Worried about the Carsonator

Update: I took Carson in for an Ultra-Sound today. He started the day out having a not so good morning.  I got his medicine down him.  He went for a walk, and then he was awake most of the late morning!  This was a huge improvement.  I still took him to the Doctor.  He has some kidney problems and they are not sure why. We are going to try some more powerful medicine and see if we can make him feel better and get his appetite back.  I will let you know.  We are in a wait and see mode for a little while.


I am afraid I may be facing a tough decision soon.  My poor Carsonator (my Dog) is sick.  If you follow my blog you know he has been sick.  We believe he has Cancer (surgery is too risky as he has tumors pushing on his lungs near his heart,  we have tried medicine to rid the tumors for all other non-cancer options).  For the past few months I have noticed a decrease in his water consumption.  Then I started to notice he was giving me trouble eating his “diet” dog food.  Every so often I would supplement his food with this god awful dog food that looks like Hamburger Helper. I know there is nothing nutritious to it but Carson LOVES IT.  The past month he has flat out refused to eat his diet dog food.  I chalked this up to his stubborn attitude and I assumed he had figured out that the longer he goes without eating his dog food the more likely I was to give him the bad-for-you dog food that he loves.  Then he quit eating the yummy dog food and I knew something was wrong.

I took him to the vet and had numerous tests run to find out that he has a urinary tract infection and has lost 6 lbs.  That may not sound like a lot but it is almost 10% of his body weight and I am pretty sure he lost that in 6 weeks.     The vet also thought he might need to see a Dog Dental specialist as his teeth (what little he has) could be bothering him.  Naturally, when I called today to make an appointment I confirmed my suspicion that a Dog Dentist cost an arm and a leg.

So, he has been on medicine for the UTI but it is very hard to get him to eat the medicine because he just as no appetite.  I have been tempting him with people food but that doesn’t always work.  The most I can get him to eat every day is the equivalent to one small can of tuna fish.  He even turned down sausage recently!  He has slowed down considerably on his walks and sometimes only makes it around the block.  He used to drink water like it was going out of style and now he hardly drinks at all.  Today I got about a 1/4 cup of milk in him and a can of tuna fish.  He spends most of his day sleeping…and by that I mean he sleeps all day and wakes up for 10 minutes  at a time.  He is maybe awake 22 out of 24 hours a day.  He has always been lazy, but this is so much more so than normal.     

He has good days and bad days.  When I woke up this morning he was lethargic and it took me 30 minutes to give him his pills.  I was upset all day thinking that it might be time to put him to sleep.  Then I get home and he greets me at the door with energy and he is excited to see me.  He seems peppier and I got him to eat a cup of human food with no problem (and he ate it all…he has been taking a few bites or people food and then leaving the rest).   So then I start thinking it’s too soon.   But here he is, laying beside me and he refused to eat the additional people food I put in his bowl.

The problem is I have no idea how old Carson is because I adopted him from a homeless pet shelter.  He could be 10, he could be 12, he could be 14!  How much money should you spend to prolong the life of an old dog?  If he was 8, I wouldn’t even ask this question.  I also have to wonder about his quality of life?  Is it quality to sleep all day and not eat and not drink water?  Will he overcome this?  How long do I wait?  Until he loses 12 lbs? 20 lbs?  I have no idea.  I call him Fatboy for a reason, because he LOVES to eat.  This boy never missed a meal and even learned how to pop the top of his food container and feed himself when he felt I had not given him enough food. 

On one hand it is a blessing to have the option to put a sick dog to sleep before they have to suffer too much.  On the other hand, I don’t want to think for the rest of my life that perhaps I ended someone’s life too soon.  When you see him, you would not even know he was sick because he doesn’t look it.

The last time I had a very sick dog I called Julie crying. I told her everything that was going on with Murphy and what I was trying to do to cure her.  (At the end of our college Career Julie had a dog named Betsy and I had Murphy).   I so vividly remember crying with her on the phone and saying, “I just don’ t know what to do…I just don’t know what to do.”  There was silence on the phone for a bit and finally she said, “Jen… you know what to do.”  She was right, even though I ignored her subtle hint for another week.  🙂  I can look back on putting Murphy to sleep and realize I did the right thing…but I also see that Murphy had many more outward signs of being sick than Carson does.

It’s hard.  Who knows what to do.  I am hoping for a little divine intervention to show me the way.  



