This is not about my spoos but about my daughters big, old dog Cujo. He is such a sweet dog but has almost no muscle on his rear legs. he can get around fairly well on level ground but they live on the second floor and the stairs are a problem for him. I am watching her dogs for a few days and last nite I thought we were in big trouble - he couldnt get up the stairs and when I tried to help him he fell flat on his face - his four legs splayed out. I didn't know what I was going to do - he is very big about 90 lbs and I could never lift him. anyway he finally got some footing and with me pulling his leash he made it but it made me so sad because he was moaning. He gets a lot of meds and I know my daughter doesnt want to let him go but I don't know what we can do for him with the stairs. Now this morning I let him out and he laid on the deck for a long time before he woudl try to go down - I went out and encouraged him and he went but I don't know if he can get back up and he is laying on the cold ground.
I think it may be time for the rainbow bridge but if there are any other ideas out there please let me know. I was thinking about a giant litter box on the upper deck but I don't know if that would work. Here is a picture of cuj.
A temporary toilet area might be a good idea, if you can come up with something that works. A towel, or other piece of strong fabric, used as a sling so that you can support some of his weight while he walks may also help. Could you take him to your own home, if there are fewer stairs there? It may be, as you say, time for your daughter to face letting him go, but in the meantime all you can do is the best you can - I don't think it is a decision anyone can make for her unless he is in obvious and constant distress.
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden,
where doing nothing was not boring- it was peace.
I let him stay out a little longer this morning - so his pills would work and he came to the bottom of the stairs and laid on the deck there - he was afraid to try to come up but I leashed him and tugged and encouraged and he made it ok - so that may be the thing - to let the pills work - its just that if its cold and snowy how would that work. My Teddy hates Cuj - don't know why - Teddy would kill him if he could. I could probably trade Teddy for Cuj although his hair may be a problem for me. Thanks for thinking of him and responding.
Using a sling support would help, but two flights of stairs is an awful lot for a dog with so much difficulty. However, there are mobility slings available for sale which may work better than using a towel for so many stairs. fjm's idea of a new potty area is a very good one.
"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative" - Mordecai Siegal
Tough, tough decision. Everyone has to make it at some point, and there's a tipping point where one has to decide whether the dog's pain is so great that the human who loves him needs to make an unselfish decision and let him go. But it sounds to me like Cujo still has a bit of time left if you can get the stairs thing figured out. Also, you mentioned meds, but have you (or your daughter) tried supplements? Some people report success with glucosomine chondroitin, but I have to say my running club was all positive about them so I took them too but never noticed any difference. However, I don't have arthritis either, but runners use it to rehance muscle or cartilege and reduce muscle soreness after long runs,
It sounds like going up and down stairs every day is no longer a good option. The fact that he is moaning is a problem and the likelihood that you will get him down and be unable to get him up is a real one.
I like the idea of a big litter box on the second floor deck, if you can rig up something that he would use. If you go that route, you would essentially be saying that the dog will never go downstairs again. That could give your daughter some valuable additional time with Cujo. But think through what would happen when you get to the end of that road with a dog that can't go downstairs. Do you have a vet who would come to the house for euthanasia? Or do you have some way of carrying him down (without causing him too much pain) for that final trip to the vet? I would implement the litter box idea only if I had a plan in mind for how to deal with it if/when his health deteriorates even more.
Euthanizing him now is a good and reasonable option, but of course a very sad one. In the end, these choices are very difficult and very personal. So sorry that you and your daughter are facing this. Not easy.
thanks for all the replies - I will talk to my daughter when she gets home this afternoon. She and her husband may be able to help him with the stairs for a while - but I will discuss what we have talked about here with her. thanks again.
I have no ideas, but just wanted to say that you all are in my thoughts. It is not an easy place to be in. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter.
"I know that dogs are pack animals, but it is difficult to imagine a pack of standard poodles ... and if there was such a thing as a pack of standard poodles, where would they rove to? Bloomingdale's? " --Yvonne Clifford, American actress
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