone.

    2. Well had her my Jess put to sleep Monday my beautiful baby looked so peaceful no contorted body made me realise she must of been so unhappy the way she was .I miss her so much RIP my baby …

      1. Ann,so sorry to hear about jess.I know it is very painful.I miss my little buddy oscar so much.Life sure is not the same,I’ve cry ed a lake by now.HUGS out to you.

  90. Sophie’s mom Roberta here.
    Admitting to crying everyday, I have had a few smiles recently, for the FIRST time after 4 months of missing Sophie.
    OUR GROUP with support, words of wisdom & comfort has helped immensely!!!
    Thank YOU ALL & my heartfelt sympathies right back at YOU ALL!

  91. I feel for everyone here our babies are more then pets they are a part of our family . I am crying reading everyone’s posts knowing that my process is just starting. Sam is my baby and he just turned 16 the other day. He was so full of life and still eats like a horse but he has dementia and circles more and more his health is declining I am having a hard time making the end decision to have him put to sleep. He don’t realize were he is anymore and I have noticed a change in his behavior it scares me to think this is the end if the road . I need support

    1. Dear Ruth,
      I am so sorry you are going through this. There are others here who really understand. It’s so very hard when they are still physically robust but their minds are going. I hope some others can chime in here. We do know what you are going through. It’s some of the worst pain ever.

  92. Our 14 1/2 year old Basset Hound, Bosley, has dementia and has cataracts in both eyes making him essentially blind. His hearing is almost gone as well. It’s so hard to make this decision. Physically he has some arthritis but other than that is ok. He started on Prozac in October because of his extreme anxiety. It has helped with the anxiety, but his life pretty much consists of sleeping all day and being up all night. My husband and I take turns getting up with him at night (as he will continuously bark) and we are in a constant state of exhaustion. I’ve been making his dog food, as he won’t eat commercially prepared food any longer. It’s basically like a shell of a dog, he’s not our Bosley anymore 🙁 I feel like he’s just existing and not enjoying life. I don’t know what to do. I feel selfish making the decision to put him down when he isn’t in obvious pain but then again is this a good life for him? So hard …..

    1. Debbie,

      My boy, Cornelius, was exactly in the same place as your Bosley. He turned 18 in December and had been having issues with CCD for the last year or so. He started losing his hearing and cataracts in both eyes also made him blind. There was no joy in his life anymore other than eating (he ate like a horse until the very end!) but even that was more reactionary than joyful, if you know what I mean.

      Other than a few wags when I’d come home from work, he never enjoyed anything at all. Constant pacing, bumping into things, getting stuck in corners…I hated leaving him alone at all because I worried he would be stuck somewhere for hours and I didn’t want him to be anxious. What kind of life is that? I finally decided, the day after Christmas, that it was time. I wanted him to go while he still knew who I was…I wanted him to know I was there until the very end.

      I went through exactly what you’re going through and before he left me, I finally saw him relax and have some peace. I miss him so very terribly, but I know it was the right thing to do. Good luck with you decision and give Bosley a scratch behind the ears for me.

      1. Monica,so sorry read about cornelius.It is very hard to deal with,your decision along with mine was the right thing to do.Oscar was doing the exact same thing,walks got shorter and shorter the playing stopped but what I can’t understand is the way he ate so much at the end and losing weight.

  93. Debbie,let start off by telling how sorry ia m to read this about Bosley.I also went through the same with my oscar.The pain is great but we must always remember to do what’s best for our pets.I loved Oscar so much I just couldn’t see him as a shell of a dog anymore either towards the end he didn’t even recognize me anymore.You will make the right decision,God Bless You.

    1. Thank you for the kind words Joe. It helps to read all of these comments and know I’m not alone. We decided it’s time and will be making the appointment in the next few weeks when all of my kids are available to be there if they choose.

      1. Well I made an appointment for tomorrow, 1/15, for Bosley to cross over the rainbow bridge. I am second guessing my decision, I wish he could tell me if it’s the right thing to do. When he has his good moments I think I shouldn’t do it…. My husband said maybe I should cancel the appointment but I don’t know. Such a hard decision, I don’t know what to do…

        1. Debbie,iam so sorry to hear about bosley.I always wished my oscar could talk to me also just for 15min how I wished.ia m always here.HUGS to you.

    2. Thank you Monica. We made the heartbreaking decision to put him down last night. It was so hard to do, especially because he was a little like his old self at the vet right before, wagging his tail and sniffing everything. All of his family was there with him to the end. As much as it hurts I feel it was the right decision. I will miss him so much….

  94. I have just stumbled on this site. I have been up with Lulu our 13 yr old Dachshund all night. She was diagnosed with ccd only 3 months ago but she was showing symptoms for about a year before. She is totally blind now as well. At 3am she had complete loss of bladder and bowel control. She didn’t know who I was at first when I came out to see her. I know we are almost at the end but as you have said on this site, it is so difficult when their mobility and appetite is so good. She seems so scared. I’ve been crying for hours. I just don’t want her to suffer. I used to work with people with dementia and know that even those who seemed strong as oxen suffered. I think it will be tomorrow just can’t stop crying.

    1. Julie,
      I’m so sorry you have had to go through this. If you did help Lulu to pass on within the last few days, I’m so sorry for your loss. If she is still with you, I hope you have some good days. Hugs.

    2. Julie, You are in a tough spot. Until I decided to put my baby girl out of her suffering, I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten for her. Dogs try to hide their suffering from us, and it’s not fair to make them do that every day. When the joy of being a dog is gone, we have to man up and do the humane thing… even if it will cause us great suffering. And it will be hard. But I am so proud that I had the courage to give my baby girl her final peace. My dad had passed away a few days before. One of my toughest times in life. But I know I made the most loving choice for her. And that makes me smile through my tears. Think about it. Hugs to you.

    3. Julie iam sorry to hear about lulu.I went through the same situation with my oscar.Does it hurt oh yeah,but could not stand to see him suffer.I think about him everyday and cry at times,how i miss him.Sometime i think I can still hear his bark.Everything will be alright julie ,think of lulu.Are pets mean everything to us.

      1. Thank you everyone for your kind words and thoughts. Lulu went to sleep on Friday. She was in my arms and went very peacefully. It was the right time. We still have her full sister and her sister-from-another-mister with us, so are concentrating on them. Lulu was an amazing character; she had a huge personality. Obviously things are still raw but I know she is with me, which is comforting. Hugs to everyone out there who is going through this as well.

  95. I found this site today and am relieved to read I am not alone. My almost 16 year old Miniature Schnauzer, Jazzy, has had a rapid decline over the past few years. It started with peeing and pooping in the house. Next was finding her stuck in corners, like not realizing all she needed to do was back up. She took a step off our deck and fell about 15 feet, landing in a bush and escaping without injury. She gets stuck constantly behind furniture or under it. I can hear her whining somewhere, but have to roam the whole house looking for her. I started having to diaper her a couple of years ago and now she has scraped the fur off her back trying to get them off. I now keep her isolated most of the day because my daughters and their children had to move home and I’m afraid, due to her anxiety, that she will nip at one of them. She is either asleep or standing as though she is asleep standing up. She has hind leg weakness and stumbles often. She bangs into walls when running and seems to not realize where she is. My kids have been begging me to put her out of her misery, but I thought that was cruel since she still eats, though feels like skin and bones, she drinks, defecates, and can run but tends to just run in circles from one room to the next. Something in me was being selfish in thinking…if I could only get her to 16. The kids say she doesn’t have any quality of life. I am so grateful I found the article here and all of your comments. I know it’s time. I just need the strength to follow through.

    1. Dear Vivien,
      I apologize for my delay in writing you back. If you have eased Jazzy out of this world, I offer my condolences. If she is still with you, I wish for some good days for her. Whatever your decision is or has been, I know you are doing it out of love. Take care.

