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It is important to remember that "hybrids" are not necessarily the average of both parents--hybrids can also inherit the worst traits of both parents and in the case of a cancer- prone breed that would be very bad. Unless there is information available to the contrary, I think that one has to assume that any purebred or "designer" breed coming into rescue came from less than stellar genetics, because if it had been a thoughtfully bred dog, the dog would have been returned to the breeder. If you take this dog, at best, you will have a dog whose coat needs professional maintenance on a regular basis.$$$ Given your situation, I think that you are much better off acquiring a vetted, trained adult from a reputable organization, which will likely mean not having a dog for awhile. Because the last thing that you want is to find yourself in this shitty situation again. No animal is a certainty, but you really need to stack the odds in your favor even if it means waiting and taking out a loan or whatever. Also, you need a skeletally mature dog for balance work, if that is your intent, and an 8 month old large breed dog is too young for that now and will be for some time.

 

As for Hazel, from what you have written, an orthopedist did not even lay hands on her, so there is no way of knowing what type of surgery (if any) would best suit her. Following hip surgery, dogs may appear lame but these are often mechanical lameness--the diseased hip/socket are removed so are no longer a source of pain. Not having a professional relationship with a local vet, it may be really hard to found someone who will euthanize a 1 year old dog, especially if you are not able to produce records showing that you exhausted all reasonable medical options. As I have said before, rehab done under the supervision of a rehab professional can produce great results.

 

At least TRY to place this dog with a rescue. You may want to call local vets, explain the situation, and see what they suggest. You may find someone who would be willing to perform the FHO if you sign the dog over to them.

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You may want to call local vets, explain the situation, and see what they suggest. You may find someone who would be willing to perform the FHO if you sign the dog over to them.

 

Yes, that was going to be my suggestion.

 

I once fostered an epileptic dog who was routed into rescue at the suggestion of the vet at the age of 2 when his original owners brought him to the vet for euthanasia. They could not handle his medical needs and felt that euthanizing him was the only option.

 

He was later placed with a retired nurse who was perfectly fine with handling his medical condition.

 

There may be a vet in your area - or several - who have relationships with rescue organizations and there may be resources available that can help Hazel live a high quality life with good pain management, depending on the exact nature of her medical issue.

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Agreed. I've seen some of the worst cases of genetic diseases in the designer mixes; dogs with virtually no hips, cancers, allergies, Addison's, etc. They are only as healthy as the individual dogs that went into making them, and I consider Berners to be very high risk of suffering from debilitating medical conditions.

 

I still think you need to consult with a specialist before making any decisions. The cost should be around $100. Can anyone front that money before you make the very painful decision to euthanize? There may be treatments or options that have not been suggested available. I still worry about a diagnosis being made based on less than ideal images.

 

If you do decide to turn over to rescue, please, please, PLEASE do your homework and make sure the rescue will do justice by her. I see far too many "rescued" dogs who are turned over because their owners can't afford their care. The rescues then fail to treat properly because of limited funds, leaving the dog in no better shape than it was in with the original owners. In some of the cases I see, it would have been far more humane to have euthanized the dog. There are some really wonderful Border Collie rescue groups out there that will go above and beyond to provide the very best of care. Hopefully someone close to you can recommend one in the case that there is a treatment option for Hazel.

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I also agree with going the rescue route it at all possible. FWIW, when my now 14.5 year old was a young dog running in nursery, one of the dogs competing against her had had surgery on both hips, I think FHO, but I don't remember. That young dog was running a full open level sheepdog trial course after surgery on both hips. I also had an open trial dog who didn't have any noticeable issues from her terrible hips until she was quite old, 13-14 or so.

 

Clearly she won't make a service dog for you, but she still might make a great pet for someone else.

 

As for the Berner doodle, honestly, I'd keep looking if I were you. Bernese mountain dogs aren't known to be long lived and the ones I've known have died quite young from various genetic issues. The fact that it's a cross might make a difference in that regard and it might not. Depending on how large a dog you need, I'd consider something along the lines of a field bred lab or similar--at least a breed that's not known for genetic issues that can be quite expensive to treat and that can affect longevity. The last thing you need is to put a bunch of time and effort into another prospect only for it to develop something and be unable to do what you need as well.

 

J.

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I've missed several days of this discussion while I was away and I'm just going to keep this brief.

