Re: Doggie Death Panels

1

What would you do to keep it alive? Surgery? Surgeries? Daily injections? Amputation of multiple limbs? Chemotherapy?

No way am I going through chemotherapy for a dog. I'd probably fire the quack that even suggested it. The dog's the one with cancer! Quack.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 7:10 PM
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I miss my kitty.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 7:11 PM
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That'll teach you: Sifu's not really your go-to guy for pet-sitting.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 7:19 PM
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No way would I do any of those things. My dog has a tumor and it's terminal. But we're giving him pain meds and keeping a close eye on his happiness. No treatment at all. If he is not happy, it's over. Currently, he is fine -- enjoying his walks and playing with his friends and has a great appetite. But absolutely no interventions that would disturb him. I've basically determined to not ever take him to the vet again except for euthanasia.


Posted by: jackie | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 7:20 PM
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We just went through this, our dog just died from cancer in July. He was diagnosed about two months earlier when he stopped eating for a period of time. We didn't pursue any treatment other than appetite stimulation- partly for cost, but also because we didn't think putting him through painful and scary treatments was worth it to prolong his life maybe a year or two at most (he was a large dog, a little over 9.)
On the other hand, he also had a serious illness when he was 1, and we went through expensive diagnoses to determine it was some kind of autoimmune problem. Treatment itself was cheap, but he went through about $2k of tests and that's why he was scared of going to the vet for the rest of his life. We also had pet insurance at the time so it ended up costing us about $250 total. I think we made the right decisions in both cases, since treatment at 1 gave him another 8 years.
In the end he actually died pretty easily, he went about two weeks of hardly eating but still wanting to go out for walks every day, then the last day he just stopped getting up and died that night.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 7:26 PM
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I'm frequently surprised by the extreme measures people will go through to keep animals alive.

Some people simply cannot bring themselves to put an animal down. At the same time, they cannot let the animal suffer. So an endless round of attempts at all kind of ridiculous treatments. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the people who see the animal as approximately the equivalent of a living footstool. Animal got sick? Need 200 bucks for the treatment and it'll be fine? Put it down.

And then they go out and buy a new baby animal. Sometimes they do this with puppies and the puppies get parvo. Parvo remains contagious in the area the animal was in for years. So they get another puppy. That animal gets parvo. Then they try again.

Thus do puppy mills come by a thriving business.

max
['You can't even get the mills shut down; good luck with a hospice, when the animals can't talk.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 7:26 PM
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My kid the vet now thinks people (he included himself too) generally tend to delay the sodium pentothal too long.

For a reasonably quick fix I would inflict a fair amount of pain on an animal. After all, I did it with my kids when medically necessary a few times. To delay the inevitable by a little at the end of life? Not to the pets, and not to me either, thank you.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 7:28 PM
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This Fresh Air interview was interesting on this subject.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 7:34 PM
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7: I agree with Biohazard. A dear friend of mine had a kitty with a bowel obstruction that popped and kitty went septic. Fixable, yes, but only because the kitty was brought to the fancy Animal Medical Center quickly and they have vet surgeons on call at any time of day or night. So emergency kitty surgery ended up costing 8k, but the fellow in question had it, and kitty has been fine ever since. Lots of folks were entirely horrified by his decision.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 7:41 PM
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This thread really was designed to make me cry, wasn't it?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 8:00 PM
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You can't even get the mills shut down

Yeah, I think one of the hardest parts to understand is the dualities in American culture today. (Some) people will spend a phenomenal amount of money on medical care for pets, but (precious few) people will vote with their feet and pocketbooks to curb the least of the most horrible abuses engaged in to produce those cute, fluffy pets.

I am quite close to someone who works for a rescue organization that goes undercover to document the abuses, comes in to rescue the animals when the authorities are finally prodded to act, and then lobbies for necessary changes in the state law. It is remarkable how deeply invested people are in the status quo -- it's like Amish people can't possibly be guilty of puppy-killing because, well, they're Amish.

There's another duality, too: (Some) animals are defined as companions, and it is utterly taken for granted that they will be/should be cared for and loved; (some other) animals are defined as food, and it is largely taken for granted that they can/will undergo horrific suffering before their deaths. I'm not even an ethical vegetarian, and I have a healthy respect for the food chain, and even I can see the total self-contradictions at work.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 8:01 PM
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Why were people horrified, oudemia? Because he should have given his money to a homeless shelter? (Not asked glibly, by the way.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 8:01 PM
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My mother loves animals, so do lots of other people I care for.