    2. Vivien,so sorry to read about Jazzy.My buddy oscar was the same,it really brakes your heart.We had said are goodbyes on Dec the 8th how I wish I still had him.There is not a day i don’t think of him,I still talk to him as if he was right next to me.HUGS out to you.

  96. I’m a Vietnamvet and I dont think my time there compares to what I hv to see my 14 yr old pixie go through . I’ve lost Harry, Tyler, Shorty, Maxie, Lola, all pups. I NEVER Liked the word dog.and Callie our cat
    Pixie has been with me 14 yrs and the symptoms are there. She has been such a light in my life. I noticed maybe 3 to 4 months ago she was running our other girls Molly, Bella, and Lucy into the ground in the back yard when the dementia symptoms started. I’ve talked to my vet and I told her she’s eating drinking and is still wit it. I felt in the past that I let our other kids slip away to quickly with euthanasia and it has killed my heart so many times.To see your babies go away is just as bad when I lost my mom n dad 3 months apart 19 yrs ago and I still cry to this day. I’ve realized that life is such a gift and short. Believe me when I say I’m truly humble and I am going to give my lil girl her chance to be as long as she wants to be and the good Lord takes her to be with my other babies. I take it day by day and love her every minute of the day 24 hrs a day or until HE says it’s my time. I’m here for it all. May God Bless you all and may your babies live on in spirit and strength.

  97. It has been 5 weeks ago today that Oscar and I said are goodbyes.I hurt just as bad today as I did on Dec.8.I love and miss you so much little buddy.I put his tag from his collar on my key ring can t seem to stop 😭😭😭😭😭😭.

  98. Our Emma Jane is suffering from doggie dementia. We’ve only had her about 16 months (she was a foster fail). But I can see the decline she is in. Her hind legs are quite weak. Despite a normal appetite, she has lost muscle mass along her spine and her hindquarters. She will stand for long periods just staring. Gets stuck in open spaces. Urinates indiscriminantly. And circles. She will circle before lying down, she will go 2 or 3 times in a half crouch, almost lying down, then go several more times, sometimes going down, sometimes then continuing to stand. My vet suggested dementia a few weeks ago, and I guess I just didn’t realize it really was, vut looking back over the short time we’ve had her, I can see the decline.

    1. Bobbi,my Oscar was doing the same,I felt so bad for him.Bless you for taking Emma in your home.Ia m sure you have her the best 16 months of her life.Just love them up,they don’t want anything but our love

  99. John Greenleaf Whittier said…” the saddest words of tongue and pen, the saddest of which are …it might have been…”
    I chose Sophie Girl’s time to go over the
    🌈 Bridge. 4 months ago I held her for the last time. WHY could not I have coped longer with her dementia? Time believe it or not is helping me heal. Always, I will love & be grateful for SOPHIE GIRL! OUR BELOVEDS ARE ROMPING & HAPPY in heaven with SAINTS ROCH & FRANCIS!
    The SAINTS even embrace pets who are Jewish!
    Our group has given me great comfort.
    Prayers gir YOU ALL@
    Roberta

    1. Roberta,I ask myself the same,maybe I should have coped with oscar a while longer but it would have been for me.He looked so sad and started at the walls hide under the bed it was no life for him.I miss him so much 😭😭😭😭.He was my everything.

  100. Having a bad night sleeping,all I can think about is my little buddy oscar.Coming home after work and he’s not here is hard.how i miss him.HUGS and kisses little buddy.

  101. I know what you mean Joe about coming home and your little buddy isn’t there waiting for you 😞 Big hugs. I didn’t want to even come home for 3 days after we said goodbye to our little girl two weeks ago yesterday because I couldn’t bare the empty space and no one to greet us after 16 years. For a good week I felt like I lost my purpose in life to be perfectly honest and any future plans didnt mean anything. Even now I still feel this to a degree. I feel guilty for letting her go, although I know she is at peace now. There is so much emotion and pain and sadness we all share. I read all the comments that come through on my email from this thread and it gives me comfort that I’m not alone but it also breaks my heart to know others are experiencing this too.

    I was given this poem which I can only hope may provide some comfort to others as well… ❤

    They say that memories are golden
    Maybe that is true
    I never wanted memories
    I only wanted you.
    In life I loved you dearly
    In death I love you still,
    In my heart you hold a place
    No one could ever fill.
    If tears could build a stairway and heartache make a lane,
    I’d walk the path to heaven and bring you back again.
    Our family chain is broken and nothing seems the same,
    But as heaven calls us one by one,
    The chain will link again.

    Thinking of everyone, love and paw prints ❤🐕

    1. Leigh-Ann,thank for the beautiful poem.I think of Oscar all the time and I say to myself how much I depended on him instead of him depending on me,I miss our walks,playing outside and just holding him in my arms.I have woken up out of my sleep telling the air in my face just like I have when we ran in the park,he was so full of life this has really taken the breath out of my life I miss my little buddy.He was always a joy to be with,I never had a bad day,I couldn’t wait to get home from work to be with him.

  102. This was a very powerful and moving article to read Eileen Anderson. Thank you. For those of you who have experienced different types of CCD, I have a question. I know my little guy is near his time. He is a 5.5 pound toy poodle. He is physically healthy, has no teeth, and has about 50% of his vision,, but has Canine Cognitive Dysfunction that we have been treating for nearly a year, with pronounced symptoms the last six months. If he were ‘out of it’ but happy, I would make no further decision. But my issue is that I don’t think he is happy. When he is awake, he is very anxious and panicky and although he can map our house, he runs into things often and he every hour or so ends up on his back like a beetle struggling to right himself. When he is awake, there is no peace for him, no rest, just anxiety. He does not go on walks, he doesn’t play at all, and while he still knows me by smell he does not engage with me in any way, no licking, no rubbing against my face which he would do every night before bed. He sleeps well, but that is only because he is on Selegiline and Trazodone (twice daily). He eats well and regularly. I just don’t see an upside for him in his day. Is he happy when he eats, or is that primal need for food? I don’t want him to be with me for my sake, and I don’t want to take away any time for him IF he has even moments of joy in the day, but I just don’t know if there are any. I could most certainly use any insight anyone could offer.

    1. I’m sorry you are at this question point, Mark. Right now there are several kind people sharing their experiences in these comments. Since you’ve already heard from me in my article, I hope some of them will chime in.

    2. Mark,I am sorry to hear about your toy poodle i also had a poodle in the same shape yours is in.I had to make the decision to put him to sleep on Dec 8 2018.It was truly the hardest decision ever.I miss him so much but his condition wasn’t good,I couldn’t keep him here just for me.I feel guilty but I had to do it.I miss everything about Oscar and think of him all the time.

      1. Thank you Joe. I understand your feelings. It is easier (still not easy) to put down a beloved pet who is in physical agony then it is to make a judgment call on whether one of our little ones is possibly in physical or mental pain / distress. The what ifs are the worst. We have a couple more things to try and we will see what the next couple of weeks brings for our little one Peri. I know you miss Oscar, but as his parent and caretaker, you had to do what you knew in your heart was best for him.

    3. We just put our dog down 2 weeks ago. I had just come to the realization the week prior that I think i held on so long for myself. I wanted to do everything I could to help him, spending lots of money to do it on supplements and medicine and change in diet etc. He was not really my Sam dog anymore. He forgot how to play. He wasn’t real lovable anymore. He was pooping in the house often and walking through it. He was getting stuck in corners. He couldn’t hear. He was shaking lots and doing the strangest things. It was a very trying year. The morning I finally made the decision, I was fixing his breakfast and he fell down from just shaking/stretching, got up walking around the table pooping. I cleaned it up fed him and let him out. I looked out the window a couple of minutes later and his hind end had fallen and he was struggling to get up. I went out and he had managed to get himself up, but I picked him up and brought him in. Later that day we went to the Vet, (a place he usually hates and pants nervously, but he seem relaxed and ate a couple of treats. I hugged him kissed him and hugged and kissed him some more. I had spent the afternoon cuddling him and tell him how much I loved him and would miss him. I think he knew he wasn’t going to be in pain anymore! It is never easy, but I knew it was time! You still doubt yourself, but I know he is at peace now. We buried him in our back yard. God bless all who have to make this tough decision. I still miss him sooo much.

