I am truly struggling with the situation we're in with Big M. He is not doing well and having more and more bad days. He has degenerative arthritis in his back end and has lost almost all control of his back legs. On good days he can shuffle around and he does ok. On bad days he is basically dragging his rear end around. He falls over while going to the bathroom all the time and he can no longer negotiate stairs. My husband carries him up and down stairs several times a day.
He is starting to have 'old man eyes'. If you've ever had an old dog that you had to make that final call about, you know those eyes. You may not see them at the time, but going back to look at pictures, you'd see it. Eyes that are tired and painful and done. Just done. I see those eyes in Big M more and more.
The problem is, on days where he's ok, he's happy and social and attempts his normal part of our routine. And when you look at that dog, you can't even imagine making the decision to let go. He still has problems on those days. He's still falling over and getting stuck, but then he'll go get a toy and toss it around a bit.
My biggest source of stress though is my husband. He is not seeing the struggles that Big M is having. He is not recognizing how close we are to really having to make a hard decision and he thinks we're ok keeping on how we've been keeping on.
When we lost our first dog, my Old Lady, it was my call. I decided it was time. She was my girl. Big M has always been my husband's sidekick. I can't make this decision for him, or on my own. He has to agree. I can't go and make that decision for him and I'm really worried he's going to draw this out much longer than it should.
I don't know what we'd tell Lizzy either. Ali already understands a bit about death and she remembers losing my Old Lady. She's also not that into dogs. I don't think it would change her world at all. Lizzy though is best friends with Big M. They adore each other. Always have. Found this post from Lizzy's first summer.
It breaks my heart to think of losing this connection for her.
I took these of them just a few weeks ago.
I honestly don't know what to do. I don't want to push my husband to make the decision when he's not ready, but I don't want to string this out and put all of us through the current struggles longer than is reasonable. Big M is 70 lbs. My husband carries him up and down the stairs. I'm worried he's going to hurt himself. We've rearranged our travel plans for April because we both had out of town functions and can't leave Big M with anyone. I can't ask my parents to get him up and down the stairs, or get him in the bathtub after he falls over in his poop.
It's a fine line of too early and too late. I don't want either one and I think no matter what, we're going to question the timing.
It's so heartbreaking.
I even got my father in law involved because I've been so stressed about it and my husband hasn't been hearing me when I tell him we need to really look at Big M and his condition. I thought he might listen to his dad. I don't think that worked either.
My in laws were down this weekend and on Sunday morning my FIL started a conversation about Big M and his quality of life and how hard this decision is going to be, but that's it's one we're going to have to make. I don't think my husband even looked at his dad while he was talking. Didn't participate in the conversation, not a word. Nothing.
I don't know where to go from here.