Carson Sleeping beside me


Carson annoyed wondering why the flash keeps going off waking him.

This is old school Carson who learned how to pop the lid off his food and feed himself.

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8 Responses to Worried about the Carsonator

  1. Angie Morton says:

    Jen, this brought tears to my eyes because it is exactly what we went through with Daisy. Sleeping all day, not eating, weight loss, rotten teeth, etc. I so wanted her to go in her sleep so I wouldn’t have to make the decision. I put off taking her to the vet for fear he would tell me it was time (took her 3 weeks before she passed). I feel blessed for those 16 years with her. I know what you are going through and I am also hoping for divine intervention for Carson. Hugs!

  2. Eva says:

    Hi Jen,

    I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. I’ve been through it more times than I care to remember. The last time, I really struggled with the decision for a lot of the same reasons you are struggling now. There were some outward signs but not enough obvious ones, and there would be times when she would perk up, act normally, and I would be back at square one trying to figure out if it was time.

    In the end, my vet friend told me that she has had many many people tell her they wish they had ended their pets’ suffering sooner, but she has never had anyone tell her they thought they didn’t wait long enough. And now I know what she means. By the time we actually had Brandy put down, I knew it was time, and she seemed so peaceful and at rest.

    We also had a beagle years back, Casey, who (like Carson and every other beagle in the world), LOVED food. Her life revolved around food. She got cancer and we knew the masses would eventually begin pressing on her abdomen to the point that she would not be comfortable eating anymore. My husband swore he would never let her know the feeling of going hungry, so when she stopped eating, we knew it was time.

    Sorry this got so long. I’m so sorry you’re facing this tough situation. In the end, I’m sure you will know when it’s right for Carson. Hugs to you.

  3. rita says:

    wow, that made me cry, too. he is old in some respects but how do you know the right answer? i have an old dog that i got from some firefighters when i worked at DPC. i had gone to look at a building at the fire station on the ship channel and the guys there talked me in to bringing this sweet dog home. she sat beside me on the deck when i got her home and pushed her head into my shoulder like she was hugging me. she was thankful to be there and has been ever since.
    we have her on steroids because she cannot walk otherwise. she falls. but i told the vet to give her whatever it took to give her quality to her life and when that it became evident that she was suffering we would do something else. she goes for regular shots/medication and has for two years now!! it is very expensive for this regiment to keep her healthy but we had no idea she would last this long and we cannot stop now. she sleeps a lot, too. she cannot see very well and does not hear much at all. (if she gets outside and wanders off, you cannot call her home because she cannot hear!) but she is one happy baby when she realizes we are home and she can still jump up on the couch between us. we have had her 12 years or more. and she was 5 or 6 when we got her. actually, julie was still in college when we got her. i remember that she was not yet at the office. i guess you have to go with your gut feeling and not look back. it is such a hard decision. i hope you have peace about whatever you decide and know in your heart you gave him a great life. i remember besty. she was a sweet-sweet dog.

  4. Brittany Eck says:

    Aw, Jen, please give Carson a hug for me. You are such a great mom to him. You have given him a wonderful home and always have his best interest at heart. I am so sorry this time is difficult, but happy that Carson has you. I miss you both.

    Hugs, Brittany

  5. Oh, Kerber, I’m sorry. As you know, my dogs occupy prime real estate in my heart, second only to my husband and kids. Barrabas is getting up there in years, too (and, like you, we adopted him, so I’m not sure how old he is, but we recently figured out that he’s at least 13 years–ancient for a German Shepherd mix) and I know we’ll have to make the same decision before too long. Anyway, thinking of you and Carson. Let me know if you need anything.

  6. George says:

    When I have been over to watch him, he of course likes the moist and meaty, but I found that if I stood right next to the food bowl and pointed at it and kept telling him “Eat your breakfast, dude!” all excited-like, he would eat some of the diet food. And then he’d stop and look at me and I’d say “Come on! Keep going! Have some breakfast!” and he’d eat a few more bites. It was almost like a game…I did this a handful of times with him. Might be worth trying, but I know you don’t always have 25 minutes free to coax the dog into eating.

  7. CHristie says:

    Jen…. so sorry about Carson… was not that long ago that I had to go through it with Sam… But I just knew when it was time….. hardest thing I ever had to do, but she went so peacefully, I knew it was ok. You will know too. Thinking of you and Carson!

  8. Geneen says:

    Poor Carson. 😦

    Thinking of you both.

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