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 Senior Huskies, Sierra's update

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jbealer
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PostSubject: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:53 pm

So i have been thinking about writing this post for some time now. I have been on this forum for a long time and it is not something that gets brought up a lot. Caring for an aging pet is a lot of work and dedication and i now understand why so many get dumped at shelters or put down. Our life has changed so much over the last few months, we have a lot more road blocks to work around but together we are making it work. I have not been posting much but truth is all my “spare” time is spent caring for Sierra or giving time to Jack and Finn. As you might have seen Sierra turned 15 on the 1st of March. I have always said I hope she makes it to 16, truth is I do not think she will, she had declined so much since the start of the year and it breaks my heart.
She recovered from both knees last yr and she was doing well, then starting in like Dec. she was just slowing down on walks to the point I could not walk all 3 of them together anymore, Jack and Finn were just pulling so much. That was the first heart break, me leaving her home while the other 2 went out, I would then come back and take her out or her and Jack, my morning routine just got longer.
Then at the start of Feb. she had a horrible intestinal issue, either a blockage or it was so inflamed it was acting like a blockage and she was just exploding everywhere, the food was not being broken down and used and she lost like 3lbs, which is a lot when you are only 44-45lb, she dropped to 41.5lbs. we went through a round of meds and steroids and changed to a freeze dried food (sojo’s) she started to eat and have solid poop again. We started to ween her off the steroids after 2 weeks as she was “puffing” up, either swelling or weight gain, every other day seemed to be working, we have tried every 3rd day but it is not going well. I have a call into the vet to either keep it every other day, or lower the dose to do daily. (this was not a cheap vet visit)
But it seems there is always something now, after her losing all the weight and getting week she started having issues walking, we are trying the Dr. Buzby’s toe grips right now but we think her nails are to short or she is not engaging her toes to try and walk and stand so we are now helping her up from laying down and needs to be carried off the deck to go potty. She does ok climbing the 2 steps to get back up to the door. She is very wobbly walking around and has fallen, face planted or just sits down. I try to take her out every other day for a walk, it takes forever, she goes 1.0 miles an hr.
With all the intestinal issues we are no longer cleaning up pee every day but poop, she just does not seem to be able to control it anymore ☹️ I have cleaned up more shit the last 2 months then I ever care to admit. She will just be sleeping and poop, some times its an easy clean up and sometimes it’s a giant puddle. She gets hosed off in the shower weekly now. Really this shit is the worst part of all of it. Just last night at midnight I was carrying her down the stairs to go out and she exploded all over the landing, wall and steps as I kept moving, I was shampooing the carpets at 12:30pm last night. She was refusing to eat her $$$ food so I gave her TOTW and she ate it, but I guess her body said hell no to it.
This is just our normal life right now, it is stressful for ken and I. I am not sleeping at night with 1-2 or more wake ups, he is the first one home so has the messes to clean up. He was really complaining one day about 3 weeks ago and I just let him have it and reminded him that she can not help it and that we just needed to deal with it, she is our girl and we will love her till the end. Ken had been much better since then about not complaining so much as I reminded him I am dealing with just as much as he is with her.
She still has many good moments as much as I focused on the down turn, she does sleep a lot more but she does still get up to greet me and comes over to see us when we are eating and loves to go on walks and smell everything. She also still causes trouble in eating papers if she gets a hold of them. I am still tripping over her in the kitchen as she is waiting for something to be given to her. She still lets Finn know she is in charge by showing teeth or snapping at him! She still smiles every day and loves to be snuggle with on the floor and be massaged. She still walks up to me and buries her head into my chest to be loved on.
All of this is breaking my heart and prepping me for the end I was hoping to never face. Ken and I love her to the end of the world and we will do whatever it takes to keep her healthy and happy until she lets us know. It is more work than we ever imagined but I will cherish the moments with her and one day I know I will miss the sleepless nights and the butt cleanings. I’m writing this as I want a record of her behaviors to refer back to if needed and to give you all an insight to what may be your life in a few years. Do not turn your back on your pets as they age, embrace the time you have with them because when they are gone you will regret the time you did not spend with them or the fact that you might have resented them because you missed sleep or could not spent the night away because no one would watch your dog, or they ruined a rug you would replace at some point anyways. None of that will matter when they are gone. I have a super kind heart and I have changed my life so much for her (I know many would not, this really is a lot of work) but I don’t care because at the end I know I did everything I could for her and she left this world being loved.

