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Thread: Old Dog Thread

  1. #1
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    Old Dog Thread

    Didn't want to muck up the "It's Just a Dog Thread", that one's special.

    Or really any of the other threads that were a little more pointed in their direction so here goes.

    The almost 17 year old Border Collie of mine (turns 17 next week) is in diminishing health, to no one's surprise. We have his now 1.5 y/o great grand nephew BC that I truly believe has helped extend his days these past two years for which I am grateful.

    Of course I've been preparing myself for the inevitable for the old boy but he just keeps on truckin'; paces around the first floor every night, sleeps all day without fail, eats full meals and just got an incredible bill of health and blood and urine work from the vet.

    Last few nights he's become incredibly unsettled starting about 8pm and goes until he either takes a dump or exhausts himself to the point where he falls asleep - obviously this pains me as his human. He's on a daily half tab of DeraMaxx for his arthritis, but I'm loathe to give him anything else unless he's in obvious pain because his stomach just can't handle it (been that way since puppyhood).

    I couldn't handle hearing him anxiously pant so I gave him a gabapentin tablet tonight (he got that and a tradnazone script prior to his last vet checkup so he could be sedate prior to the visit) and so far no change.

    Monitor and hope for the best is what I'm guessing at this point? It's been 20 years since I've been in the position to know when it's "time".
    I still call it The Jake.

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    Had a great vet who told me "Dogs can't tell you when they are in pain but they give you signs." After waiting too long for a cat and feeling a lot of guilt about it I changed how long I waited to help a friend. Vibes for you and your friend. There is no exact "right" time I guess.
    Seeker of Truth. Dispenser of Wisdom. Protector of the Weak. Avenger of Evil.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmillsSkier View Post
    Of course I've been preparing myself for the inevitable for the old boy but he just keeps on truckin'
    One of their best and worst qualities. One of my dogs collapsed and died on the spot. Looking back, it was a relief compared to the alternative experienced years later. Good luck to your good boy and his fam.

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    Last night Maya could not stand to go outside to pee at 2am. I sat on the floor and petted her for about 5 minutes before I was able to help her up. No issues since then. I know she has arthritis. Any suggestions from the collective? I hate seeing my dogs get old.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazderati View Post
    One of their best and worst qualities. One of my dogs collapsed and died on the spot. Looking back, it was a relief compared to the alternative experienced years later. Good luck to your good boy and his fam.
    Thanks man, I appreciate it.

    You aren't kidding; one moment totally competent and impressing you, the other, ffs, please let me help you.




    Quote Originally Posted by liv2ski View Post
    Last night Maya could not stand to go outside to pee at 2am. I sat on the floor and petted her for about 5 minutes before I was able to help her up. No issues since then. I know she has arthritis. Any suggestions from the collective? I hate seeing my dogs get old.

    FWIW, my old guy mentioned here, Connor, can pee on his own in most instances, shit on his own too. Its the times when his arthritis and/or muscle deterioration takes over where he can't hold himself up to not fall in that piss or shit. That's where I come in.

    It's a lot. My old man can't do stairs anymore so basically every bathroom break is me holding him up so he doesn't lay in his own mess. He holds it thankfully so indoor diapers aren't a thing for now, and he's also mobile enough inside and mentally there so no chance I'm cutting our time short until that fades,,,

    Who knows. This all is hard.
    I still call it The Jake.

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    Sucks.
    Hang in there.
    They will let you know. The hard part is not knowing and waiting, then accepting.
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  7. #7
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    Old Dog Thread

    Our cockapoo is now over ten and my wife has started referring to him as an old dog which drives me insane. Heís pretty spry and most people think heís a puppy doodle when they see him still. Even so , Iím acutely aware of the ticking clock. Just donít wanna be acting like he is older than he acts. Could also cross post to shit that annoys me and I love my wife but Ö
    Last edited by mcski; 03-28-2023 at 11:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by liv2ski View Post
    Last night Maya could not stand to go outside to pee at 2am. I sat on the floor and petted her for about 5 minutes before I was able to help her up. No issues since then. I know she has arthritis. Any suggestions from the collective? I hate seeing my dogs get old.
    My "mature puppy" is 90lbs and over 11 now, he started getting pretty creaky last year after bike rides and runs, to the point where he'd have a hard time getting up if he was laying down too long. On the rec of my vet, I started giving him Cosequin and it's completely turned him around. He still is a little stiff after big exercise days but soooo much better, I never feel like his hips are going to give out on him anymore. It's worth a shot if they're otherwise healthy but just need a little joint lubrication.