 

You asked about experience with hip surgery. I volunteer for a border collie rescue and fostered a dog (he was a mix, my guess being possibly border X golden) -- I think he was about 4 years old at the time -- who had terrible, painful hips. The rescue paid for 2 FHO surgeries for him and he did fantastically well. It was a long recovery and involved a lot of rehab, but he was a different dog afterwards.

 

This was a number of years ago and the surgeries weren't $1200 each. IIRC they were ~$5000 each, still expensive but the rescue was able to raise the funds for it.

 

So it's definitely worth exploring.

 

As far as the Bernese mix, I agree with others that it would be preferable to have the dog physically evaluated and cleared before you bring it in for a trial period. I just don't see the sense in investing in the time evaluating the dog' temperament before the health clearances have been done, not to mention the expense of getting the dog to you and returning it if it doesn't clear that most basic hurdle.

 

Again, best wishes.

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Sorry I have not responded in a while. I needed time to myself to sort things out.

 

Guys, I just want her to not suffer any more. She has started barking at me for no reason, picking at her paw/hip, couple days ago found her hiding under the linen closet shelf where she barely fit. When I went to try and see what was up, she tried to bite me. Has nipped at me a couple times since and is clearly a bite risk from the pain. Will not let me touch her backside. Moaning in her sleep. She can't ride in a car. I think trying to find her a rescue/money for the surgery is going to take awhile and will just prolong her suffering. She is truly miserable now. In addition, she is no longer well trained, and at least from my personal experience, dogs that develop behavior issues as a result of pain/trauma have a hard time going back even when the pain is gone. There tends to be permanent consequences. Also, she has been raised to be a service dog since she was 8 weeks. I don't think she would be happy without the work, I think thats half of where her frustration is coming from. I just can't watch her like this. She spends about 90% of her time in her crate now anyway, thats no life for a young dog. I have been crying for days straight trying to figure out the right decision. Time to let go.

 

Trust me, her service work was NOT physically demanding, I know better than to put that kind of stress on a pup. She's a psych dog. And only worked a few hours a day in public 99% of the time. I have (had?) complex PTSD. Have learned to cope with the emotional stuff, but my brain has learned to shut down under stress, and that's permanent. What I mean by that is I get random memory gaps. Whatever I'm doing when I blank out, I seem to just go on autopilot and keep doing whatever I was doing until I "wake up". I'm a student and walk everywhere, I have literally woken up after trying to walk home, 2 hours away from where I live, lost, with bleeding feet because I was wearing inappropriate shoes for that kind of walking. It was terrifying. Hazel learned to alert to this before it happened, like a seizure dog, so I could get myself safe. I went from having these episodes every couple of days to almost never. It was absolutely wonderful for the brief time she was working. And she loved it. Worked happily every day, and slept soundly every night, never left my side.

 

Program dogs - first off, its impossible to find a reputable organization that will train "alert" type dogs, and most will also not train for someone who is not a veteran. It's hard for an organization to do properly because each individual is different, and you are much better off training your own. Second, even if I could find one that trained a useful psych dog and not just one that was trained to lick on command or some nonsense like that, they typically have 2-5 YEAR waiting list with quite the hefty fundraising requirement (10-20k). Its hard, trust me. And I enjoy training dogs, it's very rewarding, I have the skills to do it, and its therapeutic for me to learn to put aside my own feelings and problems to train a healthy minded dog. I will be able to take care of it. It's not that we don't or can't find the money to continue trying to help hazel, its just that we know her better than you guys, have been to ALL of her vet appointments, and just can't see the merit in dragging this out longer when she is a completely different dog and clearly in a lot of pain.

 

The doodle - is just a possibility. We have found a way to check it out in person for a week without spending money and without flying it here. We will have it vetted after we meet if it seems to be a good match. I know its a health risk, but a pup from a good breeder is a behavior risk (temperament tests only tell so much) and will take much more time to train... The risk sort of balances no matter which way I go, and no way will be risk free. Thats not life unfortunately. At least with this dog, the situation is a bit better than your average rescue - it was surrendered from the owner straight to my trainer (not for behavior or health reasons) and my trainer has trained the dogs brother. Brother was very trainable, had the right temperament, etc. Obviously no guarantees, but we know a lot more about it than that its just some random rescue doodle. Also, have found a decent amount of organizations that use bernedoodles specifically because they tend to live longer than either the poodle or berner, and are a good size for mobility for people like me (tall!). People keep saying to get a lab, but I have never met a lab tall enough, and will NOT put undue stress on a dogs joints from getting a too-short dog. I will need a giant breed, and they just have health issues. Theres no getting around it. Best thing to do seems to be either get a giant breed from health tested lines that tend to live 10-11+ years, or get a hybrid that tends to live longer than the giant breed alone. The only healthier giant dogs I can think of (great pyrs come to mind) don't have the general temperament to be a service dog (as a breed, obviously individuals vary.)