But I always think that this is a basic consequence of small families and scattered lives-- people have love to give and no-one to give it to, so the closest proxies for humans get the extra love. I will skip the sarcasm and harshness, the phenomenon makes me sad.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 8:07 PM
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12: It was more . . . affront? I mean, the folks in question were not particularly mindful of social justice or anything. If he had spent 8k on a showerhead they wouldn't have batted an eyelash. Something like, "Pets can easily be replaced and anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly weakminded."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 8:16 PM
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13: "Proxies"? We have cats, not proxies for humans. The book and movie "Biohazard's Choice" has me sacrificing the cats for my children and lots of people I'm quite close to, and sacrificing any number of millions of humans I don't know for the cats. Of course, I get portrayed by Patrick Stewart at his prime.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 8:41 PM
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Both cats mentioned here eventually died of cancer.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 8:43 PM
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14: If he had spent 8k on a showerhead they wouldn't have batted an eyelash. Something like, "Pets can easily be replaced and anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly weakminded."

Accessories! Mobile Ottomans. I can't imagine a 4H kid being like that. (Although I'm sure there are a few.)

11: (Some) people will spend a phenomenal amount of money on medical care for pets, but (precious few) people will vote with their feet and pocketbooks to curb the least of the most horrible abuses engaged in to produce those cute, fluffy pets.

Yeah, well, the people who can't let go are often crying about themselves, not the animal.

I am quite close to someone who works for a rescue organization that goes undercover to document the abuses, comes in to rescue the animals when the authorities are finally prodded to act, and then lobbies for necessary changes in the state law.

Yeah. The rescue people can be weird as well. Too many stary cats, not enough people to take care of them all, too many collector types. It's an endless morass.

(some other) animals are defined as food, and it is largely taken for granted that they can/will undergo horrific suffering before their deaths.

In the factory type farms? Yeah. There's really no point in the suffering though; it's not making better chicken.

max
['Too stupid to do otherwise.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 9:01 PM
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It's sad the way Big Chicken keeps fucking (over) that chicken.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 9:13 PM
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I'm sorry about your kitty, Standpipe.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 9:31 PM
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My girlfriend also just went through this. Took the cheap route and chopped a leg off. Three is good enough.


Posted by: seanh | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 11:06 PM
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The rescue people can be weird as well.

Yeah. The kid tells me that some few don't want found animals they bring in scanned for an id chip on the grounds that "if the owner really loved the animal they wouldn't have let it get out and lost".

The hoarders (of all types) are the strangest though. They're horrifying and fascinating at the same time. I'm sort of glad they exist, they totally normalize my small and useful collection of old 35mm film canisters.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 11:51 PM
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20 -- Round here, we usually call the upper two "arms."


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 12:06 AM
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22 - To clarify, her cat went through this.


Posted by: seanh | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 12:33 AM
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My crazy uncle (who is missing BTW; police are involved and bank account frozen--the woman tried to write a check forging his signature) spent a godawful amount on chemo for his dog. And yet, he wouldn't spend money getting proper dentures and generally didn't take care of himself. I think the priorities are slightly misplaced.

Davis, CA is kind of crazy about this. They're well known for cat kidney transplants which I find kind of disturbing. As of 7 years ago, they costed $10,000 (which seems a lot when people don't get vaccines), you have to adopt the donor cat and the recipient cat needs to take immuno-suppressing drugs for the rest of its life. Try explaining that to a cat.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 5:46 AM
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(who is missing BTW; police are involved and bank account frozen--the woman tried to write a check forging his signature)

Whoah.

That doesn't sound good.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 6:05 AM
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Ehhh. She seems to be kind of dumb, because she pissed off contractors and the dog groomer. It's so obvious that we should be able to stop it whereas subtler stuff would be harder to prove.

It's all really bizarre, though.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 6:33 AM
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26: But she claims she doesn't know where your uncle (her husband, right?) is?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 6:37 AM
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No. We, his family and his friends haven't been able to speak to him. She claims that he's in California with her sister and will be in touch once renovations on the house have been completed in a month or so.