    As far as the "when is it time" question, I'm already dreading that. I did see a helpful comment online though a while back- "If you're consistently waking up hoping they died in their sleep, it's time."

  9. #9
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    Was here not too long ago. I feel for you dude. I still drop a bit of cheese on the ground and then have to pick it back up and toss it out.

    You donít know until you do and then you know what has to be done. My old gal was 17, arthritis, incontinence issues, some distress at night.

    Agonized over when was the right time. So did my wife. Then one day we looked at each other and knew. There honestly wasnít a single event per se, but our friend kinda let us know somehow.

    The vet came to the house and checked her vitals and said she would likely have passed within the month due to sound of her heart. This from the dog who could barely walk but just the day before, galloped next to my daughter for a solid 15 seconds to make sure she had an escort to the bus.

    I know this is raw, and everyone has their own angle, but having her pass at home in my arms was the best possible way to do the near impossible.

    I just realized this post was like 4% vague advice and 96% catharsis and selfish. Im sorry for that, and Iím sorry for where you are now Bmills. Hang in there.


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    Ah man, this is the hardest part of having a dog. Thought we were getting close to this point with one of our oldest dogs just recently. She was looking bedraggled, and laid around all the time. Not healthy at all.

    Then my wife noticed the dog was biting at her paw, so she took a closer look. Turned out one of her nails had grown out so much that it circled around and was embedded in the pad of her paw! After trimming that, she was back to her old playful self within a day or two. Whew!

    No help to you, I know. But I empathize with what youíre going through. Weíve been down that road more than a few times. At some point you have to know youíre doing them a service to stop the pain.

  11. #11
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    Iím sure this statement /sentiment has been said but I recall telling a buddy that we just got a puppy and he said congrats on your future family tragedy. Sick but kinda true

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    When you get a dog you get unconditional love and at the end a heart break it's part of the deal

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    Thanks for all the responses all, the gabapentin calmed the old boy down and he slept through the night and was back to nervous wandering the first floor of the house this morning. He can move but I think the cataracts have limited his eyesight to the point that he gets really anxious that he's usure where he is. I hate it all for him.


    Quote Originally Posted by Art Shirk View Post
    Was here not too long ago. I feel for you dude. I still drop a bit of cheese on the ground and then have to pick it back up and toss it out.

    You don’t know until you do and then you know what has to be done. My old gal was 17, arthritis, incontinence issues, some distress at night.

    Agonized over when was the right time. So did my wife. Then one day we looked at each other and knew. There honestly wasn’t a single event per se, but our friend kinda let us know somehow.

    The vet came to the house and checked her vitals and said she would likely have passed within the month due to sound of her heart. This from the dog who could barely walk but just the day before, galloped next to my daughter for a solid 15 seconds to make sure she had an escort to the bus.

    I know this is raw, and everyone has their own angle, but having her pass at home in my arms was the best possible way to do the near impossible.

    I just realized this post was like 4% vague advice and 96% catharsis and selfish. Im sorry for that, and I’m sorry for where you are now Bmills. Hang in there.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums


    No apologies necessary at all Art, I appreciate this post and am trying to be in the moment and be helpful to the boy as much as I can. Thanks for the perspective from going through this recently, and I'm sorry for your loss.
    I still call it The Jake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon3 View Post
    My "mature puppy" is 90lbs and over 11 now, he started getting pretty creaky last year after bike rides and runs, to the point where he'd have a hard time getting up if he was laying down too long. On the rec of my vet, I started giving him Cosequin and it's completely turned him around. He still is a little stiff after big exercise days but soooo much better, I never feel like his hips are going to give out on him anymore. It's worth a shot if they're otherwise healthy but just need a little joint lubrication.

    As far as the "when is it time" question, I'm already dreading that. I did see a helpful comment online though a while back- "If you're consistently waking up hoping they died in their sleep, it's time."
    Thanks for the response. I have been giving them Cosequin from Costco for the last year and Maya needs something stronger for her arthritis pain. Time to call the vet. And I am no where close to letting her go. She should have a few more years in front of her if I can manage her arthritis. Heck, just this morning I took them out, Maya took a dump and was running around like a puppy afterwards.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  15. #15
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    Sorry Bmills, best of luck to you and the pup.