      1. Patty,so sorry to read about your dog,I too went through the same with my oscar.You had said how relaxed your dog was going to the vet that Oscar was also very nervous going to see the vet but on the day we said our good byes he was relaxed also going to the vet.I always said I wish our dogs could talk to us just once.It hurts,I think about and cry for oscar everyday i sure do miss him.I know you feel guilty but you made the right decision.HUGS out to you.

  103. Mark
    Our 16 year old Lhasa Opso Buddy suffered the same symptoms.In a way it kinda snuck up on us because we didn’t want to think we were losing him.He was our whole focus in life.We gave up vacations for him because we could not find a sitter we were comfortable with.Buddy used to Love to go on long,long walks and he slowly started to cut back to where all he wanted to do was go out and do his “potty” and go back in.Up until that day he ate like he normally did but he had started sleeping 20 hours a day and when awake he paced and would go from the back door to the patio door and just stare at them.Other times he sat in the middle of the room and just looked around. Every once in a while he would look at us and come running like he hadn’t seen us for a long time.In the end we could look into his eyes and see he was not enjoying life any more.My Wife held him in her arms and I rubbed his chest(his favorite thing) and watched him move over the Rainbow Bridge to wait for us.It’s been 5 weeks now and we miss him every day but know he is enjoying his self. Hope you find peace for you and your Baby in your decision.

    1. Thank you for sharing that George. We at first thought Peri had lost most of his vision. After a visit to eye specialist we learned that he had CCD. We had been treating him for years for anxiety and thought the lack of vision was making it worse. The eye tests showed he had his vision, so the confusion had a new name. In fact, the car ride to the eye doctor was the worse ever with him as he fought me and scratched my face, something he had never done. I know the time for our decision is fast upon us, although we are trying a couple more things. Again, thank you for sharing your and Buddy’s story.

  104. Joe, my toy poodle Princess was in the same place. She was almost 20 and in the last stages of ccd. There was no joy- only existence. This forum gave me the strength to know what was the right thing to do, even though my heart fought against it. When Princess got the sedative shot, she let out such a sigh of relief. In my heart I knew that I had done the right thing for my sweet girl. Sad, but no regrets. So sorry for you to be going through this, but listen carefully to the wisdom of those who go before you. Hugs.

    1. Carol,thank for such kind words.Ia m having such a hard time with this,I feel guilty maybe I should have felt with it longer but like you said he was only here in existence.I was such a lucky man to have shared over 16 years of my life with oscar.I still haven’t been able to look at any pictures of us.How i miss my little buddy oscar.

  105. joe its so hard, I let my girl go on 6 nov,the pain was unspeakable, the guilt ,the will she get
    better? I now look back and realise it was the right thing to do,her lack of life in her eyes,
    her stumbling,incontinence and and apart from an appetite just existing. I now realise its
    the price we pay for loving them
    and the love they have given us in return. when we share our lives we our doggie friends we
    know that we are going to have to say goodbye someday we just don’t want to face it.
    our friends teach us so much

    1. Jeff,just like you i knew someday Oscar and I would have to say are goodbyes also,time sure did go by,never had a bad day with him.About are friends teaching us so much,I have read everything I can about what happens to him and why and while he was alive i have meet and talked with so many people just like i am on here,so I guess are pets do continue giving of them selves.TRUE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.💖💖💖

  106. It has been six weeks ago today my little buddy oscar and I said are goodbyes.I miss more than ever,don’t know if I will ever get over you.I have cry ed a lake by now.I love you buddy.we had something special together,never foreget.

  107. It has been seven weeks since my little buddy oscar and I said are good byes,the pain is still so great.I think of him every minute of the day,still cry for him.Oscar i love you.Thank you for the best sixteen years of my life.😭😭😭

  108. So i came here from Google typing “Should I put my dog down who has dementia”. So a little backstory if I may. My dog Buster, is a Jack Russel/Corgi. He was my dad’s before he died. Before that he was an old ladies dog. So I got him at 13 – He’s 16 now. He already had high levels of anxiety, falling over, overweight, forgetfulness. I wanted a dog due to my disabilities I was told it would do some good. But I chose Buster instead. Not sure if its due to DCD or the Dementia so He forgets where he is and paces from 5 am to 1 am. And howls all night, nothing stop it nothing quietens it and I’m sure the neighbours hate me. I got him from 18 Kgs to 7 so I’m sorta proud at it. But he was never really “my” dog if that makes sense. He doesn’t like playing or anything just likes to stare at you from outside in 40 degree C (I live in Australia) instead of Air Con. Peeing and pooing everywhere and then pacing in it.

    3 Separate Vets have pushed forward putting him down and I refused. Now my family say the same thing. And I refused. I came here to see it without rose coloured glasses as it were and reading through your site everything you dealt with is what I have. Yet I’m still hesitant, everyone says he has no life and he’s on some sort of auto pilot. And from what I read all of us have or are going through it. So any suggestions on how to proceed? Sorry for ranting, my bad habit.
    Take Care, James.

    PS. Trying to find your book in Australia is a pain =). But I’m still going to get it.

    1. Hi James,

      As you know, it’s up to you to make the decision. I do admire you for pushing back since it’s clear you are doing it in Buster’s interest. You are in the best position to determine the quality of Buster’s life and the ethics of intervening. Since you’ve already read my euthanasia story, I hope some of the others here will chime in.

      As far as I know, the least expensive way to get my (paperback) book in Australia is through the Book Depository. Here’s a link to it.

      Good luck. Buster is lucky to have ended up with you, that’s for sure.

      Eileen

    2. James,I am sorry to hear about your dog buster.I too went through the same with my buddy of 16 years Oscar.He was everything to me.I had to let him go on Dec.the 8th and life just isn’t the same even though it was the right decision for oscar i still feel a send a of guilt,i am here and he isnt.We did everything together.He would sleep all day and he up all night,stair at the walls,get lost inside the house and get stuck in the corners of rooms and under furniture.Time sure did go by fast i brought him home when he was 8weeks old.yes I still cry just about everyday for him,how i miss my little buddy.I am sure you will make the right decision when the time comes.Always remember there quality of life and ask yourself if you would like that kind of life.Bless you and your family.

      1. Thanks everyone

        The decision has been made for tomorrow, even now I have second thoughts plaguing my mind. He’s only been with me for 3 years, and even then he had symptoms. Thing is he does what other dogs do here. I’ve tried calling places that could take care of him and no one has room. Sorry if this next bit is personal… I watched both my parents die with cancer in front of me. It took dad ten years and my mum only a month before. I sometimes wonder why we can euthanized our best friends but sit back and watch our family members die slowly without help. Both my parents quality of life went from good to non existent but they made the choices. Where Buster can’t make a choice, I look at him everyday and I don’t see a spark or wag tail just pacing to no end and stumbling hurting himself and even loosing body movements. Sorry as I said I’ve only had him for 3 years… My mum thought he was only going to last 1 . But he survived her. I do hope there’s is a dog heaven, and I hope he will be happy. I have a feeling these thoughts will be in my mind all tomorrow (weds). Thanks for everyone helping, and goodluck

        James

        1. James,I am so sorry to read this will pray for you and family tonight.And yes there is a heaven,God put animals here on earth for our pleasure,love and friendship so why wouldn’t they be in heaven also for us,I truly believe in this.HUGS out to you and family.

          1. Thanks Joe, I hope that your pain dims. But you memory remains. No one can replace Oscar, but if you always remember him. He will never be truely gone. And I hope when we finally go we go where they are.