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also, thank you all for your support and advice, whether you support my decision or not. This board has taught me a lot, and makes me a bit sad that my next dog, whatever it will be, will not be a border collie. They are all I've ever had other than a couple of english setters when I was very little left from my parents breeding program, and I will miss them and all their fun quirks.

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I can't possibly disagree with someone who is honestly trying to do best by their dog. You have so clearly thought about what is best, and ultimately you have to do what lets you sleep at night. If she's truly suffering like you say she is, she has no quality of life. Maybe she'd get better in a rescue. Maybe not.

 

I'm in a similar situation with an old horse we have. She has permanent neurological issues, and is now mostly blind. She's become dangerous in our tight quartered barn, and she serves no purpose. Sure, we could dump her at a rescue or give her to someone who promises to put her out on pasture. But ultimately, there's no telling what kind of horrific home she could find herself in. We're at the point where we'll be having her euthanized shortly. It sounds cruel, but I'd much rather an animal have a life cut a bit short but not having known suffering compared to tossing the dice about their future. I understand why you'd pick euthanasia over sending her to a rescue, and I don't blame you at all.

 

I really hope for much healing for you, and for a pain-free future for Hazel, no matter how that happens.

 

And please, keep us updated on your future dog. I always like having closure on sad situations like this.

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I'm not trying to be annoying or not supportive but, I offered to find a rescue for her. Some rescues already have funds put aside for these circumstances. Many rescues will only put working dogs in working homes. I just dont feel like you are understanding this. In my experience, dogs who get the care they need medically do not stay aggressive when they are pain free. I'm sorry that you already have your decision made, I just feel that the rescue alternative would have given her a happy and healthy life. I already talked to someone who would have most likely taken her in and got her the medical attention needed. I just needed to know if you were willing to hand her over.

 

Good luck in the future with your new service dog.

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Laura - I know you arent trying to be difficult, and I really do appreciate your concerns and help. Part of me really wants to do it. My concern here is very similar to the horse story above. Will it even ultimately do her good? Will she really end up happy? Something inside of me just doubts it very much. Dont get me wrong, I would LOVE for that to happen. However, if she were a pet, she would be very unhappy unless she had a constant companion (and one who didnt mind her alerting to stress or licking their face and barking if they were distressed...). Shes okay with being alone in a kennel, but dislikes being loose and alone very much. Also, you mentioning placing her in a working home after medical care worries me very much. It wouldn't be fair to the dog OR the person. An unsound dog should not be worked as a service dog, period. Its demanding work, and hazel is very good at hiding pain, she seems to have done it her whole life. Also irresponsible to whoever the handler was - I don't want the risk of an unsound service animal, why would I put that burden on another disabled handler...?

 

In addition, yes dogs that have surgery are limping from the structural changes and not from pain, I understand this. However, they still can't do as much because of their altered gait (the ones I've met anyway). Her whole life she has been slow. She has looked after dogs chasing balls and running after each other her whole life. She looks at them with this sad look, she wants to be able to run and play, and certainly has the energy to do so, but has always just been too slow. Instead, she found joy and an outlet for energy in service work. Now she doesn't even have that.

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I'm not saying she would be placed as a service dog. I'm saying a working home if she needed to be. Working home has many definitions, not just a service animal. Dogs in rescues get evaluated based on what the dog wants and can do.

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I would never offer to help find her a rescue if I believed she could not be helped. It does not seem that the vets you have around there have a clear picture of what is going on and maybe it is a much simpler fix than what they think.

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My heart breaks for this little dog... I can't believe you would not entertain the idea about getting a second opinion or releasing her to a rescue. This is the second dog of yours that has developed behavioral issues am I correct? I am not trying to be rude but I have read this entire thread and people have offered sound advice in which you replied its hopeless shes better of dead. Seems like that may be a more convenient option for your ego then this poor dog, it is much harder to admit that you have failed a dog then to say she's a lost cause better of dead nothing could have been done to fix it.

