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When is the end time?

We never set out to have a 15 year old dog. We had heard that large dogs die young but that labs could live to 12.  When Koko had cancer at 5, we thought, well let's do what we can to keep her alive for a few more years. They removed as much of the cancer and surrounding tissue as was possible without going into her heart and lungs.  Then we had her x-rayed a few months later to see if enough had been removed to keep it from going to her liver, spleen, etc. She was good to go until about ten when some other lumps appeared.  She was starting to slow down but still going strong, so she underwent another surgery to remove the lumps. One was cancer.

When Koko was 12, we were happy to have kept her alive to the average age of a lab.  But by now she was constantly undergoing some type of crisis. She had pancreatitis, so she was sick, lost weight and we had to put her on a fancy diet. She had old dog disease, was sick, lost weight, and we had to feed her Gravol and pureed food. She had another cancerous lump. She pulled her ACL.  Each time a major issue arose, we were prepared to put her down.  Sure we were crying, but it looked like this was the END.  

We were wrong. The vets told us that she could live through these events if we did A,B,and C.  So we did. But the old girl has forgotten how to let us know she needs to go outside. She paces and she pants. We give her pain killers, and supplements to counteract the negative effects of pain killers. The carpet has been peed on so many times we almost don't care if it gets peed on again. We confine Koko to the kitchen with baby gates. We assist her up and down the outside stairs. We look at her and ask "Are you ready yet?" But she never responds, just gets sadder and sadder to watch.

So where is that point that you know it is time? We have lived through many points that we thought were the TIME. We asked others and they have told us many things. Mostly just that you will know. We don't know anymore. This once proud dog looks so sad, but she does not tell us it is time. We just hope that the sun will finally dry out the backyard, the temperature will warm up, the grass will grow, and we will be able to let her spend her days outside.  And perhaps one sunny day, it will be the time.

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