            James

  109. Hello James & ALL my new friends from
    “our group”. Today is the anniversary of my Sophie Girls going over the 🌈 Bridge.
    You rescued your beloved pet and ALL that you do is the right thing to do. I chose to send Sophie when the time was right for her. I cry every day, but realize that the quality of Sophie girl’s days were no longer happy for her. I talk to her ashes, I walk “our paths, playing her music, and neighborhood doggies, approach me as if they know???? I am sad after over 4 months! I am greatful for my time with her and my new friends such as you. Be well, and what YOU decide for you and your beloved doggie will be the right decision.
    God bless You All.
    Pray to St. Francis & St. Roch

  110. My little Toy Poodle Bailey has dementia. He is 20, our hearts are breaking because we are torn as to want to do. He paces all day and when we pick him up to give him a break he just whines until we put him down .. He still eats and drinks. He sleeps very little. He walks into every thing. Get lost in corners of the room. I know his quality of life has lessened but how do I let him go.

    1. Debbie,so sorry to read about Bailey.How amazing it is that you were able to share 20 wonderful years with Bailey.The decision is a hard one to make,I myself had made the decision on Dec.8 to say are goodbyes.Oscar was doing the same as Bailey,I just could not see him in the condition that he was in anymore,did I feel guilty about it,yes but the more I think about it the more I realize it was the right decision for the both of us at the end my little buddy didn’t even recognize who i was anymore,it hurt we were together for a wonderful 16 and a half years that I will never foreget.

      1. I think why it’s really hard for us is because we lost our precious Sophie in Oct. of 2018, my Husband took it very hard and ended up in the hospital he is a heart patient. I agree it is the best for Bailey but oh so hard. He has givin us so much joy and happiness, thank you for your help in us making our decision. I don’t want him to suffer. He will always be in our hearts

  111. letting go of a loved one is so so difficult. I would say ,ask others ,friends, vets as they can be more
    objective. some say your dog will let you know,in my case I didn’t believe, but mine did.
    the quality of life scales are useful too. cdd is mental pain and in my opinion is high on ‘is your dog in pain’
    QOL scale.I feel our love blinds us to the clarity of making the decision,i wish clarity and peace for both of you.

    1. Our Buddy let us know. The day before he came and and looked me deep in the eyes and I knew it was time. He went to my Wife and did the same thing.We called our vet and made the appointment then had a good cry. He went so peacefully we knew it was the right thing. We had him cremated in a private cremation session and brought him home 2 weeks later.We cleared a shelf for his urn and surrounded it with his favorite collar,his favorite toy and his tags. It’s been 2 months today and we feel his Loving presence every day.

  112. George & Your Wife, Buddy”s Mom & Dad,
    I am crying over your loss, but celebrating the joy that Buddy gave YOU ALL!
    Allways in our hearts, memories alive ,our beloveds will be everlasting. Our loyalty was taught to us by them and one day we will smile in rememberance of BUDDY & ALL OUR JOYFUL DOGGIES. ST. ROCH IS THE SAINT FOR OUR BEST FRIENDS!

  113. Good Evening Everyone. This is Mark, I posted a few weeks ago re my little boy Peri. I just wanted to thank each of you for your kind words of support. We made the decision to help Peri transition and yesterday around 12:30 p.m. he did so. I ranted, cried, had thousands of second thoughts the day before, questioned everything, I even thought that I didn’t want him to transition in front of me for fear of my own pain. In the end I couldn’t leave him. A lovely team came to our house and I held him close, he was already mostly asleep in my arms, and I thanked him for his love and support. I encouraged him to go to sleep and make the transition while he laid on my chest so that I could feel his heart beat until the end. I loved that boy with my entire being. We are so blessed to be the recipients of such amazing love and companionship and while the decision is difficult and wrought with anxiety, we are privileged to be able to allow the end of our children’s time on this planet to be compassionate, even if painful for us. You were all a blessing in a difficult time and for that thank you. And for current friends like James who is about to undertake what your heart is telling you is impossible to comprehend, I can only add that it is possible and you being able to make that difficult decision is what makes you an incredible parent, no matter for how long you were one, that you can help them when they need you most.

    1. Mark,it’s okay to cry over the loss of Peri,my little buddy oscar and myself said our goodbyes on Dec.8.I just can’t seem to get over it.I wish you the best and never lose hold of the memories for this is what are wonderful pets would want,boy do I miss my buddy.

  114. Thank you so much Eileen for your invaluable words of wisdom. My Bichon is almost 17 and his CCD seems to be getting worse. Like so many here I am struggling with the euthanasia decision. Reading your posting and others’ comments has been very helpful. Thank you all.

    1. Lisa, thank you for your kind words. I love that people are so supportive to each other in these comments. I hope things go as well as they can for your Bichon. Take care.

    2. Lisa,so sorry to hear about your Bichon.I was also in the same difficult position you are in.It’s a hard one to make but you always have to remember it’s for the best for your dog,the quality of life just isn’t there anymore.On the day I brought my oscar home was the best day of my life and every day till we said our goodbyes,but it was for the best.I still cry for him and miss him so much,just can’t believe he’s gone he was my everything,towards the end i think he didn’t even know who I was anymore.I felt guilty and still do about having him euthanized.When you make your decision you might want to consider giving your dog a seditive before hand it may help.BIG HUGS GO OUT TO YOU LISA.Peace be with you.

  115. I’ve been googling endlessly try to find some answers and stumbled on your site and read your article. Thank you very much for this. My 15 1/2 yrs old the most beautiful shiba inu Bella started to have CCD 2 yrs ago January 2016, starting with cluster seizure and night time painting. We worried but somehow she got better around the summer in 2016 , no seizure and less night time panting. Bella had lots of health issue, Cushing disease (well controlled thru medications and regular tests), food/seasonal allergies and chronic UTI. Past 6 years, my husband and I would take turns and took Bella to the vet every other month… But we loved our little fur child to death. Since last June Bella started to have a non-healing superficial corneal ulcer on the right eye and it took 4 months to heal but unfortunately, she ended up losing vision from glaucoma right after. 2 months after, she suffered the same corneal ulcer issue with her left eye and not only it hasn’t been healed still but also she lost her vision. She is blind for about 6 weeks now. Our Bella is an insecure dog… I’m not sure that’s the reason… but she is refusing to walk right outside of our apartment. So we have been carrying Bella up to 7-8 times per day from 16th floor to downstairs for pee/poop walks. Our dog walker quit and my husband seems to get tired of carrying Bella up/down. Ever since she became blind, she is constantly circling or bumping into walls inside the apartment with panting heavily, and her panting/anxiety is getting worse after 10 pm til 4 am next day so we all lose sleep. Made an appointment to put her down last week but I couldn’t go thru so I canceled it last week. I wish someone tells me what to do. She still eats/drinks well but her panting anxiety seems getting worse. I really don’t know what I should do or if Bella is happy or not…

    1. Jihyun,sorry to read about your Bella,will keep you in my thoughts.Always think of the great times you had with Bella.HUGS out to you.

  116. I am so happy to have found your site. I have been worried for so long on making this decision for my 16 year old sweet Maltipoo and reading your journey has helped me. She has cancer and dementia and I do not want to linger her pain too long. I cannot wait and watch for a “sign” but I hope to let her go with dignity and relief for us both. Her nightly pacing, constant water consumption, and accidents have caused so much stress on our family and I know she is not feeling her peppy self anymore either. We want to remember our sweet girl as our true companion and squirrel chaser for years to come. Thanks again for helping us make this hard decision a front-and-center priority with no regrets.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Sue. It’s such a hard, hard thing to do. Your Maltipoo is a lucky girl–your love for her shines through.