    This thread is tough right now - I have an old Boston going through the same thing. Ultrasound just found a large mass on his bladder, surgery consult tomorrow. All came out of nowhere too- just got healthy lab work and the ultrasound was originally looking at something minor and kidney related but then the vet came out looking sadÖ

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    Sorry, BMills (and Art). 17 years is one hell of a dog run. Our old lab is 14 and slowing way down. The new pup and the arthritis meds gave him some pep, but thatís fading and heís starting to have trouble getting up and going up/down stairs. We have to help him sometimes or heíll hold it in to the point that he unknowingly deposits little turd balls around the house. Heís covered in lipoma with new ones sprouting up seemingly daily. Just when you think heís about to take another turn for the worse, he has a good day and plays like a kid, typically to be down for the count the next day as a result.

    Itís so hard to know when itís time. Weíre not there yet, but itís coming and it sucks. Weíve had him since my oldest was a toddler and my youngestís whole life, and theyíre definitely not ready to let him go.
    Remind me. We'll send him a red cap and a Speedo.

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    I posted about Milo in the other threads. He's a 13.5 yo Toy Poodle with a heart of gold. Mellow and easy going, lives to sit in a lap. Cletus with the diabetus. 2x daily insulin, started a week and a half ago. He's still thirsty as fuck, but slowed down on the water some, which means fewer pee accidents. Stairs are getting hard for him. Eyes are getting cloudy. He's been having frequent vet visits and we are giving him WalMart OTC insulin per our vet.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Shirk View Post

    I know this is raw, and everyone has their own angle, but having her pass at home in my arms was the best possible way to do the near impossible.

    ....Im sorry for that, and I’m sorry for where you are now Bmills. Hang in there.
    This. Hugging my 6 y/o Border right now. I hope to dog he makes it that long, carry me into my 60's, that'd be sweet. 14.5 is as long as my GSD and Husky/GSD could go. My lab died when she was only 9.

    For my last pup, who was 14.5, he still looked, at first glance, healthy as could be, but had degenerative myelopathy where the pain was getting to be unmanageable. That, paired with a stroke that had changed his entire persona, his eyes wandered differently and he developed repetitive patterns in a short timeframe, pacing. The pain meds were no longer working. He was constantly panting and as such, there was nothing more I could do but give him his final gift in return for his lifetime of loyalty and love.

    I'd say go ahead and make some phone calls and have a plan for what eventually will be the inevitable. It's a weird, somber exercise but one you'll be glad you did when the time comes. It's different for everybody. They say you'll know, but I have friends where I've thought to myself, 'man, for the love of dog, it's way past time to say goodbye..'.

    All of my dogs have died in my arms, at home, where they were comfortable and surrounded by love and everything that they knew, in their own bed. My lab's passing was totally unexpected but she died in my arms nonetheless. I can't imagine doing it the other way but I went with my ex-husband and his old pup and they did their best at the time to make it a special time, not cold and sterile but with dim lights, candles and pillows in a warm, carpeted room. Sedation first, always for my pups, before the lethal injection; it's just better that way for everyone involved. Peaceful sleep.

    All of my dogs have been cremated, solo, so I was sure to get back only their ashes and not other dogs/cats/horses communal ashes. I'm sentimental.. Make sure you have that planned ahead if that's what you want so you can enjoy this fleeting time now and not scramble at the last minute making calls after it's happened and you're a mess. Maybe take a few more pics if you haven't already.

    I don't mean to tell you things you may already know, but having been 20 years since the last one...it will feel like the first time all over again. It always does.

    Aging pups. It's such a bittersweet time but in the end, still so worth it. Every. Single. Time. I feel for you and hope for the best outcome. 17 years is incredible for a pup-child. Good on ya B. You are doing what you are supposed to do. Take care of yourself, too.

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    17 years is pretty amazing. Itís too bad that human and canine lifespans are so different. We just went through this with my FILís lab. Hang in there, man. No need to second guess yourself.

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    Old Dog Thread

    Vibes bmills. 17 is such a great run, but only makes the end harder. Hope youíve got more good time with him yet

    Our pup is almost 12 and weíve started to have some conversations about how we will handle the end, but Iím hoping itíll be a few years still

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jax View Post
    This. Hugging my 6 y/o Border right now. I hope to dog he makes it that long, carry me into my 60's, that'd be sweet. 14.5 is as long as my GSD and Husky/GSD could go. My lab died when she was only 9.

    For my last pup, who was 14.5, he still looked, at first glance, healthy as could be, but had degenerative myelopathy where the pain was getting to be unmanageable. That, paired with a stroke that had changed his entire persona, his eyes wandered differently and he developed repetitive patterns in a short timeframe, pacing. The pain meds were no longer working. He was constantly panting and as such, there was nothing more I could do but give him his final gift in return for his lifetime of loyalty and love.