 

I think that it is all too easy for people to make judgments on this situation, as seen above, without really knowing or understanding it. From a distance, you are deciding what kind of person rwinner is, what is going on with a dog you have never met, and what should be done with this dog. I think that for you to assume ...and state... that her decision is driven by ego or convenience is rude and inappropriate. Everyone here wants what is best for this dog, but unless you are there and, as rwinner has said, present for every vet visit, you cannot know what that is. She has had second and third opinions, from what I gather, and has thought this through very carefully. She is not making this decision lightly. She is not, in my opinion, failing this dog in any way. I think it is unkind to try to make her feel guilty about what she has to do.

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To say that a dog lives for X and would be miserable if not doing X is complete and utter bullshit. In the agility world, this is used to rationalize all sorts of interesting human behavior. Yes, my dog loves agility, but what he really loves is doing things with me. He does not care if the thing is agility, playing ball, doing conditioning work, training tricks....or going for a quiet walk in the woods.

 

It is your life, your dog, and your money. If this was my dog, I would have taken it to a specialist a long time ago...after it blew through the first pain killer.

 

Good luck with your health problems and in finding a suitable dog.

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So you won't even give Hazel a chance? None of us honestly know the future. And I understand you cannot continue with her. But please give her a chance

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D'Elle, thanks for that kind reply and saying what I wasn't going to have the guts to say... That post before you ripped my heart in half. Guys, please don't make rude snap judgements on things that I have been thinking about, crying about, and losing sleep over for over a month now.

 

It is true that I had a dog with behavior issues before hazel, his name was Brahms. I will take full responsibility for making a crappy decision to get him in the first place, but I will NOT take responsibility for his behavior. He came to us at four and a half months old, from a good breeder. The breeder did not live in our state but had several working sheepdogs in our area and came well recommended. The reason he was so old was because the breeder held him back as a herding prospect, then decided they didn't have the proper time needed for training. When I went to go get him, he seemed a bit skittish, but I chalked it up to only meeting him the once. The breeder said he hadn't noticed fear issues. His skittishness gradually developed into full on fear aggression. He was sweet with us, and exactly what we needed at home, but we live in a city. His only exercise options were walks, which he HATED and would always come home drooling in fear. We worked with him, and got him to where he could accept a person we had worked with. But each new stranger started the process over again. Obviously, he would also never make a service dog. We did the right thing and contacted the breeder for help. The breeder took full responsibility, he had probably just been left alone too much before we got him and had missed the appropriate socialization period. He was rehomed to a trainer on a farm, they trained him to be a cattle dog. Much more appropriate home for him. It still sucked, and it was a rough decision, and I think about him often. But it was the right decision and I made it.

 

Implying that I am making the decision to euthanize hazel because I am somehow responsible for her behavior and want to save my ego is just crap. This was a dog that I trained well enough to sit through a 10 hour flight, attend all the festivities of a wedding, stay in a hotel, etc all without a hitch. She sat through the whole rehearsal dinner, which was quite loud and cramped, under the table completely focused on her job. I spent a month going back to basic training with her when her behavior slipped. Nothing helped. I felt horrible and I DID blame myself. So I worked harder with her. Finally, we got the the vet who said - she has terrible hip dysplasia, you are wasting your time with training. Its not your fault she cant learn, because all she can focus on is pain right now. You dont know how much of a relief hearing that was (in a very strange way, obviously I was not happy she had HD). I had been berating myself for 'letting her training go' and somehow 'failing her' or somehow not being good enough. The diagnosis finally let me let go of all that and realize the truth.

 

In my experience, it is not easier to say shes better off dead or a lost cause. Its much easier to blame yourself than admit that you are out of control of something, and that life just sucks sometimes.

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My dog loves to come running with me. and he is also pretty happy sleeping all day and do nothing. he loves to be in my company, whatever this means.

making assumptions about Hazel future it does not make much sense to me, as we do not know what the future holds. My personal believe is that euthanasia should be the very last resort, when there is truly nothing else to do.

 

I really hope you will consider the offer, and give her to a rescue.

good luck.

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I am sorry people are upsetting you, rwinner. In the end, no one here is in your shoes, so don't feel like you need to justify your decision to anyone but yourself. She sounds like a complicated medical work up, plus surgery and rehab, behavior modification...a lot of effort and money for a rescue and like you said, you would not be able to have a say in her future. That's a really hard situation. It is clear to me that you have been weighing your options and not ignoring anyone's suggestions. These kinds of situations make everyone involved emotional, so for those who were offering alternatives, I hope you can understand that rwinner is faced with an awful decision and, to me, appears to be handling it as best she can. She is trying to balance complex emotions and practical decisions. She does not need negative posts to add to her immense sadness. My thoughts, anyway.

