I have a 14 year old female mixed breed dog. Her normal weight in her days of youth and fitness was 40 pounds. She is hovering around 32 or 33 pounds currently. She has had what appears to be a stroke and now suffers from an occasional seizure. Her appetite has diminished but she will enthusiastically consume any fish, poultry or beef that I 'home cook' for her. She has good days and she has bad days but does not appear to be in any pain. She has difficulty walking, her hips are in bad shape and motor co-ordination is compromised due to the 'stroke' or 'seizures'.
She sits in her spot which gives her a good view out the front window in order to 'guard' the area/home. She is alert.
Due to her 'state of mind' and continuing to fulfill basic functions I am averse to euthanasia at the moment. The basic life features I'm looking at are the following.
- Eating - Regular eating and interest in food
- Urinate/Defecate - Physically able to expel waste as well as have solid bowel movements.
- Alert - Able to recognize surroundings and appear lucid
Habits - Normal interaction with the world and continued engagement in usual habits
- Attributes - No ongoing pain or suffering, appears happy.
I'm of the belief that these 4 foundation components are the basics in order to continue.
She is old, a bit crotchety and limps. When she walks her head is turned sideways a bit since the 'stroke' and occasionally falls down if going down a single step as her co-ordination is a bit sloppy.
This is nothing new to me and I don't feel as if I'm 'hanging on' too tightly. I have had to disconnect loved ones from respirators during my time on the planet and letting go of my beloved dog will be difficult but not impossible.
Question - What is the ethical 'line in the sand' to make the decision to euthanize a pet?
I am of the mind that it's when the four items above are not fulfilled any longer or there is an ongoing pain factor then the time has come to act and do the right thing.