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Old 09-07-2011, 04:44 AM
 
501 posts, read 1,057,881 times
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I've lost 2 of my best dogs ever in the last 3 years, and am about to lose my third one - my rescue who came shortly after my girl passed, and who taught me that I can be lucky enough to have more than one "once in a lifetime" dog.

Since our Max died last year, I've cut down my online time and instead spent as much time as possible with my girl (and adopted a new dog this year), as I had a feeling that time was limited. Nothing concrete, and after inconclusive vet visits, I brushed it off as a reaction to losing Max. But we've discovered that she has cancer, and now a specialist took xrays that confirmed that it has spread, so time is very limited. She is still her happy, bouncy, joyful cuddling self, with a good appetite, so our time is quality for the moment. My dh is picking up our travel trailer, so we can spend a few days at the coast and the mountains while the weather and her health permit. We went to the beach for a day, and she was quite crazy in love with the ocean and the seagulls playing above her; yet I am both very glad and unspeakably sad that this is the only prescription I can give to her, when what I want is her to not leave us so very soon. If someone told me that "here is a dog that will cheer your day, every day, without fail, but you only get a few years of it", I would do it again. In a heartbeat. But why in the face of this, can't I take heed of her message that there can be joy after grief? She showed me that - and yet, at times I can't imagine such a thing anymore.

I'm taking each day as a gift, and for the most part pretending this isn't happening, so that I am always happy around my girl - she has no idea of what is to come, and I think it wise to follow her example, as there isn't anything we can do now (other than pallative care when symptoms finally arise). When I cry, I do so outside on the porch, and do not come back in until my attitude adjusts. Am not sleeping as well, but that comes and goes. I want none of my sorrow to touch her last bits of happiness, nor mine.

For anyone who has been here in this place of deep pre-grief, but lucky enough to still be able to look at your dog and give her more love because despite your fears of what is to come, she is still thumping that tail and available to be cherished, how did you cope with the knowledge? How did you spend your last days/months with your best friend, if you were fortunate enough to have some quality time left after you learned that an illness would take them shortly? I hope to take some comfort, as I have in the past, from hearing that others have felt this way too and found a way to adjust to the previously unimaginable.

Last edited by sugarsugar; 09-07-2011 at 04:54 AM..
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:22 AM
Status: "Having a big dog is like having a rug you can't step on." (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: Pennsylvania
15,433 posts, read 9,447,228 times
Reputation: 25581
cried a lot. and even more when she tried to comfort me.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,414 posts, read 41,176,910 times
Reputation: 46922
My beloved Paul was a 17 year old Bichon we had since he was 8 weeks old. he grew up with our children, went to work with me every day, went on vacations with us...in other words he was by my side for 17 years. it became apparent his quality of life was slipping. he could not hear, whimpered at the bottom on the stairs cause he could not follow me up, could barely see and was generally in steep decline. When it became so obvious I watched him like a hawk to make sure what I was contemplating was the right thing to do. I spent a few months catering to his every need and trying to convince myself it was what needed to be done.

When the day came, I took him on the leash without telling anybody in my family - kids were gone in college- to the vet. We sat outside in the car and I held him so tight and whispered how much I loved him and what he had meant to our family. I held him in my arms as he took his last breath and his last act was to slowly lift his head as he was leaving to lick my face in comfort. So typical of him. I will never forget my best friend Paul.

To love means we risk getting our hearts broken but for some reason we keep on doing it.

read A DOG'S PURPOSE.... it will bring you some comfort I promise.
Good luck.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
16,178 posts, read 25,159,090 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
When the day came, I took him on the leash without telling anybody in my family - kids were gone in college- to the vet. We sat outside in the car and I held him so tight and whispered how much I loved him and what he had meant to our family. I held him in my arms as he took his last breath and his last act was to slowly lift his head as he was leaving to lick my face in comfort. So typical of him. I will never forget my best friend Paul.
My face is absolutely wet with tears. Your description of those moments... oh my gosh, I felt like I was there.

