Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
I posted on the DK Facebook page a few weeks ago about Rosco going in for surgery for his giant lipoma. 3-ish years ago he started growing a lipoma on his chest that grew to the size of a baseball by 2016. It was only cosmetic, not in the way so we chose to watch and wait. Fast forward to this year and it was HUGE. Hair couldn't even grow to cover it anymore. And our vet wouldn't tell me what to do--I like to have a clear direction for big decisions. So I decided to leave it be.
Well...it was just so huge! But I really wrestled with this decision. He was (is) 12. In my opinion, wasn't likely to have more than a year. He has laryngeal paralysis, his back legs are getting weaker and he often stumbles. Is it right to put him through surgery?
But at the same time I felt a strong sense of shame. Am I being a cheapskate? Shouldn't I do everything to make his life comfy? Wouldn't my fellow DK'ers do it all? I was really torn.
So I took him in for a second opinion. This other vet seemed to think he was in great shape for his age, which surprised me, but it made me think perhaps I had been a little catastrophizing his condition.
Okay, then, this vet thinks he can handle it and he's a healthy guy...let's do it.
So we are 3ish weeks out of surgery and his surgical scars are nicely healed (took off the other two smaller lipomas too). But after surgery, his seizures came back...and got WORSE, both during the seizure and in the aftermath.
Now Rosco's always been the poster child for opportunistic eater. As he's gotten older he also has no shame about it. He'll climb up on a chair to steal what you didn't immediately put away with you 2 feet away. Just a week out of surgery I caught him trying to finish someone's breakfast. He was struggling to climb up and down stairs but was willing to work for food.
As of this week, though he is starting to leave kibble in his bowl.
Yesterday we started him on seizure meds and by dinner I couldn't even get him to finish his kibble with a fried egg mixed in <-- NOT Rosco at all. So if anyone has brilliant ideas for stimulating an appetite...hit me with them!
He continues to randomly fall (could be seizure meds, but also what was starting to happen anyway). He goes between restlessness and wandering the yard aimlessly to being zonked out. He had a surprising moment of almost a play bow with Boca, but then realized he can't actually do more.
As I told a few of you privately, I feel like I am NOT cut out for coping with a senior dog. I feel so helpless and unsure and of course second guessing the whole decision for surgery. But there's no right answer.
Thanks for reading my rambling.
Second guessing decisions already made...well, I'm about as guilty of that as possible, and I'm here to tell you to do whatever you can to pull yourself out of that particular rabbit hole and fill it with concrete so that there's no danger of falling into it again. The decisions you have made on Rosco's behalf were made with love, and what you considered to be his best interests. End of story, move on.
Rosco is really your first dog, and therefore, your first senior. I'll tell you a secret....nobody is "cut out" for coping with it. But senior (and then geriatric, which Rosco actually is...it's a separate lifestage and he's in it by virtue of the combination of his age and size) is just the last chapter in the story of your life together, yours & Rosco's. You'll get through this one the same way you got through all the other parts of this journey; your love for him will get you through it. You may be unsure about everything else, but that love is a sure thing. Let that be your guide, because when you act out of love, whatever you do is the right thing. And Rosco knows that.
Big big hugs to you and your beautiful boy. <3
♥️ Thank you for those kind words. Appreciate you.
Now how do I get home to eat? I've never had this problem with dogs.
Funny, I was just coming back to address the eating issue.
I learned this the hard way. I always knew it, but when it's your dog, it's easy to forget your own advice. I never again will forget this one, though.
When a dog tells you he doesn't want to eat, believe him.
Let him not finish the kibble.
Now, if it's a matter of his having to take meds with food, at this stage of the game, do anything you have to do to get the sufficient amount of food into him. Feed him by hand, sing him a song, do impersonations, whatever it takes. At this stage we're not worrying about creating bad habits. We're not even worrying about the best nutritional values, lol. In this case, food is food. Eggs have always been my go-to when nothing else works, but if those aren't appealing enough, try liverwurst. Hot dogs (real hot dogs, not those soy things, lol). Scramble the eggs with cheese. He just needs to eat a little, right?
I totally agree! We make the best decisions we can. Sometimes there is a good ending and sometimes there isn't. I've had to learn to give up and believe that most outcomes are outside my control which has helped me a lot with guilt. We do the very best we can with what we know...that's it. That's what you've always done with your dogs....that and loved them. What more could you expect of yourself...what more could they expect of you? As for the food issue....I totally get that. Murph can't eat anything but hydrolyzed kibble with a little hydrolyzed canned food as a topper. He often doesn't eat...partly because he doesn't feel good and partly because he is so bored with the food. Karen has helped me through many times when he was going on a couple days without eating and I was "losing it". The bottom line is that eventually he did eat. I had to learn that eating was going to be his choice and on his terms. I keep telling myself that I have to respect that and be okay with it....not easy. You have a different situation in that you can offer some "yummy incentives"....but if he still chooses not to eat, I would try not to worry. Bottom line, I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. Senior dogs can be tough. I've had several over the years. These really are special times though...you are creating loving memories that will never leave you and he can take with him on his journey when the time comes.
Oh, and maybe he'd eat canned food? I know it's disgusting but....
True, okay. Will do that.
In the meantime, Boca's going crazy about this food that she's not getting ;-)
Tell her she can have it when she becomes a senior. ;)
Oh Adina, I am so sorry for you and for sweet Rosco. You are doing the very best you can. You love him and are making these decisions out of that love and with a great deal of expert advice. Kona is 11 and I am so very worried about the next two years. He is only one of many senior dogs we have had and it doesn't get easier. It is just plain hard. Thinking of you fondly and hoping you will give yourself the grace you deserve. You just love him. That's why it hurts so much.
Thank you Bonnie.