I am so scared sometimes...

Talk about diets, exercise, and disease.
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Siberian
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I am so scared sometimes...

Postby Siberian » Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:06 pm

My life evolved tightly around dogs for the past three years. This forum, sports, etc. I often hear stories about someones dog just going within matter of weeks. It seems to happen a little too often to just brush it off and not think about it.

It scares the crap out of me.

Often the owners are completely unaware of something, and then bam! dog is gone.

I feel helpless and often stressed, what if something happens, or is already happening to my dog? How can I prevent something from happening? Or how can I see the illness before it is too late?

At the vets (during routine checkups) they just look them over, basically seeing same thing that I do. What if there are already problems brewing on the inside?

Is there a more proactive approach to things? Supplements that would ensure longer health? Often in depth vet visits?

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rgyoung777
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Postby rgyoung777 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:08 pm

I don't know, Katya, I don't have answers either, but I do know that if you spend too much time fretting over the things you really can't control, you're going to miss the enjoyment to be had by living in the present.

That doesn't mean you throw caution to the wind, of course, but life is, for all of us, a fragile, and ultimately ephemeral thing. Staying healthy and seeing a physician as needed for ailments and routine checkups help, but they aren't a 100% guarantee.

As a responsible, committed pet owner, you're already being more proactive than most, but even the best owner is not in complete control of the health and life of his or her dog(s). We're not in complete control of our own lifespans when you get right down to it.

Make sure your dog is happy and enjoying her brief stay on this planet. While she's here, make sure you don't fret so much that you miss out on experiencing the beauty of sharing life with a dog.

Death is inevitable, and it's scary to think that the creatures we love so much are mortal. I struggle with this too, and am terrified losing Lucy when I do think about the fact that she is nearly eight and moving past her prime. I can play the "what-if" game with the best of them, but ultimately, it only makes me miserable and afraid, and hasn't lead to very many productive decisions.

I'm terrified of her injuring herself because she never does anything halfway, but keeping her from the things she loves would mean missing the look of wild joy she gets on her face when she is chasing her kong ball, or readying herself for a leap in the ocean. If she hurts herself during fetch, yes, it will be terrible, but I am confident that she will meet that obstacle with confidence and courage, if it ever happens.

Cancer and other illnesses are even more tough to be proactive about. Take preventative measures within reason--and know that keeping your dog active, lean, and fit is going to give her the best shot she has at optimal health.

So I think, for a dog, quality of life is much, much more important than quantity. We have to cope with the inevitable loss, but ultimately, it is something that is largely out of our hands.

In short, I think you're already doing what a good owner does. If you invest more time and energy into worrying about something that you cannot control, you might deprive yourself, or Sheba, of some measure of happiness.

Supplements can certainly be beneficial, but I think that it's important to remember that even with them and all the thorough, routine vet checkups you can afford, both things really only provide the illusion of control.

:hug:

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Postby Amie » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:52 pm

I know exactly how you feel. :hug:

I took Oscar's kitten to the vet this morning, just for a baby physical.

And I was thinking - I trust this vet. But with three cat and the dog I have, I have four animals who are very stoic. Cats in general, and Oscar specifically won't let me know if it hurts. They'll keep going on as they do, often with nearly imperceptible changes in behavior. And I know my animals well, I'm close to them, I'm bonded to them, and they trust me. But it would still be easy to miss something.

It's scary, loving this much, isn't it?

The only thing to remember is that it's also SO worth it.

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Postby Beowulf » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:15 pm

Amie wrote:It's scary, loving this much, isn't it?

The only thing to remember is that it's also SO worth it.

And if the time you've had with them ended today, right this moment, just think of all you've been to each other. And you wouldn't trade that time for the world.

Rachel's right, spending your time worrying about what might happen keeps you from enjoying the time you do have. Whatever will be, will be. :hug:

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Postby americanpitbull » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:11 pm

a reason i keep a weekly log..

each dog has its own book..

note any differences, bumps, wounds, coughs, sneezing, vomiting, anything that normally does not happen... i bring it to my vet each time i go.. we go over it and make sure everything is in check.

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Postby Nickdawg » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:37 am

As you may know, I recently lost my boy :crybaby:
All I can say is live in and enjoy every moment.
It is painful to love but so worth it.
Other thoughts-

Pay attention to your gut and get whatever it is you're thinking of/worried about/this doesn't seem right checked out. For example, I got his legs x-rayed about three months before this all happened (they were fine btw) b/c I just had a sense I should - it didn't give me any information but in another case it may have.

Also watch for conditions masking others, again he had bad arthritis for quite a few years, when it would worsen I didn't just assume it was the arthritis and did x-rays a few other times. Also lumps are not a lot to get biopsied and I did that with his (all fine). Regular checks on the body and regular vet care, good food, of course...

I also think pet or vet insurance can be very helpful, there ARE good plans out there- I just did the accident/select conditions up to $2000 one - $28/month and even near the end when they cut me to 50% coverage due to too many claims, it was still a huge help (paid out almost $4000 to me in total). Also even the higher interest rate pet credit cards are good to have around, pre-approved, just in case the other cards are racked up; at least the vets can then get a start on things until one can get $$ organized.

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Postby Murfins » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:43 am

I very much know how you feel.

