Our 11.5 year old Pitbull/boxer mix has been declining over the last year. He began having seizures last Feb, indicating some sort of neurological issue (we have been told most likely brain tumor, but do not want to pay for an MRI). He is currently on phenylbarbitol, which is controlling his seizures beautifully. Since the seizures first started, we have been dealing with constant physical, cognitive, and behavioral changes and have been taking each day/week/month in stride. If you look up the symptoms for doggy dementia (cainine cognitive dysfunction?): that is very similar to what we are experiencing; however, our vet assures is that this is not his diagnosis based on multiple other factors. We have added gabapentin 2x/day for pain management and melatonin at night to help with his sleep/wake cycle. We live in an old farmhouse with curved steps. Our dog has mostly self-selected to remain on the first floor during the day and about 50% of nights. The other 50% of nights he will either find his way up alone or bark/cry until we got downstairs to help him up. As of this week we have decided it is no longer safe for him to go up and down the steps. If they were standard steps we might make due with a sling to support his back legs, but being that the steps are all triangular and very steep we cannot walk beside him and it makes them just that much more dangerous. Last night was our first trial of not allowing him upstairs (the stairwells have doors) and our little man was VERY upset. He cried/barked for 3+ hours. Within that time we checked on him periodically and tried to tuck him in on the couch. He would be panting uncontrollably and would only calm down if we sat/laid with him. My question is: while we know our time with him is somewhat limited, as he is actively declining, we want to make sure that we are keeping him comfortable, both physically and cognitively. I feel like separating him from us at night is causing a lot of stress and anxiety, but I don’t really have a better solution for his physical safety. If I weren’t 8 months pregnant, I would set up a bed and sleep with him downstairs, but he could have several more months with us (or days or weeks; it’s hard to tell) and that is not a feasible long term solution for our family right now. What would you do? I feel so guilty stressing him out by creating environmental restrictions for him, but I see no other option. Will he learn this new routine or is he too old and senile? For now, I’m here on the couch with him curled up next to me. He is whining inscessantly despite all of his needs being met. This is our evening ritual and it breaks my heart. Our discussions of when it is “time” have increased in frequency, but until then, he still has many pleasures in his days despite these ever-lengthening moments and periods of anxiety and confusion.