Hug your babies tight.

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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:26 pm

I know that this is something we all have to deal with.  My last two dogs, quite literally, laid down when we went to bed and never woke up - that's traumatic but I never got to say good bye.  My pack now can really push my buttons, but each in there own way is special - and part of that special is knowing how to push my buttons.

I grew up in a family where a dog was put down when it couldn't do its job ( part time grew up on a farm and farm dogs were expected to earn their keep )  I couldn't imagine dropping any of mine off at a shelter - ever! - and like you, Jenn, I'll do everything I can to keep them going as long as they can.

I didn't respond to her 15th because I find I don't really have a lot to say here anymore but I understand what you're dealing with and as you said "you have a super kind heart" even when it's breaking because you can see the inevitable.  Hold on and love her as she's loved you these many years - - and yep, mine get hugged and loved as much as they'll allow.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:30 pm

My deepest sympathies to you and Ken. I am sure Jack and Finn notice the changes as well. It is something that I think about at times, Miya is only 5, but I think ahead and I am older than you and Miya is almost double the size of Sierra, reading this breaks my heart. I am so sorry y'all are going thru this. I have only dealt with this with our cats we have had over the years, some reason with dogs you love them deeper, or it's the fact they we do more activities with our dogs, whatever the reason, the last year is so very difficult. It is the hardest thing, trying to really know when its time to let go. Again I am so very sorry, crying, because, I wish you didn't have to go thru this, but also knowing we all will be facing this inevitable reality. Hugs, love and light sent to you, Ken, Sierra, Jack and Finn <3
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:33 pm

Jennifer, my heart aches for you. For all of us really, ultimately we all will face the same. After reading your birthday posts, I did a little finger counting...and not believing the results, dogs it again. Ami will be 6 in the fall, Z'ev will be 9 in June and Archer will be 5. I know with out a doubt when their time is up, Wayne will be utterly devastated. Me...Not far behind. I just hope they have as long a life as Sierra


I am so glad you had a special birthday time with Sierra. She is such a sweetie, I've always loved your posts of her. Hugs to you and Ken in this difficult time.
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Artic_Wind
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:06 am

Ugh, Jennifer, I hated to read this, it just makes my eyes tear because I know exactly what you are going through and exactly how you feel. In Sierra's birthday post, I posted the one time but, as cute as the following pics were, I couldn't comment anymore because I felt the sadness of what you guys are feeling. Here's the thing though, and I can say this without blinking an eye because I've been through both extremes of living with the senior dogs and the decision that has to be made ultimately when the time comes, and then losing young dogs, suddenly, without really any warning...so, as long as you remember how fortunate you guys are, how fortunate Sierra is, that she has gotten to live such a good, long, life with you, and vice versa of course, maybe *some* of the sadness can be eased. You have the opportunity to make the most of Sierra's life the best they can be, and yeah, it's rough when you can't help but feel irritated at times, and that is completely normal, it's just the way it is, but know that Sierra KNOWS she is one loved little girl and keep doing the best that you can.

Nikki and Pasha were my two senior dogs. With Nikki, it happened after an accident, that he declined (and he was the one that lived to be 17). He had slowed a bit, but that was the extent of any noticeable decline. Pasha, however, declined like the typical senior dog (it just happened so incredibly fast!) I had Blitz and Anuschka by then, so I feel you with the walks, I did and felt just as you, I went from walking all 3, to taking the two pups, and then Pasha on shorter walks by himself. He never lost continence, but had weakened very very much, and even though my family was telling me how "old" he was looking, I was ignoring them...I had made up my own mind that the day he wasn't able to lift himself up under his own power, was the day I would consider euthanasia, not just cuz he was slow and not as nimble. When he slept, either it was such a deep sleep that he couldn't hear me come home, or his hearing had diminished significantly, but I had to learn to not "scare/startle" him when I greeted him, so I'd kneel down, and very softly stroke his head...it worked, it'd ease him out of his darkness and even though he wouldn't immediately open his eyes, his front paw would do that thing where it'd fully open, and then tighten, it's an image I'll never forget and also always told me how much he loved me in his own way of telling me. I can keep going, but I just wanted to demonstrate that we do have to adjust ourselves for them, and in our own way, and through the love we have for them, there will be the sign that ultimately comes up that tells us, "it's time", until then, just take care of them as best we can TRYING our best to not let some of the things get to us, but also knowing there will be times when it does, as I said, it's completely normal and I think inevitable sometimes, but in the end, the dog will leave us knowing we loved them more than anything, and in your heart, you will know that too.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:12 am

