I would be grateful to have people's take on my present predicament. We have three rescue dogs, one four-year-old in perfect health and two golden oldies, one of which is the subject of my concern. Jamie is a Border Terrier who had been abandoned by the roadside. After two weeks in police kennels and no-one claiming him, he came home with us. That was eight years ago, and the vet thought he might have been 5-8 years old at the time, so he is potentially 15+ years old.
Although he settled with us and our existing dogs at the time, he was always a quiet, private little boy with no big displays of emotion. In fact, I used to think that he was always wondering what he was doing with us and when he was going home!
A couple of years ago he started displaying signs of senility and this has steadily got worse until he is now almost completely in his own little world. He does not interact with us or the other dogs at all. Physically, he is increasingly stiff in his movements, as well as deaf and almost completely blind. He does not like being handled (never has, this is nothing new) and lifting or guiding him is usually met with a little growl, which I don't think is due to any kind of pain, but how can you be sure?
He is still eating well and when I lift him up on the sofa with me, he seems to enjoy the closeness.
My husband does not think Jamie now has enough quality of life and is asking me to consider having him put to sleep. I am resisting, but I am not sure for what reason: do I genuinely not think it it yet time or can I simply not bear the thought? (We have had dogs for a very long time and I have ahd to make this decision many times over the years, but in Jamie's case, because it is not brought about by physical illness but by old age and general decline, I cannot seem to make my mind up whether it would be kindest to let him go or not.
He is on Vivitonin and Aktivat - I don't know to what extent this is helping.
We have a vet review booked for 6 August, but I know from earlier consultations that the vet is reluctant to give me advice on what to do. His view seems to be that if the dog is eating, then he is not feeling unwell. I am not sure it is enough. I worry that his life is just uncomfortable greyness and silence, punctuated by a meal every twelve hours.
I also cannot rely on Jamie to 'give me a sign' that he is ready to go - he is just too uncommunicative and unresponsive.
To complicate matters, we are moving house in the next couple of months. Would it be completely wrong to introduce him to a new environment in his present state? Even here he bumps into things occasionally although he does seem to have retained a mental map of the layout and mostly manages to navigate around the place.
Has anyone else had experience with older dogs with "nothing wrong" with them except old age, general decline and senility? Would it be kindest to let him go, and certainly before we move house?
I would be so grateful for any advice.
Anne Bardell, Doncaster, by email