Today I am making a very difficult decision regarding my Great Dane, Daisy. She has been suffering from recurring bouts of diarrhea, she has arthritis in her back that has spread to her neck and shoulders and in general, she feels awful. When she walks, you can hear her hips grinding in the sockets. And the arthritis has caused neurological damage so that she drags one of her back feet because the nerve function has been damaged. Now her front legs are experiencing damage too so she has this skippity-skip to her step that she doesn’t even realize is happening.
I didn’t come to this decision rashly or quickly. She has been deteriorating over the last 6 months to a year. She can barely get up off the couch on her own. Sometimes, she can’t and cries until I come to help her get up. Over this last weekend, she lay in her bed and pooped because she couldn’t get up to go outside, 3 times. When she does try to go outside, she can barely make it down the 2 stairs to get to the back yard. Sometimes when she is in the backyard trying to poop or pee, she falls down because she doesn’t have the strength to hold herself up anymore.
I have watched this incredible being go from starving, to regal and majestic, to weak and frail. It hurts me to my very soul to watch her struggle to get up or lay down. It hurts me to my soul when she looks at me with those big droopy brown eyes with sorrow because she pooped on the floor again and has been laying in it because she can’t get herself up. It hurts me to my soul to clean her legs and bottom up because she can’t.
I realize that there are medications and therapies and treatments I could use for her. Believe me, I know what options are out there. The thing is, where is her quality of life? Sure she can live another year, doped up, sore, and trying to make it through. But, why? She is not going to ever get over it or get better, she will only get worse and suffer more. She is 9 years old…and for a Dane, that’s not bad. Sure I wish she could be one of those exceptions that makes it to 11 or 12 years old…but not at her expense.
I love her enough to not want her to suffer any longer. I have come to terms with my decision.