The dog groomer tried to cash the check, and the bank said that they would need to speak to my uncle.

There was evidence that he seemed happy. Now they may be fighting.

It's very sketchy. She has a CA landline, a car with Missisippi plates and a credit card registered to Texas, but this is all being traced which is why I say that she's kind of dumb.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 7:04 AM
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28: But if the cops are involved, can't they say, ok, lady, we need to speak to your sister?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 7:11 AM
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They will. It's just that she doesn't answer her phone(s?). She returns the calls she wants to, and one of her lines has been disconnected. (One of them says she's a real estate firm.) The contractors are going to meet w/ her and are cooperating with the police so that they can come. We hope that not having access to money will draw someone out.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 7:17 AM
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31

Round here, we usually call the upper two "arms."

Even if you call a leg an arm, it's still a sheep.

I used to think that the ethical way to get a dog was to adopt a stray from the pound. Then I started reading these and now I'm not so sure. There's a point where adopting strays is just enabling irresponsible breeding, where buying from a reputable breeder supports reputable breeding and supports improvement of the breed (for some value of 'improvement').

The upshot is that I've just driven halfway across the country and spent roughly the equivalent of three months living expenses to get a poodle from the same breeder who produced the puppy I got in 1990. Whether this was rational, or rationalizing, I'm not sure.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 9:16 AM
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The only ethical way to get a dog is to give birth to it yourself.

I just typed that as a joke, but then it occured to me somebody might unironically agree with me.

Ha ha, theoretical person who unironically agrees with me: I am making fun of you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 9:19 AM
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I would have tried that, but without health care reform I was unable to convince my insuror to pay for gender and species reassignment surgery. Also, I haven't the brains to pass for a poodle.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 9:36 AM
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Sifu births strawpuppies just to watch them die.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 9:42 AM
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Putting a collar on your offspring and leading them around on a leash are frowned upon in much of the country. Other places, though, it's cool so long as you scoop their poop.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 9:44 AM
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I would pay good money on sedatives for this kitten right about now.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 9:48 AM
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31: There's a point where adopting strays is just enabling irresponsible breeding

I'm sort of agreeing with this, then thinking of the one day left to live our cats had at the shelter if we hadn't adopted them, and then of the pleas to give to this, that, or the other charity for starving third world children with huge haunted eyes.

Is it possible Norman Borlaug do more harm than good?

I dunno. To hell with it, I'm going out to push someone in front of a trolley. In some layers of the multiverse I will be doing good deed.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 9:53 AM
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Putting a collar on your offspring and leading them around on a leash are frowned upon in much of the country.

If you use a harness though it is perfectly acceptable.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 10:03 AM
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... starving third world children with huge haunted eyes.

"Three generations of strays is enough"

If you use a harness though it is perfectly acceptable.

Yes, I hear there's a team of 'em entered in the Iditerod


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 10:24 AM
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38 - I had reins for a while for my eldest (saved my arms being pulled out of their sockets trying to hold her hand - why are toddlers so damn short???) and when I took her to Canada when she was 20 months, my relatives had to tell me not to use them because people wouldn't like it. (Of course, round here pulling your kid around in a little wagon would get you laughed at.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 1:38 PM
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I mostly think that creatures w/o a sense of the future or past, including dogs and babies, can be put down with the main consideration being the people who love said creature, not itself. being attached to one's own person is a sillyness for ourselves too, but we should limit it as much as we can.

also, it would be nice if dog breeds were updated or replaced by new ones adapted for modern life. most dogs won't be herding or hounding. but not shedding or slobbering and being ok w/o hours of exercise and more intelligence would be good traits.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 1:38 PM
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but not shedding or slobbering crapping pot and being ok w/o hours of exercise and more intelligence would be good traits.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 1:52 PM
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I think for pets, somehting like the morality of Malthusian societies is worth using, where there are a limited number of slots for lives, so if you want to use one, you should be healthy and vital. Maybe it helps us appreciate our decadent modern lives.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 1:55 PM
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I'm actually interested in teaching my next dog(ie, when i get a job and larger apartment) to crap directly into the pot (my toilet, not my stash) and to flush. perhaps needing a ministair-accessable fold-out table on which to squat.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 1:58 PM
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41:It's really unclear to me to what extent dogs lack a sense of the past. They certainly can remember things from a year or more before, in the sense that stimuli they haven't encountered in the interim elicit appropriate responses. Whether they're able to think abou specific memories at will, I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 1:59 PM
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Also, 41.last: the dogs I / my parents have had are shih tzus, which fit the bill. Also, no yapping. Downside: likelihood of congenital kidney defects.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 2:02 PM
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||

