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ScruffyPup

Loss of a young dog

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Hi everyone,

10 days ago we had to put down our 4 year old Terrier. She was ill for 3 weeks and the vet could not figure out what was wrong. At first it seemed like Lymes (test was negative), then it seemed like back pain (yes, but not the ultimate problem), then it turned out she was very sick neurologically. She deteriorated quickly and suddenly. Within days she fell apart. She was head pressing, disoriented, crying nonstop, vomiting, having accidents, and barely eating or sleeping. We did not have the means to have an MRI performed to determine the ultimate disease she suffered from. Even if we did, treatment would be aggressive and her quality of life would still be bleak, as would the amount of time it might give her/us. We did the humane thing and let her go.

I feel so guilty for letting her suffer for 3 weeks. No, she was not horribly ill for the entire time, but she did cry every day during that time. On her last night of her life she howled - the only time I ever heard her do that. My heart broke. We went to the vet 3 times prior to the euthanization. If I'd known the cause I would have done something immediately. Part of me blames the vet (the 3rd visit was with a different doctor because I was so desperate). Our regular vet says neurology is her specialty. How did she miss this then?

She was only 4. This shouldn't have happened. And I want her to show me a sign that she feels so much better now and thank me for letting her go. I know that sounds crazy, but it would bring me some closure since we don't know what ultimately killed her.

I miss her snuggles, kisses, and company so very much. And then I feel guilty because I want a new puppy ASAP because I am lonely, but that makes me feel like I'm being disloyal to her. Then I feel bad for the hypothetical puppy. I know I'm not ready for one yet.

Sorry this post is all over the place. I have had to put down 3 dogs prior to her, but they were all older dogs. This untimely loss is very difficult to process.

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KayC   

ScruffyPup,

I am so sorry, I feel your pain through your post.  I hope you get your sign, keep your eyes open for it.  Please try to let go of the guilt, it is counterproductive and doesn't help anything.  Perhaps if you look for a pup, you will know when the time is right and recognize "the one" you're meant to parent.

It IS hard losing a younger animal, we feel it's such a shame, such a waste, they should have had years more left.  I have lost some younger ones due to accidents befalling them.  We want answers and they don't seem to be forthcoming.  I've learned that there can be closure even without answers, although it's harder, but in grief situations, it's different, because it seems there IS no closure, we continue grieving and missing them, although that grief does change form and we do eventually adjust to our loss and learn to cope with it.  This is a process and it takes time and effort to make our way through it.

http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf 

http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml

I had a 19 year old cat that was misdiagnosed with respiratory problems (cold), given antibiotics.  He didn't improve, they refilled the Rx.  I'd first had him treated at an ER in the next town as it was on a weekend.  When he finally saw his usual vet, he said he had cancer...he told me to imagine the worst head cold I'd ever had, multiply it by 1,000, and that's how my cat was feeling.  I had him euthanized.  I was so angry with the first place that misdiagnosed him!  My vet showed me the cancer that had traveled from his sinuses (under his eye) through to the roof of his mouth.  The stuff they had me express was gangrenous.  He wasn't going to get better, he was suffering.  I felt horrible that my sweet cat had gone through that last miserable month of his life unnecessarily!  I feel the blame lies with the ER vets that didn't fully examine him and do their job properly, but I felt guilty myself.  We somehow feel, even though we aren't vets, that we should know what's wrong and do the right thing from the onset, but that's why we take them to vets.  We're at their mercy to do their job well.  It's a process, trying to figure out where to take them, who to believe, what is best.  A process that our pet often suffers because of.  But that's not our fault, we're doing our best, we'd do anything we could for them!  I hope the articles I gave you the links to are of help to you as they were to me.

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KayC,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. The links you provided also gave me some perspective. I can't wait to show them to my husband. I know he, too, will benefit from reading them. He is taking this loss very hard, too. It might even be more difficult for him - he was out of town for work during her final week of life and didn't see just how much she'd deteriorated. He came home late the night before she died and I brought her in early the next morning. He was home taking care of our children, expecting me to come back in a couple hours.

I knew I wouldn't be returning with her; whether she was getting hospitalized or euthanized was the question. When I called him to say I think we needed to put her down, he got very upset and accused me of being "trigger happy" with the E word. He had to trust my instinct as he hadn't seen her at her lowest. He got to FaceTime her before it happened. He regrets not being there and wishes he'd gotten to give her last pets, kisses, and hugs. He has even less closure than me, and I feel sad for him, too. Throughout all this, I'm grateful my children are young enough to not be affected by her absence.

Here's hoping these articles give him some comfort.

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KayC   

I can only imagine how your husband is feeling.  It's all the harder when we can't be there, in my opinion.  I wish you both the best in accepting the reality of having been a good parent to her and making choices that you felt was in her best interest.  We want to keep them with us, that's natural, but sometimes the price they pay would be too great.

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I am not sure how this works, whether I should be starting a new thread or not, but my husband and I had to send our sweet little 6 year old Boston Terrier over the Rainbow Bridge on Tuesday, she was way too young, and I haven't gotten out of bed since then. She had been drinking a bit more water than usual, but was her bouncy dear little self for the most part. We were having her teeth cleaned a fee months ago and the vet said she needed two teeth pulled. We gave permission, and after that she started being a little lethargic, so we ran her to the vet. He said she had kidney disease and was down to 25 percent function. He said we should have her for a few months to a few years if we aggressively treated her (we gave her daily fluids sub cutaneously, cooked her food, and also brought her to a holistic vet who tried to help. Itsy went straight down hill and after 2 or 3 weeks it became clear that she was suffering. She seemed to rally midway and we were so excited, but she got worse. The vet said she should be euthanized, so we kept her with us one more night, cuddling and loving her, and put her to sleep Tuesday. Our older dog, Ziggy, is devastated, and cries a lot. They slept curled up every day, not missing a night or day for 5-6 years. My heart is breaking for myself, my husband, and my other baby, ziggy. I am hurting so much. Ziggy and I cry together. I just wanted to express my pain. I am so very sorry for scruffypup, and all the others who have lost beloved pups or kitties. Thanks for listening.

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AJWCat   

Hi Itsy's Mom, sorry to read about what happened with Itsy. Too young, just like ScruffyPup's 4 year old. My heart breaks for you both. My cat died a sudden horrible death from (we think poison) he was 15 and I still feel cheated that we lost him. It is anguish when they are gone. I feel like I have dark glasses on all the time because the world is just dark without my sweet cat. He was our "child." All I can say is that the dogs you both had were so lucky to have you, got SO much love all the time!! So many animals never get the lives they had. And you did what you could in the end, you made the best decisions you could with the info you had in the moment, and ultimately brought your sweet pet peace. Anyway, I feel your pain and just wish you comfort as you grieve. They were so special there is just no easy road through it. You just take it day by day.        

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KayC   

I am so sorry you are going through loss again, I know it's hard.  You are in my prayers as you try to adjust to all this means to you.  (((hugs)))

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