How is Ace Doing? Making the Right Choices for Our Dogs

Many people have asked how my dog Ace is doing. Thank you for thinking of him.

Ace is doing OK.

He’s had an ongoing issue with a non-healing wound.

You can read some of the details here, but we are in the process of meeting with a second specialist and deciding whether to move forward with a CT scan and a second surgery.

I’m not looking for any advice but maybe just a little moral support. I also know I’m not the only one without answers to her dog’s medical issues. Many others are in the same situation only with different issues and I want them to know they are not alone.

Black Lab mix Ace

When I’m feeling this extreme stress about what decisions are best for my dog, one thing that helps is to take a step back and give myself the advice I give others when asked.

I’m a dog walker and dog blogger and you can imagine the questions I get when it comes to the health of our pets and end-of-life decisions for them too.

“Am I doing the right thing?” people ask. “What would you do?”

And what I say to them is this:

“There is no right or wrong. You’re doing the best you can.”

So that’s what I’ve been telling myself with Ace.

You do the best you can.

All I can do is go with my best instincts, listen to our vets, discuss with my husband and observe how Ace is doing. And consider financial limitations too.

Sometimes the right decisions are obvious.

Usually, they are not.

We’re comfortable with the decisions we’ve made so far, and I’m hoping to get some more answers soon. I’m hoping and praying (begging God, actually) that a second surgery will give Ace another year or two (or five!).

But I also want to be realistic about how much we want to put our almost 10-year-old dog through and how far we’re willing to go financially. There are no right answers here.

It’s heartbreaking.


What I could really use is your thoughts for Ace as we move forward with more appointments and decisions.

Ace’s issue does not seem to be life threatening at the moment (that we know of) but it is causing him some pain and discomfort. Our walks are slow and short and we spend a lot of time lounging around.

All your comments, emails and positive thoughts have meant a lot to me.

Thank you.

-Lindsay (and of course Ace!)

P.S. We still have fun! See:

Ace and me

Related posts:

Planning for the end of your pet’s life – difficult questions

How much should I spend on my pet’s vet bills?

My dog has a wound that won’t heal

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33 thoughts on “How is Ace Doing? Making the Right Choices for Our Dogs”

  1. Oh, I hope the second opinion goes well!!! D.O.G. is 8 this year and Missy is 13. I’m probably going to be scheduling her tooth appointment soon. While I am not looking forward to spending $1100 on her teeth, I am hoping that the x-rays we do on her heart will show it in good order and no fluids around the lungs. She’s happy and active so my fingers are crossed. And my toes for Ace!!! I’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures with him and you have helped me become a better dog owner and to stand up for myself. You will do what’s right for you and your family. And don’t second guess yourself. That’s something you’ve taught me. 🙂

  2. Wish your family (including Ace for sure) the best. My heart is heavy reading about your ambivalence. Frequently I am thinking about what I should do when Seven (my current healthy 4.5 years old female Rottweiler) or I are suffering from health problems and the budget is tight.

    Please do take care.

  3. I hope Ace gets better real soon! Having had 2 old dogs that had multiple health issues and cancer, I know what you are going through. Whatever you decide to do, don’t give yourself a case of the guilts or the “what ifs”.
    Take one day at a time and enjoy him every one of those moments.
    You are, and have been, an excellent and caring owner of your fur baby. If Ace could talk, he’d tell you so!

  4. Lindsay, I can totally relate to what you are going through. My big dog Atlas is almost 10, and after his toe surgery last week he was recovering pretty well— until they took the bandages off on Monday. Then, I could not keep him to stay away from his foot (stupid stupid I didn’t want to put him in a cone) and today we had to go back to the vet because he chewed out a stitch or two. It is enough to make me want to cry, knowing he is in pain and I allowed it to happen. He had more bandages put on, which helps for the moment–but the snow outside adds another layer of complication. No matter how hard I try, I cannot keep a boot on him.

    I’ll be sending good thoughts for Ace to start healing up!

