When it's time to let go. This is perhaps the hardest thing anyone who shares their life with a companion animal has to do. Anyone who has been there understands that sometimes it is even more painful than saying goodbye to a human.
Let's take a look at our rockstar, Mr. Bishi. Bish has far surpassed expectations for a bully - he's coming up on 13. Our first two bullies, Maggie and Big Tuna passed at 8 and 8.5 respectively. Far too early but unfortunately not unusual.
Bish has full blown dementia, something that is showing up more and more in dogs because of better medicine and medications (more on dementia here). We're dealing with the cognitive disfunction effectively but over the weekend, Bish suffered two seizures. They were short but he lost total control of his limbs and dropped and lay motionless for 5 minutes. It was heartbreaking to watch and brought back bad memories of when our lovely girl Big Tuna passed.
Bish had a bad day and after much discussion, we finally made the very difficult decision to put him to sleep. Both of us felt that we probably held on a little two tightly to Big Tuna and could have put her to sleep a few days earlier. We were being selfish. We did not want Bish to suffer just because we were afraid to let go.
That's the balancing act.
But after we talked and cried and said good byes, Bish pops up like nothing is wrong and begins barking at us, demanding more food and trotting around.
What are you supposed to do with that? Yes, of course we were happy that he suddenly felt better. But it's that roller coaster of emotion that is difficult. If we put him to sleep, are we robbing him of a few days of possible pleasant experiences? His dementia won't get better so it's possible that he's oblivious to everything anyhow. If we let him linger too long, we'll feel horrible that we let that happen.
I guess the bottom line is you generally know in your heart when it is time. It's also good to get input from someone you trust to have them tell you when they thing your companions quality of life is negligible.
As for Bish, he's winding down and much less active but he is still showing sparks of happiness as he rolls on his back, barking at his gods, and then it's time for much needed rest.
We'll keep you posted on Bishi's condition and offer some additional thoughts on how to decide the time is right.