  117. Sue,so sorry to read about your beautiful dog.I know the decision is a difficult on to make.We wish we could have them forever.HUGS out to you will pray for you and family

  118. Thank you so much for this article. Our seeet beasle, (long hair miniature dauchsand) is getting so much worse in the last few weeks. He will be 16 in March. He’s been gradually getting confused- but we didn’t catch it in time and now that he’s a lot worse- I realize there’s a name for it. Dr prescribed sedative, pain killer and recommending supplements. He was just started on special food about 2 wks ago but I think it’s too advanced at this time. He’s lost the light in his eye. He’s falling over a lot , getting stuck in corners, drooling, crying at times, wonders when he’s awake!- it’s tearing our hearts out. He still has a really good appetite- which makes us feel conflicted about this impending decision. Another obstacle, is that the vet is not mentioning euthanasia as an option at all- so my husband feels we may not be making the right decision. I know his quality of life has diminished greatly in the last few months.. thank you all for reading our story!!😢😢

    1. Tammy, it is a path most of us here have followed and I am sorry for what you are going through. We had to say goodbye to our little guy a couple weeks ago, which was devastating, but was also very necessary. As the parents of furry ones, we charge ourselves with making the most horrible of choices to ensure the ones we love do not suffer. None of us can say when the right time is, but I think we pretty much would agree that anyone who has found their way to this website and who themselves is in distress because of what their little one is experiencing, will do what they know is best for them. Don’t worry about whether or not your vet is bringing it up, very few do. Our vet is a great friend of ours and even he was reluctant to bring up the conversation because he prefers people find their way to that decision, he provides as much insight into the conditions he can. I would ask yourself one question, are there moments of true happiness in the course of your pets’ day (not primal instincts like eating)? For our guy we realized he was distressed/confused when he was awake and only “happy” when he was sleeping, but that is not being “happy”, especially when the sleep was induced by medication. If there are moments of happiness and awareness, and they outweigh the difficult times, then maybe there is more time to share. In the end though, don’t expect there to be that “moment” where they tell you it’s time. Trust your heart, your husband’s heart, and the relationship you have your little one. No one knows him better than you. We are all with you on this journey and we are all sending you much love and support.

    2. Tammy,my thoughts are with you.I to had made the decision on Dec 8th Oscar and I said our good byes.I know its the hardest decision to make but my Oscar wasn’t Oscar anymore,he would sleep most of the day,walk into the walls,he looked so sad himself.its hard to think about how he was when I brought him home at 8 weeks old and what he was like at 16.5 years.But Oscar and I had the best 16.5 years together he was my buddy.I still cry daily and miss him so much.HUGS out to you and will pray.

      1. Thank you so much Joe! That is exactly how I feel- beasle is not beasle any more. He’s a shell of who he used to be. Not all of the day- but most of it. My husband got him when he was just a few weeks old- he will take it harder then me.. and- I’m sorry for your loss as well!!

  119. Thank you so much Mark. Your words are so comforting. We are putting him down on Saturday. Although tears are flowing down my face as I write this- I know he doesn’t deserve this quality of life. He deserves to be running, to love and to be happy.

    1. Our hearts will be with you. I cradled our boy in my arms the day before and day of and wouldn’t put him down. I was so fortunate that we had a wonderful vet organization that will come to your house and through my tears and sobbing our little boy transitioned while laying on my chest, cradled in my arm, on our sofa, his favorite place to snuggle. I share that only to say you will remember every moment and despite how hard it is and will be, these are the moments of your little one’s journey in this world. To quote Sally Field’s character M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias, “I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when [s]he drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life.” Take in every moment, let the love and pain wash over you, and remind Beasle through touch and sound how very loved he is and how it is okay for him to now move on. I will be thinking of all of you in the coming days.

  120. So very glad I came across your site first. My fog Aquila was diagnosed last year. His partner in crime Priscilla was put down after a long fight with cancer. Aquila was suddenly different within days. He never reverted back. I have done everything I can. Holding him tight was one of the most important things I did. He’d sleep. He’s only just started to struggle with remembering how to eat. He drinks fine. I kick start his eating by holding food up to his mouth until he licks it. He’s also got deteriorating teeth so all of his food is ground down to a paste. If he’s not sleeping he’s confused and honestly doesn’t seem to respond to me as if he knows me other than to sleep.

    1. Laura,I am sad to read about your beloved Aquila.I also went through the same this past Dec.The quility of life just isn’t there anymore,it’s sad to witness this.HUGS out to you.

  121. Sweet Beezle crossed the rainbow bridge this morning.. I can only pray he’s playing and running wherever he is. We are heartbroken- but know it was the right thing to do.

    1. Tammy,I am so sorry,not ashamed to tell you I am crying for you and your family.Always keep the faith and memories alive.My heart aches and i know he crossed the rainbow bridge.My Oscar crossed on Dec. the 8,Oscar I miss and think of you all the time not a day goes by i don’t ,you my little need to look out for Beezle and all of the other loved ones.You where the most wonderful,fun loving,curious dog I had ever met in my life I loved you so much and my life will never be the same i want to thank you for everything you have ever taught me,friendship,compassion,love and trust.THANK YOU MY LITTLE BUDDY.Will be praying for you Tammy.Oscar now go find Beezle.Crying hard.

      1. Thank you so much!! I can’t believe how much I’ve cried over him… praying it gets better.. you are in my thoughts as well!!

  122. TAMMY, BEEZLE IS OVER THE 🌈
    BRIDGE & BEEZLE IS LISTENING TO …YOUR SONG.. TAMMY, KNOWING YOUR LOVE!
    I Roberta, am crying
    Whew ..so hard!
    My girl Sophie was 5 months yesterday!
    Whew!

    1. Roberta,it’s been 3 months for me and hopefully are pets have found each other at the rainbow bridge i also cry daily and talk to Oscar as it he is still by me,I understand everything you are going through will keep you in my thoughts.HUGS out to you.

  123. My best friend and companion Rhian is 151/2. She is my world. She has dementia and if she’s not sleeping she’s going round in circles. She’s practicly blind and deaf and her back legs a week…but she’s still my baby…I got an appointment with the vets tomorrow…but really don’t know if I can watch my baby die…it’s breaking my heart…I’m reading all your comments and I feel so much for you all and sending you all my love….xxx

    1. Oh Melanie – we all understand totally how you’re feeling… I honestly felt like my heart was breaking in two… After nearly three months although I’m still sad and miss him dreadfully I still know that it was the last kindest thing I could do for my wee little Bert… I hope you find the strength and peace… This is such a supportive forum – use it – it really does help… Sending you love and light Michelle… xx

  124. melanie, letting go of a loved one is so so difficult, the greater the love ,the greater the grief,
    was true in my case.I let my girl go last nov with symptoms very similar to your rhian.
    the decision to let go tore my heart out, As I look back I see how my love for my old girl
    clouded being able to see her poor quality of life,.Wanting her to be well was another factor.
    I involved others opinions and the thing that helped me most was to accept that I would suffer for
    my action rather than see my friend suffer more.my thoughts are with both of you.

  125. Melanie,sorry to read about Rhian.I know how hard this is to witness i also suffered with my buddy oscar back in Dec.It is the sadiest day of my life,but i am starting to feel like it was the right decision.Little Oscar was my life of 16.5 years i miss him so much.HUGS go out to you.xoxo

  126. Thank You for this article…im on another sleepless night with my Jade. She is 14 + catahoula. In her prime a strong wise full of life. Now …nothing of her former self. I know if she could tell me in her own words…she is ready. Thank you for this article, now I dont feel like im a cold monster. Beinfg a nurse in a hospital I see dementia in humans how horrible it is to have a body that keeps going but a mind that has failed. Its such a hard decision but she deserves dignity and to be remembered as she was with.

    1. Dear Sue,
      I can say for sure you are not a monster. You wouldn’t have ended up here, searching for information and solace, if you were. I’m so sorry about your dear Jade. There are a lot of people here who understand.

      Eileen

    2. We are hospice fosters.In saying that over 8 years we have had to make the decision many times however we have saved many lives that would have not been had they been destroyed because they were old n owners wanted puppies.

      Never an easy decsion…bless all of you who have had to make it.