I'm so sorry that Paul is physically gone but, clearly, he will ALWAYS be with you, in your heart.

As to the OP, I've got no idea. I've dreaded that day since before Artie even came into my life. It's all about love, though, I know that. As long as your girl leaves knowing how much she was loved (and she obviously is!), then you did well. Aw, crap, I wish that you weren't going through this. I'm crying along with you. Loving is so difficult sometimes.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Texas
42,089 posts, read 49,240,428 times
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My older dog is 10 and I keep having more and more of these kinds of thoughts and it's such a sucker punch to my gut every time...have had her since 5 weeks and she's always been my best good friend.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:42 AM
 
575 posts, read 837,866 times
Reputation: 443
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarsugar View Post
I've lost 2 of my best dogs ever in the last 3 years, and am about to lose my third one - my rescue who came shortly after my girl passed, and who taught me that I can be lucky enough to have more than one "once in a lifetime" dog.

Since our Max died last year, I've cut down my online time and instead spent as much time as possible with my girl (and adopted a new dog this year), as I had a feeling that time was limited. Nothing concrete, and after inconclusive vet visits, I brushed it off as a reaction to losing Max. But we've discovered that she has cancer, and now a specialist took xrays that confirmed that it has spread, so time is very limited. She is still her happy, bouncy, joyful cuddling self, with a good appetite, so our time is quality for the moment. My dh is picking up our travel trailer, so we can spend a few days at the coast and the mountains while the weather and her health permit. We went to the beach for a day, and she was quite crazy in love with the ocean and the seagulls playing above her; yet I am both very glad and unspeakably sad that this is the only prescription I can give to her, when what I want is her to not leave us so very soon. If someone told me that "here is a dog that will cheer your day, every day, without fail, but you only get a few years of it", I would do it again. In a heartbeat. But why in the face of this, can't I take heed of her message that there can be joy after grief? She showed me that - and yet, at times I can't imagine such a thing anymore.

I'm taking each day as a gift, and for the most part pretending this isn't happening, so that I am always happy around my girl - she has no idea of what is to come, and I think it wise to follow her example, as there isn't anything we can do now (other than pallative care when symptoms finally arise). When I cry, I do so outside on the porch, and do not come back in until my attitude adjusts. Am not sleeping as well, but that comes and goes. I want none of my sorrow to touch her last bits of happiness, nor mine.

For anyone who has been here in this place of deep pre-grief, but lucky enough to still be able to look at your dog and give her more love because despite your fears of what is to come, she is still thumping that tail and available to be cherished, how did you cope with the knowledge? How did you spend your last days/months with your best friend, if you were fortunate enough to have some quality time left after you learned that an illness would take them shortly? I hope to take some comfort, as I have in the past, from hearing that others have felt this way too and found a way to adjust to the previously unimaginable.
I am so sorry you and your loved one have to go through this pain, again. The worst part of owning an animal is how short a time we have with them, but having them get sick is the worst.
I don't know which is worse, having your pet go without having time to adjust or having the time to prepare and live with it for days, weeks or months? All of the dogs I have had that have passed did so after finding cancer or convulsions while being 14 and having to end their suffering.
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:04 AM
 
1,419 posts, read 4,409,434 times
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Oh boy, this is so sad. I have a huge painful lump in my throat from reading these posts.

I have not spent months in your situation, but have spent several weeks with multiple dogs in similar situations. I am not going to kid you, it is painful. But I think your thought that you will follow her example is exactly the thing to do. In other words, when she's happy...enjoy her - have fun together and play more ball, more hide and seek, more whatever while she still feels well and try to stay light.