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I apologize for posting something in haste.. that wasn't well thought out. The point I was trying to make was there are rescues that are willing to take a dog and invest resources that you aren't willing to spend due to your own personal reasons which you have stated in previous posts. It seems wrong to not give the dog a chance based on what you "think" might happen. We only have your side of the story, none of us have seen this dog so we can only assume your judgements of her behavior are correct. So once again I apologize for hurting your feelings but in my opinion your got giving the dog a fair shot.

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FHO - since this is what would have to happen in a rescue situation... Vet says they dont like to do it in dogs over 50lbs? Hazel is right at 50, but does have well muscled legs so has that going for her.

 

Can they still develop arthritis in that joint after a while? Or no because its not really a joint? Reason that I ask is that we had a dog that needed a pin put in her hip. Fixed the problem, but then developed arthritis after a while that eventually she went lame from anyway. Bilateral FHO - bad idea? okay idea? she may need both done. Been reading a lot of people's blogs that had it done. Seems like small dogs - miracle, larger dogs - depends. Everything from great to terrible.

 

I do hate the idea of not having say in her life anymore, or knowing whats going on all the time. I already think about Brahms often, and hope hes doing well as a cow dog. Obviously I won't let that impact decision making, still sucks though.

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I wasn't going to post but my first thought was that most people would not put this much thought into their dog as rwinner has. Clearly, she is a dedicated dog owner, more so than the average person. None of us know this dog or what her medical situation may really be.

 

I think it is kind of crazy to burden a rescue for a possible $10,000 surgery, when that money could save a lot of dogs. And also keep a foster home open to other dogs in need for the many months Hazel would need to recoup. It is one thing to spend your own money how you want and I know many rescues will fundraise money for pricey procedures to save one dog, but I personally would not feel okay knowing a rescue shelled out that much money for a dog that I placed with them. There are so many other dogs who could have been pulled/vetted/adopted, saved from euthanasia in a shelter for that money. Just my opinion, I know others would be okay with that. I have seen local rescues raise several thousands of dollars for just one dog's medical needs and that is their decision to make.

 

One thing I wanted to touch on though, just something to think about and not directly related to Hazel possibly going to another home. Was the comment about her not being happy in a pet home after doing service work or somehow going on auto pilot and alerting to someone else's distress. Many dogs who worked for many years in the military or in police work (and former service dogs), retire and are placed in pet homes. I have known a few retired police dogs that were perfectly happy as just pets and never looked like they missed searching for explosives, drugs and so on. Many service dogs also are re-homed when they can no longer perform their duties to their handler and the handler is not in a position to keep two dogs. So with that said, it is very much possible for former working dogs in many capacities to retire into a completely new lifestyle and be happy. I am sure many here know retired sheepdogs who worked their whole lives and enjoy a pet home/lifestyle now as well.

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I realize dogs can be rehomed into different situations and still be happy - sorry, I'm very emotional and am probably anthropomorphizing her a bit... She just got SO excited when she saw her vest when I was unpacking. It was like a five minute miracle. She could be in a pet home, but would do best with a stay at home mom, or a retired couple... someone with time to spend with her. Thats more what I was trying to get at - shes used to the companionship that comes with a 24/7 job and would miss that, not the job itself.

 

One of the reasons I am hesitant to put her in rescue is just what was stated - what about all the other dogs? That is A LOT to ask of a rescue that could probably save several dogs with the resources it would take to save my one. Of course I love hazel and want the best for her, but what about all the other borders that are surrendered to shelters from minor behavior or herding behavior "problems" and end up euthanized? That's one of the things that kept coming up in my mind during that couple day break I took from this forum.

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One of the reasons I am hesitant to put her in rescue is just what was stated - what about all the other dogs? That is A LOT to ask of a rescue that could probably save several dogs with the resources it would take to save my one. Of course I love hazel and want the best for her, but what about all the other borders that are surrendered to shelters from minor behavior or herding behavior "problems" and end up euthanized? That's one of the things that kept coming up in my mind during that couple day break I took from this forum.

 

I would say that is a particular rescue organization's call.

 

The same could be said of many dogs who were taken into rescue with health issues, fear issues, etc. Those dogs took spots that other dogs could have had, in a sense. But someone thought they were worth saving, and there are many of us who are deeply grateful for that fact.

 

Many of those dogs are cherished members of our households and the joy of our hearts in spite of those things.

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