  127. Thank you so much for your words. We are at the point where we have decided to euthanise our much loved Teddy, we will have our last evening with him this evening. We are all a mess but we know it is the right thing to do. Reading the account of your own decision-making process has been immensely comforting and has reassured me that now is the right time for him.

    1. Dear Lizzie,
      I’m so sorry for your loss of Teddy. I’m really glad my words were helpful. Take care.

      Eileen

  128. My beloved Riley of almost 16 years is now at peace. He crossed the rainbow bridge earlier this evening. The last couple weeks were especially difficult for him – the anxiousness, tight circling and falls increased so much. As he lay in my arms as he crossed I could feel the peace come over him – although the decision was so difficult I knew in that moment it was the right decision. I know now he has his playfulness back and is chasing that ball he loved so much! I wish you all peace with these difficult decisions. God bless you!

    1. Mark,so sorry to hear about Riley peace be with you.My little buddy Oscar of 16.5 years crossed over the rainbow bridge 13 weeks ago I know the pain you feel.I miss him so much but in the end it was the right decision.GOD BLESS EVERYONE AND OUR BEAUTIFUL PETS.WE MISS YOU

  129. Dear Mark,
    Know that RILEY is romping & chasing that ball! Riley will be teaching my Sophie Girl how to romp & play too! Twenty -two weeks ago, I sent her over the 🌈 Bridge.
    I miss her so!
    Best,
    Roberta

  130. I’m so sorry Mark. This group was so helpful when I put my sweet Beezle to sleep 2 wks ago. One of the hardest descisions of our life- but the right one. We just got his ashes back- and the pain came flooding back/ but still through the tears- still the right choice. Best wishes to you and everyone reading this!

  131. Thank you all for your kind comments at this difficult time. This blog has been so helpful to me the last few months. It is a wonderful blessing for those of us who have pets suffering from CCD. Thank you.

  132. 13 weeks ago today Oscar and I said are goodbyes.I want you to know my little buddy you where and are and always will be my heart and soul.I miss you so much,the bond we shared will be like no other.Thank you for the most wonderful 16 years of my life,I always kiss you goodnight and first thing in the morning.I LOVE YOU OSCAR HUGS AND KISSES.

  133. Yep, article’s touched a nerve.
    Nora’s been with me over 8 years. Scottie, rescued from a hoarder in 2010 with 13 others, she got returned to Scottie Rescue after having been placed with one of her siblings (who got kept) when she wouldn’t ‘settle’ as they’d put it.
    Basket case for a couple weeks at first, owing to the traumas she’d been subjected to with all the changes.

    She might be 9, could be 14. No idea.

    We’ve had 8 Scotties over the years, all but the first one came from Scottie Rescue. We were happy to take in those with challenging ages so we’re used to their time with us being short.

    Still, Nora’s such a sweetie, when she was diagnosed with an inoperable stomach tumor last November, along with some liver anomalies, we knew what was going to happen sooner than later.

    She’s eating well enough though grown very picky about what and how much she’ll eat. No accidents yet, she’s mobile enough and motivated to go out when prompted, thankfully. Most troubling is the frequent morning vomiting of (mostly) mucous, the most obvious external sign of what’s going on.

    That she suffered a ‘melting ulcer’ after scratching a cornea early in December didn’t help matters. A blood serum treatment protocol suggested by our vet succeded in 100% healing but it was a rough two months.

    That she seems to still enjoy being around & about with us keeps me from that inevitable last trip to the vet’s. Your perspective gives me some comfort over whether I’m putting it off to her detriment, or if – as I hope – it’s just not quite time yet for us to go our separate ways.

    1. Hi Stephen,
      Nora sounds lovely. I’m sure you will make the right decision if it falls into your hands that you need to take action. I’m glad my perspective helped a little bit. Take care.

      Eileen

  134. 8 Months ago my Yorkie had a stroke. I thought I was going to loose her but some how she got better. She was in the hospital for a week and after tests/MRI we found out she has Dementia. It has now been 9 months since that hospital stay. The first 3-4 months after the hospital she did well, however the last few months has been a decline. The last 3 weeks being the hardest. Countless nights with out sleeping! She barks at the wall, all day/night. She circles over and over when she is not sleeping. I dont know what to do anymore! She is 15 and I have had her since she was 12 weeks old. She is like my child. I have a vet appointment today to get guidance because I cant continue to live this way. Seeing her circle and bark at nothing all day is very stressfull. I dont even know if she knows me anymore. Need guidance.

    1. Dear Dulce,
      I’m sorry for the delay in approving your comment and writing back. What did you find out at the vet? Feel free to write again. There are several people here who have been through what you are going through, and I know they will chime in to help.

      Eileen

  135. She
    Your article was extremely helpful to me this evening I have struggled for weeks to make this decisions. You are right, that each time you assess the situation , you talk yourself in and out of it 1 million times but ultimately our little Bunnie (Jack Russell @ 16 1/2 hrs ) has no quality-of-life no more going on patrol every day she can’t say she has back trouble with her hips and legs she can hear us anymore and she walks herself to death just about in fact I thought that that would kill her but it hasn’t so far. Each day present her with a new challenge and us a new set messes to clean up . I want to remember her at her best times not her worst . Again I just wanted to say thank you for providing this blog to so many people that seem to be helped by this blog. Tomorrow is our day to say goodbye to our sweet angel and have memories for a lifetime .

    1. Dear Cathy,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. Little Bunnie was so very lucky to have you. It’s such a hard decision, but it sounds like you acted out of love and Bunnie’s best interest. Believe me, I know how hard it can be. Take care.

      Eileen

    2. Cathy so sorry to read about your bunnie,i also had to make the decision on Dec 8 2018 to say are goodbyes,Oscar and myself it was and always will be the hardest decision to make.But the more I read what Oscar was going through I know I made the right decision I still feel guilty about it and miss him so much he also was 16.5 years old.Sending out Hugs to you.

  136. Eileen,
    Our 14 year old is beginning to suffer from CCD – sleeping all day, the pacing and panting at night. We’ve been back and forth to the vet and all trials on pain meds indicate it’s not pain, but CCD. Our hearts are breaking and we are exhausted. She is eating well, happy, rolling in the grass and on the carpet like a puppy and alert, except for the night time pacing. We too wonder how long till we know and this is after having to put four other of our beloved pets down due to old age or illness. They are all different. Our little Maltese did the same as your Cricket – she fought till the end. She barked constantly and paced constantly, so our vet provided a dose of Valium to sedate her and instead it revved her up! She was so out of it though that through her barking and barking, she stumbled down the stairs before I could catch her. On top of that she was blind in one eye and deaf at the end. When we made the decision to end her suffering, she fought the medication. I felt awful! But it was the right decision. Gosh, I just keep hoping that our Maggie will just pass in her sleep peacefully.

    1. Dear Renee,
      That’s kind of amazing about the Valium, because Cricket also had that kind of reaction. She got jazzed up and wove around drunkenly. I had gotten it ahead of time for when I would have to take her to get euthanized. It was good that we tried it beforehand because it would have made things worse. And yes, she fought until the end. That was so hard, and I know it must have been for you, too, with your Maltese.

      I hope for peace for Maggie, and for you, as well. I did have one dog pass away at home. He was ill but not miserable, and he died suddenly. It really was easier on both of us I think. Take care.

      Eileen

  137. We made the dreaded decision to put our Little 20 year old Poodle Bailey to sleep today. It was the most hardest things to do. Even though he had dementia he was other wise doing ok. He ate and drank well but like the rest the constant walking and pacing for hours finally took a toll on his little body. He was here in body but not in mind. We loved that little guy so much it hurts. We fought daily the choice as to what to do because some days he seemed to do better and we thought this is great but the very next day this went down hill again. But now even though this was a heart breaking decision we know it was best for him. So my heart goes out to any one who has to make this decission. Just remember this is whats best for them.