PSU has a real shot at beating the Griz today, and improving their 0-6 record in Missoula. I suppose, though, that only Emerson ever cared about the Vikings . . .

|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 2:07 PM
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||

Siena is a really freakishly beautiful city. As far as I understand, the reason is centuries of poverty. Who'd've thought?

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 2:20 PM
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Poor economic conditions seem to have been the reason quite a few small historic cities have kept that historic look.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 2:25 PM
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It's really unclear to me to what extent dogs lack a sense of the past.

My previous poodle was known to get me out of bed demanding to go out. When I opened the back door she'd trot right over to where she'd left a rawhide bone, pick it up, and trot back to the bedroom to chew it.

I never knew her to misplace glasses, keys, wallet, cellphone, pen, or any of the other myriad things I've found myself looking for. I was also never able to convince her of the importance of noting where I'd left stuff.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 2:26 PM
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It's really unclear to me to what extent dogs lack a sense of the past.

They live in a 4d world of odors & scents. Not only where & what, but how old, how strong, what direction.

50.1:Just to play, your dog smelled the spot he had been chewing yesterday, and followed the trail out the door straight to it. Just because you didn't see that "bright yellow line" from yesterday to tonight, doesn't mean she didn't.

But I don't think we can really understand this without studying Donnie Darko. I think it is more like DD than our own memories & calculations.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 2:40 PM
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The same article that helped me on dog's timesmell said that dogs have different retinas than humans, faster refresh rates, with a useful analogy being that humans see the world at 10 frames per second while dogs see it at 25 frames per second.

Fuck me if I know what that means.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 2:44 PM
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Just to play, your dog smelled the spot he had been chewing yesterday, and followed the trail out the door straight to it.

Possible, but she would normally move the bone around, chewing now here and now there, many times a day. Also, there were often several bones scattered around - some are apparently tastier than others, or need to age, or some such thing. It's hard to infer thought from action, but this looked like action based on memory. But it could have been "bored, wanna go out. Go out. Immediately smell bone, trot over, wanna go back in"


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 3:56 PM
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53: Smart cat remembers from one day to the next where she's seen me hide her toys and will open the correct drawer to get at them when she decides it's play time. Pretty cat is apparently lucky to remember where the food and water bowls are.

Smart cat took about about 15 minutes to figure out the pet door I installed so we could keep the cold air in the bedroom while letting them find their food and litter box outside. Pretty cat got it down to a routine after four days.

I am inclined to think their experiences of their universe are as different as they are for people with vastly different abilities.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 4:19 PM
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52: It could mean a great deal in allowing a sight hunting dog to anticipate where prey is going next if they can see subtle changes in motion, weight shifts, and leg positions.

Take a look for the research on the ability of fighter pilots to see things most people can't.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 4:23 PM
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We've spent... well, we've kind of spent a lot on cats over time. The last one racked up something in the neighborhood of $2,000 in 24 hours, at the end of which we found out he had metastasized cancer and it was repeated, lifelong, painful chemo or the needle, no third way available, so we took the next day off, spent it playing with him and had him put to sleep in the back yard by an incredibly kind veterinarian.

The two we have now both have had expensive medical issues. One eats prescription food at every meal or his dick basically falls off, no lie, and the other takes an incredibly inexpensive medication twice daily to control his seizures but they were both expensive discoveries. I have happily put up cash to find out what is wrong with them and whether it could be cured or controlled so that they remain happy. I would not let them be in pain forever if I could do anything about it. I don't think of them as people but they do have distinct personalities and different relationships with each of us and they do satisfy what little paternal instinct - in me, something like a mental vestigial tail - I still possess. I would happily beat the crap out of someone who tried to harm them and I would happily suffer pain in their place. Because they can't communicate with us I feel like my first responsibility is to make sure they seem to be enjoying themselves. If they can be put into a state to enjoy themselves, and I could afford it, I would do it. If I couldn't afford whatever is necessary to make them able to enjoy life then I would not keep them around and make them suffer. I couldn't fathom something so selfish.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 7:17 PM
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56 see 10 what he said


