When Is It Time To Say Good-Bye? Euthanizing Your Beloved Pet.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kuntrygirl, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    I never thought I would even think about doing this but I think the time has arrived. My story? Well, my handsome Mr. Turkey who is about 7 years old is MY favorite bird. He is THE oldest bird that I have. I remember when he first came to me. He was so energetic, so calm and so sweet. He was the best turkey a person would want to have. He would sit at the edge of the driveway and watch the cars pass and greet guests as they arrived. He never got in any fights in the yard and was always a gentleman to his girls. Well, time and age took a toll on his body and he slowly started experiencing problems in 2009 when he suffered from a terrible respiratory problem that caused him to develop wry neck. I was able to treat the problem through meds. During this time, I brought him inside and hand fed him, cleaned him and kept him warm. He pulled through the respiratory problem and wry neck and was back to normal. About 1 1/2 year later, the same problem occurred. This time, I found an avian vet and traveled 2 hours to take my turkey to his appointment. The vet treated him and cleared the respiratory problem but the vet said that he had wry neck too long and that his neck would never straighten out again. Well, I accepted that and continued to care for my turkey. Well after that problem he experienced bumble foot. I was able to do the bumble foot surgery and that cleared up. He would then get bumble foot every 4 or 5 months and I would care for his feet. So, he fought through the bumble foot and won as he always did. A while ago, I noticed that he was walking like his feet were hurting him and he was sitting down more. I checked him out and noticed that not only did he have bumble feet, he also had the same problem on the area where he was sitting (hock area). After bringing him in, I noticed that the bumble foot (hock area) was bad this time. The area where he had been sitting on didn't look good. I cleaned him up and yet again, performed the bumble foot surgery area on the hock area. I noticed that he had been moving around very slowly in the chicken yard and distancing himself away from all of the other animals. I think that he was trying to avoid the fast pace activity (running and flying) around him so that he would not get caught up in trying to get out of the way of the other animals and stressing himself out. Every now and then I would see the other turkeys picking on him but I would run them away and they would leave him alone after that. Because I knew that Mr. Turkey was getting up there in age, I made a conscious effort to always bring him inside when the temps were going to be too hot or too cold for him or when I knew that there would be a lot of rain for that day. I had been doing that for a couple of years and he got accustomed to it. When I would bring him in and set him down, he walked straight into his room (the laundry room) and made himself comfortable and went to sleep. So, he knew the routine.

    Everybody knew Mr. Turkey. Family and friends would always ask about him. The first thing that the state vet would ask me as he would get out of his truck to begin my NPIP re-certification was, "Where is Mr. Turkey?" And then I would have to give him an update for the year on how he was doing. So everyone knew him and loved him.

    Well, he had been inside for the last week because he was recovering from the bumble foot surgery. He is still able to eat and drink by himself but he stumbles to the feeder and waterer. However, I would still hand feed him to ensure that he got enough food in the event through all of the stumbling, it took out more energy than he wanted and decided to "pass up" on eating because there was no more energy left in him. Before I went to work on Monday, I decided to put him back chicken yard to see how he would do. Well, I got home on yesterday (he is the first animal that I look for), I looked for him and I found him with his head down. I was scared because he looked like he was dead. I ran over to him and he is alive but a few ants were on him and he wasn't able to get up to move to a safe area. I picked him up and brought him in and washed him off. He was in bad shape in that he was panting and his eyes were closed. I made sure that he was cool, grabbed some electrolytes and drizzled liquids down his throat. As I was giving him his electrolytes, I had "the talk" with him. I told him that I knew that his health was failing and that his body wasn't as strong as it once was. I told him that I hope that he enjoyed living at the farm and that I hope that I did right by him in caring for him throughout the years and making sure that he had the best care possible. I told him that he was my favorite bird and that no other bird would replace him. I told him that I loved him and that whenever he was ready to go that he could let go and sleep forever. I explained that if his health continues to worsen and if I decide to continue to care for him that it would only be for my selfish reasons because I don't want to see him go and I should think about him and not me. I gave him a big ole kiss and placed him on his comforter to let him rest.