    I'd say go ahead and make some phone calls and have a plan for what eventually will be the inevitable. It's a weird, somber exercise but one you'll be glad you did when the time comes. It's different for everybody. They say you'll know, but I have friends where I've thought to myself, 'man, for the love of dog, it's way past time to say goodbye..'.

    All of my dogs have died in my arms, at home, where they were comfortable and surrounded by love and everything that they knew, in their own bed. My lab's passing was totally unexpected but she died in my arms nonetheless. I can't imagine doing it the other way but I went with my ex-husband and his old pup and they did their best at the time to make it a special time, not cold and sterile but with dim lights, candles and pillows in a warm, carpeted room. Sedation first, always for my pups, before the lethal injection; it's just better that way for everyone involved. Peaceful sleep.

    All of my dogs have been cremated, solo, so I was sure to get back only their ashes and not other dogs/cats/horses communal ashes. I'm sentimental.. Make sure you have that planned ahead if that's what you want so you can enjoy this fleeting time now and not scramble at the last minute making calls after it's happened and you're a mess. Maybe take a few more pics if you haven't already.

    I don't mean to tell you things you may already know, but having been 20 years since the last one...it will feel like the first time all over again. It always does.

    Aging pups. It's such a bittersweet time but in the end, still so worth it. Every. Single. Time. I feel for you and hope for the best outcome. 17 years is incredible for a pup-child. Good on ya B. You are doing what you are supposed to do. Take care of yourself, too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brownski View Post
    17 years is pretty amazing. It’s too bad that human and canine lifespans are so different. We just went through this with my FIL’s lab. Hang in there, man. No need to second guess yourself.
    Quote Originally Posted by Supermoon View Post
    Vibes bmills. 17 is such a great run, but only makes the end harder. Hope you’ve got more good time with him yet

    Our pup is almost 12 and we’ve started to have some conversations about how we will handle the end, but I’m hoping it’ll be a few years still
    Thanks fellas, I really appreciate the thoughts and sentiments. The last couple days the old boy has been doing pretty well and the nervous, panting behavior has subsided for now. My hope is that he was just very uncomfortable for that stretch of days.

    I’ve made the calls and I’m pretty sure I know which in-home service I’m gonna go with when that difficult day comes. Problem is I don’t know where I’d like to do it. I’m not sure my eight year old son who hasn’t been through this yet would understand the benefits of passing at home and wouldn’t want him to have that as his first thought. Every time he goes somewhere in the house I’d say the backyard would be just as well but I have a feeling I’m going to be a sobbing mess for all my neighbors to hear if I do it outside.

    I’m just going to have to keep enjoying the time I have and thinking about that in the back of my mind.
    I still call it The Jake.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmillsSkier View Post
    Didn't want to muck up the "It's Just a Dog Thread", that one's special.

    Or really any of the other threads that were a little more pointed in their direction so here goes.

    The almost 17 year old Border Collie of mine (turns 17 next week) is in diminishing health, to no one's surprise. We have his now 1.5 y/o great grand nephew BC that I truly believe has helped extend his days these past two years for which I am grateful.

    Of course I've been preparing myself for the inevitable for the old boy but he just keeps on truckin'; paces around the first floor every night, sleeps all day without fail, eats full meals and just got an incredible bill of health and blood and urine work from the vet.

    Last few nights he's become incredibly unsettled starting about 8pm and goes until he either takes a dump or exhausts himself to the point where he falls asleep - obviously this pains me as his human. He's on a daily half tab of DeraMaxx for his arthritis, but I'm loathe to give him anything else unless he's in obvious pain because his stomach just can't handle it (been that way since puppyhood).

    I couldn't handle hearing him anxiously pant so I gave him a gabapentin tablet tonight (he got that and a tradnazone script prior to his last vet checkup so he could be sedate prior to the visit) and so far no change.

    Monitor and hope for the best is what I'm guessing at this point? It's been 20 years since I've been in the position to know when it's "time".
    Your post broke my promise to only log in once a year.
    I went through this with my boy Fritz, 9 years ago. A standard poodle and 2 months shy of 17 as well.
    Cloudy eyes, muscle deterioration, confusion, holding him up to pee etc. were his last 6 months, maybe longer. I was blinded by love.