I am always amazed how much longer than we think a dog can last if we put in the work to help them. Like Al, I grew up with dogs that had to earn their keep. We hunted ours and their bodies showed the wear early on and when it was their time, it was their time. We didn't help our dogs along much. Our last hunting dog though was our first inside dog and she really captured my dad's heart and he limped her along two years longer than we thought she would ever last. She made it to 14. She couldn't hold her bladder, she only had one eye and that eye had a cataract, a hernia the size of a grapefruit had torn loose on the inside of her leg, she had cancer between her toes on one foot, and her bones literally clicked as she walked. She would fall up stairs, and she would fall down stairs, and despite being deafer than a post when a storm would come through she would try to run away. A little work goes a long way with aging dogs, and you two are doing a lot more than a little work for Sierra. She might surprise you and still hit 16. You just never know.

I think Sierra is the oldest active member's dog on the forum. Not sure who might be next. kenzi is somewhere around 9 or 10 like Z'ev. It's sad. I've seen her age a lot this year. More white in the face than I expected at only 9ish. I hate not knowing her exact age. Keno is around 7 but he's aged a ton in the face and despite being younger than her I expect to be dealing with their decline at the same time because he's just a less healthy dog. Not sure what to expect out of kye. At least he's only 5 but haven't met anyone who has had to deal with EBP in an older dog. Thank you for sharing this. Every dog ages in their own way but it's worth knowing what we could all face and sharing the support. If love was life our pets would live forever, but a life lived well doesn't need forever. Just forever in our hearts and memories.

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jbealer
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:19 pm

Thank you Everyone, I think it helps to know others have been in your place, and even though the stories are different, there is still one connection, doing the best we can for them.
Jenn, i would not put it past her to hang in one more year, but based on the last 2 months im just not sure.
The older members here know, but this girl has been put through the ringer (cancer, many surgery's)and has always bounced back, the knees just took a toll on her i think. She has only been with us for 9yrs, but man it feels longer then that.

Jack will be "10" next week, maybe 11??? we adopted him and they said 1-1.5yrs at the time, that was also 9yrs ago next week. He is a strong boy and i expect him to hang around for at least 5 more years, he has a lot to teach Finn when it comes to hiking, im not sure any husky will ever be as good as Jack.

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th1921
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:25 pm

My heart is breaking for you. Besides our two husky babies we also have/had two senior Yorkies. Our Bella was 14 when she passed away in February and our Mia is 15 (blind and deaf but still healthy). Bella had diabetes and in the last 6 month she lost control of her bladder and bowels...we put down plastic everywhere and just went with it. It was the least we could do after 14 years of love and companionship. I feel for you being on poop/pee duty constantly...although I'm sure Yorkie messes are much easier to deal with than Husky messes. Please know that I'm sending you hugs and keeping you and Sierra in my thoughts.
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TigerCzarina
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:47 pm

So sorry to hear this, but glad she has a family that will treat her right even when she’s struggling. It’s hard to watch them decline but she knows you love her so so much. I’m sure she’s still enjoying every minute with you!

The plastic idea worked for my family too when out mini poodle was declining. It’s a pain in the butt, but it works if you need a mental break from carpet cleaning.
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jbealer
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:51 pm

have any of you used diapers? just not sure how well that will work with poop, i would think it would still mush on her back side needing a bath, but it would save the floors. at least most of the house is tile or laminate. the stairs and landing is the only place we have carpet.

she enjoyed her walk today and i enjoyed yelling at her for eating dog poop, sure you will not eat your $$$ food but shit is good to snack on......this girl keeps me on my toes!

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jalepeno
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:25 pm

I am so sorry, Jennifer.
Been there.
We love our dogs so much and it is hard when they age.
Thinking of you and Ken, Sierra, Jack and Finn.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:31 am

I would think the diaper would save the floors but probably not her fur. I've thought about doing similar when kenzi is in heat but have been more worried about her chewing the diaper off. Not sure if Sierra would be a threat for that or not. Might would be worth a try. maybe get a small pack and just test. Depending on the kind of poops she is having, runny or solid, it might save you some work.