  5. My heart dog Wadsworth was diagnosed with prostate cancer six months after my husband of forty years died in an accident. I just couldn’t loose that dog so even though the vets said thirty days I decided to fight the cancer. Money was not an issue as I had life insurance money and knew my late husband would have spent any amount on Wadsworth. Chemo, experimental drugs, and emergency surgery gave him nine months. I had hoped for more but when this extremely intelligent boy started waking me up when it was time for more pain pills I knew it was time to give up the fight. Sometimes doing all you can is not enough and you have to let them go.

    When the pain pills were working Wadsworth was a happy boy but when they started wearing off he would bark and cry. I would be frantic until the new dose kicked in. Eventually the good times were shorter than the bad and I had to let him go. He is the only dog I’ve had to euthanize that wasn’t elderly and in serious decline. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

    I’m certain you will do what is ultimately the right thing for Ace.

  6. Hugs to you and Ace.

    We have a 14 yr old who has congenital heart murmur. We chose not to put her through the stress of testing to see at what stage her heart is at.

    We are also choosing not to medicate because I have not had good experiences with medicating our dogs. Most of times because of the medications it lead to other issues. I’m not against medicating when it is needed for a younger dog but for us medicating to keep her alive a little longer is a decision we chose against. Maybe it is because we lost family members who recently passed that it would have been less painful for them if the medicine didn’t keep them alive.

    I will however have an extremely hard time if we had to make the decision that it is the end. I am hoping that when it happens it is peaceful and while she is already sleeping. Either way I am very confident that she will let us know.

  7. My heart goes out to you, Ace and your family. I’m sure you will make the right decision. You look after your dogs well and know their needs. At the mo my dogs are ok, but I dread if they ever become ill. I just wish they could talk then you’d be sure you would be doing the right thing. All the best for all of you. As N.J. said – take each day as it comes and enjoy the times you have together. Thinking of you.

  8. I know how hard these decisions are, we lost a beloved dog and cat last summer. The choices can be heart breaking. I always told myself that we did the best we could and gave them the best possible home and quality of life. I know you do this for Ace. You can see it in his face in all your photos of him. He is very happy and well loved. They depend on us and trust us with all that they are to do what is right for them. Ace loves you and he knows you and your husband love him. Anything you choose will be ok by him. Good luck to all of you. Follow your heart.

  9. Dear Lindsay and Ace,
    I just read your newsletter and had to come here to give you some support. I really think you’re on the spot saying that there’s no right or wrong decision. My lab had a scare health problem three months ago and I had to take some decisions and all I could think about was “I want the best for him” period. Fortunately, everything is ok now. It’s not easy, but I’m sure everything you’ll do or decide will be the best for Ace.
    Be strong. lots of love from me and my four leg love (Boss)

  10. Walk your dog or pull him/her in a waggon every morning. Love and Pet him/her every time you walk by and when the end comes you will be devastated but you gave him/her ALL THE LOVE YOU HAD and that will comfort you….

  11. Such a tough time. I hope you can find peace in the decisions you make for your beloved Ace. It’s so hard for so many reasons, as you’ve listed. But Ace knows he can trust you and loves you without reservation. I wish him speedy recovery and many more walks with you.

  12. Very few decisions are straightforward, unfortunately. How should one know what is the best thing to do? Since there is pain, I would go with the CT scan and go from there. I think you do need to know what is going on in there.

  13. Hey Lindsay, I just wanted to send you some good thoughts and vibes and I hope things get resolved with Ace soon and he gets back to feeling better and chasing those tennis balls with lots of gusto again. Hang in there. 🙂

  14. Dear Lindsay, Sending best wishes for you, Ace and his doctors. Our last Rhodesian lived to be 14 1/2. He had Addison’s Disease and required lots of medicine We thought we had reached the end twice when a change in meds made him comfortable, increased his energy and increased his quality of life. I hope that Ace will perk up and give you more happy, healthy years. Savor and enjoy all the happy moments you share with Ace. Best of luck and health you you both.

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