Advice on Pets, Life, Love
Spoiler alert: The following two questions are big downers. However, the queries are important because they remind us about what every loving dog owner doesn't want to contemplate.
Dear Dog Lady,
Do you know when it's time for euthanasia? My dog is a medium-sized dog. She's outlived any dog her size at 17-plus years old. She walks beautifully up to three miles per day. She does have some cataract issues and hearing difficulties. She has to be coaxed to eat much of the time. Still, her mind seems pretty good, although she does have some nights when she will pace for an hour or so for no reason. My question: When do we put her to sleep? How do we know when the right time has arrived? I do not want to wait for a medical emergency as that is not what I want for her last moments.
There is no answer to your questions from a stranger. Reaching this conclusion is the most personal, heartfelt decision you can make as a dog owner. Talk to your veterinarian and seek out other dog lovers who have lost pets. Maybe you will find some guidance in these conversations.
If your dog has good days and still enjoys life, this should guide you. Do not anticipate the end and do not try to spare yourself the trauma. Also, do not try to orchestrate her final scene. You will know when she has reached the end. This is the best advice Dog Lady can offer. You will know and there will be no doubt. Until then, enjoy your dear mutt Methuselah. You are so blessed to have her - and to have had her for so long.
Dear Dog Lady,
We have a 12-year-old yellow Labrador retriever named Daisy. She will be 13 in October. She gets around fine. Sometimes we think she's a pup; other times she moves a little slower. She is home during the day while we are at work and has the run of the house. There are no accidents or other problems. My question: What signs do I look for when its time? It seems she could go on for another year or two.
If Daisy eats, walks and enjoys, it is not time for her to die. Dogs teach us to live in the moment so learn your lessons. Let Daisy enjoy her well-earned senescence and flower in her dotage. What you are now experiencing is the hardest part of having a dog. They age quickly and the years pass in a tumble. Before you know it, they slip getting into the car, or struggle to rise up off the floor, or look at you with wise eyes milky from cataracts.
As long as your dog shows all the signs to keep going, leave her alone and allow her senior moments. Make sure Daisy has regular veterinarian appointments and special treats -- bones, bully sticks, tennis balls, whatever turns her on -- along the way. Ask your veterinarian about the impending signs of death. Dog Lady would rather not dwell on these, preferring to think our dogs have miles to go before they sleep.
Dear Dog Lady,
Our four-year-old old female shepherd mix Olive will howl in sync with a siren when the sound is nearby. Whether she is inside or out, she'll stop what she's doing, stand at attention with ears up and then start howling until the siren is past. She doesn't mimic other noises. Your thoughts are appreciated.
Howling at sirens is Olive is being Olive. She is female dog, hear her roar. She's obviously enchanted, invigorated, enamored by the sound of a siren and needs to join the chorus with a primal howl. She's not scared or she would cower and try to hide
She's not hurting anybody or threatening anyone. Do not try to train her out of this behavior or punish her for howling with the blare. Do not reward her either. You must merely stand back and appreciate your dog in all her female shepherd-mixedupness. Her wolf ancestors would be proud.
Dear Dog Lady,
I have a five-months-old "Morkie" (Maltese/Yorkshire terrier mix) that I acquired three months ago. She had been training with puppy pads from her previous owner. We continued on with the pads and she has been doing very well. But now we want to train her to go outside. How do we go about doing this?
Mind Pees and Qs
Dear Mind Pees and Qs,
Good for you to want your Morkie to go outside, which is exactly where she should go. Whenever a dog relieves itself in the house without consequences, the beast believes indoors is the great outdoors -- one big toilet with no boundaries. You should buy a crate and begin crate-training your pet. She is still young enough to learn quickly. Whatever you do, stop her immediately from soiling in the house.
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