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Here4thePics
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:23 pm

Jenn, you mention the positives and you mention the negatives. The important thing to remember is when the negatives out number the positives, I'll always remember the love you and Ken have had for Sierra. Its hard really effing hard to go through.
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:28 am

Much much sympathy. We went through it two years ago with our girl Kuma. The last three months were really, really hard. There was the care, of course, but also the daily question to ourselves about whether it was time. People say, "You'll know when it's time." But we didn't really feel that. Instead, as Here4thePics says, there was a constant weighing of the positives and negatives. It's exhausting and heartbreaking. I wish you and your pack the best in getting through this.


Last edited by Caffeiniac on Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Cyberpup
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:47 pm

Jenn's post has brought back the passing of our little girl Nikita. I though I was over that but maybe one never really gets over it. This is the most difficult decision we will ever make for our pets. As Caffeiniac has noted, we may not have a clear knowledge of "when it's time". Certainly we would all agree if we knew our beloved friend was in pain that it would be time to give them peace. But should that really be the only criteria? I think our companions give us as long as they can to say good bye while they are still in a better place than pain. I think it is what we owe them for all they give us throughout their lives. Peace.

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Here4thePics
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:43 pm

Agree with much that Kevin and Scott, had to say. When my Jessie, was lying at the emergency vet clinic with a prolapsed intestinal tract at 13 yrs of age, it was easy to determine that it was time. With Mylo, he was just 10 yrs young, the third time his cancer came back it all but short destroyed his will to live. I still feel shame to myself for prolonging his misery, but I also realize it was done in hopes that he would recover and be his old self before illness struck.

The time will come when you'll have the power of decision like God and not want it.
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jbealer
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:27 pm

Well I'm sitting outside the vrcc right now because Sierra had a really bad episode yesterday. I was gone all day Saturday hiking and apparently she would not eat it all for Ken. she ate a little bit for me yesterday but while we were in the kitchen in the morning food prepping she collapsed. she was not able to stand. after letting her lay there for a while we decided to help her up and she seem to do much better until she puked up all her food.she puked again later that night. she then started to lift her tail up and Pace rapidly acting as if she had to go to the bathroom while crying at the same time, she did that two or three times every time we let her out and she won't go to the bathroom. She did end up pooping in her sleep last night a normal solid poop. I took her to the vet this morning we run some blood work and her protein levels are significantly reduced and her red blood cells are significantly reduced to the point that she is anemic right now. I then picked her up and took her to the other vet that I'm at right now and we're doing an ultrasound to find out if something in her is bleeding or her body's just stopped making blood. I am a mess. This might be it...

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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:32 pm

Oh, Jen...know that we all here are pulling for you. My heart is with you in this journey I love you Sad I love you
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jalepeno
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:34 pm

Sending love to sweet Sierra, and you and Ken.
Breaks my heart...
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TigerCzarina
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:46 pm

Sending positives vibes for you guys and lots of snuggles and love to Sierra!
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Artic_Wind
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:31 pm

<hugs> and positive energy
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jbealer
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:48 pm

I love you all. We have an appointment for 7pm tonight Sad

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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:55 pm

Jennifer...I have no words. Find comfort knowing that you gave her a long, wondrous life, full of love, adventure and devotion. My deepest condolences to you and Ken.
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Artic_Wind
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:18 pm

I'm crying right now, Jennifer, there is no way I can find the right words to express how truly sorry I am for your loss. <HUGS> to you, Ken, Jack, and Finn. I am just so truly sorry.
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Huskyluv
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PostSubject: Re: Senior Huskies, Sierra's update   Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:27 am

I am just now catching up here...this is almost too much to take in all at once. Prayers for you, Jenn.

I haven't posted much about Dakota either but truthfully he is on the decline as well. He's 13 years old, has trouble walking, has a couple of new masses (going to get those checked out soon) on his body, and is having a LOT of accidents in the house like Sierra. I too have never cleaned so much poop off the floor in all my life but he is not able to hold it liked he used to and although I don't work and am home most of the time I do get busy with the kids and baby and have to run them around to classes/Dr appointments/extracurriculars, etc. He's increasingly having a little blood in his stool as well which is really making me nervous. I haven't wanted to share this either as I am wondering if an end of life decision might be closer than I think. I just don't want him to suffer needlessly. He still wants to go for walks but they are slower going and he limps the entire time.

Don't want to hijack your thread but you're not alone. Sad

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