    Since no one has mentioned it, it's probably time, but it's your call. You now your boy the best. But after I had Fritz Euthanized, the amount of folks who are close to me, were honest in telling me how much they knew he had deteriorated was eye opening. I had let him suffer too long and I did have many times where I wished he simply died in his sleep while I was at work.

    If they can't stay alone for more than a few hours due to accidents, can't navigate their home without anxiety and fear can't sleep etc. it's close. I'm sorry to say it.

    What I did was make a vet visit/end of life appointment. Cop out for sure, but I had hoped the vet or techs would yell at me to leave immediately at the thought of euthanization of such a spry specimen of standard poodle. In reality, I cried my eyes out for hours because even they could see it was time. So I held him until he let out his last sigh.

    Sorry man. We all know what you are going through.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncskier View Post
    Your post broke my promise to only log in once a year.
    I went through this with my boy Fritz, 9 years ago. A standard poodle and 2 months shy of 17 as well.
    Cloudy eyes, muscle deterioration, confusion, holding him up to pee etc. were his last 6 months, maybe longer. I was blinded by love.

    Since no one has mentioned it, it's probably time, but it's your call. You now your boy the best. But after I had Fritz Euthanized, the amount of folks who are close to me, were honest in telling me how much they knew he had deteriorated was eye opening. I had let him suffer too long and I did have many times where I wished he simply died in his sleep while I was at work.

    If they can't stay alone for more than a few hours due to accidents, can't navigate their home without anxiety and fear can't sleep etc. it's close. I'm sorry to say it.

    What I did was make a vet visit/end of life appointment. Cop out for sure, but I had hoped the vet or techs would yell at me to leave immediately at the thought of euthanization of such a spry specimen of standard poodle. In reality, I cried my eyes out for hours because even they could see it was time. So I held him until he let out his last sigh.

    Sorry man. We all know what you are going through.
    Sincere thanks for that man. I appreciate the perspective and I’m very sorry for your loss.
    I still call it The Jake.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncskier View Post
    Sorry man. We all know what you are going through.
    It's inspiring to read, no matter how painful, the many kind souls here who give their responsibility as a caregiver for a companion - the respect it deserves.

    16 years. The thought of it haunted me because it was inevitable. Probably because I'm ill equipped and inexperienced for these matters but I had to process hard for guiding principles on the how/when. In the end, I thought the best for me and my pup was to make her dignity absolute and paramount. You can't control the circumstances, they're going to unfold as they will but I wanted my actions/decisions to be guided solely by respect for her dignity.

    I think that served us. Both of us. When it was time, I was probably out of mind so having some notion guiding me, helped. I had the at home vet ready and we laid down together, in our home and saw it through to the end just how I made my commitment when I got her. It went as it needed to and the comforts I could afford her made a difference.

    Never sure where I sit on regarding the spiritual side of things but, despite the practical needs of the situation, there was: ceremony, love, dignity, respect. That mattered. Still matters. I reflect, with loss, and no matter the grief - I see the continuity of our bond & commitment - beginning to the end.

    BMS- 17 years. No one who isn't a class A dog owner has a 17 year old dog. You're doing great. Trust your instincts and your decisions as a caregiver. Your pup knows it and believes in you.

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    My mom had a dog that should have been put down and instead she propped her up on heavy narcotics and vet visits the last month of her life and she died anyway. I begged for her to put the dog down but she couldn't do it. Watching that I vowed that I would never put one of my dogs through that.

    It's never easy. My general rule of vet questions at old dog stage, is are they in any pain? and are they happy? My first dog went with me everywhere, loved hiking, skiing, mountain biking etc. Never slowed down until the very end. Vet couldn't find a thing wrong with him but his back legs kept failing him randomly to the point I couldn't take him with me anymore. The hurt/pained look on his face when I left him behind was awful. I had to buy rugs to fill the house because he could no longer negotiate hard wood floors. It was then that I realized it was time. He wasn't happy, he wasn't able to do what he loved, he was suffering. It was time. Because all my dogs weigh 90 to 150 lbs. I take my dogs outside ask them where they want to be buried. I dig the hole. The vet comes over and does the deal next to said hole while I hold my dog in my lap. I have lost and buried 4 dogs. Only one died of natural causes the other three I put down. Each dog gave so much to me. Being able to help them to the next life is the least I can do for them.

    My advice to you. Trust your gut, your dog knows, and you will know when it's time. While it sucks remember you are honoring your dog in the best way possible by setting him free, ending his suffering. And fuck, it is a dog, so you know he's going to the best place in the universe and will loyally wait there for you to join him.

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