And then there comes a time when you provide comfort. I don't know how to explain this. It's not necessarily petting the dog 24x7; sometimes it's keeping some distance. Some examples are: staying close by (maybe moving the dog to where you are to let her rest in the same room), staying within the dog's sight as much as possible, letting her be as she needs to be without disturbing her unnecessarily. I let them do what came naturally to them, which was different for each dog. One never took her eyes off me; another wanted to go off into a corner. Doing whatever gave them comfort and prevented pain and suffering was my main goal. And special dinners (hamburger and mashed potatoes comes to mind) were an indulgence I did at the end (in one instance she maintained her appetite until the end). I think you'll know what to do when the time comes based on your own dog's personality.

Please take good care of yourself. The anticipation is very difficult. Make sure you have support from family and friends as well (including here).

I am sorry for your recent losses and wish you the best as you go through this process. ((hugs))

Oh, one more thing and this is important! Tell yourself over and over and over and over and over again what a good life your dog has had under your care. Find comfort in this. KNOW and remind yourself often what a happy life she has had. When things are overwhelming, I hope this gives you some peace.

Last edited by didee; 09-19-2011 at 10:16 AM..
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:40 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 14,586,606 times
Reputation: 10224
Oh man, I am so sorry. I've lost three Rottweilers to bone cancer, which is almost always a death sentence. It's an awful place to be.

I let the dogs do whatever made them happy. I kept my emotions out of the way. With number two (he was an agility champion and ADORED agility) I took him to classes, to trials, just so he could be around what he loved. He got tons of attention and - I'd had the cancerous leg amputated as part of his treatment - he got really geeked about doing 3-inch jumps and just being near the action.

I did not feel sorry for them, I made sure they got to do fun things, then let them go *before* there was serious pain. I think you are 100 percent spot-on in your understanding that dogs truly live in the moment, and your girl isn't afraid of what's to come.

((((hugs)))) and I mean that sincerely.

Crap, now I'm about to cry too.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,454 posts, read 6,113,704 times
Reputation: 7829
I've lost many dogs and my beagle, Luba, is 15 and in kidney failure. Her years alone made me know her time was limited, but when the vet said she as in kidney failure and very sick, it made it much worse. I look at her and I imagine having to go through this yet again, to hold yet another dog when they take their last breath and I don't know where I will find the strength to do that.

I should add that my dogs have all died in their own time, and in my arms. I haven't had any euthanized.

First of all I did some research on the internet to make sure that I am doing all I can for Luba. She has arthritis and my main concern is to keep her pain-free. I started her on dog food for dogs with renal problems. My vet said when he gets old he wants to come and live in my house.

Well, with her tramadol and other medication, and with me making a soup out of her food to get all the water into her that I can, she has regained almost all her strength. I include her in whatever I am doing. She is too old to really play but she remembers how she used to play and she gets a huge kick out of me pretending to fight her - Luba's idea of a good time has always been a good fight.

My other dogs went downhill from one day to the next, so I know how quickly the end can happen. I don't therefore take anything for granted but try to see each day as a gift. When Luba sleeps next to my bed at night, I hear her breathing and take conscious note of what would only have been background noise in her younger days it and think how thankful I am for her breath.

She has trouble with stairs, and no matter how tired I am, I carry her in and out whenever she wants to go in or out, because it is a privilege I will not have much longer. She can't always hold her water and that embarrasses her, but I clean it up and don't complain.

I don't leave her at home alone at all. I pass on invitations that require both my husband and I to be gone. Luba used to need her alone time but with her hearing and eyesight not so great anymore, she wants a human person around.

I don't want there to be anything I regret when she goes. That is the only thing that will make it bearable.

I'm hoping she will live until the spring. I'm hoping that I can control her pain and that she retains her present quality of life until her last day. I would hate to have to have her euthanized due to pain or lack of quality of life. For some reason most of my dogs have died in the fall, and while it is bad at anytime to go through grief, for some reason fall is even worse.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:44 PM
 
668 posts, read 1,451,414 times
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Everybody here, your stories makes me cry ... I don't want to think that day will come to my dogs
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