My girl, Aggie, was fine - active, fit, happy, she got top quality foods, saw the vet whenever she needed it and got regular check ups including blood and urine tests ... she developed a cough and saw the vet when it didn't go away within a couple days ... she had seen the vet for her annual FULL work up just a couple weeks earlier (including the blood and urine tests), she was diagnosed with kennel cough. Ten days later she coughed up blood and was rushed to the vet where x-rays showed likely lung cancer, saw a specialist the VERY NEXT DAY and biopsies confirmed ... not only was it lung cancer it was extremely advanced. Euthansia was strongly suggested. From the day she coughed up blood to 36 hours later ... she crashed and she crashed hard. We let her go less just over 12 hours after the specialist confirmed the lung cancer. :crybaby:

Afterward, our vet told us that we had made the right decision ... her body's response told him she would have died within the day on her own, likely within hours as her lungs had filled with blood.

I still have a hard time understanding how I didn't know, how it happened so fast. I have come to realise that in a way, it was a blessing - if I had known the remaining time we had together would have been filled with fear and overwhelming grief, instead, we lived our normal life until less then 2 days before her passing. We played, we walked, we snuggled ... we LIVED. I am grateful for that, I truly am.

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Postby concreterose » Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:34 am

After having my heart dog pass on from cancer (she did live to be a nice, old age though), it helped me to learn a lot about just keeping an overall eye on things with my dogs now. I am more proactive about giving them informal go overs, etc. I also watch what they eat and make sure that I limit their exposure to chemicals, etc.

That being said, I don't obsess over it, but my experience with Pookie taught me most of all to enjoy every minute, every second of GOOD health with them, and to think positive because I think that makes a HUGE difference.

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Postby InBearsMemory » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:33 am

I lost my big boy Bear to cancer over two years ago and I still think about him every single day. Having him not around hurts just as much now as the day he passed away in my arms. One thing I learned from that experience is to spend as much quality time as possible with my furkids, making every moment that I am allowed to share with them special.

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Postby KadillacGrrl » Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:40 am

When my JRT got really sick last year... it was the first time I truly realized that she is going to die some day. It was an awful time for me...

Other than that, I don't think about it much. I love my dogs to death, I take good care of them, but I'm far from excessive when it comes to health care/prevention/vet visits. My dogs raaaarely see the vet. They have to be bleeding or broken or pretty sick. I'm a "wait and see" type, but I do have a lot of experience with animals and know when it's time to take them in.

Just try not to think about it, and let your dog be a dog and you enjoy her...

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Postby Siberian » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:19 pm

Rachel, would you believe, but this is my favorite mantra when helping other people:

if you spend too much time fretting over the things you really can't control, you're going to miss the enjoyment to be had by living in the present


I guess I need to remind this to myself now and then :) Everyone is right, live now, and soak it up. Every second of it.

Amie, it is very scary to love that much. I don't think I am this emotionally embedded with my husband as I am with my dog.

These strong feelings make it harder to be rational. She depends on me, I am her care taker and protector. She counts on me to shield her and make it right. I can't fail her. But then something happens, like it did to Murfins ( :hug: ), and this is precisely the story that I keep hearing, starring different dogs and different families, but always the same plot.

I need to get a grip. I have a beautiful, active dog, who is in her prime. There shouldn't be any room for the grim thoughts.

Americanpitbull, so, does this journal proved to be helpful?

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Postby akaspaddero » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:39 pm

GROUP HUG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:hug:

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Postby Slave to the Dogs » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:46 pm

I went through something similar when my girl Bella passed away 2 years ago...on one Saturday she wouldn't eat, a week later I had to put her to sleep...it went so fast.

But the "living in the moment" discussion reminded me of this letter someone sent awhile back...I've now got it printed and sitting at my desk...

A LETTER FROM YOUR DOG

The years go by so very fast and before you know it that romping pup is old and grey muzzled and they have sat by our sides while we read, watch TV, and work on our computers. Every so often they come and lay their heads in our laps, toss our elbow with their muzzle or gaze into our eyes and wait for us to notice them. Take a moment now to remember what they mean to you.

I am your dog, and I have a little something I'd like to whisper in your ear. I know that you humans lead busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise. It always seems like you are running here and running there, often much too fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life.

Look down at me now, while you sit there at your computer. See the way my dark brown eyes look at yours? They are slightly cloudy now. That comes with age. The gray hairs are beginning to ring my soft muzzle.

You smile at me; I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside, who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a simple moment of your time? That is all I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, to be with me.

So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind, passing. Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age so slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract clouded eyes. Still the love is always there, even when we must take that long sleep, to run free in a distant land.

I may not be here tomorrow; I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when deep grief fills their souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just "one more day" with me. Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me.

We have NOW, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor, and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come to me not as "alpha" or as "trainer" or even "Mom or Dad," come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur and let us look deep into one another's eyes and talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general.

You decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share such things with. Someone very different from you, and here I am. I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a "Dog on two feet" -- I know what you are and who you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if only for 15 minutes. Look deep into my eyes, and whisper into my ears. Speak with your heart, with your joy, and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow, but we do have today, and life is oh so very short.

So please--come sit with me now and let us share these precious moments we have together.

- Love, on behalf of canines everywhere.
Your Dog.
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akaspaddero
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Postby akaspaddero » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:53 pm

OMG..that is beautiful! Thank you!

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Siberian
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Postby Siberian » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:00 pm

oh, wow..... :teary:


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