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Do Dogs Feel Shame?

Q:

My 13-year-old Pug/-Boston Terrier mix has malformed vertebrae and is slowly but surely losing neurological function in his back legs. His lower-body control is already so poor that he doesn’t even know when he’s pooping, and he’s stumbling more and more. I know I need to make a decision about either getting him a cart or putting him down. My friends are giving me all kinds of conflicting advice, but since I don’t know if dogs feel shame or embarrassment, I wonder what Puggy’s preference would be. He’s been treated by a chiropractor/acupuncturist, we’ve tried steroids, and he’s currently taking glucosamine and chondroitin and a supplement called Ligaplex II. During the summer I make sure he swims a lot, and I always make sure he gets lots of exercise. I have some time before he stops walking altogether, so any advice you have would be much appreciated.

A:

Your decision comes down to Puggy’s quality of life. If he shows willingness to stay alive, that’s coming from his mind, and that’s what I would choose to honor. If it’s his body alone that’s failing, I would make an effort to show him my appreciation by using devices like wheels to help him get around. When we provide some kind of stimulation to the body, this can often give us a few more years of life. This is my hope for both of you.


Submitted by Karen
Answered by Cesar Milan

 

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