    As I looked at him, I couldn't help but to think that something was trying to tell me that he is nearing the end of his life. My family always tells me that if something ever happens to him, they don't want to be around because they know what kind of condition I will be in. They suggested that i send him to a "sanctuary". My response was his home IS a sanctuary and that I was not sending him anywhere. I said that when he dies, he will die at home and nowhere else.

    As I look at all of this and as I remember picking up my turkey, it reminded me of how a care giver would pick up an elderly frail person as they carry them to bed. I knew right then that it was time to decide what to do. I have to think about the quality of his life from this point on. Will he live inside forever only seeing daylight when I carry him out and put him in the yard? Will I continue to hand feed him daily because he is too tired to keep his balance because his feet and hocks hurt him so bad from the bumble foot? Will he be happy living this way? Is he tired and wishes that he didn't have to deal with all of this? He doesn't look like he is in pain and he is not suffering. If I thought for one minute that he was in pain or suffering, I would do the right thing but I know he's not. He does experience difficulty walking due to the bumble foot. The main thing is the quality of life for him.

    After about an hour, he was ok. His eyes opened and he was moving around. I placed food in front of him and ate.

    So, I'm at a point of trying to decide do I continue caring for him inside? Do I wait for him to die? Do I end his frustration and euthanize him? My mind is telling me to euthanize him but I can't bring myself to do it. And if I decide to euthanize him, I would have no idea what to do or how to do it. I don't think that I could do it. Someone would have to do it for me. And I would have to bury him at home.

    At what point and time would YOU euthanize your pet? When would you know that it's time to say Good bye?

    He lived a good life. He fought a hard battle. But now it's time to end the war.

    Here is Mr. Turkey in his younger days when he was full of life and engery.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I am lucky - I have a friend who will dispatch poultry for me when I realize an ailing bird will not get better despite my care. I tend to keep them too long....

    My heart is breaking for you.
     
  3. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is an extremely hard decision. I have tears in my eyes just reading this,the only advice i can give,is that for me i always treat until the bitter end(providing no pain/suffering is involved). My thinking is that if my pet loves being around me and continues to enjoy whatever time he/she has left,i will gladly take this borrowed time and enjoy it. Does that make my selfish in some persons mind,maybe but that is me. When the time comes to put your loved pet to his perpetual sleep,i would take him to a vet and have them administer the medication. Not sure if you have had an animal euthanized before,but it is very peaceful and you do have time to give a last kiss and say goodbye. I know this doesn't bring much comfort,but each of us has had to make this decision,and no matter how many times i have had to do this,it still rips my heart out,but in the end the pain of loss is worth having the beautiful years together.I have found that not a lot of people get to know/take the time to understand these amazing creatures,they have the ability to sneak into our hearts and stay there forever,you have been on an amazing adventure with him,enjoy whatever time the two of you have.
     
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    It never gets any easier. I wish you the best.
     
  5. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    Well this is a very tough question.I myself have a dog that has diabetes and requires two insulin shots a day. She has became blind.but she gets around pretty well. She is very thin and won't gain weight. She's starting to wet on the carpet. I bought a Capet cleaner. She has been my friend and companion for 12 years. I often ask myself the question you are asking...but I've decided to keep her as long as I can with me. She does her best and is not really suffering
    Unless she starts to really suffer than I will have to say enough is enough. But for now she seems happy even though blind. and I care for her to the best of my ability. Until that time.
     