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 7:59 PM
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47, Never mind.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 9:13 PM
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||

One of my cousins spoke to my uncle today. It still sounds awful and like his new wife isn't letting him go where he wants to, but he's not dead.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 9:21 PM
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59: Suuuure he's not.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 9:40 PM
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61

Verona is also very nice.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-19-09 10:50 PM
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: ( : ( : (


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 10:14 AM
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Essear, I ate at a really good restaurant in Siena. See if you can find it.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 10:32 AM
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62 is pretty cryptic. Whatsamatter, 'smasher, cat got your tongue?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 2:54 PM
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Our kitty Sebastian was a cancer survivor. There's a picture of him on our web site, which I've linked. He was killed last winter by a wild animal attack while exploring the park he loved near our home. I went looking for him in the park, found him, and brought his body home. Afterwards, I wrote the following to a friend of the family. It seems appropriate to share it in this thread.

Five years ago, while I was in the midst of a layoff at the height of the last tech recession, our kitty Sebastian was diagnosed with cancer. The doctor told us that even with chemotherapy, the odds were only around 20% that he would survive for as long as two years, and less than 10% of surviving that long without a recurrence. We chose to go ahead and tap our savings to pay for his treatment anyway, because he was such a gentle and affectionate kitty, and because our son dearly loved him and would have been devastated by his loss. We knew full well that despite all our efforts, we might only be buying a few extra days or weeks of life for him, and yet every day that he was with us was a gift to be cherished. Many times during that first year I would sit in the evening petting Sebastian as he lay curled up and purring on my lap, and I would look up at my wife and say, "Yes - this is worth it." We knew that his rallying might be only a brief bit of Indian summer before the inevitable winter, yet we chose to enjoy every moment of it that we could, for however long it lasted.

Sebastian did beat the odds, and then some. We have had five long years of rich Indian summer days with him, far more than we had any right or reason to expect. And now the winter has finally come. For five years, I have been mourning the loss that I knew was coming while celebrating every day that we had together.

Sebastian did more then just live with us. I think he also taught us something important about how to live.


Posted by: DaveW | Link to this comment | 09-22-09 2:46 AM
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A few notes about veterinary chemo, to address Becks' original question:

Chemo's not as physically bad for animals as it is for people, in part because they use a lower relative dose. As our veterinary oncologist explained, with people, they are typically willing to make you really, really sick in order to maximize the chances of killing the cancer, because most people can understand the risks and benefits involved. With animals, who can't understand suffering the same way, not so much. So they use a lower dose that doesn't affect the animal as much, while accepting a lower cure rate as the price of doing so.

Also, a lot of the animal chemo protocols are derived from protocols that were originally used to treat human cancers. I found it weirdly satisfying to think that animals can benefit from drug regimes that were tested on humans.


Posted by: DaveW | Link to this comment | 09-22-09 8:04 AM
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My dad always complained about the expense of our pets. We had up to seven cats at one point while I was growing up, now down to two left living with my parents. Two diabetics, one thyroid problem, one kidney failure, one incontinent probably due to being Manx. Although he probably doesn't really dislike them as much as he said because all the vet bills got paid and my sister and I never found out how much those bills were, and he did more than his fair share of administering the medicine when it was that kind of a problem.

There have also been dogs. A pug died two years ago or so (also diabetic), and I was surprised to hear just a month or so ago that my parents adopted a cocker spaniel or something. Rescued another stray.

I'm living with two cats right now. Technically they belong to one roommate, but one of the cats is spending more time with a newcomer to the house because he's more willing to feed them first thing in the morning. They're cute.

What this thread really makes me feel is sorry for parents. Or maybe "sorry for parents" is putting it badly, but more confident in the life choices that have not put me on the path to parenthood any time soon. As agonizing as dealing with dying pets is, it would be hell of a lot worse with kids. Sure, you don't expect to outlive your own kids, but (a) there's always that fear, (b) even routine medical problems can get expensive and (c) when/if there is a problem, you don't have any choice at all about stuff like 56.1.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-22-09 2:13 PM
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