Short of raising his paw and saying, "Yo, mom, I'm ready to die," how will my dog let me know that it's time?
(This question is very hard to write. Please be nice to me).
My sweet, 11-ish-year-old German Sherpherd
has had cancer for a long time. He is the energizer doggie, out-living my and the vets' expectations by quite a bit (almost a year). His tumor has grown a lot, and it has now started to ulcerate. In a way, the fact that it's growing outward and breaking the skin seems to indicate, to me at least, that it's not growing into and bothering his gums or his nose. But my handsome doggie is still occasionally bleeding from his face, and I am not sure what to do about that.
But . . . He has an incredible appetite. He chases toys. He barks at the mailman (and pigeons and joggers and . . .) with great vigor. He loves going on walks, and he attacked a hill yesterday like a much a younger dog. He seems, more or less, to be the same as he ever was. If I follow recommended quality of life index for dogs, this is an old pup who should stick around for a bit longer.
He just has a big-ass tumor on his face, and the skin is breaking and I'm freaking the fuck out. He's always been kind of whiny, and I'm not sure if his whining is "Pay attention to me!" or "Just put me out of my misery!"
I'm going to call the vet tomorrow, but I don't want to bring my dog to the vet and cause him distress if I don't have to. I am also afraid that they are going to pressure me to euthanize him on the spot, which is probably insane, but that's what I'm afraid of, so here it is Metafilter. I haven't put him on painkillers yet because he hasn't seemed to be in pain, but I'm open to it, obviously.
How will I know? And what can I do about the ulcerating scary tumor? My vet's advice a year ago was, "Enjoy every day your dog is alive." I'm trying, but I don't want to enjoy him at his expense.