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My dog Yoko is 12 years old, and the old age is starting to get to her, and it is extremely painful for me to see. She is only 3 years younger then me. I can can bearly remember not having her, and now I am having to start thinking about life without her. She really is one of my best friends, and I would do anything for her. She is a lab/pitbul, but was the runt of the litter. She comes up only comes up to my knees, but weights about 40 lbs. In the past 5 years or so she has put on more weight. A few years ago she got Bloat. We didn't know what it was when she had it, (and of course our internet was down adn it was a Sunday so no vets were open) but she survived it. We have tried to monitor her food intake ever since then. She is half blind and getting deafer by the day, along with having bad back legs (we're guessing arthritis). If she is going ever slightly faster then a walk across the lanolium she will fall. She can not walk across the wet deck without falling. She has some good days where she can chase her ball as long as we throw if for her, but then she is usually in pain and whining all night long. We used to try to ignore the fact that she really is getting old, but now it seems to be flashing a neon sign in our faces. She isn't suffering, but as soon as she is, I know we are going to have to put her out of her misery. We have never had an animal this old before, and never had we liked one as much as we like Yoko, and none of us know what to do. Almost everynight she pees on the carpet because she doesn't wake us up in time. I think she is starting to loose control of her bladder, because sometimes in the middle of the day when all the doors are open she will just start to pee. This is a dog that at 1 ft tall pulled a full grown Rotweiler off one of my brothers when the Rotweiler was attacking my brother, and saved his life (the Rotweiler almost punctured his lung). She has never attacked a person before. She mothered a kitten we had once and has always been there for me. She has had a good, long life. She has been on countless camping trips, backing packing trips, has surfed, gone to the river etc. I'm not ready to let her go, but I know the time is coming.
LL
 

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unfortunately everyone's time comes and it's something everyone deals with differently. all we can really do is share our own experiences so you know you're not alone in how you feel.

my cat was just put down a couple months ago, she was 18 and her kidneys were failing. it was tough because she lost so much weight you could feel every bone. here eyes were still fine, her hearing wasn't perfect but it wasn't really that bad, so except for how tiny she was you'd never know she was sick, she still had lots of energy and stuff.

it was wierd going home to visit for easter and not having her there and yeah i miss her but my mom got a new cat and a dog and they're good for distraction.

i lost a dog before that, he was only 4 when we put him down, he got sick.

so i understand how you feel. but it sounds like yours has had a really happy life so you should be happy for that. just try to remember that they're never really gone, the spirit lives on, and you'll see her again. meanwhile you can make it easier for her by spending a lot of time with her so when it's time she knows she's loved here
 

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I lost my cat on April 8. It was awful. I feel for you. She was in good health on a relative level but had cardiomyopathy. I gave her meds 3 times a day, took her to the cardiologist a few times a year, etc. She was my best friend. She slept on my chest every night. She represented my first steps of independence when it was just her and I living alone in an efficiency apt. I loved that time, and she and I made such a tight bond. When I spent a summer in boston and my parents had her, I cried myself to sleep for a week. she was like my child.

she had an embolism lodge in her back legs while playing. this threw her into heart and lung failure. she was in tremendous pain with a very bad prognosis and I had to euthanize her. she was only five years old. my heart BROKE. I remember feeling like the pain would never go away. I stayed home from work, didnt eat, it was bad.

but when I posted my story on a message board about bad breeders (tyla was a sphynx....I would have rescued an animal but my boyfriend was allergic so it was this cat or nothing). some kind soul read it and offered me a sphynx kitten for free. it felt a bit too soon and I was very apprehensive, but I couldnt pass up the opportunity as I knew I wanted another sphynx and couldnt afford it. the generosity was overwhelming.

Now I have my little bald boy Ronin. He is the light of my life. On my lap right now. Our pets don't live forever so in a way, we are setting ourselves up for these heartbreaks, but I know that in the end it is WORTH IT. and I do feel like I grew so much as a person throughout Tyla's life and death. My first pet, my dearest friend, and she will never be forgotten.

my heart goes out to you as you endure this struggle. it is harder than I would have predicted. I myself am buddhist, and I remember looking at Tyla when she was just a kitten and thinking to myself "one day this little thing is going to die." Maybe that sounds morbid, but I feel it was a context for the span of our relationship. To cherish every moment. And when I look at the pictures of us, I was just in love with her every second. Your compassion for your dog at this time is so wonderful. So many people get frustrated or angry. To care for her and love her is the best thing in the world. The hardest thing to accept is letting go. I think that while its the hardest thing to do, it can be a beautiful gift to them and a growing experience for yourself. If only we could see the true nature of things and see birth and death as similar things. to view it as a natural returning to space. its so tough. my thoughts are with you.

XOXOXO

beth

p.s. believe it or not, when I was dealing with all this, I posted my feelings on a message board I frequented a lot and people's words really helped me. just to know that anonymous people were thinking of me. if you ever want to email me or whatever, I'd be happy to lend an ear. I just went through this so recently, that I feel very connected to what you are going through. warm wishes to you.
 

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I can relate. My dog Penny (in my avatar!) is getting old too. She's 10, but has Addison's disease which makes her even older. She has bladder problems too and frequently pees on the floor. She peed blood once which really freaked us out (it was red in the snow). We brought her to the vet and he told us it was because her bladder was getting too full and she was waiting too long to go. She has to have a shot of Cortisol every three weeks and a pill every other day. If these things aren't given to her exactly on the date she's supposed to get it, she starts acting weird. She's not suffering though, she actually has quite a leisurely life when her meds are on time, living like a queen. But I know she's going soon and I'm kind of scared. This was our first and only pet, I was nine when we got her and I can't even imagine life without her. Just know that I'm going through sort of the same thing, and if you ever need to talk you can email me PM me or AIM me. take care.
 

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Have you talked to your vet about Yoko's hip/leg problem? She may be suffering from hip dysplasia, and there are medications that can help her. Also, there are food supplements that help "lubricate" the joints and ease symptoms. Finally, you should talk to your vet about pain management. As our animals get older, they tend to need medication to make them more comfortable, just like old human beings do. There are also many holistic methods available to make senior animals more comfortable, such as gentle massages. You may be able to learn some of these techniques.
 
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