  6. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Kuntrygirl, that Tom was lucky to have you as an owner. I deal with people all the time and their dogs. I have been in the situation many times with dogs, birds, cats, sheep, and it is never an easy decision make. People ask me," How do I know it is time?" I tell them when their friend is no longer enjoying life anymore, it is time to do what must be done out of love and compassion for your friend. It is hard to take action and kill something you cared for all those years. It seems contradictory. It isn't though. The fact that you regret saying goodbye is proof of that. I believe in God and that animal was blessed to be in my life, whether it was to nourish me or be a pet, and will be blessed when taken out of my hands. I can tell from your post you did right by that turkey for years he may not have been allowed elsewhere. You will always remember him.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. balbrt1

    balbrt1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your beloved pet will let you know when it is time to say goodbye..I have held a many cats , dogs in ther last moments as I worked at a vet clinic helping the vets. I would cry every time when the end came. If a vet does it the animal passes very peaceful. I know your heart is breaking and nothing we say will make it any easier. Only you have the decision to make. You nor your family will ever forget him. I have always said that I hoped I could be brave enough when the time comes for my pets. Good luck and be brave. :)
     
  8. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Thanks everyone for the kind words and words of comfort. I got back home yesterday and he was relaxing in the living room watching tv. I leave it on for him during the day so the house is not so quiet for him. I noticed that he had eaten and drank throughout the day, so he is up and moving around the best that he can. Matter of fact, he moved around so well until he unplugged the air condition unit that I have in the room that he is in AND in the same room is a incubator full of pea fowl eggs. The incubator temps spiked to 101 but oh well. I couldn't even be mad at him. I just asked him how did he manage that, chuckled and plugged the air conditioner back up and crossed my fingers that the pea eggs didn't fry.

    I think he will be around for as long as he wants to. I will continue caring for him like I always have, monitor his weight to make sure that he is eating and allow him to enjoy the luxuries of being an inside turkey. However, I will take him out every day to enjoy the sun, smell the air, and see all of other animals and bring him back in when it gets dark outside. But I will only allow him his yard time when I am there to make sure that he is ok. Weekends will be all day outside when I am there unless the weather is too hot, too cold or rainy. I think I may build him an outside yard pen so that I can put him in there so no one will bother him and I don't have to worry if they are picking on him but still bring him inside at night. Yea, I think I"ll do that.

    Mr. Turkey has earned his stripes and his ranks and has put in his time, so he will officially retire from the chicken yard and his new retirement home will be inside with me.

    Thanks again for all of the kind words. I will keep everyone posted on my Mr. Turkey.
     
  9. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    I'm so glad he's up and around. God bless him! I agree with your decision! I'm so happy you will keep him around until God calls him. Same with my blind diabetic dog.not sure how much longer she has but I'm going to care for her until God calls her. Its always so hard when our beloved pets get old. But I'll stand by there side until their times come. Mr turkey is very very lucky to have you! Sounds like he has a wonderful life! God bless.
     
  10. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    I once had a blind dog/ She was a pit bull. I can remember driving from Louisiana to Texas to take my dog to a specialist once a month. People thought that I was crazy for driving hundreds of miles to take a dog to see a vet, but oh well. We would load up early that morning and she would sleep all the way there. We started her off will all kinds of eye drops to keep the pressure in her eye down and that worked for a couple years but then she went totally blind. But that didn't stop her. She memorized the house and yard and walked around like nothing was wrong. When I told people that she was blind they would ask me was I going to put her down. My response was, "Do you kill people because they go blind and can't see"? And that was the end of that conversation when I gave them "the look". So, my girl lived for 13 years. She is buried under her favorite tree in the back yard. Funny thing, when I went to the headstone store to order her headstone, I was nervous because I didn't know how to explain to the guy that I wanted a headstone for a dog. After hesitations in my conversation, I finally came out and told him that I hope that he didn't think that I was crazy but I wanted to order a headstone for my dog. Without even blinking, he said, "You're not crazy, people come here all the time and order headstones for their pets. As a matter of fact, the mayor was in last week and ordered a headstone for their cat. So, now let me show you what we have." I was so relieved when he said that. So, my blind dog is out back with a lovely headstone. My family came over the next morning (she died the night before) and we had her funeral. Everyone said loving words about her and I had written her a letter, so I placed it in with her and her favorite blanket inside her 6 foot deep grave that my brothers dug for her. After that, they spent the day with me and we had a cook out to celebrate her life.

    So, I totally understand what it means to have a blind dog.

    Post a pic of your baby if you can. I would love to see her.
     

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