  138. we r having the same problem with our 16 yr old rescue Boomer. He has dementia. Fell in the pool got confused i pulled him out. Paces and walks in circles or hides under the table or tried to dig a hole in the floor. Ive brought it up to my family and they r not supportive they think i am trying to put him down. He barks continuously at absolutel;y nothing i love him hes always been like a grumpy old man. But if he is suffering mentally, i dont know if i should put him down.he limps and has has bad hips and back legs. I asked the vet he said physically hes ok but mentally not there and said he had medicine for dementia but its 125 a month for meds and i have four dogs. Not sure what to do. will talk to vet again. its a heartbreaking thing but i want to make sure whats best for him. suffering mentally can be the same or worse than suffering physically

    1. Patty,sorry to hear about boomer.I also was faced with the same back in Dec.It’s a hard decision to make but the quality of life just is not there.I miss Oscar so much but I know it was the right thing to do he was just not Oscar anymore he looked so sad everyday and now that I think about it he didn’t even recognize who i was anymore.We wish our pets could live forever but their life just like ours also ends,ENJOY EVERYDAY THAT WE HAVE WITH THEM I KNOW I DID HE GAVE ME OVER 16 YEARS OF FUN AND MEMORIES I WILL CHERISH THE REST OF MY LIFE.,HUGS OUT TO YOU.

  139. Hi Patty, this is a very tough decision. With regard to family, if they don’t have exposure to Boomer on a daily basis it can be difficult for them to realize the severity of Boomer’s condition. I faced a similar situation with my Riley but my family was very supportive of me overall and realized how severe Riley’s CCD was after spending a little more focused time with us. I wish you and Boomer peace with this very difficult decision. I miss Riley every day!

    1. Hi Mark thanks for ur response. My husband is here with him all day and night and he makes me feel like he is not ready to be put down. It kind of upsets me because he and my other son make me feel like hes just old leave him alone. almost like im just looking for an excuse to put him down. Ive talked to the vet but i think i will do it if i see him if he gets worse. I wont let him suffer. I love him too much thanks

  140. I am letting my 16 year old Westie go next week. IT is just so hard. this is the third appointment I have cancelled the other two, I hope I have the courage to go through with it, She is quite physically fit, still takes short slow walks with me but she is partially blind, no hearing but the worst is the anxiety,and dementia it is worse when I am not present 100% of the time, She wakes every night roams around, has many accidents and I carry her up and down the stairs. it would be so much easier if she was sick. the last paragraphe of your article helps me a lot. I keep rereading it.. Hope I can go through with it this time..

  141. My Pommy is 19 years old. She is now walking in circles, sometimes she is falling. A few days ago she was unable to stand and could not hold her head upright to eat or drink. I made the appointment this Friday April 5th to let her cross. Today she is walking again, drinking on her own. She is still walking in circles and appears confused. I am so torn with this decision. Is it too early? My husband says she will have good days but far more bad and that it is time. She is soiling herself most nights. My 19 year old daughter is coming home this Thursday to say her final goodbyes. She tells me she is just old and that we don’t “kill” old people. I am lost in guilt here. Please be kind with any comments.

    Sad dog mommy

    1. Hugs and support to everyone here,I to went through the same with my little oscar on Dec 8 2018.It was the hardest decision one has to make.How i miss him,sixteen and a half years I enjoyed him.Everyday was a new and loving adventure one i will never forget.I look at pictures of him and can see now how ccd took over his life i never had a bad day with my little buddy how I miss him.

    2. You poor thing Lisa, I know you posted this a while ago and I can’t tell if people replied, but it sounds to me like it was time 🙁 🙁

  142. Thank you so much for this site. I am up tonight while my exhausted husband tries to sleep. Our 16 year old lab has dementia and is usually up most of the night walking around and panting. She cries to stand up as her back legs are so weak. She still has a pretty smile and recognizes all the the regular people on her walk, but she is not eating now. We have tried everything and sometimes we hit upon something she’ll eat, but not tonight. I am getting sadder and sadder because I know the time is coming. I like what you said about being a week early rather than a day late, but no one who loves their dog wants to see them suffer, so to say you were a day late is too much of a guilt producer for me, but I know what you mean. This is so hard. We keep hoping she’ll pass away in her sleep, but I am not counting on it. Daisy is her name. Thanks

  143. I came across this article while trying make my decision. Rosie is a 14 y/o Broder Collie Blue Heeler mix. It has been so hard watching this incredibly intelligent dog suffer from dementia. We’ve tried special food, CBD oil and anti-anxiety drugs. She’s fine physically. I’ve changed my mind a million times. But, I know the end will eventually come. If not tomorrow then when will be the right time? I want a sign. I want someone to tell me what to do. I want Rosie to tell me what she wants. Does one tail wag make up for the bad things?

    1. Hi Jackie my little Smudge a maltese shitzu had dementia. He was still eating but drinking was a problem He paced, had accidents, walking into things, had little seizures, cried and never wagged his tail anymore but I felt he still knew me. We would have good and bad days but the better days became less. I would cuddle him like a baby. I cancelled the vets appt on two occassions because I just couldnt bear to put him to sleep. I eventually booked him in one morning for that afternoon. But I went in earlier to see if the vet could do something else for him rather than put him to sleep. He said he was physically fine. But he had no quality of life anymore. My little smudge was howling and crying whilst I was holding him. He knew, I am sure of that. This made it even harder to go ahead with it. But I said goodbye to him. That was on 8 April 2019. I am struggling, keep questioning myself did I do the right thing, but deep down I know I did. It would have been selfish of me to keep him like this. Before dementia he was the happiest, funny little one so full of life. It is the hardest thing I have ever done but I know it is the best for him. We have a beautiful framed photo of him. We buried his ashes and planted daisies. I hope you are able to make the right decision for your Rosie.

  144. I have a mini schnauzer. And within the last year she has been diagnosed with cognitive dementia. She pees in the house. Sometimes outside too. The bad thing when I’m at work. She poops and walks through it making a total nightmare. I have her quarantined with pads. Now she’s doing tight circles. I’m afraid she does it the whole day. She eats and drinks fine. I just fear she’s declining. Ugh

  145. Lisa, Ellen, Jackie, Calvin, Christa, I’m sorry that I have not been able to publish or respond to comments for several weeks, although I have read them all. I hope you are all doing OK. I realize some of you may have lost your dogs during this time period. I know that all of you have your dog’s very best interests in mind, and I feel that any decision you make will be a good one.

    –Eileen

  146. Hi there my dog suffered with dementia for almost a year we didn’t recognise the symptoms at first but looking back now I realise it was slowly taking his life it got so I don’t think he recognised us any more he slept most of the day and couldn’t be bothered to eat he would just stare at his food and drink then walk away it was very distressing we knew what we had to do but put it off for weeks it was the worst day ever of my life I still cry every day and miss him so much I wouldn’t wish it on anyone dementia is a cruel desease it robbed my dog of his life he was only 11 but I glad we didn’t wait any longer before he lost all of his dignity I couldn’t remember the last time I saw him wag his tail until he had finally gone then his Frail body wagged his tail as to say look I’m happy again now

    1. Joanne, I’m so sorry. Yes, it can be such a cruel disease. I know that every day you strove to make your boy’s life as happy as it could be. He was so lucky to have you. I’m sorry for your loss.

  147. I have two older Rat Terriers so am dealing with similar issues.
    Did the vet not tranquilize your dog before euthanizing her? I always always have my vet tranquilize my dog because the killing injection burns like heck and hurts the dog.
    Please folks, if you take your dog in to be euthanized be sure they tranquilize the dog. And not Rompun, it can cause them to throw up (and yes this happened to me). Telazol works well and helped my last dog to pass peacefully.

  148. I had my old girl sedated before euthanasing her,the reasons many.Old dogs can have poor veins and
    problems can arise,if a vein cannot be found. other methods are an injection into the heart or stomach
    which takes longer for them to pass and can distress to all.Our doggie friends have suffered enough with CDD.
    Sedated, a dog
    will pass away peacefully.If you cannot face being with them at the end ,then sedation gives you time to be
    with them.A lot of vets do recommend sedation, but it is something you will have to request as some vets don’t.

  149. Blessings to All!
    Friday next, Sophie Girl will be gone over the
    🌈BRIDGE 8 months! My gal had CCD as cruel as dementia in us! I have garden lights for her. I play our song when I now walk sans Sophie. Neigh doggies great me and KNOW! I am doggie sitting my 2 grand dogs in July for 10 days. I am s l o w l y
    healing. BUT I AM ALSO BIG TIME FIBBING! SO HARD ! BLESS ALL OF YOU !
    SOPHIE’S mom
    Aka roberta
    lower case letters sans SOPHIE

  150. We have an appointment to put down our 15-18 yr (adopted between age 7-10)old yorkie-poo today. It’s been really hard on me. He still follows me everywhere. He still eats and drinks and sleeps at night. I thought I would feel more confident that it was the right time. I keep talking myself in and out of it.

    He has had a big decline in the last 6 months. He is not the same dog he was even a year ago. He can’t see or hear anymore. This is making him very snippy and jumpy when anyone tries to pet him or help him up onto furniture. I have two young kids at home and he gets very spooked when they accidentally bump him or if they try to pet him. About 40% of the time he tumbles down steps or off the couch when trying to get up. At least 2x a week he throws up when I leave the house for even an hour. He has been having a lot more pooping accidents in the house too, even with people home.

    The biggest thing for was last weekend we were at the cabin which he used to love. He was struggling so much there. It’s like he didn’t know where he was at all. Kept bumping into walls and took a big tumble down about 12 stairs when he got half way up the staircase and walked right into the wall. We spend most the day outside and he was panicky the entire time we tried to let him out. He used to not need a leash but now he runs around in a panic trying to find me but he can’t hear me call for him to help. I tried to chain him up but he was almost more panicked pull as tight as possible to get off. At home he does ok but the reality is we are going to be on the go over the summer often and it seemed so hard on him.

    Telling others who have doggy sat for us recently nobody thinks we are doing it prematurely, they have all noticed a big change recently. It’s hard…I also have had already been crying on and off for the last 3 days after making the appointment. If I cancel I feel like it will just be to repeat the cycle of questioning and tears in another couple months.

  151. dear amy

    watching your old friend deteriorate is so tough.I had a similar situation last year.I let my old girl pass
    on the 6th nov last.I was tortured with knowing when it was ‘time’ what helped me decide were the following;
    ask close family/friends,they can be more objective . do the quality of life scales.I found the love I had got in the
    way of seeing clearly. Finally I decided that I would suffer for my actions for the rest of my days rather than see my old girl
    suffer more. Its a decision we can go second guess ourselves over and over.I wish you both peace.

  152. Thank you, from the absolute bottom of my broken heart for what you have written. I will be honest, I cried reading the entire thing, but instead of tears of sadness… I am crying tears of relief.
    The last few months with my Lucky were less than ideal with all the typical symptoms of “doggy dementia”, but I wasn’t going to give up on my 12 year old partner in crime. Unfortunately, after her health began to rapidly decline in a matter of just days, it was time to say goodbye. I have been arguing with myself for weeks now, “Did she have more time?”, “Did I do the right thing?”, “What if today was just a bad day?”. Even with people close to me supporting my decision, I still cannot pull myself out of the sadness taking over my heart.
    After reading your story, I can now say to myself that I loved my Lucky more than anyone could have ever loved her, and I saved her from leaving this world terrified and alone. My sweet “Dodie”, always stubborn, always bossy, left my side being a tough cookie like Cricket; not making it easy on those poor vet techs.
    I hope your story finds everyone hurting after the loss of a beloved family member, and I hope it brings them the same support as it did me.

    1. Dear Theresa,
      I’m so sorry for your loss of Lucky. And I’m very happy if my post eased your heart a bit. What you did is the very hardest thing to do. And I’m sure you did it just right.

      Eileen

  153. I would like to give hugs out to each and everyone of you.The decision to euthanize your loved one is the hardest one to make,I also made the decision on December 8 2018.Today on June 8 2002 ,seventeen years ago my buddy Oscar and I found each other .What a bond and love i had for him we were never apart always together.I still think and cry everyday for him I don’t wish for a certain day they were all special.Sometimes I can still hear him and feel him next to me,I have dreams that were in the park,at the lake or on a walk together,how i miss him.I know all his pain is gone now.Oscar i just want you to know that I love you and pray for you everyday.I know we will meet someday again.

  154. hi joe

    i lost my old girl last nov,she was born on 10.3.02 around the time of your oscar? I still miss my
    old friend ,but i now see how cdd robbed her of everything.She has now got wings,i feel her presence
    a lot,there is a quote in the film ‘tuesdays with morrie’ ‘death ends a life not a relationship’

    1. Thank you jef for the reply.Sorry for the loss of your dog.I just can’t seem to get over the loss of oscar.17 years ago we found each other and he was my life.I miss everything about him.I feel empty and cry alot.I know the decision was the right one ccd really took his life over,I look at pictures of him and understand he deffently was not himself but I feel a lot of guilt for having him euthanized he had a hard time standing,eating,drinking water and losing weight how I miss him.

      1. hi joe i have to say that in the 63 years of my life i have been through lots,cruel parents,brother, ex left me etc etc
        none hurt so much as losing my jenny, she was total love from the moment i had the gift of her to the day she left her body.
        The thing that helped me most was advice off someone with a dog with cdd ‘i would rather suffer for the rest of my days
        for my action rather than see my friend suffer more’ remember cdd is real suffering.I hope your grief becomes easier in time

        jeff

        1. Jeff,thank you for the kind words,hope your life gets better.My days have not been the same with the loss of Oscar,how I miss him.For the sixteen and a half years we were together we were never apart.I think of him everyday and what we would be doing together,walks to the park,lake or just hanging out together.I miss him.

  155. I am trying to gather courage from all of your stories. My Rowdy just turned 14 in April. His symptoms are a little different. He still eats and drinks, he doesn’t pace, and has not yet started having potty accidents in the house. He does have balance issues, is unable to jump onto furniture anymore, can’t walk up the stairs at all and seems more unsure daily of how to get down safely but he also has arthritis which is likely the cause for that. The issue is that Rowdy barks, two barks, two second silence, two barks. nightly for hours on end, starting around the time the sun goes down. The rest of the day he is usually perfectly fine. While he’s doing it, he stares off into space or just acts confused and agitated. He doesn’t seem to hear us speaking to him even when he is looking right at us. We’ve tried it all. Changing lighting, soft soothing music to no noise whatsoever, toys/treats to keep him busy, sedation, laying on the floor with him, nothing works. I have two other senior dogs who are very bonded with him. They get very distressed when he does this. I have to wonder if it’s fair to them for them to have to deal with it, but they also love him very much. I keep telling myself that it’s too soon, that if I do this now I am basically taking his life because he barks. He’s a dog. Dog bark. Right? I wish I cold be inside of him just for a minute when this happens so i could know what is happening. I don’t want him to suffer but I don’t want to end his life if he isn’t. The vet is no help at all, through no fault of her own though. She doesn’t have a crystal ball either and tells me to follow my heart.

    1. I’m so sorry, Julie. That’s an awfully hard decision. Is there any chance of seeing a vet behaviorist or your vet consulting with one? Dr. Chris Pachel of Portland, OR does phone vet-to-vet consults for a very reasonable fee. He takes the whole history and makes recommendations.Vet behaviorists are the “psychiatrists” of the veterinary world and they can often help with meds for these kinds of situations. Just a thought.

      I’m so sorry you are going through this, for yourself, Rowdy, and your other dogs. Hugs.

      Eileen

      1. Thank you so much. I was wondering if you have her of Adaptil. I think it’s a pheromone like Feliway for cats.